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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.

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Photograph: Tracy Conoboy

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A Painter’s Path to a High Price

Walking along the perimeter of the tables on the inside of his garage, Cory Hamic can’t help but smile as he shows off his miniature market of newly sprayed paintings, each ready to be shipped to the next anxious Chuck with a buck. Only the smile he has on seems more like a grin.

22-year-old art enthusiast Cory Hamic recently realized that one of his favorite hobbies had potential to not only draw a smile on his friends’ faces, but also put money in his pocket. He just didn’t realize how much money he was about to run into.

It was almost two years ago, in the summer of 2013, that Cory began to use stencil art, accompanied by mixes of spray paint and a little creativity, to make colorfully customized posters. He was looking to decorate the walls of his Macomb apartment with posters of musicians and other artists that he enjoyed. After making a few posters that he calls “space paintings,” and receiving a lot of positive feedback after showing them on his social media accounts, he recognized his potential.

Through the next year and into the following summer Cory sold over two hundred of his paintings. Although he never kept any accounts to track his earnings, he estimates he has profited at least $5,000 from his spray art within the first year of production. He came up with an idea of selling his art outside of the venues that the artist on the poster would perform at. He would bring twenty or more paintings and they would be gone a few minutes after the show ended.

“People kept hitting me up on Facebook saying how cool they thought they were. A lot of people wanted one, but I thought they were kidding at first,” Cory said.

Cory had barely finished his fifth painting for himself before receiving his first order request. His long-time pal Anthony asked him to make a custom painting that he could hang in his room. He offered twenty dollars. Cory made it for free.

Other friends began to message Cory. He continued to make posters for a lot of his peers, charging nothing. Giant signs with signature stamps of bands such as STS9 or Big Gigantic stenciled and colorfully sprayed across a black space background studded with tiny white stars.

Eventually, he received messages from people who he had never met. Word of his art spread more quickly than he expected, and after running out of paint for the first time, he realized that the hobby wasn’t cheap.

“Each of the posters cost about a buck or two to make, tops. The supplies add up though, because I’ll make up to six at a time. I might do that a few times a day. Plus, time is money.” Cory said with a smirk.

The demands for “space paintings” began to fly in, and he knew he was on to something special. Cory decided it was time to get his spray art business organized and official, so he created an online shop on Etsy.com to put his art for sale to the public. He placed six paintings on the site for $25 each and posted an update on his Facebook to let his friends know about it.

The paintings were gone within two days.

“Someone told me they would pay fifty bucks for a Griz (poster). Not just one person, too. But I felt like that was a rip off. However, I do want to make money too, so I figured I’ll sell them for half that online.”

Cory decided to take his art to a four-day-long camping music festival called Electric Forest, where a variety of artists gather in Rothbury, Michigan to perform in mile-wide forests and fields filled with stages and music fanatics from all around the world. He painted multiple posters with multiple artists and sold them for $40 all weekend long.

He went to another festival in Somerset, Wisconsin a few weeks later. A promoter at the fest saw him displaying his art and thought it was superb, so he got his contact information. The following day Cory was introduced to Umphrey’s McGee, a “jam band” that he had a poster of and has listened to for over half of a decade. He was able to give them one of his pieces for free, taking the pleasure of meeting one of his favorite bands as payment instead.

He’s a huge fan of the music along with the festival experience, so he enjoys painting and sharing the love with fellow music lovers.

“It’s nice to make people smile. It’s also nice to go to festivals for pretty much free. There are perks, too, like when I got to meet Umphrey’s. I usually walk out with a bunch of cash on top of that. So, I can’t complain,” Cory said with a shrug of his shoulders. The Cheshire cat grin on his face stayed as consistent as the request orders of space paintings in his Etsy inbox…

22-year old Cory Hamic, holding a painting he offered  for sale at a festival in Michigan in June 2014

22-year old Cory Hamic, holding a painting he offered for sale at a music festival in Michigan in June 2014

Illinois State Women’s Basketball Unable to Snag First Win

The ISU women’s basketball team fell short once again on Sunday in a 60-36 loss to the Indiana State Sycamores at Redbird Arena. The defeat brings the Redbird’s to an 0-16 start on the season.
The ‘Birds started off solid, but their defense became sloppy in the second half. Illinois State got in some foul trouble throughout the game. Heading into the half trailing 18-16, the ‘Birds showed small signs of hope in getting their first victory.
The Sycamore’s lead began to grow as the game continued. ISU committed 21 turnovers by the end of the game. Although they had 13 steals, the Redbirds were unable to turn most of those turnovers into points.
The Sycamores used a full-court press throughout most of the game. The Redbirds attempted to use this style of defense in the second half, but it resulted in open looks for Indiana State forward Jasmine Grier, who had an outstanding second half. Grier made three out of four attempts from behind the arc in the second half. She also drained both of her free-throws along with grabbing five boards on the game.
The key aspect of the game was ISU’s poor shooting percentage from both the field and the free-throw line. The Redbirds shot 9-52 from the field, which is a mere 17.3 percent. They made only 16 of their 24 free-throws, which isn’t terrible, but not enough to get the job done.
The Redbirds’ senior guard Katy Winge was unable to find her groove, as she shot 1-12 during her 33 minutes of action.
Redbird forward Octavia Crump had a quiet game as well with no baskets and only one trip to the free-throw line.
ISU’s guard Mackenzie Freeman had a huge first half, making two three-pointers then continuing on to grab four rebounds on the game, three of them being offensive rebounds.
The Redbirds begin a two-game road trip on Friday as they head to Wichita State to face the Shockers at 7 p.m.

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 world after all: Up Late at State brings culture to ISU

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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.