Pre-vacation horror leads to personal miracle

•May 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

February 25, 2008 was supposed to be the start of a great week for Virginia Murolo, a 35-year veteran ER nurse. The 54-year-old Stratford, Connecticut resident woke up at 4am to pack the family minivan with her husband Pat. The couple was set to depart on a long-awaited cruise to Mexico later that day.

At about 5:30am, they set out onto I-91 toward Bradley Airport to meet their flight to the cruise departure point in Tampa, Florida. The stars still twinkled in the pre-dawn sky, and the highway was only just starting to get its usual mess of commuters.

Everything seemed great for the couple. This was their shot at some over-due relaxation.

At the same time as the Murolos drove merrily up I-91, an 18-wheeler was driving on the same highway, headed southbound. Unbeknownst to the driver of the truck, one of its wheels, tire and all, was dangerously loose. As the truck continued down I-91, the wheel became even unsteadier. The truck driver was still unaware.

It was at the one chance moment, the few seconds in time in which the Murolos passed the unsteady 18-wheeler, that all hell broke loose.

The wheel, finally completely dislodged from the truck, flew off the axel. It bounced haphazardly between cars, and over the median. Then, it tore the Murolo’s minivan in half.

The driver of the truck kept going.

Pat, miraculously untouched, managed to maneuver the van to the side of the road. Dazed, and completely uncertain of what had just happened, he reached out to his wife with a shaking hand. He asked if she was alright.

There was no answer.

He turned toward her, and saw someone that once resembled his wife. Then he realized the unfortunate truth. The tire had hit Virginia directly in the face, head, and neck.

She was unresponsive.

It was then she began to vomit blood.

Now, 2 years later, and 90 percent recovered, Virginia says that in no uncertain terms, she should not be alive today.

“Never, in 35 years of nursing, have I ever heard of anybody sustaining all of [the injuries I sustained] and surviving,” says Virginia. “And the fact that I’m a functioning survival is 100 percent a miracle. I should be dead. There’s no question about it.”
Virginia had suffered a laundry list of serious injuries, 14 to be exact. The most serious of which including bleeding, and even shifting, of her brain.

After a seven week stay in Yale-New Haven Hospital, Virginia was transferred to Gaylord Rehab in Wallingford. She stayed there for a few months, and was then moved to a half-way house for people who had suffered traumatic brain injuries. She stayed there for 5 weeks and relearned how to do everyday, basic things.

Virginia says she’ll never be able to go back to the way things were. Unable to return to her job as an ER nurse at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport, Virginia now concentrates her efforts on being a more active member of her religious parish. She gives talks to parishioners, explaining how her very continued existence is a personal miracle from God.

Despite not knowing exactly what happened, she sees this as her opportunity to get closer to Him.

“I do not remember the accident or hospitalization. In fact 2008 is pretty much gone. Looking forward, I am still discerning how to best serve God. I am grateful that I have been given another opportunity to figure out God’s plan for Ginny Murolo.”

Although the driver of the truck was later apprehended, no word on whether or not charges will be pressed.


To blog or not to blog? THAT is the question…

•May 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

With the Internet available and easy to use for most everyone nowadays, journalism has jumped to the Web and slipped into the blogosphere. But why should either a citizen or professional journalist blog? Why shouldn’t they? Let’s talk about this.

What’s a good reason to blog? You can express yourself! Now, this is great for the citizen journalist who starts their own blog. They can now get in on all the action, do exposés, etc. But for the journalist that already is professional, why would you want the added work of maintaining a blog? It’s simple. You can voice your own OPINION. You don’t really need to worry about protocol (especially if the blog is anonymous). It’s all about the freedom of expression, opinion, and the press!

But, for every to there is a fro. And thus, we come to the negative aspect of blogging. There are two main ones for me. Numero uno is that if you think you’re going to make cash while blogging, chances are you’re delusional. Blogging, unless you’re a) famous, or b) manage to set up some ridiculously awesome blogging site, is NOT a lucrative endeavor. It’s also not one you can partake in as you please. If you start a blog and actually want comments, readers, and the like, you must update frequently. Nobody wants to read a blog that’s never updated. Blogging requires time-commitment.

Get rid of print editions, get rid of readers

•April 29, 2010 • 1 Comment

Although it may seem like a good financial decision to eliminate print news altogether, it would end up destroying something that American’s have grown to expect. Most people read at least some of their daily news on the Internet. But there are still those that prefer to get their news the old fashion way- in print.

An argument in favor of getting rid of print may be the cost of production. But if you think about it, You still have those costs for online versions. You need to pay for bandwidth, reporters, the actual domain name, etc.

The online operating costs alone aren’t bad. And neither are the print costs (to some degree). But put those together, and you do have a somewhat intimidating price tag. This price may lead some papers to the idea that switching entirely to print would be profitable. Except for one little factor.

Despite most of the world being technologically capable, there are still people (the baby boomer generation and those before them) that only get their news in print. Either because they prefer the simplicity, or because they don’t have Internet access. On top of that, even some younger generations still hold onto the romance of print editions. As Marti Harvey, a college teacher in Texas, says in Gerry Storch’s blook, “The Future of Journalism,” “I still see students sitting at tables with laptops; however, they are reading the print edition of the campus newspaper. It’s something they can save and it seems they see it as a more official record of campus events than the Internet versions of the same content.”

Either way, if companies get rid of print editions, and say goodbye to a whole demographic. Before print conglomerates start bringing print editions to the chopping block, they need to weigh the cost of print production against the loss of readership. At the very least, keep a weekend print edition. It’s an American relic for Pete’s sake.

Critique of Web Designs (Time & USA Today)

•April 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

The first news site I checked out was that of Time Magazine. Right off the bat, it seems that Time wasn’t too concerned about unity. Both serif and sans serif fonts are used interchangeably throughout the site. Everything sort of seems smooshed together on the home page, a big jumble of news stories. The contrast in the site is nice however. The white background with the red really makes the important sections pop. The use of bolded fonts within headlines also helps to distinguish importance. I feel though that the less “important” news story headlines should have been bolded as well. They are smaller, in keeping with the hierarchial tradition, but they almost get lost on the left side of the page. Speaking of left, most, if not all, of the copy is left-aligned. A general exploration of the page shows that the layout does change, with the most important stories on the left of subpages, while they sit in the middle on the home page. Also, some links in the top bar take you outside of the website, causing user confusion (example, click on the tab marked “technology“. I found the top of the homepage to be very cluttered, and confusing. In fact, I thought I had stumbled onto a different page by accident because an ad looks as though it is the site’s title. All in all, I’d say Time’s site needs a little work.

The second site I looked at was USA Today. This site has a much more visually calming color scheme, focusing mainly on greens, blues, and white. All fonts are sans serif, again giving the site a relaxed feel. The most important story on the homepage is placed on the left, with subsequent and less important story links on the right. The site is arranged in a grid pattern. The use of different colors for different news subjects helps to allow each subject to stand out, making selection easier. All links to stories are bolded and black, making them easy to read, unlike Time’s links. The use of graphics connected to each of the main stories really works to make them stand out. As far as hierarchial order, I think that the main story headlines could be slightly bigger than they are now. They’re only a little bigger than the less significant stories, and they don’t stand out as much as they could. As far as consistency goes, the subpages are basically smaller, condensed little versions of the main page. You definitely know you’re still on their website as you wander its pages.

Storyboard for Final

•April 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

Since picking a topic for the final, I’ve actually changed ideas. Instead f my original idea, I’d like to do a little profile piece on Virginia Murolo, a married mother of 3 who, about 3 years ago, was hit by the stray tire of an 18-wheeler. The tire literally ripped her minivan in half (she was the passenger, her husband was driving. He only suffered a few scratches), and slammed into her face at a high speed. No one thought Virginia would make it, but after months of the best medical care, and intense support and prayer from family and friends, Virginia is alive, fully functioning, and back to her normal life style. The only differences are that she looks slightly different, she can no longer work as an ER Nurse (something she did for over 30 years), and she has a much greater sense of humor.

For the project, I would like to do a short 2-3 minute video detailing her recovery. I plan on talking to the nurses who helped her, her friends, family, and the people that helped her integrate back into her life. I want to have her be the “narrator,” and have her talk about her struggle. For b-roll, I’ll be using images of where she stayed, worked, and where she is now.

I also would like to use a photo slideshow detailing the incident. Police and news photos would be used in this section.

The history and exact details of Virginia and the accident would be covered in a supplementary news article.

Google maps would be used to show the exact location of the incident, and a statistics chart or list would be present to show how often this occurs, chances of survival, etc.

Chicago Sun Times

•April 8, 2010 • 1 Comment

Critique of the Chicago Sun Times website
-Photo slide shows and multimedia
-News ticker catches attention
-Navigation is easy
-Internal pages are easy to read
-Sub-pages are organized

-Photo slide shows are short, and overshadowed by an ad
-Colors are dusky, not attention grabbing
-Home page is extraordinarily busy, cluttered
-Everything’s very blue and white, nothing stands out
-More important information is at the bottom of the page

Web 2.0 saved the Interwebz.

•April 8, 2010 • 1 Comment

Facebook. Youtube. Icanhascheezburger. Failbooking. PostSecret.
These are sites I visit daily (or in some cases, weekly), and always just assumed them to be…well… websites. Nothing special. I had grown up using the web, so I sort of took whatever high-tech capabilities these sites possess in stride.

But apparently, these sites are part of a large group referred to as Web 2.0 sites. Sites within this grouping are those that consist of interactivity, information sharing, and being centrally based around the user. At this point, I feel that the Internet’s popularity is practically driven by the existence of these sites.

You might counteract that argument saying that if the Internet were comprised only of basic sites featuring only news and non-interactive media, people would still use it. This is true. However, not as MANY people would use it. Social-networking sites majorly contributed to the Internet boom.

The accessibility and simplicity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made the Internet use-able to even the least tech savvy person. There’s no guessing games when it comes to the sites, unlike other social-networking sites like Myspace. To compare Facebook and Myspace would be like comparing Mac Computers to PC’s. While one is sleek, almost uniform, and user friendly, the other is overly customizable, often confusing, and are regarded as almost “cheap.”



There’s no doubt in my mind that Web 2.0 sites have helped to make the Internet more popular than ever before because of their interactivity and appeal to users.