Erin Meyering

Archive for October 2011

Reporter from IHOP shooting shares touching experience

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Brian Duggan, reporter for the Reno Gazette Journal, gave advice to new journalists in covering difficult, hard news by sharing his newfound experience in covering the recent Carson City IHOP shooting on Monday at UNR.

Although breaking news is normally unpredictable, Duggan would have never expected to receive the call to rush out to a caution tape filled, emotional terror. This being his first major breaking news story, he relied on the support of his colleges, information from the authorities’ and the sheer observations he noticed as he walked onto the crime scene.

“Your job is to pick [the authorities] brains and ask as many questions as possible,” Duggan said. “Working as a team is crucial.”

As it is important to interview witnesses and authorities, it is also important to qualify and double-check your own facts and statements, Duggan said.

Gathering facts was a long and tedious process. Waiting for news releases, officials to have time to speak with you or even witnesses to catch a breath from the pure shock and emotion all takes time.

“One of the aspects of a breaking news event is that you don’t know all the facts yet,” Duggan said.

Regardless of knowing the facts, the images seen on site were shocking, Duggan said. One of the first pictures he snapped was a victim in a body bag.

Although for a journalist the facts are as essential as a hammer for a carpenter, it is important to remain calm and professional when faced with such an emotional, and in Duggan’s case, personal situation.

Duggan knew the owner of a nearby shop whose building was damaged during the shooting.

“Every journalist has a horror story,” Duggan said. “We’ve all been through it. It’s just part of the job.”

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Written by emeyering

October 12, 2011 at 7:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

International students decreasing in number, increasing in impact

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Andrea Kostecki, from Canada, shows her American pride by standing in front of the U.S. flag inside the Lombardi swim center. Being a part of the women's team at UNR helped connect her to the school, she said.

Despite UNR’s effort to make foreign education easily accessible, government guidelines and the unstable economy have hindered the enrollment of international students, said the Office of International Students and Scholars.

The headcount of international students on campus dropped from 799 in 2001 to its current number of 596, OISS Director Susan Bender said. The numbers may reflect negatively, but international students make up 3 percent of the student body at UNR and help create an environment full of culture and diversity.

“Our policies [on foreign student enrollment] are still less friendly than other countries,” Bender said.

The policies concerning international students started changing after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Although the attacks only involved two college age students, the government redirected their security polices to more effectively monitor the traffic of foreign students.

Even things that would seem simple became tedious, Bender said. The OISS staff, as many other facilities dealing with foreign students, had to completely remodel their system. New computers, specific training and a new format for everything was introduced.

Despite UNR’s decreasing enrollment of international students, the OISS works to support, interact and continuously provide help to its students like sophomore from Canada, Andrea Kostecki.

“My job is never dull,” Bender said. “You’re involved with things that are happening all over the world. You’re always connected.”

From hosting events on campus like the Night of All Nations, the OISS center is the heart of the international students on campus. The trained workers there help the students with anything from scheduling classes to getting a driver’s license.

Bender, who has been the director of the OISS since 1995, is extremely well versed in how the foreign students impact each other as well as their larger community.

“Having 61 countries represented on a university campus gives all students the opportunity to enhance their intercultural skills or what we call global competencies,” Bender said. “By talking, interacting in the classroom, living with people or going to activities, [students] get a sense of different ways of doing things, or different perspectives, that I think is always kind of eye opening for people to realize, oh, it’s not better or worse, it’s just different.”

Even academics allow the foreign students on campus to connect with each other. Qimeng Zeng, a senior from China, got involved with the International English Learning Center on campus because she didn’t take the English proficiency test before leaving her country. However, it ended up being one of the biggest ways she made friends, Zeng said.

“I met a lot of people through the IELC because we’re all international students,” Zeng said. “We all hang out together and experience the culture of people other than ourselves.”

Another aspect of UNR that attracts foreign students is athletics. Kostecki, sophomore from Canada, became connected to the school by her teammates on the swim team. Sometimes just talking and being with my teammates in a laid back environment helps me more than the OISS could, she said.

Even though the opportunities are endless, it can be nerve racking making the decision to study abroad in such an intensive way.

For an international student, the cost of studying at UNR for one year is $31,000. Although this may seem like an incredibly steep rate, the price was part UNR’s selling point, several students said. More than 71 percent of graduate international students on campus receive financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships.

International students are also eligible for Wolf Pack athletic scholarships.

“For an international student, the prospect of going to the United States, the land of opportunity, is intimidating and discomforting,” Kostecki said. “With the budget cuts, I worry about my team being cut. I’m on an athletic scholarship so that would majorly affect me.”

Another reason an international student may choose to come here is out of process of elimination. According to Bender, a benefit is that the USA, as a nation, is incredibly flexible with education. Here it is common to change majors or careers several times, but in other countries, they have to pick right away something and stick to it.

Yuanyuan Xu is a sophomore, originally from China who has lived in Reno for the past seven years because her mother was hired as an English and Chinese teacher locally.

“I did not always plan on staying [in Reno] for school,” sophomore Yuanyuan Xu said. “I stayed because in China, it’s challenging and competitive. I couldn’t handle moving back to China, it would be too stressful.”

Overall, the OISS seems to be pleased with their programs here and plans to continue to promote cultural diversity and excitement.

Written by emeyering

October 6, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized