Copywriting Examples

Freelance copywriting examples for clients from across the U.S. and Canada I have completed through Cleveland, Ohio-based ChoiceLocal Marketing.

End of time at Hastings Banner

As of April 23, 2021 I am no longer working at the Hastings Banner newspaper.

Full-time Hastings Banner Reporter position

As of Jan. 18, 2021, I am working full-time for the Hastings Banner newspaper in Hastings, Michigan on a remote basis (traveling when needed) to cover government, schools and more.

I’ll be posting links to my work as I get them.

First update in a while

It’s been about three years since I last updated this site.

Since the last update in 2017, I’ve moved around from Alma – where I spent Oct. 2016 to Sept. 2018 at the Morning Sun newspaper – to Howell, where I worked at the Livingston Daily Press and Argus newspaper from Oct. 2018 to March 2020.

I’ve added some new information, such as links to clips from the Livingston Daily, as well as a page showcasing some videos I made. I’ve learned how to use Adobe Final Cut X to edit video, and learned how to shoot video on an iPhone 6.

Full-time at Morning Sun in Alma

I left the Manistee News Advocate in October last year.

I moved on to the Morning Sun in Alma, covering the Alma and Ithaca city stories as well as any other stories that are needed. I really like the new job and the people I work with.

Full-time staff writer at Manistee News Advocate

On Oct. 6, 2014, I started a full-time position at the Manistee News Advocate in Manistee, Mich. covering the city and courts beats along with other stories as well as being responsible for gathering the stories and information for the Reasons to Celebrate and Entertainment pages, respectively.

So far I’ve covered some city council meetings — which actually turned out to be really interesting — as well as some larger stories about brownfield redevelopment in town. I’m learning a lot and really liking the new job.

I’ll be updating my Manistee News Advocate page on my blog with links to stories, however, in order to read the full version you must subscribe to either a print copy or digital edition of the paper. You can also view my page on the newspaper’s website here.

 

 

Costs of college more than just money? Study reveals debt, health connected

In 1967, the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale indicated a “mortgage or loan for a major purchase (such as home)” as a mid-level stressor for people.

In 2014, loans for major events – obtaining a college education, for instance – causes so much stress for students it’s making them sick.

The results of a Northwestern University study released last year on the health effects of debt on students concluded those with large amounts of debt had a 1.3 percent increase in higher diastolic blood pressure (pressure when the heart is at rest), found to be clinically significant.

If you have a chronic financial situation where you’re constantly worrying about money or life in general, your blood pressure is constantly going up because you’ve got that,” said Lori Wangberg, a health educator at Central Michigan University.“If you’re constantly in that state of stress – you’re tense, your tight, your heart’s having to be taxed a little bit – it’s the long-term stuff that concerns me.”

Wangberg said financial, mental and physical health are interconnected.

When someone’s worrying about debt they don’t sleep well and if they don’t sleep well, they don’t focus well,” she said. “They don’t do well on their academics.”

That’s just one part of the debt-stress cycle.

I can’t buy food so I have to buy really cheap food, so my food isn’t really healthy so now I’m impacting my health,” she said, speaking from a student’s perspective. “So then I’m starting to become sluggish, starting to gain weight and I’m too lazy and too tired to go to the gym because I don’t sleep well at night.”

The proportion of graduates with debt is ranked from highest to lowest. Data courtesy of The Project on Student Debt website.

The proportion of graduates with debt is ranked from highest to lowest. Data courtesy of The Project on Student Debt website.

Student Perspective

Jenna Szymanski, a Troy senior, didn’t think about the cost of her college experience when she graduated from Troy Athens High School in 2010.

I knew I would take it one day at a time,” Szymanski said. “I didn’t really view that money would be a problem later on.”

Finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management this year, the part-time Foust Hall health clinic receptionist has about $10,000 in student loan debt, far below the average outgoing CMU graduate.

But she’s being proactive about her debt, not waiting to start paying it back.

I know I applied for financial aid every year and pay it back at the end of year,” she said. “I know that you have to start paying back your loans six months after you graduate. I don’t have a job after I graduate so I set a goal to, by June 1, to really find a job.”

Beyond looking long-term, she manages her money in the short term, too.

I do my own checkbook,” she said. “I see what money’s going out, what money’s going in. Even with this job and making a little bit above a minimum wage, I realize when I go shopping, ‘do I really need this?’, ‘do I really have the money for that?’”

For her, the little things add up, in stress and in debt.

I think it’s good to break it up into little things so you’re not putting that entire load on your shoulders,” she said. “I think that’s what stresses people out. They don’t do the little things along the way so when the time comes and they’re trying to pay back something, it’s an abundance of an amount of money that like ‘well, how I am going to get this money back to give to them?’”

Debt can be such a troubling physical issue but mentally as well.

The Project on Student Debt indicates the average student debt for a CMU graduate is $31,520 as of 2012. This map, showing the location of each of the public universities in Michigan, shows the average student debt for their respective graduates as of 2012.

The Project on Student Debt indicates the average student debt for a CMU graduate is $31,520 as of 2012. This map, showing the location of each of the public universities in Michigan, shows the average student debt for their respective graduates as of 2012.

Faculty and Administrator perspective

Arshia Ebrahimi, a counselor at the Foust Hall Counseling Center on the campus of CMU, said students aren’t worrying specifically about their debt but, rather, wondering if they will finish college because of the financial burden.

They’re doing the math,” Ebrahimi said. “They’re realizing their debt’s accumulating, they’re realizing the job market is cut throat and they come in here already past the ‘I don’t know what to do about my debt.’ They want to consult with if they should finish the bachelor’s or not.”

She said she worries about the students who aren’t consulting with someone either at the Counseling Center or with the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

“We’re probably seeing the more proactive folks because the person who is not thought out is going to get slammed with a huge bill and they don’t know it yet,” she said. “We need to catch them six months after graduation.”

Kirk Yats, Director of the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, said a student’s ability to afford college is an important issue for the university.

We have heard that from students who have had to drop or enroll for fewer than 12 hours because of a particular situation,” Yats said. “’I can’t afford to pay for 12 or 15 hours, so I can only take nine.'” 

The affordability of college is a major issue for the university and, as such, it has been putting more money into financial aid programs over the last decade, he said. 

In August 2013, Central Michigan Life reported that CMU was preparing to give $35.3 million of its $53.9 million student aid budget to merit-based and needs-based grants for the 2013-14 school year.

However, he said the amount of money per student Michigan public universities receive from the state government is declining, calling it a “perfect storm”.

Since 2001 and 2002, schools were getting roughly $6,600 per student in state appropriations,” Yats said. “Now, we’re getting $3,500.”

This stress on a larger, governmental level directly effects students and the university they attend.

It gets to hurt students in an exponential form,” he said. “Eventually those may come back to impact the services being offered. It’s a big deal.”

Decisions made by the Michigan legislature – such as eliminating the Michigan Promise scholarships in 2009 – effected thousands of students’ ability to attend college, or financially set them back from doing so when they would have wanted.

The direct impact on CMU alone, we had 4,300 students receiving the Michigan Promise,” Yats said. “$4.3 million left the university. When the state makes that kind of a decision to pull out of a program that’s funding $4 million here and how many millions at Michigan State or Michigan Tech and all the other schools around the state, that directly impacts students.”

As far as financial education and college costs are concerned, talking to students earlier than high school is important.

The average student probably hasn’t thought about what it’s going to cost to go to college,” he said. “So we try to go back and talk to the parents and students in middle schools, not when they’re a senior in high school. That’s too late.”

JRN 340: Record Store Day and vinyl record sales infographics

Record Store Day, held Saturday April 19, celebrates vinyl records with special releases by all sorts of artists, in-store performances and more at record stores all over the U.S. and the world.

Here’s a Record Store Day poll:

http://micropoll.com/t/KFMjvZRI4q

Here’s a tagcloud of various words related to Record Store Day, via a San Jose Mercury News article: http://tagcrowd.com/pdf/1397756820_cloud.pdf

Here’s a map of various record stores around Michigan: http://batchgeo.com/map/d71b70158a0454ef4eb93ffb83823c73

Here’s a pie chart of the vinyl record sales over the past six years. Statistics courtesy of Billboard.com:

Here's a chart of vinyl record sales over the past six years. Statistics courtesy of Billboard.com.

Symphony of Sweet Destruction video project

Students in Timothy Ottemon’s RPL 430 Planning Recreation Programs and Events class raised $346 benefiting the Habitat for Humanity of Isabella County by hosting a car-smashing event in the parking lot of the Wesley Center, 1400 S. Washington Street in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Sat., March 29. Hitting the donated cab via Chippewa Cab Co. with crowbars and sledgehammers, participants could also decorate it with spray paint.

Video filmed and edited by Sean Bradley for JRN 340: Introduction to Online Journalism, taught by professor Lori Brost at Central Michigan University.

 

JRN 340: Power Tweets Week 6

Act of Journalism: “Celebrating @CMUniversity faculty work, the Park Library hosted the Faculty Excellence Exhibition Wednesday”

Act of Engagement: “Seattle PD look at Kurt Cobain’s death again, citing new case evidence: http://go.spin.com/1mjvJsP  Do you think Cobain’s death was a conspiracy?”