From a simple surgery to overdosing: The path from prescription drug use to heroin addiction

At 16 years, he got the first taste. Immediately he was hooked.

Two years later, a college baseball injury allowed him to get another bite.

His sophomore year, it started to become recreational.

By junior year, it was spiraling out of control.

And by senior year, he was completely gone.

Max Cordio was never exposed to alcohol or drugs in high school, but after he got his wisdom teeth removed at the age of 16, he was exposed to opioid-based painkillers. Cordio said, even though he did not do drugs for another two years, he feels he was already addicted.

“As soon as I took [the drug] I knew I liked it and I wanted to get that feeling back,” Cordio said.

Cordio got the feeling back his freshman year at UW-Whitewater after a baseball injury and hernia surgery landed him with more painkillers. In his sophomore year, he started using opioids recreationally.

“Before you know anything about the drug, you say ‘I can use this once in a while just to have a good time,’ and so that’s what I did,” Cordio said “As I did that more and more, I started taking more and more [at a time].”

This path quickly led to more drugs and alcohol. Many painkiller-abusers take a similar path, according to an MSNBC report. The end result is almost always the same thing: addiction to heroin.

The growing ‘epidemic’

In the 1990s, the U.S. saw a rapid rise of opioid narcotic medications being prescribed to reduce pain outside hospitals. According to David Nordstrom, Ph.D., a former associate professor at UW-Whitewater and an epidemiologist, pain relievers used to be difficult to obtain.

“People sometimes were dying in hospitals or in their home without sufficient access to pain relief, and so there were concerns that there wasn’t compassionate care,” Nordstrom said in an interview in 2013. “And so slowly, the medical practices began to change, and doctors began to become more comfortable with allowing their patients to use these very strong pain relievers.”

Ryan Shogren is the special agent in charge of the High Intensive Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Heroin Initiative, part of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The taskforce was created in 2011 in response to heroin becoming an “epidemic.”

Shogren said painkiller addiction started rising in Wisconsin in the late 1990s to early 2000s. It wasn’t long before the government noticed the quick rise in prescription drug-related deaths and advised doctors to be more cautious when prescribing these painkillers.

Almost simultaneously, heroin use began to rise. In Wisconsin, there were 34 heroin-related deaths in 2000, according to a special report from the Green Bay Press Gazette. That number rose to 199 in 2012.

This opioid drug is synthesized from morphine, a natural substance taken from Asian opioid poppy plants. It is usually a white or brown powder that is cooked into a liquid then injected with a needle. Recent trends show that heroin can now be snorted or smoked.

Heroin was not only creeping into the homes of minorities or unemployed lower-class as it was in the past. Everyone was using it: wives, husbands, children, every minority and social class.

It is also being found in every area of the country, from small suburban towns to populated cities. Even the small city of Whitewater, Wis. has seen its share of heroin.

UW-Whitewater Police Chief Matthew Kiederlen said that while no official reports have been made, heroin paraphernalia has been found on campus.

Whitewater Police Chief Lisa Otterbacher said from June 2012 to December 2014, there were seven cases of reported heroin overdoses, two of which resulted in the user’s death.

“It [heroin] has been a problem long term, but a notable increase over the past couple of years,” Otterbacher said.

This trend is mirrored throughout the U.S.

“It’s not like it’s dirty and back-alleyish like it used to be,” Shogren said. “Now it comes in off-white powders, brown or tan powders, and it looks much more harmless than it did in the past. You can’t just point to any one person or demographic because there are no boundaries.”

Heroin is also cheaper than painkillers: Shogren said enough heroin to get high costs $10 to $15, while one pill of OxyContin, not enough to get the strong high that many people want, costs $80 to $100.

More to the problem

Roger Young, a professor in the occupational & environmental safety and health department at UW-Whitewater, said with heroin overdose victims often have other drugs in their body.

“Often time with there is a heroin or opiate overdose … [police] don’t report the fact the person has also other sedatives in their system,” Young said. “The combination of opioids and depressants, which includes alcohol and benzos [Benzodiazepine, such as Valium], in combination they have an additive effect on depressing breathing and can be extremely dangerous.”

That’s exactly what happened to Max Cordio.

After using drugs and alcohol regularly for about five years, Cordio overdosed. He had taken 12 Ambien sleeping pills, 10 Vicodin pills and drunk alcohol. It was his father’s birthday.

“My roommates found me passed out on the couch and called my dad, they didn’t call 911,” Cordio said. “My dad ended up taking me into the emergency room.”

Cordio called the overdose a “blessing in disguise.”

“That was what I needed to do to tell him I wanted to get help,” Cordio said. “I think that’s the case for most people: it has to be a life-changing event for them to stop.”

Cordio entered a voluntary rehab facility for 30 days and nights. He said while in treatment, both he and his family learned why he chose the path he did. For Cordio, it was dealing with his anxiety and worry about life after college. The drugs and alcohol would take away the worry, and it was the only solution Cordio felt he had access to.

“At the time, my family didn’t understand that taking anxiety or depression medication is actually an OK thing to do,” Cordio said. “After I got into treatment and my family and I learned more about it, they agreed that it was a good thing that I should get on something”

Out of the 30 people in the program, Cordio was the only one to successfully complete it. He said the support from his loved ones helped him through the program. The realization that he almost died helped him to finally fight the addiction.

“I knew I wanted to stop, but you’re so deep into it and you’ve done so many wrong things that you don’t know how,” Cordio said. “Me almost having to die was how I had to stop.

“It’s hard for somebody to stop unless they want to. It’s sad to say, but something has to happen to them negatively. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be small, just something that changes the way they think about their addiction.”

The low success rate in Cordio’s program is common among treatment programs. Young said as many as 90 percent of people addicted to drugs relapse at least once. Many drug addicts don’t even make it to treatment, Young said.

“Up to this point, because of our laws, a person who struggles with addiction, especially this group of drugs, had two options: They’d either overdose and die, or get incarcerated,” Young said. “We now know by history that incarceration does not cure addiction, it doesn’t even come close. So people that are in the prison system, when they get out they return to [drugs] right away, most of the time.”

One full year of methadone maintenance treatment is approximately $4,700 for one person, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  The cost of maintaining one person in prison is roughly $24,000.

According to the same organization:

  • There were 7.2 million people were on probation, parole, jail or prison in 2009
  • 3.6 million to 4.7 million of those inmates were diagnosed as being addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Of those, 7 to 17 percent receive treatment while incarcerated
  • “Most of the over 650,000 inmates released back into the community each year have not received needed treatment services,” the report states.

For those who are not successful in treatment, or who never receive it, the addiction to heroin almost never falters. Its effects are so strong, the addict will do anything to get the high, Otterbacher said.

“Drug dependent people have difficultly holding down a job, thus revenue becomes a challenge, which transitions into stealing,” Otterbacher said. “We have seen an increase in motor vehicle entries and burglaries. Many times we have linked the crimes back to known drug users, most recently heroin users.”

Cordio knows the desperation of a heroin addict all too well. After spending $30,000 of savings on drugs, Cordio would steal money from his father’s bar, which happened to be located right next door to his dealer.

While heroin is cheaper than prescription painkillers, it is still an expensive habit, as many addicts typically use at least twice a day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. All the money goes toward an illegal industry making up to $150 billion a year, Young said.

Changing tactics

In a November 2013 article from the Milwaukee Law Journal, former District Attorney Mike McCann said he questioned how his office handled drug cases, by simply arresting users and putting them in jail.

“That only resulted in a bloated prison population of mostly black residents, and didn’t get to the real root of the addiction problem,” McCann said. “It certainly wasn’t completely effective in wiping out drugs because drug use still continues.”

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., recently signed legislation to change the way drug cases are handled. The seven bills, known as the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education, or H.O.P.E. Agenda, aim to “be a little bit more compassionate” to drug addicts, Young said.

“In this country, we take such a harsh view against people who use certain kinds of drugs,” Young said. “Governor Walker signing these bills is an attempt to be a little bit more compassionate, because what we need is compassion and authenticity, we don’t need more laws.”

Some of the bills included in the H.O.P.E. Agenda are:

  • Assembly Bill 447: provides limited immunity for people who report an overdose, meaning the person reporting the overdose will likely not have to worry about consequences against themselves.
  • Assembly Bill 702: allows for short-term punishments for addicts who violate conditions of extended supervision, parole, etc.
  • Assembly Bill 668: nearly doubles funding for treatment programs as an alternative for incarceration.
  • Assembly Bill 446: requires all EMTs to carry naloxone, a drug that counteracts opiate overdoses.

All seven bills were authored in part by Rep. John Nygren, R-Wis.

Nygren “has a daughter who has struggled with heroin addiction,” Young said. “It’s just interesting to me that if you’re personally affected, you finally do some good legislation. But it doesn’t matter how this came out, it’s good legislation.”

The Milwaukee Law Journal reported that “A 2012 analysis by the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that increased investment in TAD [Treatment Alternative and Diversion] and drug court programs could save the state tens of millions of dollars a year.”

In the same article, Carol Carlson, Milwaukee County Drug Treatment Court coordinator, said a person who enters Milwaukee County’s drug court and avoids incarceration can save the state or county, on average, about $12,000.”

Shifting from incarcerating drug addicts, to getting them treatment was the first major change in how the U.S. dealt with the rise in heroin use. Other tactics included forming task forces to educate the public about the drug, such as the HIDTA Heroin Initiative that Shogren is in charge of, as well as the Drug Task Force formed by the Whitewater Police Department in 2012.

Otterbacher said Whitewater police officers voluntarily sought additional training in drug enforcement, and the department works with UW-Whitewater Police Services and county task forces to “fight the increasing war on drugs.”

At a state level, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has made heroin one of its top priorities over the last few years.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen recently travelled around Wisconsin to spread the word of the department’s campaign against heroin, The Fly Effect.

“Law enforcement, health care providers, and first responders already know that heroin is a major issue confronting our state,” Van Hollen said in a press release.  “It is my goal to educate young people, and those who care about young people, about the dangers of this illegal drug so they never experiment with it, and so we can put a stop to this epidemic before it takes another life.”

TheFlyEffect.com is an interactive web campaign that shows the progression from trying heroin for the first time to becoming addicted, starting to steal from family members, and possibly dying in the end. The campaign includes video testimonies from addicts, recovering addicts and families of people who died of heroin overdoses.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice also sponsors the annual Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. On April 26, 200 stations were set up throughout the state for people to anonymously drop off expired or unused prescription drugs. This annual event occurs throughout the U.S., and this year, Wisconsin ranked third in the country with 25 tons of prescription drugs dropped off.

Living a new life

“Any day sober that is stressful is better than any day that you’re using … Once you start having sober days, everything makes more sense.”

It’s been almost five years since his close call with death, and Cordio said he is a completely different person.

He now speaks in Young’s Alcohol and Other Drugs classes to tell his story of addiction and recovery.

“It’s a good reminder to myself how good I have it now and what I went through,” Cordio said. “It’s also good for people to understand that it could happen to anyone. I’ve been fortunate to have a good family and a good life, but it doesn’t mean that just because I have nice things and I’m a good person that it couldn’t happen to me. It can happen to anyone.”

Cordio owns and runs an indoor baseball facility and operates a non-profit youth baseball team in Madison with his business partner Greg Reinhart. Cordio said he has not touched any type of addictive substance since his treatment.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it every day,” Cordio said. “It crosses my mind every day, however, it’s not as strong. You just have to remind yourself how good you have it right now, and I think that’s the biggest thing, is how lucky I am and fortunate to have a good business, have good family, have a great girlfriend and all that. I wouldn’t have that if I wasn’t sober.”

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Green energy, law enforcement benefits discussed at Jefferson County board meeting

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors accepted a bid to begin work on a new highway shop facility at their meeting on March 12. Miron Construction won the contract with a $1,193,482 bid.

The Board also rescinded a resolution to utilize a geothermal system for heating and cooling of the new highway facility. The resolution was adopted in September 2013, but the board recently discovered that to receive a bid would cost $35,000 and it would take 69 years to pay back construction costs for the geothermal system.

Geothermal energy is reusable energy generated and stored in the Earth. It is typically cost effective once the systems are in place, but building the systems is what will take up a large portion of taxpayer money, and is what the county board is concerned about.

Although all present supervisors were in agreement that the costs for the project were too high, some members wanted to make sure the discussion of green energy was not taken completely off the table.

Supervisor Greg David agreed that alternative energy needs to still be considered and suggested biomass as a different solution. Biomass is reusable energy derived from plants.

“Biomass could be useful as a potential energy source,” David said. “It would keep those energy expenditures right here in Jefferson County and give us local sovereignty. To just slap some money down and take natural gas is a huge mistake.”

Supervisor Mike Kelly moved to amend the resolution to include that further research of alternative energy will be researched.

After concerns from other board members about the costs of research, Supervisor Jim Schroeder adjusted Kelly’s amendment to say “refer further study of energy efficiency measures to the Infrastructure Committee.”

“That way we’re not committing at this time to spend any money, but we’re keeping a policy statement that we want to explore energy efficiency to reduce the cost of ownership to this building over the coming decades,” Schroeder said.

The amended resolution passed with a 28-0 vote.

In other business, the board passed a resolution requiring law enforcement previously exempt from Act 10 to give up their bargaining rights when it comes to salaries, health insurance and other similar matters. Most other unionized employees lost these rights when Act 10 was passed by state legislature in 2011.

The resolution passed with a 28-0 vote, enacting a three-year contract, LAW Local 102, and accounts for pay raises for law enforcement in order for them to pay more for health insurance and other benefits.

At the Tuesday night meeting, the board also:

  • Approved County Administrator Ben Wehmeier to purchase property to expand a county parking lot by 12 stalls. To purchase the land and demolish the home on the property is estimated to cost between $127,000 and $132,000.
  • Declared April 2014 to be Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month in Jefferson County. According to the resolution, promotional items and events will be funded through private donations.
  • Expressed their appreciation to supervisors Sarah Bregant, Gregory Torres and Pamela Rogers, who will not be seeking reelection in April. This year’s elections will be the first time new voting machines are being used. County Clerk Barb Frank said the machines should be easier to use and be more accurate than machines previously used.

The board’s next meeting will be held April 5 at 5 p.m., in accordance with a resolution passed by the board to change the time from 7 p.m. This is the board’s organizational meeting where a county board chair will be selected. The organizational meeting must be held after April elections every two years.

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Council discusses stormwater, zoning issues at recent meeting

Tensions were high at the Feb. 4 Whitewater Common Council meeting, as both community and council members demanded action be taken on multiple issues.

One of the biggest topics of discussion was stormwater management throughout the city. City studies of the current stormwater piping showed that the current systems are too small to maintain recent rainfalls. As a result, many Whitewater residents and business owners have experienced floods on their properties.

Two Whitewater residents addressed the council, expressing their frustration that the problem had not yet been fixed. Richard James of 224 N. Fremont St. in Whitewater said he first brought the flooding of his property to the attention of the city in 2008, and ever since he has gone back and forth with the city about getting the stormwater pipes fixed.

“Why hasn’t this, in five and a half years, been scoped to find out what the problem is, and fix it,” James said. “If nothing else, do something. At least tell the people what’s going on, because it just gets tiresome, it really does.”

City Manager Cameron Clapper addressed the issue, explaining that there have been events preventing the city from moving forward with fixing the stormwater pipes, one of which was the cold weather preventing the use of a camera in the piping to find the main sources of problems. While he assured the concerned residents the issue was being evaluated, Clapper admitted the process has been taking longer than it should.

“It is being addressed, albeit slowly, and shame on us, perhaps, for not getting to it a little bit faster,” Clapper said. “But it is being worked on and we’ll be letting you know in the near future.”

Chuck Nass, streets, parks and forestry superintendent, presented options to fix the stormwater systems throughout the city to the council.  One of the most affected areas is along Woodland Drive in the Buckingham Estates subdivision. Options to fix this area included replacing the current system with varying sizes of piping, allowing for less flooding. Other considerations were whether to have a new system that will last 10 or 100 years.

Nass presented these options and others to the Common Council, who decided to wait until the television of the pipes to make a final decision. For now, the current evaluations and options for fixing the piping are available on the City of Whitewater website, whitewater-wi.gov.

Another hot topic at the Feb. 4 meeting was zoning. The Common Council has been considering a city zoning rewrite since October 2011, and has been unable to hold a public meeting to discuss changes before making any decisions.

Council President Patrick Singer stated the process has been dragged out too long due to the complication of holding public meetings when everyone interested can attend. Alderman Stephanie Abbott agreed, and expressed her concerns to the council that no decisions have been made.

“We owe the public a better discourse than this,” Abbott said. “I think the fact that we haven’t had this public hearing yet is embarrassing, it’s a problem.”

The rewrite is being considered to allow more student housing in the city, due to the steady increase of enrollment at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The current suggested rewrite would allow for more than three unrelated people to live in a residence in an area near campus. This area includes structures on West Whitewater Avenue, Fourth Street, South Janesville Avenue, South Summit Street and West Center Street.

The council has tried to hold public hearings multiple times to discuss the zoning rewrite, but have been unable due to time conflicts from interested individuals. Abbott, who works for DLK Enterprises, the biggest rental property owner in the city, suggested having one joint meeting on Feb. 25 for all the bodies that would be affected by the zoning rewrite: business, industrial and residential.

“There are people waiting to make decisions in their own businesses, in their own lives,” Abbott said. “This can’t go on, we need to solve it. Frankly I think the 25th of February should be a hearing on the entire zoning code, and it should be put up to a vote after that.”

Abbott’s speech ended with applause from the audience.

Other councilmembers disagreed, stating a meeting discussing all three bodies would be too long. After discussing a few dates, the council decided to hold open meetings on Feb. 25 for commercial and industrial property owners and March 10 for residential owners.

Other topics brought up at the council meeting included Whitewater Chief of Police Lisa Otterbacher announcing the success of the K-9 unit fundraising. After a final donation of $12,000, the police department is able to purchase a Labrador retriever and the equipment needed to maintain the K-9 unit, including a special van and safety protection.

Otterbacher said the police department will still accept monetary contributions to sustain the K-9 program, which has been completely funded through donations.

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In a world of technology, we need more technology

I have always been one to complain about technology taking over our lives. People have become too dependent on these gadgets, and just when they buy one, the newer, better version comes out! It’s an endless cycle of buy, update, buy, update. It’s all about the money! I’m pretty sure technology companies release one gadget, and have the next 10 “upgrades” waiting to be released. But they couldn’t just put out the best one right away, there is way more profit to be made by holding out!

So, where am I going with this rant? In this age where people are dependent on technology and new updates are always coming out, people are always demanding more, and I have to admit, I am guilty of it myself. I have addictions to quite a few TV shows, and if I can’t be at home to watch them on TV, I want to watch them when I get home, but they’re usually not available yet. If I go to a news site and see a breaking news brief, I want more as soon as it is available. The fact that I am so dependent on technology bothers me, but I honestly can’t help it. Because there is so much available to us, it is expected in classes or at work that we use it. To survive in this world, you pretty much have to be technologically inclined, otherwise you will easily be replaced with someone who is (and they are probably on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter).

HBO allows its online users to access their shows while they are premiering on cable, and ABC will soon be doing the same. In a recent interview I had at a weekly newspaper, the editor stressed to me that they consider their print product to be the back-up, while the online version is top priority. The UW-Milwaukee newspaper has completely gotten rid of their print version and is now only online. Both users and distributors are relying more and more on technology, and soon enough, it will replace all things print, and it will just be the nerds like me who still curl up with a real book in my hands. I feel I am the last of a dying breed.

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My 1990’s obsession returns!

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Online journalism at its finest

One of the best qualities of online journalism is that it has pretty much limitless space. This means the topics and stories that don’t make it into print can be published somewhere else. This is especially true for those niche topics that don’t seem to have a place anywhere in print.

I know I’ve talked about her enough, and quite frankly I’m getting annoyed at myself for it,  but I follow a blog about Anne Boleyn. It also talks about key figures before and after Anne’s time, but pretty much stays focused around the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Claire Ridgway operates The Anne Boleyn Files

I definitely see this as a form of journalism. The operator of the site, Claire Ridgway, researches different topics, conducts interviews with experts on these topics, and publishes her findings for the world to read. She even blocks some stories behind a paywall, just as many news websites do.

I can see why publishers would be hesitant to print this extensive of information. That would be a lot of paper used on information that can be found in text books. But this is just the kind of stuff that is perfect for the internet.

The infinite amount of space on the web is one of its best qualities, and I am happy to take advantage of it.

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Social media’s impact on Hollywood

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to post something about the thing I am most excited for in the world at the moment. From this date, April 28, there are only 47 days until the greatest movie ever will be released. Ok, I’m sure the anticipation is killing you, so here is the movie that will change my life: Man Of Steel.

I honestly do not think I have ever been more excited. This is bigger than Harry Potter! Ok, that might be taking it a little far. It might be even to how excited I was over every Harry Potter movie. Maybe a little more, but don’t tell anyone. Wow, I’m getting really off topic.

So, what does the greatest movie ever made have to do with online journalism? It all comes down to social media, which has been considered a form of journalism to many.

Since I’m so obsessed with this movie (and I’m not even ashamed to admit it), I have been following every publicity outlet it has. That’s right, they’ve sucked me in! So how many outlets do I keep track of? 4 Twitter sites, 3 Facebook pages, 1 app, and any YouTube channel that might post a new trailer. Those are only the outlets that are specific to this version of Superman. There are a bunch of other outlets that I have followed just in case they might post anything about Man of Steel. I know, I’m pathetic.

Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel

But this made me think: this is ridiculous! How much publicity does one movie need?! Granted, a lot of the Twitter and Facebook accounts are made by fans, but when they start getting really popular, the movie company started to work with them to provide contests and giveaways.

Hollywood is putting more weight on social media than on getting good reviews from recognized critics. As long as a bunch of people “like” the movie’s page on Facebook, the PR people are happy.

And it’s not just Hollywood that has made social media a top priority. I wrote another post about news organizations racing to get new information first and using social media to do so. People hunger for new information, and they want it fast, and it seems social media is the perfect way to do so.

And for your enjoyment, the trailer to Man of Steel:

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Race to mistakes

The point of journalism has always been to be accurate. But lately, it seems it is more of a priority to be the first to report new information. This new priority has consumed the news industry, causing everyone to race to report what’s new. It has become such an obsession that news industries sometimes report inaccurate information in trying to be the first to

CNN falsely reported that arrests had been made in the Boston Marathon bombings

report.

This was seen during the investigation of the Boston bombings, when CNN reported that an arrest had been made. This information was incorrect and caused a huge embarrassment for CNN. It also caused mass confusion for a short time to viewers.

This shows that due to technological advances, news organizations are pressured to have constant updates available. When there is not new information available, the pressure gets worse, causing these news orgs to jump on the tiniest lead and report it as if it is fact. This is an awful new habit that has developed in our industry, and it needs to be addressed before it gets worse.

Here is more information on the Boston Marathon bombings.

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Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Like most people in the year 2013, I get notifications on my cell phone whenever I get a new email. I get about 10 notifications a day, and most of the emails are from social networking sites that I registered with in order to stay relevant in the professional world, such as LinkedIn and Weebly. But do I actually use these sites? Hardly.

It is so frustrating to have to keep up with all of these different sites in order to stay relevant. I understand that networking is important and it is great to have all of these resources, but the fact that people put so much weight on these sites really bothers me.

I have a full class schedule, a weekend serving job and I am an editor on the Royal Purple. Any time that I have not doing homework or working or writing stories, is definitely not time I want to spend keep up with all of these different websites. I know I should just do it and get it over with, but when I have the time, I’m going to be honest, I just do not feel like it.

I guess this post is pointless because there is nothing I can do to stop this new trend, but I just needed to vent. Because as Sweet Brown says, “Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!”

 

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I don’t get it…?

So, the whole point of being a journalist is to be fair, balanced and unbiased, right? Those always seem to be the key words when describing journalism. So then why is it that there are news organizations that are openly right-winged or left-winged? How is that possible in an industry that is supposed to report fairly on both sides?

There are some news sites, such as Right Wing News that is obviously biased (I mean, come on, obviously), but to me, that’s ok. That is the type of website that has a very specific audience and they are going to that website for a very specific reason, to read what they want to read.

But what about the casual reader who goes to a random news site or newspaper to get information, without knowing their bias? Especially when they claim to be fair. An average reader could get a completely distorted take on a story and never even know it.

Charlie Reina, a former producer at Fox, spilled the beans that the staff at Fox is provided with tips on how to slant the news to the right wing. The letter where Reina admitted to to Jim Romenesko on his blog has since been taken down, but multiple news sites have cited the letter.

I just don’t understand how this is possible. How can a news org. be so openly biased? And the news organization that are openly biased, should they be called news or a glorified blog? Because in all reality, they are not following the basic principles of journalism: to be fair, balanced and unbiased.

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