Girardi out as Yankees manager


Joe Girardi will not be wearing those Yankee pinstripes next season. The team announced that Girardi will not be resigned after completing the final year of a four-year, $16 million contract.

Girardi, 53, announced in an e-mail to local news media outlets that with a “heavy heart” that “the Yankees have decided to not bring me back.” In the same statement, he went of and thanked many people including Yankees executives and his assistant coaches.

The move comes right after the Yankees were one game away from reaching the world series. But their season ended after they lost to the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

Girardi was manager for the past 10 years and lead the Yankees to a combined 910-710 record, which equated to a .562 winning percentage. Along the way, Girardi also lead the Yankees to a World Series championship and they made the playoffs six times.

The decision was ultimately made by owner Hal Steinbrenner after general manager Brian Cashman recommended that the team swap managers. There had been an extreme amount of tension growing throughout the latter part of the 2017 season and the Yankees playoff run with Girardi making questionable calls along the way.

His biggest criticism came in Game two of the American League Divisional Series against the Cleveland Indians when Girardi declined to ask for a replay review on a controversial call. The decision opened the door for an Indians comeback.

Girardi was hired in 2008, replacing Hall of Fame manager, Joe Torre. His first season under the helm resulted in the first time the Yankees missing the playoffs since 1994. But in the next season, Girardi lead the Yankees to a World Series championship.

The biggest challenge for the Yankees will be hiring a new manager. With no clear-cut candidates the front office needs to decide if they go for a big name, or for a young gun who could connect to the young Yankees team.

Overall, the news media have done a great job reporting the release of Girardi and they’ve been fair to both sides. Although the move had been coming for some time, it showed that there was an immense amount of respect for the news media and to Girardi. Not many people who get fired turn to local news media outlets and break the story to them. Only with a mutual level of respect, does something like that occur.

Cartel chief son: Netflix hurt reputation


William Rodríguez Abadía, the son of Miguel Rodríguez Orejuela, former head of Colombia’s powerful Cali drug cartel, says he was never a hitman and worked for his father as a lawyer while fighting a legal battle against the U.S. government.

Rodríguez Abadía decided to reappear and present himself to the public to declare the fact that his portrayal in the famous show “Narcos,” which has an audience of more than 3.2 million people around the world. Rodríguez Abadía, 53, and living in Miami, said that it’s “more important to clarify all the misunderstandings” and the more than 10 lies he said were broadcast during the third season of Narcos.

The Colombian who is hoping to obtain a special U.S. immigrant visa, claims he has been portrayed as a hitman and an assassin. Moreover, he emphasizes that a series like “Narcos” and others glorify drug trafficking. Rodríguez Abadía also said that he is not running away and that he has always admitted the mistakes he made in surrendering, accepting and serving his sentence.

This is not the first time that relatives of former drug traffickers complain to Netflix about the three-season show. Roberto Escobar, brother of Pablo Escobar, is seeking $1 billion from Netflix for the use of the late Medellín cartel chief’s image. Netflix has claimed that he was a public figure and that it obtained the information about him from court documents.

According to law, if the plantiffs are public figures, they have different defamation rights than a private person. There are specific restrictions applied to defamation claims with regard to someone who holds public office or chooses to be in the public eye.

Courts have upheld this rule based on the U.S. belief that the public should be able to freely discuss national issues without fear of any repercussions. If a public official or public figure believes that he or she has been defamed, he or she must prove with convincing evidence that the statement is false.

On one hand, I think that Rodríguez Abadía could have been portrayed in a different way, however, it is part of the public opinion. How many films have portrayed people not exactly as they are in life? Probably a huge number that we wouldn’t even imagine. I also consider that he has a motive to change the image people have of him in the United States, especially the most important newspaper where he lives.

Lastly, I also want to take into consideration the other side of the story that could include a lot of people who are famous because of an event or some other reason of which the public does not know. Many of them could have this false portrayal released out to a big number of viewers and are not able to sue powerful company as Netflix for damages.

Trump releases JFK documents


After numerous tweets and pushback in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 26, President Donald Trump released approximately 2,800 records on the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.

Today, people are in a unique position that allows them to care about this information more than some may have in the past. Because of the widespread use of the internet, almost everyone now has access to these documents. These documents can help solve some mysteries for Americans concerning the death of JFK, and students alike to help them learn more about the history and outcome of the assassination.

But, JFK was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, which raises the question: after nearly 54 years, why do we care to learn more? The answer can be quite simple – accessibility.

Until recently, people would only have access to the information that was provided to them on traditional TV news, radio, magazines and newspapers. As a result, people could only follow a story as long as a predominant news outlet was continuing to cover the story. Today, however, that is no longer the case.

People have more access to information as a result of the mass use of the internet and data sharing.

President Trump has remained as unconventional as promised during his 2016 campaign trail. And while this case is no exception, it marks a new shift in data sharing that hasn’t been seen before.

Throughout modern history, the JFK assassination documents were held confidential within the federal government for a variety of reasons, most notably, for national security. As a result, none of these classified documents were either shared, nor discussed with the general public.

Trump broke this boundary, but he did something more – he allowed the news media to open a new dialogue and new platform for research. Because of the internet, people can not only engage and view these documents, but they can simultaneously conduct outside research from the comfort of their own laptop computers.

The release of these documents came as a surprise to many, but it showed how, as an online culture, people have shifted, and allowed themselves to be interested in topics that aren’t just breaking news stories or stories which only directly impact them.

In today’s news reporting, most people view these stories online. Through this new medium of sharing content, news organizations are able to include different types of news media such as videos, interactive photos and hyperlinks to outside sources – none of which are able to be included in traditional print publications.

When reading the news about the JFK documents, readers are able to click on a link leading them directly to the documents. This is something that, even 10 years ago, was not widely available or used.

Teenagers face jail after rock kills man


Five teenagers are charged with second degree murder after throwing rocks from a bridge above a highway that killed a man.

Kenneth White was riding in the passenger seat of his co-worker’s van on his way from from work, when a rock smashed into car, hitting him in the face and killing him instantly.

Police stated that after the boys had thrown 20 rocks onto the highway as they went to go eat lunch at a McDonald’s.

The boys range from 14 to 17 years of age, but are being charged as adults. They are being charged with second degree murder as well as conspiracy to commit murder and destruction of property. They have pleaded not guilty and have been denied bond.

White’s fiancé, Aimee Cagle, sat down with reporters to talk about this tragedy. She said that White was a good father and a good man. She also said that she hopes the boy who threw the rock is sentenced to life in prison.

The news media have been tracking this story and updating the public on the charges and court hearings. Cases like these are tragic and sensitive, however the news media have done a great job informing the public on updated information.

Halloween decorations draw police


Halloween is coming soon, meaning that American homes are decorated with pumpkins, ghosts and other original decorations, ready for trick-or-treaters to come on the night of Oct. 31.

This year, just as every year, some homes seemed to have crossed the line using controversial decorations that terrified and profoundly offended viewers. Making us question when do we know when we cross a line? How objective is this issue?

This year, in New Jersey, Kevin and Krysten Negrotto displayed in their front yard a white Toyota all covered in blood. The car was pinning a body against a tree, surrounded with police tape showing a bloody crime scene.

The neighbors of this couple find the display so disturbing that they think it should be considered a crime. The cops showed up at the Negrotto house, with complaints received about the set up from the neighbors who requested its removal.

Kyrsten Negrotto, 27, posted on Facebook saying the officers “LOVED” the display and encouraged them to add more to it. Kyrsten wrote “It’s a free country! … stop wasting these officers’ time on stupid complaints over our HALLOWEEN decor when they could be out saving real lives! It’s all about zombies. It’s about HALLOWEEN.”

The couple has a 5-year-old son, and claimed that it is just for fun and they didn’t mean any harm. Kyrsten Negrotto told a news source “We don’t mean to offend anyone. We do it for the love of Halloween. We just want kids to enjoy like we did as kids.”

Just as the Negrotto family, numerous other homes around the country received criticism, where the police had to intervene by receiving complaints on neighbors for having insulting displays. Many “offensive” decorations went viral and shared on social media. Numerous  decorations targeted by angry viewers were not just the ones considered gory, but also displays considered racially and culturally insulting.

In Parishville, N.Y., Michelle Cross displayed a figure forming a circle made from white bedsheets, surrounding a dark-face gorilla hung with a rope around his neck. A passenger took a photo of Cross’s yard and posted it on social media. By the next day, the photo was shared numerous times and had many comments. The comments suggested that the arrangement had racial connotations, as the circle of ghosts was perceived to represent the gathering of the Ku Klux Klan.

Michelle Cross took the gorilla down and just left the ghosts, out of respect to her community. Cross said, “I took it down because a few people in the neighborhood thought it was offensive for some reason,” and added, just like Kyrsten Negrotto “It is simply Halloween.”

The news media covered the stories on Halloween displays well, by including social media comments on the opinion of viewers and the displayers of the decor. One important area the reporters did not cover in the articles is the opinion of political public figures on the issue, which should also be present to address people on their freedom of expression.

The issue of offensive Halloween decorations is a very controversial topic. Displays, such as Michelle Cross’s, are open to interpretation and the fact that some people viewed it as a racial overturn is demonstrating their own subjective truth and negative view of the world. I do feel like people have the right to display whatever they think is appropriate for Halloween. If the neighbors or passersby have an issue with the display, then they can simply not look at it instead of calling the police.

What happened in Las Vegas?


Conspiracy theorists rejoice — Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is making waves.

The popular talk show host recently held a segment covering how little we know of what occurred leading up to, during and after the Las Vegas shooting from earlier this month. Carlson specifically attacked the story of the only eyewitness Jesus Campos, revealing that Campos left the country days after the shooting and is not in fact a licensed security guard as his testimony to police stated. Carlson raised many unnerving questions and pointed out that as this investigation proceeds, the information — or lack there of, for that matter – becomes more unclear.

Carlson’s assessment of events in Las Vegas is necessary. Falling short of conspiracy theorizing and speculation, he points out the shortcomings of the information received by the public and the misinformation that has been espoused. Most importantly, however, is the fact that Carlson is covering the story at all.

There has been what some have called a news media blackout in regard to the Las Vegas Shooting over the past few weeks. Most likely this is because no new, concrete evidence has turned up since the shooting, but the lack of attention the media is giving the largest mass shooting in modern American history is particularly surprising.

Looking at what information authorities and the public have, we should be increasingly aware at how little we know, despite many logistical questions and a substantial period of time. The current news media are no strangers to speculation or calling into question missing pieces of an investigative puzzle; they have been harping the same Donald Trump collusion with Russia in the 2016 election for about a year now. But the Las Vegas story is not receiving the same treatment. That is not right.

I am wary of even writing on the lack of attention given to this mystery out of fear of riling conspiracy theory and government sabotage, etc. Conspiracists will jump on anything if you give them the chance. Thankfully, Carlson does none of that. He merely reminds viewers that there is more we don’t know about Las Vegas than is typical or justified. And after seeing his segment I have to wonder, why isn’t this receiving more attention?

It is a difficult story to develop, no doubt, as many people are directly affected by the tragedy and the risk of spreading rumors is great in an event of this proportion. However, silence is also not appropriate. The news media used to be on the ground floor discovering new leads when they broke, but for this story it seems we are stuck with speculation and unanswered questions.

Documents about JFK death released


President Trump has ordered the long-awaited release of more than 2,800 documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  However, due to pressure from the CIA and FBI, he withheld thousands of additional papers and put them on pending review before release.

These documents are a treasure for historians and conspiracy theorists who have spent years searching for information on what really happened in Dallas on the day of JFK’s assassination in 1963.  The papers include suspicions that Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the killing and other talks of mobsters and spies.

The documents had fuzzy images of CIA surveillance photos from the early 1960s.  There was a report that Lee Harvey Oswald obtained ammunition from a right-wing militia group.

Some of the files convey the drama and chaos of the days immediately after the murder  of the president.  One of them is a memo dictated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover on Nov. 24, 1963 after Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald as he was being moved from police headquarters to a local jail.

President Trump, who has shared his own speculation about the assassination, had a strong desire to finally open the last government files since he was campaigning for president. This was when he accused Ted Cruz’s father of being a part of the assassination.

Although Trump has rather outlandish ideas involving the killing of JFK, I believe that having released these files is a useful decision for this country.

Citizens have a right to know everything that the government knows involving this.  Having this information out there may allow people to draw firm conclusions and put conspiracy theories aside.

The act of releasing these files is really something that President Trump has done to fight against the elites and give power back to the common people.

Aside of the content of the files, the news media should report that Trump is taking a stand against big government and bureaucracy. This is a step in the right direction for our nation. Freedom of information has always fueled this nation and I hope that the major news media organizations will report Trump’s efforts in this step forward.

Pending answers on Niger attack


The U.S. Department of Defense continues to investigate a more accurate account of events for the attacks in Niger.

On Oct. 3, 12 members of the U.S. Special Operations Task Force and 30 Nigerian forces left Niger’s capital, Niamey, to travel to a small village near Tongo Tongo, to complete a mission for the purpose of gaining information. The following day, U.S. soldiers and the Nigerien forces were ambushed by an Isis-affiliated group composed of 50 attackers.

Two hours after the attack, French Mirage jets came to assist the soldiers. Questions remain about why the soldiers waited an hour into the fight to call for help.

“But it’s important to note that when they didn’t ask for support for that first hour, my judgment would be that that unit thought they could handle the situation without additional support,” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. “And so, what we’ll find out in the investigation exactly why it took an hour for them to call.”

Information is still pending about why the mission in Niger went wrong, leaving four U.S. soldiers dead, two soldiers injured and five Nigerien troops dead.

Even after the most updated timeline of events were released, it is uncertain why fallen solider Sgt. David Johnson’s body was left unrecovered for two days.

“We owe the families of the fallen more information and that’s what the investigation is designed to identify,” said Dunford.

The U.S. Africa Command is continuing a thorough investigation of what happened.

Fake stories, enemies of news media


Since Oct. 15, Spain has suffered a wave of fires affecting Galicia’s region. These fires have calcined 35,000 hectares just in Galicia and have killed four people.

The victims were two old women, 80 and 88 years old, who died when they were trying to flee in a van, and two men that were trying to extinguish the fire. The number of deaths in Portugal has risen to 30 people.

Most of the fires were arson attacks. Two people have been arrested as the alleged originators of the fires. The first one, Miguel Angel, accused of setting fire to his farm when he was cooking with a barbecue. The second one, Maria Luisa, who was burning weed in her house.

But the government of Galicia, the Xunta, has qualified these fires as forest terrorism. The Xunta has suspicion that some of the other 146 fires have been started by an organized gang.

In that situation, when a whole country is focused on the issue, there are a large number of impressive photos with more impressive backstories. One of the most popular photos, in this case, has been the photo of a dog carrying a carbonized puppy. It was taken by the photojournalist Salvador Sas for the EFE agency.

The picture flooded social networks and accompanied many of the news media articles about the fire. Everybody knew about this mum dog, Jacki, carrying her own dead puppy. That was the story that many people are sharing. Everything right, so far. The problem occurred when a journalist discovered that the story attached to this photo was fake.

Jacki wasn’t a female and the dead puppy wasn’t his.

This is the article that uncovered the truth.

The owner of Jacki, recognized to the newspaper La Voz de Galicia, that her dog didn’t have descendants and that he was carrying a rabbit to eat, far from the story that was spread.

It is maybe an insignificant story and nothing will change after knowing the gender and the story of this dog. But once again, it is an example that news media publish and broadcast news without verifying. They seem to be following emotional criteria or mirroring everything that leads to success on social networks to attract the attention of an audience. Then, they correct the news en bloc. But it’s too late, the bad practice has been done.

If this has happened at this time, it could happen with other more relevant stories and the consequences affecting the reputation of the news organizations and society’s reliance on them would be far worse.

Battle for U.S. Senate in Florida is even


The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Gov. Rick Scott is too close to call, with the contestants being practically tied according to polls cited by The Miami Herald. According to these new polls, 37 percent of registered voters plan to vote for Nelson, while 36 percent are backing Scott.

Nelson also has the upper hand with non-party affiliated voters and other partisans, with support from 32 percent of those surveyed. Scott, on the other hand, has only 28 percent supporting him, though he boasts a 59 percent job approval rating from surveyed voters, a huge surge from the ratings he received in his time as governor, which tended to stay below 50 percent. Nelson has only a 35 percent approval rating in comparison, down from 42 percent in February.

Another noteworthy factor is Donald Trump and how divided Florida is about his performance as president. The divides are mostly along party lines, with 91 percent of Democrats disapproving and 71 percent of Republicans approving. In total, however, 59 percent of those surveyed disapprove, compared to 35 percent that approved, a fact that will no doubt benefit Nelson on election day.

Overall, the competition for the Senate seat next year will be down to the wire until the very last day and The Miami Herald did a praiseworthy job of showing this through their coverage of the race. Their use of statistics that favored both sides in different areas was a good way to show how divided and complex voting is in the modern age of politics, and the statements they had from public polling institutions did well in emphasizing that fact.

Additionally, there was no evident bias in the numbers or the tone of the article, leaving readers with nothing but the facts and their own thoughts on the present state of affairs.

Sen. Jeff Flake not seeking another term


U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona who has long spoken out against President Trump and his actions, announced that he would not be seeking re-election for another term on Tuesday. His speech, which lasted 17 minutes on the Senate floor, was filled with powerful rhetoric aimed against Trump and his policies, and toward a call to action.

Flake addressed several issues that he has seen with the current state of the country, including a direct challenge to his fellow Senate Republicans.

“It is often said that children are watching,” he said. “Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?

Flake spoke at length about the principles of democracy, and how he believes the very nature of these ideals have been undermined by the current administration, quoting Lincoln, Madison and Roosevelt in an attempt to recall a past where things were different.

“We must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal,” he said. “They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.”

Thanks in part to the fact that these Senate speeches are usually quite dull, the story has received much attention, but the explosion of eyes has been aided by the use of buzz words in the titles of stories, to make them pop.

“Jeff Flake Gave the Most Important Speech of 2017,” wrote CNN. All news outlets have also included links to the full transcript of the speech, and The New York Times included a video of the speech in its entirety. There were also links to related stories, including similar denunciations of the president’s policies by George W. Bush, John McCain and Bob Corker. Using these various online media strategies to keep viewers interested has also helped the story develop and has given readers across the country a deeper understanding of the importance of the speech and the issues with which it deals .

Sexual harassment no longer tolerated


At the start of October, there was one man whom was in the news for his lewd acts towards women. Harvey Weinstein, a man that used his position of power in the movie business to pressure women towards providing him sexual favors, saw his throne collapse when so many people, both men and women, came out and simultaneously accused him of his acts.

Since then, there has been something of a domino effect, with women from all walks of life coming out to accuse him. This led to his company removing him from his position of power. Now, however, there’s someone else who’s suffering from the same situation: Terry Richardson.

A photographer known for his sexual, sometimes near-pornographic shoots, Richardson has been accused of abuse during his shoots, often using his position to solicit sexual acts from his models. In fact, he himself has appeared nude alongside his subjects, perhaps as a further show of his position of power, with many of these stories publicly known since 2001. While Richardson has insisted that many of these acts have all been consensual in nature, the fact is that he is a man in a position of power over these women and is abusing the trust that they have toward him in order to receive a benefit that was not agreed upon  in their contracts.

It’s worth noting that while these accusations were an open secret in the industry, it’s only recently that Richardson has been fired from his position. As a result, we can see that there has been significant effort towards removing abusive men from positions of power, and returning power towards women. More importantly, it’s a return to form for the industry, an implicit threat that establishes that women will no longer put up with sexual harassment, regardless of who carries it out.

Vegan documentary released on Netflix


The recently released pro-vegan Netflix documentary, “What the Health,” has come to the attention of many health experts. The film, co-directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, has been criticized by some health professionals for exaggerating data, as well as misrepresenting science to promote a diet that avoids all animal foods, rather than one that strikes a balance between the various kinds of foods.

Throughout the video, the directors talk about the presence of processed foods in our diets, as well as the prevalence of chemicals that are used in their creation. Preservatives, flavor enhancers, and other items are often pumped into these foods with little to no regard for safety.

This is all in spite of the negative effect that it has in the human body, which often leads to unhealthy foods becoming a natural part of our diets. The documentary itself frequently offers facts and research studies to support their research, including papers that determine that diabetes and heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., all of which is directly tied into our diets.

As expected, the film is skewed towards a low-fat vegan diet. In the opening, Kip Anderson, a film producer by trade, describes his qualifications as a “recovering hypochondriac.” The film advocates for a vegan diet and an expert on the panel states there is no room for “moderation.” The word “terrifying” is used when describing food, as though to foster action against the meat industry. The documentary itself also frequently uses scare-tactic approaches to push its agenda of persuading viewers to a low-fat vegan diet, rather than arguing about the balance of foods, in addition to justifying the body’s need for meat.

Anderson tries many times to contact many representatives of nutrition associations and it was seen that many of them were unable to answer questions via phone. He repeatedly calls or shows up personally to major organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society, asking why certain foods are recommended on their websites. However, many of them declined to show their information; in fact, Dr. Robert Ratner of the American Diabetes Association refused to discuss the role of diet and diabetes citing that there are too many different types of diets possible to recommend one specific diet.

What the documentary is good at doing is showing how the diets affect a person’s well-being and health. A lot of food affects our well-being, including our health and aesthetics. However, the documentary does not go deep enough into advocating the differences in bodies and diets and, instead, chooses to lean into a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting.

Italian schools to teach about news


Italiian high school students will receive journalism classes to prevent been caught by Jihadist terrorist groups through Facebook, Google, Twitter and Instagram

The Italian Ministry of Education has designed a program to teach high school student journalism techniques so they can distinguish real news from fake news.

Italian security services have found that extreme fanatic terrorist groups, as the Jihadists and others, are intervening real news from well-known media sources and
manipulating and distorting the information to capture innocent followers for their terrorist actions in diverse countries in Europe and the United States.

This initiative shows the crucial role of news media and social media today, around the globe, not exclusively for information purposes but in domestic and international states’ security. For more about this, go to

Hayward fractures tibia, dislocates ankle


Boston Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward was removed from the Celtics season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a dislocated ankle and a fractured tibia.

The injury, which was difficult to watch, occurred around five minutes into the first quarter after a collision in air with a Cavs player. When Hayward came down he landed awkwardly, twisting his leg and his foot was caught underneath his body. Immediately the camera shifted to Hayward and all you saw was an extremely deformed ankle.

Players on the court were visibly distraught by the injury, with many crowding around Hayward and praying. Play stopped immediately and medical crews came out to support Hayward and he was quickly taken to the locker room and rushed to a hospital.

The next day it was announced that Hayward underwent a successful surgery in Boston to repair his injured leg. No time table has been set for Hayward’s return. The injury is very similar to the same on sustained by NBA Superstar Paul George during a Team USA scrimmage in 2014. George was out for eight months before returning to basketball.

“You really feel for him,” said Celtics Coach Brad Stevens. He later added, “We’re expecting a full recovery.”

Hayward’s agent, Mark Bartelstein expects his client to miss the entire season.

Overall, this is a tragedy for the player and the team. Hayward came to the Celtics this summer after signing a four-year, $128 million contract. He joined the Celtics from the Utah Jazz to reconnect with his former college coach, Brad Stevens.

Bleacher Report and ESPN both wrote fantastic articles on Hayward and had pictures complementing the story. Without showing the injury, they achieved great storytelling and reporting. Sports Illustrated went a different route and brought in an orthopediest to help viewers understand the severity of the injury.

All news media publications gave Hayward the space to not show his injury, which has already dramatically changed his life.

Lyft’s major lift by Google


Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is making a $1 billion investment in Lyft; definitively ending their previous partnership with Uber after three years together.

In a blog post by Lyft, the company announced that Alphabet’s venture capital arm, CapitalG, was funding the investment, which Lyft projects to secure their position in going public by 2018.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

While the ride-hailing service has been in deep conversation with many investment banks, so far none have been named as the company’s I.P.O. However, with CapitalG’s investment, Lyft’s new value of $11 billion, a major jump from last year’s $6.9 billion, may help the company reach its goal by 2018.

Lyft is still far from Uber, its biggest rival, which is valued around $70 billion. In the past, Alphabet had partnered with Uber through Google Ventures, which invested $258 million, as well as Alphabet’s chief legal officer David Drummond joining the Uber board. Google also gave Uber an “Uber tab” under their “Map tab.”

Relations took a turn for the worse after Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, sued Uber after allegations came of Uber’s engineers stealing software and trade secrets. Uber has also had many internal disputations, which resulted in the former chief executive and co-founder Travis Kalanick leaving the company.

Lyft has certainly benefited from Uber’s missteps, and has since increased in 54 percent more Lyft drivers. Lyft also welcomed CapitalG’s partner David Lawee on as one of their board of directors, another ploy to help the company in its race to become public before Uber.

Multiple news media outlets have picked up the story; however, the investment is still new and will most likely go unnoticed until Waymo and Uber go to trial in early December. If Waymo wins, Uber may have to pay billions of dollars in damages and derail its efforts to build its own fleet of self-driving cars.

Italian schools teach about fake news


Fake news has been around for a while, but with the existence of the Internet and ingraining of social media in people, this notion has been increasingly addressed and recognized as a critical issue. Italy has decided to create classes to teach high school students how to recognize fake news and the importance of not sharing false information, in addition to a new set of ethical commandments.

No generation has it ever been so easy and so fast to gain insight on what is happening around the world. Accessing information can be done with just a few taps on our phones. Laura Boldrini, the president of the Italian lower house of Parliament, told The New York Times “Fake news drips drops of poison into our daily web diet and we end up infected without even realizing it. It’s only right to give these kids the possibility to defend themselves from lies.”

Students will receive a list of commandments. One of them is: “Thou shalt not share unverified news; thou shall ask for sources and evidence; thou shall remember that the internet and social networks can be manipulated.”

There are so many sources where we can access our information and the velocity with which we can acquire it doesn’t allow people to constantly check the reliability.

People’s perception is manipulated and not accessing the truth affects people’s actions, as seen in the 2016 elections. In fact, one of the main reasons this program was created is for the upcoming elections in Italy, which are scheduled on May 20, 2018. The Web is already full of conspiracy theories against all parties and it is essential that the political view, especially of a generation ingrained on their phones, is based on the truth.

The Italian government has been working with companies, such as Facebook and Google, to build a program that focuses on training students on how to recognize fake news and conspiracy theories online. The program seeks the creation of “Fake News Hunters” and is expected to begin later this month. It will be launched in approximately 8,000 high schools around all of Italy.

Students will be taught the ethics of not publishing or sharing fake news and how important the impact of everything they share on social media can be. Facebook will be contributing that specific aspect, addressing to students how “likes” on the platform are “monetized and politicized.”

It is of value that a social media giant, such as Facebook has been collaborating with this program. Especially, because of the pressure, social networks and search engines have been given on finding a solution to filter fake news and conspiracy theories. In fact, a few weeks ago, on Oct. 6, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, wrote in a  post:

“We will do our part to defend against nation states attempting to spread misinformation and subvert elections. We’ll keep working to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, and to ensure our community is a platform for all ideas and force for good in a democracy.”

Mark Zuckerberg was never one to approve of the impact of social media, for years he would argue as seeing social media as just a method of communication. His complete change in opinion really brings to surface the importance of doing something about this issue. Facebook reported that if the program is successful, it will create similar programs for other countries in Europe.

Many of the reports on this story are written in detail and seem to deliver a lot of useful information. I am from Italy and this makes me proud especially because I study journalism in the United States, which has a big issue on fake news. I would be really interested in knowing more on who will be teaching these classes and the opinion of students on this new subject.

News media mum on Uranium One


What is shaping to be one of the most bombshell cases of federal corruption and shady politics of the year is receiving little to no attention from the mainstream news media.

According to Newsweek, the case originates around the sale of Canadian mining firm Uranium One “that has licenses to mine American uranium deposits in Kazakhstan, in 2009. The sale ended in 2013 and transferred the uranium—which made up 20 percent of American reserves—into Russian hands.” Additionally, Uranium One’s chairman donated $1 million to the Clinton Foundation, while another company he was a major investor in, UrAsia, donated over $8.5 million to the foundation.

Recent information has surfaced that indicates the FBI, under now Trump-Russia-special-counsel-head Robert Mueller, notified then-president Barack Obama and other top officials of the corruption among the Russians involved in the deal. And yet, we notice a news media blackout of this story.

President Trump tweeted early Thursday that the deal is the biggest story the news media are not following. Donald Trump has certainly damaged his credibility in calling out fake news because he’s called almost all mainstream news media fake, but Trump is correct in this latest assessment. What could have shaped up to be the next Watergate should Clinton have won the 2016 election is getting ignored by the television news media and newspapers, who instead are choosing to maintain focus on NFL anthem protesting and private phone calls to gold star families.

It goes without saying that if this story had “Trump” anywhere in it, it would be emblazoned as breaking news across every news station and outlet. We have seen this before, as any and every bit of information about Russia and its alleged tampering in the presidential election (whether the information is legitimate, from an “anonymous source,” or a hoaxed internet dossier) inevitably dominates the news cycle for a week.

Trump is right. This is fake news. These outlets have forfeited their credibility by unjustly steering the focus of their broadcasts away from anything that might justify Donald Trump or harm Barack Obama. This is getting ridiculous. At a certain point, the news media have to understand that the public is entitled to be informed about legitimate news that affects the world.

Enough with the rumors, anonymous sources, or whispers and leaks from inside the campaign; finally the news media have significant evidence of actual collusion with Russia among federal officials and they choose to turn away from it. Forgive me, then, news media, if we choose to turn away from you.

The day that media took Weinstein down


The news story that has most shocked in Hollywood lately has been coveeage of Harvey Weinstein’s harassment.

It was The New York Times that published an article with statements and letters of women that have been harassed by Weinstein on Oct. 5. Journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor authored the story.

After that, a succession of publications reporting the same crime appeared. For example, Ronan Farrow published in The New Yorker an investigation of 13 sexual harassment instances and three rapes by Harvey Weinstein. The New York Times issued another report with the statement of celebrities, as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow claimed have been harassed as well.

The question that I wondered was: How had something that has been happening for so long not gone public before? Why does everybody want to speak now?

The answer was easy. As articles about more harassment cases were showing up, also other journalists reported that they tried to publish that information before but they were blocked. In some cases, professional colleagues as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, were involved.

Thanks to an article, actresses are denouncing Harvey Weinstein, Los Angeles police are investigating Weinstein and the truth has come to light.

Again, we can see the important role that news media play in the world. A newspaper, in this case, The New York Times, could uncover a crime and encourage victims to report it. If it hadn’t happened, as the other articles that were censored, a criminal would be still unpunished, victims muted, the world would ignore the truth, and there could be no justice.

So, that’s why news media have to be independent of external pressures. Because this is the way that they can do their work and function as a “watchdog” in society.

UF hosts Richard Spencer appearance


On Oct. 19, the University of Florida Gainesville campus hosted self-proclaimed alt-right white nationalist, Richard Spencer – the first college appearance for Spencer since the violent events that unfolded in Charlottesville, Va., in August.

This comes after the university originally tried to block Spencer from speaking on its campus but the decision was later appealed because UF is a public institution. Therefore, the university could not prevent someone from speaking because of his or her specific topic or beliefs.

The decision, however, was not met without great controversy. In the days leading to the event, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for the county where UF’s main campus is located. Law enforcement officials from across the state have been on high-alert since Monday, Oct. 16 and Scott said he was also going to have the National Guard on standby for the event.

Once Spencer arrived on campus, there was almost immediate protest among the UF community, with many students showing their opposition to the infamous speaker. During his speech, many students stood and began shouting “black lives matter,” and “go home Spencer.”

This story received a lot of news media attention throughout the day, but some of the best coverage came from students who were right in the middle of the protests. Students began sharing short videos and photos on social media and news outlets such as CNN began sharing similar content.

For many college students, Twitter is a great tool for news coverage and this situation was no exception. Social media give people the opportunity to connect with other like-minded people, along with getting more diverse information in a timely matter.

But social media are not the only platform that was able to cover this story with a relatable point-of-view. In today’s social environment, people are quick to share their opinions, even in the news media.

Thankfully, this has paved the way for more “relatable” platforms and reporting for many. During the coverage of Spencer’s speech, the conversation in the news and online began to discuss the larger issues at hand than just Spencer’s speech, and the groups he represents.

Modern news media coverage has lead to a new dialogue for reporting and has allowed many to feel a personal connection to any given story – starting the conversation and sometimes leading to new inspirations for change.