My name is Jaime, I’m a Senior English major with minors in Politics and Environmental Studies and this is my first post. I guess the title is redundant now. Oops. As a journalist, I’m interested in stories with a strong human-interest angle first and foremost. I prefer stories that use feature-style reporting to humanize policy issues, especially in the areas of urban planning and sustainability. I also love reading non-fiction about subcultures and personal histories–I’m currently reading a fantastic book called Random Family which tracks the lives of two young couples from the Bronx struggling in poverty. And as a campus journalist I’m excited about hyper-local reporting and the role it plays in a community, as well as the first amendment rights issues as they relate to college newspapers.
On the topic of first Amendment rights, the national news story I wanted to mention is about the University of California’s recently proposed, “Statement of Principles Against Intolerance” with the goal of combating intolerance and protecting students from bigotry. It sounds good in theory, but the language of the statement seems to potentially umbrella together acts of intolerance with some non-violent expressions and opinions. I don’t love the idea of Universities micromanaging dialogue and personally I’d rather virulent opinions be thrown in the ring along with productive ones rather then try to devise some way of magically filtering out which is which. That’s free speech. This issue is right at the heart of a conversation we had in Prof. McNamara’s class last week about fostering healthy and open campus dialogue for those of you in that class.
A piece of on-campus news I’m a fan of is the decision to remove bacon from The Einstein’s menu. It might not seem like a huge deal but some people are pretty upset, claiming that it’s kind of unfair for a secular school to make this change for the benefit for the kosher population. This move is the latest in a long string of decisions that have removed and re-added pork and shellfish products from Brandeis dining menus in varying degrees and I just find the long-standing nature of this otherwise seemingly minor issue pretty fascinating.
Right now I’m deciding between two stories to pursue further. The first would be a continuation of a series I attempted to start with the Justice last year called, “Deis Discoveries.” It attempts to uncover the history of unique campus fixtures like buildings, statues, etc. Right now though, I’m leaning more toward my second idea about biking culture — in Waltham and among students at Brandeis. It would investigate Waltham municipal efforts (or lack thereof) to make the roads safer for cyclists. I’ve already snapped a few relevant photos for that one!