Event Story

DEMOREST – Floridian and Professor at Florida State University, Diane Roberts spoke to Piedmont mass communications students in one of her three lectures recently about being a journalist, author and what it took to get to where she is today. She was introduced by Director of the Lillian E. Smith Center, Craig Amason.

Her wit and dry humor captured the audience’s attention almost immediately. Her stories about her career were very personable and were things that the audience could relate to.

“It was an amazing experience to listen to a woman and her success in the same career as me,” said senior mass communications major Durden Smith.

As she was asked about her journey to success, she began to laugh, giving the audience the vibe that her career was not always successful.

“How I got started was by being a bad writer,” she said. “I just thought you could write because you could write. It’s a craft, and it had never dawned on me.”

As Roberts talked about her journey, she mentioned that she was assigned to write about the opening day of the Florida legislative session. She noticed she was different than other reporters almost immediately.

“Every other journalist there writes about what the speeches are, what the bills are, and we need that, but I thought why does everybody have 10 boxes of Girl Scout cookies,” she said.

Instead of writing basic news stories, she was more interested in writing about the details, the things that nobody cared to talk about in their articles.

“I wrote about the things around the margins,” she said.

“Hearing her speak made me realize that even successful people like her have had trials that have gotten them to where they are today,” said sophomore mass communications major, Nate Roys.

She was also asked about the impact that social media has on journalists today. Her answer made sense to everyone. “In the world of social media, anything can have an audience.”

Not only did she talk about her experience in journalism, but she also gave a little detail about her family, how she grew up and how she doesn’t live as the stereotypical southerner.

As young journalists, each student hung on to every word she said as she gave pieces of advice during her session, like “no matter what you accomplish, there’s always a what next,” “a good reporter will behave as if he or she doesn’t know everything” and “get it right, even if you don’t get it first.”

To end her lecture, she said journalism “could be visual, audio, words on a page or a screen. It’s all about telling the story.”

Sports Feature

Throughout high school, Chris Pritchett was involved in sports. He was talented and could have received many offers to play College baseball, but in 10th grade, any opportunity he had to play at the next level was gone due to a car accident.

“It’s something that I am thankful for now because it got me to where I am today, but then, I felt as if I had lost everything,” said Pritchett.

Because of that injury and knowing that sports were not in his future, he started thinking of ways to be involved without actually playing the sport.

In 1991, Pritchett was young and wanted to make a difference in the lives of athletes. He knew that there were probably multiple ways to do that, so he decided to start a high school ministry known today as 12th Man.

This ministry included leading Bible studies on Friday afternoon before the big game. Pritchett and his team would prepare equipment, fix Gatorade and water and even stay late and wash jerseys that smell like they haven’t been washed in three weeks.

As life changed, his locations for 12th Man would change. He started in Carollton, Georgia. He then moved to Dalton, Georgia in 1994 and now in Hartwell, where he has served for almost 21 years.

“I’m not really sure what I would have done without him during my years at Hart County,” said former head football coach, William Devane. “His heart for the athletes and passion to serve is like no other.”

When Pritchett moved to Hart County, he realized that he could use this ministry in baseball as well. After all, this was his favorite sport. He made connections with coaches and began 12th Man on the baseball field in small ways.

“He’s a mentor for me personally and for each of the boys that step food on the baseball field,” said current Hart County head baseball coach, Josh Osborne.

“I never thought that it would get this far,” said Pritchett. “It was just something small that I thought of doing, and I’m glad that it has given me the opportunity to serve outside of the four walls of the church.”

As the ministry has grown, Pritchett has taught multiple individuals how to drag and line a baseball field, tape ankles for football games and fill up coolers of water and Gatorade, among other things.

Like any ministry, it has its ups and down, but he looks forward to many more years of 12th Man as he watches it grow and trains more people to do the job that he has done for so many years.

Since 1991, he has incorporated 12th Man in multiple school systems, including Hart, Franklin, Madison and Elbert Counties.

“I am thankful that this ministry has come this far, and I am excited about what is going to happen in the near future,” said Pritchett.



Prompt #8

Each of these articles deals with a subject that can sometimes be difficult to discuss. I believe these articles are similar to those in the New York Times in that they deal with such topics. I believe the New York Times would write stories like this, but on a much broader spectrum. These seem to be mostly local and relating it to a larger topic.

I believe the story that required the most reporting was the “In the Dark” article. There were multiple people involved in this story, and it also provided a lot of statistics. It seemed to me that there was a numerous amount of research that went into this story. I also think The Clarke Case and Academic Success For Sale required a great amount of reporting. With the topics covered, you can’t just wing it. It takes time and lot of research, time and reporting.

I think my favorite was the one about the feminine products because I remember being that girl who was scared just like the girl in the article was. It’s just the way we are, and I like the quote at the end. It’s something that everyone tries to keep private, but something all women can relate to on some level.

I think you could easily turn any of these stories in to something relevant to Piedmont. You could do something with the In The Dark story. This is a big topic right now and one that I feel people are interested in. Since Durden just did a capstone on something similar, I could interview her. The Academic Success For Sale would definitely be something that Piedmont could cover. If the president would be willing, he would be a good interview and even any of the professors.

I think these stories covered good topics, and it’s always interesting to read things that are about people our age or were written by people our age.

Prompt #7

I think event coverage is different than taking minutes at a meeting in that there is more detail. For a meeting, I feel like you just right down the main points, but you don’t expound on them much. With these articles, there was a story behind each, and I loved that.

I think the only additional reporting in these stories were the quotes from different people talking about the event or the topic. To get all of this information, all these reporters had to do was attend the event. The one about the students from Parkland was pretty straight forward. When I was reading, it just seemed more like a dialogue to me. It was the same way with the Trump article and the one about Charlayne Hunter-Gault. The one about the Peabody awards was a little different with quotes from people in attendance.

I think most of them were written like news stories, but they have the potential to become a feature story. With the article about Parkland, they could have easily taken that and turned it into a feature with stories about the kids. I think the article that was closest to a feature story was the one about Charlayne Hunter-Gault.

These weren’t my favorite articles just because I don’t think they are as entertaining as a feature or something to that nature.


Prompt #6

I have always enjoyed reading stories about sports. Some of my favorite are sports features because sometimes, you always hear about the result of the game but never the individuals playing the game.

These stories focus on both the competition of sports and the stories that come from those sports. For example, the story about the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team talked about them winning the game, but it also gave a little background as to how they got to where they are. The story about GHSA doesn’t talk much about the competition but basically says that where you play matters, thus moving the competition elsewhere. Not all sports stories have to be about the competition and performance, and that’s what I love.

The story that I liked most was the one about the volleyball player with the prosthetic leg. Reading inspiring stories like this always makes me emotional and makes me realize that not all individuals start out as athletes. They have to go through trials to get to where they are today, and I think that’s the beauty of it all. I also liked the story about the hockey team because winning that medal was a big deal for them, but I love the backstory that it gave telling how long they have worked for this. The pictures helped a lot with that story as well.

I don’t think any of these stories were over dramatizing. They all contained good information and were stories that I enjoyed reading.

I think that a writer should have knowledge about the sport if they are strictly just doing a news story on the game, who won, how they played, etc. In sports features like some of the ones that we have read for this prompt, I don’t necessarily think that you have to know everything about the sport. When doing features, you are focusing more on that person rather than the sport.


A&E Article

For most, Christian music is a genre that people often put to the side, choosing country or pop music instead. While artists like Taylor Swift and Kesha dominate the charts with pop music, Christian music can give us a feeling that no other genre can.

“For me, Christian music is something that I want to listen to all the time, and I always know that there will be a message of encouragement and hope when I’m listening,” said Pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Christ Pritchett.

The problem with many current pop songs today is that they don’t contain a message, focusing on someone’s sex life or drinking on the weekends, such as Bruno Mars’ Finesse and Dan & Shay’s Tequila. Christian music takes a different approach, attempting to help those in times of trouble and build people up when they need it most.

There are many different types of Christian music. For example, Skillet is a hard rock Christian band. Hillsong is a praise and worship group. The Newsboys are more of a hip-hop trio. Christian music caters to each individual no matter what type of music genre they’re interested in.

Christian music can also be powerful because of the artist.

“There’s a difference between those who want to perform and those who want to worship,” said Pritchett. “There is a different feeling when the artist steps aside and allows the Holy Spirit to fill the room,” said Pritchett.

“Christian music is more than just music, it’s a way of worship,” said senior mass communications major, Durden Smith.

For many people, the power of the Holy Spirit is something that they have never experienced while listening to music and even might sound a bit scary. For business graduate student Manyi Eno, this is something that she experiences a lot.

“Worship makes me feel really close to God in that moment. There is an overwhelming feeling of happiness to the point where I want to cry,” said Eno. “I think about things that I have gone through to get me to where I am today, and Christian music has given me the ability to get through those difficult times.”

“During the day, there will be a song that comes on that speaks to me about something that I am dealing with at that particular time,” said Pritchett.

Christian music has the ability to encourage someone who may have lost a loved one, just found out they have sickness that can’t be cured or have just had their heart broken. Whatever it is, Christian music can provide comfort and encouragement for those struggling.

Some people may not listen to words and just listen to the music. Even though this is true, with Christian music, those people are still being introduced to the message. It may just sound like a nice tune to some, but down the road, they’ll realize that the message in that tune stuck with them as well.

To hear Christian music that is currently dominating the charts, visit billboard.com.

Feature Article

The house was quiet as he packed up his things and walked out the door. The constant slamming of doors, secrets and lies had become harder to bear. He was gone, and all she could do was sit alone in an empty house as tears fell down her face.

“As soon as Jennifer gave me the freedom to walk out of the house, I was gone and never coming back,” said David Gibson.

Jennifer Gibson states that she had given up and just really wanted some peace and quiet. “I knew he wasn’t happy, so I was basically wasting my time.”

After David and Jennifer were married, he began working at a local hardware store, and Jennifer worked at a nearby doctor’s office. They both had steady incomes, and the last thing they thought about was divorce. They were involved in their church, and David led the youth in praise and worship on Wednesday evenings.

Jennifer wanted to support David in whatever he was doing, but she began to notice things between David and a young woman, who helped lead worship, that seemed out of place. They were constantly texting each other, but she ignored it, thinking that the messages were related to music.

It all happened one Thursday evening when the band finished practicing. Jennifer was shopping, and the band decided to go out to eat without mentioning it to her. She had had enough and decided to call her husband while they were eating.

“It was very embarrassing because every one of the band members could hear Jennifer yelling over the phone,” said David.

After this incident, David told Jennifer that he wanted a divorce several times, but she never thought something like this could happen to her, so she ignored it. Little did she know, he already had his mind made up.

A relationship emerged from the friendship between David and the young woman.

Forty-one percent of first marriages end in divorce, according to McKinley Irvin. Their divorce was final in March of 2010, and David stayed with the woman for about a year.

“She filled every void in my life. Everything that Jennifer wasn’t, she was. This was the devil’s way of telling me that I was getting what I wanted,” David said.

Their pastor, Chris Pritchett said, “I always tried to encourage both of them, but I was in so much shock at what was going on that I began to get angry.”

One night, while Jennifer was sleeping alone in her bed, she had a dream that she was pregnant. She remembers walking out of the bathroom and telling David that she had felt the baby kick.

“As I was brushing my teeth, I literally heard a voice over my shoulder that said I gave you that dream as a confirmation that he is coming back.”

They had been praying for God to send them a child long before they divorced, but Jennifer was never able to get pregnant. That dream helped her believe that their marriage was definitely not over.

In 2011, David had literally hit rock bottom and almost lost everything he had. He was at work when a woman he knew came into the store. He ignored her and went to the back of the store, making sure that another employee took care of her. As she was checking out, she began to cry. She knew the situation and could not believe that something like this could happen to David and Jennifer. She told the other employee that it was such a shame that Jennifer had to go through something like this, not knowing that David was listening from the back of the store.

“That made me look at things differently, and if it wasn’t for that day, I don’t know where I would be today,” said David.

He ended things with the young woman and started attending church again. Jennifer continued to attend church throughout the divorce. He decided to make things right with the Lord before he made things right with Jennifer. He knew people would judge, but “I knew it was the right thing to do,” he said.

They were divorced a little less than a year, and they didn’t remarry as soon as he ended things with the young woman. They took things slow, just like they would if they had never been married before.

According to McKinley Irvin, people wait an average of three years after a divorce to remarry (if they remarry at all).

About six months after they remarried, they found out that they were expecting a child. Jennifer’s dream became a reality, and it was a moment filled with emotion that the couple couldn’t even describe.

The couple now has to hold each other accountable for almost everything in their marriage, and they have a lot more respect for each other than before.

“We have framed in our house that have both of our anniversaries to remind us of how good God is and how precious our love is.”

David and Jennifer now have two children, Olin and Silas, who are constant reminders of God’s grace. They are financially stable, and their relationship is stronger than ever before.

Jennifer wrote in a recent Facebook post, sharing a memory from 2011, “Today by the grace of God we are living it. We are living the dream. My heart is so full, and I feel truly blessed.”

“I wouldn’t want to go through what we went through again,” said David, “but I wouldn’t want to change what we went through because it has made us who we are today.”





Prompt #5

These articles were definitely not my favorite out of the ones that we have read so far, but I feel like a review introduces a work like an album, book, movie, etc. An arts and entertainment article may or may not feature an artistic work such as the ones I listed. An A&E article is more of a story behind that movie or that album. For example, the country music article talked about a current issue and related it to country music. It mentioned certain artists, but it focused more on the story than it did their music. It was the same way for the other four articles as well.

I think the story about the paintings in the museum caught my attention the most. You wouldn’t think that art pieces would be an issue when it came to the #MeToo movement. They’ve been there for a while, long before this movement came to fruition. However, I could see where some people would think having these paintings displayed is affecting this movement. Like Durden said, I’m not sure what I would say if someone asked me if they should be taken down, but I think that we need to remember that movements like this can go farther than just people.

Like I said, there is a story that goes along with them to make you interested in the article, and it is tied to a larger issue, such as the #MeToo movement. That story may be negative, or it may be positive, but either way, you’re gaining interest of the readers around you.

Creating Awareness for Those With Developmental Disabilities

Imagine not being able to walk, give someone a high five or even form words correctly. Those actions are the things that individuals with developmental disabilities have trouble with on a daily basis.

March is “Developmental Disabilities month, created by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, according to Special Needs Alliance. During this month, we are able to create awareness about developmental disabilities. Over 5 million Americans are estimated to have a disability such as down syndrome, autism, dyslexia and processing disorders.

Parents of those with these special needs have to face the fact that their child may never speak correctly, walk correctly or learn subjects in a normal way. But aside from their children, having a month dedicated to these special individuals is something parents can be proud of.

Although some may think those with down syndrome or autism are limited to what they are able to do, they aren’t. The reality is that those with no disability limit themselves more than those with a disability.

They make a difference in this world on a daily basis just because they choose to look beyond their special need and live a normal life. Those with down syndrome are becoming models. Those with autism are smarter than anyone could imagine. Those with dyslexia are learning how to read. They may have been diagnosed with a disability, but that doesn’t mean that they have to let it define them. It’s not who they are or who they want to be. They want to make that difference, and having a month to celebrate it makes it even sweeter.

Take a moment this March to remember those individuals who struggle daily with this type of disability as well as choose to look past it. It’s a month where we should step into their shoes, see things from their point of view and think about others for a change.

The Greatest Showman Review

Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum was born on July 5, 1810 and later became a showman, finding the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1871. The recent film, “The Greatest Showman,” directed by Michael Gracey, portrays his life and how he became a showman that no one will ever forget.

Even though many people say Barnum wasn’t the best person, the film certainly didn’t portray that. There were times where his priorities were in the wrong place, but “The Greatest Showman” was full of endless creativity and outstanding choreography, music and acting. However, the story could have been more developed.

The beginning toggles back and forth with Barnum as a young child and as a grown man. This shows us the dream that he had as a young child and gives us an idea of what the movie is going to be about. While trying to raise a family, Barnum loses his job, takes out a loan and buys a museum full of unusual things. He then decides to find unusual people and put together a show for enjoyment, later becoming a circus.

The film stars outstanding actors Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum who had hopes and dreams to show the world those people who weren’t like everyone else. It also stars Zac Efron as Philip Carlisle, Michelle Williams as Charity Barnum, Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind and Zendaya as Anne Wheeler. All of their voices are like puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. I could not have picked more talented singers to be a part of this film.

Anne and Philip’s relationship was very daring during that time. Loving a girl of a different race was unheard of, but this film shows that love has no limits.

The story is too fast paced for someone who would have liked to know the details behind the true story. The film focuses more on the musical aspect, and did not focus on the storyline enough. More balance would’ve completed the film and made it more well-rounded.

The film was nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards and took home best original song for “This is Me,” a song that focuses on how we should not be scared to show the world who we are. The soundtrack can stand on its own. By listening to the music in this movie, you can tell that the goal was to produce modern music but still be able to get the message across to the audience.

Even though the storyline didn’t meet my expectations, I fell in love with the cast and the music. I even went and saw it multiple times because a movie is always good the second time, and it’s one you just won’t get tired of.

Storywise, it’s ok. But musically, it really is the greatest show.