Welcome to J-News!

This is a training site and news outlet run by journalism students at the School of Communication, Illinois State University.

Covering a range of topics, from general news and heath to entertainment and sport, it aims to give readers a glimpse of the events  and personalities that make ISU a thriving campus, as well as reporting more widely on the Bloomington Normal area.

Please feel free to explore the site and to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Photograph: Tracy Conoboy

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Hockey players shave ice, not beards

Article by: Michael, John and Jon

Fans of Bloomington’s USHL hockey team, the Bloomington Thunder, may find that some of their favorite players may look a little different.

Things were getting hairy on the ice as the team took part in Movember, a campaign designed to spread awareness of various men’s health issues.  Participants (referred to as Mo Bros), are encouraged to grow a mustache during the month of November.

Vince Pedrie defenseman for the Bloomington Thunder, one of many participants on the team.

Vince Pedrie defenseman for the Bloomington Thunder, one of many participants on the team.

Twelve players and two staff members of the Bloomington Thunder have profiles on Movember.com, a website in which people can donate money that goes towards men’s health organizations such as the Prostate Cancer and Livestrong foundations. They are raising money to fund research and utilities for programs related to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and other men’s health issues.

Many students here at ISU have also jumped at the opportunity to cut loose this November for a good cause.

Jack Schneider, a student at Illinois State University, decided to participate in the cause. “It’s the first time I’ve done it. I didn’t give any money, but it’s good to know I’m spreading awareness for a good cause,” says Schneider. “It’s fun to let my hair grow out. Sometimes me and my friends will see who can go the longest without shaving.” He has been letting his facial hair grow since the start of the month.

Last year, according to Movember.com, the Movember campaign raised $22.9 Million in the United States. Of that $22.9 Million, 83.8% has been dedicated to programs that support prostate and testicular cancer. This is above the international best practice that is set at 80%. Of that 83.8%, 35.2% goes to Livestrong managed programs, 20.8% goes to Movember managed programs, and 44% goes to Prostate Cancer managed programs.

It doesn’t stop there. Since the movement began in 2003, 4,027,688 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have joined the cause. 770 men’s health projects have been funded and the US alone has donated $559 Million. Countries participating other than the U.S. expands from the UK to maindland Europe, South Africa, New Zealand and Austaralia.

If you want to get involved go to the website click here.

For a full list of Thunder players click here.

It’s a small work after all: Up Late at State brings culture to ISU


Students post in African backdrop

Students post in African backdrop

Pack your carry-on bags and grab your passport! Students at ISU are being offered a Trip Around the World without setting a foot off campus.

On November 14, 2014, Up Late at State and Diversity Advocacy brings the campus a trailblazing event. They will be giving students a cultural experience that allows them to visit nine different countries while staying in the Brown Ballroom.

Stations representing nations from around the globe will be set up in the ballroom. Each country has two activities and one food and drink t each station, all of which is native to that country. Activities will include calligraphy, karaoke, and henna tattoos done by students.

Julia Broskey, Specialist of the Dean of Students Office explained why they were motivated to bring this event to campus. “One of the reasons was to educate people and study abroad and to receive general education about countries and cultural experiences they might not know about, ” Broskey said. “The last reason was to promote diversity advocacy with Up Late at State at an alcohol alternative event.”

Although Up Late at State, an organization which wants to promote fun and safe activities for college students, wants them to be culturally educated by this event. they still want to carry on their tradition of giving prizes.

When students walk in they will receive a passport with five countries in it. In order to win a prize giveaway, students will have to receive five stamps by going to the different stations and learning about at least five countries. Once they have received five stamps, they will be able to move forward in Italy to receive a free mystery gift.

Illinois State senior Bryant Moss says “I usually come to the Up Late at State events to win free stuff but when I heard about us receiving a passport and being able to truly feel lie we’re visiting another country, I was pretty excited.”

A realistic feeling of traveling the world is exactly what Up Late at STate and Diversity Advocacy is aiming for. “We hope that students come out and have fun at an alcohol alternative event and partake in different cultural food,” Broskey said. “We also hope this event will increase students interest in studying abroad and take way a little bit more knowledge than what they came in with.”

Needles of Fury hooks new members

Kelsy Brewer

Eileen Ehrlich

Ryann Hoffenberg

With winter fast approaching, the ISU knitting club is working overtime to knit hats and scarves to donate to people in need around the Peoria area.

Formed in 2007, Needles of Fury, Illinois State’s knitting collective brings those interested in creating things with yarn together. The group allows experienced knitters and crocheters time during the week to work on projects, while assisting anyone who wants to learn.

“I have been knitting for about two years and I enjoy it because it is fun and it calms me down,” member Kelcey Brown said. “The club is open to everyone, even if you don’t know what knitting is, you are more than welcome to come.”

The tight-knit group learns from each other as they work on individual projects. Club members also use their own time to do projects to help those in need. Last year they sent donations to children with cancer in the Peoria area.

The group often takes outings to alpaca farms and visits nursing homes, and has begun knitting winter garments to donate. Last year, the club donated hats and scarves to cancer patients in Peoria and the experience was rewarding enough for the club to continue the tradition.

Bridget Haas has been a part of the organization for a year. She has been knitting for 10 years and crocheting for five. She is proud of the cabbage patch wig she made for a client last year.

“I enjoy knitting because it helps me to get away from school work for an hour or so and with this donation, I can use my skills to help people in need,” Haas said.

Needles of Fury prides itself on being a group of friends with common interests and maintains a relaxed environment for all members. The group strives to teach all members of the group the skills they wish to learn and is open to all skill levels of incoming members.

“I One thing I want people to know about Needles of Fury is that it’s a place to meet new people and learn a new skill that you may have never experienced,” group member Hayley Thomas said.

The group teaches skills that members can be proud of, including technical skills and patterns for whatever garments the members wish to create.

“I am most proud of the first hat I ever knitted because it looked like one you would buy from the store,” Thomas said.

Needles of Fury meets every Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the State Farm Hall of Business. New members will be welcomed warmly and given supplies to help them get hooked on knitting and crocheting.

UPB to host Murder Mystery Dinner


By Maggie Ziemann, Holly Petrovich, Bridget Truskey, Andrew Dolgin

Reggie the Redbird, in the Bone, with the candlestick! Maybe he’s not the one “whodunnit,” but that will be up to you to figure out as the University Program Board hosts the Murder Mystery Dinner on campus this month.

The annual event hosted by UPB is staged at 5:45 p.m. November 15. Check-in begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Prairie Room at the Bone Student Center.

What’s better than dinner and a show?  When the dinner and show are free!  The event will begin with attendees receiving a free dinner while they watch the interactive show put on by The Murder Mystery Company. As the show progresses, the audience will be able to help solve the mystery and find out who murdered the victim.

Maddy Marchini, UPB marketing director, has helped promote this event for several years, and says each year is different and exciting.

“It is very fun and entertaining,” Marchini said. “We have given out manilla envelopes stamped with ‘secret information’ or ‘confidential’ and then given out mystery flavored air heads with them.”

UPB hired The Murder Mystery Company to put on the interactive show. They are a professional entertainment company that provides interactive entertainment. The show features professionally trained actors acting out an original script, which includes getting the audience members involved as suspects and sleuths to the murder.

The event is free for all ISU students. To register, students should go to the UPB office with their student ID before Saturday. There is no dress code and the show will last about two hours.

“My roommate and I decided to go on a whim,” said Emily Vermeire, ISU junior and attendee of a past Murder Mystery dinner. “It was a fun time! It was definitely something different to do. I’m glad we decided to go.”

Vermeire is just one of many students to have enjoyed the murder mystery production. With each year being different tothe last, there is something new to enjoy for everyone. Having the opportunity to escape from the stresses of school for a bit to immerse yourself in a mystery may just be the perfect reprieve for students preparing for the end of the semester.

Erin Chaput, UPB committee chair says that there will be three acts in the show. Act 1 will be the murder scene, act 2 is when the audience will ask questions to help solve the murder, and act 3 is when the murder will be solved.

This is Chaput’s first year as committee chair for the event, and she is hoping for a good turn out.

“I am hoping that the guests have a good time. I want them to be able to have a good meal and enjoy themselves,” said Chaput.

Marchini plans on attending this event for her third year, and is very excited.

“We want to bring some excitement and entertainment to ISU students for free,” she said.

As the semester barrels towards its end, the pressure is picking up on students who could be well served by a break in their study and work.  Whether it’s for the fun, the free food, or just a break from normalcy, the Murder Mystery Dinner is sure to shake things up for a night of mystique and adventure.

Warming Centers Help Students Battle the Freezing Weather


IDHS office in McLean County is a warming center open due to the cold weather

The state opened warming centers Monday due to the freezing temperatures that have taken over the weather in the last couple of weeks. The people of Bloomington are encouraged to stop by and stay warm as they take on their daily activities.
The temperature highs in the upcoming days are below freezing, and the wind-chill makes it especially brutal. The weather is making it difficult for students at Illinois State University to get to and from their classes.
Davey Colcol, a 23-year-old ISU student, says “It is cold. I’m not a fan. I’m a summer guy. I don’t like to be cold. It’s bad. The wind-chill when you’re walking past Watterson and you get hit right in the face. It’s too cold. I could barely walk to class. I hate it. I want it to go back to 90 degrees. August.”
Colcol is strongly considering visiting an Illinois Department of Human Services office between classes to keep warm during his studies. He appreciates the state taking quick action to keep the people in the area warm.
The warming centers near the Bloomington area are located on Washington Street and Prospect Road. They are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Governor Pat Quinn has opened over 100 offices throughout the state.
Bloomington Public Works official Eric Jome had words of advice for people fighting the chill. “Make sure you bundle up. Pay attention to your friends and make sure you stay warm,” he says. Jome urges people to take advantage of the warming centers if they need assistance in the cold weather.
Seniors and children are the most vulnerable to sicknesses from the recent temperature plunges. Hypothermia is one of the fatal conditions that people should be aware of when they go outside. Other people who have increased risks of getting sick are those on medication or those who lack proper nutrition.
Officials are encouraging everyone to set their thermostats to 65 degrees or above, and they urge people to dress in multiple layers if they plan on going out. Additional factors that help people avoid sickness include staying physically active along with eating and drinking well.
Emma Vierck, a 20-year old ISU student and staff member at the recreational center for the university, agrees with the necessity to stay physically active in the harsh weather conditions. “You still need to hit the gym. Can’t slack because of the cold. Next thing you know, you’re either sick or you’re a couch potato. That’s not good,” she says. “The winter is the most important time to maintain your health, even though people like to hibernate.”
Vierck doesn’t have enough trouble with the weather to feel the need to visit a warming center, but she says they are a great idea. She plans to acknowledge her peers on the warming centers because she knows some of them are struggling to adjust to the change in weather.
The IDHS plans to keep the offices open for the remainder of the winter, or until the temperatures rise significantly. Officials recommend checking up on family members and friends who live alone. The state is showing good effort to keep its people safe through the rest of the season.