Willow Run and Ypsilanti Public Schools Collaborating

Published April 27, 2012 by djacks41

Willow Run and Ypsilanti school districts are considering  becoming one district.After many years of being rivals and going against one another they have decided that it may be best if they become a team. Both districts have found themselves in a lot of debt and have also lost a lot of students. They are hoping that with this change they will be able to eventually get their students back as well as get out of debt.

There wouldn’t be a change for another year or so because they have to get everything in order. Both boards of education will consider having a joint public board meeting about the plan and ballot for 7 p.m. April 16, at a not yet known location. “I think what you’re looking at is a true re-creation of what good-quality education will mean in the eastern end of the county, and we feel that we can do that better together, versus working against each other,” YPS Superintendent Dedrick Martin said. Together the two districts are more than $10 million dollars in debt.

This will also be an opportunity to do what’s right for the students. Both of the districts have been struggling and a solution has to be found in order to help them succeed. “The intent here is to make one new school district,” said Scott Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent. “We’re proposing what we believe is an appropriate, locally generated response to the (financial) situation that the two districts are in, that will result in a long-term, successful educational system that has community buy in.” He believes that the two districts could create a model for other districts that are struggling.

It is being recommended that both boards adopt a unification plan that can later be presented at a board meeting, probably within the next year. With this unification plan idea they will propose a ballot question that will be presented to the board. The task force is also suggesting that the districts hire and share a Special Education Director, who will be employed through the WISD. Menzel said that this is a significant step in the direction of collaboration.

“The goal is not to erase a proud tradition or proud histories from both communities, but to really look at bringing the best of both communities together,” Martin said. Bringing both of the communities together may bring some confusion seeing that they have remained rivals for years. This is a bigger issue though, the students are what’s important and as long as people are able to look back and still remember what once was this will be an effective plan.

Some may worry that memories will be lost if the two combine or the sports records over the years may no longer be important. Those things will still matter because we can’t erase history and each district has accomplishments that they can be very proud of. There is no way that we can wipe away those memories.


Basketball Is My Life!

Published April 26, 2012 by djacks41

Eric Thomas is a 22 year old Ypsilanti, MI resident that has a strong passion for basketball. He has been dribbling basketballs for as long as he can remember and nothing has ever felt so good. Starting in elementary school Eric was on the Added Dimensions basketball team, which was a sports organization put together by the elementary schools to give students a chance to do what they love an be productive. He also played every chance he got while he was at home. “I can remember times when I got myself on punishment over basketball. My mom would tell me to be in the house before the street lights came on but if I wasn’t done playing basketball with my friends I wasn’t leaving. It was all worth it though,” he said reminiscing back to his childhood.

He continued to play when he entered into middle school but had to wait until he was in the seventh grade because there was no sixth grade team. It seemed like the older he got the more his love for basketball grew and he knew that it would only get stronger. Not having the best of grades, stressing about whether or not he would be eligible or whether he’d have a bad report card causing his mom to pull him off the team began to seem like a routine. There were even times when he tried to hide the reports cards so that his mom could not see them but having a younger sister always ruined that plan. For some odd reason she cared about her grades and wanted to see them. Imagine that!

Playing for four years at Willow Run High School he remembers having some of the best memories that he will always cherish. Their basketball team had not always been the best but it seemed like God was blessing him with a wonderful senior year. He was already dreading graduation and not being able to play for his school anymore so having a great final season meant everything to him. Week after week his team found themselves beating teams that they hadn’t beat in years and that was a great feeling. He also was  being featured in the Ann Arbor newspaper every Friday for his superb performance the night before. “Two of my most memorable moments of that season were when we had our four game winning streak the first four games and I’ll never forget losing in the districts game. The feeling that I felt knowing that I would never play high school basketball again because of a cheated game sticks with me,” he said with a very serious tone.

College basketball at Owens Community College lightened things up a little bit. He gained plenty of new friends and he had great teammates that he would consider to be his close friends. Nothing would ever compare to high school but he made the most of it. Once again his grades weren’t all that well so he struggled a little but not enough for it to cause him to stop playing. At times he misses being out in Ohio but he admitted that he really wanted to be home. Now that he’s home again, he isn’t currently playing for a school but he does play for a recreational team in his spare time. Every free moment he gets he’s at a gym dribbling a ball and staying in shape. He still has dreams of one day playing at a school or overseas and he refuses to give that up. Basketball is his life!

Winklevoss Brothers

Published April 26, 2012 by djacks41

The history behind Facebook is something that has been made very familiar to the world. One of the biggest reasons for this is the movie that was made based on the popular social networking site titled, The Social Network”In this movie the audience learned about who made Facebook and how it was actually created. There was a lot of controversial issues behind the creation that let us behind the scenes and showed that things weren’t all that great and creating the website caused the breaking up of friendships and led to lawsuits.

Mark Zuckerberg, faced a lawsuit with two brothers, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss. They wanted to prove that they were actually the originators of the idea to create Facebook. Last year in June 2011, they decided to end the legal battle and instead of continuing to demand more money, they settled for what they were originally offered in 2008, which was $20 million in cash and Facebook stock, which around that time was worth $45 million. The value of Facebook as a whole had grown fourfold from 2008 to 2011 from about $15 billion to $70 billion and this change caused an increase in their share of stock to $150 million. Now in February 2012 with the talk of Facebook possibly starting to share their stock to the public the Winklevoss brothers can expect for that amount to go up to as much as $225 million.

I would say that they ended up winning in the end after all. They had to accept less than what they thought they deserved but after all of this they’re going to end up coming out on top. When you think of something like Facebook you never actually believe that it will grow to be as big as this did and it worked out for all parties the way that it should have. You also have people that don’t believe that they should start sharing stocks because that will in some way decrease the value of Facebook. Why would we want to begin to pay for something that has been given to us for free for all of this time? This idea has some pros and cons that need to be thought about because this can either work out well for them or it can come back to bite them in the behind. Let’s hope that for the Winklevoss brothers sake that this actually ends up working out.

An Insight Into Digital Journalism

Published April 25, 2012 by djacks41

Take a Closer Look Into Why Digital Journalism is Becoming the “Go To” Source for News

Twitter has become a very popular site used by
newspapers to highlight their many stories.

Digital journalism is making journalism turn into a world of it’s own. With the many different news models that are constantly developing there are so many things that we are now able to do. Newspapers have a paper form and then they also have their own websites that individuals are able to go to and get the same news. We also have the news that comes on our blogs and social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.)

The advantage of digital journalism is that it’s so easily accessible. The audience now has more control over what content they are able to see. People have the power to choose the information they want when they want and retrieve it how they want. If you are at your computer you are able to see it that way but if you aren’t then you are able to see it on your phone if it’s internet accessible. The internet allows for users to access information in a non linear form. This means that journalists have designed their stories so that they don’t have to be accessed in any particular order. If you are reading a story and you are only wanting to read a particular portion that you are interested in, you can have access to that specific part without having to be bothered with any other section of the story.

Another advantage is the storage and retrieval of the information. There was a time when we had to go to the library for everything and look through dictionaries or encyclopedia’s but not anymore. With the help of the internet, everything is right at the tip of our fingers with no limited amount on how much we can access. Having to actually flip through pages and possibly get a paper cut is not as entertaining as just going to Google and typing in “what it the definition if _____?” and it just pops up within seconds. Also instead of having more than one book, an encyclopedia separate from a dictionary you can have all of the words on the internet without ever having to carry a heavy book.

The biggest advantage of all may be that you can get all of this information immediately. You don’t have to wait until you can go check a book out or until the next newspaper comes in the morning. Anything that you want to know you can find out as soon as you need the information. There are people that actually stay up all night constantly researching and updating information just for the convenience of those that may need the information right away. That’s much more appealing than anything else that has been experienced.

There are different types of digital news models associated with previously existing media organizations. For example the newspaper websites that exist also have an actual paper that still exists or once existed. Some people would much rather prefer to go to their computer and read the news before they pick up a paper and have to flip through it. The people that are actually still buying newspapers are more than likely older and don’t feel like having to learn how to use the internet.

Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are also forms of news. Those same newspaper websites also have pages on these sites to get information to their users that frequently visit social networking sites instead of their actual sites. If a person is interested in a story that they have read about on Twitter or Facebook they will more than likely visit the newspaper website to read deeper into the story which is an advantage for the paper. Their site needs all of the viewers that it can get. A site like Twitter will briefly talk about a story in the 140 characters that one tweet allows making the user curious as well. Tumblr is more of a picture posting site so if someone wants a newspaper story read they could post a picture with a headline that will attract readers. There’s so many different things that can be done and they become more and more interesting.

The role of a reporter is to report the news the best that they can. Sometimes they are able to do it in it’s entirety and at times they’re not. Reporting a story consists of interviewing people that may have information that you need, researching on information regarding the story, making sure the information is accurate etc. But most of all the reporter must make the story appealing to the reader who will be reading the story. The role of the reader is to read and if the story was written correctly they will be able to comprehend everything that was written and know exactly what they read. They will know accurate details and be informed correctly on what the reporter was trying to report.

Audience engagement is important because the audience is important. Every news source needs an audience or else they will not be successful. If you have an active, reliable and faithful initial audience the site will grow. When you’re site is popular and readers can rely on you to report reliable information and basically make you their “go to” site they will talk to others and recommend you. This will make your audience grow with time and a big audience makes for a big money making site. The audience is everything! They let you know how your site is doing and what you can improve on. They will tell you your weaknesses and strengths which will only help the site to get better.

We are constantly being spoiled and things are being made easier for us everyday. You don’t really realize how great digital journalism is until you don’t have to flip through that 1000 page dictionary but instead you can look up a definition on Google. With things becoming so easily accessible pretty soon digital journalism will be the only type of journalism.

Diamond Jackson is a Journalism student at Eastern Michigan University. You may contact her at djacks41@emich.edu

Put on a Bra!

Published April 17, 2012 by djacks41

I have recorded a video of one of my close friends telling their most embarrassing moment that they have experienced. Guys wouldn’t quite understand this but I bet a lot of women could feel her pain and embarrassment if we were to put ourselves in her place. Imagine that you are in need of help after just having a panic attack from seeing a swarm of bees and when you go to seek help they take you as a joke. You later come to find that your tube top(shirt) has folded down and your breast are completely exposed without a bra.

Well, that’s what happened to my friend and I was lucky to get this out of her because it took awhile for her to even tell anyone. Listen closely as she revisits that day that she can now laugh at and tells us how she was feeling at that very moment. Man I wouldn’t have wanted to be her.

For the Love of Sports!

Published April 1, 2012 by djacks41

     As expected most guys are sports fanatics and that is also the case when it comes to EMU student Blake Meakin. Majoring in journalism he wishes that he could just get a job with a salary that allows him to have a life and a family. I would have to say that he’s off to a great start being able to cover high school and college sports for the Detroit News. He’s very passionate about not wanting to stay in Michigan when he graduates and the places that he wants to live actually surprised me. The places he named were England, which he has a wonderful imitation of their accent and Florida. He’s a big fan of the Tampa Bay Rays making it even easier for him to move there and his favorite sports team would be a soccer team in England named Everton. I guess it would be pretty cool to be a big fan of sports teams in the places you want to move to.

“Yes it’s a lot of fun but the hours suck,” was his response when asked about working for the Detroit News. The worst thing that he remembers happening to him on the job was thinking that he would get off of work at ten because that’s what the schedule said. He actually ended up working until 1 a.m. because someone called off and I’m sure that we all have had to experience that. Anyone would probably agree with me when I say that his best memory beats the worse one by a long shot. He had the opportunity to cover the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (C.C.H.A.) game at the Joe Louis Arena between University of Michigan and Michigan State.

Sports are interesting and being able to combine your love for them and your job must be very nice. Let’s hope that Blake gets the chance to continue reaching greater heights and maybe he’ll be working for one of his favorite teams one day. DREAM BIG!

Is the Amazon Kindle Fire becoming a threat for the Apple IPad?

Published February 17, 2012 by djacks41



Apple products have been popular from the time that they were first introduced in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. At first people were just falling in love with the desktop computers but as time has gone on products have definitely gotten better with time. Every year we have something to look forward to and they have become very popular. All that I hear people talking about are the new Iphones and Ipads that are coming out. People line up for hours just to wait for the products to be released and even spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone after just buying the previous one that was just released months before.

This has been a popular quote in the past with Apple products…….

“There’s no tablet market; there’s just an iPad market.”

As we all know things can quickly change and there can be competition that comes and takes your place and that is what Apple is facing right now with the Amazon Kindle Fire. In the fourth quarter Apple Inc.’s share of tablets sold dropped to 57% from a more commanding 64% in the same quarter about a year ago. Eating up part of their share is Amazon.com Inc. and it’s Kindle Fire tablet, which shot to 14% of the market from zero one quarter before. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Apple is still well in the lead with selling $15.4 million Ipads during the holiday season and Amazon sold $3.9 million. In my eyes that is a big difference and Apple has no reason to sweat at all.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook called the $200 Amazon Kindle Fire a “cheap product”. With that being said I would say that they’re not even seeing them as a competition and that is the attitude that they should have and hopefully it keeps them striving for better and better. There is a $300 price difference between the two so that should speak for itself. The Kindle in comparison to the Ipad is being described as slower, smaller and less versatile.

“A cheap product might sell some units,” Cook said. “But then [consumers] get it home and use it and the joy is gone. And the joy is gone every day that they use it and they wind up not using it anymore. And so you don’t keep remembering, ‘Oh I got a good deal, because you hate it.’

“I think they’ll sell a lot of units,” Cook continued.  “I think they have and they will, but I think the customers that we’re designing our products for are not going to be satisfied with a limited-function kind of product.”

Wow! Those are some strong assumptions to make and I would have to agree with them. After dealing with Apple products you’re not going to want to go to anything mediocre, everything that you use after that has to be some type of reasonable comparison. I used to be so opposed to Apple products and was pro Android and refused to get an Iphone. After some time I decided to try the Iphone out and it was actually about a month ago, I must say that I love it! I will never go back to any other phone because nothing else could possibly compare.