Summer Times 2007

A publication of the students of the Summer Journalism Institute

July 2, 2007

Sweet as Carmel: Kristin Harmel

Filed under: — sji @ 11:03 am

BY JACKIE KIM

Fresh off the plane from London after interviewing the cast of the new Harry Potter movie, Kristin Harmel, a book author and writer for People magazine, returns to her Alma mater, the University of Florida. She imitates Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) in her own British accent: “As you can see, I’ve taken off my shoes, cause I’m much more comfortable that way, would you like to take off your shoes?”

As a celebrity journalist, Kristin Harmel, 28, has had her fair share of encounters with famous celebrities: Radcliffe, Matthew McConaughey, OutKast, Patrick Dempsey (Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy,) Lance Bass (they share the same birthday), Sarah Jessica Parker, P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Diddy and Justin Timberlake are among the many.

And her favorite? “I really liked Andre Benjamin from OutKast. He was very very very nice. He’s very intellectual. I just really liked the way that his mind worked. He was just a very very very friendly person. To the point where he even called me couple times after the interview to ask me about things, or to mention things, or whatever, which was really nice.”

With her vibrant personality and five feet-miniature stature, she shares the story of her rise to fame to 87 aspiring journalists hoping to one day be in her shoes–or her backless gold stiletto shoes for that matter.

Harmel, a Boston native, moved to Ohio when she was only 2 and to St. Petersburg when she was 10. Stoked by her passion to be a journalist, she worked at the St. Petersburg Times at only 16. She wrote a cover article about the St. Louis Cardinals’ instructional league, and went on to interview people like Bo Jackson and Sister Hazel. Harmel then went to Gator-town and by the time she was a senior, she was interning at People. She then graduated top of her class (summa cum laude) at the College of Journalism and Communications with only one B all four years. “I love to write. I tried to make a newspaper for my school when I was 10. I love writing, talking to people.”

To this day, Kristin credits her success to UF. “I had a ton of wonderful experiences here. It was just wonderful. 100 times out of a 100 I would choose to do it again. The professors are very proactive.” In her speech, she said she believes that if it wasn’t for UF, she wouldn’t have had any of the opportunities she did in her life, such as the People internship.

Now she is a regular freelance writer for the magazine and loves every minute of her job. “I like that it gives me the opportunity to get inside the heads of all different kinds of people. I enjoy doing the celebrity interviews, but I think I prefer doing interviews about real people doing amazing things. It’s always very interesting for me to find out what motivates them and what drives them. I think it’s people like that who are making the world a better place…In a way it helps me become a little bit of a better person because it’s an inspiration.”

She says her favorite interview for People was with Henri Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor who came to America with only $20 in his pocket. He soon became involved in the hotel industry and with the profit, created a non-profit organization best known as Give Kids the World.

Aside from magazine writing, Harmel is also the author of two books, How to Sleep with a Movie Star and The Blonde Theory. She doesn’t fail to add that her first book is 100% fiction, and it is definitely not a how-to book. Both were published by Warner Books.

In 2008, she has two more books coming out called When You Wish and The Art of French Kissing. When You Wish is Harmel’s first teen book. When asked for the reason she switched audiences, she said, “I really wanted to work with this particular editor, who edited the Traveling Pants series. I also think that there’s something about writing for teens. I feel like you have more influence. Books meant more to me and moved me more when I was a teenager than they do now. At like 13/14/15 you’re still trying to sort of figure out the world around you and where you fit in it. And I think books play a big role in helping people figure those things out and I think it’s a neat ability to have to influence people that way. To sort of play a little bit of a role. Or even inspiring them to read.”

As far as journalism as a whole, Harmel says, “I think that it’s broader then ever before because of the advent of the internet. I think there are a lot of changes in store for the future of journalism. It’ll be really interesting to see where it’ll go in the future.”

And for Harmel’s future in five years? “Hopefully still writing novels; still working for magazines. I’m where I want to be right now, so hopefully doing at least two novels a year. Having more people who have read my books and liked them and are looking forward to my next book. Other than that, I’m really happy at where I am right now, so if I’m doing this in five years that’d be great!”

Whether she will stay in journalism or continue writing books, she says, “People ask me now since I have two books out, if I’m going to stop doing the journalism. I don’t think so. I’ll never be able to leave journalism. I love it. It’s a different thing every day and you get to learn so many interesting things about people and you get to meet so many new people from different locks of life.”

Now for the age-old question, in harmony with her latest book, The Blonde Theory, who has more fun? Blondes, brunettes, or redheads? “I think fun is what you make it. Blonde, brunette, or redhead, I think it’s always best to be true to yourself and I think that’s when you have the most fun when you’re true to who you are,” said Harmel, a blonde.

John Wright Profile

Filed under: — sji @ 11:03 am

BY JESSICA STALLONE

Dr. John W. Wright II, the interim dean of the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida, has had an unfaltering love of journalism ever since he was young.

“The quest for information, the enjoyment of information and just telling the story, is really what I love, ” he said.

As he talks about the good old days working in the field, he immediately becomes eager when asked about his most outrageous experience. Wright dives into a tumultuous story about covering a the release of the verdict of a murder trial and how when the information was ready to be released, there was a mad rush of reporters and different people were knocked down during the chaos.

“Luckily I got out of the way in time,” he chuckled.

After graduating Cum Laude from the University of Central Florida in 1971, he went on to receive his masters degree and finally his doctorate in 1977. During this time, Wright worked at various television stations, including WEDU, and as everything from a staff announcer to a production manager on five different radio stations.

Though he worked in both fields, radio, he said, was his preference.

“I liked every single part of it; working alone on things, being able to go out, find the story and produce the story. Plus I have much more experience in radio journalism,” he said as grin spread across his face.

Atlanta Gators, Anyone?

Filed under: — sji @ 11:02 am

Being a basketball fan from Atlanta, I’ve got every right to complain about that garbage-disposal-of-an-organization, the Atlanta Hawks.

It’s one thing that Atlanta has never been able to experience a professional basketball championship, but it’s another that the lack of winning has been brought about by the incompetence of the Hawks’ front office. For years now, it has almost seemed as if the organization has been trying to self-destruct, usually by means of making inexplicable and horrid picks in the NBA drafts.

This process started way back in 1992, when the Hawks opted to leave Robert ‘Big Shot Rob’ Horry on the board and instead select Adam ‘No Shots Adam Because I Am Never In the Game and Always On the Bench’ Keefe, and has not come anywhere close to ending.

The following year the Hawks made an even more egregious choice when they passed on possible future hall-of-famer Sam “I Am” Cassell and happily drafted possible future nothing Doug “I Lug” Edwards.

After several years of impressively mediocre picks, 1998 marked the beginning of an era in which the Hawks would perennially make fools of themselves on draft day. This era was highlighted by such moves as picking Roshown McLeod before Ricky Davis or Al Harrington, Cal Bowdler before Ron Artest, Dion Glover before Andrei Kirilenko, DerMarr Johnson before Jamal Crawford or Hedo Turkoglu, Josh Childress before Luol Deng or Andre Iguodala, Marvin Williams before an abundance of future all-stars, and, most recently, Shelden Williams before anything that could be valuable to a basketball team.

In 2001, however, the Hawks stole a dominant franchise forward in Pau Gasol with the third overall pick—only to then immediately trade him for the single most overrated player in the history of the game, forward Sharif Abdur-Rahim.

I should just give it all up and head west to places like San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, or, heck, even Portland, but I won’t, because I’m too loyal. No, not to the Hawks; to my Facebook Group entitled, “No Matter How Much It Hurts, I am a Hawks Fan.”

Sometimes I just want to grab the Hawks’ front office, shake their shoulders, and dramatically ask them, “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted—one moment., would you capture it or just let it slip?” Yeah I know, that’s the intro of Eminem’s single Lose Yourself, but it fits so well: the 2007 NBA Draft is on Thursday, and opportunity is worming around the Hawks nest, waiting to be scooped up and fed to the young. With the 3rd and 11th picks, the Hawks have the positioning to draft at least one winner from Titletown and turn things around in
Atlanta.

Where’s Titletown you ask? That would be Gainesville, Fla., the home of the back-to-back champion Florida Gators. Three Gators are almost certain to be selected in the top 10 of Thursday’s draft, and two in the top five. All three will be available by pick three, meaning that the Hawks essentially can choose whomever of the competitive and mature Gators they want to.

And by whomever I mean Al Horford. His coachability, basketball IQ, work ethic, and, of course, extremely refined overall basketball game make Horford the most logical choice for the disorganized and turnover-prone Hawks.

In order to quickly turn around the disheveled franchise, the Hawks need to quit adding projects and high-flying dunkers to the roster studded with projects and high-flying dunkers. No team with that type of backbone has ever won a national championship on any level.

Horford, or any of the Gators for that matter, yes, even Lee Humphrey…maybe, would make the Hawks play more like one collaborative unit—more like the San Antonio Spurs squad that recently won the NBA Championship and, obviously, the most dominant college team of the last two seasons, the Florida Gators.

Not to mention the Gators like to each play MJ when in Atlanta; for the basketball and football teams have gone a combined 12-0 in the Georgia Dome including four Southeastern Conference Championships and one National Championship over the past three seasons.

The Hawks have to take Horford at the least. He’ll be playing just down the street from the Dome, where he perennially dominated in college during tourney time. Draft him for the good of the team. Draft him for the good of, well, Horford. Draft him to prove that the Hawks front office wouldn’t be better run by Anna Nicole Smith—dead or alive. Draft him because, most importantly:

Is a Hawks jersey with the name “Horford” plastered on the back too much for a guy like me to ask for?

Doubts Concerning New PE Guidlines

Filed under: — sji @ 11:02 am

BY NATALIE CERABINO

Educators and legislators in Florida are going to school. With new guidelines outlining the physical education programs in Florida, school districts are being forced to rethink their long-forged practices. A little more than a month ago, Florida Governor Charlie Crist drafted the “Half-hour-a-day PE Law” requiring elementary school students in the state of Florida to participate in at least 30 minutes of physical education classes daily as opposed to the 30 minutes weekly as they have practiced previously.

Motivated by the growing trend of obesity in children and adolescents, Crist is pushing this bill in an attempt to solve poor health in American youth, according to an article in the Tampa Bay Tribune. “We’re trying to create a culture of activity in our elementary schools,” Republican Rep. Will Rutherford, the bill’s sponsor, was quoted as saying in an Associated Press article.

Statistics like those found on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation website show that one in four children do not participate in physical activities in their free time, supporting Crist’s initiative. Only 8 percent of elementary schools nationwide require daily physical education lessons. In recent years, it has also been found that kids are averaging four to five hours of screen time every day in front of the latest television shows, computers or video games.

The youth need to get moving, that much is certain. But at what cost to our education system? Although noble in intentions, Crist’s harnessing of the state’s governing power in order to accomplish this goal does not necessarily mean it will be accompanied with adequate funding, or funding at all. On the contrary, the responsibilities fall to individual counties to pull money out of their already tight budgets in order to pay for the number of gym teachers needed to accommodate the entire population of the school in daily gym classes.

“I’m not sure that anyone really understands what it means,” said Beth McHale, a kindergarten teacher at S.D. Spady Elementary in Palm Beach County. McHale has taken her class to recess for scheduled increments of 20 minutes a day for as long as she can remember. Not every Spady teacher does, though, and the upper grades only get 15 minutes on the playground. In addition to this daily playtime, McHale’s class visits Coach Nelson, Spady’s PE teacher, for physical education on a rotating cycle along with other specialty programs. Students alternate between art, music, media, computers, and PE on a six day time period. Nelson’s days under this system are already scheduled down to the second, seeing students from bell to bell during the school day.

The proposed law has not made a specification between recess time and PE class. McHale speculates that under the ambiguity of the directions from Tallahassee that the free time students get to participate in their choice of physical activity during recess will morph into a more structured class format to satisfy the ruling.

The question still remains about who would be teaching these classes? McHale expressed emphatically when asked about the possibility of hiring more gym teachers, “I truly doubt it.”

Being that schools are not able to support a expansion of their staff, schools have been looking within their own to allocate help. Guidance counselors, art and music teachers, and teacher’s aides are now receiving crash courses in PE curriculum. Cindy Banks, a teacher from Cypress Trails Elementary in Royal Palm Beach, is happy to encourage physical activity in her students but does not believe herself qualified to fill in for a fully trained PE teacher.

“I don’t want to be trained as a PE teacher,” she was quoted as saying in an article in the Palm Beach Post. “I never wanted to be a PE teacher just as they never wanted to be a reading teacher.”

Despite the lack of absolutes in the execution of this law, every educator and legislator can agree that students need physical stimulation in the face of the rising apathy of children toward their own health.

“They should be playing, they should be outside,” McHale said.

Crist, equipped with the ability to lead Florida’s governing power on to many solutions for the reasons attributing to the rise of childhood obesity, has chosen one that is near impossible to execute. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation cites both poor nutrition in school food and the lack of a variety of supermarkets and inexpensive meal options in poor neighborhoods as causes helping to inflate the statistics and our kids.

“I don’t know how they are going to do it,” McHale says in reference to the governor’s new plan. “No one really does.”

Terry and Kerri: SJI Power-duo

Filed under: — sji @ 11:02 am

BY SARAH TAYLOR

Summer Journalism Institute power duo Terry Sollazzo and Kerri McLean have been aiding young journalists for over 20 years. With a clear excitement for teaching, one would only hope they continue on for at least 20 more.

Born in Bradenton, Florida, Sollazzo later went on to attend the University of South Florida, where she majored in English mass communications and wrote for her school paper. Though she desired to be a professional photographer, she knew that her heart lied in teaching.

“My passion has always been teaching,” said Sollazzo, who was hired as one even before out of college. She now lives in Tampa where she has three sons ages 11 to 20, of whom she is extremely proud. She is also the journalism teacher of Wharton High School. After having recently stepped down as president of the Florida Scholastic Press Association after four years, Sollazzo now has more time to dedicate to her staff.

“When I was the FSPA president, my staff was running on auto-pilot, and it took a toll on me,” Sollazzo said.

Her partner in crime, McLean, was steered all over the country while growing up, before later settling down and attending the University of Florida, where her husband also attended. There she majored in journalism, and tried her hand at both TV and Advertisments before deciding to become a teacher.

“I loved trying every aspect of it, but my personality is suited for teaching,” McLean said. She now teaches at Key West High school, where she is the newspaper advisor as well. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Dillon will attend UF in the fall.

For the past five years, both Sollazzo and McLean have found themselves at UF helping aspiring journalist sharpen their skills. They met each other their first year participating with SJI, a six-day intensive high-school journalism camp run by UF, and have been a team ever since. Seeing each others name on the SJI mailing list each year is a comfort to each about returning. Though they have always taught editing, previous years the group has been big enough to split. However as years have passed the classes have gotten smaller, allowing them to join forces. This way, students get much more one-on-one time, allowing them to really soak in all that Sollazzo and McLean have to offer. Neither come into the week with plans; they just tailor the program around the students needs after have meeting them. This year, editorial writing is a main focus in their editing class.

An inspirational experience for both ladies was receiving an encouraging email from a previous SJI student six months after camp saying how much of an intense effect their class had had on her and that their influence changed her paper and school.

“We don’t know what their needs are at camp, but the email had a profound effect on our teaching there,” said McLean.

While at camp, both women share ideas with each other about the next year. “We are able to bounce ideas off each other,” said McLean, “We have experience to pull from each other.” She continues to say sometimes its just desperation, as Sollazzo agrees that fresh ideas are hard to come by after teaching for so many years.

During the school year, both Sollazzo and McLean don’t keep in touch as often, with full schedules and journalism competitions keeping them busy. Yet, they plan on changing that, now finally getting each other’s contact information after so long. Still, having a full year until reuniting gives them so much more to talk about when they finally get to camp. While in Gainesville, they take the time to catch up with friends in the town as well, visiting them as campers have their free time at night.

Hopefully for all the future SJI campers, they’ll both be there next year to not only catch up with each other, but continue on leading the minds of young journalists too. Both agree to coming back if asked, and would even like to take on a design track. Until then, let them continue on influencing with their passionate teaching to students everywhere.

Face of Journalism Changes Through New Technology

Filed under: — sji @ 11:02 am

BY ARIEL ROTHFIELD

Every morning Cypress Bay student Cali Garber wakes up, gets dressed and goes online to receive her daily news. Many people like Garber are distancing themselves from newspapers and instead are turning to the computer for their news stories.

“The reason I read the Miami Herald online is because it is easier to access,” said Garber, 16. “Instead of rumbling through the newspaper to find an article I want to read, I can just scroll down my computer screen and find it easily.”

University of Florida doctoral student Dave Stanton said many large newspapers have announced that online delivery is driving the industry. One reason newspapers are turning to technology is because readers have a greater choice online than with print newspapers, he said. Online media sources have the ability to use different visuals and information graphics that a newspaper cannot use. Sound, video clips and other new tools are enabling online media sources to blossom.

“I like reading The New York Times online rather than in print,” said Coral Springs Charter senior Casey Goldstein, 17. “The New York Times’ website has a lot of different visuals that the paper does not have. To me, the different visuals make the stories friendlier to read.”

Journalists are beginning to broaden their horizons because of the capabilities online media sources have to offer. Many journalists and aspiring journalists like Goldstein are taking classes to enhance their computer skills as well as exploring photography and graphics.

“I don’t think that journalism will ever come to an end,” Goldstein said. “I think that it will continue to change like it has in the past. And what a journalist needs to do is learn to adapt to these changes.”

The Simpsons vs. The First Amendment

Filed under: — sji @ 11:01 am

By: Christina Samaan

A nationally recognized contributor to her field in both journalism and law, Sandra Chance is also a professor, lawyer, board director of the First Amendment Foundation, member of many organizations, journalist and considered an expert at many of her jobs. Chance is a popular speaker at the University of Florida on her countless experiences within her profession, and that was the case with a group of high school journalists attending the University of Florida’s Summer Journalism Institute. At SJI, Chance’s speech, titled “Law is not a 4-letter word,” made many SJI students curious as to what it could be about, especially students interested in the field of law. Chance proved that law does not have to always be a bad thing because of its tendency to have a bad connotation. People generally try to stay as far away from law or lawyers as possible, Chance said, making it clear that thinking ‘oh crap’ whenever the law comes into the picture does not always have to be the case.

Chance began her presentation with a test. As soon as she asked everyone to take out a pad and pen, most students were taken aback. “I’m going to test your knowledge on the First Amendment,” she said. She had everyone jot down all the freedoms that the First Amendment protects. Only about 10% of the SJI students knew all five freedoms: religion, free speech, free press, assembly, and petition. More Americans know the names of all 5 “Simpsons” than the First Amendment Rights. “It’s important for us to know them and to exercise them to help others know them,” she said.

She stated that “the most important protection for journalists in the world” is the First Amendment. The law does protect the press, but especially in student run publications, the administration can usually interfere. “First Amendment rights are not unlimited. The government can put restrictions,” said Chance. “People don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater.” However nowadays, “Students are getting punished for what’s on their webpage.”

This eventually led to the question, “How far is too far in the news?” In her speech, Professor Chance cited examples of the invasion of privacy, such as public disclosure of private and embarrassing facts, intrusion, false light, and misappropriation. “Be sensitive to those kinds of things,” she advised the high school students.

For many, Chance’s insight on media law really hit home for some of the aspiring journalists and lawyers. “I think it’s important for any journalist or any person [to know about media law] because our country is based upon laws, and especially as a journalist you need to know when not to cross the line,” said Jackie Kim, SJI writing student. Chance holds an important position as executive director of the
Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida. Chance’s job consists of presenting national seminars on governmental and First Amendment issues, according to the Brechner Center.

In 1985, Chance graduated from UF’s College of Law, earning her M.A with honors. Shortly thereafter, she practiced media law with the firm Holland & Knight in Tampa. Her clients included The Miami Herald, The Tampa Tribune, and the Gainesville Sun.

She is active in the National Freedom of Information Coalition, the American Bar Association and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.

Chance is also a Professor at the College of Journalism and Communications. “Sandra Chance is a major reason why the college’s graduate program is recognized as one of the best in the nation,” according to the executive associate dean of the University of Florida.

Journalism and Jazz Fill Foley’s Life

Filed under: — sji @ 11:01 am

BY RACHEL SNODGASS

Country and jazz vs. calculus and journalism. Even though these two instances may seem like they have nothing in common they make up a Summer Journalism Institute speaker Mike Foley’s life.

Foley has over 30 years of journalism experience. Originally from Rockford, Ill., Foley’s first job was working at a sheet-metal factory in his junior and senior years of high school. While in school he was in a band and loved high school math. Once he entered college calculus he soon realized that math was not the career field he wanted to study.

Still in college, Foley was encouraged to enter writing by a professor. When at a cocktail party, Foley was introduced to the editor of the Evening Independent newspaper. After accepting a position as a reporter for the newspaper, Foley’s career started to climb. Foley became a trustee of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Florida, president of Florida Society of Information Foundation of Florida, and was a judge for the Hearst Foundation College Writing Awards along with many other titles. Foley also worked for the St. Petersburg Times.

After entering the marketing field for the Times, Foley decided that he was not really interested in marketing. “I am not that good at it and I don’t like it.” he said.

In August of 2003, Foley started working at the University of Florida. He is a master lecturer and currently teaches two summer classes — reporting and advanced reporting. In the Fall Foley has an average lecture class of 200 students.

“I like teaching,” he said. “I love my job.”

Foley also has a scholarship program called Mike Foley Scholarship. He was married while in college so he said he prefers married students for this program mainly because he knows they do not have a lot of fun or money while in college.

In Foley’s spare time now he is in a jazz band called Mood Swingz. He plays bass guitar alongside his wife, Suzette Jennings, the bands singer. Even though he is in a jazz band, Foley’s favorite genre of music is country. He says he really likes the Dixie Chicks.

He also shared some advice for aspiring journalists.

“There are two types of reporters the ones who have ideas and the ones who get assignments. You want to be the reporter who has ideas. Your editor will love you and you will be doing something you want to do,” he said.

University of Florida Gators: Defending National Champions

Filed under: — sji @ 11:01 am

BY LANE HACKER

The University of Florida Gators. The Swamp. Each of these hold historic value among college football fans, and the significance of these are only increasing after the Gators dominated the Ohio State Buckeyes, beating them 41-14. Winning this game, capped an amazing season that included a 13-1 records, a SEC championship and most importantly a national championship.

The offensive fireworks were led by the two-headed monster at quarterback, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. The defense was led by strong play from their defense line, sacking Heisman trophy winner, Troy Smith, 5 times and holding him to negative 29 yards rushing on 10 carries. Florida Gator’s coach, Urban Meyer, used an excellent offense and defense strategy to out coach Buckeye’s coach Jim Tressel, and help the Gator’s win their second national championship in school history.

“Honestly, we’ve played a lot better teams than them,” Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss said.

“I could name four or five teams in the SEC that could probably compete with them and play the same type of game we did against them.”

The Gators were the underdogs and nobody expected them to win except the Gators themselves. College football fans across the nation said that the Gators didn’t even belong on the same field as the undefeated Buckeyes, and were asking for a rematch of the Big Ten Championship against the Michigan Wolverines or a game against the undefeated Boise State Broncos. The Gators proved the critics wrong with the stunning defeat.

The supposedly tough Buckeye’s defense was no match for the Gators offense. The offense compiled 214 yards passing and 156 yards rushing. Chris Leak was extremely efficient completing 25 out of 36 passes (69.4%) and one touchdown. The freshman sensation, Tim Tebow, threw and ran for a touchdown. DeShawn Wynn was the leading rusher for the Gators, gathering 69 yards and a touchdown. Percy Harvin, another freshman superstar, led the team in receiving, catching 9 passes for 60 yards and also ran for another touchdown off a direct snap from center. Dallas Baker and Andre Caldwell each caught a touchdown as well. The Gator’s offense had its strongest performance of the year in the game that mattered most.

The Gator’s complemented their offense with more than stellar defense as well. Derrick Harvey, one of the top Defensive End recruits in 2004, finally fulfilled his potential by getting 4 sacks and forcing and recovering a fumble. Earl Everret, Ray McDonald and Jarvis Moss each contributed one sack as well. Reggie Lewis intercepted a pass in the end of the first quarter to end an Ohio State drive. This was beginning of the end for Ohio State, as Florida scored on the next possession to put the Gators in the lead by 14 points.

Although the 2006 season was amazing for Gators’ fans, 2007 may be harder to watch. The 2007 Gators are very inexperienced as there are only 7 seniors or 8 juniors on the team. The offense will now be led by sophomore Tim Tebow, who hopes to prove that he is more then just a running quarterback. Tebow will be throwing to senior Andre Caldwell and sophomore Percy Harvin, who have both proven to be skilled enough to change a game. The biggest problem is tailback as one runner has yet to solidify himself as a starter.

The Gators’ defense is in more shambles than the offense. The defense returns only two starters, Derrick Harvey and strong safety Tony Joiner. Free safety Kyle Jackson, defensive tackles Javier Estopinan and Clint McMillan and linebackers Dustin Doe and Brandon Spikes will all be starters this upcoming season for the first time, but they have had playing time prior to this season. The defense could prove to be a critical flaw in the tough SEC.

The Florida Gators’ recruiting class was ranked number one by several websites. They have 4 five star recruits according to Rivals.com, with quarterback Cameron Newton being ranked their top prospect. He will be used similar to how Tim Tebow was used this past season. Also, the Gators were able to sign 7 players from Lakeland High School, the defending state champions of Florida. Running backs Bo Williams and Chris Rainey both will be considered in the race for starting running back. The chaos in the defense will be helped by the signing of 2 five star defensive linemen and 4 four star defensive backs. This top ranked recruiting class will hopefully aid the Gators in defending their national title.

“I’m very pleased with the way Tim (Tebow) managed the offense today. I was disappointed with Cameron (Newton) in first half, but he came back well in the second half and made some plays for his team. This was the first time that (Newton) has been in front of this kind of crowd, so that is why we wanted to keep him in there. Louis Murphy earned a spot as a starting wide receiver at Florida today. He had a heck of a day, and I am very proud of him. Brandon (James) was terrific on offense, and on defense, Jermaine (Cunningham) played well rushing the quarterback. Lawrence (Marsh) also played well. Another player who earned spot on defense was Joe Haden. His redshirt is over – he’s going to play for us this year. In the kicking battle, we will have nice competition there. I am really proud of the leg strength that both of our kickers showed today. Both (Joey Ijjas and Jonathan Phillips) can hit a 60-yarder – even though the consistency isn’t there yet – and they are both trying really hard. I don’t know yet who will be our kicker next year” said Coach Meyer.

Hopefully, we will see the Gators hoisting another BCS National Championship trophy next year on January 7 in New Orleans.

Role Playing At The Summer Journalism Institute

Filed under: — sji @ 11:01 am

Terry Sollazzo advised numerous budding writers attending the Summer Journalism Institute at the University of Florida to “take the extra steps”. Kerri McLean, an english teacher and journalism advisor at Key West High School, and Terry Sollazzo, the former president of Florida Scholastic Press Association and teacher at Wharton High School in Tampa, teamed up in order to offer much needed advice to the students.

They touched on topics such as how to reprint photos that were not taken by the student, how to sell more ads in order to raise money for one’s highschool paper, and how to become the best editor possible. The two speakers used the tactic of role play to entertain the students, as well as to allow them to visualize the solutions to various problems more easily.

The first topic covered by the two speakers was how to credit photos correctly. Terry told the students to call or email the photographer, instead of just crediting the photo to him or her. Also, the team said that in order to properly credit the photographer, the journalists using the photo must put the words, “reprinted with the permission of”.

The actors of this role play exercise were 17 year olds Adam Brock and Casey Goldstein. These comedy-filled exercises provided scenarios where a person might have to credit a photo taken from a website, and how to do that accurately instead of just naming the website.

“I realized I have a lot to learn, and I benefitted greatly from other students’ advisors. The role play was an overall good experience,” Casey Goldstein said while speaking about participating in the exercises.

Another major issue discussed in this lecture was how to sell more ads in order for the students’ paper to be more profitable. One idea said to help motivate students to sell more ads was to use the “total point system.” In the system, money was worth points, and the more money one raised, the more points one earned, giving them the chance at extra credit. Another idea was the “ad blitz.” The strategy divided the journalists into teams to go out and sell ads. Whatever team sold the most ads receieved not only bragging rights, but possibly a reward like a free lunch.

Sadly, praise was not used in every example. In the last example given, the speakers said that in order to attend FSPA, a certain number of ads must be sold. If someone did not reach that advertisement goal, as simply stated by Terry Sollazzo, “you’re not going”. This threat would be enough to motivate the majority of the journalists in the room.

But what if someone’s paper requires too much editing? The team had advice for that as well.

“If its that lousy, don’t run it,” Kerry McLean stated.

The speakers agreed that if someone’s work needed so much editing that the paper was basically rewritten, then maybe it shouldn’t be printed at all. However, the speakers understood that a high school newspaper was far from perfect. In regards to the less than up to par writer, Terry said to “give them a chance to learn”. The journalist needs time to grow in their writing, and shutting them down every time doesn’t enable them to do that.

Advisors look for many things in an editor in chief. The two speakers said that editor in chiefs must be passionate, display writing skills, be a role model, and have an eye for news. Perhaps the most important attribute, however, would be the “with-it-ness factor” Kerri said. This means that the editor needs to see what needs to be done, and can’t cause problems within the journalism class.

Jessica Stalone spoke about her opinion on the two speakers’ lecture.

“I feel that it was a valuable experience to hear from other advisors because they understand high school journalism, and I can bring their wisdom to my school in order to better our newspaper,” she said.

The last topic, and perhaps one of the most controversial issues today, was where to draw the line in plagiarism. A question came up asking if it was plagiarism to write something that another person said if the journalist agreed with him or her and had a smilar idea. The answer was given almost instantaneously: “YES”.

Terry Sollazzo gave closing words of wisdom. “Let it inspire you, but don’t steal it”.

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