What Works?

Kim Kardashian Wore A Bikini *Gasp* And Piers Morgan Has A Problem With It

This article seems petty on the surface, but deals with important issues in journalism. Women are portrayed in the media unfairly, and in 2017 it is just as much of a problem as it has ever been if not more.

The story is about Kim Kardashian, who is the main attraction for celebrity news. Love or hate her, Piers Morgan’s statements about her body, and the bodies of a lot of  women, are ridiculous. People’s obsession with the Kardashian’s is annoying, but Piers’ obsession with her cellulite is infuriating.

The article starts off with a video that shows the pictures and sets up a bit of background before the article about Morgan’s comments start. I think the video is a nice touch, because it lets viewers see the pictures in question.

It also features footage of the Good Morning Britain segment in which the comments were made. The story also featured tweets from Morgan, Kardashian and Susanna Reid.

I think this article makes its points well. It gives the whole story and has plenty of visuals.



Oxford Filmmaker Shows Immigrants Through New Lens in Little Kurdistan

Next weekend, the Nashville Film Festival will screen “Little Kurdistan,”  a documentary short by Oxford’s Ava Lowrey that highlights the food and culture of Kurdish immigrants in Nashville.

Lowrey, a filmmaker who works for the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, said that its easy to find common ground with her subjects through food.

“The nice thing about food is that it connects us all. Everyone likes food and everyone has to eat, as one of the women in the film said. So its the easiest way to connect people from different cultures,” Lowrey said. “The big thing with this film was hoping that people from Nashville or people passing through will actually check out the market and the restaurant and interact with this community more.”

Lowrey said many Nashville natives and visitors do not know about the Kurdish community in the city.  Little Kurdistan highlights the humanity and normalcy of immigrants.

“The good thing about the film is it not only puts a human face to the issue, it also shows that these people are adding to the local culture and to society,” she said. “These people have skills, obviously in this film food is featured, but there is also a member of the Kurdish community who is a police officer in Nashville and there are Kurdish elected officials. I hope that the film does change the minds of people who have a negative view of refugees or immigrants.”

Nashville has the highest concentration of Kurdish immigrants in the United States. Lowrey thinks this may have something to do with its geographic similarities to Kurdistan, like its mountains and mild weather, but the city is a good fit in more than one way.

“Nashville is a super welcoming city, not just the local government but also just the people,” Lowrey said. “It’s a city of newcomers; people with a dream go to Nashville to make it in country music. These people came there to make it as valued members of an American town and they are pursuing their own version of the American dream.”

The film is available to watch on the Southern Foodways Alliance website. They used vimeo to upload the video and have seen the broad reach the film had.

“We had people in the Middle East, the U.K. and other areas like Canada that have large Kurdish populations watching. Seeing those places light up on the map was really exciting,” Lowrey said.

The film premiered the summer of 2016 and has been featured in the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina, and also at the Oxford Film Festival. Executive Director for the Oxford Film Festival Melanie Addington talked about the film being chosen for the festival.

“With Little Kurdistan, Ava actually submitted and was selected as a film from almost 1,000 entries, because it was a strong enough film to be showcased at the festival,” Addington said.  “Ava Lowrey is a fantastic filmmaker and another of her short films, Otha Turner, won best Mississippi film this year. We are glad to have filmmakers like her in the community.”

The Nashville Film Festival is the third festival Little Kurdistan will be featured in. The festival is competitive and the film is up for awards.

“Obviously, I hope we catch the judge’s attention. There are ton of fims; we are in good company” Lowrey said. “But really it’s just exciting to have this film about Kurdish refugees and immigrants in Nashville featured in a Nashville specific festival and highlighted as a really important and vital part of the Nashville community.”



What Works

United’s Apologies a Timeline

This article is a perfect read for someone who wants to know exactly how United airlines has addressed its recent scandal.

It was published the 14th of April on a Friday and the events in the viral video of a passenger being violently removed from a flight had taken place the previous Sunday. the article highlights the statements made Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Each day was sorted as a sub-head and underneath them the writer summarized what had happened and what the airline or Munoz had said. They also featured the actual statements made so that readers could see everything that was said in “United”s own words.

The article did a good job of showing how the statements changed from the first response to the latest. United’s statements changed with the public’s opinions and growing outrage. But i would have shown more of how the public outcry lead to the statements that were more apologetic and “ashamed.”

I think the article could have been helped by having tweets featured and video as well. The story was informative but lacked visually. Even having the original video of the passenger would have been helpful for those who have been living under a rock.


Planning Commission Struggles to Curb Illegal Parking Near the Square

To many, parking near the Square can be a nightmare, but parking in private lots and driveways is not a solution.

The planning commission in Oxford addressed the issue of illegal parking near the square Monday. The issue was brought up by an applicant seeking to put a gate up to block entry to Oxford Manor Condominium’s parking. Brooks Yates, spoke about the problems he believed would be fixed by the gate.

“Historically, there have been cars parked that they have come back for at three in the morning,” Yates said. “And there have been cars left for two or three days before they come back to get them.”

Different places with private parking have tried methods to keep out illegal parkers. Some have left warning notes, and some have signs in their yards to mark their drives as private. But sometimes calling tow trucks is the only way to handle the situation.

“There are two spaces for each of the eight condos,” Yates said. “They are numbered and we have stickers. We have tried everything. There has been towing, and we hate to do it. We would rather not go there.”

That was the main argument for why the gate was needed. The request for the gate was approved by the commission, but two members voted against it, because of the precedent it may set.  Member Duncan Gray voiced concerns over the gates.

“We are talking about a situation bigger than this. Im concerned because we will have places with only four condos or single family homes wanting to put up gates,” Gray said.

“I understand the frustration,” said commission member Judy Ridell. “I have lived on both sides of the square and I’ve had people block me in my driveway. So it’s not just developments that have the problem. But I know that we do not want gates on the ends of all the driveways.”

The concern for the dissenters is that everyone will want to put up a gate to keep out illegal parkers.  The commission said this was an exception, so not everyone who wants to protect their private parking will be granted a gate.

With the new times on the parking meter, this problem may become an even bigger issue than it was. On weekends, parking is hard to find on the square, and while Oxford Manor may have the solution to their situation, the other private parking lots and driveways still need a solution.

“This issue is something we need to address as a city,” Gray said.  “This isn’t something that should be left up to developments and homeowners.”

What Works?

Timeline of chemical weapons use in Syria

I found this article by typing timeline and Syria into google. It has both of those words in its headline, but was probably first because it was published today.

I wanted to find a timeline, because I had read in another story about the chemical gas that this was not the first incident like this. The article was on abc news, but was done by the associated press.

While this article gives you a lot of information, they did not use a graphic for their timeline. The article would have greatly benefited by having a timeline with accompanying pictures. Instead each date with its information is listed in print in the article with no images.

The one visual in the story is a video of a hospital workers dealing with people affected by the latest gas attack. I do think that this adds emotional weight to the story, but for me it does not add enough.

There are a couple of links throughout if you want to read about anything further. But overall it seems to me that the article was lacking. I got a sense of the events leading up to the recent attack, but it ultimately was not what I was hoping for in a timeline story.

Th article is informative, but ultimately does not work for me as well as a timeline would have. You get the information, but you have no visuals for the events.

Sarah Isom Center Raises Awareness for Wage Gap

by Rachel Lambert

In honor of Equal Pay Day, representatives from the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies passed out PayDay bars and sought to educate students about the gender wage gap.

“It took a year and three months for women to make what men make in a year,” said Sarah Isom intern Sheffield Spence.

The date of Equal Pay Day changes every year, and it took until April 4 of this year for women to make what men did in 2016. Equal Pay Day was started in 1996, and 21 years later the issue of gender wage gap and equality in the workplace is still relevant.

“We are still fighting that glass ceiling in order to get where we should be,” Spence said. “And that is just crazy to me.”

Ellis Starkey, an Americorps Vista serving at the Isom Center, and Spence agree that part of the problem stems from women not being in as many high paying jobs. But Starkey believes there are reasons why women choose lower paying jobs.

“We still have these set gender roles, and people just expect women to balance all these things,” Starkey said. “A lot of times women are in lower paying jobs because they have more flexible hours so they can take care of children like they are ‘supposed to.’ But it is getting better because we have women breaking though and making cracks in the ceiling.”


The Chair for the Management Department for Robert K. Robinson does not believe there is a wage gap.  Instead he points to the lack of women in high paying jobs as the problem, and is a proponent of equal pay for equal work.

“I believe pay is set by the knowledge, skill and ability brought to the work place,” Robinson said. “Are there some employers out there that don’t view it that way? You’re darn right, but the successful ones don’t look at it that way.”

One of the most controversial aspects of the gender wage gap are the statistics used to measure it. Robinson believes the statistics are misleading.

“The main statistic people throw around takes women in the work force as a collective and their mean pay and men in the workforce as collective and their men pay and say women make 78 cents for every dollar men make,” Robinson said. “If you look at female doctors versus male doctors or female college administrators versus male administrators, that gap tends to disappear. Those are the figures to look at.”


Although Robinson suggests the statistics using blind averages are skewed , The Bureau of Labor Statistics have records that do compare specific types of work, and while some fields have less of a gap, in each category it is still there.

“I don’t think people want to think people want to think that it exists,” Spence said. “People want to think we live in a Utopian society where if you do equal work, you get equal pay.”



Park Rangers Tighten Ship at Sardis Lake

By Rachel Lambert and Carly Owen

Spring has arrived and brought warm weather with it, and many Oxford citizens and Ole Miss students plan to spend their time at Sardis Lake.

Sardis is a staple in the Oxford community, and community members and students alike go there to have fun. Sometimes this fun can include alcohol, and Brian Johnson, a supervisory ranger for the Army Corps of Engineers which sets the rules, warns against its consumption at Sardis.

“Of course we don’t allow alcohol on our property and Lafayette county is a dry county,” Johnson said. “The people know this, but it’s hard to catch everyone.”

Johnson listed illegal operation of ATVs (mainly to do with helmets, or lack of), alcohol consumption, shooting guns and littering as the main violations rangers run into at Sardis. While these may seem like small offenses to some, when combined they can be a recipe for dangerous situations.

“We’ve had ATV accidents where helicopters have to come,” Johnson said. “We don’t carry weapons, and we get calls about people out shooting. People are just trying to walk their dogs and have bullets flying by their heads.”

Last spring, the Corps implemented concrete blockades at the County Road 314 or “road’s end” entrance, deterring cars from accessing the beach. This was done to help prevent accidents, and there is a dirt and gravel-filled area designated for parking.

“The parking lot was added to curb some of the illegal activity,” Johnson said. “When you have  a group out drinking and shooting they won’t go 20 feet away from their trucks, because they want to be able to hide it if they see us coming. So when we prevent them from getting to the shoreline they won’t want to carry their coolers and guns that far away from the vehicles.”

The Corps did not install these blockades to keep students out, as many have speculated. Pedestrian access is still allowed.

“It’s not just students who break the rules, it’s all ages,” Johnson said.  “And the parking lot is not a punishment; it’s an improvement. It has helped us a lot.”

The Corps’ goal with the addition was to create a safe environment and to make the lake more enjoyable for visitors. Despite the goal, some students still do not see it that way. Brazel Crocker, of Biloxi, Miss believes the blockades take away from the experience.

“A day at Sardis is a tradition that my parents had that I don’t believes we get to experience any longer,” Crocker said. “The blockades have made Sardis inaccessible; the experience isn’t even an experience any longer and only reminds me of the amazing times we can’t have anymore.”

Ranger Johnson believes it is still possible to have fun and be safe. He also offered advice to people who want to enjoy Sardis.

“Alcohol and water don’t mix. Always try to leave the lake better than you found it,” Johnson said.

The rules and regulations are displayed on signs at each entrance to the lake, but they are also posted online. Oxford resident Drew Chiles sees the importance of rules, but questions some.

Everyone should follow the rules,” Chiles said. “But the rules should also reasonably reflect the culture. Lots of people who are not students go to the lake to drink beer, listen to music and shoot guns. It’s Mississippi, ya know?

What Works : Meeting

Are laws needed to protect patients from sexual abuse?

This article by the Clarion Ledger does not read like what you would expect from a meeting story. The author did a good job finding the news in the Board of Licensure meeting. The author focused on the discussion of an article that was discussed in the meeting that had ranked Mississippi last in the nation when it came to protection of patients.

The author also did a good job of getting both sides of the opinions expressed at the meeting. One source discredited the article and believed that there were already laws in place, while another non-voting participant expressed concern about the consequences of not taking action.

The story also talked about other studies besides the one talked about in the meeting that showed Mississippi with higher “marks” in the area of patient protection. The author also found a source to explain why Mississippi did not rank high in taking away medical licenses from the physicians as punishment.

The reasonings led into more discussions of states like Mississippi and Alabama not wanting to lose more doctors. This seemed to show a desperation and need for doctors that some medical professionals and law makers put above the safety of patients.

I think that this article would have greatly benefitted from some type of visual. Graphs with statistics related to the topic would have helped the reader better understand the issue.

This whole article reads like a hard news story, because it is one. This article shows that stories on meetings do not have to be stuffy or boring. The author did not report on the meeting, in fact he barely mentioned it, he reported on the fact that the issue was brought up and then built a story around it.

Mississippi Heroin Epidemic: Is Oxford Safe?

By Rachel Lambert and Daniel Dubuisson

OXFORD, Miss.– Mississippi is infamous for many things. As of 2016, the state is the third most obese state and have the second highest rate of pregnancy among teens. In the coming years, heroin may find its way onto that list.

John Dowdy, the director for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, has said that our state is experiencing an “epidemic related to opioids.”. It has swept the nation, and north Mississippi’s heroin problems are rising at an alarming rate. The MBN has reported an increase in opioid related deaths and heroin is among one of the most common offenders.  

Oxford native Dr. Ann Chancellor Roberson said a lot of medical literature attributes the rise to stricter policies enforced by the Mississippi Prescription Monitoring Program. The program documents what medicines patients have had and how many prescriptions they’ve filled to ensure that the patient’s drug use is not beyond reason. Doctors are also trying to now prescribe medications that are less likely to spark an addiction, and Roberson says this leads people to other drugs such as heroin.

“We’ve seen a little bit of reduction in these pills and everybody is still wanting to get high, so they go to whatever they can find,” Roberson said. “Heroin is cheap and unfortunately easy to find. So we’ve seen an increase in it.”

But the problem is never just that simple. Heroin distributors are now creating newer, more potent versions of the already deadly opioid. According to Roberson, heroin is so dangerous, mostly because it is easily mixed with other drugs like fentanyl and ketamine.

“With a Lortab 5 or 10, you know what you’re getting,” Roberson said. “Heroin isn’t like that. You never know what strength you’re getting and what all is in it. So when you shoot up, you are always risking your life.”

In 2015, Desoto County experienced the most opioid related overdoses in the state, and has been ground zero for many young addicts.

Former heroin addict Sam Rives of Nesbit first used heroin his senior year of high school. Now 21, Rives can attest to the dangers associated with heroin.The first time he used, he said he was misled into thinking he was not taking heroin.

“I was really naive at the time,” Rives said. “By the time I found out it was heroin, it was too late. I loved it so much the first time I tried it, that I did it without thinking about any of the possible consequences.”

Rives abused heroin for nearly four years before he made the near fatal mistake of taking Xanax simultaneously with heroin.

“I didn’t have health problems until I mixed [heroin] with Xanax,” Rives said. “I overdosed and that caused me to go into a comma and need life support, so that was a bummer.”

“It’s definitely a problem in Oxford, and it’s not just with students,” Dr. Roberson said. “There is an adult population that also has issues with heroin addiction.”

While the problem is distressing, the Lafayette County Coroner Rocky Kennedy reported no recent deaths due to heroin. Dr. Roberson called Oxford fortunate in the efficiency of its preventative measures.

“We’ve had a lot off near misses here and students who have died from overdoses elsewhere, but we have a great police department and low crime,” Roberson said. “We also have a hospital close by and excellent first responders. I think the community looks out for one another, and that helps keep people safe.”

What Works 7

‘They’re not waking up’: Four children call 911 after their parents suspected overdose

This Washington Post article tells the tragic story of two parents who overdosed on heroin, leaving four children behind. This story is very relevant because heroin overdoses have become more common over the past years due to what is being mixed in it.

The article uses this one story to then lead into other stories that highlight the heroin epidemic in the U.S. They also make use of a graph that shows the increase in drug overdose related deaths in the state of Ohio, one of the places a story in the article took place, and shows how it has gotten worse.

The article features many quotes from children of different families calling 911 about their parents. This is very effective in stirring emotion and intrigue for readers. The article features many links to helpful photos, stories and health related websites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health are used as sources which adds credibility. The article also features a direct pull from another article. Showing that it got a lot of its information from a story which broke sooner from the Dayton Daily News.  NBC News is also cited and leads me to believe this may be an aggregated article.

The article comes full circle and returns to the original story about the four children who found their parents dead. This helps ground the story and remind you about the most recent tragedy featured in the article. They use both parents obituary as sources and also have a quote from Spirit Airlines, where the father was a pilot.

The fact that the father had a stable job as a pilot is shocking, as many people associate addicts and overdoses with poverty or instability. The mother fits more of the unstable portrait and the couple had problems in the past which are illustrated in the article. There is a picture of the couple attached to a tweet from Fox Sports 1550 and the couple appears to be happy and healthy.

They close using the deceased female’s mother as a source, which was taken from NBC news. She says she didn’t think they had drug problems but that something was off recently.  They end with a kicker quote:

“I had this dreadful feeling all day,” she told NBC News. “Something was off with her and something was off with him.”

This kicker quote follows the emotional tone of the entire piece. The article reads like a feature, because of this strong emotion, but it’s informative. It is a news story because it highlights a very serious problem in this country, and it works so well because it doesn’t read like a regular news story. It succeeds in getting the reader invested and making them understand the severity of the heroin epidemic and the effect it can have on innocent children.