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Memorial Library Tackling 2 Projects: A Tunnel and A Faculty Development Center

The Memorial Library at Minnesota State University, Mankato is making significant changes this year. This summer construction will begin on a new Faculty Development Center in the Educational Resource Center, ERC. And planning has already commenced on a tunnel connecting the library and the Centennial Student Union, CSU.

Funding for both projects will not fall entirely on the library. The library is, however, funding part of both projects.

The Faculty Development Center

Planning and preparation for the new Faculty Development Center began over a year ago. The center’s future location in the Memorial Library’s ERC means the ERC’s storage area and service desk must be relocated. In addition, the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Books, a non-circulating collection, will be phased out during the next academic year.

Part of the preparation for the center included finding homes for hundreds of 16 millimeter films. All total, the library found new homes for 500 titles in 8 different places.

“It is a hassle for us to move out and get rid of stuff, but it wasn’t stuff we were using,” Leslie Peterson, assistant to the dean of the library, said. “The positives outweigh the negatives.”

One of the positives of the project is that the construction will also include improvements to the ERC. Three significant improvements will be made to the ERC.

  • a new service desk
  • a new work space
  • a new study room

The ERC will only be closed for three weeks following the end of the second summer session. This time will allow the construction crew unlimited time and access to the ERC.

“For three weeks, they can do anything they want,” Barb Bergman, the ERC Coordinator, said. “If they need to (they can) just go crazy.”

The Faculty Development Center and ERC will be open at the start of the new term in August. The new space will provide faculty members a space with multiple offices and a conference room.

Faculty members will be able to exchange ideas in a central location on campus. Other benefits the space will provide faculty members include:

  • a space to elicit support
  • a space to encourage interaction
  • a space to encourage discussion

Unfortunately, the ERC will lose a significant portion of its space to make room for the faculty center. Still, Bergman and Peterson both agree the project triggered improvements to the ERC. Improvements they agree would not have been discussed without this new construction project.

“The Faculty Development Center is a catalyst for change,” Leslie Peterson said.

The Tunnel

A tunnel connecting the Centennial Student Union and Memorial Library is the newest project the Memorial Library has committed to funding.

As part of President Davenport’s challenge to create ‘Big Ideas,’ he granted $420,000 in funding to the project. The library will contribute $400,000 and the CSU $300,000 to fund the approximate $1.22 million project.

“It is a good project,” Laurie Woodward, the director of the CSU, said. “I think it will be an easy project.”

Woodward and Joan Roca, the dean of library services, have been talking about the possible connection for a few years. The connection will finally cement a strong partnership between two facilities committed to serving MSU students.

Before committing to funding the project, Woodward elicited the advice of the CSU board and student government. Both groups were tremendously positive about the connection.

One of the biggest reasons the two groups were excited about the project was because of the location of the tunnel’s connection to the CSU. The two groups are hoping the tunnel’s connection downstairs will provide more traffic to the Maverick Bullpen.

The project is still in its early stages. While planning and preparation began in March, construction will not commence until April 2013.

And while the project will likely have little effect on the CSU’s operations, the Memorial Library is a different story. The front yard of the library’s single entrance will be ripped apart.

Part of this front yard includes the Tim Smith Memorial Park. This park honors Tim Smith, who worked as a MSU librarian and assistant professor. Unfortunately, the park will have to be relocated to accommodate the construction of the tunnel.

Any construction at the library is difficult because the facility must always stay open for its employees.

“The library is like a moving car that we are trying to change the tire on,” Leslie Peterson said.

Still, both Peterson and Woodward believe students will be happy for the connection during the cold, Minnesota winters.

The tunnel will be handicap accessible. And in the initial plan the space was also to include a studying area with:

  • a skylight
  • electrical outlets
  • chairs
  • tables

If everything runs smoothly, the proposed opening date of the tunnel is September 2013.

For a more detailed outline of both construction projects, review my timeline. And do not forget to voice your opinion in the poll!




Stephanie Benda


Twitter: @Steph_Benda

Steve DiMeglio

Phone: 703-854-6473


Twitter: @sdimegusatgolf


MSU Alumnus Steve DiMeglio to Talk about His Journey at Media Day Presentation

USA Today Sports Writer Steve DiMeglio

MANKATO, MINN.– On Tuesday, April 24, Minnesota State University, Mankato will welcome USA Today sports writer Steve DiMeglio. The MSU alumnus will speak at Media Day on the MSU campus at Ostrander Auditorium from 4 to 6 p.m.

Media Day is the annual scholarship day for the mass media department. Scholarships will be awarded from 3 to 4 p.m. at the CSU with DiMeglio’s presentation to follow at Ostrander Auditorium. His presentation is free and open to the public.

DiMeglio’s presentation “Mickey Mantle’s on Line 1, Steve!” will talk about his journey from MSU graduate to veteran USA Today writer.

As an MSU alumnus, DiMeglio’s presentation begins at MSU where he was a dedicated sports writer for the The Reporter.

“He was absolutely the most dedicated sports editor our paper has ever had, ” Professor Ellen Mrja, his former advisor at the The Reporter, said. “His sports pages were more than scores. They were interesting, informative and consistently outstanding.”

DiMeglio graduated from MSU in 1987 with a mass communications degree. Since he graduated, he has covered the White House, major-league baseball, the Super Bowl, NASCAR and college football.

In 2000, DiMeglio began his career at USA Today. He is currently their Senior Golf Writer.

Media Day is being sponsored by the Nadine B. Andreas Foundation.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Benda at 605-660-1805 or email at


A Lesson in Audio Editing

Audio Editing Basics from Professor Mindy McAdams

For any audio editing beginner, Professor Mindy McAdams’s tutorial “Getting Started in Audio Editing” is definitely a tremendously useful tool. The short video tutorial provides simple step by step basics in audio editing.

In the tutorial, users specfically learn how to edit audio files using Audacity. Audacity is a free, open source program that allows users to record and edit sounds.

The free editing program is relatively simple. It uses most of the same buttons as the standard camcorder including: play, record, pause and  stop.

The actual audio editing process, however, is a little more difficult than just understanding Audacity’s tools. To simplify the process McAdams compares many of the steps in the process to working in Microsoft Word.

McAdams identifies two steps users need to know for basic audio editing.

  • Step 1: Deleting audio
  • Step 2: Moving audio

To delete audio simply select the segment you wish to delete and hit the delete button. Users can open the edit menu and choose to undo or redo the delete if needed.

Moving audio involves a few more steps.

  1. Select the segment you wish to move
  2. Click “Cut”
  3. Position the cursor to where you want the segment to move to
  4.  Click “Paste”

As a final tip, McAdams notes users should clean up the file by shortening silent points.

If the user wishes to upload the audio file to a website, users must also export the file as an MP3. For the best audio quality, McAdams urges users to choose 128 kbps.

The most surprising part about this entire editing process was how much easier it was than I had anticipated. McAdams short step by step tutorial made the once intimidating process much easier to understand. By comparing many of the steps to Microsoft Word, I felt a lot more comfortable working in the editing program.

My only complaint about the tutorial was that I wish she discussed more than just the basics. In order to make an effective news audio piece, journalists need to know a little more than just the basics.

Ideally, I would love to learn more about how to insert additional audio clips into an audio piece. Specifically, understanding how to insert music smoothly into an audio piece would be an especially effective tool.

Audio storytelling provides a different and unique alternative to the standard article. With a good understanding of audio editing, journalists can become effective audio storytellers. And journalists that can produce any form of multimedia are better equipped to reach audiences today.

I definitely recommend any journalist with little audio editing experience to check out McAdams’s tutorial.

Analyzing Washington Post’s Multimedia Project “Top Secret America”

Washington Post’s multimedia project “Top Secret America” examines the large buildup of the government’s national security following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The multimedia project was a combined effort of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dana Priest and journalist William Arkin both of the Washington Post. With the help of more than 20 other journalists, the 2-year investigation explores the large and complex world of national security in the United States through a series of articles, photo galleries, videos, maps, an online database and an interactive graphic.

In order to understand the effectiveness of the multimedia components in this piece, it is important to understand how the project utilizes each of the 8 advantages of online journalism outlined in James C. Foust’s book Online Journalism: Principles and Practices of News for the Web.

The audience specifically benefits because of 3 effective elements of online journalism. Audience control gives the users the power to look at anything and everything included in this huge multimedia package. Time and place access gives users the ability to access everything in the package at any place or time of the day. Finally, immediacy allows the journalists to update, change and correct anything in the piece almost instantly.

Four other advantages of online journalism specifically benefit from the tremendous capabilities the web adheres to projects over traditional media. Nonlinearity allows the news package to utilize no predefined linear order. Users can explore in any order. The project also benefits from the tremendous amount of information that can be stored and easily retrieved on the web. Unlimited space and multimedia capabilities provided by the web allows great depth within the package. The online database, map and interactive graphic specifically allow users to explore the extensive and complex world of Top Secret America.

Lastly, audience participation online provides users a great opportunity to be significantly involved in this news package. There is a submit button at the bottom of the page that allows users to contribute to the ongoing project, and social media allows users to share their ideas with the people directly involved in the project.

“Top Secret America” benefits not only because the package is presented online, but because it contains many multimedia components.

Videos are utilized in various ways throughout the package. One video introduces users to the project. Another video helps users understand how to effectively use the interactive graphic. Within the series of articles, videos explain specific items referenced in the article. The bottom of the page also provides a link to the trailer for a documentary piece by PBS’s Frontline that explores the subject as well.

There are five different photo galleries within this package. Each photo gallery explores different aspects discussed in these articles including the roles of private contractors, the locations of top-secret offices, a community’s counterterrorism activities and anti-deception technologies. These photo galleries effectively provide visual snapshots of Top Secret America.

Maps are also used in various places, but the most effective map in the package allows users to search by zip code or city to find domestic counterterrorism organizations in the user’s area and across the United States. This interactive map provides a detailed profile of local counterterrorism efforts in all 50 states, Washington D.C. and 5 U.S. territories. Users can learn about federal, state and local organizations involved in the area, the work they do and when they began participating.

Another option for finding a detailed profile of counterterrorism efforts in the United States is to utilize the searchable database located at the top of the page. Using the database, users can search for top-secret work by government agencies, companies, places, types of work and by all 50 states, Washington D.C. and 5 U.S. territories. Each search locates the specific profile of that government agency, company, place, type of work or state. Profiles for government organizations and companies reveal the official website, a brief description, top-secret work statistics, types of work, latest headlines, a graphic and a google map all specific to the organization or company.

Finally, the most effective and memorable multimedia component is the interactive graphic. The graphic is located at the top of the page under the “explore connections” tab. This multimedia component allows users to discover the relationships between government organizations and the types of work being done in Top Secret America. Color coordinated buttons allow users to explore different kinds of top-secret work. Users can also arrange the graphic in three different categories. Overall, the graphic visually showcases the depth and complexity of Top Secret America.

Despite the successfulness of the multimedia components, without effectively linking these components and sharing this story through social media the news package would have been a lot less user-friendly. At the top of the page the user can always access the intro page, read the stories, see the map, explore the connections, find companies and search the data. There is also an index at the bottom of the page that links users to all the articles and photo galleries. In addition, at the top of the page and within each component in the news package, the user can easily share the story through Facebook, Twitter, Email, Yahoo Buzz, Delicious, Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit. Users can like Top Secret America’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and use their hashtag #topsecretamerica.

The only real problem I had with the package was it felt a little overwhelming. A lot of information and multimedia components were contained within the news package, and sometimes it was difficult to interpret all of the data contained within the package. I think the package would have most benefitted from a video, similar to the how to video for the interactive graphic, which explained not only how to use each multimedia component, but how to interpret the data contained within each component. Everything would feel a lot less confusing. Still, Dana Priest and William Arkin’s 2-year investigation piece is a comprehensive and visually stunning look into Top Secret America that is definitely worth the read.

A Lesson in Audio Storytelling from Poynter’s News University

Sound is a vital part of today’s journalism. To gain a better understanding of audio storytelling I took the online course Telling Stories with Sound through Poynter’s News University.

Multimedia editor of the New York Times Andrew DeVigal and visiting professor at the University of South Florida Casey Frechette were the course instructors for this lesson.

In order to understand the process start to finish, the course is divided into 4 sections.

  • Overview: discusses why sound matters
  • Planning: discusses how to choose stories well-suited for sound
  • In the Field: covers everything you need to gather audio on location
  • In the Studio: discusses how to bring everything together

As a beginner, I found everything discussed tremendously valuable. The most valuable part, however, was learning the key steps involved in producing an audio story.

The first step is planning. There are 3 steps in the planning process.

  • Choosing the right story: identifying stories with audio potential
  • Researching and prepping: scouting locations and conducting pre-interviews
  • Packing your gear: gathering basic kit items

Next, the journalist heads into the field. Here, the journalist must be able to elicit complete and descriptive answers from the subject.

In the field, the journalist must also collect various sounds. There are 4 types of sound that are effective in telling a story.

  • Interviews
  • Ambient sound (or atmospheric)
  • Natural sound (or sound effects)
  • Voiceovers

The last step in the process is editing the audio clips into a story. Poynter provides a sound mixer activity for the user to practice this final and critical step.

Prior to this course, I never understand the intense amount of preparation and technical expertise involved in audio storytelling. Audio storytellers must worry about a lot more than the average journalist.

When telling a story with sound, a journalist cannot just go out and record anything. The journalist must understand the sound environment and the gear they will use. And they must understand what sounds they need to tell the story.

A good audio piece does not simply contain an interview with a singluar person. Audio pieces should contain ambient sounds to help the listener understand the feel, or mood, of the place. Additionally, natural sounds should be included to mark an action or transition.

Supplemental and instrumental music can also be effective when carefully and fairly used. Supplemental music can bridge sections of a story, convey a particular mood or change the tone of a piece. Instrumental music can signify a recurrent theme.

Unfortunately, because of the popularity of video today audio storytelling is less prevalent. Podcasts are still relatively popular, but for the most part journalistic pieces containing only audio are not that prevalent. The two audio pieces I did find both utilized another multimedia component.

The first audio piece is from the Washington Post website. The science of cherry blossoms utilizes interview clips from Chief Horticulturist Rob DeFeo, natural sound clips of chalk scraping against a board and voiceover narration to successfully illustrate this story. Without the drawing time-lapse animation, however, the piece would be less successful.

I reterived the second audio piece  from the New York Times website. Whit Stillman’s Family Album uses interview clips with  filmmaker Whit Stillman to explain different photographs from his youth. These audio clips excellently complement the photographs by providing additional insight into his childhood.

Both of these clips exemplify why sound matters. Because without sound there would not be a story.

I urge any journalist interested in audio or video to take this free course. The course offers so many great tips regarding interviewing, recording and choosing gear.


My First Google Map

Top 6 States I Would Love to Live

Today, I cannot financially afford to move out of the Midwest. Still, it is my hope that a move is not too far in the future. I am definitely ready for a change. My first google map outlines my top 6 places I would love to live.

Anchor Links


Reasons for Separation

The Declaration and Pledge

The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Obama Administration Pushes Higher Educational Institutions to Reveal their Diminishing Value

The Obama administration is pushing for a change in the federal higher education policy. This change poses a new question: What are people getting for their money?

The alarming answers for college students:

  • Graduate, on average, more than $25,000 in debt
  • Graduate or transfer only about 40% at 2-year programs (according to College Measures)
  • Do not graduate about 40% at 4-year schools (according to College Measures)

And college students are not the only ones hurting. According to the American Institutes for Research, college dropouts cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The federal government contributes $140 billion annually for federal grants and loans. Still, unemployment remains high. And college students’ literacy has declined in the last decade.

A commission during the George W. Bush administration said American higher education has become “increasingly risk-averse, at times self-satisfied, and unduly expensive.”

President Barack Obama agrees. He says post-secondary schools should be more honest about their diminishing value.

The cost of an education and the success of graduates are simply not adding up.

By Stephanie Benda


HTML Tutorials

About HTML

There is a lot more you can learn about HTML. And the best place to turn for complete information on any topic related to Web design is, of course, the Web. The following sites offer helpful tutorials so you can learn more about HTML.

HTML Tutorials

8 Minnesota Airports Aided by “Let’s Get Back to Work”

Minnesota airports recently received a huge lift from Congress. 8 Minnesota airports will receive funding to build and improve new and existing airports.

The $564 million plan is part of the government’s “Let’s Get Back to Work” program. “Let’s Get Back to Work” employs laid off workers in construction and engineering.

Critics argue the program, which could cost up to $1 trillion, is just more spending.

But President Obama insists, “This is a small price to pay to help folks out who want to work.”

Local airports benefiting from the funding include:

  • New Ulm Municipal Airport: $3.8 million to build runway extension
  • Blue Earth Municipal Airport: $2.3 million to repair runway
  • Le Sueur Municipal Airport: $96,000 to purchase land
  • Waseca Municipal Airport: $62,000 to build taxiway

Airports in Rushford, Jackson, Faribault and Owatonna will also receive funding.