Support offered for Mumbai victims


More than 23 people have been found dead Thursday morning after a five-story building in Mumbai collapsed.

Rescue workers continue to search for at least 30 missing victims at the scene of the tragedy, while local firefighters remain on location, clearing out debris that could potentially cause victims who are still trapped in the remains to suffocate.

Located in India’s West Coast, this city is known for its heavy rainfall and flooding. Although five were reported dead as a result of the heavy flooding; authorities are uncertain if the collapse was due to rainfall, which began on Saturday morning.

According to local news media, the 117-year-old building on the busy street of Pakmodia needed repairs since 2013. Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai was the current owner of the building and is now being investigated for the negligence of necessary renovations.

MCGM claims to have urged the inhabitants to evacuate the building earlier this year, however, it is still unknown as to why they remained after a warning. The company is said to appear in court on Wednesday.

Government spokesperson Vijay Khabele Patil said “they are concerned officers who had to look after repairs and other things” did not do that.

City officials remain concerned with the construction of buildings in Mumbai, and fear that this may only be the first tragedy of many. They fear that hundreds of buildings in the city may be unfit for living conditions.

Although the flood waters increase each day, fortunately, so does the support, concern, and medical response for the citizens of Mumbai.

Many celebrities have reached out on social media to share their support. Dilip Kumar, an Indian producer, actor and activist tweeted “May Allah keep all of you safe. #mumbaiRains. I’ve been told the authorities are doing their best to make it easy for you. God bless.”

Reporter’s questions upset storm victim


On Aug. 29, after Hurricane Harvey struck in Houston, a woman had an overreaction when she was abruptly interviewed by a reporter who came to her at just the same moment tragedy had occurred.

Apparently it was not a good time to talk. According to the woman, what else could happen on top of living the worst tragedy of her life?  Being interviewed by a reporter to give a public statement of something I do not even want to recall, was “the cherry on top the cake.”

Perhaps the journalist wasn’t aware of the woman’s mood ahead of time. Maybe she should have considered a different approach, offering some help, asking the woman if she was feeling okay. It seems the reporter was surprised and consequently this made her nervous. Every time the woman got upset, the reporter would reply “I am sorry.”

Fox News hires commentator Lahren


Fox News Channel has hired conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, who is known for her previous positions at The Blaze and One America News Network.  She is also known for her work on a political action committee supporting President Donald Trump.

Tomi Lahren (Photo courtesy of #Tommy Lehren@Twitter).

The South Dakota native will make her debut as a contributor on tonight’s edition of “Hannity” at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

According to Fox News, Lahren will have a “signature role” on a digital product currently under development and will also be a commentator on the network’s opinion programming.

She will most often appear on Sean Hannity’s show, where she originally made her first appearance on Fox.  On his show, she has been most known for criticizing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the “mainstream media.”

“How about when the mainstream media stops covering Russia day in and day out, maybe we can drop the Hillary email scandal,” said Lahren on Twitter yesterday.

The 25-year-old Donald Trump supporter, is a University of Nevada at Las Vegas graduate who built a following on social media with over four million Facebook followers.  She creates her own videos with commentary on politics and culture. Lahren has made national news for her strong criticisms of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests, as well as comparing Black Lives Matter to the KKK.

The conservative commentator was fired from The Blaze earlier this year after saying that she was pro-choice in an appearance on “The View.”

“I have moderate, conservative and libertarian views. I’m human.  I will never apologize, to anyone, for being an independent thinker,” said Lahren on Twitter shortly after she was fired.

Diana is remembered after 20 years


It has been 20 years since Princess Diana of Wales died in Paris after the car that she was riding in crashed. People gathered in Britain to pay their respects to the princess, whose legacy still lives on.

Flowers, candles and letters were left outside the gates of the Kensington Palace in memory of the late princess. People also took to social media to pay their tributes.

Elton John, who sang at Princess Diana’s funeral, tweeted a photo of him and Diana with the caption, “20 years ago today, the world lost an angel. #RIP #Diana20”. Piers Morgan took to Instagram with a picture of the two of them, captioning it, “RIP Princess Diana. The biggest star of them all.”

Diana was famous for many things, one being her AIDS activism. She often visited patients suffering with HIV, being almost the first person with a high profile to have her picture taken hugging AIDS victims.

From the streets of London to posts on social media, the media has done a great job reporting people paying respects and remembering Diana’s legacy, To further commemorate the princess, a documentary on her life and death, starring her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, will air on BBC in seven days.

Harvey: Social media have driven relief


Hurricane Harvey: a true American tragedy. This damage has not been seen in the United States since Hurricane Katrina, which left the city of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana battered. Taking years to rebuild, the city of Houston will now face a similar fate.

But one thing in particular monumentally separates these two disasters – the use of social media as a mass media news, reporting and fundraising tool. Through social media, we have been able to get up-to-date recounts of Harvey, including from residents trapped inside their homes as a result of the flooding.

Following a disaster, a few major things are needed. Those include basic supplies such as food and water, first responders and volunteers to help people who may be trapped and clear debris, and monetary donations. More money means more help.

For many, hearing about natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and Harvey can be heartbreaking. But, until recently, people have not always had access to up-to-date information or ways to help other than what was broadcast on TV and radio. Today, that is no longer the case.

A-list celebrities such as Kevin Hart, the Kardashian family, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus and Leonardo Di’Caprio, have pledged millions of dollars to aid in the relief of those affected by Hurricane Harvey’s damage.

And how was this money raised? It all began when comedian Kevin Hart posted a video to social media challenging other celebrities and public figures to donate a minimum of $25,000. Since that video, similar videos of celebrities pledging larger and larger amounts have gone viral. On every news station, website or social media platform, you will find another donation in the thousands, even millions of dollars.

This is something that was not parallel to the response of Hurricane Katrina. As a result of these famous donations, people all over the country have been encouraged to help in any way they can – being able to give donations to organizations like the Red Cross right from their cellphones.

The response to Harvey shows the true power and reach of social media. Today, in times of disaster, everyone can come together and help in any way possible, regardless of where they are located. In a setting as casual as a social media feed, seeing any and everyone join a movement influences and encourages people to do the same.

Acosta goes too far with interview


When CNN’s Jim Acosta grilled White House advisor Stephen Miller on immigration policy in the Trump Administration, he was not championing the tired, poor, huddled masses that the Statue of Liberty invites. He was championing his own cause, one that crosses the line of journalistic integrity into political partisanship.

Much has been said in regard to partisanship in the news media and it is largely true for both sides of the political spectrum. Bias in the news consumers receive and digest is the new norm. No clearer has this been apparent than when a few weeks ago, CNN’s senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta tore off his reporter’s cap and donned the mantle of Republican opposition.

Acosta, rather than ask a question that would subsequently inform his viewers, recited to Stephen Miller the poem added to the Statue of Liberty in New York, saying “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” He then chose to press Miller about the legitimacy and true nature of the Trump Administration’s new green card policy, saying it was possibly race-influenced.

Acosta started an argument with Miller. He did not ask a necessary, informative question, he did not ask something that would open up the floor for further voices. Acosta sought to debate Miller as a political opponent would, failing to understand (or perhaps disregarding entirely) that his job as a reporter is to report news, not instigate ideological arguments on the press room floor.

The ordeal was a disservice to Acosta’s colleagues in the White House press room as it was unfair and disrespectful to the qualified reporters simply trying to do their jobs, but it was especially a disservice to Acosta’s viewers, who have a right to receive news that is fair and not manipulated. Acosta, however, has begun to disregard his duty as a journalist to provide the public with legitimate stories that they can judge for themselves. He failed because that day he became the news, when he was instead supposed to report it.

Media coverage of Harvey uneven


For the past few days, Hurricane Harvey has made its way over Texas and Louisiana, wreaking havoc in its path. The storm has been moving unusually slow in comparison to other hurricanes of the past, which has led to extensive flooding in Houston and other areas as the storm continues to develop. The way news organizations are covering the storm has been very interesting to study as a broadcast journalism student.

Organizations like The New York Times and CNN have done a great job updating online readers with content, including storm updates, footage, and personal stories of tragedy and heroism. While this is to be expected, it has been a great reflection of classroom conversations about media and content delivery.

There has been some public backlash to the intrusiveness of reporters, particularly in these disaster stories. Shoving a microphone into a grieving victim’s face can often be seen as overly aggressive, particularly in the aftermath of this chaos. While this behavior is a direct result of consumer demand, the ethics of doing so affect each reporter differently. Some reporters have taken a softer approach, offering aid to victims while also gathering their story, which has been very interesting.

One of my friends at UM is from Houston and he made an interesting point to me at dinner the other night. He was upset that news organizations, specifically on the broadcast side, haven’t done any stories about the recovery process. Personally, I think that the coverage up until this point has been about tracking the storm and the devastation, because the storm is still developing. Once the weather clears and the water begins to recede is when the recovery effort can truly begin, and that’s when those types of stories will be possible for news organizations to cover. Until then, the outlook for thousands appears bleak, and so do the stories.