People continue to love Woody Allen


Film director Woody Allen has held both the most reputable and most controversial reputation in Hollywood during the past 50 years.

However, the biggest controversy to date involves a 22-year-old child molestation allegation against Allen, who is nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay for his latest film, “Blue Jasmine.”

The scandal, which involved ex-wife Mia Farrow many years ago, was revisited in a recent open letter to The New York Times, where Dylan Farrow spoke publicly about the accusations that her adoptive father, Woody Allen, had sexually abused her when she was seven years old. “He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother’s electric train set,” she said in the letter. “Then he sexually assaulted me.”

While Woody Allen was neither charged nor convicted of the crime, news coverage of the controversy has left a permanent mark on his image in the public eye.

Despite the on-going media coverage of accusations and rumors, as his fans and movie connoisseurs well know, audiences worldwide have continued to adore his work, which is exemplified with his recent Oscar nomination.

It is fascinating how a person’s talent, impressive career, or honor in a field can have the magnitude to surpass all controversy.

A prime example of this type of spectacle is the infamous “Charlie Sheen meltdown” of 2011, where his multiple rehabilitation attempts led him to absolute mayhem and embarrassment — for Warner Bros., that is.

Behind all of the accusations and rumors that were being spread daily, he continued to be one of the highest paid actors of all time, and his show, “Two And a Half Men,” continued to be at the top of the ratings. In retrospect, his “breakdown” was drawing in more of an audience than ever before.

While these individuals continue to gain the power that comes with fame and success, there will always be thousands of incredible artists in the field that will never get the amount of attention they deserve. While this is no news, it is something to reflect upon this upcoming Academy Award season.

Instafame and social relationships


“Wait, wait, wait! Let me take a picture of the sushi before you eat it. My followers are going to love how artsy it looks.”

Sounds familiar, right? Welcome to the age of Microfame and Instafame.

Not sure what that is? It’s simple, really. Social media and internet fame is sweeping the world.

With the influx of social media applications at our fingertips, regular people are becoming overnight celebrities by simply uploading five-second videos to Vine containing their daily shenanigans.

Being a celebrity used to involve the overwhelming process of going through auditions, facing rejection, living on low salary jobs just to pay the rent while you struck gold in Hollywood. Now, however, television and movies aren’t the only platforms that exist, and becoming famous isn’t as difficult as it used to be at least when it comes to social media notoriety.

With this platform, it’s easier to form some sort of connection with social media celebrities as opposed to famous Hollywood actors who rarely are able to reply back. Applications such as Vine, Instagram and Kik give users the option to answer their fans on a personal level.

“It’s a new kind of celebrity landscape because they can also reply back to you and it creates a more intimate connection,” said Jo Piazza, executive news director of In Touch and Life & Style magazines.

A documentary titled “Instafame” is going around Vimeo and it follows the life of Shawn Megira, a 15-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., who has more than 81,000 followers on Instagram.

His mom explains that she’s seen masses of fangirls crowd around him whenever they go out in public, only because they recognize him from his Instagram pictures.

I’ve seen countless Facebook friends post pictures with Instagram or Vine celebrities as well, and it begs the question of how social media fame affects teens and how it will affect them in the long run.

“It’s a very strong high. They’re getting a lot of attention but it’s not fulfilling what they deeply need and want in terms of this kind of human connection,” said Niobe Way, professor of psychology at New York University.

This social media is also creating a sense of validation for many people. Receiving 100 likes on an Instagram picture makes people feel good about themselves and gives them self worth. They feel validated by a group of peers or fans.

Another possible issue is that people seem to be living in the social media moment instead of basking in real life events. We all have at least one friend who cannot go a day without Instagramming a picture of their breakfast. Or another the friend that stops their car on the side of the road (or even worse, snaps a picture while driving) to take a picture of the sunset because they know that when they add a filter, their friends and followers are going to love it.

Is social media negatively affecting the way humans interact with each other? Are we wasting precious moments with loved ones while we snap the artsiest pictures for our followers? Is microfame the new sensation or is it just a dwindling fad?

Time will tell for the latter, as this topic is fairly new and the effects cannot yet be measured. In terms of the former, many people would argue that while social media bridges the gaps between people in different countries and facilitates communication, it is also playing a big role in making people antisocial.

FDA proposes new food labels


It is funny how food companies trick costumers with their food labels by only listing amount per servings and the calories of the portion.

But, do people really have time to split the package by portions?

Most people would eat an entire bag of Doritos without knowing the calories for the whole bag, and what is true for many. People do not really take the time to split the bag of Doritos into the servings listed in the nutritional label.

However, it seems that from now on people are really going to know and understand the amount of calories they consume.

For the first time since 1990s, the federal Food and Drug Administration proposed changes to the food labels required to appear in the back of each package in order to reflect the real quantities Americans eat daily.

The label will be redesigned making it easier for consumers to understand it. Some packages will be required to show the amount per serving and per package, percent values will be shown on a left column, the amount of calories will be bigger, added sugars will have to be labeled, as well as the percentage of Vitamin D and potassium.

The FDA announced the new requirements at Michelle Obama’s fourth anniversary ceremony of her campaign “Let’s Move” destined to reduce obesity in the country.

“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into a grocery store, pick an item off the shelf, and tell whether it’s good for your family,”

In the United States, data from a study made in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 69.2 percent of adults of 20-years-old and older are overweight or obese.

The attempts of reducing obesity rates offer multiply benefits for the country. Of course, if obesity rates decrease there will be less people suffering or dying from diabetes, heart diseases, strokes and even cancer.

The changes may impact enormously food companies. Some business will reduce the amount of food per package to not loose costumers. Showing the real nutritional information will alarm people making them more aware of what they are really eating.

Nasty e-mail causes controversy


The popular website LinkedIn is designed to help people in the professional world establish their profile and search for future employees they can trust and who obtain needed credentials. This is a website where reaching out to others is encouraged and either you get the job, or not, no harm in trying.

However, if you’re reaching out to Kelly Blazek, there is in fact harm in trying.

Last week, Kelly Blazek, a woman named Cleveland’s “Communicator of the Year” for her popular online job bank for marketing professionals, realized the importance of playing it safe on social media – the hard way.

Ever since e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and social media became popular high schoolers, college kids, and young adults were warned of the consequences these websites could have on your future. Making sure no questionable activity surfaces to potential future employers. However, once you get the job, it doesn’t mean you can let down your guard and inappropriately use social media.

When 26-year-old Diana Mekota added Blazek, she received quite the backlash.

After e-mailing her a professional note stating only her experiences and positive job seeking attitude, Mekota was expecting an e-mail of subtle rejection, an e-mail of acceptance, or no e-mail at all. What she got was unexpected by all.

Only hours after Mekota sent her original e-mail, she received an e-mail detailing how her “invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky.” She continued on, “wow, I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old job-seeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job.”

Within days the e-mail went viral. Surfacing on websites such as Buzzfeed, known for their humor and poking fun at outrageous situations.

Also within days, other people began coming out of the works claiming to have received similar e-mails from Blazek. In one of the e-mails she signed off  “Done with this conversation, and you.”

Blazek’s responses have created quite the frenzy in the media and she has since publicly apologized to all that she offended and deleted several forms of social media.

Although unfortunate to all involved, and potentially Blazek’s career, she has definitely made an example of herself. She proven it’s not only important to have a clean and reputable online appearance when seeking a job, but unquestionably important to maintain that appearance even when you’ve received your dream job and hold titles such as “Communicator of the Year.”

Press freedom tested in Hong Kong


Hong Kong is experiencing what CNN calls its all-time low in press freedom.

Historically, Hong Kong has served as the “window into China,” reporting stories about government criticism that mainland reporters could not or would not report.

However, Hong Kong is experiencing serious decline in their press freedom as journalists fall victim to being bullied out of reporting.

Protest organizer and veteran reporter Shirley Yam says headlines and complete pages have been removed from newspapers, columnists have been sacked, and interviews have been bought.

“We get calls from senior government officials, we get calls from tycoons, saying ‘we don’t want to see this in your paper,'” Yam said.

A prime example of oppression of the press in recent days is Kevin Lao.

Lao was editor for Ming Pao, a daily newspaper known for its coverage of human rights, before a Malaysian editor replaced him.

To add insult to injury, Lao was hospitalized Wednesday after being attacked with a meat cleaver. The source of Lao’s attack is unknown, however, many fear that if incidents like Lao’s aren’t addressed seriously and stopped, public fear will grow and Hong Kong’s press will be further prevented from running stories dealing with government and big business.

The issue in Hong Kong highlights the relationship between the press and its government. It seems there is a conundrum with the fact that journalists are supposed to serve the watchdog function over the same government that they depend on to give them the rights and safety to do so.

In the United States, we experience the luxury of a constitution that explicitly tells us there is freedom of press within the First Amendment. Checks and balances within the government makes sure this right is protected.

However, in places where the press is not so fortunate, being watchdog to the government can be dangerous, especially if the government doesn’t want to be monitored. This is the heart of the issue in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong legislative council member Cyd Yo told CNN, “Beijing is a control freak. It cannot bear any opposition.”

It seems to me that journalists and the public alike are on a long road for change in the special administrative region of China. While many are protesting now, what China needs is a fundamental change in how its government relates with the press and a change like this will need both time and passionate supporters.

Can social media end marriages?


Paula Patton announced  her separation from her husband of eight years, Robin Thicke on Monday.

This came as a shock to many, as these two usually seem to be happy and in love.

Many sites are rumoring that the split is because of Thicke’s behavior with Miley Cyrus during the MTV Video Music Awards last August. Apparently, the whole “twerking” thing didn’t go over well with Patton.

Now, I’m not saying necessarily that he should or should not have participated with Cyrus in the raunchy performance. While both he and Cyrus received a lot of backlash from groups ranging from parents to feminists, the performance caught a lot of attention — which is good in Hollywood.

Being an actress herself, I don’t feel like merely the performance would have upset Patton to such a degree. She understands that, as an entertainer, you have to entertain. I feel like to way it blew up afterwards, might’ve driven her to this point.

At first, she had claimed to not have been bothered by the performance, even liking it. That was just the morning after. Days, even weeks later, people were tweeting, reading, and seeing commentary of the performance on the news.

However, Patton truly felt about the performance originally, she felt 10 times worse after it blew up on social media.

I’ve heard about marriages breaking up over social media before, but many times it’s because one person in the relationship is found to be talking to someone else online, leaving inappropriate comments on pictures, and so forth.

This is a new aspect on the matter, however, because it would appear that Patton was humiliated after the performance when it went rampantly viral, changing her mind about being okay with it and pulling the plug on the marriage.

Granted, marriages aren’t perfect and there are always other things happening behind the scenes that could’ve ended this one, but this whole situation is a great example of how social media can follow you everywhere and eventually become your downfall.

UM women’s tennis under media radar


With five Top 10 finishes in the last six seasons and nine straight Top 15 finishes, the UM women’s tennis team is overlooked and deserves more news media attention.

People might not know this, but the Miami’s women’s tennis team is actually the most consistent athletic programs at UM.

UM womens tennisHaving covered its matches for two weeks, I actually had the chance to analyze the team closely.

Even though the team does not receive the media attention that it should, the women go out and support each other with minimal crowds in attendance.

Players are seen rooting each other on during the match to give their team a boost. The passion that these female athletes put into their sport is amazing.

It definitely is a fun environment to be around, and I would encourage members of the UM community to come out to matches.

Coach Paige Yaroshuk-Tews is an elite recruiter who is the all-time winningest women’s tennis coach in UM history. She is a superb motivator and teacher. Back when she played college tennis at UCLA, she made it to a #1 ranking in doubles and #13 ranking in singles, both in 1996.

When people think UM coaches, the first names that come to mind are Al Golden and Jim Larranaga. But if people would actually look at the women’s side, you have successful women coaches like UM basketball coach Katie Meier and Coach Tews.

Some people might find tennis boring, but if you actually go to a UM match, it is quite exciting. The goal is to one day get the stands filled with fans. The Neil Schiff Tennis Center is comfortable and capable of holding approximately 1,200 spectators.

Last weekend, the UM women’s tennis team held a kids clinic that brought out the largest crowd of the year, somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 people. It felt good to see this great tennis program receive this type of fan support. Not only was there a kids clinic, but there was free food.

President Donna Shalala was in attendance. She spoke about Coach Tews and the women’s tennis program.

“Coach Paige is amazing! The quality of the program shows. This demonstrates two things, first class athletics as well as academics,” Shalala said.

The team has to do whatever it takes moving forward to get fans to attend the matches. Maybe the marketing department can post flyers around campus and advertise through social media sites mainly for students to attend games. People just do not know how good this team really is.

Another way to get fans to the matches is by giving away free shirts and coupons to other events that they attend on campus. Maybe give students or fans who attend the games a free milkshake coupon for a baseball game. I guarantee some people will come to the matches just because the milkshakes are good.

To give the team more media access, UMTV could cover women’s tennis more or maybe The Miami Herald can write stories on the team or cover the matches. It seems like women sports are not promoted as much as men’s sports, which is unfair to these athletes. These girls are actually really good and deserve to be supported.

Right now 40th ranked Kelsey Laurente is playing consistently and climbing up the rankings in singles competition. She plays with so much energy and brings excitement to the court. If I could write a scouting note on her, I would say she has an amazing backhand and attacks the ball with powerful hits on every play.

Coach Tews talked about Kelsey’s play as of late.

“Kelsey is stepping up and taking a leadership role on this team.”

On another note, the doubles team of Clementina Riobueno and Monique Albuquerque are ranked 24th in the nation. They are 8-1 this season and could end the season in the top 10 rankings.

The 20th-ranked Canes host 56th-ranked Boston College tomorrow at noon. Hopefully fans will come out to support the most consistent athletic program at UM.

Be sure to follow UM women’s tennis @HurricaneTennis for the latest news on the team.

Awaiting the March madness


The long month of February following the Super Bowl is often considered the worst time of the year to be a sports fan in America. Right now, SportsCenter has hardly any highlights to show and instead subjugates viewers to discussing Lebron James’ mask and Johnny Manziel’s height at the NFL Draft Combine.

But fear not, because as the calendar will soon flip to March, we are right on the precipice of arguably one of the best sporting events of the year: March Madness. The NCAA basketball tournament is a weeks long extravaganza of basketball and gambling across the nation.

What American among us doesn’t fill out multiple brackets in hopes of winning their office pool? Or just a bet with buddies? Who doesn’t love the first weekend of games, when anything is possible? When the clock hasn’t yet hit midnight for Cinderella and hopes remain to pull off a seemingly impossible upset?

Florida Gulf Coast University took the nation by storm in the 2013 big dance, becoming the first 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16 and earning the nickname “Dunk City” in the process. Years earlier, 11 seed George Mason stunningly advanced to the Final Four, beating powerhouse UConn to earn its trip.

Every single year, unbelievable endings are all but guaranteed and many unexpected heroes emerge. Their ranks include Steph Curry of Davidson, to Gordon Hayward of Butler, to TJ Sorrentine of Vermont. Rivalries have begun in the tournament, including the greatest individual rivalry in basketball history, Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson.

Quite simply, March Madness is a magical time of year for basketball fans, a couple weeks where basketball seems pure and exactly how it’s meant to be.

Can you tell that I’m excited?

Limiting racial slurs in the NFL?


In recent years, professional sports have instituted new policies to clean up the bad images they previously portrayed. For example, the NBA initiated a rule in which players had to dress professionally to attend their own games.

Now the NFL has proposed restrictions on offensive language use. I understand the NFL’s proposed rule. The league wants to rid an offensive word that is a racial slur from the field and locker rooms due to its disrespectful meaning.

This, however, is a middle ground in which the NFL improves its image without dealing with many other significant issues about race in society.

In recent years, there has been discussion of changing the Washington Redskins team name, yet no progress has been made. The NFL is worried about protecting its image, but apparently not at the expense of losing money.

The league sells Redskins’ merchandise, making millions of dollars a year without second thought.

I also wonder, if the NFL is serious about cleaning up the language used among players and coaches, why is the N-word the only one getting its own rule? There are many other offensive words that have racial undertones and are getting no attention from the league.

In today’s NFL culture, the N-word is common language amongst players. Will a referee throw a flag, if the word is used as a friendly gesture — or just as an insult?

I see the benefits this proposed NFL rule would have on the league. There are people who do not understand the harmful nature of this word. They do not understand its racial significance, and the removal of the word would bring these issues to the forefront of the news.

Even so, the NFL should step down. If the league only protects the N-word, it will make it seem other racially derogatory terms are not as important. Take more time and propose a rule that would rid of all demeaning words.

Violent backlash against Google Glass


The latest innovation from Google, the Google Glass eyepiece has recently caused quite a stir regarding the recording function of the device. Sarah Slocum, a tech writer, was allegedly harassed at a San Francisco bar for recording people with her Google Glass.

According to Slocum, the “Google Glass haters” gave her an obscene gesture, after which she turned on the record function of the device. She told them she was doing so and one man “ripped the Google Glass off [her] face and ran out of the bar.” The others reportedly robbed her of her phone and purse.

It is probably important to remember that the incident took place during the last call at a punk rock bar where the beer was flowing and the common sense was probably not. Still, it is interesting to note that both parties involved in Slocum vs. the “Google Glass Haters” reacted violently over a video recording that lasted barely more than 10 seconds.

We live in an age where many breaking news story videos are footage shot from a cell phone camera. The ease of Google Glass — portable, hands free, no fumbling for buttons — opens a whole new realm of opportunity in the digital age. The GoPro camera that straps onto objects such as a helmet is also hands-free, but the Google Glass allows for complete control of what is being captured. Although it would not be desirable for quality video in news, in a pinch, it could become any news-gatherer’s dream.

So what is causing the backlash with the public? How is recording on a Google Glass any different than whipping out a cell phone to take a quick video?

Some argue that it is because people can’t tell if they are being recorded or not. Google Glass advocates refute this by saying the Glass has a red light that turns on to indicate that it is recording.

Perhaps it is the fact that the Google Glass seems invasive by nature. The device can go wherever its owner goes and people find that type of technology more threatening than a video camera or even a cell phone.

Or maybe it’s because the Google Glass right now looks something reminiscent of a sci-fi flick.

I personally think that what it boils down to is that people are uncomfortable that they can’t easily see what the Google Glass is doing (as if it isn’t hard enough to get someone’s permission to be recorded anyway). The red recording button does exist, but it is small and definitely inconspicuous compared to a video camera or even a cell phone.

Bottom line, I think it is important to be upfront about recording people with any recording device. Google Glass is an amazing piece of technology, but the people pioneering its integration into society need to recognize the privacy concerns that arise with it.

Because if you’re ignorant about that, you’re bound to get your (Google) Glass kicked.

Dangers of life in the fast lane


A Grammy-award winning photographer, Ian Cuttler Sala, was killed on Sunday as the passenger of a car crash with Salma Hayek’s brother, Sami Hayek. Hayek, who was driving the 2006 Ford GT, survived the crash with facial lacerations and broken ribs. Sala and Hayek collided with a pickup truck driven by 20-year-old Alvin Javier Gomez, who suffered only minor injuries including a broken foot.

Police believe that the crash was caused by Hayek’s inability to handle the vehicle, which can reach an upwards of 205 mph. This crash marks the second deadly car accident in which the passenger, rather than the driver of the vehicle, has died. The first notable accident was the death of “Fast and Furious” movie series star Paul Walker back in November. Both in this case and Walker’s, no alcohol or drugs were involved in the accidents.

It’s become ingrained in American culture to worship fast cars. The luxury sports car market is one of male adoration, and they’re often used as a status symbol. Movies such as the Fast and Furious series, which garnered a cult fan base and amassed millions of dollars in the box office are a testament to America’s obsession with sports vehicles. Many popular video games also feature the “thrill” of driving fast cars. More points are rewarded if you drive fast, and often, destructively.

Unfortunately, the movies and video games don’t show the destruction that can amount from driving too fast. Justin Bieber tested his luck when he tried drag racing in a sports car in Miami Beach not too long ago and it amounted in an arrest. His fate was much better than that of Walker and Sala, who paid for the thrill of driving a fast sports car with the ultimate price — their lives.

While luxury sports cars provide nice eye candy, it should be noted that their fast nature should not be taken advantage of, and should be left to experts. Like many things in Hollywood, everything is not as it seems, and while it seems exhilarating to drive sports vehicles extremely fast, it is a dangerous activity that can have severe consequences.

Hopefully, news coverage of the deaths of Sala and Walker will bring attention to this growing issue. In the age of texting-while-driving, and driving while intoxicated, another danger on the road is the last thing we need.

Collins’ appearance in game is historic


Jason Collins became the first openly gay men’s athlete to compete in a game of one of the four major sports last night. He played 11 minutes with two rebounds and a steal in the game against the Lakers.

Collins was welcomed with a standing applause from the Los Angeles Staples Center when he entered the game.

The news struck yesterday, when Collins signed a 10-day deal with the Brooklyn Nets, who have been making recent moves to improve their roster since the team lost star center Brook Lopez to foot injury. The Nets also traded big man Reggie Evans to the Kings and missed out on signing Glen Davis, who is now with the Clippers.

In the 11 minutes he played, he was able to force a turnover, get two rebounds and force a foul on a defender, but did not score.

Collins stated in a press conference that he was there to play basketball and was more focused on learning plays and defenses than making history.

“Right now, I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, trying to learn the coverage’s, game plan, assignments … I don’t have time to focus on history right now, I just have time to focus on my job tonight.” Collins said.

Last night he wore number 46, but next game he will revert to 98 as he has throughout his career, to represent and honor Matthew Shephard, a gay student from University of Wyoming who was beaten to death in 1998.

The Nets need a lot of help with their interior defense now that they are lacking big men.  Signing Collins to a 10-day deal is like a tryout. If he plays well, we may see him in the Nets’ black and white more often.

Collins has great support from his teammates. In the game, multiple teammates can be seen rushing to help him up after he hits the floor after a hard foul on a rebound.

Will Collins pave a path for other homosexual athletes? What effect will this have on openly gay NFL-recruit Michael Sam? Only time can tell.

Media view Sharper as rapist before trial


Former All-Pro NFL safety Darren Sharper pleaded not guilty to a pair of rape charges in a Los Angeles courtroom yesterday. He is being accused of seven rapes in five different states.

While the California case became aired over several media outlets nationally some of these outlets have portrayed Sharper as a rapist before a verdict has even been reached. This media coverage has given a woman claiming to be raped in Miami Beach an opportunity to bring forth charges after accusing Sharper of an alleged rape that took place in 2012.

Miami Beach police are investigating the incident. The police gave a statement on why the woman came forward about the rape charges.

“She wanted to clear her conscience.”

This anonymous woman also does not even remember the date that it took place. She says that it could have happened on Sept. 27 or Oct. 4, 2012, at Mokai Nightclub in South Beach. Why doesn’t she know the exact date? Sorry, but to me this sounds like a girl who parties too much and is unsure of her own activities.

This is a lesson for females: Do not take any drinks from a man. You should buy your own drink instead of giving the man a chance to drug your drink. I am not saying, by any means, that Sharper was right for allegedly spiking drinks, but these incidents could be prevented if these women did not accept the drinks.

Advice for Sharper, knowing that you are a former NFL player, why put yourself in that situation as well. You already have millions of dollars and a broadcasting career with the NFL Network. Why is he chasing females from nightclubs when he should go after a woman who is not thinking about a weekly outing at a nightclub with her friends.

The funny thing is that once an athlete is accused of raping one female, then that’s when several females come out and say they have gotten raped. One side of me feels that this is an effort to get money from an NFL player. The other side of me feels like maybe he did drug them to eventually get what he wanted, sex. If that is the case, then he is less of a man. But who are we as U.S. citizens to judge one’s character before hearing the evidence? We should let the legal process take its course.

Look at the Jameis Winston rape case. A Florida State female student said she was raped by Winston as he was the known frontrunner to win the 2013 Heisman trophy. The news media, especially sports programs, bashed Winston constantly. At one point, a female reporter for ESPN, Heather Cox, asked four straight questions related to the rape case during an interview to take sides with females on the matter. Winston was later acquitted of the alleged rape charge.

This is why a person is always presumed innocent in any court of law before a verdict is reached. If a woman gets raped they should report it immediately and not wait two years to press charges when another woman is accusing him of the same thing.

It was interesting to see that Sharper connected to seven rapes in Las Vegas, Tempe, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Miami Beach.

Before looking at evidence you might say the man is guilty. But you have to know the facts before reporting that someone has committed a crime.

In all of the cases, each woman claimed to have a drink spiked with some sort of drug that eventually knocked them out. Los Angeles prosecutors are saying that the drugs of choice were a zolpidem, generic of Ambien, and morphine.

If convicted, the former two-time Super Bowl winning champ who has played for the Packers, Saints and Vikings could face up to 30 years in prison.

Tweets about the reporting life in Sochi


Olympians’ performances aren’t the only things making news in Sochi.

A significant number of journalists have taken to Twitter to share with the problems they have run into while in Russia.

Perhaps it all started with the fifth Olympic ring not opening during opening ceremonies, but the Twitter handle @sochiproblems has collected a number of negative reports, mostly about hotel rooms, that can actually be quite comical.

Dallas Robinson, USA bobsledder, tweeted a picture of a door made out of cardboard which his teammate had torn apart and climbed through after being locked in the bathroom.

Steph Stricklen, news anchor for KGW in Portland, tweeted pictures of mirrored bathroom ceilings in Shayba Arena that reflected inside of the stalls to the neighboring areas. She captioned her photo, “because who doesn’t want to use a public restroom with completely mirrored ceilings? thanks shayba arena!” Sporting a grimacing look on her face in the reflection of the ceiling.

My personal favorite tweet was by author, screenwriter and sports columnist Dan Wetzle from inside his hotel room. The tweet is a picture of three light bulbs that reads, “To anyone in Sochi: I am now in possession of three light bulbs. Will trade for a door handle. This offer is real.” Maybe he could help out ESPN reporter Marc Connolly who tweeted a picture of a lamp with two missing light bulbs saying “Only one light bulb per lamp apparently”.

Still, while many reporters seem to be looking at problems in Sochi light-heartedly some issues they have run into is no laughing matter.

One of those issues has to do with the quality of water. Stacy St. Clair, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, reported that employees at her hotel told her not to put the water on her face as it had something very dangerous in it. The water she pictured on Twitter was a yellow-brown color that I cannot imagine she wanted to put on her face anyway

St. Clair later tweeted, “Also on the bright side: I just washed my face with Evian, like I’m a Kardashian or something.”

Other reporters tweeted pictures of open electrical units and light fixtures falling from the ceiling.

The brutally honest tweets continue to roll in but if you’re putting a group of journalists in hotels with less than stellar accommodations what else can you expect?

What I’ve gotten out of these tweets @sochiproblems, other than some good laughs, is that good journalists report stories when they see them, not just when they are assigned. Sure these reporters were there for the Olympics; but they saw something noteworthy of sharing and they did. Although it might be simple these reporter show that being a journalist isn’t your typical 9-5 job, it’s a lifestyle that continues even when you’re off the clock in your relaxing hotel room.

Women’s basketball loses Betty Jaynes


On Feb. 21, 2014, the women’s basketball community lost one of the greatest pioneers of all time, Betty Jaynes. Jaynes was the first executive director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honored her with its John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. She was also inducted in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.

While we seldom heard of her work through the sports news media, she helped women’s basketball evolve by developing an organization in which women were able to compete in collegiate sports, just like men.

I believe that if it weren’t for Jaynes, women wouldn’t be allowed to compete in college like men. She is the reason that female coaches are allowed to get the salary they can get now.

She made a big impact in not just college but professional sports, by creating opportunities for women to be successful.

Social media and political scandals


From  Anthony Weiner’s sexting to now Chris Christie’s lane closures, social media plays an influential role in how we as a country respond to scandal.

In previous years, one would simply hear about scandals on the news — a few times if they were big stories—and forget about them. Now, with the rising use of Twitter, Facebook and other blogging sites, Americans are able to replay, analyze and discuss issues over and over again.

The Internet creates an atmosphere where nothing can be hidden and everything is displayed and public. Anthony Weiner, for example, became an Internet sensation (and joke) when the Congressman was caught sending explicit photos to women. The Internet made it impossible for people not to hear about the scandal and provided a place for people to ridicule and discuss the issue as much as they pleased.

Chris Christie’s role in the closure of three lanes on George Washington Bridge in New Jersey is a trending topic on many Internet sites; from talking about the 91-year-old woman who died during the lane closure, to disclosing the e-mail Christie’s assistant sent out incriminating their involvement. In my opinion, the use of social media will make it impossible for him to recover from a scandal like this because it causes the story to be so widespread and widely discussed.

Social media makes it possible for Americans to give attention to any issues they like, and its influence is clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Media versus Venezuela

The recent anti-government protests in Caracas, Venezuela, in direct protest of President Nicolas Maduro, have not only taken the country by storm, but social media as well.

Social media is uncovering the truths and lies behind what Venezuelans, and Americans, hear and see through mainstream broadcast news. Recently, former president Hugo Chavez forced a slant in media coverage, making Venezuelan broadcasters report biased and political propaganda-driven news.

This has caused the new generation of Venezuelans to take action—this time, not in a physical manner.

“I don’t trust our television and radio stations at all,” said Adriana Sanchez in a brief interview with USA Today in Caracas. “The government stations just run propaganda, while the few privately owned stations are afraid to broadcast the truth. What other options do we have?”

Many Venezuelans have resorted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed and to understand the discrepancy between what they see on their television screens and what they read online. While both the government and the opposition are using social media to promote their own agendas, the truth is more readily available to citizens who need it most—including journalists.

According to the Venezuelan news website,, media outlets have been victimized by protesters and police harassing journalists on the streets.

CNN reported this week that its news crew had its cameras and transmission taken away at gunpoint.

This suppressive nature of news journalism has had a tremendous impact on what major news corporations and publications from around the world are reporting. While the chaos continues to unravel in Venezuela, news outlets such as CNN, The New York Times, BBC, and Al Jazeera English, have all had minimal coverage of Venezuela due to this lack of information.

Therefore, it has been up to Venezuelans to make a stand for their rights and their country without fighting fire with fire. From the Venezuelan-Americans of Miami to the new generation of Venezuelan descendants around the world, social media has provided more ways to uncover the truth than ever before.

Is Miley Cyrus taking things too far?


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Miley Cyrus? Eight years ago, one would most likely begin to hum the tune of the catchy song “Best of Both Worlds.” As of late, however, most of us are thinking rather “what in the world is she doing?”

It’s no secret that being in constant scrutiny by the media is agonizing and unbearable for some celebrities as we’ve seen countless stars spiral into drug abuse and eating disorders, as well as rebellious stages where they become hardcore partiers.

Narrowing the category of celebrities to teen stars or Disney stars, one begins to see a recent influx of child stars gone bad.

“High School Musical” sweetheart, Vanessa Hudgens’ nudes swept the Internet while she was at her pinnacle of fame, and Lindsay Lohan’s been in and out of rehab and court more times than we can count.

Who can forget the recent events surrounding Amanda Bynes’ downward spiral that eventually lead to her being hospitalized under a 5150 mental evaluation hold?

There are too many child or Disney stars gone wrong to mention, but it seems like Miley Cyrus has been one of the biggest shockers for teenagers and adults alike.

When Hannah Montana first aired in 2006, Miley was only 13 years old. She practically skyrocketed to stardom overnight, as Hannah Montana memorabilia was everywhere and concerts were selling out around the world.

After she parted ways with the show, she began to pursue a more serious career dedicated to making music. Her 2009 performance of “Party in the USA” at the Teen Choice Awards showed her dancing semi provocatively on a pole and wearing very short shorts. This sparked incredible outrage and people were beginning to question if Miley shed her “good girl Disney image.”

It’s crazy to look back and see how outrageous this event seemed at the time, as it seems completely harmless when comparing it to her recent antics.

It all began with her revolutionary haircut when she chopped off those famous long locks. Her new edgy look wasn’t well received by all, but she still seemed like the same Miley we grew up with on the show.

The criticism she is getting lately is not because she cut her hair or because she wears revealing clothing. It lies in the fact that she seems to be taking this new persona to a completely different level. She is crossing the line between tasteful and raunchy; socially acceptable and overtly provocative and lascivious.

It seems that this sexual persona emerged and began to blow up social media internationally over the summer when she released her music video for “We Can’t Stop.” She twerked, made drug references, repeatedly stuck out her tongue (it seems to be her favorite facial expression lately), and officially waved goodbye to Hannah Montana.

Then came the unforgettable 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance with Robin Thicke, which made every newspaper headline for the next few days. She came out in some sort of rubber two-piece that left very little to the imagination, as she danced provocatively with Thicke while thrusting a foam finger in a very blatant sexual manner.

Her next music video was for “Wrecking Ball,” where she was completely naked save for a pair of worn-down boots. She also thought it best to provocatively lick a hammer several times.

The latest news is of her Bangerz Tour. She has truly pushed the envelope even further. Did you think the VMA performance was full of sexual innuendos? Just take a look at some of the pictures of her suggestively touching her body intimately all while donning a marijuana patterned leotard from her recent concerts.

Twerking with midgets, suggestively rubbing her body, glorifying drug use (she lit up a blunt on stage at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards), having souvenir $40 gold embellished rolling papers for pot lovers and opening her concert as she slides down a large than life version of her tongue are all in store at the 2014 Bangerz Tour should you choose to attend.

It’s reportedly so sexual and inappropriate that parents all over are calling for cancellations, and Forbes magazine reports that her salacious stage antics may be affecting ticket sales.

Overall, I don’t mean to offend anyone who supports Miley or her music. I’ll admit that her songs are quite catchy and I find myself listening to them sometimes.

She is an adult and she is at liberty to live her life as she pleases. However, she also needs to remember that she has amassed a fan base over the years of teenage girls who are looking to her as a role model. Unfortunately, it’s what comes with the fame. She can’t act like a normal girl her age without it showing up on the news the next day.

I am in no position to understand the pressures of growing up in Hollywood, but if Hilary Duff was able to come out of a very successful Disney channel show and still pursue music and acting, along with getting married and having a child, it seems as though Miley may have taken things a bit too far.

Click the link to see the provocative pics:!-image-22/

Team USA unites a nation


At high noon tomorrow in Sochi, Team USA will battle Canada in men’s hockey with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. The game is a rematch of the final of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which Canada won in overtime.

The U.S. is riding high following an epic win against Russia in the group stage, in which TJ Oshie became a cult hero by scoring four shootout goals to propel the Americans to a 3-2 victory. The win has been widely considered the greatest U.S. hockey win since the 1980 Miracle on Ice.

The Olympics are famous for promoting national unity and no Winter Olympics event accomplishes this goal better than hockey. Since the Olympics have begun, shirts bearing the USA emblem have been a common sight across campus.

The Twitterverse also exploded following the victory against Russia, with hashtags like #Oshie trending throughout the day. Viral videos also surfaced of raucous celebrations of the game-winning goal from bars around the country, mostly attributed to the popular blog

The excitement leading up to the face-off versus Canada has been almost tangible among sports fans across the country. In a way, that is the true magic of the Olympics. Once every two years, everyone in the U.S., though fans of many different sports teams, can unite under one common goal.

For once, Yankees and Red Sox, Celtics and Lakers, Duke and North Carolina’s fans can all cheer for the same team. Go USA!

Venezuela: No voice, no democracy


Students have been out on the streets of every major city in Venezuela since Feb. 12, leaving until today six deaths, many injured, and hundreds arrested.

Leopoldo López, one of the opposition leaders from the political party “Volundad Popular,” urged all citizens to march peacefully against the regime of President Nicolás Maduro to put an end to the economic and social crisis of the country.

Maduro also summoned his followers to a manifest for “peace” in which he claimed indirectly to López, “Coward, fascist, surrender yourself that we are looking for you.”

The government issued a captive order to López for the incidents that happened at the march on Feb. 12. He was charged with conspiracy, arson, homicide and terrorism.

López turned himself to the authorities in front of tens of thousands protesters.

“If my imprisonment serves to awaken this town, so be it,” López said shortly before turning himself. “I have nothing to fear. I will always give the face.”

Even though the most serious charges (murder and terrorism) were dropped; if López is convicted he could face up to 10 years of jail.

But who is it really to blame?

According to the constitution, Venezuelans have the right to protest peacefully.

President Maduro blames it on activist Leopoldo López for calling the opposition to protest.

However, images and videos not shown by the media in Venezuela are proof that the National Guard is using arms against civilians and that they are the authors of the crimes that occurred.

Yes, military. The ones who promise the country to look for its citizens are shooting, torturing and beating students.

The protests are not only being held in Venezuela, but all around the world.

Today, it is not anymore a problem of different political ideologies, but about the safety and the millions of innocent people that die every day in Venezuela.

Students in Venezuela are risking their lives at the protests to because they want democracy, freedom of speech, safety.

As well, students living outside of Venezuela have become the voice of the country. They are effectively using social media to expand the truth and welcome people to join their struggle.

It is uncertain what the future holds for Venezuela, but protests are growing stronger and leave no signal of ending soon.