Exercise – Tweeting News

  1. Reporters sat down with Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday on his way to McAllen, Texas to learn more about mission ‘Operation Faithful Patriot’. Mattis explained that he ordered the Department of Defense to change the name of the mission to ‘border support’ to appear less confusing to the American people.
  2. Base Camp Donna, 10 miles east of McAllen, is the name given to the base that houses roughly 5,900 soldiers and is engineered to last a long deployment. Mattis is anticipating the number of deployed soldiers to raise to 7,000.
  3. The migrant caravan the troops are waiting to respond to is still weeks away, heading west to Tijuana. The only mission they have received thus far was to harden and support parts of the border with spiked wire.
  4. When questioned by reporters about the legitimacy of the mission, Mattis responded with “Border security is part of national security”, while carefully leaving out his support or opposition of the mission.
  5. When pressed by a reporter about what families should expect from the holidays in terms of seeing their loved ones who are currently deployed, Mattis responds with “we are a 360 day a year military, rain or shine, light or dark, cold weather or hot weather..”
  6. Tensions are rising in Mexico as a caravan of migrants from Northern Honduras has made way on foot and by vehicle through Guatemala, intending to reach the United States. On the eighth day of their journey, a clash formed when they reached Mexican police that resulted in tear gas being thrown toward the immigrants and six officers becoming wounded.
  7. President Trump is back at it again with the twitter fingers, this time threatening those Central American nations with the suspension of foreign aid unless they stop their northward march. He also made it clear that he intends to deploy the American military to the southwest border if the Mexican police is unable to stop the growing caravan.
  8. Mexican authorities have made it clear that those who attempt to enter illegally will be detained and deported. Those with valid documents and visas would be allowed in, and those seeking asylum or some form of protection must wait in a migration center for up to 45 days. A Honduran migrant made his mission statement very clear: “We don’t have the right to go into Mexico but we have to do it because our country is undergoing economic collapse. There’s no work, there’s no money, there’s nothing.”

Exercise – New Journalism

Both Jay Rosen and citizens of Ohio, appropriately dubbed Ohioans, share a fair point of changing the model for journalists and campaign coverage in elections. Their ideas revolve around cultivating the information spread and setting the narrative for what questions will be asked, answered and covered. The key element? Knowing your audience and what they want to hear.

Rosen details his problems with the traditional style of campaign coverage as the “horse race style” because of the lack of valuable information being covered or helping the voters. If journalists were to simply track who’s ahead in the polls or attempt to predict the winner or outcome of a race, it wouldn’t be much of a public service to the people. According to Rosen, the alternative style of the “citizens agenda” approach is much more suitable to serving the public with the information viable to assisting citizens in casting their votes. The first step of this model is to identify who your community is and to understand how to reach them. Once you can do that you can pose the question, “What do you want candidates to be discussing as they compete for votes?” The key is to use this question in every form or forum possible, whether that be interviews with reporters, speaking at events, commenting on facebook pages, etc. When you gear the campaign press on the side of the voters, it gives the people more power to have their concerns answered by those looking to seek power in office. If reporters ask the right questions and listen well to the public’s answers then a more broadened knowledge of candidates will be covered.

About 50 news organizations set out this summer to explore what Ohioans say their communities need to improve vibrancy, in the Your Voice Ohio series. Meetings were held where journalists sat with people in various towns and cities to discuss local challenges and possible solutions to the worsening economic state of Ohio. While attendance was slim in some meetings, the conversations became more consistent with larger cities and communities. Ohioans were asked “What makes a vibrant community?” In addition, they were asked to list community strengths that could be put to use, as well as the major needs of the area. Your Voice Ohio held 14 meetings to discuss the opioid epidemic and had nearly 1,000 people respond with solutions. A reporter found that when people came together to celebrate community success with honest conversation, many people agreed on the topic or solutions to issues being presented.

In order to gauge how well the citizen agenda is working versus the campaign agenda, you can see how closely candidates are aligning with the voters’ concerns. Reporters will ask questions drawn from the citizens agenda to gear candidates toward the questions their community wants answered. After all, “synthesizing a citizens agenda at the beginning creates a mission statement for your campaign coverage later on.”

I would like to see more implementation of the citizens agenda in our immediate news and campaign coverage. I think that politics and  important issues are becoming more diluted in today’s day and age. Although horse race coverage is exciting and often times glamorizing for certain candidates, I firmly believe we would have better options on the panel if candidates were forced, or coerced rather, into speaking directly on what the public wants to know. That, of course, begins with the public. Journalists can only “win” at their job if they are reporting on an accurate campaign agenda-one that needs to be set by the voters themselves. If the public refuses to participate in open, honest discussion and allow their voices to be heard, campaign journalists will never satisfy their needs entirely.

Craving Bethany


Bethany Willis is a start-up business owner of Craving Bethany, a lifestyle blog cultivated around the idea of promoting healthy recipes, clean eating and building an overall healthier lifestyle.

The idea of starting a business from home seems like a huge risk to take, as opposed to following a conventional route of pursuing a degree-related career right out of college. For Bethany Willis, who studied engineering at the University of Florida, this is the last thing she pictured herself doing at the very start of her college career, let alone her adult life. Once she began her transition to a healthier lifestyle, she says it was all over, and she was never looking back.

For Bethany, it began with a slight disinterest in her then-current studies, with the constant pressure of keeping up good grades while pairing her little free time with little sleep. Her boyfriend Bryan Snavely passed along an idea and the two began a 21-day challenge to redirect their conventional eating habits and replacing them with whole, healthy foods and workout exercises. After implementing these changes into her diet and physical routine, she claims that looking forward was a lot easier for her than looking back.

The mental and emotional changes began first, while various physicality’s began following suit. Immediately, she noticed a change in her mood and her mindset was a lot clearer than it had been since she was able to recall. Her overall energy levels were boosted and she began to notice that she no longer craved naps in the daytime, and slept much easier at night. Her eczema on her face, neck and hands began to disappear with ease. Her anxiety-ridden thoughts became replaced with a new heightened sense of self awareness, and her focus was much clearer. She knew that after the three weeks of rigorous training and implementation would simply not be enough, but that this was the start of something much bigger for her. The pair began transitioning their lifestyle and not long after, left the University of Florida.

While she doesn’t regret her time spent in college, Bethany explained that her interests began to lie in various fields far off from what she was on path to do. Health sciences was too far off for her to begin a second degree, let alone pay off student loans for the first. Around this time, Craving Bethany was born.

With Bryan’s help, Bethany began putting all of her focus and effort into creating what she fell in love with into a dream. She wanted to use the natural benefits of clean, wholesome foods to help people all over the United States (for starters). While a blog and website were the first technicalities to spring into action, the pair had a lot of research to do first. Their preparation was key to ensuring they knew the correct vitamins, proteins, enzymes and exercise to implement into a specific person’s diet, or lifestyle. She stresses that the transition isn’t meant to help with weight loss or overall image, but longevity in an enhanced quality of life that starts with one simple rule of thumb: eat whole foods.

Craving Bethany is the given name of her site, which also links to her Instagram. She has numerous healthy recipes from her Keto Tomato Herb Bisque to her Gluten-Free Apple Pie Cupcakes, and there is something for everyone. She plans on creating meal plans in the near future, paired workouts, as well as a cookbook. She covers everything from a Paleo-style diet, to Keto and Gluten-Free. One important factor that they do stress, is to not follow fad diets.

“Fat is not the enemy. You need healthy fats for a healthy brain” Bryan Snavely began. The primary difference between their usual diet and current fads, like veganism for example, lie in the details. “Vegan diets, although they can be rich in protein and vegetables, usually contain high fats. But not all fats are bad, which is important to stress to people. Vegan diets contain processed foods like meat substitutes, olive oils, cheese and sugar. Oreos are vegan. It doesn’t make them healthy.”

While you can find some of her recipes on her site, Bethany says the best stuff is coming soon. This summer, you can expect a peak into her cookbook and some of her at home workouts for the site. How many trainers do you know help you make dinner?

Contact Information: Bethany Willis Bwillis1214@yahoo.com Bryan Snavely Brysnavely@yahoo.com




Maria’s Story Pitch

Maria Quintanilla is a local college student pursuing a Dental Hygiene career at FSCJ. Like most college students, her primary focus on a daily basis is to get good grades, get to school on time, work part-time and pay her bills. But now, her whole outlook has shifted. Within just a few short months, her parents are uprooting and relocating back to their country of origin-Nicaragua, and Maria will be left to handle the family’s finances and maneuver through school on her own here in the states.

Maria’s parents were born and raised in Nicaragua. Their dreams were realized when they moved to the United States, over thirty years ago, to start and raise a family. Once their children were older and out of the house, they planned to move back once again. The only problem is, Maria, their youngest, is now left to fend for herself. While most college students experience physical and financial independence in one way or another, Maria will be forced to start her program around the same time her parents will be moving out of the country.

Now, she needs to find a place to live. Once her program starts, her days will be consumed with clinicals, rotations and classes Monday through Friday. To top it off, her already full-time position at work does not allow for many additional shifts or hours, even if her schedule permits.

I believe that a story like hers is one to be told. The interview will take place outside of her work, and I’ve had her and her brother’s approval to speak with them. I will include his excerpt as well.

Taking a Chantz

For my final project, I have decided to cover a story that I believe college students need to hear. I will be meeting and sitting down with Chantz Carroll, a twenty-two year old CEO and business owner who has made quite the living for himself despite one very important piece of paper, his degree. 

While most college students are under the impression that you need an MBA or Doctorate degree to make money, that is far from the case in many fields. Of course there are more traditional roles, such as nursing or becoming a doctor, that require a certain degree or level of education, but many roles in the professional realm are attained through one thing: hard work.

Chantz Caroll works closely with someone I know, and they have multiple business ventures together. He is in the construction field and they run a tree business on the side. They also flip houses and put them back on the market for sales growth. With all of his ducks in a row, Mr. Carroll has done pretty well for himself as a young entrepreneur with no college degree. 

In this world today, that might seem frightening. 

To cover all ends of this story, I plan on speaking with Chantz himself, one of his coworkers and a student advisor at UNF. I am meeting with him this upcoming Sunday, November the 11th at his home. I will be taking video and photos of some of his housing projects and various operations he has going on in his day-to-day throughout Jacksonville. 

20West Cafe is taking over


All photos by Taylor Smiley

This is 20West Cafe, operated by staff and students in the Culinary and Hospitality programs at FSCJ. The restaurant has brought opportunity and forward-thinking to downtown Jacksonville, giving those nearby a healthier dining option as opposed to the usual variety of restaurants available.

20West Cafe is located on West Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville in the historic Lerner Building, which was bought by the school from former NFL player Eugene Profit. The school opened the restaurant in March of 2018 and has had success in the venture since. In addition to the restaurant, the school has recently opened living facilities for students to be close in proximity to the school, while providing an urban downtown feel to the dorms. The dorms are located on the second to sixth floors of the building, while the Cafe is on ground level.

20West serves as more than your general go-to good eats spot. Their mission lies not only within their passion for good food, but in helping revamp the revitalization efforts for downtown Jacksonville, which affect our city immensely. While working in the restaurant, students are also offered the opportunity to complete their internships with the school at 20West. Kelby Rothenberg, who is a part of their Hospitality program, is beginning her internship this upcoming Spring. She accredits her boss, Rick MacDonald, for giving her the opportunity to learn valuable skills and management through the restaurant and is eager to learn more about the business through her internship. She is one of many smiling faces that will greet you upon entry.

While most of the revenue for the company is brought in through private dining and catering events held in-house and amongst participating businesses, the restaurant is open five days a week for breakfast and lunch, with intriguing specials that change weekly. The Head Chef, Brett Cromer, is a graduate of FSCJ’s Culinary Management Program, and his imminent goal is to bring his vision to life within the restaurant, providing customers with healthy and creative options.



Walter Russell Mead says “Don’t stop worrying about America’s decline”

IMG_3227.JPG       Photo by Taylor Smiley

“Is America in decline?” Walter Russell Mead began his introduction to a room full of people he dubbed as the “white hair caucus.”

Mead is a Scholar at the Hudson Institute, Professor at Bard College, and a contributor for the Wall Street Journal. With his list of credentials and plethora of successful books, he accumulated quite the audience at the Herbert University Center at UNF. The 69 year old author, educator and columnist explained that while most people believe that the height of our country’s successes can only be met with a sharp downfall, or decline, he explains the reason for our constant worrying. Americans, as he describes, are worry warts. But, the problem does not lie in what we are, but what we aren’t. He says that our very ability to obsess and worry over different matters is exactly what is keeping our country at the forefront in our world today. 

“Don’t stop worrying.” 

Mead explains that the power of stability is it’s own power. He relates this theme to the Egyptians and Barbarians, way before our time, and the constant change of power in the world’s history. He believes that when Americans view change in the world, they read it as a sign that the hegemonic power of the United States is losing it’s grip. There’s a difference, he expresses, between American power and the power of empires before our time. 

“American power is linked at the core to capitalism. And capitalism, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, is the most revolutionary force in the history of planet earth. It’s not about doing the same old thing in the same way.” 

“Why is China becoming a superpower today? The reason is, that thanks to a combination of revolutions and communications technology with the computer and internet, you can now have an integrated global supply chain so that a lot of stuff can be made in China, assembled in Mexico and sold on the shelves of a Wal-Mart in Jacksonville, Florida in a seamless way.” As a result, he says China has become a manufacturing powerhouse. While they used to be seen as a very weak and poor country to a lot of people, they have emerged as a new great power “shaking the world to it’s foundations.” He emphasizes that this is not a sign of America in decline, but rather a sign of America at work. 

America is a revolutionary force in world affairs, sometimes good and sometimes bad, according to Mead. He had an interesting analogy to describe how America is never quite out of the picture. He says we are the chief arsonists and the world’s Fire Marshall. We keep the change at rest, similar to our higher power. 

With the creation of the internet, we created a social force that is changing politics, media and the balance of power within and between countries. “We can start talking about America in decline when the world stops changing. When things settle down and there aren’t new inventions, and there aren’t changes in the balance of power. That’s when we’ll know that American capitalism has finished its revolutionary role in the world, and I don’t think were there yet.” 

Matt Vona

Matt Vona, 35, is a Professional MMA Trainer in Jacksonville, Florida. I sat down with Matt on October 1st to find out more about what he does and what role he plays in his respective industry. 

Matt began his career in the fighting realm with boxing at about 8 or 9 years old.

Boxing is a fighting style that allows you to use a variety of punches, arms and hands only, to knock out an opponent or win on points. MMA on the other hand, uses a variety of techniques or fighting styles ranging from Muay Thai or kickboxing to wrestling and Judo, for example.

His teenage years and early twenties were full of amateur boxing fights and tournaments. After his competition days were over, he added more fighting styles to his resume to create a unique style that dominates this coast in the industry today. 

Matt began to take on managing and training professional boxers and mixed martial artists with his company Bulldog Boxing/Bulldog Management based out of Jacksonville, Florida.

This past summer Matt flew out to Las Vegas with one of his fighters to compete on a world level with the UFC in the Dana White Contender Series. 

His next big challenge is a Professional Mixed Martial Arts fight at the Morocco Shrine Center on November 10th that he believes will showcase a lot of local and regional talent. 

Matt Original Interview 

Matt New Interview

Video and Text by Taylor Smiley

Maria’s Story

Being a full-time, working student in America is difficult, especially with the constant social pressure of worrying about what the future holds for your family. Maria Quintanilla, 21, is a student at FSCJ, pursuing a career in dental hygiene. Her parents migrated to America a little over three decades ago from Nicaragua with the hopes of attaining job security and better opportunities for the family they had hoped to start. Their vision for the future changed slightly once they learned of the President-elect back in November 2016. The 2016 election raised the issue of immigration policies in political and public debates with Trump at the forefront. In August, it was announced that the Trump Administration was intending to alter the rules of naturalization in a way that would dramatically decrease the amount of immigrants becoming U.S. citizens. The DHS says that more than 75 percent of immigrants in 2014 have lived in the U.S. for more than a decade, and only 5 percent came to the country over the previous five years. However, with the deportation across the United States, her family couldn’t take any chances. With her father recently attaining his American citizenship in the past few months, her parents became increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of staying in the U.S. “They’re not big fans of the Trump situation and kind of over it. My mom cleans houses and my dad is retired, so they’d both like to retire, and obviously the dollar stretch is more over there than here, so with their savings and my Dad’s social security, they’d want to go to Nicaragua or Mexico or somewhere it would be cheaper to live.” Being that Maria is applying to the program in May, she is now left to figure out how to maneuver living on her own for the first time, but instead of being only hours away from her parents at school, like most young adults, hers will be living out of the country. Her main stressor, she expressed, was figuring out how to balance a full-time program and paying the bills she will have to take over once her parents leave. Another issue she is facing is the unknown: exactly when her parents will leave. Her brother, Miguel, 24, lives on his own not far from the family home. “Once my parents leave, I’m not sure what will happen. We all depend on them in different ways. Obviously they’re my parents and I love them, but the financial situation will definitely change a lot, too. I might move back with Maria, and that way we can split the bills. I’m not in school right now and she will be full-time. It only seems fair.” As for now, Maria is working as much as possible, having taken the summer and fall off to do so in preparation for when the program starts. She plans to be the first member of her family to graduate with her degree.

IMG_2969Audio Interview

Fashion Forward

“My senior year of high school I was voted most likely to become a fashion designer. I wanted to make clothes. We had a sewing club where I actually made and designed my own clothes and wore them to school. People kind of knew me for that. I was really proud of myself for it. I got accepted into Southern Illinois University and I was so excited to get started. I got wrapped up in a new boyfriend, and I let that kind of deter me from my original plan. But that’s okay. I loved school. I knew him from high school, we had already been friends for awhile and kind of just reconnected. When we began dating, I applied for the second semester at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and I moved in with him. The transfer affected a few things, mainly being that I had to change my major since they didn’t have Fashion design. I decided to stick with another passion of mine, which was health and fitness; so naturally, I transitioned to Health Sciences at the time. One thing led to another and I ended up here in Florida. I love Jacksonville, don’t get me wrong, but lately I’ve been feeling out of place. I’ve done everything here from retail to working in a gym and now I just want to be working in my field. I miss being in my creative place with fashion. It’s been four years. I’ve been considering going back to Illinois, it’s kind of a dream of mine to go to Columbia for fashion design. I love being here at the beaches, but I love the city. It’s always been a big part of me. I want to see what it would be like if I went through with my original plan, and became apart of something bigger up there. I don’t think there’s another design school in Florida I would attend. I’m kind of just trying to figure it out.” 

Madi Lambert