Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Media And Homelessness

When thinking about the homeless, many think of someone begging or asking for money. However, most homeless people do not fit this stereotype, and Piedmont College alum Nathan Blackburn is hoping to break this stereotype. 

At the 2020 Piedmont Symposium, Blackburn presented the session, “Poverty Portrayals: An examination of Media Portrayals Stereotyping Homeless Populations,” a project that was derived from his mass communications theory and research course. 

“This research became the starting point for my senior capstone, which I’ve recently completed, and it played a big role in the short film that I created as part of that capstone (Wander Boys),” said Blackburn. 

However, the inspiration behind the research extended past just a MCOM 3850 course. It came from his personal background. Blackburn experienced homelessness himself growing up. Understanding what it is like to be homeless, Blackburn has a different perspective than most on the topic. Throughout his research, Blackburn found difficulty in setting aside his own personal biases regarding homelessness, where he had to keep an open mind throughout. 

“Nathan’s personal experience with homelessness added a more complex layer and gave him a unique perspective than if he had been an objective researcher,” said Professor Tingle. 

Blackburn found curiosity in understanding how the rest of society viewed the homeless and found that the media directly influences peoples’ viewpoint on those who suffer from homelessness. The media is able to shift situations accordingly in order to make others feel certain feelings like sadness or anger. This is known as “media framing,” where the media frames particular situations to make others feel a certain emotion. This is Blackburn’s pivotal argument in the case that the media does affect the way others view the homeless. As Blackburn anonymously interviewed individuals of various ages, his research proved that after these individuals watched the same clips on homelessness, all of the feelings towards homelessness were very similar. 

“After viewing Nathan’s presentation online, it really made me realize that the media really does have a major impact on how society sees homeless people,” said student Haily Tigue. “I can say that I have definitely been caught in the basic stereotype of homeless people in the United States, but I will now be more compassionate towards this topic.” 

Blackburn’s research portrays that the media is often biased when discussing homelessness. Blackburn explains that the media often displays homeless individuals as “beggars on the side of the street” or that these individuals must have done something wrong in their life to be in this situation. Though, Blackburn knows from personal experience that this is not always the case. 

For example, many homeless individuals are children who have lost parents, a recent immigrant trying to start a new life, or someone who unexpectedly lost a job. However, Blackburn explains that because of films and the news, homelessness is often viewed by others for something that it is not. 

One of Blackburn’s favorite interviews he conducted was one with a fellow student where Blackburn learned about a different perspective of homelessness. Through this interview 

Blackburn explained that this student’s first thought of the homeless was “always dirty and begging for money” 

“I’ve always noticed that the media tends to lean more towards one stereotype or one side of portraying homeless people,” he said. “It was interesting to learn more about that from the view of someone who had not experienced any kind of homelessness.” 

Photojournalism Practice

Long shot: Leaving Swanson Center in the fall. Photo taken by Madison

Medium: Working hard or hardly working? Photo taken by Madison

Medium: Lamp or Lumière? The world may never know. Photo taken by Madison

Medium: Smiling in the shade. Photo taken by Emma

Close-Up: Moss in the morning. Photo taken by Emma

Wildcard: Love is in the air (and in the flowers). Photo taken by Emma

PhotoJournalism Exercise

  1. Long shot of Piedmont Bridge that connects the main campus to the Swanson center.
  2. Medium shot of the old wooden lamp resting on the bridge to the Swanson center.
  3. First year senior Evan LaPorta watching the creek underneath the bridge.
  4. A lamp leading to the Swanson Center.
  5. Close up of a bee on top of a flower.
  6. Wildcard of the pillars leading into the Swanson Center.

Piedmont College Photos

  1. Medium 1: Senior Theatre Major, Joe Chance works vigorously in the student commons on a homework deadline.
  2. Wildcard: Pictured above is a vintage bird that sits on top of someones bicycle.
  3. Medium 2: Did someone say birds eye?? Pictured above is a bird that is looking yonder for its mate.
  4. Long Shot: Looking down Georgia Street on rainy day, there’s not much activity happening.
  5. Medium 3: Sophomore Math major Jade Edwards, gets caught in action walking outside the student commons to head to class.
  6. Close up: Sophomore Jade Edwards makes sure to wear her mask everywhere on campus, even outside.

Class Exercise

  1. Balancing on a broken tree branch.
  2. The baseball fields, with Plymouth residence hall behind, reflecting gin the water.
  3. A lost mask next to the beach courts.
  4. Piedmont student walking back to dorm after class.
  5. A squirrel chasing another one on a tree.
  6. A service dog stands by, waiting for owner to finish in school bookstore.

Exercise: Photojournalism

Construction on the quad continues.
Piedmont students still use the library during the pandemic.
The quad remains wet and empty after the storm.

The debris from the storm leaves Piedmont students anxious to return to campus.

“Piedmont College – Beginning the second century”

Some parts of campus don’t need Halloween decorations.

Sports

Mackenzie Davis fields a ground ball at third and records the out at first. This was just a small part of her big day against Emmanuel College.
Rebekah Stegmayer smiles at the infield as she is relieved after a tough play. Stegmayer had a great day at the plate going 2 for 4.

Student Athletes Who will Never Know

COVID-19 sent all Piedmont student athletes home until this fall, but for some athletes there will be no return.

Each NCAA spring sport athlete was given an extra year of eligibility so seniors could return, but for two Piedmont baseball players, returning was not an option.

Will Janofsky and Nate Rotenberger played on the 2019 Lion’s baseball club. Both were seniors and had played on the team the past three seasons.  

Janofsky had a huge impact during his time at Piedmont as a late-inning reliever for the Lions. Through 16 appearances, Janofsky compiled a 2-2 record, picking up two saves, posting a 1.33 ERA and striking out  21. Janofsky was named twice to the USA South All-Academic Team (2017, 2018).

“The biggest reason for not returning is that I was ready to start developing my professional career and take that next step in my life,” Janofsky said. 

The decision was easy for Rotenberger, too. “I graduated at the end of the spring and got accepted into PT school,” he said. “It wasn’t much of a decision. Returning was out of the picture, my time at Piedmont was over.” 

Rotenberger came on strong his senior year, becoming a regular member of the Lions rotation. For his career, the pitcher posted a 3.45 ERA through four starts, striking out 12. He was a three-time USA South All-Academic player (2017, 2018, 2019).   

Although the decisions were easy to make, both said they will really miss their time on the field.  

“I’ll miss cutting up with all my teammates, cracking too many jokes, and the grind of preparing for competition,” Rotenberger said. “I always loved getting better with all my teammates and just having fun.” 

Janofsky said he will also miss his teammates, as well as the Piedmont campus. “I’ll miss Mrs. Melba in the caf, along with the comradery with the guys and the competitive atmosphere that was always involved with the team,” he said. 

Both athletes likely saw their last competitive action on the field as players, a feeling that isn’t lost on Rotenberger. “I’ll miss the competition aspect of the game,” he said.. “The thrill of standing on the mound with the ball in your hand is such a powerful feeling and I’ll forever wish I could throw one more pitch.” 

Are Baseball’s Unwritten Rules Morphing?

Expressing emotion in baseball creates joy, hate, and excitement. No matter if you are on the side of a huge win or a part of a lopsided loss, every baseball player has experienced both emotions. So it is easy to relate even to a MLB superstar. Fernando Tatis Jr stunned the world of Major League Baseball by hitting a grand slam against the Texas Rangers, but why were some people more angry than happy by this? On August 17th, The San Diego Padres matched up against the Texas Rangers and it was all Padres the whole game. The Padres running away with the game, up 10-3 late in the eighth inning, added to the bleeding. Fernando Tatis Jr, who is an early MVP candidate during this shortened 60 game season, came up to bat with the bases loaded and whacked a grand slam. This upset some of the “older generation” baseball minds in the game, but why? Because the count was 3-0 and the Padres were already up big late in the game. An old baseball head would say this incident are the things wrong with baseball now-a-days. They see it as lack of respect and sportsmanship.

According to CBS Sports, Rangers Manger, Chris Woodward said”I didn’t like it, personally. You’re up by seven in the eight inning: it’s typically not a good time to swing 3-0. It’s kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis. So just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not right. I don’t think we liked it as a group.”

Personally playing this game for 15 years, and all the experiences I have ever had, whether it being losing a game by 20 runs or winning by 20, you always must play the game with full effort. Now does that mean sportsmanship does not matter? Obviously not, sportsmanship in baseball is also about respecting the game, but playing the game half-hearted takes respect away from the game. We are talking about grown men getting paid millions of dollars to produce also, this is not tee-ball. Even in high school baseball there are pre-set mercy rules to show sportsmanship, so if the MLB wants to fix the problem to keep these soft, unwritten rules, then create a mercy rule. Because to ask an electrifying, 21 year old to not play at full speed every pitch should be an unwritten rule. 

Tatis unnecessarily apologized , in my opinion, to the media and the Texas Rangers after the game.

“I’ve been in this game since I was a kid, and I know a lot of unwritten rules,” Tatis said after the game. “And this time, I was kind of lost on this one. From those experiences, you have to learn. Probably next time, I’ll take a pitch. I love this game and I respect this game a lot. Every time I go out there, I just want to feel respect for everybody else. This game is hard for everyone, so why not just celebrate and have fun the way you wanna have fun?”

Tatis took the high road and apologized, which from a public perspective was the smartest stance to take. Especially when his own manager did not completely have his back to the media.

“Just so you know, a lot of our guys have green light 3-0,” Tingler, the Rangers third base coach added. “But in this game in particular, we had a little bit of a comfortable lead. We’re not trying to run up the score or anything like that.”

Claiming that Tatis was given the take sign from the third base coach, might be true, but not having his superstars back would not make me want to play for the man if I was Tatis. If Major League Baseball frowns upon this behavior, I believe ratings will go down and it will only support this mouth fed mentality we have in sports culture today. Not everyone gets playing time, not everyone gets to make the team, sports are for teaching life lessons, whether you are 5 years old or 55. All sports find ways to humble everyone, and if we always follow the unwritten rules, it will only be us who will suffer. 

The Value in Being Different

“I was not born in this country. I didn’t grow up in any one particular religion and I’m gay.” I knew after hearing Wentworth say this that I was not alone and that I have the power to share my story and inspire people to value their uniqueness and learn to accept who we are as individuals.

I was 18 years old the first time watching Wentworth Millers’ speech about overcoming his struggles and what it was like for him being “different.” I’ve always had the feeling of being singular and different, growing up being a shy and quiet person, but some say they are some of the kindest people in the world. Why has it been so difficult for me to accept myself being “different”? There is great value in our differences, but I needed to accept the individual person that I am, and what makes me authentic.

The world tends to see what is different as something ugly and wrong as if anything “abnormal” is something needing to be fixed.

In high school, I wanted to feel like I was a part of something. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t singular or different. I tried hard to fit in, but trying to be something I wasn’t was emotionally draining for me. I had turned into this person I didn’t like for the purpose of trying to fit in, but at the same time I hated what I was, I hated being oversensitive, stupid, a daydreamer, and sad. I couldn’t stand being different and showing it to the world.

As teenagers, our worth is determined by the acceptance of society. I had to understand that criticism came not because I was wrong or different but because everyone has their own way of thinking and acting. Some people have a limited mindset that creates an inability to accept other differences. That was not my problem.

My problem was that I had given other people the power to control my self-esteem instead of finding acceptance and love within myself. I have had to start to forgive and love myself and look at myself through my eyes.

I have come to realize that I am beautiful just the way I am. Everyone is different in some way or another and there are few people who show it to the world. I challenge you to be beautifully different.