Virginia Commonwealth University

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Our Staff

Here are the CNS reporters for Spring 2015:

Prof picNoura Bayoumi: “Hello! I am originally from Burke, Va. I am studying print-online journalism with a minor in English. I am currently the vice president of HerCampus VCUan online women’s magazine, and am interning as a copywriter at a Richmond-based company, WealthForge. In the past, I wrote for The Commonwealth Times as a staff writer, then a columnist. To visit my portfolio, click here.” Contact Noura at bayouminm@vcu.edu.

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Kelsey Callahan: “Hey y’all! I’m from Warrenton, Virginia, and I am senior Print-Online Journalism major here at VCU.  While I don’t have a lot of experience in the journalism field up to this point I think that CNS has helped me greatly enhance my reporting and writing skills. I chose to study journalism because I like getting to know different people, writing and taking photographs, and the fact that it opens up so many career opportunities for me after graduation. I love to travel and would like to eventually use my degree to work internationally as journalist.” View Kelsey’s portfolio by clicking here or contact Kelsey at callahankj@vcu.edu 

Janedowns_janealal Downs: “Originally from Norfolk, Va., I am a print-online journalism and Spanish major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Since the young age of 9, I have desired the life of a journalist and have worked hard to make this dream come true. I was previously a staff member on VCU’s student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times, and write profiles for Urban Views Weekly. As a reporter for Capital News Service, I am able to serve statewide publications by covering the General Assembly. I am also the host of ‘The Blushing Dolphin’ and the co-host of ‘The Radio Divas‘ on VCU’s student-run radio station, WVCW.” Contact Janeal at downsj@vcu.edu or @janealdolphin. Online portfolio: janealdowns.wordpress.com.

1909257_10202217437412298_1936896561_o Sarah Drury: “Originally hailing from Norfolk, Va., I am a print-online journalism major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Ever since I was a child I have had a strong desire and passion for writing, and it wasn’t until I arrived at VCU that I discovered journalism was the path for me. I also write short stories and dabble in poetry, and have won numerous awards for my fictional work in the past. Working as a reporter for Capital News Service and covering the General Assembly has been an amazing learning opportunity. In my spare time I work two part-time jobs.” Contact Sarah at mackdrurysm@vcu.edu or @SarahMackDrury. Online portfolio: sarahdrury.wordpress.com

384631_2161544369301_2056064877_nMeghan Gaffney: “Hello! I am from Great Falls, Va., and have lived in Richmond for the past five years. Reporting for Capital News Service has been an incredible opportunity this semester. The pressure was on to produce stories quickly and efficiently, while it was intimidating at first, the overall experience has been incredibly rewarding. I have previously worked for RVA magazine and Gay RVA, primarily covering human interest pieces and writing profiles on local artists. Today I work as a marketing intern for a local law firm, as well as a production assistant for Swood Media.” Contact Meghan at gaffneym2@vcu.edu. Here are samples of her work, as well as her Coroflot profile.

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Ashley Jordan: “Hi, everybody, my name is Ashley Jordan. I am a print journalism major at VCU, and I am from the Hampton Roads area. I love Star Trek – original series and cartoons. CNS has been very beneficial to me as a transfer student. It forced me to go out and learn about Richmond and the Virginia Legislature. I have new respect for my field and the people who perpetuate it. I am excited to learn and write more as I grow in this profession. I can be contacted at jordana5@mymail.vcu.edu.”

korsgaardSean CW Korsgaard:  “Soldier, scholar, writer and freelancer, I’m a print/online journalism major with minors in history and writing here at VCU. I’ve worked as a freelance writer since 2010, dabbled in topics ranging from film criticism to political analysis, and have worked as either a columnist or contributor for websites and news outlets that include Screen Rant, Richmond.com, The Action Elite, The Mechanicsville Local, and most recently, Capital News Service. You can find my ever-expanding portfolio of work at my website, Korsgaard’s Commentary, and if you’d like to help me add to it, please contact me at korsgaardsc@vcu.edu.”

KLataKevin Lata: “After lying in my temporary home, a tent in the Australian rainforest, hour after hour, day after day, reading through the archives of famed journalists Christopher Hitchens and Robert Fisk, mesmerized by their wordcraft and vivid deconstruction of complex events, it came to me – this is what I must do: Stand on the sidelines of history and write what happens as it unfolds, challenging those that wish to control the narrative. One year later, I find myself in CNS, growing daily as I develop my craft. CNS has served as the foundation for my knowledge in journalism and hopefully the launching pad to a career in International reporting. This summer I’m headed to Latin America to try my knack at freelancing. Email me at latakg@vcu.edu and check out my portfolio.”

pic333Matthew Leonard: “Born and raised in North Carolina, I thought my future was going to be in the music business. It was not until I reached college that I found my passion for journalism. The past few semesters I have spent a significant about of my time and energy writing for and working at VCU’s student paper, The Commonwealth Times, where I am currently the online content editor. I have interned with RVA Magazine, GayRVA.com, WTVR CBS 6, and will be interning with The Denver Post this summer. A strong curiosity and a desire to find the truth have given me a passion for the field of journalism. It is important to inform the community and I want to be a part of that. The fourth estate has a responsibility to keep a check on the powers that be in our society, a responsibility to write the first draft of history, a responsibility I know I can shoulder. Contact me at leonardme@mymail.vcu.edu, or check out my portfolio at https://www.clippings.me/users/18148.”

10295293_10152423095826101_6387720530378836145_oMargo Maier: “I’m a born and raised Virginian, but living in Richmond for the past 3 years has been a thoroughly transformative experience. Through VCU’s Journalism program and my integration into Richmond as a community I have come to realize the role I want to play in media and society. Capital News Service is providing the resources and platform that budding writers like myself need to find our niche in this ever-changing landscape of news and culture. To get in touch with me, send an email to maiermk@vcu.edu or visit my portfolio at margomaier.contently.com ”

avatar_1814c311a76a_64Benjamin May: “I have lived in Virginia all of my life, but moved around before deciding to live to Richmond. After spending nine years in the Virginia Community College System, I am proud to be earning a dual degree in Print Journalism and Philosophy from VCU. I consider philosophy to be a hobby; writing is my primary objective. Capital News Service has been a wonderful opportunity. Covering the General Assembly and the sentencing of former Gov. Bob McDonnell was a truly rewarding experience. My favorite part of the reporting process is research and in my spare time I work for a local nonprofit.” Contact Ben at maybw@vcu.edu.

Michael MelkonianMichael Melkonian: “I am a senior at VCU studying print/online journalism at the Robertson School of Media and Culture.  My focus this spring is on the Virginia General Assembly for our Capital News Service capstone course as well as other local and state politics as an intern for WCVE, a local public radio station.  In addition to studying mass communications, I also have a BA in religious studies.  I am curious about finding a locus of the two for a career.  People fascinate me and I always look forward to meeting and talking to everyone I can and learning about their worldviews and culture.  You can reach me on twitter at @mikle_melkonian, via email at michaelsurenemelkonian@gmail.com and check out some samples of my work.”

10748633_10152927815920127_1393747824_n Ali Mislowsky: I’m a senior at VCU from Winchester, Va. I’ll graduate in May with a B.S. in print journalism, a B.A. in political science and a Spanish minor. I’ve been a communications intern at Equality Virginia, run social media for Strange Matter in Richmond, and worked in political offices and campaigns for both Republicans and Democrats. I hope to combine all of my experiences towards a career doing communications for advocacy groups. I love state politics, policy and elections- and reading and writing about them. You can like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn or peruse my Pinterest page, which is focused on news curation and non-profit advocacy communications. My online portfolio has all of these links, as well as my published work and resume; you can also email me at mislowskyma@vcu.edu.

Cort Olsen: Senior at VCU majoring in journalism print with a minor in technical writing.  I will be graduating in the Summer of 2015 and plan to write for social-political publication such as VICE or The Atlantic.  I began as a writer for VCU’s three time, award winning arts and culture magazine INK in Fall 2012 and worked my way up to becoming the editor in chief for the past four issues from Spring 2014 to Spring 2015.  I have contributed to VCU’s award winning college newspaper The Commonwealth Times as well as The Petersburg Progress-Index, CBS 6, Freelance Star and RVA News to name a few.  I have written extensive stories ranging from government news to music and art which has given me broad experience over many forms of journalism.  Add me on LinkedIn, follow me Twitter and Tumblr; and checkout my photo portfolio on Flickr.    

Lyndsey Raynor: “Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, I am a print journalism senior and I will be graduating this May. After graduation I plan to have an internship during the summer in the mass communications field, I’d like to take this time to explore other mass communication options rather than just journalism. In the fall I will be receiving my teaching certification to teach ESL children and adults. It is my hope to be teaching ESL students abroad in Greece by fall 2016. I have come to really enjoy reporting through Capital News Service this semester and I am extremely thankful for the experience it gives me each day. Writing has been my number one objective since I started at VCU and I am excited to learn new things everyday and continue to grow as a writer and reporter. You can contact me via email at raynorlm13@gmail.com. If you’d like to view my work please visit my portfolio.”

profile picCameron Vigliano:“I’m an aspiring multimedia journalist from Dumfries, Virginia. I will soon be graduating as a Broadcast Journalism major with a Political Science minor. Currently I volunteer at the Richmond based community radio station, WRIR 97.3 fm, where I report and produce on two news shows, Open Source RVA and RVA Report. Previously I’ve worked as a camera operator for Advanced Visual Production shooting various multi-camera productions like indoor mini-car races, MMA fighting, and high school graduations. In addition to the wonderful opportunity CNS has provided me, I’ve also taken the broadcast capstone class, VCU Insight, where twice a week we would air a student run newscast on the local PBS affiliate WCVE. I’ve also helped out with various projects with the VCU student publications The Horn RVA and Rams Review. You can contact me on Facebook or email at cameron@lpvigliano.com. Also, please take a look at my portfolio!”

539394_10152565247550384_701261849_nMorgan White: “I am a Virginia Commonwealth University senior print journalism student. I have been employed as the opinion editor of the Commonwealth Times over the past year and been published in various publications including the Free Lance-Star and WTVR.com. I have also published creative writing in Whurk Magazine. I am a highly motivated writer always looking for more experience. If you’d like to view my work it’s available on my portfolio. I can be reached at whitema3@vcu.edu.”

 

Vic10704244_1497392187208461_2903010269259614247_otoria Zawitkowski: “I am a senior print journalism major from Centreville, Va. I have wanted to be a journalist since I was in high school. Within the past year particularly I have gained a lot of experience as a member of CNS and staff columnist at the Commonwealth Times. I also covered local and state elections in the iPad Journos class – another service learning course. I love traveling, I am very good at talking to people and I enjoy telling stories to the best of my ability. I have developed a strong interest in politics covering the General Assembly, which I hope to pursue in the future. This is my portfolio. Contact Victoria at @torazee or zawitkowskiv@vcu.edu.”

 meeStefani Zenteno Rivadineira:  “I always knew I wanted to  be a  Journalist. I come from Northern Virginia and I’m a Broadcast Journalism major. I have contributed to VCU’s independent student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times. CNS provided me with opportunities to meet interesting people and has allowed me to become a better writer. After covering the General Assembly, I’ve developed an interest in covering politics, which is something that I wouldn’t have said before doing this.  I’m bilingual and a member of  National Association of Hispanic Journalists and  SPJ. Follow me on twitter or contact me at zentenorivas@vcu.edu.”

Bio PhotoCraig Zirpolo: “I am a multimedia reporter, photographer and videographer from Suffolk, Va. I am a former editor of The Horn RVA, a student publication covering music in Richmond, and former President of Mesh Media, a student network of four websites covering arts and culture in Richmond. I was awarded Editor of the Year by the Student Media Center and under my guidance the Horn was awarded Best Online Publication in the Mid-Atlantic Region by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013. I am currently a teaching assistant for an Honors course at VCU focusing on the use of unmanned aircraft in journalism and other forms of media. In my spare time I produce performance videos at The Broadberry and dream of flying a drone for a news organization. Contact me at zirpolocs@vcu.edu, @zirpolorva or my website.”

The director of CNS is Jeff South, an associate professor in VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. He can be reached at jcsouth@vcu.edu or 804-827-0253.

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Here are the CNS reporters for Spring 2013:

Steffanie Atkins: [Portfolio]

Paige Baxter: “Hailing from only an hour and a half away in Norfolk, I’m a senior print journalism major with a minor in Spanish. I enjoy writing but I also like to take pictures to go along with my work or just for fun. Another interest of mine is design. Although I don’t have a lot of experience, design is an area I would like to learn more in. In the past, I have worked as an editorial intern for Richmond Magazine. I also have written and worked for the VCU online music publication The Horn RVA. Currently I am the editor for the online food publication, Shafer Bird which covers VCU and Richmond dining. Though I have written a lot about food for both Shafer Bird and Richmond Magazine, I am working on expanding my writing to other beats. Regardless of the beat you’re writing for, there’s always a good story out there. I’m excited to be a part of CNS and to help inform the greater of Richmond and beyond about what’s going on in our state.” You can email Paige at baxtercp@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Blake Belden:  “I was born in Lynchburg, and after living there for 18 years, I escaped to come to VCU.  I’m a senior print journalism major and I plan to graduate in May 2013. My experience in the field, unfortunately, doesn’t reach much further than the work I’ve produced for my classes leading up to this semester.  However, I believe I have developed a strong and eclectic sense of story ideas and composition because of the program. I’m interested to begin CNS because the subjects of politics and state legislature are something I’ve only really scratched the surface of, so it will be a tremendous expansion on my catalog of beat fortes and personal contacts.  There is a quote I like from Jimi Hendrix that goes ‘Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.’  It’s simple, but I think it works.  My email is beldenba@vcu.edu.” [Portfolio]

Destiny Brandon

 Jessica Dahlberg: “I’m a senior, and I have lived all along the East Coast. After moving several times, I now live in Fredericksburg. I am a print journalism major with a minor in political science. However, I want to be versatile and become a multimedia journalist. I have a basic understanding of photography, design and video. I have worked as a public affairs specialist in the Army, and I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 as a photojournalist. I have written for the Commonwealth Times, and I have done an internship with the Podium Online Foundation. For me, journalism is really about the public and for the public. That is why I chose to take CNS this semester. What happens in the government effects everyone directly, and people should know what decisions officials are making on their behalf. My favorite quote will show how much of a nerd I am, but it is from Lord of the Rings: ‘All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.'” More information about Jessica can be found on Twitter and WordPress. You can email her at dahlbergjr@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

 Amber Galaviz: “I’m a senior majoring in print journalism with a minor in writing. Growing up as a military brat across the country sparked an interest in travel, writing and photography. I enjoy writing feature stories and being able to share people’s experiences to others.  Traveling has given me the opportunity to meet many people and visit many places; an opportunity I don’t want to end. The constant advances in journalism make it an exciting field and journalist hold  a lot of responsability to the public.” As Ray Bradbury said, “Journalism  keeps you planted in the earth.”  More information about Amber can be found on Facebook and WordPress. Amber can be reached at galavizaa@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Alix Hines: “I’m a senior from Altavista, majoring in print and broadcast journalism. I’ve interned with the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program for VCU’s Social Media Institute and Richmond magazine, and I will be interning for CBS 6 this coming semester. I’ve also written several articles for the Commonwealth Times and wtvr.com.I often post unpublished work on my blog, Capture Untold Stories. Journalism has helped me combine my passion for writing, social justice and international issues into one field. I want to cast a light on issues that are often overlooked and tell the stories of everyday people. I admire the New York Times series ‘One in 8 Million,’ and I can envision a series similar to that but in another country. I truly believe that everyone has a story to tell, and I want to tell as many as I can. Not every story is happy or inspiring, but the human struggle is what I find the most intriguing. I hope to become an international correspondent after attending graduate school. My favorite quote comes from Katherine Boo of The New Yorker: ‘Very little journalism is world-changing, but if change is to happen, it will be because people with power have a better sense of what’s happening to people who have none.’” You can find more about Alix on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogger. Her email address is hinesav@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Samuel Isaacs: “I’m a senior from Richmond. I am interested in food, cinema, politics and the environment. I’ve written for both the Commonwealth Times and Shafer Bird and interned with VCU Public Affairs. I chose journalism as a career path because I am interested in people, and the amazing things they do. I feel that as an aspiring journalist, it is my duty to tell the stories of people who achieve incredible things, and inform people on what is going on in their community. It is a very exciting time to get into the field of journalism because of the emergence of social networking and new media outlets. I am working on becoming well rounded on multiple platforms of reporting, and I look forward to my experience with CNS because it will force me to use everything I’ve learned to cover very relevant stories.” Favorite quote: “You are what you love, not what loves you.” — from the movie Adaptation. More information on Sam can be found at Twitter and his WordPress blog. You can email him at isaacssl@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Katherine Johnson: “I’m a junior from Virginia Beach, studying print journalism with a minor in political science. I’ve written for the Commonwealth Times, and completed an internship with Hampton Roads Magazine. I want to be a journalist so I can help people, and give those a voice that may not otherwise have one in our democracy. Journalism is an ever-changing field, and there are more platforms than ever to inform an audience. As a journalist today, it’s essential to have knowledge of each platform, from traditional print to online, video and social media. Journalists’ main responsibility is to serve the public by informing them about issues that affect them. I believe this is critical in ensuring a government ruled by the people, and that’s my goal as a CNS reporter.” Favorite quote — from Anderson Cooper: “A lot of compelling stories in the world aren’t being told, and the fact that people don’t know about them compounds the suffering.” More information about Katherine on TwitterLinkedIn and Tumblr. You can email her at johnsonkl8@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Allison Landry: “I am a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in print journalism. I enjoy blogging on a variety of different topics, including technology, music, crime and I love to cover local trends. I have previously served as an intern for ChildFund international in Richmond. I have written for WTVR CBS 6 as well as for the Commonwealth Times. Most of my writing and published works can be viewed on my blog. You can also check out my Facebook page, Twitter (@allielandrysays) and LinkedIn profile. As a journalism, I believe it is important to know what is going on in the world, remain relevant and serve as as a voice for the people. Call it cheesy, but my favorite quote is from Dr. Seuss: ‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go …’” You can email Allison at landryae@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Shelby Mertens: “I’m a junior print journalism major from Williamsburg, Virginia. I’m interested in politics, music and photography. I’ve written and photographed for VCU’s Ink Magazine. I want to be a journalist because I want to share people’s stories and give a voice to the voiceless.  During this age of technology, it is vital for journalists to evolve in order to stay relevant. I have experience with video, audio, photography, and social media journalism. As a journalist, I believe it is my duty to be a watchdog of the government and represent the people. Journalists are an essential part of maintaining a healthy democracy.” Favorite quote: “There is a terrific disadvantage in not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily. Even though we never like it, and even though we wish they didn’t write it, and even though we disapprove, there isn’t any doubt that we could not do the job at all in a free society without a very, very active press.” — John F. Kennedy. More information about Shelby can be found on Twitter and Tumblr. Her email address is mertenssn@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Samantha Morgan: “I am a senior print journalism major from Richmond, Virginia. I have always had a passion for writing and learning new things. I would love to combine my love for writing with traveling in order to expose stories that other people may not have had the chance to hear about before. I believe knowledge is power and the more one knows about the world around them, the better their life will be. I am very social media savy, I currently update all kinds of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress. I believe social media is an incredible means of news telling and sharing, unlike we have ever seen before. One of my favorite quotes about journalism is from Ann Curry: ‘I try to do stories that make a difference — stories that affect the way people think, stories that people need to hear — and usually what drives me is to do stories about people who have no voice, people who have no political power, people who are overlooked by society.'” You can reach Samantha at morgansm@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Stephen Nielsen: [Portfolio]

Mark Robinson: “I am a junior print journalism major from Front Royal, Virginia. For the past two and a half years, I’ve worked at The Commonwealth Times, VCU’s independent student newspaper; I’m currently the managing editor. Outside of school, I’ve written for the Chesterfield Observer and completed an internship at ChildFund International, an international NGO based in Richmond. My journalistic exploits could not be confined to this continent, I decided, so while studying abroad at the University of Botswana during the fall semester, I freelanced and copy edited for a weekly newspaper in the capital city, Gaborone. It landed me in some interesting spots, to say the least. My favorite quote comes from blogger/media critic Paul Bradshaw, who runs the aptly titled ‘Online Journalism Blog.’ He declares: ‘I’m tired of people who think journalism is about stories, rather than people.’ I am, too, so I’m working painstakingly at my craft to become the next Jeffery Gettleman or Lane DeGregory of the world. All in good time. Questions? I can be reached at robinsonmw@vcu.edu. Follow me on Twitter. Read my blog. Connect on LinkedIn.” [Portfolio]

Michael Schuster: “I am a senior broadcast journalism major and history minor from Falls Church, VA, who is pursuing a BA in spring, 2013. During my time at VCU, I’ve written a number of game summaries and feature stories for Chris Kowalczyk, the Director of Creative Content for VCU Athletics, and have been published in “Ram Report” magazine, a Richmond-based publication that covers all the VCU Athletic teams. In addition, I’ve contributed as a staff writer for the Commonwealth Times, covering sports stories, as well as relevant social issues facing the university. I really love writing and reporting on sports, music, politics, and business, and in the future hope to pursue sports commentating or a communications management position for a college or professional athletic team. I’ve always been passionate about journalism because it’s an absolutely necessary and respected field that keeps people informed, aware, and involved in an array of important issues. Writing was definitely my first love, and I wish to continue to do my best to present open, honest, and informative stories that serve the betterment of the public. One of my favorite quotes comes from Jack Kerouac’s novel, On the Road: ‘Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.’” You can find out more about Michael on WordPress or Twitter. He can also be reached via e-mail at schusterms@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Amber Shiflett: “I am a senior print journalism major and a creative writing minor from Richmond, Virginia. I am currently working as a marketing intern at Snagajob where I generate content for job seekers across the nation. During my career at VCU I have contributed to various local publications including  rvabusiness.com and WTVR CBS 6. I believe social media is the future for journalists and spend much of my time developing my social media platforms. I have worked as a social media marketing intern for Stanley Antiques & Fine Art and currently serve as the social media coordinator for the VCU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. I am also an active photographer and photo journalist, you can find some of my work on my tumblr. My inspiration as a journalist is to report on issues that motivate people to make a change in the world. I love to interview people and hear their stories. Although my career goal is constantly evolving my ultimate dream is of becoming an investigative journalist. One of my favorite quotes comes from American writer A. Branson Alcott: ‘Success is sweet: the sweeter if long delayed and attained through manifold struggles and defeats.'” You can find out more about Amber on WordPress, Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Her email address is shiflettal@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

Kristen Smith: “I am a broadcast journalism major from Gainesville, Virginia. I am a senior and will be graduating in the Spring of 2013. I will be a social media intern with Habitat for Humanity next semester. I transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University from Christopher Newport University in 2011. I havealways held a passion for writing. As a journalist, I believe it is my job to honestly inform the public about issues that they may have not been able to find out on their own. I believe that being a journalist allows me to help people, which is my passion in life. As a journalist today, it is crucial to be trained on all platforms. One of my favorite quotes is by the Dalai Lama: ‘Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.'” You can find out more about Kristen on Tumblr or on Twitter. Her email address is smithks2@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

 Whitney Spicer: “I am a print journalism major from Bowling Green, Virginia. I have always been passionate about writing and love studying a major that allows me to craft my writing skills. My favorite thing about journalism is the variety it offers. I love learning about all kinds of topics and getting to discuss them through my writing. I am a true lover of words and  am constantly fascinated how the right word, placed in the right spot, can have such a huge impact. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain – ‘The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.'” Read more about Whitney on her portfolio and blog. You can reach her by email at spicerwa@vcu.edu. [Portfolio]

In addition, Mechelle Hankerson is serving as an assistant editor f0r CNS, focusing on social media: “I’m a senior print journalism major from Virginia Beach and am returning for my second semester in CNS. Last spring, I was a CNS reporter and closely followed legislation regarding the proposed Castle Doctrine and teacher evaluations. This year, I will be focused on CNS’s social media including Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. I currently serve as the executive editor at VCU’s student newspaper, The Commonwealth Times and recently completed a project with The Washington Post called The 12, where I blogged about the presidential election in Virginia. You can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Tumblr.” Mechelle’s email address is hankersonml@vcu.edu.

Geoffrey Cooper, a student in the multimedia journalism master’s program at VCU, also will serve as an editor. He can be reached at cooperga@vcu.edu.

The director of CNS is Jeff South, an associate professor in the VCU School of Mass Communications. He can be reached at jcsouth@vcu.edu or 804-827-0253.

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Here are the CNS reporters for Spring 2012:

Michael Bodine CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Mason Brown CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Zack Budryk CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Charles Couch CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Brad Fulton CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Sherese Gore CNS clips Portfolio
Mechelle Hankerson CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Brian Hill CNS clips Portfolio
Daniel Lombardo CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Ashley McLeod CNS clips
Alexandra Morton CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Ryan Murphy CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Chaneé Patterson CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Claire Porter CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Leah Small CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Christine Stoddard CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Pia Talwar CNS clips Résumé and portfolio
Amir Vera CNS clips
Alexandra Wiggins CNS clips Résumé and portfolio

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Here is the CNS staff for Spring 2011:

Lizi Arbogast

Fletcher Babb

Sabrina Barekzai

Matt Birch

Alexander Chang

Katherine Coates

Alyx Duckett

Alice Kemp

Tracy Kennedy

Catherine Leth

Jeannette Porter

Jennie Price

Jillian Quattlebaum

Danny Rathbun

Meredith Rigsby

Larisa Robinson

Destiny Shelton

Erica Terrini

Nan Turner

Kayla Wamsley

CNS alum Matt Birch, who covers the National Football League as an associate editor for BleacherReport.com, offers these job-hunting tips to young journalists.

How to land a job in online media