The Cry Without Credentials: Rolling Stone’s Blunder in Fact Checking UVA Rape (out of class assignment)

There is no mistaking the fact that the public has had a growing negative view of the practice of journalism with the passing years. Who could blame them? With Rolling Stone reporting false facts about potential rape victims, how are they supposed to trust what they read? If reporters fall to the level of incompetence that Sabrina Erdely has and fail to check the facts, we should expect stories like this to be unfounded and unreliable pieces to read.

In its opening line, the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics notes that “Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.” It is fair to say the Erdely has done everything except follow this opening statement of code. She has let situational bias cloud her judgement to an extreme extent, motivating her to publish a piece that is not even remotely accurate or fair.

To further underline this, Phi Kappa Psi released a counter statement to the Washington Post, noting, with factual evidence, that  “it did not host ‘a date function or social event’ during the weekend of Sept. 28, 2012, when Jackie alleges that she was invited to a date party…and gang-raped by seven men who were ‘rushing’ the fraternity.” They go on to claim that “the fraternity…reviewed the roster of employees at the university’s Aquatic and Fitness Center for 2012 and found that it does not include a member of the fraternity — a detail Jackie provided in her account to Rolling Stone and in interviews with The Post…”

The most sickening aspect, in my opinion, is that Erdely will not suffer any obvious punishment for her actions. In a report from the New York Times, Jann Wenner, publisher for Rolling Stone, acknowledges “that Ms. Erdely would continue to write for the magazine.” This shows that reporters can get away with incredible acts of injustice like this, and further leads our profession down the sleazy slope away from reporting the truth.



SPJ Code of Ethics:

The Washington Post: Key elements of Rolling Stone’s U-Va. gang rape allegations in doubt:

The New York Times: Rolling Stone Article on Rape at University of Virginia Failed All Basics, Report says:




Ohio State Non-Smoking Policy Not Working? (In class assignment)

Despite the signs posted on buildings and numerous announcements made by the administration, Ohio State students continue to walk through clouds of smoke that are too close for comfort. As an individual that does not enjoy a nicotine blast to the face, this reporter believes that the University Administration needs to increase the regulation of this issue.

According to the Office of Human Resources, “Ohio State strives to enhance the general health and well-being of its faculty, staff, students and visitors, to become the world’s healthiest university.” In regards to achieving their goals, the recognize that “The success of this policy depends upon the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of tobacco users and non-tobacco users. Leaders and those to whom this policy applies share the responsibility for adhering to and enforcing the policy.”

But for students like Maura Danko, these “leaders” are doing anything but be helpful.”

“I feel like a lot of people don’t follow the 25 foot rule.  At least once a week I have to deal with someone’s smoke. They should just make the entire campus non-smoking.”

Yet despite the disturbances, little has been done to ratify the issue. Hopefully, a more prevalent push for anti-smoking laws on campus will develop soon. Ohio State Office of Human Resurces Tobacco Free Ohio State

Maura Danko:

Midwest and New England buried by Winter Storm Neptune (fake class assignment)

Several States declared emergency conditions as Winter Storm Neptune pummeled the Eastern half of the nation two weeks ago. The Weather Channel reported that 6 people were killed due to hazardous road conditions, and thousands lost power to wind damage. Cities across the Eastern seaboard continue to dig their way out of more than four feet of snow.

For the second season in a row, the United States has been subject to extreme winter weather that made the record books. Dr. Jay Hobgood, an Atmospheric Science professor at Ohio State, explains what is causing these powerful storms.

“We have had a persistent pattern where there is an upper level ridge over the Western U.S….And where you have a big ridge in one part of the country,  you have a big, cold trough in the other. And that has consistently brought down cold air, where we have seen abnormally cold temperatures consistently below zero. The position of the jet stream and the trough were such that as it moved closer to New England it would intensify, and with the moisture from the Atlantic Ocean it would dump all of the snow. ”

Dr. John Rogers, the State Climatologist who is also a professor in the Atmospheric Science department, notes that Canadian weather patterns have played a role in the creation of these storms as well.

“Polar high pressure that comes out of Canada has been bringing very cold air down into the Midwest. And right behind them there is usually a storm called an Alberta Clipper. As these storms goes east, they intensify and re-develop into these east coast snow storms, causing the large amount of snow that fell.”

While New England cities continue to handle massive snow piles, residents of Columbus face a much different threat from the severe weather: extreme cold and high winds.

Following the storm’s progression across the Midwest, temperatures fell to single digits across central Ohio. With a wind chill factor of minus 14 degrees , not even multiple scarfs could protect Sarah Salvatore, a junior in the School of Business at Ohio State.

“It feels like my face is being stabbed over and over every time the wind blows! I hop from building to building on my way to class just to stay warm. It’s ridiculous!”

Fortunately, Hobgood and Rogers both agree that these weather systems should be weakening heading into March. With the possibility of some small flurries, it is unlikely there will be more major snow storms this winter. This doesn’t mean students shouldn’t be careful. The Ohio State Department of Public Safety urges students to continue to wear several layers of clothing and be mindful of the cold.

For more information on staying safe this winter, visit



Fight at Park Street Cantina Leads to Prison Sentence. (fake in class assignment)

An altercation at the Park Street Cantina that could have easily been avoided will now result in jail time for an Ohio State student.

Robert Hayes, a junior, arrived at Cantina around 11:45 p.m. on Saturday night and took a spot at the bar. Around 1:30 a.m., Patrick Cook, a freshman at Columbus State Community College, and his friends attempted to push their way to the front of the bar, shoving Hayes. After confronting Cook about the shove, witnesses report Cook calling Hayes a derogatory term, which lead to the fight.

Hayes grabbed cook and shoved him into the wall. Before Cook could react, Hayes grabbed a bottle and smashed it into Cook’s head.

Mindy Mitchell, another Ohio State student who witnessed the fight, recalled the situation after Hayes used the bottle on Cook.“I just saw blood dripping down his face. I was horrified. I knew I had to get out of there because things were getting out of hand”.

According to the bouncer, after Cook was assaulted by the bottle thrown by Hayes, the two wrestled around on the floor. Cook threw several more punches to the face of Hayes. Hayes began to bash Cook’s head repeatedly against the ground before bounces were able to break up the fight.

As soon as the fight began, the bar manager called the police. Upon their arrival, despite the bouncer intervention, the two men we’re still yelling at each other.

Following the events of that night, Layla Miller, Cook’s fiance, reported that Cook required stitches on the right side of his head, and that they would be charges.

Hayes plead guilty today to aggravated assault charges. He has been sentenced to six months in prison, and will pay a $5,000 fine.

Miller, who went to the sentencing hearing, commented after the court procedure. “It’s just sad because all of this could have been avoided if both parties just chose to think logically. One is injured and the other will be going to prison. I hope Robert’s family gets through this ok.”

Police Search for Missing Ohio State Student (fake in class assignment)

The search is on for 20-year-old Lucy Rogers, a sophomore agricultural communication major, who has been missing since Tuesday after failing to attend her 9 a.m. Economics class.

She was last seen leaving Thompson Library with her study partner, Trevor Thomas, to attend a Greek event held at the Ohio Union. Thomas, who told police he felt ill and decided not attend last-minute, left a disappointed Lucy to walk to the Union alone. Later that evening, her backpack was brought to the Union lost-and-found, and no one could account for her whereabouts.

Megan Rogers, Lucy’s mother, was completely distraught when speaking with reporters. “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. No parent should have to endure this torture… I just want her back in my arms.”

Lucy’s Father has created a Facebook page to raise awareness for his daughter’s disappearance. “Bring Back Lucy” already has over 250 likes, with many students posting in hopes for her safe return.

“She knows how to touch people, you know? She’s just always trying help someone out” said her brother Michael. “It kills me that we don’t know where she is. It’s tough to hope for the best because these type of things rarely turn out well.”

In a joint effort, the Ohio State University Police Department, the Columbus Police Department, and an increasing volunteer effort have been continuously searching the campus for clues and leads to Lucy’s location.

She is caucasian, 5 feet 4 inches tall, approximately 120 pounds, with long brown hair and light brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a grey Ohio State hoodie and black jeans. If you have any information about Lucy and her whereabouts, please call the Ohio State University Police Department at 614-292-2121 or the Columbus Police Department at 614-645-4760.


Monetary First Aid: Students Lose Financial Aid to SAP (school assignment)

The line at the Student Service Center had to double back several times as students piled in to submit their appeals, following the sudden loss of their financial aid on Dec. 26. After grades for Ohio State finished processing from autumn semester, the Financial Aid department targeted students who failed to meet their requirements, revoked their federal aid, and potentially their educational careers.

One of these students, a sophomore majoring in History, commented on what happened in regards to having his financial aid taken.

“It was the Friday night after Christmas. I had friends over for game night when I got an email from the school, telling me my financial aid had been suspended. That was around 8:45 at night, more than 3 hours after the Student Service Center closed for the weekend.”

Several others in line agreed, noting similar instances of being “SAP’d”, or having their money taken from failing to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for federal aid.

Chad Foust, associate director of Enrollment Services, clarifies the SAP process and the requirements involved:

“[Students] have to be making progress, Satisfactory Academic Progress, toward a degree. And there are many components of that. There is a GPA requirement. It’s a 1.8 if you’re a freshman. It’s a 2.0 if you’re beyond that” Foust states. “Each year, we look at your grade point average, and if after your freshmen year you’re below 1.8 or after your sophomore year you’re under 2.0, you are going to be SAP suspended. We are going to say, ‘Look, with that GPA, you’re not making the progress to get your degree, so we’re taking that federal aid away from you.'”

Foust goes on to note that there is a Completion Rate requirement, where students who fail to complete 67 percent or less of their classes will lose their aid. Additionally, there is a Maximum Time Frame Requirement, to prevent “Career Students” from taking advantage of federal aid.

These requirements seem reasonable to keep students on track to their degree. What is not reasonable, however, is the appeal process. 

Foust claims “There is a warning email sent out, informing students they may have their aid suspended, particularly in cases involving Maximum Time Frame.” 

The students in the line for appeals noted a much different situation.

“There was no warning email. I received nothing. My Academic Advisor received nothing. They simply told me that I had reached my maximum number of hours and lost my aid. I didn’t even know that was possible! And we had less than a week to make our appeal in time to get money for tuition!”

For more information on the requirements and how to avoid the penalties, visit the Ohio State student financial aid page:


Flipping the switch: Death Penalty controversy hits Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio. There is a rallying push among Ohioans to overturn the death penalty following the Columbus Ministerial Alliance speaking out in protest earlier this morning.

Although reinstated in 1974, use of the Death Penalty has seen a drastic decrease, with executions not even beginning until 1999 as reported by the Ohio Death Penalty Information Center. Regardless of how little it has been used, protesters still agree that it shouldn’t even be an option.

Rev. Stuart Alder, spokesman for the Ministerial Alliance, remarked on the reason for this outcry.

“People are frightened by the amount of violence in our society, and they have been sold a bill of goods. They have been told the death penalty is a deterrent, and yet even major study disproves that reality. We’re not getting at the deeper causes. We are a violent society getting more violent.”

He goes on to claim that there may be racial issues present in this case. However, the Ohio Death Penalty Information Center debunks this claim, reporting that the number of Caucasian males executed vastly outnumbers those of other race at 56%.

Regardless of the statistics, the resolution and signatures have been sent to the Governor and every member of the Ohio Senate, none of whom were available for comment. The Ministerial Alliance waits for a response, hoping for potential legislation to remove the death penalty option in Ohio.

“None of us is soft on crime. There must be just punishment for those who commit violent crimes, but what we are saying is we stop short of taking another person’s life.”

One dead following robbery at North Point Inn Restaurant (In Class Assignment)

NOWHERETON, Ohio. A chef for the North Point Inn Restaurant was stabbed and killed during a robbery that occurred shortly after he arrived at work on Wednesday morning.

Kevin Blohm, head chef for the restaurant, was stabbed in the chest with a knife by a lone thief as they were robbed for over $100.

Nina Cortez, bookkeeper for the North Point Inn, had arrived at work with Mr. Blohm, to count the drawer from the previous night. She recounts the events leading up to the robbery, including the final time she saw her coworker alive.

“…I asked him to make me some coffee. After he brought me a cup, I walked out into the corridor with him. That was the last I saw him….I was just beginning to go through the receipts and cash….A minute or two or less, a man came around the corner carrying a knife….”

After reaching over the desk to take the money, the suspect turned to leave. It is speculated that Mr. Blohm attempted to stop him, leading to his death.

Police have yet to identify and apprehend the suspect. They are looking for a male in his early 20’s, medium build, approximately 5 ft 10 in. Last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue plaid button up shirt and blue tennis shoes.

Any information provided to the police would be greatly appreciated. Please contact them at xxxxxxxxxx.

On the Charlie Hebdo coverage

Since the attack in Paris there has been a distinct change on the angle and focus on the issue. What was a focus on defending free speech and identifying terrorism has become a focus on the “real victims”; the Muslim community. But where is the coverage on global news media refusing to post the Charlie covers out of fear? Where is the defense for the Jewish community and the targeting of Jews in these attacks? This over simplification by “mainstream media” eliminates the possibility for proper insight to the media narrative on the issue as a whole. Frankly, it’s insulting.

Journalism and its importance to me.

The truth. It’s a ideology that has been the foundation of our existence. The drive to discover the truth has been the catalyst for every scientific and social advancement throughout history. And it’s for this reason why Journalism is so important. The purpose is to seek the truth, and report it. It is a necessary form of communication that we rely daily. And that is why I find it so important in my life.

At my heart, I am a scientist. I plan to be a storm chaser at the end of my college days. But science is not the only end for this endeavor. I want people to know about severe weather and be prepared to handle it. Reporting on it will help spread this information effectively. And it’s my hope that this class will help prepare me to complete this task to the very best of my ability.