Broadcast Script

Sex violence, harassment and assault continue to be one of the most pressing issues in America today, especially among students on college campuses.

On November 9th, the University of Georgia hosted a TEDxUGA event showcasing nine students, giving TED talks on innovative ideas to over 500 fellow students in the audience.

Cameron Harris, a fourth year at the University, is president of his own non-profit called Breaking the Shackles – an organization that works to raise awareness and educate the community on sex trafficking and sex violence.

In the two years since he brought his non-profit on campus, his staff members and volunteers have almost tripled in size growing from 15 to over 40 and the organization has hosted live music events each semester and fundraised by hosting percentage nights at local Athens coffee shops.

Harris says that the core value of this organization is community. He hopes that students will be meeting each other at these events and mobilizing each other, encouraging students to continue starting the conversation on topics like these, and actively serve and volunteer with partnering organizations who tangibly fight the cause.



TEDxUGA showcase, opening the conversation on sex violence

The University of Georgia gives students a platform to address social issues and fight for social change

More than 20 on campus sex offenses were reported in the last year, according to the 2015 University of Georgia crime statistics report. Cameron Harris, a fourth year student at the university, has taken it upon himself to open up this difficult and important conversation to the student body.

On November 9th, UGA hosted a TED Talk event for students to come and share their innovative ideas on subjects of their choice to fellow students. Harris gave his TED Talk on his organization Breaking the Shackles, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works to fight and end sex trafficking and various forms sex violence.

“I wanted to do something for a cause that was underrepresented,” says Harris. “Through a conversation with one of my classmates, she told me about sex trafficking in Georgia so I went home and did some more research and found that there’s a high occurrence of child sex trafficking, specifically in Georgia.”

In the two years since Harris started Breaking the Shackles, the organization has almost tripled in size growing from 15 members to over 40. The organization mainly runs off of private donations and merchandise revenue and a percentage of their funding goes toward for their partnership charity, Wellspring Living, hoping to help them reach their goal of $10,000 by spring 2017.

Their most recent fundraising efforts consisted of hosting live music events, percentage nights and establishing relationships with Athens local coffee shops like Jittery Joe’s, Two Story Coffee and Zombie Coffee and Donuts. The organization raised $72 from their Jittery Joe’s percentage night and is still working toward their overall goal.

Educating communities and raising awareness on sex violence goes beyond UGA’s campus. The Cottage is an Athens local non-profit and advocacy center that works with sexual assault survivors, children, families and students at UGA.

Sally Sheppard, the executive director, helps ensure that The Cottage fulfills its mission, their staff is well trained, well paid and that grantors are pleased with how their money is being spent. She also oversees policy and procedure development for the organization and directs and informs her board of directors on what actions to take next.

“I think we get excellent support from the community,” says Sheppard. “The state of Georgia has recognized the importance of funding for child advocacy.”

Samantha Meyer, a board member for The Cottage, specifically oversees fundraising and advertising for the agency. She’s recently worked on fundraising events like Friends of The Cottage and Unplugged that encourage monthly donations. According to the 2015, 990 forms on GuideStar, The Cottage’s contribution and grant amounts have increased from $315,864 to $353,157 and as a result of this increase, they have been able to hire a new director that facilitates group therapy.

“We just had our third annual event, and the event itself and the amount raised has increased over that period of time,” says Meyer. “Our staff provides vital services… and participants have benefited from being able to connect with people who have had similar experiences.”

The Cottage consists of six full time staff members, 30 hotline volunteers and 15 board members, all of which have increased since 2007 when Sheppard started working for The Cottage. Their relationships with general donors like United Way of Northeast Georgia, and donations from the state of Georgia enable their staff to provide free services like crisis counseling, information referrals and therapy to survivors.

Including Breaking the Shackles, the UGA has a variety of organizations that work to educate the student body on causes like these. Hannah Stanley, a third year student coordinator for UGA’s chapter of International Justice Mission, believes that the student body can champion behind this cause and affect change. Stanley has been involved with International Justice Mission for three years and has seen how education and awareness can directly change people’s lives.

“I want to see UGA’s student body become more involved in on campus organizations and efforts to do hands on work,” says Stanley. With the variety of organizations available at students’ disposal, Stanley also recommends that students get efficient in their involvement. “If we want to end this, we are going to have to get smart about it, and efficiency is a big part is that.”

Breaking the Shackles like many other organizations are continuing work to energize students on subjects like this and help them find roles in the solutions and work proactively to prevent more of these cases.

“We want people to be meeting each other at events… we want people who are justice minded and justice oriented,” says Harris. “We also want to mobilize people… for a majority of our audience, they’re looking for that next step.”

Harris believes that keeping consistent with the core values of community and student body are the best ways to keep this issue at the forefront of people’s minds and help them to tangibly fight for this cause.




News Review #5

Story: 8,000 march against Trump in Los Angeles

Story description: Following Election Day’s unexpected outcome, many have protested president elect, Donald Trump. Sunday was the fourth day of many “anti-Trump” protests happening in major cities. Over 8,000 protesters took to the streets of LA in opposition to Trump’s policies.The LAPD released a news release thanking the 8,000 protesters for exercising their first amendment rights in peace and unity.

Why you selected this story: I chose this story because I feel like there’s a misunderstanding of why people are protesting. People feel disrespected by discriminatory and hateful rhetoric used during Trump’s campaign and are fearful that his win could legitimize pre-existing bias and incite hateful acts. I also wanted to write on a story that showcases people protesting in unity and peace. It says a lot about the protesters that the LAPD thanked them.

How was this treated on social media:

Facebook: The story was posted to both CNN’s main page and CNN’s politics page

Twitter: The story was tweeted from CNN’s page


News Review #4

Story: Woman gives birth at Walmart, receives belated baby shower at store

Story description: Earlier this month, Cecilia Rivas, give birth to her son Matias at the local neighborhood Walmart shopping center in Payson, Utah. Close to her due date, she started feeling pains as she was shopping around and her water later broke in the checkout aisle. Both employees and customers assisted with the delivery ensuring a smooth procedure given there was no medical assistance. Yesterday, Rivas returned back to that same Walmart to find that the employees were throwing her a surprise baby shower. Rivas received baby food, clothing, diapers, toys, a stroller and other items to assist her and her newborn.Rivas expressed her gratitude toward the employees for their help during and following the birth.

Why you selected this story: I selected this story because as predictable as birth is, it can still catch people by surprise. I thought it was really interesting that both employees and customers alike were willing to assist and be helpful as she gave birth in the middle of the store. It’s even more unique that they would throw her a surprise baby shower with the store’s merchandise.

How was this treated on social media: There was no mention of the story on AJC’s Twitter or Facebook account.

UGA vs. Emory University, debate on immigration policy reform

The University of Georgia and Emory University got bold on Tuesday night, tackling one of the most divisive issues of this election – immigration policy.

About 80 students attended the debate between The Georgia Debate Union contended and Emory University’s Barkley Forum for Debate, Deliberation, and Dialogue. Debating different solutions and approaches to this issue, the panel consisted of six students, three from UGA and three from Emory University.


UGA students Victoria Yonter and Tucker Boyce look over their notes, preparing for the debate.

Harry Stone, a third year at Emory University, opened the debate stating that America stands to benefit from comprehensive immigration reform as it can further the education of the entire population, but especially for immigrants.

“The value of education has limitless dividends and creates ripples that lead to an increase of social and economic welfare,” says Stone.

Countering that argument, third year UGA student Victoria Yonter, stated that instead, America only needs to strengthen and reinforce its current policies on immigration, rather than calling for a full on reform.

“Though reform looks pretty and shiny, it’s simply not effective,” says Yonter.

Arguing that the current immigration policies are sufficient, she reemphasized the importance of strengthening our porous borders and increasing security and regulation of immigration altogether.


The audiences prepares to hear the debate as a professor gives the welcome and introduction.

Given that this issue is just as personal as it is controversial, it’s inevitable that bias presented itself in arguments from both sides. Cameron Henderson, a third year at UGA, thought this bias led to too much discussion of personal opinions on how to solve the issue, rather than discussing actual policies.

“I just wish they could’ve been more specific in differentiating between each side’s opinion on the issue,” says Henderson.

In an effort to give students more insight on policies and mobilize them to vote, UGA has put on events like this all semester. Events like these have afforded opportunities to students like Bailey Davison, a fourth year International Affairs major, to learn more about topics that she takes interest in and be well informed.


UGA student Victoria Yonter represents her team first, opening with her arguments. 

“I definitely think it’s important that UGA provides events like this throughout the year, especially during an election season,” says Davison. “It’s a way for students to become informed voters on specific issues.”

The University is ensuring its students are active and informed for the upcoming election by hosting events like these. Over the next three weeks, there are many more events students will be able to attend and participate in regarding the election.


Downtown Athens under fire for racism and exclusion

Ask any student at the University of Georgia to describe downtown Athens and you’d hear words like trendy, crazy or spunky.

On Thursday night, Professor Pratt Cassity gave over 150 students a wake up call adding a much uglier word to their downtown vocabulary – racist.

Downtown Athens is a social hub as students, tourists, and Athens locals alike go there to eat, shop and even study.


Cassity, the director of public service and outreach for the College of Environment and Design at the University, gave a lecture on the importance of white privilege and ethnic cleansing in downtown Athens. Giving students a detailed account of Athens’ history, Cassity explained how a range of demographics has changed over time.

“There were African-American communities, Latino communities, poor communities, gay communities”, said Cassity. “The very buildings and places they seem to be cleansing were once the very part of this history”.


As more Millennials have taken up residence in Athens in the past 30 years, the ever evolving college town has had but no choice to make accommodations for its predominantly White, middle and upper middle class demographics. Student housing became a priority to accommodate the influx in population, but new facilities displaced many of the long time Athens residents.

“The most dramatic change is the student geared, upper class, towering apartments that are not family friendly,” says Cassity. “That’s hard for anyone to live in who doesn’t have that level of income”.


Giving several examples of discriminatory spaces downtown, Cassity highlighted the General Beauregard’s scandal, a popular bar for students that many community members have labeled as racist because of their admission policy and menu items, making it a non-inclusive space.

Chelsea McMahan, a second year Horticulture major and attendee, thought the topic was eye opening and broadened her horizons.

“Statistically people of lower incomes are people of color,” says McMahan. “I know that these problems exist and that we need to do something about it.”

Athens-Clarke County is both home to over 25,000 people living below the federal poverty line and to 36,000 students who are predominantly middle and upper middle class.

“We’re excluding people so we can include others,” says Cassity. “This isn’t right and people know it.”

In order to make a difference, Cassity claims that people have to be committed to doing the right thing and to inclusiveness as people have been in the past about exclusiveness.

News Review #3

Story: Sanders brushes off leaked Clinton criticism

Story description:

Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, shared commentary on former running mate Bernie Sanders’ policies and the audio was leaked. Clinton called Sanders’ policy about free college a false promise and described his supporters as young people who are “children of the Great Recession” – many of which according to Clinton are new to politics and still live with their parents. When asked about Clinton’s comments on his supporters, Sanders was bothered by the comments, but agreed that this was a problem and a primary issue around which he built his campaign. He reiterated that this was his main point – many graduates facing student loans weren’t able to find the jobs they needed and now work jobs that don’t pay them a livable wage.

Why you selected this story:

I chose this story because as Election Day gets closer, the media is constantly bombarding us with new information on the candidates. The Democratic Party has been pretty divided for most of the election, as Sanders had and still has a huge following and did well throughout his campaign and in the primaries. With this new leaked information, we have a little more insight as to what Clinton’s true opinions are with those issues regarding Millennials and their economic opportunities. Much of the underlying tension toward Clinton from Sanders supporters lies in Clinton’s dishonesty and authenticity regarding those issues. Sanders supporters are strong advocates for free college, eliminating student debt and creating jobs for graduates so they can enter the workforce.

How was the story used or treated on social media:

There was no mention of this story on CNN’s Facebook. CNN tweeted about the incident and shared a link to the video of Bernie Sanders’ response to the audio clip.

TEDxUGA Speech


“You are somebody and you can do something,” says Melaney Smith.

Smith, the founder of the summer reading program Books for Keeps, gave an empowering speech on making a difference in lower income communities. As a UGA alum and current Athens-Clarke county resident, she brought to light the importance of reform and educational resources within lower income communities.

Statistically, educational resources are not offered at the same level in lower income communities as they are in middle or higher income communities. In 2009, Smith saw the need for a free book program to encourage summer reading and keep all children’s brains active and engaged outside of the school year.

“Children from low-income families are so much more susceptible and it’s often due to simple lack of access,” says Smith. She calls this learning gap summer slide. “This can lead to a two-year achievement gap by the 6th grade.”

Through her Books for Keeps program, Smith has created an opportunity for economically disadvantaged children to have access to reading and other academic materials throughout the summer and keep up with their classmates. She started from humble beginnings, realizing that there was a need in her community and found a way to address it.

Smith says that initially she had to fight off feelings of being small and inadequate when it came to starting her foundation.

“We have a tendency to believe that our small efforts can’t possibly make a difference,” says Smith. “But it’s so empowering to stop thinking about your or the world’s massive problems and just address the need that is in front of right at that moment.”

Smith is challenging community members to think small and make efforts despite how small they might seem. No matter how small, needs are still needs and even one hour of someone’s time or $5 can ensure that a child eats dinner that night or has a book to read before they go to bed at night. The biggest differences people can make in their communities start with them. If everyone thought smaller, communities could be transformed and built as a collective effort.

“That first small step, that dollar, that hour, I’m telling you they matter even if you never see the proof,” says Smith.


UGA alum, Melaney Smith, has started a summer reading program called Books For Keeps. This program will ensure lower-income children have educational resources outside of the school year.

Statistics show that summer reading helps keep young minds active and engaged, avoiding a summer backslide.

“It can lead to a two year achievement gap by the 6th grade,” says Smith. “Children who aren’t reading on grade level by the 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.”

Books for Keeps is currently distributing over 45,000 books a year for children in the Athens-Clarke county area.

As a current resident of Athens-Clarke county, Smith is working diligently to ensure that the educational resources in the community remain accessible for each child.

“We are leveling the playing field for these children where access to books is concerned,” says Smith.






News Review #2

Story: MLK relative, neighbors robbed in retirement community

Story description:

Last Saturday, a retirement community in southwest Atlanta faced danger as criminals broke into several parked cars. Seniors living in Big Bethel Village said this was not the first incident and are calling for more security and safety measures to be taken. Resident Naomi King, MLK’s sister-in-law, was carjacked at Big Bethel Village last October and reports from Ruth Manson, the resident council president, said that another lady was attacked this past Friday. No one was in their cars at the time of attack, but several items have been reported stolen. The retirement community has a security fence, but residents are saying that improvements such as better lighting and more police patrols are long overdue.

Why you selected the story:

Mainly this story intrigued me because of the headline. Break-ins happen frequently, but the detail about MLK’s relative was interesting. The headline also mentioned this particular break-in was in a retirement community. As I was reading I found it concerning that this wasn’t the first incident and there hasn’t been much intervention or concern from the community to stop it or to make improvements on security and safety. It’s very obvious that the residents don’t feel safe at home and that after several incidents like this they feel at risk. At the end of the article Ruth Manson, the resident council president, was quoted saying that people are always talking about Black Lives Matter but Senior Lives Matter too and it’s important that we recognize that and address it with the same level of urgency as any other group of people that is at risk or feels marginalized.

How was the story used or treated on social media:

There was no mention of this story on AJC’s Facebook or Twitter.