Book Review

A biography of Anderson Cooper

By Elizabeth Casella

Wayne State University

Com 2100, April 10, 2018

“Anderson Cooper: Journalist, Correspondent, News Anchor”

By Crystal Reynolds

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Published: August 9, 2016

Pages: 72

Price: $5.95 on Amazon or free on Kindle Unlimited


Anderson Cooper is a common household news name and personality. With an extensive career in journalism as well as becoming a celebrity for his family life and short modeling careers, he can be seen as an icon with several books about him and the award winning work he has covered and produced. In the short biography, “Anderson Cooper: Journalist, Correspondent, News Anchor,” author Crystal Reynolds tries to convey his life and career to readers. She uses examples from interviews, news articles, his own works and what can be assumed to be research on a personal level with Cooper through interviews or other outside sources, but is never quiet clear.
Reynolds is a writer from Detroit. She has a passion for TV personalities. She has written at least three other books, but is not a commonly known author, publishing mostly with independent companies. This is Reynolds only biography with her three other books falling in the fiction category and co-wrote with author Gordon Kurby.

Reynolds offers a very strange writing style in this biography of Cooper. It is laced with conversational tones with the reader, but has an essence of being written from afar. It is as if she wrote each chapter individually and then grouped them together into a book instead of telling a complete story. The book covers the early life of Cooper briefly. Then goes into his schooling, career, relationships, ect. in mostly chronological order. The book is riddled with poor sentence structure and incomplete thoughts such as the first introduction sentence, “Star journalist and News Anchor Anderson Hays Cooper popularly known as the witty host of the Anderson Cooper 360 [degrees], a one- hour newscast on day’s top stories on Cable News Network (CNN) and contributor to CBS News’ 60 Minutes.”

The book also has many repetition hat becomes and annoyance to the reader. A prime example is the introduction of Cooper’s mother every time or in some variation of, “Gloria Vanderbilt, artist, jeans designer and heiress belonged to the richest family in America.” The author also repeats this trend with his other family members and characters. The constant long introductions of preciously presented information when it is not necessarily are a turn off because it causes a break in the stories flow.

A highlight to the book is that the chapters are short. The book itself in whole is quiet a short novel. The break-up and almost disjointment of chapters gives readers an easy option to read quickly or out of order and still have a clear picture of who Anderson Cooper is and what the author is referring to in his life or career. She also does not linger on any one topic for very long and brings in continuous references from other sources such as in Chapter four about his family life. It discusses his parents and brother and quickly segways into his pedigree on his mother’s side and then to his half siblings. She then mentions another relative he found in 2014 while on a television show appearance. She references the show directly in a short sentence before ending the chapter with no real explanation as to why it was important.

The book overall gives the reader a sense of Cooper’s life overall and acknowledges his career in modest detail. There are no real in depth stories or chapters as to how these experiences had a true impact or the process of how he developed his craft and skill. Reynolds mentions that he decided he did not want to pursue a career working for the FBI like he had during school and became a self proclaimed journalist. Through his love for survival and travel he stumbled upon his first breakthrough story and had to launch his career on his own, but that is about it. The book misses the in depth details and explanations that leave the reader feeling as if they know the subject like biographies often can do and more is just a basic life outline.

The author also fails to make the writing feel like her own. It seems as if it could be written based off extensive research solely and no real underlying investigation done. The direct quotes from many other Television interviews, quotes from his autobiography or other news articles written about him, it does not seem personal or even like anything more than a glorified research paper.

The book itself could be a great reference for a basic research paper or story about Cooper, but has no real depth into his life and experiences from a creative viewpoint. It is simply some lesser known facts and life points researched and clipped together into short chapters.

This book is a great way of summing up Anderson Cooper in a essence of short and sweet taken to heart.


— 30 —


Story 5

Having a conversation

By Elizabeth Casella

Wayne State University

Com 2100, April 4, 2018


The conversation surrounding mass shootings and gun reform is not a new one to the American public. Gun reform, second amendment rights and mental health stigmas all play a role in this heated debate that begins every time a mass shooting occurs.

On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed in the Parkland, FL high school shooting. According to Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection and research group, this shooting marked the fourth this year where five or more people were killed and can be coined as “mass shootings.”

“I feel that the focus needs to be on mental health moving forward. Students definitely need to be a focus. Teachers and others need to be encouraged to say something and have them get tested formally or have some formal screening and counseling to at least have some better sense of these issues without a stigma,” said Neuroscience major and student senate candidate Bilal Hammoud.

To start, there is no single definition accepted for mass shootings, but the United States Congressional Research Services, that many media outlets acknowledge, define a public mass shooting as “one in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed.” However according to the Investigative Assistance for Violent Crimes Act of 2012 and FBI a mass shooting is defined as a shooting with at least three victims, excluding the perpetrator.

It is continually argued what the exact definition is, but the more prominent debate is how to move forward with combatting gun violence regarding mass shootings and schools in particular. After the Parkland shooting mass protests among high school and younger students began throughout the country. March for our lives, walkouts and walk-ups were all organized in efforts to force gun reform.

The question is how? Those in favor of the gun lobby such as the National Rifle Association and many republicans argue that any form of gun regulations is not an acceptable solution because it is an infringement of second amendment rights.

“Gun reform needs to happen. I don’t believe this means banning the use of guns for the nation, but I implore the current administration to rethink the regulations and stipulations for buying firearms as well as what kind of firearms are allowed to be purchased,” said Student Senate member Trina Schulz.

Mental health issues have been pin pointed as a leading factor because most of these shooters suffer from major mental illnesses that were diagnosed or showed signs before the events took place. Mental health reform cannot be the main solution though.

“I am in favor of mental health reform and heavier security. My organization is also not in support of gun control, like me, but other areas of reform instead,” said Wayne State University College Republicans Social member August Shettler.

Reform on the types of guns, amount of rounds and loaded clips sold to the public and stricter screenings need to be addressed. This does not mean taking guns away from anyone for gun related activities or basic protection. Access to guns needs to be made harder and safer, to stop the unqualified from finding loopholes to purchase guns, as well as stopping those who face mental issues that may turn to guns for solutions.

“I am nervous for my future and my future students. Will they ever feel safe at schools? There are so many guns in America that it’s hard to say with even the best regulation that it would stop horrific school shootings from happening. We need education on proper gun use, strict background checks and more discussion on which guns should be readily available for U.S. citizens,” said elementary education major Lily Douma.

Feature story 2

— 30 —

Story 4

Taking on Alcohol Consumption

By Elizabeth Casella

Wayne State University

Com 2100, March 15, 2018


When living in dorms on college campuses, residents have endless rules and regulations they are to adhere to for the protection of themselves as well as the others. With these rules though always comes the ways to break them that most residents ultimately discover. Most of these policies are directed toward the use of drugs and alcohol. Usually violations and arrests for these substances are among the highest reports that campuses receive, especially within residence halls. Wayne State is no different.

In the 2017 crime and safety report numbers involving liquor law violations and disciplinary action taken remain the highest numbers than any other violations or crimes on campus. Starting in 2014 the rates were relatively low with fewer than 50 disciplinary actions. In 2015 and 2016 this number nearly doubled to around 150, all occurring in residential housing. It cannot be said what caused this rate to rise so drastically, but should be of concern for officials and residents.

“To be honest the RAs said they know we are going to have alcohol and drink in the dorms no matter what, so just be safe about it,” said Atchinson Hall resident Marissa Mata. “No matter how many rules there are people will find a way to consume it or have it, so why not educate them more on safety instead of on just the policies against it.”

The community living guide from housing and residential life states the Ghafari and Atchinson Hall dorms both have exclusively dry dorm policies, meaning no alcohol is allowed on the premise regardless of age. Other campus housing allows students over the age of 21 to drink alcohol or contain alcohol within the room only when all members of the room are of legal age and may not consume alcohol when underage guests are present.

If students are caught with alcohol in their rooms several types of disciplinary actions can be taken such as being kicked out of housing, academic suspension, social activities bans or holds on certain accounts. If students are reported to the extent where Wayne State Police are called and an arrest is made legal action may take place with more severe disciplinary action as well said Towers Desk Assistant Vivian Toland.

“The community director on duty is called if after hour reports are made. During normal hours the community director for the building is called to handles reports from RAs for violations,” said Toland.

The community living guide is given to every resident when they move in. Mandatory floor meetings are also held to go over the policies a week after move in. RAs hold and housing staff is able to do room checks at any time as well, said housing and residential life personnel.

Even with these policies, there is still a rate of alcohol abuses that is beginning to remain steady at high numbers that could possibly even rise in coming years. The solution may be to educate residents more frequently about these policies, as well as enforce them more strictly.

“RAs can do a search whenever they want, but they mostly do it when we go on break it seems,” said housing resident Liliana Lemus. “The policies of dry dorms themselves are pointless. We pay so much to live here I feel like we should be allowed to bring what we want into our rooms, if we are of legal age.”

Security measures may be another fault in the method of housing. The Any campus housing is secure with scanners to enter the premises that only will unlock for residents of that specific building. Upon entrance 24-7 desk personnel check one cards to check in residents or outside guests. To further measures, the stairs and elevators also will not activate or unlock without a swipe of a residents one card. At night security cards are also posted inside entrances, with cameras filming the premises residential personnel said.

“Wayne State does not offer enough security when it comes to alcohol related incidents because people can bring it in in their bags or water bottles without ever being checked,” said Lemus.

There are many more incidents left unreported or unnoticed that leave the question of what can be the best solution to lowering rates of liquor law violations and arrest within residential halls?


Hard News Story 3


Story 3

Beatification through sign changes

By Elizabeth Casella

Wayne State University

Com 2100, Feb. 9, 2018


For years’ street signs have littered the city, never seizing to grab driver’s attention. Livonia is no different with an exuberant amount of traffic signs to match the large population, some with no real purpose. Keeping children safe and allowing efficient traffic flow involves having the least amount of signs possible said the Traffic Commission.

“We as a commission work mostly to take down the unnecessary signs within city limits,” said John Katers, commission member. “We want what is best for the city and the highest measures of safety, which includes reducing whatever distractions from drivers as possible.”

On Feb. 8 the small room filled with the eight members of the commission as well as the city construction engineer, chief of police and citizens.

The traffic commission’s goal starting in 2007 was to turn many stop signs into yield signs around the city as well as eliminate them from some intersections completely. In 2009, the switch of the signs to meet new traffic guidelines and criteria set up by the state began with the removal of almost 20 stop signs in front of schools and neighborhoods in one year. This was a controversial move that outraged many residents.

Livonia Police Chief Curtis Caid said that many citizens were concerned because they felt that having yield signs would cause more accidents than stops signs. People are more likely to run stop signs than to slow down for pedestrians at yield signs. By 2011, the controversial meetings were able to resume in the small conference room, with attendance of guest ranging from around four to five on average again.

“We held firm to the decision that had been made within the city to remove or change these signs to yields, following other cities that had done so as well,” said Gordon Draper, commission appointee. “We believe it is the best practice and that is what we will follow even when it is incredibly unpopular among the citizens we serve.”

The city group still works on sign improvements with the addition of changing stop signs to yields this year at six intersections proposed:

  • Norwich at Fonville
  • Bretton at Bretton/ Fairfax
  • Navin at Gill
  • Whitby at Gill
  • Haldane at Gill
  • Southampton at Gill

It was unanimously approved after an hour of discussion the stop signs all of these intersections would be changed by Dec. 31, excluding Bretton at Bretton/ Fairfax. The commission is seeking to redo and move this intersection, due to the ramp from connecting streets, the sidewalk and tree alignment all being moved in the 2019 road restoration project the city will be starting.

“The purpose of the Traffic Commission is to listen and respond quickly to the concerns of citizens, as well as city council to improve the cities traffic flow, safety and needs,” said James Policelli, Traffic Commission Chairman.

Other topics discussed were the changing of flashing lights in school zones to face both directions as well as adding left turn lights to several intersections with left turn lanes already existing. The commission deferred discussion to these topics to the state project meeting in 2019. This project is scheduled to begin in summer of 2021 and will include redoing streets and adding left turn lanes with lights at four intersections within city limits.

To contact the commission, citizens can email They may also attend monthly meetings or visit ci. for more information.

Hard News Story 2 final

— 30 —

Story 2

Exploring the world of fatty acids

By Elizabeth Casella

Wayne State University

Com 2100, Feb. 13, 2018


Every two weeks of each semester, in a small classroom of the Biomedical building, students and faculty meet to hear from a speaker discussing lipids and their research during the Lipids@wayne seminar series. On Feb. 7 at 5 p.m. about 30 people crowded into the classroom quietly waiting to hear from Dr. Emilio Motillo discuss his research on the fatty acid metabolism.

“I am interested in science imaging so I was interested to see what kind of techniques he had related to this,” said audience member Mike Tricke.

Dr. Motillo spoke about fatty acids effect on the metabolism with a focus on the effects of obesity, especially in minorities. He discussed his own research projects currently being conducted as well as his experience while working towards his PhD.

“My interest in lipid metabolism and lipid function stems from the obesity epidemic that is currently confronting our society. This is a problem because obesity is strongly associated with various metabolic diseases such as diabetes and fatty liver disease. And at the heart of this is the dysregulation of lipid metabolism. So the hope is that by further understanding the function of lipids we can better understand how obesity causes metabolic disorders,” said Dr. Motillo.

He uses this project to support his current findings and further his research direction. He uses methods such as studying different reactions to diets as well as biological effects to differentiation how the fatty acids effect specified groups.

“I was interested in his technology to see if we could track fatty acids in the heart. This presentation was great because I would use his work as a reference in my future studies,” said physiology PhD student Tim Bryson.

The Lipids@wayne group has been around for seven years. These seminars feature speakers that are from Wayne itself or invited from other universities. The main purpose is to have a series for researchers around campus to learn new things, meet people and generate cross-disciplinary collaborations. This group is comprised of a variety of science and medical fields that give people a chance to combine their skill sets to think of new projects and interactions, said Chair of the organizing committee Robert Wessells.

This was the first talk in the series for the semester. There will be six seminars in total. These seminars are free and have pizza and pop offered to guest as well. The next seminar will feature Dr. IIce Medina Meza discussing Cholesterol Oxidation through old and new approaches. More information cane be found at

“I think it’s a great resource that Wayne State provides. It’s beneficial for students because the speaker can provide greater insight into different topics or fields that they may not get exposed to through the standard curriculum,” said student Andrew Riley.


Hard News Story 1

— 30 —

Story 1

Finding One’s Culture

 By Elizabeth Casella

Wayne State University

Com 2100, Jan. 30, 2018


College is experiences that can help someone discover where they have come from through studies and situations they may not have been offered anywhere else. Looking at any student, faculty member or bystander on Wayne State’s campus alike they may offer their own version of a story of self-discovering while on their journey here.

Yaritza Espinoza is a 19-year-old from Detroit, currently living in Dearborn Heights, with a passion for her cultural background that truly defines her. She is a first generation Mexican American; so entering the Latin American Studies program on campus has impacted her way of viewing the world around her as well as her family life significantly. In her spare time Espinoza, along with her best friend Tyler Beamon, research her Mexican, European and native Aztec bloodlines helping to shape her cultural education further.

“I think it’s amazing to know where you come from and I think it’s a very big part of colonization to find out who you are. We both feel strong in our native heritage,” said Beamon. “The distinct first generation culture that my family doesn’t have is something Yaritza has given me, along with the language that comes with it.”

Growing up always having a book in hand or writing away, it was no surprise when she declared her major in journalism and goals to write stories that will have an impact within Latino communities.

. “Our background is interesting because I had grandparents that could have passed as white people. So I could imagine something like European bloodlines, but never could I imagine that it would be so significant because two of my grandparents where very much from indigenous backgrounds,” said Yaritza’s mother, Maite Espinoza.

Along with finding out her European connections Yartiza Espinoza hopes to soon dive into her fathers native backgrounds more, since he seems to have different ancestral lines through darker skin features, as well as facials more resembling the natives of Mexico. Through this ancestry discovery Espinoza shapes a new open mindset, as well as finding her voice as a writer.

“I love to write stories that bring light to all Latin regions and cultures, mostly due to a connection I feel with my culture and family life. I want to find a way to make an impact through what I love,” said Espinoza.

Espinoza, driven by this has found a new outlook on life that changed her perspectives and impact that she wanted to have on the world. No matter where someone is from having a passion for their culture and heritage can lead to enrichment and level of discovery not attainable anywhere else.

CAsella_Feature Story_ News Writing

— 30 —

Natural Beauty


Above shot: Malibu beach, Malibu California

Below shot: Sunset over Santa Monica Pier on a foggy day, Santa Monica California


While on vacation it is a natural reaction to take a ton of photos worth with a phone and not really think about the lighting or any technical aspect. It is quick and easy rather than what most photographers do, bring a full camera with equipment and stage all of their shots by scouting locations and waiting for the perfect light out of the thousands of photos they take.

These are two amazing shots that I happened to get lucky while shooting with my phone in California. I wasn’t able to take my camera or any equipment with me, even though I wanted to because I expected to see beautiful beaches and piers in the sunny California weather, but it wasn’t possible. Instead I got a wonderful surprise of foggy weather and eerie lighting over the harbors of Santa Monica and Malibu that took me off guard because I realized what natural lighting and photo technique habits have been ingrained within me over time.

I will be completely honest that for both of these shots I wasn’t trying to take them. I saw something and took a photo and didn’t really think about it for framing or anything, but instinctively that framing and looking for the proper lighting or as many will call it, “honing that photo eye” without even realizing. This was really incredible to realize because it had me reflecting on my past photography experiences and helped me to realize how much I have actually grown and learned over the several years of school. Neither of these photos have any sort of editing or, as I said, any forced technique.

My favorite of the two photos is the top one taken in Malibu. As I arrived it was a perfectly sunny day and I was very excited for the potential. Then after a nice lunch that lasted maybe forty five minutes the weather had completely changed due to the mountains and atmospheric temperature and other science, weather stuff, it became incredibly foggy and cloudy with the sun barely shining through. Which turned out to be an even better surprise for me to get a shot that looks almost black and white without any real effort and is now one of my favorite shots from the trip.

Always be shooting and sometimes just shoot for fun. Go out and don’t force lighting or looking for that perfect angle. It will help to show you how much growth you have achieved as well as expose areas that may be weak in your skills and should be focused on. Obviously this is not something to do all the time since technical skills are important and will add to a portfolio, but still great idea for photography friends to spend time together or just to blow off some steam and get back to enjoying the roots of photography.

Brightening up the holiday season

For the final project for this class we were assigned a photo story. Thinking of what event to actually do was quiet hard for me because the events that I would have loved to do for this that were happening around me or that I was attending happened before we were assigned this project and I was not thinking about it far enough in advance to be able to get the photos needed for this with the interview and everything involved. So when I thought about what to do I wanted to somehow include the amazing city that I live in and what was going on around me.

My mind immediately went to ice skating at Campus Martius because I go every year with my friends and it is such a staple in the community around this time of year. They do a tree lighting ceremony, have an ice rink and really make the area look so great with Christmas and holiday decorations that it is one of those feel good events that really completes the Christmas experience.

This year the area is especially cool because they added these urban looking greenhouses that then were turned into pop up shops. They feature local artists and businesses within them. There is still the classic ice rink and tree, which is always a favorite of mine since this is the rink I learned how to ice skate on as a child. The area is not just the rink anymore though, as you walk down towards the river front these pop up shops are there, with the Briar Beer Garten for food and refreshments as well as a decorated path way leading down to more green houses, but in the style of igloos that house gaming areas, a coffee shop and an organic fruit market. This has made the whole area really come up and look very grand. It adds a lot to the city I think as well to the overall Campus Martius experience. It can be a day trip now with family and friends instead of just thought as somewhere to go ice skating.

I really enjoy just the overall feeling of the area now. You can feel the holiday spirit as well as the welcoming and enjoyment of others. With the holiday tunes blasting and the beautiful decorations surrounding the area day or night there are so many things to capture your attention. It truly is a must see experience this year and could be completely different next year, which also just makes it that much more special.

My favorite part of this project though was capturing the moments of people having a great time and seeing all the families taking Christmas photos or ice skating together. Talking to everyone about the new shops to see others views was interesting. It was a very positive environment that gave off really great vibes making it where I don’t see how anyone wouldn’t want to hang out for a great night in the wonderful city of Detroit

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Playing the game

This is not the first time I have shot sports and this is not the first time I had the opportunity to shoot the Schoolcraft Women’s basketball team. I have been able to shoot them multiple times over the course of three different seasons. This has been really exciting for me to watch different players work on the team together and to see what challenges each new season has brought. I am comfortable with shooting sports because I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to shoot several different types.

This shoot was easier than I expected. It has been almost a year since I shot a sporting event and I was nervous about adjusting my settings properly as well as getting the best action shots because it is so fast pace that I have not been around in awhile. Thankfully I quickly adjusted to the setting again and was easily able to enjoy this game without feeling stressed about if the photos and setting would be right. I also always over shoot when it comes to sports because I want to assure I actually have enough photos to choose from as well as different angle options and a variety of shots to choose from.

For this shoot I really enjoyed the action because I got some really unexpected shots that I have never gotten before so I was excited to see how those turned out. I found it challenging to get any coach shots because most of the time the coach would turn away when she noticed the camera or was just not ever facing my proper direction. I also found it difficult to get any shots of the crowd that were interesting to involve the fans. It was an incredibly small crowd that did not show much enthusiasm or enjoyment besides simple applause, which did not turn out to be very interesting. The other teams bench was very entertaining though and I enjoyed that shot more than an actual fan shot, but I would not normally expect that.

Overall it was fun to shoot sports again after being on hiatus for so long and the game gave me some very interesting shots that I am excited to explore more.

Action 1
Schoolcraft forward and guard Megan Sandiha is knocked to the floor as she tries to gain control of a rebound ball and fight back again the Muskegon Jayhawks scoring.
Action 2
Schoolcraft forward and guard C’Erra Maholmes tries to assist her fellow teammates shot into the basket.



Coach 1
Coach Kara Kinzer encourages the team with a new game plan at the end of the halftime period.
Coach 2
Coach Kinzer and Assistant Coach Katy Pierson draw out the next plays during a second quarter time out to try and defeat the Muskegon Jayhawks.
Sideline 1
Muskegon Jayhawk sideline teammates as their fellow jayhawks score the winning basket.

Blog at

Up ↑