Final News Project

MSU Encourages Studying Abroad

Understanding the benefits of studying abroad and being culturally knowledgeable

Studying abroad gives MSU students a chance to travel, live in a different country and understand a culture different than their own.

Why Study in a Different Country?

Student Destinations Fall 2010 - Summer 2011

MSU has a variety of programs and services to send students to the international destination of their choice. There is so much in the world to see besides your own back door.

Student, Shelly Fromm, speaks about why she decided to study in Germany for a semester:

“I wanted to practice my German speaking skills,” Fromm explains. “I did not feel like I was getting the appropriate experience within the classroom alone.”

Student Shelly Fromm at Spring Fest in Munich, Germany

The process may seem overwhelming, but it is well worth every step. Studying abroad creates the opportunity to live in another country for six months to a year which becomes more difficult in later stages of life.

Advantages of studying abroad include:

  • Opportunity to learn a new language
  • Understand a new culture
  • Develop skills not provided in a classroom setting
  • Meet others around the world and make new friends
  • Opportunity to travel to surrounding cities or countries

Decreased Number in Study Abroad Interest

Unfortunately, not as many students study abroad as the University would hope. The number of students studying abroad in the 2010-2011 school year is the lowest it has been in ten years at 212 students while the 2008-2009 school year sent off 338 students.

MSU Students Studying Abroad 2000-2011

Caryn Lindsay, Director of International Programs, discussed her experience and thoughts on why students do not go abroad.  Lindsay said the drop in study abroad students may be due to the economy or lack of understanding of available programs.

Lindsay states, “I think the main reason students do not study abroad is fear.  Travel is so far out of their element, and they are uneasy about being out of their comfort zone.”

On the other hand, Lindsay explains she has not heard one student coming back saying they regret taking the leap. Most students come back actually experiencing reverse culture shock which is the idea that upon returning, they expect to pick up where they left off and have a hard time adjusting to being back home.

Students find it disappointing their peers do not understand the life changing experience they went through. Fortunately, a former study abroad student founded the group Cultural Connections in fall 2010. Cultural Connections is a social network designed for students who have studied abroad, plan to study abroad or in-coming international students.

Fear of Cost

The decline in the economy plays a role in why students chose not to engage in courses abroad. However, students in general do not have funds to pay for high travel costs on top of tuition and other living expenses.

Students can save money by choosing schools which have a partnership with MSU.  Finding a school with a partnership means they can take courses in a different country while still paying MSU’s tuition.

Students also have a chance to use financial aid or scholarships for study abroad. Students have a chance to adjust their financial aid to receive more funds.

In order to learn more, view MSU’s exchanges and partner universities.

MSU Departments

Lindsay also provided information on what students study abroad.  Half of the students who studied abroad in 2010-2011 were from the Arts and Humanities department. Languages are part of this department which is the reason for the high percentage.

However, students from all types of majors venture abroad with the next highest group coming from social behavioral sciences.  Students can find a school to take courses within their major or they can take elective courses.

MSU Departments Study Abroad Fall 2010 - Summer 2011

International Students at MSU

Not only do students from Mankato go abroad, but several international students decide to study at MSU each year. Exchange students come from countries such as:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden

Australian exchange student, Natasha Petito, was asked how she ended up in Mankato, Minnesota.

Aussie Natasha Petito

“I had other options to go to warmer states. However, I wanted to experience something completely different than what I was used to.”

Not only do overseas students come to MSU for exchange opportunities, but for full degree programs as well. There is a total of 719 international students coming from 72 countries.

The highest population of international students come from Nepal, Republic of Korea, India and Saudia Arabia. MSU hosts international events and activites with these countries. The cultural activities enable students from other countries to demonstrate their cultures and also gives MSU student a chance to be exposed to them.

Minnesota State University has several programs for those interested in going abroad. MSU also offers ways for students to become knowledgeable of other countries and cultures through on-campus diversity events.

Information about studying abroad can be found at An appointment can be made with an adviser in the International Programs Office located in CSU 238 or contacted at 507-389-6669.

Keywords: MSU study abroad program, MSU exchange, MSU student travel, MSU international students,  benefits of studying abroad. expenses of studying abroad, MSU study abroad 2010, MSU study abroad 2011

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Social Media and Online Marketing Ethics

Social media has grown exponentially in the past five years and continues to grow. More and more companies are recognizing social media’s importance and are finding the need to get their name out there not only with their website, but with social networks as well. Rules and ethics have to be considered when composing an online identity.

Social media and online forums enable for better engagement with the audience. Not only can viewers obtain information, but they also can comment and ask questions. The journalist in turn can provide additional feedback. Also, social media has become a fast and easy way to get information out quickly to a large audience. Because of this, social networks need to be monitored constantly to provide accurate and ethical information. The Web has ended the one way flow of communication entirely.

Today, public figures are speaking directly to the public through online networks. Five years ago, we did not know what Charlie Sheen had for breakfast everyday.

Because of the easy access and publicity involved in forums and social networks, false advertising occurs much more frequently. Therefore, having professionals who can monitor and sift through information and people is necessary in making sure the right information gets out to the public. The best way to describe the need for regulation is in the text Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories by Ryan M. Thornburg. Thornburg states, “Setting up a place on website where readers can discuss news and then ignoring them when they come there is a bit like throwing a party at your house and then going upstairs to take a nap. The guests will certainly help themselves to the drinks in your fridge, but they are likely to leave the place a mess.”

Online ethics are important to always keep in mind with online marketing. How you portray yourself through social media projects on how you are perceived as a journalist. Anything that is posted online is out there forever and you no longer have control over who can and cannot see it. Even if you have restrictions on who can see the site, viewers can take screen shots of what they see and show it to whomever they like.

In order to manage legal and ethical issues, a code of conduct needs to be created on a website. The code needs to address treatment of community members and website restrictions.

As an online journalist, I find it essential to have rules and regulations such as:

  • Prohibition of vulgar comments
  • Protecting privacy of users and quotes used
  • Keeping advertising out of editorial sections
  • No Impersonation
  • Do not post copyrighted material
  • Banning threats or hate speech

Most importantly, use common sense! YouTube starts of their code of conduct perfectly: “Respect the YouTube Community: We’re not asking for the kind of respect reserved for nuns, the elderly, and brain surgeons.  We mean don’t abuse the site. Every cool new community feature on YouTube involves a certain level of trust. We trust you to be responsible, and millions of users respect that trust. Please be one of them.”  To check out the rest of the guidelines go to

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N.Y. Fashion/PR Week Video

After watching the N.Y. PR week video, I noticed areas of the video that could have been improved in regards to camera angles and camera movement. Since fashion week is kind of a big deal, the video should have shown more full body shots, so we could see what the models were wearing from a better angle. I also noticed the lighting was kind of dark and overall the camera movements seemed to be too quick displaying mainly head shots. Despite the video’s downfalls, I agreed with the producers choice of music. I also liked the PR Week words going across the video in the beginning.

If I were to do the video myself and had only one attempt to make it right, I would add more lighting especially when interviewing individual people, so my viewers can easily see their faces. Also, I would make sure there were more full length body shots to show off all the hot new fashions. The content was good, but how it was displayed and organized needs improvement.

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Analyzing Online News

The CNN article Building in Gadhafi compound possibly struck by cruise missiles is a strong multimedia example. The story’s strongest points are the series of videos shown throughout the story. Videos include footage of fighter jets hitting the Libyan convoy, Tripoli under attack, warplanes and actions to stop Gadhafi. Here is the main video on the top of the page (WordPress would not allow the video to show up)

A photo gallery of the civil war is included as well which had 27 pictures you can click through. Audio and visual elements placed in the story add to it because seeing and hearing about the attacks and civil war is different than just reading about it. The CNN story is the best version because it provides the most videos and other visual aspects that allow you to get the most out of it. I found the same story on NDTV titled Libya air strikes: Gaddafi’s personal compound in Tripoli hit. This story only used one picture and did not have any videos or galleries. However, the story was still informative and got the point across. I also checked out an article on MSNBC titled Gadhafi vows ‘long war’ after US, allies strike which only had a few pictures throughout their story. The pictures they used were effective however.

I think the CNN news story was told effectively. The only thing that could have been added were hyperlinks. However, I was impressed with the usage of multimedia. CNN is one of the most trusted news outlets for a good reason.

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MN Gas Trends Impact Consumer Habits

Rising gas prices push customers toward higher-mileage vehicles

Gasoline in Mankato last week stood at about $3.60 a gallon, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration said there’s a 1-in-4 chance that prices will surpass $4 a gallon this summer.

Oil prices hit their highest point in two years, and the forecast calls for crude oil prices this year and next to exceed 2008 prices.

“When gas prices go up, the focus goes to vehicles that get high gas mileage,” Luther Mankato Honda sales consultant Bob Anderson said. But the opposite is also true: When fuel prices ebb, people resume buying “up.”

Pat Adams, a sales manager at Mankato Motor Co., said he hasn’t seen as much of a customer push toward better-mileage cars as he did in 2008 because people may be better prepared for gas hikes this time around.

Despite the rising gas prices, demand for large trucks and SUVs still exist for work purposes and outdoor enthusiasts. Ben Heintz of Heintz Toyota says there is still good reason to consider vehicles that sip rather than guzzle.

“As we tell customers, whether gas is $2 or $4, you’re still going to save money.”

Keywords: Mankato gas prices, rising gas prices, vehicle gas mileage

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Minnesota 2011 FoodShare Campaign Begins *GRADE ME :)*

Minnesota’s annual FoodShare campaign sets a goal to top the charts.

St. Cloud Times

The Minnesota 2011 FoodShare campaign has a goal of raising 12 million combined pounds and dollars from individuals, businesses and many others.

From 2000 to 2010, food shelf usage across Minnesota has tripled– from more than 1 million visits to more than 3 million visits annually. From 2008 to 2009, there was a 25 percent increase in food shelf visits in Minnesota– the largest recorded increase in 28 years.

In 2010, food shelf usage increased on average 14 percent statewide. In the Twin Cities’ suburbs, some food shelves saw a 60 percent increase.

It is estimated 14 percent of all Minnesota households do not have enough food. That equates to about 723,000 hungry Minnesotans– almost the combined populations of Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud.

The 2011 FoodShare campaign is just beginning. Participants report to FoodShare their totals once a week throughout March. Donations are due the first week in April.

Keywords: 2011 FoodShare, Minnesota food shelves, FoodShare campaign

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MSU Reporter FAQ Page

1. How do I become a member?

In order to become a member, you have to go to the user registration page where you can submit your details.

2. What are the MSU Reporter’s business hours?

Hours and contact information can be found in the bottom right corner on the home page.

3. Can I find the MSU Reporter on social media websites?

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook or check out our blogs

4. Is there a way I can find out when the Reporter will be issued?

Yes. You can find issue dates on the publication calendar.

5. How do I submit a letter to the editor?

Hover over ‘Opinions’ on the home page and go to Letters to the Editor. At the bottom of this page, you can fill in your contact details and your letter.

6. Can I download your media kit?

Yes. You can download our media kit as a PDF file..

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