Equal Pay Day gains nation’s attention


Every since World War I and World War II, when women started working the same jobs as men, there has been a gap in the earnings between them and their fellow male counterparts. Every since 1963 when the Equal Pay Act was established, women were supposed to get paid the same amount as men for doing the same job, however this has not been the case.

Although in the past 20 years the pay gap between men and women has decreased by 20 percent, at this rate it will not be until 2059 that women will receive equal pay to men.

This discrepancy between men and women is relevant to both low paying and high paying jobs. Back in October, Jennifer Lawrence spoke out saying that she was paid less than her male co-stars in the film “American Hustle.” This was discovered when Sony e-mails were leaked by hackers who called themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” in which other messages about Angelina Jolie and even President Obama were exposed.

“When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself,” she writes. “I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early.”

Women often receive a lesser pay than men because they don’t know they should be negotiating for more money. Most of the time the women are not aware of the fact that their male counter part is getting paid more.

I think the discrepancy of salary between men and women in this era is unacceptable considering both genders can occupy the same jobs. As the media’s role to be the watch dog of society, I hope that giving more light to this topic will make women more skeptical of their salary and more active to receive the pay that they deserve.

Body image at center of attention


For decades, the news media has provided society with our standards “beauty.”

Today, when someone thinks of a model they think thin, tall, structurally defined, striking, and other adjectives. Girls and boys alike use glamorous movie stars as their standards for beauty and often when they feel they can’t live up to those standards, they feel negatively about themselves.

Recently, CNN posted an article called “model has a cheeky response to fat-shamer” about British model Iska Lawrence who responded to a comment on an instagram photo where someone called her “a fat cow.” She responded of a series of photos, one where she is eating a bag of chips and flipping off the camera and another where she surrounds herself with bags of chips lying down. In the first caption she said “who gives an F what anyone thinks of you. YOU are the one who decides your self worth.” Lawrence is a model for Aerie lingerie and also a co-editor for Runway Riot, which promotes beauty at any size.

While the news media is making an effort to recognize the impractical beauty standards, I feel it will be difficult to solve the deep seeded societal standard.

In the second half of the article, the writer talks about how famous comedian Amy Schumer was featured in Glamour Magazine in an issue that “celebrated plus size.” Schmuer was not aware of this issue and was insulted by their feature.

“I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. @glamourmag put me in their plus size only issue without asking or letting me know and it doesn’t feel right to me. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamorous,” said Schumer.

While in the first half of the comment she celebrates plus sized women, as the comment continues it is apparent she was insulted the fact the magazine considered her “plus size.” If being plus sized is beautiful and healthy, then why would she be insulted to be recognized in the feature?

While the standards are progressing to become more realistic and accepting, when role- model like celebrities can’t truly accept them it becomes harder for the rest of society to accept them as well. I appreciate the movement to accept all body types, but I believe it will be a gradual acceptance before the thoughts of body love will be solidified in society’s mind.

Why Brazil hates its president


Brazil’s unemployment rate has increased from 7.6 percent in January to 8.1 percent in February with a climbing projected average of 8.2 percent this year. As the economy continues to decline and the government corruption surfaces, anti-government activists and the general public fill the streets of Brazil in protest.

President Dilma Rousseff has been publicly denounced for accepting bribes from the state-owned energy company Petrobras (a petroleum company) from 2003 to 2010.

Her approval ratings dropped exponentially in 2015 because of her increasing unemployment, economy digression, weak currency and rising inflation. While her original campaign stood on her allegiance to the poor Brazilians, many of them feel betrayed by her actions it has not reflected their interests.

In two recently published articles by The Guardian and The Washington Post, both presented her side of the story and gave many direct quotations of why she is choosing to not resign and her opinions on the protests. These articles present the information in an unbiased way, but do not provide background information to why the Brazilian people want to impeach their president.

BCC News covered the protests in a package called “Brazil protesters call for President Rouseff to resign” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35798875). In this package, protesters acknowledge the depth of the government corruption and how she has not helped Brazil’s plummeting economy.

While both sets of articles provide unbiased information, I believe it would be extremely beneficial to the outside public to have a brief description of the opposition before being presented the information. While no article was pro anti- government or pro-Rousseff, having a background prior to presenting one side of information in each article, would be beneficial for the audience in order to form an educated opinion.

Opening relations with Cuba


After President Obama traveled to Cuba a couple of days ago, the U.S. continued, as a country, to open relations with Cuba. It was the first presidential visit to Cuba in more than 90 years.

The “Rachel Maddow Show” did a 45 minute segment on how each Democratic president since John Kennedy (and including JFK) has tried to reopen relations with Cuba, but none have been successful until President Obama.

While many people see this as a positive progress into the future, many Cuban Americans would disagree.

Even though Marco Rubio dropped out of the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, I felt that his opinion on Cuban relations had the most accurate representation on why Cuban Americans are against opening relations with Cuba.

“The policy (Obama’s) is based on the illusion that more commerce and access to money and goods will translate into political freedom for the Cuban people. This will not work: The Cuban people are not free because the regime — just as it does with every aspect of life — manipulates and controls to its own advantage all currency that flows into the island. More economic engagement with the U.S. means that the regime’s grip on power will be strengthened for decades to come, dashing the Cuban people’s hopes for freedom and democracy,” Rubio stated on his Web site.

The Miami area is a very unique part of the United States where the story of people escaping the Cuban regime is a common one.

In an interview I did with civil engineer Jose Vega in Coral Gables, he stated similar opinions to Rubio after explaining to me that his family fled Cuba when he was 13 years old. His parents decided to leave Cuba so that he could have a better life. He started in the United States very poor and built his own business, and he prides himself on being a successful representation of the American Dream. He knew that in Cuba he never would have had that opportunity.

While the rest of the United States cannot relate to his story and the story of many Cuban Americans, it is important to take into consideration the first-hand experience they’ve had while we make progress in international relations in the future.

While I have found the news media covers both sides of this opinion, the minority side (Cuban-American side), is less understood and therefore should have equal attention to the pro-Cuba relations side.

The truth about ISIS and women


ISIS is one of the most horrifying and inhumane terrorist groups that has come to power in the Middle East.

Recently, The New York Times published an article stating that ISIS captures unaffiliated women and keeps them as their sex slaves.

In addition to this, the terrorists force the women to take birth control in order to satisfy commandments of the Islamic law so that they can continually rape them. The Times states “It is a particularly modern solution to a medieval injunction: According to an obscure ruling in Islamic law cited by the Islamic State, a man must ensure that the woman he enslaves is free of child before having intercourse with her.”

Women would be circulated through different houses for different men to have their way with them. Men would often give these slaves as a gift, so once they were satisfied they would give the women to their friends for their pleasure.

Before each encounter, women would take the birth control in front of the man before they would proceed. The men sometimes got so hysterical about the potential of a woman being pregnant they would take them to a hospital for a pregnancy test. If the woman was found to be pregnant they would physically abuse them until they consented to abort.
In the interviews The New York Times had with women who escaped, the women stated that despite the situation they were happy that they were forced to take birth control.

Although pregnancy would have been their only relief to the constant abuse, the women stated “No one wants to carry the child of their enemy.”

More than 700 individuals have been reported as rape victims of ISIS terrorists, but each woman has been raped an uncountable amount of times.

Although articles like this are indescribably sad, heavy and difficult to read, it is important that the American audience has some exposure.

The media does a good job covering how we are battle ISIS, but we are often deprived of the details that encompass the horror of their acts.

While too many articles like this one would make readers cynical of the media, I do believe it is essential to have some understanding of the actions of this terrorist group in order for us to truly comprehend why we need to help those affected by them.

It is the media’s job to inform the public of worldly affairs, and while much of the world is filled with horror, we should be conscious of these actions so that we as a people can have awareness, empathy, and a passion to fulfill justice.

‘Spotlight’ illuminates a sensitive topic


In response to the film “Spotlight” winning the Best Picture Academy Award last Sunday, news coverage has rekindled its fire toward the issue of sexual assault in the Catholic Church.

“Spotlight” tells the story of an original investigation conducted by the Boston Globe that began in 2002, when reporters in the Globe’s investigative team started to analyze cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Recently CBS News released information that a Grand Jury report had found two bishops had hidden more than 100 sexual assault cases by more than 50 priests and religious leaders in the past 40 years. Evidence was found for these cases in a secretive dioceses archive.

News media are the only way a population will be informed about what goes in the world around them. While I appreciated the quality of storytelling that “Spotlight” did in order for the public to know about the issue, I am sad that it took almost 14 years after the original investigation in order for people to recognize its relevance again.

Does it really take a Hollywood picture to emphasize the weight of corruptness inside of this religious organization, or in any organization?

If that truly is the case, then the news media should emphasize other channels in order to get across crucial messages. A compelling story like this one could not have been told in a more emotional, factual and enlightening way.

Film is a medium of communication that has not been unlocked to its full potential and is one of the few art forms and media channels that engages an audience through almost every sense.

While issues like this one and undoubtedly others go unnoticed, it is our job as the media to not only inform the public, but also truly convey the importance and pertinence of current issues in whatever media channel that is most effective.

Television interviewing with integrity


Recently on “Morning Joe,” co-anchor Mika Brzezinski interviewed Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump. Brzezinski asked questions ranging from “Tell us about yourself” and “how did you fall in love with Donald,” to “How do you feel about your husband’s swearing” and her opinions about people calling him names. While these questions may have satisfied some viewer curiosity, they did yet touch the larger picture.

As the interview progressed, Brzezinski started to ask questions the audience was truly wondering. She asked Melania questions about what she thought of Trump’s rationales. As an immigrant from Slovenia, what was her opinion of her husband’s views on immigration? How did she feel about her husband calling Mexicans rapists?

While Melania answered the questions diplomatically and rationalized her husband’s opinions, she answers were somewhat vague. Though Brzezinski could have further interrogated her with questions, she held her journalistic integrity to let her answer and then move on to another pertinent question.

When presenting information to an audience it is imperative that the person providing the news stays calm and objective in order to deliver a message unbiased. I felt that Brzezinski’s interview was well done, because while she was straightforward in her questioning, she did not interrogate Melania Trump with inquiries after she answered. While she may have been frustrated by Melania’s lack of personal opinion and detail in her responses, Brzezinski held her cool and did not argue.

The news should be objectively delivered at all costs. While it may be difficult not to have opinion intertwined, it is important that viewers develop their own opinion from information that is presented. Getting emotionally involved (especially showing frustration or annoyance) in a topic shows a lack of professionalism and could persuade a viewer.

When information is objectively given it encourages viewers to do more research on the topic in order to develop an opinion. This consequently, encourages the audience to be more educated about the topics at hand.

The bathroom bill problem


The Senate of South Dakota has recently voted to approve a “bathroom bill.” The bathroom bill states that students would have to use the bathroom based on their “chromosomes and autonomy” at birth, rather than what they identify with now. This bill not only attacks the LGBT community, but also completely discriminates against transgender students.

State representative Fred Deutsch, who was in favor of the bill, stated this is necessary in order to protect the “bodily privacy rights” of “biologic boys and girls” and that if transgender students were uncomfortable with this, they could use private accommodations. He refused to do a follow-up interview with Time magazine on this statement.

Time provided a first-hand example of how this law could effect transgender students when they interviewed Rebecca Dodds, the mother of a transgender boy who had recently graduated high school in South Dakota.

Her son stated that the idea of using the girl’s rest room was so uncomfortable for him, he would avoid using the bathroom the entire day. Because of this, he contracted multiple urine infections and had other health-related issues throughout his high school career.

The identity struggle for transgender students is a difficult enough issue that having a law to further isolate them from normalcy would only contribute to their existing insecurities. While conservative America considers the sensitivity of the standardized “norm”, liberal America considers the sensitivity of all.

I believe Time magazine did an excellent job providing a non-biased, yet informative, opinion on this current issue. They provided opinions from both the pro and con sides, while further examining how this law would affect transgender people and the LGBT community outside of the school system.

While much of our American population is socially conservation, our younger generations are growing be more and more liberal. The media needs to continue to report these issues with sensitivity and compassion as our society progresses into acceptance.

Campaign so far: Mostly entertainment?


With the passing of the Obama era, a new chapter in our nation’s political life is unfolding. Tuesday marked the beginning of that history as voters decided for whom to vote in the New Hampshire primary.

In article after article, reporters have emphasized the cutthroat competition candidates have displayed during their debates, speeches and advertising.

Recently, The New York Times has provided a map of “who’s bad mouthing who” in the Republican Party’s advertising campaigns. You can find it at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/02/08/us/politics/republican-presidential-candidates-attacks-new-hampshire.html.

While the news media have provided detailed statements about what the competition has said about one another, it has been seriously lacking in the most important information of the election: the presidential candidate’s platforms.

Everyone knows that Jeb Bush said “Donald Trump is a jerk” or that Donald Trump called Ted Cruz a “pussy” and while this certainly captures one’s attention, it holds more value as entertainment than it does as information.

For the average busy person who has not had time to sit down and watch the all of the debates and speeches of the candidates, the platforms remain unclear.

The news media should be providing a baseline understanding of the candidate’s platforms, especially before the primaries sweep the nation. It has emphasized the “high school personality” reputation between candidates rather than focusing on the leadership and content. By doing this, uninformed voters aren’t choosing to vote for the right reasons.

Accessibility is everything, so making the candidates’ platforms as available as possible is crucial for an educated vote. If the news media provided a briefing article attached to the so-called “newsworthy” smack talk, it would at least give the opportunity to readily seek information about the presidential platforms.

Through out the rest of the campaigns, the news media should highlight how the candidate will handle our nation’s problems, rather than how they will handle their opponents.

Zika virus: Fearing the unknown


Every news station, newspaper and social media network alike has been fixated over Zika.

Zika is a virus, native to Africa and found in South America, that has wildly spread to Latin America, the Caribbean and some places in the United States. While the side effects aren’t life threatening (flu-like symptoms, pink eye and fever) the virus is most dangerous to pregnant women.

If women are infected with the virus while pregnant, their child has a high likelihood of being born with microcephaly. Microcephaly stunts head growth early on in fetal development, causing the child to be born with an abnormally small head and metal disabilities.

The World Health Organization has advised pregnant women not to travel to Latin American countries. They have also advised women who live in Latin American or South American countries not to get pregnant for at least two years.

Recently it was reported in Texas that the disease can be sexually transmitted, which exponentially increases the spread of the viral epidemic.

As a young person, student and someone who cares about my future health, the media have refrained from answering what I think is the most important question: If I am infected with the Zika virus and I want to have children in the future, will they be born with this defect? I know a virus’s symptoms run their course, but will the effects of the virus affect future children?

Do we fear this virus because it is new or because of how it could affect us?

All the news reports are the same and, as informed citizens, the media should make efforts to report on different aspects of the same topic rather than reiterate the well-known facts.

While it is understandable that we do not know enough about the spreading virus, the media should make serious efforts to investigate the case and report information about the disease as fast as possible.