Monday, November 22, 2010

Rivalry Week!

The special Rivalry 2010 section of The Daily Universe is out today!

BYU-Utah Football 2010: End of an Era

Everything looks beautiful. And we are so lucky to have such great writers on the sports desk. They had unique ideas and their stories covered a wide variety of topics.

I feel bad for David, because he contributed much more than I did! He gathered old photos from the Special Collections Archive, and edited all the stories, came into work on Sunday and wrote a viewpoint. And Brandon and the copy desk did tons of work to make this section look so good. All I did was write a viewpoint and draw a cartoon.

Here are all the stories in our glorious Rivalry section!

Let the hype begin: Utes up next for BYU, by Alex Hairston and Sarah Gambles
Edwards, McBride reminisce, by Morgan Jones
'Red Blood, Blue Blood' documents the rivalry, by Natalie Barrett
Cosmo, Swoop keep rivalry alive, by Holland Davis
Enjoy it, Cougar fans, viewpoint by David Mortimer (and a cartoon by me!)


Spring forward, fall back? by Josh Bolding
Rivalry affects relationships, by Kirsten Bowe
I can be your hero, baby, by Matt Livingston*
Keeping the rivalry under wraps, by Sarah Sanders
An outsider's guide to the rivalry, by Michael McKinlay
Bringing out the sibling rivalry, by Sarah Gambles
5 things to remember for facing the 'formidable' red team, by Yours Truly
Head games, by Alex Hairston

*For some reason, Matt's story isn't posted on the website. But you can read the PDF version by clicking on the link and going to page 11.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Alternative Ending!

The fireside story that I talked about on Saturday is on today's front page.

BYU football team shares gospel messages while on the road

There are actually two endings to the story that didn't make it in the paper.

1) This one just didn't make it because there wasn't enough space on the page.

One of these heroes, BYU running back David Foote, said he enjoys meeting fans and church members just as much. “It’s my favorite part, to meet everyone after [the fireside], and seeing the faces in the crowd that’s cheering us on,” Foote said. Alex Petersen, a Colorado native who is proud to be 7 1/2 years old, was one excited Cougar fan who collected Foote’s autograph as well as many others. Alex said the fireside helped him plan for his future. “I learned about being a missionary,” Alex said. Some day, when Alex is serving and preaching and blessing other people’s lives as a missionary, those people will at least partly have BYU football to thank.

2) Here's one I wrote that I knew wouldn't make it in the paper. It had some potential for controversy, and it didn't really fit in the story. But I wrote it for fun anyway. In talking with Elder Arntz who is quoted in the story, it came up in our conversation the fact that Jake Heaps said earlier this season that he wasn't planning on going on a mission. Anyone who knows me knows how passionately opposed I am to this. :S And Elder Arntz agreed with me, of course. So he said he would talk to Jake Heaps, and afterward I asked how it went.

OPTIONAL EXTRA ENDING:
The football players weren’t the only ones giving spiritual guidance.
Arntz said he was eager to meet quarterback Jake Heaps, who earlier this season said he was not planning on serving a mission, and offer some persuasion.
“If I get to talk to him tonight, I’ll probably ask him, ‘Are you going on a mission?’” Arntz said. “And if he says no, I’ll do like all missionaries are supposed to do and be devastated. Hopefully that will have some sort of effect on him. I know that he’ll be blessed if he goes on a mission. I know that he’ll have more blessings than he’ll have room to handle.”
After the fireside, Arntz did get to talk to Heaps, who said he is thinking about a mission.
Mendenhall said his players, the fans and even he can all learn from the teachings of the Book of Mormon prophet Alma.
“The real message was this, which is the same message to each of you, and to me, and our team,” Mendenhall said. “‘Even to experimenting on my word.’ That means act, even if you’re afraid. And then see what will happen.”


So, yes, obviously I was pushing my own agenda, haha. But, I wrote it anyway, and I figured it would at least work as another "DVD special feature" for the blog.

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Here's another extra you get for reading my blog: While our football writer Sarah went to the postgame press conference for the BYU coaches and players, I went to the CSU press conference to get quotes, in case Alex or Sarah wanted them for their stories.

I got some interesting stuff:

Head coach Steve Fairchild

Well, you all saw it like I did. I mean, there’s no excuses. We totally got outplayed, we got outcoached, we got outclassed. Today I did not see this coming. I thought we had a very good week of practice and preparation. But I give credit to BYU, Bronco Mendenhall and his staff, because they certainly played a terrific game, and we did not. Now let’s go back to work, and hopefully we can finish up the season on a good note in Laramie.

I knew that they were playing pretty good football. Anytime you go out and just lay the ball on the ground like we did and give up the big pass play and let them get rolling, I mean, you’re going to get what you’re getting them. We couldn’t get them off the field on third down, we couldn’t make plays offensively. So again, rather than look at us, you know we’ll certainly look at us and try to correct mistakes, but I certainly want to give BYU and Bronco Mendenhall credit.

The effort was there. I just think you can’t turn the ball over like we did, like I said, give up third-down conversion after third-down conversion, you’re going to be in for a long effort.

It did surprise me. I thought we were coming on defensively. … It was silly. If you can’t get off the field, they’re going to score points, and that’s what happened.

There’s no question. No, I think we were too [coming off a perfect storm]. I just think they executed better, they played better, we turned the ball over, and … I certainly don’t want to take away from anything that BYU did. They played a good game, I give Bronco and his staff all the credit in the world.

We just handed it away in the first quarter.

Elijah-Blu Smith – recovered BYU’s first fumble

It was a big blow to the team, like everybody saw. We started off pretty good, we had some good momentum going into the game. We just didn’t capitalize it into a win for us.

[Did they do anything that caught you off guard in their pass game?] Not really. We knew they were going to throw some play actions at us, and those kind of passes. We had to execute and make plays for us.

[on Ashworth coming out of nowhere] We knew they had firepower in all their receivers. [Number] Two [Cody Hoffman] was the guy that came in who we tried to focus on, but definitely they came battling, ready to play, and they showed it.

They put them up on us. They were making the plays. They got more than we did. They ended up taking us overall.

Defensive coordinator Larry Kerr

[on Ashworth] Well, he ran by our guy one time, and we were in a two-deep coverage, and it never should have happened but it did. So they got a big play there. And then there was another play where we got two defenders right there, we just don’t find the football. So their guy made the plays, we didn’t.

You look at that whole game, and they won every battle and that’s the credit to them. Very disappointing for us.

Ricky Brewer

The result wasn’t what we wanted. …

[on his own personal good game] Obviously you want to play well individually. [But] if everyone plays well individually, we win games. I just want to go out and do my part. As far as the team is concerned, I’d rather win and have no tackles then obviously lose the way we did today.

Oh man, it happened so fast. We just didn’t show up in the first quarter. I mean, we beat ourselves, to be honest. Obviously, they’re a great team. I’m not taking anything away from them. But penalties, turnovers – those are the recipe for disaster. That’s what we served up today.

BYU’s not a bad team. They’re bowl-eligible, they’re going to a bowl game. And I think we underestimated them, to be honest. They came out swinging, and they won the game.

[on extra emotions because of senior night] I don’t think that we came out too fired up. I just believe that we didn’t do a great job of executing. Like I said before, we beat ourselves and basically served it up to them. That’s all I have to say about that.

Raymond Carter

[on his fumble, that was recovered by Kyle Van Noy for a touchdown] I caught the ball, and I didn’t see him coming, he just hit me. Everything happened so fast, you can’t really react to it. BYU came out playing hard, we got to prepare good this week and get ready for Wyoming, finish out strong.

That was the plan, to get the running game going. But like I said, we got off to a slow start. Once we picked it up, we was moving the ball. We just have to maintain that. …

This was a winnable game for us. If we would have came out harder than what we did, and we would have pulled out the game. But unfortunately we didn’t. ... We got a lot of talented guys, and our talent, we didn’t really show that today. …

Freshman quarterback Pete Thomas

This is the most embarrassed I’ve ever been after a football game. We played pretty bad on offense, and, I mean, you can’t turn the ball over three teams and expect to win a ball game. We can’t put our defense into situations like that. It’s just tough. I thought we came out of the tunnel pretty good, but nothing was clicking.

[on senior night] That’s the most disappointing them about this whole game. I personally feel like I let the seniors down. … We let them down today.

[on being forced to throw their game play out the window] Definitely. Obviously, we had to abolish the game plan pretty quick, and that’s not good. … It all started with the way we played in that first quarter, on offense.

To me it felt like we never quit, we stayed in there. We just couldn’t do anything. That’s the most disappointing thing, because we had probably our best week of practice we ever had. But today our plans just fell apart. And we can’t let that happen again.

I’m embarrassed. I know our fans our embarrassed. I think we didn’t expect to come out like this. Thank God we have another game…

[on BYU leaving the conference, and not being able to grow up with Jake Heaps as freshmen quarterbacks] That would be a good rivalry, but I just can’t control any of that. We just got to play who’s on our schedule.

Zac Pauga

[on losing on senior night] … It’s the opposite of what I wanted to happen. Even if it was a loss, I would have liked to play them closer and play them tougher. I’m definitely disappointed with what happened today.

I really have no idea. Even when we were sitting on the sidelines, it just felt like we couldn’t get a break, that things weren’t going our way, and I really have no idea.

It felt a lot like the game we played against them last year, where they just jump out on you, they’re so quick. Football’s such a game of emotions that if you get down even a little bit when you’re that far behind, it’s almost impossible to come back. And I kind of felt like that’s what happened.

We obviously would like to run the ball. And when you’re down 35 points, the run game’s kind of out of the window, and you’ve got to throw it if you want to stay in the game.

[on what was talked about at halftime] We just talked about getting back into the game and playing with a little bit of pride and showing people who we are. That’s what we tried to do.

I just felt like after those first couple turnovers when it was 21-0, it kind of surprised us and shocked us, and I feel like we didn’t really recover until the fourth quarter. I don’t know if that’s true or if that’s what the reason was, but that’s just how it felt to me on the sidelines.

Mychal Sisson

[on getting the first fumble recovery] We thought we was going to give it to them right out there after we caused that turnover. But they came back and responded. Just like any team should.

Everybody had high hopes. Especially the seniors, you try to send them out with a last victory at Hughes. So, it just didn’t come out how we really planned it and hoped it would come out to.


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Here are the two football stories about the game itself:

BYU capitalizes on turnovers, picks up first road win (Sarah's story)

Ashworth has career day in leading pass attack (Alex's story) (The article's not on the website yet, but go to page 6 of the PDF) And make sure to read the beginning. It should give you a smile:

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The whole newspaper looked great today, especially the sports stuff. Check out these stories:

Packing the house, by Josh Bolding (Some great front page photos by Luke Hansen!)

Mascots play for charity, by Holland Davis (Some more cool, fun photos, by Jamison Metzger - go to page 8 of the PDF)


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pottermonium Comes to BYU

I've had cartoons in The Daily Universe, and I've been on the front page of The Daily Universe. But never both at the same time.

http://newnewsnet.byu.edu/pdf/du20101112.pdf


To get everybody ready for the debut of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, opening next week, this week's tab had four Harry Potter-related stories. It was an obvious choice for the front page, and someone brought up the idea of an illustration to connect Harry Potter to BYU and asked me to do it. And voila.

This cover almost didn't happen though. The day before putting the tab together, department advisers almost changed our two weeks' worth of plans at the last minute. I realize most older parents and grandparents maybe think of Harry Potter as simply the most popular children's book of all time, not really newsworthy. But my generation knows it's much more than that, especially at BYU. (Just go to "Overheard @ BYU," and you'll see Harry Potter references make up about half of all campus overheard conversations). As Harry Potter devotee and enterprise editor Tiffany Wallace said, "it defines our generation." Fortunately, Dumbledore's Army prevailed and Harry Potter made the front page anyway.

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In other news, I am blogging straight from the press box at Hughes Stadium at Colorado State. I'm lucky enough to go on another Daily Universe trip, this time for the BYU football game against the Rams. It should be a good game - BYU's on a roll after last week's huge victory over UNLV. If we play the same way against the Rams, we're well on our way to a bowl game, and maybe even an upset over Utah (who lost horribly to TCU last week).

Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium - press box view


I was assigned to write a story about last night's football fireside. We haven't covered one this semester, and it's exactly the sort of feel-good story that BYU loves to see in The Daily Universe. I had a lot of fun talking to Fort Collins church members and interviewing them for my story. There were a lot of dads who brought their kids to see these tough football players who aren't too tough to share their spirits and testimonies. The fireside itself was great, I had never been to one before. I saw another side of Bronco Mendenhall, one I knew was there but was still cool to see in a suit and tie and with scriptures in hand. The coach is definitely more comfortable behind the chapel microphone than he is behind a press conference microphone.

The story should be on the front page of The Daily Universe on Monday. Make sure you check it out!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Mathematical Lie

The rumors of President Barack Obama spending $200 million-per-day on his trip to India, it was another issue that for some reason I immediately responded to. I wrote a viewpoint, but there wasn't room for it on Tuesday's page and it was similar to other columns already published this semester.

So, it gets to be a blog-exclusive piece!

Enjoy!

A mathematical lie

‘You don’t have to make stuff up’

By J.J. Despain

There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count and those who can’t.

When it comes to numbers in the news, they can be pretty intangible sometimes. Gigantic corporations or powerful countries get into numbers and figures that are hard for us to comprehend. A U.S. GDP increase of $151.5 billion, a national energy consumption of 86.4 million BTUs and the nearest star to our planet is 39.9 trillion miles away.

But what does it all mean? Any big number might as well be some other big number. The national debt is up to $13.7 trillion, but do we really feel a difference between 13.7 trillion and 1.37 trillion? Most of us have probably never seen a trillion of anything, except for occupied parking spaces on campus when we’re desperate for an empty one.

Big numbers usually wash over us without any effect. But one big number made a splash last week.

The rumor got rolling that President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to India was going to cost taxpayers $200 million. Each day. He had 870 hotel rooms reserved and would be accompanied by 2,000 people and a flotilla of 34 navy warships.

Those might be just big numbers. But if you think about them for a second, you will realize they are too ridiculous to be real. Is it even humanly possible to spend $200 million a day on vacation? For anybody? I doubt even P. Diddy and his entourage would be capable of such a feat.

If $200 million still seems likely to you, consider this: the entire war in Afghanistan costs only $190 million a day.

And rightfully so, before too long all these numbers about Obama’s trip were confirmed to be rumors. Wild, senseless rumors.

"We don’t speak to [presidential travel] in detail for security reasons," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a press conference. "But I will take the liberty this time of dismissing as absolutely absurd this notion that somehow we were deploying 10 percent of the Navy … in support of the president’s trip to Asia. That’s just comical."

While Morrell and the rest of the Pentagon were laughing, die-hard Obama critics like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity were perpetuating the rumors (and therefore dismantling their credibility even further).

Rush Limbaugh made Obama’s trip part of his daily radio rancor on Nov. 2.

"It’s never been done before!" Limbaugh ranted. "You take this many people, this many airplanes, the question is: are you coming back?"

Rep. Michelle Bachmann went on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show to rail against Obama and his supposedly elaborate trip, but when asked to back up her claims she had no specifics to offer.

"Well, these are the numbers that have been coming out in the press, and of course those are the numbers that I have to believe," Bachmann replied.

What press? Limbaugh’s?

Multiple news sources have traced the $200 million amount back to an unnamed Indian government official quoted in India’s version of the Associated Press. No one knows who the official is, or if his information really is official.

In fact, many of the attacks on Obama have no basis in truth whatsoever. "Birthers" demand Obama to show his birth certificate, forgetting that the State of Hawaii and Obama himself have already released ample evidence of his American birth. And I never understood how enemies of Obama can accuse him of conniving with Christian preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright and then later condemn him for being a Muslim. Can’t Obama’s opponents at least pick one lie and stick with it?

Cooper couldn’t let Bachmann’s gossip stand.

"Michele Bachmann used up our air time last night, rather than answering questions about Medicare...and she chose to spread a story which is blatantly false," he said. "Now you’d think that if a member of Congress was going to use this figure as a fact, she would want to be pretty darn sure it was accurate, right? … There are plenty of reasons to oppose the president, plenty of things to point to as government waste and overspending. You don’t have to make stuff up."

If you want to give reasons why our president is a bad president, you can cite his takeover of General Motors, or his giving up on the public option in health care reform, or any number of things. So why resort to lies? The truth is weapon enough, and it won’t shoot you in the foot.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Midterm Cartoons

I thought of a couple cartoon ideas in light of the midterm elections.

Here's the one that ended up in the paper today:


And here's one I drew but didn't fit on the opinion page (that's what a blog is for!):

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ansah learns all about football, America and life

I'm a little late getting this one up. This is the profile I wrote about Ezekiel Ansah, a BYU football player from Ghana.

(photo by Luke Hansen)

Ansah learns all about football, America and life*
(If that link doesn't work, click here and go to page 3: http://newsnet.byu.edu/pdf/du20101029.pdf)

This story took a long time to get in the paper. I wrote it way back before the Air Force game. We didn't want to run the story without photos, even if it was a photo of him on the sidelines. But I didn't realize that not only did Ansah not play, he didn't travel with the team. And then for the next home game, he didn't dress down.

I finally looked for pictures of Ansah online and asked the websites' permission to use their photos. But they didn't respond quickly enough for the story to run on Oct. 22., so the story had to wait. (They did respond, but it was a day late.)

Then, on the Oct. 23 home game against Wyoming, Ansah played! We got some pictures (thanks, Luke!), and the next week at practice I interviewed Ansah again and updated my story.

Anyway, on Oct. 29, the story was finally in the paper.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

BYU's get-'Rich'-quick scheme

So it was my turn again to write a football viewpoint. Coming into the BYU vs. Wyoming game, I had no idea what to write about. Then, in the second quarter I saw Andrew Rich dive for a ball and crash into one of Wyoming's card tables. That's when I knew to write about Rich and what I've observed over the season.

BYU's get 'Rich' quick scheme

Even when BYU's defense has been in trouble, Rich has been able to make things happen. Against Wyoming, Rich only had four tackles ... but that's actually a sign of progress. (Read my viewpoint to find out more.)

Here are the other two football stories:

Not pretty, but it's a win - by Sarah Gambles

BYU fans rewarded for braving rain - by Alex Hairston

The last one was about something really cool that happened. At kickoff, the stadium was basically empty. Alex, Sarah and I were talking about how empty the stadium was. But soon after, the stadium filled up a bit more and the official attendance was recorded as 60,505. When someone brought it up in the postgame press conference, Bronco Mendenhall actually teared up a little bit. It was cool to see.

We also had a cool page for an NBA preview.

Here's the page: 2010-11 NBA Preview (go to page 5)

And here are the stories:

Newness Abounds - by Dallin Turner (not one of our sports writers, but the sports expert on the copy desk)

Predicting the East - Sarah Sanders

Predicting the West - Josh Bolding

Oh, and I received the grand honor of being invited to write for the Man Stuff blog. It was started by a few guys in my ward, and at an elders quorum activity Mike Smith and I were talking about sports and journalism and he asked me if I was interested in their blog. Pretty cool. I plan on writing an introductory post soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This Week at the Sports Desk

1) I wrote another swimming story! The BYU swim and dive team will be part of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation next year, which takes care of one of the sports that would be left out of a conference when BYU goes to the West Coast Conference.

Our swim beat writer had gymnastics practice the same afternoon we wanted the story done. So since I wasn't too busy, I went and did it myself. It was fun to see the swimmers again. And, I whipped out the story in less than an hour. I've come a long ways since I was a 321er.

BYU swim, dive finds a home in the MPSF

2) O'Neill Chambers was suspended for the rest of the football season, and will likely transfer to another school once this semester is over. Of course, BYU and Bronco Mendenhall don't give too many details on what Chambers actually did. But, we found out anyway.

Chambers offers his version of suspension

One of our football writers, Alex Hairston, found a way to talk to Chambers himself and get his side of the story. And we got it before Jay Drew or Greg Wrubell did. In less than 24 hours, the story got 1,700 hits on the website. Pretty impressive. Good work, Alex!

3) DU Halloween Party!

(I hope Kaye doesn't mind that I stole this picture from her Facebook page.)

I'm in the back with the sunglasses and the comb, I went as a '50s greaser. My wife Erin is in the witch hat and orange Halloween shirt, and she's holding our little kitty cat baby girl Allisyn.

To contribute to the massive collection of treats, Erin made "bone breadsticks." They are regular breadsticks, but before they are cooked each end is slit and spread apart to make the shape of a bone. Like this:


We also made a cool drink that I remember my family making when I was younger. The drink can be anything (we did a fruit punch mixed with vanilla ice cream, to sort of look bloody and gory). But the main feature is a floating hand in the punch bowl. All you do is fill a plastic glove with water (or anything, really) and put it in the freezer overnight. When it's time to serve the drinks, peel the plastic glove off the now solid hand and let it float.

(I had a bit of trouble getting the gloves off, because the fingers were stuck together. Most of them broke off. Hmm, maybe that adds to the Halloweeniness?)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This Time, a Response in The Daily Universe

The passionate reaction to my now infamous "Much Ado About Nothing" blog post continues on. Well, actually it seems to be dying down, which is fine by me. But there was a response in today's edition of The Daily Universe that I thought I would share.

The letter itself isn't on the DU website yet, but you can go here and look for it on page 3: http://newnewsnet.byu.edu/pdf/du20101014.pdf

I don't think Mackenzie Mayo is necessarily claiming that I think homosexuality, same-sex marriage, etc. is "much ado about nothing." I think what Mackenzie is saying that, in general, none of us should treat these issues like "nothing."

In case it was a criticism, I would answer by repeating what I said here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good-lookin' Sports Stuff Today

Today had some particularly interesting sports stuff:

Hoops Hype - Cougars picked 2nd in MWC preseason poll; Jimmer named preseason player of the year - BYU also got Preseason Freshman of the Year thanks to Kyle Collinsworth. (by Josh Bolding)

Where does BYU go from here? - We did something a little different at the DU sports desk and had our two football writers answer some questions about the rest of the season for BYU football. Very well done. (by Alex Hairston and Sarah Gambles)

If nothing else, or perhaps most importantly, go here and look at pages 1, 3 and 5.

(Trivia: The comedian featured in the Humor U ad on page 3 is none other than Josh Bolding, our men's basketball beat writer himself.)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update - Church's Response

For anyone interested, here's the official statement from the Church on the outcry over President Packer's talk:

Church Responds to HRC Petition


My favorite parts:

"We join our voice with others in unreserved condemnation of acts of cruelty or attempts to belittle or mock any group or individual that is different – whether those differences arise from race, religion, mental challenges, social status, sexual orientation or for any other reason. Such actions simply have no place in our society."

"Our parents, young adults, teens and children should therefore, of all people, be especially sensitive to the vulnerable in society and be willing to speak out against bullying or intimidation whenever it occurs, including unkindness toward those who are attracted to others of the same sex."

"As a church, our doctrinal position is clear: any sexual activity outside of marriage is wrong, and we define marriage as between a man and a woman. However, that should never, ever be used as justification for unkindness."

"The Church distinguishes between feelings or inclinations on the one hand and behavior on the other. It’s not a sin to have feelings, only in yielding to temptation."

"There is no question that this is difficult, but Church leaders and members are available to help lift, support and encourage fellow members who wish to follow Church doctrine. Their struggle is our struggle. Those in the Church who are attracted to someone of the same sex but stay faithful to the Church’s teachings can be happy during this life and perform meaningful service in the Church. They can enjoy full fellowship with other Church members, including attending and serving in temples, and ultimately receive all the blessings afforded to those who live the commandments of God."

"We hope that any disagreement will be based on a full understanding of our position and not on distortion or selective interpretation."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Follow Up to Five Black & White Movies You Must See - Even in 2010

Today there was a nice letter to the editor in response to my black & white movies article.

Love the classics*

*Click on the link and go to page 3.

Much Ado About Nothing

Another cartoon! Two in one week!


Has anyone seen the ridiculous brouhaha the Salt Lake Tribune is making of President Boyd K. Packer's talk in General Conference?

I didn't realize President Packer had said anything new or controversial when I was watching conference. But apparently the Tribune reporter covering conference (who happens to be a former member of the church) decided it was time to start a fire.

So what did President Packer say? His talk isn't written out on the LDS website yet, but it should be done today sometime. Check here periodically until you see it (he spoke in the Sunday morning session). There is audio and video already available on the website.

These are the quotes that the Tribune is using as ammunition:

“There are those today who not only tolerate but advocate voting to change laws that would legalize immorality, as if a vote would somehow alter the designs of God’s laws and nature. A law against nature would be impossible to enforce. Do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?"


Some argue that “they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they feel are inborn tendencies toward the impure and unnatural. Not so! Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone? Remember he is our father.”

I'll get into my personal beliefs a little later. First I'll just describe the Tribune's response.

Here are their articles on the subject:

Although I would agree with that statement, President Packer never said that. I suppose it was somewhat implied, but it wasn't his point and wasn't a direct quote he made. I'm guessing the Tribune went with a more controversy-provoking headline, one that would anger people and lead them to believe that the Church wants to simply "fix" gays, with something crazy like electroshock therapy*. Not true.

This is one that tries to explain that President Packer's statements are somehow contradictory to other recent action from the church in response to same-sex issues. But they're not, something else I will get into a little bit later.

Besides, how can the Tribune say that President Packer is saying something new and shaking things up, and at the same time give a subheadline that says, "Apostle declares that church will 'stay the course' in opposing gay marriage despite opposition."

Thanks to press like the Tribune, people are acting out against the church, holding rallies and protests, etc. Of course, discrimination against gays that leads to extreme bullying and even suicide (something that has been in the news quite a lot lately) is absolutely wrong. But if a teen struggling to figure out his or her sexual orientation really listens to President Packer's talk, he or she should not feel pressure. He or she should feel relief, and look to Christ's Atonement for comfort and guidance.

Now, for my own beliefs and testimony.

I firmly believe that sins of homosexuality go against God's plan of salvation, as does any sin. Whether or not same-sex marriage is legal, it will never fit with God's purpose of marriage and family.

Because homosexual acts go against the plan of salvation, it wouldn't make sense for God to create us in such a way that some of us are "born gay," at least not in a way that we have no other choice but to be gay. People are born with weaknesses and imperfections, and some may have a personality that makes them more susceptible to certain temptations. But any temptation can be overcome.

And it should be emphasized that temptation itself is not a sin. It only becomes a sin when it is acted upon. Whether it be cheating, lying, stealing, being selfish and proud, marital infidelity, sexual immorality or homosexual acts, no one should feel guilty for the temptations that come to them. They should only feel guilty after they decide to act on those temptations.

That said, just because homosexuality is not an acceptable lifestyle does not mean homosexuals should be persecuted, mocked or attacked. The church is against legalizing same-sex marriage, but in many instances the church has come out to say that gays should be treated fairly. Recently the church supported a law in Salt Lake City that would make illegal any discrimination against gays in housing and employment.


(The Tribune brought up an example of Church's recent compassion to those struggling with homosexuality, describing a meeting Elder Marlin K. Jensen held with youth in California. But what Elder Jensen did and what President Packer said do not conflict.)

You might think all those ideas I just described are incompatible with each other. But it makes sense to me that we can have Christlike love for our fellow man and also be clearly against anything that goes against the gospel.

I hope what I have said does not come across too harsh. I do believe it all to be true, and I won't be changing how I feel about it any time soon.

Anyway, enjoy the cartoon.

*This video on Hulu expires soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Five Black & White Movies You Must See - Even in 2010

I haven't had a cartoon in the paper for a long time, so it was nice to get this in there on Tuesday's opinion page:


If 2010 is tough for the BYU Cougars, wait until next year when we go independent.

Then today, I had one of my articles from my feature writing class on the front page, as part of The Daily Universe's new "FYI" column. The "FYI" is going to be a weekly front page column that will be not so much hard news, but interesting, sometimes humorous, things like profiles or how-to articles.

Anyway, my "Five Black & White Movies You Should See - Even in 2010" was the first installment of the new column. Pretty cool.

Five black and white movies you must see

I collected a lot of art to go with the story, knowing that the copy desk couldn't use all of it but I figured the more I give them to work with the happier they'll be with me. :) I decided to get a movie poster and a still photo for each of the five movies. They ended up only using the Casablanca poster. But for you lucky blog readers, you get to see all of them!

It Happened One Night (1934)




Dr. Strangelove (1964)




Some Like It Hot (1959)




All About Eve (1950)




Casablanca (1942)


Monday, September 27, 2010

"These things always happen in threes"



(skip to 1:47)

Today's paper has my first game column. I've written opinion columns having to do with football before, but this was my first one based on a particular game. You know, like real sports columnists do. This was also my first story to appear on The Daily Universe's special football pullout page* every Monday after a game.

My column is about bad things always happening in threes. It's certainly been that way for BYU football.

1) Two big losses in a row, to Air Force and Florida State
2) Riley Nelson out for the season with shoulder surgery
3) O'Neill Chambers being suspended

The week leading up to the game against Nevada definitely did not go in BYU's favor.

Hard-luck Cougars seeing bad things come in threes


The Nevada game was my first time actually covering a BYU home game. It was very, very cool. (It would have been cooler if we won, but oh well.)


This was my view from the press box.




And here is my complimentary meal from Tucano's.

*Go to page 4.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bummer.

A couple things frustrating me about The Daily Universe this morning. I'll try not to vent too inappropriately, and I don't mean to badmouth anybody. It's the nature of the biz for not everything to go my way. And it's the nature of any biz, so I need to keep trying to get used to it, I suppose.

1) One of the first stories David and I assigned on the very first day of class was a story about the system in place at LaVell Edwards Stadium for fans to send text messages to stadium security with concerns and issues. We assigned it to a reporter who didn't end up on the sports desk once desk assignments were made, but she still worked on the story and did a pretty good job.

David was the first actually to do the story as a front page package. The new Universe, with the enterprise editor, more involvement from the academic department and other changes, doesn't really do front packages anymore. But we started talking very early on about the story as a package, how to do photos, etc.

Then, another story came in (actually from my COMMS 377 class) that was a profile on the ROTC, and highlighting the ROTC doing pushups at the stadium every time BYU scores and (little known fact) that they are the ones who clean up the stadium after the games.

I thought that would go perfectly with the stadium security story. I forget who brought it up in front page meeting, but it made sense to me. The theme could be something about goings-on at the stadium other than the game itself. Sounded like a good idea to me. And as far as I knew, it was a good idea to everyone else.

But then yesterday in front page meeting, the faith behind the two stories diminished for some reason. First, no one thought the two stories fit together, even though we had been saying they did for some time now. Then, it was determined the ROTC story should wait until there is more photos, even though the photo desk had already found stuff to work with. And, some people thought the stadium security wasn't all that great anyway unless it were "beefed up" a little bit.

I said that I had edited the story and improved it, but I guess it still wasn't "front-page worthy." So, the only way to save the stadium security story for front page (the ROTC story was quickly abandoned) was for me to "beef it up."

I didn't know how I would do that, but I worked on it a little and added to it. There. Done.

Except that when I see the front page this morning, the security story is scooted over to the side and the front page package became a story that was mocked even by the desk it came from. Yes, the "Carp(e) diem" story had better pictures. And the headline was funny, normally it would amuse me. But to see a front page package idea for four weeks turn into barely anything in five minutes is a big letdown.

I mean, I didn't personally write either of the stories or take any of the pictures (although I am in the background of the stadium security picture). I don't have that much personally invested in the package. I just thought it was a good idea, and to see everyone suddenly change their minds is frustrating.

(The green shirt on the left? That's me!)

It reminds me of another job I had at BYU. It seemed like all we did was sit in meetings and talk about doing things. But we didn't or couldn't actually do them because we had to come up with something everyone could agree on. Which is fine. But sometimes it seemed like everyone did agree, and then out of nowhere the unanimity would vanish.

I know it's not good to just want to do everything my way. I need to be able to yield to other people's ideas, and not complain.

Something to work on.

Anyway, here's the stadium security story, by Michelle Menezes:

Stadium fans can text for security

And today's front page:

Carp(e) diem: Seizing the fish

2) Two letters to the editor were published today in response to my "Stewart gets serious" viewpoint. They were fine letters, nothing mean or insulting (like I dealt with sometimes during the spring and summer). Just definitely disagreed with me.

Both letters, especially the first one, thought Jon Stewart and I were promoting political inactivity. I don't think that's what we're going for at all. In fact, it's advocating the opposite. The Rally to Restore Sanity isn't about mediocrity, it's for moderation. Jon Stewart does want people to get involved. He just wants them to do it humanely.

The other reaction was something I sort of expected, saying basically that our country is in serious trouble and that we should be passionately fighting against what our government does. I disagree, but people can live in fear if they wish to, I suppose.

Here are the two letters:

Stewart still a joke
(Be sure to read the comment from Will Matheson at the bottom of the page)

Politically aware

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Return to the Opinion Page

Rally to Restore Sanity

Inspiring, no?

For a long time, fans of "The Daily Show" have been waiting for Jon Stewart to make a response to Glenn Beck's rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Instead of just taking another shot at Beck and the FOX News gang, he's going for something that I think is nobler.

Stewart's announcement was inspiring enough for me to write an opinion column on it. So, thanks to my fellow The Dalles Wahtonka Eagle Indian and friend Jade McDowell, there was a spot for a few words from me.

Stewart gets serious - 'Take it down a notch for America'

Unfortunately, Jade wasn't able to fit everything I wrote. Back when I was in charge of the page, if my viewpoint went a little beyond the 750-word limit I crammed it in anyway. But Jade has had some trouble enforcing the word limit, and I didn't want to receive any special treatment. Well, part of me did, but I understand.

Anyway, here's the "director's cut" version of my column:


Jon Stewart has turned from political humorist to political hero.
Ever since Stewart took over the desk at “The Daily Show” in 1999, he has used his flair for unabashed mockery to expose modern politics and media for what it really is. Even though he regularly calls his show a provider of “fake news,” Stewart and his writers have become increasingly relevant as they ridicule the exploits and errors of politicians and pundits.
After Glenn Beck’s latest hijinks – the extravagant “Restoring Honor” rally held at Abraham Lincoln’s feet, on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech – fans of “The Daily Show” have been anticipating an equal and opposite reaction from Stewart. All last week, Stewart and his counterpart Stephen Colbert have been hinting and teasing their audience about a possible retaliation against the continuing Beck phenomenon.
But when the announcement finally came from Stewart, it went beyond satire. This time, it’s serious.
Instead of going the anti-FOX News or anti-Tea Party route, Stewart is taking the opportunity to take on the big picture. His cause evokes neither FOX News nor MSNBC, neither Sarah Palin nor Rahm Emanuel, neither conservatives nor liberals.
“We live in troubled times, with real people facing very real problems, problems that have real, if imperfect, solutions that I believe 70 to 80 percent of our population could agree to try and could ultimately live with,” Stewart said on his show Thursday. “Unfortunately, the conversation and process is controlled by the other 15 to 20 percent.”
His remedy? “The Rally to Restore Sanity,” to take place in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 30. For real.
Stewart plans on giving a voice to the silent majority. He knows most Americans actually care less about health care reform than they do about getting their kids to soccer practice on time.
“Why don’t we hear from the 70-to-80-percenters?” Stewart asked. “Well, most likely because you have [things] to do.”
Stewart is calling for regular folks to get together and civilly discuss the issues. Instead of resorting to the incessant and wildly provoking extremes shown on the news every day, he is leading a more mundane approach.
“We will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., a ‘Million Moderate March,’ where we take to the streets, to send a message to our leaders and our national media that says, ‘We are here, we’re only here though until six because we have a sitter,’” Stewart said.
Stewart is fighting a revolution against radicalism. He knows the rampant and rancorous discord in our country (although it provides plenty of fodder for his comedy) gets nothing done. He would rather promote for common sense.
There will even be protest signs available to any rally goers too busy for elaborate rally preparation. The signs proclaim passionate war cries like, “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler” and “I’m not afraid of Muslims/Tea Partiers/Socialists/Immigrants/Gun Owners/Gays … But I am scared of spiders.”
Stewart is obviously having some fun here. But the restoration of sanity is something we need now more than ever.
Fearmongers and name-callers may be popular these days. But as Americans, Latter-day Saints or BYU students, we should have higher class than to give ear to their theatrical, pontificated sound bytes. Why do we have to think of our government and society in terms of conspiracies, untruths and gloom and doom? Why can’t we reach for something nobler and enlightening? Why can’t we lift up, instead of tear down?
No one would disagree that our unique LDS community is predominantly Republican. But that doesn’t mean a Democrat in the White House is a sign that the apocalypse is imminent. Taxes may increase, liberal judges may be sworn in or a mosque may be built in Manhattan. But it is no reason to fear. Just make the best of the situation for the next few years before society’s pendulum will inevitably swing your way again.
The right wing is not the only side that needs to calm down. Progressives should be aware they do not have a monopoly on the answers to today’s questions. Ideas and plans based on traditional values are still viable and not outdated. And at the very least, they should realize a schoolmate uttering “under God” as he recites the Pledge of Allegiance or oil rig worker who still has the gall to “Drill, Baby, Drill” is not actually a personal, mortal threat.
What Stewart wants from you, no matter what your ideology, is fewer knee-jerk rants and more pauses of thoughtful reflection.
“I don’t know, seems like a pretty reasonable request,” Stewart humbly said.
I hope each and every BYU student or alumnus who has the means to accept Stewart’s invitation to march will do so. But even if you are stuck with armchair activism, get ready for some reasoning and moderation that – if allowed to do so – will save the country.
J.J. Despain won’t be able to make it to Washington, D.C., but will keep up the effort to restore sanity at home. For more, go to http://jtothe2ndpower.blogspot.com or follow J.J. on Twitter at @joshjoed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Guns and Love Letters


Guns and love letters: investigating 'Covert Affairs'

So this semester I'm in COMMS 377, feature writing. It's been fun so far and I think it will get even better. I like writing a little differently, more magazine style than newspaper. And just like COMMS 321, what I write is homework and can be used for The Daily Universe.

I finished a profile on Ezekiel Ansah, just waiting on some artwork to go with it before it's published. And then I also wrote something for a review assignment.

I picked "Covert Affairs," the newest show on USA Network that Erin and I have become big fans of. I figured I could come up with 250 to 350 words about it, plus the first season wrapped up this week so I thought it would be a good way to say, "Hey, this show just had a successful first season, check it out."

I turned it in to my professor, and he responded asking why I would do a review for a show that just ended. (The word he used was "mystified.") I don't disagree with him, he has a good point. Why recommend a show that's not on TV anymore? It makes sense.

But then, Matz the tab editor and Kaye the editorial manager for The Daily Universe read it and thought it was written well, so they talked about getting it into the Friday tab. I didn't really care whether it ended up in the paper or not. Then Matz called me Thursday night, letting me know that one of the tab's stories was pulled even after the paper was all laid out and ready to go, so there would be room for my review. Okay, cool.

Then I see it in the paper, and it just cracked me up because it's made to look like a bigger deal than I intended! Two photos, an infobox, and a pull-out quote. (Go to page 8 here.) Haha, I know all the extra stuff was just to fill up the page (because my review wasn't supposed to be very long). But hey, whatever works.

Anyway, it is a great show. Look for episodes online until time for season two!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update on the Two-Quarterback System

I had just a quick blurb in the paper today. But I never get tired of seeing my name in print!

Nelson will start at QB

I basically just compiled the Bronco Mendenhall quotes I got on Twitter yesterday. I wrote this article in like ten minutes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My First Road Trip

It was a tough weekend for Cougar Nation, but I had a fun time.

This was my first time going on the road as a sports writer, and really my first time going on the road to follow a sports team at all (unless you count my trips to Pilot Rock and Stanfield as a high school athlete). The Daily Universe got a lot of extra advertising money this semester (thank you, Macey's!) and so we've planned trips to all of BYU football's away games.

This weekend was my turn. I got to go with one of our 321 football writers, a photographer and my boss Rich to the game against Air Force. I had the assignment of writing a story apart from the game, and write about all of the activities going on to commemorate 9/11.

Being at the Air Force Academy for a football game on a 9/11 anniversary is pretty special. I got to talk to Kenny Haskell of the FDNY and Steve Hayden of the NYPD, who came to the game as honorary captains for the Falcons. I also talked to one of the volunteers passing out copies of the U.S. Constitution at a stadium gate, and he so happened to be the founder of the organization who had the constitutions.

Here's my story:

Air Force honoring the heroes of 9/11

It was a unique opportunity and I'm grateful to have had it.

Here's a photo gallery of more 9/11 celebration:

Photo Gallery: BYU football at Air Force

If you want to read the Universe's coverage of the game, go here:

BYU embarrassed by disciplined Falcons

Turnovers a big key in Cougar defeat*

*(Go to page 6, to the lower left corner.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Viewpoints for the Weekend

A viewpoint from me in the paper two days in a row:

The best of both worlds

In this one I give my take on the new two-quarterback system announced by coach Mendenhall. Instead of choosing between Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps, why not pick both?

I liked this one too. Maybe I can write about football after all.

My fellow sports editor David had a viewpoint in today too, this one about the running backs. Not only did that position open up during the offseason like the quarterback one did, it was left open by Harvey Unga. Unga would probably have been the biggest sports hero on campus if it weren't for his less-than-proud departure from BYU because of an honor code violation. Everyone misses Unga, and will miss him even more if the new running backs don't measure up.

Anyway, I'll let you read his viewpoint before I give it all away:

Are BYU running backs ready?

The whole newspaper today is actually really good, full of great football stuff from not only David and me but Brandon and a few 321ers.

A New Era

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Week as a Sports Editor

This week could not have been much crazier.

First off: last Tuesday I became a dad! Our little girl was born at 3:16 a.m. She was 6 lbs. 3 oz. and 19 1/2 inches. And we named her Allisyn Leila.



For being such a little person, she sure keeps us busy. All we have to do is change her and feed her, but it still takes up all our free time! Including our "free" time between bedtime and time to wake up. Of course, it's totally worth it. Allisyn makes us so happy and we just love her so much.

Over at the newsroom, things have been crazy too. There's the normal hectic environment of bringing in brand new COMMS 321 students and getting them to work right away. Then there's the planning between David, Brandon and me in writing football stories on both the first game of the year and a preview of the season in general.

Then ... this happened.

With BYU football independence being official, it pushed everything out of the way and took over. We had viewpoints to write, a story about Wednesday's press conference and a story about all the BYU sports other than football and how they are affected. And a lot of our Washington preview and season preview stuff was cut out.

Here's the viewpoint I wrote:

We love BYU's independence (My original headline: "Happy Independence Day!")

I like this one a lot, I think it turned out well.

But now, I feel like things have calmed down a bit. Now, I can just get excited for the game. (This Saturday I don't have to work at the game, I can just go as a fan.)

We have some great sports writers this semester. I have been very impressed with their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. We gave the official beat assignments today and I think it's all going to go very well.

Whew! Time to get ready for the weekend. Now, all I have to think about is homework, enjoying the Washington game ... and, of course, my little baby. :)


Friday, August 20, 2010

BYU Shaking Things Up ... Plus Education Week

My level of journalistic activity this week has been inversely proportional to this week's blog activity. Time to catch up.

It's a break between semesters, but The Daily Universe has still been published every day of Education Week. Without any COMMS 321 reporters available, four or five of us have been going to Education Week classes and writing stories about them. The rest of the paper was filled with AP stories.

Getting to go to Education Week classes for free was even more fun than I thought. Here are the stories I did:

Lessons from Lehi's dream a source of hope
by Ron Bartholomew

When I saw that Brother Bartholomew was teaching a class at Education Week, I immediately assigned myself to it. I've had two classes with Brother Bartholomew, and he is one of my favorite BYU professors. He is amazingly personal and touching, and has a gift for speaking to college students. A lot of my post-mission spiritual growth came thanks to him and his lessons. (My second class with Brother Bartholomew I took after being married, and Erin had the class with me. So we both love Brother Bartholomew and the blessings that have come from his influence.)

The eternal perspective: being the best parents in the world
by Richard Eyre

Bythway: The hazards of criticism in marriages
by John Bytheway

I used to be in love with John Bytheway as a teenager, but I think I based my young testimony too much on his talks and not on my own scripture study and personal revelation. And I know many LDS youth are doing the same thing. But it's not necessarily John Bytheway's fault, and he is a good, inspirational speaker and he is very funny.

It's sort of interesting to hear him give a talk about marriage, because I remember listening to talks he gave back when he was famous for his perpetual bachelorhood.

One strange moment ... in John Bytheway's talk, he interrupted himself to say he hoped there were no reporters there from The Daily Universe or anything, because he's never read an article about him that he liked. I have no idea how that thought connected to anything else he was saying. I took it as a challenge, to write the first article about John Bytheway that he would like. I wonder if he read it.

Second Coming unknown but not scary
by Randall Bird

Understanding our pre-mortal existence

by Craig Ostler

It's really strange discussing subjects like Lehi's dream, the Second Coming and pre-mortality in a journalistic setting! But it was pretty fun and I think I did a good job with it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I would have gone to more Education Week classes, but some breaking news took precedence.

On Wednesday, rumors of BYU football going independent and other sports participating in the WAC became more legitimate. And, BYU fired its men's volleyball coach, likely because of some NCAA violations.

So I skipped a class to write about the volleyball coach leaving:

Volleyball coach fired; BYU investigating program


And, I spent all afternoon yesterday gathering reactions and quotes from students on campus about the changes in BYU sports:

Students react to possible BYU football independence


And a viewpoint on the subject:

BYU appears ready to venture into great unknown

My viewpoint may make me sound like I don't approve of football independence, but I do. I do think every other sport will suffer, which is unfortunate. But that doesn't outweigh my hopes for Cougar football. I think I maybe focused more on the plight of other BYU sports in my viewpoint just because that was easier to write.

Whew! Well there's a week's worth of journalism in one blog post.

Next week, David and I will be preparing for fall semester, especially writing about the football team. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Signing Off

Here it is, my very last J Squared column as Issues & Ideas editor for The Daily Universe:

Another proclamation on the family - 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord'

This is another of my personal, emotional and fairly preachy viewpoints, which I thought made it a good one to end on. It's a touching shout out to my wife and soon-to-be born daughter too.

(The only thing I'm a little worried about is any adverse reaction that may come from high school friends who I know support gay rights and same-sex marriage. I don't mean to offend, and I definitely don't mean to turn gay rights supporters into enemies. Politically, I can understand both sides of the argument over same-sex marriage. But I admit to being completely one-sided on the issue, for reasons that make sense spiritually but maybe not politically. I don't apologize for my view, but I do apologize if I made it sound harsh in this viewpoint.)

Here's the "Red Families vs. Blue Families" page on Amazon.com, if you want to find out more about the book.

I found out about the book in the first place from this Slate Political Gabfest podcast. If you want to hear the discussion on "Red Families vs. Blue Families, fast forward to the 28 minutes and 47 seconds mark.

And here's a New York Times editorial on the subject.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There were a lot of interesting letters to the editor this time around, and I tried to include as many as I can. They aren't in the archives of the Daily Universe website yet, but click here and go to page 3.

My favorite was a response to last Thursday's J Squared about the LDS Church in Iraq. In addition to many antagonistic emails and blog post comments, I have received quite a few compliments about my work on the opinion page. But this was the first one that came in the form of a letter to the editor, so it was the first one I could actually publish in the Universe.

You can read it here, or right here:

His influence in everything

I really appreciated the recent viewpoint
titled “Operation Iraqi Spiritual Freedom:
LDS Church makes it to the Middle East.” My
husband is an active duty member of the United
States Navy and is currently deployed overseas.
Recently, I encountered a fellow student who was
quick to let me know my husband is a sinner and
not in the Lord’s favor for being a member of the
military. This, in her opinion, proves he does
not love his fellow men as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis
from the Book of Mormon did. She wanted me
to be sure to understand my loving, strong and
amazing spouse could only be doing the work of
Satan.
My husband and I, however, believe our Heav-
enly Father has His hand and influence in ev-
erything, including war. My husband has been
to areas devastated by hatred and anger, but he
has seen how the light of Christ is slowly filling
these areas with hope. People who never would
have had the chance to know about their Savior
are able to gather around faithful soldiers (who
are in fact keeping temple covenants and not do-
ing the work of Satan) to hear their testimonies,
to feel comfort and to learn about Christ.
So thank you Brother Despain for shedding
light on this long war (and the faithful soldiers
who are fighting it) and proving our Heavenly
Father is truly mindful of all of His children and
can have a strong positive influence even in the
midst of a terrible war.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And, the big news: I'll be a sports editor in the fall!!!

I got the job, and I'm super excited. Like I talked about on July 29, there are some great things about the opinion page and some great things about being a sports editor. I am really looking forward to working with 321 reporters and sharing what I know about good writing, helping to plan front page packages on sports, and getting paid to pay attention to sports. Not too bad.

My fellow sports editor is David "Sparky" Mortimer, already quite a celebrity in the sports journalism world. Long before writing about sports as a COMMS 321 student, and even long before coming to BYU, he was the official sports correspondent for David Letterman. Check it out:



Until then, I'm helping to cover BYU's Education Week. I get to go to a couple classes a day for free, and write about them for the paper. It will be fun to do some good old fashioned reporting again.
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