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Copy Editing Portfolio

Mar 27, 2016

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Portfolio of my edits as Copy Chief of the Columbia Chronicle
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  • Cook County officials will not pursue a tax on bullets, as Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle suggested in her Oct. 18 budget proposal. Instead, the county will allocate $2 million to health care and nonprofits with experience in violence prevention and community outreach.

    The updated proposal, presented Oct. 31, still contains the $25 firearm tax that was in the original proposal, but the 5-cent bullet tax that caused a stir among gun rights advocates was eliminated.

    [The original tax] would reduce income in Cook County and [be] ineffective, said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. The Second Amendment is still a right.

    According to Owen Kilmer, a spokesman for Preckwinkles office, Preckwinkle heeded the advocates concerns when she updated her proposal.

    The plan before was to impose a tax on guns and ammunition without a fund, Kilmer said. We have worked with [12th District] Commissioner [John] Fritchey and [8th District] Commissioner [Edwin] Reyes to come up with a more aggressive proposal, and this is the result of that.

    The $25 firearm tax is expected to raise an estimated $600,000, which will be allocated toward health care costs for gunshot victims.

    It costs Cook County $50,000 each time a county hospital treats a victim of gun violence, according to Fritchey.

    However, Pearson remains unconvinced.

    Its just the same thing except they took the bullet tax off, he said. A lawsuit should be filed against the county because youre still taxing a right.

    The revised proposal takes a more direct approach in preventing violence, Fritchey said.

    Through the creation of this fund, we will be able to put money right at ground zero through organizations with proven track records [when it comes to] reducing gun violence, he said. [Those organizations] could be anything from violence prevention programs to after-school programs to keep kids off the street, or something as simple as [funding additional] crossing guards.

    The projected $2 million in funding will come from savings identified in the county budget, Fritchey said. According to an Oct. 31 press release from Preckwinkles office, the funding will be overseen by an advisory committee consisting of Preckwinkle, three members of the Board of Commissioners, a member of law enforcement and two representatives from community organizations who have yet to be determined.

  • Were going to be dedicating roughly $100,000 of the $2 million to combat straw purchasers, or folks who purchase guns legally and then [sell] them to those who seek [them] for criminal activity, Kilmer said.

    Some funding will also go toward enhancing enforcement efforts, such as the establishment of a gun court that would provide a streamlined approach to handling gun cases, according to Kilmer.

    Fritchey said the court will provide a means of dealing with gun crimes more efficiently than existing courts.

    [A gun court] will uniform the manner of handling these offenses and not have them tied up with some of the other calls in the court system, Fritchey said.

    He said one of his goals for the proposal is to lessen the cost of gun crimes on taxpayers by formulating an effective violence prevention plan that would eliminate excess spending on unnecessary procedures.

    There are a number of groups out there that have done good things and can do even more good things with these resources, Fritchey said. My initiative will provide them with those resources without increasing taxes for Cook County residents.

    He stressed that the updated ordinance is Cook Countys attempt to curb violence by reducing crime at its source.

    At the end of the day, this sends a message to Cook County residents that we are taking steps to deal with gun violence, Fritchey said. I am confident that programs targeted at reducing gun violence and providing kids with alternatives will have a demonstrative effect on reducing gun crimes.

  • From a story about the life of a mortician to one about an obsessive-compulsive young man, the 23rd semiannual Take 1 Student Film Festival had it all.

    The festival celebrates the work of students in Moving Image Production I and II courses, according to Jill Sultz, an adjunct faculty member in the Film & Video Department and coordinator of the festival. Of the 40 films submitted last semester, 11 were selected to be shown on the big screen Nov. 7 at Film Row Cinema in the Conaway Center.

    We wanted to have an opportunity for students to bring their families in and show them their work, Sultz said.

    A panel of faculty from the Film & Video Department chose which student films were to be screened at the festival, she said. Each member had a background in a different aspect of film to ensure the diversity of the panels selections.

    [Picking the films] is tricky because when you are judging art, it is always difficult to do that because art is so subjective, Sultz said.

    The films screened at the festival were grouped into three classifications: Moving Image Production I, MIP II: Homage and MIP II: Documentary. Audience members were asked to vote for their favorite film in each category, and films were given awards based on votes and the jurys selection.

    MIP I films screened at the festival were Pandorium, Vice Grip and Scraps. MIP II: Documentary films were Magical Thinking, The Morticians Mission and Gone. MIP II: Homage films included White Walls, House on the Hill, Shadow in the Wall, Put Down and Alamar Mora.

    Audience favorites were Gone, White Wallsboth of which also won the jury voteand Pandorium.

    Pandorium tells the story of a man held captive inside a strange box who plays music to lure in those who come across it. Once the box is opened, that person is trapped inside.

    Gone documents the life of a young man in Chicago who chooses to be homeless to teach people how to adapt to a post-apocalyptic life.

    House on the Hill paid homage to Tim Burton through animation reminiscent of Burtons classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas.

    Dylan Sherman, a junior Film & Video major, directed the film Put Down, which he said was inspired by a real life experience he had as a child when his dog was put down.

    I was sad as hell obviously, but I just thought, I cant imagine doing that, and I thought of the idea [and] put it in a film, Sherman said.

    When the festival began in 2000, students use Bolex film cameras because the college had yet to incorporate digital technology into its curriculum. Most students did not own a

  • projector, so the film festival was the only way they could see their work, Sultz said.

    Shooting on film is something students still learn in the first-semester classes. Sultz said she thinks shooting on film teaches discipline and prepares students for their second semester.

    When [first-semester students] come to the second semester, they are much more able to do pre-production and plan for their video shoot, she said.

    Even though using film has benefits, it will most likely not be part of the foundation classes for much longer because of the growth of digital technology and lack of resources, Sultz said.

    Three projects shown at the festival were shot on film, which Sultz said is difficult because Bolex cameras have to be constantly wound while filming and films are shot without recording sound.

    The second-semester student films were shot digitally, allowing the students to use more advanced filmmaking techniques.

    When it comes to being creative, Sultz said she encouraged students to put themselves into their films.

    We try to get them to look at their own experiences and use that in their filmmaking, Sultz said. We look for students to find their own voice.

    Tyler Atchison, a sophomore film & video major, was encouraged by the films he saw at the festival.

    [The festival] makes me want to take the film that Im about to shoot as a homage [to director Quentin Tarantino] more seriously, Atchison said. I feel that I could definitely be sitting in those chairs [next semester].

  • Fashion may be fleeting, but timelessness is the theme of Fashion and The Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto, in which pieces by Chicago-based designer Maria Pinto are juxtaposed with unusual artifacts, such as a crocodile-skin vest, a raincoat made of seal intestines and a monkey fur necklace.

    The exhibit opened to the public Sept. 14 and was curated by Pinto, a favorite designer of Michelle Obamas, and Alaka Wali, the museums curator of North American Anthropology. Pinto used pieces from her past collections and created one ensemble exclusively for the exhibit.

    The project has been a year in the making, which is a fairly short time frame for creating an exhibit, according to Janet Hong, project manager for Exhibitions at The Field Museum.

    We spent days, weeks really, going through the vast underground city of stored artifacts at the museum, Hong said.

    Pinto and Wali started their working relationship during a 2010 womens luncheon program at the museum.

    Pinto had never curated a historical exhibit, and Wali said the museum had never done a fashion exhibit of this sort. Hong said some of the objects on display havent been showcased since the Worlds Fair of 1893, which persuaded the museum to invite Pinto to offer a fresh perspective on the artifacts.

    I think people will walk through the rest of the museum and see objects with a different eye, Wali said. Theyre not going to look at it as some old thing.

    Though Pinto said that she wasnt inspired by any particular period or pattern, armor was one theme that did emerge, as illustrated by a crocodile-skin armor vest from the Republic of Cameroon in Africa and a shield made from hippo skin from Ethiopia.

    Whatever we put on our body has a tendency, in my mind, to be a form of armor, Pinto said. Whether youre putting on a suit to go to an office meeting or a dress to go on a date, youre putting on something that protects you.

    Alaka, Pintos ensemble created specifically for the exhibit, was named after Wali, who said she was extremely honored by the gesture. Pinto said the piece was influenced by the different historical aspects of the gallery. For example, the sequined wristlet on the ensemble was inspired by ancient Japanese gauntlets, also reminiscent of armor.

    Pinto said she was particularly fascinated by how those who made the artifacts used materials available to them. She said she had access to kangaroo and many other resources for her work, but the original makers had to use what was available, like teeth, tusks and monkey hair.

    Pinto said the aesthetics and functionality of the historical items were taken into account when pairing them with her own designs. For instance, a 100-year-old raincoat made of

  • seal intestines, which Hong described as gorgeous and Pinto said she would wear in a heartbeat, was paired with the black taffeta Tema dress from Pintos Spring 2010 collection because of their similar textures.

    [The artifacts] may be ancient in the sense that they were made a while ago, but as far as their aesthetic sensibility, theyre timeless, Wali said.

    This timelessness is reflected in how the human body is presented throughout history. Hong used the example of a traditional Mongolian deel, a sort of caftan that envelops the body and is worn by both men and women for ceremonial purposes.

    Its very sexy in its own way to [Pinto] because it covers a lot of your body, but it accentuates a lot of your body, Hong said.

    Pinto paired the deel with the much more revealing Kayla halter dress from a 2009 collection to raise the question of what makes a garment feminine.

    Pinto explained that the difference in the designs comes from how our lifestyles have changed, how technology has advanced, how materials are made and what humans now require.

    Hong said the museum chose not to use text in the exhibition so visitors could fully appreciate the pieces aesthetic qualities.

    Hong said she hopes to do more fashion exhibitions to showcase the museums extensive collection in a creative way, but Wali said she doesnt think fashion will play a large part in the museums future endeavors.

    Wali hopes to have more exhibitions with an artists perspective, which is a direction Pinto said she could see herself being a part of. She clarified that she doesnt believe in doing the same project twice, however.

    As designers, were always thinking that were inventing something new, Pinto said. But in reality, if you really study history, it seems like almost everythings been done.

    The exhibit is included with general admission at The Field Museum and will run from Sept. 14 through June 16, 2013.

  • The East Coast seafood, fresh vegetables and fluffy rice of Lowcountry cuisine can cause mouthwatering reactions, but Chicago hasnt had a restaurant featuring this distinctive genre, until now.

    Mark Steuer, executive chef of The Bedford, is opening the highly anticipated Carriage House restaurant Sept. 18 at 1700 W. Division St in Wicker Park. Though Chicago has its fair share of Southern cuisine from restaurants such as Big Jones, Heaven on Seven and Table 52, Carriage House is possibly Chicagos first full Lowcountry restaurant.

    John Taylor, author of Hoppin Johns Lowcountry Cooking, explained that Lowcountry cooking is defined by its origins in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgiaseafood and rice are prominent elements in many dishesand the cuisine has experienced varying levels of popularity.

    When I moved home [to Charleston, SC] in 1986 to open my bookstore, you couldnt find stone-ground whole grainreal gritsin town, Taylor said, but added that Lowcountry restaurants have slowly started popping up in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

    With his knowledge of Lowcountry cooking from his upbringing in Charleston, Steuer said he had been thinking about bringing the cuisine to Chicago for the past six years. I really just want to showcase what I grew up eating, Steuer said. Shrimps, clams, lots of fish, flounderlight, flakey fish.

    Steuer said he plans to modernize much of the menu, but there will be traditional components to many dishes. For instance, hes using California Gold rice, a Lowcountry staple, in his Italian Anarcini instead of the usual risotto.

    To ensure his ingredients are fresh and authentic, Steuer said seafood is being delivered directly from Charleston, and the kitchen will be baking bread in-house with Southern flour and wheat.

    Carriage House will also feature traditional Southern cocktails and punches, as well as a thoroughly researched wine list that pairs with the flavors of his cooking. Everything we ate [during my research], all I wanted was a crisp white wine, he said. I think weve done a good job of picking out wine, instead of just picking out wine for a wine list.

    Steuer said the look and feel of the restaurant were also important to him. To make the space feel like the carriage houses used to shelter horse-drawn carriages, he has incorporated wrought iron lanterns, slow-moving fans and ivy on the large porch into the aesthetic design.

    With all the work that has gone into the project, Steuer said he hopes it can live up to expectations and change peoples mindset regarding Southern cuisine, which he thinks faces several misconceptions, namely that it is always heavy, fried and oversalted.

    Paul Fehribach, the executive chef and co-owner of Big Jones in Andersonville, described his menu as featuring Southern heirloom cooking. Although the restaurant is

  • now well-established, he said competing with stereotypes was sometimes difficult.

    I never thought it would be such an incredible challenge just having people accept what were doing with Southern food, Fehribach said.

    The local market for Southern food has improved in the last decade, according to Fehribach, but many Chicago restaurants have perpetuated negative stereotypes rather than to dispel them. Southern cooking involves a certain set of techniques and fresh ingredients, he said.

    Taylor said he believes the misconceptions of Southern food, particularly Lowcountry cuisine, date back to the post-Civil War-era when the Confederate South lost its slave labor and plantation style of agriculture. The resulting poverty led to heavily salted, overcooked and overseasoned food as people tried to add flavor in the least expensive way possible.

    This was not the cooking of the area that had been established before the war, but merely the cooking of the poor, he said.

    Steuer said he believes that the Chicago community is ready for more in terms of Southern cuisine.

    I think its been clear for people to embrace the flavors of the South, so I think we can show them a new way of thinking about it, he said. Were not going to mess with any of the flavors. Were just going to clean it up.

  • Many college graduates ask themselves what factors into their dream job, including location, job security, health benefits and being able to upload memes during office hours.

    The Connected World Technology Report from Cisco, an Internet and network provider, gives some insight into what Millennials find important in the workplace. The report, which surveyed 2,800 college students and recent graduates, showed surprising results. Two-thirds of college students will ask about social media policies during job interviews, and 56 percent will not accept a job from a company that bans social media. One-third said the freedom to use social media, work on the computer of their choice and have flexible work hours are more important than salary. While 70 percent think its unnecessary to be regularly in the office, only 25 percent think productivity increases if they work from home.

    These expectations seem a tad unrealistic. When did we become so entitled? With the economy as uncertain as a Chicago winter, I think we should be happy to simply get hired in our respective fields and refrain from walking out of a job interview because we cant tweet on company time.

    Sure, we want to stay connected to the world outside the office, but where is the line between work and play? Would I be happy if my social media privileges were taken away tomorrow? No. But Ill admit I would have had this commentary turned in to my editors about three hours ahead of deadline if I wasnt within arms reach of an Internet connection and an iPhone.

    So lets say we get past the hurdle of not only finding a job that suits our qualifications, but also one that fits our needs. As we begin to enter the workforce, there will be a huge turnover rate. Approximately 50 percent of baby boomers and 25 percent of Generation Y workers currently make up the labor market, but those numbers will flip by the end of the decade, according to a report from Knoll, an office furnishing company.

    Millennials say an engaging workplace is more important than adequate conference rooms, while baby boomers say the exact opposite. Gen Y doesnt show a need for face-to-face meetings and likes integrating technology with interaction. Baby boomers like to keep work and home separate. As technology advances, it will become easier to accommodate these preferences, but appeasing one side of this spectrum could cause confusion. Putting workers of varying age groups side by side and implementing new policies to boost morale seems like it could backfire.

    It puts gray hairs on my head to say this, but I dont need a yoga break to do good work in an office. Give me black coffee and a desk with no distractions so I can hammer out my work and get the hell out of the office to enjoy whats left of the day.

    We all would like a loose, relaxed work environment, but at what cost? Members of Generation Y suffer greatly from underemployment and are taking low-paying jobs that dont necessarily require a college degree. More than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, according to Millennial Branding, a research and

  • management consulting firm. Although more than 63 percent of Gen Y workers have a bachelors degree, the most popular jobs among Millennials are in retail and cellphone salesjobs that anyone with a high school degree and a little bit of patience could easily obtain. Is it that we cant find jobs that suit our degrees, or can we not step up to the plate and accept the regimentation of a grown-up job?

    Sure, we are more or less expected to attend college, but now that we have these new workplace expectations, maybe students should rethink when to pursue their higher education. Perhaps 20 years down the line, it will be the norm to start college later in life.

    I am among millions who have gone straight from high school to college. As my own graduation date looms, the prospect of working for a year or two until finding a clearer definition of what I want out of life doesnt sound so bad.

    I guess what Im trying to get at is that work is called work for a reason. I know when I get home at the end of the day, work is the last thing I think about until I wake up the next morning. Yeah, work can suck, but with home being so great, why blend the two? Its like drenching yourself in cologne after getting sprayed by a skunk.