When President Obama first took office I remember reading about a tradition he and his family had. They would sit together at the end of each day and select the rose and thorn or high and low of each day. I’m sure plenty of families do this but that was my first time hearing about this practice. Since it’s my last day I’m going to go share the rose and thorn of my internship experience.
Rose: Finally finishing my amusement park story.
I received the assignment my first day here but it took until nearly my last week before I saw it published. It was a new experience to write a story that combined history (and a LOT of it) and personal stories. It took a long time to get it right but once I saw the story, both it’s print and online version (shown below), all the hard work felt worth it.
To read Thrills gone by – Amusement parks in Oklahoma click here.
Rose (because sometimes they have two buds): Getting to meet all the wonderful people at The Oklahoman & having my first print newsroom experience.
Everyone was so nice and helpful. It was just great to be able to spend my summer with such a well respected company and learn from everyone. (Oh no I’m getting all sentimental.)
Thorn: Getting in the groove of things with one week left.
I did freelance work for a hometown paper and my school paper but I never spent much time in the newsroom. I spent quite a while feeling like a fish out of water and really only began to get in the groove last week. This last thing on my list reminds me of a wonderful 80s movie quote, so I’ll end with that.
I am currently working on a story about public transportation in Oklahoma City and the surrounding areas (primarily Norman and Edmond). Twice last week I experienced first hand what it’s like to be a commuter. I traveled once from Edmond to the office and another time from Norman to the office. Both trips took two hours. This made no sense to me as it takes 45 minutes to drive all the way from Norman and 15 to drive from Edmond to work.
The issue is the spoke and hub system that OKC’s Metro Transit currently uses. This system has been in place since Metro Transit was established in 1966. While routes have been added extended and moved around the system has stayed basically the same. Michael Scroggins of Metro Transit says the company is well aware that the system is outdated.
While Metro Transit can do research and propose different options it is up to the city to vote upon and fund them. Unfortunately, it seems this is unlikely to happen. The cities funding is not a dedicated annual amount. Metro Transit received almost $2 million more in funding in 2011 than 2010. When the budget surpasses expectations you won’t hear many complaining but it’s a different story when it’s below.
The service has had to raise fees in the past year by a quarter but it can’t raise them by much more. But raising passenger fees anymore could result in the decrease of federal funding.
But the company and service is in a pickle. Metro Transit would love to increase their coverage and regularity and the public demand is there yet they cannot do this without funding. However the city will not allocate more funding until they can see the benefits of it. It’s an egg before the chicken or chicken before the egg puzzle.
In the meantime I’m a terrible gas guzzler. But I’m hoping to move to an area within the city that would make using public transit more sensible.
Today as I was driving to work an ozone alert was announced over the radio. This was the first time I’d heard of an ozone alert. It sounded serious because the announcer was encouraging people to carpool or ride public transportation also the variable message sign was flashing warnings of harmful ozone levels. Perhaps it was naïve of me to not know how ozone could be harmful, but I had no clue. I thought that ozone was a good thing because it was one of our earth’s unique features that allowed life to thrive. However ground-level ozone, what it’s referred to when it’s close to earth’s surface is a harmful pollutant
Ground-level ozone is created when specific chemicals interact with nitrogen and sunlight. The chemicals are created by: cars, buses, industry, utility companies, gas stations, print shops, paint stores, cleaners, and off-road equipment like planes, trains and construction and lawn and garden equipment. Dangerous levels of ground-level ozone can cause choking, coughing and stinging eyes. It can damage lung tissue, exacerbate respiratory disease, and could lead to respiratory infections. It is particularly dangerous to children and the elderly but all outdoor activity should be avoided.
CART, the public transportation in Norman, offers free transportation on Ozone Alert days. However, neither Metro Transit or City Link, OKC or Edmond public transportation, offer the same service. Taking advantage of public transportation often is just one way you can help prevent harmful amounts of ozone. Other options include gasing up at night, avoid idling in your vehicle, and avoid gas powered lawn equipment. For more tips visit the Get Square programs website.
Get Square is a really cool program sponsored by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments or ACOG. This clean air campaign encourages individuals to adopt a way of life that would keep their square of air clean.
I drive to work each morning. I spend between an hour to an hour and half in my car each day. As I drive I listen to NPR and this morning a report by Scott Horsley caught my attention. The topic discussed, global warming.
As the announcements for presidential candidacy come rolling in, politicians are making their positions on hot topics known. The Horsley’s piece highlighted Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman who has moderate views on immigration, same-sex civil unions and until now climate control. Huntsman was a cap and trade leader – capping carbon emissions and trading pollution permits. I say was because though he still finds climate control important, it isn’t as important as the economy. Huntsman told Time magazine until the economy is back on its feet “this isn’t the moment” to pursue cap and trade. Huntsman isn’t the only politician backing away from supporting climate control and other environmental beliefs. Other Republican presidential hopefuls have changed their tune like Tim Pawlenty or Michelle Bachman who, in 2009, said “CO2 is a harmless gas.” Mitt Romney, steadfastly holds as fact that greenhouse gases contribute to global warming but has recently backed off cap and trade.
And it’s not just politicians, but the American public who are changing their mind about global warming. An annual poll released by Gallup in March showed that American concern with global warming has almost reached an all time low at 51 percent. While 2011′s percentage is only one point lower than last years, it has gone down from a high of 66 percent in 2008 and is just one point above the lowest percentage recorded in 1997.
What I don’t understand is how can people change their minds about global warming? Isn’t it scientific fact, just that, fact?
Here at the OPUBCO offices, you might see people with ear buds hanging from their ears throughout the day. I often turn on some tunes to drown out the office noise and focus on my tasks but, for my first story for Newsok.com, ear buds or any sort of headphones were not necessary. I was able to convert my planned trip to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival into a travel piece for the Know It section on the Newsok site.
This was my first time to attend the Bonnaroo Festival; My first time to report for NewsOk; and my first time to write a first person piece. The festival also helped me find the perfect story to launch my personal blog, Green Life Girl, an Eco concious blog. Most of the interviews I did for my story and blog were done while waiting for the next band to hit the stage. This made the wait time go by much quicker and helped me get to know the group around me.
The days were hot and dusty but the bands were full of energy and excitement. My favorite acts were The Strokes by far but closely followed by Florence and the Machine and Arcade Fire. Other than music there were some really exciting, funny and weird experiences had at the festival. I love being a journalist because it may be the only career in which you can listen to your favorite musicians and say you’re working.