“The Rape Joke”

22 03 2014

by Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)

Have you ever gotten chills reading a story? A story so well written and so moving that you sit and stare at it after you have finished just to recompose your thoughts? That was my reaction to reading “The Rape Joke” written by Tanvi Kumar, a student at Fond du Lac High School.

the rape joke

The story has sparked a controversy at the school and beyond, but unfortunately it is not for how well it was written. It is mainly about because the principal and the superintendent had concerns about the story, and decided to enforce prior restraint on stories that will be published in the Cardinal Columns, the school newspaper.

UW Oshkosh journalism associate professor Vince Filak has been interviewed a couple of times regarding the controversy and feels passionate about it.

“This young lady did an incredible job of writing about an incredibly sensitive topic in an extremely restrained way and still gave people the facts they needed to be able to form an opinion, and to punish the newspaper for it is pretty gutless,” Filak said.

He said the story was well written and could be considered for a writing award.

“They really painstakingly wrote it and they put forth a piece that I think is an award-winning piece,” he said. “I think this could be a story of the year for high school publications.”

UWO law and ethics Professor Mike Cowling said students have freedom of speech so long as the stories published do not disrupt the educational process or are not considered to be obscene, indecent or vulgar.

“Court rulings have said that high school students have free speech rights,” Cowling said. “They can make political statements, they can do things as long as it’s not disruptive to the student environment.”

Cowling said school administrators, who are considered to be the publishers of most high school newspapers, have a legal right to determine what is acceptable and what is not for the publication.

“The top administrator is considered to be the publisher, as you would have at a newspaper, so he or she can say ‘we’re not going to run this’ and, in essence, have a right to do so,” Cowling said. He cited a United States Supreme Court ruling in the 1988 case of Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier in which the justices said school-sponsored student publications can be censored for legitimate educational concerns.

Barb Benish, UWO adjunct instructor and executive secretary of  the Northeastern Wisconsin Scholastic Press Association (NEWSPA), has added a session to the NEWSPA spring conference called “Prior Review: What to do if it Happens to You.” The session brings in the writer of the story and other members of the Cardinal Columns publication to talk about how they took a stand. Professor Cowling will also be there to discuss the legal aspects.

The students started a petition that generated about 4,500 signatures in a little more than a week.

Tell us your thoughts on the story, the reactions and how you think the situation will turn out.


International Day of Happiness

19 03 2014

By Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)

March 20 is a twofold day of things that should make you feel good. On calendars it is the official first day of spring, and after our latest winter everyone is probably extremely excited for the seasons to change. March 20 also marks a fairly new holiday called the International Day of Happiness.

History of Happiness Day

The International Day of Happiness may sound like something that should’ve been celebrated since the beginning of time, if not every day of your lives, but this day was officially started in June of 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly that believed “the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.”

The holiday was started to spread the awareness of how important happiness and general well-being are to human life. With money and power becoming so essential in the world, it is important for us to take a step back and realize that all we really need is our health and our happiness to get by.

How You Can Spread Happiness

The first step on the main page of the U.N. website is to vote on whether you think wealth or happiness is more important. Eighty-seven percent of the people who have voted feel that happiness is more important, which means the International Day of Happiness has started to spread. The goal of the day is to reclaim happiness around the world. You can also find out how to get more involved from the website. One of the ways it is attempting to hit its goal is by having people send in photos of things that make them happy and using #happinessday.

UWO is taking part in the International Day of Happiness and we want your help. On March 20, tweet us pictures of things that make you happy or tell us what you do to make others smiling using the #UWOspreadshappiness.


Smiling Students at UWO

In honor of International Happiness Day, I asked a couple of students at UW Oshkosh how they maintained and spread their happiness to others.

UWO nursing student Leanne Neu said her friends and family make her happiest.
“I would say I’m happy when I’m with friends or my family,” Neu said. “And I think warm weather, like summer. Country music always puts me in a good mood, too. Specifically Luke Bryan and the big poster I have of him. And sleeping in now that I think of it.”

Leo Costello, a journalism major, said easygoing people with a sense of humor make him happy.
“When people have a sense of humor that allows them to laugh at anything,” he said. “Also people who don’t take life too seriously.”

Abby Schwartz, a junior at UWO and a physical therapy major, agreed that her family and friends make her happy.
“My family and friends, of course,” Schwartz said. “But I’m sure everybody says that. Petting dogs and working out make me happy too.”

Scott Bellile, another journalism major, said finishing a task or goal and feeling a sense of accomplishment is what really makes him happy.
“As a journalism student, I feel relieved but also proud when a writing assignment I’ve spent a week working on is sent off, ready for the web or a newspaper page,” Bellile said. “This also applies to finishing a homework assignment or cleaning my room, but the tasks that take extra motivation leave me with a great feeling when they’re finished.”

There are plenty of ways to express your happiness and UWO has students with a wide variety of ways to show just how happy they are.

Neu said she expresses happiness by smiling.
“Smiling, smiling is my favorite.” She said. “Sorry, that was from ‘Elf.’ But I do smile and laugh a lot. I sing badly to music when I’m happy. How do you express happiness…? I don’t know, I just do.”

Aside from smiling, Schwartz said she also likes to dance around her house to loud music.
“Well laughing and smiling are always signs that you’re happy,” She said. “But I also like to blast music and dance around my house and sing… badly.”

Costello said, “I generally just act in a good mood and I try to entertain people.”

Bellile said he can range from a laid-back happiness to an extreme ball of energy.
“When expressing my happiness, depending on the appropriate setting,” Bellile said. “I’ll either relax and smile or I’ll spring off the walls exploding with energy. ”

The goal of International Happiness Day is not only to be happy, but to spread happiness. The UWO students also told us how it is they make sure others are happy.

Neu said she is generally a nice person and doesn’t like to make people upset in the first place.
“I try to make others happy by trying to be a nice person,” Neu said. “I don’t like confrontation so I pretty much try to please everyone. I like to quote movies to make people smile.”

Schwartz spreads happiness by making other people smile.
“Singing really well to them, obviously.” Schwartz said with a laugh. “Doing nice things for people or telling them stories about funny things that happened to me.”
Knowing how it feels to have a happy person come up and have a conversation with you to turn your mood around, Bellile tries to approach people just to talk and make them happy.

“I always try to express a positive attitude toward others,” Bellile said. “Some people just won’t care, but I assume others will appreciate it, because I know I feel great when I have a nice conversation with an upbeat person.”

Campus Release of Adobe Creative Cloud

17 03 2014

By: Andrea Larson (@andrea_larson_)

We have great resources at UW Oshkosh, but some students don’t know they have access to programs they can receive at a discounted price. I want to share one of these resources so students can start taking advantage of it while they can.

Being a journalism student, certain Adobe software programs are convenient to have on your personal computer so you can work from home or at an internship. Adobe Creative Cloud allows you to do this, and as a student you can get this program at a discounted price.

What is Adobe Creative Cloud? It has the resources you need to craft amazing designs and visuals. You have all-access to the latest versions of Adobe professional creative desktop applications and receive new upgrades when they are available. These programs include:

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 12.18.41 PM• Photoshop CC

• Illustrator CC

• InDesign CC

• Dreamweaver CC

• Adobe Premiere Pro CC

• After Effects CC

• Acrobat XI Pro

• Adobe Muse CC

• Bridge CCC

• Fireworks

• And much more

I downloaded Adobe Creative Cloud so I could work on class projects from home and also for my personal use to receive more practice. What I like about it most is you can install only the applications you want and add more at a later date. You also don’t need ongoing Internet access when using the applications, just on the initial installment.

Cloud storage and file syncing capabilities allow you to reliably access your files wherever and whenever you want, even on your mobile devices. You have the option of installing only one app to your computer with the single app membership so you do not have to pay for the entire creative suite if that better suits your needs.

UW Oshkosh is hoping to have a full campus release soon, which will include Adobe Creative Cloud on all school-owned computers. In the meantime, download Adobe Creative Cloud to your personal computer and start learning all the applications by watching Lynda, a one-stop shop for online tutorials on these same programs.

If you are interested in installing Adobe Creative Cloud, refer to the visual below and click here:

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.04.49 PM

Please note any university-issued computers get this software free, it only costs if you want it on your personal computer.

Click here to learn more about the programs included on Adobe Creative Cloud and comment below for questions and comments.

What You Can Be Doing This Spring Break

14 03 2014

by Nicole Kiefert (@nicole_kiefert)

The countdown to spring break is just about at single digits, and whether you are going somewhere warm or going back home everyone can agree that it is easily the best part of the spring semester.

When people first think of college spring break, they probably think of the popular trips to Panama City Beach, Fla. But with the help of a group called Ballin’ on a Budget, UW Oshkosh offers to fill a coach bus with students and drive them to PCB, stay at the Boardwalk Beach Resort and get free T-shirts all for $550. Unfortunately, deadlines for the trip this year has closed, but it is an option  for next year.

If you are not up for a road trip with your friends to Florida, there are plenty of other options offered through campus for alternative spring breaks.  Deadlines for applications this year have closed, but if an alternative spring break sounds like something you would like to do in the future, the program starts taking applications as early as October. Be sure to look into it when the time comes.

Through Reeve, ResLife and Mike Lueder, director of alternative spring breaks, comes a fantastic opportunity to visit places and have a once in a lifetime experience. Through alternative spring breaks, students can take trips to New York City, Washington, D.C., Guatemala and Honduras. All of these trips include helping people less fortunate than you and immersing yourself in a different culture.

In New York students will get to see the diversity and culture as well as help prepare and deliver meals to people in need in the boroughs.

The trip to Honduras gives students the chance to help underprivileged children finish an education they were forced to quit.

The trip to Guatemala is about sustainability and helping residents with disaster relief.

The trip to Washington offers students an opportunity to learn more about homelessness, not only by witnessing it first hand and helping those people, but the group sleeps in the shelter where they are volunteering to add an even more beneficial experience.

Part of the group decided to go zip lining. Lueder said everybody who has gone on an alternative spring break has come back a changed person, definitely for the better. He hopes to be able to offer additional trips in the next couple of years to give more people more options for places to go. If  you are interested in looking through photos and blog posts from last years trip, there is a blog everyone kept throughout the trip.

Not only are the alternative spring breaks kept at an affordable cost and give you the chance to give back to the world, you also make life long friends, get to go to a cool place and do some amazing things.

Whether you would rather be at home with your family, in Florida with your friends or doing volunteer work in a different country, any spring break is a fun one.

Ad Club Tour: Weidert Group

10 03 2014

By: Calli Hoyt (@CalHoyt)

Advertising Club offers opportunities for journalism students to get involved in the advertising profession. Each year, the club tours agencies that offer real views of creative projects, media trends and integrated marketing.

Last fall, the club toured The Weidert Group to learn about the agency and the marketing industry. The Weidert Group is a full service inbound marketing agency located in Appleton. For many of us inbound marketing was a new topic, so we were excited to learn more about it!

Frank Isca, an Inbound Marketing Specialist, and Sam Lowe, an Inbound Marketing Assistant, began by explaining what inbound marketing is all about and how beneficial it can be to businesses. Inbound Marketing is all about getting more leads to your website by using smart and strategic content. This makes it easier for potential clients to find businesses online through platforms like blogs, videos, and social media. Providing this content also allows people to more easily find information from your website and have it be of value to them. Many companies are posting to social media and have blogs that they use, but the key is in creating content that is actually useful and valuable to those people that the company is trying to attract.

The Weidert Group also works on a wide variety of things such as identity/logos, branding, collateral material, print, radio and television advertising, email marketing, PR, social media, web design, and trade show materials. Check out their website to see firsthand some of the work they have done!

One of the biggest things that they touched on was a software program that they use called, Hubspot, which is an all-in-one inbound marketing software. Hubspot helps companies attract leads and convert those leads into customers. One of their main goals is to make marketing that people actually love and want to interact with. The website even offers a free program that you can take to become certified in using Hubspot, which is a great thing to add to a resume.

We appreciate Frank Isca and Sam Lowe taking time to share their knowledge of the industry and show us around their agency. We all enjoyed learning more about inbound marketing and meeting professionals in the industry.

Weidert Group Tour

Lynda: Your at-home tutor

5 03 2014

By: Andrea Larson (@andrea_larson_)

There has been an addition to online learning at UW Oshkosh this year and her name is Lynda. Lynda Weinam and Bruce Heavin cofounded a website for students that gives them the opportunity to watch online tutorials. How does it work exactly?

Lynda is a vast online library, about 2,422 courses, of easy-to-use tutorials that cover the latest software and led by accomplished teachers and industry experts. If you are looking to develop skills in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, social media, project management, and much more, Lynda has them all. Pick a topic you want to learn more about and watch anywhere from five to 100 individual movies according to your skill level.

This is a great tool for students because it can be difficult for professors to find class time to teach students all there is to know about these programs. If you like what you have learned so far in class, want to get ahead or learn more, take advantage of this program. Learn at your own pace, get help outside of class and receive a certificate of completion to add to your LinkedIn profile or portfolio.

I have used Lynda for a couple classes so far and not only was it easy to use, but you can refer back to the videos for more explanation anytime. I highly recommend checking it out!

To access Lynda:

  • Go to the UW Oshkosh website
  • Type Lynda in the search bar and click the first search result that appears
  • The Lynda.com page will appear and in the box on the right side, click log in.
  • Type your student information, this is the same information you use to receive computer access
  • You will then see the Lynda.com home page where you can search for whatever you would like to learn more about

The pictures below are what you should see during the steps above:


Let us know what you think of Lynda and what courses you have found helpful!