Author Archives: chriscastro1210

Lions Pride: 2019 Alternative Spring Break

Instead of taking a traditional style Spring Break, a group of Piedmont College students embarked on a journey to help build houses for the Habitat for Humanity in Sebring, Florida.

“The goal of the Alternative Break program at Piedmont College is to provide students, faculty, and staff with a service opportunity outside of the Habersham County area,” said Dr. Kim Crawford, Associate Dean of Student Life.

Not just any regular Piedmont College student can attend an alternative spring break. The requirements are having a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit a student resume in person to the Director of Career Education, Lisa Mann, and get recommended by two Piedmont faculty or staff members. The total number of students that got to attend this year’s alternative spring break was 11.

“The application process required students to submit an essay on why they wanted to go on the trip and students had to complete a Compass Reflection form after the trip; to talk about their experience,” said Megan Ramsey, Compass Program Coordinator.

Students were asked to answer why they wanted to attend and even took the time to reflect on their personal experience and share anything they learned or took away from the trip.

Nicole Thomas, a junior mass communications major, said she loved to bond with others while volunteering and this experience is a great way to travel.

“This opportunity allowed me to learn more leadership skills and increased my appreciation of diversity,” said Thomas.

Savannah Cantrell, a junior art education major, emphasized that the 2019 Alternative Spring Break was one of the most humbling and rewarding activities she has ever participated in during her time at Piedmont. Although she worked hard each day, she reminded herself that these homes were potentially going to someone whose home was destroyed or have never owned their home.

“I learned to work alongside other Piedmont students while developing new relationships with the other team members on the construction site. The relationships I have built impacted me whether it was a Piedmont student, a Habitat for Humanity worker, or a Caravanner,” said Cantrell.

Alyssa Emmet, a junior mass communications major, said she found herself during this trip and capitalized on meeting people she would have never met without this trip.

“I learned several facts about Habitat for Humanity and found out I’m capable of doing more than I thought,” said Emmet.

Ashley Dean, a sophomore nursing major, found the opportunity to meet and work alongside many great people who are selfless with their time heartwarming.

“The most rewarding part of this whole experience was getting to meet some of the families that will be living in these houses that we helped to build,” said Dean.

Leslie Lopez, a sophomore business marketing major and graphic design minor always wanted to volunteer. She found that alternative spring break would be the perfect opportunity to explore and meet new people that have been volunteers for a while now.

“Alternative Spring Break reminded me to appreciate all the opportunities that I have. It also showed me the true meaning of “all help counts,” said Lopez.

Areli Albarran, a sophomore nursing major, applied because she wanted help to enhance her sense of vocation through the community service.

“Through the Alternative Spring I strengthened my leadership, communication, problem-solving skills,” said Albarran.

In the end, the students who attended the trip learned many things from home improvement to self-improvement, but one thing that will stay hard to perfect is to become one.

“It can be difficult for everyone to be on the same page, said Albarran.

RR9: Filak Chapters 12 & 13

Chapter 12 covers the morality of freedom of the press and chapter 13 covers the ethics of writing in journalism.

As a reporter it is good to know your rights so when people get in your face about covering a story you aren’t afraid. At the same time be careful what you but on an investigative series because as Filak says, “just because you say, “It was only Twitter” won’t get you very far if you libel someone.” His expression relates to ethics in journalism by saying, “just because we have the power to write it doesn’t mean we should.” As much as the audience has the right to know when it comes to the actions of the public, it also has the right to know how your media outlet has addressed errors in judgement or anything else that can cut your credibility.

In conclusion, Filaks’s Chapters 12 & 13 express to cover the media in an ethical and moral way that empowers the readers to see the truth, but doesn’t matter how long the piece is as you’re a publisher and you assume the risk in writing for the media.

RR8: Knight Chapters 8 & 9 and Filak Chapter 4

In Knight’s chapters he delves into clichés and words to never use in writing. In chapter 8 Knight says, using the phrase “adding insult to injury” are just awful and don’t give readers insight to be interested into the writing. Instead of using such a cliché phrase he emphasizes to take the meaning of the phrase and describe it into one word. In chapter Knight says to stay away from words like everyone, everywhere, and all because they tend to make false accusations.

In Filak’s chapter 4 he explains how writers should stop hiding there details in a six paragraph story and get to the point but have structure. In order to accomplish such feat you must take your time with the description and “give the story what its worth.”

In conclusion Knight and Filak tell us to make our stories unique and authentic.

Disaster Strikes Piedmont College: What Caused the Mysterious Fire?

On March 29, 2019, Piedmont’s Swanson Center for Performing Arts and Communications broke out in a devastating and unknown fire that killed 28 people. Seconds later a massive explosion near the theatre stage sent everyone in the building into a state of chaos calling for help.

The call came into the 911 Habersham center at around 10 a.m. and reported the fire and multiple injuries to Habersham EMA Director Lynne Smith.

“As things progressed we were requesting additional units, the coroner and mobile morgue,” said Smith.

Piedmont Police Chief Jim Andrews said agencies showing up at the scene of the disaster included the Cities of Demorest and Cornelia fire and police departments, Habersham County EMS and Medical Center, Sheriff’s Office, Habersham County Fire department, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Homeland security, 911/Emergency Management Agency, Habersham Search and Rescue and the District Two Public Health Administration. A helicopter, drones and rescue dogs also were at the scene searching for victims.

Local EMS ran into the buildings saving some of the victims and brought them to the medic station for immediate medical attention. Smoke was seen billowing from the Swanson Center by onlookers and the fire wouldn’t seem to give out.

“It took a lot to put out the fire, and there were over a hundred total victims injured in the fire,” said, Jason Davey, the assistant fire chief for Habersham County.

Rob Moore, the Public information officer for Campus Police, said, “there were 28 confirmed fatalities, and the bodies had to be removed from the building due to the severity of the fire.”

Everyone at the scene is in disbelief at what happened to one of the safest colleges in Georgia.

“At this moment, it is way to early to determine the cause of the fire and state fire investigators are in route to find out what really happened at the Swanson center.” Said Moore.

RR7: Filak Chapters 7 & 8

Chapter 7 explains how to cover news that finds you while chapter 8 talks about how to cover news you search for. When covering news that finds you, Filak says to follow these three steps; be prepared, find the story, and be safe. Be prepared on what the topic is your writing on and know the material. If you don’t do your research, then you won’t produce a nice story. Find the story and cover it in a way the reader can feel as they were at the event. Being safe in writing is two things. Stay out of harm’s way in the field and be careful what you write. Eliminate all those grammatical errors and double check your work.

The three main things in chapter 8 are, anything can lead to a story, focus on people, and don’t be afraid to dig. Anything in this world can lead to a story, and we just must open our eyes to it. The more we ask why about things, the more we might find interesting answers and fun stories. Focusing on people is just what we did as a class with our profile stories. When we interview people, we don’t want to overlook them because we might find some fantastic stories about them or experiences. A good story takes time to develop, and Filak says, “if you remain persistent in your work, you will eventually get the things you need to tell the story you want to tell.”

In conclusion, these two chapters showed me how I could cover news more effectively, and I look forward to using these tips for the upcoming disaster drill assignment.

RR6: Knight Chapter 7 and Filak Chapter 2

In Knights chapter he talks about being honest and not straying away from the facts. Don’t be a fake news website and report on something that isn’t true. Gather all the facts and evidence before you think to write it. Knight expresses, to stay on the “journalistic ethics” path because getting the facts right is the only way to be accurate.

In Filaks chapter he talks about critical thinking being the main focus in structuring  a story. Gathering the information is only half the job in writing and you must assess the information in the other half to make it matter more. For example, stories can use quotes and facts, but that doesn’t do much to help the readers understand the value of what you have written. Quotes shouldn’t be the main reason for asking a question but instead they should be a byproduct of good questions meant to help the journalist understand the subject’s view on a topic.

In conclusion, Knight and Filak tell us to gather and write true stories but structure it and tell it how you would like it to stick out for the audience reading.

RR5 Knight, Chapter two & Filak, Chapter one

These two chapters covered how to tell a story properly and grab a readers attention. Like discussed in class you want to show the reader not tell them what is going on in the story. Knight expresses, “too much description can kill a story”. While Filak says, “you have to write for your audience and not yourself”.

Knight tells the readers to work on crafting a lede and create a dialogue from it. The dialogue method insures that there is no stop sign in your story. Instead it is a bridge of transitions that flow and make the story interesting and exciting .

Filak applies to these three rules when writing for an audience. One write for your audience; meaning make the story tailored to a specific group and not a broad audience. Two don’t click bait the readers because you need to be fair and objective. If you don’t give them legit information they can always go somewhere else and read. Finally, find the most interesting element in the story and focus on that work to help build a strong and valuable story.

In conclusion, these two chapters showed me how I can further my writing skills to make my writing more fascinating and enjoyable to read.