Wednesday, September 18, 2013

VCU Basketball: Impact freshman for 2013-14 season

I'm proud to be the new VCU Basketball correspondent intern for!

You can read my article by clicking the link below! Check out the website for more of my articles as well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Internship Work

Last summer (2012) I had the privilege of interning at the Richmond Clear Channel Inc. station. After learning my way around the station with lots of help from the wonderful people working there I was able to conduct a few interviews and get audio for the anchors to use in their news stories. I also was allowed to practice and write my own radio packages with the stories the reporters were using for the day and the audio they had. These are a few samples of the unofficial practice stories I wrote and recorded for the Virginia News Network.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monroe Park Renovations

Monroe Park Renovations is a television news package that I wrote, reported and edited. My story was chosen to be one of two published on the local Richmond NBC 12 website. This is my most recent television package, but it was done in 2011 so keep in mind i'm using it for my work and content not the most recent advances on this subject! Thanks!

In addition here is what I wrote for my web version of this story....

Final Project- Controversy Arises with Plans to Renovate Monroe Park
May 9, 2011
By: Melissa Stephenson (Email- )

RICHMOND, VA (WVCU) - Along with a new jail and plans to expand city roads, Mayor Dwight Jones also has serious renovation plans for Monroe Park.
There has been talk for a few years now about plans to renovate Monroe Park and to make it more inviting. Many people use the park in Richmond for sports, leisure time and school activities. But for the homeless, it’s place to spend their daylight hours.
One local homeless man Bill Hill believes that the park will never be closed for any reason. They keep talking about it but I don’t see them doing it because there are just too many homeless people. He says “Where are they going to go?”
The mayor has set aside $1.9 million in park renovation funds through his 2012-2013 biennial budget for the city. However, an issue raised by the renovation plans is what happens to the homeless when that park is closed for a facelift. Will it cause homeless shelters, alley ways and parks may to be over populated with homeless people who have nowhere else to go.
Many organizations that aid homeless people in Monroe Park are insisting that the renovations do not disrupt the care they give to the homeless. Groups Such as “Food not Bombs” believe that their work is even more important.
Other groups, such as the “Wingnut Anarchist Collective,” have decided to take matters into their own hands. A camp was built up and signs went up about a month ago as the group sat in Monroe Park and made it obvious that they were not ok with the park closing to the homeless for any reason.
As a result of this act nine people, many of whom had no permanent address themselves, were charged with trespassing after staying in the park after the sun had set, which city laws do not permit. Acts like these will most likely not end until the final decision is made and/or renovations begin for good.
In addition, many facilities which are used to help the homeless around the city are beginning to worry about the impact closing the park to the homeless may have on them as well. Sterling Severns, Pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church, volunteers in a group that gives food and clothes to the homeless once a week. Seeing the homeless problem first hand makes him worried that they may be forgotten about.
Severns hopes that the way authorities will look at is as though “it’s not um, a were closing the park, therefore you have to go somewhere else, it’s were closing the park so let’s see what we can do to take care of you.” Severns is aware that his church may need to expand their help, which they do in partnership with the Richmond Food Bank, if the homeless do end up with nowhere else to go.
On the other hand, people like James Thompson believe as though the homeless are the reason Richmond’s oldest park has gotten so run down and that they need to be relocated. Thompson provides services to the homeless in many states through ministry and feels as though “If you see any trash it did not come from anybody at VCU or walking through here. It comes from the homeless people. It’s like they got an attitude I don’t care. So if they close it down, hey, they did it.”
Thompson also noted that over the few days he spent in Monroe Park he saw many illegal activities going on. Two instances resulted in people being arrested for selling marijuana. With experiences like these people like Thompson tend to develop negative opinions about the homeless people living their day lives in the park.
As the number of homeless people in Monroe Park grows, so do the concerns of residents who use the park and local authorities. The good news, for some, is no renovations will begin until all funds are raised. We will know if the mayor’s budget is approved in late May.

Visit Tabernacle Baptist Church’s site at:
See Mayor Jones’s budget proposal in full at:

Bill Hill- Local Homeless
No permanent address or phone number

Sterling Severns- Pastor (Tabernacle Baptist Church)
1925 Grove Avenue (at Meadow St.)
Richmond, VA 23220
James Thompson- travels with different ministries helping the homeless
No permanent address

Fake ID Use

Fake ID Use is a television news package that I wrote, reported and edited. The story is based on the use of fake IDs in downtown Richmond.

Hollaback Richmond News Package

Hollaback Richmond is a television news package that I wrote, reported and edited as one of my first class projects. Hollaback Richmond is a group which aims at stopping local street harassment. ENJOY!