Author Archives: keatonbenfield

Keaton Benfield: Reading Response #9

In these final chapters, Filak describes how the law works hand-in-hand with the media, the privileges and rights that all have as Americans, as well as those that belong to journalists as they cover news in their field of work. He also explains what many may believe to be truth but in reality could be quite the opposite.

It is crucial that reporters understand their individual rights as they create their stories. Learning how to always be cautious, when writing, as they are risking their credibility and legality once the article or tweet has been published, is a crucial step in the process.

Even though the First Amendment allows for a free press, laws are put into place, and the law is always changing over time concerning what can and cannot be published or written about. Knowing these laws is crucial when tackling a complex story that takes many hours of investigation and research. In order to be a good reporter, one must always keep an eye on the law and how it affects the media at all times and in many circumstances.

Keaton Benfield: “Game of Thrones” PRIDE Day Presentation Feature Story

Winter came to Piedmont at noon on Wednesday during the Lions’ Piedmont Research Innovation and Discovery Exhibition in the form of junior English major Michael Adams’ presentation. “Jamie Lannister: From Byronic Hero to Ironic Hero” tackled all seven seasons of “Game of Thrones” as excitement builds for the epic conclusion to the acclaimed television series.

Adams explored character Jamie Lannister’s significance to the show, delving into his complex motives, as well as those of his sister Cersei Lannister, just two of many others who wish to rule the kingdoms from the coveted seat on the Iron Throne, no matter the price.

“I think the reason that I chose “Game of Thrones” in particular is because it has kind of flown under the radar as far as literature is concerned,” Adams said. “I know it is pop culture and it’s a lot of fun, but I think that there is a lot of analysis that can go into the characters. I think it’s definitely worthy of critical looks.”

During his presentation, Adams said that both Lannisters experience mimetic desire, a theory proposed by French philosopher René Girard, where a person desires a particular object and then acts upon it.

Because of this theory, fans can create thoughtful predictions about the show’s ending and how this concept impacts all other characters who are also seeking the Iron Throne.

“You’re going to see an event, a specific period of time and you’re going to see it through several characters’ perspectives,” Adams said. “It really gives you a more full sense of what’s going on in the world.”

Dr. Hugh Davis, an associate professor of English and chair of the Department of Humanities said that looking at “Game of Thrones” with Girard’s theory in mind gives viewers a better understanding of its universe, as well as today’s society.

“I think mimetic desire gives us a pretty interesting way to look at the formation of culture and to understand what’s going on in today’s world,” Davis said. “Everything you see online is driven by mimetic desire.”

Various Piedmont students who are fans of “Game of Thrones” attended Adams’ presentation, giving some a brand new perspective to think about when viewing the show as it moves forward into its final season.

“I hadn’t thought about it like that yet and all of the similarities,” sophomore Julie Dreier said about the two Lannisters. “It’s a little bit easier to understand and a little bit easier to see the foreshadowing, I think.”

Along with his analysis of the show, Adams acknowledged the book series, sharing his own experience as well as the advantages of reading the books if one is a fan of the show and its plot-driven characters.

“I highly recommend the books,” Adams said. “The books were the first thing that I got through up until where Martin’s actually written, of course, and we are now ahead in the show versus where we are in the books.”

Due to this current state of the book series, the conclusion is unknown to all fans of “Game of Thrones,” further encouraging discussion on how the story could end.

“Now the people who’ve read the books are getting a surprise,” Dreier said. “So, that makes it a little bit more enticing to watch.”

Disaster Breaks Out at Piedmont’s Swanson Center by Keaton Benfield

A fire erupted and shortly after, an explosion sounded. Guttural screams for help ripped through the smoke that engulfed the mainstage of the Swanson Center at Piedmont College early Wednesday morning, where many gathered for a play that never had the chance to reach its final act.

Authorities said that the deadly fire resulted in an explosion that collectively injured over 100 people and took the lives of 28. The devastation of the fire left 28 attendees severely burned, while 29 others received multiple injuries in the aftermath. Many victims were trampled by others in a panic to escape the blaze.

“I was calling my mom to tell her I was on my way to come eat lunch,” said Rebekah Hill, a veterinary technician that survived the disaster. “I just saw some smoke and that was it.”

“Because of all the power, all the mock-up props and stuff made out of wood and combustible materials, a fire could start here,” said Fred Bucher, the facilities management and safety director at Piedmont College, in regards to the cause of the incident. “It’s not unusual for a fire to happen in a place like this.”

Despite the normalcy of a fire of this caliber, authorities said that it is still too early to produce evidence leading to a cause, but they did not entirely rule out any cruel intent or terroristic motives, as Homeland Security soon became involved.

More agencies arrived on the scene as nursing students from Piedmont College and firefighters from the Demorest Fire Department, as well as the Habersham County Fire Department, led the last of the victims to safety. The agencies involved aided those in dire need of medical assistance or investigated the evidence that still remained inside the building.

“As things progressed we were requesting additional units, as well as the coroner, Mobile Morgue, Air Life and power companies,” said Lynn Smith of the Habersham Emergency Management Agency, which is responsible for any programs related to emergency preparations in the county.

“We’re there to assist in any way that we possibly can, with anything of this magnitude,” Smith said. “And we provide the equipment and the tools and the manpower that they need that’ll get them here in a timely manner.”

Dave Palmer, the Public Information Officer for District 2 Public Health, said that because of the amount of corpses recovered from the fire, they could not be transported to the same morgue, where the facilities generally have one or two spaces available at a given time. This creates a problem for those affected by the loss of life.

“Funeral homes don’t have a lot of capacity to take care of bodies so that’s where Public
Health and the coroner step in,” Palmer said. “We do find morgue spaces for bodies. We can take care of the dead bodies in a way that’s the right way to handle a body.”

Nurses tended to survivors that huddled together on tarps. Shaken, many victims looked on as an Air Life helicopter from Gainesville, Ga. airlifted those in critical condition. A tarp placed adjacent to theirs held the corpses of the attendees carried out of the Swanson Center. As the coroner pronounced those individuals as deceased, it reminded the survivors that they are lucky to be alive.

The disaster remains under investigation and officials are looking into any direct links that could provide them with answers as to why this event occurred.

Keaton Benfield: Reading Response #8

After reading these chapters, I realized just how often I’ve seen cliches and overused phrases in many news articles I’ve read over the years. Unless the phrases were intentionally used, cliches tend to take away from the tone that the article is attempting to present to the audience.

It’s always important to keep the audience being addressed in mind as you are writing, especially if the subject you are writing about has its own set of specific terms or phrases that may be lost on those who aren’t as familiar with the subject. It’s best to explain why you are using those terms or, if you can, refrain from using them and try to explain the subject universally so that it’s not so difficult to comprehend. I sometimes have to remind myself about the audience because I find myself getting carried away in what I am trying to say. Knight brings up great points that I should refer back to the next time I find myself in that situation.

Knight’s chapters also cover wordiness, a concept that is stressed a lot for good reason. I still have problems with wordiness, especially in my longer assignments. I tend to use quite a few of the red flag words like “that,” which is difficult to keep from using, but I catch myself now and again. All of this advice ties into how you structure a story, as Filak explains to us. Framing a narrative and figuring out how to put together a story can either make or break the important information that you are sending out into the public and learning how to write in such a way that exactly conveys what you want is something we all strive to achieve.

Keaton Benfield Reading Response #7

These two chapters helped refresh my memory on some of the key concepts that we must all keep in mind when reporting as well as when we are gathering information in order to report our complete findings. Some segments of Chapter 7 were bits of information that we should have already ingrained within our minds, but it was also a nice thing to read again, just to be sure that I remembered most of it. Having correct grammar or numbers / statistical data is very important, as always, and both are things that we all strive to always have.

Another interesting part of this chapter was the various explanations of events and interests that can be covered, as well as the steps we must take if things do not go as planned. We must be quick to adapt to the changes that may unexpectedly come our way, which I know is something that I could work on!

I’ve always heard the term “beat” when watching the news and I’ve never gotten around to looking that up to see the significance it had for news reporting, but now I know and I’m very interested! There are various types of beats and they can all sometimes branch off into even smaller sections that can handle specific coverage of different areas for a more in-depth story.

These concepts and pieces of advice will really help me through the disaster drill that is coming up soon. I’m still nervous about that one, but after reading these sections, there are ways to work around that, to keep calm and make sure that the information that is needed is collected and shared in a professional manner.


Keaton Benfield: Reading Response #6

Knight and Filak’s work goes hand-in-hand with one another. Both texts tackle the basic components needed to become a great, credible and respected journalist. Knight’s discussion concerning the overall ethics of journalism, staying on top of the subjects the writer is trying to convey to an audience, as well as the ability to prohibit the use of language that can be misleading, offensive or harsh, is something that all writers must keep in mind.

Critical thinking comes into play here, as well. As an English major I have already grown quite familiar with thinking critically, trying to dig beneath the surface-level information in order to find the more complex meaning, a better understanding of what it is I am either reading or researching. Filak does a great job with handling this topic. I noticed as I was preparing for my interview with my first profile story, I was afraid that i hadn’t researched enough, that I did not really present the right questions that I needed to ask in order to fully understand what it was I was wanting to discuss.

However, reading this chapter now gives me some helpful tips to be more prepared. It is important that adequate information is obtained beforehand and even if it is a complex topic, it is alright to explain it to my audience who may also not be familiar with it. Finding out how this information affects your readers, practicing those skills needed and respecting the audience all are things that I will definitely keep in mind.

Keaton Benfield Reading Response 5

For Knight and Filak, understanding your audience and making sure that their attention is kept throughout an article— whether it is online or in print– is a crucial part of journalism. Knowing your audience and writing with specific questions in mind regarding their interests and the information that affects them is also something that is emphasized and encouraged in order to convey newsworthy stories in any media format in the modern age.

Media outlets have grown over the years and social media has become a point of interest for people to get their news and other stories. However, with this comes an issue of credibility. Television, newspapers, magazines and any online format can be biased or even pander to a particular target audience, resulting in “fake news.” Filak and Knight both write about this in their texts and how credible journalists combat sources such as this.

Another thing that really stuck with me is the ability to resonate with your readers,  giving them credible outlets and being fair all while entertaining them and keeping them interested in the topics that you are discussing, even if the subject isn’t something seen as exciting, like taxes for example, as shown from Knight. Knowing what works as well as what should not be done really improves one’s own writing and ability to convey the newsworthy events in an interesting and thought provoking manner.