ComJour475 Guest Write-Up #3: Veronica Miracle

PULLMAN, Wash. KLEW news anchor Veronica Miracle, a Murrow College alum, returned to WSU on Wednesday to speak with current journalism and broadcasting students about how to begin their careers.

Miracle began working for KLEW-TV in Lewiston just two days after her graduation from WSU in 2012.

Although the same age or barely older than the students she shared the room with, Miracle came presented herself as a devoted professional and veteran of the journalism field.

Miracle told the students that she sat in their very seats just two years ago and were filled with the same questions and eagerness as they were.

She spoke about her job and how she was able to earn a promotion from field reporter to primetime nightly news anchor in just a year’s time. This requires her to wear many hats in that she reports stories, writes, shoots video, edits packages, and anchors newscasts all day.

Miracle said that although she “practically has no life” outside of her work, she wouldn’t trade what she’s doing for the world and manages to make things work.

According to Miracle, it was at WSU where she gained the invaluable hands-on experience in reporting, editing, and broadcasting she is refining today while holding down talent and crew positions at Cable 8.

Miracle encouraged students to keep gaining experience and asking questions. She said the general rule of thumb is to not be picky with first jobs, be a little picky with second jobs, and be very picky with any job opportunities after that.

While at KLEW, Miracle made the mistake of reporting details about a man’s animal rescue business that weren’t entirely true. She read his full name over the air and told viewers that he was under investigation for animal abuse.

The man received death threats and after authorities cleared him of any possible wrongdoing, Miracle was forced by her boss to do an update on the story and interview the man in person. It was here where Miracle said she was terribly embarrassed about the ordeal as the class watched the man tear up live on the news.

Miracle showed the class other footage in her newsreel but used that story as an example that everyone will make mistakes but it’s all about how you learn from them. She said her fear of the man’s property led her to give incomplete reporting and reinforced that you cannot have fear in this business.

Miracle said that it is likely that many of the young journalists in the room will begin their careers in rather small cities and towns. This comes with getting to know the community, earning their trust, and using them as an invaluable eye on the inside and source for news.

“I get my best stories from community members,” she said.

“Every day I call the sheriff and the fire department. I really just make my presence known and build my relationship with these people outside of work. That’s when the calls started to come in.”

With real world experience on her resume, Miracle is moving on to bigger things at a new station in California where she will continue to advance her career.


ComJour 475 Write-Up #2: Eric LaFontaine

PULLMAN, Wash. Eric LaFontaine, publisher of the Othello Outlook and Board of Trustees member for the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Board visited students at WSU’s Murrow College of Communication on Wednesday afternoon.

LaFontaine spoke with students about his career, how we ended up where he is, and how others can enjoy a similar path in journalism.

The chat began with LaFontaine’s effort to loosen up the class with a joke about a pirate and a magician but the punchline seemed to be lost on the students.

He told the class he graduated from the University of Washington in 1999 with a B.A. degree in Political Science and worked in behavioral healthcare for three years as director of public relations.

In 2007, he was hired as the Publisher and Editor of the Othello Outlook, a 100-year-old community newspaper with modest readership based in Othello, Washington. Six months later, competition in the form of another local newspaper caused some serious issues for LaFontaine.

The Othello Outlook published bi-weekly every Wednesday and was priced at $1 per week or readers could purchase an annual subscription for $35.

The new publication not only published a day before LaFontaine’s, but was free.

LaFontaine closely monitored the situation and it began clear that he was losing readers, and therefore money. He then spoke about the unique set of challenges he faced in making sure the Outlook lived to see another centennial.

He improved the Outlook’s social media reach, redesigned the website from the ground up to the point where it won awards, and even published free supplementel content a day before the competition in order to bring back interest in the Outlook.

One of the most important points in LaFontaine’s discussion was the crucial aspect of tailoring content to the interests of your readers.

“Figure out your community and depending on who and what you write for, you have got to write for your audience,” said LaFontaine.

He said that Othello’s population is 80 percent Latino and 40 percent under the age of 30 years old.

LaFontaine stressed that part of knowing your community comes from experiencing what the area has to offer. Even though he lives in Moses Lake, he knows how to tailor to the citizens of Othello.

He also spoke about the challenges of micromanaging people at a small newspaper and took questions in the room.

LaFontaine said he’s hiring, passed out his business cards to the room and told students to keep writing, getting published, and take photos to become a multi-faceted reporter.

Guidestar Questions

1. Guidestar, which requires (free) registration, can help identify nonprofits across the country. Register and find the following data.
a. Login and find World Vision.
1. What was World Vision’s revenue last year?


2. What was value of its assets?

$249, 213, 398

3. What were total expenses of World Vision?


4. What percent of its total expenses was related to program services?

If we do deep into these federal filings we can see where the nonprofit spent its money, how much it paid its officers, and how much it received in contributions.

b. Let’s look at American National Red Cross.


c. How did contributions change from 2012 report to 2011?

They went down from 1,013,873,120 in 2011 to 741,190,737 in 2012.

2. On the Guidestar front page, click on “Advanced Search” for Washington.
a. List the top two nonprofits by income.

Community Foundation for Southwest Washington ($8,521,215)
Community Foundation of North Central Washington ($4,948,292)

3. Now search for nonprofits in “Pullman, Washington.”
a. List three local nonprofits.

United Way of Pullman
Pullman Rotary Charity
Leonard and Irene Berekson Private Foundation

b. Sort these by income. Which had the highest income?

1. United Way of Pullman ($191,471)

2. Leonard and Irene Berekson Private Foundation ($189,879)

3. Pullman Rotary Charity ($0)

c. Look at the 990 for the nonprofit with the highest income.


d. On Line 8, we can see that contributions and grants increased from the prior year to the current year. What was the percent increase?

Prior Year: 201,720
Current Year: 176,891

PI: 14.036327455890914%

e. What is the nonprofit’s mission?

To increase the organized capacity of people of the local community to care for one another via support of health and human services agencies.

f. How much does the foundation have in assets?

g. Who received the most compensation and how much? (Hint: Go to Schedule J)

Not sure on this question, J referred me to their website?

h. How much did foundation give to rabies research in sub-saharan Africa?
Not sure.

i. How much did foundation pay board member Duane Brelsford for office lease?

Not sure. I cannot find this information.

4. Search again ( for Washington nonprofits by topic, e.g. arts, education, environment, health.)
a. Look at the report for the Community Action Center

Found it.
b. Look at the report for Alpha Gamma Delta.
Found it.

ComJour 475: Springfest

PULLMAN, Wash. Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., more affectionately known as Snoop Dogg, has been announced as the headlining act for WSU Student Entertainment Board’s annual Springfest concert in April.

Springfest serves WSU students, faculty, alumni, and the Palouse community as a means to celebrate the end of another school year and provided a way for students to unwind and relieve stress before they take their finals exams.

The inaugural festival drew just 20 people in 2002 and was intended as an alternative to the Senior Golf event, planned by and produced by the WSU administration.

SEB took over the event in 2003 helping it to improve and grow in each passing year, implementing a beer garden, carnival rides, art galleries, and other features that helped make it the success it is today.

Having sold over 30 million albums worldwide, Snoop Dogg is without a doubt the most distinguished musical act to be showcased at Springfest in its 13 year existence.

At the beginning of the school year SEB made sure they had secured a rock-solid booking at Beasley Coliseum as a venue before brainstorming what musical acts they think students would enjoy.

“The big headliners like Snoop Dogg are typically always in Beasley so students can get that real concert feel,” said Films Director Taylor Wright.

“He’s definitely the highlight of Springfest and what everything is leading up to.”

The next step for SEB is to send out a survey asking students what genres of music they wanted to see represented at the next Springfest.

Once hip-hop was settled on, participants were polled on which artists they preferred within the genre.

“We receiving overwhelming support for Snoop Dogg,” said special events coordinator Logan Webbenhurst.

Webbenhurst said the process to book talent is usually a long one, especially with performers of Snoop’s magnitude.

“First we reached out to Snoop’s booking manager, then we inquired about availability for the specific dates,” said Webbenhurst.

“After that, we put out a bid with an expiration date of several weeks giving Snoop and his managing team time to look over the offer to see if they actually wanted to take it or not.”

SEB Director Jacob Farris takes pride in the organization’s ability to book premier talent considering Pullman’s less than ideal location.

“Due to the fact that Pullman is in the middle of nowhere, a lot of artists sometimes don’t want to come out here for that reason,” said Farris.

“The area is difficult to travel to but we do pretty well in getting artists out here, we just have to offer more in price.”

Tickets for Springfest will be available with and the CougarCard Center on February 4.

“We’re fortunate enough to get S & A fees so every student pitches in x amount of dollars into that and its distributed across campus for events,” said Farris.

“Its risky doing concerts because if we don’t sell enough tickets to break even then we lose that amount for the entire academic year so we need to make sure we sell enough and look at the potential risks and rewards.”

Farris said SEB always tries to make the most affordable prices no matter what.

“I think the prices are fair especially because they got Snoop Dogg this year,” said junior Scott Wolf, a three-year veteran of Springfest.

“If they keep getting good artists like this I may have to come back even after I graduate.”

All in all, Farris said he is thrilled with the direction SEB is headed with Springfest and the other events it puts on for students in order to create a unique and fun experience.

“We’ve continuously improved Springfest throughout the years by bringing in bigger talent, more talent, newer carnival rides, and just diverse entertainment,” said Farris.

“Changing up Springfest every year attracts students to come out to the point where although it’s the same event, new components will continue to spark interest in what we have going.”

Springfest will be held on April 25 from 5-11 p.m. and April 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The festival featuring carnival games and outdoor music will be located on Northeast Wilson Road by Grimes Way Playfield.

Snoop Dogg will perform on April 26 at 8 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum.


Jacob Farris-Director

Logan Webbenhurst-Special Events

Taylor Wright-Films

Scott Wolf-Student Attendee

Ed Rabel Speech Summary

PULLMAN, Wash. Former NBC News correspondent Ed Rabel spent decades covering an evolving political climate in Cuba, interviewed Fidel Castro several times, and routinely served as the voice of the otherwise unheard Cuban people broadcast into American homes.

On Wednesday, Rabel spoke to a classroom full of journalism students at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication via conference call, sharing his insight and answering various questions about the communist country.

“The Cuban government is at odds with the United States government because of an economic embargo against Cuba since 1962,” said Rabel.

“We broke off normal diplomatic relations because we’ve had a very harsh foreign policy towards them.”

Rabel still travels to Cuba with aspiring young journalists from the university in order for them to experience life as a foreign correspondent and build their portfolios.

The next trip is in May and he assured that attending students will be greeted with open arms from the Cuban people.

“We’ve always had a very nice time and never any problems,” said Rabel.

“The relationship between Americans and Cubans is very good but it is the two governments that are hostile.”

Rabel told the students the Cubans leave the country (or attempt to) in order to find work and better their lives financially.

“Cuba is a poor country, make no mistake about it,” he said.

“If people were permitted to leave, then about three million of 12 million would leave for economic reasons.”

According to Rabel, Cuba’s new political leader Raul Castro has permitted his people to buy and sell houses and automobiles, and has allowed limited travel outside of the country. There is still very little access to the Internet with restrictions to the media.

“The jury is still out on where Cuba is going to go in the future but I suspect that they will open up more.”

ComJour 475: Work Samples


Obliteration by Stanford left few smiles in Pullman, at least until Cougars coach Mike Leach saw “The Popcorn Guy” video. After 55-17, take what you can get.

Zack Menchel, Murrow News Services

PULLMAN — Bright spots for the Cougars were few and far between in the 55-17 shellacking at the hands of No. 5 Stanford in the annual Seattle Game. The undefeated Cardinal excelled in all three phases – they outgained WSU 560-373 — and made plenty of big plays early to bury a foe that simply did not look ready for prime time in front of an announced 40,095 fans on a blustery Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field.

Late-game showers and a fierce passing attack led by Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (16 of 25, 286 yards, three TD’s) and wide receiver Devon Cajuste (four catches, 115 yards, two TD’s) crippled any chance of an upset.

Halliday hurting

Quarterback Connor Halliday played well until the third quarter, when he released a deep ball down the left sideline before a Stanford defender slammed him to the ground.

The pass was picked easily by safety Jordan Richards, who returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Halliday limped off the field. He tried to return the next series but was unable to walk, so trainers escorted him to the locker room.

Coach Mike Leach doesn’t discuss injuries, but Halliday was able to practice with the team Sunday night.

During his press conference Monday, Leach refrained from naming a starter for Saturday but praised Halliday’s desire to get back on the field.

“I think Connor is tough to begin with and I actually expected him to be at practice,” he said.

Apodaca waits

Redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca replaced Halliday and hiccupped early as a screen pass intended for wide receiver Dom Williams was intercepted by linebacker Trent Murphy and taken 38 yards for the score.

Apodaca recovered however, finishing with 15 completions on 29 attempts for 138 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career.

If Apodaca plays against Cal (1 p.m., Fox Sports One), Leach seems to have no reservations.

“Austin’s leadership qualities are good. I think they started last spring where he worked hard and developed his rapport with the team,” said Leach. “He went out there and did an admirable job. I think everyone respected his efforts.”

First-blowout blues

Despite the loss, a prevailing narrative being echoed in Pullman Monday by players and staff alike is to learn from the loss, not dwell on it.

“We just weren’t playing our game, we weren’t playing Cougar football,” said senior safety Deone Bucannon. “We went out, addressed it on film, changed some things, and got better.”

Senior center Elliott Bosch repeatedthat sentiment: “The whole team was upset but we came in and made the corrections on film. It definitely fuels the team and we’ve got to put it behind us because it’s all about how we respond and come back the next week.”

Little protection

Although Stanford had just two sacks, there was a concentrated effort to rush and hit WSU’s quarterbacks in the pocket, which led to errant passes and miscues.

“When our QB gets hit it’s a reflection on us that we didn’t get our job done,” said Bosch. “It’s going to happen, playing a good defensive line such as Stanford’s, but I think we could have finished a little better.”

When asked to clarify the offensive line’s struggles as a unit, Bosch said, “We did some good things but had some breakdowns at crucial moments up front. It was always one badly missed block getting our QB hit and ending the drive.”

Protege faces mentor

Leach will see a familiar face patrolling the opposing sidelines for the Golden Bears when the Cougars take the field in Berkeley.

Head coach Sonny Dykes worked under Leach for eight years and at two universities, Kentucky and Texas Tech. Leach said the two are on friendly terms and speak with each other at coaching functions.

“We go way back. He was my graduate assistant at Kentucky and I hired him at Texas Tech so we spent a good amount of time together,” Leach said.

Asked about Dykes joining the Pac-12 ranks this year after three seasons of head coaching experience at Louisiana Tech, Leach said, “I was excited for him, as he got a great opportunity. He did a good job at over at Louisiana Tech so I know he’ll do well.”

Popcorn guy

Upon entering his press conference Monday, Leach had not seen the now-infamous “Popcorn Guy” video in which a clearly fed-up Cougars fan in the stands was caught by television cameras as he poured a bag of popcorn all over himself. It already has a quarter-million views on YouTube.

Leach was shown the video by a member of the media and playfully remarked, “That guy is awesome. I think I kind of felt the same way at the end of that game. His technique was good.

“My wife and daughter will sometimes hold contests where they throw M&Ms up in the air and field it with their mouths, but I think this guy could give either one of them a run for their money.”

2.WSU extension scientists working to pair robots with humans for better harvest

By: Zack Menchel

PROSSER, Wash. Apples mean big business in the state of Washington, an estimated $2.5 billion business annually to be exact.

In fact, over half the world’s supply of fresh apples intended for consumption are picked in Washington orchards.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that leading scientists at Washington State University are teaming up to research and develop innovative new technologies that will provide growers with a more cost and labor efficient strategy to harvest their bumper crop, apples.

“As yields go up, we need to figure out different ways to harvest this fruit because labor is not only unreliable but the cost of it is going up,” said Karen Lewis, a WSU extension tree fruit specialist.

“Growers are looking at all kinds of ways to increase the efficiencies of a very large harvest.”

In conjunction with Lewis, Changki Mo, and Qin Zhang, Dr. Manoj Karkee, an assistant professor with the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS) at WSU is working on creating various robotic systems that will collaborate with humans in the process of picking tree fruit from orchards.

“This is the best place in the world to grow apples, its what we do best and what we strive to continue to do,” said Kate Evans, associate professor at the WSU Tree Fruit Research Center.

“We just need to figure out ways to stay profitable while doing it.”

Karkee’s team was recently awarded a $548,000 grant towards funding the research and eventual release of a prototype robotic hand that features force and pressure measuring sensors intended to enhance the delicate process of picking apples and other fruit from trees.

The potential mobile fruit identifier unit with a touch-screen interface also will see humans and robots in cahoots during harvest.

“Within the scope of this project, my associates and I are striving to create innovative new technologies commercially available to the growers for the long-term sustainability of their businesses and agriculture in the community as a whole,” Karkee said.

“We hope our work can in time make a lasting impact on this industry through economic and environmental growth and profit.”

Although the development of the prototype hand is still in the early stages, the team of scientists has begun the meticulous process of collecting data relating to the growth patterns of apples as well as conducting a study of the most effective hand motion utilized when collecting tree fruit be it rotating, twisting, pulling, etc.

One thing that observers are worrying about regarding the gradual advancement of tree picking robot technology is backlash due to the elimination of jobs within the agricultural workforce.

“While that is possibility, the upside is that there will be a lot of new high-tech equipment that will need to be serviced and monitored in the field,” said Brian Clark, a director of agricultural education at WSU.

“Leading researchers have long been searching for ways to automate and mechanize some of these agricultural tasks due to a crisis of labor shortage.”

According to Karkee, we should be viewing the technology as eliminating the problem of not having enough workers, rather than wiping out workers completely.

This is because there is already a lack of workers available for labor-intensive, seasonal operation such as tree fruit picking.

“We’d create higher-paying, employment job opportunities for workers to operate and maintain the technology,” said Karkee.

“This will in turn lead to a better economic, social, and cultural environment in these rural communities in Washington as well as around the country.”

Karkee made it known theat growers are very interested in applying his team’s technology to their operations.

“We hope to see a prototype field test within the next three years and if we can secure continuous funding for another 5-10 years, our goal would be to make it commercially available worldwide,” Karkee said.

The grant currently providing funding for Karkee and his team is being issued by the National Robot Initiative, and USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture among other programs.

“Our technology has been relatively successful and that makes for an industry that is willing to fund and engage in the process of experimenting with and validating new technology,” said Lewis.

“This is most certainly a great time to introduce new technology to this industry, it’s truly very exciting.”