Monthly Archives: July 2015

Assignment #3: Profile v3 + Infographic

This week you have THREE assignments to be completed by Monday, 9AM:

  1. Complete the online HTML and CSS courses: and // PROTIP: Complete the quizzes at the end of each course… and get on time to class Monday morning for a thing that will take 15 minutes.
  2. Create an infographic based on your profile subject, using one of these tools:

    Make sure you watch your spelling, grammar AND AP style. In addition to the information, we’ll be looking at the FIVE points Les discussed in the presentation: 1. Be a Creative thinker 2. Organize everything 3. Pick a Lead visual 4. Presume people are Smart 5. Edit mercilessly

    We’ll also reward creativity and good design!

  3. Re-write the profile, creating V3: Post going through “The Treatment,” re-write your piece… we will be looking at creativity/clarity of leads, nut graphs, quotes, showing vs telling, structure, good ender. Also write an appropriate headline for the piece.

Complete #2 and #3 by creating ONE WordPress post that has the re-written profile and new infographic. Post the public URL in the comments of this post by 9AM Monday.

Do not miss deadline.

Brenna Devanney’s Journalistic Ambition – V2

A fresh new face is about to grace the world of journalism. Young, energetic, and full of life, she talks about her journey so far with profuse enthusiasm. Her name is Brenna Devanney, a soon-to-be 22 year-old student hailing from Janison, a small town of a few hundred people just outside Philadelphia.

Having just graduated from Philadelphia’s LaSalle University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications in May 2015, Devanney took the bold decision to leave her family and venture out to Los Angeles on what is her first time away from home. Even though she misses her family and does not know anyone in LA, she is determined to make this a rewarding experience. “It’s important to force yourself outside your comfort zone”, she quips.

Devanney has always lived in the East Coast and really identifies with its fast-paced lifestyle, but she grew fond of Southern California during several trips here with her family. She appreciates the warmer weather and people’s laid-back attitude. What really attracted her to this part of the country, however, was the opportunity to join USC, which she hopes will give her the set of skills she needs to become a sports journalist. “LaSalle gave me the technical skills that a journalist needs but here at USC, I am looking for more focus”, she asserted.

Her passion for sports journalism started at a young age when she would attend football tournaments with her family. It was during those games that she found her calling. “Athletes work hard to get to where they are, so I feel that connection. I share the same work ethic, and to me, being a successful sports journalist requires you to make it on your own. You cannot be a good journalist just because you have a family history of journalists. You have to earn it.”

According to her LinkedIn profile, Devanney already has a lot to be proud of. She can already claim the titles of editorial intern, news intern, media programs intern, public relations intern, host and producer. Such a robust resume at such an early stage of her career is a testament to her talent and craft as a journalist. That said, her favourite internship remains the work she did for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In partnership with the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, she worked with sick children and taught them how to produce entertainment, sports and game shows. She remembers this experience to be so “inspirational”. “It’s amazing how these kids had so much on their mind because of their suffering through cancer or other illnesses, and yet here they were, brave enough to put on a strong face and have fun”. The combination of doing what she loves to do and giving back to the community was the essence of that experience. When asked about the single highlight of her career, Devanney showed no hesitation in picking her interview with Michael Vick, a then-quarterback for The Eagles who went on to play for The Jets.

Despite being an avid fan of reality television and pop culture – she cites “The Bachelorette”, “Big Brother”, and “American Idol” as some of her favourite shows – she would like to go back to the East Coast after graduation and stay true to her first love, sports journalism. “I would like to become a sideline reporter for the NFL”, she reaffirms. With such passion, ambition, and drive shining through her eyes as she talks about her plans, it is clearly only a matter of time before Devanney becomes a household name in the field of sports journalism.

Confident Young Journalist Finds Strength in Breaking Boundaries

For some people, relocating nearly 3000 miles from home is an intimidating move. But for the courageous and motivated young journalist Taiye Ojomo, there is simply no breadth of distance that is going to stand between her and her dreams. In the summer of 2015, the 21-year-old Queens native and recent graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore decided to pack her things and move across country, as she had been accepted to one of America’s most sought-after graduate programs: Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

While growing up in an urban environment such as Queens certainly accustomed her to the harsher realities of life, Ojomo was exposed to a different way of thinking upon her move to Baltimore for college, where she pursued a degree in Broadcast Journalism. “I saw a lot of poverty in Baltimore,” she recounted, “For a lot of people, that’s all they knew. It was considered normal.”

This experience was one of many that jumpstarted her motivation to make a difference with her journalistic efforts. “I want to go into issues that aren’t really spoken about,” she explained, bright red lipstick delicately framing her words, “It helps people to not be stuck in one idea.”

Besides her obvious fervor for journalism, Ojomo is a passionate advocate for drawing, self-expression and colorful, eye-catching fashion accessories. Art class was always her favorite class in college because it always calmed her down after a hard day. She is drawn to clothes and accessories that are interesting and make people think, like silver Doc Martens, ultra-rounded sunglasses and septum jewelry. Her bold nature serves to give her a look of effortless chic in her day-to-day life.

Not only does she want to broaden people’s minds, but she wants to make a difference in human lives as well. “I want to open a youth center in Baltimore. I want to open a youth center; I want to give [less fortunate people] school supplies, workshops, and take them on trips.”

This optimistic unabashedness that Ojomo exudes externally matches directly with the values and beliefs she holds internally. She hopes to use journalism as a medium to change the world, and make people realize what she has held true for herself all along: “There’s another side to life other than what your environment is.”

By Madeline White

The Duality of Madeline White

A striking young woman stands outside the Wallis Annenberg Building at USC with a well-manicured hand on her hip, dressed in high-waisted dark blue flares and a rainbow-striped long sleeve crop top with her hair in immaculate waves. Only the day before she wore a 60’s-esque Peter Pan collar black mini dress with black Mary Jane style Doc Martens and winged cat eye makeup accentuated by her bangs, which graze her big brown eyes.

In the glow of a summer afternoon, she sits twisted in her Beverly Grove apartment in an upholstered high back slipper chair donning a pair of black cotton shorts, a boxy white t-shirt with her hair thrown up into a topknot. In the comfort of her room, Madeline White isn’t any of the characters that she dressed as earlier. She’s stripped down to who she is, to those that know her the best – just Maddie.

White, who grew up just off the coast of San Diego, is the 5th generation of her family to inhabit the island of Coronado. Although the former island is now a peninsula connected to the mainland, it had a small town feel that never had White dreaming of living in Los Angeles.

She was a self-proclaimed clown growing up and her personality a bit bigger than what the island could contain so her parents channeled her energy into music, dance and acting. White attended Coronado School of the Arts (which is literally a part of Coronado High School) where “musical theater was my focus, so I got to do a lot there but I was in a normal high school setting so I had my friends in theater and I had friends outside of theater, who kept me sane,” said White.

It was in that setting that White’s personality began to take shape but a large part of her yearned to feel the struggle and to go through a miserable time in order to understand an artist’s standpoint of things. So White made the decision to leave the home where she’d grown up, and the island where she was related to at least a quarter of the population, to move to 3,000 miles away to New York.

New York was a bit of a cultural shock because of the small-town feel of Coronado Island. White says “There was only one black student in my high school, so coming to New York was like a complete cultural immersion. But I loved it.”

After four years of thriving off the energy of the city and earning her BFA in acting from Pace University, New York proved to challenge White in the way that she was. She signed with an agent right after graduating and the excitement of the potential to launch her career was thrilling. “He was a 40-year-old bachelor who was had a bunch of pretty young girls as clients and only wanted to take advantage of me,” said White. When it came down to her career or her dignity, White chose her dignity and fired her agent – a moment in her life that defined her career trajectory. “I grew a lot from that experience because of the decision I had to make,” said White.

Not long after, White returned to her hometown of Coronado and reevaluated where her true passions in life lay. White channeled her love for independent music by launching “Twenty First Century Foxx” a blog with music reviews and starred in a webseries called “Raymond & Lane”.

It was her blog that reminded her of her love of stories. So White decided to apply to the USC Annenberg MS in Journalism program with the hopes of becoming a broadcast journalist. “I hate being limited to one way of thinking. I like to experience life in a lot of different angles,” said White and the program at USC gives her the opportunity to explore all the reasons why people are the way they are and to continue to cultivate the brand that is Madeline White.

An adventurous spirit evolving: Erin Germain

A tangle of limbs hover above a green lawn under the Southern California Sun. Flesh skims tree bark but has yet to blush into the bruises that will come, badges marking this young, blonde girl an adventurer.

Erin Germain grew up in 1980s Oceanside, CA a diverse town kissed with salty air. A place where aircraft from the nearby military base frequently buzz the coast.

Her parents instilled an inquisitive spirit in Germain that has not faded. Through rambling, family road trips and generous stacks of books she explored the world. She brokered a deal to graduate early from high school by writing a book of her own, a novel. This achievement gave Germain a sense of accomplishment that extended to her media studies at Chico State University where she also graduated early.

Germain left for Chicago in 2003 to launch her professional career working for “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Of her three-year stint as a researcher she says, “I had a strong shift while I was there and my curious side came out. Research is the biggest tool that has helped me succeed in everything else I’ve done in life. It makes you think about problem solving differently.”

With this bedrock she went on to produce films for a variety of major broadcast platforms: ABC, TLC, Discovery, BBC America, Yahoo and Ovation. The human interest angle resonates throughout Germain’s work. To this end, in 2013 she co-founded For Example Media, a production company focused on branded content features with a community focus.

Germain gets a thrill from helping people, “I like doing nice things for good people. When you’re working with people who are doing interesting projects and have a really great story but also have something to gain out of the experience of telling their story, it’s nice to help them through that process.”

A similar intention influenced her volunteer teaching efforts in Ecuador. “I went in thinking I was going to make people’s lives better and I came back realizing they had made my life better.” This experience has stuck with her, “Travelling is important for perspective. It’s about being more conscious.”

With a dedication to making a difference in people’s lives by crafting thoughtfully produced stories, Germain joins the University of Southern California’s graduate journalism class of 2016. She moves forward, bravely once again through the branches of life.

A Love for Travel, Music and Education

Walid El Atrache smiles when he talks about the natural beauty of his favorite destinations including Greece, Kosovo and Macedonia. Having traveled to more than 50 countries in the past ten years El Atrache knows there are many more places left to explore. “There is a lot of variety in this world,” he says. “Even if you spend a lifetime you won’t be able to experience everything.” For him the joy of traveling isn’t just about what he discovers while he is there, but how it compares to what he has read in the history books.

His curiosity for travel started at a young age when he started asking questions about the world around him. First living in Brazil and then moving with his family to Dubai when he was 8. “I always had sort of weird observations about things,” he says. “I would wonder why things were the way they were.” When those around him didn’t know the answers to his questions he turned to books.

While he clearly has a love for travel he gets even more animated and excited when the topic of music comes up. He says that he has always had a peculiar taste in music and enjoys researching little known bands. His appreciation for music runs deeper than just the casual listener. When listening to music he is always searching for new sounds and creative ways that musicians produce a song. He lists early 2000’s Radiohead as some of his favorite examples of great music creativity and production.

In his professional life El Atrache has worked for some of the most exclusive luxury brands in the world. He started his career working for Air France before moving on to marketing positions with brands like Cartier, Givenchy and Escada. About four years ago he started planning his return to academia to pursue his longtime dream of working as a broadcast journalist. His goal is to create a television show that introduces an audience to the bands that he discovers and follows. “I could never find a lot of people that shared my musical taste, so I’ve always wanted to find a platform for the people that I listen to,” he says.

While returning to school to pursue broadcast journalism is one of his goals, it’s not the only advanced degree on his list. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to attend the M.S. program for Journalism at the University of Southern California, El Atrache completed an MBA at Murdoch University. When asked about any other degrees he laughs and replies, “This will be my last one though. This time next year I’ll retire from education.”

Courage in a Second Language

Courage in a Second Language

There are few people that can move cross sectionally in culture. Taking yourself out of context is a danger to the identity reiterations that we as individuals are accustomed to utilizing for comfort. On a subconscious level, we borrow familiarity in geography, language, friends and family to give us a leg up in our daily efforts to either be better people or function well as human beings. Few people have the courage to take themselves out of context.

Ruoran Wang is one of those few people. She is a 26 year old student from China in USC Annenberg’s prestigious Master of Science in Journalism program. She literally crossed an ocean to get here. English is Ruoran’s second language, and she leaves her family, friends and boyfriend a 15 hour plane ride away.

Chinese government restrictions on children per family had not yet relaxed by 1990, and Ruoran is an only child. Her mother was initially not supportive of Ruoran leaving China. She relinquished her blessing eventually. Ruoran is close with her two younger cousins, and considers them brothers. Her idea of family is opinionated, and disagrees with China’s child restriction policy. According to Ruoran, she has very close relationships with her family. It is this closeness that will eventually bring her home to China, but for now she has plans to stay in the States beyond graduation and gain work experience.

Dissatisfaction has been fueling Ruoran’s trip to the U.S. She already holds journalism experience from several positions in Chinese institutions but according to her, the restrictions of journalism have kept her from being fulfilled. She wants to study video and documentary work. The censorship of media by the Chinese government has been an increasing issue, noted by world organizations as a breach of human rights. Ruoran wants to learn the skills in digital and documentary studies so she can investigate and tell any story that she feels needs to be told.

Ruoran’s closest friends are in her hometown of Shijiazhuang Shi, the largest city in the Hebei province of China. When together, they shop and sing karaoke. She’s had these friends since she was a very young girl. Ruoran’s boyfriend, a filmmaker working on a secret project, is based in Beijing. They’ve been working out a long distance relationship for three years. She wouldn’t mind being in the same city, but prioritizes that they are both wanting certain life experiences.

During this time of courage, Ruoran plans to mitigate her stress through sports. She loves basketball and long distance running. To her, the best parts of exercise are physical exertion and the opportunity for growth – building something week by week into progress. That sounds about on par with what defines the rest of her identity.