The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This past summer at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was challenging and forming for me as a a person and journalist. I published 29 total pieces, ranging in topic, length and nature of writing. I had the opportunity to work under several different editors, each of whom were gracious enough to offer helpful insight, advice and tips on writing and journalism more generally.

A few stories stand out:

  • Throughout the summer, interns were sent across Pennsylvania to cover different small towns. We all spent two days in a town with the simple instructions of “finding the story.” In Clarion, a town of 5,000 people about two hours from Pittsburgh, I interviewed the historical society, members of the police department and city council and random people I met on the street to get a feel for the community. I decided to write about the
  • In a story about a study about medical treatment for head injuries, I interviewed several experts at UPMC, a few involved with the study, to get their take. I also spoke with a surgeon who wasn’t involved at all for an outside opinion. Using technical writing, I condensed both the results of the study and the interviews into an interesting story that could be understood by the everyday reader.
  • While at the Post-Gazette, I had the opportunity to write two obituaries, for Ruth Mitchel Montgomery, a notable figure int he Pittsburgh arts community, and Jimmy Dunne, a former employee of the Post-Gazette who was described as having characteristics similar to Mr. Rogers.
  • Other stories include an advance on the Regatta and Pittsburgh Pride, a review of the Shania Twain concert and
  • While working on a few longer-term stories in the office one day, I was asked to head to the mall to cover the sale at Build-aBear. The “pay your age” sale had attracted hundreds of people to locations all over the country. I immediately drove to the mall, where the line was already stretching outside the door. I spoke with security, Build-a-Bear employees and many parents Build-a-Bear
  • Over the summer, I was asked by someone if I

Code and coffee


Notre Dame Among Many College Campuses Dealing with Sexual Assault

Editor’s note: The names of the sexual assault victims’ names have been changed in accordance with guidelines from the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

By Marie Fazio and Adrianna Fazio

Sarah has been a victim of sexual assault several times throughout her past four years at Notre Dame. Looking back, she sees countless frustrations and internalizations with both the reporting process and her, now convicted, assailant’s treatment.

“People are hard on themselves here, there’s a lot of internalizing of blame and you don’t want to ruin someone’s career,” she said. “That was my biggest drawback. As much as he screwed me over and ruined me in a lot of ways that I can’t get back…I don’t want him to not get a degree. If he gets dismissed, that’s it….He will not graduate with a degree from Notre Dame.”

Sarah is not alone.

Notre Dame has a public and ongoing conversation about sexual assault since the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground” highlighted the story of Lizzy Seeburg, a Saint Mary’s student who took her own life a few days after filing a sexual assault report against a Notre Dame football player.

Notre Dame’s issues are part of a national trend on college campuses. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 23.1 percent of female and 5.4 percent of male undergraduate students nationwide experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.

Notre Dame student participated in Clothesline Day by decorating and hanging shirts to empower and show support for survivors.

Campus Climate Survey

In 2016, the Notre Dame campus climate survey — which all Notre Dame students had the chance to respond to in the 2016 fall semester — reported 5 percent of females and 1 percent of males who responded had experienced some form of non-consensual sexual intercourse during their time at the university. The term was defined by oral, anal, or vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any object.

Twenty-one percent of Notre Dame females and 4 percent of Notre Dame males reported having experienced other forms of non-consensual sexual contact. This statistic does not align with the low number of reports made every year to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP) or the Title IX office.

NDSP sends out crime alert emails when the Title IX coordinator receives a report of sexual assault on campus. In 2016 and 2017, only four sexual assault-related crime alerts were sent to students, a number that has decreased since 2015.

map of sexual assaults on campus

In the Campus Climate Survey, 90 percent of those who reported having experienced non-consensual sexual assault in the last 12 months said that they did not report the incident. Reasons for not reporting ranged from a lack of faith in the outcomes of reporting to blaming oneself for the incident.

The Process

Heather Ryan, Deputy Title IX Coordinator of Notre Dame, oversees student processes and has a role in administrative investigations and facilitating resources for students reporting. In order to increase reporting, Ryan said the university is trying to improve education about the process and increase agency of the survivor.

“Some of the things we’re trying to do is create spaces where they know about options available… before they have to come in and make a decision,” Ryan said.

The Notre Dame Title IX office uses this visual representation to explain the process of reporting to those who wish to learn more. It is available on Notre Dame’s Title IX webpage.

“We want to give a complainant agency and help them make choices… them understand all the options in every space that we can,” Ryan said.

However, despite the increased education and awareness, there is a mistrust of the system. Sarah, who recently underwent the Administrative Hearing Process, was urged by friends to not report due to their bad experiences with the system. Sarah ultimately chose to report after hearing of other girls who had been harmed by the same perpetrator, but felt that her assailant did not take the hearing seriously because he wasn’t afraid of consequences.

“In my case, my rapist said that he trusts the process,” Sarah said. “Why would you trust the process more than I do? I should be trusting the process to protect me, to benefit me, but the fact that he said, as a respondent, that he trusts the process, in a hearing, on record, and I was like, I don’t- is problematic.”

Based on conversations with students who don’t know anyone personally affected by sexual assault at Notre Dame, many students see the numbers or crime alerts and still don’t fully understand the weight of the issue.

Amelia (whose name has also been changed) is a survivor who was assaulted by a friend of a friend visiting campus.

“Now that it has happened I can see how it could happen to anyone,” she said. “The statistics aren’t accurate because not everyone wants to talk about it…it’s an epidemic I would say.”

Current Movements

The primary movement to combat sexual assault on campus is greeNDot – “violence prevention strategy predicated on the belief that individual safety is a community responsibility and not just that of the victim or perpetrator” (Notre Dame Title IX).

Sarah said, “GreeNDot has become this huge thing that didn’t exist when I got here. But even with that, the culture isn’t changing-it’s not changed-which is really awkward because people will say they’re greeNDot certified… and still rape people.”

On April 20, approximately 100 students and faculty marched from Holy Cross College to Saint Mary’s College, through the Notre Dame campus, and ended at the Grotto to stand in solidarity with all those affected by sexual assault and harassment. The event was part of the international movement, Take Back the Night.
Connie Adams, head of the Belles Against Violence Organization at Saint Mary’s, said, “Take Back the Night is an opportunity to gather together as one. It is only in unity that we will be able to work together to find a solution to end violence and abuse.”

Photo by Adrianna Fazio.

Professor Pamela Butler of the University of Notre Dame, however, had a different take on the issue. Although she sees the value in having a professional and institutionalized responses to rape culture, she believes that the most profound movements come directly from student led movements.

“Students need to make their own voices heard,” she said.

“I’m most concerned with are the professionalization of sexual assault advocacy and response on college campus what we’ve lost with that. I think we’ve gained things, but we’ve lost some things…the centrality of students’ voices to this entire process.”

Take Back the Night

The Future

As an additional strategy to combat sexual assault, campus leaders are currently discussing the use of the new app, Callisto. The app’s novelty is rooted in three main elements:

Project Callisto uses this graphic to explain the process of the app. Student Government is trying to implement the use of this app on the Notre Dame campus.

Notre Dame has not officially decided to utilize Callisto on campus, but the conversation is currently in the works, officials said.

According to the 2016 Campus Climate survey, 91 percent of students agree (68 percent) or somewhat agree (23 percent) that they are aware of strategies to intervene if a situation had the potential for sexual assault. This is a 10 percent increase from the 2015 campus climate survey, which is some improvement in the realm of education and awareness about sexual assault, but the war is far from won.

“I think the more we can get students to be a part of the discussion…that’s how we are going to minimize this, because students are a part of that,” Ryan said. “It’s how do we create space where this isn’t OK.

“I can see it shifting, but it’s not where any of us want it to be.”


The FIFA World Cup: A Timeline History

Though known by different names around the world- soccer, football, or fùtbol, to name a few- Lionel Messi’s calling is undeniably universally popular. Every year, fans from around the world tune in to watch international matches, including the FIFA World Cup, which occurs every 4 years.
The 2014 Fifa World Cup reached over 3.2 billion viewers, clearly reaching an enormous audience. However, many fans may not know the interesting history behind the famed tournament, and the remarkable things that have happened, ranging from stolen trophies, phenomenal goals, to scandal, since its inception in 1930. Check out this timeline of World Cup history to see how much you know.

The 10 Drunkest Cities in America

With Spring Break just around the corner, drinking is seen as an equivalent to fun and a trivial issue, if that, by many students on college campuses. However, alcohol continues to be a serious problem for many Americans. According to a CDC report, excessive alcohol use can be accounted for 1 in 10 deaths among working age adults. Is this problem equally rampant across the nation, or is it worse in some areas?

Men’s Health magazine took data from a Centers for Disease Control study on alcohol use to rank U.S. cities by their “drunkenness.” Using an unscientific method, the magazine gave cities rankings based on liver disease, DUI arrests, etc.

Check out this map created with Storymap to learn more…

Top 10 Coffee Spots in the South Bend Area

Of all the things that come to mind when one thinks of South Bend, Indiana – Notre Dame football, its minor role in Indian removal, the Studebaker factory, etcetera – great coffee isn’t normally one of them. That, however, should change. The South Bend area is full of delicious cafes and cozy coffee shops, great for studying, socializing, hearing live acoustic music, or just enjoying a strong cup of freshly brewed coffee. Forget Starbucks, Einstein’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts, these coffee shops brew the good stuff locally, and offer an unbeatable atmosphere to go along with it.

After extensive research using cafe reviews on Yelp and in-person testing performed by several coffee enthusiasts who may or may not be suffering from an addiction to caffeine, we have compiled a list of the best places to get coffee in the South Bend area. The cafes were judged on the quality of the coffee, the price-which is important to struggling college students, and overall vibe of the establishment – friendliness, localness, etc.

Next time you find yourself in South Bend, try a cuppa joe at any of these places. You won’t be disappointed!

Here is a link to the map itself.

Major Drop in Facebook Searches, Compared to Instagram and Twitter

Photo contributed to Blogtrepenuer via Creative Commons.

Out with the old and in with the new. In the internet day and age, it often seems as though trendy videos and apps last for days, or weeks if they’re lucky, before the something cooler, funnier and faster comes along. This, it seems, is the case with Facebook. Once ahead of its time, Facebook now competes for the attention of young people with other forms of social media, such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.

“But wait,” you might be saying. “How could Facebook be going out of style? My mother and her friends comment on my pictures every day.”
The numbers speak for themselves. When analyzed using google trends software, it is clear that over the past five years, searches for Facebook have been in a steady decline. As one can see, Facebook, shown in blue, has seen a steady decline, especially when compared to Instagram, shown in yellow, and Twitter, shown in red.

Facebook, shown in blue, has seen a steady decline in search interest over the past 5 years.

Even more interesting, it seems that in the past year, searches for Instagram have been surpassing searches for Twitter, though both remain well below Facebook. It should be noted, however, that the steady flat rate of Instagram and Twitter is probably due to the fact that most users use the app version, rather than the browser one.

Facebook, though in decline, still holds the lead of most searched social media in most countries of the world.
Facebook, though in decline, still holds the lead of most searched social media in most countries of the world.

Additionally, only in Kazakstan and Iran have the searches for Instagram surpassed those of Facebook, and in South Korea, Twitter takes the lead over both.

The decline in Facebook users comes mostly from the teenage age group, and prompted Facebook to try- and fail- to buy Snapchat a few years ago. Only time will tell whether Facebook will make a comeback with the millennial generation or go the same route as MySpace.

Searches for “Moving to Canada” Spike During 2016 Election

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons.

Canada is to some, it seems, a lovely respite from Trump’s America, free of immigration bans on Muslim majority countries, questionably misogynistic comments, and leaders with signature hair that looks strikingly similar to an ear of corn. In the months preceding the 2016 presidential election, many celebrities, including Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, Samuel L. Jackson, and Chelsea Handler, threatened to leave the country if Donald Trump won the election. Following Trump’s victory. Several claimed that they would move to Canada to avoid living in a Trump led United States. Since these declarations of immigration, however, many of these people have changed their minds.

Although it is not uncommon to immigrate to our neighbor to the North, when analyzing the search trends of “moving to Canada,” compared with “Donald Trump election” through google trends, there is an interesting peak in November 2016.The searches for “Donald Trump election” are shown in blue, and searches for “moving to Canada” appear in red.

There is a peak in searches for both “Donald Trump election” and “moving to Canada” in November 2016.

As one can see, interest in moving to Canada is at a steady rate of very low searches before the election. Right around November 8th 2016, however, both “Donald Trump election” and “moving to Canada” experience a peak in interest, as it became clear that Trump would, in fact, win the election. Although Canada was responsible for the majority of the “moving to Canada” searches, the second most searches came from the United States.This peak in search caused by the mass hysteria that erupted after Trump’s election was probably responsible for the crashing of the Canada immigration website.

The United States accounted for the second most searched for "moving to Canada," second only to Canada itself.
The United States accounted for the second most searched for “moving to Canada,” second only to Canada itself.

Practice Post

Pat Quinn photo
Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

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