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Running from death

Posted by: | April 13, 2016 | No Comment |

19-Barrio-18-gang-AFP-GettyPeople are not just coming to the U.S. to pursue the “American dream,” rather they are crossing the border to flee gangs. Josue Salomon is an 18- year old male who was deported back to El Salvador in August of last year after being caught making his way to the U.S. He was desperate to leave his country after being threatened by 6 masked, armed gang members. If that happens in the U.S. our reaction would be to report it to the police, and we would expect them to take action.

However, in El Salvador, the majority of police are easily driven by the bribes of gang members or by their threats, meaning that most of the time, they can’t be trusted. Salomon went to the police and reported the threat but all they said was that they couldn’t do anything about it and advised him to run, so he did.

After being caught by immigration officials, he said, “I miss my family- but if I go back, the gang will kill me, like they’ve killed other boys who wouldn’t do what they wanted.”

El Salvador is considered to be the most dangerous country in the world. In 2014, almost 300,000 people left their homes to escape threats or violence. Gangs play a major role in the increase of violence and deaths in El Salvador.

Inmates at the Centro Preventivo y de Cumplimiento de Penas Ciudad Barrios. It is a prison just for members of the MS gang. No guards go into the prison and it is effectivly run and police by the gang itself. El Salvador.

My parents and half of my siblings were born and raised there, so I hear stories about this all the time. I hear stories about what they’ve seen, or experienced and how family members have been threatened for many reasons, like retaliation or for money, tortured and then killed. Can this problem be solved? Gangs run the country, they place fear in the residents and even the government, so how can the problem be solved if everyone is scared to do anything about it?

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It’s an election year and politics is King. Politics, controls the news cycle. It’s been an interesting year with Donald Trump dominating the conversation, bringing out the worst…and best(if I’m being fair) of America.  It’s been an entertaining election.

At one point, the Huffington Post covered Trump in their entertainment section calling his campaign a ‘sideshow’. Roughly five months later, Arianna Huffington announced the Huffington Post wouldn’t cover Trump in Entertainment but treat it ‘as if it were a normal campaign’. The full post is well worth the read.  Huffington wasn’t alone with celebrities like J.K Rowling, Pitbull and Miley Cyrus publicly denouncing trump.  Trump is an easy target, which is why I’ll save Ted Cruz for a separate post.

Burying the lead a bit, there are good things that have come out of Trumps presidential run. No, I’m not talking about the Freedom girls, the heartwarming ‘hugs’ campaign, or John Oliver Tonight, but David Brooks,I Miss Barack Obama’(IMBO) op-ed for the New York Times.   If this isn’t a nice cherry on the political reporting cake, I don’t know what is. A prolific conservative writer, it’s not entirely surprising he wrote a homage Obama piece. Known for his pithy, poignant, and unabashed writing style, Brooks is a g.o.a.t, having a NYT column since 2003. What’s ‘newsworthy’ about the piece is Brooks is a conservative. Not a Rush Limbaugh conservative but a bi-partisan conservative that right and left-wingers approve of. Since Brooks isn’t running, approval is a mute point.  The oddity of the piece was picked up by Washington Post’s Justin Moyer who thinks Brooks is ‘going through something’. 

 I have a sense of amusement from it all, and the reader comments suggest I’m not alone.

It’s a fact — Brooks isn’t a fan of Donald Trump.  In ‘No, Donald Trump Won’t Win’ he compares Trump to a pink rug ending  the article with “In an era of high anxiety, I doubt Republican voters will take a flyer on their party’s future — or their country’s future.” This was the popular rhetoric at the time. Many doubted that American’s would vote for such a man. How could they?

Two months after ‘No, Donald Trump Won’t Win’ IMBO is posted, the tagline reading ‘This campaign is highlighting some of the presidents better traits’. This was after he called trump the ‘lingua franca of pro wrestling’ and said he was ‘more spectacle than substance’. Biting to say the least.

Contrary are his words for the President :

“No, Obama has not been temperamentally perfect. Too often he’s been disdainful, aloof, resentful and insular. But there is a tone of ugliness creeping across the world, as democracies retreat, as tribalism mounts, as suspiciousness and authoritarianism take center stage.

Obama radiates an ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance that I’m beginning to miss, and that I suspect we will all miss a bit, regardless of who replaces him.”

Further up, the fifth thing Brooks will miss? Obama’s optimism.

“To hear Sanders or Trump, Cruz and Ben Carson campaign is to wallow in the pornography of pessimism, to conclude that this country is on the verge of complete collapse. That’s simply not true. We have problems, but they are less serious than those faced by just about any other nation on earth.”

So what does this all mean? Obama’s presidency isn’t untainted and by no means is he the progressive many hoped for, but to have David Brooks send praise is gratifying and represents the excitement that is political reporting. There’s more to this than a conservative giving Obama praise. IMBO gives a glimpse into the changing political framework and inadvertently, a change in political reporting. It pulls the shades back on a broken system and creates a platform that says ‘hey, it’s o.k to be a conservative and applaud a liberal’. It sets a standard for fair, reflective and open political reporting. It shows people that you can praise Obama and still keep your guns. 

Liberals, count this as a win.


under: Comm 455

Elizabeth Eisenstein’s life was dedicated to her historical writings on the development of movable type. Eisenstein’s most prominent work, “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change was published in 1979. Her work argues that the development of the printing press, specifically Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press, sparked significant developments throughout society. According to Eisenstein, the development of movable type created a cultural explosion through the dissemination of information in a quick manner. Eisenstein compared the development of the press to other landmark eras, including the Renaissance and Protestant Reformation. According to the Washington Post, Eisenstein referred to this time frame as the “communications revolution”. In addition to “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change“, Eisenstein wrote  “Grub Street Abroad: Aspects of the French Cosmopolitan Press From the Age of Louis XIV to the French Revolution” in 1992. “Grub Street Abroad” focused on the development of the press and it’s influence leading up to the French Revolution.

Her works would develop a historical overview of the press from it’s conception. Her works also spoke to the social developments that occurred as a result of press transformation. As The New York Times states: “Professor Eisenstein argued that the development of movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century helped inaugurate a set of sweeping social changes thanks to the authoritative, widely tangible dissemination of information it allowed”. For her work she received an American Historical Association award in 2003, as well as the Gutenberg Award in 2012.

Eisenstein grew up in a well-to-do family, attending Vasarr college for her undergrad and earned doctoral degrees from Harvard. She additionally taught at American University in Washington, D.C. After her work at American University, Eisenstein began working at the University of Michigan where she taught history. She would remain a faculty member of the University of Michigan until her retirement in 1988.Elizabeth Eisenstein died on Jan. 31 at the age of 92. Although she is gone, her works are studied throughout the world and observed as some of the best works reciting the historical development of the printing press.

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That’s awkward. In 2000 the New York Times issued a correction on something that they had been doing wrong for over 100 years. The issue number n the paper was 500 editions too early.

This mistake seems like something the paper can laugh about but other times, mistakes are no laughing matter.

Sometimes a small punctuation error can tell an entirely different story:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>BREAKING: Dutch military plane carrying bodies from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash lands in Eindhoven.</p>&mdash; The Associated Press (@AP) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AP/status/491943480407883777″>July 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>


<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>CLARIFIES: Dutch military plane carrying Malaysia Airlines bodies lands in Eindhoven.</p>&mdash; The Associated Press (@AP) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AP/status/491945631150514177″>July 23, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>


But what happens when an error is made, and a correction needs to released. With instant postings like Twitter, corrections are easy to correct. However, newspapers would take a day to correct. Here are some examples of memorable corrections from 2012.





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This Saturday on HBO, Confirmation, a film staring Kerry Washington as Anita Hill and Wendell Pierce as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will air worldwide.

The film is based on the 1991 case of 35 year old law professor Anita Hill, who claimed that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her on the job. Thomas was her boss at the Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).



This case gained much attention due to the fact that during this time, Thomas was then a Supreme Court nominee. The media had a very influential presence in this case. Hill’s confidential statements were illegally leaked to the press. After the leak, Hill was summoned to testify before the Judiciary Committee on live television.

Over 20 million households watched the proceedings.

During the televised trial, Hill was demonized and attacked. And with it being aired for the public to see, the attacks on Hill pursued nearly three-quarters of the public to believe that Hill was lying about her sexual harassment claim.

When court cases are reported on and aired for the public to see, the public is able to make judgments on the matter based on the media’s telling of the story, which can be very powerful and influential to the people involved.

While the film is already being criticized for its dramatization of the case, for Hill it is highlighting the impact of the media and the overall importance of the case.

I will say that [Confirmation] is not just about my memories. One of the things that occurred in 1991, when people were watching it: This was almost like political reality TV being played out in front of people, on their television sets and on radio. – Anita Hill to Rolling Stone



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When Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg he likely had no idea how this action would change the world. As the video below shows, his initial action set off a chain of events that would change the world.

That being said, what Martin Luther did was a common tradition amongst monks of the time. If you as a monk had an issue you wished to debate, it was customary to write out your questions and nail them to the door of the church, usually for a discussion reserved to clergy.

However with the recent development of the movable type printing press, as well as the eye-catching fiery rhetoric Luther used in his remarks, Luther’s words would soon travel far beyond the church in Wittenberg.

Luther called on the church to explain what he saw as deliberate corruption in the form of indulgences as well as deliberate misleading in the form of papal pardons. Luther believed that the church was leading its people down a path not to heaven, but to hell, and he wanted to do something.

Martin Luther Credit: biography.com

Martin Luther
Credit: biography.com

Within two months the 95 theses had spread throughout Europe, and Luther found himself a target of the church he had been serving. Luther was eventually condemned at the Diet of Worms but was able to flee before he was persecuted.

Luther was able to continue his work under the protection of Frederick the Wise, and under his protection translated the Bible into German from Latin.

Overall Luther’s impact is hard not to understate as he not only changed the future of Christianity, but he also changed the complexion of society as the church controlled almost every aspect of life. Without Luther and the 95 theses the Catholic church may have continued to rule with unquestioned power for further centuries, permanently changing the world as we know it today.

Links to Martin Luther Documentary:

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVrPIp4QsA

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsDT1pYOW2c

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Andy Cohen

Posted by: | April 12, 2016 | No Comment |


“If you look at my life before I went into television, the struggle I went through coming out would be surprising to most people, given how comfortable and how out I am being the only late-night gay talk-show host.”




With hard work and determination, Andy Cohen created his own success story that continues to shine within the television industry. Cohen was born and raised in St. Louis and received a B.A. in broadcast journalism after graduating from Boston University. As of today, the media star holds the title as “the smartest man on TV” according to Details Magazine. Cohen is an Emmy Award-winning host, author and producer of several television hits among the network known as- Bravo. In addition, he is the host and executive producer of the “Watch What Happens Live” series that premieres during the late night hours. Throughout these episodes, Cohen interviews top celebrities such as Cher, Jennifer Lopez, Will Ferrell, and Oprah Winfrey.

With the help of his deep infatuation with the entertainment business, Cohen has created strong and long- lasting relationships with A-list celebrities and other inspiring media stars that have helped shape his career. As Cohen enjoys his view on top, he has also created careers for his reality TV stars. As the executive producers for the shows like “Project Runway”, “Top Chef”, “Flipping Out”, “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” and my personal favorite, “The Real Housewives.” Each show has discovered and created a social platform for the reality television stars such as Kim Zolciak- Biermann, a member of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” who currently has over 1.9 millions followers on Instagram.

Andy Cohen was named as “25 Most Influential People in Television” according to TV Guide as well as Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business List. The television network, Bravo continues to grow while expanding Cohen’s career and discovering others.


To learn more about Andy Cohen, click here.

Quote: brainyquote

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UPS blog photoIn the wake of the countercultural sentiments of the 1960s, a group of local papers whose objective was to give new ideas a voice in print formed a network known as the Underground Press Syndicate, or UPS.

The organization represented an effort to unite even the smallest and newest of papers to freely publish their thoughts and ideas, and gave writers a network to use in order to educate themselves and the masses on the issues of the day in an open setting. Papers included in the UPS spanned the country and notably included The Fifth Estate, The Berkeley Barb, The Rag, East Village Other, and the Los Angeles Free Press.

UPS sponsored conferences throughout the country and encouraged the exchange of ideas among its members at such events. Criteria for membership simply included allowing other UPS members to reprint content, have access to subscriptions of an individual publication, and listing the contact information of other UPS members in their paper.

Publications included in the UPS focused on a wide variety of social issues and made a special effort to include support for the women’s liberation movement as it grew throughout the decade. Although these papers were clearly driven by opinion and diversity of thought as opposed to straight reporting, the network of contact information and reprinting agreements mirrors that of a wire service but for smaller, more dogmatic papers. According to historian Abe Peck, the UPS and the rise of the alternative press in conjunction to counterculture itself “represent[s] the participatory democracy, community organizing and synthesis of politics and culture that the New Left of the midsixties was trying to develop.”

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Hillary Clinton‘s Presidential campaign is under fire due to a bill signed into affect in 1994. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was signed in to law by Hilary Clinton’s husband President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994.

President Clinton signing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. CREDIT: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/inside-controversial-1994-crime-bill-plaguing-clinton-campaign/story?id=38313757

President Clinton signing the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. CREDIT: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/inside-controversial-1994-crime-bill-plaguing-clinton-campaign/story?id=38313757

Two decades later the bill is affected Hilary Clinton’s campaign. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act dealt with crime and law enforcement by providing 100,000 new police officers, $9.7 billion funding for prisons, and $6.1 billion in funding for prevention programs. The bill also contained the federal assault weapons ban, eliminated inmate education programs, expanded the federal death penalty and codified “three strikes” sentencing mandating at the federal level.

The Bill has brought attention to the Democratic party. Vice President Joe Biden authored this 1994 bill with support from 2016 Democratic candidates Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton with husband President Bill Clinton. CREDIT: http://time.com/4177436/hillary-clinton-juanita-broaddrick/

Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton with husband President Bill Clinton. CREDIT: http://time.com/4177436/hillary-clinton-juanita-broaddrick/

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act affected the black community immensely. Nick Turner of Versa stated, “If you’re a black baby born today, you have a 1 in 3 chance of spending some time in prison or jail,” Turner said. “If you’re Latino, it’s a 1 in 6 chance. And if you’re white, it’s 1 in 17. And so coming to terms with these disparities and reversing them, I would argue, is not only a matter of fairness and justice but it’s, I would argue, a matter of national security.”

Two decades later and President Clinton is clashing with Black Lives Matters protestors. Watch the video below as President Clinton responds to the Black Lives Matters protestors.

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Execution in texas

Posted by: | April 11, 2016 | No Comment |

AR-304069945.jpg&updated=201604061907&MaxW=800&maxH=800&noborderPablo Lucio Vasquez was executed on Wednesday of last week for the slaying of a 12 year old boy in 1998. Not only did he slaughter this boy, but he drank his blood too! Vasquez told Texas police that he was drunk and high when it happened. He also said that there were voices in his head telling him to kill the boy and then to drink the blood as a sacrifice offering for Satan.

So what exactly happened?

Vasquez and his cousin were at a party the night of the murder (April 18, 1998), when he struck the victim in the head with a piece of pipe and a shovel. The 12 year old was buried behind a residence and Vasquez took a ring and a necklace from him.

When asked if he had a final statement, Vasquez told his relatives that were watching for the window that he loved them and then thanked them for being there. He then turned to the victim’s family and said, “I’m sorry to David’s family. This is the only way that I can be forgiven. You got your justice right here.”

After receiving a lethal dose of pentobarbital, he said “see you on the other side” and died 24 minutes later. 

under: Comm 455, Local news

The sagas today

Posted by: | April 10, 2016 | No Comment |

The Norse sagas are relevant today. These written descriptions of Norse traditions tell about traditions, major events, and tales of exploration that allow scholars, or any history buff, to learn about what life was like for the Norse community. Today, these sagas have been read and studied by many people, which has resulted with books, shows, movies, and even holidays  that have highlighted Norse culture.

The famous historical drama Vikings on the history channel is based on the saga of Ragnar Lodbrok and it has captured the eye of thousands of people. The thrilling drama and action keeps viewers on the edge of their seats as they watch a dramatized version of the life that vikings lived.

The most famous Norse contribution that is seen in media today is Marvel‘s use of the myths of Odin, Thor, and Loki; the Norse gods. For years Marvel has produced Thor comics that tell of his adventures; and, even more well known, Thor has appeared in several Marvel movies: Thor, The Avengers,  Thor: The Dar World, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. While these comics and movies are most definitely fictional the information about the characters are collected from the Norse sagas.



The most interesting, in my opinion, is the holiday; Lief Erikson Day. Since the finding of the area of what is believed to be Vinland in Newfoundland in the early 1900s there was a new found excitement about Vikings and the Norse culture. In September of 1965 Congress passed a resolution, signed by Lyndon B. Johnson that proclaimed October 9th, 1965. This day is to celebrate Nordic culture and their exploration. This holiday would not have been about if the Nordic people did not write down their stories, myths, and legends into the sagas, which still impact society today.

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source: http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu

source: http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu

Bernard Berelson (1912-1979) was an American behavioral scientist. In 1945 there was a newspaper strike in New York. This strike provided him with an excellent opportunity to study the effects of the absence of newspapers on its readers. “What ‘Missing The Newspaper’ Means” was an analysis published by Berelson in the 1948-1949 edition of Communications Research. In it he analyzed why people missed the news and how people felt when they couldn’t get their daily news.

In his study Berelson explained that on June 30, 1945, the deliverymen of eight of the major newspapers in NYC went on strike. This lasted for a period of over 2 weeks. Through extensive interviews he studied the several roles that modern newspapers play including: information about public affairs and their interpretation, tool for daily living, for respite, for social prestige, and finally social contact.

Newspapers were found to be a necessity for allowing readers to read commentaries. Berelson stated, “Many people are also concerned with commentaries on current events from both editorials and columnists, which they use as a touchstone for their own opinions.”

The ways in which people’s lives were “handicapped” were: inability to follow programs on radio without printed logs, missed merchandising comments, fear of missed obituaries, etc. The following answer was stated in the study:

“When you read it takes your mind off other things. It [the strike] gave me nothing to do in between my work except to crochet, which does not take my mind off myself as much as reading. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was depressed. There was nothing to read and pass the time. I got a paper on Wednesday and felt a whole lot better.”

Regardless of the content in missed newspapers, the act of reading itself is regarded as “a strongly and pleasurably motivated act in urban society.” It is interesting to read some of the answers that the interviewees gave in response to how they felt. The newspaper truly acts as a sort of safeguard as portrayed through the following answer:

“I am like a fish out of water . . . I am lost and nervous. I’m ashamed to admit it. I feel awfully lost. I like the feeling of being in touch with the world at large. If I don’t know what’s going on next door, it hurts me. It’s like being in jail not to have a paper. You feel put out and isolated from the rest of the world. It practically means isolation. We’re at a loss without our paper.”

In our modern day world, the digital publishing industry seems to be booming significantly. It would be interesting if a similar study would be interesting if a similar study would be conducted today to analyze the psychological and sociological effects of online news, and the decrease of printed newspapers in the lives of many.

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