Tools of Journalism: Business Plan for Newsletter

Executive Summary:

Cult Shock is a monthly newsletter for international students across the state of New York.

For the academic year 2012-2013, the Institute of International Education recorded a significant increase in international students (approximately 7%) studying in the USA. An all time high, this number is estimated to be 819,644 (students who were enrolled last year). With such a high rate of international students studying in the USA, there is a niche market for students to share news, information, ideas and most importantly job opportunities. With over 5,000 colleges and universities in the country, our aim is to target these institutions for subscribership to our monthly newsletter.


  1. As far as subscribership goes, our aim is to begin first with targeting institutions in the state of NY. Aside from CUNY and SUNY, the state boasts of an alarming 90 private colleges and universities. Our aim is to connect international students across the state. Reach out to these universities and gain subscribership from at least 45 of these institutions.
  2. Primarily, we are looking at the content that would be of interest to ages 17-26, both under-graduate and graduate students studying in NY.
  3. Within subsequent years, we aim to expand to the surrounding states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Massachusetts.

Mission Statement:

The newsletter strives to connect students across the state to promote networking as well as a deeper understanding of different cultures and to help bond and grow as a community within a collegiate atmosphere. One of our salient missions is to help graduating students out with job opportunities both nationally and internationally.

Keys to Success:

  1. Cult Shock will be largely dependent on subscriptions to keep it running.
  2. Cult Shock will only be available in an online format initially.
  3. Cult Shock will reach out to various brands for advertising purposes.
  4. Cult Shock will cover events of importance to international students on campus.
  5. Both students and administrators may submit articles. They will be offered nominal amounts or gift cards for articles used.
  6. There will be a bulletin for internships and job opportunities.
  7. Tips and advice on adjusting to life in America (culture shock).
  8. Career counseling and other academic related columns.
  9. A variety of multimedia such as text, video, audio and GIFs will be used.
  10. Several different sections of the newsletter will exist, such as
  11. Tra-dish-ional (Food): Each issue will have recipes for easy to make dishes from different cuisines across the globe.
  12. Advice Column: Students can have common issues that are faced by all, addressed by peers. Including notes from administrators, the admissions offices, chairs of departments, etc.
  13. Job Hunting: Internship and job opportunities will be posted (specially keeping in mind juniors and graduating seniors).
  14. Anecdotes: Students can write about various incidents and experiences they’ve had as international students.
  15. Festivals: Each issue will have a section about a country’s festival and the origin and history behind it.
  16. Word of the month: Each issue will have a word in any language with its meaning and usage in a sentence demonstrated.
  17. Music World: Top-charting music from around the world will be listed.

10 Things Only International Kids Studying in The US Would Understand

  1. The struggle to convert temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit and vice versa is real.
  2. The struggle to convert Kilos to Pounds and vice versa is also real.
  3. You use certain words or phrases, which always causes people to look at you like you’re from outer space (which you basically are. “It’s soccer.” “No, it’s called football”).
  4. Long weekends and holidays are always lonely because it’s not like you can just pop back home (like no, I’m not taking a 13-hour flight both ways for a few days).
  5. People always tell you that you have a weird/cool accent. But to you it’s just the way you normally speak. (Unless you put on a fake American accent like I do)
  6. You always get asked stupid and inane questions about your country that make you want to double up with laughter or scowl in disgust (like how ignorant can you be?)
  7. And then that awkward moment when they don’t know where your country is so they just say, “Oh,” and nod like they do.
  8. You may not feel home sick but you definitely miss home food.
  9. Baseball and “football” make absolutely no sense to you.
  10. And finally… You get asked, “How come your English is so good?” I mean, am I supposed to take that as a compliment? (Yes, I probably speak better, grammatically correct English, than you do. Thank you.)

How Real are Hot Streaks in Golf?

Interesting analysis

Golf Analytics

Whenever a golfer goes on a high profile hot streak – think Rickie Fowler since June, Billy Horschel for the FedEx Playoffs, Henrik Stenson at the end of last year – there’s always a ton of talk in the media and among fans about how their new swing/putting stroke finally clicked, or that player is returning to form, or they’re finally mature enough to win, etc. Humans love writing narratives to explain why things happen. The end result of all that talk is that a guy in the middle of a hot streak is considered to be much better than they would’ve been considered before the hot streak. No one thought Billy Horschel was deserving of a Ryder Cup pick a month ago, but now everyone thinks we should toss Webb/Mahan off to make room for him. No one thought Rickie Fowler was one of the 1-2 best American players…

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The Yik Yak Revolution: Is it the new Twitter?

While technology seems to be advancing at the speed of light, consumers today find themselves burdened with this immense responsibility to keep up. Whether it’s buying the latest apple product or even something as simple as downloading an app, there’s a lot out there for people to choose from. Over the last year or so however, college campuses around the country have seen an increasingly large number of students using ‘Yik Yak’. What is this weird sounding thing you ask? In essence it’s anonymous twitter. Except it isn’t really. This is how it basically works; you type something into the “What’s on your mind?” box and post anonymously. It then gets sent to everyone in the area’s newsfeed. Users will then have the ability to upvote (^) or downvote the post, causing any post that receives more than a few downvotes to be removed permanently.

For months I’d heard friends talking about it beginning sometime last semester, but I’d just assumed it was a trend that would be forgotten once the summer began and there was no one to yak about/with. But lo and behold, this semester too, if you listen hard enough you can hear the yaks in the hallways. My curiosity getting the better of me I decided to download the app last week. However, I soon discovered that there really wasn’t much that I was missing out on in particular. It would appear that all that kids in college really care about is drugs, sex (or lack there-of) and dissing people. News feeds would be filled with obscene language and private thoughts that would be otherwise publically unacceptable. I think that’s part of what the allure was; the ability for kids to voice his or her deepest, darkest thoughts without the fear of judgment from their peers. And the fact that students can’t be vocal about their thoughts just makes me sad. Many of them post these things in an effort to reach out; they want attention, they want – just for a couple of minutes – to be “popular”, even if it is anonymously. All that they really want is to connect with someone their own age, to feel some form of unity and know that others experience things much the way they do.

I won’t sit up here on my high horse and lie. I got pretty hooked and would spend hours commenting on some posts, (hell I’ll admit it – even posting some stuff myself), refreshing my feed and having a good laugh or two at another’s expense. The posts were entertaining as hell in their pathetic-ness. But for the most part they just reflected a deep and sad loneliness. While the app serves as a great platform for expression, its greatest strength lying in the anonymity of its writers, I feel as if all this pent-up emotion and ingenuity could be redirected in a better and more constructive manner if given the right outlet. But is it the new Twitter? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see as many Twitter posts from my friends as used to.

Palanquin or Stretcher?

If you’ve ever observed the preparations that take place before an Indian wedding, you’ll probably remember mostly chaos, absolutely no order or system to things and people… lots of people, milling about, adding to the chaos and contributing a grand total of zilch to the preparations. The hustle and bustle is constant in the wedding household and an electrifying buzz can be both heard and felt. To someone who’s never experienced it before, it can be quite mystifying and shocking, really.

Ironically, much the same can be observed upon a death. The rented tents and canopies are set up by the indifferent labourers and as they hammer nails into the hard ground with blunt force, to keep the canopies from flying away, they drive home the fact that there’s an emptiness within where the person you knew used to be. The squeals of laughter from within the four walls are replaced with erratic wailing and sobs that could very well be mistaken for giggles or fits of laughter. Large groups of mourners awkwardly moon about both the house and the exteriors, not quite knowing what to do with them selves. The family needs some solitude, but they need the camaraderie as well. So everyone just shuffles about in a daze. Most people don’t feel the grief, the loss of the person, till much later. It can be pretty hard to believe that you’ll never see or hear from someone you saw barely a few hours ago, just because someone says it’s so. It’s hard to shake the feeling that at any moment now the allegedly deceased is just going to pop around the corner and help you out with their funeral preparations. The inescapable feeling of living in a parallel universe just doesn’t seem to leave you alone and all you can think about is just how messed up the whole situation is. It’s only as you see the body being carried away towards the cremation grounds that it really sinks in. They’re gone.