final blog post.

I suppose the most valuable things I’ve learned in the class are article-writing, AP style, and learning broadcast formats. I gained some valuable experience conducting interviews, gathering information, and generally moving through the process of writing an article. I’m also glad that we did so many Ap style exercises in class because they really drilled the nit-picky grammer rules of AP style  into my head. Lastly  I enjoyed learning more about writing in broadcast format and practicing it in the deadline drills.

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Final Story: Ybor Art Studio

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Despite the chilly night air outside, the atmosphere of the Ybor Art Studio, located on the west edge of Centennial Park in Ybor, was warm and relaxed.

Laughter rose from the circle of art students molding clay from potter’s wheels, while a nearby group sitting at a large round table molded clay flowers. The walls are lined with tables and shelves filled with brushes, paint bottles and mounds of clay wrapped in wax paper. Pieces of original paintings, pottery and sculpture dot the spacious studio.

The Ybor Art Studio, owned and operated by the City of Tampa’s Department of Parks and Recreation, opened in 2004. It joins four other affordable city-run art studios in the Tampa area, with locations in Hyde Park, East Tampa, Egypt Lake and West Tampa.

The studio brings arts and crafts to the community at an affordable price. Classes cost $10 to $15 per week, with sessions running 2-9 weeks. The studio provides instruction in media such as pottery, painting, and metalsmithing.

The most popular classes are the pottery courses, taught by Trisha Bohannon. Classes teach students how to create bowls, pots, and other ceramics by hand and on a potter’s wheel. According to instructor Brent Thorlton, the classes are so popular that they’ve had to waitlist people seeking to enroll.

In order to attend the classes, students must own a Recreation Card, which can be obtained through Parks and Recreation. Recreation cards cost $15 for city residents and $115 for non-residents. Non-residents have the option of paying for one or more of the programs programming seasons; that is, a non-resident may pay $50 for a winter/spring session instead of the yearly fee.

Bohannon, Thorlton, and adjunct instructor Marc Hussey are the three main artists employed at the studio.

“There is about 20 years of teaching experience among the three of us.” said Hussey

Before he began teaching at the studio, Marc Hussey taught faux painting and mural painting at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, Colorado. Here, He teaches metalsmithing and mixed media art. The metalsmithing classes include jewelry-making and small-scale sculpture using soft, non-ferris (non-iron) metals such as copper, iron, and gold. His mixed media classes meld various media such as painting, sculpture, and digital media. The classes utilize low-heat torches and acids, but he insists they are safe.

“Unless you are stupid, it is pretty safe.” said Hussey.

Beginning in January, Hussey will teach an Introduction to multimedia class that will cover digital photography, Photoshop® and screen-printing.

“People enroll because they want to be creative, and be around creative energy,” said Hussey “The studio has a shrine-like atmosphere without being holy.”

Brent Thorlton has thought at the studio since 2006. He received his Bachelors’ in painting from Eastern Illinois University and his Masters from the New York Academy of Art. He teaches 8 classes a week in oil and watercolor painting, pen and ink, and silverpoint, which is medium that uses a sterling silver stylus to scratch designs into paper. Every third Thursday of the month the class is taken to the Tampa Museum of Art to use a model in their drawings and paintings.

In order to inspire his beginning students, Thorlton said he has them write down 20 ideas they would like to explore and work through so that they have a starting point to jump from.

In addition to teaching art classes, the studio also participates in local arts and cultural events. On Dec.11 it will exhibit original art by teachers and pupils alike at The Art in the Park, an all-day event celebrating local artists and their crafts. Art in the Park will take place in Centennial park right next to the studio; it will also include live music and a fresh market.

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story idea: Scientologists!

The church of Scientology has been getting a lot of attention from local press, mostly because its spiritual headquarters are located in Clearwater. Many inhabitants of Tampa have walked by or been into the Life Improvement Center, which I believed closed down after the church bought the Ybor Square. Some people are alarmed, some are curious about Scientologists, their beliefs, and their presence in the community. There should  be a profile of the church’s history in the bay area, specifically Ybor. There also should be an interview with a member of the church discussing the church’s beliefs and their reason for joining. Reactions and opinions from students could be gathered to make the story more relevant to HCC. Background information could be gathered from past news articles via the HCC databases or the local scientologist website. The site does not provide direct information but I think the church would have a representative or media director that could be open for interview. A multimedia idea could be a list of statistics and data about the church, such as  the age, gender, and racial make up of their congregation, and how it has grown through out the years.

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story reaction: security pat-downs

Steve Huettel writes that travelers flying in and out of Tampa International Airport don’t seem to mind new security pat-down procedures that have drawn intense national criticism. These new measures have been implemented since an terrorist plot was intercepted last month.

the new pat-downs require security personal, who are the same gender as the passenger being searched, to use the front of their hands to search travelers over their clothing, and are allowed to search genitals and breasts, areas that were previously off limits. Passengers were selected for a pat down if they set off a metal detector or if a full-body scanner found something suspicious.

The main element that makes this newsworthy is conflict. There have been many opponents to the new pat down procedures and full-body scanners, which are seen as a violation of personal liberties in the name of security. The article localizes the story by gathering local opinions from TIA. I think a bulleted list of specific changes made to the procedure would serve as a good multimedia piece.

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Story Idea: Academic Dishonesty

University of Central Florida’s college of business has been embroiled in controversy recently as it was discovered hundreds of students had cheated on a midterm by obtaining a professor’s test bank of questions. This came from a college that was recently profiled in the New York Times for its high-tech testing center that uses camera surveillance to monitor potential cheaters.

 

In light of the recent troubles at UCF, there should be a story addressing the policy on academic dishonesty  at HCC, as well as reviewing what instructors and the testing center have been doing to combat cheating and plagiarism. Potential sources could include be Ira Taylor, of the Ybor Campus testing center, and Dr. Emery E. Alford,  Dean of Academic Affairs for HCC Ybor. An idea for a multimedia piece would be a list of interesting ways that students have tried to cheat (At UCF, students have tried to hide notes on the underside of baseball cap bills and disguised answers in tattoo sleeve designs)

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story reaction: block tuition

In this article written by Richard Danielson, The University of Florida is the only state university to consider block tuition, where all students would have to pay for 15 credit hours worth of courses, regardless of whether they are taking that many classes or not. A recent decision by the board of govenors has allowed universities to consider this type of tuition, which would encourage students to earn their degree sooner, thus opening up more available spots for incoming students.

The move is less popular at the University of South Florida, were students tend to work more and rely less on parental support. If block tuition was implemented, the Bright Futures scholarship would only cover tuition of credit hours actually taken, and students will have to find a way to pay for the additional credits hours charged. Florida pre-paid students would be charged by the credit hour if the tuition contract was purchased before implementation of block tuition.

I could see this move to block tuition affecting the decision of transferring HCC students. Many students take less than 15 credit hours because they must work, and  they probably don’t want to be charged for credit hours they are not taking. This decision could discourage students from transferring to UF or any other university considering block tuition. I think the article should have further addressed the problems block tuition would cause for continuing or low income students. A smaller story interviewing a student that would be negatively effected by the tuition plan would exemplify the problem in a follow-up.

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Story Idea: Administration Accuracy

This St. Petersburg Times article discusses accuracy errors in Pinellas county school transcripts. It reminds me of the many complaints I have heard from HCC students about inaccurate record-keeping. When I first started HCC, I was initially charged two times the in-state tuition  because I was erroneously listed as out of state.

Since, according to many students, this  is a common occurrence, it would be pertinent to write a story addressing the issue of inaccurate record keeping at HCC. Each campus, as well as the district office, contains plenty of information on records, as well as links to companies who develop and run information and administrative systems. Sources would include Eileen L. Harrow, Director of Administrative Systems, and Barbara A. Larson, Vice President of Administration.

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story reaction: Health Care Limbo

In this St.Petersburg Times article, staff writer Kameel Stanley tells the story of Jeri O’Quinn, a woman who is recovering from injuries sustained in an  argument that resulted in her being thrown off the hood of a moving car and then run over by a second vehicle. The main conflict in this article deals not with her injuries, but with her health insurance, who refused to pay for the brain rehab that was recommended by her doctors. Citrus Health Care, which claimed to offer the benefits of Medicare, instead offered to pay for a long-term nursing home. D.J. O’Quinn, Jeri’s daughter, tried to dis-enroll her mother from Citrus and into regular Medicare, which would pay for the rehab. Citrus initially refused to drop her until the 15th but then relented. But soon after Jeri developed an infection that prevented her from going to rehab.

This sort of situation could have happened to anyone, so it exemplifies the problems in the health care industry.  Because many older or low-income students at HCC are on Medicaid or Medicare,  this story is relevant to members of the student body who could relate to this woman and her plight.

I think the article could have done a better job of explaining the different medicare plans and how they  work through private insurance companies. Also the time line of events are unclear and hard to follow, the article should have mentioned at the beginning that O’Quinn had already spent some time at Bayfront Medical Center after the accident.

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Photojournalism Gallery

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Story Idea: Registration Pains

Last Spring, right after registration was open to current students, I spent 7 hours refreshing my web browser in hopes of successfully registaring for fall classes. The server would crash or malfunction in some way that wouldn’t allow me to confirm my classes. It even dropped one of the the classes I had already registered for without my consent, the second time it had done so during my enrollment at HCC. I checked the college’s facebook for some answers, and read that many students were frustrated and disappointed with the college’s lack of online resources to accommodate the number of  registrations.

As registration opens up again on Nov. 1, I wonder  if I will have to plan to spend another day trying to register. Instead of students looking for answers on facebook, a story could be written addressing the problems faced last semester with online registration, and what the college is doing to make this registration period go smoother. A potential source would be David J. Thompson, information technology technician at the administrative offices in Davis Island. The HCC websites lists two IT committee, the Administrative Systems Advisory Council and the Technology Steering Committee. These committees appear to have been short term, or HCC hasn’t kept record of them since 2008, but I’m sure I can find information on committee members either from Thompson or the other IT techs listed in the HCC directory.

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