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Sal by Rob BatesI met Sal last fall at the corner of Tryon and E. Trade Streets in uptown Charlotte. Sal said he was in his early sixties and looked every second of it. As we conversed, I noticed the smell of vodka seeping from his water bottle. It was still morning, and he was already slurring his speech. While I sketched him, Sal would randomly announce that he was NOT homeless. Homeless or not, irregardless of his circumstances, Sal just needed someone to offer a set of ears instead of judge.

 Rob Bates, UNC Charlotte Art Major

Click here to peruse our journalism website on Covering Poverty in America — student stories, photography and video, which in March, won the Society of Professional Journalists Regional 2014 Mark of Excellence Award “Best Independent Online Student Publication.” Click here to read more about it!

Online Extra:  Click here to watch John Williams’ interview by Chelsea Tubridy and Julia Staley, filmed by Tyla Marvelle and Chris Mizerak.


Read Russell Burton’s (’14 alum ) recent C5 Charlotte Observer column — “Stop mangling UNC Charlotte’s name”http://www.charlottefive.com/stop-mangling-unc-charlottes-name/


Check out Jackie Wu’s (’14 alum) zine, Riot Grrrl — they are looking for writers, poets, photographers, artists and more! Contact Jackie or Genevieve Cordery (’15)


Click here to read Chelsea Tubridy’s (’15) piece on Yadkin Valley wineries in Open Country Magazine. And you can check out her feature in the Elkin Tribune about a mechanic who grows food with hydroponics for his family …


How to Keep Your Property Safe: College Edition

By Abby Maxim

It’s 10:30 p.m. You’ve just gotten back from your friend’s room down the hall. You open the door. Unlocked. Everybody leaves the doors unlocked. All your friends do when they’re only going down the hall. No one thinks about it. Nothing has ever happened. You assume the campus police were overstating the amount of crime on campus during orientation day. Eh, whatever. They have to. But there’s something off when you look inside. It’s almost like something’s mission, but you can’t place it with the lights off. You turn them on, nervous. You’re paranoid, that’s all. You flip the switch. The light flickers, illuminating the room and illuminating the fact that your brand new 40-inch TV is missing. It’s always been on the dresser and for some reason it’s gone.

Click here to read the rest of Abby Maxim’s “How to Keep Your Property Safe: College Edition” …


Former journalism student Rhiannon Fionn shared this link to New York Times reporter David Carr’s “Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students” Carr, 58, died Feb. 12 from cancer.

spj charlotte chapter logo

Want to network with great local journalists and keep up with the field? Journalism students can join SPJ’s Greater Charlotte Chapter for half-price annual dues! Learn more  about monthly meetings featuring professional journalists at https://charlottespj.wordpress.com/ Check out this SPJ blog on freelance writing:  http://blogs.spjnetwork.org/freelance/2014/11/05/freelancers-need-to-make-a-living-too/


Alum Spotlight:  Click here to read Gwendolyn Shearman’s (’12) story on travel to Cuba … Gwen is finishing up her master’s degree in journalism at Georgetown University and has accepted a job as Travel Editor/Analyst at U.S. News & World Report. Read more about Gwen and our other journalism alum by clicking on our alum tab at the top of the page.

Read Haley Twist’s news feature story Who Will Tell the People? (pg. 46 in the magazine/ pg. 24 on the pdf) in The Waterkeeper Alliance’s magazine that stems from a grassroots movement.


Check out journalism student Caitlin McMahon’s music website at http://theencoremedia.com/

Journalism Internships available for fall, spring and summer — email Staci Kuntzman at svkuntzm@uncc.edu, the Department’s Internship Directoror Cheryl Spainhour at caspainh@uncc.edu for more information. Get field experience while you’re in school!



Photo by Shannon Freshwater. Courtesy NY Times.

Click here to read Pulitzer Prize-winning Sonia Nazario’s (who spoke on campus to journalism students in 2008) op-ed piece about immigrant children that ran in the New York Times April.

Around campus …


By Allison Campbell

Ashlei Elise taps her black leather braided-strap sandals on the cream-colored carpet, trying to keep rhythm to Nikki Minaj’s “Super Bass”.  Gulping down a vanilla Coke, she whips around to her laptop and clicks the iTunes repeat button.  She proceeds to sing “Super Bass” in a tone that can only be described as awkwardly confident.

Her floral tank top is layered with a gray cardigan sweater, which adds a touch of femininity paired with distressed jeans.  Her long, light brown hair is partially covered by a trendy purple beanie.

Greeting me with an enthusiastic hug, she is raring to start talking.

The 21-year-old UNC Charlotte senior is majoring in Communication Studies with a concentration in Mass Media.  She is this year’s Radio Free Charlotte Station manager, a full-time student and the creator of The Elise Project.

Ashlei says her life requires a balancing act consisting of pre-planning, list-making, time management and a lot of late nights in the library sometimes until 2 a.m.

The Elise Project is comprised of the live talk show, “The Ashlei Elise Show,” the Release Elise News Site, the Ask Ashlei online blog and the self-explanatory radio show “Ask and Tell.”

Her innovation is a direct result of yearning for more opportunities for self-expression.  She felt she needed more experience than just working at Student Media.  “I just wanted to live out my dreams and I didn’t want to wait,” she said.

Ashlei Elise attended Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville.  Because her parents are in the Air Force, she was shuffled from base to base throughout her childhood.  Her father is from Charlotte, which is one reason why she chose to attend UNCC.  Also, she says with a smile, “They offered me a scholarship.”

The summer before her freshman year of college, Ashlei lived with her grandmother in Charlotte.  Her grandmother didn’t have cable television at the time, so Ashlei was limited to watching local television stations.  She recalls viewing talk shows that “did nothing for me.”

As a result, fireworks of inspiration burst in her head.  She latched on to the idea of being an entrepreneur and created a talk show geared toward her generation.  Thus, the “Ashlei Elise Show” was born.

This drive is what makes her Project unique.  The team strives to offer more than just entertainment.  Ashlei believes her generation needs to pay more attention to politics and hard news.

She describes the show as “a youthful mixture of ‘The View,’ ‘Ellen,’ ‘Tyra’ and ‘Oprah’.”  She adds, “You have politics, current events, music, creativity like Oprah, and the fashion aspect like Tyra,” all of which are her idols.

Twirling her necklace and cracking a slight smile, Ashlei reveals that her boyfriend Christian Soto gave her the necessary push to initiate the show.

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News and Features

Frank LoMonte speaks to UNC Charlotte Journalism Students

Frank LoMonte, Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center in Alexandria, Va., spoke Feb. 21 to Student Media students and to journalism students in Cheryl Spainhour’s class. He discussed recent cases in college media (including the “streaker” photograph case at ECU) and the Freedom of Information Act. You can visit the Student Press Law Center website at http://www.splc.org/

Is the Freelancing Life for You?

By Jessica Arenas

Independent Charlotte-based journalists visited aspiring student journalists Nov. 15 on campus to talk about the highs and lows of the freelancing life. The Greater Charlotte chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored a panel discussion for students called “Paid in exposure:  Should journalists work for free?” Three independent journalists shared their experiences and advice.

The panelists were:  Mary C. Curtis, a contributor to The Root, NPR. and the Nieman Watchdog blog; Rhi Fionn, a UNC Charlotte alum and successful local independent journalist; and Michael Solender, City Life Editor for Charlotte Viewpoint. Charlotte Observer’s Andria Krewson served as moderator.

Each writer, highly knowledgeable in their craft, has earned their success and has discovered useful strategies as writers. Their main advice to the students:  Don’t work for free – most of the time.

Being your own boss is an appealing advantage. Unpredictable paychecks can sometimes be frustrating. UNC Charlotte alum Fionn, who has extensively covered the dangers of coal ash and most recently the Occupation Movement, encouraged students to carve out a beat to report and write about.

All three shared that at the beginning of their freelance careers, it was “fine to work for free to a certain extent” to establish a career.   The life of a writer will always bring creative challenges to reporting and writing, but the writers emphasized an independent journalist leads a rewarding life. The thrill of your work and name appearing in print or online never gets old.


Grandma Anne Keeps the

Neighborhood Kids in Line

By Ieisha Green

On any given weekend you can expect to see a petite old lady on Concord Street in the quaint town of New Bern, N.C.,working in her yard or sitting on her porch hissing at the neighborhood kids riding their bikes too close to her curb.Across generations, this little old lady has been dubbed “Grandma Anne”. And she’s not your typical neighborhood bully.

Joel Byer, 24, grew up in the very neighborhood where Grandma Anne still resides. He recalls the many run-ins he had with her and even one where he ended up handcuffed in the back of a police car. “I felt like she did everything in her power to make my childhood miserable,” he says now. He theatrically recounts how she would scold him and his friends for riding their bikes too closely to her sidewalk and how she once called the police on him after her house was egged and toilet-papered. Byer maintains to this day he was innocent and that the little old lady simply had a vendetta against him.

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By journalismuncc Posted in News