ComJour333 Final Story: Trend

Nearly 2,000 college students die from alcohol-related causes each year, according to a recent report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Irresponsible drinking is rampant among college campuses across the country as students leave home for the first time and away from the authority figures monitoring their behavior.

With the emergence of unofficial slogans such as “Win or lose, Cougs booze”, Washington State University has long been known as a “party school” and with that territory comes an abundance of alcohol-related hospitalizations.

Approximately 374 patients are seen in the Emergency Department at Pullman Regional Hospital annually for alcohol-related instances according to Dr. Pete Mikkelsen in a community newsletter.

Several WSU students were admitted to the hospital due to acute alcohol poisoning in one semester last year alone with various others receiving injuries from falls of rooftops and balconies while under the influence of alcohol.

In October 2012, WSU freshman Kenny Hummel, 18, was found unresponsive in a dorm room on campus.

Students administered CPR on the scene before the paramedics arrived but Hummel was later pronounced dead at Pullman Regional Hospital.

Members of Hummel’s family revealed that Kenny’s cause of death was a lethal concoction of caffeinated energy drinks and alcohol.

His blood alcohol level was .40, or five times the legal limit for driving in the state of Washington.

Energy drinks are popular among college-aged students looking for a boost to their academic performance but are also consumed with alcohol in order to stay alert and awake while partying.

The problem is that alcohol is a depressant while energy drinks serve as a stimulant. Feeling tired while drinking alcohol is the body’s natural defense and way of telling one to shut down at the end of the night.

When energy drinks enter the equation, it can lead to potentially life-threatening situations in which the caffeine masks the consumer’s sedation and causes them to continue drinking, past their body’s limit and into lethal levels of intoxication.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 34% of 18- to 24-year-olds regularly consume energy drinks and 71% admitted to mixing them with alcohol on multiple occasions.

WSU junior Jessica Roller first learned about the dangers of mixing energy drinks with alcohol in 2010 after Washington State banned Four Loko, a highly-caffeinated alcoholic beverage sold in convenience stores.

Roller said she still enjoys energy drinks mixed with vodka from time to time.

“I make sure to monitor how much of them I am drinking,” said Roller.

“Life is short and everything comes attached with risks these days.”

Sophomore Scott Wolf feels that the risks of consuming energy drinks with alcohol are not great enough for him to lose sleep over.

“I’m well aware of the potential health effects but I feel I am pretty careful with how much I drink,” said Wolf.

“I worry more for those of my classmates that I see consuming multiple energy drinks with alcohol every night as if its no big deal.”
Although pricey, averaging around $3-4 a can, the accessibility and exposure of energy drinks on college campuses only contributes to the growing problem and number of instances of overindulgence.

Numerous brands and varieties can be found at the Bookie, in vending machines, and are even given out and promoted by companies on school grounds.

Despite the appeal to party longer, sophomore Gabe Abram does not feel the need to cave in to peer pressure regarding the simultaneous consumption of caffeine and alcohol.

“I choose not to drink alcohol with energy drinks because I know not to mix stimulants and depressants,” said Abram.

“Seeing as though I am naturally hyper and energetic, I don’t really see a need for energy drinks when I’m partying.”

Junior Cordes Crawford, estimates he pours himself a glass or two of Crown Royal whiskey mixed with Monster energy drink about two times a month and didn’t need anyone to tell him about the risks involved.

“I went out on a limb and made an assumption that two things that are bad for you do not get better when they are combined,” said Crawford.

“It doesn’t bother me because short term rewards outweigh the long term risks in my opinion.”


Jessica Roller

Scott Wolf

Gabe Abram

Cordes Crawford
Phone: (206) 859-0248


Narration: Nearly 2,000 college students die from alcohol-related causes each year, according to a recent report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

A recent poll by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that 71% of college students engage in the mixing of energy drinks with alcohol in order to party longer.

In October 2012, the tragic death of 18-year old Kenny Hummel, a freshman at WSU brought to light the dangers of this very practice.

Hummel death was caused by a lethal concoction of caffeinated beverages and hard liquor. He died with a blood alcohol level of .40, fives times the legal limit in Washington.

Students need to be aware that combining stimulants such as energy drinks with depressants such as alcohol can have lethal consequences.

The caffeine in energy drinks keeps you awake and alert, bypassing your body’s natural reaction to make you tired after you’ve had enough alcohol.

This leads to college students drinking far more than they can take.

Gabe Abram:

“Its a stimulant and a depressant in one so if you put them both together, its an accident waiting to happen. Red Bull doesn’t give you wings but it does get you hyphy, crunk, whatever you want to call it.”

Scott Wolf:

“Energy drinks give me enough caffeine to get me through the night and party.”

“I am pretty careful about how much I drink and how often. I’m not too worried about it now but I would be if I started doing it more often.”


“Although pricey, averaging around $3-4 a can, the accessibility and exposure of energy drinks on college campuses only contributes to the growing problem and number of instances of overindulgence.

Numerous brands and varieties can be found at the Bookie, in vending machines, and are even given out and promoted by companies on school grounds.”


Exercise: Is it Libel?

1. “Megan Fox is a man!” Headline on Weekly World News Web site

Yes, this is libel as it is clearly not true and I highly doubt the tabloid has any sort of factual basis behind their claims.

Answer: No, we treat the tabloid as satire so its different here than it would be if the New York Times made the same claim.

2. “Up until the day he died, he was a brilliant writer. But the drugs made him a thief, a pimp and a liar,” said friend Karen Smith, who was with Johnson at the time of his death.

No, I do not think this is libel because this is an opinion from a friend of is but I guess it could be libel considering he is not alive to defend himself against these harmful remarks.

Answer: No, you can never libel the dead.

3. “In my opinion, Kevin is a murdering rapist,” the prosecutor told the jury.

No, this is not libel because the prosecutor has the legal right to state an opinion of this regard.

Answer: No, not libelous because reporting on actions on government through police dept. Cannot be held responsible for what they say in the court of law and reporter cannot be held responsible for reporting what they say.

4. “In my opinion, he’s a murdering rapist,” the man said at the rally.

Yes, this is libel because the man is using his likely uniformed opinion to defame someone’s character at a public meeting.

Answer: No, you are not entitles to the same freedom of the press here. Although “In my opinion” is a form of protected speech and not a statement of fact.

ComJour333 Story #5: Demographics/Trend

Pain in the Parking Lot: WSU students fret over the price to park

By: Zack Menchel

Pullman, Wash. Owning a car in college is a privilege, but recent increases in parking permit costs and zone changes are making it quite the hassle for many WSU students and staff members alike on a daily basis.

According to Parking and Transportation Services, the price for a blue lot permit increased 78 percent between 2004 and 2013, 57 percent for yellow, and 14 percent for gray and red.

Annual parking permits at WSU are broken down into seven color-coded categories designated by color names with Blue being the cheapest and Orange being the most expensive.

Raising prices for parking is detrimental to college students and their families whom already pay out of pocket for expenses such as tuition, textbooks, food, and gas.

The issue becomes more problematic when Transportation Services fails to make the reasoning for their constant price hikes publicly available and improvements are often not visually evident.

WSU students such as Andrew Chamberlin are then left to wonder precisely how their hard earned money is being spent.

“Honestly, I do not even know where all the money we pay for parking goes,” said Chamberlin.

“The lines for spaces where you’re actually designated to park in some lots have disappeared due to lack of maintenance to snow and gravel.”

The transportation department is also independent from the university, meaning they do not receive any funding.

This leads to a department designated pricing system for parking lots, garages, and sports events.

It currently costs up to $30 to park in lots for Cougar football games alone.

The annual fluctuation in parking prices and general lack of information regarding changes is what caught the eye of a group of WSU students who hope to make a difference in the system.

WSU Parking Initiative is a small grassroots organization recently formed by five Pullman-based students seeking to provide their peers with a more extensive outline regarding parking updates at the university.

One of those students is senior Stephanie Long who said the group hopes to bring awareness of parking issues to the WSU community.

“We realized that parking prices seem outrageously high for a university located in such a small town,” said Long.

“Collectively, our group really wants to know where all of our money is being used by Transportation Services and when changes are made to parking facilities.”

According to the WSU Parking Initiative’s website, unannounced lot color changes have been a troubling practice. “Recently a Blue parking lot was changed to Gray without notifying pass-holders, “ the site reads.

“This meant individuals who purchased a Blue parking lot pass for that specific area were unable to use it and they had to either purchase a Gray lot pass or park elsewhere.

Neglecting to alert students to changes of this magnitude resulted in the issuing of steep parking tickets upwards of fifty dollars.

WSU Parking Initiative’s site also compares parking rates at WSU to five other major collegiate institutions in the state of Washington.

Their findings concluded that WSU’s rates are shockingly high when compared to other schools located in small towns such as Pullman.

For example, WSU’s annual parking rate of $70-604 dwarfs Eastern Washington University’s $94-221 range as well as Central Washington University’s $80-204 rate.

Another founder of WSU Parking Initiative, Kyle Toyra, said that the group’s efforts have been paying off thus far.

He says the group has collected fifty signatures on their petition and hundreds of participants in a survey on their website since it went online on Friday.

“It just shows that people are actually paying attention and care what’s going on around our campus as well as awareness of the difference they can make,” said Toyra.

“Having enough people sign the petition might make Transportation Services consider making vital parking information more readily available to students.”

Long said she hopes Transportation Services will listen to the student voice and prove their parking prices are fair and reasonable.

“They hold a monopoly over on-campus parking and provide no evidence that the services they provide are sufficient or reasonable,” she said.

“We are fighting to make that evidence public.”

When asked on how he thinks the transportation department will respond to the group’s efforts,

“I believe they will try to stonewall us just like they have done previously to ASWSU,” said Toyra.

“It’s definitely going to be an uphill battle, but we’re willing to fight it out with the help of our peers and the WSU community as a whole.”

For more information on WSU Parking Initiative’s efforts, visit their website:


    Name: Andrew Chamberlin

    Name: Stephanie Long

    Name: Kyle Toyra

    WSU Parking Initiative Website:


      I). Scope of the Issue
      · What Is Happening
      · WSU Parking Situation
      · Effect On Students
      II). What Needs to be Done/Opinion
      · Chamberlin Student Reaction
      · Transportation Department Pricing
      · Action/Issues
      III). WSU Parking Initiative
      · Long perspective
      · Website
      · Toyra Perspective
      IV). Closing Remarks

      Video Excerpt of Kyle Toyra Interview:

Census Data

1 What percent of county residents live in poverty?
2 What percent of state residents live in poverty?
a On the top right, click on ‘Browse data sets for County.’
b Click on Social Characteristics.
1. What percent of county residents have at least a bachelor’s degree?

2. What percent of homes speak a language other than English?
c. Click on Economic Characteristics.
1. What’s the unemployment rate in your county?
2. What’s the average commute for workers?
26.5 minutes
3. For workers 16 years and older, what percent work in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining.
4. What percent of household earn less than $15,000?
5. What percent of households received food stamps?
6. What’s the median earning for a male? For a female?

1 On the right side of the page, conduct an Address Search for your neighborhood.
a List one demographic characteristics of your neighborhood
Income: Over $500,000
b Do the same for your home address. List one difference between the addresses (based on Census data)
White: 69.8 %
Asian: 14.7%
Use this interactive map to find the state with the highest poverty level.
Alabama at 18.9%
In Washington, which county has the highest poverty level for all ages?
What about for children (under 18)?
Now search by elementary school district in Washington state — which three districts have the highest levels of poverty?