Author Archives: Savannah Richards

Throw the Distance

Piedmont College track and field program hopes new “mad scientist” track coach can use his original inventions to help lead the team to victory.

“Champions will always do two things.” said assistant track and field coach Brian Gawne. “Find a way to perform, and always come back against the odds.

Loading up his beloved mini-van– affectionately called The Blue Bomber– Gawne started his journey down the east coast towards little ol’ Demorest, Georgia with a single mission in mind: to turn a small group of division three throwers into champions. Though Piedmont College is a big change-of-pace for Gawne, it is far from his first time coaching.

“I’ve coached football, soccer, wrestling, and volleyball, as well as every track and field event,” he said.

Extensive coaching experience, passion for the sport, and creativity became the building blocks on which many of Gawne’s inventions were born. The throws coach is known for creating his own equipment and tools to help him instruct more effectively.

For example, the “turtle” is a wheeled machine attached to an adjustable cord which Gawne invented as a way to help train his athletes in track events such as the weighted and hammer throws. This invention also has the added bonus of eliminating potential head injuries, which come as an occupational hazard of training beginners to throw heavy metal objects.

“Coach Gawne is a damn good coach,” said junior thrower Mitchell Mershon. “He is very knowledgeable about every event, and can change how he coaches based on the athlete he is working with.”

Gawne aims to coach to the strengths of each of his athletes as individuals. His students have received his coaching efforts well thus far.

“Coach Gawne is a phenomenal coach,” said Giahnni Fernandez, a sophomore track and field athlete. “He takes his time to understand us.”

Gawne’s coaching efforts have paid off thus far going into Piedmont’s track and field indoor season. Fernandez herself broke the school’s record for the weighted throw and placed top 10 in the region. Several other athletes training under Gawne have either broken personal or school records.

“I came down here because I wanted a change of pace,” said Gawne. “But mostly, I wanted to try and give back and do something good for young athletes.”

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RR #3

Interviewing is a great way for reporters to stay objective in their writing. It passes the microphone on to the direct source of news and information, and lowers the chances of a journalist editorializing. However, much of the responsibility of giving an interview value still rests in the hands of the interviewer. Asking the right questions, and correctly relaying the interviewee’s statements can be a daunting task.

In my personal experience with conducting interviews, it is important to come across as relaxed and confident so that the interviewee will feel more at ease. More information will be gained by making the interview feel like a conversation between friends. I also believe that it is important to get interviews from multiple perspectives, in order to help readers understand all sides of the story being told.

RR 2

I felt that chapter 5 was really trying to drive home the importance of the journalist considering the audience in his or her writing. The goal of journalistic writing– and nearly all writing– is to communicate ideas. If the “murkiness” of the writing obstructs this goal, then the writer may as well have never put his or her fingers to the keyboard. It seemed especially important to me that the text stressed “concise” writing, and cutting out unnecessary words and phrases in order to get the story across in as few lines as possible.

Active voice, which is discussed in chapter 6, is also beneficial to achieving the goal. It’s always seemed to me that active voice makes writing seem very straight-forward, because of its formatting. It also just makes more sense. No one says “the rope was jumped by Sally.” Sally jumped rope. Keep it simple.

Chapter 1 RR: Simple, Not Simplistic

Keep it simple. That is the main message that I got from this chapter. Journalists are tasked with telling a story, accurately, in as few words as possible. It makes sense that cutting out all unnecessary words and phrases would help journalistic writers meet their deadlines. As a concept, it’s not exactly rocket science, but I can see how we are trained in literature classes to make our writing as wordy and over-done as possible in order to make ourselves sound educated. You don’t need to be wordy to sound informed. Why use 500 words to give information that could be conveyed in 50?

This chapter reminded me of a time I was told that Journalistic writing in like dealing with real estate. You’ve only got so much room to work with. There’s only so much space on a page, and a skillful journalistic writer knows how to best utilize this space to get their point across without too many extra words. Arguably, the most important piece of space to be utilized is the front of the house, because it is the first thing people see. Similarly, the lede is the first little sample of your writing that the audience gets to read. If it doesn’t grab their attention, then the rest of what you’ve written is pointless.

Savannah Richards: tale of a time traveler

The existence of aliens, bigfoot, and ghosts have always been highly debatable topics for me. However, the existence of time travel is one thing I adamantly believe in. The reason is simple: I myself am a time traveler.

I’ve found that the past has always been a very interesting terrain that I enjoy exploring. While I may not have a mythical machine to zap me backward across space-time, I’ve somehow found myself wandering through ancient cities often in my lifetime. I have an affinity for falling through gaps in the pages of ancient Greek historical texts and being sucked into Egypt through the screen of a documentary, somehow managing to forget my passport every time. This peculiar skill manifested after I began learning classical– read: dead–languages such as Latin. I did, however, remember to bring a passport when I went to Italy with a Latin group my sophomore year of high school. Walking through the streets of Rome is enough to give a girl whiplash, as she can be walking down a perfectly modern street, then turn a corner and run smack into an Egyptian pyramid. Yes, you heard correctly folks. There is a pyramid in Rome.

My present is a pleasant place to be and holds just as much mystery as the future, despite my compartmentalization complex which drives me to schedule everything down to the last half-second. I’m a Mass Communications major at Piedmont College, a student worker, and a Track and Field athlete. Despite my best efforts to keep organized, not even a time-traveler can control the waves of life, and I have to relax and go with the flow when the tides turn. This is a lesson I learned whilst making my way to Piedmont. I quite like money, and lament to say that I’ve never had much of it. This became quite an obstacle to getting in college, but I knew that Piedmont was the right fit for me, so I worked hard and left the rest up to faith. That’s what I am doing currently.

On my trips to the future, I’ve been a passenger rather than the captain steering the ship. Tiny hands gripped the wheel, but I’d been granted the privilege to stand by as a navigator. Through volunteer work as a Life Group teacher at First Baptist Church of Snellville, as well as working in Children’s Ministry and at Davis Martial Arts Studio, I have been able to connect with hundreds of children. The opportunity to hear the stories of so many kids has both broken my heart and strengthened it, but mostly it has given me hope for what the world will become. They have inspired me to snatch up my own dreams, because if a child can push through all of the boundaries placed in front of them and remain unshaken then I should follow their example. I want to encourage everyone to reach through their own struggles toward the stars. Per aspera ad astra!