On Sunday, during the IZod Indy Car race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a driver’s small mistake on the 12th lap resulted in a 15 car, fiery pile up. One driver, Dan Wheldon, got caught up in the pile up and his car flew through the air and into the safety net that surrounds the track. Unfortunately, he received major head trauma and was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead two hours later.
I know I have gotten into the habit of writing about people who have died with previous post of Steve Jobs, Al Davis, and now Dan Wheldon but this is big new for a couple of reasons. For one, before the race, many drivers were voicing their opinion that the track was unsafe for Indy cars and that the banks were to steep and there were to many drivers on the track. Ill try to explain these valid complaints. Indy cars have the potential of reaching speed of 240 miles per hour on speed ways. Which is 20 mph faster than on a road course or track. Also, on speedways, drivers have the ability to drive three wide. So imagine driving 240 mph with a car on either side of you going equally as fast as all three of you go into a turn with cars in the same formation just split seconds behind and ahead of you. The steepness of the track just make it that much faster. When the drivers said that there were too many cars on the track their complaint made more than a little sense. Every race this year in Indy car had 19 or 20 drivers except for the Indy 500. For some reason, the Indy Car series governing body thought that since it was the last race of the Indy car season, that they should put 34 drivers in the race.
All of these factor contributed to the perfect storm for the already unsafe Indy cars. So on lap 12, one driver got loose and clipped another driver, which started a chain reaction which had 15 cars crash including four that literally flew and flipped over 200 feet through the air. One of those cars that flipped and flew through the air was Dan Wheldon’s.
Now the Indy car is already unsafe as it is. It has an open cockpit and they have it build so low to the ground to make it as fast as possible that they get air born quite easily. Ironically, Dan Wheldon was the main test driver for the new cars that the Indy series will be driving next year. The race was cancelled but the 19 drivers still in the race decided to do a 5 lap salute in honor of Dan Wheldon after they heard the bad news. Dan Wheldon will be miss tremendously by the sport.
My own thoughts the issue:
The Indy Series is trying to hard to catch up to NASCAR in popularity that they are willing to throw safety on the back burner. They probably shouldn’t even race on the speed ways much less put 15 more cars than normal on one. But, the more cars, the more exciting for a TV audience. Dan Wheldon was one of the most recognizable names in Indy racing. If you asked me to name as many people as I can in the series he would be one of the three names that I would have been able to produce off the top of my head. Danica Patrick and Dario Franccini are the other two. Dan Wheldon left behind a wife, and two you boys. They were able to be there in the hospital at his side when he passed when he passed. Indy has a long off season a head of them where they are going to be pushed to make some decisions about speed ways and the type of cars the drivers are driving. It seems that ever 5-10 years another driver is killed. Though I can’t remember their names, I know a driver was killed in 1999 and another one in 2006.
My only source for this news comment is really that I watch ESPN all the time so I don’t really have a web link for you. If you do want to read more on this tragic crash then you can just google Dan Wheldon. I will provide one of the youtube videos of the crash though so feel free to check it out. It hard to make out which car is Dan Wheldon’s, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you want to look at it, but he is in one of the cars that flies through the air. There are so many videos of the crash on Youtube so I hope this is a good one.
Most college professors have to get a bachelor’s degree in the discipline they would like to teach. Then, get a masters and sometimes even a doctoral degree in their field of study. Getting a doctorate usually takes up to an added 6 years of full time student work after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. So, one is looking at 10 extra years of schooling after high school to teach at a four year college. Mr. Dave Madsen took a completely different rout to becoming a professor and head of the mass communications department at Morningside College.
Mr. Madsen got his start in the mass comm world as a student at University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL). While attending UNL, he got his bachelor’s degree in journalism. After college, Madsen got a job in Sioux City working for the ABC TV station KCAU. He worked there as a for three years until he applied for the general manager position at the NBC station KTIV. He received the job and spent the next 29 years working at the station.
During that 29th year, Dave walked into the station and was surprised to hear the news that his position at the station was no longer needed. To him and his families dismay, Dave joined the ranks of the unemployed (though he was still received severance pay for the next 6 months).
For a day and a half, Dave wondering where to go. He always thought that he would retire as the general manager of KTIV. Then, he received a call for John Rynders, the president of Morningside College. The president offered him a job as a professor at Morningside College which Dave excepted.
So, it took Dave Madsen some 33 years of experience at television stations and a unfortunate day and a half of being unemployed to become a professor at Morningside College. Though it was never his intention to become a professor, he took a positive stance on the job change by saying, “Once one door closes, a window opens.”
Today, Dave seems to be enjoying his time at Morningside College. When asked if he would ever go back to a TV station, he stopped and thought for a little bit before saying, “Probably not, the stress levels I had while at KTIV where very high compared to the stress I have as a professor.”
Dave has continued his education by taking online classes during the night through UNL. Though he may not have recieved his an education to become a professor, he uses his experience in the field well to teach classes like Intro to Mass Comm, Public Relations, Media Management, and others. One of his goals at Morningside is to get students to run a weekly news cast in the studio at Morningside College.
Mass Comm students have a great resource in Dave. His experience, tutorship, and advice are a great for students to not only learn from him but also to get help getting their foot in the door for mass comm jobs in the Siouxland area.
This past week, American Football icon, Al Davis passed away at age 82 after battling many different health difficulties over the past few years. He was best know for being the owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders who have taken on the image of the bad boys of the NFL which has kinda of hurt the image of Al Davis. Davis though held many different positions in football such as a scout, a position coach at USC, a commissioner of the AFL before the AFL and NFL merger, and the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Al Davis was a visionary for football. He scouted the first African-American QB to every play at USC. He is also responsible for hiring the first African-American coach in NFL history.
Al Davis didn’t care who you were or what color your skin was, all he cared about was winning. His favorite quote, “Just win baby!” can be seen all over the Raiders practice facilities. And winning, for a long time, was what Davis’ teams did, including three super bowls in four attempts the with the Raiders and one AFL championship before the merger.
Before every NFL game this past weekend, a moment of silence was held in memory of Al Davis, who was survived by his wife and son.
If you want to read about Al Davis Career, go to wikipedia here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Davis
Yesterday, Steve Jobs, passed away after many battles with a variety of sicknesses including a couple of cancers. He passed away with undoubtedly many more innovative ideas still brewing in his head. Apple, the brainchild of Mr. Jobs, released this statement yesterday, “We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”
We all know about all the amazing ideas and inventions of Mr. Jobs, but the question now is, “What does the future of Apple look like.” Apple will still continue to be one of the most valued companies in the world thanks to their Mac computers, ipods, iphones, and ipads. But jobs was always looking past his creations that are a success now, and looking towards an innovated future. No, Apple’s competition is overall not too close, but they will continue to put pressure on Apple to continue to come out with the next generation of technology. Only time will tell if Apple will use the pressure to rise to new heights, but personally I feel that they are still going to be just fine. As yahoo put it, “They are still in good hands. Apple certainly has talented engineers, product managers and executives. CEO Tim Cook has been steering the ship for the last several years as Jobs battled his health issues. The company has excelled during this time. Another integral piece of the puzzle, Jonathan Ive remains. Ive is the lead designer behind just about every great product Apple developed in the last decade and half.In the end, the only thing we know is: things will be different. And, as Steve Jobs proved, different has the potential to be much better.”
Fundamentals of Journalism for Print and Web
After just one semester at Morningside College, one can easily realize one of the problems with MCTV is that few students outside of the department even know it exists. It needs more exposure outside of the students in the department but, it is up to the students to get it that exposure. Dave Madsen, head of the Mass Comm department is keeping MCTV alive, but there will come a time when the students of Morningside College will either make it thrive or make it a thought of the past.
The Morningside College mass communications department offers the opportunity for all students at Morningside to experience and experiment with all types of media outlets including writing for the Collegian Reporter (The Morningside College newspaper), having your own radio show on KMSC Fusion 93 (the student voice of Morningside College), and working at the Morningside College TV station, MCTV.
Many students participate in the radio station, KMSC. For one reason, it is a class requirement to have a radio show and be on the air for at least one hour in the Audio Production classes taught by Doctor Mark Heisted. It is common to hear students on the air as early as seven in the morning and as late as well past midnight. Doc Heisted said, “Though being on the air at first can be a nervous adventure, many students find out they truly enjoy working at KMSC.” There is a plethora of different reasons for this. Michelle Kuester, a sophomore at Morningside College, said, “My favorite part of being a radio DJ at Fusion 93 is having the freedom to play whatever I want. I am able to give my show an identity that is unlike any radio show in the Sioux City area.”
Unfortunately, MCTV does not share the same success. Mr. Madsen, in a class interview, said there are several reasons for this: “My goal for MCTV is to produce a weekly news cast is our studio, but right now we just don’t have enough students interested in that.” What Mr. Madsen means is that creating a news cast is different from KMSC where one person can go into a room and talk into a microphone and their voice is over the air and that is it. For a weekly news cast, there would need to be more than a few people to volunteer a couple of hours a week to fill the roles of a news anchor, sports anchor, weather anchor, a director, someone to run the audio, someone to run the teleprompter, and a couple of cameramen.
Mr. Madsen also said, “It is not up to me to make MCTV run, it is up to the students.” Every media outlet in the Morningside College Mass Communications department is student run. Though students get experience in the Morningside TV studio with classes like audio production and the audio production practicum, outside of these classes, students are almost never seen in the station.
When asking Andrew Nase, sophomore at Morningside College, what he thought about MCTV and if he would be willing to get involved, after several seconds of thought he responded, “I don’t know much about it. I’ve only heard about it in the Intro to Mass Comm class, but I don’t even know where it is at. And no, I don’t think I want to get involved.”
MCTV has not always been on life support. Professor Ross Fulgsang commented to me that when he first arrived at Morningside College, there was a weekly news cast run in the college studio. Karen Johnson, a librarian at Morningside College, said, “It was easier to get students involved with MCTV becuase they were paid like a work study job.”
Nowadays, students are not paid to work in the TV station. They have to commit their own time with no compensation for a TV newscast to be possible.