Bodies in the Streets

December 14th, 2014

Racial unrest has been on the rise since three iconic deaths of African American men were dismissed, particularly in cases where  law enforcement was closely involved. These deaths were all unpunished, and there is still argument on if these deaths were racially motivated. Travon Martin was gunned down back in 2012, Eric Garner was killed this July via suffocation, and Michael Brown was shot in August.

These deaths have caused protests across the country as no one has been charged for any of the deaths, despite Garner’s death being filmed. Mashable covered a story on the issue, involving various tweets and pictures from the scenes.

Taken from Kate Sommers-Dawes' twitter.

Taken from Kate Sommers-Dawes‘ twitter.

Honestly, not as a blogger, but as a black man, I can say I’ve always been a little nervous around law enforcement.  I’ve gotten along with them well enough, but there’s always that chance that I could be seen as a criminal.  The police getting away with technically killing a man, with video proof, leaves me a lot more scared. If anyone without a badge did what happened in that video, it would be murder from all angles.

Even if these deaths were not racially motivated, it is undeniable that we have police officers getting away with murder.  With even video evidence not protecting our people, what can we do but show our pain through protest? If anyone remembers the homeless Kelly Thomas, his murderers were acquitted too, despite the entire assault being caught on camera.

It isn’t just black people that should be concerned about the current state of police. Although race might have been a factor in these cases, it isn’t always.  Be careful, and be safe.

Find the Name Behind the Letter

December 7th, 2014

Ever been sent a mysterious e-mail, but you can’t find the source for citation or just pure curiosity?  If you happen to write a controversial story, you might become subject to threats, and knowing who is doing the threatening could help you get a piece of mind.

Advancingthestory.com offers help on how to know who is e-mailing you, suggesting IP-address tracing and searching the e-mail on Facebook. The article does not assume you’re an expert on tracing, so it gives a comprehensive process to follow. The site also recognizes that it does not have all the answers, but attempts to help the best it can.

Especially with the social situation occurring, and controversial opinions coming under fire, it is best to know the people contacting you, especially as a deliverer of the news. The best of luck staying secure with your gathering of news, as well as delivering it with the proper security and sources.

December 7th, 2014

Star Wars? More Like Race Wars

December 1st, 2014

With the recent debut of the seventh Star Wars instillation trailer, critics have taken issue with a new take on lightsabers, droid designs, and even race. With J.J. Abrams at the helm of the movie, changes have been made to George Lucas’s franchise.  With the mass criticism to the choice of race for a stormtrooper, the actor took a stand.

Taken from Uproxx.com

Taken from Uproxx.com

John Boyega, the actor under fire, took to Instagram to quickly defend the trailer.  A picture of his response can be found on Mashable.com, where he ends his statement with “get used to it.”

With all the race issues currently sprouting up in the United States, it has even redeveloped in our entertainment. This is discouraging to the argument that racism is dead, but hopefully the tension will die instead of the movie.

Pit Bulls or Pit Bullied?

November 24th, 2014

Although not necessarily journalism related, an article from mashable.com can grab any reader’s attention. A relatively small village in Louisiana has taken the initiative to ban pit bulls and Rottweilers.

Even in this golden age of dog tolerance, we manage to see pit bulls and Rottweilers get a bad rep, rather than the owners of the animals.  It is rare to see a dog of any breed in a good supportive setting go bad.  From my personal experience, pit bulls have been some of the most lovable dogs I’ve met.

If you’re passionate about pit bulls, check out pitbulls.org. If you want to read more into the story of the village ban and Zeus, check out kalb.com. The comment section should be worth a read as well.

A Goal Worth Reaching

November 17th, 2014

Despite common sense, gender-related pay gaps are still an issue.  In most situations, as one gets further up the ladder, their pay might be different depending on their gender. The blog site, 10,000 Words , looks at this issue, published through the eyes of female journalists.  A blooming idea is to cut the pay of men in the newsroom to give incentive to women and shrink the gap.

As righteous as this sounds, this will only create conflict between professionals. Anyone who believes in equality would say that the pay should be solidified and equal, for a position given.  With this logic, it would mean not cutting a man’s salary to increase a woman’s. Instead, a proposal to consider would be creating a base pay that every worker would be subject to, depending on their position, with possibility of a raise or bonuses for exceptional work.

We should not live in a society that punishes for personal attributes, such as gender or color.  In order to accomplish this goal, the people who decide rates of pay should be forced to reconsider their approach to the system, and revamp accordingly.

A Positive Light

November 9th, 2014

Recently, news broke through Mashable that a ‘Doctor Who’ star had been a beacon of light in an autistic child’s life. Peter Capaldi had sent a 9-year-old boy a video after receiving a letter from the child. This kind of positive outreach is vastly outnumbered by negative stories, covering massacres, crushed gorillas, and exhausted suicide stories.

Due to the success of negative stories over positive ones, we have found a more concentrated negative world view in the populace. Uplifting stories of human goodwill are underplayed, and should be more commonly addressed. This goodwill is more common than people think it is.

Capaldi is not the only celebrity, or person, to be kind and generous, but it comes as a surprise to people.

Is kindness really something that should be a surprise to people, or should it be something the media should value as worthwhile?

Dressing Right and Cheap

November 3rd, 2014

Any journalist, or person looking to become hired, knows that dressing is an important part of the first impression. Before you can investigate your topic, you have to know you’re hitting the right note with who you have to interview, or be interviewed by.  Sometimes a casual t-shirt and ripped jeans just won’t get you where you need to go, but you might be strapped for cash.  Lifehacker can help you out, with a recently released article.

Known as “career closets”, these establishments are places which loan out donated suits for greenhorns that need to dress professionally. The career closet featured in the article is from Kansas, but are not exclusive to Kansas. There are career closets as close as Waukesha for people living in Wisconsin.

career_closet_08

Taken from the business department of Santa Monica College.

This is a concept that is often covered by a local college, for college students or alumni, rather than any walk-in.  Eventually, Whitewater may even gain a career closet.

Arachnoslander?

October 26th, 2014

Spiders are the topic today, specifically addressing a post containing a decent amount of incorrect information. As if spiders did not have a bad enough reputation, the Huffington Post brings a story to the table, with language attempting to prime even neutral people to hate the creature. This type of reporting is why people tend to think of the Huffington Post as a blog, rather than a credible news site.  Saying “the biggest, ickiest, hairiest spider in the world” is not professional at all. At most, it is a distortion of truth, and a matter of opinion, which news sources do not use.  The correct information can be found here, on Myrmecos.net.

taken by Piotr Naskrecki

taken by Piotr Naskrecki

The original poster of the information, Piotr Naskrecki, was actually excited to see the Goliath bird-eater. Though this specific spider is territorial and somewhat aggressive, it is also unable to do serious harm to a human. Our most viewed news sources should learn to be above emotion-based reporting.

Difficult Situations

October 19th, 2014

In the world of journalism, difficult people are obvious hurdles in the daily grind.  From the boss to the interview, someone will make your job more difficult. It might not be on purpose, but it happens anyway. We all have our own ways of dealing with stress, but sometimes, it’s best to have a reminder. Lifehacker references Psychology Today, another publication I enjoy, to remind us how we can deal with difficult people in our lives. Instead of lashing out and facing the consequences, it is suggested to find some empathy and see the problem from the other point of view. Part of the profession is keeping a level head, and despite our struggles, we are all capable.