In July of 2014 I was accepted to Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism five week summer program. Over the course of a life changing five weeks I was assigned many different articles. Below you can find all the articles I turned in but they do not include the edits that my professors made on them when they were handed back. So they are a little rough as I learned more and more by the day. The only article not included here is my “Trend Story” which was our final project, the article I am most proud of in my career, and that is in a separate post above. Enjoy!
Courage Speech (Write-Off Competition Winner)
I’ve been called “cocky” countless times to my face and I can’t imagine how many times behind my back, but I think less of myself than most people would guess. One of the things I am confident about, though, is my courage.
Courage comes in many shapes and sizes, like most character traits, and my courage comes in more of a verbal sense in that I stand up for what I believe in quite passionately. I have a very big issue with courage though in that I have a moral dilemma where my life, my goals, my future butts heads directly with the courage I have in my heart.
I think everyone is probably lost right now and has no idea what I am talking about but do not freight, I do indeed have a point. If someone said in front of me that Israel was victimizing itself and it was really Gaza we should feel bad for, I do indeed have the courage to completely shred that person to pieces no matter where I am and give them the real facts. However, and this is where the dilemma comes in, there are things you cannot speak about depending on the situation or people you are with.
I want to emphatically stress that I am by no means political, but I do have strong opinions about certain topics. Sometimes, however, I need to censor myself, which as an open person I hate to do. What I am trying to get at is that it is tough to be courageous in this day-in-age where everything you do is judged and can affect your future, i.e. getting a job or getting into a college.
There are things I would love to ask and discuss with some of the instructors here but some of it, depending on the instructor’s stance, could make me look very bad. This isn’t a vendetta against this program at all, what my overall point is is that to have courageous people in this world we all need to be more open people and cut judgment out completely.
We need to constantly tell people we are open and not judgmental so we may have dialogues and conversations with people and learn from one another even if we don’t agree. Christian Paz and I had a 45 minute debate on the Israel-Gaza conflict, and we didn’t always agree, but we came out as way better friends than we were before because we listened, understood, and didn’t judge each other. I urge everyone in this room, especially as journalists, to be more open and willing to hear people’s opinions without judging so we can not only learn more, but open the door for courageous people to make a difference in this world without having to risk their futures due to people’s judgmental fashion.
Teacher Tenure Laws (Opinion)
A California judge rejected teacher tenure laws last week because they deprive students of a proper education while violating the students’ civil rights under the State Constitution. Although the teacher unions are planning to appeal the decision, the ruling does bring the state of California one step closer to finally abolishing teacher tenures which heavily favor teachers while severely hurting their students.
Tenures began in 1999 as a way to prevent schools from firing teachers to do someone a favor, such as giving the position to the principal’s sister, and to protect teachers from being fired due to political affiliations. However, the law has since evolved into an excuse for teachers to no longer do their job well since firing them is difficult and expensive once they are tenured. Tenures are given to teachers early in their careers and then the teachers can do as little actual teaching as they want.
While effective teachers deserve to have their jobs guaranteed, underperforming teachers are also getting immunity. According to CALDER expert Eric Hanushek, the students of these underperforming teachers are getting only half a years’ worth of learning while good teachers are providing their students with a year and a half worth of academic gains. Despite the fact many teachers underperform, only one in every thousand of them are losing their licenses because of California’s tenure laws. However, one in every 97 lawyers loses their licenses and one out of every 57 doctors lose their licenses, according to Waiting for Superman, a documentary about the nation’s tenure system.
The idea behind tenure made sense in 1999 but tenures are now only helping teachers slack off and in turn having students learn less. It is better to completely abolish tenure so no teacher is safe rather than having an umbrella that protects most teachers after working only a couple of years. For tenure to work there needs to be evaluations and reviews of teachers so only the truly deserving ones get their jobs guaranteed. California has taken a step in the right direction in protecting high school students from the dangers of poor teaching.
During the slow summer months the sharp ring of the door’s alarm echoes throughout a deserted pizzeria as one of the only two employees meanders over to greet the customer.
Papa John’s and Sarpinos Pizza labor through the slow months of July and August while Northwestern University students are out on summer vacation, leaving the pizzerias with significantly less clientele. While Sarpinos Pizza makes around $2,000 less a day during the summer, Papa John’s brings in about $3,000 less, according to the store’s managers.
“During the busy school year we make between $4,000 and $5,000 but during the summer period its closer to around $2,500 maybe $3,500,” Sarpinos Pizza shift manager Collin Marinov said.
Both stores attributed a large majority of their sales to the delivery side of the business saying that the campus is so close by it makes it convenient for both the store and the students.
“We get a lot of delivery orders from Northwestern since it’s so close and it’s quick and easy for the drivers too,” Papa John’s store manager Bobby Mosley said. “Right now we are just open until 2 a.m. but during the school year the schedule changes quite a bit.”
The drop in sales during summer is commonplace around the nation with restaurant sales dipping up to two billion dollars nationwide, according to restaurant.org. Some restaurants that see slow summers because they are close to universities give workers the summer off to prevent more losses.
“We have someone that works during the school year on deliveries but doesn’t work with us during the summer,” Mosley said. “With two or three people at a time in summer we do just fine.”
One such trend that is not seen in Evanston, however, is closing down restaurants for part of the summer to prevent even greater losses. According to Marinov, Sarpinos doesn’t let people off during the summer because they like having full-time workers.
“If anything we may have less drivers during the day but right when school kicks off there will be three or four drivers maybe more during the day and four to six drivers at night,” Marinov said.
While the summer days will continue to be slow at both locations, the pizzerias are excited for the start of the school year to finally cut the silence of the kitchen and fill it with the computer’s buzz from each incoming order.