Story Pitches

The first story I am considering is examining enrollments in the politics major at Brandeis to determine if there are trends or correlations with any discernible, heightened moments of political interest in recent American history. A few politics professors have noted that lately their class sizes feel unusually large, and as of late, politics feels like an especially salient topic in media, culture, and conversation. I would like to find out if there is in fact a relationship between enrollment and traceable moments of political interest. Time periods of political interest might be identified by looking at google search trends or some other available data set. Appropriate interview subjects for this project may include a representative from the office of the university registrar, the politics department chair, or the politics department administrator. This story would also require examining changes in total undergraduate enrollment at Brandeis so as to not inaccurately represent the significance of shifts in major enrollment. Examples of possible photos include a lecture hall with seats filled for a politics class; students in the politics department office, meeting with professors, or in a hall waiting for office hours; the collection of books authored by politics faculty on display in Olin-Sang; and shots of an event hosted by the politics department.

Questions can include:

  • Is there a noticeable trend in politics major enrollment over time? When have high or low points of enrollment occurred?
  • Do you think this corresponds to any broader trends regarding political interest or events occurring in American society? What might those be and why do they capture student interest?
  • Are Brandeis students and their shifting interests a fair or accurate sampling of topics that capture the moods of larger segments of society overall, or are these isolated occurrences?
  • If there an upswing or downswing now, why do you think that is the case?
  • What, in your opinion, attracts students to this major?
  • Have there been any changes in the structure of the major or the courses offered that reflect changes in political developments or attitudes over time? How does the department or university respond to changes in subject interest?

My second story idea is interviewing a friend who is currently interning at the Waltham Recycling Department. My friend told me that Waltham changed its recycling bins recently, and some residents called the department in confusion and even anger. I should be able to find information specifically about recycling programs and data in Waltham, and information about the Waltham Public Works Department as a whole. This is completely my own guesswork, but it seems that many Brandeis students, despite living here, do not necessarily know much about Waltham as far as local government and operations. I think the views of a Brandeis student embedded in Waltham city government would make for a unique perspective. If my friend does not feel comfortable or qualified, I am sure that she can connect me with another employee in the department to interview. Pictures can include shots of the interior or exterior of the Public Works Department; photos of the Recycling Department; employees at the Recycling Department; the new recycling bins waiting for collection; and images of Brandeis students who live off campus handling their recycling or some other public works related issue.

Questions can include:

  • How long have you been working for the city of Waltham? Are you from here?
  • Can you explain the role of the Waltham Recycling Department?
  • What sorts of initiatives has the department undertaken recently and how have residents responded?
  • Why did the department decide to undertake (initiatives from previous answer)?
  • Can you talk about recycling trends in the town – have residents become more or less prone to recycling, or have rates remained constant?
  • What is something people should do or know to help improve the town specifically as far as recycling?
  • Does the Waltham city government, Public Works Department, or Recycling Department interact with Brandeis or Brandeis students in any capacity?
  • Can you describe the relationship between Waltham and Brandeis overall?
  • Is there anything you want Brandeis students to know about the Waltham Public Works Department or the city in general?

Intro

I’m Matthew, a senior studying Politics, International and Global Studies, and Journalism.

My interests as a journalist are politics, global and national events of interest, and New Jersey politics and events (my home state). When I studied abroad in London last fall, I had the opportunity to write about developments in technology, sports, and the intersection of those two topics, which I also greatly enjoyed.

I have had a few Politics Department professors joke that they have  had especially large class sizes in the past two semesters. I think there might be a story in regards to Brandeis major enrollments potentially reflecting changing patterns in attention paid to various issues over time. The Registrar might have relevant historical data for this sort of  story.

Another story I am interested in is examining some of the older plans for Brandeis and the campus that can be found in Archives and Special Collections, especially as the university prepares for the construction of a new dorm.

Earlier in the week, the New York Times published a story about a man herding cattle to safety via helicopter as the cows have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey. I found the story particularly interesting as the reporting crossed into a number of news coverage categories: the human interest element of a noble individual in the wake of disaster, the economic side of the Texas beef industry at risk, and action photos of a helicopter soaring above cows in shallow water. The article was accompanied by a number of photos, and I felt that the visual element was important in this particular story for illustrating something that many people, myself included, might not have seen in the past.

On campus, the women’s soccer team hosted its first home game on Tuesday night. Brandeis won 2-0 with both goals in the second half. Additionally, there was an orientation week tailgate prior to the match, and any campus event offering free food can do no wrong.