Thursday, April 19, 2018

Arrest sparks racial bias training for Starbucks employees

On April 12, two black men were waiting to meet someone in a Philadelphia Starbucks when an employee approached and asked if the men were going to buy anything. The men declined and, according to the New York Times, were arrested just a few minutes later.

As a result of this incident, the employee who asked the men to leave has lost his job, and Starbucks has announced that it will close all of its American stores on May 29 to provide anti-bias training for all employees.

Click here to share your thoughts on this issue.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

SPJ hosts prom for CCIM students

Students from all parts of Ball State’s College of Communication, Information, and Media turned out at Ball Gym Thursday evening for a night of food, friends and dancing.

The CCIM Prom, hosted by members of Ball State’s chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists, featured a variety of snacks and handmade decorations. Guests could also pay $1 to get their pictures taken in the photo booth, which included several journalism-themed props.

Tickets to the dance ran $5 per person but were free for SPJ members and anyone nominated for one of the prom superlatives. Guests could win these superlatives in a range of categories, including things like “most likely to curse on air,” “best dream team” and “most likely to stay in the Unified Media Lab past midnight.” Students voted for the winners, who received certificates at the end of the night.

Emily Sabens, a junior journalism major at Ball State, helped prepare the event and has been excited for weeks.

“I was really looking forward to everyone in CCIM, regardless of major or concentration, getting together to have fun before the stress of finals,” she said.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ball State students talk about their hobbies

From playing complex card games to listening to old music, college students in Muncie find relaxing ways to fill what little time they have outside of work and school.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Ball State bookstore prepares for graduation

With spring commencement coming up just a month from today, graduating seniors are now able to purchase everything they need for the big day. You can see my video coverage of the bookstore’s graduation selection below.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


Hey Ball State! What is your favorite architecture on campus? Share your photos with #architecturebsu and tell us why you think the spot looks cool! You can also click here to see my favorite architecture on campus.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Restaurants offer safe options for customers who can’t eat gluten

If you have any kind of gluten sensitivity, and especially if you have celiac disease, it can feel impossible to find safe meals when dining out. Some restaurants aren’t even sure which ingredients contain gluten, and those that know more about it rarely guarantee anything from their kitchens will be entirely safe.

Below is a map showing some of the most reliable places to eat safely in Muncie, according to ratings and reviews on the Find Me Gluten Free website. While all these places still include disclaimers about the possibility of cross-contamination, many of them either have more gluten-free options than most restaurants or take extra precautions when preparing food for those with allergies.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Racial diversity remains steady at Ball State

While overall undergraduate enrollment at Ball State has increased by more than 700 students over the past five years, according to the Ball State University Fact Book, the breakdown of different races has stayed relatively stable.

The percentage of students who identify as white has fallen just slightly, from 82.3 percent in 2013 to 78.4 percent in 2017, with the percentages of most other racial identities seeing slight increases. When combined, all ethnic minority students at Ball State made up 18 percent of the undergraduate student body in fall 2017.

Ball State Undergraduate Enrollment by Race:

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Click here to explore an interactive version of this data. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Where your Frappuccino came from

Since 1971, Starbucks has expanded to more than 22,519 stores across the globe, according to their website. Click here to explore a timeline of the company’s past.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Where to get your caffeine fix in Muncie, Indiana

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

High temperature for first day of spring is second-lowest in past decade

With a high of 39°F in Muncie, today is the second-coldest start to spring in the past 10 years, according to data from Weather Underground. In 2013, Muncie saw a frigid March 20, with a high temperature that didn’t break freezing. Meanwhile, the previous year saw summer-like temps, with a high of 83°F.

High Temps in Muncie, First Day of Spring:

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Click here to explore an interactive version of this data. 

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018


When it comes to achieving dreams, asking for help shows strength, says astronaut Wendy Lawrence.

Lawrence shared her story with a crowd of both adults and children at Ball State’s Emens Auditorium on Monday evening. She is an engineer, helicopter pilot and former NASA astronaut, according to Emens Auditorium, and has flown into space four times.

Lawrence discussed the value of pursuing dreams. It’s difficult, she says, but it helps to build a support system of people who will provide encouragement along the way.

“I am not somebody who believes you have to do it all on your own,” she said.

And failure is inevitable. When Lawrence didn’t even come close to passing her first test at MIT, for example, she understood how hard this goal would be. It took 25 years to make her dream come true, but she ended up right where she wanted to be: looking out the window of the International Space Station at a scene that didn’t seem real.

“I’m here, I hope, as an example of the power of a dream,” Lawrence said.

Ron Kaitchuck, director of Ball State’s Charles W. Brown Planetarium, says humans always benefit from learning new things. Technology developed for space exploration also applies to other industries and parts of society. For example, Kaitchuck says, the quality of cell phone cameras has a lot to do with NASA’s development of cameras for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space exploration also excites children.

“A society that gives up on exploring and inspiring its young is dead,” Kaitchuck says.

Amy Heath works for the Indiana Department of Education as a literacy specialist. She plans to apply what she learned through Lawrence’s talk to the development of a project-based unit about space. During these lessons, students will learn more about the solar system and the people exploring it, following astronauts on Twitter and keeping up with current events.

Heath, whose 6-year-old son sat transfixed during Lawrence’s speech and ran to the microphone to ask a question afterward, liked Lawrence’s predication that today’s children might eventually walk on Mars.

“Her story went beyond my expectations when she encouraged the audience to pursue their dreams,” Heath said.

Lawrence also discussed some of the ways going to space has changed her. Looking down at Earth from up there, for example, she didn’t see any of the lines that divide countries on human maps. Instead, she saw one planet.

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018

In celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week, representatives from Ball State’s Office of Institutional Diversity vistited different spots around campus to promote The Beneficience Pledge.

At these “Live Beneficience” events, held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. every day this week, members of the Ball State community could sign the pledge and get their photos taken with the Beneficience wings.

C.S. Hendershot, a graduate assistant in the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID), said 2018 is the campaign’s first year. This week, she mainly highlighted the last two points in the pledge: “acting in a socially responsible way” and “pledging to value the intrinsic worth of every member of the community.”

Hendershot also promoted the OID’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and encouraged people to document their own random acts of kindness with the hashtags #RAKWeek and #WeFly.

Lisa Love, secretary to the associate provost for the OID, says she wants the Ball State community to think about the pledge every time they see Beneficence or her wings. Leaders at the OID are working to create a platform where students, faculty and staff can share the “Acts of Beneficience” they witness.

“The Beneficence Pledge represents the ideals of beneficence, which is the name of an important and iconic statue on campus,” said Melinda Messineo, interim director for the OID. “These are the values our campus holds as central to our identity.”

While the pledge didn’t originate with the OID, Messineo says the values it describes are central to the office’s goals to improve inclusivity around campus.

Check out my Facebook Live coverage here.

Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018

Facebook recently announced an overhaul of its news feed that it says will improve the mental wellbeing of its users. Instead of seeing content from publishers and brands (news articles, viral videos, etc.), which studies have shown creates more stress, users will mostly find posts from family and friends. Facebook says this change will promote more meaningful interactions on the website.

Ethan Zuckerman of the Atlantic believes otherwise. Zuckerman argued in his Jan. 27 article that the news outlets a person chooses to follow on social media could reflect goals to consume useful information.

But Facebook thinks actions speak louder than words. Even if a user claims to value content from certain reputable publishers, Facebook might tailor that person’s feed based on the memes and sensational stories he or she usually interacts with. Zuckerman compares this to a sabotoged new years resolution: “With these newsfeed changes, Facebook threw out your gym shoes and subscribed you to a donut delivery service.”

The new algorithm could lead Facebook users to become less informed and more biased as they lose exposure to ideas that challenge their own.

And news outlets who’ve grown reliant on social media need to reconsider how they market themselves. Publishers like The New York Times and the IndyStar are already working to maintain audiences by spreading the word about a quick fix: Facebook users can still prioritize content from pages they select as favorites in their newsfeed settings.

So the change shouldn’t be too damaging for news organizations. But the transition might hurt a little, considering more than two thirds of Facebook users get at least some news on the site.

Journalists have adapted to shifts in technology since the profession began, and this perceived setback should be no different. The changes might even motivate news outlets to focus more on other platforms, like their own apps, where they can connect with readers more directly without depending on a third party.