Prompt #8

These articles all deal with very serious topics, like a bigger publication would. The difference is that a larger publication would write a more general, nonspecific version of a story, while the stories in this prompt were more specific and local.

The “In The Dark” story had the most reporting work. There were several people interviewed and a great deal of statistics. The story about feminine products probably required the least reporting, as most of it was about personal experiences in situations that weren’t as serious as some of the other articles in this prompt. For the most part, better reporting will make a better story, but great reporting on a terrible topic does not make it a great story.

I liked the “In The Dark” story the best because the writer did phenomenal reporting combined with a very tough issue. Whenever someone combines those two elements into a story, it usually ends up being a great story.

Any of these stories could be written with a Piedmont spin. For stories like “In The Dark” and and “Academic Success for Sale,” you could interview students who have similar experiences like those mentioned in the articles.


Sports Feature

After a record-setting career as a four-year starter and setter for the Gainesville (Ga.) High School volleyball team, Savannah Roys is ready for the next chapter in her volleyball and educational career at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Ala.

Roys set the school record for assists in a career while at Gainesville High, and led the team to two area championships during her time playing for the Red Elephants. She also was named Area Player of the Year her senior season, and was named to the All-Area team all four years she played for Gainesville, three of those four being on the first team. Roys is also one of the first athletes from GHS to earn a full athletic scholarship for volleyball.

Going into her sophomore season, Roys had a unique situation with one of the coaches on staff. Her father, Randy Roys, was hired as a high school math teacher and an assistant volleyball coach by the Gainesville City School System. Though they faced their fair share of challenges, they managed to work through their differences to win two area championships during that time.

“It was difficult at times, but I think it helped a lot,” Savannah Roys said. “We knew each other well enough to know what the other one was thinking. Because we’re very like-minded, we understood each other very well.”

Coach Roys and Savannah butted heads at time when they shared the same court, but Coach Roys thinks they ultimately were able to set aside their differences to earn two sweet 16 appearances in the GHSA playoffs.

“We had to make a conscious and concerted effort to not let the two interfere with each other. We weren’t always successful, but for the most part we made it work,” Coach Roys said. “As the coach/dad, I felt I had the bigger responsibility, as the adult, to make sure that our on-court relationship did not interfere with our relationship as father and daughter.”

While Savannah believes that her career at Gainesville was a big step for her as a leader, club ball was where she really learned how to take her game to the next level. Roys has played for the GA5 Volleyball Club, based out of Suwanee, Ga., since she was 13 years old.

“Club ball is very demanding and requires a lot of leadership. You have to be very attentive and precise when you play on that level,” Roys said. “So when it came time for school ball, I could transfer those attributes I had learned during club season to help our school team on and off the court.”

Roys plays with several other college commits on her club team, including players committed to Flagler College, Tennessee Tech University and Georgia State University. The team that Roys plays for, GA5 18-1s, is headed to the national tournament in Anaheim, Ca. later this month, after winning two national qualifiers earlier this year.

After the national tournament, Roys’ high school and club career will be over, but she is excited to play for Katie O’Brien, the head volleyball coach at Montevallo, who also used to be the head volleyball coach at Piedmont College.

“Montevallo felt like home. The team environment and energy just suited me. The girls there are very similar to me, and it just felt like the right fit.”



Event Story: Diane Roberts

Award-winning author and journalist Diane Roberts talked to Piedmont mass communications students on Thursday, March 29, about football, hate mail and her motivation.

Roberts has written four books, including “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,” and has also written for several newspapers across the United States. Her writing experience, coupled with the work she has done for BBC radio, puts together a unique résumé. Even though Roberts has already accomplished so much she is always looking for another task to complete.

“No matter what you accomplish, there is a ‘what next?’,” Roberts said. “When I first published a book, I would lie on the sofa and think ‘I’ve done it!’, and that feeling lasted for a little bit, but you’re always thinking ‘what next?’”

Fellow students at the lecture were impressed by the internal drive and motivation that Diane Roberts has.

“I loved what Diane Roberts said about accomplishing something then thinking, ‘what next?’,” Senior mass communications major Leslie Pritchett said. “For someone that is so accomplished to still have that kind of motivation, that’s special.”

As any journalist knows, the more stories you write, the more naysayers and critics you will have. Everything you write will not be well-received by the entire audience. Roberts has covered several stories over the years, some of the most interesting being about white supremacist movements and rallies, but has not always received the best feedback from readers.

“I like hate mail. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job,” Roberts said. “Not the hate mail that says, ‘it was 10 not 20, her name is Laura not Margaret,’ that’s not the hate mail you like. I like the hate mail that says, ‘you’re a bad person, and you hate America.’ That doesn’t speak well to my character, but I like it.”

Despite the disdain that Roberts has received over the years, she remains a very dedicated journalist.

“I could never quit journalism. I could try to not do as much, but I can’t stop,” Roberts said. “That’s the thing about journalism. Once you get a story in your head, you just have to do it.”

It was clear that Roberts is very passionate about her work. Whether it is writing a 500-page book, or writing a short column for the St. Petersburg Times, Roberts fully devotes herself to what she is doing.

“It was really awesome to hear someone like Diane Roberts talk about all the places she has been and things she has done,” Senior mass communications major Durden Smith said. “She has so much passion for her work, and that really shows when you look at all of her accomplishments.”

While Roberts touched on several topics, but had a very interesting take on diversifying oneself. She noted that a person should have several different personas, not just one.

“I think one of the best things to do is confuse people. Everybody is looking for authenticity, and I’m not sure authenticity is quite real because everyone has various selves, nobody is just one thing,” Roberts said. “Writers really have different selves. You try to express one of your selves, but you don’t have to be one thing all the time. You will bore yourself and everybody else if you stick to one thing.”

“Shut Up and Dribble”

On March 4, 2018, Kobe Bryant won an Academy Award for his animated short film, “Dear Basketball,” and said in his acceptance speech “I mean, as basketball players, we’re really supposed to ‘shut up and dribble.’ But I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.”

A few weeks ago the National Basketball Association’s two best players, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, sat down with ESPN’s Cari Champion for an interview on James’ media site, Uninterrupted. Uninterrupted launched a few years ago on Bleacher Report, and gives professional athletes a chance to showcase their lives when they’re not competing.

During the interview with Champion, both James and Durant were critical of many political and social issues. The comments that captured most people’s attention, were the remarks James made about President Trump: “The number one job in America [president], and the appointed person is someone who doesn’t understand the people. And really don’t give a f*** about the people,” he said.

Kevin Durant also spoke out against President Trump. “When you’re talking about leadership and what’s going on in our country, it’s all about leadership. And I learned that playing basketball. I learned a lot of life skills from playing basketball. You need to encourage people and that’s what builds a great team, and I feel like our team as a country is not ran by a great coach.”

Athletes everywhere, on all levels, have been very supportive of professional athletes using their platform to express their political views.

Senior mass communication major and member of the Piedmont basketball team, Justin Vallejo said, “I think it’s great that superstar athletes are using the platform they have to reach out to society about the problems and issues that are going on in America.”

The comments made by Durant and James quickly became available on social media and raised a few eyebrows. Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, a known conservative and TV show host, was very critical of James’ comments. Ingraham said James’ and Durant’s comments were “barely intelligible,” “ungrammatical” and “ignorant.”

Dr. Welch Suggs, who teaches sports journalism courses at the University of Georgia, thinks that sports have often been viewed as an escape from real world issues. “There have always been plenty of people, including those in the media, who see sports as a respite from politics and other difficult and challenging aspects of daily life,” Suggs said. “When athletes ‘step out of their lane’—unless it’s for an acceptable cause like supporting veterans–fans and media criticize them for taking away that respite.”

“Must they run their mouths like that? It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball. Oh, and LeBron and Kevin, you are great players but no one voted for you,” Ingraham said. “Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble.”

James and Durant are not the only professional athletes or coaches who have been critical of President Trump. The two most well-known and respected coaches in the NBA, Steve Kerr and Greg Popovich, have vehemently opposed Trump publicly ever since he’s stepped into office. Super Bowl Champion and defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles Chris Long has not agreed with anything Trump has done in his presidency and Long has been very vocal about that. For some reason though, Long, Kerr and Popovich haven’t been attacked by the Fox News host for their comments. Durant, James, Long, Kerr and Popovich are openly critical of the president. Of those five men, two are black and three are white, and many people do not think that it’s a coincidence Ingraham went after the two men who do not possess the same skin color as her.

Ingraham most likely made these comments to gain publicity, which she did, but showed her own unawareness of a broken system.

“This was a white woman who didn’t like the opinion of a black man, and she took it out of hand. She said that James and Durant should not give their political opinion, because no one voted for them, but no one voted for Laura Ingraham either,” Junior mass communication major Luke Tanner said. “James and Durant, along with any other American, have a right to speak freely on these types of issues, and shouldn’t be ridiculed by ratings-seeking political commentators like Laura Ingraham.”

James has since responded to Ingraham, saying, “We will definitely not shut up and dribble.”

Prompt #7

Event coverage differs from taking minutes at a meeting in many ways. When taking minutes, you just note who was or wasn’t there and keep track of what was talked about in the meeting, but in event coverage you also go into people’s history and how they are impactful at the event. For event coverage, you have to talk about the history or backstory of the event. You also have to touch on why it is significant.

Doing your research, both about the people and the actual event, is where most of the additional reporting lies. Event coverage stories are definitely more news-oriented, but also have hints of feature articles in them too. The news parts of the stories are in the actual details of the event, while the aspects of feature stories are found when talking about the history of the individuals participating in the event.

Prompt #6

While all of these articles have an air of competition, they also focus on the people that are involved. By focusing on the athletes, and who they are as people, these writers are appealing to more than just the sports fan. My favorite article was the one about the U.S. women’s hockey team. The Canadian women hadn’t lost an olympic game since 1998, so for the U.S. to beat them in the fashion that they did, it’s fantastic for the sport of hockey, women’s hockey in particular, here in the states. The story about the Oklahoma State receiver from Stamford, Texas, was a bit overdramatized in my opinion. The way Washington was portrayed from what his aunt told his mother was a little farfetched. It was almost like she was comparing to him to some kind of biblical prophesy being fulfilled. While I’m sure Washington was an answer to prayers from both the mother and aunt amongst others, but it still seems like a bit of a reach.

I think a sportswriter should have a great understanding of the sport they are covering when writing a game summary, or an article like the one about the Macon court regulation issues. You really have to know the sport to understand how just a foot difference would have such an impact on these high school athletes. For an article like the profile on James Washington, I believe a very basic understanding of the sport that the athlete plays would work just fine. Features are more about the athlete themselves than the actual sport.

Feature Article

Henry Johnson has worked with several well-known singers, magicians and occasionally likes to blow things up. Johnson teaches pyrotechnics, set design and light design, among other courses, and is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Piedmont College.

“I’ve worked with a lot of country and rock stars from the 70s and 80s,” said Johnson. “I’ve worked with Hank Williams Jr., Kenny Rodgers, Sting, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys and Neil Young among others.”

Before he worked with all of the aforementioned people, Johnson got his bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga., then went on to get his master’s degree in design at the University of Georgia.

Johnson has been doing magic since he was nine years old, and has been performing his own show, “Doc Johnson’s Traveling Miracle Medicine Show,” since 1980.

“I don’t know if magic brought me into theatre exactly, but it all blended together. My interest in theatre has always been on the technical side; I’ve never had any real interest in acting,” Johnson said. “I saw ‘Peter Pan’ when I was 6-years-old and loved the idea of creating the illusions on stage.”

Henry Johnson has also worked with several popular magicians throughout his career, but doesn’t see them as anything other than coworkers.

“I’ve worked with David Copperfield and Rudy Coby. I knew Doug Henning too. I never got to work with him, but I got to know him,” said Johnson. “Magicians don’t see each other as famous, we just see each other as colleagues.”

After Johnson finished his career traveling around and working various shows, concerts and performances, he decided he wanted to teach the upcoming generations of thespians.

“You realize after a while you can’t travel around and work forever. Your legs are going to give out from all the heavy lifting eventually, and you have to figure out what you can do when you’re getting older,” said Johnson. “I taught at the College of Boca Raton, Gainesville (Ga.) College and at the University of Georgia before coming to Piedmont 11 years ago.”

Henry Johnson has helped many students throughout the years, teaching technical theatre. Although Johnson is held in very high regard by his students for his teaching ability, he helps them become even better people. Sophomore drama education major, Dakota Stockton, has worked alongside Johnson the last two years in the technical aspect of theatre.

“Henry has been a very influential in my education here at Piedmont. In a world where people could care less about you, Henry is always there with a loving heart, helping hand, and a sarcastic, yet hilarious, comment,” Stockton said. “He has taught me almost everything I know about technical theatre, which is quite a lot. As a drama education major, once I graduate I am going to be on my own. Thanks to Henry’s teaching ability, and influence, I feel very confident in leading my students into technical theatre.”

Although he only has one official job title at Piedmont, Johnson does several jobs around the theatre department.

“I design, I’m the TD (technical director), I teach and I work as shop foreman,” said Johnson.

Needless to say, if there’s a job to do in the Theatre department behind the curtain, Johnson is likely somehow involved.

Junior mass communication major, Luke Tanner, has worked with theatre department quite a bit in his time here at Piedmont, and praised Johnson’s set building ability.

“Henry is an amazing set designer,” Tanner said. “Whatever the director or designer thinks of, he can build it.”

As Johnson continues to get older, he realizes that teaching is his best way to contribute to the thespian society.

“This is probably my last job teaching,” said Johnson. “I’ll be 70 years old in September, but as long as I have my mental acumen, I’ll continue to do it, and I love teaching.”



Henry Johnson:

Luke Tanner:

Dakota Stockton:

Prompt #5

The biggest difference between a review and an arts and entertainment article is how the story is written. While a review is more critical, arts and entertainment pieces dive into the story behind the scenes. Both kinds of articles cover the same type of work, whether it’s movies, books or other works of art.

The biggest mass appeal for a story is controversy. If everyone agreed with each other at all times, there would be hardly any news worth reporting. Everyone would share the same views, and that would take away from the uniqueness of each individual. Writing on social issues is a great way to draw mass appeal as well. The historical paintings that are in mentioned in one of the articles show how past cultures and individuals thought in a particular time.

The story about the historical paintings and the #MeToo movement caught my attention the most. These paintings should be able to be seen in a museum by current and future generations. Italian philosopher and writer George Santayana said it best, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Prompt #4

Feature articles are always fascinating to me. They put other peoples lives and experiences in a way that you begin to feel like you are going through the issue with these people.

The story about Jose Garcia being ripped away from his family was most likely the most difficult story to report and write about. Immigration policy is such a highly debated subject right now, and having to interview families that have been ripped apart has to be emotionally exhausting.

The story about Nick Foles was probably took the least effort to report on. Most of the information in the article could be found with a simple Google search, but it was still interesting to hear about Foles’ athletic history outside of football.

Before reading each article, I was least interested in the article about Camila Cabello. The writer effectively got me interested in the story by writing about Cabello’s new album, “Camila,” which I thought was very well done.

One thing that I thought was great in each feature article, was how the writers all went deep into what makes up the person that each article is written about. I felt like I knew each person that the articles were written about. By making that personal connection, a reader can still be very interested in the story, even if they aren’t incredibly into the topic.

Migos: “Culture II” Long Review

Migos, the rap trio from Gwinnett County, Ga., have taken the country by storm over the past year, but their latest album set them back a bit. Released January 26th, Migos third studio album, “Culture II”, is a follow-up to their previous album, “Culture”, which was released on January 27th, 2017. “Culture” reached certified platinum in less than four months and “Culture II” is well on its way to join the platinum ranks, as it debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. “Culture” also was atop the Billboard 200 Albums Chart, but did not have as strong of a debut as “Culture II” has had.

“Culture II” is a brutally long, 24-track album, that has several songs that are easily forgettable. Anything more than 15 songs in an album is difficult to listen to in one sitting, and Migos prove that notion true with this new album. Songs like “Open It Up,” “Too Much Jewelry” and “Movin’ Too Fast” are far too repetitive and offer no type of originality. “Open It Up” has almost an identical beat to the popular anthem “Deadz (feat. 2 Chainz),” which was on “Culture,” and many other songs on the album sound far too synonymous. Most of the songs that are only performed by Quavo, Offset and Takeoff have not been well received by listeners. However, there are a few exceptions. “Superstars,” “Emoji a Chain” and “Stir Fry” each have a unique sound, and do a great job of showing both the individual versatility of each artist, as well as the undeniable chemistry that the group shares.

The star-studded cast of features that Migos had join them on “Culture II” saved the album from being an absolute flop. Drake, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, Travis Scott, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and 2 Chainz rescue Migos from a mediocre, at best, album. “Walk It Talk It” is a very repetitive song, but a verse in the middle of the song by Drake rescues the listener from the lull that is the rest of the song. Arguably the best feature on the album is Post Malone on the track “Notice Me.” Post Malone does a great job of bringing the Migos out of their traditional rhythm and flow, and gives a new, unique sound that the Migos so desperately need.

Overall, “Culture II” was a decent, definitely not great, album. Migos were ultimately outshined by their features on “Culture II.”  That and trying to duplicate too much of their success from “Culture,” is why they ended up with an album that had several throwaway tracks.