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.

All About Online Banking

Banking today isn’t about standing in line anymore. Instead of waiting in line, go online, and discover the advantages of internet banking. Access your account 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Do all of your banking from the comfort of your own home. In fact, the advantages are numerous:

  • Look at your financial statements anytime you want. The online transaction record is updated instantly, so when the bank knows you made the transaction, you know too.
  • Save precious time and money. Going to the bank often requires booking time off work, driving a considerable distance, and spending hours in line. Doing your banking from home will save you has money, and will help you avoid unneeded stress.
  • Reschedule your payments. If you need to skip a payment, or pay off your credit card early, a simple click of the mouse and the transaction will be complete.
  • Send yourself money. If you are in the business or habit of sending money internationally, or even between cities, you could save yourself considerable hassle by transferring your money electronically from the comfort of your chosen internet connection.
  • Borrow money when you need it. If you have a financial product such as a line of credit, you can borrow money from it over the internet. A simple click and you can place the money in your checking or savings account.
    The possibilities of using the internet to conduct financial transactions has greatly increased the flexibility of the modern internet user. Instead of spending your life waiting in line at a bank, go online, and save your time and money.

7 Best Tips For Healthy Clay Pot Cooking

Clay pot cooking is the oldest and time-tested method for healthy cooking. While people are struggling to fight the ill effects of modern ways of cooking, with this safe and simple way of cooking, nobody ever had complaints. This is probably the reason people are slowly going back to their roots by switching to clay cookware.

There is a new challenge with clay pot cooking today it is rare that people are making it with the health value in mind so the clay pots available in the market are unfortunately chemical laden and coated with toxic enamels and glazes (like ceramics). The more beautiful and colorful they look on the outside, the more toxins they may leach while cooking. The cheaper they are, it’s possible that additives are used to make them faster and smoother. It’s important that you choose a truly healthy pot and here are 7 tips to choosing and using the best clay pots:

1. Always Choose Primary Clay

Primary clay is the purest form of clay – it has absolutely no toxins. Only primary clay is naturally inert, so doesn’t react to food like metals and ceramics. There are many clay pots available in the market that are made from secondary or tertiary clay but they have contaminants that may leach into your food while cooking.

2. No Chemicals, Glazes or Enamels

Most makers start using chemicals to make the process easier. In fact, every mechanized process needs the raw material to be treated with chemicals. The glazes and enamels might make your clay pots and pans colorful, attractive and even robust but they contaminate food. So always choose a cookware made from unglazed primary clay (or pure clay).

3. Seasoning Is Important

Seasoning your pure clay pot as per instructions is very important for cooking delicious food every time and it also increases the life of your pot. Pure clay is naturally non-stick, so after proper seasoning, if done right, the food should never stick to the bottom.

4. Choose Ingredients Carefully

You have finally chosen the healthiest clay pot – great, but it will all be in vain if you won’t use the right ingredients. For healthy clay pot cooking, make sure you choose all-natural organic ingredients that are unprocessed and nutrition-rich. A balanced diet is all you and your family needs for a healthy body, so always pay attention to the nutritional value of your ingredients.

5. Cook At Medium to Low Heat

Pure clay pots are great retainers of heat and the near infrared heat radiating from their walls cooks food evenly with gentle heat. It keeps nutrients intact and food cooks in almost the same time at low-medium heat as it does on high heat in metal/ceramic cookware.

Cooking at low-medium heat not only prevents food from burning and sticking to the bottom, it also improves the durability of your pure clay pot.

6. Choose A Pot That Manages Steam Well

Steam management is an important aspect of healthy cooking. In conventional cookware, the steam pressure inside the pot gets too much while cooking with harsh, near-infrared heat from metals/ceramics. So their lids have vents to release excessive steam in order to protect the pot from exploding.

Not many are aware that steam is water-soluble nutrients. As the body can’t store them like fat-soluble nutrients, they are needed every day. If the steam is released freely while cooking, the food becomes nutritionally deficient.

An ergonomically designed pure clay pot and lid make sure when steam rises from food, condenses at the inner surface of the lid (the lid being cooler than the pot) and settles back into the food before cooking is complete. This way, the water-soluble nutrients are preserved and your body is nourished with them regularly.

7. Clean With Water – No Soap

Regardless of what the label says, all soaps are toxic. When you are using a 100% non-toxic cookware, it’s important that you keep it away from anything toxic or chemical laden. Pure clay pots are naturally porous, so food doesn’t stick to the surface. You can always clean them with bare hands in normal water. Though you can scrub it a little if burnt food sticks at the bottom.

By following these simple yet useful tips, you can do wonders with healthy clay pot cooking. This will not only keep your body nourished with essential nutrients but will also protect you from common infections and diseases by strengthening your immunity.

Pain Relief – The Real Value of Alternative Medicine for Endometriosis Pain

Over 5 ½ million women in the United and Canada, the pain from endometriosis is all too real. Because the tissue that n lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, these women suffer through many various pain symptoms. Whether they experience excessive bleeding, lower back and abdominal pain, or infertility (inability to become pregnant), most women with this disease seek endometriosis pain relief treatments and products that provide effective pain relief.

Endometriosis pain treatment is available in many forms, such as over-the-counter medication, hormone therapy, and surgical options.

However, for some women, the side effects of these manufactured medicines are not worth the end result. Many women tend to find relief using a more natural method of endometriosis pain treatment.

Natural Endometriosis Pain Treatment Options

Speak to your doctor before you try a natural method of endometriosis pain treatment to make sure what you have is truly endometriosis. If your doctor agrees that a natural method of endometriosis pain treatment is right for you, begin treatment. Some of your alternative endometriosis pain treatment options include:

o Acupressure. Acupressure is a Chinese method of pain relief that relies on pressure to stimulate channels of energy. Acupressure is a successful endometriosis pain treatment for women experiencing painful cramps. Find a doctor who is accredited to practice both conventional medicine and acupressure.

o Acupuncture. Chinese medical practitioners believe that acupuncture is a very effective endometriosis pain treatment. Combined with herbal therapy, acupuncture regulates stagnant blood, which causes much of the inflammation and pain of endometriosis. It will require a few treatments before you experience any material results. If results are not apparent by the 3rd treatment, discontinue or find another practitioner .

o Herbal Medicine. Many believe that specific medicinal plants can heal a patient naturally. For endometriosis pain treatment, herbs are first taken to rebalance the hormone levels in the body. Then, other herbs are used to strengthen the immune system. These herbs will eventually lead to the elimination of the disease. One of the most effective herbal formulated products on the market is a product called Menastil, with its penetration agent derived from the Calendula flower. Menastil is a topically applied, non-addictive, non-narcotic pain relief solution that has proven very effective for endometriosis pain relief.

o Exercise. Do not underestimate the amazing health benefits of exercise. Simple exercises, such as aerobics, walking and swimming, can help prevent cramps, improve circulation, and relax the uterus.

o Aromatherapy. Essential oils, like chamomile, lavender, and jasmine can reduce endometriosis adhesions. These oils along with massage therapy can strengthen the immune system, help with sleep issues, and heal muscles and tissues.

The focus of alternative medicine is to help the body heal itself naturally. Who knows? Alternative medicine used as endometriosis pain treatment may be able to help you cope with your painful symptoms.

For more information about alternative medicine used as endometriosis pain treatment, check out The Institute for Female Alternative Medicine.