My Senior Goodbye @The_BV

It is customary for graduating senior editors to write a goodbye editorial as their final sign off from The Bona Venture. Here is my published attempt at a goodbye to one of the greatest influences on my journalism career to date.

I’m not very good at this.

The whole writing about myself thing was never my strong suit. I’ve never splashed myself across the pages of The Bona Venture with any lessons learned. I’ve never mentioned a personal detail or a life lesson which imparted words of wisdom in an editorial.

Words of wisdom?

Please, I’m still trying to figure out Internet banking. I’ve called the bank’s service company for my password at least eight times this semester.

Not to mention cleaning my room and doing laundry typically count as real accomplishments for a day. I even check it off the to-do list to feel like a champ. Nothing more exciting than crossing that s– off in a vibrant lime green highlighter.

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Obama’s Transparency policy proves fraudulent

Image courtesy of Hulu.com

Planning to blow the whistle on corruption?

You may want to wait until the current administration is out of office.

The Obama administration’s pledge of government transparency proves fraudulent as prosecutors have filed criminal charges in five separate cases involving the unauthorized distribution of classified information to the media, according to a March 7 Politico.com article.

In just over two years, the Obama administration’s zeal to prosecute has set an ugly precedent. “Not only does it go against Obama’s pledges of openness by making it a crime to shine a light on the inner workings of government,”according to a March 7 Politico article, but it also terrifies possible whistleblowers into silence.

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Beyond Bonas

Is the idea of searching for a “grown-up” job adding stress to your life?

To ease those worry wrinkles, St. Bonaventure University’s Career Center hosted “Beyond Bonaventure: Where do I go from here?” on Friday, Feb. 11, in the Hall of Fame Room.

Image courtesy of Investor Centric Blog

“Beyond Bonaventure” is just one of the programs provided by the Career Center, which is attempting to ensure Bonaventure
graduates are not part of the 8 percent of recent college graduates unemployed in the U.S., according to a May 24 article in the New York Times.

The event featured a young alumni panel presentation and a student-alumni networking reception.

The alumni panel was composed of five recent graduates including Jordan Steves, ’09; Amber Pietrobono, ’09, ’10; Bob Gohn, ’10; Michael Avillo, ’09; and Craig W. Montanye, ’07.

Each alum offered advice on getting a job, keeping a job and what life is like after finally leaving the 14778 zip code.

All five alumni suggested students focus on networking and getting in the game early.

“The Bonaventure network has been amazing for me,” said Pietrobono, a brand marketing associate at Fisher-Price. “Pull on that connection, through friends, family and other alumni – you never know who could be the next person forwarding your résumé along.”

Avillo personally used networking to his advantage his second semester senior year to land an interview at BBDO in New York City and started his career as an account executive with them by June 2007. All through the power of networking, he said.

One tip given by the panel was to start your job search before the second semester of your senior year. According to Montanye, a financial analyst for The Avco Company, a Goldman Sachs Company, this offers more time for you and the company to interview each other, and it gets you ahead of many of your peers.

As for the interviewing process, Gohn, an account coordinator for Text 100 Global Public Relations, and Montanye offered students pieces of advice.

Gohn believes acting open and being yourself at an interview distinguishes yourself from other candidates.

“(If the interviewer) asks you a question, don’t be afraid to say you don’t have an answer,” Montanye said. “Instead say, ‘I don’t have an answer now, but later if you want I can e-mail one to you.'”

It shows follow-through and a real interest in the job to answer like that, he said. That answer is much better than making an answer up on the fly and potentially being wrong.

Steves, a lecture associate and assistant editor at the Chatauqua Institution, often interviews potential employees himself and recommends asking questions, speaking clearly and dressing professionally.

“Those are important qualities to getting a job,” he said.

As for the life outside of work, the alumni agreed that keeping in contact with friends after Bonaventure and maintaining a social life after work can be difficult.

“It’s a different world outside of Bonaventure,” Gohn said. “People (I work with) are getting married, having kids – At first, I was like ‘What’s happening? Three weeks ago it was Senior Week at Bonaventure and I was on a couch outside at 3 a.m.”

Opportunities to connect can be found through social media websites, e-mail, planned road trips and getting involved in your local community.

“Remember, life is a balance, and you don’t want to burn out by the time you turn 25,” Montanye said. “Work and play are equally important.”

For more information on careers, networking, resumes, practice interviews and future events, contact the Career Center at career@sbu.edu.

Article published by The Bona Venture

Issue date 2/18/2011

Probable GOP candidates should get off Fox payroll

The political process is being undermined. 

Four of the potential Republican nominees for the 2011 presidential elections are on the Fox Network payroll, according to Politico.com.

Fox is cutting checks to Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, all serious White House hopefuls for the GOP.

Coined by some as “the Fox candidates,” which one of Fox’s blustering air bags is willing to forgo their national soapbox and lucrative checks?

Rick Santorum (R), potential GOP nomination/Image courtesy of videocafe.com

Even greater a detriment to the electoral process: some of the potential GOP nominees are contractually forbidden to appear on any TV network other than Fox.

Steve Scully, C-SPAN political editor, reported that when C-SPAN tried to have Palin on for an interview, Sully was told he must first get Fox’s permission. When he tried, the network cited her contract and denied the request.

“Producers at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC all reported similar experiences,” according to Politico.com. Out of the four on the Fox payroll, only Gingrich has appeared on any other television news outlet since January.

It is Fox’s prerogative to cater their news and be a right-wing, conservative news outlet, determined to bring such perspective to viewers, but to pay political candidates and own contractual rights to their interviews is a disgusting violation of the free flow of information necessary for a successful democracy.

Media interviews of potential candidates are a cornerstone of the political process. Interviews conducted by reporters of major network news organizations are a key informational tool voters use to educate themselves.

Such newscasts provide voters with political agendas, a ‘feeling’ for the politician as a person and facts about a politician’s knowledge base.

Sarah Palin (R) is a contracted commentator for the Fox Network/Image courtesy of goodtimepolitics.com

Can we not remember Palin’s Sept. 2008 interview with ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson?

Let’s just say – Bush Doctrine.

The notion of four potential presidential nominees facing media scrutiny by only a network that “both pays them and offers limited scrutiny,” according to Politico.com, is terrifying – especially in reference to Sarah Palin.

Palin’s interviews before the Fox contract, repeatedly offended the senses with her lack of knowledge on a variety of topics. Since the contract, those problematic quotations declined in frequency. Would we really want to find out a potential presidential nominee is unaware of current agenda because they were not questioned thoroughly?

News organizations in the past have declared support for politicians during elections, and Pat Buchanan did host CNN’s “Crossfire” in the 1990s between GOP primary campaigns, according to Politico.com.

However, while Buchanan certainly gained an advantageous national platform, he was not exclusive with his interviews or traveling around the nation making speeches. Unlike Palin and Santorum, who are traveling, making speeches and, minus the official declaration, running the campaign trail.

Palin said it best in early September in Louisville, Ky. “What would we do without Fox News, America?” she asked. “We love our Fox News, yes.”

Yes, Mrs. Palin, what would you do without Fox?

Published by The Bona Venture on Friday, Oct. 1, 2010

Enrollment shows influx of new students

St. Bonaventure University increased enrollment for the fall 2010 semester, Ann Lehman, registrar, wrote in an e-mail.

Total enrollment for the fall 2010 semester was 2,519, an increase of 253 students from the spring 2010 semester’s 2,266, Lehman wrote.

More than 800 new students enrolled at the university this semester, Kathryn Dillon Hogan, associate vice president of enrollment, wrote in an e-mail.

The boost in enrollment is attributed to an increase in the number of freshmen, transfer students and graduate students from fall 2009 to fall 2010.

Enrolled for the semester are 523 graduate students, with 1,996 undergrads; an increase from the spring 2010 semester’s enrollment of 1,831 undergraduates.

Bonaventure welcomed 92 new transfer students, Lehman wrote, and retained 80.4 percent of the freshman from the previous academic year.

“Retention is the result of efforts by all areas of the university community,” Nancy Casey, director of First-Year Experience, wrote in an e-mail. “On a campus such as ours, it is fostered by providing positive residential and social environments that complement and support challenging academic experiences.”

Casey suggested the First-Year Experience played a key role in retaining students.

“The First-Year Experience is continuing to support positive transition … by offering programming in academic areas, collaborating with residence life and other areas of the university,” Casey wrote.

Published by The Bona Venture on Sept. 24, 2010

http://media.www.thebv.org/media/storage/paper1111/news/2010/09/24/News/Enrollment.Shows.Influx.Of.New.Students-3935828.shtml

Blaze teaches fire safety

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Members of the Allegany Fire Department set fire to a mock dorm room on the front lawn of Devereux Hall Wednesday in an effort to educate students on fire safety.

The 8-foot-by-8-foot room constructed of plywood and plaster was furnished with a bed, microwave, desk, extension cords and other legal and illegal accessories typically found in a dorm room.

The fire ravaged the room in just 2 minutes and 45 seconds; all contents were turned into a mass of charred remains and melted twisted plastic.

“Fire safety is a primary concern,” Ralph Aloia, a fire and life safety officer, said. “It just takes one minute for a fire to get out of control.”

The Allegany Fire Department, the Medical Emergency Response Team and Safety and Security volunteered personnel and materials to assist during the blaze.

The mock dorm fire cost less than $300 out of the fire and safety budget, Vito Czyz, director of Safety and Security, said.

Czyz took the time before the demonstration to explain to students the importance of fire safety. He said the loss of a life to a fire breaking out is preventable with smart choices and education.

“I report at least one fire safety hazard a day,” Aloia said. “Typically, it is an exit light out, doors propped open, but unfortunately, this campus’ No. 1 problem is the tampering of fire safety devices such as fire extinguishers. That is a life safety device, and tampering with them can get people arrested for it.”

Along with the visual of the burning mock dorm room, Safety and Security gave out pamphlets on fire safety awareness.

“Watching that fire made me so nervous, I’m going to sleep with one eye open and check my smoke detector,” said Hayley Calcagno, a sophomore.

“Many students are unaware of what will produce these flames,” Czyz said. “Alcohol, cooking, smoking and the use of extension cords are all sources of dorm room fires. I hope this demonstration educates them, and they make fire safety apart of their daily lives.”

Matt Schweiger, a freshman, said he now has the right perspective about fire safety.

“I was really surprised about just how fast it all went up,” Schweiger said. “It just took a minute for the smoke and flame to cover everything. This definitely put fire safety in perspective, and I hope they do this next year.”

Approximately 200 onlookers attended the mock dorm fire, according to Czyz.

“There are over 3,000 dorm fires a year, averaging 40 deaths across the United States on college campuses alone,” Czyz said. “Many of them are alcohol-related.

“We hope this really drives home to students how important fire safety is,” Czyz said.

Emily Magavern contributed to the reporting of this story.

Published by The Bona Venture on Sept. 17, 2010

http://media.www.thebv.org/media/storage/paper1111/news/2010/09/17/News/Blaze.Teaches.Fire.Safety-3932687.shtml

Social media can help win elections

John McCain's Twitter account courtesy of cigar-blog post

I tweet. You tweet.

Does your state representative tweet?

In a recent trend, some politicians are becoming more tech savvy in an effort to reach voters. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube make up a large chunk of the average Internet user’s time, according to politico.com.

Facebook alone reported 200 million active users as of April 2009, according to blog.facebook.com, and some politicians want a piece of the pie.

On the battlefront to save his Senate seat, Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.) updates his Twitter and Facebook daily.

Dubbed a “digital genius,” McCain hits home as the number-one ranking senator of digital skills, according to politico.com. The study, conducted by George Washington and New York universities, found the 73-year-old Republican to have the highest “Digital IQ” in the Senate.

The Digital IQ index combined senators’ use of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube with the frequency they post, as well as their followings, to judge their fluency and success in social media.

President Barack Obama's Facebook page courtesy of boncherry.com

Proven successful by President Barack Obama’s online presidential campaign, social networking and digital media literacy is a powerful tool in today’s political arena.

With 47 percent of adults and 73 percent of teens and young adults using social networking sites, according to graphics.ms, it would be foolish for politicians to discount the powerful influence they could have on connecting with voters.

McCain’s current 668,606 “likes” on Facebook and the constant bombardment of Obama advertisements littering the sidebars of my Facebook homepage make apparent the changing trends.

The traditional newspaper and television advertisements are falling out of favor. Americans spend more and more time using laptops and phones with access to the Internet. Newscasts are provided by YouTube and Twitter clips, and our favorite ads grace the sidebars of our e-mail. The world is a-changing, and so must our politicians.

While Obama pioneered social media networking, making the Democrats cheer, they have fallen behind the curve. Republicans, currently a minority in the Senate, grew significantly more than Democrats in the area of social networking, with 3,000 more Twitter followers and 20,000 more Facebook “likes” than their Democrat counterparts, according to politico.com. GOP senators have experienced a 6.7 percent month-to-month growth on Facebook, compared to the 3.6 percent for Democrats.

These numbers exclude McCain, whose success skews the findings.

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, was wildly criticized for being out of touch. For a man so out of touch, he now leads the pack on social media networking, and if the Democrats fail to step up their presence on popular sites, they may soon find themselves left behind.

Published by The Bona Venture on Sept. 10, 2010

http://media.www.thebv.org/media/storage/paper1111/news/2010/09/10/Opinion/Social.Media.Can.Help.Win.Elections-3929742.shtml