Live reporting on Ferguson protest at Tulane

Being editor at The Hullabaloo makes content more of a hobby than I’d prefer, but I got the chance to dive into some real time reporting the other night when more than 100 Tulane and Loyola students went on a four-hour protest the night of the Ferguson decision. I worked closely with our multimedia director to make this story happen, and it started when I ran to one of my apartment windows to see (and video) a mass of students chanting and marching in the street. Check it out!

Watching The Hullabaloo start a side business, acknowledged by College Media Matters

One of the most exciting developments I’ve seen at the newspaper this year is the development of an idea into a full-blown initiative. In this case, The Hullabaloo business department has started a photography business called Green Wave Photography to make more revenue to support the editorial pursuits of The Hullabaloo. They recently booked their first two gigs for Tulane’s Homecoming this weekend, and I can’t wait to see what comes of these first seeds of business.

The Hullabaloo is learning to adapt to the digital world of journalism, and I couldn’t be more proud of the business department for embracing the challenge. Read more about how Green Wave Photography came to be, and visit the website to learn how to hire them!

Update [11:30 a.m. Nov. 17]:

I am thrilled to hear that the well-known blog College Media Matters picked up the blog post I made on The Hullabaloo’s new photography business! This acknowledgment has been especially encouraging for our business manager and marketing associate, who have pushed themselves to make Green Wave Photography a reality.

Examining civil legal gap in Louisiana

I recently attended a panel called “The Justice Gap: Civil Legal Access in Louisiana” Tuesday at Loyola University on one of Louisiana’s new programs meant to empower the poor in the justice system. Most of the problems they discussed were universal issues — poor funding, lack of education, politics, but several members from the Louisiana State Bar Association (@LouisianaBar) brought some stark facts to the surface.

The panel included two former LSBA presidents Kim Boyle and Marta-Ann Schnabel, LSBA president Joseph Shea, Access to Justice Director Mollere Monte and Joe Oelkers, executive director of Acadiana Legal Service Corporation.

Here are five statements that stuck with me (taken from my live tweets):

Interestingly, Boyle said she represents someone who was formerly on death row as her pro bono contribution. Two final points emerged as themes during the panel. 1) Surprisingly, there aren’t enough lawyers to go around, something I had yet to hear. 2) There is a movement to change the connotation of law as a profession, from a goal to “get the big bucks” to the purpose of helping others, hence New York and Arizona’s laws to make pro bono work a requirement to pass the bar. Boyle reminded a room a third full of lawyers, law students and aspiring lawyers what Charles Hamilton Houston said: “A lawyer’s either a social engineer, or a he’s a parasite on society.”

Tulane, please encourage non-business students to take managerial/communications classes

If I’ve learned anything as editor of The Tulane Hullabaloo, it is that I’m lucky I was thrown into a position full of daily chaotic decision-making and managerial tasks, from last-minute calls on content to administrative responsibilities. I’ve learned how to write an email, how to weigh practicality with firm principles, how to nod my head when angry readers fling unfiltered emotion my way. I can tell, when I meet someone new, if they’ve managed a large-scale organization/project/campaign several minutes into our conversation — there’s a level of understanding, an understanding I am confident would’ve taken me much longer to develop if I had not taken my position as editor.

Not everyone has the opportunity to work in a managerial position before they graduate, though. Without that experience, I argue they fail to develop a staple of education Tulane expects non-business majors to find through internships, work experience or extracurricular positions like mine. The fact of the matter is that management and communication skills separate the bookish elites from the real world success stories. Tulane stresses public service, but if you can’t organize a large-scale project, you can’t apply your passion to help the community as effectively as you can. Tulane stresses basic writing skills through Writing 101, but what’s the use if you can’t send an appropriate, well-written email to which you attach that essay (An ill-formatted email will likely be ignored in the real world. The question I’m most often asked is how to properly include a signature.)? Yet, as I look to schedule my last semester of classes at Tulane, in hopes of finding a managerial class to cap off my degree, I find a slue of options that all require a signature from the Office of Undergraduate Education in the Business School.

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The message Tulane sends by creating this minor barrier is that it would prefer that you took another class if you aren’t a business school. I understand that while Tulane uniquely allows its students to reach across school within its campus, these schools are nonetheless separate. Tulane made this clear, particularly, when it took away student’s ability to minor in Business during the regular school year (there is an intensive summer route to receive the minor), but numerous students wanted this minor because business penetrates every orifice of professional life. Life is a series of exchanges, communications and contracts melded into what often becomes labeled a job.

In addition, similar classes listed under managerial communications are only offered to continuing studies students, as confusingly written in the course notes written below the listed options.

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I’ve spoken to several students who have found communications and managerial classes indispensable and have even offered the conclusion that all students should take a similar class before they graduate. I firmly believe a managerial position would’ve given me a helpful map to navigate my transition from reporter to editor and while no amount of class time can replace real world experience internships and jobs can give you, introducing management and communications classes (meaning the general topic) as a core upper-tier requirement or encouraged/publicized class would produce a well-equipped Tulane class the curriculum does not contribute to now.

Tasting some fruition of The Tulane Hullabaloo’s commitment to digitalization

The Tulane Hullabaloo is about two months into the semester operating as a digital media company with an intense online mission. We’ve surmounted several obstacles, including the widespread education of how to use the website for editing/publishing/design purposes, learning how to community with a newly designed staff structure, fully embracing Twitter accounts across every section and balancing content between online editors and print editors (a journey we have documented in our blog).

My inspiration for pushing The Hullabaloo to be a more accessible news source for the Tulane community was the 2013 Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association National College Media Conference (That was a mouthful.) held in New Orleans. Our previous editor, Ryan Jones, built The Hullabaloo’s content up to a Pacemaker-winning standard, and I came in with the hopes that more people would be informed by that content and make The Hullabaloo financially viable for the next decade through a digital transformation.

While we continue to find ways to make The Hullabaloo’s future financially independent of Tulane, starting projects like the Green Wave Photography business, I feel we have succeeded in sharpening our presence as Tulane’s main and reliable source of news on campus. With the enthusiasm of an entire staff, including our present multimedia director, the numbers we’ve recorded over the last three years are a concrete reflection of what this movement has meant for The Hullabaloo’s exposure. While we are only two months into the school year, I’m humbled and overly joyed to see how this staff’s embracement of digital media has connected the newspaper to the Tulane community at a whole new level.

Hopefully, this year’s trend of views will continue. Here are the numbers we’ve recorded!

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Texas Polls: Voter ID laws may target active participants in society, rather than omitting minorities

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Texas’ voter ID law will stand effective through upcoming elections and only because the courts ruled that bringing it down so close to voting would be more harmful than helpful at this point.

Texas’ law requires that voters bring one of six photo ID options to the polls to receive a ballot, and the national media has attacked this decision, as U.S. Supreme Court judges have claimed its main purpose is discrimination, as outlined by the Los Angeles Times. According to the Times’ report, it will significantly inhibit registered voters from sharing their voice.

“As [Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg] observed in a scathing dissent issued Saturday, the measure may prevent more than 600,000 registered voters, or 4.5 percent of the total, from voting in person for lack of accepted identification,” Michael Hiltzik writes.

This may or may not be true and while most articles cite that voter fraud is the main purpose, I find that this is an ill-explained reason for Texas’ actual motivation. The point is to omit voters who do not participate in society, which is the main explanation of why someone would not own one of the six following: state-issued driver’s license, personal ID card, concealed handgun license, U.S. citizenship certificate, military ID card, or a passport, all of which Texas will accept. The implication, then, does not necessarily appear to be an outright attack on minorities, but a move to heighten the voices of those who actively participate in the society that we live in. Whether that philosophical push is in the right direction remains to be determined.