We were saddened to hear of the digital image found in Ball Communication. We fully support WCRD News and their decision to report it. We will discuss this issue with our members and work with the Ball State University College Of Communication, Information and Media to use this as a lesson on race and reporting.

As journalists, it is our responsibility to inform the public of these issues and raise awareness. We encourage all to not only discuss what occurred, but also take action and push out hate. Use this act as a motivator for change. It is what Dr. King would want from us. It is what we should want for ourselves. We encourage the campus community to make the upcoming Martin Luther King holiday more than a day off. Use it as a day to move the needle for race relations in America. One small act can make a tremendous statement and impact in our community. You can start by joining the Unity March on Monday, January 20th. It will start at the Ball State Multicultural Center.

In honor of Dr. King, we urge you to use your light and love to “drive out darkness” and hate.




On Monday, October 14 at 7:30 p.m, Soledad O’brien will speak to a capacity crowd in Ball State University’s Emens Auditorium.


Soledad O’Brien, whose career has taken her from producing and reporting roles for NBC News, CNN and HBO to chairman of Starfish Media, a 360-media production company and distributor, will present “An Evening With Soledad O’Brien: Her Life Stories”. O’Brien will share stories about her career with an emphasis on her belief in a strong work ethic and never-give-up attitude. Her appearance is part of the Excellence in Leadership (EIL) Speaker Series.

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer. O’Brien was the originator of Black in America and Latino in America. In June 2013 she launched Starfish Media Group, a multiplatform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity through personal stories. Starfish Media Group continues to produce Black in America and Latino in Americaand other programming for CNN. Also in June 2013, O’Brien joined Al Jazeera America and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel as a correspondent.

This program is sponsored by the Excellence in Leadership program and is cosponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Student Life, Emens Auditorium, the Office of Institutional Diversity, Student Government Association, Housing and Residence Life, National Association of Black Journalists, Latino Student Union and Building Better Communities.

Watch as Tori Lay reports on a special talk BSU Alum and Harpo producer Zach Perlinski gave students during Oprah’s 2012 visit.

NABJ-BallU President Brandon Pope

NABJ-BallU President Brandon Pope

Friday, NABJ-BallU President Brandon Pope appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN) Super Soul Sunday Fan page. Pope, who was featured for Facebook Friend Friday, discussed his media aspirations, his Sunday routine, and a bit about himself. Check it out here!

While this isn’t our event, I thought you might be interested in attending one of the two activities with Alicia Erian.


Alicia Erian is the author of a novel,Towelhead, and a collection of stories, The Brutal Language of Love.

Her writing has appeared in Playboy, Zoetrope, Nerve, and The Iowa Review. She has worked as a film director and screenwriter and taught at Wellesley College.

She is currently completing a memoir.

There are two events:

3-4:15 PM Robert Bell 284

  • Q&A: This event is open to anyone interested in writing in general, but also anyone interested in the relationship between writing for screen and writing novels or short stories.

7:30 PM, 125 Letterman Building

  • Reading: Erian will be reading from her new memoir and a very short story.

Before her visit, view Towelhead:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 9 & Thursday, Oct. 11 at 2 -3:15 PM in RB 284.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 10 & Thursday, Oct. 12 at 3-4:15 PM in RB 284

Read the first chapter of Towelhead (pdf) available by request.

Read this interview with Erian:



As the round table meeting of the editors came to a close, the Ball State chapter of the NABJ had the opportunity to sit down with Jeffrey S. Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winner and editor-in chief of the Indianapolis Star. Taylor is officially in charge of all newsroom operations, making sure things stay within budget and employing staff to different areas of the newsroom. Starting out, Taylor was a reporter for a small paper working mostly on investigative stories in Kansas City. From there, he started working at the Free Press in Detroit, Michigan as a national correspondent and later worked as a senior managing editor. After working at the Free Press, he has only been at The Star for the last 3 months, but has big expectations and high hopes for the company.

NABJ members were able to get yet another inside look on operations at The Star, and this time through the eyes of one of the most influential people working there. The topic of branding yourself in order to get better job opportunities arose, Taylor was able to put things into perspective. It all depends on the level of the job a person was applying for. Someone who wanted a job, for instance, with an Indianapolis Colts beat, would be expected to not only know about the NFL as a whole, but have some experience with working with college football at the least. Things like a persons tweets and Facebook relating to what they hope to achieve for The Star are also taken into account. “People expect the reporter to be interactive and visible to the public,” said Taylor, noting that it was something even he himself is working more towards. When hiring, it’s a benefit to already have an audience because it means you have something else to bring to the table.

That wasn’t the only advice Taylor was able to offer students. “Care about your craft,” he said easily, when asked about trying to get a job in the journalism world. The discussion continued towards the audience evolution and how we are now entering an electronic age. It’s important for prospective journalists to move and adjust to the times, while still maintaining the fundamentals of the generation ahead of them. Stressing the fundamentals was key with Taylor who himself prefers the traditional Sunday morning paper to a Twitter updates or an E-Reader. Personally, he’s rather astounded by the multitasking abilities of the current generation, and pointed out how important it was to capitalize on those abilities that come naturally to college students.

When discussing the Star itself and how it’s finding it’s way in the new media world, Taylor believes it’s all about specializing on what they are already good at. “The industry has gone through some extreme downsizing,” he said, and that in turn effects the way business is ran. In order to develop in a digital community, the Star and a lot of other papers across the nation are now trying to find the balance between developing a quality newspaper as it always has been, yet having a stronger online presence for the new generation. Taylor says that everything, even advertising patterns, have changed. Companies aren’t spending the money they used to in order to get their ads placed into inserts like before. The Star is working with it all of the same, with Taylor’s idea of, “Let’s own what we’re good at.” As 4 o’clock rolled around and the conversation with Taylor came to a close, the NABJ members reflected on the day as a hole, walking away with a better understanding of not only the industry, but what they had to do to get into it.

The Ball State chapter of the NABJ would like to thank the staff and editors of the Indy Star for allowing us to visit and giving us insightful, eye opening information to take back to our body.

Kelci Baker

NABJ Secretary.

Meet the Editors


The Ball State chapter of the NABJ had the opportunity to go visit the Indianapolis Star this Friday, September 28 along with Juli Metzger, a Ball State professor who is over Unified Student Media. Upon arrival, members sat down with 4 editors of The Star. Alvie Lindsay, news and investigative director, Leisa Richardson, metro editor as well as a Ball State alum and NABJ member, Amy Bartner, social media editor and Carrie Ritchie, a reporter with a politics beat, took time to sit down and answer the questions of students.

How as the business changed in the last couple of years?

Digital is now the thing people are looking to first. The content the paper sends out needs to be able to serve different platforms. Richardson talked about the continuation evolution of the media but how there’s a certain perk to being in the newspaper industry at a time like now all of the same. “You get the longterm look of things when you get the paper. There are no space or content requirements,” she said, pointing out the benefits that print has over broadcast. Lindsay reflects on the past, having worked in journalism for 3 decades, he’s seen a lot of change and evolution over time. “All the internet was, was a place to put our paper,” he said. When print began posting to the web, it was the same stories with a few additional photos. The paper didn’t live or die by the web. Now, things are different. “You Tweet, then write for online, then for print,” said Richie, a recent Indiana University graduate. For her, Twitter and social media are something she uses frequently to promote herself, something vital to gain trust and readership.

What is it like competing with other media outlets?

Print is in direct and usually bitter competition with television companies. The middle ground is the web, where everyone is equal in their own right. Lindsay says it has a lot to do with consumer habit. It’s instinctive for people to get their weather and traffic reports from the television, but turn to the newspaper for information on the community, something The Star specializes and capitalizes on. “We’ve always been the best investigative reporters, and we always will be,” said Bartner, who believes there is a clear advantage with the amount of content print newspapers can give to the audience. She also told members that a willingness to learn all of these new aspects of social media is important in getting a job. The more you can do to help get a boost over the competition, the better. “We would expect anyone who wants to be in this industry to be able to use different types of media,” said Richardson, going off of what Bartner was also stressing. But one thing they also agreed on was the need to get back to basics. Despite the new direction media is taking, there’s one thing you can’t forget how to do and do well. Write.

What sort of steps did you take in order to get a job after graduation?

Internships. The word came up over and over again. Bartner herself had an internship with The Star before landing a job there. Not one, but multiple internships can give students the job experience they need, but more importantly, getting connections in the work force during those internships are vital. But not all stories are your typical college to internship to degree to job format. Alvie Lindsay told the story about his rise to editor, starting off at 16-years-old with a passion for sports writing. With no college degree, he continued his passion for writing until a job opening with an education beat came around. Despite his love of sports, he took the job and soon realized the world of news reporting. “There was something great about going to the news side and seeing how my work could impact people,” said Lindsay. And he’s been doing it ever since.

How important is it to have a foundation before applying to jobs?

The next keyword that the editors spoke about was brands. “Everyone is in an umbrella of their own personal brand,” said Bartner. Being able to sell yourself as well as your media presence to the people is key. Two examples were given to students, one of those being Mary Beth Schneider, the state government and political reporter for The Star. Reporters, according to Bartner, can no longer be on the outside looking in as they were taught to be before, and they used Schneider as a great example of a reporter who uses her brand to relate to the people in a way that doesn’t make politics dry. “Personality without partisanship,” chimed in Lindsay, recounting how well Schneider, as well as Ritchie, does when it comes to covering court cases and politics. Their other example was Whitney Smith, better known as Indy’s FruGal. They brought her over from her station in the newsroom to talk about her brand as a reporter who deals with shopping and finding deals at local stores for all sorts of items. Before working at The Star, Smith had her own personal blog that dealt with coupons and discounts. When she applied for The Star, they took into account her previous work and the audience that she would bring with her to the paper, giving her an edge over the other applicants. In today’s economy, people are looking for ways to save, and Smith was the answer they needed. “Protect your brand,” warns Richardson all of the same. In their newsroom, there are social media guidelines and codes of ethics they have to follow and consider before every tweet or Facebook post is sent out into the world. What it all boils down to is common sense. “If you’re going back and forth on a decision, it’s safer just to let it go,” advises Smith, while Lindsay admits to deleting more tweets than he actually posts. Without your brand or name, it’s hard to get followers and without them, you can’t get the traffic you want for the site.

Did you ever consider working in broadcast news?

The immediate and initial response around the table was unanimous. No. For all of them, the idea of working gin broadcast never crossed their minds when dealing with journalism. Ritchie recalls working on a story at the court house and being surrounded by television reporters. “I just never understood how you could tell a story in less than 30 seconds or one minute.” They all agree that the quick who, where, what, when and why of a story doesn’t delve deep enough into the issue. “I just want to write,” said Lindsay, who then compared broadcasting to a Big Mac sandwich. It’s the same ingredients over and over again and the whole idea is to learn to do it faster and faster to come out with the same format and product. But with print, he says, it’s like creating something new with different ingredients over and over again.

The Indianapolis Star shared some of it’s up and coming new media projects with NABJ students after the questions. One thing to look out for will be the way they cover the Presidential debates on Wednesday, October 3. From what was described, be expecting an elaborate and well thought out blend of several types of social media. What they are attempting will be a first for The Star, but expectations and spirits are high that it will be a success. With the alone time with these editors coming to a close, NABJ members were invited to listen in on the afternoon meeting. There are 2 meetings held each day for the Star. The morning meeting consists of what they’ll be doing for online as well as breaking news. The afternoon meeting is more of a recap. Members sat in a row behind the long table as representative editors from different departments such as sports, breaking news, photography gave reports to Jeff Taylor, the 3-month top editor for The Star. As that meeting came to a close, Taylor asked what the overall opinion of the meeting was. Students agreed, “It wasn’t as intense as we thought it would be.” Most of the editors agree it’s not what you would think but Taylor stresses it’s not a shouting war. “We want everyone to speak their minds and their opinions to be heard.” With that, the editors parted, but Taylor stayed back with some spare time to give a little more insight to NABJ members.

Kelci Baker

NABJ Secretary


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