Category Archives: News

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San Francisco Chronicle Keen to Transform Traditional Reporters into Digital Storytellers

Audrey Cooper pays a visit to USF to discuss how the paper is building a legacy

The San Francisco Chronicle is eager to attract new readers in the digital age. Their goal is to become a digital media site that happens to produce a newspaper, explained Audrey Cooper, 36, the first woman and the youngest person to fill the role of  managing editor at the 150-year-old newspaper.

Cooper is known for spearheading the “incubator,” a training process that aimed to transform the Chronicle’s employees into digital storytellers by teaching them to use multimedia and digital tools. “Never before has it become more important to have reliable sources of news, but we have to work to reach readers on their preferred platform.”

cooper_audrey The Chronicle’s office in the South of Market area is a stone’s throw away from Twitter, LinkedIn, and other tech companies, and there’s no reason to disregard that, Cooper pointed out. The incubator seems to be inspired by the kind of innovation that lead to economic success for these tech giants. “Nowhere are we better positioned to do that than in San Francisco, one of the most digitally advanced and sophisticated areas on the planet.”

In response to what skills are becoming more valuable in the industry today, Cooper said she’d hire a reporter on the spot if they knew how to code an interactive graphic or analyze databases from a journalistic perspective.

Journalism Professor J. Michael Robertson, who organized the talk, said that he appreciated Cooper’s approach. “If I was a student, the lesson I would take away is to get some basic software and play around with it and don’t be self conscious about not being the ultimate expert.”

Cooper, a Kansas City native, graduated from Boston University magna cum laude with a B.S. in journalism and a separate B.A. in political science, and she has a concentration in counterculture history and activism, which she said was very useful for her San Francisco Journalism career.

“Like many students, I was also pretty poor — I had four jobs and internships at one point my senior year,” Cooper said in an email exchange with the Foghorn. In college, she waited tables, interned at the State House, interned at a newspaper, and worked as a resident assistant. “Graduation and getting a real job was comparatively easy.”

Before taking the reins as managing editor, Cooper worked as the Chronicle’s City Editor. Her newsroom won awards for their coverage of the San Bruno pipeline explosion caused by safety failures at Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; the new Bay Bridge’s potentially disastrous construction flaws, and the years-long fight for gay marriage.

Shianne Motter, a sophomore media studies student said that Cooper’s talk was filled with useful information for modern day hopeful journalists. “I left the talk inspired to take a web design or coding class or maybe even pick something of the sort as a minor.”

(Photo by Matt Miller)

Human Rights Film Festival Sheds Light on Abductions

Staff writer Michelle Doyle visits Human Rights Film Festival to report on “Rosario” film

    Rosario Ibarra was in her forties when her son, Jesus Ibarra, a medical student, was abducted by the Mexican government after joining a guerilla group to fight for the dispossessed in 1975. This is the event that Ibarra says “gave birth” to her political career in Mexico.

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What’s Happening in April?

National Poetry Month

By: Madeline Vanden Branden

    Get your notebook, cup of black coffee and start writing – April is National Poetry Month! Poetry isn’t dead; it is alive and well on USF’s campus, and reverberates rythmically within the student body. Professer Dean Rader of USF’s English department, and a published poet himself, explains how poetry is relevant to USF students, and why he loves National Poetry Month:

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USF Lights It Up Blue for Autism

USF’s Kalmanovitz Hall beamed blue last Wednesday April 2 in honor of the seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Speaks’ widely celebrated “Light It Up Blue” campaign.

The blue lights symbolize USF’s support of autism awareness and education as means of creating better understanding about a disorder which affects one in 68 children in the U.S.

The USF chapter of Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization for autism research and education, is dedicated to bringing awareness of autism to the community.

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Pre-Combat Inspections

ROTC students prepare for a weekend of nighttime missions and 5 a.m. wake-up calls

    The USF Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) is gearing up for the big show.

Students in ROTC will soon tackle spring semester’s Combined Field Training Exercises (CFTX), a biannual, three-day-long event where cadets demonstrate and practice the military specific skill set they developed concurrently with university curricular at USF. Next week they go, this week is prep.

Ask Captain Michael Pasquale — acting cadre or training officer at USF ROTC and veteran of the US Army’s actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq — and he will tell you that much of ROTC is preparation followed by examination. He explained that cadets are currently reviewing field-procedures and undergoing Pre-Combat Inspection (PCI) in anticipation of next week’s CFTX.

Military Science (MS) courses teach cadets lessons in the theory and practice of military concepts. CPT Pasquale said this week’s lesson taught cadets to administer first aid, so that if any injuries occur in next week’s training exercises, cadets will be able to self-administer aid.

Cadets also learned how to deal with both hot and cold weather injuries, both of which they may encounter in the upcoming exercise. The operation order, a memorandum cataloging the necessary preparations and expected conditions of CFTX, predicts temperatures will vary by as much as forty degrees.

Unlike the typical college student, whose advancement throughout university is acknowledged with the titles of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior, the ROTC cadet is referred to in concordance with his completed level of MS training.

MS III’s, shorthand for third year cadets,  spend six weeks taking part in the Leader Development and Assessment Course, yet another valuation of a cadet’s future potential as an officer.

Cadet Major Joseph Wyatt, a senior media studies major, was an MS III when his performance in last summer’s Leaders Training Course earned him a rating of overall E. According to the US Army Leadership Development handbook this puts Wyatt in the top 8th percentile of those who complete the course.

One of Cadet Wyatt’s responsibilities is to oversee his fellow cadets assembling makeshift shelters known as hooches. “The hooch,” he explained, “is made by fastening a tarp with tent stakes.”

Staff Sergeant Brian Park, MS III, stood stoically at attention while superiors examined his field pack for preparedness as part of ROTC’s Pre-Combat Inspection (PCI), last Friday afternoon. Photo by Joe Isaac/Foghorn

Staff Sergeant Brian Park, MS III, stood stoically at attention while superiors examined his field pack for preparedness as part of ROTC’s Pre-Combat Inspection (PCI), last Friday afternoon. Photo by Joe Isaac/Foghorn.

Making a hooch is nothing new to Cadet Staff Sergeant Brian Park, a political science major, stoically stood at attention as his field pack was thoroughly scrutinized by Cadet Battalion Commander Elliott  and Cadet Sergeant Major Wing. While his superior officers rifled through the contents of his pack, including the cadet’s blanket, sunglasses, and spare socks, he appeared tense.

Moments after the inspection was finished, Cadet Park, now at ease, explained the necessity of such attention to detail.

Cadet Park told how during PCI, cadets must examine every item of their field pack in order to ensure that equipment will not fail when most needed. He said the cadets would be overnighting in their sleeping bags, officially referred to as Army Modular Sleep Systems, which were essential items to protect against the projected 44 degree nighttime weather conditions at Fort Hunter Liggett, where CFTX takes place this year.

Though only so much preparation can be done for CFTX, where USF cadets will be expected coordinate their efforts with unfamiliar cadets from three other universities. Cadet Park for one looks forward to the experience.

“You get to meet people you never would have met before… the beauty is when you come together.”