News Articles:

Renowned scientist murdered in Malibu home

The body of 34-year-old Baron Hotschaft Von Hugenstein, a well-known oncologist, was found in the cellar of his Malibu estate Tuesday afternoon.

Natasha Scarlet, 25, is alleged to have slit Hugenstein’s throat after she lured the intoxicated Hugenstein back to his home after what appeared to be a dinner date.

“I saw Natasha walking him home, with this maniacal grin on her face, and I immediately realized that the Baron’s psycho ex-girlfriend was at it again. I just didn’t know how far she would go this time,” said Imogen Herondale, Hugenstein’s next-door neighbor.

Scarlet is alleged to have sped away in a stolen black Prius with no license plate, and, after a supposedly frantic call from Herondale, was caught by officials on the Northwest Highway.

“She continuously asked what her crime had been, and she demanded to be released,” said Officer Hugh Nelson, who had apprehended Scarlet before she crossed the US border into Canada. “She simply couldn’t admit to the truth.”

Earlier this evening, the jury sentenced Scarlet to 64 years in prison – 30 years, added to the 34 years of Hugenstein’s life.

Von Hugenstein had been a world-renowned scientist best known for his ventures in curing leukemia, and had been hired by the government to continue his studies in the causes and effects of cancer and find other cures for life-threatening diseases earlier this year.

“He was such a wonderful man. Sort of closed-off, but simply brilliant. I don’t understand why anyone would do this,” said Clara Oswald, a close friend of Hugenstein’s.

The verdict had followed over a week of sworn affidavit from detectives, forensic experts, authorities, and Hugenstein’s relatives and friends. Scarlet is scheduled to be formally sentenced Oct.1.


All LAUSD graduates to be granted one free year of community college

Los Angeles officials are launching a program that will provide all Los Angeles Unified School District graduates one year of free community college tuition.

The program, which originated from regulations made under America’s College Promise, guarantees one free year of community college per graduating student.

“We are making a declaration – an assurance that you can attend one year of school tuition-free. An assurance that you can concentrate on your studies, and get ahead,” Jill Biden, community college professor and chair of the program, said to ABC News.

The Los Angeles College Promise Program was first suggested by Biden, who explained that a requirement for all participants of the program is to be of the 2017 graduating class of an LAUSD school.

Officially announced and put into place by current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the program involves a $1.5 million fund-raising commitment from the city. The primary cost of the program will initially be 3 million in U.S. dollars, half of which will be “picked up” by the K-12 district, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Samantha Mittelstadt, a Granada Hills Charter High School freshman, feels that this will, rather than benefiting students, be detrimental instead. She is among the few students who disagree with the result of the College Promise Program.

“Even though it’s great that [graduating students] will be able to get a college education without financial issues, I feel like [students] will be less motivated to aim higher than a community college education,” Mittelstadt said.

Though the program promises thousands of LAUSD students the ability to “define [their] own futures,” as Biden and Garcetti said, many are still skeptical of what a free year of community college tuition may mean for high school students’ motivation to succeed.

A recent study by Forbes show that students have begun to be less mindful of their studies, and have the mentality that community college will be enough of an education.

Another belief of some individuals is that community college will only be seen as another year of school, as education is not as important to some students as it is to others.

There are many people who enter the workforce right away, and that works for them; higher education is not a necessity for everyone. A free year at a community college would be treated like another year of high school, and the students who don’t care for school then would not care more because it’s community college,” English teacher Narae Kim said.

Despite the backlash and doubt, Biden is said to be continuing the program without any delay.


REFLECTION: The process of writing news articles had begun as a challenge, as I had not become accustomed to the inverted pyramid format beforehand. I had had no trouble at all with grammar and structure of paragraphs, as these had been my fortes throughout all of middle school and the start of high school (they still are). I became an individual who grew to love writing news articles, though I had begun as one who had been obsessed with the, in my opinion, terrible quality of my first articles.


Sports Articles

GHCHS Girls’ Volleyball Team Defeats Taft, 25-13

On Thursday afternoon, the Granada Hills Charter High School girls’ varsity volleyball team won 25-13 when opposing Taft High School’s girls’ volleyball team.

The victory was achieved through supposedly outstanding spiking, good defense, and an excellent setter.

The match was a highly controversial one, as both teams were equally undefeated. After what appeared to be an extremely intense match, with both teams refusing to give in to the increasing pressure, the GHCHS team had gotten in the lead, and had finished with a strong final spike that threw Taft’s defending players off balance.

“The girls are extremely determined. They have a very good chance at making playoffs,” said girls’ volleyball coach Tom Harp.

Harp, along with many others, believes that the pressure on the girls will not be an obstacle, and that the girls will benefit from the win.

However, there are many individuals who believe that the victory will not aid the girls in a final victory, for it is a common opinion throughout the entirety of the volleyball community that the El Camino High team will most likely defeat or tie with the Granada team.

Many members of the team claim that they can face any obstacle, no matter how seemingly impossible the situation is.

“We deserve to win. We will win. We’ve worked really hard and have been strong competitors this season. And, no matter what, we’ll never give up,” said Paige McFerren, captain of the Granada team and senior at the high school.

The team, according to McFerren, has been practicing up to five hours a day at regular meetings, attempting to perfect their plays and improve their skills. Many members of the team, including 14-year-old Lizbeth Solorzano, have been practicing additional hours in order to have the ability to defeat El Camino High’s team.

The team’s next game will be on the 24th of October 2016, and will be held at Granada Hills Charter High School.


REFLECTION: I do not particularly enjoy sports. Period. I never have, and I certainly never will. However, sports articles have been quite a pleasant experience, though, due to my lack of knowledge of any sports terms/events/anything whatsoever, I sometimes struggle with what to write. Overall, I believe that sports articles were never too cumbersome or frustrating.


Feature Articles:

Gender and heteronormativity in Disney films have become an issue

“President Obama may have declared June to be Gay Pride Month, but entertainment for children therefore continues to perpetuate a less inclusive message, leaving those outside its confines with little to build their own dreams of happily ever after,” Kathleen Gilbert of the SWS press said.

Heteronormativity, the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders with natural roles in life, assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes.

Concepts such as heteronormativity and gender roles exist in many children’s movies, especially movies created and produced by Disney, a renowned mass media and entertainment conglomerate.

For example, in Disney’s films “Sleeping Beauty” and “Snow White,” the female protagonists are portrayed as weak and ‘feminine,’ making male ‘masculine’ assistance necessary to escape conflict. Using the typical ‘damsel in distress’ approach, Disney expressed its fairly blatant opinion that women cannot survive without men.

No matter how clear the issue may be, the vast majority of audiences appear entirely unaware of the consequences.

The prevalence of sexism [and hetero-normal values] in children’s films is “certainly alarming,” anthropologist Rachael Lieblein-Jurbala said to C.N.N.

As heteronormativity is established in the minds of individuals as a norm from childhood, leading non-heterosexual children to believe that they could not have happy endings – this understanding derived from firm belief that only heterosexual couples could have happy endings.

In children’s minds, couples must not simply be straight, but support the stereotypes produced about either gender. Male individuals are to be ‘masculine,’ and female individuals are to be ‘feminine.’

In some forms of society, individuals surpassing limitations of gender stereotypes are typically ridiculed, a study by Forbes magazine stated.

However, when masculinely portrayed individuals begin to act stereotypically feminine, these individuals become the object of ridicule – someone no longer deserving of true respect.

Quite a few children’s films have established gender roles in some way – in “Frozen,” a female character supposedly demeaning herself due to her apparent lack of intelligence, and her need for male assistance in anything, and the “necessary masculine influence” that Disney continues to perpetuate in children’s films, despite evolving perspective and understanding of the concept of sexism.

“Normalizing different forms of bias and indirect homophobia and applying such concepts to films seen primarily by young children is an action that can – will – socially alienate those of other sexualities, therefore making an individual more prone to bias during the start of childhood,” said Thamara Janaratne, Senior Scientist of Antibody Drugs at Abbvie Inc.

Janaratne, along with many others, understands the dangers of heteronormativity and the hindrances it may cause for the sake of equality.

Depictions of only hetero-romantic love as “exceptional, powerful, transformative, and magical,” LifeSite News says, can most certainly cause a sense of doubt to fester in a child’s mind, especially an inexperienced one. The films of Walt Disney, beloved filmmaker and animator, appear to hold hetero-romantic standards to all films.

These films, while encouraging an entirely unrealistic sense of male masculine dominance, tend to maintain that the domestic realm is unsuitable for men.

One example of the blind heteronormativity expressed in Disney’s films is Disney’s “Frozen.” Frozen. The film originally became exceedingly popular due to popular opinion deeming it ‘progressive’ and ‘full of gender representation,’ both of which are practically nonexistent in the film.

“Frozen,” while slightly more progressive than previous Disney films, include deeply ingrained gender roles and heteronormativity. Its gender representation does not end up going far, as its representation of women is “lacking and deeply disappointing,” says Lieblein-Jurbala.

In the film, Elsa and Anna are unaggressive, and must learn to put others first, all while looking ‘perfect and beautiful.’

In making it a necessity for Anna to always ask Kristoff for help in accomplishing a task, Disney enforces the stereotype that a woman cannot exist or effect change without male assistance.

The film is also based upon hetero-romantic norms, ideals which appear to be the main focus of the film.


REFLECTION: When I was first writing news articles (This will relate to feature articles. Promise.), my articles were too much like feature articles. As I slowly became acclimated to the inverted pyramid format, when I suddenly moved on to feature articles, my feature articles became quite a bit more long-winded/uninformative. I may have been attempting to write pieces with a quality of tone that had been entirely divergent from the tone of a news article, and, in the process, botched and/or ruined my feature articles.


Profile Articles:

She’s holding out, from a traumatic incident to a diagnosis of manic disorder

At will and sometimes against her will, 14-year-old Samantha Mittelstadt can return in her mind to that jarring moment in September of 2013, when she hurtled towards the ground, shoved violently out of a second-story apartment balcony.

She’d been arguing with her cousin, 19-year-old (then 16-years-old) Fiona Richardson, when, in the heat of the moment, Richardson shoved her, sending Mittelstadt stumbling over the railing that had been much too close to her back.

She had reportedly been able to hear a distant crunch in the background when she slammed into the concrete, which, as she would later learn, was the sound of three pieces of her spine shattering, along with most of the bones in her hands and feet. The impact nearly severed her spine in half and either broke or fractured most of the bones in her body.

If not for her immediate spinal surgery, she would have been entirely paralyzed from the neck down.

“They told me that I would have to stay in a full-body cast for four months, and, because I had lost motor control of my limbs, I would have to undergo extensive physical therapy for three years,” Mittelstadt recalled.

She’d always felt safe, happy – until the moment when everything seemed to go wrong. After her accident, she had been diagnosed with a severe case of manic disorder, and had begun taking medication.

When asked how she coped, Mittelstadt laughed. “I probably have this obligation to say that it was my parents who had helped me cope the most, but I’d be lying if I did say that. It was mostly my best friend – future girlfriend, actually – who would stay with me and talk to me every day after school – she’d come straight to my house. For three years, she was by my side – she’s never missed any of my therapy sessions. She came to every single one. And it started to become more than a friendship,” she said.

Attending Granada Hills Charter High School had caused quite a few of her worst memories to resurface, and she had restarted her self-harm pattern, hiding her depression from her family and friends.

“I wore large sweaters to hide the visible scars, and an emotional mask to hide the invisible ones,” she said.

Now, she is on the path to recovery, with the help of friends and family.

“She was always a strong girl. No matter what came her way, she’d evade it. But I was ashamed to know that I didn’t notice my baby girl’s scars,” Mittelstadt’s mother said.


REFLECTION: I have always enjoyed profile articles. Digging into an individual’s persona and experiences has always been, overall, quite interesting, as each individual has his/her own story. All stories are intriguing, and many of these intriguing stories are dark or strange or both, which tends to create, in my opinion, some of the best stories.



REFLECTION: Journalism, in general, has always been a creative outlet, as has writing. Writing has always been something extremely important to me. Journalism, though a new concept, has become something that I use to de-stress.