Week 1

TOPIC 1)  introduction (even though you already know me…)

  • I am continuing my journalism major
  • See the above statement
  • I am really interested in learning whether or not I have to stick to a basic, simple, monotone Voice when I write my journalism pieces (the type that get used for practically every newspaper story)
  • I’m a self-titled fashion nerd. I take pride in what I wear, and I love following the trends. The industry in and of itself fascinates me, and I view fashion as an artform and a necessity.

TOPIC 2) #goals

  1. learn the AP STYLE GUIDE rules
  2. put together a social media account that is specifically for my journalism adventures
  3. learn more about what it’s like to do this professionally

Topic 3) My First News Story

  • Chess Club
  • the captain of the chess club, a member of chess club, webpage about the history and benefits of Chess
  • 1) why chess?
    2) what’s your history with it?
    3) how long have you been playing for?
    4) is chess outdated, or not at all?
    5) what do you have planned for the club?

Week 2

topic 1) my biggest challenge

  1. making sure i did not misquote Carmela (chess club advisor)
  2. ask to voice record the interview, double check her for quotes
  3. I didn’t mind doing interviews whatsoever, but that could be because I am sociable. Next time, I need to bring a recording device and bring two different colored pens so I make sure that I jot down everything I need to

topic 2)

  1. Edna hates how common murders have become. “How dehumanizing to be regarded merely as numbers in the mounting statistics of death. They deserved better.” (Chapter 1)
  2. The little stories aren’t just important, they matter. Everybody’s story deserves to be heard and not disregarded as “yet another murder.”

Week 3


  • Be accountable. You want to be respectful as a journalist. Yes, the others are of great importance, but you are responsible for how someone gets portrayed as. You are responsible to “seek [the] truth and reporting] it.” You are the one whose job is going to be minimizing harm that someone could receive by this story (portrayal of a “bad guy). You are the one who is telling the story, and so you better tell it right ─ fair, and just.
  1. ??

TOPIC 2: Story #2 update

    1. SLC after their president stepped down
  • The Student Leadership Council’s Vice President, Eric Slyter, understands that many students have concerns and wants you to know that the Student Leadership Council (SLC) is advocating for you.
    1. 1) Eric Slyter
      2) SLC member
      3) What student/students want from the SLC
    1. Why did former president Paola leave?
    2. What is it like now that she’s left?
    3. What are you in charge of as VP?
    4. What are your goals for this year?
    5. What do you want students to know about the SLC?

Week 4


      1. All proceeds from both boutiques go towards Mercy House, a charity that supports wives who have been sexually assaulted, and her families. Each boutique provides high-quality fashions and formalwear.
      2. my five questions:
          1. Why did you want to start FIRST HAND SECONDS?
          2. What is your favorite part of the job..
          3. The clothes you sell are so fashionable and affordable, and I know you get the occasional designer piece. Are you picky about what gets sold here?
          4. How have the women who have been sexual assault victims been impacted by FHS?
          5. Why should someone shop at here instead of at a chain store like Kohls?
  • How did you get started here at Safe Haven?
    1. What have your jobs been, and what is your current job now?
    2. Do you ever get too attached to the pets that you guys receive?
    3. I know you want to be a vet, but what kind of vet are you going to be?
    4. How has Safe Haven affected your life? 


  • McDuffie: Edna does everything in her power to make sure McDuffie’s name gets cleared, and that he doesn’t come off as a bad guy.  She also makes it clear that it was the police’s fault for abusing their power.
  1. McDuffie gets pulled over for popping a wheelie. McDuffie confronts the police, who end up beating and killing McDuffie. He doesn’t take the freeway entrance to freedom, but surrenders to the police. “To the man on the motorcycle, it must have looked as if every cop in the world was arriving.”
  2. I love hearing other people’s sides of the stories ─ like the piece I did on the SLC ─ and my goal is to try and make sure that both sides of the story get told. That’s what I also tried to do with my sexual education “opinion” piece for the March 2 issue of THE COMMUTER as well. I would have done the exact same thing, and pushed for the justification of McDuffie’s name. McDuffie was a completely innocent man; if he was white, there probably would have been outrage over the police’s brutal attacks.

Week 5

topic 1) mid-term check-up

  1. My best piece of work thus far is the piece I did on chess club that’s on my blog. (“Checkmate!”) I wanted to keep it short and sweet, while featuring a picture of
  2. Richard took me aside and said that I need to not over evaluate the articles that I write, and I know exactly what he means. I just need to make the edits that other students make for me and go from there. (I’ll sometimes rewrite a paragraph or a few sentences for the sake of clarity or grammar.)
  3. I’m probably summarizing the entirity of Corpse when I say this, but Edna does a great job of giving the reader the gory, graphic details of everything she’s learned while on the job. I don’t think she limits journalism to being all about writing stories that would otherwise go unheard. I think it also goes into detail about what crimes happen, how they happen, and what the crimes conclude to.I often joke that my job keeps me single and celibate. But actually, celibacy may not be so awful after all. Sex gets people killed, put in jail, beaten up, bankrupted, and disgraced, to say nothing of ruined ─ personally, politically, and professionally. Looking for sex can lead you to misfortune, and if you get lucky and find it, it can leave you maimed, infected, or dead.

    Other than that, it’s swell; the great American pastime.

  4. I need to get more interview practice in. I just need to be fully comfortable with talking to random people and asking them questions. I really need to volunteer to do another Campus Voice, and bring in the camera I loaned for Photo-J.

TOPIC 2: PROFILE SUBJECT — Now that you’ve settled on your profile subject, fill in these blanks:

Full name:        Kyle Morris

Claim to fame:    Vet, Safe Haven Humane Society

Source 1:        Kyle

Source 2:        Co-worker

Source 3:        One of the hierarchies of Safe Haven, or his professor.

Question 1:        How did you get started with Safe Haven?

Question 2:        When did you know that this was going to be your


Question 3:        Why is there always a push to adopt a dog rather than get a breeder dog?

Where do you intend to observe your subject “in action”?

At Safe Haven, doing his job. He helps heal the animals who may be sick or injured. He has also been in charge of adoption in the past. (He was there when I chose my dog back in 2012.)

Week 6

Topic 1) I was absent when Kyle Odegard was here.

Topic 2) My next story My current story is about Barbie; my next story is going to be a Deadpool review (I am going to go see Deadpool on premiere night, Feb. 12.)

Week 7


Week 8

  1. “The New Culinary Kitchen Heats Up” by Brian. He does a fantastic job of elaboating how beneficial the grant was to the culinary program, and how students will benefit from this in the long run. It was also super short to read, and felt like it was written by someone at the Democrat-Herald.
  2. I would have marked some parts of the story where the wording and the grammar was a bit off. I would have also added more detail to the third and fourth paragraphs for clarity.
  3. I would ask to sit-in on one of the culinary classes, and observe how students are better able to learn in the class. I would also ask students how they are benefiting from the upgrade.

Week 9 – Cover Letter

Coming soon!


Movie Review: Deadpool

Rated: R

Writers: The real heroes here

Director: An overpaid tool

Starring: Deadpool, shorter girl than Pool that gets used as a love interest/sex life, the cheapest X-Men actors 20th Century Fox had the budget for, bad guy with a laughable real name

Rating: Four Golden Girls

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox via


Take everything you know about the stereotypical plotline for superhero movies and erase it from your memory. Especially that godawful “Green Lantern” movie.  There’s a new hero taking over the franchise that goes by the name of Deadpool, redefining what it means to be labeled as a comic book hero one joke at a time.

Wade Wilson isn’t your typical Marvel-made protagonist ─ in fact, the term even repulses him as he tags himself “a bad guy hunting after other bad guys.” Wilson’s transformation from human to mutant (his Deadpool alter-ego) is the result of a sketchy alteration that would’ve killed Wilson if it hadn’t given him accelerated healing powers.

Wilson comes out of the operation looking like “an avocado that had sex with an older avocado,” vowing to get revenge on Ajax, the sadomasochistic supervillain that initiates the procedure that he and his super strengthened sidekick Angel Dust also went through.

It doesn’t help that Angel and Ajax kidnap the love of Wilson’s life, Vanessa Carlysle.

While “Deadpool” left audiences coming out of the theater with smiles on their faces and rave reviews all around, there were still a few flaws, all of which are easily outweighed.

Deadpool’s plot, which is all about going after the people who gave you superpowers, would have been humorously ironic if it didn’t include the fact that he went after Ajax and Angel Dust for kidnapping the love of his life.

A small, simplistic cast of maybe ten people also helped the audience focus on Wilson’s rescue mission rather than on which X-Men was which.

“Deadpool” was a film that took a mere $50 million to make. (A lot of money for mortal standards; low-budget for Hollywood standards.) But what makes Deadpool one of the most successful rated-R movies of all time isn’t the quality of it’s CGI.

The writers of this script filled this movie to with countless F-bombs and plenty of sex jokes that earned the movie over $135 million during it’ opening week. . “Deadpool” is a movie that’s genre defying with a storyline and sense of humor that’s no longer limited to comic book fanatics. Two of the film’s main characters are strong, independent women who can easily hold their own against the guys.

The very concept of Deadpool’s character ─ a guy who is the complete antithesis of what a normal superhero looks like ─ is revolutionary. Reynolds, a lifetime Deadpool fan himself, reminds movie producers that there’s a whole new generation of moviegoers out there.

Deadpool’s success is one that will go beyond heroics. It comes with wisely-chosen casting, a well-written script, and the perfect love story that’s the total antithesis of anything the Hallmark channel will debut in its lifetime.

Deadpool is the best movie, hands down, to have ever premiered the weekend of Valentine’s Day, and I promise this movie is worth every cent of your $12.

Published in The Commuter February 17. Edited 3/3/2016.




Obama’s 2017 budget bans abstinence-only education for good.

DON'T HAVE SEX (coach carr, mean girls)


Remember this iconic Mean Girls moment when Coach Carr says this line right before handing everybody condoms? It’s a bit far-fetched, but this kind of mentality actually exists within some public schools’ sexual education curriculum.

I have been fortunate enough to be the recipient of a strong, fact-based course of sexual education. In elementary school, the school counselor gave a very age-appropriate discussion on what was considered to be sexually immoral. By using swimsuited teddy bears, they illustrated where others weren’t supposed to touch.  

A release form allowed middle school students to learn about the birds and the bees through a very informative video with no awkward chatter from the teacher.

In high school, we learned about the various differing parts of the male and female anatomy. Abstinence-until-marriage was not the law that my health teachers observed; instead, we learned that practicing abstinence was the best way to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, sexually-transmitted infection, or disease. In the same health courses, Wellness 1 and Wellness 2, teachers told students countless forms of contraceptives, how they worked, and what the potential side effects could be.

Why do I feel like it’s necessary to talk about a subject that’s been discussed so many times? Because there has been extensive research and countless statistics that indicate it’s absolutely necessary kids receive sexual education. To not favor Obama’s plan to denote abstinence-only education would mean many students are missing out on a thorough sexual education.

In response to statistics, President Barack Obama has taken steps to cut abstinence-only sexual education programs from the 2017 federal budget. Although his bill promises students an unabridged sexual education courses, it’s going to have to go through congress. And with our current Congress’s majority being Republican, the banning of abstinence-only education may never become a law.

Let’s get this out of the way: it’s a fact that teenagers are having sex. However, the percentage of teens having sex has decreased, while the amount of birth control usage has increased. Consequently, the CDC has also shown that there is a decrease in teenage pregnancy.

The Republican standpoint on sexual education is as follows:

  • Parents should review the sex education material prior to giving consent.
  • Any sex education other than the biology of reproduction and abstinence until marriage is opposed.
  • We should prohibit entities and their affiliates that have a conflict of interest with our beliefs from conducting sexuality education in public schools and from conducting teacher training.
  • Social aspects of sexuality should be left to the family.

Growing up, my parents didn’t exactly read the fine print before signing the sex ed permission slip. They trusted that my teachers would give me an educational, unbiased crash-course on sex.

To “prohibit entities and their affiliates…from conducting sexuality education in public schools” that go against Republican values seems like an ironic standpoint. This is the same party who believes all children deserve an education. 

The Republican view also doesn’t take into consideration how prevalent sex is within the nation’s culture. Sex is the punchline of countless jokes on TV. It’s used by countless brands to sell things like clothes, burgers, magazines, and perfume. My fellow Millennial generation knows just how frequent it is used in our conversations. So, naturally, kids have a lot of questions about sex and need a safe, educational source to go to for answers.

“Today, there is a lot of pressure for losing one’s virginity. People really should be open to the idea that it happens, and we need to accept that. People are so picky about what age sex ed should be available.” said LBCC student Adriana Schaaf.

As a woman, I have felt the full extent of being pressured into having sex. I know what it feels like to be put in compromising situations. I’ve also heard of cases where men are the ones who are raped and molested. I’ve heard of cases where men confess to being raped and no one believing them.

Sex is an important part of everyone’s life in spite of our viewpoints. We need to teach students to be familiar with their own bodies as they go from adolescence to teenage years that are full of hormones and confusing changes. We also need to emphasize how to be respectful towards each other’s values despite personal opposition.  

Some people are called “prude” for wanting to wait until marriage to have sex; women are slut-shammed for wanting to have sex. There has been sexual education program material that has bashed individuals for having sex out of wedlock, comparing them to used gum and worn-out sneakers. This is not just rude and inconsiderate, but bullying.

We need to encourage a public school sexual education program that does not discriminate against anyone’s opinions or beliefs. We need to thank health teachers for covering the topic of sex so that the students are properly educated about sex. Parents should also feel fortunate for teachers because they discuss the awkard parts of the sex talk. 

In the long run, a proper sexual education course not only means less pregnancies, but less discrimination and more support for teenagers learning to get adjusted to their new bodies., “The 11 most Wonderful Mean Girls Quotes.”

Updated 3/3/2016, 3/9/2016


Barbra Millicent Rogers, better known by her brand name “Barbie,” has been captivating the hearts of young girls for decades. Outside of Disney princesses and their signature ballgowns, many girls turn to her as the epitome of beauty and the source of their dreams.

Although Barbie currently racks in a billion dollars annually, Barbie was predicted to be unsuccessful when her maker, Ruth Handler, took Barbie to a toy fair. Despite her odds, the next year after the fair, Handler sold 300,000 dolls.

“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices,” said Handler.

Since Handler’s passing in 2002, the Barbie brand has been extended to include online games, movies, TV series and books. The Mattel brand is one of the toy industry’s biggest names. Barbie was set to be  a timeless bestseller for generations of kids to come.

This was before 2014.

It was the year two major family films were released, “Frozen” and “The LEGO Movie.” “Frozen” became the new favorite, as the Elsa doll overtook Barbie as the top selling doll. Meanwhile, LEGO overtook Mattel as the top toy brand with their new girls’ collection it’s celebrated namesake movie.

In Nov. 2014, Mattel had a series of Barbie picture books in which Barbie told readers about different careers available for girls. When  “I Can Be A Computer Engineer” was published, feminists critiqued the book as being sexist for its portrayal of Barbie relying on her guy friends to help her finish her robotics program.

Barbie lacked her luster, and her marketing team could tell. She was well overdue for a makeover, and Mattel knew this.

In 2014, A two-year project called Project Dawn was now underway to get people buying Barbie’s again.

Barbie’s design team was asked by her head designer Kim Culmone, “If you could start the brand over today and you didn’t have any rules, you could do whatever you wanted, what would you do?”

“If you could start the brand over today and you didn’t have any rules, you could do whatever you wanted, what would you do?”

Their imaginations went wild as design pencils danced across sketchpads, interpreting what a modern-day version of the doll would look like. Barbie needed diversity. On Jan. 28, the consumer got what they asked for.

Barbie has always been a reflection of what’s stylish and cool at any given time. More importantly than this, Barbie knows its responsibility it has towards young girls and boys growing  up in a world where diversity was everywhere.

For 2016’s Fashionistas collection, Barbie comes in four body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 unique hairstyles like long cobalt locks and a red afro. Every girl from every walk of life can see a little bit of themselves, their family and their friends in these dolls.

Some critics insist that Barbie should have been left alone. The society in which young girls are living in silently disagrees.

Handler herself said that Barbie represents the lives and futures of young girls. And in a world where Millennial Generation mothers are becoming more and more vocal about how their child observes the world, a curvy Barbie or African-American doll allows kids of all ages to see themselves, their friends, and their futures in these dolls.

Barbra Millicent Rogers is no longer limited to the blonde-haired bombshell everyone knows and loves. She now represents a whole new range of fans who are celebrating Barbie’s new definitions of beauty. And with an optimistic future ahead of her, Barbie is sure to be back on top as one of the world’s favorite toys.

Title image courtesy of Barbie via Twitter. Design concept by Morgan Connelly.

Edited  3/3/2016


During the fall term, Carmela Scafidi decided to put in a request with the Student Leadership Committee (SLC) to start LBCC’s first Chess Club. Her goal is to teach people valuable skills with a game that is estimated to be 1,500 years old.

Since then, SLC members Heather Morijah and Chelsey Mick gave Scafidi the okay to be the captain of LB’s first Chess Club. She is also working with the SLC to provide the school with rentable Chess sets for students to check out during their free time.  

In today’s youth culture, Scafidi, like many others, has found that there is a huge lack of social interaction as many strive to communicate through technology such as smart phones. She wants students to share the benefits of playing Chess without the pressure of feeling embarrassed for playing it publically.

“In today’s age, with all of this technology, we often overlook the basic need for face-to-face communication,” said Scafidi. “This game allows people to interact with each other on a personal level; this game thrives upon the ability to read your opponent. I feel that our generation has gotten so far away from this kind of basic interaction because of technology.”

Her first time playing Chess was in elementary school, but it would be a few years before she picked up the game. Along the way, she befriended Todd Harbers, who had a lot of practice playing the game. Her friend challenged her in a game that was just a few minutes long. While he may have been the victor, losing didn’t discourage Scafidi from wanting to play. Harbers dedicated time to help strengthen her moves by teaching her strategies, like how to think on her feet.

Experts from say the game can increase your IQ, since it uses both sides of your brain. The game can also act as a memory aid for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. Chess also enhances your prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for planning, judgement, and self-control.

Once the weather warms up, Scafidi would like to pull off a human chess game that would require 32 people to play along as the pieces. For now, she would like to invite everyone to join her at her Chess Club meetings on Friday evenings from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Calapooia Center cafeteria and hopes that you come by with an open mind and a desire to play one of the world’s oldest and most popular games.

Los Dos Hermanos (final photostory)

Los Dos (1)

Los Dos Hermanos was opened eighteen years ago on New Years Day, 2016. Originally owned  by Teresa and Ubence Munoz, the couple divorced a few short years ago with Ubence planning on selling the restaurant. Teresa decided to buy the business, and has faithfully kept it open since as one of Salem’s best Mexican restaurants.


Although Teresa originally worked at a different restaurant, Los Dos Hermanos has it’s own unique recipes and makes everything from scratch like it’s guacamole and chips, always fresh and impossible to put down.

Mini Combination

La comida: Mi padre orders the combinación miniatura that comes with an appetizer-sized mini taco, burrito, taquito and a tostada.

Teresa (1).jpg

The smile isn’t just for the camera ─ for her regulars (like my family) or people who are here for the first time, Teresa fuels all her energy into making sure her customers have a memorable familia-style meal, complete with “the best margaritas in town.”

HOME (neighborhood project)


Coming home. Holly, my dear friend, lives in the older area of Salem and estimates her house to be a hundred years old. 



To capture a neighborhood is to capture the sense of community that the location has to offer. To capture a home within a neighborhood is to include the pets that are adored and loved by the humans of the neighborhood.


While her landmark technically should be the nearby park, I preferred to capture the beauty of a vintage Volkswagen Bug that neighbored her home. 



Taking a break while walking around Holly’s neighborhood, I begged her to let me take her picture. I don’t think we anticipated how well this would turn out. 


Her yard was covered with weeds, but the artistry within a dandelion outshine the polluted yard.