NAHJ strikes up a great time

By Stephanie Stremplewski

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NAHJ members and friends met on Thursday for a different kind of meeting. Instead of their usual location in the Ernie Pyle building, the group met at the Indiana Memorial Union’s Back Alley for a fun night of strikes, gutter balls and tons of pizza.

Over the weekend, some members also viewed the award-winning independent film “Dear White People”. The movie focused on a campus culture war between blacks and whites at a predominately white Ivy League college. But the film was not about the ongoing war of racism, Justin Simien, director of “Dear White People,” said.

“My film isn’t about ‘white racism’ or racism at all. My film is about identity,” he said. “It’s about the difference between how the mass culture responds to a person because of their race and who that person understands themselves to truly be.”


Students create new bindings for old Latin American literature

By Stephanie Stremplewski

Although stacks of cardboard sit in a closet at La Casa Latino Cultural Center, their ultimate purpose is something other than collecting dust.

“We make books out of cardboard every Thursday at La Casa,” said Cristian Medina, editor of the Cardboard House Press.

Cardboard House Press is a bilingual publishing house dedicated to editorial production through community development processes. They also help increase access to world literature and art for English and Spanish readers by donating or selling the finished art books.

“I went to Chile last month and I gave like 5 or 6 books to different friends, poets, editors, and family members,” he said. “It goes to a diverse part of the community.”

Cardboard House Press got its name from a piece by Peruvian poet Martín Adán titled “La casa de cartón,” which translates to “the cardboard house.” Since Cardboard House Press primarily uses Latin American poetry for the art books, the organization felt it was fitting to use the name of a famous piece of short tale literature.

“There is a cartonero movement in Latin America which uses cardboard and recycled materials,” said Medina. “We use Indiana University’s resources to print some of the interiors and we pay for different things.”

Medina, an IU graduate student, is grateful to IU for allowing him to take materials from recycled bins throughout campus and incorporate them into the art books. He is also thankful to Lillian Casillas, the director of La Casa, for giving Cardboard House Press a place to hold the art book workshop.

“She provides this space with food sometimes, but most importantly, a space where we can meet and more than 10 people can gather and make books,” Medina said.

Seven volunteers helped Medina cut cardboard, sew pages together, and bind them into the cardboard book covers. One of the volunteers was IU sophomore Isabel Bradley, who regularly attends events held at La Casa, especially the Cardboard House Press workshops.

“I’ve been coming for the past couple of months,” Bradley said. “I enjoy the atmosphere here and I enjoy doing artsy things.”

Bradley is proud to be a part of something that’s not only creative, but can benefit people as well.

“I think it’s really important to promote that bilingual literacy,” she said. “I would say that it’s a big benefit to the poets and the community.”

Cafe Con Leche series addresses student stress

By Mia Torres

Sitting in La Casa Latino Cultural Center’s sunroom Thursday night, students fill out a diagram of the human body, indicating where they often feel stress and anxiety. After a few minutes, they get ready to share their figure as part of the first exercise of the Café Con Leche: Stress/Anxiety Series.

The series—organized by La Casa and CHGunidos, a group of Spanish-speaking counselors from the Center for Human Growth (CHG)—consists of four parts, each focusing on different aspects of stress and anxiety. Paola Hernandez Barón, a doctoral student in counseling psychology, led the discussion about what stress and anxiety is and what it looks like.

“Have students think about physically what’s going on in their body when they experience stress and anxiety, how it affects their emotions and what thoughts they are having,” Hernandez Barón said she wanted the program to accomplish. “That way, we can have that conversation and try to help, listen and learn.”

Last semester, leaders of La Casa hosted talks on a variety of topics. However, for the spring semester, they decided to choose one topic to concentrate on for multiple sessions. Stress and anxiety was chosen as the focus, as it is a common issue among college students.

“Stress and anxiety is often one of the number one things students struggle with,” she said. “It can affect academics, school performance, relationships, and overall well-being. We want to make changes where needed in order to improve.”

The series will run monthly, meeting every fourth Thursday in La Casa’s sunroom at 6 p.m. until April 30. The next session will take place Feb. 26.

Counselors will be available for one-on-one conversations after each session. Also, students who attend the entire series will qualify for prizes like a free massage.

In addition to helping students manage their stress and anxiety, Hernandez Barón hopes the series will help break down the stigma associated with mental health.

“Within the Latino population, there are certain stigmas surrounding mental health,” she said. “We want to minimize those stigmas and make mental health more accessible and better understood. We want to make it so mental health is not an uncomfortable topic to talk about.”

Photo by Stephanie Stremplewski Alexis Burr and Samantha Schmidt offer their opinions at the event Thursday night.

Journalism minority groups discuss derogatory language

By Stephanie Stremplewski

On Thursday, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) attended “Mindful Media: A Cultural Sensitivity Workshop”. The groups discussed minority issues and derogatory terms used by the media and society.

One of the first issues discussed was how the word “transgender” has different meanings to those who consider themselves transgender, and how the pronouns he, she, or it can possibly offend them when reporting a story.

“Each person that I’ve interviewed, known or been friends with that has identified as transgender has a little bit of a different idea of what that means,” said Matt Bloom, president of NLGJA.

If one is unsure what race, ethnicity or sex a person identifies with, participants said individuals can approach the situation in a respectful manner by asking the question, “what do you identify as?”

“Recognizing that asking someone that question is the best solution because you can never assume that somebody fits into one of these cultural groups or identities,” Bloom said.

Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, president of NAHJ, said words like “illegal” to describe undocumented Latino immigrants are wrong and need to be addressed in the media.

“Actions are illegal,” Heredia Rodriguez said. “People are not illegal.”

Heredia Rodriguez said that the most important issue to her is immigration. She said that the Latino community itself is a fairly new group in the United States, even though some Latinos have lived here for decades.

In light of the events in Ferguson and Staten Island, the discussion also addressed police brutality. Daion Morton, president of NABJ, said individuals must learn more about these issues because they involve more than just race.

“It involves socioeconomic statuses of individuals,” Morton said. “It just involves so much more than just race. I think it’s important that we understand that this is far more than just a black versus white issue.”

Morton is afraid the media will send the wrong message to people and influence them in a negative way.

“As future journalists, we need to change the media by helping people have a voice,” he said.

The three presidents were pleased that attendees achieved in creating productive and constructive dialogue.

“Even though we are different minorities, we have collective struggles as far as words that are used to describe us and confine us,” Heredia Rodriguez said.



Minorities in the Media: Q & A with Professor Gerry Lanosga

Gerry Lanosga, courtesy of Indiana University Journalism.

Gerry Lanosga, courtesy of Indiana University Journalism.

By: Allison Lara

Gerry Lanosga, adjunct professor at Indiana University, answered questions for Indiana University students on Monday, September 29. An intimate group of ten students sat around a table to listen to Lanosga explain his upbringing and journey as a journalist in relation to his ethnicity.

“I’m a Mongrel,” joked Lanosga in reference to his ethnic background. His mother is German and Dutch, while his father is Filipino and Nicaraguan.

Lanosga said he didn’t grow up seeing himself as a minority or Hispanic; he didn’t grow up speaking Spanish. He recalled growing up in Colorado Springs and knowing that there was something a little different about the way he and his siblings looked compared to most people. It wasn’t until high school that Lanosnga wanted to know a little more about his family’s background after his friend jokingly nicknamed him “Flip.”

Continue reading

Jose Antonio Vargas addresses the audience during the IU Media School Speaker Series at Whittenberger Auditorium.

Jose Antonio Vargas sheds light on living undocumented

By Samantha Schmidt

Jose Antonio Vargas, a filmmaker and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post spoke to the IU community Tuesday night as part of the IU Media School Speaker Series.

Vargas said he was honored to be invited to speak at a journalism school, as many journalists today don’t know what to call him: an activist, advocate, or even “former journalist.” For Tuesday’s lecture, he was welcomed by what he truly is, he said — a storyteller.

Vargas shocked the nation in 2011 when he wrote a front-page story for the New York Times magazine openly admitting to being an undocumented immigrant. His mother, who was trying to get him to a better life in America, put him on a plane from the Philippines as a young child.

Ever since he was young, he wanted to become a journalist in order to be “documented” on paper — seeing his name in print made it seem like he truly was a documented American. Continue reading

NAHJ members complete reporting internships for major city newspapers

Several members of NAHJ at IU worked at media-related internships across the country this summer. The following three students reflected on their experiences reporting for three major publications: The Chicago Sun-Times, the Star Tribune and the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Stephanie Stremplewski

Sophomore Stephanie Stemplewski described her summer of 2014 in one word: unbelievable. As a Broadcast Journalism major at IU, she was applying for internships at the beginning of January. Stremplewski was hoping to get a gig with ABC in Chicago or some other news outlet close to where she lives, but ended up going in the complete opposite direction: print writing.

officeShe was offered the internship of a lifetime with the Chicago Sun-Times as their sports-reporting intern. Even though she had never written for print until this past summer, she knew it was something that she could do, and a challenge that she wanted to accomplish. Within the first week of her internship, she was asked to write a story about a tennis phenom from Chicago named Taylor Townsend. Stremplewski did some research, wrote the story, and held the article in her hands the very next day (story here). It was a feeling that she will never forget, she said.

In total, she wrote three articles for print and 12 blog posts for the Chicago Sun-Times. She had many interviews as well. Stremplewski interviewed Derek Jeter, various Chicago Bears rookies including Brock Vereen (story here) and Jordan Lynch, and last but not least, Chicago White Sox first-baseman Paul Konerko. She said it was an epic summer and it made her realize that she is on the right path toward her career.

Samantha Schmidt

IU sophomore Samantha Schmidt never thought she would have the chance to complete two dream internships and travel through Europe in one summer, but somehow, she did.

Strib pictureAs an Ernie Pyle Scholar in the IU School of Journalism, Schmidt spent two months studying global media in London. She was placed in a part-time internship at Dow Jones newswires, where she had to report early-morning financial breaking news, learning all about stock movements and how to interview major CEOs. She also got to enjoy looking over the shoulders of editors for the Wall Street Journal Europe edition editors, who allowed her to contribute to social media reporting for WSJ online (one story here.)

After a few side trips to Dublin, Barcelona, and Paris, Schmidt came home to Minneapolis, Minn., where she worked as a full-time intern for the newspaper she grew up reading: the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She worked on the Pulitzer Prize-winning health team, writing stories such as a front-page article about how the Ebola conflict in West Africa was affecting the local Liberian community in Minnesota, the largest outside of Liberia. (story here :)

Her favorite story, however, was one of her very first. She found a group of low-income Latina mothers in a nearby town who decided to start their own soccer team in efforts to improve rates of diabetes and obesity. Few of them could speak English, so Schmidt was able to use her Spanish-speaking skills to interview the mothers and produce the story (here). It made Schmidt appreciate her Hispanic background, and encouraged her to continue to use her Spanish-speaking skills in her reporting.

Dennis Barbosa 

NAHJ member Dennis Barbosa interned at the Indianapolis Business Journal this summer through the Hoosier State Press Association’s Eugene Pulliam internship program.

The Pulliam program is named after the late publisher of The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News. The program offers college students a chance to work at daily and nondaily newspapers in Indiana while getting paid.

The IBJ is a weekly publication covering business news for central Indiana. It is the leading publication of IBJ Media.

Barbosa is the first intern to publish a front page story as far as managing editor Cory Schouten can remember. Barbosa also illustrated and shot photos and video for the IBJ’s print issue and daily web content.

After completing the internship, Barbosa transferred from Indiana University Bloomington to IU’s Indianapolis campus IUPUI to stay on as a freelance writer for the IBJ until graduation in May. Schouten said he’d like to hire Barbosa once he has graduated.

HSPA Executive Director Steve Key said Barbosa’s experience is an example of what the Pulliam program is all about — helping student journalists get their foot in the door at news publications.