Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain (February 25, 2010)

So, The Daily Universe came out with a story that exposes some interesting things about the BYUSA budget. The BYUSA has long been the butt of a few campus jokes. Either a) no one has heard of BYUSA, b) people have heard of BYUSA but they don't know what BYUSA does, or c) all they know about what BYUSA does is that they hand out free hot chocolate or free hot dogs on Brigham Square every once in a while. Well, the Universe's story did more to question BYUSA's relevancy.

Of course, lots of BYUSA supporters and detractors and wrote in to give their two cents. Letters on the subject filled the entire editorial page today, so I contributed a cartoon for the page.

Here's more background on the BYUSA vs. The Daily Universe rumble:

The original story:
How is BYUSA spending student tuition dollars?
A follow-up story from The Daily Universe:
Students react to BYUSA budget

Letters to the editor in favor of BYUSA:
BYUSA not good for nothing
What's the purpose of following the money?
Unsubstantiated hearsay
Budget exaggerations
You get what you give

Letters to the editor against BYUSA:
Budget proof
Disenchanted former president
Grumble of an empty stomach

A viewpoint from BYUSA, explaining the organization's mission and purpose:
What is BYUSA?

And...the final word from The Daily Universe:
Respectful scrutiny

Y Teams Arrive in Oklahoma City (February 24, 2010)

A preview of the BYU swim and dive team in the MWC Championships:

Y teams arrive in Oklahoma City, look for big wins at MWC tourney

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The 3rd Daily Universe Caption Contest!

Announcing the third Daily Universe caption contest.

"To enter, submit your caption by e-mail to
or in person at the BYU Daily Universe office, 152 BRMB.
All submissions must include the caption writer’s name, home
town and e-mail address. Entries must be received by midnight
of the Sunday following the Tuesday on which a new captionless
cartoon is published. Any received after the deadline will not be

The writer of the winning caption will be notified via e-mail and
awarded their choice of candy bar or healthy snack."

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Gymnasts Break Losing Streak with Win Against USU (February 23, 2010)

A story on the BYU gymnastics team, who won for the first time in almost two years!

Gymnasts break losing streak with win against USU

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jaxon Logan (February 19, 2010)

This story is quite the tearjerker.

I was assigned to write about the five-year anniversary of the death of a BYU hockey player. Jaxon Logan, a freshman on the team in 2005, was hit in the chest with the puck during a game and died almost instantly. It was very touching to talk to people who remembered what happened and remembered Jaxon. I hope the article is a fitting tribute and helps people to know about the amazing person Jaxon was.

BYU hockey player remembered

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A companion for Cosmo (February 16, 2010)

I didn't write this one, but I was partially responsible for publishing it.

My friend Bert van Uitert told me about a persuasive writing assignment in his English 150 class. One of his classmates, Jeff Carruth, was stuck with writer's block but Bert helped him come up with this hilarious idea. Jeff argued for what is missing in Cosmo the Cougar's life: a female counterpart.

The paper was humorous and well written, and I passed it along to Alexa Lee with a cartoon to go with it.


Viewpoint: A companion for Cosmo

Winners of the 2nd Daily Universe Caption Contest!

And here are the winners for the 2nd Daily Universe Caption Contest*:

First Place: "According to the weather report, hell froze over this morning too!" - Peter James, Medford, Ore.

Runners-Up: "You know, I sure wish we could read these." - Jeff Zwick, Alpine, Utah

"I don’t care if you don’t have fingernails — a bet is a bet, and you owe me a 10-minute
back scratch.” - Doug VanDerwerken, Scotia, N.Y.

Jeff's caption went on a different track that I wasn't expecting, which I think is why it made me laugh out loud. But Peter's was the most clear and relevant.

It was nice to get more responses than the first contest! The biweekly caption contest is getting more and more popular. It's a hit.

* (page 3)

Winners of the Daily Universe Caption Contest!

I forgot to post the results of the first caption contest! The cartoon ran in the paper on February 2, 2010* with a winner and two runners-up.

First Place:"What country can you see from your house?" - Ryan Fairchild, Santa Clara, Calif.

"So...which newspapers do you read?" - Adam Barnhouse, The Dalles, Ore.

"Welcome to my tea party, Nancy!" - Denise Haney, Orem, Utah

I guess Denise thought my version of Katie Couric looked more like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which is understandable. And it was great to get a response from Adam! He doesn't even go to BYU, he just responded to my publicizing on Facebook.

* (page 3)

Cougar Swimmer Training for Olympics (February 16, 2010)

Last week I worked on a profile story about Rachel Grant, a BYU swimmer who is training and preparing for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

I had to take out a third of the story before it was printed, but besides that I'm pretty happy with it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The 2nd Daily Universe Caption Contest!

It's that time again, folks. Time for another Daily Universe caption contest*!


"To enter, submit your caption by e-mail to
or in person at the BYU Daily Universe office, 152 BRMB.
All submissions must include the caption writer’s name, home
town and e-mail address. Entries must be received by midnight
of the Sunday following the Tuesday on which a new captionless
cartoon is published. Any received after the deadline will not be

The writer of the winning caption will be notified via e-mail and
awarded their choice of candy bar or healthy snack."

You can also give your ideas as a comment to this blog post.

*Located on page 3 of the February 9 edition.

The House Always Wins (February 9, 2010)

The end of last week was a busy and journalistic one for me.


I covered the BYU vs. Utah swim meet. The place was packed and it was an exciting night. I also picked the event to be the subject for my COMMS 321 multimedia assignment. I took literally more than 3,000 pictures and narrowed it down to 37. The slideshow is up on the website, at the bottom of the page...although for some reason it doesn't have the captions I added.


It had been a while since I wrote about the gymnastics team, but BYU had a big home meet on Friday. The Cougars were only .075 points away from first place, which is a dramatic reversal from the problems the team had last season.

The story probably won't show up in print, but it's supposed to be posted on the website sometime this week. What's strange is there is another story about the gymnastics meet, not written by me. Hmm...not really sure what's going on there.


The sports desk asked me to cover BYU's away basketball game against UNLV. It was a lot of fun to do a basketball game, although I wish it could have been more fun to watch! UNLV scored 18 points at the start of the game before BYU made a second field goal.

So, I came up with an awesome lead for my story, but it ended up on the cutting room floor: "As they say in Vegas, the house always wins." I was so proud of myself for coming up with that! But, alas, it never came to published existence. At least those of you who read my blog know of my moment of brilliance.

(Erin was quite proud of me too, and then was more bothered than I was when the lead didn't show up in the paper. She's got my back. It's cute.)

Hmm...I just realized that something weird happened with each of my stories...
Swimming: late on the slideshow going online, and then no captions
Gymnastics: no story yet, but some mysterious story on the same meet written by some mysterious other person
Basketball: awesome lead cut out

Hmm, well, I hope you can appreciate these articles despite the discombobulation!

Friday, February 5, 2010

"Who dat?" (February 5, 2010)

It's that time of year again. For the Universe's weekend edition, there was a page for the sports writers to predict the Super Bowl.

I've got the links here: Saints predictions, Colts predictions. But I'll also put my prediction right here in this blog post, because I have a little extra to add.

"J.J. Despain
Saints 24 – Colts 21
The Colts are an amazing team with an amazing quarterback, but I feel like it’s time once again for an underdog upset. Maybe the Saints have never been to the Super Bowl before, but they are going to capitalize on their momentum. They were energized by the big win over Brett Favre and the Vikings for the NFC championship. Plus, they are propelled by the pre-emptive Mardi Gras going on in New Orleans right now. N’Awlins is ready for a historic win for reasons other than football, too."
Now, when I turned in my paragraph, I had one more sentence at the end. I finished my prediction with "("Take that, Hurricane Katrina!") I figured it would probably be a little too political and controversial, and sure enough they took it out.

It's not really that I don't think the Colts will win. They are the favorites. But I've always been inclined to root for the underdog. Plus, because of the Katrina tragedy I feel more American if I root for New Orleans, for some reason.

Whatever happens, it should be an exciting game.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Steve Jobs in 2010 (February 4, 2010)

Can you name the three Democrats on the left?
(check your answers below)

From left to right: Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut, Senator Harry Reid from Nevada, and Governor David Paterson.

Senator Dodd was one of the Democratic senators who announced his retirement around New Year's Day, but the Democrats are actually happy he's gone because he was probably going to lose reelection anyway because of his "poor political standing," and they would rather replace him with a different Democrat.

Governor Paterson was discouraged by the White House from running for a real term as governor (after filling in for Eliot Spitzer after he resigned) because they determined he wasn't likely to keep the Democrats' hold on the New York governorship.

And Harry Reid? Well, he was already losing popularity before his thoughtless gaffe. It seems like Nevada and the rest of the United States are tired of grumpy ol' Mr. Wilson leading Senate Democrats. As my friend Bert van Uitert would say, he's a "hack."

Connecting the State of the Union speech and the iPad speech was obvious to a lot of people. Which do you think infused more hope into the nation?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

LA Angels Manager Mike Scioscia Visits Provo (February 2, 2010)

Here's that story about Mike Scioscia:

LA Angels manager Mike Scioscia visits Provo

It was a fun evening. It made me really jealous though! I love baseball. But I have not quite reached the level of worship that those who sat at my table have attained. I have yet to be a season ticket holder of any team or to fly all over the country and visit every professional baseball stadium ever. Maybe someday.

Also, the winners of the Cartoon Caption contest were revealed (go to page 3). We only had five responses...I hope more people participate next time. Speaking of which, Alexa at the Universe wants to do this caption contest twice a month. Which means there will be either my cartoon or my cartoon with the submitted captions every week! I'm still going to try and do my regular cartoons too.

Oh, one more thing: the sports editors asked me to do a basketball story this weekend. I get to watch Saturday's game against UNLV on TV, then listen to the KSL post-game interview for quotes. It should be a lot of fun. And it's really cool that, even though I'm assigned to swimming and gymnastics, I've already written stories on football, baseball and (coming soon) basketball.

I'm going to be the next Citizen Kane.
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