Diane Roberts Discusses Paradoxes in Football

Nicole Thomas

Diane Roberts Discusses Paradoxes in Football

According to Piedmont College’s website, “Lilian Eugenia Smith was born in Jasper, Florida in 1897.”  She wrote nonfiction, essays and articles in which she advocated for “social justice and racial equality.”  Like Lilian Smith, Diane Roberts is from Florida and is a writer.  She teaches at FSU and writes for different magazines and newspapers.  However, Diane Roberts doesn’t enjoy writing for newspapers and magazines as much as writing books, because she’s limited in her writing.  Roberts spoke to creative writing students on March 29, talking about college football and paradoxes.

Diane Roberts discussed how there were a lot of problems in football, yet she was “obsessed” with it.  Problems with football existed from the very beginning, including injuries such as concussions and neck problems. There’s a lot of contradiction and tribalism in football, and people should write about it.

“Georgia fans would throw rocks at Georgia Tech players,” she said, adding that years ago Georgia fans in Athens followed the Georgia Tech players to the bus while throwing stuff at them.  “We have our tribes we belong to, like religion, demographic.”

Diane Roberts later wrote a book about Florida and refers to Florida as being “weird.”  “I took this thing that was very familiar and tried to get people to see how odd it was, and that’s what you do when you’re writing nonfiction.  With nonfiction, you have to see the strangeness that’s already there and it is there.”

Roberts said tribalism could be “from village to village.”  People in one village might think that the other one is weird.  “Hawkins writes a lot about that.  Even though Village A is exactly like Village B, they just don’t want to see it that way.  It might be religious, political, or ethnic.”

She also says how the south has a lot of people in one area, so there’s more diversity there.  People ask others where they are from and they judge them if they’re not born in that area.  “Places that are weird like this are rich and a gift.  I can’t think of a better place for a writer to live then the south.  I’m sure any place that a writer lives a writer will find it interesting.”

Diane Roberts’ speech elicited different emotions from the students who attended.  Nathan Blackburn said, “I really enjoyed her speech, she was really honest with her answers to any questions that were asked, and I could tell that she genuinely wanted to be there with us.  I also really liked how she talked about both creative writing and journalism in the same speech, and when she talked about how more funding and money should be put into college students’ education.”

Page Dukes said, “I thought the speech was very insightful.  I had never thought too much about football and how it reinforces cultural norms.  But I was a little concerned that we didn’t talk more about how to resolve the cultural problems and paradoxes she mentioned.  She seemed to leave it up to us as the younger generation to find solutions.”

Heflin: A Player Through Injury

Nicole Thomas

April 6, 2018

Heflin: A Player Through Injury

Cassidy Heflin is a sophomore lacrosse player at Piedmont College.  She started playing lacrosse at Piedmont her freshman year.  However, Heflin has been dedicated to the sport since her 9th grade year in high school.  She started playing after her elementary school PE teacher reached out to her and asked her to play high school lacrosse.

Heflin has suffered from injuries in lacrosse, but has never given up on the sport.  Heflin’s injuries date back to sophomore year in high school where she suffered from lower back pain.  Then in her freshman year of college, she made a strange pivot while playing, which resulted in her SI joint being injured.  During freshman year, in an effort to help her SI joint, she got a shot which was supposed to act like a cortisone shot.  She then had to forgo a week of playing.  Unfortunately, the shot didn’t work, so this year she got another shot which was supposed to go into her SI joint, but the doctor missed. Heflin had to take some time off of lacrosse after that.  For a while Heflin was playing really well, but unfortunately she got hit a few games ago and fell on her bad side.  She had to sit out a couple of games after that.  Heflin is currently playing but says she’s not 100%.  She hopes that by getting rest this summer and doing treatments, she’ll be back to normal playing skill and feeling better.

With lacrosse, there have come some challenges.  “We have as much skill but we don’t have as much experience, and for the collegiate level game that’s important because you need to know what’s going on, and how things are going to go, and what things and what people to look out for.”

Playing through her injury was also challenging.  Heflin says she felt like it was hard to “be there for my team because if you’re not 100%, you don’t always feel like practicing so then you bring people down.”

Heflin says that she’s learned from her injuries in lacrosse that “patience is really important. Being an athlete I’m not used to sitting out for games or practices, so when I did do that it was really difficult.  Taking that time is really important and I learned if you don’t take that time there’s no way you’re going to get better.”

Heflin still plays lacrosse despite being injured because, “It’s fun and we don’t have a lot of girls, but even if we did I probably still wouldn’t want to give up on the team.  The best thing about playing lacrosse, especially in college is the family feel.  All these girls on the team are really close because we spend so much time together.”

Heflin has definitely made a positive impact on her team.  Teammate and sophomore, Erin Alyward said, “Heflin is a positive influence on the team.  She brings the spark to the team.  She keeps everyone’s head up. No matter how far behind we are in points or no matter how tired you feel she’ll push you and cheer anyone and everyone on.  Heflin is a well-rounded player and is an extremely important player on our team.  Her injury doesn’t affect her playing nor does it impair her positivity on the field.  She carries us on her back through every game.”

Mattie Keaton, another lacrosse player on the team said, “Heflin has brought so much positivity to our team. Even when she is unable to practice she cheers us on and will lift us up if we are slowing down. Our athletic trainer will limit her to things she can do for some practice and despite that she will still give 100 percent. She never complains and she always stays positive no matter what the score is. She has been a big asset to our team and I am very thankful to call her my teammate.”

Heflin compares her team to a “Security blanket.”  Heflin’s coaches have also made a positive impact on her by being “good mentors” for her.

Heflin’s hard work has definitely payed off.  In her freshman year, her and her team won against Methodist College in the semi-final game.  Piedmont College and Methodist College were tied during the game, but Piedmont pulled ahead and won. Heflin really enjoyed that game because during regular season they lost against Methodist College.

Heflin has also had several recognitions her freshman year as a Piedmont College lacrosse player such as having second team-all conference and being part of tournament team.  Tournament team recognizes players throughout the year.  She also was Rookie of the week.

Playing lacrosse has not only benefitted Heflin, but Heflin’s perseverance and strength has made the team grow as a whole.

School News Prompt

The stories about college or high schools are different than news stories from professional publications because they are probably geared towards a younger audience which is high school and college age.  This means these stories are about things that affect college and high school students.  They are similar to the professional publications because they are all really detailed and there’s reporting from other sources.  The story that required the most reporting was “In the Dark: records shine light on sexual misconduct.”  The story that required the least reporting was “Feminine products kept hidden.”  In my opinion, it can still be a really good story even if there’s not as much reporting done.  My favorite story was “Mental Health needs soar at St. Thomas.”  It was my favorite because it was not only about mental health but it was also really good at going into detail about how there wasn’t enough counseling staff at the college.  For “Mental health needs soar at St. Thomas,” I could write about the counseling resources on campuses.  I could interview the school counselors, Ms. Evonne Jones and Dr. Dawson Woodrum.  I could ask them about how many people come to the counseling center per day.  I could also ask them about the other counseling resources on campus.

Prompt #7

Event coverage is different than taking minutes of a meeting because the event coverage articles I read were really detailed and they were made into articles.  In other words, they weren’t just notes about what happened at the event like minutes are.  The articles were fully developed with lots of detail, paragraph, and sources.


The additional reporting that was required was that the journalist had to see what other events had taken place revolving the topic.  For example in “Students, at town hall to Washington NRA: Guns are the problem, do something”  at the end it also briefly talked about “Trump’s listening session” which took place Wednesday afternoon.  In the article about UGA, it mentioned how another person felt about hearing the speech.  It said Roya, the Student Government Vice President thought it was “incredible.”

I feel like these stories are written more like news stories.  I feel like it would be similar to news coverage.

The Impact of Celebrities’ Suicides and What We Can Do to Decrease the Suicide Rate

Many people suffer from depression including celebrities.  According to July 20, 2017, The Mercury News article, “Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and America’s suicide crisis,” the American Foundation for Suicide and Prevention said, “Every day, an estimated 121 people take their own lives with suicide being the 10th leading cause of death.”

Celebrities’ suicides may affect not only their loved ones, but countless fans who looked up to them.  Two celebrities who have died by suicide are Kurt Cobain, singer of Nirvana, and Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park.  It can be sad for anyone when they find out a celebrity has died from suicide.  However, it can be even harder on fans who are already experiencing depression.

Chester Bennington’s suicide was hard on 20-year-old Emma Searing.  “Well, I found out about a day later and I just remember my stomach dropping.  He was one of my idols when I was younger and I couldn’t help but feel a deep personal loss when I heard.  I definitely walked around in a slump for a few days.  The world lost a talented musician and his family lost a wonderful man,” said Searing, who suffers from depression.

According to July 20th, 2017, Newsweek article, “After Chester Bennington’s Death, Suicide Experts Fear a Contagion Effect,” When a celebrity commits suicide, it may influence fans who are depressed to take their own lives as well.  Jill Harkvay-Freidman, vice-president of research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said “It can also trigger suicidal feelings in someone who maybe was suicidal in the past.”

This may be partly due to the fact that people suffering from depression “relate to that celebrity and connect to that celebrity’s struggles.  It could cause them to feel like they’re in that person’s shoes and that that is them,” said Piedmont College’s counselor, Evonne Jones.  She later adds that it may make the fan think, “If they couldn’t cope, I don’t have the strength to cope either.”

Kurt Cobain’s 1994 suicide affected many people, including Piedmont College mass communications professor, Dr. Joe Dennis. “Kurt Cobain was someone I felt I could relate to when I was in high school.  Like Kurt, I felt all alone and isolated from society, and when he killed himself, I couldn’t help but wonder if I should do the same,” said Dennis who suffers from clinical depression.

According to January 17, 2018, Metro.co.uk article, “Man killed himself after Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington’s suicide”, Lee Randal, 36-year-old who lived in Werneth Low, near Stockport, Greater Manchester, was also affected by Chester Bennington’s suicide and had committed suicide after Bennington did.  Lee Randal suffered from bulimia and was having problems with his wife.  He told his wife he was going to take a shower and go to bed, but he ended up committing suicide instead.

The way the celebrity’s suicide is reported in the media can definitely affect the impact on people who have depression.  This can even affect the suicide rate.  When Kurt Cobain died, the media covered his suicide with care, which contributed to the decrease of suicide rates in Seattle and Australia.

According a April 4th, 2014, Newsweek article, “Did Kurt Cobain’s Death Lower The Suicide Rate in 1994?,” The medical community gave instructions on how to report celebrity suicides.

“It was a proud moment for the media,” said psychology professor, David A. Jobes in the article.  “It was the first time in my memory that journalists who were covering a very high-profile celebrity suicide really did what the research community wanted them to do all along.  It was the first widespread use… of warnings signs and hotline numbers and things that now are sort of matter-of-fact.”

Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to tell when loved ones are depressed and suicidal.  In RollingStone Magazine, Talinda Bennington, the widow of Chester Bennington, said that Chester Bennington seemed happy and he was playing and eating jellybeans with his family.

Evonne Jones says that the person who is about to commit suicide may feel happy shortly before they are about to commit suicide “because they’ve come to a point where they’ve accepted the fact that they are going to kill themselves at they are at peace with that.”

“They’ve come to terms with the fact that they are about to take their lives and they feel like well ok this is it,” says Evonne Jones.  “This is what I’m going to do.  This is going to help me.  This is going to end it all.  This is going to end the pain.  They’re doing whatever they need to do at the moment, spending time with their closest family and friends, saying their goodbyes, saying thank you in their own way before they actually take the side to attempt.”

It’s important to recognize the signs of someone who’s suicidal.  According to the Harvard Health Blog, some signs that a person might be suicidal are “talking about suicide, trying to access things that they can kill themselves with, feeling hopeless, feeling worthless and guilty, giving away prized posessions, and saying goodbye.”

“I’m hoping to start QPR and mental health first aid to students, faculty, and staff on campus so everyone can have more of a trained eye,” says Evonne Jones.  If we suspect that someone’s suicidal it’s important that we be direct with them and ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”

Jones said, if people become depressed or suicidal by celebrities’ suicides, they should “reach out and get help, see a psychiatrist, participate in talk therapy, go out into nature and get in touch with their spiritual side and talk honestly with their friends and loved ones about what they’re feeling and what they’re going through.”

Suicides can affect thousands of people, but by recognizing the signs before the person commits suicide, having the media portray celebrities’ suicides in a constructive way, and reaching out to get help, we have the power to decrease suicide rates.

Sports Prompt

These articles are about performance and competition but there’s also more to it than that.  In “U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Wins First Olympic Gold ’98”  it was about how the US women’s team won hockey.  However, it also mentioned how the players want more people to get involved in hokey.  In “The White Sox Add to Their Human Connection,”  it was more than just performance and competition because it’s about how Moncaada helped Abreu in the White Sox.  In “GHSA moving state basketball from Macon” it’s about how the basket is misplaced at the Macon Coliseum and how basket ball teams won’t be playing there anymore. “The Stamford Star: James Washington, the Brightest Son of a Slowly Dying Texas Town” is about James Washington and his childhood and the town he grew up in.  “Freshman Kills Stereotypes, Bullying” is about how Nyajuol plays volley ball, her leg/birth defect, and how her team supports her and how she supports her team.

I like “Freshman Kills Stereotypes, Bullying,” the best.  I found Nyajuol to be very admirable.  I like how she played volleyball despite having a birth defect and I liked the part where it talked about how she went to a counselor to get help with her issues.

I didn’t think the sports journalists over dramatized the athletes.  I think the journalists reflected them in a good light while being straight-forward.

I think it’s important for the writer to have a good grasp on the sport they are writing about.  All of these journalists did their research to produce well-written sports articles.

Feature Article: Dr. Moss is Making a Difference

Dr. Moss is Making A Difference

Dr. Janice Moss is the public speaking professor at Piedmont College who is impacting the lives of other students on a daily basis.  She’s been teaching at the college level for 31 years.  Born in Rockingham in Richmond County, North Carolina, her parents knew that she had the gift to be a teacher ever since she was just 5, because she loved to play school with her dolls.

“Mass communications is a great major because it covers so many different aspects of the media,” Moss said.  “I love radio production, editing, the production elements of television, and I’ve always loved to write.”

Dr. Moss published a book called “Advanced Med African Americans in the Advertising Industry,” in which she “focuses on the time period between 1895-1999.” Dr. Moss knows a lot about this topic because she has a doctorate degree in history with a concentration in African Studies.  She even got the privilege to hear the late wife of Nelson Mandela give a keynote address at the higher education conference at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Prior to coming to Piedmont, Moss was the assistant professor at Brenau College, after graduating from the University of Louisiana Monroe with her master’s degree in mass communications and speech.   “I spent seven years teaching at Brenau University in Gainesville,” she said.  “I taught everything from public speaking to radio production, television production, and many of the writing classes and advertising sales.  I also taught World Civilization 1 and World Civilization 2 and many history classes.”

Dr. Moss has an undergraduate degree in radio, television and film communications. After teaching at Brenau, Moss became a visiting instructor at Clemson University for one year, and then finally came to Piedmont College in 1994.  She was in charge of “writing the curriculum for the minor of mass communications,” which still exists today.

Moss teaches the public speaking club, also known as the speech and debate practicum.  Students who take this practicum can receive one credit for each semester they take it and can take it up to three times.  The students who are part of this practicum compete in debate and public speaking tournaments.

Ray Hernandez, president of the speech and debate team, said he has definitely benefitted from Dr. Moss’ practicum.  “When I first met Dr. Moss, I was a freshman taking her public speaking class,” he said.  “I was very nervous about wanting to talk to her about speech and debate.  Needless to say, she changed my life.  Ever since I joined the speech and debate team Dr. Moss has always been very supporting and very patient with me and everyone else.  Maybe the best thing about her is that never once, have I ever felt her giving up on me!  She is always willing to help me become a better speaker and a better person!  She’s always willing to push me to do better and she always is willing to brag and support her speakers!  She is simply willing to go the extra mile to see us succeed whether it’s in a tournament or in other aspects of life.  She is the best speech and debate coach I could ask for!”

Dr. Moss says that she asks the students “what their top 10 fears are, and public speaking scored higher than the fear of death.”  With public speaking being one of the biggest fears people have, Moss has been diligent with making her students feel confident.

“I love Dr. Moss.  She is such a precious person,” said ZI.  “She always makes you feel welcome and important.  I remember one time in her speaking class I had lost my voice from cheering at a game the night before.  I went to class early to explain the situation the best I could with no voice.  In the end, she still had me give my speech.  She turned a weird situation into a positive one.  She encouraged me saying things like, the show must go on.  She always knows how to find the positive in a situation.  She’s a great motivator!  Definitely one of favorite professors at Piedmont!”

Prompt #5

Arts and entertainment coverage go beyond the traditional critical review by discussing and linking entertainment and arts with current event topics and social issues.  For example, in the article “Country music has found its Weinstein scandal,”  it talks about how Webster is accused of sexually harassing Austin Rick and how people who work in the country music industry do not do enough to stand up for their employees.  Arts and entertainment coverage and traditional critical reviews both focus on things within the art and entertainment category.

The article that resonates with me most is “In The #MeToo Era, Do These Paintings Still Belong In a Museum.”  I found it interesting because art pieces elicit emotion and people now are offended by the pieces due to it sexualizing the women in the art and possibly portraying the women in the art pieces in a bad light.  I also found the background like Picasso mistreating women a little upsetting but interesting.  It was also cool how this article linked the art in art museums to a current topic which is the #MeToo Era.

Writers try to give entertainment mass coverage by linking entertainment and arts with current even topics and social issues.  The writers of the articles may even write about entertainment coverage that affects its readers.  For example, in the article, “Playwrights get a new stage: Audible announce 15 writers for audio theater project,” it talks about how theater pieces are being produced over audio and will be available on Audible.  This affects readers because they will be able to buy these audio theater pieces once it is released.


Prompt #4

There were several well-written articles that we had to read for our writing prompt for this week.  The article that took the most time to write in my opinion was “Michigan father deported to Mexico: ‘I feel lost.’  I feel like it took the most time to write because the writer of this article had to find out a lot of information.  For example, the writer, had to find out what the Mexican city.  The writer also had to find out information about Nicholas Romero, his family, DACA as well as deportation facts and statistics.  It’s hard to pick which article took the least effort to write because all of the articles are detailed.  However, if I had to pick the article that took the least amount of time to write was Beyond Gender.  I feel like the information written in this article was pretty easy to access because the writer of this article could ask his sources for information directly

The topic that I originally didn’t think I would be interested in was deportation.  Surprisingly, I really enjoyed reading Michigan father deported to Mexico; ‘I feel lost.’  I found the information and the descriptive details I read in this article to be really interesting.  I couldn’t help but to sympathize with Nicolas Romero.  It was surprising to think that there were people that would be against Romero especially since he lived in America most of his life.  I hope he will get to be with his family again.

All of these articles generated emotion from the viewers.  The writers of the articles also did a good job at gathering the research that they had used in their articles.  In addition, there was also details in the feature stories.  I think these are important details in writing feature stories.


The Greatest Showman Review

The Greatest Showman is the musical of the century.  It is based off of a true story on how Barnum, played by Hugh Jackman, starts a circus called Barnum Circus. He gathers a group of outsiders to perform there.  All the musical numbers in this movie are spectacular.  This movie explores an array of emotions but has a happy, upbeat ending.  It has an amazing cast featuring Zac Efron, Zendaya Coleman, Rebecca Ferguson and many others. It is inspiring, powerful, and amazing.