Category Archives: From the Editors’ Desk

Reflections from not-so Happy Valley

Kyra Gemberling
Design Editor

“Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you.”

Photo by Kyra Gemberling.

These were the heartfelt lyrics from Coldplay’s “Fix You” that were sung by thousands of Penn State University students, community members and fans as they stood together as one for a candlelight vigil on the chilly night of Nov. 11.

The vigil took place in the wake of the recent Penn State controversy that has left the school without several head faculty members, including former head football coach Joe Paterno and former university president Graham Spanier. It was held to show support for the alleged victims involved in former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse scandal.

And though the scandal has shaken the small-town university to its very core, it is apparent that the spirit of the Penn State population will not be so easily broken.

A Wounded Town

Photo by Kyra Gemberling.

As a long-time fan of Penn State football with personal connections to the school, I’ve visited many times over the years to attend home football games with family. The word “disappointed” only scratches the surface of my feelings toward the recent controversy, and I wasn’t sure if my planned visit to see the Penn State football team play the University of Nebraska on Nov. 12 would be in our best interest.

Nonetheless, my family and I headed to the not-so Happy Valley as planned, hoping to find the same energetic Penn State that we know so well, not the disjointed spot for angry student riots that the media presented.

Despite several stationed protests and strings of news station vehicles lining the streets, I realized that State College was the same buzz-filled urban town as before. Students briskly walked the streets of downtown with friends, talking excitedly about their Friday night plans. Visiting alumni ducked in and out of stores with their families to get last-minute gear for the game the following day. Someone with no knowledge of the controversy would never have been able to pick up on a change.

But subtle differences made it all too clear that the school was indeed wounded by the scandal. Shops advertised t-shirts with a tear coming from the eye of the emblem of the school’s mascot, the Nittany Lion. Windows displayed hand-made signs with the words, “We love you, JoePa,” and “Thanks for everything, Joe,” commemorating Paterno for his 46 years of service.

A Community Healing Effort

Photo by Kyra Gemberling.

As demonstrated by the candlelight vigil, the campus of Penn State has expressed empathy for the victims of the incident, but they are gradually moving on from the issue by working together to restore the university’s reputation.

Individuals were encouraged to wear blue to represent the color associated with the “stop child abuse” campaign for the final home football game, showing that the university does not take the issue lightly.

“We have to raise child abuse awareness,” said Jeff Lowe, a fan that spoke to reporters at the game Saturday and had a blue ribbon pinned to his shirt. “No one wanted to see Joe Paterno fired. We want to see some good come out of this.”

And though the game was emotional due to the obvious absence of Joe Paterno, I saw no difference in the rousing support of the thousands of fans at the game, who would not abandon their team for anything and stuck it out until the very last second.

This controversy may change the way some view the university, but I, along with many other fans, understand that this will be only a splotch in the history of an incredible legacy at Penn State.

Whether the state community comes together to quietly sing amidst the glow of candles, or to boldly cry out the symbolic phrase “We Are Penn State” with thousands of fans at a home football game, the infallible spirit of Penn State University can never be diminished.

Want another perspective on the firing of Joe Paterno? Check out the Sports Jam podcast.

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Welcome Back!

As you start a new semester of classes and organizations, The Pendulum news team is hard at work keeping the news section running strong, while also introducing new initiatives for the year. Stay on the lookout this semester for a weekly edition of the paper every Wednesday across campus and check our website daily for consistently-updated news from campus.

Here are a few other things to get excited about:

  • A news podcast every Sunday afternoon highlighting the top news of the past week.
  • An international page in every issue with news from our correspondents abroad.
  • Weekly posts from news editors and reporters on the blog, including the “Sunday Sweep,” bringing you national and international headlines.
  • And stay tuned for a chance to sign up for our “breaking news” email list to ensure you’re always on top of the latest reports.

So, take some time and get to know the News Team that will be bringing you the most up-to-date, accurate and significant news from Elon’s campus and beyond. We would love to hear from you whether you have a question about a story or want to pitch an idea. We want to hear your suggestion and feedback!

Kassondra Cloos, News Editor: kcloos@elon.edu
Kassondra is a junior from Providence, RI. majoring in Print & Online Journalism and International Studies with a Middle Eastern focus. Eventually, she would like to be an international correspondent, experiencing different cultures and challenging herself by becoming fully immersed in a new society. Before being able to head overseas, she hopes to gain experience doing investigative journalism and writing about politics at a larger newspaper here in the U.S.

Even though she’s constantly changing her mind about pretty much everything, there’s one thing of which Kassondra is certain – she loves stories. She loves hearing stories, sharing stories and, above all, writing them. She hopes you like to read them, too, and it is her goal this semester to take work at The Pendulum one step further and do even more to fully serve the student body with the best possible campus coverage. Elon isn’t just school, it’s where we live and we deserve to get the most out of this opportunity.

Caitlin O’Donnell, News Editor: caitlinod319@gmail.com; 843.814.8014
Caitlin is a junior from Charleston, SC. majoring in Print & Online Journalism and History. Eventually, she would love to work a newspaper in a major city on the East Coast, first as a reporter and eventually as an editor. Besides writing, Caitlin is passionate about classic literature, the latest movie and debating politics with her dad.

For as long as she can remember, Caitlin has loved putting pen to paper and keeping track of her thoughts and the events of the day. It was during high school that she first discovered a love for journalism and began to seriously consider a career in the industry. After co-founding a monthly newspaper, learning about both the joys and struggles of working in media, she knew she would never be happy doing anything else. A self-described history buff, she views journalism as the first draft of history and an essential component of any thriving society.

Natalie Allison, Senior Reporter: Town of Elon Beat; natalieallison1@gmail.com
Natalie, a junior, hails from none other than Elon, NC. She is a journalism major with a print and online concentration and an emphasis in documentary; her minors include information science and multimedia authoring. In her free time, Natalie enjoys singing and playing guitar, learning cello and taking up Olympic weightlifting through CrossFit workouts. She is considering applying to graduate school to study interactive media.

A native of Elon, Natalie considers it an honor to be able to report on and inform the town in which she has spent her life. Natalie hopes to keep her eyes and ears open to all that is happening on our ever-expanding campus and report through weekly beat articles and longer, in-depth stories.

Hannah DelaCourt, Senior ReporterSGA Beat; hdelacourt@elon.edu
Hannah is a sophomore from Raleigh, NC. majoring in Print Journalism with a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she hopes to find a career in journalism in either Washington D.C. or Atlanta, GA. Besides writing, Hannah enjoys reading, listening to all genres of music and playing volleyball.

She first found an interest in journalism when she started working for her high school newspaper as a sophomore and continued reporting through her senior year. Hannah hopes reporting for The Pendulum will help her become a stronger reporter and writer. She especially likes working on stories that require some type of research or investigation.

Grace Elkus, Senior Reporter: Crime Beat; gelkus@elon.edu
Grace is a sophomore from Cincinnati, Ohio majoring in Journalism and currently considering a minor in Environmental Studies.  Other than writing, she is passionate about dancing, crafting and cooking. After graduating, she hopes to work for National Geographic or Food Network Magazine.

As a reporter for The Pendulum, she is looking forward to learning more about her peers, the Elon community as a whole and the town of Elon through interviews and investigation of various topics.  She is excited to gain experience as a journalist and write articles that will be of interest to the student body.

Nick Zanetti, Senior Reporter: Elon Commitment Beat; nzanetti@elon.edu
Nick is a senior from Parker, Colo. majoring in history with a minor in international studies. Besides journalism, his interests include history and astronomy. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar and golfing. He’s always considered himself a curious person, and was driven to study history through a need to understand why the world is the way it is.

Nick has always liked news reporting because it is, in a way, the first draft of history, happening right now. He likes how news is concerned very simply with the truth, and finding the true story behind events around him. In a world where much of the media has become polarized and biased, Nick hopes his time at The Pendulum will allow him to become a more objective writer.

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Summer Sweep

Everyone’s done for the semester and it’s time for new jobs, new cities, new friends and new news. Instead of the regular, weekly Sunday Sweep, this summer we’ll be posting twice monthly “cheat sheets” that span multiple topics in the news instead of just one. For daily updates delivered right to your inbox, consider signing up for the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet or New York Times news alerts.

Here are five of the top stories in the news right now – what you need to know, when you need to know it, where to look to know more.

Rupert Murdoch at Parliament. Photo courtesy of News in a Box.net.

1. UK PHONE HACKING SCANDAL—It was recently discovered that The News of the World, a British tabloid operated by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp empire, paid private investigators to hack into the voicemail accounts of private citizens. One of the first victims to emerge from the scandal was Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old British girl who was found murdered months after her disappearance in 2002. Many were revolted to find that hackerdeleted several of Dowler’s voice messages in order to make room for new ones as the account filled up, giving her parents false hope that she was alive. But as investigations delved deeper into what quickly fueled public outrage, it was discovered that victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11 and the 7-7 bombings in London were also subjected to voice mail hacking. More than two weeks after the first details were broken by the news media, what is now being called a crisis has yet to cease . Despite retiring NOTW at the age of 168, with its last issue printed shortly after the realization the Dowler hacking was not an isolated incident, Murdoch and his son, James, answered to Parliament Tuesday about his newspaper’s tactics, which may have been used by other news organizations in his empire as well. During the testimony, a man attacked Rupert with a shaving cream pie.Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International and then-editor of NOTW, resigned Friday and was arrested Sunday shortly before the resignation of London’s police chief. Evidence suggests the authorities were not entirely ignorant of NOTW’s tactics and a second “top cop” has also resigned. Later released, Brooks accompanied the Murdochs at Parliament.  As the breadth of the scandal continues to expand, it brings serious questions about the honesty and integrity of British journalism and Murdoch’s empire. In yet another twist, one of the first whistleblowers of the scandal was found dead Monday. Authorities say the death is unexplained but not suspicious.

If this all seems a little overwhelming to you, check out a timeline of the phone hacking scandal compiled by Al Jazeera, starting in 2005.
If this is the first you’re hearing of the scandal, watch as The Daily Show’s John Oliver summarizes the aspects that have most angered the British public.

Photo courtesy of the New York Times.

2. DEBT CEILING–As August 2nd looms nearer and the United States runs the risk of running out of money to pay its bills, politicians in Washington continue to squabble over the details of legislation that would prevent the United States from defaulting on its loans and other financial obligations. Although the debt ceiling, a limit to how much the United States is allowed to borrow from bond holders and foreign lenders, has been raised dozens of times in previous years, this time it has been turned into a battle of political ideologies, with neither side playing very well with the other. While some believe the debt talks are political theater as the country enters an election year, despite claims default would mean instant economic collapse, Congress’ recess is being held hostage until an agreement is reached.
Democrats say they want to increase revenue by eliminating loopholes in the tax code that give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest American individuals, but many Republicans are refusing to consider any kind of revenue increases. Similarly, Republicans say they want to cut spending by reducing waste in programs like Social Security, but Democrats are adamant that entitlement programs remain untouched. President Obama and his press secretary, Jay Carney, have held numerous press conferences in the past couple of weeks to update the American people on the progress that has been made, but reaching a “grand bargain” deal that effectively cuts spending while increasing revenue and still manages to please everyone in Congress is looking less likely as Washington scrambles for a “fail safe” option. Senator Mitch McConnell has proposed one plan, albeit unpopular, that would give the president the right to request a debt ceiling increase, Congress the right to deny his request, and Obama the ability to veto their refusal, effectively raising the debt ceiling without technically having Republican support. House Republicans passed a bill Tuesday that would create a “balanced budget” constitutional amendment, but Obama has vowed to veto the bill because of certain spending cuts, should it pass the Senate, which is unlikely.

Sudanese borders. Photo courtesy of al Jazeera English.

3. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA—As violence in Libya and Syria continues to claim the lives of many innocent civilians, the United States has spoken out against both governments. In Istanbul, Turkey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the United States’ recognition of the Libyan rebels as the legitimate governing authority in Libya, further emphasizing the need for Col. Muammar Qaddafi to step down. Following an attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria, Clinton also issued a strong statement that Bashar al Assad, the Syrian president, is “not indispensable,” encouraging him to end the violence in his nation and step down. Sudan has also recently split into two nations following a years-long civil war which is not yet over. Despite the creation of South Sudan to quell the fighting, reports of mass murder and war crimes in the border region of South Kordofan are evoking international scrutiny and a potential UN investigation.

Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe at the Harry Potter premier. Photo courtesy of fabulousbuzz.com

4. HARRY POTTER—For many who grew up with the wizard boy, the opening of the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, marks the depressing end to a beloved era. But for Warner Bros and J.K. Rowling, the movie marks record-shattering earnings in its midnight showing and opening weekend. Check out a NY Times review of the movie if you haven’t seen it yet and watch Jon Stewart interview Danielle Radcliffe on Monday’s edition of The Daily Show. If  you’re willing to poke a little fun at yourself for being a die-hard fan, take a look at The Onion’s comical account of the final ten minutes of the final movie being split into 7 separate films. For a few more laughs, take a look at their archive of Harry Potter coverage. Also be advised that Rupert Murdoch is staging a takeover of The Daily Prophet, according to Slate.

Jerry Brown, governor of California, signed the bill into law. Photo courtesy of globalpost.com.

5. LGBT HISTORY–A law has been passed in California to require LGBT history to be taught in public schools. Information must be added to the textbooks, much to the dismay of opponents who threaten to pull their children out of public school because of promoting a “homosexual worldview.” Proponents of the law, which requires schools take action by 2013, say it is a step in the right direction to prevent LGBT students from feeling abnormal and estranged from their peers.

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and look out for our first issue of the fall semester, hitting campus during move-in weekend.

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From the Editors’ Desk: Excessive media coverage of Casey Anthony trial undermines the credibility of journalism

by Kassondra Cloos, News Editor

Over the past few weeks, Casey and Caylee Anthony have become household names. Images of a distressed young “tot mom” at court, as HLN’s Nancy Grace dubbed the older Anthony, dominated U.S. media. For far too many days in a row, Anthony was the first story on my Google News page.

I’ll admit—I bit the bait. Since I started interning at Al Jazeera English in Washington, D.C. last month, I’ve become a news junkie. It’s impossible not to be when new wires from the Associated Press and Reuters flash on your computer screen literally every ten seconds. But I read about the Anthony trial with caution, and the only reason I indulged the sensationalism of the news agencies that covered the story so excessively (Al Jazeera did not cover it at all) was because, well, I was fascinated by the fascination.

To be frank, I was disgusted by it. The media convicted Casey Anthony long before her trial began. The public outrage that occurred after the announcement she would not be convicted of murder came in response to speculation on behalf of the media. I read probably two-dozen articles about the trial, and there were definitely questions that the prosecution was not able to answer. There was no cause of death, no proven motivation for murder, no explanation for the duct tape on Caylee’s skull, and the list goes on. Calling the victim “little Caylee,” or “sweet Caylee,” and classifying the suspect as “tot mom” and conveying belief in her guilt is not accurate or good journalism. It’s not journalism at all—it’s just an opinion. But opinions broadcast by powerful people in powerful places are often misconstrued as fact.
When Christine Lagarde, the successor to Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was asked in a recent press conference about the DSK rape scandal, she declined to answer in favor of more relevant topics. But one thing she did say is that innocence is “valued the world over,” and she wished the media in the United States gave more respect to innocence before condemning individuals prematurely.

Despite popular belief about Anthony’s involvement with her daughter’s death, despite the hoards of people who traveled to Orlando to wait in line for hours to catch a glimpse of her during the trial and despite the commentary from the media, Anthony was given a fair trial and the prosecution failed to make a strong enough case against her. This is real life, these are real people but, unfortunately, the situation was treated as entertainment.

There are thousands of people in the United States alone who are killed or abducted each year, but think about who you’ve seen on TV. How many two-year-old African American boys have you seen? How many teenage Hispanics? The death of a child is not to be taken lightly, but the fascination with Caylee Anthony’s death can classified as what’s known as Missing White Woman Syndrome. When the victim is a pretty little white girl, everyone seems to care. But when the victim is a person of color, he or she often gets zero news coverage.

This kind of sensationalism is, unfortunately, what sells. And what I find most unfortunate about my prospective career is that news is a business. If you haven’t read anything about the phone hacking scandal, you might be interested to know that one of the best-selling newspapers in the U.K. is publishing its last issue Sunday because the public is outraged by tactics the staff used to acquire information. In one case the paper, the News of the World, part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, hacked into the voice mail of a girl who had been abducted, deleting newer messages to make room for more as the mailbox started to fill up. Her family soon caught on that her voicemail had been accessed, and had false hope that she was alive. Her body was later found.

The right to freedom of the press is a privilege not enjoyed by every nation, but it is one that, when abused, undermines the mission of what should be a public service. Without journalists to alert the public of corporate and political corruption, who would hold them accountable? As journalists, we need to be responsible in telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and be accountable to the public. We need to cover what’s important, and not determine importance by advertising revenue, ethnicity of the affected or sensationalism.

It’s exhausting to defend the integrity of journalism to some of my friends who seem to find little but fault in the profession. For them, news organizations don’t have enough accountability, they’re too sensational, there are too many unintelligent journalists and they don’t get things right. But for me, it’s worth it to defend the news, because I know how necessary freedom of information is to a successful society and I know there are good journalists out there. Objectivity and good news judgment are priceless and essential characteristics of journalism, and the public needs to demand that by not being so easily duped by sensational stories.

Kassondra Cloos currently serves as a News Editor for The Pendulum and is interning for the summer with Al Jazeera English in Washington, D.C.

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From the Editors’ Desk: The Age of #SocialMedia

by Sam Calvert, Online Managing Editor

President Barack Obama made another media splash today with his Twitter “Town Hall Meeting”. Twitter users were encouraged to tweet a question to our nation’s president, simply by using the hashtag #AskObama. After a campaign to get him reelected that stormed the social media scene, Obama is changing the way the game is played yet again.

Photo courtesy of the official twitter of The White House.

Normally in a town hall meeting, questions are limited to those that can actually be there in person. Obviously attendance is restricted because there isn’t a venue that has unlimited seating. But with Twitter, anyone with a computer and Internet access can participate in the discussion.

When Twitter first burst on the scene in 2006, who would’ve thought it would become such a huge part of meaningful society? Especially since, according to an interview with founder Jack Dorsey by the L.A. Times, they decided on the name Twitter because it meant “a short burst of inconsequential information.”

The tweets today are anything but inconsequential. Obama is answering questions about the future of our country. News sources are using it to get information out quickly. It’s changing the way we get our news and how journalism is run entirely.

CNN has not just one but three Twitter accounts — CNN, CNN Breaking News and CNN en Español. The regular CNN account has 2,242,700 followers. The New York Times’ Twitter account has 3,420,306 followers. Obama’s account has almost nine million followers. No longer is Twitter just a series of inconsequential statements.

One illustration of how powerful this new medium has become is illustrated in the politics of my own hometown. In 2010, there was a man in my district running for State House. Not too exciting — except that he was just 21. Had he won, he would’ve been the youngest to ever win a spot in a State House anywhere in the country.

The official White House Twitter kept its 2,251,521 followers up to date throughout the town hall.

Throughout his campaign, he ran against a woman that had been elected for the first time six years earlier.The re-election rate for incumbents is over 90 percent. Not only did his age put him at a disadvantage, but so did his circumstances. And in total, he spent less than $2,000 on his entire campaign.

But he launched a political rally on social media. He used Twitter, as well as Facebook, to reach out to his constituents, and although he didn’t win, he got 45.3 percent of the vote. Before he started, a well-respected politician told him if he could just get 10 percent of the vote, he’d radically change the way elections were held.

Twitter is becoming a huge part in our society, not just on a personal level, but also on a level that affects us greatly. From politics to news, these things have a big impact on us, even if we don’t realize it.

Obama understands this, but do we?

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Witness to History: Student at GWU shares experiences from celebrations in Washington, D.C.

The response to President Barack Obama’s announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death was swift. Within minutes of his speech, throngs of people, mostly college students, had gathered at the gates of the White House waving flags and chanting as images of the scene was played across millions of televisions. Whether the subsequent celebratory response around the nation came as a result of this initial movement in Washington, D.C. is yet to be seen. What is certain, however, is that the night is one that participants will never forgot.

Cody Scott is a sophomore international affairs major at George Washington University. Along with some of his fraternity brothers, he attended the festivities in D.C. Sunday night. Read more about what Cody experienced at the scene: 

After hearing that Obama would be giving an unannounced speech at 10:30 p.m., my friends and I all met up in one of their rooms to watch what would happen. We heard the rumors about Osama and we were ecstatic when several news channels confirmed the events. Right after Obama gave his speech, my friends and I grabbed American flags, and ran for six blocks straight to the White House where there were already thousands of people. We pushed our way up to the front center of the main gate.

An image of Cody and a group of his fraternity brothers was featured on the main page of Time magazine's coverage of the night's events.

The size of the crowd was unreal, with estimates around 4,000 in size (most of them being college students I’m sure). People were screaming, cheering,hugging, singing, laughing, crying, jumping, climbing and celebrating. It was a continuous wave of the National Anthem, “USA-USA-USA”, “Obama-GOP”, and any combination of patriotic, suedo-political chants. American flags were everywhere, people were climbing fences, trees and lightposts. Surprisingly, Secret Service let it happen! After a few hours at the celebration, my friends and I walked towards the main road where cars were driving through packed with people cheering as well.

Cars had flags flying off of them and people were reaching out giving “high fives” to the crowd as they passed. My friend and I grabbed an American flag and ran up and down the crowds and along the street cheering and waving and shouting with anyone and everyone. It was a night to remember. It was a night where people were united even in a political hotbed such as D.C. In a word, it was America.

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From the News Editors’ Desk: Covering bin Laden’s death

Osama bin Laden

by Caitlin O’Donnell
News Editor

Timing was certainly not to our advantage when the news hit. It was at around 10:00 p.m. Sunday night that I first began to notice the Tweets rolling in about an announcement from President Barack Obama planned for 10:30. Within seconds, more Tweets proclaimed the speech would be foreign-policy related. Within minutes, conjectures arose that Obama would announce the death of Osama bin Laden. And within hours, the news was confirmed. Osama bin Laden, one of the United States’ most wanted and most elusive terrorists, had been killed in his hide-out in Pakistan, almost a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11.

Almost immediately, social media sites began to blow up with the news, ranging from media outlets hastily sharing the announcement with any details they could gather from their sources, to young adults making rash comments about the situation. It has even been reported that the night of the announcement saw the highest rate of Tweets ever, averaging 3,440 per second at its peak.

As journalists, this is the kind of news we crave and thrive on. A breaking story such as this has implications globally just as much as it does locally. And the local, or more specifically campus, reaction certainly was news in and of itself.

The first inkling of celebration I heard came from cars racing through Danieley Center filled with students piled on top of one another, blasting music. Then came the fireworks. And then the mob, parade, movement (whatever you want to call it) that originated in front of Danieley Commons. It was there that students began a small bonfire, waved Americans flags and chanted “USA! USA!”

I will not deny that the response from the student body was uncalled for. I have, in the subsequent days, thought about how I would have responded had I not been involved as reporter – I’ve come to the firm conclusion that I would not have participated. But just because a journalist does not support an event or movement or person or idea does not mean it does not deserve to be covered. The role of the journalist (and one of the primary reasons I was attracted to the profession in the first place) is to record history as it happens. That means, no matter the situation, you’re there, on the scene getting the facts and chronicling the moment so that in future years, the moment is neither lost nor forgotten.

The news media on Elon’s campus have been questioned in their coverage the night of the announcement, some claiming that we only focused on the rioting and the students who chose to use the night as an excuse to rave and party. I will not deny that those with the loudest voices

The student response to the news of bin Laden's death was swift and loud. Photo by Brian Allenby.

often get the most coverage in situations such as these. But I would argue that, in that specific moment, they are the most influential and their actions and speech demand coverage. There is time, in coming days, for follow-up and reports of dissenters and those with opposite viewpoints, which all members of The Pendulum staff have been involved in gathering this week. But, as for me, I’ll follow the news as it happens and if a band of 100+ rowdy students marching through campus chanting is not news, then I sure do not know what is.

For me, it’s been an adventure. One that I will never forget and one that will define my participation in future coverage of breaking news. In the moment, I didn’t have time to think or feel or form an opinion. I didn’t dwell on my memory of coming home from fifth grade to the frightening news of the attacks of Sept. 11 and my life has been defined by that day in more ways than I can count. I didn’t attempt to explain what this meant for the future of our country, of our world. I didn’t rejoice or cry or laugh or grow angry. I simply took the information I had been given and reported, leaving my personal opinions, emotions and memories on the wayside. Now, almost 48 hours to the minute of my traipse across campus, I have time to reflect and formulate my thoughts. And I’m sure I echo the sentiments of many when I say that while this event was monumentally significant, there is no need to jump to conclusions. This does not mean terrorist attacks will stop, or that the war on terror is over, or planes are 100 percent safe – as one international student pointed out, an organization well-funded and organized enough to carry out attacks on Sept.11 will not be extinguished by the death of their figurehead. Perhaps that is the best part about journalism – having so many questions and going on a determined hunt for answers, not resting until they have been presented to the public.

And a huge thank you to everyone from the staff of The Pendulum, whether from the news team or not, who came together that night to help with everything from following the rapidly moving crowd, to interviewing participants, to shooting photos and video. It is a great day when a staff comes together seamlessly as we did that night and I could not be more proud or thankful for the staff I have the privilege of working with day in and day out. And I sincerely hope I converted at least a few of my fellow staff members to a similar love of chasing down the news – no matter how much they’re in denial, I know they enjoyed it just as much as I did!

by Kassondra Cloos
News Editor

Since I’ve started working at The Pendulum, I’ve become obsessed with Twitter and other forms of social media. It seems comical to me that I first heard about Osama bin Laden’s death through verbal communication when my friend’s neighbor ran shouting down the hallway. But despite the fear I felt as a child on Sept. 11 when a classmate spread a rumor that planes were circling above our elementary school, waiting to bomb us, my immediate reaction to the news was not one of elation, anger, surprise or even confusion.

Like my fellow news editor, Caitlin O’Donnell, the journalist in me kicked into full gear and took over completely. I ran back to my computer to see what was being posted on Twitter and several of my friends crowded my tiny room to watch the president’s speech. But I had no reaction, no time to do anything but report. Even now, a full two days after President Barack Obama’s announcement, I haven’t officially decided how I feel about bin Laden’s death; I’m still taking it all in.

But I do know that regardless of my position, I would not change the fact that I sprinted out of Sloan and halfway across campus to follow and tweet about the band of students that marched from Danieley Center to jump in Foneville Fountain, storm Smith and Carolina and usurp East Haggard Avenue. Seeing Elon students so excited about something that undoubtedly meant so much to so many people was such an incredible sight, one that I have never before witnessed on this campus. So, reporter’s notebook stuffed into my back pocket, pencil tucked away behind my ear, I used the latest and greatest journalism tool to help tell the story: Twitter.

Certainly not every Elon student was out in the streets until 3:30 early Monday morning, but those that were had a story to tell. I talked to at least half a dozen people during the day Monday and found out that, for most, the rally wasn’t a celebration of death but a wild and warranted display of relief from a fear that haunted so many childhoods. Just like misery likes company, so too does excitement and it seemed as though each person’s enthusiasm grew exponentially with each interaction with other students. Although many think the celebrations were disrespectful, it seemed as though students were just excited for the opportunity to gather for a common cause. Like sophomore Andrew Hirsh said, the rally first started as a celebration that bin Laden had been killed but by the end everyone had forgotten he had died.

Don’t forget to check out The Pendulum online for complete coverage of the events of Sunday night, as well as the response from campus in the subsequent days. Also, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook for coverage of the Elon news that matters to you.

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