Author Archives: Cameron Verona

Use Your Head

In recent years, a lot of sports have come under fire for causing unnecessary brain trauma due to the severity of some collisions or actions performed with the head. Soccer has not been immune to this criticism, since soccer players on the field use their head quite a bit during the game to win 50/50 balls and regain possession for their team or score/defend goals.

There have been questions raised as to whether or not heading should be allowed to occur in the sport. Some people want to ban it altogether, while others just want soccer players to wear mouth guards and soft, protective head guards to reduce trauma. This is absurd. There is no need for this. Using your head in soccer is such an integral part of the game and has been a part of its rules and regulations since the game’s inception. People have attempted to validate studies that link headers back to brain damage. While some cases of trauma could potentially point back to heading the ball, the amount of times one would have to head the ball to generate a severe amount of trauma that causes damage is a steep climb.

I’m not going to stop hitting the ball when I play, nor is anyone else going to stop initiating such contact. When one is in the heat of the moment, and possesses all the competitive fire needed to win, they will do anything to succeed. If that means putting their precious brain on the line to help their team win, so be it.

Removing headers from soccer would not only ruin the flow of the game, but it would remove the need for players to be explosive in their vertical ability. It is such a wonderful feeling when you go up for a ball and get a clean connection with your forehead and smash the ball into the net to score the game-winning goal. It’s exhilarating when, as a defender, you go up for a header inside the box and send it downfield with a satisfying crack heard by all watching as you put your head straight through the ball. Taking away this aspect from the game would not only reduce its quick flow, but also decrease the amount of competition seen present on each pitch. In a world without headers, players would have to wait for the ball to come down, resulting in a much slower game; it would become less interesting to watch and less fun to play.

There is a correct and proper way to head the ball that causes the least amount of pain and damage to your head. Players are supposed to connect with the ball right across the middle of their forehead and follow through to properly put the right amount of power on the ball to send it going in the right direction. It is easy to fall victim to the more commonplace idea of softening contact sports and slowly destroying said games. Soccer players are intense competitors, instead of eliminating a key component of the game, players should be educated about how to properly head a ball.

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RR4

Briggs was very informative as always, detailing the exact information needed to correctly use a camera and photoshop to take and edit photos for the best quality effect in journalism.

It is not about the best picture, or the most aesthetic (it does help, though); a perfect picture for news will tell the story behind the words laid out in front of the reader. Some say a picture equals a thousand words, and that very effect is what journalists seek to recreate when picking or taking shots for their story.

I will once again leave the step-by-step process to Briggs on how to maneuver these devices and programs since it is the overall use and message that journalists should remember here: a picture is a thousand words, and every feeling imaginable can be created via a well-placed or well-taken photo. The best photos are snapped when the photographer has the most time; a rushed picture is a picture that communicates fewer words and feelings than it should under normal circumstances. Pictures will support the story, and even tell one of their own if they are taken with time, and care, and with the utmost importance.

RR3

The majority of the chapters in both books referred to the importance of blogging; not just how important it is, but also how to generate readers for your blog, how to create your blog, and how to write for a blog in such a tiny confined space. Now, what I just said is very contradictory to the infinite space procedurally generated on the Internet, but it is true. While working in print one has to be mindful of the fact that they only have so much paper to print on, and therefore should be able to generate a predetermined word count to help them base their writing off of the inverted Pyramid Style; however, on the web one has to write tighter than the space allows. A good rule of thumb is to take what you have written and cut it in half because any media writer can get carried away with how much space they have and forget to really drive home the point.
While it is important to be as detailed as one can to not leave anything out, it is more so important to do so in as few words as possible. This is because readers on the Internet have a very short attention span and, if you were to list 3 sources, the reader may tire before ever reaching the 3rd source and either move on to another portion of the article or exit out of the page altogether. It is essential to engage your readers via social media, and advertising your blog with the microblogging capabilities of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and so on. Obviously, not everybody has time to sit down and write a blog that is very detailed and caters to every type of audience for a media outlet. This is why the app Twitter is very popular. Limiting space to only 140 characters makes the writer really think about what they want to get across before putting it down. There is no blank canvas with a limited space anymore, everything is confined and the point has to be driven harder than a nail into a piece of wood.

Going into the journalism next book, I was not expecting to find such a detailed chapter on how Twitter works and how physically to set up and organize a blog. I will leave the technical side of things to that chapter, but I will say if one was looking to set up a blog then that book is as far as they need to look to find every step needed to create one that is both engaging and pleasing to look at. To recap, blogging is an art that can really help springboard people into the world of journalism and create a new platform for people to look at news who are not necessarily trying to browse it in a corporate environment. Blogs are typically personal and are very engaging to the reader. They are edited very minimally each day over and over to at least initiate some type of change to keep readers circling back to the blog. They ask questions, they provide answers, and they provide the news. Blogs are an essential part of any media outlet and have skyrocketed since their inception thanks to social media and to the growing digital world.

RR2

This chapter was very enlightening in the detailed all the stereotypical struggles of a public relations representative combined with the less then symbiotic relationship they have with journalists. They often go back-and-forth and they each are defined by the other as the group of lesser quality. While journalists are “trying to find dirt”, and PR representatives are” trying to hide the truth”, the truth is that while many people believe these falsities, there are many other positives attached to each career path as opposed to the negatives thought of by most. PR representatives are fantastic at speaking journalists’ language, as they often do much of the same work and research as journalists themselves. Their overarching goal in this respect is to figure out how to get journalists to speak the language of people public relations. This is where they should attempt to form the best version of a symbiotic relationship as they can; both benefiting from the work of the other.

This is where transparency is extremely valued and practiced to its utmost importance. Both parties should be honest and hide nothing from the public as the truth will always inevitably come out. This is often referred to as the band-aid method; it is better to pick one corner up and rip the whole thing off then to slowly peel it (which I can tell you from experience is massively more painful) and hide little important details along the way. This causes more damage to the public and makes it more much more unbearable on the parties involved in the bad news event.

Public relations departments are the group of people that first draw up press releases and media alerts to allow journalists and news media sources to print stories and address the problem or positive situation at hand. Often the work of the PR specialist is lost behind the face of the editor and reporter but nonetheless it is extremely valued and creates immense credibility for the PR specialist in their field if their work is done well. Because in the end, PR is not credited for the majority of their work or findings and very well should be.

RR1

Upon first glance of the chapters, it was clear to me that a good foundation for the basics of journalistic writing was needed before any progress could be made further into the more advanced material. It was refreshing to view all these little details again since I have not studied grammar, media writing, or event coverage in a few months (following my last writing course at Reinhardt).

Chapter three’s purpose in my eyes was to beat the idea into our thick skulls that simplicity, clarity, and conciseness trump all gorgeous wordplay when it comes to journalism. The reader will not care how pretty a piece is if they do not understand the material. As writers, it is our goal to control every little detail we can to maintain the credibility and readability of our work, otherwise risking a significant drop in followers and thus destroying the necessity of our written word under the public eye.

Moving away from the mess of grammar, I could see brighter chapters ahead, delving deeper into the recesses of media writing as opposed to grade-school sentence structure. The most important takeaways from chapters four and eight were the Inverted Pyramid and the importance of the 5Ws and 1H. The Inverted Pyramid is perhaps the most important tool in a journalist’s arsenal; the most valuable information goes first in the story then is supported by lesser important (but equally necessary) details to provide the utmost clarity. I have seen this before in my experience writing, and when one is engaged in their beat or is covering an important event, structuring the facts in this order AND answering “who, what, when, where, why, and how” accordingly helps the writer formulate a great story that is easily readable and will more than likely be consumed by many, as opposed to few if the former rules are not adhered to.

These few foundational chapters engaged my understanding of the surface of journalism and ensure further success for more technical work as long as each base topic is remembered well.

A Transfer’s Journey

My name is Cameron Verona, and I am a Sophomore transfer student from Reinhardt University. I fled briefcase in hand from a place I once intended to call home for my entire college career, and ended up here at Piedmont, hoping to find a home for myself amongst the sea of green and white lions.

Leaving was not easy, but I knew a change had to take place in order to impact my life for the better. While I am currently involved with the MCOM program and find every aspect of the major to be absolutely captivating, this path is not one which I intend to tread down every day for the rest of my life; no – I want to play professional soccer. Without the game, I am nothing, and this is seen to be doubly true when I believe the former phrase with all my being. This is the primary reason I have transferred to Piedmont.

I was always told that in order to make it at the highest level, a track record of success must be surmounted first at the college level. To keep it short and sweet, I was not seeing much of the field at Reinhardt, and it was imperative that I find another institution in which I could fight day and night, on and off the field, to play and create success for myself and the team. With all of the above in mind, I packed my bags and made my way to Piedmont, craving to seize the opportunities that now exist right before my very eyes; opportunities that I have always wanted.

On the side, I play guitar as a hobby alongside video games. I have continuously taught myself how to play guitar for about two years now, and was inspired to begin the task after seeing my high school British Literature teacher play for us in class (this combined with my desire to play the rock and metal music that I have come to love since I was a child). On the video game side of things, I have been playing those much longer and they exist to myself just as valuable a way to spend time with friends as seeing them in person may be to others.

I’m excited about the upcoming year at Piedmont!

 

[Pictured below: Pablo (left, a friend from Spain) and me (right) at the Slayer concert in Atlanta on August 10th]

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