Prompt #8

From the way I see it, each of these stories report on issues that one could very well see be reported in bigger, more professional publications. Their use of detailed writing and the strengths that each story carries in its reporting are all potentially professional publication worthy. The difference is, these stories take a more specific, local approach to their reporting, such as the Clarke Case story. This story is reporting on a topic that could potentially happen at any school and is definitely a widespread issue. However, the reporter stuck to their own domain in terms of location.

The story that took the most reporting seems to be “In the Dark.’ That story had several different interviews and statistics related to the state schools it was reporting on. The story that took the least seems to be ‘Feminine products kept hidden.’ That story relied more on personal accounts and standard statistics about the topic. I  believe that ‘more reporting equaling a better story’ can go either way. It’s better to have three powerful, eye opening accounts than six ‘meh’ quotes. Quality over quantity.

My favorite story was ‘In the Dark.’ The inclusion of official documents, in addition to its extensive reporting and very effective quotes, all worked together to create a near seamless story based on its rather hot button topic.

It would be rather easy to take almost any of these stories and give it “The Roar” treatment. For example, the ‘Academic Success for Sale’ story. While I’ve never actually done this, nor been told about it at Piedmont, there’s a pretty high chance that students from both the past and present have had impersonators take classes for them. For this story, I’d interview professors, namely those who teach a mix of in person and online classes. I’d also interview current students and alumni about this.

 

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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.

 

Veronica Capas and Gabby Lotter

The faces of the Piedmont College training room are always changing. Different people, all with different ailments, are constantly coming and going every day. However, two faces that have remained consistent are those of Piedmont soccer players Veronica Capas and Gabby Lotter. The two friends share an unbreakable bond, having been there for each other as they both recover from serious knee injuries.

 

“We had our surgeries about three days apart, so we decided to help each other with all of our rehab training stuff,” said Capas. Both her and Lotter suffered ACL injuries before coming to Piedmont, which sidelined them for the whole season. The only thing that was keeping them sane during that tough time was the drive to get back to playing, and the fact that they had each other’s back.

 

“There will be days when I’m down and she’ll pick me up, or vice versa,” said Lotter. “Having someone in there with me who knows exactly what I’m going through has definitely help me get through the recovery process.”

 

Both girls are cleared to return back to the field for the women’s soccer spring season, but Capas is the only one who is allowed to go through full-contact in practice. The transition back onto the field has been fun for her, but extremely challenging at the same time. “I feel so slow,“ said Capas. “The other day I had to stop practicing because my body hurt so bad. I’m so excited to finally get to play but it pisses me off  that I’m not at 100 percent.”

 

Lotter, though happy for Capas, wishes she could be doing more out on the field. “I’m not fully cleared to do contact drills. I’m basically a neutral player that no one is allowed to tackle. I’ll be fully cleared soon but right now I’m just going to have to deal with it.”

 

This whole experience had made Capas and Lotter inseparable as friends. Seeing each other succeed on the field is one of their main goals and they will do whatever it takes to get back to playing the sport they love, with their first taste of game action on April 14thas the women’s soccer team participates in scrimmages.

 

“Playing on the field together would be awesome,” says Capas, “especially because it’s the goal we shared since we began the recovery process together.”

Diane Roberts Speaks at Piedmont

Renowned novelist and journalist Diana Roberts came to deliver the second of her three speeches here for the students at Piedmont College on March 29th.

 

“I got the chance to check out you guys’ radio station…all I can say is that it’s nice to not have to worry about real world issues like revenue so enjoy it while you can,” said Roberts.

 

Roberts’ main focal point of the speech was the impact of journalism and its place in the modern world today, but before she go into her story as a journalist, she opened up the room for questions.

 

She explained to the small group of students both the perks and the pitfalls of being a journalist in this day and age. She provided wisdom in her many anecdotes and kept everyone awake with several witty remarks that had everyone laughing.

 

“If Paula Deen ever expressed an interest in mathematics, I would find her a more interesting person when she talks, but instead she just puts butter on butter and says ‘try this!’”

Roberts definitely gave several students in attendance some great keys to continue their pursuits of being journalist and writers. Her words of encouragement seemed to resonate with all of the students, many of whom will  be completing capstone and heading off to the real world.

 

“No one get out of bed and decides ‘I’m a writer’ or ‘I’m a journalist’, you have to work at it,” she said. “It’s kind of depressing but that’s how you become successful, by working hard at what you do”

Twin Titans Part Ways

Tariq and Malik Abdulgader are hard to miss. For the last three years, the six-and-a-half foot twins have played on the Piedmont men’s basketball team as forwards. At a distance, the pair may seem menacing: two titans, one sporting fluffy curls and a dark goatee, the other with a clean-shaven head and bushy beard. Up close, however, their wholesome charm and brotherly love shine nearly as brightly as their persistent smiles.

“We do everything together,” Tariq said. “It’s like the saying, ‘from the womb to the tomb.’ We’ve been through so much together, and we’re always there for each other when we need help. He’s been there with me for my whole life.”

Their bond began in Roswell, G.A., where the twins were born in 1997. They grew up doing everything together, and even discovered their passion for basketball at the same time.

“Most people start playing basketball at a really young age, but we didn’t start playing until the eighth grade,” Malik said. “We had to do a lot of extra work to catch up to other players, and having Tariq there always helped me stay motivated. I would see him doing drills in the driveway, and it would push me to keep practicing too.”

Starting at such an old age gave the Abdulgader twins a disadvantage on the court, but what they lacked in experience they made up for in communication.

“When two people play together for a long time, they’re going to build chemistry,” Tariq said. “Me and Malik had that from the beginning. As soon as we started playing basketball together, we were already synched up. I could always tell where he was going to be and what he was going to do, and vice versa. We didn’t have to build that connection on the court, we came into the game with it.”

The brothers’ bond has grown even stronger during their time at Piedmont, serving as one another’s support, both on and off the court.

“Malik’s that one person in my life who always keeps me in check,” Tariq said. “He’s somebody who I can always go to talk to if there’s something on my mind.”

Their support system was tested this season when Tariq fractured his ankle during practice the day before a game. While he healed, he couldn’t play for the Lions and the brothers’ on-court connection was put on pause.

“I could see how frustrated he was because of how much he loves to play,” Malik said. “Seeing him come out onto the court after being out for so long – seeing him smiling during that game – that was a really proud moment for me.”

Soon, Tariq and Malik will be parting ways for the first time in 20 years. Tariq will be staying at Piedmont to finish his degree in accounting, while Malik transfers to Georgia Tech to complete his degrees in engineering and math.

“We’ve always been around for each other,” Malik said. “It’ll be weird not having someone there to talk to all the time. We’ll keep in touch though, and I’ll come to visit his games.”

As Tariq continues playing basketball throughout his final year at Piedmont, Malik will be finding his place within the athletic department at Georgia Tech.

“I’m not sure if I’ll play for Georgia Tech, but I definitely don’t want to become uninvolved in sports,” Malik said. “I want to get involved with their basketball team or football team, even if it’s on the management side.”

As the twins prepare to part ways, they continue to leave their mark on Piedmont College. Despite Tariq’s injury, the pair managed to bring in a total of 34 points for the Lions this season, helping steer the team towards their record of 15-11 and 10-6 in conference play.

One of their closest friends, Zach Obie, has watched the brothers grow since their start at Piedmont three years ago.

“Knowing Malik and Tariq has been a treat,” he said. “Watching them struggle and watching them succeed has really showed me who they are now and who they’re trying to be. Whenever they lose a game, whenever they get a bad grade on a test, they come back twice as hard. They’re hard working, they’re nice, they’re just all around good guys. I think that they’ll do well wherever they go… my checking account is kind of banking on them succeeding.”

The twin titans continue to support each other through the end of their joint college careers, and as summer fast approaches, their bond is stronger than ever.

Diane Roberts Speaks at Piedmont College

On the evening of March 29, award-winning journalist Dr. Diane Roberts lectured to a small crowd of Piedmont students, faculty and community members at the Swanson Center Main Stage. Roberts spoke about the role of literature in social justice, focusing intensely on the work of Lillian E. Smith, a local author and civil rights advocate from the mid-1900s.

“Lillian Smith attended Piedmont College and now she’s one of the most important parts of college life,” Roberts said. “I think her sensibility really fits Piedmont.”

Roberts is the author of four books and a long-time political columnist, having written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and now the St. Petersburg Times. Roberts has researched extensively on the life of Lillian E. Smith, publishing an article about her, titled “Stay and Resist,” in the Fall 2016 issue of Oxford American.

The lecture stayed focused on the life and literature of Smith, emphasizing the importance of her controversial novel, Strange Fruit.

“In 1944 [Smith] published a book called Strange Fruit, which exploded on the American scene like a roman candle,” Roberts said. “This was a genuine dirty book, according to the U.S. Postal Service. They wouldn’t mail it. It was banned in Boston and Detroit. A Massachusetts district judge declared it obscene and likely to corrupt the morals of youth. What on earth could this book be about? Well, it was about an interracial relationship.”

Roberts described Strange Fruit, along with the rest of Smith’s writing, as a glimpse into a portion of America’s past that’s often overlooked: southern progressivism.

“Lillian Smith’s books are a testament to the southern progressivism that I think we forgot even existed,” Roberts said. “We think that the Civil Rights Movement went poof-up with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but there was a long lead-up to that. This southern progressivism was fed and nurtured by Lillian Smith. She advocated for it, she worked for it, she attacked the things she felt needed attacking.”

What Smith felt needed attacking, Roberts explained, was the “big house” of white supremacy.

“This big house is splendidly furnished with myth and nonsense,” she said. “It’s haunted by rape, lynching, war, poverty and ignorance. In the kitchen you have black women working. In the parlor you have white women sitting there, being ‘good.’ Lillian E. Smith was born in raised in this big house, but she refused to be a part of it. If she was to talk about the big house, it would be to reveal that it was rotting. And she didn’t want to fix it up, she wanted to burn the whole thing down…. She was a white lady who went wrong in all the right ways.”

Roberts’ speech was insightful to many in the audience, introducing a side of Lillian Smith that often goes unknown to Piedmont members.

“I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Diane Roberts talk about Lillian Smith,” said Nathan Galloway, a sophomore exercise science major. “I had never known all of the contributions that Smith had made to the big civil and social rights movements of the 20th century. It was really cool to hear that one of our Alumni was a respective civil rights champion, and to hear that all these years later, there is still truth in the words that she wrote.”

Some students were less impressed by the lecture, wishing that Piedmont would take things even further to foster insightful discussions about social justice.

“I think the true insights offered from [Roberts] were on how much we’ve developed inclusiveness in modern years,” said Kadence Cole, a junior theatre arts administration major. “Her language was dated, and after she insulted multiple historical figured who committed suicide by calling them ‘crazy,’ I realized she was truly mediocre. I hope Piedmont can bring actual people of color onto campus to discuss race issues next time. I feel that would be a much more appropriate and insightful event.”

‘Ello, Y’all: Author and Journalist Diane Roberts Discusses Career and Southern Stereotypes with Mass Communications Students

Fresh off the plane from working at the BBC radio station in England, journalist Diane Roberts sat down with the Mass Communications students and faculty at Piedmont College to chat about everything from her start in journalism to pesky Paula Deen comparisons.

“If I ever get Paula Deen-ish, I want someone to strike me down,” Roberts said.

After getting some laughs from the audience with that statement, Roberts went into more detail about the Southern stigma. She discussed the 10 years she’s lived in England, and how having a Southern accent affected the way people treated her.

“I’ve had people, and not just British people, ask me one, if I lived in a double wide, or two, did I live in a plantation house,” Roberts said. “There’s that kind of southern-ness, where you’re into everything country, backwoods and weird stuff.”

Roberts added onto her statements by revealing she didn’t know too much about British people when she went to work overseas, so the stereotyping wasn’t just a one-way street.

“I think you have to do the best that you can, because everybody stereotypes everybody,” Roberts said. “I didn’t know all that much about British people, I thought they all lived in lavish cottages, unless they lived in castles. They don’t live in either one, they live in houses, the same as me.”

Roberts then discussed what society imposes on those who may fit a stereotype and also have a wide-reaching platform, such as Paula Deen. Roberts brought up the term ‘professional southerner,’ and pondered over the authenticity of Deen’s television persona, and gave a word of advice to those who may be facing stereotypes of their own.

“There’s this category of being a ‘professional southerner,’ where they really ham it up and I think Paula Deen might be one, maybe because that’s what they’re told the audience wants,” Roberts said. “I have no idea what Paula Deen is really like, all I know is what she’s like on TV, and that may not be her at all. You do have to find a way to undercut what people might think you are.”

Roberts revealed that her start in journalism wasn’t as a natural writer.

“How I got started, was by being a bad writer,” Roberts said. “I was really good at research, I was good at being in the library.”

Roberts recounted an instance in which she had to write an honors thesis in college, and when she handed it in for her professors to go over, their reviews were less than glowing.

“One of my professors gave me a present for finishing my honors thesis, which was a book called “The Elements of Style”,” Roberts said. “I’m reading this book, and I’m getting a sinking feeling. We sat in his office for two hours going through my honors thesis, sentence by sentence. He’d point at one saying, “what don’t you like about that sentence?” After about 10 sentences, there were tears running down my face.”

Roberts discussed her original thoughts on journalism, believing one could ‘write because they can write.’ She went into detail of how she came to the realization that writing isn’t only about putting the pen to the page.

“It hadn’t dawned on me that writing is a craft,” Roberts said. “I was probably told this, but it just hadn’t sunk in.”

Rachel Danford, a junior who attended the lecture, found how Roberts got her start in journalism relatable to her own.

“She started out as a bad writer and now has four books under her belt,” Danford said. “Knowing this makes it easier for me to go easy on myself. I’m not the best writer, but neither was she.”

Danford also finds inspiration in Roberts being a woman and forging an accomplished career for herself.

“Roberts is a very accomplished woman, which is great to see in the field of media,” Danford said. “I found it inspiring to hear all the things she’s done and accomplished.”

Roberts was accompanied by Dr. Craig Amason, the Director of the Lillian Smith Center. Amason gave a short speech about what the Lillian Smith Center’s purpose is.

“Our primary function is an artist retreat center,” Amason said. “Artists pay a small fee and stay in our cottages, and work from there.”

Roberts added on to Amason’s objective explanations with her opinion on the center, and Lillian Smith as a person.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere so pretty,” Roberts said. “I like to think there’s a spirit there of a woman who didn’t care what anybody thought of her, and did what she wanted to do. She spoke truth to power, which is something journalists are supposed to do.”

Throughout her discussion with the students and faculty, Roberts maintained a laid-back demeanor and honest tone, which resonated with Joey Brovont, a freshman who attended the lecture.

“I thought it was very insightful and fun,” Brovont said. “She made everyone feel like a friend and told us about her life.”

Roberts discussed several different aspects of her career and her personal life with the Mass Communications students and faculty. Her career has proven to be ever evolving.

“I’m still on the ‘journey to success’,” Roberts said. “No matter what you accomplish, there’s always going to be a what’s next.”

Stepping Up to the Plate: Carson Porterfield’s Story

“After the accident, I looked at life as a second opportunity, because the doctors told me I should’ve been dead.”

Carson Porterfield, a junior pitcher for the Piedmont Lions baseball team, lives his life with a certain sense of humility, as after experiencing a near fatal boating accident, he knows how quickly one’s life can be taken from them.

“I was thankful that God had given me another opportunity to prove why I’m still here.” Porterfield said.

Porterfield was born in May 1997 into an idyllic American family unit. He and his family, consisting of his two parents and older brother, Chad, have lived in the same house to this day. Porterfield associates several sentimental memories with the house, many of which have to do with sports.

“When my brother and I were little, we had a basketball goal in our driveway,” Porterfield said. “We would always shoot basketballs together, and he trained me to get stronger and play better.”

With his brother’s influence ingrained into his upbringing, Porterfield fully immersed himself into the domain of sports.

“I played football, basketball and baseball, all three of those sports in middle school,” Porterfield said. “I swam for my neighborhood team since my school didn’t have one of their own.”

Although when Piedmont students see Porterfield now, they see a 6-foot tall, broad shouldered athlete, this hasn’t always been the case. During the transition from middle school to high school, when all of the guys were getting taller and broader, Porterfield fell behind. His lack of a growth spurt outed him from playing the sports he loved that required those who were more vertically inclined.

“I stopped playing basketball, everyone was so much taller than me and it wasn’t fair,” Porterfield said. “I stopped playing football, everyone was bigger and beating up on me because I hadn’t hit my growth spurt and went through puberty, I hit that late.”

However, Porterfield’s body chemistry setbacks didn’t deter him from sports completely. He decided to commit to baseball, because the body requirements to play were not as rigorous as basketball or football.

“I stuck with baseball, because it didn’t matter if you were big or not,” Porterfield said. “I kind of regret not sticking with football, because I ended up being a pretty big man, 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, so I could’ve done something with that.”

Porterfield also did well in the classroom, sticking to a study skillset that got him decent grades in high school.

“I was a pretty good student, I’d say,” Porterfield said. “It was really how I applied myself and focused on schoolwork, and how I stuck to my work ethic.”

Everything was working out for Porterfield. His grades were where they needed to be, he had a close relationship to his family and his commitment to baseball proved to be unwavering. However, a boating accident during a holiday weekend in the summer after his freshman year of high school shattered what he knew to be his life.

“I was with my family, and I ended up getting into a bad boating accident,” Porterfield said. “My parents drove me to the fire station, and they put me in an ambulance. They knew I had a concussion because at that point I couldn’t stop throwing up.”

Porterfield was quickly transported to the hospital, but even the ride there was filled with turmoil, as the driver had to pull over more than once because Porterfield had to vomit.

“They strapped me to a stretcher when we got there, and the doctor got there with my parents standing over me, and they put me in a cat scan machine” Porterfield said. “Next thing I remember, my parents were asking about wanting to do surgery, a tube that would go into my skull to drain the blood that was clotting in my brain, but the doctor said he hadn’t done surgery on a child in over 10 years, so my parents didn’t want to do it.”

Porterfield was then transported by helicopter to Egleston, a children’s hospital, and was promptly put into the intensive care unit.

“During the plane ride, they told me to not fall asleep, because I could slip into a coma,” Porterfield said. “But I did end up falling asleep, for over an hour in the plane.”

Porterfield is not alone in his near fatal experience with boating. According to the American Boating Association, there were 701 boating accident related deaths in just 2016, not to mention the 2,903 injuries.

Recovery in the hospital was a slow process. Porterfield spent a total of eight days in the hospital, with continual night checks from the doctors to make sure he hadn’t unknowingly slipped into a coma. Porterfield spent three months at home for recovery upon being released from the hospital, and the transition back into school was not an easy one.

“I had to go back to school but I couldn’t do anything for around three weeks,” Porterfield said. “I had to just sleep on the desk and put noise cancelling headphones on, then I had to make up all my work a month later, which was really awful.”

Even though Porterfield still suffers from certain post-concussion symptoms, such as severe headaches that leave him bedridden and the occasional stutter, he realized that he had lived for a reason.

“When the doctors told me I should have died, I took that as a wake up call to realize what I had been doing with my life,” Porterfield said. “If I hadn’t had that life jacket on, I’d would’ve drowned.”

Porterfield gained a new lease on life and a restored faith in God after his accident. He decided to better apply himself in both life and baseball. Benjamin Thornburgh, a friend of Porterfield, recognizes these character traits in Porterfield.

“I didn’t expect to bond with him as much as I do,” Thornburgh said. “But because of some mutual friends, I’ve been able to, and he’s a very cool, humble and smart guy.”

After almost losing his life and being able to slowly overcome an excruciating recovery process, Porterfield lives on, thankful for every day he is able to rise out of bed and continue to dedicate his life to what he loves. His family and friends, God and baseball.

“I want to possibly inspire someone else with m story about coming back from something that I should’ve died from,” Porterfield said. “I’m still pursuing my dream, even though I’m sometimes fighting uphill, but I’m never giving up.”

 

Sources:

Carson Porterfield: wporterfield0511@lions.piedmont.edu

Ben Thornburgh: bthornburgh0421@lions.piedmont.edu

ABA Link: https://americanboating.org/boating_fatality.asp

From Player to Coach: Piedmont Alumnae tells the story of his time with lacrosse

In the world of lacrosse, Dale Morley has experienced it all, from playing, to getting injured, and now professionally coaching his first season at Kell High School. 

When Morley entered high school, his father told him he needed to get involved in some kind of sport. “I told him he needed to do something in the spring and he brought home a lacrosse stick,” says Dick Morley, Dale’s father. 

Dale’s friend Gabriel told him about lacrosse and it really peeked his interest. “I played attack and midfield initially but then we needed a goalie my junior year, so I played two years of goalie junior and senior.” 

While at Gainesville High School, Morley won Most Improved Player his freshman year, Best defensive player his junior year, and Most Valuable Player his senior year. He was the first lacrosse player from Gainesville High School to play college lacrosse. 

Morley was a part of Piedmont’s first male lacrosse team. While at Piedmont, Morley played goalie and was the team’s main goalie until he got injured his sophomore year. During a game against Oglethorpe, Morley was hit in the knee by an illegal shot. He tore his ACL and had a hairline fracture. He ended up sitting out the rest of the season. The next two years he continued playing goalie, although his hand got hit during practice his senior year. Luckily, Morley had enrolled for the graduate program at Piedmont College and red-shirted while working on his master’s degree. During his four years at Piedmont College, Morley had a total of 343 goals saved. 

During the summers, Morley began coaching lacrosse at the YMCA, while working at La Parilla Mexican restaurant at night. “While he was at the Y, he had a 6-year old that just followed him around with a lacrosse stick. He was a natural leader to the kids.” says Janet Morley, Dale’s mother. He went on to work with Slyd lacrosse at Riverside Military Academy during his summers as well, coaching kids and giving them the confidence they needed. 

When Morley got his master’s from the School of Education at Piedmont College, he was offered a job teaching history and coaching lacrosse at Kell High School in Marietta. The spring 2018 season has been his first and the team has done really well, only losing one game so far. “I love the practices and interacting with the players.” says Morley. “They’re so funny and just a good bunch of guys.” Morley says the hardest part about coaching is the area that they’re in. “This area has really built up and many kids are playing lacrosse, while my guys aren’t as experienced. I’m trying to figure out how to challenge them in way that is beneficial, but not deter them.” 

Morley’s parents, Dick and Janet, believe lacrosse has only benefited Dale. “I think lacrosse gave him confidence and self motivation,” says Janet. “As a coach, he is able to pass on this self motivation to his players. He is a very kind hearted man and is always celebrating his players’ victories… he is a team player but he also leads so well.” 

Of course, Dale Morley hopes for a championship for his players, but above all else, he hopes that they think about their futures and that they learn all the traits he has gotten from lacrosse. 

Diane Roberts Speaks to Communications Students at Piedmont College

“A book is a slow cooker”, “Being Southern is a great gift”, “Anything can find an audience”; all of these quotes came from the lecture that Diane Roberts gave in the Swanson screening room on March 29 at Piedmont College. 

Diane Roberts is an accomplished writer and journalist. She is currently an English and creative writing professor at Florida State University. Over the years, she has worked with PBS, NPR, and BBC, where she usually talks about art and politics. She’s been published in various magazines and newspapers, ranging from small names to big names. She has also written various non-fiction books, usually relating to the South. “I think it was a great opportunity to see someone who has written at such a global level to hear what she had to say about her writing and how she gets story ideas.” says Dr. Joe Dennis. 

One of the first things one can notice about Diane Roberts is her voice. She has a southern accent that is just thick enough to still understand what she says. It’s what has gotten her radio jobs at the BBC and a few drinks when she would go out with her British friends. There is no doubt that Diane Roberts is a lady of the South. She talked about her family history in Florida, which she wrote about in her book, Dream State. She got a few laughs from the audience as she discussed growing up, eating things like squirrel and opossum. “She’s a southern girl from Florida,” says Dennis. “And even though she has travelled a lot….. when she writes, there’s still the essence of who she is and everything that she writes and I think that’s a really valuable lesson for students, especially those who have an interest in opinion writing.”  

However, Roberts is not stereotypical Southern. She is rather liberal in her views and spoke about her experience with a white supremacist group she met and wrote about in Florida. She is a well-travelled woman, and lived in Britain for so many years. Roberts is a woman who breaks the mold of Paula Deen, the face of white Southern woman celebrities, and even upon being asked about such a comparison, she exclaimed “Kill me now!” 

Roberts was very casual in her lecture, just sitting on the edge of the stage, her feet crossed and waving above the ground. She did not stand at the lectern, like what would be expected of a visiting professor. She just sat and talked, like she was getting coffee with the students in the audience. “She was genuinely interested in the questions we had for her,” said sophomore Nathan Blackburn. “And she gave really fleshed out, full answers, that blended both humor and serious pretty well.” 

Roberts very much enjoyed her time at Piedmont, going on and on about the beauty of the campus and the area. Roberts was most impressed with the Lillian Smith Center, which is dedicated to the award winning author from Piedmont College, and is nestled away in the mountains of Clayton, GA. It serves as an educational center and artist retreat. Roberts described it as “absolutely amazing” and believes that “there is a spirit there of a woman who didn’t care what anyone thought of her and did what she wanted to do.” 

Even after Roberts left, the students couldn’t help but want more. Her lecture left students and professors alike inspired. “Diane Roberts was so inspiring and engaging. I didn’t want her to leave” says senior Durden Smith. “No matter what you accomplish, there will be a what next.” were the words that resonated throughout the audience and especially with the students.