A Closer Look at Mississippi’s State of Health

This new “Anti Bloomberg” bill has caused some people to take a deeper look at just how healthy, or more accurately unhealthy, the state of Mississippi really is. The County Health Rankings even break the state down by counties, showing which ones have the most to work on to become to a healthier county.



NY Mayor Bloomberg Calls “Anti-Bloomberg” Bill Ridiculous

The obese population of Mississippi may be ecstatic about the passing of the bill that prohibits the control of portion sizes, but New York mayor Bloomberg calls the bill “ridiculous”


Flipping the Script assignment

As a participant in the concert community, I see a lot of people unable to sell tickets to shows that they can’t attend, leaving tickets useless, and I also see a lot of people who can’t find the perfectly priced ticket for themselves before going to a show and they end up missing out. To solve this problem, I think an iPhone app that allows users to choose a location, then a specific show, and then enter a community with other app users who are either looking for or trying to sell tickets for that certain event.


In the app one could choose Oxford, MS. A list of upcoming concerts in that area will come up next on the screen. From that page you pick the concert in mind. Then you enter a page full of postings from people selling or buying tickets. If an entry interests you, you can send a message to that person (which can be sent through the app so people don’t have to give their phone numbers to strangers) and communicate back and forth through the app. Since things are organized by location it would be easy to interest advertisers. This app should help let no ticket go unused.

What Works 3/4

Sinkholes: Why Does the Ground Sometimes Just Disappear Right Beneath Us?



In this article by Rebecca Rosen for The Atlantic caught my attention because that is the question that I have been wondering but having a hard time finding the answer to since I heard the news of the man who was swallowed up in his home in Florida.

By making the headline that question I think it pulled in a lot of readers wondering the same thing. If it had been titled something else, I might not have clicked on it because I’ve already read a few other articles on the subject.

The writer wrote in a way that showed remorse for the tragedy that occurred while delivering clear and concise facts at the same time. Example:

“As biblical as the story sounds, the collapsing Earth was no act of god. Florida’s peninsula is unstable terrain by dint of its particular geology: a bed of limestone is slowly wasting away beneath the soil, taking trees, houses, and lives with it, collapse by collapse. What feels capricious to those above is the toll of an active planet, one of those improbable collisions of a human timescale and a geological one.”

I liked how the writer showed (and linked) to previous news stories of homes, trees and cars being sucked into the earth from that same county in Florida. This gave me the awareness that this is not new, although it felt like a bizarre random occurrence when I first started hearing reports of the incident.

The use of two different maps, one of the area of Florida where the incidents have occurred and one of the active karst topography in the U.S. really helped to get an understanding of the facts that are delivered. She explains everything in a way that someone who is very uneducated on the subject, like myself, can understand easily.

Poll: How did Macfarlane do as Oscar host?


The New York Times: Macfarlane Hosts an Oscar Show for All Ages


What Works 2/25

Is it rational to watch The Oscars? by John Cassidy



I clicked on this headline because I sat through hours of endless awards that meant nothing to me on The Oscars last night, I wondered the same question. The first paragraph is not a hard news lead, but rather a personal statement from the writer who describes his experience, or lack there of, of watching the Oscars last night.

I like how he puts some things in perspective for the readers that they may not have thought about before. He explains through examples of what events happened in the Oscars not relating to awards that it can be rational to watch an awards ceremony that you don’t actually care about who the awards are going to. He takes an interesting approach to analyzing the real reasons why shows like these are watched.

“Indeed, given the certainty that so many other people will be watching, it can be perfectly rational to tune in even if you don’t give a hoot about what film wins best picture.”

The nutgraph is in the third paragraph where he talks about what the value in watching things like The Oscars and the Superbowl really are. If people were really interested in who won the awards, it would make more sense for them to read the list of winners online the next day. The writer proposes that people are watching the Oscars for something different than just the awards.

This is more of an opinion piece than a hard news piece so there are no official sources interviewed.

I think it is a piece that makes the reader think about some of things we do naturally in ways we’ve never thought about them before.

The article kept me drawn in by asking some questions and then going on to answer them which kept my attention long enough to read the answer to their own questions.

Although the only picture in the article that is of Michelle Obama presenting best movie and it sits above the headline is I think most important picture to have since to me at least it seemed like the biggest event of the night, the article could have used more multimedia elements in it like more pictures or a video clip of instance referred to. This would keep more readers who didn’t watch the Oscars drawn in.

What Works 2/18

A young man’s fateful dance with death by Thomas Curwen


There are a lot of things that work about this emotional narrative on a teenager with cancer. The way the narrative begins is definitely one of them. Instead of beginning the piece by telling the reader exactly what is going on with Jesus Garcia, the young subject with a brain tumor, he starts by showing, not telling the reader Garcia’s personality. By making the second sentence a quote from Garcia, you can tell that the author’s priority is to show the story from Garcia’s point of view. I love the detail in the first few paragraphs describing Garcia’s trip back from the hospital.

“He just wanted to hang out with friends, smoke some weed and play video games.”

This line tells me that there is no screen or filter between the subject and the writer. As a reader you almost feel like you are a camera hanging lingering around Garcia through out the scenes described. It doesn’t feel like someone is there, taking note of everything happening. Instead it feels like you the reader are there yourself, observing closely but intruding as little as possible.

The author’s detailed descriptions of Garcia’s outfit gives the reader an idea of what he is like. I can tell he is a pretty chill guy from his loose, baggy clothes but I can also see him as a sports lover from his Yankees cap and converse sneakers.

I like how the author decides not to get into how Garcia’s life with cancer began until eight paragraphs down. This tells me that the author wants this narrative to be about how Garcia is dealing with the disease, not how he was before or when it happened.

The details about Garcia’s home, family and finances really put everything into perspective. Not only is Garcia a 19-year-old ready to start and build a life, he is doing it with cancer and a family that can barely afford to stay afloat each month.

I like what the author has decided to do with all of the details Garcia had given him. He found ways to tie everything in nicely and provided background in a way that doesn’t feel boring or insignificant.

The narrative has great use of quotes, using them only when necessary. The author does a better job of describing things than any long, bulky quote could do. His quotes are short, simple and relevant.

One of my favorite quotes is of Garcia reacting to the news that the fourth surgery could cause paralysis or blindness. “That’s not even one-half percent in my head, not even the slightest decibel. Everything is going to be good. Positive. Ill give it to you in Spanish. Positivo.” The author could have described Garica’s lack of concern regarding the surgery but this quote really showed me his attitude in a much more touching way.

I think the part about the singer Ayala dedicating her song at a concert to Garcia was a great way to describe Garcia’s outlook on his situation. The author relates the lyrics “Nothing matters to me if one day I die only that they bury me singing” to Garcia’s attitude of living a carefree life, even if it meant ignoring the truth.

No one had told him why he had been discharged. No one said that the tumor had grown back and all options had been exhausted. One nurse wondered if he knew. Another believed his doctor should tell him; the doctor left that decision to Valentina.

^This paragraph was such great way to tell the readers what had happened after his fourth surgery. He starts describing Garcia’s return home from the hospital before he even explains how the surgery went. We have an image of Garcia being home finally after 5 weeks of post op in the hospital before we find out that he doesn’t even know that was his last real hope.

The end of the story is truly tear jerking. Every last moment of Garcia’s short life is described beautifully by the author. The very last line is the best quote of all: “Jesus was one asked if 19 is too young to die. ‘It’s never too early, and it’s never too late,’ he said. ‘Everyone’s life is borrowed.’”

The author did such a great job of keeping himself removed from the piece. Doing this allows the reader to feel like they are just a fly on the wall and the story is a true, uninterrupted account of what really happened. Even in that last line, the author was probably the one to ask if 19 is too young to die but he phrases it “Jesus was once asked” instead. I think that makes a big difference in delivering a narrative well.

He successfully took a terribly sad story and ended up making readers feel happy at the end.