Winter 2018

Big Ten Tennis Teams Expand Recruiting to a Global Scale

By Athena Liu
Medill Reports

International student athletes are commanding a bigger role on Big Ten tennis teams. The constant pursuit of better players, both athletically and academically, requires coaches to look outside the United States and keep an eye out for talented high school players at every corner of the world, said Arvid Swan, head coach of the Northwestern University Men’s Tennis Team.

Northwestern has four international players on the team roster, three of whom were recruited as rookies and started this year. Purdue University Men’s Tennis also added four international freshman players to the program for the 2017-2018 season, and the percentage of international players overall reached an incredible 88.9 percent – the highest among Big Ten men’s tennis teams. Purdue Head Coach Pawel Gajdzik is himself from Poland and assistant coach Francisco Stuardo Vargas is from Chile.

Don’t be surprised at the diversity of Big Ten tennis teams, nor their popularity among international high school graduates. There are currently 49 international players playing for 11 of the 12 Big Ten teams. Michigan State University an exception, with all U.S. players.

Medill interviewed Swan and Gajdzik on the issue of recruiting internationally, and how the name of Big Ten has helped along the way.
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LSC misses estimate, shares drop

By Charlene Zhang
Medill Reports

Shares of commercial printer LSC Communications Inc. (NYSE: LKSD), one of two spinoffs from R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co., plummeted 7 percent as adjusted earnings missed Wall Street’s estimate and the company reported a GAAP net loss of $58 million, or $1.68 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with net income of $9 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016.

But sales increased 8.7 percent to $999 million from $919 in the year-earlier period, boosted by recent acquisitions of a supply chain solutions provider The Clark Group and a producer of envelopes and mailing supplies Quality Park.

The net loss was largely explained by goodwill impairment charges of $33 million and onetime provisional tax charges of $24 million resulting from the enactment of the 2017 tax reform legislation.

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Women-only Capsule Hotels sprout in Tokyo

By Jinman Li
Medill Reports

Tokyo–Capsule hotels, a simple form of lodging that originated in Japan in the 1970s, finds itself in a wave of increasing female focus.

A capsule hotel reduces lodgers’ needs to the bare necessities of a tiny individual pod with a bed, lights, Wi-Fi coverage, and sometimes a TV. A typical sleeping space costs half as much as a conventional hotel room.

Japanese salarymen used to be the major target audience of capsule hotels. Now business travelers and vacationers also take up a significant proportion of the expanding available space.

According to research conducted by WiseGuy Research Consultants Pvt. Ltd. in August 2017, the global capsule hotels market was valued at $159 million in 2016 and was expected to reach $226 million by the end of 2022, growing at a compound annual rate of 6.03 percent between 2016 and 2022. Although the global market is expanding fast, Japan still plays a significant role in the capsule hotel market.

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Medicine, heroes and dancing in Cuba

This is the final installment in a multi-part series on Cuba. Read the previous collection of vignettes: “Memory and invention mix in Cuba”


“No es lo que quiera, es lo que hay”

HAVANA – Donated medications can’t be given to the state, my host mother Lesbia explains to me as I pry for anecdotes about her experiences with health care for a potential story.

I am walking the fine line between acting as a journalist and a house guest, but it is paramount to get to the bottom of medical resource accessibility after months of research and listening to doctors vaguely talk about the lack of resources.

Lesbia is telling me about her son-in-law, Jorge, who had an accident about a decade ago. He was on the roof when he fell into a power line and suffered a severe electric shock.

He suffered no permanent brain damage, but one of Jorge’s legs never fully recovered. Now, he takes vitamins sent to him by doctors in the United States to ease the pain.

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The largest athletic competition you’ve probably never heard of

By Jordan Klein
Medill Reports

With over 300,000 competitors worldwide, the CrossFit Open is an athletic competition 10 times larger than the Boston Marathon. But you’ve probably never heard of it.

For those involved, from athletes to coaches, this competition spells five weeks of stress, sweat, and sometimes, tears.

“Oh yeah, the Open is terrible for me,” said Todd Nief, CrossFit coach and owner of South Loop Strength and Conditioning. “It’s just chaos surrounding it.”

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Trend toward veganism finds a new niche market: Women

By Hannah Wiley
Medill Reports

In a world of fad diets and constantly changing health trends, vegans want you to know that they’re here to stay. With more plant-based products on the market and alternative options for meat and dairy, veganism grew in popularity in 2017.

According to a Forbes report, plant-based food sales went up 8.1% last year. The report suggests the food and beverage industry should invest in vegan-friendly items, pointing out that the plant-based market is expected to grow to a $5 billion industry by 2020.

An option for those curious about veganism — or others already following the lifestyle — is Vegan Women Made, a market started by Nicole Melanie Davis that features plant-based products. Davis began the marketplace after starting Mindful Indulgences, a confection business that uses only fair-trade and vegan ingredients.

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Blockchain is creating prosperity, experts say

By Ang Gao
Medill Reports

New York–The digital ledger platform blockchain is enabling a shift towards a safer, easier and more prosperous ecosystem by decentralizing assets and making peer-to-peer networks to govern all transactions, said blockchain experts, all Chinese, in a recent forum at Fordham University.

In a general sense, according to an article by Joss Everton on the Nasdaq website, decentralization means that no single entity has exclusive control over data or processes. Blockchain provides a basic level of decentralization because transactions are recorded by all users on the blockchain network, he stated. Continue reading

Women and minorities face discrimination, challenges in STEM fields

By Tiffany Chen
Medill Reports

The fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) have long been dominated by men. Women in these fields often face harassment, discrimination and inequality.

“There are built-in biases in the system of academia that are harmful to women in particular,” said Shauna Price, a postdoctoral fellow at the Field Museum. “When I was younger. I don’t think I was taken seriously, especially because of my gender and looking young.”

Half of the women in STEM field experienced gender discrimination in their workspace, according to a Pew Research Study published in January. Salary differences in the same job and being treated as if they were not competent are the two biggest categories. Discrimination is especially common for women in STEM jobs who work mostly with men.

“The goal of the Field Museum’s Women in Science group is to increase participation in women in all areas in the sciences, and help overcome gender biases in women in the sciences,” said Price.

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South African school children celebrate Chinese New Year

By Viola Du
Medill Reports

Sounds of drums, singing and kids’ laughter came out of a corner of Pretoria Chinese School of Gauteng Province. Dozens of children dressed in red gathered in the concert hall on Feb 15, getting ready for the Chinese New Year celebration.

Chinese New Year celebration and performances at the school is a tradition since the school was founded in 1934. Teachers and students usually work together and put on shows that often represent Chinese traditional culture.

View the photo essay

Photo at top: Students at the Pretoria Chinese School of Gauteng Province celebrate Chinese New Year. (Viola Du/MEDILL)

League of Legends Spring Split heats up with four weeks left until playoffs

By Jourdan Kerl
Medill Reports

Los Angeles – Cloud 9 outperformed Team SoloMid for a clean victory and nearly spotless record on Saturday evening to conclude the first half of Spring Split action in the North American League of Legends Championship Series.

With the first half of the season behind them, Cloud 9 looked ahead to competing against team Echo Fox, which shared the same record of 7-1 heading into Sunday afternoon’s match.  Echo Fox won placing then in first,  though four more weeks of competition until the playoffs can change their lead.

Under the new 10-team format, each league partner will face every other team in Riot Games NA LCS studio twice during the regular season, which started in January. The top six teams will enter the playoffs in April, where they will compete in a single-elimination tournament in Miami.

The stakes were high this week with many teams battling in must-win games. While the focus for most teams had already begun to shift toward the next half of the season, some players reflected on the first half of the Spring Split.

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