Journalism Jots: review and inform

Journalism minor has been hard at work, not only are they in separate major classes, which demand a lot from them, they need to find time to write contributions to the program-end news paper.

Here are two of their latest contributions:

The Future of United States – Cuba Relationship

Anna D.

On April 19, 1942, United States President, Ronald Reagan reinstated the trade embargo on Cuba, thereby barring Americans from going there as tourists or for business. On July 20, 2015, President Barack Obama reopened embassies in Cuba for the first time in fifty years. He plans on rebuilding diplomatic ties with the state.

According to Raul Castro, the current president of Cuba, he and Obama plan to “develop a friendship between the two nations that is based on the equality of rights and the people’s free will”. However, while the trade embargo is still in place, a relationship between the two nations is not possible. Obama called upon Congress to formulate a Bill that would lift the embargo. Despite the President’s wishes, Congress is run by Republicans who have no intention of lifting it. Critics of lifting the embargo want to see that the Cuban people are given more political freedoms before allying the U.S. with Cuba indefinitely. Supporters, however, believe that lifting the embargo would create economic conditions that would help establish freedoms in Cuba.

There is currently a U.S. imposed banking sanction on Cuba that makes it difficult for them to business with other countries. Companies such as Google, however, are making their way into the Cuban market in an attempt to bring more information to Cubans. The question is not if the embargo will be lifted, but when.


Romeo and Juliet Review: Romeo and Juliet at Oxford Castle

Sarah P.

“Never was a story of more woe/than this of Juliet and her Romeo” – Famous final words, sourced from one of the most renowned love stories in theater history. Played in thousands of theaters across the globe, there is no more traditional a place to witness it than in the home country of the author himself. This past Friday, July 10th, I attended the theater company Tomahawk’s production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the Oxford Shakespeare festival.

What was most unique about the adaptation, however, was the historic venue: Oxford Castle provided a convenient background for creating the setting, which, judging by the costumes, was of the early 1900’s. The minimal set, which consisted of a few movable blocks and one small platform, allowed for the focus of the show to be on the body language of the actors.

On account of the players, supporting actors reigned supreme in the eyes of the audience, for they contributed humor and depicted their characters in unique fashions. For example, Benvolio, (Ivo Gruev) and Mercutio, (Adam Potterton), no doubt being the jokers of the show, underwent a role-reversal. I found Benvolio to be more lighthearted than his companion, who we are taught to be the fool. Another stand-out of the night, was the Nurse, portrayed by Rachel Wilmshurst. She depicted Juliet’s attendant as being that of a friend, rather than a guardian, which worked for the best in terms of comedic performance. Once exception to the praised cast of supporting roles was Lady Capulet, played by Fleur Yerbury Hodgenson. The outdoor venue lacked a mic system, which was greatly needed for this actress, as her chest-breathing made her volume weak.

As for the leads, the “star-crossed lovers” of this adaptation seemed uncommitted in what is meant to be the most committed stage-relationship in theater history. Juliet, portrayed by Jennifer Robinson, and Romea, played by Remi King, lacked any sort of emotional connection and their interactions felt awkward, occasionally making theater-goers cringe. Though it may be the fault of the director, Paul Alex Nicholls, the couple’s first interactions are tedious and comedy is inserted in awkward places, altering the plot. Specifically, Juliet’s unsure attitude towards Romeo upon their meeting makes absolutely no sense: this play is seemingly about a love-at-first-sight relationship. Neglecting this element sets the couple’s portrayal up to lack passion in all other scenes, making the dramatic conclusion seem unimportant.

Despite its drawback, the experience was worth it solely for the unique cast of supporting characters. In addition, the historic venue and simple set contributed to an interesting night of theater. The disappointment of a passionless central relationship still lingers, despite these pros and I’m shocked as to how little their stage-death impacted onlookers. After all, why should the most famed couple in history require the support of their friends to prove the power of their passion?