Pistorious v. South Africa’s legal system


It has been more than one year since the Olympic runner Oscar Pistorious was accused of killing his girlfriend on last year’s Valentine’s Day.

However, the trial that started on March 3 has been postponed until April 7 since one of the two assessors is hospitalized.

But the world knows the truth: Oscar Pistorious did kill Reeva Steenkamp. What is unclear is whether he did it intentionally or fired his gun because he confused her for an intruder?

The difficult trial raises questions that are very difficult to answer. Pistorious was the only one in the house at the time of the shooting; therefore, the lack of witnesses may prevent the jury from knowing the truth.

Yet as the trial proceeds, Pistorious is not the only one in the spotlight; the effectiveness of South Africa’s legal system has also been put into doubt.

Since 2009 investigations have proven that 1529 people have been part of corruption related crimes. More than 80 officials were criminally charged for corruption and more than 298 were charged in their departments.

Indeed, if the people that serve in the department of justice are corrupt, how can justice be served?

Advertising in news reporting


Product placement isn’t a new concept in advertising.

Most of us see the giant Coca-Cola glasses in front of “The Voice” judges — that are most definitely not inconspicuous- and accept it for what it is. But would people be more sensitive to product placement or advertising in general if it were integrated into our news?

There was a time where advertisements made up a majority of the newspapers. Those who could read would grab a paper and the lead story may very well be that Greg is finally selling his old goat. Well maybe not; but the point is over time we have moved into wanting to know less about what our neighbors are selling and more about what is going on in the world around us.

We also have evolved to wanting our news to be honest. By this, I mean most people want their news in its purest form, unscathed by other opinions or influence. We want the facts.

However, advertising could be creeping its way back into our news sources.

I’ve noticed a trend in online news reporting where a company will tag its name onto a story. For example, you will read “insert headline here: brought to you by T-Mobile.” A tag line like this is to be expected from cites like Buzzfeed, maybe the Huffington Post; But CNN?

As a student majoring in advertising, I admire the idea to sponsor a news article. Especially for T-Mobile to sponsor one focused on technology and cell phones; it’s a great way to reach their target audience. However as a journalist student I don’t know if I support the advertisement. I think by having a company sponsor an article news and advertising move towards becoming too intertwined.

If the two begin to mesh more I can see problems with people not being able to distinguish facts from exaggerated advertising, or the message of the news being lessened by the distraction of an advertising campaign.

In my opinion, while the tag lines don’t seem to be an issue now, the integration of ads and actual news articles could lead to issues and will be an interesting development to follow.

This is how online journalism will survive


There’s a lot of competition among news sources today. Whether it’s CNN sending your phone live updates or seeing the trending Tweets of the moment, a news source has to be pretty special to keep an audience.

So how would a news company stay alive, financially? When the news was only in print, it was easier for news companies to make money. Either people would buy subscriptions and have the paper delivered to their homes or they’d go to a newsstand and buy it after seeing an enticing headline.

Unfortunately, for the money-making aspect of journalism, many people now don’t have to pay to see breaking-news stories. While this is a good thing for society, to stay informed, this ties into why print journalism is going down. No one really has to pay to read the news anymore.

I am aware, though, that even when print was king, a major chunk of the paper’s income was from selling two-thirds of available space on their pages for advertising. This, I feel will keep content available online for the world to still enjoy.

Every news site today has advertising, even celebrity gossip sites. While readers are constantly jumping to different sources for information, other businesses recognize that even seeing their ad on a news site for five seconds is enough exposure for them.

Fore example, on The News York Times‘ site, AT&T is advertising itself next to the news source’s logo. Even more noticeable, on CNN’s site, the first thing that appears is a video that you then have the choice to skip after five or so seconds.

While many people can be agitated by ads, they really need to understand that advertisement is pretty much the only reason they can read the news sources they adore.

Yes, there are other profits. There are still people and businesses who invest in news companies. Also, The New York Times has a digital subscription available for their international paper for 99 cents. And then there are people who would still prefer to have the paper physically delivered to their homes.

But the winner is still advertising. Readers will most likely look at numerous sites for information, all for free. All online news sources have to do is make sure they have great content. Advertisers will gravitate towards the sources that have higher volumes, therefore taking care of the news company’s profits.

They will keep online journalism alive.

March Madness ratings grow


The second round of the NCAA tournament showed higher ratings than last year’s coveted March Madness tournament. It is off to the best ratings in 23 years.

According to Nielsen ratings group, Turner and CBS Sports saw a three percent growth from last year to 6.0 nationwide household ratings this year.

Coverage of the first full day of games made NCAA tournament history as there wereNCAA-March-Madness-Live-iPad-app four overtime games. One game that took place during the day was No.11 seed Dayton’s upsetting No. 6 seed Ohio State.

This was a game where many predicted Ohio State would win by a considerable amount. Viewers, who might not have watched the entire game, may have tuned in during overtime. Games between noon to 4:45 pm saw a 12 percent increase from last year.

The NCAA has made games more accessible via the web and mobile devices which may have boosted the ratings. The overall tournament average rating is up eight percent from last year.

Coverage of Ultra lacks details


In 2013, about two dozen young adults were hospitalized after attending Ultra Music Festival in downtown Miami — but the media refused to cover these instances.

While rumors of overdoses, deaths and injuries rotate among numerous social media websites every year during Ultra Music Festival, no major news corporations seem to cover such events.

In order to find out whether the rumors are true, local Miami news organizations such as Miami New Times, investigated into the matter. Reporters discovered that Miami Fire Rescue did not have full information in regards to the matter other than that out of the 44 placed calls to 911, only 24 people were taken to the hospital. According to the Miami New Times:

“Police arrested 167 people at Ultra this year [in 2013], primarily for narcotics and gatecrashing. (Last year [in 2012], there were 78 arrests during the three-day event, 45 of them for narcotics, and more than 60 people were injured last year [in 2012].”

While these statistics are valid, they are not covered by the media nearly enough. People from the ages of 15 to 40 are attending this festival and many are doing so blindly of the health and safety risks the event entails. From the lack of transportation and water, to the non-existent cellular data service and overcrowding, the festival can be more dangerous than people think.

Yet, every year, thousands of electronic music fans from around the world continue to purchase $400 tickets for a three-day weekend where they most likely will get more sweat from surrounding attendees jumping to the beats of the music than they bargained for.

This weekend, March 28-30, there will most likely be ambulances on the festival grounds, but even more alarming will be the lack of reporters on the scene to document it.

Ultra 2014 is upon us


As almost every UM student knows, this weekend is a big one. Why? That question can be answered in a single word.


The highly anticipated annual music festival is set to take Miami by storm this weekend, with most of the biggest names in EDM (Electronic Dance Music), making their way to South Florida from all over the world. Hardwell, Krewella, Zedd, Avicii, Martin Garrix, Jack U, and hundreds of other acts will perform this weekend in front of more than 50,000 spectators.

The excitement surrounding the weekend has been palpable around campus for the past couple of days. Everywhere you turn you hear it.

Ultra. Ultra. Ultra.

Tickets are being bought and sold among students at an impressive clip. If you take a peek at the Miami Students Facebook page, you are almost guaranteed to see posts such as, “Anybody want to buy my Sunday ticket? $150.”  or, “Is anybody still selling tickets? I need one!”

The event is huge for Miami every year, bringing in tourists from all over the country and from around the globe. Consequently, local Miami media often covers certain aspects of the festival, and just did a story today about the construction of the main stage.

The weekend is sure to be a memorable one, but anybody that is planning on attending, be sure to remain safe and healthy throughout the weekend!

Going pro: A personal choice


As March Madness continues on its second weekend of play, numerous players have life changing decisions to make in the upcoming weeks.

Declaring for the NBA draft and forfeiting the rest of your NCAA athletic eligibility is a personal decision that should be left up to the players themselves to make.

The news media make declarations that certain players should stay due to their physical maturation and skill, but often fail to recognize these athletes have earned the right to make the decision on their own.

Formulating an opinion for a player you know very little personal information about is a sensitive subject. You do not know their family’s financial situation or the player’s personal aspirations.

Urging someone to forfeit the guarantee of millions of dollars is not a decision that you should try and sway either way. If a player feels he needs time to develop before he makes the jump to the NBA, he and his family will come to that conclusion.

Those who earn the league minimum still make $490,180. Many professional athletes come from broken homes that are relying on them for support.

Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim was quoted saying, “you gotta be in the top seven eight, 10 picks to make sure you’re going to be playing in the NBA,” which is subjectively wrong.

The NBA develops players faster than the NCAA, as basketball becomes your full-time job.

While it is easy to write an article saying somebody should stay in college, put yourself in their shoes. If you were guaranteed to achieve a personal goal of playing in the NBA and get paid hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, would you say no?

A 24-hour cupcake ATM? Yes, please!


Have you ever dreamed of being able to dispense a delicious cupcake from a machine, while strolling the streets of New York City? If so, your dream has come true.

Sprinkles, a Los Angeles-based bakery, recently installed a cupcake-dispensing ATM on New York’s Upper East Side and it’s everything you never knew you were missing in your life. Did I mention that it’s fully functional 24 hours of the day to satisfy your sweet tooth at any hour?

If you’re not in the mood for cupcakes, the machine also dispenses cookies. In true Los Angeles & New York City fashion, it also dishes out dog treats so your pampered pup doesn’t feel left out of the party.

The sweet machine apparently holds up to 760 pastries, which are restocked daily to ensure maximum freshness. There are 20 different flavors ranging from red velvet, Cuban coffee, banana dark chocolate, and cinnamon sugar.

Shelling out $4.50 for a delectable cupcake doesn’t seem so bad when you’re saving yourself time in line at a bakery. Plus, who can stop themselves from trying out an ATM machine that pops out mouth-watering treats?

As you’ve probably guessed, this hot ticket machine is receiving crowds of people lining up to get a taste. The company has done an excellent job in creating an innovative way to get people to try their product. How many people would turn down the opportunity to try out the a revolutionary cupcake dispensing ATM machine?

There’s a certain sense of excitement in watching your cupcake appear before you that speaks to the inner child in all of us. The best part is that the fact that you receive your cupcake from a machine doesn’t take away the personal touches you’d be getting in a bakery. A sort of mechanical curtain raises, and you see your cupcake perfectly perched atop a little tray, beautifully tucked inside a decorative box with the company’s logo on top.

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 1.13.43 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 6.54.44 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 7.12.08 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-27 at 7.12.46 PMSocial media have been creating a huge buzz and are aiding in promoting the bakery’s latest invention, bringing in new customers every day.

News reporters have been crowding around the machine since its opening, eager to get shots of this novel way of purchasing bakery-made treats.

People and news companies have also been taking to Twitter to express their love of this machine.

A Twitter-based news account, NowThisNews, posted a stop-motion vine showing people how the machine works.

Other news accounts tweeting about this fascinating machine include HuffPostStyle, ABCNews, and Wall Street Journal.

What are you waiting for?

Hop into a cab and make your way over to 61st and Lexington Avenue to indulge in this highly innovative way to eat delectable, gourmet cupcakes!

America’s not-so-Secret Service


Recent antics of the U.S. Secret Service are no longer so secret ….

Three agents from the Secret Service were sent home from Amsterdam after one was found passed out drunk in a hotel hallway. And their activities have become international news.

An investigation is underway and the agents are blamed with “not doing more to prevent another embarrassment” for the Secret Service, as two years ago they suffered a scandal in which agents brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms in Cartagena.

Among protecting high profile figures such as the president, the secret service also investigates crimes like counterfeit and credit card fraud.

White House Spokesperson Jay Carney said, “Generally, the President believes … that everybody representing the United States of American overseas needs to hold himself or herself to the highest standards.”

Thus, the three Secret Service agents were sent home as a disciplinary measure. Rightfully so, since their actions were somewhat shameful to the country.

However, isn’t it also a tad shameful for the news media to blatantly broadcast the incident? If America is really concerned with protecting the reputation of the Secret Service, it seems to me that they would like to keep the disciplinary measures “on the down-low.”

The federal government and president could’ve likely dealt with the three agents privately in order to avoid drawing attention to the scandal (that is, if one could call it a scandal compared to the one in Cartagena).

Of course, journalists are all for exposing the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so it doesn’t surprise me that this story came out. That being said, I do think that exposing the weakness in a prestigious government agency might be unwise in a climate of international political unrest. It is suspected that the recent disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight may have been an act of terrorism.

I’ve usually leaned towards abridging some rights when safety is involved, but I realize how fine that line is.

Perhaps exposing the scandal will force the Secret Service to clean up their act. Freedom of press can often have a “watch dog” effect on the government.

And now that I think of it, I don’t want a sloppy Secret Service.

MH 370 and insensitivity of news media


The news has been abuzz with updates on the mystery of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, Flight MH 370, yet as the story of the crash starts to piece together, it seems as though the feelings of the families involved are being neglected.

As the families were notified of the death of everyone aboard via SMS message, (something that would have never been done in the past), photos were snapped of the grief those related to the people on the flight felt upon receiving the news.

Heart-wrenching details, such as a woman collapsing, screaming “My son! My son!” and another woman who had to be taken off on a stretcher from the immense feeling of grief are all featured in the news. Many people urged the press not to photograph or film them, with one man even threatening a cameraman by saying “Don’t film. I’ll beat you to death!”

During a time of extreme sadness and tragedy, privacy is of the utmost importance. Yet, the press always sees the need to document every moment, especially when a story such as this one is such a hot-ticket item.

So is the press over stepping its boundaries? In this case, I believe so. It does no justice to the story to document photos and videos of the family members of those on the flight in fits of hysteria due to grief. Would you want photos taken of you upon receiving news about a death in the family?

Also, for the family members to find out about the absolute death of everyone aboard via SMS message is a tad insensitive. It’s considered rude to break up with someone over text these days, so for the Malaysian prime minister to notify the families of the death of their loved ones is a testament to the disrespect the media has over the entire situation.

The coverage of this flight tragedy has been largely publicized and laden with extremities. Many conspiracy theories have swirled about, and jokes have even been made about the mysterious nature of it all. Now that the British satellites are starting to uncover the mystery of the crash, I believe focus should be placed on the crash itself and less on the families. They deserve respect in this time of tragedy.

Taking advantage of the news


When you read an article about something happening on the other side of the world, you don’t always know what references the author is making. This comes into play, especially today, when talking about extremist groups, past conflicts and past tensions between countries or states or cities.

While most people I know would scroll past the links describing “What the Brotherhood is,” I think those links are one of the most important things about web journalism. It’s an example of how our technology has given us such easy access to such important information — to really understanding the core and depth of articles about groups, people and places that we don’t normally learn about. Instead of skimming over important facts and definitions, we can now reach it with a click, as long as we’re not too lazy to do even that.

As an avid reader and writer growing up, I wanted to know what every word meant if I had never heard of it before. As a college student studying journalism and international studies, I wanted to know how international crises came about; what happened in the past, who did what and what that meant for international relations.

Sadly, I find that most people solely want to know what is happening right now, because they find that more important, more pressing to know, than things that have happened in the past—especially if they feel what has happened in the past is resolved. As a student I’ve learned that any conflict has a history, that historical events have created relationships between countries and people that affect what is happening today.

Is it just enough to read that one article, and pass over extra links between the paragraphs? I say no, I say that you should always read more into just the number of deaths, more than just the name of the opposing parties. Just knowing there is a conflict does not mean understanding what is happening.

Do others find that extra reading to be boring? Do I sound like that history teacher in high school that is always trying to make you understand ‘why history is so important’?

I say this because I’ve learned how you can think you know something confidently but that there are so many lives behind it, there are so many relationships that are always growing and changing and that they change what is happening every day.

There is a reason more than one journalist covers every event; they can’t say everything about it in one article. There is so much in every article about international happenings that there is always something you haven’t learned yet. Most people pass that by — and even if you think looking something up in another screen is too much to ask, journalists have linked you to plenty of information somewhere that your mouse will pass over anyways.

Those little blue links are designed to help you overcome the laziness that keeps you from taking that extra step for more information. They are there because that information is important and it gives, or comes from, a different view.

That’s what journalism is about. It’s was news is about; it’s the reason why people read the news in the first place—to get out of their bubble. They do it to know what is happening that they can’t see, that they haven’t encountered during their day. If you apply that way of thinking to learning about the world, you learn that one article is only what one other person has seen or taken an interest in. You read the news because what you can’t see is important. Do it full-heartedly.

People take advantage of Flight 370?


The missing Malaysia flight MH 370 has caused quite the news media rampage. This mysterious, mind boggling event of the missing flight is currently an all consuming topic. However, there are people out there taking advantage of this tragic event.

On Thursday, March 20, reports ran rampant over sites such as Facebook and Twitter, that the missing flight had in fact been found. News feeds were overwhelmed by links such as “Shocking Video Reveals Found Flight MH370.” All that had to be done in order to access these supposed videos were to share the link and sign up for something.

Many people fell for these tricks; liking and sharing as fast as they could. Fake CNN Twitter accounts were then created to further these false claims.

Cyber hackers are exploiting the intense interest in the missing planes. By having these fake videos in which people need to sign up to view, they are in fact granting the ability to hack the user’s system.

After spam e-mails became widely known to be unhealthy to the user’s server, hackers had to become creative. Most hackers today rely on social media and the most prevalent news stories or trends.

Another widespread scam surfacing on social media websites is relating to health and weight loss. With our generations’ large focus on health, it is no surprise that hackers look to target people using an ad that claims to be “the miracle weight loss pill.” These ads guarantee quick and easy weight loss at a low price. Once someone clicks on the link they are immediately send to a scam website that clones a reputable one.

In conclusion, it is important to watch what you share and like on Facebook and other social media websites. Only listen to reputable websites such as CNN.com for updates on the latest news stories. If something is serious, and happening, especially with such a large story such as the missing plane, it will have been reported in several other places besides Facebook in which you can check.

Did Gaga’s performance go too far?


There are many artists who leave their marks on society, be it in good or bad ways.

From the moment Lady Gaga stepped on the scene, we knew she was going to go down in music history as one of the most outspoken stars we’d seen in a while. Her crazy on-stage performance antics and theatrics and her outpouring of support for LGBT rights amassed her millions of fans that she endearingly calls her “little monsters.”

Recently, an event called South by Southwest took place in Austin, Texas, from March 11-16. It is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals that take place every year.

One would think there was enough drama and buzz at SXSW after a drunken driving incident left several people dead. Then, American rapper, Tyler the Creator allegedly started a riot that turned violent and was arrested during the festivities.

As if these events weren’t enough to put SXSW on the map, Lady Gaga came out and gave a performance that left many people enraged when she allowed a vomiting performance artist throw up on her onstage during her song.

In the middle of her performance, vomiting performance artist, Millie Brown, began to regurgitate a green liquid all over Lady Gaga’s chest and body.

Lady Gaga responded to criticism over her highly controversial performance by declaring it “art in its purest form.”

Many people disagreed. While some were merely disgusted by the vomiting, others took deep offense to what they believed her performance signified and glorified.

Much like the “Cutting For Bieber,” catastrophe that happened a while ago, fans of the artist took to Twitter and other social media sites to post pictures of themselves with their hands in their mouths, resembling the act of vomiting to support their favorite singer.

This led to an angry online petition, and celebs such as Demi Lovato accusing Gaga of “glamorizing eating disorders.”

One of Demi Lovato's many tweets.

One of Demi Lovato’s many tweets.

Lovato took to Twitter to express her shock at the incident to her 21.4 million followers.

“Sad …. As if we didn’t have enough people glamorizing eating disorders already. Bottom line, it’s not ‘cool’ or ‘artsy’ at all,” she tweeted. “Would you let someone bring a needle and shoot up on you? Addiction is addiction.”

She then directed a tweet to Lady Gaga herself and said, “you’re SO talented, if not one of the most talented in our industry PERIOD. Dope is INCREDIBLE.. but you don’t have to do that.”

“I guess we weren’t completely surprised,” said Gaga. “[Millie Brown] and I know that not everybody’s going to love that performance…we don’t make things for any intention in particular other than in the spirit of entertaining the crowd and creating something that is really for the moment.”

At the end of the day, some things are just not everyone’s cup of tea. However, I do believe that sometimes artists cross the line. You can love an artist and enjoy their music. But when they make mistakes and blur the lines between acceptable and distasteful, something has to be said.

The power of social media showed through as millions of people took to Twitter especially to vent about the issue. Whether it was Lady Gaga’s “Little Monsters” defending her and bashing Demi Lovato, or Demi Lovato’s “Lovatics,” retaliating, Twitter blew up with mentions of this unforgettable incident.

Where is fashion journalism going?


The April issue of Vogue has Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the cover. Whether you think this is a big deal or not, it represents something major.

The famous couple, seen weekly on gossip magazines and websites, has made it to the top of the fashion industry, gracing the cover of the most influential fashion magazine in the world.

Already, there are people across this Internet who are not in favor of this cover. Vogue, though it predominantly focuses on fashion, is still a trusted journalism source. Putting these two on the cover has caused its readers to question where the magazine is going in the fashion journalism world.

Usually, on the cover, there is an actress with an upcoming movie, or a singer with a newly released album. While Kanye’s latest album was released last June, Kim hasn’t done anything recently that might warrant her to be held in such a high regard.

She didn’t enter into Hollywood through acting, singing, or modeling, and while she’s incredibly, “famous for being famous,” it’s usually people who are at the height of their respective careers who are seen on the cover of the grandiose magazine.

I feel like this shift has been happening from reputable news sources, across all platforms. While they would prefer to stick to writing and reporting on people who matter within their specific realms, it does better for the business of the company when the paper sells–meaning it has to be sellable.

Infamous celebrities certainly do sell. While Kim and Kanye can both be fashionable, they aren’t necessarily figures who people look up to, fashionably.

I still love Vogue and many people will too, but this cover sends a message that journalism is turning more into a business rather than a creative outlet.

It will probably sell many copies and be widely read, but putting Kim and Kanye on the cover might have cost the magazine some respect.

The Golden Rule for TV news


Recently I watched a newscast where there was an abrupt shift between a package covering different theories on what happened on flight 370 to another announcing that Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were expecting twins.

I was a bit taken aback that the station had scheduled a story on a tragic event to precede such a perky report on celebrities. To me, it felt that by grouping the two so closely together Flight 370 had been belittled.

It was as though the disappearances and possible deaths of these people was just another human-interest story.

My viewing experience got me wondering how I would feel if a friend or family member of mine had been on that flight and how I would feel if I was watching that station. Surely the event would be devastating to me and to see it taken so lightly by others would be sickening.

So why then did the news station set their schedule up in this way?

The story itself was reported professionally. I don’t think the news station meant to be malicious.

What happened was a crime of carelessness.

In the news station’s defense, Flight 370 has been in the news for quit some time now and it is natural to be slightly desensitized after hearing about an event over and over, and for journalists, who hear and report about tragedies on a daily basis viewing tragedy from an unemotional place is all the more natural.

Still it is important for journalists to remember their audiences do not share that same nonchalant attitude toward death. Especially if their audience could include family members of those involved.

In the case I address now, Flight 370 could have been reported much more tastefully had the scheduling been amended. Yet journalists could avoid issues like this one all together by adopting the golden rule and report as they would like to be reported to.

Realty TV star lands on Vogue cover


After months of speculation, the day is finally here—Kim Kardashian is on the cover of the reputable Vogue magazine.

Yes, it’s true. A notoriously famous reality star turned model and businesswoman is posing for the most famous fashion magazine of the 21st century.

The Internet has been in frenzy from posts ranging from the overly ecstatic to the mournfully dreadful.  This is due to the star’s not-so-common start in the entertainment business, and most likely, the fact that she is posing with her fiancé, Kanye West.

Due to the Internet, fans and “haters” are able to soak up Vogues April issue with the dynamic duo through multiple platforms. These range from Twitter announcements and posts about the spread, to an in-depth video of the making of the photo shoot.

An example of said media advertising started immediately with Kim’s Instagram post on Friday. She posted onto her Instagram account stating, “This is such a dream come true!!! Thank you @VogueMagazine for this cover! O M GGGGGG!!! I can’t even breath!” The post was linked to a photograph of the magazine cover, as well as the vogue.com article itself. No less than six hours later, the post has generated 547,495 “likes” and the numbers keep on rolling in.

These sources of excessive insight are the ingenious ways magazines like Vogue use social media to promote their stories instantaneously around the world. Therefore, for celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, the hysteria on social media only makes the story surface more Web sites, more smart phones, and more bank accounts.

What makes this cover story relevant is the subtle hashtag underneath the caption of the photograph, which states “#worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple.” While this statement is a vast exaggeration, the hashtag serves two purposes — a clever nod to the fact that the couple’s Instagram followers combined ad up to 20 million, as well as a subtle advertisement for the social media sites that use such hashtags so people can follow the story and discuss it in an organized fashion.

Nowadays, through the use of social media, stars as hated as they are loved like Kim Kardashian, can cover more than one platform.

Overall, business models that incorporate social media are helping everyone involved generate more business and more income, while we sit here and continue to stalk the couple’s baby, North, on Kim’s Instagram page.

Inaction leads to avoidable child deaths


Prescription drugs are killing Floridia’s kids, thanks to irresponsible parenting and little help from the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Since 2008, more than 120 children have died in Florida after DCF was told their parents were abusing prescription drugs. And 82 percent of these kids were under 2 years old.

The children died in horrible and preventable ways; from ingesting pills that were left around to being accidentally suffocated by their drug-influenced parents laying on top of them.

News coverage of the deaths has led to a great deal of criticism for the DCF, which has been doing a poor job of monitoring and punishing neglectful parents. The agency’s advice to addicted parents is simple: Stop doing drugs and take a parenting class.

Elizabeth Rydborn, whose five-year-old daughter Ashton died of a toxic combination of pills, was investigated three times before Ashton’s death. Rydborn admitted to DCF that she had a “major problem” with meth, which she tested positive for as well as amphetamines and marijuana. DCF did nothing.

Hopefully the attention these deaths are finally receiving will force the DCF to improve, and save children’s lives.

Venezuela needs the news media


It has been more than one month since the protests in Venezuela began. The death toll has risen to 31, more than 461 people have been injured, and thousands are being detained.

The news media has been covering this story and even people from other countries have taken over social media to be the voice of Venezuela.

However, as protests continue, media coverage has declined.

Taking in consideration that in Venezuela the government controls the media, news stations around the world should keep covering the story.

Many Venezuelans have migrated to other countries due to their country’s situation, but most of them still wish to go back. For this reason, media around the world that believes in freedom of speech and in democracy should be the voice of Venezuela.


March Madness and perfection


Today, the first real slate of games in the 2014 NCAA Tournament kicked off. As usual, the day was filled with upsets, overtime games, and plenty of the game’s patented “madness.”

Of course, one main reason for the mania surrounding March Madness can be described in a single word: brackets. Around the country,  millions of people compete against their friends, co-workers or family members for money and bragging rights.

This year alone, more than 11 million people entered ESPN’s “Tournament Challenge,” which grants $10,000 to the top one percent of brackets submitted. However, that prize is dwarfed by Warren Buffett’s now famous “Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge”, which as the name suggests, promises $1 billion for a perfect bracket. As expected with such a large payout, the news and sports media have relentlessly covered this possibility of perfection.

For Buffett, this is an extremely low-risk, high-reward situation. He has managed to create a huge media buzz, while there is an almost miniscule chance that he will have to actually dish out the billion. For each individual bracket, the chances of predicting all 63 games correctly is close to 1 in 9.2 quintillion. The chances of anybody in the U.S. winning are under 1 in a billion.

This is a great example of Buffett’s business savvy that made him a billionaire in the first place. He was able to use the media to his advantage, get his name back into the public eye, and will almost certainly not have to deal with the monetary consequences of a perfect bracket.

Whether your bracket is perfect, or far from it, March Madness is here. You may not use bracketology to win a billion dollars, but the tournament is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting in years. We might as well enjoy it.


Separating fact, fiction of Flight 370


Nearly two weeks ago, Malaysian Airlines flight 370 disappeared with 239 passengers on board.

Information regarding the flights whereabouts has become some of the most sought after daily news. Many different theories and conspiracies have been brought to the public’s eye through various methods of news.

Networks such as CNN have been dedicating hours upon hours to this single issue, endlessly talking about a discussion that has no concrete answer.

It is important that the media focuses their theories based on certainties that have been given rather than headlines that will receive views.

The fact that there is no definitive answer yet on where the plane is located gives journalists the opportunity to write stories they know will garner attention. Rather than pushing their readers to known truths, many are spreading conspiracies that often times have no basis.

While I understand those in the media are under heavy pressure to entice readers to their page, spreading fictional work is not the way to go about it.

People are drawn to abnormal headlines as they want to be apart of something that has never happened before. There are many people who are hoping the disappearance of the plane is a conspiracy, as numerous stories would come from it.

While nobody truly knows where this flight is, I hope news networks and journalists alike stop pushing their own personal agendas. It is tedious to watch analysts argue about something they know very little accurate information about.