Although it is possible for a company to be on every social outlet, it is not worth the time or money. While it is important to connect with the consumers on a personal basis, it is easiest to do so in a place in which they are already comfortable. 

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Spring would not be spring without April dedicating itself to the end of sexual violence, as this month has been designated Sexual Assault Awareness Month (“SAAM“). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

In an effort to break the silence surrounding this oftentimes overlooked issue, Minnesota State University, Mankato offers a wide variety of events geared toward raising awareness and heightening interest amongst its student body. The events so far have included:

  • Trivia Night
  • Live performance from local band Sister Gin
  • Screening of Miss Representation
  • Sexual Assault Awareness Town Hall meeting
  • Violence-Free Zone Training
Former classmate and feminist activist, Kristie LaPlante, described her thoughts after watching the Miss Representation screening.

“After watching the movie I see how ads establish the problematic dimensions of what society is forgetting to hit on most. Sexual violence is a crime, it should be illegal in the media too,” said LaPlante.

Miss Representation is a film which examines how the media is playing a dangerous game of chicken when it comes to the sexualization of women in the media. In fact, last year alone the entertainment business spent over $100 billion dollars on internet and television advertisements alone, many of which inappropriately exploit women. To make matters worse, these figures do not include magazines, newspapers or billboard expenses.

“The media is very effective at creating stereotypes because it is sometimes the only source of information people have, said LaPlante. “It is scary, because I do not know how far advertisers will push the envelope just to make more revenue.”

Make no doubt about it, sex sells, but this game cannot last forever. Looking at the statistics alone, it becomes apparent that advertisements are spiraling out of control.

(This youtube video is put together by Ashley Dokken. The footage is from google images)

“When I talk to the Women’s Center I explain how worried I am as to what will happen in the future,” said LaPlante. “The line crossing between what is acceptable keeps being pushed back to drastic measures of dehumanizing women.”

MSU hockey player, Eli Zuck, takes pride in MSU’s attempts to talk about sexual violence openly. He was thrilled at the turnout and the outcome of  the events as many students and faculty shared optimistic beliefs for the future.

“Being optimistic is the only way to go. The media has learned not to use the word Negro and has now opted for African American. This is proof that the media can learn to reform its way of thinking with the sex sell theory,” said Zuck.

Women’s Center Interim Assistant Samantha Hedwall shares similar viewpoints with Zuck.

“My hope for the future is that SAAM won’t have to dedicate itself to just a month long event but that it will be an ongoing process of awareness throughout the entire year,” said Hedwall.

Consistent with the motto, “It’s Time…To Talk About It,” utilized by SAAM, MSU students are welcome to talk year round at the Women’s Center located on the second floor of the Centennial Student Union.

“Just because April is coming to an end, doesn’t mean the awareness for sexual violence has to end,” said Hedwall.

The Women’s Center is in charge of many events on campus including variety of speakers, seminars and workshops that the entire MSU community is welcome to attend. For example, every first Monday of the month is Women in Movies Day, where students are welcome to have some fun, watch a movie and discuss women’s issues about sexual violence.

“The movies are by far my favorite event. I get to take a break from the entire world and concentrate on the empowerment of women in society, said Women Studies major, Amanda Freeman. “It is nice to know there is a place at MSU that offers educational services like this.”

Education is crucial to the mission of ending sexual violence.  MSU helps create this experience by holding discussions with students about the resources it has to offer.

“The Women’s Center wants you to realize that none of you are alone in this situation. The college at MSU is a community that will stand up, hand in hand, with SAAM to create a society that provides year round outreach programs to end sexual violence for good,” said Hedwall.

The MSU Women’s Center is moving in the right direction; by having a college atmosphere that is not only supportive and safe, it also offers numerous outreach programs for students year round. Therefore it is nearly impossible to let the awareness end this month.

“The months ahead will be filled with opportunities to get involved, inspire change and to take action on the sexual violence that women go through everyday,” said Freeman “Even if the month of April is ending, the start to ending sexual violence is just the beginning.”

MSU and the campus Women’s Center get it. Likely unknown to a number of people, our school provides the much needed support and information to bring sexual awareness issues to the forefront.

The mont of April can be looked at as merely the announcement month for the services and opportunities provided by MSU. But as stated, the fact that “awareness” month is drawing to a close, the school and its professionals offer many services year round.

 For a timeline of the events that have occurred and the ones still to come click here.
CONTACT: Ashley Dokken
Twitter: @Dokken_Ashley
Steve DiMeglio
Phone: 703-854-6473
Twitter: @sdimegUSATgolf

 USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio will speak on April 24 for MSU’s Media Day

MSU alumni DiMeglio will share his journey from working at The Reporter to becoming Senior Golf Writer for USA Today

DiMeglio will be speaking  at 4 p.m. on April 24 in celebration of Minnesota State University, Mankato’s annual Media Day. This event will be held in Ostrander Auditorium located in the Centennial Student Union.

DiMeglio will speak at his event, “Mickey Mantle’s on Line 1, Steve!” about his journey from the White House to the House that Ruth built to the Home of Golf.

DiMeglio holds a true passion for sports, and an even bigger passion for writing about them. While he was attending MSU, he wrote for the sport section at The Reporter and now dedicates his time as the USA Today’s Senior Golf Writer.

Of his time spent as a student, Professor Ellen Mrja say, “He was absolutely the most dedicated sports editor our paper has ever had. His sports pages were more than sources. They were interesting, informative and consistently outstanding.”

 It is obvious that DiMeglio is an icon to many students. Not only because of his high status at USA Today, but because he has provided coverage for such a large range of public icons Some include:
  • Bill Clinton
  • Tiger Woods
  • Tom Brady
  • Payton Manning
  • Arnold Palmer
  • George W. Bush
DiMeglio’s father, Dr. John DiMeglio, and his mother will be in attendance along with scholarship recipients and other mass media students.

The event is free and open to the public thanks to the Nadine B. Andreas Foundation.

Follow Steve DiMeglio on Twitter and attend Media Day on April 24 to welcome him back to the Purple and Gold colored campus. Home of the MSU Mavericks.


The Pulitzer Prize is a US award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. The winner of the award is someone that does an outstanding job in the four categories listed above. The Las Vegas Sun Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 series on Construction Deaths is an excellent example of a multimedia package that goes above and beyond what is expected of a news site.

For this paper I have selected  the Construction Deaths article because the Las Vegas Sun not only completed this piece with accuracy, but its detailed contributions to the article make it a great example of innovative journalism.

I was struck with the publications use of emotive imagery when opening this article. Immediately the audience is affected by three emotional pictures. The three pictures not only hold emotional value, but they also allow the reader to decide what part he/she wants to examine first. This multimedia capability, not to mention its flexibility, allows for the reader to have ultimate control. This non-linearity approach gives the reader the highest power to read what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. All with just one click of the mouse.

After independently clicking on the picture that interests the reader the most, you are brought to three different multimedia approaches with information that you would like. The three multimedia approaches in this article are…

  1. Slideshow of pictures
  2. A video
  3. An interaction of information between the computer and the user

The photos in the slideshow are very successful in their use of the language of the image. By having exquisite quality of lighting, juxtaposition, a point of entry and emotion, it best tell the story to readers who learn with visual elements. In this photo gallery the reader has the independent power to decide how they want to look at the pictures. The reader additionally has the ability to use the auto play option or to manually click through each picture. The reader holds the power to decide.

The video nicely applies the technique of emotional appeal, that the photo gallery cannot even begin to describe. The video has sentimental testimonies from heartbroken families. The depression and disappointment in their voices is something that cannot be described through written words or pictures.

Personally, I believe this video encourages community building. It shows the immediacy of the community outreach it is begging for. It also encourages people to become more aware that help needs to happen now as more people continue to die in the unsafe working conditions.

As the photo gallery and the video both exceeded the ordinary, the interactive link went above and beyond anything I could have imagined. This portion of the article, in my opinion, was unforgettable. The journalists exceeded anything I thought a newsroom would be capable of doing. Viewers in this segment are encouraged to click on the buildings to learn more about how the individuals died. After clicking on the building, viewers are struck with illustrations of stick figures dropping from buildings. On the right side of the illustrations a box explains how each person had died.

This sort of real-life animation was shocking and unsettling. To go even a step further the Las Vegas Sun  had a memorable biography of the workers killed on the strip. Each person had a photograph and a paragraph dedicated to their life. This gave the publication a chance to be hyperlocal in their information  for a remarkable piece.

The page included an “Archive Highlights” section that included many links to other videos, blog posts, and multiple stories. The hyperlinks related to the Construction Deaths piece in a storage content that was user friendly. All of the hyperlinks to the other stories worked with perfection and allowed for even some user-generated content to be heard. Everything was just a click away for more information, and the site was very scannable. Also, the time and place access allowed someone like me, who is just finding out about this article now, the availability to read it four years later.

The only complaint I have for this piece, is the fact that I did not know about it until four years after it was first published. I wish the publication team would of done more outreach to the worldwide web so that even a little farm girl from Minnesota could offer some help.

This type of journalism would be impossible for print media to accomplish. In retrospect  the internet allows unlimited space and audience control that no print media could do. The Las Vegas Sun took advantage of those key attributes to become the 2009 winner of the Pulitzer prize. By including a photo gallery, a video, a dozen hyperlinks, and an unforgettable mashup of 9 illustration, the Las Vegas Sun deserved the prestigious award for its detailed approach of online journalism.

Greenspun, who helped write the Constructions Death piece, said he was thinking, “With an eye to what newspapers needed to be in the future.” I agree with his comment, and I hope this article becomes a model for what the newspapers will look like in the future years.

Today I took “Language of the Image,” a free online course offered by Poynter. I had no idea their was so much free help on this website to further my knowledge in the field of journalism.

I decided to do the Language of Image course to help with my photojournalism skills.

The experience was very rewarding. This course taught me different photo types to use along with different approaches and unique elements. All to make a photograph be a strong part of a story.

The page opened up with a quote that read, “Photojournalists are the eyes of the reader. It is their job to visually report on events as they happen in their community.”

This was a great opening quote into what I would be learning throughout this course.

The course classified photos into 3 categories:

  1. Informational: Informational photos do a great job of identifying a person, place, or event. These types of photos are only conducted to hold identification value.
  2. Passive: Passive photos show people  situations in which their main purpose is to have their photo taken for publication. Since this could cause limitations, it is essential that the photographer looks for the best possible environmental portrait.
  3. Active: Active photos show real people involved in real events in real time. This type of photo allows photographers to produce story-telling images that can inform, and cause emotion the viewer. Active photos also let the photographer run wild with his/her creativity. It is important to look outside the box and capture the essence of a situation or some ones personality in an active photo.

Next the course identified individual elements. Most of the terms were straightforward, such as emotion, surprise and quality of light.

However, some interesting ones I found to learn were that of rule of thirds and juxtaposition. These two applied in way I have never pondered over. That being said, I enjoyed being able to put a picture to the definition. Since these two were new to my vocabulary I liked being able to have a hands on task of clicking through the element. Looking at example after example.

After identifying the elements it was time to look at a photographs with multiple elements. Most photos combined several elements to enhance their story-telling capabilities. This adds strength to the photo as it engages in several different elements.

Here are examples of a photo using multiple elements.


This photo is from an article in The Examiner that shows a strong emotion, quality of light and juxtaposition to produce a powerful image of a fire truck by a burning house. After looking further into its details I began to become emotionally connected to this image. The juxtaposition of fire truck meets fire holds irony in the picture. The quality of light emphasizes the time of day, and it has a lot of natural lighting. 


This image was found on and does a great job of  incorporating many elements. It has quality of light as it waits for the perfect and almost luminous late afternoon lighting. I also notice the layering, and the rule of third. 

As you can see, I have already learned so much using merely one of Poynter’s courses. As some of them continue to be free to the public, I am willing to pay for the education I have learned in just an hour and look into other courses available. This online course taught me not only basic techniques and vocabulary but also how to put those techniques together with real life examples. I suggest taking full advantage of the classes or any other Poynter News University’s courses.

Earlier this year my Aunt passed away from a sudden accident. Nobody saw it coming, and it was a shock to all the family. Since her funeral I have promised myself a couple things to live by.

  1. I will live each day as if it was my last.
  2. I will do all of the things I want to do.
  3. I will not sweat the small stuff.
  4. I will write a bucket list of the places I wish to travel.

Attached is a Mashup using google maps of a few places I wish to travel in my lifetime.

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
Reasons for Separation
The Declaration and Pledge

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.