About Sofia Ortega

Sofia Ortega (s.ortega@umiami.edu) is a sophomore at the University of Miami. She is majoring in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Health Management and Business Administration. Sofia was born in Boston, Massachusetts but was raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Since January 2013 she has been part of Uni Miami, the only news show in Spanish at UMTV. She reported and anchored for the hard news and sports segment. In the summer of 2013, Sofia worked as an intern for the Ecuadorian TV Station Ecuavisa. After graduation, she hopes to find a spot as a news anchor at CNN en Español, Univision or Telemundo.

Goodbye, Gabriel García Márquez


“Say yes, even if you are dying of fear, even if you are going to repent, because anyway you will regret a lifetime if you say no”. These were the wise words of the Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez who died yesterday, April 17, at age 87.

Marquez was admitted to a hospital in Mexico City early this month for a pulmonary and urinary infection. After nine days of treatment, Márquez was released in a delicate state and died shortly after.

Only the millions of followers that read his books understand why today the world of literature is dressed in black. Márquez is considered the most significant author of this century in the Spanish literature.

Marquez with his two Nobel Prize winning books “Love in the Time of Cholera” and “One hundred Years of Solitude, was able to trap his readers and immerse them in what he calls the “magical realism”. He was able to express the reality with a spark of magic, making his characters perceive the mystic as something normal.

Even the greatest poets like Pablo Neruda, consider Márquez’s Nobel Prize winning book “One hundred Years of Solitude” the “greatest revelation in the Spanish language since the Don Quixote of Cervantes.” 

From the many books of Spanish literature that I have read, few have left me with such a remarkable message as “One hundred Years of Solitude”. We should live life as if it is our last day on earth; each moment is valuable and leaves us something to learn. It is up to us if we want to live joyful or lonely.

Store sued for tweeting actress photo


The actress Katherine Heigl sued the drugstore chain Duane Reade for tweeting a picture of her shopping at the store.

The former “Grey’s Anatomy” actress filed a lawsuit of $6 million claiming that the picture was used for advertising purposes without authorization.

Everything started when Duane Reade posted a tweet that said “Love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even @KatieHeigl can’t resist shopping #NYC’s favorite drugstore.” The tweet also contained a link of a story from JustJared.com featuring a picture of the artist leaving the drugstore with two bags.

As well, the company posted the same picture on Facebook quoting “Don’t you just love a quick #DuaneReade run? Even Katherine Heigl can’t resist shopping at #NYC’s most convenient drugstore!”

The drugstore chain erased all evidence and has not commented about the situation.

But aren’t artists as public figures exposed to paparazzi and these kinds of circumstances all the time?

In this century, it just takes few seconds for something to be published in social media; therefore, whatever makes news will be published.

If Heigl wins the lawsuit, she will donate the money to a charity she created in memory of her bother that died on a car accident. Even though the money would be transferred to a good cause, it is no less than taking advantage of something that prior wasn’t as much news as it is now.

Pistorious v. South Africa’s legal system


It has been more than one year since the Olympic runner Oscar Pistorious was accused of killing his girlfriend on last year’s Valentine’s Day.

However, the trial that started on March 3 has been postponed until April 7 since one of the two assessors is hospitalized.

But the world knows the truth: Oscar Pistorious did kill Reeva Steenkamp. What is unclear is whether he did it intentionally or fired his gun because he confused her for an intruder?

The difficult trial raises questions that are very difficult to answer. Pistorious was the only one in the house at the time of the shooting; therefore, the lack of witnesses may prevent the jury from knowing the truth.

Yet as the trial proceeds, Pistorious is not the only one in the spotlight; the effectiveness of South Africa’s legal system has also been put into doubt.

Since 2009 investigations have proven that 1529 people have been part of corruption related crimes. More than 80 officials were criminally charged for corruption and more than 298 were charged in their departments.

Indeed, if the people that serve in the department of justice are corrupt, how can justice be served?

Venezuela needs the news media


It has been more than one month since the protests in Venezuela began. The death toll has risen to 31, more than 461 people have been injured, and thousands are being detained.

The news media has been covering this story and even people from other countries have taken over social media to be the voice of Venezuela.

However, as protests continue, media coverage has declined.

Taking in consideration that in Venezuela the government controls the media, news stations around the world should keep covering the story.

Many Venezuelans have migrated to other countries due to their country’s situation, but most of them still wish to go back. For this reason, media around the world that believes in freedom of speech and in democracy should be the voice of Venezuela.


FDA proposes new food labels


It is funny how food companies trick costumers with their food labels by only listing amount per servings and the calories of the portion.

But, do people really have time to split the package by portions?

Most people would eat an entire bag of Doritos without knowing the calories for the whole bag, and what is true for many. People do not really take the time to split the bag of Doritos into the servings listed in the nutritional label.

However, it seems that from now on people are really going to know and understand the amount of calories they consume.

For the first time since 1990s, the federal Food and Drug Administration proposed changes to the food labels required to appear in the back of each package in order to reflect the real quantities Americans eat daily.

The label will be redesigned making it easier for consumers to understand it. Some packages will be required to show the amount per serving and per package, percent values will be shown on a left column, the amount of calories will be bigger, added sugars will have to be labeled, as well as the percentage of Vitamin D and potassium.

The FDA announced the new requirements at Michelle Obama’s fourth anniversary ceremony of her campaign “Let’s Move” destined to reduce obesity in the country.

“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into a grocery store, pick an item off the shelf, and tell whether it’s good for your family,”

In the United States, data from a study made in 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 69.2 percent of adults of 20-years-old and older are overweight or obese.

The attempts of reducing obesity rates offer multiply benefits for the country. Of course, if obesity rates decrease there will be less people suffering or dying from diabetes, heart diseases, strokes and even cancer.

The changes may impact enormously food companies. Some business will reduce the amount of food per package to not loose costumers. Showing the real nutritional information will alarm people making them more aware of what they are really eating.

Venezuela: No voice, no democracy


Students have been out on the streets of every major city in Venezuela since Feb. 12, leaving until today six deaths, many injured, and hundreds arrested.

Leopoldo López, one of the opposition leaders from the political party “Volundad Popular,” urged all citizens to march peacefully against the regime of President Nicolás Maduro to put an end to the economic and social crisis of the country.

Maduro also summoned his followers to a manifest for “peace” in which he claimed indirectly to López, “Coward, fascist, surrender yourself that we are looking for you.”

The government issued a captive order to López for the incidents that happened at the march on Feb. 12. He was charged with conspiracy, arson, homicide and terrorism.

López turned himself to the authorities in front of tens of thousands protesters.

“If my imprisonment serves to awaken this town, so be it,” López said shortly before turning himself. “I have nothing to fear. I will always give the face.”

Even though the most serious charges (murder and terrorism) were dropped; if López is convicted he could face up to 10 years of jail.

But who is it really to blame?

According to the constitution, Venezuelans have the right to protest peacefully.

President Maduro blames it on activist Leopoldo López for calling the opposition to protest.

However, images and videos not shown by the media in Venezuela are proof that the National Guard is using arms against civilians and that they are the authors of the crimes that occurred.

Yes, military. The ones who promise the country to look for its citizens are shooting, torturing and beating students.

The protests are not only being held in Venezuela, but all around the world.

Today, it is not anymore a problem of different political ideologies, but about the safety and the millions of innocent people that die every day in Venezuela.

Students in Venezuela are risking their lives at the protests to because they want democracy, freedom of speech, safety.

As well, students living outside of Venezuela have become the voice of the country. They are effectively using social media to expand the truth and welcome people to join their struggle.

It is uncertain what the future holds for Venezuela, but protests are growing stronger and leave no signal of ending soon.

Airline’s video: Offensive? Entertaining?


Every time a flight is about to take off, the airline rolls a safety video for passengers. Yet, very often many get distracted and do not watch it.

For this reason, Air New Zealand partnered with the magazine Sports Illustrated to produce the video “Safety in Paradise.” The video was filmed in the Cook Islands, and shows models explaining all safety procedures in case of an emergency.

Air New Zealand debuted the video this Tuesday and will begin to play it in all of its flights commencing at the end of February.

However, what was thought to bring entertainment and work as an attention getter for passengers to prepare in case of an emergency; caught the attention of many in a negatively.

The video unraveled controversy because it showed women with few clothe on. But, isn’t it normal to show women in swimsuits if they are in the beach?

If people get offended because of the bikini, probably New Zealand is not the right destination for these people since they will surely find women in bikini.

Some have praised the company for the marketing strategies, but others have criticized it.

Sexist … malnourished models … not really showing the true beauty of the Cook Islands?

“It seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me,”  Deborah Russell, professor at Massey University, said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A video showing several models at the beach does not make the company sexist and it does not mean that Air New Zealand is trying to say how women should be or look like. Contrarily, the company depicts the beauty of the Island and its people. And the video has surely attracted plenty of news media attention.

Some people may approve and others disapprove the video, but certainly the company accomplished its goal: to get people to pay attention to the safety video.

The video has gone viral in YouTube reaching more than six million views in less than one week.

In my opinion, Air New Zealand has done a great job with the safety video. It is a creative way of displaying important information that will surely get the attention of passengers.

CVS switches to tobacco-free stores


The second-largest drugstore group in the country, CVS, announced that by October the company would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in all of its stores. And it has generated quite a bit of news media attention this week.

“We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting”, stated Larry J. Merlo, CEO of CVS Caremax.

It is projected that the company will take away 17 cents in profits per share of stock a year. To make up the revenue loss, the company will start this spring a smoking termination program to help Americans get over the habit.

In 2000, the company opened MinuteClinic, the first retail medical clinics in the country, offering its service in more than 800 CVS pharmacies. As it is hoping to open 700 more by 2017, it was crucial to position CVS Caremax tobacco-free to seek the growth of the company.

ChangeLab Solutions, a nonprofit organization that offers legal evidence about public health stated that more than 400,000 American die each year due to smoking, and that unfortunately, the rate has remained stagnant over the last ten years.

But, will CVS decision help lower the smoking rate in the U.S.?

Unfortunately, most of the tobacco purchase is done in convenience stores. Therefore, CVS’s contribution to promote a tobacco-free generation will mostly mark their transition to be recognized as a health care company rather than just another drugstore.

However, the decision of a leading pharmacy chain to stop the sale of tobacco products will probably resonate in different states to independent groups as an opportunity to fight for a law that prohibit drugstores from selling these products.

Most Americans have a drugstore only five miles from home. Since studies have shown that -the more tobacco retailers, the higher smoking rates-. Prohibiting the sale of tobacco in drugstores will automatically reduce smoking rates.

A pharmacy’s goal should be to look for the health of the population; therefore, their stock should go according to the company’s goal and not obstruct it.

As President Obama said, CVS decision will help advance the “efforts to reduce tobacco- related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs- ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”