Hate Crimes in the US

The Newsy story I choose to write my assignment on is titled, Hate Crimes Have Risen For 2 Years In A Row In The US. This news story talks about the undeniable facts that hate crimes in the United States are rising and are continuing to do so. It seems every day now you turn on the TV and another hate crime is mentioned on the news. The video talks about the fact that it is happening so frequently that some incidents aren’t even being mentioned in the media. The world we live in today is filled with an immense amount of hatred, which is really sad and concerning to me and many others living in America. I believe that this has become more common because tensions are high between civilians and law enforcement. Not to mention, our current President is also extremely racists which could be to blame for some of the outburst that have taken place lately. My story assignment will be looking into the cause and effect of these hate crimes that have become prevalent in our society today.

Hate Crimes Rising Nationwide:



Tampa Bay Lightning

Being a huge Tampa Bay Lightning fan since I was a child, it only seems fitting to choose the Bolts as my topic for a photo journalism project. The energy and dedication you experience at Lightning games is unlike any other, especially when compared to the other Bay area sports teams. This is largely due to the successful past few seasons the Lightning have had, which has definitely played a part in the growth of their fan base. As a matter of fact, last October ESPN’s Ultimate Rankings ranked the Tampa Bay Lightning the best franchise out of 122 teams across all four US sports leagues. Which is absolutely incredible when you truly think about the Bolt’s being ranked first before any other hockey, baseball, basketball or even football team. This was a result of not only our owner Jeff Vinik’s dedication to our team but the overall dedication of the players and staff. I personally believe it is important to focus on the increasing support of our hockey team because it seems that the more people who support the Bolt’s the better our team seems to be doing overall throughout the season. Ultimately, I would love to highlight this world class organization and make clear why not only I, but other people in the Tampa Bay area are passionate about Lightning Hockey.


Known as one of the biggest parades in the country, the Gasparilla Parade is a highly anticipated event for many people especially those that live in the Tampa Bay area. This tradition brings over 300,000 people near and far whom attend this event that is hosted every January along Bayshore Boulevard. The extravaganza brings in an average of over $44 million in revenue according to the city of Tampa’s official website. As a matter of fact, it may be surprising for some to learn the true history of what started this massive celebration was a legendary pirate named Jose Gaspar, who terrorized the West coast of Florida. Gaspar supposedly had buried treasure somewhere along the Florida coast though it has never been discovered. The story of the swashbuckling pirate resurfaced in 1904 when the Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla was formed and adopted him as the patron of the city wide celebration.

Story Focus

I believe people whether they are religious or not are generally curious about church and what goes on besides worship. This is why I’ve decided to interview the Senior Pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church, Ken Whitten. Not only does this man have an interesting story, but the way he dedicates his life to others is refreshing as opposed to today’s news that is typically only filled with despair and tragedy. The story is relevant to HCC students because not just Pastor Ken alone but Idlewild as a church is doing countless things to improve our community and beyond. My main perspective of this story will be from Whitten himself and then I will also give my own perspective. Overall, I would like to accomplish a story that fills you in on his background and how he came to be where he is today. I will be asking him about 10 to 15 questions relating to the topic and then gather more information to use in my story and verify facts from Idlewild’s official website.

Interview Preparation

The person I am eagerly preparing to interview is an older gentlemen named Ken Whitten. Whitten is the senior pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church and has been for over 25 years now. I chose to interview him because not only do I believe he helps do amazing things throughout Tampa Bay but he has such a pure and genuine heart for people. As far as preparation goes, I prepared for the interview by gathering my list of questions I intend to ask and by emailing back and forth with his secretary Paula to schedule a time. The biggest challenges I faced during this pre interview process would be finding a date and time that worked with both of our busy schedules. Of course when we had finally settled on a time and set up an appointment, Hurricane Irma postponed that. Now with everyone returning back to some kind of normalcy after the storm I have been in touch with not only Paula but Ken himself. I plan to interview him by the end of the week and needless to say I’m eager to finally interview Pastor Ken.

Interview Questions

Without a doubt, there are just some individuals who have a heart and passion for others like no other. The person I believe that exemplifies this the absolute most would be a man by the name of Ken Whitten, whom has been the senior Pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church for over 25 years. This church has continued to grow not only due to God’s grace and the wonderful ministries provided but because of the guy behind the pulpit. This man has selflessly dedicated his life to not only the gospel but people. Ken Whitten has such a huge heart for others and you can truly see the results of that in the growing number of members at Idlewild Baptist Church and more specifically what the church has done in the community. Given the chance to interview him I would like to ask him about his personal life, what it’s like to be a leader and how he found this calling on his life.

  • What is the church doing in the community that you are most excited about?
  • Have you ever had a job outside of the church?
  • What is it like being the leader of such a large congregation?
  • What do you think people ask you most frequently?
  • Who is your biggest spiritual influence?
  • Where do you see Idlewild in 10 years?
  • Describe your call to the ministry and what motivates you to stay in the ministry?
  • What is the most challenging thing about being a pastor?
  • Out of the countless mission trips you have been on which was your favorite and why?
  • What is your favorite part about being a pastor?

The Interview

The individual I think that will be most interesting to interview would have to be the Pastor of my church, Ken Whitten. He has been the senior pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church for over 25 years now and is very well known in the Tampa Bay Area. I myself have been attending this church my entire life and have witnessed the number of members expand immensely.  Not only is this due to our many wonderful ministries and members but also because of the guy behind the pulpit. Pastor Ken has been a key factor in the success of our church and truly displays what it means to be a dedicated Pastor and devoted believer. Although I feel as if I know Pastor Ken very well as a pastor, I don’t know much about him outside of church or what his personal life is like. I would love to sit down with him briefly and get to know more about him, what it is like being a leader of such a massive congregation and how he found this particular calling on his life.


My Introduction

Hello my name is Kaline Schwanke (Kuh-lean Sh-wan-key) and I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. I am currently a college student attending Hillsborough Community College and plan to transfer over to the University of South Florida next semester to acquire my Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. I currently work for Nordstrom as a sales associate in the Kids Wear department. I absolutely love my coworkers, job and even the company in general that I work for. It never truly feels like work to me because I’m allowed to be surrounded by great people and fashion all day which personally for me I could not ask for anything better! Truthfully, I hope to one day become a fashion merchandiser or visual stylist for a high end designer that is my absolute dream. Last but certainly not least, I should also mention that my favorite sports team is by far the Tampa Bay Lightning! To be quite honest, I’m genuinely so blessed I have a lot to thank God for I have wonderful job, family, friends and boyfriend it doesn’t get much better than that!