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T he Newspaper of the 29th Multicultural Journalism Program workshop at The University of Alabama

Recovery on the Gulf Coast: Hurricane Ivan vs. the Deepwater Horizon oil spill page 7

Two years after the spill, visitors have returned to Alabama’s beaches, including this one in Gulf Shores./Photo by MEGAN GUTER

In this edition of MJW Journal Orange Beach mayor fights for his community

pg. 5

Oil spill spells longer summer vacation

pg. 6

Souvenir City is fierce competition

pg. 8

A cityA look bounces back at Orange Beach, then and now By Kenneth Harris


BP officials discussed several solutions. One of the most effective was a fire boom, a tool used to contain the spill

while burning oil off the water’s surface. They were criticized for not moving fast enough to stop the spilling and contain the oil. S o m e say if BP had moved faster, the spill would not have been as damaging. While

BP spent months attempting multiple money-saving tactics to stop the oil flow, fish died, hotel reservations were cancelled, local restaurants were empty, and cities like Orange Beach were ghost towns. BP finally realized the severity of the growing national crisis in the Gulf and purchased a fire boom from Elestic/American Marine. But one wasn’t enough. In a 2010 interview with the Mobile Press-Register, a possibility was presented for stopping the oil faster. The chief financial advisor of Elestic, Jeff Bohleber, said, “A singlefire

Step back in time to 2010 when Orange Beach was a dead zone. There were no families around and no kids building castles due to oil on the sand. Not a soul was in sight for as far as one could see. The mood was depressed, hopeless and angry. The aroma of grilled shrimp and tilapia was absent. Restaurants had few customers to buy their fresh seafood caught SEE ORANGE BEACH PAGE 12 in the Gulf. Piles of seaweed are a reminder of the oil spill./JOHN MCCULLAND Meanwhile, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig was engulfed in flames, and roughly 4.4 million gallons of oil were spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to stopping the spill, British Petroleum was presented with the difficult challenge of cleaning up its mess. “I don’t think they ever did a good job because they were so arrogant and wouldn’t listen to anyone,” said Tony Kennon, mayor of Orange Beach. “A smart company would have reached out to the locals.” BP told the press and the public that they would clean up the oil as quickly as possible. The response was not immediate. In fact, it took more than a month before cleanup efforts began. The Wharf ’s ferris wheel in Orange Beach is visitors’ first sight from the Foley Beach Express./MARISSA GAMBOA

Tourism, economic recovery hindered by misconceptions By John McCulland

The American flag flies over clear skies at Pier Two on the beach in Gulf Shores. / MEGAN GUTER


 wo years after the disaster that spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon is still angry due to the damages caused by BP and their un-kept promises. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling oilrig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico after a sea-level gushing leak, killing eleven people. The oil continued to spew for more than 100 days, wasting millions A cartoon depicts locals’ attitudes toward of gallons of oil. media coverage of the spill./JOHN MCCULLAND It took 42 days for the oil to actually start washing up on media claimed that oil was day of the blowout, majorly Orange Beach; however, the already affecting the Gulf the affecting the Orange Beach

tourism industry at that time. “The media gave the impression that the Gulf was already affected by the oil six to eight weeks before any oil was spotted,” Kennon said. “June 1 was the first day oil was spotted.” Orange Beach’s tourism industry is their biggest economic asset, bringing in 95 percent of their income. They receive over five million tourists bringing in 2.3 billion dollars each year. These numbers dropped 50 percent after the oil spill. Many civilians where shocked at the news of the oil spill but thought it wouldn’t be a lasting problem. However, soon local businesses began to be affected due to the lack of tourism and seafood exports because of food safety concerns. Not only did it affect restaurants and other local businesses, it also affected the homeowner and real estate industry. “It really shut down real estate,” said Robert Williams, a Mobile native and former real estate agent. “Nobody was buying my houses. I was scared for my job because of the market along the beach.” The media played a major part in the oil spill. They provided some useful news, but some also contributed to the spread of rumors. “The Gulf seafood is the most tested in the world,” Kennon SEE RECOVERY PAGE 7


Alabama newspapers face uncertain future after massive cutbacks By Raiha Naeem For ages, people have depended on newspapers as a source of information and daily news, but with the rapid growth of technology and the use of the Internet, printed paper seems to be going out of fashion. Newspaper companies in New Orleans and Alabama recently announced they would cut back from a daily paper to only three

days a week, and focus more on attracting audiences online. The Huntsville Times, Birmingham News and The Mobile Press Register will enact the change in the fall of 2012, but will continue to publish daily online on As a result, fewer reporters are needed in the newsroom, and a large portion have been let go. An environmental reporter for the Press Register, Ben

together with rubber cement, and literally cut out stories and pasted them on the page,” Raines said, “it’s going to be a big change.” Bobby Mathews, a freelance journalist, called cutting down to three papers a week a mistake. “Cutting a daily paper back to thrice weekly is a deathblow,” he said. “Not only is it a blow to your readers and advertisers, it’s also a blow to the journalists who work at the papers.”

“Cutting a daily paper back to thrice weekly is  a deathblow.” Raines, said it will be a big change. “As a reporter who began working when we still glued the paper

4 News boxes line a sidewalk in Gulf Shores./RAIHA NAEEM

George Daniels, an assistant professor in the department of journalism at the University of Alabama, said he will miss the daily newspapers. “I think that it’s a loss for Alabama,” he said. “I look forward to getting the Birmingham News every

On display at The Mobile Press Register is an antique printing press./MARIA GLOVER

morning, even though I am a reader of In my mind one does not replace the other.” Daniels said the quality that the print newspaper holds cannot be found online. “What they have said is that I am expected to get the same quality products on a web page,” he said. “I don’t believe I will. The printed product and the product online are not of the same quality. There is no comparison.” Jennifer Patterson, a junior at UA studying journalism, said that although she was disappointed, such changes were not surprising. “I’m disheartened because when I was younger I wanted to write for a newspaper that came out everyday,” she said. “It’s a very competitive field.” Even with the decrease in print news, Patterson said she thinks there is always a place in journalism for anything someone is passionate about. “You have to be very passionate in what you do, and I have a passion for journalism,” she said. On the topic of the future of journalism, Daniels said he thinks the only thing changing is the medium through which audiences get their news. Journalism is not dying,” he said, “just the platforms that were traditionally used before.”

lean , mean The

fighting machine of

Orange Beach

By Megan Guter and Meaghan Gamboa

Tony Kennon had just entered the office on the morning of April 21, 2010, when he was given the news of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. British Petroleum was responsible and claimed that the oil was flowing at about 50,000 gallons a day, but they grossly minimized the statistics making it seem like a small problem. The seriousness of the matter was not realized until seven days later. Before becoming mayor of

Orange Beach, Ala. in August of 2008, Kennon was a physical therapist and owned Forever Young Rehabilitation Services, located in Orange Beach, and was the former athletic trainer for the University of Alabama football team. Now, since Kennon has changed his focus to politics, his skills from the field help him in times of chaos in the boardroom. A powerful man of leadership on the football field, Kennon brought those skills to his political office. But, he was never

Photos record Kennon’s visit with President Obama./ JOHN MCCULLAND

truly tested until April of 2010. “2010 was supposed to be an amazing year for us,” he said. After the spill, the media portrayed the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas as a toxic wasteland. According to the mayor, it was “blown out of proportion,” even though it was a chaotic and devastating mess. “We didn’t have oil out here until six weeks after we had supposedly been covered with it,” said Kennon. A lot of members of the Orange Beach community

accomplishments during the chaos of the oil spill. “He made everyone that lives here come together,” said Valentine. His co-worker, Jordan Thayer, felt the same way. “Even when things died down, Mayor Kennon never stopped helping us,” she said. From that point on, citizens say he seemed to have the resolve to do all that he could to ensure that the disaster was made right by those who were responsible. He went above and

Two years later, Mayor Tony Kennon continues to speak out against Big Oil

and surrounding areas were outraged with BP for not helping enough with the clean up efforts and lying to the public about how much oil was actually affecting the waters. “The serenity prayer ain’t just on your mama’s wall,” he said. Kennon may have used the serenity prayer to keep himself calm; others on the other hand, not so much. Restaurant employee Chase Valentine was pleased with the mayor’s


beyond what many believe to be the call of duty for his parttime job as mayor and worked round the clock, meeting with everyone from BP executives to citizens to President Obama. During the crisis, he lent the people of Orange Beach an ear to express their personal hardships that came about as a result of the spill. Most importantly to his community, he stood up as a leader who cared.



Fun in the Sun

By Marissa Gamboa With students out for summer vacation, Gulf Shores is crowded with tourists. /MARISSA GAMBOA

Lawmakers hope longer summer vacation for Ala. students will increase tourism on the Gulf Alabama students are getting two extra weeks of summer vacation. The Alabama State Legislature has decided to provide an additional two weeks to the state school system’s summer vacation, hoping to boost tourism on the Coast. The decision was enacted this summer. Tourism in Alabama has


dipped drastically since the 2010 oil spill, and lawmakers have recently attempted to remedy the problem, by adjusting the schedule. Now parents will have to make adjustments to this plan. The economic downturn had a large affect on state tourism and throughout the country. Many families have forgone vacations all together and have opted to instead find alternatives, such as local camps. “ T h e additional two weeks have been popular w i t h

Hangout Music Festival draws more than 100,000 visitors to the Gulf Coast every summer./MARISSA GAMBOA

students and teachers who have been given more time to make additional plans,” said Leslie Bruinton, public relations coordinator for Tuscaloosa City Schools. Parents, she said, may not be as thrilled. “Many families will not be traveling to Gulf Shores or other vacation spots in the state as legislators hoped,” Bruinton said. “Instead they will be finding additional childcare for their children.” The Gulf Coast is a unique tourist spot. The regional food, tightly knit communities, beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches and many attractions are referenced by tourism websites that call the region one of the most beautiful spots in the Southeast, yet somewhat secluded compared to popular vacation spots such as Los Angeles and Miami. The region’s family-friendly atmosphere has made it a

popular vacation spot among Alabamaians, who make up the majority of the tourism population. “About five million tourists come every year from early March through Labor Day,” said one Gulf Shores lifeguard. Tourist favorites like Souvenir City, famous for its giant shark’s mouth entrance, and The Hangout, site of the popular Hangout Music Festival, have kept many coming back year after year. “I brought my family back after coming here as a kid,” said one member of a vactioning family from Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. “It is just as beautiful and has just as many attractions as other cities.” said one member of a vactioning family from Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. It will not be until the third quarter report of the year that the state will know whether the legislative plan succeeded.

Hurricane Ivan vs. The Deep Horizon Oil Spill Natural disasters, such as powerful hurricanes, can be devastating to a community, but may actually help in the long run. Human disasters, such as the Gulf oil spill, have very little long-term benefits, experts said. Hurricane Ivan hit Orange Beach in September 2004, reaching 130 mph winds. It destroyed condominiums, restaurants and homes. The storm killed only one person in Alabama, but left damage to the

By Kelly Hilbish

the worst oil spill in U.S. history, killing eleven people. By September 2010, five months after the oil spill, the total costs had added up to $10 billion. The loss of tourism crushed Orange Beach’s economy. Mayor Tony Kennon said it was clear which disaster was the most devastating: “The oil spill by a million.” After a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan, “within two months we were pretty much in business,” he said. “There “We are living on this planet back is no comparison to 100 days of as if we had another one to go to.” oil coming out of the ground at –Terri Swearingen you and not knowing if it is ever going to stop.” tune of $439 million. death in the biological world.” BP took five months to clean The hurricane also claimed The 2010 BP oil spill covered up the beach. Ben Raines, an the life of sea animals; however, the Gulf of Mexico with environmental journalist for Henry Lazauski, an Auburn pollutants, killing thousands the Mobile Press-Register, said University graduate with a Ph.D. of sea animals. The Deepwater that people are still hurting and in Fisheries Biology, explains Horizon rig explosion caused trying to get back on their feet.

Hurricane Ivan was a natural disaster, while the oil spill resulted from human error. Consequences from the spill could alter aquatic life in the Gulf forever. “The oil spill devastated our island,” Kennon said. “For three months, there was talk of totally evacuating.” The aftermath of Hurricane Ivan was huge; however, Orange Beach recovered faster after the hurricane than they have after the oil spill two years later. Oil is still buried beneath the sand, and nobody knows whether it will drastically affect the Gulf several years from now. Getting rid of the oil completely is impossible, because there is no known way to do it. It is still possibile the oil spill could be affecting the Gulf Coast 20 years from now.

options to cleanup the oil on their beaches by digging up the beach with tractors and removing the oil, but BP refused because it was too expensive. Instead, BP scraped up the oil from the surface of the beach and the water, temporarily removing the appearance of the oil. It took BP nine months to finally use Orange Beach’s plan, and by using their original plan, the oil was gone within a month. Despite BP’s failure to follow through with necessary

safety precautions and assist productively with the cleanup process, the people of Orange Beach are on their way to a full recovery after nearly five months of cleanup. The citizens of Orange Beach played a major part in the repair. Churches, nurseries and local businesses donated time and money to clean the beach, and concerts by various bands, such as The Dave Matthews Band, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, brought back tourists to Orange Beach.

how hurricanes are eventually good for the environment. “It is ironic that all this death is the seed for the new growth that comes after a hurricane,” Lazauski said. “Nutrients that were not usable in the mud bottom are recycled into the ecosystem along with those from dead fish. The debris that is washed into the Bay forms artificial reefs and adds to the productivity of the coastal ecosystems. Life comes from

aware of. A possible explanation, unknown to many, is that BP both toxic and can cause many skipped many necessary safety health problems. The media regulations. The drilling process claims that even walking along was rushed, and because the coastline can cause heart BP failed to recognize those and respiratory problems. They precautions, it cost cities around thought it necessary to evacuate the Gulf millions of dollars, and it cost 11 people their lives. most of the Gulf.” “BP lied from day one about These rumors may have been how much oil escaped per day,” a contributing factor as to why Orange Beach lost so many of Kennon said. “They claimed 50,000 gallons a day, when it their five million tourists. There is a lot more to the oil was really over two million.” Orange Beach also gave BP spill than most of the public is FROM RECOVERY PAGE 3


By Alex Hauser

Souvenir City separates itself from other souvenir shops in Gulf Shores with its famous shark entrance./MARISSA GAMBOA

Iconic shark attracts new generation of tourists


The giant shark entrance is what separates Souvenir City from the dozens of other souvenir shops in Gulf Shores. Located near The Hangout, the shark has become an icon to beach-goers. Susan Herrington grew up near Gulf Shores, and said the shark was a landmark for her. “It meant that we had finally

made it to the beach,” she said. “I either bought a surfer’s cross or a shell necklace.” Souvenir City has been around since 1956. It was the owner, Paul Johnson, who had the idea of a shark at the entrance. His brother-in-law, Mark Royster, said Johnson found inspiration at a golf course in Tennessee. “Everything inspires him and

he loves to build,” Royster said. At first, a smaller shark was positioned above the entrance, which Herrington said she recalled being pink. “If not for the shark, it would just be another souvenir store,” she said. But in 1987, the original building burned down. “After the fire, [Johnson]

thought of the giant shark entrance. It used to play the Jaws theme song, but was taken away after it was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan,” Royster said. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf, washing away several businesses. Souvenir City was flooded with four feet of water and the shark was wrecked. “It took us two weeks until we could get in the building and start cleaning,” Royster said. The family brought in equipment from their six warehouses in Foley. “We just brought in the machinery and pushed everything out,”

Royster said. “We took out four loads of stuff.” Royster said the shark had to be repaired and repainted. Souvenir City reopened Feb. 26, 2011 right before Spring Break. Herrington said the shark an icon, at least to her. “Just knowing I am almost to my favorite place in the world,” she said.

Gulf Coast reporter exposes true scale of BP disaster By Kiah McIsaac

college before starting his journalism career on a local nightly news show. But he said On April 20, 2010, the the job was not a good fit, and Deepwater Horizon oil deck soon Raines and his family were exploded, killing 11 people and on their way to Florida. They settled in Orlando where spilling a continuous stream of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Raines worked as a newspaper Soon the Gulf Coast was feeling the full effects of the disaster. People still hurting; Ben Raines spent that time on his boat, talking to the people affected by the spill and collecting their stories. Raines, an environmental clerk in order to support his journalist for the Mobile Press- wife and year-old son. During Register, rose to prominence this time, Raines came across a by exposing inaccuracies in pool of water that he said just a government report on the seemed different. amount of oil pouring into the His editor allowed him to write an Gulf. While the report claimed article about the which that 50,000 gallons of oil was water, spouting into the Gulf, Raines he praised. But discovered, through a friend’s the praise was accidental letter, that it was double-edged. Raines was actually 2 to 4 million gallons boiling into the sea each day. told he would An email attachment publicized have to go work in a congressional hearing later somewhere else if he wanted to confirmed his findings. Raines’ emergence as an continue to write environmental reporter was a articles because journey and a personal odyssey. he wasn’t allowed As a child, he said he wanted to to write and be a be a marine biologist, but those clerk at the same time. Because of plans changed. Raines majored in film in his experience at

“environment not so bad ”

his first reporting job, Raines’ advice for aspiring journalists is simple: “Learn how to work a video camera. Learn how to write, and learn how to shoot photos.” During the BP disaster, Raines and Doug Suttles, vice president of public relations and the public face for British Petroleum, faced off in several encounters. Following a helicopter ride, Raines tried to question Suttles on BP’s plan of action, but Suttles was immediately led

away from questioning. Because of repeated encounters with Raines, a barricade was enacted to prevent Raines from getting near BP’s boats. As a way of protest, his boat flew a pirate’s flag alerting the BP personnel where he was heading, leading to chases along the Coast. Raines said if he were to create a headline about the Gulf oil spill two years later, it would read, “People still hurting; environment not so bad.”

eco-journalist with a cause

Raines tackles tough issues for his community, when he’s not fishing on his boat.


Politicians, citizens face rocky road to recovery financially. Citizens were forced to come together to help one another When disaster strikes, the in order to help themselves. victims are left with many Churches and musical artists difficult decisions in the hosted fundraisers and donated aftermath. How will I get money money to those in dire need of for the mortgage? How will I be able to buy milk and bread for my family? “Humility gets you further in life.” These words are the reflection of Mayor Tony Kennon of Orange Beach on his efforts after the BP oil spill that occurred April 20, 2010. Communities all along the Gulf of Mexico, stretching from Texas to Florida, were affected by the disaster, both emotionally and

assistance. Political leaders were put in a tough, demanding position. They had to devise ways to handle the destruction to the infrastructure as well as to the individuals. Kennon, who said he believes in drilling in the Gulf, set up town hall meetings for local citizens to comment and ask questions about recovery efforts. He describes his efforts to get money from BP as urgent. With the Mayor Kennon speaks to students about the oil spill./KIM NNOROM help of political leaders and local organizations, people were able to gain a sense of reassurance and hope. “Political leaders are helping, and cleanup is pretty fast,” said Chase Valentine, a local resident from the Mobile area. In 2010, Kennon wanted BP to give money to the businesses before local employees.

By Kim Nnorom


A young beach-goer plays on the oil-free beach in Gulf Shores.

However, BP decided to give money to individuals, such as restaurant employees, first. Kennon’s plan for BP’s reimbursements caused an uproar after the oil spill. Many citizens accused Kennon of having secretly stolen money from the fund that was supposed to be for the victims who filed claims against BP. According to online sources at, the mayor had no empathy for those affected. They claim his speeches encouraging help be brought to the Gulf Coast were all for political gain. Kennon said his approach made sense from a business perspective. Helping the victims would come, but with time. He said some citizens spent money too lavishly, making it difficult for claims to be processed. In an interview with Fox News in March 2011, Kennon changed the perception of his initial efforts saying, “What we expect now is for them to make my economy whole, because that’s what’s hurting, the folks who live here.” Not long after the two-year anniversary of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the city of Orange Beach and surrounding areas have come together as one strong, united community. They wanted normalcy in their lives again, no matter what their opinion of Mayor Kennon and other political leaders.

the oil spill, Back in  the Habit  Two years after the Mobile Bay area When traveling through the Mobile Bay area, it is easy to see why the state’s motto is “Alabama the Beautiful.” The area is surrounded by cool water that looks refreshing and is filled with brightly colored buildings, friendly faces and southern hospitality. However, in the spring of 2010, the full beauty of the area could not be displayed due to the massive oil spill. Yet two years after the oil spill, the area is still home to memorable family vacations. After the oil spill, many began leaving the area quickly. According to Orange Beach mayor, Tony Kennon, “Even though no oil appeared on the beach for six weeks, the media gave the impression that the entire Gulf was covered in oil, in return hurting our local economy and residents.” Reservations were cancelled and vacationing families already in the area headed to Florida and Texas. When the beach, one of the area’s main attractions, suffered so did the surrounding tourists sites. While the oil spill was devastating, there has been some positive outcomes. Mayor Kennon said he used his time on television to his advantage. “Being on television evoked

shines brighter than ever

sympathy and people from all over the country came to the By Maria Glover area just to help [us] out,” he said. Now the economy in the surrounding area has almost fully recovered. “In fact, we are breaking records,” Kennon said. “People now know that the area is family-oriented, protected, has sugar- Defining the Downtown Mobile skyline, the RSA Battle House Tower is the tallest building in Alabama./KELLY HILBISH white beaches and paved roads.” Besides the beach, [our] seafood is the most tested.” tourists will discover Kennon proudly states that the that the Mobile Bay seafood in the Gulf of Mexico is area is rich in history better than that elsewhere and with museums and is, by far, the freshest. historic monuments Popular tourist sites in the area that can further include the USS Alabama, the educate visitors about Gulf Coast Science Theater and the broad range of IMAX Theater. It also has quite history and culture in a few things to do for those who the area. enjoy the outdoors and like to Mayor Kennon tries experience the feel of the water. to encourage visitors Whether it is visiting animals to come enjoy the at the zoo, fishing, sailing, beaches and history canoeing, kayaking, walking of the Alabama through the city or one of its Gulf Coast with the The USS Alabama Battleship has had more many museums, or enjoying assurance that there is than 13 million visitors since opening in 1965. a nice day on the beach, the something in the area Mobile Bay area has once again for everyone. all of the restaurants are family- claimed its title as a place where “We host concerts at our new friendly and delicious. A local memories can be made and the 10,000 feet amphitheater, and family owns the restaurants and whole family can enjoy.


Interview with Tony Kennon,

A mother and son play on clean beaches on the Gulf./JOHN MCCULLAND

Mayor of  Orange Beach, Alabama

By Melvin Smith

QSince the oil spill what has the fish industry done to inspect the seafood?

A“The health and safety of the seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is the most tested seafood in the world. No one has a better handle on what safety on what’s coming out of our gulf right now.”

QIs it safe to eat seafood from the Gulf?

A“I would rather eat anything out of the Gulf than ever eat

foreign-raised fished Vietnamese catfish or shrimp that aren’t tested.” (Mayor Kennon added that a biologist visited the Gulf and said they look for mutations in fish by Looking for mutations in samples and through tissue samples of fish.)

QHave there been a decrease of fish from 2010 to now?

A“I haven’t seen any changes honestly possibly a decline in white shrimp but that could have been in the area I was sampling.”


Compleat Angler at The Wharf serves fresh Gulf seafood daily./KELLY HILBISH

handling of the spill and their lack of initiative in cleaning boom being towed by two boats up the beach. Many share can burn up to 1,800 barrels the sentiment expressed by of oil a day. That translates to a Mobile-area BP gas station 75,000 gallons an hour, making worker. Protesting BP won’t fix the possibility that the spill the Gulf ’s problems. could have been contained 100 miles off shore.” Today Two years later, the mayor It is now 2012, and the tanand citizens of Orange Beach colored beaches in Alabama are still harbor some bitterness. slowly climbing back to normal. “I don’t like them,” Kennon The Orange Beach community said. “They still haven’t done claims the city is back to normal what they said they were going due to local efforts, not because to do. I asked the CEO to come of BP. A community joined to our town meeting to just say together to help clean a problem ‘sorry,’ and he wouldn’t even that it didn’t even start in order acknowledge my request.” to make the community whole. Kennon also feels BP was too Families are now vacationing, protective of its money. kids are running and jumping in “They don’t owe us anything the water, and teens are playing in their mind,” he said. “They volleyball in the grainy sand. saw us as a bunch of scams and Local restaurants are out of thieves.” seats as people pile in to get BP has been protested fresh seafood from the Gulf. throughout the South for its Orange Beach is back. FROM ORANGE BEACH PAGE 2

The Multicultural Journalism Workshop is one of my favorite events each year. This year, a group of talented and enthusiastic students traveled from across the country to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for the Alabama Scholastic Press Association’s annual event. The purpose of MJW is to give high school students an experience that teaches them about college life and a career in media. They learn about everything from news reporting and interviewing to photography and multimedia skills. The program is free, thanks to generous supporters such as the Dow Jones News Fund and UA’s Center for CommunityBased Partnerships. The University supplies housing, meals and field trips, as well as top-notch, intensive instruction by industry professionals. Each year, MJW travels to a different part of Alabama to explore not only the fun tourist spots, but also cover hard-hitting news stories happening in the area at the time. In 2011, MJW was supposed to travel to the Gulf, but instead stayed in Tuscaloosa to cover the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Alabama in April of 2011. This year, students traveled to the Gulf Coast to uncover what life is like in the area two years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. They learned how tourism has bounced back, how the seafood industry is still affected and how locals are still coping with the aftermath. Mayor of Orange Beach, Tony Kennon, a UA fan and former football team trainer, spoke candidly with the students about his experiences with media from around the world and the enormous task of helping his community bounce back. As the students interviewed Mayor Kennon, I was struck by the similarities between the Tuscaloosa tornado and the Gulf Coast oil spill in how and what

people in those communities had to deal with after the fact. In both places, tourism is struggling and citizens and governments are working to dispel myths. In both places people are frustrated and there is a sense of wanting to move on, but obstacles are in the way. Yet what moved me the most was how, in both places, a true sense of community spirit pervades. The overriding sentiment is that –after oil spills and tornadoes – people are good. People are willing to help. People are proud of their communities. I am proud of the students who worked very hard – some without any experience – and produced the newspaper you now hold, as well as an accompanying website. They did a dizzying amount of work in just 10 days, and we are proud of the MJW Class of 2012. Next year marks the 30th anniversary of MJW. We can’t wait to see what the next class can do! Sincerely,

Meredith Cummings

Director, Multicultural Journalism Program University of Alabama Journalism Department

MJW Class of 2012

Bryant-Denny Stadium, UA


Contributors Kim Nnorom is a junior at Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala. She participates in her school’s Key Club and National Honor Society and hopes to become a member of her school’s yearbook. She is interested in becoming a sports journalist, eventually working at ESPN. In her spare time, she likes to write poetry and short pieces of music.


Maria Glover is a recent graduate of Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery where she was involved in the Creative Writing Magnet since her freshman year. Maria was an active member of Bridge Builders Alabama, the Student Government Association, Volunteers in Action and the National French Honor Society. She enjoys reading, writing, shopping and volunteering. Maria plans to major in speech communication and education.

Megan Guter is a sophomore at Metairie Park Raiha Naeem, a senior at Northridge Country Day School, High School, moved to Tuscaloosa three in Metairie, La. Next years ago from Pakistan and took up year she is looking journalism her freshman year of high forward to becoming school. Since then, she has stayed busy an active member of working for her school newspaper, taking her school’s literary on the positions of opinion editor and magazine and year business manager. Even though her life’s book club. She is ambition is to learn how to tie a cherry knot with her tongue, the a cheerleader and task seems too impossible at the moment so she’ll settle for for member of the pursuing a career in journalism. Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra and the Country Day Orchestra. In her spare time, she enjoys Marissa Gamboa is a senior at Covenant Christian Ministries creative writing and Academy in Marietta, Ga. She has worked as a writer and playing golf. photographer for her school newspaper and yearbook club for several years. She also makes documentaries for various contests, one of which was published in the Library of Congress. She is excited about graduating this upcoming year. Alex Hauser is a senior at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala. She was Quill and Scroll president and editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Northridge Reporter, where the paper was awarded first place best-of-show at the National Scholastic Press Association fall convention in Minneapolis, Minn. She will return as editor next year and will be working hard on scholarships to go to college out of state. She plans to double major in journalism and education.

Goldine Saintil, a senior at at Golden Gate Gate High School, was born and raised in Naples, Fla. One of four kids, she has enjoyed singing and dancing her whole life. Her goal is to attend college and own her own fashion magazine. Goldine hopes to win a Nobel Peace Prize for helping the world become a better place. Winning a Grammy for her singing would be an added bonus.

John “Jay” McCulland, a sophomore at Fayette County High School, was born and raised in Fayetteville, GA. He is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and a performer at the Youth Ensemble of Atlanta. Jay is also a well-rounded actor, speaker and communicator. He enjoys playing his guitar and piano and aspires to be a reporter, news anchor or photographer.

Kiah McIsaac, a senior at Cordova High School in Memphis, Tenn. She has always been an avid writer and recently became a protégé in photography. When she is not writing, Kiah enjoys time with her family (including two Miniature Dachshunds), reading, and and watching out for butterflies.

Melvin Smith is a freshman at Dutchtown High School in Atlanta, Ga. He plays basketball for the county, track and field for his school, and plays on back-to-back county champion football team for Dutchtown High. Beside sports, Melvin is also interested in print journalism. He would like to study journalism in college with a master’s in sports medicine. — ROLL TIDE!

Meaghan Gamboa is a sophomore at Covenant Christian Ministries Academy in Marietta, Ga. She is a part of the volleyball team, National Honor Society, chorus, yearbook and school newsletter. Although she is considering a number of future career paths, currently she is interested in neuroscience.

Kenneth Harris is a senior at Sparkman High School in Harvest, Ala. He has always had a love for sports and plans on majoring in broadcast journalism. Kenneth also works at a radio station where he produces and co-hosts the afternoon sports show, “The Sports Asylum.” He is a huge Miami Heat and Missouri Tigers fan, but plans to attend UA. He wants to work for ESPN and possibly argue with Skip Bayless. —Roll Tide!!! Maya Everett is a junior at Leeds High School with the personality of a beauty queen and the aspirations of an innovator. While only 16, Maya is an accomplished Elizabeth “Kelly” philanthropist, a frequently practicing Hilbish is is a optimist and a Christian. As of this year, Mexican-American Maya will be serving as her school paper’s who recently chief editor throughout the rest of her graduated from Holy high school career. In the future, she Spirit Catholic High plans to major in broadcast journalism School. She composed and earn her title as a true journalist. her senior class motto: “It only takes ONE class TWO make a difference,” which she and her classmates lived up to by volunteering after the Maacah Davis, recent graduate Tuscaloosa tornado. of Oak Mountain High School in Kelly strongly Birmingham, joined the newspaper believes that one after transferring from the Alabama individual can make School of Fine Arts, where she was a difference in the a creative writing major. She is an world. Her passions avid reader, writer, filmmaker and are writing and layout food enthusiast who hopes to one design. Her greatest day excel in aspirations are to a career that attend the University embraces of Alabama and all of her become a magazine creative and editor. journalistic talent.


The Multicultural Journalism Program would not be possible without the following financial supporters Alabama Press Association • Boone Newspapers, Inc. • Dow Jones News Fund • Mercedes-Benz Endowment • National Education Association Foundation • Selma Times Journal • UA Center for Community Based Partnerships • UA College of Communication and Information Sciences • UA Department of Journalism •

Thank you to contributors of the Multicultural Journalism Program endowment The Estate of John Brooken Gaines and Marci and Louis Henna Jr.

And thank you to the following for their time and support The Crimson White Dr. Loy Singleton, Dean, CIS Dr. Jennifer Greer, Chair, Department of Journalism Paul Wright and the Office of Student Media Marie Parsons, ASPA Director Emeritus Tina Benson Phyllus Dunivant Jennifer Guffin Brett Hudson Matt Conde Slate Goodwin Breanna Thackerson


• The Birmingham News • Birmingham Magazine • The Mobile Press Register • The Huntsville Times • The Tuscaloosa News • The Montgomery Advertiser • Crechale Stevens • Cecilia Hammond • Brooke Carbo • Jody and Greg Evans • Pamela Banks • Breion Palmer • Laura Parker

See more from the Multicultural Journalism Workshop class of 2012

The MJP Journal is produced by the Multicultural Journalism Workshop participants. The workshop is offered each summer to a select group of outstanding high school students with an interest in media in a multicultural society. This program is a service provided by the Department of Journalism at University of Alabama in cooperation with the Alabama Scholastic Press Association.

MJP Journal  

The newspaper of the Multicultural Journalism Workshop at the University of Aabama, 2012

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