Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blogging in the Army

Yesterday on the radio show Here and Now, there was an interview with Alex Horton, a soldier who kept a blog entitled "Army of Dude" during his fifteen months of service in Iraq.  He continued the blog after he returned to the United States, and many of his posts described his frustrations as he dealt with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

His work led the VA to hire him as part of their new media outreach.  Now Horton writes for the official blog for the VA.  In the interview, he describes what this shift has meant for him as a writer, reporter, and blogger.

As with our journalism students, Horton writes about the organization for which he works.  His insights could offer us some good points for discussion in the fall.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Journalist in Libya

On Friday, Public Radio International's The World had an interview with James Foley.  In April, Foley, a journalist for The Global Post, was attacked along with several other international journalists; he was then held captive for six weeks before he was released.

In the attack, a journalist from South Africa, Anton Hammerl, was injured.  Even at this time, his whereabouts and status are unknown.  Foley explains in his interview that Hammerl was left behind when their attackers took them away.

In his interview, Foley describes the time he spent in his cell with Clare Gillis, another journalist.  They prayed together and spoke through an electrical outlet with another American who is being held captive.  This man, explained Foley, had a strong faith and passed Scripture to them through the outlet.

On this Memorial Day as we remember all those soldiers who gave their lives, let us also remember the journalists and photographers who are in danger around the world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

New Public Relations Link

I have added a new link under Public Relations in the list of useful links to the right.  The Public Relations Toolkit was recommended by one of our practicum students, Br. Peter Tynan.  It has an abundance of materials that the journalism students can explore in the fall when we discuss public relations at the beginning of the semester.

Thank you, Br. Peter, for the recommendation!

If you would like to subscribe to our journalism blog by email, click on the link at the top of the page on the right.  Pax!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Revised Journalism Syllabus

The revised syllabus for the journalism course in the fall is now posted on the above page marked "Journalism Course."  Please visit it for details about the readings, writing assignments, and activities for the fall.

Students, faculty and staff, and friends of the seminary are welcome to submit story ideas for our students.  Contact Sister Hilda at Hilda.Kleiman@mtangel.edu.

You may also sign up to follow our blog by email by clicking on the link on the right under "Receive MAS Journalism Updates."

Enjoy these pictures of the hilltop this morning:

It's a wet but lovely morning on the walk toward the Abbey Church.

A misty view of the Willamette Valley from the east side of the hill.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Covering Spiritual Formation

Formation at Mount Angel Seminary includes four pillars: human formation, academic formation, spiritual formation, and pastoral formation.  Of the four pillars, spiritual formation may be the most difficult for a journalism student to cover.  Due to its confidential and personal nature, spiritual formation is not as easily accessible as the other pillars.

Icon in the Reconciliation Chapel of the Abbey Church
However, we can use some of the icons and other artwork on the hill to reveal some of the process of spiritual formation.  The above icon is seen by a penitent when he or she enters to reconciliation chapel of the Abbey Church. 

Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews
 Why is this an appropriate icon for the reconciliation chapel?  Who wrote the icon?  How do those who use the chapel respond to it?  Investigating these questions can help explain the use of the chapel, the nature of reconciliation, and part of spiritual formation at Mount Angel Seminary.

During the journalism course in the fall, we may continue to explore ways to effectively cover this aspect of the work of Mount Angel Seminary. 

Further detail of the figures below the crucifix.
Further detail of the figure of Jesus on the cross.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Technology Skills

As I have been working on adding a link for subscribing to our Mount Angel Seminary Journalism blog, I was reminded of this bit of advice from the blog The Technium:

You will be a newbie forever: Get good at beginner mode, learning new programs, asking dumb questions, making stupid mistakes, soliciting help, and helping others with what you learn (the best way to learn yourself).

This is a great reminder that part of life as a journalism student today is that willingness to try, fail, and try again with new formats and new technology.  It's also another way to learn patience and humility!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Subscribe to MAS Journalism

Visitors to Mount Angel Seminary Journalism may now subscribe to the blog over email by clicking on the link to the right.  Each day that we post new stories about Mount Angel Seminary, photographs, journalism resources, and story ideas, you will receive an email letting you know.   

It is a beautiful  morning at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary.

Public Relations Course Part Three

Yesterday I completed the mini public relations course I mentioned in the two previous posts.  This third section focused on media relations, and a number of points will be useful for the journalism course in the fall.

I may use this material for a couple of smaller writing assignments during the semester, one of which could be writing press releases for various events that could take place in seminary, a parish or a diocese.  The course also has a good section on compiling a list of all of the media outlets in a given area - another good step for those working in a parish to take.

Lastly, the course gave a list of other public relations resources that may appear in the new section for public relations that I've added to the right.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Public Relations Course Continued

Yesterday I did part two of the short introductory public relations course I mentioned in my previous post.  Part two covers the basics of life in a public relations agency, and while it may seem that this is not especially applicable to seminarians, I was struck by how many of the tips and pieces of advice would apply to a pastor!

One section of the course is entitled "The Devil is in the Details: Managing Your Account," and to me it sounds a lot like managing a parish or a faculty position.  We all need to prioritize our work, know how to make our work habits as productive as we can, know how to work as part of a team and when to ask for help, and know how to juggle several tasks or assignments at once.  Another section emphasizes the importance of transparency, which is also obviously key for pastors and teachers.

In some respects, the journalism class may function as a mini public relations agency for the seminary, especially given the key points covered in this short course.  I will be incorporating some of this material into our discussions in the fall as well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Public Relations Work

One of the responsibilities of our practicum students is providing additional resources for our blog.  Brother Peter Tynan provided some materials that focus on the public relations aspect of writing for Mount Angel Seminary.  These materials include the site for a short introductory public relations training program.

The training program is developed by the Council of Public Relations Firms and the PRSA Counselors Academy.  The first course includes an introduction to the work of public relations and the key audiences and influencers - those who can influence the audience with whom you want to build a good relationship.

During the journalism course in the fall, we will discuss the material from this training program and apply it to our work.  Because our work is two-fold, understanding journalism techniques and ethics, as well as contributing to the public relations work of the seminary, this will be a great addition to the course.  Thank you, Brother Peter, for the recommendation!

Friday, May 13, 2011

More Artwork at Mount Angel Seminary

This statue greets all of the seminarians and guests who enter the front doors of the Aquinas residence hall and go down the stairs to the dining room.

The statue viewed from the stairs down to the dining room.
The statue viewed from the landing between the two flights of stairs leading to the dining room.
This statue is another piece of artwork that could be a great story for our journalism students?  Who made the statue?  Why was it placed in Aquinas?  How do those who walk by it everyday respond to it?

Some details of the statue.
Any piece of artwork on the seminary campus could be a way for those interested in the seminary to learn more about the environment in which our students are educated for their future ministries.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Al Jazeera English

Under the list to the left, "More News Organizations," I have added a link for Al Jazeera English.  This organization began its work as the first independent Arab news channel twelve years ago, and now it has sixty-five bureaus around the world.  The majority of those bureaus are in the global south.

Al Jazeera now consists of a network of organizations that includes news channels, websites, and centers of study.  Their "about us" page includes information about their awards, facts and figures, and code of ethics.  For a wider perspective on news around the world, this is an excellent resource.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Artwork at Mount Angel Seminary

Our journalism students can find story ideas just walking down the hall in Anselm!  Each seminary building contains a number of pieces of artwork, including icons written by Brother Claude Lane, OSB.  This one is right inside the entrance of Anselm where it can be seen by everyone who walks in the front door.

The Baptism of the Lord
Detail of the Baptism of the Lord
While a story on the icon could include an interview with Brother Claude, it could also take a different angle.  How do the seminarians who walk by the icon every day respond to it?  How is this response different from that of visitors to the seminary?

Investigating these questions could lead to a deeper understanding of how people interact with an icon or a piece of artwork in a public setting.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Summer Reading

I have started a new section on the above page of books on journalism, a list of novels that feature journalism or journalists.

The first entry is Where You Once Belonged by Kent Haruf.  The narrator runs the newspaper for his small town in Holt County, Colorado.  I just discovered Haruf recently, and his work is wonderful.  His plain, terse style is worthy of study by our journalism students.

If you pick up Where You Once Belonged, let me know what you think!  Pax!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Conflict Photography

Last week NPR's All Things Considered featured a piece reflecting on the work of photojournalists in war zones and other areas of conflict as colleagues of Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington gathered to mourn their deaths in Libya last month.

The story considers the role of professional photojournalists at a time when images taken by amateurs are so readily available.  Those interviewed concluded that the professionals who receive and publish such images must still ensure that journalistic principles are met.

I've also added a new list for links to the left entitled "Photojournalism."  The first entry is for NPR's Picture Show.  If any of our blog readers have suggestions for additions to this list, please pass them on to me.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Got Pictures? - Seminary Graduation

If you have photos of the 2011 Graduation from Mount Angel Seminary and would like to share them with the seminary community, they can be published here on the journalism blog!

Send them to Sister Hilda at Hilda.Kleiman@mtangel.edu.  Congratulations to all of our graduates!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Few More Cowpokes

Tamara Swanson-Orr submitted some pictures from last night's festivities - Thank you!  The journalism blog welcomes additional submissions related to seminary events.  Enjoy!

Father Ralph Recker, formation director and coordinator of student services, stops at the bar for a drink.
Ladies enjoying the BBQ: Nikki Martin, secretary for pastoral formation; Sister Teresa Gould, coordinator of liturgy and music; Dr. Katherine Kirsch, associate professor of English Communications and college academic dean.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yee Haw! - The Seminary Stampede

Tonight seminarians Joe Fleming and Burt Mello hosted an event for the entire hilltop community - the Seminary Stampede!  Everyone who lives, works, and studies within the hilltop community was invited to a BBQ and end-of-the-year gathering.  The stampede began mid-afternoon and continued into the evening.  

The photos below share many of the folks who took part in the laughter, stories, and good food.  Thanks to Joe and Burt, the closing of the school year was joyfully and colorfully celebrated tonight!  Enjoy the pictures! 
Seminarians Joe Fleming and Burt Mello organized the Seminary Stampede.
Tamara Swanson-Orr, seminary business manager and immigration officer, brought her trusty steed to the table with Dr. Elaine Park, academic dean and professor of Biblical Studies.
Seminarian Greg Bronsema greeted guests at the door, but his job didn't seem to keep him out of jail!
For more pictures, click on "read more" below.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Building Community

By taking trips together and organizing and participating in community activities, the students of Mount Angel Seminary learn about giving and receiving support and fellowship.  Next year's journalism students will have many chances to share these activities through our blog and website with those who support the seminary.

Below are photographs submitted by Adam Medrano from various outings and activities during the 2010-2012 school year.  The first photo from the Oregon coast is especially beautiful - thank you, Adam!

Each year the formation faculty take the college students to the Oregon coast for the weekend, and the fellowship and prayer includes adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the beach.  Some of the students have never been to the Oregon coast or seen the ocean.
Some of the students who participated in sports activities during the Community Days in March.  For more about Community Days, click on the label for "Mat Olson" to the right and read his interview with fellow seminarian James Balajadia.
The first-year college students on an outing this spring.

Liturgy at Mount Angel Seminary

Two strengths of Mount Angel Seminary are its liturgies and its variety of ethnic communities, and these two strengths come together many times during the year. Seminarian Adam Medrano from the Diocese of Fresno has submitted these photos from the mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe this past December.

Thank you, Adam!  Next year's mass is an excellent story possibility for our journalism students.  A story could take several different angles, including those involved in the liturgy, the history of the feast, and the guests who join the celebration.   Enjoy the pictures!

Clergy who also serve on the faculty of Mount Angel Seminary conclebrated at the mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Adam Medrano and Edgar Rivera-Torres served as candlebearers during the procession during the Gospel Acclamation; Ruben Arocan served as the thurifer.
Deacon Raul Sanchez proclaims the Gospel during the mass.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mount Angel Seminary Boxing

Our practicum student Mat Olson has submitted his final article for the year, a story on his experience with boxing at Mount Angel Seminary.  Here's Mat:

Boxing and seminary: at first glance, these two words seem like they should not belong together.  My initial reaction is to remind someone of Fr. Mulcahy from the popular television show M*A*S*H*.  However, that example is often lost on members of the I-Tunes generation.  Nevertheless, these two words were connected this year at Mount Angel Seminary.

There were three boxing matches this year on the hilltop.  There was an event in October and a highly publicized event on March 5, 2011.  Ultimately, six fighters squared off in our makeshift ring in the Damian Athletic Center.  

The match in October was fought by Adam Medrano, a first year college student from the Diocese of Fresno, versus Ryan Francisco, a second year college student from the Diocese of Sacramento.
Andrew Noriega and Mathew Olson preparing for their fight.

 There were two matches on March 5th.  First, Andrew Noriega, a first year college student from the Diocese of Orange, CA, versus your humble author, Mathew D. Olson, a fourth year college student from the Diocese of Sacramento.  Second, Alvaro Romero, a fourth year college student from the Diocese of Fresno, versus Michael Dion, a first year Pre-Theology student from the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Capstone Projects - Alexander Estrella

Our practicum student Mathew Olson interviewed one of his fellow seminarians, Alexander Estrella, about his capstone project.  For our future journalism students, any of the capstone projects would be a great topic for a story.  Now for the interview, here's Mathew Olson:

As Sister Hilda mentioned in an earlier post, capstones are an integral aspect of the undergraduate program here at Mount Angel Seminary.  A capstone is a thesis that is also presented and defended to a select group of faculty and the hilltop community.  It should be interdisciplinary, incorporating all aspects of academic achievement and interest of the past four years.

The students work diligently with faculty related to their topic.  A Capstone Committee is formed by a director who supervises and works directly with the student; three readers also assist the director in the grading of the presentation and paper.  Some of the interesting topics this year focused on homosexuality, literature, Filipino culture, phenomenology, and philosophical anthropology.
Alexander Estrella with the Abbey bell tower in the background.
 Alexander Estrella, a fourth-year college student from the Diocese of Sacramento, wrote his capstone on the contrasting views of Jean Paul Sartre and the Theology of the Body of Pope John Paul II.  Mr. Estrella mainly focused on the differing views that each held in regards to human relationships.

More Talent!

One of the acts during the talent show this weekend performed El Tapatio, a quick-paced dance that received great applause from the seminarians, faculty, and off hill guests.

The bright dashing costumes for this performance added to the excitement.

Luis Nunez takes a moment to smile after his performance with Sister Hilda, one of the judges of the talent show.
Thank you to Luis Nunez for submitting these photos.  I welcome any other photos from the talent show or other seminary events that members of the seminary community would like to submit to our journalism blog.  Let's continue to share our talents!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mount Angel Seminary's Got Talent!

Last night Mount Angel Seminary held its annual talent show in the Damian Center - three hours of food, entertainment, laughter and well-intentioned teasing.  About a dozen acts offered their talents to their fellow seminarians, faculty and staff, and many off hill guests.

The photos below share some of the people involved in the evening's festivities. As I announced last night, I welcome submissions of photos from other people who took pictures during the talent show.  Send the photos along with the name of the photographer to Hilda.Kleiman@mtangel.edu.

Photo submissions from any seminary event are also welcome - as many as possible will be shared through this blog.  With your help, we can share even more of the good news about Mount Angel Seminary!

Sister Teresa Gould, F.H., visited with a couple seminarians during the intermission of the talent show.  Sister Teresa, who retires from the seminary faculty at the end of this year, was honored with a special video during the show.
Next year's talent show will provide abundant opportunities for our journalism students.  Each person involved would be worthy of his or her own profile.  Click on "read more" below and enjoy the pictures!