What will you earn as a journalist?


Since the decline of newspapers, less people watching TV and the rapid growth of digital media, journalism salaries have been falling. Today, new graduate journalists are notorious for low salaries.

If you really want to be a journalist, you must be passionate about the career and must be willing to start from scratch with “not the best expected salary.”

Federal data show that news reporters are falling further behind workers in other occupations. The mean annual salary for reporters in the U.S is below the national average for all jobs.

As it turns out, a decade ago journalist earned more money than they do now. Reporters, on average, earn $2,080 less than the national average.

Certainly, journalism is a field where the competition is immense. The competition is increasing now even more because positions in this field are less. We probably have heard about the economic issues hitting the news business nowadays. Many newspapers with financial trouble have been forced to stop hiring new journalists and even lay off journalists that already have a job in the newspaper.

Not to mention, beginning broadcast journalists earn almost the same money as a beginning reporter in a newspaper. Although the competition for jobs in broadcasting is high, if you become an important anchor in a big media market, you’re going to have a high salary.

There are undoubtedly other careers such as medicine, business, architecture and law that pay much higher than journalism. However, journalism is a wonderful profession where you are always learning new things, meeting new people, traveling, exploring new things and doing interesting things. Despite the old journalism jobs being destroyed and many people fighting for these job positions, journalism is a great career to pursue when you really love what you do.

Yes, there are scarce career opportunities in this job field, yet if you want to be in journalism, you have to be willing to work harder and harder to be better than the other journalists fighting for the job you want.

Networks ignore midterm elections?


Early Saturday morning at a local school, I bubbled in my choices, signed my name and slipped my voting ballot into the scanner. Early voting in Florida had begun and, with elections less than a week away and much talk about Republicans yielding political gains, I truly have not seen much news media coverage on a midterm election of such political importance.

This year’s midterm elections, as opposed to 2006’s highly covered one, has not had much presence in any of the three big networks: ABC, NBC and CBS. Around 23 million viewers tune into these networks as their source of information, trumping almost all other networks. America’s media watchdog, Media Research Center, found that the “Big Three” aired a combined 159 campaign stories during the 2006 election and have only aired a meager 25 this year.

“Amazingly, since Sept. 1 ABC’s newly-renamed World News Tonight has yet to feature a single mention of this year’s campaign, let alone a full story. In contrast, eight years ago ABC’sWorld News aired 36 stories that discussed that year’s midterm campaign, including a weekly Thursday night feature that then-anchor Charlie Gibson promised would look at the ‘critical races,’” said Drennen and Noyes — two journalists covering this strange media blackout.

Instead, news of troubles overseas and social crises have taken the limelight. Albeit, these issues of Ebola outbreaks, ISIL’s movements, and Ferguson’s latest outcries are all pressing and of major concern to the American audience, the midterm election deserves its fair share of coverage.

Additionally, Drennen and Noyes found that “eight years ago, there was no escaping the negative news for Republicans. Not only were polls projecting a major swing to the Democrats, but a scandal involving Florida Representative Mark Foley received major attention from all three network evening newscasts. Of the 159 network evening news stories that fall, nearly two-thirds (103, or 65 percent) conveyed either mainly bad news about Republican candidates, or mainly good news about the Democrats, vs. just seven (4 percent) conveying the opposite message.”

This issue started out looking like another case of poor media prioritizing but is actually beginning to show all of the symptoms of media bias. Let’s look at the obvious: the networks are giving little air time to the bad political news for the Democrats this midterm election. In 2006, when the Democratic party had the upper hand, that was all that the news tickers read. One would think networks of such prestige and power would uphold even the most simple of journalistic standards. Rather, one would expect that.

But who is truly at the source of this issue: The networks, the advertisers that support the networks or the six corporate conglomerates that own the majority of mass media outlets in the U.S. (Disney, Comcast, Time Warner, etc.)? Most importantly, will this trend continue in the coming years after the results are in?

To read more about this media black out, follow the link: http://www.mrc.org/media-reality-check/tv-news-blacks-out-years-bad-election-news-democrats.

Jurnid: Self-marketing for journalists


All aspiring freelance journalist should acquaint himself or herself with this groundbreaking creation.

Jurnid; set to be “the next big thing,” is a platform aim to connect journalists with outlets in need of content creators.

Founded by Miami-based freelance media creative Andrew Quarrie, Jurnid works as a platform for students and professionals to showcase their talents and build an audience that is interested in publishing their content.

The site welcomes all journalists regardless of specialty and it’s free to sign up to be a contributor.

It serves multiple purposes. You might want to use it as a blogging platform or as a place to find worthwhile paying projects by connecting with business and branded newsrooms. Or it might also work the other way around.

People might take a glimpse at your posts and then ask for a helping hand. Even to the point that, you can establish a pay plan for your readers if they are finding it so interesting to whip through your writings.

Either of the ways the application has the added benefit of dealing with payments, that to be honest, they just don’t tend to come always on time on the real world. The service is designed to provide a low-cost way for either print or photo journalists to monetize their work.

And why should we students care? Not just for early exposure, but for the further ‘prep’ and training it has to offer. The site provides a mentoring community between journalists and professionals. This for providing feedback(mainly aimed at beginner and journalism students) as they publish their portfolios on the platform to help them thrive as self-managed entrepreneurs.

On an era were everything seems to be shifting towards the digital, you sure want to keep an eye on this. Word of advice.

‘Surviving’ as a female sports journalist


As a female, an avid sports lover and maybe a future journalist, lately, I’ve been discouraged. Sports and journalism are individually hard enough to break into, but when fellow journalists and media members do very little to accept female’s sports reporters as “one of their own,” it becomes almost impossible to succeed.

More so, when the media equates appearance with talent, it only hinders the opportunities for women in this field.

I read an article in Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago about Rachel Nichols, a former ESPN reporter turned CNN reporter and talk-show host. It discussed how Nichols has become an impactful sports journalist and how she transitioned to CNN. But since then, Nichols’ CNN show was cancelled, proving that it’s very hard for women to actually succeed in this industry.

Just weeks prior Nichols was praised on social media when she asked NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell more “aggressive questions.” She didn’t skirt around the issue like other reporters (male or female) did. Despite her approval from social media and fans all around, she didn’t garner enough “support” to maintain her CNN show.

Also, not counting TV personality Erin Andrews (because I think she is more of a personality than reporter anyway), how many other female sports journalists could you name? That just goes to show that while women may be succeeding in other journalism fields, sports is not yet one of them. Speaking of Erin Andrews, this football season is her first on the sidelines with the leading Fox Sports crew. She replaced long time veteran Pam Oliver who felt she was demoted because she wasn’t as “young or blonde” as Andrews.

Would this matter for a male reporter who may not be “the best looking”? Most likely not. It’s just that women are inherently judged by their appearance, and media entities assume that a good appearance = good ratings. But until fellow journalists and those media entities get into the 21st century and start not only accepting but promoting female sports reporters, we have a very tough road to success.

Documentary, journalism share much


Basically, journalism and documentary film own many common characters. According to Wikipedia, journalism is gathering, processing, and dissemination of news and information related to the news to an audience. The function of journalism is similar to documentary film. Only difference is that the journalism is real-time reporting and the documentary film is a historical record.

Nowadays, many documentaries are finding news publishers to build the ideal platforms for their work. At the same time, schools of journalism increasingly offer courses related to multimedia production and film editing.

Journalists and filmmakers are increasingly using the same methods to tell stories. For instances, “A Short History of the High Rise” is a documentary film which tells ts istory in a reporter’s tone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr9Y0C3pPxk).

One of the reasons that journalists began to tell stories in a different way is that images and videos contain a power to move and persuade audience to believe the fact. Conversely, the words and data are not convincing enough for the modern society.

People are able to see many news videos on CNN, New York Times or other news websites. Journalists are more and more adapt to use these technologies to tell a story.

Like Andrew DeVigal, the chair in Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement at the University of Oregon, posted on Twitter “I came for the technology and stayed for the story.”

An interesting fact is that “storytelling” is the word of the day. Journalists and reporters are preferred to be named “storytellers” and “story-makers” rather than the original names “journalist” or “filmmaker.” No one wants to be maligned as a “content creator.”

Journalism and documentary films are gradually combined and build a clearer picture for their audience. As DeVigal posted on Twitter “Let’s move from ‘public service media’ to ‘public participation media.'”

The FBI impersonates news source


It was recently discovered that, back in 2007, the FBI created a fake news story impersonating the Seattle Times. The bureau’s reasoning behind fabricating the story was that they used a link to the article to catch the suspect responsible for multiple bomb threats to a local high school.

The Seattle Times is now claiming that it is “outraged” by the FBI’s actions. The question on the table now is: Is this matter of dealing with someone’s First Amendment rights?

The FBI did not stop the Seattle Times from printing whatever they choose to, which is typically the issue I always thought the First Amendment was there to protect. However, the key word in that sentence is choose. The Seattle Times did not chose to publish or have their name associated with that story. Instead, the FBI put words into the mouth of the paper.

Should it now be included and made clear that the press has the right to post, or not to post?

It’s questionable whether or not the FBI’s actions infringed on anyone’s First Amendment rights. What is clear, however, is that this information of the FBI’s involvement could impact reader’s opinions of the Seattle Times, and has the potential to discredit the reputation of the news source.

Taking it a step further, if the FBI could so easily do this with one news source, why couldn’t they with other sources?

I don’t believe this incident will lead journalists to begin questioning all sources of news. Still, I think it will raise questions about how the general public knows what is legitimate or not when it comes to news sources and this might make some journalists’ jobs harder.

The true killer in America


Public health has been in the news quite a bit lately, mostly due to the Ebola “scare” that has captivated Americans’ attention. Previously, of course, it was the swine flu and the bird flu.

However, everyone, including news organizations, seem to ignore the true threat to American health: Our food. The American diet is quite literally killing people and no one seems to notice or care.

Yes, everyone knows that McDonald’s is bad for you and that pizza won’t give you six-pack abs, but no one is talking about the loopholes contained within food that is generally considered healthy. Whole wheat bread can actually be chemically separated and put back together in order to sell more cheaply—with high fructose corn syrup added as well. This syrup suppresses insulin in your liver and therefore inhibits your body from knowing when it is full. Therefore you eat more.

So what? No big deal right? They have pills that can help with diabetes and coronary artery disease. Unfortunately, pills cannot cure these problems, they can only help symptoms. No news organization is investigating as to why that is the case. Pharmaceutical companies have billions to lobby with and do not want people to know the true cure: Eat like a caveman.

In clinical studies, a lifestyle and diet change was 40 percent more effective at treating diabetes than the most successful medication. Those with type two diabetes who adopted the Paleolithic diet (eating only what a caveman would eat as it came out of the ground) eliminated the disease from their body in a week.

We owe it to ourselves to be healthy. It needs to start with awareness via brave and insightful journalism.

Breaking news and privacy issues


The way that news reporters handle sensitive issues is a strong point of discussion in the news industry. Over the weekend, I became engrossed with following the updates of a national news story in Australia that hit home for me as it affected my community and dealt with a sensitive issue.

The story covered the disappearance and search for an 11-year-old girl that was declared missing after running away from home on Saturday evening. The search began for the girl when she hadn’t returned home since she left after an argument. Fortunately, she was found after a desperate two-day search conducted by more than 1,000 volunteers and the police.

The positive attributes of the news industry were highlighted through their assistance in the search for the girl as multiple news outlets broadcast the story on the television, print newspapers and online. This aided the search by increasing awareness and, ultimately, the cohesion of the news outlets with the family was what led to the girl being found safe so quickly.

However, following the girl being found and returned to her family, I found certain aspects of the news coverage of the story rather invasive and potentially detrimental to her recovery and her future. In particular, when the parents of the girl went to fetch her, they were bombarded by news reporters standing outside their house and following them with cameras and recording devices. This invaded their privacy during an incredibly difficult time. Additionally, the girl’s father then became the subject of some news articles as they delved into the family history to discover that he was due to attend court on a separate manner.

In covering this sensitive issue, reporters need to remember the potential future impact that their reports can have on the girl’s life. Not only will she need to recover from the ordeal, but she also has to deal with life in the spotlight until the news coverage dies down. This is incredibly difficult for a girl of her young age to have to deal with and the reports will forever follow her due to the everlasting nature of the Internet and the ability to find information with a simple Google search. This demonstrates how it is important for news reporters to remain mindful of both their obligation to report the news but also to respect the privacy of the people involved in their stories.

More information about the story can be found here.

Media focus on college athlete, porn star


On Wednesday, Notre Dame freshman football player Justin Brent was spotted at the Knicks preseason game with his date, well-known porn star Lisa Ann. Brent, a wide receiver for his school,s football team, later posted an Instagram picture on the two in bed together.

Immediately, the story was all over the news: from sports publications to gossip magazines to hard news outlets.

Some gossip-fueled news outlets like TMZ were quick to jump to conclusions and judgment about the fact that not only is the woman a porn star, but she’s also a 42-year-old dating an 18-year-old athlete.

However, this story was also covered by what some might call more credible news outlets, such as the Huffington Post. In the article published by the Huffington Post, the writer is careful to not share any personal opinions on the matter. Instead, the article consisted mostly of the Instagram pictures in question, as well as quotes taken directly from Lisa Ann’s Twitter feed showing her reaction to the ordeal.

This goes to show that even the most trivial of news stories, like who’s dating who, can instantly spark media attention from all types of news outlets. However, there is a big difference in the ways that these news outlets portray these types of stories.

In addition to falling in the popular college football category, this story in particular also involved many common controversies, such as age difference in relationships, the male / female double-standard and respectability of occupations in the adult film industry.

Protests, riots, and the news media


On Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014 the annual Pumpkin Fest was held at Keene State College in Keene, N.H., a celebration where the community tries to set a world record for having the most carved and jack-o-lantern-ed pumpkins.

This seemingly sweet event changed abruptly as some of the Pumpkin Fest goers lost control and began to riot throughout the entire event, destroying property and setting many objects on fire.

The news media started to compare the riot to the Ferguson protests and that became a concern to many who have been actively following the action in Ferguson.

The Pumpkin Fest riot and the Ferguson protests are not one of the same. There has yet to be a consensus of how the festival riots even began, let alone a leading cause to the belligerence. Therefore, the media should not have compared the two events.

Once the news media heard about Ferguson, they made out the angry protesters as “rowdy animals” without listing the cause as to why they were protesting in the first place, while the Pumpkin Fest protesters were often referred to as “mischievous college students” who drank too much. The news media seemed to down play these student’s destruction while making the Ferguson protests appear wild and without cause.

Is this because the news media only reports what they can view rather than getting the full story? An outside viewpoint would have appeared the same since law enforcement used force, rubber bullets and tear gas on both the protesters and the rioters. So to someone who did not know much about either event, they would have “looked” the same. But does that mean that they should be reported as the same?

Overall, the news media must start looking deeper into the story. If not, they will continue to compare apples to oranges.

Virality and sourcing online news


After the National Report, a fake news site, published a report about the arrest of Banksy and the reveal of his identity as Paul Horner, the Internet flew into a frenzy.

After the article was read more than five million times and shared approximately three million times, reputable news sites started publishing stories about the National Report’s hoax.

At this point, however, it was a little late for the news sites and blogs who did not take the time to confirm the story and banked on its virality being a sign of its veracity.

The National Report is a satire site from front page to obscure post, but its design unfortunately lends itself more gravitas than it should. It’s not obvious that the site is loaded with fake news and parody and, for the average reader, this can become incredibly confusing.

However, where the average reader ends and the journalist begins is where the excusability also ends in being hoodwinked by a satire website.

After the release of the report and the subsequent swell in attention, the many low and mid-tier news writers that neglected to fact check the story ended up with egg on their faces. The new way news is being disseminated hinges on independent journalists and their ability to break a story quickly and accurately. Often times independent news outlets from blogs to slightly more established networks, lack the hoops and chain of editors to stringently check each story for accuracy.

The reduced structure means that stories get churned out faster, but often at the risk of accuracy.

As journalism evolves, it will become even more crucial to hold ourselves to stringent reporting standards. It’s up to an individual reporter to maintain a high quality of work but without the help of an entire copy editing department it’s essential that the reporter stay cognizant of the basics of reporting and not get lazy, namely beginning a news report with facts not rumors or false information.

Freelancing: Start a journalism career


A computer. A topic. That’s all you need to come up with a story. And that’s all the tools journalists essentially make use of during the writing process.

So if it’s that simple; can anyone do it? Am I up for a journalism work position then? And the answer is that, in theory, yes.

Anyone can call themselves a journalist. First, because we are all able to come up with stories, thus making us attractive employable material for the newsrooms, which is always in need for material to add onto their publications.

Here the birth of this popular trend; an amazing way to make a couple extra bucks; not to mention under your own rules.

Becoming a freelance journalist is essentially being self-employed; being your own boss. You send your work to whichever publication you want to write for and you are paid for each piece of writing that is published.

So why is it popular? There are no rules or qualifications for entry. Even if you don’t have the experience. Or the degree that reads “Bachelor in Communications” (sorry for that four year college expenditure. Ouch!) All you need is a website and a LinkedIn account (Contacts darling!), an interesting story to report about and mad writing skills. With these, you’ll certainly be successful and even to prevail in the industry up to the point where you can make a living out of only freelancing gigs. In other words; “Your hobby can become your career.”

Risking our safety to gather news


Journalists have been known to go to great lengths to report breaking news. From standing on the front lines of war to sustaining a hurricane, journalists don’t back down from challenges.

With that being said, when is it enough? Where is the line that can protect them from serious harm?

The recent health crisis of Ebola has once again brought the issue of journalism safety to the forefront. Unfortunately (and ironically) NBC journalists went from just reporting the story to being the story.

Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance photographer for NBC News, was infected with Ebola while working in Liberia with a team of reporters. He was transported back to the U.S. and is thankfully okay, but there are thousands of people who have not been so lucky (predominately in West Africa).

After being pronounced “Ebola free,” Mukpo tweeted “I don’t regret going to Liberia to cover the crisis. That country was a second home to me and I had to help raise the alarm.”

His selflessness and dedication can be seen as honorable or crazy to some. Some people don’t want to put their lives on the line for the news. But others, like Mukpo, find a deeper story. They don’t just want to report, they want to help people.

I’m torn between fully supporting their desires and insisting they see a professional. Yet maybe I’m not at the point in my life or career where I understand their actions. In fact, I one day hope to be so passionate about something that I would “die” for it. Most likely that passion won’t be reporting, but instead my future family. Nevertheless I commend those who want to report on and raise awareness for issues throughout the world.

Journalism sways perceptions of crime


Pointing fingers is easy and it’s easy for journalism to turn to finger pointing. In the past, American journalists have given countries like Russia and China flack for their high incarceration rates. In reality, the U.S. has the overall highest rate of incarceration per capita in the world. (http://huff.to/1oxID9y).

Not only that, but stories of murders and missing people are all over the news today, and while these stories are certainly newsworthy, they give people the idea that crime is on the rise. Actually, crime in the U.S. has been steadily declining for the past 10 years.

So why do the American people not seem to know these things?

The point of journalism is to inform the public about issues and current events. Incarceration rates in the U.S. is more of an ongoing news story, but it’s still a current event which is rarely talked about.

Crime, on the other hand, is stressed too much, so that the public generally has an incorrect view of what is happening in our country.

I’m not saying journalists shouldn’t report certain things, I think we just need to keep everything in perspective more. Because it’s very difficult to believe that crime rates are dropping, when all you see on the news is another story about a shooting, and it’s hard to believe that we imprison more people per capita than Russia or China when those countries are in the news for how harsh their criminal justice system is.

Since it is the job of journalists to inform the public, I think that some of these facts and statistics I have mentioned should be reported more frequently or updates should be given more frequently, so that the U.S. population has a better idea of how things actually are.

Equal coverage needed for all missing


Hannah Graham’s disappearance has opened old wounds. Cassandra Morton disappeared in 2009 but her name didn’t make national headlines the same way Graham’s has.

Just six days after Morton went missing, Morgan Harrington disappeared. Harrington received more news coverage than Morton.

Morton’s stepfather says it’s because Harrington’s family was able to offer a reward for their daughter and because Morton didn’t fit the media’s preferred image.

According to The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson:

“A damsel must be white. This requirement is nonnegotiable. It helps if her frame is of dimensions that breathless cable television reporters can credibly describe as ‘petite,’ and it also helps if she’s the kind of woman who wouldn’t really mind being called ‘petite,’ a woman with a good deal of princess in her personality. She must be attractive — also nonnegotiable. Her economic status should be middle class or higher…”

Morton came from Tinbridge Hill, a historically black neighborhood. She experimented with drugs and moved around a lot.

Harrington’s parents made television appearances and a website was made to find their daughter. Morton did not receive such attention. Without speaking with both Morton’s and Harrington’s parents, I cannot know the degree to which each family sought coverage and the degree to which the media approached each family to be able to pinpoint the cause of the difference in coverage between the two girls’ disappearances.

In any case, this should serve as a reminder for journalists that content should be dictated by neither aesthetics nor money. We need to strive for fair, unbiased coverage that represents the diversity of our population.

Media, feds play risky name game


Last week, I think I saw the headline “Ebola crisis” on every station I flipped through, every billboard I whizzed by, every social media newsfeed I scrolled down. The word “crisis” is a red-flag word. It promotes fear, anxiety and ensues widespread panic. It is a word that should not be taken lightly, nor thrown around at ease.

Last week, each time that I tuned into the morning newsroom edition of CNN with Carol Costello, Costello would address the issue as a crisis and the news ticker would dizzily roll by flashing the words: “Ebola crisis.”

Yesterday morning, I routinely turned on CNN to find Costello sassily trying to put things into perspective for the audience. “Let’s put the so-called Ebola crisis in perspective,” Costello said, “there are nearly 319 million people in the U.S. and two people, two, have contracted Ebola. Two.” Two, she emphasized.

“You would think that our lawmakers would point that out so that there is no panic.” She then went on to criticize Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic politician, for petitioning to extend the incubation period for twice the time that the CDC has required.

The whole scenario is an oxymoron. All this finger pointing really should have been redirected at the media. For an entire week, news anchors like CNN’s Costello were labeling this incident as a “crisis,” creating a fiasco out of the situation. All of a sudden, the politicians are completely at fault for blowing up the situation and instilling fear in American homes?

In an industry so reliant on the written and spoken word, word choice is, well, important. It is word choice that can make or break a story, a reporter, and a nation. Certain trigger words should be used with caution and labeling situations should be done so with much thought.

On the other hand, another one of the United States’ greatest and most current events, has yet to be labeled.

After around three months of an onslaught of threats, a handful of decapitations, and the bombing of the Islamic State, the crisis in Syria has yet to be labeled. The effort to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been named Operation United Assistance. And yet, one of the most pressing issues on US homeland security is a fill-in-the-blank.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said there is “an effort under way to consider … a potential name for this operation.”

This name-game that the United States government and media are playing is a dangerous one, as it is ultimately these names (or thereof, lack of names) that will go down in the history books.

Is America prepared to handle Ebola?


Being a developed country and a world power, we are not taking the necessary steps to prevent Ebola from spreading throughout the country.

In hospitals, there is lack of coordination including the limited training of staff. Moreover, the overconfidence in American hospitals has been another issue.

One of the so-called “prepared hospitals” missed warning signs of the first Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, who first went showing diarrhea and vomit symptoms in Dallas hospital. By the time Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, it was too late because two nurses who were taking care of him became infected even though they used the “necessary protecting equipment.”

We are not just talking about three Ebola patients from Dallas. There are other people that have been exposed to these infected people, including a school teacher from Ohio who had contact with one of the nurses.

Wasn’t America all ready for this?

Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said “Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population. We know how to stop Ebola with strict infection control practices which are already in widespread use in American hospitals.”

As said before there was an excess of confidence in U.S. hospitals, which suggested nearly every American hospital would be ready to receive Ebola patients. Today, this is not what we are seeing. There are many doubts about the ability of hospitals to handle such patients here in the U.S.

Health officials are only relying on the four “specialized hospitals centers” to treat this virus.

If hospitals in the U.S. were really prepared for this illness, why the two nurses who contracted Ebola in Dallas were transferred to two of the four highly specialized hospitals here? Weren’t the hospitals in such a big state such as Texas prepared to treat Ebola? Probably not.

We should note that the four hospitals equipped to treat patients with Ebola are located in Georgia, Nebraska, Maryland and Montana. They have the capacity to treat approximately 10 patients at one time. What if this disease spreads throughout the country? Only four hospitals in one of the most developed countries in the world would be able to treat Ebola patients?

What if Americans become ill abroad and are brought here for treatment and there is insufficient space in “equipped hospitals” because of people that got infected here?

Nigeria is now Ebola-free. This is an example of a country that took the necessary measures to overcome Ebola. In contrast to the U.S, Nigeria knew it was possible that this virus traveled to their country, and that’s why health care workers received the essential training before the virus hit the country.

The nation’s largest health care workers’ union said Wednesday that 85 percent of surveyed nurses feel they are not prepared to deal with the deadly Ebola virus. These feelings of unsafety among heath workers can have consequences in the way health workers treat this fatal virus on infected people.

Based on these nurse’s responses, there is insufficient levels of preparation to handle Ebola. Some nurses said the training to deal with Ebola was limited to a 10-minute course in which they couldn’t ask questions. Other nurses said their training was from e-mails with links to the website of the CDC.

Nurses also said that hospitals don’t have the necessary equipment to ensure their safety. If we are not having the equipment needed for protection in hospitals, health workers will continue infecting.

So, what will happen? Health care workers will stop going to work because of the danger of working in a highly contagious environment in which they do not receive the essential training to deal with Ebola.

If health workers aren’t feeling safe with the equipment they are provided, Americans are not going to feel safe in hands of them and these health care workers would prefer to save themselves from being infected than from saving a life of an Ebola patient.

The CDC should be doing more to prepare doctors and hospitals. The number of biocontainment unit beds that we count on now is not sufficient enough to a worst-case scenario.

Although the CDC doesn’t want to create panic about this illness, they really need to develop better measures to protect and train health care workers; and even more when doctors and nurses in the U.S. are not used to treat Ebola. If a good training is not provided, Ebola could become an epidemic regardless of the skilled medical technologies that we have.

Ebola virus now threatens U.S.


Ebola virus disease (EVD) is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rain forests. Currently, the virus is threatening the United Sates.

On Sept. 30, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), announces the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. Then government officially release the name of the first diagnosed: Thomas Eric Duncan. Unfortunately, Duncan died of Ebola in Dallas on Oct. 8.

Then, on Oct. 10, Nina Pham, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital tested positive for Ebola. Another nurse, Amber Vinson, who treated Duncan became the third person diagnosed with the virus.

The government has done much to protect citizens from Ebola virus. Since Sept. 29, the U.S. military sent 4,000 troops to West African to establish treatment centers, which are called Expeditionary Medical Support Systems (EMSS).

At the same time, airports in New York, Newark, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta are examining certain international passengers for fever. The main target is West African visitors.

Lisa Monaco, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, sent a brief announcement that “We are not facing just a health crisis –– We are facing a national security priority.”

As for President Obama, he has directly kept sending military to West Africa. The president is personally and actively demanding more troops to fight the disease.

The use of the military increases discontent among citizens.

“We make no apologies for being deliberate about the use of force, particularly when it engages the United States in conflicts in a region like the Middle East,” deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Monday. “The American people want a president who is going to think hard before making those decisions who …. makes sure he is drawing from the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

However, it is interesting that some merchants use the virus situation to sell Ebola productions. For instance, one merchant printed “Ebola” on a handbag and other accessories.

South Florida to become 51st state?


City of South Miami officials have passed a resolution supporting the idea to split the state of Florida in half — drawing an east-west line near Orlando — making South Florida the 51st state of the United States.

On Oct. 7, the resolution was proposed by Vice Mayor Walter Harris at a city commission meeting and it passed with a 3-2 vote. The City of South Miami’s reasoning for this is because Tallahassee is not providing South Florida with with adequate representation of its concerns for sea-levels rising in the future.

South Florida has to deal with this environmental concern and Harris believes that nothing will get done in Tallahassee since it doesn’t really apply to them.

On SunSentinel.com he stated, “We have to be able to deal directly with this environmental concern and we can’t really get it done in Tallahassee,” Harris said. “I don’t care what people think — it’s not a matter of electing the right people.”

Mayor Philip Stoddard has actually been advocating for this for the past 15 years, but never went through with a resolution. Stoddard agreed with Harris’ statement.

“It’s very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean,” Stoddard said. “They’ve made that abundantly clear every possible opportunity and I would love to give them the opportunity to do that.”

In order for this to be approved, it would have to have an electorate approval from the entire state and a Congressional approval.

Twitter criticizes news covering two riots


The riots occurring in Ferguson, Mo., protesting the death of the unarmed, black teen Mike Brown, have been in the news media since early August. The ongoing social movement focuses on an issue mainly of race and civil rights.

Over the weekend, Pumpkinfest in Keene, N.H., sparked riots that stemmed from drunk college partiers.

After media coverage was released of the Keene riots, and because of some similarities between the two situations, people took to Twitter to criticize the media’s handling of both events.

Tweets such as, “The kids at #keenestate threw beer cans at cops and got arrested. Mike Brown threw his hands up and caught SIX shots” highlight the distaste for the inequality of both situations. Many of the Twitter users believe that Keene State’s riots were just as bad, but Ferguson attracted more negative media.

In an article from CNN, experts say that the two situations cannot be compared, because what happened in Keene was a riot and the events in Ferguson are part of an ongoing political movement.

The article does state, however, that Twitter was right in criticizing the media for racial discrepancies.

While Ferguson “riots” are aftermath of a unarmed teen killed by police, Keene was a riot of drunken students purely looking for a good time, which escalated into the riots. Despite the drastic differences in intentions of both situations, the media managed to use more loaded words and negative connotations when reporting on Ferguson than on Keene.

While participants in the Ferguson protests were labeled by news media as “thugs,” Keene rioters were only described as “rowdy.” Also, according to the media, Ferguson is made up of “animals destroying their community,” where Keene is just “mischief cause by booze filled revelers.”

These inconsistencies in news coverage of two similar, but drastically different, events are inexcusable. Because of the way these events are portrayed in the news, white behavior is normalized and made okay, while black behavior is condemned and allows for the prolonging of racism.

Even though Ferguson had significantly more important motives for riots, it was seen as violent and unacceptable in the media, while the events in Keene were excused as drunk kids trying to have a good time. The media’s coverage of issues like these perpetuate racism and the ongoing cycle, which is unacceptable in a society so heavily influenced by the media.