Video Proposals

  1. There’s been some recent controversy in Newton about affordable housing developments. A new project, called Washington Place, is being proposed to be built on the corner of Washington & Walnut St in Newton, in an area referred to currently as Orr Block. Washington Place is meant to include mixed-income housing and retail space in the development. Support for the project has been mixed, with some feeling it will bring much needed housing, and other stating they believe it is an infringement on Newtonville, a village within Newton, and will rapidly change the neighborhood. At this time I see myself needing to further research the structure of Newton and the differences in jurisdiction between Newtonville and the city as a whole. I would also look to attend upcoming public events or hearings related to the project, as well as reaching out to both those involved in the proposal and the business owners and residents in the area, to gauge feelings and rationale behind the mixed perspectives. This is the main story I am pursuing.


2. Eversource recently asked the Department of Public Utilities to approve rate increases which would increase profits by about $300 million. AG Maura Healey intervened and asked the Department to reject the proposal. 1.4 million state residents us Eversource services and the estimated bill increases were expected to be at least $100. Healey believes consumers already struggle to keep up with costs of living and believes that Eversource makes profit margins unreasonably large for a public utility. Eversource claims their profits have largely gone towards improving the power grid and that rate hikes are required to keep improving. I have connections at a consumer advocacy group in Cambridge and may be able to get an interview with them, along with ones from consumers who use Eversource and a possible company representative. Essentially it would focus on the different perspectives and how such a drastic rate hike could affect everyone.

3. The last story proposal is more of a feature type story than hard news. A woman in Natick, Kristina Burkey had a car crash into her store front window on March 19, destroying it. However, many in the community have gathered together to support the woman despite her store being relatively new, at under a year old. About $7,500 has been raised in the 8 days since a gofundme page was created. I would look to focus on her story of what effort took into creating the store, how the crash happened, and what she’s doing going forward. I would also look to interview the community member who created the page for her along with other local business owners to see how they may be involved in the cleanup and what this means to them and their stores as well.

Story Proposal

My main story I had in mind for my first project is a piece on one of the founders of the Brandeis chapter of Net Impact, a club which promotes the potential of business to be both profitable and a source for social and environmental good. Brandeis’ undergraduate chapter was originally envisioned by senior Heather Spector and with the help of her co-president, junior Jake Greenberg, they created the chapter during the 2015/2016 school year.

My main thoughts in this piece are potentially focusing on the background of what got Heather interested and involved in sustainable business practices, what sparked her actually decision to create an undergraduate chapter, and what problems and roadblocks she encountered in this process, along with highlighting her efforts to combat lack of awareness and involvement between the club’s core members and the business community at Brandeis.

  • Who instilled the lessons of responsible business practices in her growing up?
  • What made her decide that this is where she wants to focus her energy?
  • When was that crucial moment where she knew “This is what I want to be doing”
  • Where did she go to start embarking on such a project when there was no undergraduate precedent at Brandeis?
  • Why Net Impact? There are many similar organizations around the world, what made her connect her and her teams’ efforts to this one in particular?
  • How does she see herself and Net Impact moving forward? How will she handle the new struggles of growing something for others vs just creating something for yourself and like-minded individuals?

I hope to grasp a sense on how these values become so instilled in someone that they decide to spend so much of their free time involved in such efforts. I want a sense of the character of this young woman, the sorts of values, beliefs, and assumptions that drove her to where she is. How does the place, Brandeis, present some unique opportunities and challenges that may not always be readily apparent? Obviously I want the details of the background and process that brought her and Net Impact here. Emotion will be integral here, as this is a field where people often have to precariously balance their desires for improving the world with the sensibilities of turning over profits, trying to mend those seemingly divisive forces. This ties into the drama, where the internal struggle often becomes external, as the struggle of priorities one faces in entering this realm become struggles you encounter in others as you try to increase involvement.

Ultimately, I hope that these elements will come together to present a unique and insightful view into a member of the Brandeis community who is doing her part to change the way we operate and perceive business both in our communities and worldwide.

Introduction & Interests

Hi, I’m Bryce Dreifus and this is my blog for EL 12B. One of my main interests in terms of journalism is stories that can help educate the public on matters that affect them. I think journalism can really have an impact on peoples’ lives and seeing that utilized is really something amazing. As such I tend to like feature stories such as those on personal finance education, healthy eating, and community involvement matters. I also have an interest in stories that expose some of the positive things that people don’t always see. Many people have an impression of news and journalism as often focusing on the negative, but I think there’s a lot of positive news that occasionally gets passed over in peoples’ minds.

A recent on-campus news story which I find interesting is when Susan Polgar, the first female Chess Grandmaster, came to visit Brandeis. The article discusses how  her main struggle  wasn’t that many wished her to not succeed because she was a woman, but rather how the idea of a female advancing so far in Chess was unheard of and how that shaped how she was treated and what others expected from her. Her discussion of both the struggles she faced as a female in a male-dominated field as well as how her father instilled a love of the game in her manages to be both informative and inspiring. This is a perfect example of the type of newsworthy but positive stories that I love.

An off-campus recent story which is intriguing is an article outlining the effects Trump’s discussed tariff on Mexican-made vehicles has had on the Detroit automakers and how it may further affect them. Pickup trucks have high margins which have have been recent profit drivers for American automakers, but if a high tariff is implemented, those margins may be eliminated for GM and Chrysler. However, Ford may benefit as their pickup trucks are all made in the USA. It’s interesting to see how a decision that may have cost Ford more in labor in the past may actually turn out to be an advantage due to changing political circumstances. It just goes to highlight the often unpredictable nature of politics and how it can affect businesses in ways they hadn’t previously predicted.