About Stephen

Stephen Mengis

Stephen Mengis Graduated from LSU Manship School of Mass Communication May 2011 with a dual degree in Political Science.

He is currently part of the 2014 class of LSU Law.

Stephen has interned for both WAFB and the Louisiana House of Representatives. He is a contributor to WAFB’s “Louisiana Unplugged” and Tiger TV’s “Your Source.”

Stephen Mengis grew up in Houston Texas and went to Strake Jesuit in Houston. He moved to Louisiana in 2007.

Stephen Mengis is an Eagle scout and has earned many academic honors and scholarships while at LSU.

You can contact Stephen at:




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Education                                                                                                         Aug. 2007

Louisiana State University Honors College

Manship School of Mass Communication: Major- Broadcast Journalism

Major- Political Science   Minor- French

Graduation Date- May 2011  GPA 3.78

Related Course Work         

Beginning and Intermediate Media Writing, Beginning Broadcast Reporting, Visual Communications, Media Ethics, Media Law, Media Research, Media Persuasion


May 2010- June 2010

Department of Information for Louisiana State Representatives

Intern- Managed and maintained multimedia portfolios for each House Representative. Covered Press events for members, and shot and edited promotional video for LA House. Maintained House website, and provided live stream for Speaker press conferences.

 Jan 2010- May 2010

WAFB Channel 9

Intern- Shadowed reporters, edited packages, wrote voice overs and, SOTs.  Directed calls and filtered story ideas from viewers.  learned digital camera operation and Edius editing skills.

May 2009- Jan 2010

Acme Oyster House

Porter- Cleaned tables and restaurant. Required keen observational skills, Interpersonal communication, strength and dexterity.

Aug. 2007- May 2010

Tiger TV- LSU’s closed circuit television station

Programming assistant- Set Tiger TV’s program schedule on weekly basis. Downloaded movies into station database for showings.

Production Assistant- Production room technician. Required skill and working knowledge or prompter, graphics machine, tape op, audio switch board, and program switch board.

Nov. 2007-Aug. 2009

Baton Rouge General Mid City Florida Blvd.                                   

HIM (Health information) Specialist- Organized medical reports for scanning into computer database system. Required attention to detail and observational skills.

July 2007

Rice University Book Store

Stocker and inventory organizer- Organized and shelved inventory. Required logistical thinking and organization skills.  Attention to detail and retention of large numbers and placement of multiple books.




Eagle Scout and Bronze Eagle Palm

LSU Honors College Student

Dean’s List 5 semesters

Tiger Athletic Foundation Scholarship 2 semesters

Nonresident Fee Exemption Scholarship

National Society for Collegiate Scholars Member

Society of Professional Journalists Member

Friends of French Award

Sophomore Honor Distinction

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Louisiana Seafood

-Stephen Mengis

Fishermen are worried.  Restaurants are worried.  Consumers are scared.

The Deep Horizon oil spill caused untold damage to the Gulf Coast region and threw seafood purveyors scurrying for a means to stay afloat.

The well polluted the Gulf of Mexico with an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil in a three-month period.

More than one year after the Deep Horizon well began leaking, consumers still fear tainted seafood might end up on their dinner plates.

Rob Walker, Louisiana Seafood Exchange manger said he “had a good idea we were going to be in this for a while” after he saw the media footage of the oilrig sinking into the Gulf.

No one thought it would last this long.

“The thoughts race though your mind,” Walker said. “What are you going to do about it?”

Walker said after the first few months, restaurants started hoarding food, preparing for the drop in supply and the inevitable increase in price.

“That reverberation around the country didn’t take long for people to understand that whatever you could get was going to cost you more to get it,” Walker said.

Walker said there was even a two week span after the spill where it was impossible to find oysters anywhere in the state.

But that was nine months ago.

Walker blames “media hysteria” for maintaining skepticism about the safety of Gulf Coast seafood.

Walker estimates that other areas of the country are five times less likely to purchase seafood from the Gulf Coast due to fear of tainted seafood than residents close to the spill.

“Louisianans pretty much got it,” Walker said.  “We didn’t have a lot of people bail out on our seafood.”

Gulf Coast residents saw the impact of the spill first hand and knew more detailed information that led them to make more accurate assessments of risk, according to Associate Psychology Professor Christopher Weber.

“Individuals are not correctly dealing with or accurately dealing with risk,” Weber said.

Weber equates the elevated worry of eating bad seafood to fear of flying after September 11.

“People are less likely to seek out and deal with risk and uncertainty when they are fearful,” Weber said. The risk a plane will crash never increases, but the thought of it happening is reinforced.

Weber said the media inadvertently fosters irrational fear.

Covering crises a year after the fact causes people to relive the emotions originally associated with the event.

Weber noted that the peak of a major crisis usually occurs at the one-year mark when media outlets tend to revisit major events.

Does this mean anxiety over bad seafood will subside soon?

Weber does not know for sure.

“It ebbs and flows and it depends on the nature of the crisis,” Weber said. Each event is unique and has its own set of variables.

For his part, Walker tries to reassure consumers that Louisiana seafood is safe and just as good as it always has been.

Walker says that it is in no one’s interest to sell bad fish.

Seafood is checked multiple times by everyone who handles it- from the docks to the kitchens- to make sure no polluted seafood makes it to the dinner table.

It is a “very structured, tiered system that I think is probably as good as any around the world,” Walker said.

The real damage to the seafood market happened immediately after the spill when fishermen were barred from fishing while the leak was still active.

Now fishermen are back in the Gulf and healthy fresh fish are flowing in. Walker hopes that worries will be swept aside and business will pick back up.

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Gulf Coast Oil Spill Affects Louisiana Shrimpers

The Deep Horizon oil rig sank into the Gulf of Mexico almost a year ago, but Louisiana fishermen are still suffering from the aftermath of the millions of gallons of crude oil that are poisoning the wildlife and killing the marshes.

Owner of Blanchard Shrimp, Dean Blanchard, worries every day about this year’s shrimp crop.

“We are real worried about that; our profit margin’s been cut in half since the spill,” Blanchard said.

Oil usually floats on the surface of the water, but because the leak was so far under ground and such large amounts of corrective used to disperse the oil, it can be found at many different depths. Possibly affecting the wildlife it comes into contact with.

For Blanchard, this means lost profit.  He will catch less shrimp, but people also are skeptical of the safety of seafood caught on coastal waters.

Professor Lawrence Rouse of the LSU Coastal Science Department says the effects of the oil spill have not been fully documented but preliminary results look promising.

Tests are “coming up zero, they’re coming up negative, that there is no significant… finding of any oil in any of the fish species,” Rouse said.

The shrimp season officially starts mid-May.  Until then all Rouse and Blanchard can do is hope and pray that the wildlife stays healthy and people continue to buy Louisiana seafood.

Professor Rouse on Oil in the Gulf

-Stephen Mengis

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Budget Battle Could Paralyze Federal Government

-Stephen Mengis

The federal government will grind to a halt if Congress does not pass another continuing budget resolution or an actual budget by April 9.

Congress passed a total of six continuing budget resolutions to keep the federal government running through the 2011 fiscal year. The support for a seventh resolution looks thin on both sides of the aisle, which means Democrats and Republicans must strike a deal on the budget before midnight April 9.

Belinda Davis, assistant professor of political science at LSU, says that without a budget only vital services like national defense will continue.

“They [Congress] have to come up with a budget or everything stops,” Davis said.

Social Security checks won’t be mailed, national monuments will be closed, parks, anything the federal government provides services for, will shut down.

The budget for the 2011 fiscal year (FY 2011) began October 1, 2010. Congress has been arguing over exactly how to fund the government ever since.

The 2011 fiscal year ends September 31.

“It is a big fight when you have divided government,” Davis said. “Particularly when you have divided chambers.”

House Republicans are currently fighting amongst each other as to exactly how much they want to cut from the federal budget. Tea Party Republicans think the proposed $61 billion in domestic cuts don’t go far enough to curb the growing deficit problem.

The Whitehouse suggested nearly $31 billion in spending cuts, and Tea Party faithful blanch at the prospect of a compromise somewhere in between the two figures.

Lawmakers designed the federal government to require funding every year, Davis explained.

Traditionally, the President sends a budget proposal to Congress, who would then amend the original proposal and send it back to the Whitehouse for approval.

Rising national debt, increasing economic troubles, falling revenue and a polarized political atmosphere all contribute in driving the budget debate to the extremes and away from this traditional model.

After the November 2010 elections, Republicans claimed a mandate for change. Using this mandate, the Republicans sought to drive the budget debate toward more cuts.

Any budget bill that the Republican House passes meets a stiff veto by the Democratic controlled Senate.

Another important aspect of the federal budget battle is the national debt.

The current debt ceiling for the federal government is $14.29 trillion. Right now, current federal debt stands at $14.267 trillion.

The federal government will default on its debt if Congress does not vote to increase the limit.

It may seem like a simple fix; just change the 14.29 to 16, but some lawmakers don’t want to do that.

If the federal government defaults on its debt, an economic catastrophe would follow that would make the great depression look like a stock market hiccup.

The battle on Capitol Hill is a doomsday scenario that would make Dr. Strangelove proud, but to Congressional lawmakers, it’s just business as usual.

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Mike the Tiger

LSU’s Bengal tiger Mike goes where he pleases, and that includes home football games.

Mike’s caretakers don’t use any tricks or drugs to get the 450 pound cat into his game day trailer.

“If we need to sedate him to get him in his trailer then we shouldn’t be taking him,” said Dr. David Baker, Mike’s Veterinarian. “That suggests it’s a stressful experience.”

LSU veterinary student and Mike caretaker Randee Monceaux says that Mike is inquisitive and enjoys going out during game days. However, she stress that it is totally Mike’s decision.

“We go ahead and open the door. That’s the critical point,” said Monceaux.  “He’ll decide whether he is going or not.”

-Stephen Mengis

Mike the Tiger is a symbol for wildlife conservation


History of Mike the Tiger timeline

Pictures and information courtesy of the official Mike the Tiger webpage.

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Video Game Technology

From its humble beginnings as a virtual table top ping pong game to the vast mountains of code and endless game play in today’s console games, video games have developed into a major entertainment industry.

As processor speed and graphics engines improve with each successive year, games become more complex, more stimulating, more captivating.

Computer programming professor Robert Kooima of LSU says that video games have evolved from a 15 minute investment to a four to eight hour sit down.

“A very important part of what the gaming industry gives us are these narrative experiences,” said Kooima.  “It’s like a movie that lasts for 20, 40, or even 100 hours.”

Though there have been great strides in the industry, creating all encompassing games full of adventure and beautiful scenery, little has changed in the way people interact with games since Pong was released in 1972.

Players use controllers, in varying shapes and numbers of buttons, to control their character in virtual worlds. That is how it has always been. Until now.

Sony’s Move, Microsoft’s Kinect, and the Nintendo Wii all have a version of motion sensor technology in their latest generation of consoles.

Kooima is currently using Microsoft’s Kinect to test 3D or Stereoscopic imagery sofware to create a 3-dimentional image on a TV that responds to changes in the users point of view.

“It’s sort of like looking out of a window,” said Kooima.  “Extend that to your television. If you had the ability to crane your head and look behind the car, look around the corner of the screen, and see the full scene, is that not a significant enhancement to the experience?”

Kooima remains skeptical of the power of this new technology to change the gaming industry.  While getting up off the couch and moving around intrigues many gamers, the technology does not lend itself to more high impact games like first person shooters.

“If I have this thing [controller] in my hand I can play comfortably for a very long time,”said Kooima. “But if I had to get up off my couch, as good as it might be for me, I couldn’t do it for as long.”

Kooima admits controller free technology opens up many new possibilities for programmers and developers.  It is too early to say what kind of effects this new technology will have on the industry. Though it still may be some years off, the day that you find yourself kicking over the coffee table to hide from an enemy just got a little bit closer.

-Stephen Mengis

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Mardi Gras King Cakes

Gambino’s Bakery on Goodwood boulevard is gearing up for this year’s king cake season. The Goodwood location is the larger of two Baton Rouge area stores that estimates it will pump out more than 30,000 king cakes this Mardi Gras season.

The king cake is an iconic figure in the Mardi Gras tradition that Christians historically consume between the Epiphany and Ash Wednesday dating back as far as the 14th century.

That, and they are good too!

“We have over twenty flavors,” said Angela St. Martin, manager of the Goodwood store. “We do just about any fruit filling imaginable.”

St. Martin also said they have a few flavors that aren’t so ordinary.

“We do a brownie one, we do a Zulu one, which is a chocolate cream cheese with coconut,” St. Martin said.

The process only takes about 3 hours from start to finish but the legend of the king cake has been making history since the time of the ancient Romans.

“The pagan festival of Saturnalia, which celebrated the end of winter and thus also represented new life or rebirth,” said Matthew Hernando, an instructor of Louisiana history at LSU. This ancient festival was appropriated by Christians and the cakes used eventually evolved into the modern Mardi Gras king cake we see today.

The three colors of the king cake are symbolic faith, the green; justice, the purple; and power, the gold.  The baby hidden in the cake is supposed to be a representation of the infant Jesus.

“It has also shed much of its religious meaning,” said Hernando.  “It is something that Louisianans do even if they have no particular religious affiliation.”

In the end the king cake is just a sign of a good time!

-Stephen Mengis

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Political Knowledge: Boehner Vs. Snooki

Can you name the current Speaker of the House? Times up!

How about who is the female lead on the TV show  “Jersey Shore”?

If you answered Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) and Snooki, you are one of the few Americans who got it right. The Pew Research Center issued a report late in 2010 that found that only 38 percent of the Americans could correctly identify Boehner as the new Speaker after the November elections.

At Louisiana State University fewer than 2 in 10 could correctly identify the Speaker. However, nearly everyone named Snooki as the lead character on MTV‘s series “Jersey shore.”

Less than 2 in 10 could name Congressman John Boehner as the new Speaker.

Professor Kirby Goidel of LSU’s Political Science Department said that this is actually nothing new.

“People listen to what politicians have say, they just don’t store the facts.” Goidel said.

Goidel said that people store this information in their feelings and emotions and use those emotions when making decisions about which candidate to support.

Professor Regina Lawrence of the Manship School of Mass Communications at LSU said that people are actually less likely to come across news in their every day consumption of media, and that smaller chance creates a larger gap in news consumption.

“We don’t watch one channel like we used to,” Lawrence said. “Instead we can surf for exactly the kind of information we want to consume.”

Lawrence attributes niche programming such as content driven cable networks and the Internet as the source for media fragmentation.

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