A couple weeks ago, a Brandeis senior, Tova Perlman discovered that the Google Calendars of student and faculty were accessible by the whole university. That means that anyone on the Brandeis network could see people’s schedule or even more personal information, such as sensitive notes taken by counselors or advisors. Word got around, and eventually someone from the Justice was notified and wrote an expose, but without citing her as having discovered it. I’d love to get interviews from Tova Perlman, the writers of the Justice article–Avraham Penso and Chaiel Schaffel—and people who were affected by their personal information being released. I’d also want to talk to administrators or IT professionals to get a better understanding of who was responsible for this feature, or at least why there were not precautions taken so this didn’t happen. Tensions relating to privacy issues and issues of credit being given will hopefully allow for a powerful story to be shot.
The second pitch will take more research to be sure of which direction I want to go in. I have been volunteering weekly at a day shelter in Waltham for people experiencing food and housing insecurity for a few years. I’d love to talk to one person about his/her story, and maybe focus on the issue that this day center (called the CDC) will not be operating a winter night shelter this year, and what that means for him/her. I could also do one on how different resource—such as the day shelter, police, and programs—do/don’t help people experiencing housing insecurity in Waltham. This might have roadblocks too, however. I’d need to make sure that people were comfortable being interviewed, which might not be the case. But there could be some really powerful visual footage of the subject’s daily experiences.
Most students would never know that Rage Hezekiah, Brandeis’s beloved disability specialist, has a secret life: that of a poet. In this piece, she opens up about her journey: from living a spontaneous and chaotic 20-something life in California–managing a co-op bakery and helping women as a doula–to living a more stable and balanced existence as a Brandeis faculty member. But through it all, she found her voice as a poet.
I have two story pitches:
The first revolves around dealing with a pain condition or recurrent pain in college. I think it would be fascinating to get a glimpse into the life of people who seem fine on the outside, but are struggling on the inside, and students walking by might not even notice.
For the story, I would interview people who experience regular pain, as well as representatives from disability services and/or staff at the health center. Josh Lepson, a junior with a pain condition, would be my first subject. Despite his condition, Josh is an extremely successful student academically and someone with many friends and extracurricular interests.
Sample questions I’d have would be: What pain condition do you have? How have you balanced the condition with your rigorous academic schedule and extracurriculars? Has your attitude changed over time in relation to your condition? Have friends been supportive at Brandeis? Professors? Administrators? What is the hardest aspect of dealing with the condition in college? What do you study? Why? What clubs are you involved with? Why did you decide to get involved with those clubs? Do you feel the condition is well understood by students and professors? By the medical community?
I would also interview Rage Hezekiah, whose title is Student Accessibility Support at Brandeis. Sample questions would be: How much of the student population deals with pain issues? (IE how often have you seen these cases?) What sorts of chronic pain conditions do you see? How is support given? What are limitations to support? Do you suspect that there are students with pain conditions who do not report it or ask for disability services? How do you think Brandeis compares to the “real world” in its response to students with chronic pain?
My second story idea is to interview students who feel the effects of recent hurricanes because they have family who live there. I would interview, as two examples, Isaac Kurtz and Chila Haber. Both of them have immediate family who live in Florida where the hurricane hit to some degree.
Some sample questions are: Where are you from? Where does your family live? Is your family okay? What did they decide to do? How were they affected?
What is it like to be at Brandeis while this was and is happening at home? How have you dealt with it? Is the campus community supportive? How do you see Brandeis’s response and the support efforts happening on campus? What, if anything, would you like to see done by the Brandeis community?
Blog Post #1:
Hello, and welcome to my multimedia journalism blog! My name is Tamar, and I am a junior at Brandeis, studying Politics and minoring in Business. Journalism has also always fascinated me; after all, the content that people consume ultimately helps shape their worldviews. I am particularly interested in journalistic stories that are less obvious, or less “newsy,” ones that focus on trends or patterns over events or isolated incidents (ie more Features-type stories). Journalism that reveals deep-rooted issues in the corporate or political realm are also interesting to me because they may produce real-world changes.
On campus, I would love to focus on the new threat to DACA, and how that is affecting specific students and/or faculty on campus. Also, I’d like to look at silent issues on campus — from disability to personal grieving — and how the school deals with people who experience these issues.
I was involved this summer in quite a few local political campaigns, many of which have election dates this month or next month. I’m planning on following many of these, and using the results to examine the local trends about what voters in Massachusetts are caring about, especially in light of Trump. Will the voting turnout change because of Trump at all? In what direction? And will there be a larger share of conservative votes? Votes for women? And, of course, there’s always drama following the campaigns – politics is exciting!