Parkland shooter sent sympathy mail


It has now been more than six weeks since 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, 19, committed the mass shooting with an AR-15 style semi automatic rifle.

Moving forward six weeks, it is now being released that the shooter is receiving letters throughout the nation from a majority of women, sympathizing for him. According to, the letters even include a handwritten note signed by a Girl Scout troop stating
May God Forgive.”

The Broward County Public Defender’s office, where Cruz is being represented, released a statement claiming more than 200 letters have been sent to Cruz. Many of these people feel sorry for the perpetrator because of his background. By the time Cruz was 3 years old he was diagnosed with development delays. When he was 6, he witnessed his father die. A few months prior to the shooting Cruz lost his adoptive mother.

With the tragedies that occurred in Cruz’s life since he was a little boy, many see him as a victim. Dr. Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist and commentator said, “Some people may be sympathetic to how Cruz has been a person with a lot of difficulties.”

Cruz is not allowed to see the letters as he has no access to engage with the news media. He is currently on suicide watch. Florida prosecutors stated earlier this month they are trying to seek the death penalty against Cruz.

New NFL rules met with criticism


Football has long been one of the most violent sports in the country. Although rules have been implemented over the year to try and slow the speed of the game down and limit injuries, the recent prevalence of CTE in former players has caused the league to take drastic measures.

While helmet-to-helmet hits on a defenseless player have resulted in a 15-yard penalty and often a fine, NFL owners unanimously passed a new rule to give a 15-yard penalty to any player that lowers his head to initiate contact along with a possible ejection, defenseless or not.

Back in the 1950s, pretty much anything went in the NFL. Form tackling as we know it today wasn’t necessarily as ubiquitous when player like Dick Lane were running around the field clothes-lining opposing receivers or yanking them down by their face masks. In today’s game both of these techniques will result in a personal foul, but there weren’t any players barking about how it would change the way that the game is played.

Players across the league are not happy with the new rule, and thing that it could be disastrous for the sport.

“They better figure out a way to narrow down the interpretation of a foul here,” said offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who played eight years in the NFL. “The game is played too fast to determine on-the-field ejections.”

Richard Sherman, a corner for the 49ers, is also having a hard time figuring out exactly how he’s going to do his job this upcoming season. “It’s ridiculous. Like telling a driver if you touch the lane lines, you’re getting a ticket. [It’s] gonna lead to lower-extremity injuries.”

Sherman raises an interesting point here that the news media hasn’t fully embraced. While many members of the media have noted that this rule will likely reduce the amount of concussions in the sport, they fail to address the other injuries that will result from lower tackles.

Just last year superstar Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending injury when he was hit below the knees by a defender. This hit was scrutinized for week and labeled a dirty play, but if you can’t hit high and are a dirty player for going low, there is nowhere left to go.

“I don’t know how you’re going to play the game,” all pro corner Josh Norman told USA Today, and honestly, I’m not sure either. In a game where the low man always wins, being penalized for dipping your head will certainly result in some controversial flags and ejections.

Fox News show host mocks student


Fox News weeknight host Laura Ingraham is embroiled in a controversy after mocking Parkland student activist David Hogg’s college rejections.

Ingraham retweeted an article posted by right-wing website The Daily Wire with the headline “Gun Rights Provocateur David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied.”

“David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it,” Ingraham commented in her retweet. “Dinged by UCLA with a 4.1 GPA…totally predictable given acceptance rates.”

Soon after, Hogg took to Twitter to ask his followers to ask companies who advertise during Ingraham’s show to pull their ads. Many of these companies, such as Hulu and TripAdvisor, have already listened to the public outcry and are now boycotting Ingraham’s show.

Ingraham has since apologized on Twitter for her comments. Hogg has not accepted her apology, stating that “an apology in an effort to save your advertisers is not enough” and that he will only accept the apology if Ingraham denounces the way Fox News has treated the student activists from Parkland.

Most of the drama in this story played out on Twitter. Ingraham’s initial comments and apology, Hogg’s responses and calls to boycott, and some companies’ statements of pulling their support were all tweets.

As a result, most news organizations have embedded many of the tweets in their coverage of the story. I found that the more tweets a news organization embedded, the more engaging I found the article.

For example, The Washington Post included the most tweets out of any of the articles I read, and I found that that was the article I enjoyed most. Being able to see the exact tweets allowed me to see the article Ingraham retweeted and click on it, making the story more interactive. It also made for a visually appealing article since the embedded tweets broke up the blocks of text.

Other outlets, such as The New York Times and CNN, included only one tweet. I found that decision puzzling given how much of the story played out on Twitter and it made the stories a duller read.

I also found that embedding the tweets made the articles flow better, since tweets can be very awkward to quote due to their conversational nature and usage of links and hashtags.

Patients seek cause of glioblastoma


In Fort Pierce, more than a dozen people have been diagnosed with glioblastoma. This disease affects about 13,000 people in the U.S each year. It is an aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer.

In this town of just 45,000 people, patients and their families want to know if there is something leading to their illness.

Eleven patients or surviving family members met each other through word of mouth over the last year and realized some interesting common trends. They live at most seven miles apart, the majority are within five miles of each other, and some lived on the same street at some point.

In one of the cases two patients even lived in the same house through over a span of 20 years. The 11 current cases that have been discovered were diagnosed within the last 5 years affecting people younger than three years old all the way to their 70s.

These families being affected are struggling immensely with financials and the bills are piling up.Some have paid more than $50,000 since their diagnosis.

The goal of these group of people is to find out whether or not there is an environmental factor making them sick.

Most of the glioblastoma patients have moved to new homes over the years and The Florida Department  of Health in St. Lucie County recently met with the support group of glioblastoma patients.

They will be offering them any available services due to the overwhelming amount of payments some patients have.

This story was covered in a very informational manner with lots of research on the people involved in the case. I feel like this story could be perceived as weird and crazy, but once reading it, I noticed it’s not just irony.

Final Four teams meet this weekend


By now, everyone has seen the year’s Final Four in the March Madness tournament: Michigan, Villanova, Kansas and Loyola-Chicago. For many brackets, the first three were not a surprise at all. Michigan has been hot for the past month, beating Michigan State and Purdue to win the Big 10 Tournament. Kansas and Villanova have been consistent powerhouses and consistent No. 1 seeds during the past five years.

Loyola-Chicago on the other hand is the Cinderella of the year, being the No. 11 seed and still making it to the Final Four, beating several good teams to get there, including University of Miami with a buzzer-beater in the first round.

Coverage of the tournament as a whole has been heavy and consistent for the past two weeks. Stories have been put out by each school’s own newspaper about their chances and their performance in the tournament.

Coverage has been heavy on TV as well, especially in the last week leading up to the tournament. ESPN has been talking about the final four a lot, especially “First Take” the sports talk show with analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. The two have talked all week about who they think will advance to the championship and who will come out on top.

The two have also talked about if Cinderella teams like Loyola-Chicago are helping or hurting the tournament. Stephen A. Smith made it well-known that he did not want Loyola-Chicago to be in the final because he wanted the best to be in the championship. He is fine with Cinderella teams because they are good stories, but when it comes down to the final, he would prefer a match-up between big schools.

USA Today put out an article at the beginning of the week previewing the game between Villanova and Kansas. The article talks about what each team needs to do in order to win the game. It also talks about each team’s path to the Final Four and how it will affect their play in this game.

An article was put out on this morning on how each Final Four team can be beat. It goes one by one for each school and gives details about their weakness and how their opponent can exploit that.

An article came out about three hours ago talking about how Loyola-Chicago was staying in the same hotel as Russell Westbrook in San Antonio, where the Final Four is this year. NBA star Russell Westbrook told the team to go win it since they already made it this far.

Overall, the coverage for the Final Four has been great and the reporting for the Final Four as a whole as well as each specific team has been great for reporters across the countries. The Final Four starts on Saturday and we will see who advances to the national championship game.

MIA introduces facial recognition


Traveling is such an amazing experience. Whether it’s traveling to visit friends in snowy Canada, or going on a beach vacation in the Caribbean, the experience is great. There is one thing, though, that many, if not most, travelers don’t like and that is the dreaded TSA security line.

If you’re lucky, the line won’t be long, and if you’re traveling to an international destination, forget about it. The process with international travel is a long and dreadful one. Not only are the TSA lines brutally long, but the customs and immigration lines are quite frustrating. Personally, having the patience of a second grader doesn’t help either. When I was home watching the NBC6 news, I saw a story about new facial recognition technology at the busy Miami International Airport, and I had to do my research.

Late last month, Miami International Airport introduced new facial recognition technology in its newly renovated E Concourse. The E Concourse (also known as the international concourse) is the busiest concourse at the airport. The new technology hopes to speed up TSA checkpoint times and airport safety.

Miami airport officials believe this new method of airport safety will spread across the country and even the world. The new technology is able to screen as many as 10 passengers per minute. One may ask, how will this new facial recognition system work? The answer is actually very simple. The camera will match the traveler’s face to the traveler’s passport.

This will shorten custom lines and make international travel safer and faster. Another pondering question many, including myself had to ask was “Is this safe?” Customs and Border Control authorities could not stress enough how safe the facial recognition system was, and said there were no risks whatsoever.

Immigration lines will still be long; however, if you have global entry, the process should be a breeze. Global entry should be on every international traveler’s to-do list for this year. I myself have global entry, and it makes immigration and customs a piece of cake. The next time you’re at Miami International Airport, check out the new facial recognition system in Concourse E, and say cheese to the camera.

TESS to take over Kepler’s mission


On April 16, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, will launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla. TESS was created by NASA and its main goal is to search for exoplanets. According to CNN, officials said Wednesday that TESS will search for planets that can sustain life, much like Kepler did since it launched in 2009.

After discovering more than 4,500 potential planets and exoplanets, Kepler will run out of fuel soon. Luckily, TESS will have arrived in space by the time that happens to continue the search for exoplanets. CNN stated that Kepler “will be abandoned in space, orbiting the sun and never getting any closer to Earth than the moon.”

To have a mission that outlives two years, TESS is expected to orbit around the Earth through the use of fuel and a gravity support from the moon. The mission will officially begin when TESS has an established orbit around Earth and when it passes instrument tests 60 days later.

Although similar in mission, CNN included the differences that Kepler and TESS do have. TESS will be able to “survey an area 400 times larger than what Kepler observed.” The area will also have 200,000 of the brightest stars. TESS will have four-wide cameras that will, for days at a time, take pictures and videos of the sky.

Through the transit method, TESS will search for exoplanets by detecting the brightness dips of stars as planets pass in front of them. NASA is predicting that TESS will find more than 1,500 exoplanets, but also think that TESS could find much more.

According to CNN, officials believe that out of the 1,500 possible exoplanets found, 300 could be similar to Earth or double the size of Earth, with the potential to support life outside of our solar system.

George Ricker, the TESS principal investigator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said that “we expect TESS will discover a number of planets whose atmospheric compositions, which hold potential clues to the presence of life, could be precisely measured by future observers.”

With Kepler, it was discovered that there were more planets than stars. TESS will reveal even more of those planets, allowing researchers to have a better understanding of the differences between these planets and whether they have the potential to sustain life.

Stephon Clark shooting sparks outrage


The March 18, 2018, police shooting of unarmed Stephon Clark has sparked outrage throughout Sacramento, Calif.

Earlier this month, a 22-year-old black man, Stephon Clark, was shot and killed by two Sacramento police officers in his grandmother’s lawn. The officers approached Clark regarding a call about breaking car windows. They proceeded to shoot him with no less than 20 bullets, killing him at the scene, according to The Washington Post. The police claim they thought Clark had a gun, only a cell phone was found at the scene. A video capturing the incident can be viewed on

The shooting has since sparked protest, demonstrations and calls for prosecution of the officers responsible. In a meeting on Tuesday set to discuss the incident, residents packed Sacramento City Hall. The meeting lasted 2.5 hours, as it was continually interrupted by chants and emotional demonstrations of outrage. In a video, Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark, can be seen standing on the information desk and beginning a chant of “Stephon Clark,” during the meeting.

In a now viral demonstration, activist Berry Accius held up his cell phone in similar fashion to Clark, encouraging the council meeting attendees to do the same. He demanded of Mayor Darrell Steinberg, “Does this look like a gun?”

Body camera footage shows the officer’s yelling “gun,” in response to their allegedly thinking Clark held a gun, though footage shows that the officers failed to declare themselves as police before firing 10 lethal shots each at Clark. According to The Washington Post, more than five minutes passed before police called for medical attention, allowing Clark to die on the scene.

The California Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it will oversee a police investigation into the shooting, while Steinberg stated, “A 22-year-old man should not have died that way,” according to The Washington Post.

News media are still trying to piece together the details of the incident, releasing updated content as promptly as new details come to light. As the case progresses, news media attention shifts to the suspicious delay in calling for medical attention. On a national level, it brings the Black Lives Matter movement back to the media forefront.

Ultra Music Festival becoming safer?


Despite the negative coverage in the past few years, Miami EDM music festival, Ultra, received comparably more positive coverage this year, as it is considered to have been relatively safe when compared to other years.

The music festival takes place every spring and has seen extreme amounts of arrests and deaths of festival-goers through its history.

On its 20th anniversary, however, CBS Miami reported that Miami Police only arrested 27 people on the account of Ultra in the three days of the festival.

Additionally, the Ultra Music Festival security director referred to this festival as “one of the safest.”

This is not only favorable for festival-goers, but it is also great news for the people that live around Bayfront Park, which is where the festival takes place every year.

This time of year is usually stressful for homeowners of the area, as some have confessed to news outlets that they leave their Brickell homes every year during this time. But coverage focusing on positive aspects of the music festival, such as this CBS Miami story puts homeowners at ease.

This article also reports that the arrests were mainly related to fake tickets and the use of drugs. While these subjects are to be taken seriously, they are considered to be minor offenses compared to what has been seen in previous years.

If Ultra Music Festival continues to become increasingly safer as time progresses, the festival can become a completely safe environment for people to enjoy EDM music free of risk.

The article can be found at:

Boss of Nasser failed to protect patients


The arrest and conviction of Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor who abused more than 200 women over his career, is one of the largest sex abuse scandals in U.S. history.

William Stampel (Staff photo, Michigan State University).

Now, his boss is under fire.

William Strampel was dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and oversaw the clinic where Nassar worked.

He failed to enforce proper examination room regulations he set in place following an accusation against Nassar in 2014, which required doctors to have a chaperone present whenever they examined “sensitive” body areas.

This allowed Nassar to continue to abuse his patients. Even in the midst of the sexual abuse investigation in 2014 Stampel allowed him to return to work and did not inform the rest of the Osteopathic Medicine Department of his new regulations. He stated in 2017 he did not feel the need to check to see if Nassar was following these new rules because he felt he had been “exonerated” by a investigation by the university and the police.

Strampel’s work computer contained more than 50 photos of female genitalia, nude women, sex toys and pornography, as well as an extensive collection of female “selfies” of MSU students, most likely pulled from social media.

Most worryingly, there was also saved video of Nassar “performing a ‘treatment’ on a young female patient. Forsyth, who was hired by Michigan’s attorney general to investigate the university, would not discuss the photos on the computer or how Stampel may have come in possession of them.

Outside of Nassar connections, Stampel has also been repeatedly accused of sexual assault by young women around MSU.

I am always skeptical when it comes to new coverage of sexual assault and its victims. If the news media aren’t implying blame on the victims, they are often sensationalizing the stories and jumping the gun on accusations.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by this story’s coverage as well, by extension, the coverage of the Nassar case. The news media were mindful when discussing Nassar’s victims and even seems to hold the 200 testimonies against him in high regard. These articles were no different.

There was very little wild speculation over who was a victim and rather drew the lines that prosecutors and investigators had within their statements. They mirror Nassar’s actions against Stampel’s work as dean to create a timeline and connect events. Even articles with pointed tones still lay out the facts and list the defense’s claims, even if it would be easy to immediately condemn him in the wake of Nassar.

Google, Facebook store private data


What does privacy mean in a social media-infused world?

Not much, as it turns out. Most people are aware that big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, harbor a good chunk of data on its users, but the extent to which they do so might surprise and frighten some.

Dylan Curran, a web developer from Ireland, decided to reach out to these companies and ask them for all the information they had on him. What he saw prompted him to launch a firestorm of tweets this past Sunday, and it gets creepier the further you venture into it.

As one might imagine, this discovery proved to be quite the bombshell. Curran appeared on CBS News today to discuss.

Curran found that Facebook alone stores all information that comes from users of their service. Naturally, that makes sense, it’s their platform and they would want to collect data from their users.

The truly scary part comes when Curran says that Facebook stores your contacts, call records and text messages from your phone, not from the Facebook app. This means that even though they don’t have permission, this huge corporation has all your private information.

Google’s freakiest privacy breach is likely their location tracking. While it’s amazing to be able to drive somewhere you’ve never been before without using a map, you may not realize that when you use a service like Google Maps, your location stays on unless you manually turn it off.

According to Curran, every time you turn on your phone, Google receives your current location and the time you were there.

That’s just scratching the surface. Curran’s exposure of how these tech companies keep tabs on us is going viral. Facebook has already responded, saying that they will “update” their privacy settings “in the coming weeks”.

While that sounds nice, many critics have highlighted how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made these types of promises before, only to back away from the situation after the controversy of the time dialed down.

Here’s to hoping that this newest storm will actually create something better.

Heineken slammed for racist ad


Oh no, Pepsi 2.0 is here. Heineken released an ad that showed a bartender spotting a light-skinned woman drink a glass of wine. He quickly grabs a Heineken and passed it down to her, but before it arrives, the bottle passes multiple dark-skinned people.

This issue can be previously seen in the Pepsi Co. ad featuring Kendall Jenner, who stops a police barricade with a can of soda. This ad received some of the most negative, traumatizing backlash a company has yet to experience. Critics from all over the world criticized the soda company for mocking true events that happened in the world regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. The ad was denounced from a respectable person as well: Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, who posted an image on social media of her father in the middle of a peace protest, captioning: “If only daddy would’ve known the power of #Pepsi.”

Heineken’s damage has received backlash from the hip-hop star Chance the Rapper, who tweeted that the ad was “terribly racist.” This tweet was one among many that denounced the ad and the company.

Most coverage of this issue is focused on the content and the people who criticized it. However, what about Heineken’s past and the company’s values showed before this ad.

For example, last year, Heineken released an ad called “Worlds Apart,” which contained the tagline “open your mind, open your world,” and showed people from all over the world with completely different viewpoints and beliefs, discussing their differences over a bottle of beer. This campaign gained an immense amount of attention and support, completely opposite of the “lighter is better” campaign.

Although it is difficult to forgive, critics must remember to cover all possible tracks before jumping to conclusions about a company. Heineken may have made a huge mistake, but the company has proven its acceptance for all races and people in general.

Scientists find a new organ in body


Scientists believe they have found a new human organ that could possibly help to better understand its impact on diseases like cancer and how it spreads through the body. This new discovery could change lives by having a better understanding of diseases.

The organ is called interstitium, which is a series of interconnected, fluid-filled sections found in the body. Scientists found the interstitium in various parts of the body including the lungs, arteries, bladder and digestive tract. The interstitium is the body’s biggest organ; however, not all experts are convinced, according to CNN.

Dr. Neil Theise, professor of pathology at New York University Langone Health, who was a co-senior author of the study said, “I think it’s bigger than the skin, my estimate is that 20% of the volume of the body is this [interstitium].” The skin is roughly 16 percent of your body mass, which has been known to be your largest organ for years.

Doctors knew that the interstitium was in the body, it is not technically a “new” organ. However, they previously believed that it was a dense connective tissue. Now with updated technology, they can view what is truly there. The interstitium is basically acting as a “shock absorber” that allows our organs to swell and compress as we breathe, eat, and live.

Space station to make crash-landing


A Chinese space station that was launched in 2011 has begun a spontaneous crash-landing towards Earth. The station is expected to crash on Earth’s surface within the next few months.

Illustration of the Tiangong-1.

The Tiangong-1 space laboratory, nicknamed “Heavenly Palace,” weighs 8.5 tons and has begun its downward spiral towards Earth. According to CNBC, pieces as much as 100 kg could potentially crash onto Earth’s surface.

Chinese officials say that the space station’s functions failed after two years of orbiting Earth.

Jonathon McDowell, a Harvard University astrophysicist, claims that scientists will only be able to predict where pieces of the station will come down a few hours before it happens.

Current predictions, according to ABC News, have debris from the Tiangong-1 hitting the surface anytime between March 29 to April 2. The majority of the station will supposedly burn up on it descent to Earth, but it is possible that some debris will make the journey to Earth.

Information on the falling station is extremely vague, despite that the potential landfall is just days away. Chinese officials have not given much information on what exactly happened to the station since it ceased functioning on March 6, 2016.

Instead, researchers and scientists have been making assumptions about the impact of the fall. According to CNN, researcher Alan Duffy claims that “China’s secrecy around the space mission made the risks difficult to assess.”

CNN claims that the last space station that fell to Earth landed in the ocean. The first U.S. space station that ever fell landed in a part of Australia that was hardly populated and injured no one. The falling of the Tiangong-1 is similar to the space stations that fell before it and poses little threat to humans. Researches claim that the odds that the debris will damage ground activity is “very low”.

Only few types of materials could withstand the plasma in space. If titanium, makes the journey, according to CNN, it could fall to Earth.

Catholics to discuss Church, Francis


On April 7, a Catholic group, the “Friends of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra,” will be holding a conference in Rome in order to address the concerns they have about the direction the Catholic Church is heading under Pope Francis.

The group is named after recently deceased Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, who opposed the new ideas expressed by the Catholic Church and the way it was being led under Pope Francis.  The conference in April is called “The Catholic Church: Where Are You Heading?”

The focus of the conference is to address the confusion in the Catholic Church.  “Its subtitle, ‘Only a blind man can deny that there is great confusion in the Church,’ is taken from comments Cardinal Caffarra made in an interview with the Italian newspaper II Foglio in January 2017,” wrote the National Catholic Register.

A main issue that the organizers of the conference are hoping to find clarity around is interpretation of Pope Francis’ exhortation Amoris Laetitia, or “Joy of love.”  The Pope broke down barriers and relaxed many of the previous principles for divorced and remarried couples within the Catholic Church in the exhortation.

“It is important that the divorced who have entered a new union should be made to feel part of the Church,” wrote Pope Francis in the exhortation. “The Christian community’s care of such persons is not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage; rather, such care is a particular expression of its charity.”

The story has been covered among an array of Christian publications, some specifically Catholic and other’s nondenominational.  The overall tone and language of the coverage of the upcoming conference varies greatly depending on if the news outlet is Catholic or nondenominational.

The Christian Post gave a very factual account of the conference and the issues it is aiming to address without inserting any opinion or biased language.

The first line of the article on the Christian Post reads, “A group of Catholics are planning to hold a conference in Rome next month in response to concerns they have about the direction of the Church under Pope Francis.”

The article on the Christian Post then follows with a series of quotes from Pope Francis’ exhortation and Cardinal Caffarra’s letter to Francis in response to the exhortation.  Their article concludes, with results from a research study interviewing members of the Catholic Church.

“The Roman conference is coming not long after Pew Research Center released a poll finding that, five years since Francis became pope, a growing number of American Catholics have concluded that he is, among other things, ‘too liberal’ and ‘naïve,’” wrote Michael Gryboski for the Christian Post.

The National Catholic Register’s coverage of the story seemed biased against Pope Francis and focused mainly on why Catholics are disillusioned by the current pope.

The first line of the article on the National Catholic Register reads, “Lay faithful as well as members of the hierarchy, clergy and religious are being invited to participate in a Rome conference aimed at helping the Church find its way after the uncertainties of the past five years of Pope Francis’ pontificate.”

“The conference was one of Cardinal Caffarra’s last wishes after he had become deeply disillusioned by the crisis of confusion, most notably regarding the issue of giving the Eucharist to Catholics engaging in sexual relations outside marriage, such as remarried Catholic divorcees and cohabitating couples,” wrote Edward Pentin for the National Catholic Registrar.

LifeSiteNews is a Christian news outlet that offers a “Standard Edition” and a “Catholic Edition.” The story of the conference was covered in the Catholic Edition and contains much biased language against Pope Francis.

The first line of the article on LifeSiteNews reads, “It’s confirmed.  On April 7, 2018 – the Saturday after Easter – a very special conference will be held in Rome whose aim is to indicate the path forward for the Catholic Church after the uncertain journey of the first five years of Pope Francis’ pontificate.”

Unlike all nondenominational coverage of the story, the LifeSiteNews article covers and explains ways in which some Catholics are seeking to reduce and limit papal authority after the exhortations of Pope Francis.

“In a Church seemingly in disarray, the key issue the conference will seek to address is the redefinition of leadership roles for the ‘people of God,’ the character and limits of papal authority, and forms of consulting the faithful on matters of doctrine,” according to LifeSiteNews.

FIU bridge news reporting shifts focus


On March 15, the pedestrian bridge being built over the intersection of SW Eighth Street and SW 109th Avenue near the Florida International University campus unexpectedly collapsed.

There were six deaths, including an 18-year-old student at FIU and a worker for the bridge inspection company.

The story received a lot of national coverage and was featured prominently on major news media such as The New York Times and CNN. While those sites continue to periodically post stories, they have toned down their coverage as other stories emerge. This is in stark contrast to the Miami Herald, which continues to prominently feature the story on its site. This difference makes sense, since the story is a local tragedy in Miami and thus will be more relevant to the readership of the Miami Herald.

The coverage the Miami Herald has given the story has evolved. Initially, the coverage focused on providing updates on the death toll and posting videos of the collapse recorded by bystanders. There were also articles coming out on the history of the construction company and design firm behind the bridge and past projects of theirs, which continue to come out now. The coverage now is focusing more on the emotional impact the collapse has had on the survivors and on remembering the victims. There is also a greater volume of speculative articles regarding possible causes of the collapse.

UM’s Brown declares for NBA draft


In the middle of Thursday afternoon, Bruce Brown broke the Internet when he put a post on his Instagram page declaring for the NBA draft. Brown is a sophomore guard who could’ve left after his freshman campaign last year, but decided to stay an extra year. Despite being injured for most of the second half of the year, Bruce had a stellar sophomore campaign and is still projected to be a first round pick in the upcoming 2018 NBA draft.

As soon as Bruce posted on his Instagram, social media were buzzing about his announcement. Miami reporters were tweeting heavily about what this meant for both Brown and the Miami’s team next year. The Miami reporters also talked about where Brown could be selected and if there’s still a chance that Brown returns next year.

A few hours after the announcement, The Miami Hurricane, the school newspaper put out an article covering Brown’s declaration for the draft, saying that there is still an opportunity for him to return to UM as well.

The Boston Globe, serving the area where Bruce is from, also put out an article within a few hours of his declaration. They talked about how he has not yet hired an agent, which gives him the opportunity to come back to college.

In general, the sports media and especially coverage in Miami and his home state, did a good job getting stories out as soon as possible as well as going into detail on his current status and his potential to come back to school. In the end, this may or may not be the last we see of Bruce Brown in a Miami jersey.

Arctic Sea ice near record low level


In 2016, the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice was 5.57 million square miles, the lowest on record. This past year, sea ice extended 5.59 million square miles, an increase from last year.

Despite the small increase from last year, a downward trend in ice coverage has been recorded since satellites began observing sea ice extent in 1979. The sea ice extent for the past four years has been the four lowest on record.

Decreasing Arctic sea ice is a strong indicator that the Arctic is warming. For many, a warming Arctic implies warmer temperatures, but it could be a key factor in explaining the onslaught of winter storms and sub-zero temperatures that have been affecting the northeastern United States for the past month.

“The jet stream is getting weaker and shifting its behavior, sending cold air south from the Arctic and pumping warm air north,” Jennifer A. Francis, an Arctic researcher at Rutgers University, told The New York Times. “We’ve been in this pattern along the East Coast that is very conducive to the formation of nor’easter-type storms, part of the reason for that is because we’ve had this pattern in the jet stream that’s been so persistent.”

The influence of the Arctic on the global climate system is immense. A warming Arctic implies that sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are rising and that the jet stream is becoming unstable, creating massive storms.

In an age where the fight to stop climate change is gaining momentum, data like this is crucial; it continues to imply that global climate change is, and has been, occurring since the Industrial Revolution.

Will lawmakers and government officials finally begin to act on the data that scientists have been collecting for years? Who knows, but as time progresses and we continue to dig ourselves into a deeper hole, one day there will be no going back.

Toys ‘R’ Us stores to close soon


Recently, out of 735 Toys “R” Us stores, 400 remain open for the next month. The reason behind the recent closing its because the company has failed to find a buyer.

Charles Lazarus founded the company back in 1948 when he was 25 years old. The closing of all the stores is being blamed on its private owners who burdened the company with debt. The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 for owing more than $5 billion. Larian, the founder and CEO of MGA Entertainment, said this company ought to be saved.

According to, Larian started a GoFundMe page to try and raise donations to save the few stores that are still open. The page so far has raised more than $200,000. The end goal is to raise publicity about the closing. Toys “R” Us planned to continue business even after filing for bankruptcy, however, the small holiday sales were making things much worse.

The issue with all these stores closing is all the people being laid off. So far 31,000 people have lost their jobs due to the closures of more than 180 stores. Toy’s “R” Us doesn’t have the financial ability to keep themselves afloat let alone employees. An estimated 60,000 employees were working for Toy “R” Us in 2017. So far half of them have lost their jobs.

Larian and two anonymous investors have pledged $200 million to try and save the remaining stores before they close.

Has March Madness gotten too mad?


March Madness has become one of the biggest events that all of sports have to offer. Even though it is a college tournament, it draws more than 20 million viewers live and roughly 70 million more on live streams, according to the NCAA.

It seems as if wherever you go during the month of march, the tournament will be on somewhere. Perhaps the biggest reason for the tournaments popularity stems from its unique one and done format that allows some of the greatest upsets sport fans have seen in their lifetime.

A total of 68 teams make the NCAA tournament every year and are split into four divisions seeded 1-16. The one seed plays the 16 seed, the two the 15, and so forth. While the higher seed is supposedly the “better” team, the better seed can be sent packing after one bad game. Fans love to see a two-seed taken out by the underdog 15 and are even excited by a six-seed losing to an 11. However, the 2018 tournament has been like none that came before it.

Before this year, No. 1 seeds were 132-0 in the first round of the tournament against 16 seeds. This all changed when 16th seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County beat top-ranked Virginia by 20 points. This was the crowning jewel in a first round that saw 13 seeded Buffalo beat 4 Arizona, 11 seed Syracuse beat 6 seed TCU, 11 seed Chicago Loyola beat 6 seed Miami, and 13 seed Marshal beat 4 seed Wichita State.  The madness didn’t stop there, as Syracuse and Chicago Loyola both knocked off highly ranked 3 seeds in the following round, 9 Florida state stunned 1 Xavier, and 7 Nevada came back from a 20-point deficit beat 2 Cincinnati.

While upsets are usually greeted with excitement, this year’s tournament has gotten some coverage that you may not expect. Many analysts and media members, most notably ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, believe that there are too many upsets this year, and that the absence of top ranked teams is making the later rounds of the tournament less exciting. It seems paradoxical, as the news and sports media want to see upsets but also want to see the highly seeded teams with top players, so what is the right balance?

On the day following the first round, stories covering UMBC’s historic win were atop of both ESPN and Bleacher Report’s homepage. While these stories draw more views than a one seed beating the 16, upsets lead to second and third round match-ups of less popular teams, causing stories to get thinner and less popular.

The average fans love to see it, but the news and sports media and purists wish it would stop. It is all up to preference, but the fact that there have been so many upsets thus far that the sports media have started to switch their side is something we may never see again.