Miscellaneous clips

I co-wrote the following article with a student colleague at The Ithacan for Fusion, an online publication that focuses on diversity. This article was my first freelance assignment.

To read the full story on Fusion‘s website, click on the headline.

The troubling stories behind Ithaca College’s massive race protests

November 17, 2015

In 2012, student protests prompted Ithaca College President Tom Rochon to rescind a media policy preventing student media from directly contacting top administrators. And last year, a few hundred students participated in a “die-in,” joining national protests over police brutality. Some students were also involved in recent efforts to unionize the college’s part-time faculty.

But Ithaca College—a private institution in the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York—has never seen the kind of student mobilization that has occurred this semester around the campus’ racial climate.

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Selected clips from The Ithaca Voice

The following articles are selected from my work at The Ithaca Voice, a local, online-only publication in Ithaca, NY. During the Spring 2014 semester I was a student fellow at The Ithaca Voice and worked there one full day each week in addition to my classwork at Ithaca College.

Click on the headlines to read the full stories and view any multimedia content that may accompany the article.

How a homeless traveler survived outside on cold Ithaca nights

March 27, 2015

Amid a small stand of pine trees near Purity Ice Cream and the Mirabito gas station on Route 13, Mark Dorazio made a makeshift campsite with a cardboard bed and slept there in February even as temperatures dipped below zero.

To keep warm, Dorazio, 66, said he wore three layers of clothing and curled up in a tight ball under his only blanket. He put three cardboard boxes inside of each other (like Russian nesting dolls), laid them on their sides and crawled in as far as he could go. He said the layers of cardboard provide insulation against the cold. The rest of his body rested atop a cardboard mat.

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Mark Dorazio at his campsite among the pine trees along Route 13 near the Mirabito gas station. FAITH MECKLEY/THE ITHACA VOICE

Former Cornell student Peter Mesko sentenced to 5 years in prison

March 27, 2015

Former Cornell University student Peter Mesko was sentenced to five years in prison at the Tompkins County Court on Friday after he was convicted on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree burglary.

Man gets 4 to 12 years in prison in Tompkins manslaughter case

March 20, 2015

A Van Etten man was sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison Friday afternoon in the Tompkins County Courthouse after being convicted of manslaughter. His sentence is effective immediately.

Ithaca woman and her dog headed to national championship

February 20, 2015

A local woman and her dog have qualified for the American Kennel Club National Agility Championship, which will take place in Reno, Nev., in late March.

Agility is a type of performance where dogs race to complete obstacle courses with attention to both time and accuracy. Mallorie Morse, a member of the local Ithaca Dog Training Club, said she has been training her poodle, Parker, in agility since it was a puppy.

Selected clips from Buzzsaw Magazine

The following articles are selected from my work at Buzzsaw Magazine, Ithaca College’s alternative student-run magazine. I have written occasionally for Buzzsaw during my time at Ithaca College. Buzzsaw‘s style as a magazine allows writers to include their personal perspectives into their articles and draw on their own experiences.

Click on the headlines to read the full stories and view any multimedia content that may accompany the article.

Coast-to-coast Climate March: Marchers will walk 3,000 miles to promote change

April 3, 2014

On March 1, an uncommon thing happened in Los Angeles; it down poured rain for hours. This area rarely sees much rain in March, and when it does it’s usually not torrential.

While most people took cover, about 50 people slogged onward in calf-deep and sometimes knee-deep water. Just hours earlier in beautiful, sunny weather they had set out on their 3,000 mile journey across the country, taking the first of about 7 million steps in the direction of Washington, D.C. to raise awareness about climate change.

Beyond stereotypes: demystifying Wicca

December 11, 2013

“Anything outside of Christianity is an abomination.”

These were the words my high school science teacher said in front of the whole class, and four years later I still remember the look on her face as she said them. She was looking right at me with a stony, cold gaze. When I looked to my classmates for support, they all pretended to be absorbed with work.

Restore the Fourth: Fighting for privacy in the information age

November 7, 2013

On July 4 of this year, I exercised my First Amendment right to peaceably assemble as a part of the “Restore the Fourth” movement. I gathered with about 200 others in Rochester, N.Y., along with about 10,000 people nationwide, to demand that my Fourth Amendment rights be protected.

Selected clips from The Ithacan

The following articles are selected from my large portfolio of work at The Ithacan, Ithaca College’s nationally-recognized, student-run newspaper. I was the assistant news editor at The Ithacan during the Fall 2015 semester and news editor for the Spring 2016 semester. I have written and produced content for The Ithacan since my first semester at Ithaca College in Fall 2013.

Click on the headlines to read the full stories and view any multimedia content that may accompany the article.

Wild Semester: Eight Ithaca College students immerse themselves in the wildernesses of California and Oregon for a semester

May 4, 2016

The Joshua trees, for which the park is named, are experts at storing and saving water, especially the older, more established ones. But California’s crippling drought has been taxing, even on them. As the storm screams through the Mojave Desert, the thirsty trees drink while they can, absorbing the blasts of rainwater through their corklike trunks. Their shaggy, twisted arms reach for the sky, their tufts of green, needly leaves waving in the wind.

Nestled at the feet of a granite giant in Indian Cove — one of the park’s official campgrounds — eight Ithaca College students and their five instructors take cover. The group has just emerged from a 20-day, 100-mile backcountry hike through the park, which is larger in area than Rhode Island. It is the first full rain they have experienced since they arrived in California in late February to begin their semesterlong outdoor excursion, known as the Immersion Semester Program.

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Holly Perkins begins to rappel over the edge of a rock face over Indian Cover Campground. The eight students spent an entire day in the hot sun learning how to set climbing anchors and rappel. FAITH MECKLEY/THE ITHACAN

Collective momentum: College activists drive institutional change

January 28, 2016

There is power in the collective,” POC at IC posted on Facebook after President Tom Rochon announced Jan. 14 that he would step down July 1, 2017. “We did it!”

Students protesting the racial climate at Ithaca College are not the only ones finding a collective voice with which to address institutionalized racism. In a tumultuous fall semester, at least 75 other colleges and universities have begun bringing their demands for change to their administrations.

While every campus has a unique approach to initiating change, the overall message is clear: Campus communities believe long-standing, underlying racial tensions cannot be swept under the rug anymore.

Gorge jumping in Ithaca continues despite summer death

August 26, 2015

With a running start, a young man in blue swim trunks leaps from a ledge over 30 feet high, holding out his GoPro camera on a selfie stick to capture the moment.

“Oh, man!” A bystander shouts as the man plunges head-first into the water.

There is a long pause as a cloud of white bubbles rises up through the murky water in the place where he landed. After about 10 seconds, he re-emerges at the surface, shaking his head to get the water out of his ears.  

Not every risk taker emerges unscathed. On July 26, 20-year-old Eric Richardson, a Cortland High School graduate, jumped into the water. When Richardson did not immediately emerge, his friends thought he was joking, Ken Lansing, Tompkins County sheriff, said. By the time his friends started searching for him in the water and found him, it was too late. Richardson was pronounced dead at the scene. An investigation into his death is still ongoing, Lansing said.

Sustainability falls low on administrations to-do list

April 29, 2015

Amid many other concerns Ithaca College is facing — successfully instituting IC 20/20, part-time faculty unionization and the demand for better mental health services — initiatives to keep the college a leader in environmental sustainability no longer seem to be a priority, according to students and faculty involved in sustainability efforts.

The college has missed emission decrease goals laid out in the Climate Action Plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, fallen in sustainability rankings, failed to develop a sustainability major and minor despite receiving a grant partially for that purpose and is experiencing limited student engagement with sustainability issues.

Senior works to reintroduce endangered tree species

April 27, 2015

Senior Jordan Frey stopped to lean against a tree and take a break, breathing heavily. He was hauling a 55-pound coil of welded wire fence up a steep hill into Ithaca College’s Natural Resource Reserve in Newfield, New York. As he caught his breath, he gestured to a thinly wooded area off to the left, only a few yards away.

“I could have put them there, but it’s too close to someone’s house,” he said. He pointed farther up the hill to the location he chose — still quite a distance to go with his heavy load. However, he said the exhausting, steep trek with the heavy equipment to the final site would be worth it.

“There’s good access to sunlight,” Frey said. “The soil is good, not too much undergrowth.”

Frey was referring to the ideal conditions for planting trees — in particular, the endangered American chestnut, which was almost completely wiped out by a fungal blight introduced in the early 1900s from Japan. Frey, a senior environmental studies major, is working to reintroduce them on college lands. The bales of wire would be used to ward off hungry deer.

IC students cover 50th anniversary of Selma March with NBC

March 18, 2015

In Selma, Alabama, on March 7, over 100 people crowded a single small alley perpendicular to Broad Street, pressing against a police barricade to see a screen projecting President Barack Obama’s speech from the Edmund Pettus Bridge — the very same bridge where, 50 years ago, civil rights activists marching for equal access to voting polls were met with billy clubs, horses’ hooves and tear gas from the Alabama State Police. Now, in 2015, the tens of thousands of people who gathered in Selma to hear their president speak wore T-shirts emblazoned with slogans like, “I can’t breathe,” “Black Lives Matter” and, in the case of some of the older people, “I was there.”

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Senior Sara McCloskey captures footage of the crowd of people as they march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7 in Selma, Alabama. FAITH MECKLEY/THE ITHACAN

Indigenous leader speaks about his endangered culture

December 13, 2013

Ithaca College students and faculty had a rare opportunity Dec. 6 to hear from the leader of the Sapara Nation of the Ecuadorian rainforest, a nation currently facing extinction with only 400–1,000 people remaining.

Manari Kaji Ushigua spoke about his dying culture and people in the Park Auditorium to a mixed crowd of students, faculty and Ithaca residents. Pablo Calvi, assistant professor of journalism, translated for Ushigua, who spoke in Spanish. During his presentation, Ushigua revealed the impact of oil drilling and rainforest development on the endangerment of his people.

Ithaca College ranks fourth in late-night food ordering

November 14, 2013

A recent study found that Ithaca College students are among top colleges in the nation with a hunger for late-night food. Out of 350 colleges, the college ranks fourth for late-night food ordering. The same study found that college students are 87 percent more likely to order late-night food than any other consumer.

1st & 2nd place Indy Media pitches

Meckley Media, Inc. has carefully considered the business pitches presented at the 2016 Indy Media Business Competition, and we have chosen a first and second place winner.

Continue reading “1st & 2nd place Indy Media pitches”

Ithaca looks to control geese population

Ithaca, N.Y. — Stewart Park and the newly completed Cayuga Waterfront Trail are popular recreational locations for Ithacans, however, an excess of goose excrement can often mar the experience.

As the local Canada goose population increases, the large waterfowl are becoming nuisances for the city — they block traffic, leave behind excessive amounts of poop in recreational areas like parks and sports fields, have negative impacts on water quality and are sometimes aggressive toward passerby.

The city isn’t alone in experiencing this issue — Ithaca College is also seeing an increase in the number of geese on campus. Ernie McClatchie, director of facilities, grounds and maintenance at the college, said his department often has to deal with cleaning up after the birds. Continue reading “Ithaca looks to control geese population”

Social first journalism

We Skyped with Katie Kramer and Ithaca College alumna Christine Loman in our April 8 Mobile and Social Media Journalism class about Syracuse.com’s transition to a web-first model. I took special interest in this conversation given that The Ithacan, our student-run media outlet, is currently making the same transition.

In the course of the discussion, we learned that the web-first model of journalism — in which reporters are thinking more about how to package their work best for online more so than print, and editors are thinking how to best promote work online — really means social media-first in today’s terms.

According to Kramer and Loman, Syracuse.com reporters are using Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Videolicious, and many other mobile apps to better manage their social media presence and promote stories on social media first and foremost. Social media provides real-time reporting for followers.

Throughout our class this semester we have had discussions about how to maintain a professional social media presence while balancing our personalities and interests. Kramer and Loman had some thoughts on social media policies they shared with us.

I feel it’s increasingly important to offer reporters guidance on their social media presence, especially after seeing some of the things Ithacan reporters have posted on their social media accounts this semester, seemingly unaware that others are watching. Although I do think more work needs to be done to balance professionalism and maintaining personality, having upfront guidelines about how to behave on social media is helpful.

Other tidbits from the conversation:

I found our discussion with Kramer and Loman to be very encouraging, especially for millennials, in terms of employment-prospects. Social media is revolutionizing the journalism field, and as digital natives, we are in a prime position to master our social media skills and offer valuable contributions to this media revolution.

Analyzing media coverage of Keystone spill

Summary of current events

  • TransCanada’s discovered its Keystone pipeline had spilled in North Dakota Saturday, April 2 and announced the occurrence to the public Monday, April 4.
  • 187 gallons of crude oil spilled over a 300-square-foot area in a farm field ditch.
  • TransCanada says “no significant impact to the environment has been observed” from the spill.
  • The Keystone Pipeline runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska, connecting with other sections of pipelines to deliver crude oil to Port Arthur and Houston, Texas.
  • A proposed addition to this pipeline system, called Keystone XL, was rejected by the Obama administration Nov. 6 of last year after years of dissent from environmental activists. The State Department, in making its final recommendation on the project, said the construction “raises a range of concerns about the impact on local communities, water supplies, and cultural heritage sites.”
  • Note: Keystone and Keystone XL are two different pipeline sections in a larger network, and should not be confused.

Continue reading “Analyzing media coverage of Keystone spill”

The Internet: a final frontier?

The Internet is a strange world. Although we access it through physical machines like laptops and smart phones, and it takes wires and satellites and modems to get it to those machines, its content exists in a non-physical world, in signals and messages flying to and fro in the air over our heads, invisible. Like our universe, ever expanding, the Internet grows as we fill it with more and more information every day at faster rates.

The Internet has no borders, and attempts at making borders — blocks, firewalls, censors — can be fought and thwarted. And anyone can contribute to the global conversation, posting their own content and responding to other’s content, all the while connecting with like-minded people who have similar goals and ideas. To add another layer of complexity, these people can choose to openly identify themselves or hide behind a fake name and image. Continue reading “The Internet: a final frontier?”

Students monitor return of black bears to Ithaca

As Ithaca College seniors Maddy Menges and Zoë Miller sit together at a picnic table by the Muller Chapel pond, Miller’s eyes drift to watch a squirrel scampering down the nearby footpath, and she takes note of a plastic bag tangled up in a nearby bush and wonders how it got there. She is aware of the second squirrel in the tree branches behind her, and she listens in on the songbird chatter all around them.

The pair discusses a nearby goose that has been strutting up and down the pond’s edge.

“She’s the female,” Menges says, pointing at a goose huddled up in her nest on the other side of the pond. “I think he’s the male, maybe her mate,” she looks back at the goose nearer to the picnic table. “Just by the way he carries himself — he’s on the patrol.”

Menges and Miller are trackers. They said tracking is more than just following animal footprints through the woods — it is about being aware of their surroundings, and the body language and signals from nearby animals, including other people. Continue reading “Students monitor return of black bears to Ithaca”