Young Marriage

Stephanie Sinclair is a journalist who studies child marriages. Here is an interesting and sad story that I found narrated by Sinclair on The Economist about child marriages, and it touches on other issues that are the cause and effect of child marriages. Many of the photos put a face to these stories that too often seem distant from our reality.


December 16, 2010 at 4:42 am Leave a comment

Straight-to-the-point stories

With hard news stories, like crimes or car/ plane crashes, often a staight-to-the-point story is required. (Note: This story was written based off of a prompt, and is not based on a true story.)


12-year-old Lands Plane Safely

By Katherine Wise

A 12-year-old girl quickly became a pilot in order to save her family’s lives.

Alyssa Shanahan took control of a Mooney Executive 21 aircraft when her father and the pilot of the plane, James Shanahan, went unconscious behind the controls. She landed the plane with no casualties or serious injuries.

“I just wanted to get on the ground and get help for him,” Alyssa said.

Adrienne Shanahan, James’s’ other daughter, and Mary Shanahan, his wife, were the other passengers aboard the four-passenger aircraft.  They were traveling from Grand Rapids, Mich.

James Shanahan is a licensed pilot who had been flying for 30 years with no problems. But according to Mary, James began feeling dizzy and unable to catch his breath during the flight.

The police said that Shanahan lost consciousness as he was about to contact the tower to request an emergency landing.

“There was nothing I could do,” Mary said. “I couldn’t reach the controls. And even if I could have, I don’t think I could have helped because I never learned how to fly.”

Alyssa was sitting next to her father when he went unconscious. She quickly removed his arms from the controls and his feet from the rudder pedals to take over.

“I’ve been flying with my Daddy since I was a little girl.” Alyssa said. “He taught me all about flying and even let me handle the controls sometimes.”

Peter Jacobs, the control tower manager, contacted the plane when it began to wander off course.

“The girl I talked to on the radio told me the pilot was having problem,” Jacobs said. “I could hear passengers screaming in the background.”

Jacobs directed other aircrafts away from the airport. He stayed in contact with Alyssa and gave her instructions on what to do.

Alyssa located Burlington Regional Airport. When landing, the plane overshot the runway, skidded through an open field and plowed though a fence, coming to a stop 10 feet from the northbound lane of Interstate 51 at 4:05 p.m., police said.

“They were very fortunate,” said Burlington Fire Chief Tony Sullivan. “It could have been much worse than it was.”

No one on the ground was injured. James was admitted to Mercy Hospital, where doctors determined he had an allergic reaction to a prescription medication he began taking that morning. He’s now in satisfactory condition.

Mary had a broken wrist and a cut on her forehead. Adrienne suffered minor cuts and bruises, and Alyssa was not injured.

“I was a little scared because I couldn’t reach the rudder pedals very well,” Alyssa said. “But I couldn’t be too scared because I want to be a pilot like my Daddy someday.”





December 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm Leave a comment

Building Relationships to End Genocide

Carl Wilkens, the only American to stay in Rwanda during the genocide in 1994, came to speak at Elon earlier this year. He talked of ways to stand up against genocide; one main point was by building relationships with “the other”, or people who may seem at first different than you.

Read the Broadcast Script I wrote about it here:


Key:  Building Relationships to prevent Genocide

Reporter: Katherine Wise

Bob Smith (Media Writing News)

Carl Wilkens spoke at Elon University earlier this evening about what steps can be taken to prevent genocide. here’s katherine wise with the story.

Katherine Wise (Media Writing News)

Carl Wilkens believes that one key point in preventing genocide is to create relationships and broaden an understanding of people who come from different backgrounds. The world outside my shoes, a non-profit organization established by him and his wife Teresa, shares this focus.

Carl Wilkens (Humanitarian Aide Worker)

To respond to genocide, we have to eradicate the concept of the other.

Katherine Wise (Media Writing News)

Wilkens knows first hand about genocides … he was one of ten foreigners, and the only American, who stayed in Rwanda during the genocide in 19-94. He was living there with his wife and his three kids, working with a church group.

Carl Wilkens (Humanitarian Aide Worker)

We were there to build schools, and one day we woke up to gun shots.

Katherine Wise (Media Writing News)

Wilkens refused to leave Rwanda during the three-month genocide, despite many people encouraging him to do so.

He watched as foreign governments came to rescue all of the white citizens of their own country, but left without providing aide to Rwandan citizens.

Carl Wilkens (Humanitarian Aide Worker)

I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of how we lost 800,000 or more people, Hutu and Tutsi people, thousands of peoples murdered at this time, and it could have been stopped.

Katherine Wise (Media Writing News)

He believes personal interaction with others can help End genocide.

Carl Wilkens (Humanitarian Aide Worker)

It’s going to be stopped when we recognize that relationships can stop it.

Katherine wise (media writing news)

Wilkens mentioned his neighbors in Rwanda. his kids and Their kids were friends. When military groups came to the Wilkens’ house, their neighbors came and stood between them and the american family inside.

Carl Wilkens (Humanitarian Aide Worker)

They didn’t come out there armed with guns, they didn’t come out there armed with machetes. they came out there with stories.

Katherine Wise (Media Writing News)

The neighbors told the military: you can’t go in there, because their kids play with our kids.

Carl Wilkens (Humanitarian Aide Worker)

The story won’t always, but it has the potential to, re-humanize the situation

Katherine Wise (Media Writing News)

In Carl WilkEns’ opinion, storytelling and other means of relationship building will help people understand each other more, which Could lead to peace. He promotes this philosophy through World Outside My Shoes, which educates people about genocide.

Katherine Wise, Media Writing News, Tonight.

Bob Smith (Media Writing News)

Elon was one of many universities that Wilkens has visited with World Outside My Shoes.  You can visit the N-G-O’s website at world-outside-my-shoes dot org to find more information.


December 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Broadcast Scripts: Brief, Breezy,Bites

For a taste of another type of writing, check out Broadcast Writing. It is normally written in CAPS so that the anchor is able to read it on the teleprompter, however, I changed it to a online reader-friendly font.


KEY: Elon Community heads Elsewhere for Halloween

REPORTER: Katherine Wise


Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                               The 31st of October is approaching, and you know what that means. It’s time once again to pull out the costumes, candy corn, and caramel apples.

Halloween is in two days, yet Festivities have already begun.

Karin Yarnell (Sophomore at Elon University)                                                                        We had pumpkin carving at my dorm.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                    Halloween is celebrated on the last day of October each month. It comes from a mix of ancient celtic practices and Catholic, Roman and European flok traditions. The holiday now is a blending of all. It has been thought of as a day when the dead can return to earth, and therefore often has a spooky vibe to it. These days, however, it’s more about fun, candy and traditions.

Both on Elon University’s campus and around the commmunity, decorations have gone up, and the festivities have started.

But the holiday is spooking some Elon students and community residents away from town. In fact, some folks head to other universities.

Stacey Crutchfield (Freshman at Elon University)                                                              Me and my best friend are going to go to East Carolina University.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                          Others make their way to their hometown.

Karin Yarnell (Sophomore at Elon University)                                                                    I’m going with my friend from home since we haven’t celebrated Halloween with them in two years.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                            Elon University is hosting events to try and excite for the scary day.

But it’s not enough to beat the lure of holiday festivities at other places.

Theron Mark (Employee at Kangaroo Express)                                                                       I think most people leave. I have seen a lot of Elon students at Franklin Street.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                       Franklin Street is next to U-N-C Chapel Hill’s campus. Theron Mark says it is a popular destination for Halloween for him and his friends.

Theron Mark (Employee at Kangaroo Express)                                                                  It’s a party out there. Thousands of people are in costumes.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                         Whether at Elon or away, teens and adults still enjoy celebrating the holiday that many people tend to associate with younger children.

Theron Mark (Employee at Kangaroo Express)                                                                    It’s always going to be fun for me.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                            Some still keep up traditions from their previous Halloweens. Trick-or-treating is one tradition, practiced mostly by children, where people dressed in outfits ranging from witches to princesses to superheros go knocking on doors asking for candy.

Karin Yarnell (Sophomore at Elon University)                                                                      I’m going trick-or-treating in my old neighborhood. I mean… free candy.

Stacey Crutchfield (Freshman at Elon University)                                                                   I always carve a pumpkin for Halloween.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                 Crutchfield says that her R-A, or resident assistant, had a contest to encourage people to decorate their dorm’s hall.

Stacey Crutchfield (Freshman at Elon University)                                                          Some people put spider web stuff on their door, and lights.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                                But Stacey also said that Halloween seemed like a bigger holiday in the past.

Stacey Crutchfield (Freshman at Elon University)                                                                    I think I celebrated it more at home. At home, we had a lot more decorations.

Katherine Wise (ELON NEWS)                                                                                        Whether it’s through decorating, pumpkin-carving, trick-or-treating, eating candy, away from Elon or not, the holiday of ghosts and goblins is not going unnoticed or uncelebrated.




December 12, 2010 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment

Going Green in the Dining Halls

For a Media Writing assignment, I did a feature story about how Elon’s dinning halls are becoming sustainable.

Check it out:


Dinning Halls Evolve to Go Green

By: Katherine Wise

Elon dinning halls are not just about grabbing a bite to eat.

In the past five years, much effort has gone

into making the cafeterias and restaurants on the university’s campus more environmentally friendly. From multiple angles, Elon has taken steps to becoming green in the kitchens, including going tray-less in 2007.

“We were one of the first universities to do so,” said Ryan Moore, the food service director who is in charge of sustainable efforts on campus. He is employed by ARAMARK, the food service providers at Elon University.

The sustainable implications for the step were two-fold: Less food was wasted, and less energy and water were spent washing trays.

“Your eyes are bigger than your stomach,” said Lauren Hoerr, an environmental studies and sociology double major who is also a member of the Eco Representatives. “Without the trays, people take less food. It reduced energy waste with [not needing to clean] the trays.”

According to Hoerr, there was a 25-to-30 percent reduction in food waste per person after trays were removed.

Hoerr works with Eco Representatives to teach freshman classes about sustainable measures they can take at Elon, including in the dinning halls.

Two years ago, Elon reduced plastic water bottles by establishing filtered water dispensers around campus.

“That was a big initiative when we…decided to remove the bottled water from the meal plan,” said Vickie Somers, director of auxiliary services at Elon. “We had some mixed reaction the first couple of weeks, but when we explained the reason for it, I think overall we had a pretty positive reaction.”

According to Moore, the plan saved up to 200,000 plastic water bottles per year. Plastic water bottles accumulate in landfills, and are bad for the environment. The filtered water is included in the meal plan, and aluminum water bottles with the campus logo are often given out to students or made available for purchase.

The dinning halls also divert their fryer oil that is used for cooking and filter it, which expands the life of the oil, according to Moore.

Moore said that a company called EcoLogic picks up the oil and uses it as biodiesal fuel. Before that, it was fed to animals that were to be consumed, which Moore said could be bad for the consumer of the meat.

According to the Elon Dinning Services website, 100 percent of the fryer oil is recyled, which has saved more than 2,000 gallons of fryer oil.

Even taking food out of the dinning halls is turning green.

“One of the other big things that the McEwen dinning hall is trying out is a reusable to-go box,” Hoerr said.

Just starting this year, the dinning hall provides reusable boxes rather than the former Styrofoam boxes.

So what is the next step in this big plan? Front-of-the-house composting.

“Composting is basically taking food waste, organic matter, and instead of putting it in a land fill, turning it into soil that can be used in gardening,” said Eliza Gibson, the co-president for Sierra Club, an environmentally-friendly student organization. “One of the big pushes for that is because when food goes into a landfill, because everything is so compacted, it really doesn’t have any access to oxygen and won’t break down, so there’s food that has been sitting there for decades.”

Elon has been participating in composting for some time now. But it has always been a process controlled by ARAMARK employees in the back of the kitchens. This new initiative would give opportunity for students to participate in composting their food.

“If you don’t have easy access to something, students aren’t going to do it,” Gibson said.

The compost stations would be set up similarly to public trashcans, accessible to students outside of the kitchen area, in the retail section or dinning area.

“We want to be a part of the student learning experience,” said Jeff Gazda, resident district manager of dinning services. “Elon is known as an experiential leaning and service learning environment.

With students helping along the way, Elon is on its way to eating in a green environment. But their efforts won’t stop after the implementation of the front-of-the-house composting.

“Sustainability is something that is always going to be ongoing,” Somers said. “You don’t ever get to a point where you say, ‘OK, this is it. We’re accomplished this.’ You just continue to the next thing because a lot of things can’t be done in a short period of time. You have to plan for them. And there are new things coming up all the time, so it’s sort of an evolution.”

December 12, 2010 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

PR Writing: A new kind of Style

Through my Media Writing course this year, we have experimented with various forms of Communications writing.

We did a number of Press Releases to practice. The style is different in layout and format, but also in the content. Press Releases focus more on representing the company you are writing for than informing the public.

Here is an example of my work:


For more information, contact:

Katherine Wise

Elon University Student Government Association



ELON’S SGA LAUNCHES Adopt-A-Street program

Elon University’s Student Government Association will be working with members of the community to help clean up and beautify the community and the campus with the brand new Adopt-A-Street program. The program is the latest volunteer service project by members of the university community, including students, faculty and staff.

The first cleanup project is planned for sometime in the fall semester and will involve basic cleanup and leaf raking in selected areas, including Richard Avenue, High Street, Fort Street, Britton Road, Queen Street, Burd Street, Earl Street, Prince Street, King Street, Martin Avenue, Middle Spring Avenue, Orange Street, Fayette Street, Morris Street and Washington Street. Cleanup projects will also be assigned to groups for the spring semester to remove debris left from the winter months.

More than 600 students from 18 on-campus organizations are involved, including the Greek Affairs Council, the Resident Halls Association, the Student Senate, the Criminal Justice Club, ROTC, the Public Relations Student Society of America and the Women’s Caucus.

Members of the program meet at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays in Room 210 of the university’s student union building to plan projects and coordinate cleanup schedules. The university is still looking for volunteers from both the community and the university.

The hours of volunteering at Elon University are already high.  Students participate in 10,000 hours of service, and the faculty and staff are involved in several thousand more. This program will raise those numbers.

For more information, contact the Student Government Association through the university’s student affairs office at 555-1111.

December 12, 2010 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Campus Kitchen

Recently, I was accepted into the position of Cooking Shift Leader of the chapter of Campus Kitchen at Elon University (abbreviated CKEU). The chapter is brand new at Elon.I am so thrilled to involve a hobby I love (cooking) into a world-wide issue that I am motivated to assist (hunger). After training and certification, I will lead groups of volunteers in the kitchen, making the recipes that I create from the food donated to the organization. The neat thing is that we use the food from on-campus dinning facilities that otherwise would be wasted.

Delivery Shift Leaders then take the cooked meals to the location of the donation. (Many times, it will be Allied Churches, a local shelter.)

If you are a college student, look into whether or not your school has this program, and consider getting involved.

October 28, 2010 at 3:04 am 1 comment

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