Archive for November, 2007

Story ideas

November 12, 2007

Janice Hunt, who works for EIU, offers weekly story ideas. We should pursue our own stories, but we should also consider some of the angles she offers each week. In fact, we might want to use these ideas as a steppingstone to other angles related to the ones presented. Anyway, everybody should at least read the proposed stories each week to get jum-start our own ideas. Here are the ideas for this week.

Here is a list of some upcoming Eastern Illinois University activities, story ideas and photo opportunities you might be interested in covering. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free, open to the public and on the EIU campus. For an up-to-date calendar of public events at EIU, please see For more information on these or any other EIU events, please contact Vicki Woodard (581-7649 or or Janice Hunt (581-7400 or

— Nov. 12-16: Nontraditional Student Week. The School of Continuing Education has planned a variety of activities; for details, visit and look under the Announcements box. Booth Library is also hosting an exhibit to highlight nontraditional students.

— 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13: Hunger Banquet, a meal designed to raise awareness of the realities of hunger in the world. Hosted by EIU’s Haiti Connection, the event includes a time for dialogue regarding the root causes of hunger. The banquet is free due to support from area businesses and organizations; donations will be accepted at the door. Eighty percent of all money raised will go to fund projects in Haiti; the remainder will go to the Charleston Food Pantry. Space is limited to the first 200 participants. Newman Catholic Center, 500 Roosevelt Ave.

— 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14: Canned food drive to benefit the Charleston Food Pantry. Carman Hall lobby.

— 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14: Children’s Theatre Tour Show. One night only of the children’s tour as a public performance. All seats are $5. Call 217-581-3110. Village Theatre, 960 18th St.

— 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14: Musical performance by Michael Jacobs, winner of the 2003 Native American Music Award for Best Independent Recording and nominee for two 2007 Native American Music Awards. A Native American Heritage Month event. Bridge Lounge, MLK Jr. Union.

— 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15: HP Technology Day, sponsored by Hewlett Packard and CampusHP. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about some of the latest technology issues and solutions impacting learning institutions. Many hands-on learning opportunities will be available. To register, go to 1895 Room, MLK Jr. Union.

— 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15: EIU’s “Biggest Winner” finale. This 10-week program, sponsored by the Health Education Resource Center, was designed to teach students how to healthfully lose weight and become healthier (as opposed to losing the maximum amount of weight in a short amount of time). Prizes will be awarded to the “Biggest Winner.” Martinsville Room, MLK Jr. Union.

— 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15: EIU Jazz Lab Band concert, including a variety of big band music by the 17-piece ensemble. Grand Ballroom, MLK Jr. Union.

— Nov. 19-23: Thanksgiving break, no classes.

— Nontraditional students at EIU have a great resource in OASIS (Organization of Adult Students, Informal and Supportive). The group has weekly brown-bag lunch meetings, which are often attended by guest speakers from throughout the university. Students also discuss issues unique to their situation as adult learners. For information, see


Links are essential for online postings

November 5, 2007

I really liked Chris Walden’s story “Legacy of Action” that focuses on suicide on campus, showing how a student government member has used his influence to create a Suicide Awareness initiative. This story has some good sources, offering perspectives on a sensitive subject and extending coverage of a story (mental health) worth following up.

I am also very pleased this story includes many links online, something the online staff has been working on. Our readers can gain more perspective, for example, on Eastern’s Counseling Center and the Center for Disease Control. We also link to a site created for a young woman who committed suicide, plus we link to stories on two people who, unfortunately, have struggled with mental health issues. Readers can learn more about this topic by clicking through. Links add layers to our stories. In reality, a 600-word print story has the same impact of one twice that size online thanks to the links.

We cannot ask our online editors to add all of these links, however. Each reporter needs to add a few to the end of stories as well. Let editors know where you found essential information or where one can learn more about your topic. That’s a big help for editors and readers. Keep up the good work.

Serial commas are not mass murderers

November 1, 2007

But they certainly anger copy editors and grammarians enough to want to shoot one another. A New York Times’ deputy editor takes on this topic along with editing issues related to pesky apostrophes, whether to include racial slurs and how online editing differs from print. Check it out.