Journalism Portfolio

I took Introduction to Journalism my sophomore year and worked at my college’s student-run newspaper, The Index, for three years as a contributor, staff writer, and finally the editor of the sports section. A sampling from both my class and the paper can be found below. Articles #1 & #2 are from my Introduction to Journalism class my sophomore year, with the first being my final project. Articles #3, #4, and #5 are from my time on the staff of the paper.


Article #1

Alcohol Policy Gets Serious

By Jackson Vaughn

Kalamazoo, Mich — Security carried the keg off the quad last year to the jeers of the soon graduating senior class. What right did they have to confiscate the alcohol of an of age student? However, the student Code of Conduct clearly states that students “may not possess single source containers”. As the school begins to crack down harder on the alcohol policy, the causes for the current policy on campus and the new research into alcohol by the school comes to light.

“I formed an Alcohol Task Force last year, Brian [Dietz], chaired it,” says Sarah B. Westfall, the Dean of Students. “The task force last year, because nobody had any memory of us really looking at alcohol [policy], we decided to do it; they looked at all our policies and practices and information to identify problem areas and things that could be clearer. One thing that they really identified was that we really hadn’t done a whole lot in the way of alcohol prevention.”

Kalamazoo College was seen to have niches where policy on alcohol differed. The athletes, the counselors, the separate academic departments; all had differing viewpoints on how to deal with drinking. The Alcohol Task Force brought together people from all over the school; Rob Passage from Athletics and Allen Hill from the counseling center were members. This assembly compared notes and merged all the different practices into one code. This helped to consolidate the student code on alcohol into a catch-all document for the college.

Another one of the ideas that the task force came up with was to focus more on alcohol prevention and safety, thereby helping students make informed decisions into drinking. From the research gathered by the task force, a PowerPoint was created for the peer leaders this year, involving details in drink safety and teaching them educational games such as having freshmen guess what constitutes ‘one’ drink. These PowerPoint’s were created from the CORE Drug and Alcohol Survey data which shows the consequences of drinking and other statistics.

The administrators of Kalamazoo College are looking not at policy as much now, focusing more on prevention and safety, teaching students that drinking is dangerous but if they are going to do it, how to do it safely. One administrator, Dean Joshua-Wathel states, “Since I have arrived here, I have focused on teaching students that if they are going to drink, how to do it safely, and with minimal risk to themselves and the people around them.”

She has worked at Kalamazoo for 11 years now, and since she has arrived, she believes that there has been a significant decrease in drinking incidents on campus. This, however, does not mean that students have stopped drinking; it only means that students have gotten smarter about it. “Students nowadays are more responsible,” says Dean Joshua-Wathel. “However, there are still major incidents. These are normally freshmen who have not learned their limit yet. This is why we have focused on education to limit and eventually eliminate these incidents.”

One way to show how the education has affected our student body is to look at the CORE Drug and Alcohol Survey. This survey is a comprehensive examination delving into the reasons behind drinking along with the consequences, frequency, volume, and secondary issues. One was issued on campus last year and before that in 1998. The differences between these two surveys clearly show change in the pattern of drinking on campus. The main difference we see is a drastic decrease of 11% in students missing class because of drinking. This shows students making smarter decisions which go hand in hand with the five percent decrease of students driving while intoxicated, a four percent decrease of students doing something they later regretted, and a four percent decrease in students performing poorly on a test or quiz because of drinking. “Students have become savvier and more educated over these past ten years, learning to avoid the RA’s and to not cause problems,” says Dana Jansma, the Associate Dean of Students. “If they aren’t making a scene, then the RA’s aren’t going to try to write them up.”

The Student Code of Conduct was revised and rewritten, especially with a concentration in the alcohol section two years ago, according to Brian Dietz. They made the wording clearer and coincide with all the other areas on campus. This has contributed to the better enforcement of the policy.
Kalamazoo College policy has always coincided with the State law, according to Security Director Timothy Young, and the state has just passed a bill detailing that if a student has been drinking and they call the police or an ambulance to help out another student then they will not be written up or charged for a crime. This is to reduce the number of serious drinking incidents where a student has been poisoned by the alcohol but a person is reluctant to help as they will have to face the consequences. This has also helped create a drop in the number of serious incidents on Kalamazoo’s campus according to Director Young.

As of right now, the college is focusing more on teaching students alcohol prevention and safety using the CORE data and also getting every facet of the college on the same page in regards to policy. The college will keep campaigning for prevention and safety, educating students and helping them to understand the consequences of their actions.


Article #2

Edwards Speaks At Annual Weber Lecture

By Jackson Vaughn

Kalamazoo, Mich.—Nearly 50 people crammed into the Olmsted Room at 8 PM on Monday for the annual lecture on Government and Society, funded by alum William Weber K’39. This year’s speaker was Mickey Edwards, a former United States Senator, author, and frequent political columnist.

In his speech “It’s the 21st Century: Does the Constitution Still Matter?”, Mr. Edwards called for a return to the basic tenants of the Constitution. “I think it’s fair to ask if we, as a people, still believe in the Constitution,” he said.

Former Senator Edwards then went on to point out “threats to the Constitution’s continued viability.” These include a disturbing increase in the concept of separated powers, a dip in the support of the most basic guarantees, a failure by the courts and legislature to uphold freedoms, and a drastic reliance on partisanship. “When somebody asserts authority, and it is not challenged, it creates a precedent,” he said.

The speech was finished up with a call to end voting strictly on partisanship, but to vote on a bill (legislative), veto a bill (executive), or strike down a bill (judicial) for its constitutionality rather than what your party wants. This sentiment was meet with raucous applause, where afterwards a forum was opened up for questions.

Some had their ideas on government changed by the speech. Alfonso F. Espinosa, originally of Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, only moved here five years ago and says he can care less for party politics. This Kalamazoo College senior says that knowing now what the Constitution had in mind has changed his perception on the government. He was also impressed by Mr. Edwards’ manner; “He was very clear and straight to the point; he knew what people needed to get out of his speech and he got down to it.”


Article #3

Basketball Sics Bulldogs For Third Win

By Jackson Vaughn
Sports Editor

The Hornets traveled to Adrian on Saturday on a losing streak and looking for a win. That is exactly what they got, leading by as much as nine during the game.

K was never within one basket of tying it up, with the Bulldogs biggest lead only being three points two minutes into the first half. The Hornets led 24 – 15, before Adrian nearly tied it up. The score at halftime was 31 – 27, with Kalamazoo shooting 46% from the field.

The second half, it was another battle with the Bulldogs chipping away at the score until they tied it up at 46 with 7:24 left. Adrian took the lead and took it again with 1:20 left, leading by one. Kalamazoo went on a 7 – 2 run to end the game.

The Hornets limited Adrian to only a 25% shooting, while the Hornets finished the game shooting 37% overall. Adrian held the lead in free throws, going 26 for 31, and in rebounds, 44 – 33. However, the Bulldogs had 20 turnovers to K’s 11, which proved to be crucial with Kalamazoo scoring 20 points off this.
Holly Cooperrider K’14 led the swarm, putting up a career-high 28 points, shooting 57% from the field and going 11 – 11 on free throws. Michelle Maiuri K’11 had four points, three steals, and ten rebounds. Courtney Kaplan K’11 also had eight points, while Carly Zeitlin K’12 posted seven.

The game was also Adrian’s Pink Zone Game for Breast Cancer, in an effort to raise money and awareness. Adrian held events during the week, such as a “Dining to Donate” at Applebee’s, where a portion of the bill went to charity. During the game there was a halftime shooting contest, a bake and jewelry sale, and the recognition of breast cancer survivors who received flowers.

Kalamazoo is in now 3 – 17 (2 – 10 in the MIAA). They play next home against Alma on Wednesday, January 9th.


Article #4

Three Wins For Women’s Basketball, Breaks Streak

By Jackson Vaughn
Sports Editor

Courtney Kaplan K’11 stole the ball with less than ten seconds left on Wednesday to seal the game, leaping up and down with her teammates to celebrate. This victory against Alma broke a 36 game, 1128 day home losing streak, which was capped off with another win against Olivet at home on Saturday.

“Both the wins came because we finally have confidence in ourselves and we finally believe in each other and our team, and that is the difference maker,” says Kaplan.

Kalamazoo against Alma went into halftime with a 28 – 21 lead and also lead most of the second half, though Alma took the lead a few times. Though the score was tied with only three minutes remaining, Kalamazoo went on a 7 – 3 run, sealing the game and breaking the streak.

The game against Olivet was also Kalamazoo’s Think Pink game where posters were put up and bracelets were handed out while the players wore pink head and wristbands.

The Hornets came out fighting, building a strong lead going into halftime, leading by 17. K looked like a different team in the second half though, only shooting 25.9 percent compared to the 50 percent in the first half. They were held scoreless for over five minutes twice, but the lead they had built up proved too much to overcome for the Comets, and the Hornets tallied their third win.

Nicole Antoine K’14 is being honored as MIAA Co-Player of the Week for her performance in both games where she played all 40 minutes. She racked up 23 points, 14 coming against Olivet which is a career-high, along with 17 rebounds. Kaplan also put up big numbers with 21 points, six rebounds, and eight assists. Michelle Maiuri K’11 had 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Katrina Carlsen K’13 had 21 points.

Advancing to 5 – 17 (4 – 10 in the MIAA), the Hornets play next on Wednesday at Albion. In the SWARM on the Road program, put on by the ALC, K Cheer, and the Office of Student Involvement, there is a free bus to and from the game, ticket cost is covered, free food, and a free SWARM t-shirt. The bus leaves at 6 PM from Hicks. Bring your Student ID.


Article #5

Rolla Anderson Suffers Heart Attack; Recovering In Hospital

By Jackson Vaughn
Sports Editor

In December, over Christmas break, retired Athletic Director and Coach Rolla Anderson had a heart attack that placed him in the hospital. He is doing better, and is now at home recovering.

Rolla Anderson is one of the most influential figures that can still be seen on campus, whether he is at a baseball game or the annual USTA tennis tournament. My first time meeting him, I was working at the admissions table for a basketball game. He walked in, and when I told him the price for entry, he asked if I knew who he was. I was clueless, and he pointed to the wall behind me. I turned around and there hung a picture of a slightly younger him. I turned around and said I think it would be all right if he went in. He proceeded to question me about what sport I played, how our team was doing, what chances we had for next year; all the times I saw him after that, he would continue to question me about these things, constantly showing an interest in not just the school, but the player as well.

Current Athletic Director Kristen Smith said, “He’s a man’s man. He was just a great guy. He was a great mentor to many, many, many, many people. He cares about people, he’s interested in people. There is so much to say about Rolla it’s hard to pick a few things. I haven’t met a person who didn’t have great things to say about Rolla.”

Rolla was honored January 15th, during the halftime of the men’s basketball game, when President Wilson-Oyelaran and Charles Tucker K’56 unveiled a painting to be hung in his honor. His daughter Susie and son-in-law Bill VanDis were in attendance.

Tucker, who was mentored by Rolla during his time playing basketball for K, is the CEO and President of The Sports Network, a company which disseminates real-time sports statistics to major players such as Yahoo and Viacom. Tucker decided that this painting needed to be commissioned after visiting last April and seeing a painting of Rolla’s predecessor, but none of him. The painting is to be hung in the weight room hallway.

Rolla started here at K in 1953 as head football coach, and then became Athletic Director the next year. He won 55 games over 14 season, posting a perfect 8 – 0 record with his 1962 team, as well as winning back to back MIAA championships, earning him Michigan Coach of the Year honors. He also coached tennis, golf, and cross country, where he won numerous conference championships. During his tenure, K won nine MIAA All-Sports awards, oversaw the implementation of new varsity sports, and the construction of the new athletic building, named Anderson Athletic Center in his honor, and affectionately dubbed “Rolla’s House”.

Rolla was inducted into the Kalamazoo College Hall of Fame on October 30th, 1992. We here at the Index wish him a speedy recovery.