Showing posts with label Journalists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Journalists. Show all posts

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Students Study Verification through Film

Toward the end of the fall semester, the journalism class offered a showing of the film Shattered Glass. Br. Lorenzo Conocido offers this review of the film:

Set in 1998, Shattered Glass tells the true story of how Stephen Glass, a young journalist who fabricated stories for The New Republic, a political magazine, rose to fame and then had a scandalous downfall  by writing fictional stories and characters, faking quotations, making up companies and even creating a website to support his articles.  His last piece, "Hacker Haven" caught the attention of a reporter for Forbes online magazine, and the reporter started verifying the facts and found it unverifiable, for nothing in the article did actually exist in the first place.

The movie takes us into the world of publication and journalism, providing a glimpse of the workplace politics, office factions, backbiting, and yes, the moral issue of lying in the field where truth must come first.  Being young and charismatic, Glass was able to circumvent the process of verification by manipulating information, seeking protection from co-workers, and abusing the editor-writer relationship. This worked until Chuck Lane, the newly-promoted editor, finds no reason to protect his man but rather does his duty to chase after the truth.

This is what happens when creativity and ambition have gone to the extremes.  Glass was a good writer, but perhaps not in the field of journalism.  He broke every single element of journalism as proposed by Kovach and Rosenstiel beginning with the very foundation - the truth.  All the articles he wrote weren't for the benefit of the citizens but rather for personal ecstasy.  Nothing can be verified, for how can you verify something that does not exist?  All the rest of the elements just crumbled apart.

The majority of the movie revolves around Lane, Glass and the Forbes team and the journalistic verification process that finally revealed an embarrassing truth, if not scandalous, ending.  One person that caught my attention is Caitlyn, a pivotal character towards the conclusion of the investigative drama.  She brought the point concerning how a personal relationship can become more of an obstacle to the truth, but later she realized she had a greater responsibility to the public and most especially to her conscience more than anybody else.  In the end, she is one of the staff who went public to apologize to the citizens, their real bosses, and retracted all the articles written by Glass that had been published by The New Republic.

What's not clear to me in the move was Glass' motive for inventing his stories.  Was he setting up the stones for him to get to the top?  Was he trying to bring the magazine down? Or was he just mentally ill?  Taking the latter seems to be too convenient.  The DVD contained his interview with 60 Minutes, and he publicly admitted that he's a pathological liar and that he has a mental health issue that he will have to battle with. Well, coming from him, that last statement will surely need further verification.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Jose Morales Becomes an MAS Journalist

by Brother Marinus Kim, O.S.B.

Editor's Note: This is the final installment of the introductions to our new journalism students this semester.

Jose Morales, a College II seminarian, decided to study journalism this year.  He is studying for the Diocese of Oakland.  During this interview, he shared his vocation story and reasons for joining MAS Journalism.

To prepare himself to be a parish priest someday, he said that he has to "make good communication with people . . . I should be understanding many events to promote the church's activity also."

Jose Morales

Peter Lawongkerd, another seminarian who was his RA last year, recommended that Jose take the journalism class.  Peter said, "If you take the Mount Angel journalism class, you will have a good chance to write stories, to improve your writing skills and techniques."

According to the syllabus for the journalism class, the course "introduces students to the field of journalism and trains them to write for the Mount Angel Seminary Journalism Blog, the Mount Angel Seminary website, the Mount Angel Letter, and other publications of the seminary."

Jose tries to join as many seminary events as possible, and said he will share events with other people through journalism this year.  In order for him to do this, he said, "I will make some schedules to interview with the soccer players, several staff in the seminary or monastery, and the Benefit Dinner, which is a yearly event.  Furthermore, I will make a good photo to emphasize the reality and the importance of the moment."  Jose hopes to deliver seminary news to people more accurately and in a livelier manner with the skills he will learn in the class.

Jose was born and grew up in Mexico until 1999.  He is the youngest of ten siblings.  They lived in the countryside.  His parent's faith is the primary influence in the discernment of his vocation at a young age.  His desire for the priesthood started to grow gradually, and he finally decide to discuss it with his pastor.  His pastor told him the seminary would be a good experience, and even if his discernment led him out of the seminary, he would still gain a good experience.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jesus Gonzalez: Why Join MAS Journalism?

Story and photo by Jose Morales

Editor's Note: This post continues our introductions to the MAS journalism students this semester.

Jesus Gonzalez, a seminarian studying for the Diocese of Reno, is taking the journalism class this year for many reasons, but he said the most important reason is "the fact that I never had the opportunity to take a journalism class in high school."

Jesus Gonzalez

He did not want to let this opportunity go by, especially because we have one of the Benedictine Sisters teaching it.  The professor is Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B., who was his professor last year for Reading Literature.  He said Sister Hilda helped him a lot in his writing skills, and he hopes to improve his writing techniques while taking the journalism class with her.

So far, he has learned a lot from the handouts he has received in the journalism class.  An example he gave was the handout entitled "Working in Public Relations."  He said that it showed him many examples of how to gain the attention of people while trying to send a message.  Jesus said an example that stood out for him the most was where it talks about tying in the news events of the day.  He said this was important for him because many people do not tie in the news events of the day because it is hard to keep up with daily events.

Press Conferences for MAS and the NBA

This year's class includes some press conferences, and this has been a memorable experience so far for him.  Having the press conference at Mount Angel Seminary brought him memories of a real life conference he attended in Las Vegas in 2011.

He went to an NBA press conference that was dealing with the NBA lockout in November of 2011.  This was in regards to the players' union.  Here he experienced a real life conference; he saw all kinds of reporters starting from ABC News to FOX News and sports journalists.  He describes the conference room being full of reporters: "It was so crowded that I couldn't count all the reporters.  Easily there were more than eighty."

During the conference, he was able to sit in thanks to some of his friends who are journalists.  He said that one of the owners of the NBA seemed to be coming to an agreement with the basketball players, but the union kept asking for more.  Jesus talked about the conference being chaotic.  He said people were bombarding the union, the players, and the owners with questions.

He described the conference held in Mount Angel Seminary as peaceful, orderly, respectful, and well-organized.  He looks forward to more conferences and hopes to be ready the next time he is in a real conference like the NBA lockout one.

Covering the Samoan Community

This year Jesus wants to interview the Samoan community and ask them about their St. Peter Chanel Mass.  He wants to learn the Samoan culture and symbolism behind the mass.

For example, Jesus asked Ace Tui, a seminarian for the Diocese of Hawaii and a native of Samoa, Pago Pago, what was some of the major symbolism involved in the St. Peter Chanel Mass.  Ace Tui said that in addition to the gifts of bread and wine, fresh "ulas" or leis would be giving out at this time.

He explains that this is a further visible and unbroken sign of our unity.  The many flowers composing each "ula" or garland signify the many people of God, each with their own colorful charisms.  The thread holding all the flowers together is a symbol of Christ uniting all in heaven and on earth, Ace Tui explained.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Br. Lorenzo Conocido Joins MAS Journalism

By Brother Lorenzo Conocido

In chapter 54 of the Rule of Saint Benedict, it states that the abbot is to provide all things necessary - tunic, belt, shoes, knife, handkerchief.  Included in the list are a stylus and writing tablets as personal necessities.  In this day and age, monks have access to computers and color printers, not to mention even android tablets and wifi.  Whether it's hours in the scriptorium or seconds on a blog site, writing is part and parcel of a monk's life.

Brother Lorenzo Conocido - photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman

Better Late Than Never
So taking a journalism class this semester just made a lot of sense to me as a monk.  However, I almost missed the class having been stranded in the Philippines due to my visa processing as I tried to come back home after attending my father's funeral last summer.

Coming three weeks late to Sister Hilda's journalism class, I was humbled by her generosity when she accepted me in the class and allowed me to catch up on what I missed.  Part of what I have to make up for, though, is to interview somebody in the class and write and an article about the person as a profile introduction of this year's journalism students.  However, since everybody in the class has already been paired up with somebody, I am left with nobody but to humbly introduce myself as the latest (yes, by three weeks!) addition to this year's journalism roster.

A Little about Myself
I'm Brother Lorenzo, a junior monk from Mount Angel Abbey.  I entered the monastery in 2011.  With my background in marketing, photography, and web development, I was assigned to work on the Abbey website and am now the website administrator.  That's the major reason why I'm taking this class.  Keeping a website current requires that you should have a journalism toolkit handy - writing, following stories and people, interviewing persons, researching, taking photos, and these are the things I want to learn in this class.

Today, social media and networking has become the common platform for communication, and I hope to contribute to our MAS Journalism Blog as well as our website stories that reflect our community life, photos that capture real moments of real people, and most of all our testimonies of experiences of Christ here on the hilltop.

You, My Story
On the other hand, journalism can be somewhat counter-cultural to a monk.  I remember back in my postulancy formation that one of the norms that was introduced to us was the custody of the eyes, meaning gawking at people and always looking out for some action that interrupts the atmosphere of silence and recollection, whether in thoughts or in words.  Verse 56 of Chapter 7 of the Rule even says that a monk should control his tongue and remain silent unless asked a question since in a flood of words you will not avoid sinning (Prov. 10:19).  I should stop here right now!

However, if there's also one thing the Rule encourages me to pursue in this class it's found in the very first word of the its Prologue.  The word is Listen.  I love listening to people's stories - experiences and emotions that are unique to each individual, aspiration that moves a person, moments that edify the spirit!  This is why I'm here, in this class, not to stick my nose to where it doesn't belong, but to lend an ear, and with your permission, to write something about it and share it with others in the spirit of service and charity.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Second Press Conference Highlights Seminary Faculty

Story by Daniel Miller
Photos by Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B.

The evolution of the soccer program and the hobby of raising tropical fish highlighted Mount Angel Seminary's second press conference on Friday.  Dr. Andrew Cummings talked about his experience as a player and faculty advisor in soccer, and Fr. Jacob Stronach, O.S.B., spoke about the two fish tanks and numerous water-based pets he maintains.

Journalism students prepared questions for the press conference and practiced interviewing Dr. Cummings and Fr. Stronach as part of their coursework.  This was the second of three press conferences scheduled to promote potential campus stories and hone journalistic skills.

Press conference speakers Dr. Andrew Cummings
and Fr. Jacob Stronach, O.S.B.

Dr. Cummings described how the seminary's soccer team grew from spontaneous internal play in 2005 to become part of the Cascade Collegiate Soccer League that competes at a club level against area rivals such as Willamette University, Oregon State University, and Reed College.  Being part of a league allows for referees, nicer fields, and stiffer competition, Cummings said, and as a result, players at the seminary have had to train more rigorously.

"It's important at the physical level for the guys, but it also helps to put Mount Angel out there in the open," Cummings said.  "I have the impression that some people didn't know we existed.  People take us more seriously, especially after we've won a few games."

The soccer team tied 4-4 in their first match against Willamette on Sept. 29, won their second to open the season, and they have nine more games scheduled.  Cummings said he anticipates the team to finish in the middle of the standings for the seven-team league.  He also expressed hope for a revitalization of the seminary soccer field.

"We share the field with a family of gophers.  I've been assured we might be able to resurface the field in the near future," Cummings said.  "Hopefully the gophers will have to move out.  With a little bit of work, it really could be a nice area for soccer."

MAS Journalism students Jesus Gonzalez, Daniel Miller, and Romple Emwalu (front row) and Brother Marinus Kim, O.S.B., and Brother Lorenzo Conocido, O.S.B. (back row)

Fr. Stronach then spoke about his affinity for fish and how he acquired the tanks and creatures for his office and personal room in Anselm Hall.  Most of Fr. Stronach's collection of fish is freshwater species from the Amazon in South America.  Among them are angelfish, neon tetras, hatchet fish, and discus fish, which have had difficulty surviving.

Since his office sits along the main thoroughfare of Anselm Hall, many have noticed the 60-gallon tank there.  Fr. Stronach said the fish can offer a sense of peacefulness to seminarians in formation and others who enter his space, a statement he says psychological studies have shown to be true.  The equipment and supplies for the fish came out of Fr. Stronach's personal vacation budget with permission from monastery Abbot Gregory Duerr, O.S.B.

Fr. Stronach asked for the abbot's blessing to begin the project this summer because he had enjoyed raising fish before coming to the monastery and wanted to take up the hobby again.  The fish are now the centerpiece to his office and room.

"I think that a fish tank is either the prettiest thing in your house, or it's the ugliest thing," Fr. Stronach said.  "If you don't maintain them, not only is it not going to be a healthy environment, but it's going to be an eyesore."

Luckily, Fr. Stronach enjoys the process of cleaning and caring for the fish, he said.  His interest in fish has also spread to others.  Fr. Stronach bought a beta fish for his fellow monk, Fr. Aelred Yockey, O.S.B.  Fr. Yockey's fish is named Mary and resides just around the corner from Fr. Stronach.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nicolas Facile - Journalist

By Frank Villanueva

Editor's Note: This post continues our series of introductions to the new MAS journalism students.

Nicolas Facile is a seminarian studying for the Saint John Society.  This is his first year here at Mount Angel Seminary.  Nicolas comes to the seminary from Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Nicolas hopes that this experience in journalism will help him in the area of journalism, which he says is "another way of communicating" to others about the good news of Jesus Christ.  "Taking journalism will allow me the opportunity to collaborate with others and help to begin the stages of communication in the ministry of the priesthood," Facile said.


Before entering the seminary, Nicolas was the owner of a radio station program called "Luz del Mundo," which translates to "Light of the World," where he would help to evangelize and spread the good news of the Gospel through radio media.  The program was transmitted by a public radio company in a very small town in the Argentinean desert.

His audience varied from the young and old, the business worker, single parents, families who were Catholic and to those who were not.  In a town of only 2,000 people, Nicolas' goal was to use radio media "as an apostolic tool to help transmit the Gospel" to those who were hungry for more than what they were getting and to those who would otherwise have no other means of receiving the good news.

The program included music to go along with the various topics of discussion and a priest question and answer segment where people could call in and ask questions they might have about the topics being talking about and to get priestly advice.

In addition to this passion for media, Nicolas has a great love of reading.  One of his hopeful projects that he would like to pursue in the journalism class is to write about the history of libraries.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Brother Marinus Kim: Monk And Writer

Story and Photo by Romple Emwalu

Editor's Note: This story continues MAS Journalism's series of introductions to our journalism students this semester.

Brother Marinus Kim, OSB, is a Korean monk from Saint Paul Abbey in New Jersey.  Brother Marinus is a third-year student in pre-theology at Mount Angel Seminary.  He is taking the journalism class as part of his course requirements.  He said, "I take journalism to improve my writing skill, and I find it very helpful."  Writing is not Brother Marinus' favorite subject, but as a monk he has to be strong and humble and work with it.  He said, "I have to do my prayer as a monk and study hard in order to pass the class."

Brother Marinus Kim, OSB

Brother Marinus loves Mount Angel Seminary because students and staff are very helpful.  He said, "They love to help people like me to be able to speak English fluently."  He finds Mount Angel Seminary a good school that helps seminarians, especially those whose second language is English.  Students, priests, and staff are very generous with their time to help students like Brother Marinus to be a good student and to be able to comfortably share about his knowledge and culture.

He said, "Taking classes with Sister Hilda is very helpful because she helps me to learn how to speak and write effectively; this is why I also take journalism class because I know I can learn from her and improve my writing skills."

Brother Marinus is interested to write about his life at Mount Angel Seminary.  He hopes that one day he can have his own journalism blog where he can share his own experience about the seminary's life to share with his brother monks and friends.  He sees journalism class as an opportunity to be able to reach his interest.  When he becomes a priest he can share about the ministry he will be involved with.

Brother Marinus' monastery is dominated by Korean, and most of the time they speak Korean.  He said, "When I came to Mount Angel I had to be very careful to make sure I use the correct word when I speak in English."  Brother Marinus really loves to pray with his brother monks and to learn new things from them.

He said he would like to be sent to South Korea and help the people there if his superior allows him.  He would also love to serve his brother monks at his own monastery in celebrating the Eucharist daily.  With the skills he gains in the journalism class he would be better able to serve his community.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Introducing Romple Emwalu

An interview with one of their journalism classmates is the first assignment for our journalism students this semester.  In our first interview, Nicolas Facile introduces Romple Emwalu.

From a Tiny Island to Do Great Things! - An Interview with Romple Emwalu
Story and Photo by Nicolas Facile

Romple Emwalu is a College IV student at Mount Angel Seminary and one of our new writers in the journalism class.  He is with the Diocese of Honolulu, from "a tiny island in Micronesia."  He is thirty-one years old, and he is studying to be a priest for those people who live in Hawaii but have different cultural backgrounds and need a pastor of souls that can speak their same language.

Romple Emwalu

Why did you choose journalism?
During the journalism conference last year, I was touched by the testimony of one of the students. [Editor's note: This conference was part of the Theology on the Hill series that was offered last school year.]  Then I decided to study journalism to be able to write my own article or small stories about my faith and to share my faith with others.  I see in that an opportunity to enrich the people who need the Good News.  Also, I think that it is a good way to improve my English, to write and speak better.  The teacher is very helpful.  I took several classes with her, and she helped me a lot with my writing skills.  I'm very thankful for that!

Do you have work experience in this area?
Well, I have my personal journal!  I write whatever I do there.  I see that as a very good instrument for improving my writing skills, and also it makes me appreciate life, especially when I go back and read an old one and I can see my vocation story and how my life in God affects me today.

Did you write for someone else?
I do that, especially within my parish.  I write short stories and share a little bit about my faith, and I put it in the bulletin.  Journalism class will help me to share with the people, as I do in my personal life.

What do you think are your challenges in this subject and in this job?
I think the challenges are how to write, what kinds of words to use, how to ask good questions, and how to interview some people one-on-one.  The interview is different; it's more formal than a simple conversation.

Which are your favorite topics?
I'm the most interested in the seminarian's life: how is our life and what are our challenges?  Also, I'm very interested to write about seminarian's activities.

Do you want to comment something else?
Just one thing that I want to say about this seminary: this is a very wonderful seminary.  Every person who comes to this seminary will really benefit his life.  Speaking about education, it is very good because the staff is full of hard workers.  They work with you to know and understand what you are doing.

About the spiritual part, here we have a really deep faith, different from the common life in the church.  It helps you understand and keep a clear mind, to be able to relate well to the people, and at the same time, how to respect others.  And of course, love! . . . They teach you how to love others in a very good manner and in a respectful way.  That is what the church wants to teach us!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Four Stories Emerge from Inaugural Press Conference

Story by Daniel Miller
Photos by Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B.

What do the Library Administrator, Aikido instructor, Director of Admissions, and Interim Vice Rector of Mount Angel Seminary have in common? The four took part in the first press conference for the journalism students on Friday, September 13, and each shared about stories that impact the seminary and greater community.


From left to right: Father Ralph Recker, Father Terry Tompkins, Jim Sisley, and Victoria Ertelt

First, Library Administrator Victoria Ertelt described the new eBook program which will be accessible in 2-3 weeks. The eBooks will increase the library's holdings by 30,000 titles. Particularly for those seeking relevant, newly published research and those studying the liberal arts and social sciences, the new eBooks collection will be a valuable resource available anywhere with an internet connection, Ertelt said.

Dressed in a "gi" meant for the sport, Mr. Jim Sisley spoke about the Aikido class he teaches at the seminary. Aikido is a Japanese martial art focused on peaceful resolution to conflict. "We do not learn how to punch. We do not learn how to kick," Sisley said. "We learn how to deal with those attacks coming at us." Aikido is an elective students are expected to attend two of the four times it is offered per week.

Fr. Ralph Recker, O.S.B., opened with humor. "A little over a year ago, I was approached about a trip to Turkey," Recker said. "I thought, November, Turkey…it's got to have to do with Thanksgiving dinner, right?" Rather, Recker will journey to the country of Turkey to lead 31 pilgrims to Biblical landmarks such as Antioch, Cappadocia, and Ephesus. Why Turkey? "Because (the apostle) Paul chose to go to Turkey," Recker said. The pilgrimage lasts from November 4-17.

Fr. Terry Tompkins spoke last, revisiting his recent appointment as interim Vice Rector of the College. Tompkins said he was asked to assume the role as a result of Fr. Paschal Cheline's (O.S.B.) reassignment to other duties, included by but limited to serving as Junior Master of Mount Angel Abbey.  Whereas Fr. Paschal used to additionally serve as Director of Spiritual Formation, that position is now filled in an interim capacity by Fr. Paul Thomas, O.S.B.  Tompkins explained that he has more administrative responsibilities in this role but is also glad to continue teaching and serving as a Human Formation Director for the Theology II seminarians. "In some ways, it’s a Pauline focus," Fr. Tompkins said. "I have to try to be all things to all people."

Journalism students Daniel Miller, Nicolas Facile,
Romple Emwalu, and Jose Morales during the press conference

As these stories develop, the Mount Angel Seminary Journalism class will keep watch and post updates as needed on this blog. Two more press conferences are planned for our journalism students to share the good news of happenings on the hilltop in the coming months.

Editor's Note: As of 2:45 p.m. on September 17, 2013, the portion of this story pertaining to Father Terry Tompkins has been revised.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

John L. Allen, Jr. - The Future Church

Another work added to our journalism bibliography this summer is The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church by John L. Allen Jr.

After many years of interviewing those involved with the Church around the world and after describing the meaning and possible consequences of each trend, Allen reaches this conclusion:

An upside-down Church implies contradiction, tension, and in some cases disillusionment.  Yet spiritually-speaking, the turbulence that comes from being turned upside down is part of the Christian experience.  In his classic work Heretics, G.K. Chesterton offered the example of how Christianity audaciously upended the ancient pagan reverence for the human family.  The ancients venerated the time-honored structure of father, mother, and child.  Christianity capsized the sequence, thereby producing the Holy Family of child, mother, father.  As Chesterton epigrammatically observed, "Many things are made holy by being turned upside down."

Fostering holiness in the upside-down Church of the twenty-first century will require special courage - the courage of humility, of patience, of perspective.  Above all, it will require the courage to think beyond the interests of one's own Catholic tribe, conceiving the Catholic future not in zero-sum terms but as a bold synthesis of the best of each of the Church's constituencies.  If Catholicism can generate that kind of courage on a mass scale, it could form an eleventh trend, arguably the most consequential of all (456).

Friday, May 31, 2013

Help! for Writers - New Addition to Journalism Bibliography

Over the summer, more materials will be added to the pages of our blog dedicated to books on journalism, films on journalism, and other resources.  The most recent addition is Help! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark.  Clark is the vice president of the Poynter Institute, which offers a wealth of resources for journalism education, including online courses and sessions.  Our students have participated in their free online course entitled "The Language of the Image."

Below is a passage from the first chapter, "Getting Started," which will appear on one of the first handouts for the journalism class in the fall:

The first challenge is to find something to write about.  In my experience, there are two basic types of writers: the ones who write only in response to assignments and those who find ways to work on their own story ideas.  Writers need both modes to fulfill the demands of the craft, but the best writers follow their noses along the path to good stories.  They generate many more ideas than can be put into practice.  That's a nice problem to have.  No writer should descend into a welfare system provided by editors or teachers or bosses.  The writer wants and needs the ability to work independently.  That means coming up with your own ideas and arguing diplomatically that your ideas have the best juice (13).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reflecting on the Journalism Practicum

Ivan Garcia Hernandez of the Diocese of Tucson has served as a photographer for the journalism practicum this semester. His responsibilities included interviewing his fellow practicum students and writing a reflection based on those interviews. Ivan offers his reflection below:

The 2013 Journalism Practicum
Reflection by Ivan Garcia Hernandez

When we think of journalists, sometimes people with a pencil and notepad come to mind, people in suits and ties, or someone who has an ID and is sitting in front of the president's press conference.  A journalist is given the power to roam the world, to find the deepest information, and to reveal it to the whole world.  They also have to overcome their fears of being an introvert in order to be accurate and positive in their information and presentation.

Being a photographer, I too have to be disciplined in my way of taking a picture of the perfect moment. The picture reveals the motion and mood of journalism.  It derives from the words and explanations the journalists may use in order for the picture to come to life.  Journalism is the bridge between the event and the world at large.  It is the journalist's responsibility to record and analyze data so that the world or community may be informed.

World journalism leads us to the journalism practicum here on the hilltop.  The practicum is just one part of the journalism program under the leadership of Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB.  The program stretches to every corner of the hilltop, providing the community with updates, news, and events coverage.

This semester's journalists during their initial meeting: Gonzalo Siller, Raul Barriga,  Sister Hilda Kleiman, Ivan Garcia, and Daniel Miller

Every semester, the program receives new journalists.  This semester's journalists are: Raul Barriga, College 3, from the Diocese of San Francisco; Gonzalo Siller, Theology 1, from the Diocese of Fresno; Daniel Miller, Pre-Theology 1, from the Diocese of Boise; and Ivan Garcia, College 2, from the Diocese of Tucson.

Throughout this semester, the journalists have encountered many unique, important, and spiritual events.  As I read the answers the journalists gave me through the interviews via email, they sounded like they have progressed, developed, and matured in their journalism discipline.  I asked Barriga, "Why is it important for a journalist to be deeply active on the hilltop?"  He responded, "You can get a lot of exposure into possible different topics to write about, get recognition for the work that you have done, and focus on different styles of writing."  Barriga's response really demonstrates the need to be exposed to different events and topics.

As a photographer, I can see where getting exposure really fits into being an active person on the hill.  When I am in the moment or that moment in time, when I am about to take a picture, I see a different view of the reaction of people through the camera lens.  Once I take the picture, time has already been recorded, and through my pictures I help bring the journalist's words to reality and help emphasize the story.

A journalist is not just a person of thought or action but is also someone who is working towards building a better relationship with the community.  One question I asked Sister Hilda Kleiman is "Do you remember your favorite interview this semester?"  She responded with a positive reaction towards having favorite interviews that involved sports.  She said, "[I] have had to reacquaint myself with (or learn for the first time!) the rules of these sports; this is key background information for any sports reporter."  As a photographer, I too have to do my pre-event homework.  In order for my shots to be of quality and perfect moments, I have to find out a number of things: special guests (bishops, priests, etc.), the reason for the event, entertainment groups, and the timing of everything.

Sister Kleiman continued to say that "the journalism course, practicum, and blog are all a work in progress, and I will be plowing all of this experience back into the work I do with our students next year."  By her response, we see time and dedication well spent with the students and those who participate in the program.  The program takes it to the next level every time we submit an assignment.  Events gets bigger and bigger, but the news gets more interesting the closer we get to the end of the year.

Another part in journalism is following the direction of those who are former or older journalists.  One of the questions that I added to the interview was "What have you learned from Sister Hilda's direction and journalism techniques?"  Gonzalo Siller stated, "My journalism class has been a blessing and a great opportunity to meet, work with new people and practice my English skills."  Siller also stated that he had to overcome his fears of thinking in a logical English way.  However, he has improved through the course of the semester through his writing and interviewing the community.  "Sister Hilda has had a great effect to the program; we thank her for her continued service."

To conclude this semester's journalism practicum reflection, I asked Daniel Miller, "What is your summary of this semester's journalism practicum?"  He responded, "Our journalism program is growing and teaching many seminarians how to be better writers and photographers, showing many people how life on the hilltop looks."

This semester has been a great experience for me and the journalists.  We encountered many challenges and have come to achieving the techniques of journalism.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Journalism Practicum Underway

The journalism practicum students for Spring 2013 held their initial meeting to begin planning their work for the semester.  If you have story ideas or would like our students to cover a particular event, contact one of the students or Sister Hilda.

Sister Hilda and the MAS journalism students for Spring 2013
 Photo by Carl Sisolak

Gonzalo Siller - Reporter

Raul Barriga - Reporter

Ivan Garcia - Photographer

Daniel Miller - Reporter

Monday, September 24, 2012

New MAS Journalist Peter Lawongkerd

A Portrait of a New Journalist: Peter Lawongkerd
by Raul Barriga

For this semester, one of the two journalists for Mount Angel Seminary is seminarian Peter Lawongkerd.  Peter is taking this journalism class for two reasons: 1) he has seen other journalists at work, such as last year's seminarian Michael Khong, and wants to experience the journalism for himself, and 2) he wants to improve his writing skills by writing in different styles.  If you would like to see a past article by Peter, there is a link for it on the Mount Angel Journalism blog.

Peter Lawongkerd - photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman

Peter is excited to be able to interview people for upcoming events.  One particular interest of his is the Seminary Benefit Dinner, an important event for the seminary as it gathers financial support.  He also looks forward to hearing from new and returning seminarians so as to get their perspectives on seminary life thus far.

Peter has never taken a journalism class before, but his interest to improve his writing in English could help him in the class.  He has already shown perseverance in writing since his first year at the seminary.  The writing center, for example, has been helping Peter to develop his writing skills.

Peter says that he "remembers in [his] first year [that he] did not even know how to write papers, essays and all that."  Peter is now able to write papers for his classes, thanks to his English reading and writing classes.  Peter mentions that he received help from Sr. Hilda, the instructor of the journalism class, during his first year, which helped him get started in writing.

Peter studies for the Diocese of Oakland in California.  He is in his third year of college.  Since he came from Thailand, he had to take a year of English at this seminary.  He said that "in [a] journalism course, we write about reality or the events that go on in the hilltop, but for English class we talk about something from the book."

Peter wants his readers to know he that he will try his best as a journalist for the Mount Angel Seminary Journalism blog.  In this journalism class, he is showing enthusiasm for the material that we cover.  You can read an article from him on the blog about his other journalist partner.  This article on Peter should serve as motivation for those seminarians that take a first year of English at Mount Angel Seminary.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New MAS Journalist Raul Barriga

The first assignment for our journalism students this semester was to conduct a short interview with their fellow journalism student.  The next step was to write a post that introduces their classmate to the readers of our blog.  Please meet Raul Barriga:

My Journalism Partner: An Interview with Raul Barriga
by Peter Lawongkerd

Raul is one of the seminarians enrolled in our journalism class.  The reason why Raul is taking this course is because he would like to improve his writing skills and explore different types of writing. 

This year is going to be his third year studying at Mount Angel Seminary.  He studies for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

In the last couple years, he has learned how to write an essay, but he thinks that journalism is different because it is not so much about writing essays but rather writing reports.

Raul wants to explore different kinds of writings, and he also wants to learn how to take a photo for an article that he wishes to do.  He expects to learn how to write an article.  He hopes that this course will help him to be able to write in different styles and be able to reach his goals after he finishes the course.
 
Raul Barriga - photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman

Since he is taking the journalism class, he would like to be involved in the sports events and interview some of the seminarians who are on the soccer team and basketball team.  He said, "I think I would like to be involved in more sports such as soccer and basketball so that I could interview my fellow seminarians and question them about their experience."

Raul is looking forward to working at and writing about the Regent's Dinner.  There are so many events that will be taking place on the hilltop, and one of those events is the Regent's Dinner.  Every year in October, a number of bishops and vocation directors will come to visit the hilltop and have a conference with the president-rector and have dinner with the seminarians.  This dinner requires a lot of volunteer work for setting the tables, serving food, and washing dishes.

Another event he would like to write about is the college beach weekend.  It is the event that the seminary provides to the college students in order for them to get to know one another and build community among them.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Journalism in Russia

Susan Richards, an English journalist and author of Lost and Found in Russia: Lives in a Post-Soviet Landscape, spent sixteen years traveling throughout Russia after the collapse of communism.


Her travels were dangerous, and her writing, once it was published, could bring danger to the people who had shared their lives with her.  Richards explains in the conclusion of her book:

The world recession, triggered in the West, was going to hit long-suffering Russians.  And the harder it hit them, the more Moscow's war party were likely to beat the nationalist drum and seek out confrontation with the West as a distraction.  "We can't afford to look ahead," Tatiana was saying over breakfast.  "All we can do is live in a continual present, manage each day as it comes."

This was the political backdrop against which my book was going to come out.  My intimate account of the last sixteen years of their lives was going to appear in English in the West.  How would that play out for them, living here?  There were times, much earlier on when I believed that it might offer them protection.  Not anymore.  Ghosts from Russia's Soviet past were giving me a hard time (319).

While our work with journalism at Mount Angel Seminary does not carry the kinds of risks Richards describes, her work can remind us that we are always working within the larger context of a particular organization, country, and point in history.  We not only record that history; we are also taking part in it through our work.  We can also remember to pray for those whose journalism and dedication to its ideals takes them into dangerous places around the world.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Etude and Gay Talese

I followed up on Bruce's suggestion in his comment on the last post and visited the University of Oregon's Etude.  The Summer 2011 issue has a great reflection by Lauren Kessler on the the master of literary journalism Gay Talese.  His writing proved to her that journalism, at its core, is about people, stories, and the beauty of language. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

War Photography

This afternoon on NPR's Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviewed two war photographers, Joao Silva and Greg Marinovich.  Silva is recovering from loss of his legs below the knees and internal injuries due to a land mine, and Marinovich has been shot four times.

Together the two men have coauthored the book The Bang Bang Club, which is just now being released as a film.  This work concerns the time they spent covering the civil war and last days of apartheid in South Africa.

In their interview they openly discuss their injuries, helping those they are photographing in war zones, and how their injuries have or will affect their future work.  Listen to the interview carefully and take in the weight of their commitment and bravery.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Killing Fields

Another film has been added to the page for films on journalism; The Killing Fields, directed by Roland Joffe, came out in 1984 and won three Academy Awards.  It tells the story of the friendship between Sydney Schanberg, a reporter for the New York Times who covered the war in Cambodia, and his Cambodian translator and assistant, Dith Pran.  Dith was forced to say behind when all of the Western journalists left Cambodia as the Khmer Rouge took over the country.

Mr. Dith survived forced labor and torture before escaping to Thailand.  He died in 2008 at the age of 65, and his obituary may be found at the New York Times.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sports Coverage

Scott Simon, one of the finest journalists working today, has received every major award in broadcasting.  One of his loves is sports, and several of his books focus on this subject.  One of them is Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, a short book that is part of the Turning Points Series published by Wiley and Sons.  Simon integrates comments on the coverage Jackie Robinson received by the press into the story of this brave man who integrated major league baseball when he began playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  For example:

The Dodgers drew 37,000 people for a Friday night, April 18, game at the Polo Grounds against the Giants.  Jackie Robinson hit his first major league home run.  The next day, more than 52,000 people swarmed into the Polo Grounds, the largest attendance figure in the ballpark's history.  By April 24, Jackie Robinson was hitting .429 on the season.  The Baltimore Afro-American, Pittsburgh Courier, Chicago Defender, and other black newspapers detailed each of Robinson's at bats as a separate feature, as if each time Robinson came to the plate, he took another step across the moon - which, in a way, he had.  The Afro-American reported that most of the major white-owned newspapers in Florida had deleted all mention of Robinson's hits, runs, and stolen bases from their game stories.  It was as fruitless as looking for news about Soviet famines in Pravda (117).

The journalism of the black newspapers stands the test of time because it recognized and acknowledged the significance of the events that were unfolding.

In terms of our own journalism here at the seminary, we can reflect on our coverage of the seminary's sporting events.  What are the underlying stories of different games and matches?  Aside from the score, what do these events tell us about the men who are participating and their formation for the priesthood?