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Society of Professional Journalists Meeting
Tuesday, 6:00-7:30
Rebecca Skloot Lecture

Science Journalism To Pay J-School a Visit

Journalist and author Rebecca Skloot will speak to students about the growing field of science writing.
story Bridget Mallon

A bestselling author and science journalist will give a presentation to “We’re getting to the point where science journalism is now hard
SPJ members and any other interested students today in Scripps 111 about journalism,” Bowman-Henderson said. “The public needs to be made
science reporting and the process behind writing her book. aware of the scientific nuances and technological advances of today.”
Today from 6-7:30 p.m., SPJ, the English department and the Honors In addition to covering science writing, Skloot’s presentation will
Tutorial College journalism department will host Rebecca Skloot, the focus on her new nonfiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta
author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Lacks, which currently holds the third spot on The New York Times
“I hope students walk away from this presentation not seeing science nonfiction bestseller list.
journalism as a niche field of reporting,” SPJ President Ian Bowman- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of the woman,
Henderson said, “but as a fundamental discipline that they should be Henrietta Lacks, who contributed the world’s first “immortal” cells.
familiar with in order to be a complete, well-rounded journalist.” These “HeLa” cells, as they’ve been named by scientists, were taken
Skloot has worked as a science journalist for years, contributing to from Lacks’ cervix right before she died from cervical cancer and
publications such as The New York Times Magazine; O, The Oprah grown so they continuously created new cells.
Magazine and The Columbia Journalism Review. Skloot also has worked HeLa cells have contributed to some of the most groundbreaking
as a correspondent for RadioLab, a science-based broadcast on NPR. She scientific discoveries of the past 60 years. They have been used to create
is currently a contributing editor for Popular Science magazine. the polio vaccine, garner a greater understanding of cancer and discover
Bernhard Debatin, the director of studies for the HTC journalism the effects atomic bombs have on humans. The cells also led to the
department, believes it is important for journalism students to learn about discovery of in vitro fertilization.
science writing. The cells taken from Henrietta Lacks have been sold by the billions
Journalists today live in a “techno-scientific” world, Debatin said – they and have garnered millions of dollars in sales. However, Henrietta
use technology like iPods every day without completely understanding Lacks remained anonymous for years, and her family saw none of the
the technology and science behind it. money earned through the sale of her cells.
“Science journalists have a duty to translate technological and scientific Skloot’s book focuses on the woman behind the HeLa cells, the effect
developments so people better understand what those developments mean the sale of her cells has had on her family and the science behind the
for society,” Debatin said. cells themselves.
All students will benefit from Skloot’s talk, not just those interested in “The legal and medical ethics issues brought up in Skloot’s book
science writing. The process of science journalism is not that different fascinate audiences,” said Dinty Moore, English professor and director
from other journalistic specializations, so the talk will be relevant to all of creative writing.
journalism students, Debatin said. Skloot will speak about the book and the process of researching the
“Science journalists need to know more about the scientific method,” book in today’s presentation.
Debatin said, “She worked on the book for over ten years and changed publishers
“but they still three times,” Debatin said. “The process behind writing this book was a
need to be lengthy one.”

Inside Inc.
inquisitive, Regardless of background, anyone can relate to The Immortal Life of
be open, be Henrietta Lacks and the issues it raises.
prepared “There is a very compelling human story in this book,” Moore
really well and said, “and it has been reaching people whether they have a science
understand who background or not.”
Page 2: How to Approach a Prof to interview and
what questions
After her talk, Rebecca Skloot will conduct a Q&A with the students
in attendance. “I hope it brings about a lively discussion,” Debatin said.
Page 3: Internship Info to ask.”
Skloot will also conduct a book signing at the end of the presentation.
Bowman-Henderson hopes students walk away a more comprehensive
Henderson also understanding of the importance of science writing.
Page 4: From an Alumnus believes science “Science journalism increasingly serves the public good as well as
reporting should political journalism,” Bowman-Henderson said.
Page 5: From an Exec be embraced by
more journalism
The presentation and book signing will take place today from 6:00 to
7:30 in Scripps 111. All interested students are invited to attend. n
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Society of Professional Journalists COMMENTARY
How To: Approach a Professor with a Question
story Maxwell Morrone Cothrel

Even the friendliest professor can be a little intimidating at times. “Questions…are always welcome if it is clear that genuine interest and
When a difficult question arises, finding the right way to ask is tricky. quest for knowledge is the driving force. They are less welcome if they
Whether you ask by e-mail, after class or during office hours, you demonstrate a student’s inability or unwillingness to do the footwork
should exhibit specific characteristics in asking your question so that they could do easily themselves,” Debatin said.
professors will want to give you a prompt, friendly answer. You can es- But there is more to asking a question than good manners. Consider
tablish yourself as a mature, respectable student by following these tips. the complexity your question when you decide when and where to ask a
Journalism professors Hans Meyer and Bernhard Debatin offered their professor.
advice on the topic. Just like students, professors are ready to leave when class is over, so
1. Be proactive: Exhibiting a positive attitude is a good way to show a it’s best to ask only the easiest, simplest questions after class. This is also
professor you are a serious student. A polite smile in person or courteous a great way to help a professor put a face with a name if you intend to
greeting via e-mail will show the professor that you know you are using follow up the question.
his or her time. Once that understanding is established, there’s a good A professor has more control when you ask a question through e-mail.
chance the professor will be happy to use some of that time to help you. It is a great way to follow up something you asked after class. It also
2. Be respectful, not demanding: The fact that a professor is paid to gives the professor a way to prepare an answer. Simple questions can
teach does not mean it is his duty to interact with disrespectful students. work well in this format, but e-mail also can be a valuable tool to start
Show a professor the same respect you would want to be shown. Much a dialogue and set up an appointment to talk about something more
like being proactive, being respectful will demonstrate to the professor complex.
you are a serious student with a legitimate question. Demanding answers “It’s easy for me to answer an e-mail as long as it’s not too compli-
will only serve to show the professor that you do not respect him or his cated,” Meyer said.
class enough to be personable. The most complicated questions should be saved for office hours or
3. Ask simple, specific questions: Straightforward questions are easier by appointment. It is courteous to contact a professor by e-mail or after
for professors to answer. People are more likely to do something if it’s class before you show up, especially if you have a difficult question.
convenient. Know what you want to ask a professor before you make While these tips are general guidelines for contacting professors, it is
contact. If you are prepared, it’s another way of showing the professor important to remember they are not infallible. Every professor is human
that you are a serious student who pays attention in class. and has bad days during which the last thing they may want is a student
4. Don’t ask questions you can find the answer to yourself: Be sure pestering them.
to check the syllabus and even Google before you go to a professor. Just remember to be friendly, and you should get an answer. n

Editor Cameron Glover’s Photos from Mexico

This past Saturday, the Ohio University group traveled to the city of Celestún (less We ate at a famous seafood and beachfront restaurant in Celestún called La Palapa.
than a two-hour bus ride from Mérida) where groups of six jumped into small boats This just happened to be the view from our table. Celestún was our last big excur-
and ventured through the water for an hour. We saw hundreds of pink flamingos and sion of the quarter, and it most certainly was a great ending.
white pelicans and also tried very hard to find an alligator – without any luck.
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Society of Professional Journalists

Industrial Manufacturer Searches For Media Intern

Eaton Corporation offers students a non-traditional opportunity to gain public relations and writing experience.
story Rebecca McKinsey
l listings Graylyn Roose

Students can explore journalism in a corporate environment through in a corporate atmosphere. In return, she said, Eaton will provide that
Eaton Corporation’s summer internship program. student with valuable insight for the future.
Eaton Corporation is a industrial manufacturer whose corporate “It will offer them the opportunity to see if they like a corporate
headquarters are located in Cleveland. environment – if that’s something of interest to them going forward as
“We make products that help customers use their power more efficiently, they look at what they’re doing after school,” she said.
effectively and safely,” said Kelly Jasko, internship coordinator and Eaton’s intern will walk away at the summer’s end with a folder full
manager of external communications at Eaton Corporation. of clips.
The company is looking for a student studying journalism, communications “This is definitely an organization that will give an intern a really good
or public relations to serve as a summer intern. This student will perform portfolio,” Jasko said. “There are all sorts of writing opportunities.”
various media tasks for the organization. These might include writing The internship is approximately 30 hours a week during the summer,
press releases, conducting media research, developing media lists, and days and hours are flexible. The intern will be paid $15 an hour in
evaluating press clips and updating Web-based content. Events that might addition to parking. Applicants should have advanced writing, spelling
take place during the internship – acquisitions, event planning and press and punctuation skills, be familiar with Microsoft Office and be able to
conferences – could involve the intern as well, Jasko said. work without much supervision.
This internship could offer experience to students interested in Freshman to juniors are encouraged to apply, Jasko said; recent grads are
international journalism as well. Eaton’s external communications discouraged from applying. Previous internship experience is preferred
department extends outside of the United States; an intern could be given but not required, she added.
the opportunity to interact with the company’s communications managers Interested students should send a resume, cover letter and three
around the world, Jasko said. references to Kelly Jasko, Eaton Corporation, 1111 Superior Avenue,
Professionalism is vital for this position, Jasko said. The company is Cleveland, Ohio 44114 or The deadline to apply
seeking a student who is mature and able to work and interact comfortably is March 15. n

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Society of Professional Journalists PROFESSIONAL
Sports Writer Catches Up With Scripps Experience
Scripps alum Anthony Castrovince discusses networking, The Junction and writing about sports.
interview Rebecca McKinsey
all your friends are within a few blocks of each other.
Inc: What year did you graduate, and what was your major and Inc: What’s one thing you miss about Athens?
sequence? Castrovince: You know that little corner in The Junction, with the table
Castrovince: I graduated in 2003, majoring in the Scripps school’s news- and the bench seating, tucked away from the crowd? I miss that. That’s
writing and editing sequence. I also minored in English. my corner.
Inc: What’s been keeping you busy since graduation? Inc: What types of things were you involved in around campus?
Castrovince: After working for a couple newspapers after graduation, I Why should students participate in activities outside the classroom?
latched on with, the official Web Castrovince: I wrote for The Post for two years and
site of Major League baseball, as the beat the Messenger for another two. I also volunteered
writer for the Cincinnati Reds in 2005.
I have been covering the Cleveland In-
TV and radio hits, at some campus functions, including commence-
ment. The experiences outside the classroom often
dians since 2006. Baseball season, which as well as the social stick with you longer than anything.
never really ends, keeps me extremely Inc: What is something students should be sure
media aspects of the

busy. But I still manage to make it down to do while they’re here?
to OU at least once a year, for old time’s
job through blogging Castrovince: You don’t have to be a stoner to
appreciate the incredible view of campus from so-
Inc: How would you say Scripps pre- and Tweeting, are as called “Bong Hill.” Definitely check it out.
pared you for your work after you left Inc: Is there anything you didn’t do while you
OU? important as anything were here that you wish you had?
Castrovince: Beyond the education I
received in the classroom, the Scripps
else I do. Castrovince: Diversified my studies a bit more,
rather than concentrating areas that most naturally
connection went a long way toward my interested me. And it definitely would have been
landing several worthwhile internships, in my best interest to study more Spanish.
including the internship with that eventually paved the way Inc: What do you remember most about the transition from Winter
toward my current job. Quarter to Spring Quarter?
Inc: What was something that surprised you Castrovince: Everything starts to happen. Life is in
or that was unexpected when you entered full bloom. I actually graduated a quarter early and
the workforce? stuck around for Spring Quarter, because there’s
Castrovince: The sheer difficulty of landing a job nothing like spring in Athens.
where I felt secure and content. The job market Inc: What advice would you give to journalism
has only grown more difficult in the time since I students today?
graduated, and I sympathize with those entering Castrovince: Branch out as much as possible. Don’t
the workforce today. It’s a tough climate. limit yourself to your particular sequence. My job
Inc: What are some of your best memories of is a perfect example of what modern journalism
being a Scripps student? amounts to. I might have studied to be a writer,
Castrovince: Journalism nerd that I am, I loved but TV and radio hits, as well as the social media
sitting in Lasher and reading newspapers from all aspects of the job through blogging and Twittering,
over the country. I also remember getting a call at are as important as anything else I do. So it’s impor-
about 1 a.m. from Dru Riley Evarts, while I was laying out pages at the tant to do everything in your power to be the total package.
Athens Messenger. I had e-mailed her a project I was working on, and Inc: Is there one specific thing journalism students have to do if they
she had read it over and called with some thoughts. I repeat: It must have want to be successful in the field today?
been 1 in the morning. She was still working. She was (and, I’m sure, Castrovince: Network. Make as many contacts as you possibly can,
still is) indefatigable. because you never know who is going to help you get where you want to
Inc: Best memories of OU in general? get in your career.
Castrovince: You don’t have enough space, unfortunately. It’s the place Inc: Any final thoughts?
where I found my footing in life and began many friendships that will Castrovince: To all current students at OU, drink in every day like a fine
last a lifetime. And it was pretty special to live in this little bubble where wine. And go Bobcats. n
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ApublicationoftheOhioUniversity COMMENTARY
Society of Professional Journalists

Journalistic Inadequacy Prompts Renewed Zeal
SPJ executive board member Gina Mussio talks about her plan for 40 days of journalistic revitalization.

column Gina Mussio


As a freshman journalism major, I came to Ohio University thrilled Instead of feeling bad about myself and disheartened about the dif-
to finally begin taking classes in something that pertains to my goals in ficulties of my major, however, I’ve decided to meet it head-on and work
life. Finally I could begin to study what I love, write for real publica- to renew my interest. I resolved to do something journalism-related
tions and do all the other cool things that real-live journalists do. College every day for the 40 days of Lent. This declaration is not very strict; it’s
forces change in every facet; between a new home, new school and new just a promise to take time out of each day to focus on only journalism.
friends, there is a lot to learn. After a Fall Quarter spent acclimating to On some days, I update my blog; on others, I have an actual task such as
my new surroundings and responsibilities, I thought I would return to writing a column for Inc. or helping to copy edit for publication. Some-
school full-throttle – with straight As, an article a week and renewed times it may be something as simple and insignificant as giving myself
focus in the journalism organizations I’ve joined. Instead of feeling moti- time to read an in-depth article in Time or a feature in Esquire. I try to
vated by the challenge and energized by the new quarter, however, I find respect the awe I have for these writers rather than cry, because I know
that I simply feel discouraged. I’ve not even come close to their skill level.
In a highly competitive field, at a reputable college, I am surrounded So far I have yet to miss a day, though sometimes it’s been close
by amazing and accomplished journalism students. I have peers who (yes, I once counted Twitter updates as journalism-related, but it was
have completed incredible internships in New York, obtained folders for SPJ!). I can’t honestly say that I feel a hundred percent renewed
of usable clips and are already with confidence, but what I have

applying for editorial positions done is renewed my passion for
around campus. I know students journalism. With an obvious
who compromise respectable It is important for my confidence, sanity goal, such as at least five minutes
grades to be published. They live of journalism a day, I’ve found
at The Post or WOUB, devoting and sleep schedule that I stop comparing myself more motivated to take on
all their time – short of bath- myself to others and instead do everything journalism projects and actively
ing and eating – to journalism. work to improve myself – News
These are the students who will that I can to improve my own journalism. Writing class or not.
stay up until 3:00 a.m. to finish Ultimately, the most important
everything and wake up again by thing I’ve come to realize is that
8:00 a.m. I am not alone. With the prospect
I, on the other hand, am not one of those students. I am the only of few positions in their “dream job,” student journalists are bound to get
journalism student I know who faithfully sticks to an eight-hour sleep discouraged every once in awhile. Although I am constantly surrounded
schedule – or more, if I’m lucky. I am searching for the campus publica- by impressive student journalists, there are plenty more who are doing
tion that fits me best, but my classes and homework still come first, very little to boost their skills or resume. It is important for my confi-
something that seems a rarity in the J-school. I do not have many clips dence, sanity and sleep schedule that I stop comparing myself to others
yet, and my writing doesn’t always come naturally. and instead do everything I can to improve my
Never in my life have I been “behind,” yet here, own journalism. Believe it or not, sometimes
without previous work at a high-school publication, that means allowing eight hours of sleep. n
many clips or an internship to speak of, I feel as if
I’m constantly playing catch-up. Have a comment about what you
In an effort to turn this around and improve my read in Inc? Contact the editors!
writing, I made up my mind to take News Writing
this Spring Quarter. When I mentioned this to my
advisor and expressed my worry that I wouldn’t get -Rebecca McKinsey
in, I was told that as a freshman I should consider
myself lucky to even have the chance. Maybe it’s
just me, but that seems a little backward. It seems as -Cameron Glover
though a class that teaches something as basic and
imperative to our profession would be offered, or -Graylyn Roose
even required, during the first year of college.