My name is Heidi DeVries.
I am a multimedia producer and social media trainer for The Ledger in Central Florida.
I am a student at UCF.
I have a cat named Cringer.
I sometimes go days at a time writing only in limericks.
Bill is looking for an online date.
Click profile, compose message, then wait.
Some girls try to resist
but they won’t know what they’ve missed
By not taking a chance on fate.
My boyfriend doesn’t get limericks.
“Where’s the nuance, the problem, the fix?”
He wants better insight
in these words that I write.
Can poetry cause marital conflict?
Jim Gaines, former editor of Time magazine and founder of StoryRiver Media.
My shirt’s wrinkled, my shoes: untied.
I rush as I throw more clothes aside.
But I’ll be late to work
as a hotel desk clerk
If it takes this much time to decide.
The 2010 Daytona 500 was an interesting race, even if you’re not normally a NASCAR fan. From the debut of Danica Patrick to the constant start and stops on the field, even newspapers that don’t normally play sports big did a bigger-than-average review of the race.
Our challenge was to cover the Daytona 500 race using at least three ASF (or alternative story form) elements.
First, the page:
(Again, the conversion has totally blacked out the story about Danica Patrick and part of the Daytona 500 finishes graphic. These were originally on a 10 percent screen with black text and were perfectly readable).
Orlando Sentinel Page Design Nick Musada had these critiques:
Great photo edit. Great graphic in upper right. Great timeline. Nice choice of stories.
Very well done. Headline does feel a bit small and squeezed into a small area, but you guys nailed everything else.
You’ll notice that our going too small on the headline will be a trend in the upcoming page design critiques. In this case, I have to agree with Nick. Not that the headline is necessarily too small, but that it doesn’t convey enough information. After several lackluster Daytona 500 finishes (and so many touch-and-go’s on the track that day), FINALLY! can certainly sum up Jamie McMurray’s feeling of the day. But wait a minute — Jamie who? That’s right. We didn’t give enough credit to the guy who actually won the Daytona 500. His name is in the photo caption and in the second sentence of the main article, but someone glancing at the page who didn’t really follow the sport would have no idea who won the race.
Even the graphic element that Nick complements — that is, the listing of NASCAR 500 past performances — is missing key information. WHOSE past performances? We don’t say and the reader has to assume. Bad form on our part.
-Heidi A. DeVries
On Thursday, I participated in an online chat hosted by the Poynter Institute that discussed whether the media should be covering Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation. You’ll have to scroll down for the chat but the article is well worth reading, as well.
The discussion was lively and interesting. It seemed that most journalists participating in the chat felt that the sexual orientation question was one that was not relevant but Poynter Institute moderators had a different take on things. For instance, this exchange between me and Poynter’s Kelly McBride:
If she’s not a lesbian, that’s an awkward sentence. That’s like randomly introducing a sentence in an profile like, “And Kelly McBride is not a vegan.”
It’s true, I’m not a vegan. However, because I hang out with a lot of vegans, some people might think I am and assign to me a philosophy of a vegan. But I think it’s responsible if you are asking the question to explore the notion that this is not a simple question with a simple answer. Many people have a shifting understanding of their own sexual identity that ranges from straight to gay to other to asexual. And even within each of those answers are subcategories that challenge conventional wisdom. Straight or gay, for some people, is an unreasonable set of boundaries.
Another chat participant, Zerlina Maxwell, blogged about the subject about if the interest in Elena Kagan’s sexual orientation was perpetrated by sexism. Well I thought that the analysis was interesting (that the topic is brought up because she is unmarried, has short hair and is not what most people would consider especially attractive. As I pointed out in the Poynter chat, there were rumors that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist was gay because he was an attractive, unmarried man.
However, there’s also an interesting presupposition that her sexual orientation matters because she could end up reviewing cases that involve homosexuality. This to me seems like a false dilemma for two reasons.
First of all, it assumes that if you’re a member of a minority group, you should not be a participant in deciding how that minority group is covered or treated. There is no litmus test to find out if a Supreme Court judge is a homophobe or may rule on homosexual issues because he believes strongly in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, so why would there need to be a censorship of someone who may feel a different way?
Second of all, even if Elena Kagan was a lesbian, that doesn’t mean that she will always rule in favor of what could be seen as homosexual issues.
One of the chat’s guests, lawyer and journalist Michael Triplett, put it this way:
Heidi, you are right about the way identity intersects with a judge’s views on the law. Being a lesbian doesn’t necessarily mean someone is always going to support gay rights. Clarence Thomas’s racial identity doesn’t necessarily translate to a strong civil rights record and even Justice O’Connor wasn’t a consistent advocate for women’s rights before the court.
Photo of Elena Kagan by Matthew W. Hutchins
-Heidi A. DeVries