Friday, December 4, 2009

State of Play

Immediately, the audience is inched in to the story of a murder. The first image we see is a man recklessly running through the city at night, in a manner that indicates that he is running from something treacherous. As the man finally finds a safe spot and rests, he gets shot. As if one murder were'nt enough, a passerby is also also shot by the murderer.

Intrigued and curious, the audience is then taken to the Washington Globe, a newspaper that is covering the story. Russel

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blogging and Bureaus

When working as part of team, one of the best things to establish early on is delegation. Delegating power to individuals is a reassuring step towards getting the job done. Before delegation, though, must come at least a basic understanding of the individuals on your team. Not only does an understanding of your teammates help delegate responsibility effectively, but it also helps to meet deadlines. If Amy is more relational and flourishes around people, will she be able to stay in an office, collecting quotes and organizing them by a deadline? She may be able to, but if the more informational part of reporting stresses Amy out, there’s a chance that she might not meet her deadline or produce a well-developed article.

When working as a Bureau reporter, it was hard for me to work under a short deadline without a basic understanding of my team. We were only able to produce an outline of our article and we wasted valuable time trying to figure out who was doing what job.

However, I do realize that in the future there may be many instances where I am thrown into a group of individuals whom I am unfamiliar with, similar to this experience. For that I would stress the characteristics of adaptability, creativity, and the ability to work under pressure. This assignment reminded me that journalism is a field where you have to be especially quick on your feet. You are communicating what you believe to be useful information to the public under strict deadlines, and a lot of that work depends on other people.

When interviewing students that commute to Biola University, two other reporters and myself happened to interview two individuals that are employed by Biola University to make commuter students feel in community with a) students who live on campus and b) other commuter students. These interviews weren’t planned beforehand. There is a possibility that we could’ve walked into the Collegium at a wrong time, during a commuter event or even when commuters were rushing to class, with no time for an interview. If we were given an unfavorable circumstance, could we have as a team pulled together to get a little more creative?

Our team was seeking to peek into the commuter life, and this required that we asked a few questions about finances. While some people may find this uncomfortable, it largely depends on how you approach the interview. I have heard many students in class talk about their experiences with people who just didn’t want to talk about certain topics. I would venture to ask the students how they are approached the individuals that they interviewed. A reporter can present an initially uncomfortable question in and inviting way that gently urges an individual to respond comfortably and honestly.

As far as blogging and Bureau reporting goes, I feel that the blogosphere allows individuals more leniency with deadlines, seeing as though most blogs aren’t like newspapers, with a structure of deadlines that the public is aware of.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New York Times Print, Online, and USA Today

When comparing the New York Times print version to the web edition, most of the same stories are published, but the layout is entirely different. When my eyes met the New York Times online, right away my mind was struck by one word: Busy, busy, busy! The home page of the New York Times is decorated in countless stories, covering every possible surface of the computer screen. In contrast to the print editions front page, the home page of the New York Times online doesn’t highlight a few central stories. Instead they present to you every possible option of news, resembling the layout of a contemporary drive thru menu with maybe one to two specials that are in a slightly bigger font. This approach can be overwhelming to new readers and makes the print version look much easier to read.

The print version has less to offer as far as amount of information. The online version is being constantly updated. Readers are able to see how often the website has been updated on a feature called the Time’s wire. The Time’s wire indicates how many times the website has been updated in the past 30 minutes. Being able to publish the newest information received within minutes is just one benefit of online publishing. They can also use video journalism to better illustrate stories. The power of being able to see and hear individual insight takes stories to a different level.

On Top of that, the process of locating an archive of past and present stories becomes possible because the online version publishes everything the print version does and more.
Now NYT even has a feature that that allows the reader to customize a list of his/her specific interest sections and receive those regularly. What advantages!

When it comes to website layout, USA Today’s home page has much less content, making it easier to approach, however their stories are less detail oriented. When reading USA Today’s report of Fort Hood on November 10th, I wasn’t able to get a good grasp on the story. NYT offered a detailed report that was much more satisfying.
There is also something to be said about the difference in the way that USA and NYT began their reports on the Fort Hood memorial service.

President Obama and his generals told a crowd of 3,000 soldiers Tuesday that the Fort Hood massacre stands as an incomprehensible military tragedy — one that happened "in the comfort of home."

President Obama took on the role of national eulogist on Tuesday for the first time since assuming office as he led the country in mourning 13 active and retired soldiers gunned down not on a foreign battlefield but here on their home post by one of their own.

NYT begins with a story, depicting Obama as a eulogist leading a nation. USA begins with unseasoned narrative. I’m sure you can see how a simple description added or left out can alter the way a person perceives a story.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christian Century: Evangelical Friendly?

Christian Century is a weekly magazine with a progressive reputation.
As far as being evangelical, the magazine covers stories outside of the Protestant Church, with more of an evangelical perspective. This is evident by the writers on staff with Christian Century. Two examples would be Keith D. Herron, a senior pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri and Maria Teresa Palmer, the founding pastor of Iglesia Unida de Cristo, a United Church of Christ mission in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

For more details, visit

News currently covered by Christian Century:

Calls to boycott census split Protestant Latinos

A tough decision for undocumented immigrants

Smithsonian will open evolution hall and engage in dialogue with religion

An effort to bridge the gap

Papal invite unlikely to lure many U.S. defectors

Celibate priesthood is one obstacle

Vatican opens doors to dissident Anglicans

Far-reaching ecumenical implications

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chris Brown and the absence of soul in his eyes?

USA Today covered the story of Chris Brown physically abusing Rihanna, his girlfriend. USA plays the story from Rihanna's emotional experience with Brown, highlighting dramatic quotes and surrounding them with equally dramatic facts, creating more interest behind the boring topic of Chris Brown no longer having soul in his eyes.

For more soulful details, indulge below. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Contraception in Christian Marriage

Why is there a division in the church concerning the issue of contraceptives in Christian Marriage?

Sam and Bethany Torrode argue that the church needs to rethink the purpose of sex in their article Make Love and Babies

Shaun Willcock provides scripture on the topic of contraception and Christian couples.

Routledge explores the following three points concerning contraception: (1) whether there is evidence of the intent to prevent pregnancy and how it was viewed by religion and law; (2) what kinds of contraceptive knowledge were available; and (3) whether contraception was the concern of women only or also of men.

Catholic News Agency quotes early church fathers on the topic of contraception

Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler explore marital morality and contraception in their book The Sexual Person.

Explaining a brief Church history of contraception and supporting the use of contraception in Christian marriage.

Janet E. Smith discusses Contraception and America's culture

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney ( D NY) discusses political and cultural views on contraception

Monday, November 2, 2009

College Students Losing Their Faith?

Students are finding their faith stretched, or in certain circumstances, destroyed by intellectual challenges faced in secular and Christian Universities. In what ways are college students being challenged specifically?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Invisible Teen Runaways

Watch the video, pray for this issue.

Video Name: When No One is Looking

Comment (on New York Times article Recession Drives Surge in Youth Runaways written by Ian Urbina)

Back in 1986, I was a teenager who had run away to escape physically and emotionally abusive parents. I spent a summer living at the town library which was undergoing extensive renovation and expansion at the time. I recognize the survival tactics employed by the teenage runaways interviewed in this story. Their reasons for running away are all too familiar. I wouldn't expect the reasons or the tactics employed by runaway teenagers to change over the last two decades. But I was disheartened by the extreme shortage of public services and resources available to help children running away from abusive homes. In 1986, there were no services available for teenage runaways. I wasn't even a statistic. I became "invisible" within a world that continued to operate around all around me. It is gut-wrenching to know that 23 years later, nothing has changed. Except the number of runaways.
October 26th, 2009
9:36 am

Issaiah 45:3
I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, so that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel who calls you by your name.

Proverbs 31:8-9
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Let those who are in love with the Creator recognize a hurting creation. Respond. Let those who are willing to lay everything down at Christ's feet join Christ and also be willing to suffer. Respond. Let those who interceed with Christ for His broken people become the answers to their prayers. Respond.


Friday, October 30, 2009

A Phone Call

On the other line, she began to tell me a story of her traumatic weekend.

I was a confused at first. Kay's voice was that of a cheery young adult, perhaps one that had just received a game show prize. I remained silent on the other line, waiting for an explanation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Torrey Conference Blog
Day 2 - Thursday

By Patricia Diaz

“Christians are not liars,” said the Rev. Adrian DeVisser at tonight’s session, “but we sing lies.” I didn’t want to admit the truth of that statement, but the conviction was real. We sing about God’s sovereignty and our love for Him. We beg Him to inhabit our hearts and touch our lives. We say he is the only thing that matters. But we don’t really believe it. We don’t really act on it. And I know that in my life I have been ignoring millions and millions of suffering people, choosing instead to stay within the comfortable and seek only my own small ambitions.

I sat in my seat in the gym tonight staring down at the stage – at the passionate Sri Lankan preacher, pacing back and forth. I was struck by the certainty that here was a man who felt God’s pain for the broken world around us. For the colonies of “untouchables,” for the widows, the orphans, and the millions of children involved in the sex trafficking industry; for the unthinkable number of people who will go to bed tonight without a meal; for the lives that are slipping away to a hopeless eternity each second even as you read this post; for all who are marginalized and forgotten. And as I sat in my seat, I began to cry.

In that moment, I was overcome by my selfishness and utter unworthiness of the boundless love of Christ. That he chose me to be saved from among millions and millions! Most of all, I was shocked and horrified by how blatantly I ignore a suffering world. As the Rev. DeVisser cited statistic after statistic, I found myself instinctively trying to close my ears and mind. I did not want to understand the evil they communicated. I was just waiting for that part of the talk to be over so I could get on with the real business of my spiritual growth.

But as he continued on with story after story, the depth of his compassion for people I don’t even want to think about broke through. I could not push away the world’s pain any longer and instead found it crashing in and invading my own heart.

I realized that all my life I have spent closing myself off to suffering. I don’t want to experience the emotions that come when you stare into the face of evil. I don’t want to feel that pain. Instead, I reject it.

I need not look far to come across people who are hurting. The facts are there, available for anyone to see. But as DeVisser reminded us, compassion is not just feeling sorry for someone. It is not an emotional reaction, but rather a conscious choice of intentionally committing to care for others — and being willing to pay the price for that caring.

It all comes back to Christ and what he did on the cross. We can suffer and share in each other’s suffering because he endured more pain than we can imagine. We can care because Christ cared first. We can be a comforting presence in each other’s lives because he is always there in ours.

As both Kay Warren and Adrian DeVisser touched on, choosing to bring hope to people who are suffering connects us to God’s heart. When I cry, when my heart is broken and I allow myself to feel hurt for others, I am coming into closer fellowship with Christ. In opening up my heart to the pain of others, God opens up His and pours his compassion into my life.

We cannot possibly sacrifice any more than God did for us already by giving us Christ on the cross. With God we can make a difference in this broken world, DeVisser encouraged us.

“Do you want to make that difference?” he asked us. “If so, please stand.”

I rose to my feet with everyone else in the gym, tears still streaming down my face.

“I hope you understand what you’ve just done,” he said with a serious smile.

I may not. But I do know that God is working. Without a doubt the hymn “The Solid Rock” has been the definitive song of the conference this year. As I sing the refrain again, as we have dozens of times over the past two days, I can sense that he is making me a little less of a liar:

On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand

Response By Aly

When it all boils down, the only reason for a Christian to move is Love.

As I read this article I am reminded of why I write. My purpose has been distinguished by God, and He rescued me. By that, I am moved to share what I was freely given with the world, at whatever cost.

Three years ago, I found myself on my bedroom floor, shaking back and forth in a ball. Tears were milked from my eyes, continously. Brokenhearted. God responded to my hurt. I whispered a plea for peace and He instantaneously offered me just that. Tears stopped spilling, shut off like a fossit. God showed up.

One year ago I was entangled in sexual sin. God confronted me and directly pulled me out. Miserable, empty and addicted. God broke that bond and showered me with His affection.

Two months ago I was in my college dorm room, facing the reality that I could possibly be leaving my dream school in a week. After applying for countless loans, no bank was willing to lend my family money. Over twenty different people, many whom I have never met, decided to invest in my future within that week. God provided.

I am a writer, a poet, a musician, a student, a daughter, and a sister, but even more,I am rescued by the Creator of the Universe...

and as DeVisser emphasized, I was rescued for a purpose.

That purpose is not to simply rejoice in God, but to make the 'invisible' God visible to the world. To clothe myself in compassion, just like Jesus did. Like Patti restated, Compassion isn't an emotional reaction alone, compassion is a conscious decision to intentionaly commit to caring for others, and be willing to sacrifice for that cause.

That is a call, my brothers and sisters. That is a purpose to write over your heart. To enter into deeper communion with Christ, taking on the hurt that He feels for His people that are suffering, and making a commitment to respond on behlaf of Love.

So what next? It's time to go before God and present that very question.

In Love,

p.s. For more from the insightful and heartfelt Patti Diaz, visit It will be well worth your time, trust me*
Also, Patti is published in The Chimes. Visit

Monday, October 19, 2009

Concerning Fear and Risk

"Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)

About a month ago I joined a Spark at Biola University. Sparks are clusters of friends who challenge eachother to take proactive and healthy risks. They meet once a week for a month, and committ to a different risk each week. This week we took our first set of risks together. My risk was reciting original poetry at an open mic night.

So how does this tie into Matthew 16:25?

At the age of nine, I began to write poetry. It was more than a hobby of mine, in fact, it quickly became a passion. However, alongside of that passion, insecurity developed. Is my poetry any good? Will it ever have a purpose beyond my own self delight? Is'nt poetry a dead art?

About a year ago, I realized that God desired to use my poems to encourage people and bring specific issues to surface. (Matters that have been continously dear to me are divorce, dating as Christians, true identity found through Christ, and fasting) Having met this revelation, I also met even more fear and insecurity then before. I'm sure those of you who have passions, can relate. ;)

Knowing that God had stirred a passion in me that was designed to be used up for a purpose, I still basked in my own insecurities and refused to budge.

Until October 15. For the first time ever, I recited my poetry for an audience and the response was incredible* Beyond that, I was able to offer the passion that was so freely given to me back up to God.

I share this experience to remind you of this; We are not designed to lock up our passions in the face of fear or discomfort. We are called to offer back up to Him what was so freely given to us, all that which falls under the category of life.

This week I am going to begin calling my best friend from high school regularly and sharing God's love with her through encouragement, and His word. I am posting this risk for pure accountability because I am quite nervous just thinking about the first phone call. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted!

For more inspiration concerning risk and Sparks, check out Jasson Jaggard's blog ( Jaggard is a Professor at Peperdine University who originally launched Sparks on the Pepperdine campus. This project has spread throughout the L.A. area, but can be started anywhere around the world. For information on starting your own Spark, simply contact Jason Jaggard through e-mail!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Applesauce, Play-Doh and forks, oh my!

Zachary Christie, a first grade student, is now serving 45 days at his districts reform school in Newark Deleware for bringing a fork to school. According to Ian Urbina at the New York Times "based on the code of conduct for the Christina School District, where Zachary is a first grader, school officials had no choice. They had to suspend him because, “regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned."