Social media: From tweets to articles


In recent news, Harry Potter star Emma Watson announced her recent casting as Belle in Disney’s upcoming, live-action movie “Beauty and the Beast.”

As I read the Entertainment Weekly article, I wondered how did she release the news? Watson made the news public via Facebook as fans cheered across the Internet.

I, a young and ambitious journalist, had to wonder if this was acceptable in the news media. Is it ethically correct for journalists to use social media as reliable and trustworthy sources when reporting?

Continuing my search for answers, I found another example of social media being used as news sources. Surprise, surprise; Watson is the shining star in an “Entertainment Tonight” article.

This time, Watson used Twitter. Fans constantly tweet at A-list celebrities such as Watson and, on occasion, receive replies from them. It appears that Watson was having a little Q&A session through tweets, speaking about her HeForShe campaign and giving young women advice.

I concluded that social media as news sources are not entirely unethical. Watson has her social media accounts displayed for public viewing. Moreover, Watson has given consent for us to see these updates; allowing us to share and converse about them.  Because there is permission from the original source, a journalist can use Watson’s tweets and posts as fuel for a news story.

However, what if this consent was never given? What if an Einstein computer hacker helped a journalist enter right into Watson’s Facebook and essentially leak her private posts?

If this were the case, the journalist would be ethically unjust. A reporter cannot simply use information without consent from the source and without verifying that information.

Today, anyone can write an article


I am a freshman who hopes to major in journalism one day and, even as I write this blog post, I am still learning, growing and improving. Writing is not just about putting words on paper, it is about using accurate sources and grammar and essentially being able to communicate a story in the best way possible.

In a world where online media are the No. 1 source for information, anyone can post an article and often times it is difficult to tell whether the information you are receiving is credible or not.

Oftentimes, when we see an interesting article posted on Facebook, we tend to click on it right away and, more often than not, these articles tend to either be advertisements or even mischievous viruses of some sort. Most of these articles contain incorrect information, wrong sources and are, at the core of it, poorly written pieces.

You can argue that media such as Google allow us to consume more information than ever before. However, if the information we consume is incorrect, how does it impact the way we view society?

Along with Photoshop with tools for editing, we cannot completely trust what we see. That is where the problem lies in journalism today. There are many news and information Web sites; therefore, there are numerous platforms for anyone to showcase what they have written. And anyone can create a new Web site, too, if that is the desired way to publish.

However, when does this start to devalue journalistic work? And in today’s world, what criteria can we use to decide what is and is not real journalism?

Jonas gets down on knee at pageant


Recently, Miami hosted the 63rd Miss Universe Pageant, which crowned Miss Colombia as the new Miss Universe for 2015. But the pageant’s winner was not the only one in the spotlight that night.During the pageant’s performance, Nick Jonas stepped off stage to serenade his girlfriend, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, while singing his single “Jealous.”

After making his way to Culpo, who was sitting in the front row, everyone watching noticed her panicked face when he knelt down and held her hand while singing.

When asked about her reaction, Nick later explained that Culpo was terrified that he would propose to her on live television when he knelt down on one knee.

“I went down and sang to her, and I got on a knee and approached her, her face was in full panic. She thought I was going to propose on national TV in front of one billion people,” Jonas told The Sun, a U.K. newspaper.

Despite her suspicions though, Nick jumped back on stage and finished the performance without popping the question.

Jonas and Culpo have been dating since the summer of 2013 but, according to the singer, marriage might not be on his mind just yet.

“At some point, it would be ideal to settle down,” Jonas revealed, “but we’re still quite young and we’re going on a journey.”

Kuwaiti journalists often restricted


As my father once said “Where will studying journalism take you? What will your job be, once you graduate?” “Kuwait and the Middle East don’t appreciate journalists the way the West does!”

Being a journalist in Kuwait means including yourself in a narrow tunnel that is suppressed by the government. It is a tunnel surrounded by rules and regulations of do’s and don’ts. One would just have the chance to work in newspaper or magazines since we don’t have a wide range of media genres in my country. This leaves our society to be private and secretive.

Reporting should be part of freedom of speech and expression. Media surround our lives everyday, from listening to the radio to viewing one’s Snapchat. This media outburst weakened the power of breaking news and announcements. Snapchat now can help someone to enjoy news in a different manner. Journalism and broadcasting organizations should also take into consideration these changes and allow news to appear more often onto these popular apps that are constantly used and abused by millions.

From Snapchat to Instagram and to Twitter, one must be up to date with all of these media products to view what people enjoy and take in. Just so, journalism is now revolving around and transforming to become part of these products, new and up to date.

Being brought up into a closed-minded society, journalism, reporting and broadcasting are monitored by the government leaving the people wondering whether what was said was true or false.

Censorship shouldn’t be included in Kuwait’s media and maybe this may change in time, but one shouldn’t be watched and judged for what he or she may have to say. What’s the point of journalism when there’s false news behind the screen? Why does media in Kuwait feel the need to sensor? Is it because to hide the shameful news. Is the media being bias and choosing a side or is it because they the want to not cause any conflicts? Falsely reporting may cause a larger conflict, instead.

I believe people in Kuwait should have the right have to follow up with media and journalism one should have the right to view what is exactly happening at any given event.

Citizens in nations become clueless and naïve due to the rules enforced by the government that control what to say or report. Because of my Islamic country, some issues, such as the “Charlie Hebdo” images, are extremely sensitive and delicate. Insulting and disrespectful, we believe that some journalists and columnists should take into consideration the respect of religion and drawing the line between news and disrespect.

Drawing the lines in journalism may be hard to do since each and every person may have a different opinion of what is right and what is inappropriate and wrong. Media should always take into consideration all the different opinions and beliefs of all the different kinds of people around it. Having to be filtered and clarified; is okay but, it does not mean to leave out what is vital and important.

Entertainment coverage is worth effort


I get notified of CNN updates on my phone, and these days, every one of them seems to be about another shooting, fire or train derailment. There’s so much violence and so many serious issues in the news, and obviously this is essential in order to keep the public informed.

But why not also report on the more lighthearted news of the day? Why not give the public a fun read in addition to the serious news being reported?

Take, for example, the recent Miss Universe Pageant. Sure, it may seem unimportant considering all other news, but is there really no point in reporting on such an event? I personally do not think so.

Entertainment reporting is so often viewed as a waste of time and energy, but in the grand scheme of things, entertainment is a huge aspect of most people’s day-to-day lives. So, just as we report on money or health, for example, why not report on this component of our lives?

After a hard day at work, someone may want to come home and read about the latest celebrity gossip to relax. Entertainment news tends to have that effect; it helps people unwind and focus on something that may not be pressing or important, but is no doubt entertaining. Entertainment news is essentially a break for many.

The entertainment industry itself is integral in our lives; it’s all around us. So, while some people may think that reporting on such topics as the latest pageant or celebrity breakup is unnecessary, I believe that it certainly has a place in the world of journalism.

What she wrote here might surprise you


For modern-day Internet surfers, the above headline structure probably looks very familiar. And as a fellow Internet surfer … I’m so sorry that is the case. These days, we all seem to be inundated with what the Internet wizards have dubbed “clickbait” — and from sources that might surprise you.

Oops, I did it again.

Clickbait is exactly what it sounds like: material that baits people to click it. Because every click gives a website ad revenue, the sole goal of clickbait is money. Perhaps I’m giving it a hard time, and maybe the issue is not so plain and simple. But when websites begin sacrificing content for an abundance of catchy headlines—as websites like BuzzFeed have been increasingly known to do — that’s when these websites have fewer defenses.

Publishing material with a focus on making money is not deplorable in itself. Everything is a business; even the most respectable publication needs to make money. And whether for money or not, every publication desires to increase its readership.

Historically, publications have tried doing so through jaw-dropping headlines and rumor circulation, for just two examples of many, and so clickbait is just a modern version of what has been going on for years. But clickbait is tailored toward the Internet, an expanding market, which actually makes clickbaiters pretty smart. Looking at it from this angle, the intentions and strategies of clickbaiting should not necessarily be condemned.

However, the issue arises when the business side of publishing completely eclipses content value. When money and clickbaiting and page views are the ultimate goal of a publication and other goals become secondary or even nonexistent, we have a problem.

When these things are the sole objective of a publication instead of a side strategy to help bring content to readers, then publications are losing sight of their mission. The very Constitution of the United States protects the existence of these publications because they have a purpose and duty. If they were merely another form of business, then they would not receive special protections under the law, above what normal businesses receive.

Not convinced that things are getting a bit out of hand? Well, when Gawker writes an article called “The ISIS Babies Are Freaking Adorable,” in my humble opinion, someone is violating something.

As for what can be done about this epidemic of catchy headliners and lacking content, I wouldn’t claim to have the wisdom to say. But I can hypothesize that business should dictate the future of clickbait naturally, and it seems the tide is already turning. As people get more annoyed by clickbait’s empty promises, companies like Facebook are already responding for the sake of business. So the force that gave birth to clickbait in the first place—business—will hopefully be the same force that finally puts it to rest.

Deflate-gate — Scandal or overreaction?


Football fan or not, everyone has heard about the latest National Football League controversy commonly called “Deflate-Gate.” But is it really worth all this recent media coverage?

For those who have yet to hear, “Deflate-Gate” is a recent scandal in which the New England Patriots were found to have used underinflated footballs in the recent AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots beat the Colts 45 – 7 giving them a spot in this weekend’s Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks.

But what’s the real scandal here? The fact that it may be cheating? Or that no one can decide whether a little less air in a few balls makes an actual difference? Unlike the real scandal of Spy-Gate in 2007, also dealing with the Patriots, Deflate-gate is a little harder to prove because the evidence is literally thin air.

When previous sports scandals have come to light in the past, physical evidence is usually already found before the media becomes frenzied. Lance Armstrong had been accused of doping years before he was actually investigated and found guilty, yet the media didn’t give it real coverage until an investigation began. The media covered the story of Ray Rice, NFL football running back, assaulting his then-fiancée in an elevator than dragging her out by her hair only after a video was released.

So, if something as simple as defective balls or weather conditions could be the real culprit of underinflated balls, why is the media so concerned with who to blame when there is no real proof of foul play?

Snapchat adds ‘discover’ feature


The smartphone app Snapchat has been around for quite some time. It is utilized by people from every generation, old and young. It is mostly used to keep in contact with friends and family. It is an app that allows to share both pictures and videos of priceless moments.

Just two days ago, the creators of Snapchat released an update that changed the app in many different ways. Now not only can you keep in contact with the people you’re closest to, but you can also keep up with current news. Whether it’s sports or any other matter, Snapchat will have you covered.

This new feature is called “discover.” It gives you the opportunity to do exactly what the name of the feature says, as if Snapchat couldn’t get any more innovative. A few months back, Snapchat released a feature called Snapcash. The feature lets you literally “snap” or send cash to a Snapchat friend via the app.

This is a feature that has never really been seen before on other social media apps. Snapchat is taking chances and taking social media by storm.