Congratulations to WKUPJ student Gabriel Scarlett on receiving an Award of Excellence for the Alexia 2018 Student Grant! His project, “Flock of Doves,” reexamines the reality of one city’s gang culture, with emphasis on the fragile nature of youth and longing for acceptance.
“This essay is for those who searched for brotherhood on the streets, but instead found blue jumpsuits, stray bullets, and roadside memorials. They are the doves.”
View the project here: http://www.alexiafoundation.org/stories/flock-of-doves-gabriel-scarlett
Julian Rodriguez plays with his son Christopher at their home on Pueblo’s East Side. Julian’s decades long struggle with addiction brought him intimately close to the gang operations as he often bought from and sold for the gangs in order to support his own addiction. With his son, Christopher on the way, he achieved sobriety and had his facial skeleton tattooed to remember his commitment to his son and to commemorate his brother “Bone Head” who was killed in a shootout with the police. “Everything that I desire and want in this life is for that boy.” Christopher will grow up on the East Side, in Duke territory, but Julian hopes that a loving relationship with his father can keep him from that lifestyle. | Gabriel Scarlett
Michael Blackshire started his journey to document victims of gun violence last semester in Louisville, Ky. What started as a series of portraits evolved over time as he came closer with the family’s of homicide victims and began recording their stories with audio then transitioning to video. As the project became bigger he brought together a team of WKUPJ students to help him bring his vision for the story together. Michael along with Fahad Alotaibi, Gabriel Scarlett, and Shaban Athuman attempt to tell the stories of people that often feel their stories aren’t being told.
To view the entire piece, visit https://michaeldblackshire.atavist.com/broken-branches
Rochelle Turner wraps her body around her only son’s Ricky Jones High School jacket. Ricky Jones was murdered April 2017 from gun violence at the age of 29-years-old. “At first I would look at other mothers who lost their sons and thing their sons were into something and mine wasn’t. I would think that maybe if my son was doing something wrong or died from a disease or committed suicide I would be able to find closure, but in any way I can’t bring my son back. Hew was murdered but his life wasn’t his own. He had five children who now have to live without a father in their life,” said Smith.
Judy Wilkins, Jasmine Wilkins, and Sherry Simmons, left to right, hold the graduation picture of Gregory Wilkins who was murdered at his home on November 26, 1996 at 1737 South 22nd Street, Louisville, KY. “I visit his grave once a week. I have been once a week for 21 years,” said his mother Judy Wilkins. “I once dreamed that he was reaching out to my hand and I almost reached his. I said baby why did they take you so soon. He told me my time had come.The last thing I heard him say is take care of Jasmine, and let Sherry know that I love her, and that I love you, my mother and my dad. Then he was gone.”
Craig Bland holds middle school and elementary school photos of his son Craig Bland Jr. and Toreze Bland who were both murdered in 2012 and 2015 from gun violence in Louisville. “After my first son was murdered the situation made me worried about loosing my youngest son. I thought it was only a matter of time until they shot my youngest one. The streets killed my sons. My son’s were good people they just were around the wrong people. I watched my wife Diana die from cancer in front of my eyes, my brother was murdered, my two nephews were murdered, and now I have no more sons, no more children. There used to be a lot of live in this house. That love is gone now.” said Bland.
Congratulations to Rune Aarestrup Pederson and Srijita Chattopadhyay for placing in the Multimedia News Competition of the 2017-2018 Hearst Journalism Awards Program. Rune was awarded second place and a $2,000 scholarship for his multimedia project he produced while in PJ436 last spring, “Changing Every Day.” Srijita was awarded third place and a $1,500 scholarship for her multimedia project, “Sanctuary” she produced for her final assignment while in PJ433.
Changing Every Day by Rune Aarestrup Pederson
Sanctuary by Srijita Chattopadhyay
Save the date! GeekFest is coming to WKU on March 23-24. Join us for lectures from professionals in the field, a shootout, and a print trade. The workshop is free and open to everyone, thanks to the folks at A Photo a Day. Below is a list of speakers and more information about the event.
Congratulations to Gabriel Scarlett and Shaban Athuman on winning National Press Photographers Foundation scholarships. Gabriel won the Jimi Lott Scholarship and Shaban won the NPPF Still & Multimedia Scholarship, both for $2,000.
During her internship, WKUPJ student Srijita Chattopadhyay followed a Rohingya refugee family as they observed 40-days of mourning after the accidental death of their son.
The original story can be seen in the San Antonio Express-News
Sitting on the floor of her affordable housing in San Antonio, Zahidah Begum Binti Ali Miah raises her hands in prayer. To Allah she requests, “take care of my son,” and then slowly exhales, “help me find peace.”
August 12, 2017, marked the end of a 40-day mourning period for Mohamad Sharib’s family. Ordinarily, Islam calls for three days of mourning. But, for the family, a 40-day observance is a cultural variation in their Muslim faith.
On July 7, 2017, Zahidah requested to see her son one more time after the customary ritual of gusal (bathing and cleaning of the deceased) to say her last goodbye. “My son. My good son,” Zahidah kept chanting, as her younger son, Mohamad Emran, along with relatives, escorted her out of the morgue.
Laying her head on her husband’s lap, Zahidah takes a moment to look over at her grandson to make sure he is asleep. As days pass by and Mohamad Sharib becomes a memory, Zahidah feels his absence in the family. “Sharib would always take care of me,” she said with tears in her eyes. “He would cook food, make tea, give me medicines on time and massage my shoulders when I would feel pain. Now I have no one.”
Zahidah endures the pain of the loss by herself. She feels that her husband does not understand her. “He tells me to get over it and live for my other son and my grandchildren,” she said. “But how can I do that?”
While interning for The Denver Post in the summer of 2017, WKUPJ student Gabriel Scarlett began traveling to Pueblo, Colorado, a rust belt town known for its gang culture. His ongoing essay focuses on the community’s resilience.
A full essay can be viewed on his website
Julian Rodriguez plays with his son Christopher at their home on Pueblo’s East Side. Julian’s decades-long struggle with addiction brought him intimately close to the gang operations as he often bought from and sold for the gangs in order to support his own addiction. With his son, Christopher on the way, he reached sobriety and had his facial skeleton tattooed to remember his commitment to his son and to commemorate his brother “Bone Head” who was killed in a shootout with the police. “Everything that I desire and want in this life is for that boy.” Christopher will grow up on the East Side, in Duke territory, but Julian hopes that a loving relationship with his father can keep him from that lifestyle.
Felix Rubio praises at New Hope Ministries, a front lines church in Pueblo that openly accepts addicts, alcoholics, gang members, and anyone else seeking God. As a gang member in Denver, Felix recalls his life as a warrior, a “beast,” owning machine guns and moving kilos of product from his apartment. His drug use kept him up for days and even weeks at a time, until he checked himself into a faith-based rehabilitation program. When people look at him now, Felix wants them to see “Jesus, bro. Jesus. When I was in the hood, I wanted them to see me. When they see me now, I want them to see Jesus’ likeness.”
On a scorching summer day, Catholic parishioners of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart pass the Pueblo Sheriff’s Department building during a procession to celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, which honors the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
Deafening silence and agonizing pain were constant companions to Brandon Spaulding.
Living life was a chore.
The sudden embrace of suicide looked beautiful, many a time.
But, there was more to life after all.
Congratulations to our WKUPJ student Shaban Athuman, 2nd place, and graduate Nick Wagner, 3rd place finish in the annual Hearst Feature/News competition. Shaban wins $2,000 scholarship and Nick wins $1,500 scholarship from the Hearst Journalism Awards.
Image from Shaban Athuman’s 2nd place entry
Dale Brumfield, of Doswell, Va, left, stands with Jack Payden-Travers, of Lynchburg, Va, on the day of the execution of William Morva in Jarrett, Va., Thursday, July 6, 2017. Both said they are opposed to capital punishment.
Image from Nick Wagner’s 3rd place entry
Lone Peak players celebrate after defeating Pleasant Grove during the UHSAA class 5A volleyball title match in Orem on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016.
Video produced by Nick Wagner
Diana Lopez is familiar with the non-English speaking courtroom in Nashville. She’s been there twice before to settle two different charges of driving without a license. But circumstances were different on May 4. As an undocumented immigrant in the era of deportation-happy President Donald Trump, stress levels surged when Lopez heard that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were at the courthouse during the days leading up to her appearance. Lopez plans to fight back, no matter if it’s from inside a jail cell, or on the streets of the United States.