Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Amherst Detective meets with Students

Very nice piece, Christian!

Detective Jamie Reardon of the Amherst Police Department met with journalism students on Thursday, Nov. 13, to discuss his job as an officer, how police interact with journalists, and hypothetical scenarios. Reardon, stood burly and clean shaven in front of the class in full uniform. He opened his lecture by saying “No one is safe in this room,” smiling as he warned students that each of them were going to be involved in the discussion.NICE SENTENCE. I WOULD MAKE THIS THE LEAD, TWEAKED A BIT AND FOLLOWED BY WHAT IS NOW YOUR FIRST SENTENCE.

Reardon discussed the tenUSE AP STYLE FOR NUMBERS (10) years he spent as an officer in the APD patrol division, fighting crime on horseback and on a bike, as well as in a cruiser. The last five years of his career has been spent as a detective for APD. As a detective, Reardon is involved in the more serious cases that face the Amherst community, such as rape and murder.

As students listened to the officer speak, taking notes, Reardon began asking names in order to put them in hypothetical scenarios to explain what could and couldn’t get them in trouble, such as domestic abuse, assault, fake ID’s, and drinking in public. For example, students living together in the same dorm that have a physical altercation would be considered a domestic dispute. I THINK HE SAID THEY WOULD HAVE TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM OR SUITE, RIGHT?

Reardon moved on to the topic of journalists and began discussing what information that could and couldn’t be released, such as names of juveniles or victims, where to find information, and the legality and methods of filming police officers. Reardon then discussed an experience at Extravaganja, a marijuana festival every spring, when he was on patrol and recorded people as they recorded him.

Detective Reardon opened the floor to questions before posing for a picture with the twelve students.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Updated AP Tips/FALL 2104

Quotations: When using direct quotation, periods and commas are always placed INSIDE the closing quotation marks. Question marks can go inside the end quotation marks or outside, depending upon the example: "What?" she asked him.
Colons and semi-colons go outside the end quotation marks.


  • Don't capitalize job titles, unless they come directly before the job holder's name.
  • Capitalize names of campus and other officially named buildings. For example: She walked to the Mullins Center and passed the library.

  • In general -- but there are many exceptions -- spell out numbers zero through nine, use numerals for 10 and above. Use figures for sports scores.
  • Percentages are always expressed as numeral followed by the word "percent." Example:The unemployment rate has risen by 12 percent.

  • Use figures, except for noon and midnight ; use colon to separate hours from minutes (4 p.m., 4:15 p.m.) Five o'clock is acceptable but time listings with a.m. or p.m. are preferred.
  • Do not use -st, -nd, -rd or -th with the numbers. It's Oct. 1 through Oct. 15 -- not Oct. 1st through Oct. 15th.
  • Spell out months if they stand alone. Abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. when used with a specific date. My birthday is in the middle of September. My niece's birthday is Sept. 2. If you are just saying a month and a year, don't put a comma between them: October 2014.
  • Use quotation marks -- not underlining or italics -- for books, songs, television shows, computer games, oems, lectures, speeches and works of art. Leave magazines, newspapers, the Bible and reference catalogues as-is.
  •  United States is spelled out when used as a noun but often abbreviated when used as an adjective" The United States is a country. I travel with my U.S. documents.
  • Spell out the official name of something the first time you mention it; use the abbreviation after that. It's University of Massachusetts the first time you mention it and UMass after that.
  • States are no longer abbreviated when they come after a city/town, thanks to an AP style change. Some cities do not need to be followed by a state name, such as Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco.
  • When writing addresses, abbreviate avenue, boulevard and street when used with a numbered address. For example: He lives on North Pleasant Street. She lives at 500 Main St.

  • Miles - Use figures for ALL distances. (This was a 2013 AP style change). "My flight covered 1,113 miles."  "The airport runway is 5 miles long."
  • Only use one space after a period, in between sentences. (In the days of typewriters, we used two.)
  • When writing about the digital currency Bitcoin, capitalize Bitcoin when  you're talking about the concept, but use lower case when you're talking about individual bitcoins. For example: He is a firm believer in the Bitcoin system and he has amassed over 500,000 bitcoins in a short time.
  • Smartphone applications. You can abbreviate using app on second reference.
  • Farther and further. Farther refers to physical distance. He lives farther away than I do. Further refers to an extension of time or degree. She has found further cause for alarm.
  • Toward, forward, backward, upward, downward do NOT end with an s.
  • email is written without a hypen, but other e-words, such as e-commerce and e-book do have hyphens

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Video parody of stereotyping

Video parody of stereotyping

APD Detective Explains Police Interactions with the Media to Journalism Students

Great photos, Cade and strong work with this!  I think you've buried the lead at the end. I suggest moving it up and crafting a lead that says something like -- The hardest part of Amherst Police Det. Jamie Reardon's job is making split-second decisions. Then you can say that the class visited and talk about what some of the split-second decisions he has to make involve and link that to the rest of the story by saying he spoke about that among a range of topics and took many questions.

Photo by Cade Belisle

Amherst Police Detective Jamie Reardon presented to Mary Carey’s Journalism 300 class this past Thursday.

Students traveled to Amherst Police Station where a classroom and fully uniformed Detective awaited them.GOOD VISUALS
Photo by Cade Belisle

The 15 HYPHEN year veteran of the police force explained to the crowd of potential future journalists how the
police interact with the media. He began his presentation by showing actual briefings of every police action that occurred in the past week. The documents are called police logs and detail every single interaction between a police officer and a member of the public.

Detective Reardon pointed out how many names were redacted as certain crimes and events do not warrant release of the persons’ names. The Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI, is the authority on which items permit the release of names and actions to the press. Included in the statute is the rule that the name of anyone under the age of 18 may not be released.

Domestic violence cases were a specific example given of how changing state laws restrict even victims’ names. Detective Reardon explained that current law now states that the suspect in the crime cannot be made known because of how easily the victim's identity could be found.

The Detective gave numerous answers to hypothetical questions regarding police authority such as students in violation of open container laws and backpack searches. He said that much of the job relies on the individual officer’s discretion. “The hardest part of the job is split-second decision making,” said Detective Reardon. < I WOULD MOVE THIS UP AND MAKE IT YOUR LEAD.

He then fielded a few questions before posing for a class photo.

Links to stories by Channel 40 reporter and anchor

Agawam Couple Catches Alleged Thief On Camera

Colleges Struggle To Meet Demand For Skilled Graduates

Multiple Homes, Cars Damaged In Colrain Following Storm

Meet Thing 3: Local Hospitals' Ebola-Killing Robot

Wheels Stolen From Elderly Man's Car...Twice

A Visit to the Amherst Police Station

Strong attention to detail, Lauren! I suggest tweaking the lead, so it reflects what your piece is mostly about, which is the similarities between police work and reporting. I really like the part about Sgt. Foster popping his head into the room.

Twelve University of Massachusetts Amherst students participated in a discussion outside of the classroom Thursday, Nov. 13 to commute to the Amherst Police Station where Jamie Reardon greeted them with his gleaming badge and smile, prepared to talk to the students about the life of an officer.THE GLEAMING BADGE AND SMILE ARE GOOD DETAILS. I SUGGEST TWEAKING THIS LEAD SO IT DOESN'T READ LIKE IT'S JUST TELLING US THE EVENT HAPPENED.

Reardon, who became a detective after 15 years of patrolling, immediately began grabbing the attention of the students as he sporadically pointed around the room choosing students to participate in hypothetical situations. Through this role playing, detective Reardon was able to teach the students about the law in an  interactive and engaging manner through these relatable scenarios.GIVE SOME SPECIFIC EXAMPLES OF THE SCENARIOS

Aside from his theoretical situations, Reardon also presented the students with media logs both full and brief. The media logs showed information regarding calls responded to by officers that contained call number, time of call, short synopsis of the situation and the actions taken.

"There are certain things I can hold and retract from the media," he said, "and I do."

Although Reardon finds it necessary to harbor some information from the media, BECAUSE IT IS REQUIRED BY LAW, FOR EXAMPLE, TO KEEP JUVENILE'S INFORMATION PRIVATE, he says "cops and journalists are not that different." Sargeant Foster who popped his head into the meeting room briefly told the the class that, "both must remain non-biasED ." NICE SCENE!

Like a journalist interviewing someone, a police officer interrogating a suspect or witness must be skeptical of the facts that are being given to them. Offering the aspiring journalists some relevant advice, "DON'T?? take information at face value," Reardon said.

In a world full of crimes from murder, to rape even to DUI's that attract both police and media attention he said, "We both have to use common sense."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Journalism students take field trip to Amherst police station

Nice job being concise, Stefan.  I suggest tweaking the lead, which while it offers some good info, could be more engaging.

On Nov. 13, Detective Jamie Reardon of the Amherst police spoke with 12 journalism students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst about police protocol, affiliations with journalists, and his own experiences as a detective and officer in the town.LEAD COULD BE MORE ENGAGING; IT IS CLOSE TO JUST SAYING THE EVENT OCCURRED

Reardon explained how he spent his first 10 years of his career as a patrol officer riding in cruisers, on horseback, and on bikes, and the last five years as a major crimes detective, dealing with cases such as murder, rape, and robbery.GOOD PARAGRAPH

Later in his presentation, he required each student to discuss hypothetical crimes and explained what actions he would be forced to take under the circumstances. In one hypothetical instance, one of the students presented a fake ID to him after being pulled over on the street, and Reardon told the class how such an action is an arrestable offence that wouldCOULD include a prison sentence. I DON'T REMEMBER MENTION OF A PRISON SENTENCE PART?

Reardon also discussed when he could and could not disclose certain information to journalists. The students learned that a juvenile's identity could not be told, nor could an adult's if they had not been arraigned for a crime. Topics such as domestic violence, property searching, and videotaping officers were also discussed in the presentation.< YOU COULD CRAFT INFO FROM THIS SENTENCE INTO A LEAD

Friday, November 14, 2014

Do you really know what a Police Officer does? - Talk with detective Jamie Reardon

Nice job plunging right into the story, Allie. Be sure the meaning of the lead is clear. This is concise, easy to read and informative.

AP STYLE IS TO SPELL OUT NUMBERS WHEN THEY BEGIN A SENTENCE12 students would think being in the Amherst Police Station that they would be safe, but according to detective Jamie Reardon, “no one is safe in this room," BECAUSE HE WOULD INVOLVE EVERYBODY IN THE CONVERSATION.

On Thursday, Nov. 13, detective Reardon spoke to students about what it is like in the day of the life of a police officer. Reardon has been working in Amherst for 15 years, 10 of which he was part of the patrol division, where he rode around in cars, horses and bikes, apprehending criminals. The last five years that he has been part of the force, he has been a detective, where he deals with serious crimes, such as rape and death.GOOD

Reardon discussed what kind of information can and cannot be released to the public and to the media. Some examples of information that cannot be released are information of a juvenal, and also information of domestic violence.. “If information is released about the person convicted of domestic violence, it is easy for others to know who the victim is,” Reardon said. GOOD

Reardon ran through multiple scenarios, involving the students. These scenarios included tickets on speeding, and domestic violence disputes. Reardon challenged the mindS of the students causing them to think what kinds OF  precautions and actions go into figuring out how to solve these problems. Reardon would then share how he would go about dealing with situations that he faces. “The hardest part of this job, is the split second decision making,” Reardon confessed. (I WOULD USE SAID VS CONFESSED.)

Photo by Allie Furlo

Students sit and listen to detective Jamie Reardon on Thursday Nov. 13

Visit with Amherst PD Det. Jamie Reardon

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ADA Townsend visit

Emmanuel Nyongani
Newswriting response 

Self defense is a term most people do not understand. Assistant District Attorney Thomas Townsend explained the term to UMass Newswriting students last Tuesday.

Townsend explained that self defense in Massachusetts requires that you have no other options but to fight back.  “ You have to feel that your life was threatened and other people viewing the case have to feel the same,” Townsend said.  “You also have to have no way of getting away. For example, if you have a door that you could just run into, it wouldn’t be considered self-defense.” 

In other words, if there is a possibility of getting away and avoiding the confrontation, then the situation would not be classified as self-defense in 
Massachusetts courts.

Townsend also explained that in this state, there is also a certain amount of defense force you can use. For example if someone is fighting you with their hands, you can’t just shoot them because that would be considered excessive force. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Chief of Appeals Shares Experiences With UMass Students

A small group of Journalism students gathered with their professor in their 4 o'clock class to listen to Thomas Townsend discuss his experiences as Assistant District Attorney and Chief of Appeals. 

Townsend, who is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, returned to his place of undergraduate studies to enlighten the 11 students on the study of law and how it can be applied in appeals court. Townsend became Chief of Appeals in 2011. He discussed cases he has seen throughout his term that range from murders to child rape. 

Because Townsend deals with hundreds of cases a year, when one student asked how the more harrowing cases affect him he said, "you develop a sense of detachment."

Townsend talked a lot about how laws have been shaped throughout history, particularly focusing on the differences in regulations state by state. Massachusetts he said, "if measured by individual freedom would probably come out the #1 state." 

Townsend took the time to break down the legal system for the students and it's different branches, also educating the students on the newest agenda of the U.S. Supreme Court: The 2nd Amendment.

Townsend's expertise and knowledge was not limited to just the Journalism 300 class, he later spoke at a legal panel in Isenberg School of Management that night. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ADA Townsend enlightens Journalism 300 class

Assistant District Attorney Thomas Townsend grasped the attention of Mary Carey and her Journalism 300 class on Tuesday, while revisiting some of his most difficult cases.

Townsend, a University of Massachusetts Amherst class of 1994 alumnus, discussed his role as Chief of the Appeals Court in the Northwestern District Attorney's office. He fielded questions regarding past cases and common law from the class, sparking an insightful discussion.

ADA Townsend delved into the process a case goes through before reaching the appeals court. After a ruling is made on a case, a defendant can apply for an appeal. The purpose of an appeal is to bring it to a higher court.

Townsend provided the class with three of his previous cases. He addressed one involving a murder of young boy by speed boat. A horrific accident where an intoxicated speed boat driver crashed into a father and son fishing.

Townsend was asked how he endures such serious and violent cases. "You develop a sense of detachment," he said.

Townsend also cleared up confusion with common laws all citizens deal with. In Massachusetts a motor vehicle operator cannot be asked to exit their vehicle by a police officer simply because of a violation. "In terms of individual freedoms, Massachusetts is number one," he said.

Asst. District Attorney Townsend pays visit to journalism class

Thomas Townsend, the assistant district attorney and chief of appeals in the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, visited Mary Carey’s Journalism 300 class at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, on Oct. 21. 

A former UMass graduate himself, Townsend spoke about the history of the appeals court in the United States, provided insight on numerous laws in Massachusetts, and gave several examples of noteworthy cases he has taken over the years, ranging from manslaughter to first-degree murder.

By working with such noteworthy cases, Townsend is often forced to see the darkest acts men and women are capable of committing, such as rape and murder. When asked about how he deals with such brutality on a regular basis, he responded, “you develop a sense of detachment.”

Townsend further explained the individual freedoms Massachusetts state laws protects and gave some legal advice to students before he departed, such as how to decide between a jury or judge trial. 

Asst. District Attorney Townsend meets with journalism students

Assistant District Attorney Tom Townsend, chief of the Appeals Unit in the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, spoke to Mary Carey’s Journalism 300 class on Tuesday about Massachusetts law, his job, and his interaction with the media.

Townsend discussed “common law”, a model for law taken to America from Great Britain that created the foundations for the Massachusetts and Federal constitutions. He explained the differences between statutory and federal jurisdiction in cases and how states and the federal government differ. For example, Massachusetts was the first and only state to require police interrogations to be recorded and reviewed.

Townsend then discusses a bit about one of his cases, a boating death case where the operator was drunk and high on drugs. When asked how he copes with such tragic cases, Townsend said “you develop a sense of detachment,”
In regards to media, Townsend said he is often misquoted. Instead, he sends them a brief of the case and tells reporters “Quote from the brief,”

Townsend informs journalism class about Massachusetts's law

11 journalism students and their professor gathered around the circular table in the overheated classroom on Tuesday to listen to Thomas Townsend share his experiences as Assistant District Attorney and Chief of Appeals.

Townsend is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1994, and began his position as the Chief of Appeals for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office in 2011. He shared with student’s information about Massachusetts’s laws and the different branches of work in law. Townsend had shared with students what the Massachusetts Appeals Court is and about the changes through history that lead up to how law is shaped today.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court comes into play when a defendant appeals to bring their case to a higher court. “Unless it is a first degree jurisdiction,” Townsend added.

Townsend also informed the class of different laws that have helped structure law today. He discussed how it was not until 1963 that is had became required for a defendant to have an attorney appointed to them if they needed one.

As the Chief of Appeals, Townsend often sees cases that deal with drugs, alcohol, rape and death. When asked about the cases that Townsend faces, he replied, “you develop a sense of detachment.”

Townsend also spoke at a legal panel in Isenberg School of Management later that night.