Category: Communities

Community Affairs at WTHR Sparks Revolution

By Ridley Morgan

Reporter, 5 Rights News

The world of broadcast journalism includes numerous fields and departments of business, incorporating every area of expertise in the industry. I was privileged to experience this first hand at the studios of WTHR Channel 13 in the community affairs department. For six hours I shadowed Angela Cain and her two producers, Jennifer Donovan and Young-Hee Yedinak, as they showed me the ropes.

Community affairs is WTHR’s hidden gem, a portion of the newscast to which more people should pay attention. Cain’s main purpose  is to bring different  topics to the community’s attention, such as fundraisers and awareness events.  Cain  and her producers are actively participants in Coats for Kids, Shattering the Silence, and the Drumstick Dash.

I decided that it would be beneficial to interview all three of the department’s dedicated workers and ask them some questions about what they do, why they do it, and what initially got them to where they are now in their careers. Jennifer Donovan has been working with WTHR for 11.5 years and has been in her current position for 6.5 years, originally starting off as a news producer.

“It’s rewarding to me that I can help these organizations that don’t get a lot of publicity and don’t have a lot of marketing dollars get their message out there by being on our segments,” she says. “I think it is very beneficial for our community.”

Jennifer does most of the writing for what is called WTHR Cares, the portion of the newscast that the ladies in community affairs produce.

Young-Hee Yedinak proudly told me that she was inspired by her father to join the world of  broadcast journalism. Her passion was clear.

“Production is fun. You’re in the thick of everything, you edit, you shoot…and all of those things are fun, but what makes my job here in community affairs rewarding in a way is the fact that what we’re doing here touches people.”

Yedinak does most of the producing and effects for the news segments.

I asked Cain what advice she would give to students at the IABJ workshop. She advises us to “have passion for what you do” and stresses that “writing is so important to being a good journalist.” She finds it beneficial to know what is your passion and to always be curious about everything around you.

I found my experience in the community affairs department to be informative  and rewarding, and I was fortunate to be introduced to an area of journalism that I never knew existed.


IMPD helps mental health

Lieutenant David Hoffman discusses IMPD's stand on officers' mental health.

By Jana Warren

5 Rights | staff writer

A police officer’s job is to protect their fellow citizens, sometimes jeopardizing their own life. But the public isn’t likely to know that the officers are subjected to stresses that can lead not only to physical harm but undiagnosed mental health issues.

“Police officers are not immune from the same stress which can negatively affect the other members of our community,” said Lt. David Hofmann of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. At least 15 percent of all Americans, which includes police officers, suffer from some kind of undiagnosed mental illness according to Hofmann.  Whether they’re one-year rookies or 25-year veterans, the daily activities of an officer can take a toll, he said.

“As a police officer, in a matter of moments you can witness a homicide involving a mother or a son, or a house caught on fire and a fireman dragging a body out,” said Capt. Jack Keilger of theMarion County Sheriff Department. “We deal with a lot of shattered lives but if we don’t keep it (stress) in control we’re going to have a shattered life.”

Understanding what that amount of stress can lead to, departments such as the Marion County Sheriff and  IMPD provide programs and services as well as career advice and guidance to officers. The services also include coordinating professional help from therapists to psychiatrists.

“We have an excellent Employee Assistance Program,” said Hofmann, who works in IMPD’sinternal affairs unit. “We also offer department mentors for officers, and in some cases, special temporary assignments to give officers a change of scenery or additional training in areas of interest to them.” Overall IMPD has helped more than 40 officers deal with personal and professional issues. Officers are able to work on their normal assignments while getting help, as well as being given temporary assignments.

Sometimes, the best way for police officers to get through stressful situations is to talk to someone.

“Most people look at officers as superheroes when they should realize that we’re humans too,” said Marion County Sheriffs Deputy Samuel Longwood.  “When you have supervisors who work closely with you, you tend to become a family and you’re able to share and tell them what you’re going through.”

For some officers however, it isn’t so simple.

“There’s a macho sense about the job,” said Keilger. “There’s a lot of A-type in them, that they don’t want to get help.”

At that point, the situation can get worse for some officers.  Others are able to cope with the stress while contemplating whether to seek help. Longwood was one of those officers.

“Sometimes I felt that I needed to go to someone but didn’t and eventually figured it out myself,” said Longwood. When police officers encounter a lot of stress, they are encouraged to participate in activities the enjoy, Longwood said. In doing so,  officers not only relieve the stress but also find a way to deal with it in the future.

“The overall theme of what we do in our office is to try to take good care of our most valuable asset, our people,” said Hofmann. “That, in turn, will make IMPD stronger, more professional agency, which in turn will make Indianapolis a safer community.”


Crowded campus

By Katie Kutsko

5 Rights | staff writer

Robertson Hall | photo by Haedyn Scgalski

Butler is normally a barren campus during the summertime. College students go home, the administration is left to prepare for the next school year and there are some summer school students. But not they are not alone this summer.

“Usually during the summer it is pretty dead,” said Marc Allan, Associate Director of Public Relations at Butler University. “There is more activity this week than usual. After commencement, we wouldn’t normally see anyone but deans and admissions people. Now we’re seeing more faculty. I guess with the more modern mentality, people are always working.”

Aside from faculty, Allan said that there are three camps, members from the sororities Kappa Alpha Beta and Alpha Phi and campus visits this week — more than 800 students. The camps include a piano camp, Gadget camp and creative writing camp.

The camps integrate a college experience into younger kids’ lives and provide a week of immersive learning.

According to Piano Camp director Karen Thickstun, it provides a teaching experience for Butler students who act as counselors and teachers. She also said it makes art accessible to all different levels of expertise. Students at the Butler Piano Camp have been playing from six months to years.

“It’s not only for serious students. We believe music should be a part of your life whether you want to make it your career or not,” Thickstun said.

With a different type of student on campus during the summer, Chief of Campus Police Benjamin Hunter said that the police have to change their security. In addition to the campers, there are construction workers on campus. With two different groups of people who are not usually at Butler, the campus police focus on all students’ safety.

“There is lots of major renovation. It opens some change for us,” Hunter said. “There is a lot of movement with different contractors, and we require them to sign a sheet and sign out access keys. We also keep logs.”

The University’s goal is for students to feel safe and to enjoy the campus. Even though the camps use Butler’s facilities, the University doesn’t benefit monetarily. According to Allan, the University gains more.

“We want students to see our beautiful campus. If they like our campus and like our people, maybe they’ll decide to attend Butler,” Allan said. “We have hundreds of events on campus each year, and we’d like them to come back for a lecture or a performance. It’s not always about money. Nor should it be.”

While spending a week on Butler’s campus this summer, students will meet diverse groups of other students and be a part of a college atmosphere.

Allan said, “Butler is part of the community. We want people to feel welcome here.”

College security cause for alarm?

Emergency call box located outside of the Fairfield Communications building at Butler University.

By Leah Johnson

5 Rights | staff writer

The issue of security is at the forefront of many universities. In recent years, some college campuses have become prone to crimes.  For most prospective college students, though, the emergency call boxes on campus provide an important sense of security.

Incoming Huntington University –located in Huntington, Indiana- freshman Paris Williams knows that the safety of her school influenced her college application process.

“Not only does Huntington have the emergency call boxes, but they also have regular patrol at all times,“ said Williams. “Since it’s a small campus, that means there is more coverage of all of the time.”

“It really depends on other factors, whether or not I would attend the university based on security. If it was especially impressive I would have to make other allowances like carrying a rape whistle or mace.”

Safety of students and staff are the first priority of Butler University. Director of public safety and Chief of Butler Police Benjamin Hunter knows that being located in a larger city poses more criminal dangers.

“Butler University is located in the 12th largest city in the country, so for us it is about the awareness and mitigating the risks,” said Hunter. “With college students it is about being proactive.”

During the summer months, Butler University Police Department is undergoing both construction and instructional changes. Butler police will be in training sessions to adequately gear up their forces for the fall. They are also building a new operation system, to prevent operating their department in a vacuum.

Although Butler is not planning on removing their emergency call boxes, other universities have begun to eliminate the system.

University of California Davis will begin taking out all 107 of their safety phones at the end of the summer.

“However, new generations of students, cellular technology and wireless 9-1-1 have made most land-line emergency phones all but obsolete,” Jill Parker, vice chancellor for safety services of the university released in a memo to the school’s executive policy team.

The university receives mostly prank calls about flats tires, instead of the intended emergency phone calls. With the increased usage of cell phones, the need for the boxes is less now than it once was.  Parker also added that the call boxes weren’t in locations that provided the necessary coverage, because they weren’t guided by the campus-wide plan.

The call boxes are among the reasons students still feel safe, despite the recent Lauren Spierer missing person case said incoming Indiana University freshman Nadia Lovko.

“The emergency call boxes definitely make me feel safer. Otherwise I wouldn’t walk around campus at night,” said Lovko. “I just got back form orientation and couldn’t go five minutes without seeing a flyer or something asking for information related to the [Lauren Spierer] incident. It certainly will make me more cautious.”

Despite the cost, call boxes still offer reassurance on many campuses.


Mooresville soldier dies in line of duty

By Denica Newson

5 Rights | staff writer

A husband, best friend and soon to be father. Willing to help anyone in need, amiable and friendly. According to friends and family, Josh Jetton was all these things and more. He also was a U.S. Army Private First Class. Jetton, 21, was killed in combat in Afghanistan on Tuesday.

“He was a great guy, he always had your back,” said Colton Long, one of Jetton’s best friends. The two grew up together in Mooresville. Jetton was known for his kind and free-spirited nature.

Alex Pemham, also Jetton’s best friend, said: “My dad put it best when he said Josh is a big goober, he’s the first person to make you laugh.”

According to his Facebook page, Jetton graduated from Mooresville High School in 2008. He had been in Afghanistan since August of 2010. He married his wife, Alicia Jetton, in March of this year. Pemham said that he would’ve come back home for a couple of weeks for the birth of his children; she is expecting twins

“He was a really brave man,” said Long. “Nothing ever scared him.”

Newby Memorial Elementary School plans to add him to their veteran’s memorial. It’s not clear whether he attended the school. According to the Indianapolis Star’s “Faces of the Fallen,” Jetton is the first soldier from Mooresville to die in Afghanistan and the 136th soldier from Indiana to die in combat.