Clarke County

Have you ever seen Big Fish?

I’m pretty sure that movie was based on this place. 

I visited Grove Hill, Jackson and Coffeeville this weekend, and I have to say if it weren’t for the horrible reception I’d consider living out away from the city. 

I learned so much about my family’s history and the way things used to be. I even learned more about Alabama’s history. 

For instance, have you heard about the quilts they make at Gee’s Bend? They are INCREDIBLE. I didn’t get a chance to go there since you have to take a ferry, but I will definitely make it over there one day. 

Anyway, I took a few pictures at my relative’s house/land in Coffeeville. It’s about 20 miles away from civilization… But it is so peaceful. 

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This house reminded me so much of Dorothy’s house on The Wizard of Oz!

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We stopped my a cemetery and looked at some old headstones in the spirit of Halloween! This one was my favorite:

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There was a corn field with a female scarecrow in front of it.. 

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And the corn field was covered with these beautiful monarch butterflies!! It. was. Amazing!!!

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I just loved the slow-life feel of this place.

Everybody know everybody, and you wave at everyone who passes by while your sitting on your front porch swing. I was just waiting for Andy and Opie to walk by whistling and carrying their cane poles. 

If I ever get tired of all of the traffic and chaos of the city life, I know where I’ll go. 

 

Until next post, 

-Mallie

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Words of Wisdom

I knew I would learn the background of each professor who attended the University of Alabama’s Journalism Faculty Forum held March 25th in Reese Phifer room 216, but I left with much more than I had anticipated. Each professor shared his and her story while adding a pinch of advice for the potential new journalists.

The first professor to speak was Meredith Cummings, Director of the Alabama Scholastic Press Association and Multicultural Journalism Workshop. Cummings writes for magazines such as Traditions Magazine, Spartanburg Magazine, Tuscaloosa Magazine and Alabama Alumni Magazine. Her piece of advice at the forum was “if you don’t use it, you lose it,” which is very true when it comes to writing.

Dan Meissner was the next to share his story, which started early through an internship. He was a student at UA who also wrote and photographed for the Tuscaloosa News. He received an internship as a sophomore, and began working full-time during the same year. Meissner has taught in the journalism department for more than thirty years. He told the students, “you need as much experience as you can possibly have.”

Chris Roberts, the Assistant Professor of Journalism, followed Meissner’s experience with a similar start. He became interested in journalism in college as well, and wrote for The Crimson White his junior year. Roberts’ first real job was at The Birmingham News. He was writing for a newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina when he decided it would “be fun” to become a professor. He received his Ph.D and came to UA in 2008 to teach reporting and mass communications.

Last, but certainly not least, was Rick Bragg. Bragg is the Professor of Writing here at UA, and has quite an impressive resume under his belt. He has worked for Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, as well as The Birmingham News and The Anniston Star. Bragg won The Pulitzer Prize in 1996, and attended Harvard University. As if that were not enough, Bragg has also published books such as All Over But the Shoutin’, I Am A Soldier Too and his most recent The Most They Ever Had. To say he is an accomplished man is an understatement, but the road to success is not easy. Bragg stated that while working for The Birmingham News, he once laid in a ditch just to get a glimpse of a serial killer for his story. He has also been shot at, and while it may not be the worst of the three, lived in Clearwater,Florida, or “Heaven’s waiting room” as he called it. Bragg gave much advice during the forum, but the most inspiring was when he said “you have to survive the short writing to get to the long writing.”


Journalism and the Law

During our previous Journalism 101 class, our professor, Dr. Daniels, explained what is legal and what is ethical in the Journalism world. He used the Helen Thomas controversy as an example to show the difficulty in choosing between legal and ethical. Helen Thomas is known for having the longest term as a White House correspondent. After making an offensive remark pertaining to Israel, Thomas was fired from her job and the Helen Thomas Award was retired by the Society of Professional Journalists. Thomas later apologized and returned to journalism, but the question remains- should her award have been retired? Many believe she earned the legacy, but others seem to think that she should have known better and deserved to have the award taken away. So what’s the difference between law and ethics? Law is the legal rights and responsibilities a person has, where ethics is the choice a person makes to do the right thing. The First Amendment provides most of the protection under the law as well as other portions of the Constitution. This includes the freedom of speech, which is what Thomas used when she made that comment. Some laws beyond the First Amendment are Federal Shield Laws, Libel Law, Freedom of Information Act, State Open Records Act and State Open Meetings Law. These give people the ability and freedom to access records or attend meetings if needed. With this being said, freedom is very important and is taken very seriously when it comes to the law. In my opinion, Thomas could have appealed more to the ethical crowd with different wording, but she did earn the right to have an award in her name. Therefore I believe that it was a little over the top to take away the award, but she did need to receive some kind of punishment for her actions.


An Interview with Thomas Friedman

Last Tuesday, February 22nd, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman visited the University of Alabama. The interview was held in the Ferguson Center Theater. Although the interview was only an hour long, there were many issues that were conversed. The first thing Friedman talked about was his trip to the Middle East. He explained his moving experience in Jerusalem and Cairo. Friedman said, “People piled into the square saying, ‘we aren’t afraid anymore.'” He described the experience as “very authentic” and “unpolitical.” One thing Friedman noticed while he was in Cairo was the familiar scenery. He said that Cairo’s buildings have not changed since he was in school there in 1974.
Another issue Friedman talked about was America’s oil addiction. He believes that since we are just coming out of a recession it should not be this year, but the addiction needs to stop soon. Friedman stated that, “We deserve what we get if we keep the house at the bottom of the volcano.”
An important issue that Friedman brought up is how things are being sourced and made anywhere and sold everywhere these days, whereas just a few years ago everything was sourced and made in China and sold in America. He explained just how much price matters. In his hometown, Friedman said that when gas prices rose, people could not buy a Prius fast enough, but when gas prices declined, everyone tried to sell their Prius. Friedman unveiled an ugly truth by saying that, “If this spreads to Algeria, we will see a significant price spike.” When asked, Friedman admitted he was not opposed to off-shore drilling if it is done safely.
As the interview came to an end, Friedman said that he noticed there was not one building on UA’s campus with solar paneling. If he was trying to ignite a new idea in students’ minds, it may have worked; I’m sure we will be seeing a new project on campus for this very soon…


Journalists vs. Bloggers

When thinking of a journalist, most picture someone who writes about the most current events in a newspaper. This is true, but since times have changed, many journalists have started blogging to get news to the public faster. Although there are many similarities, journalists and bloggers are not the same, even though most journalists do have blogs. According to the 2008 data from Pew Internet & American Life Project,12% of internet users (9% of all Americans) have created a blog or an online journal. This shows that the average person can share information with the rest of the world; it is not required to be a journalist in order to have a blog. Most people who blog just to blog do it to express their creativeness. They usually document their own personal experience, whereas journalists blog to expand the scope of a new story. Journalists provide insight on how the story was covered in their blogs, also. A big factor that both bloggers and journalists have in common is to build relationships and really connect with the readers. Anyone and everyone is allowed to comment on blogs, which can in some instances help the blogger progress in later blogs. So what is the main difference between a blogger and a journalist? Well, a journalist can be a blogger, but a blogger cannot technically be called a journalist since it is an actual job. It is great practice for aspiring journalists, so it is encouraged to keep a blog just for fun!