My last Gatepost Sunrise


Thank you to fellow Gatepost editors

This academic year has been a roller-coaster ride for me.  At this time last year, I thought I had it all figured out – I was loving my English classes, I had been a full-section news editor for The Gatepost since February 2012 and was going to continue in that position the following academic year.  And I had a great summer ahead of me – I had a summer internship at Siver Insurance in Lancaster, Mass., was going to be freelancing for both The Clinton Item and The West Boylston and Boylston Banner and even helping a local elderly woman from Cuba start her memoir.

Then the fall 2012 semester rolled around and it wasn’t long before I realized I wasn’t happy as an English major.  And for a while, I wasn’t sure if I was happy at Framingham State.  But thanks to a few Gatepost editors – who also happen to be some of my good friends – I figured out that FSU is the school for me, and that I’m better suited to be a communication arts major.

Kerrin: Thank you for always being there for me – when I’m happy, when I’m sad.  I honestly don’t know what I’d  do without you.  You not only helped me through what was a really tough semester for me, but you’ve made me laugh my hardest when I need it the most.  Thank you for being an incredible role model and making me want to stay at The Gatepost just so I can keep working with you!  I know you’re going to be an amazing editor-in-chief next year, but I’m already dreading what the year after will be like without you.  Here’s to another year together – let’s make it count (I know we will)!

Spencer: Thank you for realizing that I needed to talk to you about where I stood at the end of last semester.  Even though I couldn’t give you a solid answer for a while as to what my plans were for next year, our talk made me think a lot about not only my future at The Gatepost, but in journalism in general.  And I can’t thank you enough for getting our staff to the College Media Association’s spring national college media convention in New York – that experience reminded me that working for The Gatepost has helped me gain the skills I need in order to be a journalist.  You have been an exceptional editor-in-chief, and I’m going to miss you and your passion for journalism (and even your cheesy jokes), but I know you’re going to go on to do bigger and better “things” after you graduate.

Kathleen: Thank you for being the best co-news editor.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our little talks about journalism (Gatepost) experience and trying to convince me that switching to communication arts was the way to go (you were right!).  Thank you for making me want to be the best news writer I can be.  I’m going to miss you and your Boston accent (and your bun) next year, but I know I can always read your blog, and someday, your work in Cosmo.

I’m looking forward both to my summer internship at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and starting a new year at Framingham State in the fall as a communication arts major and an associate editor for The Gatepost.

This week in the news: senior investiture, parking fees, new student parking lot, students fundraise for marathon volunteers, among other stories

Check out the news section’s work in the May 3, 2013 online edition of The Gatepost‘s last issue of the 2012-2013 academic year.  Here are our most recent articles and their ledes:

“One week after the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon, the Class of 2013, friends, family, administrators and alumni gathered in DPAC for this year’s Senior Investiture ceremony.”

“Framingham State University resident student parking fees may decrease, while commuter fees increase and all students pay a new transportation fee, according to a preliminary draft of recommendations by the Student Transportation Advisory Team (STAT).”

“Administrators have purchased a property near campus in order to build a new student parking lot.”

“FSU students and people from the surrounding area have begun fundraisers to support those affected by the marathon bombings.”

“An unscientific survey of 200 seniors – approximately a quarter of the senior class – found that 74 percent of respondents rated their education at Framingham State as very good or excellent. The same percentage said they had found a mentor on the faculty.”

“A fight broke out among three male FSU students and three unidentified men outside Corinne Hall Towers early Friday morning, April 12, according to FSU’s External Relations Coordinator Daniel Magazu.”

“The men’s and women’s rugby teams were unable to host alumni games this year, upsetting many alumni.”

“In hopes of being selected for the top spot at Illinois State, FSU President Timothy Flanagan spoke at an open forum on the ISU campus Friday.”

“To make way for the Hemenway Hall science addition, a memorial garden planted in 1999 for Japanese FSU student Asako Mazawa is slated to be dug up and relocated this summer.”

“After her tragic death in 1997, FSU student Asako Mazawa made headlines for becoming a pioneer in organ donation for Japanese nationals.”

[Editor’s note: Angel Seto was elected the Karen A. McCarthy Support Staff of the Year in the SGA election April 10.]

[Editor’s note: David Baldwin, assistant dean of students was elected the Administrator of the Year in the SGA election April 10.]

Seeing it from the eyes of a New York City first timer

After going up and up, in elevator after elevator, reaching the top, stepping out into the cool damp night, finally, the glittering city unfolded below them – black, pink and red.

On the 86th floor of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, on Sunday, March 10, 2013, a little after 10:50 p.m., three student newspaper editors looked out at the city beneath them.  For one of them, it was her first time in the city she’d only ever seen in movies or photos.

Climbing the Empire State Building is only one of the adventures the three young women had together while in New York City.

In the city for a long weekend, attending the 2013 College Media Association’s spring national college media convention in New York City (March 9-12, 2013), at night, after they’d sat in on numerous journalism-related seminars, the friends explored New York City and made memories that would stay with them.

Earlier on the night of March 10, the trio, which included The Gatepost’s Associate Editor Kerrin Murray and News Editor Kathleen McDonough, searched for the perfect place to eat.

While they searched, walking around Times Square, they stared at the huge advertisements and the unbelievably bright flashing lights that lined the streets.  They often crinkled their noses at unfamiliar and putrid smells that sometimes filled the city air.

They walked passed giant Cookie Monsters and Toy Story Woodies, were prompted by street vendors to attend “free” comedy shows (which were only free if they spent so much on drinks).  The editors even ended up crossing the street with the Duggars from The Learning Channel’s “19 Kids and Counting” (they were scheduled to appear on the “Today Show” the following day).

“I felt like an ant and I couldn’t imagine being there on New Year’s Eve – it was already so crowded,” said Murray.  “I felt like a packing peanut.”

“I loved Times Square and all stores,” said McDonough.  “It’s a big city of lights and I got lost in it – it was such an explosion of people.”

Finally, the editors decided to eat at Food Network star Guy Fieri’s restaurant Guy’s American Kitchen and Bar in Times Square, located at 220 West 44th St. between 7th and 8th Avenues.

The New York City first timer enjoyed the Volcano Chicken – a grilled chicken breast with a spicy chipotle barbeque cream sauce served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled seasonal vegetables and crispy onion straws.

Murray ordered the Rotisserie-Roasted Garlic-Rosemary Chicken – a wood stone rotisserie roasted half chicken with garlic, fresh rosemary, lemon sauce and mushrooms and served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

“The chicken and herbs danced on my tongue and the potatoes roasted in my belly,” said Murray.  “I was shocked when I realized it was half a chicken.  I also felt like I was on an extra vacation, because there were British customers at two tables next to us.”

McDonough had the Motley Que Ribs – house smoked St. Louis ribs glazed with Guy’s Signature Barbeque Sauce and served with crispy slaw and seasoned fries.  She also ordered onion rings.

“The ribs were okay, but the onion rings were out of this world,” said McDonough.

The restaurant’s atmosphere was quiet and comfortable.

For dessert, the editors went to the Cake Boss Cafe’s Discovery Times Square location at 226 W. 44th St.

From the street outside, the bright white-walled cafe appeared inviting and cozy.

Inside, a line of customers stretched passed the red counter and glass dessert display case, with order number tickets in their hands.

In order to decide what they wanted to order, the three editors had to squeeze in between the other customers to get a glimpse into the dessert case.

Surprisingly, the wait wasn’t long.  Both the New York City first timer and Murray ordered mini round cheesecakes.  Murray’s was topped with fresh fruit – kiwi, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, and the New York City first timer’s was topped with a giant chocolate-covered strawberry.  McDonough ordered three of the giant chocolate-covered strawberries.

They would have to wait until later that night to indulge in their creamy cheesecake and juicy strawberries, because as soon as they left the cafe with dessert boxes in hand, they spontaneously decided to walk to the Empire State Building to see New York City from a drastically different perspective.

On the 86th floor, the New York City first timer stared in awe at the city below her.  From the different spots where she stood, she could see a glimmering black Hudson River, a glowing Chrysler Building, the George Washington Bridge and Manhattan’s Financial District.

She could also see Ellis Island and the magnificent Statue of Liberty, as well as the Borough of Queens, the Queensborough Bridge, the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge Tri-Borough and Times Square.

It was an incredible feeling – to see so much of the city and yet feel so small.  She didn’t want to leave, but when she did, she knew she needed to come back someday.

“I was completely awe struck and my breath was taken away,” said Murray.  “I finally got some fresh air up there!

“It’s one of those moments – I know a lot of people have experienced it, but it was still so amazing,” she said.

(For photos, see my post An NYC first timer.)

Gallery of African Art offers cultural experience, brings interest to small town

The Baga Nimba Headdress at the Gallery of African Art in Clinton, Mass.

The Baga Nimba Headdress at the Gallery of African Art in Clinton, Mass.

Nimba Headdress Info.

Headdress information

Leopard figure at the Gallery of African Art.

Leopard figure at the Gallery of African Art.










Upon entering, a metal leopard figure, its body now dark-bronze colored and its swirled spots turquoise-tinged, stands out proudly in a glass case with other leopards against the earthy pearl right-hand wall.

“The Leopard motif is repeated throughout Baule art as a symbol of leadership,” reads an informational sign in the Gallery of African Art in Clinton, Mass.

The gallery is the second art museum begun by Gordon Lankton, retired president and now chairman of Nypro Inc. and founder of the Museum of Russian Icons, also in Clinton.  Accessible through Sunrise Boutique, 62 High St., the Gallery of African Art opened in July 2011 and reopened in October 2012 following an expansion that has made it four times its original size.

Grown to 3,000 square feet, the gallery has helped put Clinton on the map, according to Sunrise Boutique Owner Cynthia Cannon.  It now has approximately 200 out of 800 pieces on display and offers weekly tours, as well as African drumming and now dance classes.

At a small table in the Russian Tea Room of the Museum of Russian Icons, just a block away from the Gallery of African Art, Lankton explained, “I’m basically a collector.”

When he was 8 years old, he collected pennies, then Boy Scout World War II posters.  Once he began to travel to such places as India and Bali, he started collecting wooden carvings.

While he didn’t find wooden carvings the one time he went to Africa, Lankton said he first started collecting African art 15 years ago, after visiting a gallery in western Massachusetts, where his daughter lives.

“It wasn’t anything serious until two years ago,” he said.

Steve Humble of Kentucky, who had 220 African carvings in his house, contacted Lankton.

“He said there were only ever 10 people who came to his house each year, and thought there should be a special space for them.  And I was interested in having that space in Clinton,” said Lankton.

Humble gradually sold all of the carvings to Lankton and helped him find more through connections he had in Africa, said Lankton.

Sitting on a square brown leather-cushioned bench in the Museum of Russian Icons, Education and Outreach Manager Julia Metzidakis said because Lankton is collecting African art at such a rapid rate, she and the museum staff are exploring how to make use of his whole collection.

Displaying some pieces at the Fitchburg Art Museum is one possibility, she said, as is the EcoTarium in Worcester, which currently has an African exhibit.

The gallery also has a partnership with African Community Education (ACE) in Worcester, a non-profit community-based organization that grew out of a four-year-old tutoring program run by the medical students of the University of Massachusetts to help refugee children from Liberia.  The program now serves children from all African countries.

“We hope to use a lot of the African objects we have in storage to spread awareness about the gallery,” said Metzidakis.

The gallery boasts an intriguing collection of figures, jewelry, headdresses and masks, crafted, according to the, in “stone, wood, clay and bronze, spanning 32 tribes, including Dogon, Baule, and Bamana art.”

The space isn’t divided by tribe, explained Metzidakis, but instead by like pieces of art – “like with like.”  She said that helps show what’s similar and different among tribes, and also what’s similar to and different from our own culture.

Spanning the entire back wall of the gallery is a glass case displaying both everyday items such as furniture and wooden headrests, as well as more spiritual objects like the Bansonyi Snake Headdress, which according to an informational sign, is the physical version of a Baga spirit, said to “live in the sacred forest amidst the Bansonyi or young men’s initiation group, and represents the new knowledge that young men have gained during their initiation.”

“It’s important to highlight the day-to-day basis of a people, not just the art – the practical importance in everyday life,” said Metzidakis.

There are wand audio guides available too, on which a number labeled near an artwork can be punched to learn more about the piece, narrated by Steve Humble, and there are televisions playing videos about the creation of African art and music toward the middle of the museum.

Metzidakis said her favorite piece in the gallery is the Baga Nimba Headdress.  Located toward the end of the gallery facing High Street, the massive wooden headdress is set on the floor against a red wall lined with masks.  The faded-gray piece has a large nose and eyes, intricate circular carvings around its face and head, and as Metzidakis described them, saggy breasts.  It stands on four legs and is immediately noticed because of its sheer size.

“I love telling people on tours that it’s a headdress and watching their jaws drop.  It’s show stopping – it’s a completely different way of looking at beauty,” she said.

“Visitors will be completely taken away – it offers a vacation without a passport!” said Metzidakis.

The gallery has also partnered with Zach Combs, the director of Crocodile River Music, which “promotes African and African-influenced music and culture by connecting our roster of distinguished performers and educators with audiences all over New England,” according to its website

Through that partnership, African drumming classes are offered on Wednesdays at the gallery and dance classes are now offered on Saturdays at the Ciccone Family Fitness Center, 45 High St.  There are also free gallery tours every Thursday.

The gallery also hopes to host more activities for children.  Some African folktale books have been donated.

Cannon said the response from the public has been “astonishing!”

“People are traveling from near and far to see the art and learn about another country and culture.  What really surprises me is the amount of families that visit regularly.  They come to drum and learn all about the African traditions.”

She said the town of Clinton is lucky to have the gallery in addition to the Museum of Russian Icons.

“Anytime you bring music, art and world culture to a town, it benefits in many ways.”

I took the above photos.

Publishing features on Confessions of a Student Newspaper Editor

I’m going to publish three features I wrote for my feature writing class this semester on Confessions of a Student Newspaper Editor.  I didn’t ask to have them published in The Gatepost because the last few issues of the year were pretty busy for the Arts & Features section, and I knew I could publish them here if I wanted to.

The first one is about the Gallery of African Art in my hometown, Clinton, Mass.

The second one is a self-involvement feature about my first time visiting and experiencing New York City.

The third one is a magazine feature about Framingham State University’s Alternative Spring Break program and this year’s trip to Biloxi, Miss.  (This one will most likely be published next weekend.)

‘Make the transition from newspapers to magazines’ at #CMANYC13

I attended a seminar called “Make the Transition from Newspapers to Magazines” at this year’s College Media Association’s spring national college media convention in New York City (March 9-12, 2013).  I thought it would be a good idea to go to, because I had applied for an editorial internship at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine in Minneapolis, Minn. for this summer and wanted to learn more about the difference between magazines and newspapers, since I have only worked for newspapers so far (I have since found out I got the internship!).

Mark Mayfield, from the University of Alabama and former editor-in-chief of House Beautiful, Traditional Home, Southern Accents and Art & Antiques magazines (he was also a founder of USA Today), recommended doing both writing and editing.

He said the only way to transition to magazines and become a feature writer is to “write, write, write.”

He said the lede of a story should go from specific to general

  • Focus on a person, scene, etc. that illustrates the main point of the story
  • This is narrative writing, but don’t forget to explain why the subject (or person) is important

Mayfield said to make sure there is an ending, and usually one that refers back to the lede of the story.

He said one-sentence ledes are good, and to use good quotes.

He recommended recording interviews, but writing down the time at which a good quote was said.

He said to have good supporting sources, and to end with a good quote.

Mayfield said to give a sense of place.

He said to become an expert on something.

He said to learn as much as possible about photography, graphics and design.

He said to read magazines that interest you

  • Learn the departments/sections of those magazines
  • Study the writing
  • Study the subject matter
  • Over a period of time, familiarize yourself with what has been published and what hasn’t

Come up with a unique idea and ask yourself, why should the magazine give you an assignment?  How would the publication’s readers benefit from reading this story?

Mayfield said to learn the publication’s masthead and to focus on section editors, and to only email – not call

He also said to learn how to produce a shoot.


I also attended the seminars “Headless in a Topless Bar,” “Chicken Salad II,” and “The Social-Media Resume.”  I attended each of the Keynote speaker sessions and also went to “The Sweet Spot: Landing a Journalism Job.”

For more #CMANYC13 tips, check out my posts ‘Thinking like an editor’ at #CMANYC13, ‘Passing the magazine test’ at #CMANYC13, ‘Becoming a pitch-perfect writer’ at #CMANYC13 and ‘Covering a catastrophe’ at #CMANYC13.