Feature Stories With Heart

Feature stories have heart. Feature stories have warmth. Most of all, feature stories force a writer / reporter to evaluate the human side of a community – beyond the facts, beyond the opinions – to find the spirit of the story.

I have always favored feature stories (or soft news) as a writer because it gives me the chance to get to know people on a higher level than straight news reporting (hard news) does. Beyond that, it also forces me to work as a reporter with feelings – yes, some reporters have actual feelings.

For the past few weeks, I've evaluated a variety of types of college feature stories in preparation for a workshop I'm presenting at the Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisers National College Media Convention. After sifting through stacks and stacks of archives of papers, I've come to the conclusion that college newspapers are much more active to seek out the feature elements than mainstream, professional newspapers.

My students (and former students) from The Montage, have compiled heartwarming stories of life and death, fun and frolics, and service and sacrifice. Here are a few examples:

"A Day in the Life of Mary Davis:" As a regular series, my students write personality profiles, covering students, faculty, staff, locals, etc. This particular story highlights an 86-year old student still eager to learn.

"Turning Lead into Gold:" This profile provides an in-depth look at a faculty member's passions.

"Inauguration Road:" Following a road trip to the White House for Barack Obama's engagement, two of my students compiled a piece about a 1st person account of the journey itself.

"What's Brewing in St. Louis:" Beer is a priority for many college students. Recognizing this, my students compiled an in-depth centerspread on St. Louis. Louis' beer culture, including a list of "things" to do with beer.

"The Vertical Expression of a Horizontal Desire:" Fun and frolics come in all shapes and sizes as detailed in this feature about the art of tango music.

This list of stories (found at http://www.meramecmontage.com ) includes a variety of subjects, topics, and angles. Primarily, though, these stories offer readers something "different," something soft – a much-needed break from the heart-wrenching news of reductions, murders, and swine flu statistics. Even more so, they offer reporters (whether student or professional) a chance to explore more than just the facts but rather the fun-loving spirit of life.

I could spend all day listing compelling, heart-warming and entertaining features that have been written by both students and professionals, but I'd rather open my eyes and seek the next big story that could possibly touch someone else's life and in return, touch mine.

Sports Betting Systems – Increase Your Odds

No matter what type of gambling you like to engage in, common sense says that developing a system will increase your odds of gaining a return on your wager. This theory holds true for most people interested in sports betting; sticking to a certain set of practices will in the end help you realize gains over the long term, rather than losses.

Before we start talking about some sports betting systems, it is important to note that this logic is only partially true. In fact, a betting system can at best help you to reduce your losses over the long term while gambling on sports; the best possible realistic exit for any system is an even split of wins and losses over the long haul.

The reason for this comes down to the professionals, by which we mean the professionals who really DO make a huge profit month in and month out, through history, in sports betting. Those professionals, of course, are the bookmakers.

Using statistical analysis, bookmakers can always determine which betting systems are currently being used by bettors, and they always adjust the odds accordingly. They may make a home game split a poor value bet in order to compensate, or begin to adjust the lines. Whatever the measures, you can bet that the sports books have thought up ways to counter systems.

With that said, there are systems that can be used to increase your chances of profit over the long term in sports betting, but they really have to do with personal control and strategies when betting. The good thing about this approach is that you can use it on any given sport, so it applies universally. Let's take a look at some money wise ways to approach your sports betting strategy.

o Establish a bankroll: Before the beginning of the season, the playoffs, or whatever event you wish to wager on, you have to establish a bankroll. This bankroll will be based on the money you feel you can LOSE during the course of the betting season. Once you lose that money, it is very important that you stop betting or you will find yourself in a lot of trouble, very quickly.

o Do not chase bad bets. One of the biggest temptations for those engaging in sports betting is to try to make up money they lost while wagering on certain games. This is almost always a recipe for disaster. If you lose all your games on betting on weekend NFL games, do not try to make up for it with a bet on Monday night!

Those are the important foundations for any sports betting strategy, and they will help mitigate your losses on any losing season.

Now, let's take a look at some strategies to apply to your general sports betting endeavors.

o Research! In order to make a good bet (meaning, a bet that has the best chance of winning), you need to know all you can about the game in question. That means doing a lot of research. Know who is playing what position, their health and mental status, the record of the teams against each other, other records, even who the officials are. Good research is your most effective tool when it comes to placing a good bet.

o Watch out for tired teams! In a lot of sports, teams play back to back games. If they are playing a fresh team, this can factor into their ability to play. It does not always work, but most times a team playing its second game in two nights will have a reduced chance of winning.

o Betting series: This strategy really only applies to baseball betting, where teams may play three or more games against each other in a row. In these cases it is usually possible to predict which team will come out with the most wins in the series, and that's an easier call than game to game.

Of course, for all those strategies, you have to keep in mind that the bookmakers are just as aware of the factors as you are. They will adjust the odds accordingly, which is something else you have to be aware of.

Work At Home Online And Earn Money

If you really know what you can do, work at home online jobs may be the right choice for anyone who wants to spend more time at home. These jobs not only provide you the comfort of your home, but also help you beat the recession. The gaining popularity of work from home jobs has always attracted many as you are free to make as much money as you want. There are many scams coming up on the Internet every day offering that you can make 1000$ to 5000$ per month, yes, they are all ‘scams’. I too was desperately looking for work at home online jobs, but they all seemed absolute scams. With all those scams it was hard finding one job, but now everything turned out good, now I am earning a reasonable amount of money. With the charm of the Internet there are thousands of legitimate work at home jobs for you to choose. But it is up to you to find the right one for you. There are numerous online jobs like online data entry jobs, freelance writing jobs, affiliate marketing, resume writing jobs, typing jobs, earn while you blog, web designing, virtual assistant job, review writing, programming and the list goes on.

Well, to begin your work all you need is a computer and high speed Internet connection and of course you need to have basic computer knowledge and passion for work. No matter, who you are how old you are or where you are from work at home jobs are for you literally you need to be passionate and sincere in your work. If you wish to work from home it is not that difficult to get a job for you provide you put your best efforts in finding the right choice that suits your passion and qualification.

Online Tutor Jobs

An online tutor job demands good educational qualification along with computer and Internet access. If you have good knowledge and qualification in any subjects like math, physics, chemistry or any other language you can register in any companies that offer online tutor jobs and earn a reasonable amount.

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcription is another work at home online jobs that provides outstanding job opportunities though it needs some special training. These jobs demand the skill of transcribing medical records for your clients. Along with good listening skills, basic computer knowledge and good typing speed are necessary.

Data Entry Jobs

Data entry jobs and freelance writing jobs are one of the common online jobs. Data entry jobs also demands very good typing speed but its more stress free compared to others. If you have adequate English vocabulary you van also try your hands on freelance writing jobs. You can either write article for on greater variety of topics as per your client demand or stick to an area of expertise.

If you happen to have knowledge about web designing, then try you your luck in the same field. It might not be that easy to win a bid as there will be many other designers like you who have placed their bids. So first of all you need to need to build a more convincing and appealing profile to compete with others.

Work at home jobs are not a myth, it is a reality that helps people earn an income provides you work hard for it like any other job.

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will” – Nelson Mandela.

Yes it’s true.

Play Games at My Wedding Reception?

You can add spice to your wedding reception and have great fun doing it by playing games! Of course, you’ll still have that first dance with your new spouse to the tune from when you first met. And, you’ll still get to eat from each other’s fork when you cut-the-cake.

While the bride may play games at her bridal shower with the other “girls”, games are not reserved for showers only. You can use games to encourage conversation among your guests. Games can also help in cases where you want a fully enjoyed reception, yet there are religious or other reasons for limiting your dancing or music.

There are basically three types of games that work at a wedding reception. They are: Games for Everyone, The Joke is on the Bride and/or Groom and Outdoor Games (of course for an outdoor wedding).

Games for Everyone

Pass the Buck – Play musical dollar at each table. Whoever is left holding the $1, wins the centerpiece.

Switch the Shoes – The bride and groom may hold up a shoe or garment belonging to the opposite spouse in answer to a what-if question on how they will act in married life.

On the Spot Art – Each guest is given a paper and pen and asked to draw another random guest. This works best when they don’t know beforehand the guest being drawn.

Guess the Truth – Guests are asked multiple choice questions that have been previously asked of the bride and groom. A show of hands will see how many guests are on target.

On the Spot Poetry – Each guest is given a piece of paper and a pen. The paper has the start of a poem like “Sally and Mike met at the fair…” The guests complete the poem.

Games where the Joke is on the Bride and/or Groom

*If you are the bride or groom, let your best man or a bridesmaid read these

Give Back the Keys – (This only works if the bride and groom do not yet share a home) The bride and groom is each given a basket. Announce that “Anyone who still has her house keys must give them back.” Lots of guys get up and drop keys in her basket. Only one guy and the groom’s aunt return keys to the groom’s house.

Guess the Bride – Blindfold the groom and present him with 5 barefooted persons. He must guess which feet belong to the bride. Choose anyone but the bride to be among the 5 persons. In fact, this is really funny if they are all men.

Guess the Groom – Blindfold the bride and ask her to feel 5 men’s faces to guess which belongs to the groom. Choose anyone but the groom to be among the 5 persons.

Outdoor Games

What you play will depend on where the wedding is and how the guests are attired. A game like croquet is easy to set up in a park or large backyard and is possible in semi-formal clothing.

If the wedding is very casual, a park with large grassy area may be great for Volleyball or a huge circle of folks passing a Frisbee. And limbo – with the right music – is great almost anywhere, especially for a Caribbean or beach themed reception.