<![CDATA[Christopher Chavez - JOUR 1550]]>Sun, 10 Jan 2016 19:59:02 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Milwaukee Mental Health: Looking at the role of police officers]]>Mon, 26 Nov 2012 20:23:11 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/milwaukee-mental-health-looking-at-the-role-of-police-officers
An update on the latest mental health patient to die after police brought him to the hospital and he awaited treatment.
After wrapping up a project for the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, my digital journalism class will be shifting their focus on reporting about the state of Milwaukee's mental health services. The projects are being supervised by Professor Herbert Lowe in partnership with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and their reporter Meg Kissinger. 

Kissing has visited the class twice and shared her experiences in covering mental health and started to outline her vision of the project, where each group profiles a different member of the community dealing with patients combatting mental health. I will be paired up with Monique Collins covering the role of police officers. 

Police officers are usually the ones that answer the calls of disturbances or issues being caused by mental health patients. Calls dealing with these patients are addressed by specially trained officers. In several cases, the person being brought into custody never really meant harm to others. 

In recent local news, Milwaukee has been investigating the death of a 25-year-old mental health patient that was brought into the Mental Health Complex and died of a broken neck while awaiting treatment. He was brought there by police in handcuffs.

Giving my own take, a person causing a disturbance that is also suffering with mental health issues, might be more rattled while seeing a police officer detain them and putting metal bracelets on them. While researching the police officer's role, I was curious if there were other ways of approaching the issue. 

I remember watching the "Imminent Danger Piece" on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's website and early on the topic was being discussed about how police get involved into a situation and how control is assumed. I found it very interesting how the idea is being developed where a person can sign off on their personal control once authorities start to feel that they can pose a threat to others. 

<![CDATA[Stranded In New York: The Hurricane Sandy Story]]>Tue, 30 Oct 2012 22:03:21 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/stranded-in-new-york-the-hurricane-sandy-story
Fly out to New York from Milwaukee. Cover the Big East Cross-Country Championship in Van Cortlandt Park for Flotrack and the Marquette Tribune. Spend time with friends and family over the weekend in Queens. Get back to Milwaukee in time for my first Monday morning class at Marquette University. That was the plan for my trip out to New York from Oct. 25 to Oct. 29. There was no plan to be in the eye of the worst storm to ever hit the East Coast, as Hurricane Sandy flooded and cut power all throughout New York City's five boroughs. 

Yesterday afternoon, the streets in my neighborhood of Jackson Heights were dark and the wind was picking up. I did not step outside my home in at all the entire day. I stayed in my room and had my laptop and phone plugged in at all times, so that when I lost power I would be ready to tackle the storm and stay connected. 

Back in 2004, I was at summer home in Florida when Hurricane Charley hit as a Category Four storm. I survived it by sitting in a closet with my family just waiting for everything to pass as we listened to the radio. Just a few shingles fell off the roof of the house, so damage was not that bad. Just as much minimal damage was experienced in my second hurricane battle. I am very fortunate about that. 

One of the main differences in my second natural disaster experience, aside from being older, was the way that I received updates throughout the storm. Back in 2004, I was reliant on the radio and when the batteries or signal gave out, I had no idea what was going on. In 2012, Twitter was my main connection as I was able to get updates from multiple media outlets at one.

My friend, Brian Mastro, is a sophomore meteorology major at Pennsylvania State University. He's a Mets fan, but I follow him for his funny overreactions in baseball. I was fortunate to have him on my timeline on Monday night as he updated his feed every few minutes with news about the rising water levels, transportation closures and photos.

Interesting enough, there were other ways using Twitter to stay connected. People could set text message alerts to stay updated if they were to lose Internet connection. This helped those without a Twitter account stay updated as well The key part was to set the alerts to credible members of the media. I know Mastro may not be a professional weatherman, but his timeline is set following all the real weather insiders. Then there are those like Shasank Tripathi, who used Twitter to try and get people into a state of panic by the way he formatted his tweets. Take a look at the following. They look real. 
The @ComfortablySmug account has over 6,000 followers and you can imagine how many of those went on to retweet him to spread the information. There was no truth to either of the two tweets above, but the capital letters and word "BREAKING" automatically freak people out. The man behind it worked for a Republican senate campaign in New York and has not tweeted since the storm ended.

I could not watch the news as the storm was going on. The images were just too graphic for me knowing so many of these places I am familiar with were getting hit hard. My thoughts and prayers went out to my friends with families and homes in Rockaway, N.Y. The neighborhood is right on the beach and just about 25 minutes away by car. A fire in Breezy Point destroyed 80 homes. My friend, Billy Dunn, evacuated his home, but has no idea what is left of it since a fire broke out on 130th street, a block away from his home. I was able to get in contact with my friend Jimmy Buckley, also from that neighborhood, who decided to stay at home and try to fight the storm. 
During the storm, I watched a few episodes of "Boy Meets World" to keep my mind off what was happening outside my window. I checked my phone every few minutes for new tweets or simply because the emergency alert was going off on the iPhone. My flight for Wednesday has been cancelled. The airline will try to get me out of New York on Friday, but too late for my last class of the week. 

I contacted all my professors and will be staying productive throughout the week from New York. I will be a member of the media at the New York City Marathon press conference on Wednesday, as I drive into Manhattan for the first time since Sandy struck. The marathon still took place after 9/11, but this time New York Road Runners is dealing with a crisis in a matter of days. Lots of questions will be asked. It could a miracle for this race go off as planned.

Many thanks to everyone back at Marquette University for reaching out to me for updates on my safety and how things were looking from my perspective. Say a prayer for those in places hit hard like Rockaway and Breezy Point. New York rebounded after 9/11 and with thoughts from everyone, it can be back to where it was before Sandy.
<![CDATA[Meg Kissinger Shares Knowledge On Mental Illnesses]]>Mon, 29 Oct 2012 04:28:37 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/meg-kissinger-shares-knowledge-on-mental-illnesses
Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel paid a visit to my digital journalism class last weekend to share stories about her start in journalism and how she ended up one of the biggest advocates for mental illnesses. Prior to the class, students were asked to read some of Kissinger's work with the Journal-Sentinel to get a feel for her writing. The emotion that she poured out onto the words of her pieces was something that really stood out to me and I was sure to ask her about how to get that effect in our own writing.

Although her stories were about her family hardships, she did a great job of putting it out there for others to read as a way of getting a feel of how real the pain of mental illnesses is not only on the person suffering but the families that take care of the patients as well. Yet, Kissinger managed to stay positive while talking about the writing process.

She went from being a hot shot high school editor to working her way up in the ranks from a newspaper in Upstate New York to the Milwaukee Journal (joined with the Sentinel in 1995). Her versatility as a writer was underscored when she spoke about writing for the gossip columns and covering scientific studies on plastic before her focus shifted to mental illnesses. 

Kissinger's work for mental illnesses is not considered complete by her until the situation for those suffering is improved in Milwaukee and can set a standard for everywhere else in the country. Later on in the semester, Professor Herbert Lowe will have the class focus on putting together interviews and profiles of people close to mental illness patients. Kissinger will be there to guide the class along the way, but has already become a role model for the type of work that many of us in the class aspire to do. 
<![CDATA[Monkeying Around With the Tampa Bay Times]]>Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:21:34 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/monkeying-around-with-the-tampa-bay-times
Facebook took the Tampa Bay Times story of the missing monkey and ran with it. Along with 86,000 people.
The Tampa Bay Times pushed aside the presidential debate coverage to the side on Monday afternoon to highlight an article on a monkey on the loose in St. Petersburg. The story was reported by the Times and then readers of the site and paper took the idea and decided to track the monkey down with social media. 

This was the first article in which I saw a lot of reader response to the Times across other social media boards. The story was posted through the MyFox branch and displayed in outlets across the country. With a simple Google search of "monkey tampa" the story will show up for the Washington D.C. outlet for Fox. This monkey was starting to become quite the big deal. 

The Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay Facebook page has over 86,000 likes. This is a story that has been developing before Mitt Romney started campaigning for his 2012 presidential bid. The page was updated every few days from the perspective of the primate and talks of freedom.

From Monday, the Times put out a story on him each day with updates. The reason he was being sought out so much was because this little guy has been on the loose multiple times since 2009. Bananas were being used to lure the monkey into a cage, but time and time again it would get away until Wednesday afternoon.

The monkey was just about to escape before he was shot with a tranquilizer and put in a cage. The page was once dedicated to capturing the monkey, but now prompts posts asking for his freedom. He may have bitten someone in 2009, but he proved he was meant to be out in the wild with numerous escapes.

Surely this is not the end of the monkey's tale and the Tampa Bay Times could be thinking of assigning a beat writer to follow him around as he plans his next escape. 
<![CDATA[Audio, Video, and Visuals Could Use Work for Tampa Bay Times]]>Mon, 24 Sep 2012 23:28:39 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/audio-video-and-visuals-could-use-work-for-tampa-bay-times
The Tampa Bay Times has its own separate tab for videos, if you can not find them on the homepage.
As weeks go by, the belief that the Tampa Bay Times is a media outlet focused on the newspaper reading audience becomes more and more evident. For #loweclass sports, I once assessed the sports page's use of video and podcasts and for the most part the section was lacking. As I browsed through more of the site, sports is what dominates the video coverage on the site. 

If one were to look for videos on the homepage of the site, only three results come up and two are post-game recaps of the Rays game while the other is a stand-up about a shooting. I looked for a tab on videos to see if there was a database for more video content. Surely there was if you scroll down far enough, I was surprised by how recently updated most of the videos were. Each video was labeled well and had fell into a specific category. There was a lot of good content, but I had to go look for it. 

Photos could use improvement throughout the website as the clarity and resolution of most pictures look as if they were taken with an iPhone. I start to wonder where the professional photographers hired by the site are? Sports seems to get its part done, but the rest of the website's articles do not have as nice of a look.

Compared to the New York Times, which would have its writers record an audio version of its text, the Tampa Bay Times does not have any attachment of that sort on its articles. No audio was to be found on the front page. 

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it may be nice to have a video or audio file in which the audience member can listen to part of those words and take a break from the text. 
<![CDATA[Initial Impression of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service]]>Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:56:57 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/initial-impression-of-the-milwaukee-neighborhood-news-service
The homepage of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service takes a look at local news stories in Milwaukee.
Last week, Sharon McGowan of the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service paid a visit to #loweclass to introduce the site and discuss the upcoming projects ahead for students in the digital storytelling class. The website aims at profiling the communities of Milwaukee and ultimately improve the quality of life for the people living in some of these communities. At the same time, the site is hoping to become recognized as a professional news service.

For the class project, I will be paired with one of my fellow peers to profile one of the new communities added to the Neighborhood News Service's targeted areas of coverage. I have not focused on writing on a local news beat since I was the editor-in-chief of "The Review" at Xavier High School. Add in the fact that I hail from New York City and have not ventured too far from Marquette's campus during my time in the Midwest, this should be a new experience. 

The Neighborhood News Service has been able to show the realness and the closeness of a different level of American poverty in Milwaukee neighborhoods. Poverty may not be the right word to use due to its strength, but the site underscores the struggles that some families go through in their daily lives. What could set this site apart is the fact that they not only report and inform, but open the eyes of a reader to the communities around them. 

My goal is to be a sports journalist after my time at Marquette University and this is a step forward to further develop my well rounded skills as a reporter. 

I will be writing about the people that walk the same streets that I do as opposed to the athletes that drive around in their million dollar sports cars. This is real life.  
<![CDATA[Men's Lacrosse Coach Joe Amplo Ready to Explore the Unknown]]>Wed, 19 Sep 2012 06:52:18 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/amplo-joe


  • Joe Amplo was hired as head men's lacrosse coach in February 2011.
  • Amplo and the team will make their Division-I debut in the Spring of 2013. 
  • Amplo's mission is to build character in his players as students and athletes of the Marquette community.
Joe Amplo is getting ready to explore uncharted territory as the Marquette men’s lacrosse team prepares for its first season as a NCAA Division-I team.

Marquette University decided to add a men’s and women’s lacrosse program to the list of NCAA Division-I sports on Dec. 16th, 2010. The search for a head coach for the men’s side would take two months as Amplo was announced as the first coach in the team’s young history in February.

That’s when Amplo and his family moved from Long Island, where he served as an assistant coach for the men’s lacrosse team at Hofstra. 

After adding assistant coaches John Orsen and Stephen Brundage to the staff, recruiting was underway. While recruiting and talking to players, Amplo underscored the challenges that starting a new program could bring and looked for those that would be ready to move forward after those challenges.

“We’re going to find out who the men are,” Amplo said. “It will be those that are willing to trust themselves and their teammates to build this thing.”

In Aug. 2011, 28 players accepted the invitation by Amplo to step up to those challenges. By the fall of 2012, the team expanded to 49 members and is preparing for their first match in October. 

The team released its first schedule on Sep. 12th and will be playing against several ranked opponents throughout the year. Amplo believes that wins and losses will not be highlighted in the first year of competition. 

“If we can look back and say we invested as much as we possibly could, individually and collectively, to being the best that we could be,” Amplo said, “That’s success to us.”

When the team is not on the field, players can be seen around the Al McGuire Center’s Eagles Nest studying or participating in community service programs throughout campus. Amplo’s mission may not be to create winners right away, but leaders and men for others in the Marquette community.
<![CDATA[New Era for the Buccaneers; Tampa Bay Times Still In the Past]]>Mon, 10 Sep 2012 19:15:50 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/new-era-for-the-buccaneers-tampa-bay-times-still-in-the-past
Taking a look at the Tampa Bay Times leading up to the first Tampa Bay Buccaneers game of the season added more to my theory that this media outlet is more geared towards their print audience. On Saturday evening, their website ran an article about Ronde Barber and how he is entering his 200th consecutive start. The article was published on their webpage on Saturday, but not seen in print until Sunday. Online the piece read the same way as if it was read on Sunday, which provided confusion for me at first. 

The last few years have not been too great for professional football fans in Tampa, but the story of the weekend was how new coach Greg Schiano would fare in his NFL debut. It is being dubbed the "new era" of Buccaneers football, but the ironic part about all of this is the fact that as a news outlet the Tampa Bay Times has yet to move forward to their own "new era."

With Twitter and social media changing the way in which fans can track a game, game recaps in newspapers are becoming less important. Analysis or highlighting a story is what can add to the reader's experience instead of just reading about what they already know. The Times did a great job of this by tying in their pre-game focus on Ronde Barber to his contributions in Sunday's 16-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

I am starting to become a fan of the "Bucs Beat" blog on the Times' website, because it takes what different sites are saying and puts it all in one place for fans. They are short easy to read posts that could easily be tweets if they were cut down to 140 characters. Some of them will have quotes from coaches, injury updates, and commentary from people like Sports Illustrated's Peter King. 

Buccaneers fans are cherishing their opening weekend glory and Greg Schiano is off to the right foot with his fans. In my blog post for my sports writing class, I will take a look at what some of the columnists at the Tampa Bay Times have to say about the first game of the season. 
<![CDATA[First Impression of the Tampa Bay Times]]>Wed, 05 Sep 2012 04:46:09 GMThttp://christopherchavez.weebly.com/jour-1550/first-impression-of-the-tampa-bay-times
For the next few weeks, I will be taking a look at the Tampa Bay Times and writing several blog posts on my thoughts about the way they present the news to their audience. Whether it is reporting on a civic issue or a crime report, there are many means of letting people know what is going on in the society around them. 

My first thought about being assigned the Tampa Bay Times beat for #loweclass, brought me back to a trip to Northwestern University last spring for a National Association of Black Journalists Conference. Adrienne Samuels Gibbs gave the keynote address and spoke about her experiences as a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times. One of the funniest things that she noted was that people in Florida always manage to have an interesting way of dying.

After following the Tampa Bay Times on Twitter, I could not agree more as headlines like "Man dies after casino trip" pop into your timeline and your attention is captured. Once someone has clicked the link and arrived at the website, the front page and the articles are not so intriguing to look at. 

The copy editors and the people that tweet out the stories do a great job of bringing traffic to the site, but the design is dull. The Democratic National Convention is the top story on most news outlets and as the Tampa Bay Times runs a related story to headline their site, the photo looks like a Twitpic from one of their writers. The quality is blurry and does not look very professional for a featured piece. 

There is a lot going on at the very front page of the site with tickers and advertisements everywhere. All of the newspaper's sections are tabbed at the top. What is very underwhelming is that more stories from those sections could be displayed on the front page with the photo, but there is just one main picture for all the articles linked on the front page. The content of most articles is great, but there is just not enough on the front page to get you to want to reach each piece. 

Readers are not afraid to interact and speak their minds on articles as the top news story, "Charlie Crist set to address the Democratic National Convention", has garnered close to 200 comments a few hours after being published. Sports section readers do not hold back when trashing columnist Tom Jones, especially after he bashed Tampa Bay Rays fans by calling them the last supportive in baseball. The comments have very colorful language. 

All in all, TampaBay.com is pretty simple to navigate and read articles on. As the elections and the end of the baseball season heat up, more traffic should be expected on the site, so I hope to see some more photos and captivating action taking place.