Parking, wherefore art thou Parking?

The lack of safe, affordable parking coupled with the recently raised parking meter fees adds another stress to Wayne State University students. The prices of the parking structures has been raised a significant amount each year and this leaves WSU staff and students with few affordable options.

parking meter\

If you go to Wayne State University, one thing everyone has in common is the frustration with the lack of adequate parking.

Detroit has been in a world of financial troubles lately. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr was quoted in the Washington Post saying that Detroit payed more to issue and process tickets than they did collecting them. It costs $32 to process a $30 ticket.

That was before July of 2014. They raised parking meter ticket fines from $20 to $45.

Although Wayne State University has its own police entity that patrols a two mile radius around campus and can issue traffic violations, the Detroit Municipal Parking Department manages the parking meters that are along almost every street throughout WSU’s campus.

Tiffany Phillips, a junior Pre-Nursing student, knows all too well about the hassel of parking on campus.

There are some free spaces, but they are far.

a mile to park

The Wayne State Police department, (313)577-2222, is very quick and reliable, but when you are walking from a night class alone, you’d rather not be parked far.

So who exactly are the bad guys? Everyone wants to get angry with the parking meter attendants or “meter maids,” but they are only doing their job.

Kyle Adams, former parking meter attendant for the City of Detroit, said that he empathized with the students he ticketed, but he was only doing his job

Some people wish parking meter attendant would just go away.

everyone hates meter maids

Maybe people shouldn’t give people like Kyle a hard time. He is only doing his job.

So what are some alternatives?

uber

Uber is an alternative that some students are utilizing to combat the parking meter fee hike. In June of 2014, the City of Detroit raised the parking meter fee from $20 to $45, which is more than double.

I got a chance to talk to Devin Richey, an Uber Driver that sometimes drop WSU students off on campus.

Taking an Uber to school is starting to be a new trend, especially with the lack of parking available.

uber to avoid parking

Devin is making money from Uber so does he think they should lower parking meter fees so more people can park on campus instead of driving? The answer is no.

Wayne State University is very aware of the fact that there are limited parking spaces on campus so they offer solutions of their own, like Ridesharing and semester parking passes.

parking pass

WSU has a parking and transportation office located in the Welcome Center. Latrina Smith, an employee there, noted how they receive little to no notice when prices are changing and she offered a few alternatives.


When asked which option Latrina uses to park on campus she answered, semester parking passes.

Although Latrina prefers the parking passes, not all students can afford them.

expensive parking passes

It seems like students cant get a break. But look, it gets worse. It’s now finals time and there are police orders all around campus in the few free spots available that read, “No Parking.”

police order no parking 1

Like the cars pictured here, people are parking under these signs without even realizing.

no parking zone picWell, it looks like the best solution is to hurry up and graduate so you won’t be burdened by the never ending parking structure costs or parking meter fees. The safest solution is to get a parking pass if you can afford it. And the most economical solution is to park free but far. Just remember to walk with a buddy or two to stay safe.

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Book Review: Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks

Yochai Benkler explores how the human collective is more powerful than self interest in his book, “The Wealth of Networks, How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.”

The_Wealth_of_Networks_Book_cover

The Wealth of Networks, by Yochai Benkler, is a book about how we can come together via the internet and social networks, invest a small amount of time and create something large and great. Wikipedia is referenced throughout the book and it is the perfect example of how the internet has allowed us to come together to create great things.

“The removal of the physical constraints on effective information production has made human creativity and the economics of information itself the core structuring facts in the new networked information economy” (Location 107 of 69954, Kindle edition).

I enjoyed this book because it puts into words all that is currently happening in the age of social media and what is to come. We will continue to create as a group of individuals on a network, opposed to operating solely for self-interest. The book was strongest when speaking of how, as a collective, we can do great things, like the various points on Wikipedia.

Benkler’s book was interesting, but difficult to read. The book was weak throughout because it was very difficult to read and understand. With the use of uncommon words and lengthy sentences, it’s easy for the audience to get lost in the words, opposed to the message of the book.

For example, in the chapter, The Internet As A Platform For Human Connection, Benkler was explaining how communication is a result of the social relationships that we have and how technology plays a role in how we communicate.

Benkler went on to say:

Technological determinism is not required to accept this. Some aspects of the difference are purely technical. Script allows text and more or less crude images to be transmitted at a distance, but not voice, touch, smell, or taste. To the extent that there are human emotions, modes of submission and exertion of authority, irony, love or affection, or information that is easily encoded and conveyed in face-to-face communications but not in script, script-based communications are a poor substitute for presence (Location 5008 of 6954, Kindle edition).

This passage, like most of the book, is very repetitive and too wordy. Books should be easy to read and understand, in order for the author to get his point across. The book was neither.

The Independent Review took on Benkler’s book and provided a review.

Also, Lynne Kiesling reviewed the book on the blog, Knowledge Problem.

Yochai Benkler, “The Wealth of Networks, How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom.”

New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2006.

Kindle Edition, $8.99, Amazon.com

As a journalist, to Tweet or not to Tweet?

Can journalists use social networks to express opinions or advocate for causes?

 Twitter Jail

ONA’s “Social Network and The Key Issues” document says that as a journalist affiliated with a news organization, you become a representative. Everything you say and do could reflect on the organization and affect people’s ability to see the news organization as unbiased and objective.

Most news organizations have a style and way that they report the news, and their loyal consumers get used to the system.

Most organizations are getting wise about social media and drafting a social media policy. The most common thing in all the social media policies that I have encountered is that the employee cannot talk bad about the organization.

Even personal blogs can get you in trouble if you are talking negatively about your blog, if you get caught.

In 2013, an investigative reporter for WAAY, an ABC affiliate,  posted a list of confessions to her personal blog and was fired. Some of the confessions included, “My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me and I am better live when I have no script and no idea what I’m talking about.”

The company didn’t appreciate this blog, once it was discovered, and fired her.

Octavia Nasr, former CNN Middle East Editor for more than 20 years, was fired due to her Tweet expressing sympathy for the passing of a controversial figure.

CNN

The Tweet didn’t seem malicious, but it seemed like she didn’t consider how all of her audience would react to her Tweeting about this controversial figure.

Factory workers are only at work while at the factory. Nurse are only at work when at the hospital. Journalists, once your name is officially affiliated with a company, are always at work. You are a representative of the company and must act accordingly.

No offensive tweeting.

Thanks for reading!

Master Communicators: The Read on Podcast

I was recently introduced to Podcast, or should I say reintroduced. The first introduction came from a biology professor that wanted us to attend her lectures and listen to the lecture again on a podcast.

This time was much more successful and I found a series that I like: The Read. It features personalities Kid Fury and Crissle.

I am stoked about this series. I have been following Kid Fury on YouTube for a few years and I am a huge fan. He is absolutely hilarious and I am excited to hear him on a new medium, Podcast.

Everyone, subscribe to The Read’s Podcast channel.

Thanks for reading!

Relationships this week: Lack of effective communication in the world

The focus of my blog is relationship building, in any environment, and ways to improve those relationships.

Here are some relevant links to things happening in the world that deals with the field of communications:

1. Once again, someone is in trouble for posting something on Twitter. Joey Casselberry, a Bloomsburg University student, was kicked off the university baseball team after using an offensive word while criticizing Disney for making a movie about Mo’ne Davis.

2. Rudolph Giuliani is under fire for new comments that are possibly tainting his image and his legacy.

3. Carmen Aristegui, a Mexican journalist, says that bosses backed her firing and attempted to block her story from being published.

Professor Stoycheff on Setting a Non-Agenda

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I recently sat down with Wayne State University Professor, Elizabeth Stoycheff, Ph.D.

Professor Stoycheff teaches journalistic reporting and new media in courses like News Reporting, Journalistic Grammar and Style, and other courses for undergraduate students.

I interviewed Professor Stoycheff on one of her recent research projects.

Professor Stoycheff’s research “focuses on the role of new media in shaping international public opinion about democracy, media censorship, and press freedom.”

The research project that we spoke about is titled, “Setting a Non-Agenda.” It deals with the theory of how the media is thought to set the agenda of what the public thinks about, especially important issues; the agenda setting theory. This research project focuses on the non-important issues, like celebrity news, that the media focuses on and how it impacts society.

The study was conducted across three universities, which makes the study sounder because it gets a larger range of participants. The three universities are Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, and Wayne State University. The study was conducted all online, and here at Wayne State University they utilized the student participation system, SONA.

The project is currently under the peer review process. They have conducted all their research and gathered all their data, and submitted it for consideration in the leading journal in the field of communication. The project been accepted to the International Communication Association Conference where Elizabeth Stoycheff, Ph.D will be presenting this project in May in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

There is nothing currently published and won’t be published in full in the conference proceeding, but she says that anyone interested can email her at Elizabeth.stoycheff@wayne.edu and she will be “happy to provide . . .contacts and copy of the manuscript.”

Motor City Brewing Works Event Slideshow

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February 24, members of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) took an educational tour of Motor City Brewing Works. The event was organized by AIChe President Ken F. and member Jason F. The event was open to all WSU students but only those ages 21 and up was able to sample beers. More than 20 people attended the event. The attendees seemed to enjoy the event and many people commented that they learned so much about the chemical process of creating beer from this tour.

The tour was led by Head Brewer Rob S. After giving out samples of beer to the attendees that were of age, he led the group on a tour of the facility. This includes the brewery where they make the beer and the storing and bottling room.

The tour was very educational. It taught the audience a lot of things while engaging them with beer.

The Loudest Silence Ever!

Silence-Can-be-so-loud-cover

Friday, February 20 was my second day in my communications volunteer position. I’m new as a volunteer and new to an office environment.

As I sat at my desk, with a window and a pretty nice view, I notice how quiet it is.

I notice this because the tapping of my feet sounded so loud compared to the mouse clicking I had just recently realized was coming from the other side of the cubicle. I thought I was alone.

It was at this moment that I realized I was being noisy. If I could hear this guy’s mouse clicking, I’m sure he heard my foot drumming the beat to the song that was stuck in my head.

Assimilating into a new environment means adapting and conforming to their communication style. That also includes knowing when to be silent.

Maddening silent.

In addition to my communications volunteer position, I work in the health care field as a nursing assistant on the weekends while I finish school.

Working in the healthcare field, my job is far from quiet. You have nurses and patients talking, call lights beeping, TV’s blaring, and so on.

Coming to an office environment showed me how quiet people could be. I always said that I value silence, but now I am not sure I do. I value being able to control the volume and amount of noise that I’m hearing. For example, leaving a room full of noisy people and going in another room with quiet people or no people so that I can read a book is the control I like. Being in an office with very quiet co-workers and not being able to hum or tap my foot without feeling like I’m blowing a bullhorn is an example of me being powerless over the volume in the room.

Connect with your co-workers and work environment and be very aware of the way that you behave, especially when you are new. Get a feel for the workplace vibe and see if it is something that you can adapt to and would like to be a part of.

Also, be very aware of how close your co-workers are sitting next to you. I had no idea that this guy was there.

My foot tapping was the prequel to me playing music, at a low setting.

If I heard his mouse clicking, which I did, I’m sure he would have heard Kimberly Jones’ Hardcore album playing from my cubicle.

He may be a fan. I’ll have to ask.

Thanks for reading.

The writing on the wall

As I walked down the stairs in a building on WSU’s campus, going from a class to the computer lab, I saw writing on the wall.

I do not promote writing on walls in public institutions, but I thought that it could be excused in this case since it taught me something.

IMG_0081The quote, “The best mind altering drug is truth,” is attributed to Detroit native, Lily Tomlin.

The quote stopped me in my tracks as I walked down the steps. The thought of truth altering the mindset of people is a concept that I have never been able to put into concrete words. We know, “the more you know, the better you’ll do,” but this quote takes it a step further.

It says that truth is mind altering; which is true. Your truth shapes your reality. What you believe shapes how you think, how you act and how you perceive the world.

In the book, “Incidents in the life of a slave girl,” by Harriet Jacobs, there is a particular moment that came to mind when I read the quote on the wall:

“One woman begged me to get a newspaper and read it over. She said her husband told her that the black people had sent the word to the queen of ‘Merica that they were all slaves, that she didn’t believe it, and went to Washington city to see the president about it. They quarreled; she drew her sword upon him, and swore that he should help her to make them all free.

That poor, ignorant woman thought that America was governed by a Queen, to whom the President was subordinate. I wish the President was subordinate to Queen Justice.”

I read this book quite a few years ago, but this passage always stuck with me, especially when talking about reality and people’s perception of the world.

I wasn’t upset with the misinformed woman for thinking that America had a Queen. In fact, I felt relief. I was filled with hope; because she, as a slave, had hope.

She had hope that relief was coming. Hope that there was an end. Hope that the Queen of America would liberate them.

Her truth formed the basis of her reality. If she would have received the truth about America not having a monarchy, that there would be no relief in sight until the President decided to free them, then what would her reality then be?

I think this quote isn’t just about the absolute, Google-worthy facts, but whatever truth you are living.

Embrace your truth, your reality, and live it. Connect with your audience, be it your spouse, employer, or friend, and learn about their truth and their perception of the world because it could liberate your mind.

Thanks for reading.

Website analysis- TheStar.com

the star

Thestar.com, based in Toronto, Canada, is Canada’s largest newspaper and they have the largest readership in the country.

I found the home page to be very appealing and easy on the eye. I usually do not like cluttered home pages, but I think it was pretty easy on my eyes because of the color scheme. They use blue and white consistently throughout the website.

This blue, which I have named it, “Facebook blue” is the same shade of blue that Facebook and Twitter both use.

Speaking of social media, Facebook and Twitter seem to be the only social media networks that the website utilizes. On it’s home page, you only have the option to like things on Facebook.

The article that I chose to analyze is titled, “Weatherman loses his mind over thundersnow.”

http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/stargazing_blog/2015/02/weatherman-loses-his-mind-over-thundersnow.html

I love the title of the article and I loved the page. The page uses not only Facebook and Twitter, but Youtube too. They had an awesome use of social media on this page.

This article definitely had its audience attention and it engaged us.

As a whole, I enjoyed TheStar.com’s website. Easy to use. Easy to understand. Easy on the eyes.
It connected with the audience well.

Thanks for reading.