Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Making bowls

One of the things I like about being a reporter is that I get to meet so many great people on my beat. Every time I go out to do a story I never know who I am going to meet. Nearly every time I will meet some really great people and learn something I didn’t know before. That is what happened to me when I accepted an invitation in October to become a celebrity bowl maker for Saline Area Schools’ Empty Bowls fundraiser for Food Gatherers. While the story sounded intriguing, the idea of working with clay caught me off guard. It had been 30-plus years since I had worked with clay and even then I produced works that only my mom would accept and keep around for these many years. But the art teachers were a patient and encouraging group and they showed me the ropes of working with clay. I used a bowl as my mold and then let the clay speak to me, a phrase art teacher Kevin McCown coined. While others were making really nice bowls or a beehive, my clay was telling me to make a baseball mitt. McCown showed me how to use tools to create the webbing of a glove and the leather threads to tie it together. I created a ball to rest in the pocket. I enjoyed the experience and wish I had more time to work on my bowl. Other celebrities, such as Fire Chief Craig Hoeft, had done this before and got to work on making a bowl that would eventually have a Dalmatian pattern on it. Some, like then-school board president Lisa Slawson had her old art teacher nearby for inspiration. I muddled through and got my mitt to a condition I was happy with and then I had to leave. I came back in January to paint my bowl. I had considered what colors I wanted to use before I settled on Saline’s school colors of maize and blue. This was hard for a dedicated Spartan fan, but I told myself it was for a good cause. The painting went smoothly as I made the mitt blue, with yellow for the threads; I used white and red to make the baseball and red on the underside. It soon became apparent that I had made a copy of the logo for the Milwaukee Brewers. Not exact, but close enough for people to comment on it later. The work paid off on Feb. 7 at Empty Bowls at the high school when I saw my bowl among the other creations and I got a lot of congratulations. I had fun complimenting my fellow bowl makers and fishing for compliments. The celebrity bowls were up for a silent auction and even though I campaigned, I only saw $8 on it. Still, it was for a good cause, so the hungry won in the end. If I come back next year, I am already thinking of what I can create. My thanks again to all the art teachers who helped me, it was a wonderful experience.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Life at the Community Media Lab

Today at the Community Media Lab I took a break from my stories to work on several apps that can help journalists tell a better a story or improve the presentation. The sites I went to today included, Flickr and Storify. The first site is one of the coolest I have visited and one where I had the most fun. You can make movie posters ID badges, calendars and more. I had fun trying to create something special. On Flickr, you can make slideshows with all the photos you upload. I did one last weekend for the Winterfest in Saline. I am still learning. Storify I am going to try today to see if I can do something with a story I am working on. Please come and say hi on Thursday afternoons between 12:30 and 4 p.m. at 215 Michigan in Ypsilanti. Staff Writer Jim Pruitt can be reached at 734-429-7380, or via Twitter @BigPruitt. Text HERNews and HER-Weather to 22700 to receive news and weather alerts to your cell-phone. Msg and data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome to the CML 2013

Another year has begun and that means another year of service here at the Heritage Media Community Media Lab. I have been working at the lab since September and I have met some interesting people here. Though the pace is slow sometimes, I have enjoyed the people I have had a chance to help. I work Thursday afternoons from 12:30-4 p.m. at the lab in Ann Arbor Spark building at 215 Michigan in downtown Ypsilanti. The shifts are nice and location is great. There is a lot of activity here at the Spark site. They have many events so I can meet people that way. But helping the public connect with the world of journalism is my main focus. I am here to help anyone who comes by with questions about blogging (like this article) and how to access social media. So if you have the time and are interested or have questions, please come on down. Staff Writer Jim Pruitt can be reached at 734-429-7380, or via Twitter @BigPruitt. Text HERNews and HER-Weather to 22700 to receive news and weather alerts to your cell-phone. Msg and data rates may apply. Text HELP for help. Text STOP to cancel.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Interviewing legislators

I got a chance to interview the four people who will represent Washtenaw County in the Michigan House of Representatives Thursday at the Community Media Lab. The lab is a great place to show off and I thought it would be a great spot to showcase the Ann Arbor Spark building as well. So the four state reps, Jeff Irwin and Dave Rutledge, who will start their second terms next month and newly elected Gretchen Driskell and Adam Zemke and I chatted for nearly 90 minutes about various issues for the county, the recent election and what the future holds. The story will come out late next week after I go through my notes and edit some videos. I had a good time and I hope to use it as an interview spot again in the future. I would appreciate some more company. So in January, you can come down Thursday afternoons between 12:30 and 4 p.m. at 215 Michigan in Ypsilanti. I'd love to see you.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What are your thoughts on mass transportation?

The countywide transportation plan is getting different receptions so far across the county. AATA officials say about five townships have opted out. Saline said yes, but Milan has tabled the matter until it gets more information.

What are your thoughts on the issue?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Art Prize

Three area residents are entering this year's Art Prize contest in Grand Rapids. It's an interesting contest with 1,517 entries in 161 venues all withing a 3-square-mile area downtown. Check out for more details.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

IT workshop for women at EMU draws crowd of teenagers

Last week I covered an interesting event at Eastern Michigan University, a workshop for middle school- and high school-aged girls focused on being safe online while also introducing them to the possibility of future careers in the IT and information assurance fields. Only about 12 percent of the workforce of these fields are women. This presents an opportunity as employers seek to develop a more diverse workforce. Among the speakers at the workshop was Debbie Dingell, wife of Congressman John Dingell, who spoke to the girls in attendance about both main topics. The workshop was titled Cyber Security in the 21st Century: Digital Divas. Click here for the full story with video.

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