Real-life ‘Spotlight’ editor Marty Baron at Ohio University

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Marty Baron spoke to the public today at 7:30 in the Schoonover Center at Ohio University.

Marty Baron, the executive editor of the Washington Post, paid a special visit to my freshman Journalism 1010 class today. Despite his impressive resume of the Miami HeraldLos Angeles Times, the New York Times, the public knows him best as the former editor of the Boston Globe during the 2002 Spotlight investigation of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Photo from The Hollywood Reporter

The Pulitzer-prize winning story was so high-profile and important, it inspired an Academy-award winning movie “Spotlight”, starring celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton. Baron was played by Liev Schreiber.

Baron speaking to my freshman class was a huge deal (and that would be an understatement). The executive editor of a major newspaper took time out of his schedule to speak to a classroom of potential journalists, which shows how important the future of media is to him. Following his speech, I shook his hand and thanked him for coming. He was extremely welcoming and kind.

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Marty Baron gave an introduction to a free screening of “Spotlight” at the Athena Cinema.

Later that night, the Athena Cinema in Uptown Athens screened “Spotlight” for free, where Marty Baron again made a guest appearance to introduce the movie. Surprisingly, the theater wasn’t very full so he spent a few minutes chatting with two of my friends and me (I was pretty starstruck by such a big journalism superpower, but I think I held it together pretty well).

Photo from Screenplay Explorer

Baron then spoke about the production of the movie. His colleagues, as well as himself, had little faith in the project initially. The movie took years to script, with thorough fact-checking and research, and quite a bit of time for a studio to pick it up. Actor Mark Ruffalo invested heavily in the movie, setting aside all other higher-paying gigs because he believed in the project. Still, expectations for actually getting the movie made were low among journalists, especially once Pope Francis–a pretty popular Pope at that–was appointed.

Yet, against all odds, a journalistic-driven movie that had no gushy love story, no flashy graphics, and no fast-paced action scenes not only entered theaters, but won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2016.

After an emotional viewing of “Spotlight” for a second time, I headed back to Schoonover to listen to Baron speak again, this time to the public. After his speech, the director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Robert Stewart presented him with the Carr Van Anda Award. Baron is the 75th recipient of this award.

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Robert Stewart presented Marty Baron with the Carr Van Anda Award.

Baron talked about the 2002 Spotlight case, but also focused a lot on media in the current era moving forward.

The Washington Post has dealt with some pretty heavy issues this election season. Republican nominee Donald Trump revoked The Washington Post’s press credentials for months, which have recently been reinstated. Trump has called journalists “disgusting”, “scum”, “low-life”, “the lowest form of humanity”, then even “the lowest form of life”. Baron joked that he couldn’t really call us anything worse at this point.

This is a very difficult time for journalists. On one hand, Baron said, we have a Democratic candidate who has dodged hard-hitting questions for quite some time, then on the other, we have a Republican candidate who openly despises media.

I am only a first-year journalism major. Whoever is elected will be in charge for the duration of my academic career and potentially for the first few years of my professional career. It is terrifying to me that there could be a president who blatantly discredits my profession.

“The first amendment is at the very heart of what makes this country great,” Marty Baron said tonight.

Truth, above all, is what is important to good journalism. I am entering this field because of my passion for the work. There are important issues to uncover and expose in this world. “Spotlight” is just one example of the hard-hitting journalism that is vital to society.

Thanks to Marty Baron for visiting Ohio University and sharing his wisdom with us.

 

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Sexism in Olympic coverage

As many of you know, I’m not a sports person by any means, but like any American, I enjoy cheering on my country during the Olympics. But this year, however, I noticed a very upsetting trend in the coverage…

As a journalist, I understand that our job is to be inclusive of an entire population. I’m not asking for Olympic reporters to push any sort of feminist agenda or incorporate bias of any kind; I simply want a holistic portrait the achievements of all American athletes.

The coverage of the Olympics is not only just so apparently sexist, but is a reflection on American society and values, especially highlighted in this global competition.

OPINION: Buying the dream is not a true reward

Abbey Marshall | Managing Editor

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Most adults graduate from the head-in-hands, glassy-eyes-out-the-classroom-window childlike hopefulness, but that doesn’t mean they stop dreaming. Adults dream in a different way, a way some people might deem practical and tangible, but is just as unrealistic as the ten-year-old wanting to become a pop star. As the powerball jackpot surpasses an astronomical $1.5 billion, researchers are gaining insight as to why exactly people purchase lottery tickets. It has less to do with winning and more to do with dreaming.

From an economic standpoint, buying a lottery ticket is an awful deal, as many are aware. The chances are paper thin, not to mention the huge tax hit even if you were to win. Yet the industry continues to flourish. Many Americans are “buying the dream”: all the results of hard work, minus the hard work.

In an era where the Kardashians are rich for no apparent reason, everyone wants to make it big without the grunt work. Americans’ judgements are clouded by fantasies of lounging around on the beach without a care in the world, as seen on TV. People want the “easy way out”.

The state of Kansas is suffering about a $10 million shortfall at the moment. Its plan? Hope that someone in the state wins the lottery. A Kansas winner would be forced to surrender at least $40 million to the state government in taxes, dragging them out of their economic slump and then some. Instead of actually solving the problem, the state is investing in sheer hope.

In an ideal world, we would all win the lottery and quit our jobs and sip ice-cold drinks with little umbrellas on the sandy beaches of Mexico. Unfortunately, it’s not practical. That’s not to say we shouldn’t dream; in fact, I would say quite the opposite. Dreaming is what propels reality. Dreaming is what forces us to work hard and achieve success. The key is hard work.

The working class works hard for its money. Instead of wasting your nine-to-five paycheck investing in someone else’s dream (statistically speaking), invest in your own. Start a savings account to invest in your education, take out a mortgage to invest in your family, book a flight to invest in leisure with your loved ones. That’s worth more than millions.

 

Originally published in The Chronicle on January 15, 2016.

Run, Roll and Sun 5K raises funds for Common Ground playground

Abbey Marshall | Managing Editor

In addition to raising funds for the Common Ground playground for disabled children, this year’s annual Run, Roll & Sun 5K on Saturday, May 30 honored Parks and Recreation Foundation employee Sheri Collins, who passed away from pancreatic cancer.

The Run, Roll & Sun 5K is an all-inclusive event that consists of both a timed 5K and a one-mile stroller and wheelchair-friendly course, followed by free admission to the municipal pool. Proceeds from participation fees go toward constructing a specialized playground called Common Ground that accommodates children of all abilities and encourages them to interact, according to the Mason Parks and Recreation Foundation.

It made sense to memorialize Collins’ death during this event because of the work she did for this project in her lifetime, according to Mason Community Center Wellness Supervisor Kelly Burchett.

“We thought it would be more than fitting if we honored (Collins) this year,” Burchett said. “The anniversary of her death was actually Monday and last year, her entire family came out, even though it was the weekend of her funeral, (to) support the event. Both the Parks Foundation and the City of Mason wanted to honor her and her family and all the work she did for the Parks Foundation.”

According to Collins’ mother, Donna Barker, the cause was very dear to her daughter’s heart.

“I worked in a special needs class,” Barker said. “I saw the disabilities and how they affected those children. We, as teachers, had to take the equipment out to the regular playground. It was very heavy (and) cumbersome…We know firsthand why this park should be built and Sheri did too; we discussed it quite a bit. It was her dream, so we (joined) her.”

Inspired by Collins’ efforts to construct an all-inclusive playground for children of all abilities, Barker said her and her husband were prompted to donate $5,000 to the Parks Foundation the day of the race.

“Her dad and I had discussed (donating the money), and we wanted to do something to honor Sheri’s life,” Barker said. “Ever since she came into the world, she was a selfless person. She was a peacemaker, she was an arbitrator, and she loved her fellow man.”

Barker said she believes that her daughter would be pleased with the turnout for such a great cause.

“We’re amazed that people would take the time and effort to come out,” Barker said. “It’s heartwarming. I know our child would be thrilled that we could come together for one purpose.”

Click on an image below to enlarge and view in slideshow mode.

Originally posted on thecspn.com on June 1, 2015.

Mock Crash serves as powerful reminder for upperclassmen

Gina Deaton | Online Editor
Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer

Click to see clips from Mock Crash. Video by MBC News Reporter Julia Hollon

Stop and think.

These are the words that 1,700 juniors and seniors took away from the mock crash demonstration on April 17. The crash involved two cars damaged in advance to give the appearance of a head-on collision while actors from the drama department took on the roles of students involved in a fatal accident.

Senior Ryley Arnold, who portrayed the drunk driver in the scene, said the use of real students had a big impact on the audience.

“I think it’s very important that it was us, and it was people that they knew, and real names,” Arnold said. “I think it’s something you need to see, you need to understand; you could be in that situation, and that’s what makes it important and impactful.”

According to careflight outreach manager and flight nurse Mandy Via, it’s her duty as a member of the community to educate students about the consequences of their actions.

“One thing we do to support our community (and) give back to students and help them think about their choices: whether they’re drinking and driving, just not paying attention,” Via said. “Whatever we can do to help decrease those numbers is important and if I had to do this every day for the rest of my life, I would, just to save even one kid because we see the bad things.”

Administrator William Rice said he has personal experience with student loss and hopes that the spectators learned a valuable lesson.

“Unfortunately in my career, when I was teaching, I had two students that were killed a mile from school,” Rice said. “They were just going home for the day, driving home with another young man, and that young man was just distracted and driving and they were both killed literally one mile from the school. I’ve had experience with it and I’ve attended funerals and I know what it does to a community. My hope is that the 1,700 kids that watched this today really took that moment…to really listen to that message was and understand and see the severity of those easy decisions, you know, ‘I’m just going to check this one little text or I’m just going to drink this one beer’ and really learn something from it.”

Senior Leah Hall, who was staged to be thrown through the windshield and killed in the mock crash, said that being told to make good decisions could become redundant, and she was glad they had a new way of sharing that message.

“(Mock crash) hits you more,” Hall said. “Everybody says, ‘Don’t drink and drive’. You see the signs on the highway, like, ‘Stay alive, don’t drink and drive’. But when you see something like this, when it’s as real as it is, it’s so much more impactful.”

Via said that she hopes all viewers of the mock crash will take away one message: to always think before they act.

“Stop and think,” Via said. “We’ve all made choices and everybody has made a poor choice at some point, but if this program will stop one kid from making a poor choice and getting into this situation in real life, that’s worth it.”

Photos by Abbey Marshall and Gina Deaton

Originally posted on thecspn.com on April 17, 2015.

OPINION: (Not) a happy camper

Abbey Marshall | Staff Writer

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I have always hated hiking.

Stumbling over tangles of roots, trekking across insect-infested dirt mounds, tripping over hidden branches–none of this has ever been appealing to me. Unfortunately, it’s always been four against one in my family.

Recently, we loaded up our minivan and took a trip to the Smoky Mountains. My parents are adventurous beyond belief; they long to venture along rugged mountain terrain, hop over raging rivers, and even to spot a black bear on their journey. My siblings took after them in terms of their athleticism and willingness to hike far distances with unwavering physical ability. I, on the other hand, have not been such a happy camper.

They see the beauty of a mountain? I see an impossible obstacle that will inevitably crush my spirit (and leg muscles). Over the years, I have endured a ten mile hikes, acquired irritatingly itchy mosquito bites, gone to the bathroom in less-than-sanitary places, and had my run in with more spiders and insects than I’d care for. If you asked me why, I’d simply answer “because I had to”.

This trip, however, the tables turned. After a freezing morning hike which involved six layers of clothing, my parents asked if any of us cared to go on another adventure. I looked between their faces and became the only one to agree. My brother and sister stared at me in disbelief. I even heard my dad chuckle, “The one who hates hiking the most!”.

I’m still not sure what possessed me to agree, but I was glad I did. I spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with my parents about the events of my life and exploring a (thankfully) short, secluded trail with a babbling river. The dribbling of the water blended with our cheery conversations like a hushed melody, a nice contrast to my typically obnoxious complaints. Seated on a rock, I marveled up at the beautiful curvature of the mountain I hadn’t taken the time to appreciate before.

On the drive back to the cabin, my dad turned me to and said, “I’m glad you came. It’s like when Mom asks me to go shopping: even though it’s not my favorite, I do it just because I want to spend time with the people I love.”

After my dad said this, the hike we ventured on the next day didn’t seem so torturous because rather than focusing on all the external forces of Mother Nature, I directed my attention to the cheerful humming of my sister or the goofy jokes of my dad. Though my legs burned and I could feel the mosquito bites beginning to swell, I was almost a happy camper.

Feeling lucky and expressing gratitude

 

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The Chronicle staff has a lot to be grateful for.

We have a newspaper and the means to put one out every month without fail, which couldn’t be said for a lot of schools that are currently unable to afford it. We’re lucky because of two individuals in our business department that single-handedly fund our entire publication without any school funding. Ashton Nichols and Emily Culberson are some of the most hardworking people I have ever met. When I don’t see them on the phone calling businesses, they’re laying out ads as the sole provider of the printing costs of our paper. Without them, we’d be just a bunch of people sitting in a classroom with news stories typed up with no one to show it to. The success of The Chronicle is attributed to them.

Not only are we lucky because of an awesome business management team, but we are lucky to be getting this opportunity. According to the Chicago Tribune, many school’s lack of funding is leading to the downfall of the high school newspaper. This means a huge gap in valuable learning opportunities for students. According to the New York Times, working on a student newspaper provides “freedom, respect and trust, and high expectations” that not only assists in producing a print paper, but also carries over into real life. The hands-on experience I’ve gained on The Chronicle staff has helped me learn about the career I want to pursue and in addition, I’ve gained important leadership skills, time management, interviewing and social skills, etc.

Most importantly, I want to express gratitude for the amazing friendships I’ve made through The Chronicle. I’m grateful for:

  •  Madison Krell‘s sassiness and incredible photography talent.
  • Sheila Raghavendran‘s crazy antics paired with her compassionate leadership ability.
  • the radiant presence of Gina Deaton and her fantastic writing.
  • Stich‘s beyond-belief graphic design.
  • the creatively brilliant mind of Jess Sommerville.
  • Eric Miller‘s sports knowledge (since I have none) and his nasty habit of irritating me everyday without fail (especially when he plays “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” on an endless loop).
  • Matt Marvar‘s quirky eating habits (Cheeto’s on a sandwich?), sarcasm, and wonderful friendship.
  • Erin Brush‘s intelligence and her knack to lead.
  • Sonia Rayka‘s consistent happy-go-lucky attitude.
  • Disch‘s nasty tupperware, as well as her humor and compassionate nature.
  • Arnav Damodhar‘s strange resemblance to a dinosaur and willingness to help with anything that needs to be done.
  • Meghan Pottle‘s ray of sunshine.
  • Charlie MacKenzie‘s hilarious jokes (no matter how uncalled for or borderline creepy).
  • Kylie McCalmont‘s motivation and fantastic writing skills.
  • Zane Miller‘s enthusiasm for sports.
  • Kelly Noriega‘s awesome multimedia packages and her beautiful smile.
  • Erin McElhenny‘s supersonic laugh and ability to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
  • Ariel Jones‘ unique personality and candor in all situations.
  • Duncan MacKenzie‘s choice of daily 80s tunes and awesome lead-writing skills.
  • Mr. Conner‘s belief in us and assistance to make us the very best we can be.
  • And once again, to Ashton and Emily for being the two people that make it possible for all of us to create such a wonderful publication.

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Chronicle in first bell tomorrow. It’ll be one of the best yet.