Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

To quote, or not to quote

In IDS on October 30, 2010 at 11:47 am

A journalism teacher once told me that if someone in power says something stupid, quote them. I guess that’s good advice. But sometimes quotes are unnecessary, even distracting. We are all guilty of padding stories with boring, jargon-filled quotes. I think John Seasly did a great job using quotes in his story about a local haunted house.


With October come haunted houses, and with haunted houses come stained underwear.

“We don’t think it’s a good haunted house ’til someone pees their pants,” said John Baker, owner of Baker’s Junction Haunted Train.

Later, the quotes get even better.

Saturday night, scare-seekers Jeremy Byerly and Suzanne Probst wandered through the train cars, jumping at a sudden bang, knowing something was probably sneaking up on them. Turning a corner, they encountered parts of a skeleton floating in a bucket of blood.

“It looks like a big stew of bones,” Probst said. “A pot of people,” Byerly replied.

A bit of real, live gore is preserved in a display case at the train’s entrance. In a clear plastic container floats the mummified tip of Baker’s right index finger, which was severed when he slipped using a skill saw last year.

“They said they couldn’t sew it back on so I just put it in my pocket and took it home,” Baker said.

What do you think? When should we use quotes? When should we avoid them? Did John’s story work for you?


Charles Apple: Indiana Daily Student having fun with Halloween

In Design, IDS, Inside, Weekend on October 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Check out what Charles Apple had to say about the pumpkin and zombie pages in the IDS. Way to go IDS, Inside and Weekend!

Happy Halloween

In Design, Weekend on October 28, 2010 at 5:30 am

Thank you, Weekend, for teaching me how to survive a zombie apocalypse! This is one of the coolest packages I’ve seen in a long time. Nice, funny copy by the Weekend writers and clever art by the Buchanan brothers.


If you go here, you’ll live

Eigenmann Hall — The residence center has a C-store with nonperishable foods as well as a kitchen. It also has Outdoor Adventures where you can find weapons — bows and arrows and such.

Apartments on Kirkwood — A lot of the apartments above restaurants on Kirkwood have hidden staircases. If you could find an apartment with two exits and a way to get to the roof, you’d be solid.

Fire station — Fire stations have all the necessities plus big fire trucks that you can trick out into massive zombie-killing machines. Block off all the sides of the truck and use the roof or eyeholes to shoot zombies as you go. And feel free to grab some guns from the police station.

If you go here, you’ll die

Kilroy’s — You’ve seen “Shaun of the Dead;” therefore, you know bars aren’t a good place to hideout. There are no weapons, there’s no substantial food and there’s the bro in the corner who’s talking about how he laid some zombie chick the night before. Do not go there.

Ballantine/Wells Library — Both buildings are huge and have numerous places to hide, but they don’t have enough food, weapons or other essentials. Wells would be a better fit, with the cafeteria in the basement and the food kiosk on the first floor, but unless you want to kill zombies with a pile of books, I’d head somewhere else.

A basement — You might think locking yourself down in a basement with a bunch of provisions is a good idea, but you’re putting yourself in an inescapable corner. Basements only have one exit, and zombies can sometimes be smarter than you think, especially if they’re the diseased-ridden ones and not the slow, dead ones.

I love this section because everything is tied to campus. Even the trading cards were designed to depict “the zombies of Bloomington.” This one was my favorite:

Dude Who Jogs Shirtless on Campus in the Middle of the Day Zombie
The same self-confidence and uber-aggressive nature that allows him, dripping with sweat, to push past you as you’re walking to class will make him a successful zombie. As the saying goes, hunting man-flesh is 10 percent skill and 90 percent attitude. Plus, his ability to ignore the crowds of people that his jogging route takes him through so he can show off his abs translates directly to an ability to ignore the sunlight that’s melting his skin as he chases you down.

Keating Feature Writing Competition

In Awards, IDS, Inside on October 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

Congratulations to our Keating Competition finalists: CJ Lotz, Rachel Stark, Caitlin Johnston, Sean Morrison, Biz Carson, Charles Scudder and Avi Zaleon! Here are some of the stories that helped them get to the finals. Happy reading!


She entered the world on a rainy morning in Bloomington and never stopped moving. She learned to ride a bike at age 5, drove a truck with a stick shift and danced in a red dress at prom.

She squeezed in bike trips between hanging out with friends and working at the Student Recreational Sports Center. She rode alone because no one could keep up with her.

On May 31, 2000, she ate a bowl of cereal in her kitchen, strapped on her shoes, hopped on her new bike and never came home.

Details of Jill’s life were batted around in court and discussed on television and in the paper. Her senior portrait smiled at the family everywhere. But the Behrmans aren’t missing a victim. They miss Jill.


Caitlin wrote this story during her summer internship at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Evan Welter wasn’t supposed to be at work at Markle Pool on Thursday. The 16-year-old lifeguard from Roanoke was scheduled to be off but switched shifts with a co-worker. So he put on his red shorts and took his spot on the lifeguard chair near the high jump for his first shift when the pool opened at 11:30.

Welter had been watching the waters on his first shift for 45 minutes when something caught his eye. One of the swimmers coming to shore from a raft about 20 yards away seemed to be having difficulty.

“Are you OK?” Welter called out from the high jump platform.

“Yes,” Lengacher replied.

And then he went under.


The crowd of bodies bumps up and down as the Night Owl A-bus navigates Jordan Avenue at 11:30 p.m.

Guys climb onto the side luggage racks while girls sit on top of each other to make more room. The mass of 100 bodies leaves everyone pressed up against each other with no space to do anything but move their mouths to sing.

The slightly slurred voices drown out The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride.”

The only one left with enough freedom to turn his head, move his arms and press up and down on the pedals is campus bus driver Dan Goldblatt.

He’s not worried about not knowing all of the lyrics or spilling his drink like the crowd around him.

The only thing he’s thinking about in the chaos is safety: Get these kids to their next stop.


Charles wrote this story at the Dallas Morning News.

All Breanne Bullard of Frisco knows about her son is that he is sick.

When Elijah Bullard was born in April 2007, he suffered brain swelling, couldn’t move his arms or legs, and had trouble eating, an assortment of issues that left specialists at Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California running in circles.

“All these people were hovering around him wondering, ‘What … is going on with this kid?'” Bullard said. “The whole thing was that he was having all these problems across the board.”

Doctors at one point believed Elijah had Peters plus syndrome, a rare condition characterized by some of his symptoms. After blood tests proved inconclusive, that diagnosis was revoked.

“It’s frustrating because my kid has brain damage and hearing loss and seizures and how can you possibly tell me you don’t know why?” Bullard said. “I can list his 800 different symptoms, but I can’t tell you what he has.”


The high jumper stands at the top of the lane, motionless for 32 seconds.

He stares toward his nemesis, a bar balanced 2.17 meters above the track – a barrier he is determined to clear. His light blue eyes bore into it as he psyches himself up to run toward his lone obstacle here in Gladstein Fieldhouse, home of the IU track and field team. To him, the rest of the arena has fallen away. All that’s left is him and the bar.

“OK, this isn’t anything,” the young man silently tells himself. “I’m used to it. I’ve seen this height before. I can jump this.”

For the eternity of those 32 seconds, he focuses on one goal. To overcome. To ascend. To defy gravity.

The lane leading to the bar, roughly 15 yards away, is a runway. And Derek Drouin is ready to fly.


It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Somewhere in between eating vanilla cupcakes for his friend’s 12th birthday, playing Wii and roughhousing, Ethan Fleetwood decided to go for it.

“Ethan, you need a new girlfriend,” fellow sixth-grader Cale Snyder told him. Cale had been texting his own girlfriend all night.

Ethan, 12, had been single for two weeks. And after two weeks, it starts getting in your head, he said. That’s when you start wanting a girlfriend again.

So why not ask the girl he’d liked since first grade? She was single. He was single. Perfect.

Ethan, a brown-haired boy with wide eyes, owns a red LG Neon cell phone he keeps in his pocket. Its background is a photo he took of a toy iguana lying on a video game controller.

This night, though, his phone battery was dead. So he borrowed Cale’s, letting his crush know it was Ethan before typing: will u go out with me.

Then he hit send.


Following a promising freshman season, the remainder of Beckwith’s eligibility seemed to be with soccer. But her body would force her to do otherwise.

Pain in Beckwith’s left knee forced her to undergo patella surgery, her fourth surgery in four years — two were surgeries on both of her ACLs.

The work done on her legs would make Beckwith quit soccer forever. Her body would no longer allow her to make crisp cuts on the soccer field without risking permanent damage.

But the life-long athlete wouldn’t allow herself to stay on the sidelines.

Beckwith continued competing, but this time as a walk-on with freshman eligibility on the IU track-and-field team. The non-contact sport was a perfect fit, because her long-term health and welfare was the top priority.

The transition would not be easy

Why do these stories work? What can we learn from them?

Design: four fronts

In Design, IDS, Inside on October 26, 2010 at 9:02 am

One IDS. Four fronts. All beautiful.

Which one do you like best?

Kiss your fish

In IDS on October 26, 2010 at 8:57 am


Dustin Vaal kissed his fish. He hauled the 5-pound, 5-ounce largemouth bass into the boat just long enough for a picture and a weigh-in, then puckered up before dropping it back in Lake Monroe on Friday.

“You give me two weeks,” he said to the fish. “Go eat, and then come back to me.”

Gold coins

In Design, IDS, Multimedia on October 25, 2010 at 11:14 am

Roy Peter Clark talks about the gold coins that keep readers moving through a story.

Place gold coins along the path. Don’t load all your best stuff high in the story. Space special effects throughout the story, encouraging readers to find them and be delighted by them.

That’s a great tool for individual stories, but I think we can apply the same concept to a publication. I love it when each page of the paper has something memorable – a thoughtful headline, clever lede, or nice photo. It makes me want to read the entire paper. Here are some gold coins I found in the IDS today. Feel free to post your own.

Two memorials

In IDS on October 22, 2010 at 10:30 am

The IDS ran two memorial articles today. Alex Benson’s story about a professor who died of Parkinson’s disease ran on the front page. Caitlin Johnston wrote about the death of the IU Art Museum’s head photographer. Her story ran on page 4.


A photo of Harvey Phillips, distinguished professor emeritus and life-long tuba player, hangs on the wall of his protege, professor of tuba Dan Perantoni.

It hangs with other well-known, but now deceased musicians.

Phillips, 80, died in his home Wednesday of Parkinson’s disease.

Perantoni said the musician did for tuba what Bob Knight did for Indiana basketball — positively speaking.

“Phillips was the busiest tuba player — ever,” Perantoni said.


Michael Cavanagh knew how to capture the soul of a piece of art.

“He was able to take these complicated works of art and turn them into new works of art,” said Linda Baden, associate director of editorial services for the IU Art Museum.

“You might not be as struck by it in the gallery as you are through his photographs.”
The head photographer at the museum died Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack.

He was 55.

How do we decide which deaths to run on P1? Do you think it was appropriate to run one story across the top of the front page and another inside? How would you play the stories?

Weekend front

In Design, Weekend on October 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Weekend always has nice section fronts. I’m a big fan of the illustration and headline on this page. The two elements really capture the spirit of the story and pull together the package. I’m not sure how I feel about putting a Passion Pit blurb at the bottom of the page. The “exclusive Q&A” will probably attract readers, but does it take away from the rest of the design? Let me know what you think.

The Lede

In IDS on October 21, 2010 at 11:53 am

First paragraphs are important. Take a look at these ledes from the IDS today.

“Businesses told to comply with water conservation efforts during drought”

David Fell, owner of B.G. Hoadley Quarries, is praying for rain.

“Students (try t0) fit pet adoption into their college lifestyle”

Twice, Victoria has been adopted and returned in less than 24 hours. She is an American shelter mix and is not the first dog who has been given back to a shelter after finding a home

“MyEdu helps set course load”

Scheduling courses is usually a three tab job — one internet tab to look at distribution requirements, one to register on onCourse and another to organize everything into the correct timetable.

“RPS considers new options for creating 180 bed spaces”

Construction in Briscoe Quad will leave the residence hall short 180 bed spaces for the upcoming fall semester — spaces that will have to be made in other residence halls.

Which ones would make you keep reading? How can we improve them?