Miami Open home has uncertain future


The Miami Open is a major attraction for the professional tennis world and, especially, it takes place in one of Miami’s most appealing regions, Key Biscayne.

This year, the open was held from March 20 to April 2.

The 12-day tournament had athletes such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Venus Williams, but some missed out this year due to injuries including Serena Williams and Andy Murray.

Federer and Nadal ended up competing for the win of the tournament for a chance to win $7 million. Federer came out on top.

The Miami Open itself draws in huge amounts of tourist action, including my family and I.

The venue was so packed, you could hardly get in and out on a good day, but this means lots of money for the area and lots of money that goes to other local attractions due to the high volume of people that attend the Miami Open.

This may be the reason behind the rumors of the venue possibly being moved to places like China and let other March tournaments that draw larger crowds in like the ones in California.

It began with a stalled plan to upgrade the complex, which caused the tournament to decline in prestige and raise uncertainty about its future.

But, the Miami Open still draws most of the world’s top players, along with more than 300,000 spectators each year. But the future of the event has been in question since a 2015 appeals court decision that prevents improvements to the Key Biscayne facility.

There has been little investment in the property since, causing growing complaints from sponsors and players that the facilities have slipped behind Indian Wells in California and other events.

Problems begin arising such as complaints about locker rooms, bathrooms, crowded grounds and the temporary second stadium.

For 31 years the tournament has been held on Key Biscayne, a picturesque island across Biscayne Bay from downtown Miami. There is talk of it possibly moving to Hard Rock Stadium.

For now, it is here to stay unless something is decided otherwise.

As far as news reporting goes, I had absolutely no idea that this was even an issue and that there was talk about the Miami Open not happening again in the future.

When I looked up “Miami Open News,” the only thing that came was “Nadal vs. Federer Once Again” and their match. That was it. Not even who won the women’s match. Only the men’s. I had to scroll down very very far to find this story.

Once I searched to read about the Miami Open in jeopardy, nothing came up. I had to look up Miami Open moving to even get a couple of articles.

Only local papers were taking care of the issue or so it seemed. The initial story where I found out this information on Fox was one of the only ones that was covered by a sports news site.

All in all, there were only less than 10 newspapers that covered the story, which I don’t think is very good.

Ultra keeps off news radar this year


One of Miami’s most well known music festival has come and gone once again.

This music festival is the Miami version of Coachella, Lollapalooza and other nationally known music gatherings.

March 23, 24 and 25 were the magical days of Ultra this year.

The festival itself is based around EDM (electronic dance music), making it the ultimate hot spot for shinny body suits, swim suits, very little clothing, very questionable clothing and every color you can possibly imagine.

This year, Ultra held it’s concert at Bayfront park with its multiple-stage layout in the middle of downtown Miami, bringing in more than 165,000 people from 60 different countries.

With a lineup featuring world-class talent, unbelievable production, and fans from around the world, Ultra was set for success. Some headliners were Major Lazer, Alan Walker, DJ Snake and Justice and many more.

The 218 performers drew in sold out tickets ranging from $300 to $1,300 for the three-day VIP ticket.

It is very interesting because the news media didn’t really cover anything on Ultra. If it weren’t for half of the students at my school attending this festival, I wouldn’t know much about it.

Even when I Google stories on it, it’s kind of just reviews on EDM music websites saying what it was about and how well they did.

There was also nothing really to report about. According to one article there were only 35 arrests this year, which was 50 percent lower than previous years and only 50 people had to be transported to the hospital.

I guess reporters decided that Ultra Music Festival wasn’t interesting enough to cover and nothing super exciting or newsworthy happened.

Largest cruise ship coming to Miami


The world’s largest cruise ship is set to sail out of the cruise capitol of the world, PortMiami in November 2018.

This cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, will be the fourth Oasis class ship from Royal Caribbean.

Symphony of the Seas comes in at 230,000 gross tons, is 215.5 feet wide, 1,188 feet long, and has a cruising speed of 22 knots (25 miles per hour). The ship will also hold 6,780 guests in 2,775 rooms and have 15 dining options.

Before she heads to Miami, she’s set to explore several destinations in the Mediterranean including Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; Florence/Pisa Rome and Naples, Italy.

She then arrives at Miami, where she begins seven-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.

This is a major breakthrough and milestone, the biggest, largest, most vast cruise ship ever to exist.

Although that this sounds great, and the media certainly portrays it to be so, this doesn’t mean all good things.

About a week prior to this announcement that was made on every local news company and cruise or vacation website, there was breaking news of how a cruise ship ended up scrapping the bottom of the sea beds in Fort Lauderdale and how terrible those ships are for the environment.

But, with that being said, it was quickly forgotten about and trumped by this story “The World’s Largest Cruise Ship Ever Built to Set Sail.”

I think that, in this situation, the news media are definitely skewed, possibly because readers are more interested in these vast Titanic-like ships if you will. Or, it could possibly just be purely for revenue.

Either way, it doesn’t dismiss the fact that cruise ships are very harmful for our environment.

Little do people know that the ships release all of their waste into the sea mid-voyage away from beaches or land.

Not only that but incidents like the one that happened in Fort Lauderdale where it scrapped the bottom of the seabed are far too common.

Stories that are about the environmental impact cruise ships have put those specific companies in check.

The ones that are revolved around the negative factors of cruise ships don’t really get as much attention or popularity compared to ones that focus on the largest cruise ship in the world being launched.

Why? That I still wonder.

Gas prices rising as summer nears


As soon as we thought gas prices were going down, they’re going up again and this time there’s no escaping it.

A few years ago, people flocked gas stations when gas was under $2. People bought bigger cars thinking that it was going to stay cheap when in reality, it only lasted about a year.

Ever since then, gas prices have been rising slowly but steadily, with jumps here and there between 30 cents to 70 cents a gallon.

In places like South Florida, that’s where I notice it the most.

There are multiple reasons as to why gas prices rise. One of them is, due to the emissions during the winter compared to the summer, hotter weather, they try and change the way gas is formulated to its less of an impact on the environment.

This has a huge impact on traveling, especially for spring break and Memorial Day weekend.

Flights these days could be very cheap, but during this time of year, it’s pretty hard to find those.

I think this is a very typical story that has been around for a long time. There really isn’t a lot to cover on gas prices rising other than … they’re rising, duh!

But, with that said, it’s a necessity for people to know or be aware of if they’re planning on traveling or taking a vacation during these times because they need to know if it’s going to be more expensive due to the time of year they’re looking to travel.

I don’t think this is a very hard topic to cover and you can find articles like this written anywhere in our country in any state or city.

Spring break begins in Florida


As we all know, it is now the season for spring breakers to travel south and enjoy the nice, warm, blaring sunshine that we have.

But, it is also the time of the year where cops have to be in full force and bars, clubs and beaches all have to be prepared for the massive crowds that fill their territories.

Last year in Miami, there were several arrests due to fights breaking out and crowds in the thousands created chaos on Ocean Drive on South Beach.

The police ended up having to step in the middle of these giant crowds, making the scene take quite a bit to get under control.

This year, there were a lot of efforts that went into cracking down on alcohol, litter, loud music, and the safety of all of the people participating in spring break on South Beach.

This new ban includes no coolers, tents or inflatable devices on the beach.

Although all of these efforts were made in order to keep the peace, the police were still forced to shut down ocean drive this year for spring breakers too due to the crowds filling the sand and streets.

In Fort Lauderdale, it still is a great place for spring breakers, but it doesn’t seem as “ratchet” or too out of hand.

They have tents that are specifically stationed in the popular areas and four policemen on horses at each station.

There are also dozens of trash bags and bins all across the beach to try and keep the littering to a minimal.

Fort Lauderdale seems to have it a lot more under control than Miami, although Miami probably has a lot more people participating in such activities.

As far as the news coverage goes, I’d say that they do a very good job of informing people about issues such as these on a local level.

All of the news companies from Orlando to Daytona Beach to Miami have done a very good job covering all aspects of the “spring breakers” story, the only thing that I thought maybe was lacking was on the national level.

The national level, I think, does still apply to these types of stories because you have people coming from all over the country to Florida to be a part of drinking and partying on the beach.

Love your curves? What curves?


The very popular store, Zara, has been criticized for skinny models being the centerpiece of its new “Curves” campaign.

Zara’s message seemed harmless, urging women to “love your curves,” but the body-positive message was featured by very slender models.

There was nothing wrong with how they looked or anything against the model’s bodies, but it was the fact that the campaign was to love your curves and these women had little to none of the sort.

Zara has stores all over the world and describes itself as one of the largest international fashion companies.

It’s ironic that this story is so big because I was online shopping on Zara exactly 12 hours ago and I remember thinking that all of the models didn’t really have any curves and were extremely skinny, just a mental note to myself.

The fact that the Zara campaign was to “love your curves,” but none of the models had any was a little bothersome and, for me personally, it rubbed me the wrong way as well as millions of other people across the globe.

This article was spread over pretty much every large news organization you can think of, and it should be.

The news organizations did a very good job covering this because Zara is a huge brand and their message didn’t resonate well with a lot of people, so I believe it was crucial for them to cover a story like this.

Another reason why I think a lot of news organizations covered this story was because of body image and the new “curvy” trend.

Writing about something like this gives them attention and pulls in readers because of the delicate topic of what exactly is beautiful and should we be advertising women that are 110 pounds and an unhealthy-skinny?

This is a very big deal in not only the fashion and modeling world, but in the world as a whole.

Society really does a grand job at painting a picture of what you should look like, that being most of the time you’re not skinny enough, you don’t have a thigh gap, you can’t see your ribs, and heaven forbid you have a teeny bit of fat under your belly button.

Companies and advertisers throw in your face of what ‘beautiful’ is or what your body should look like, and guess what, we all fall for it.

We are going through a massive shift in society right now where curvy is the new beautiful and slowly getting away from the stick thin look.

Zara attempted to go with the new trend of curvy is sexy, but this new campaign did more bad than good.

Protecting Kenya’s orphaned elephants


Elephants are very fragile creatures but they are also very strong creatures, especially baby elephants.

These baby elephants are one of the slowest animals to grow up. Not only are they born nearly blind, but it also takes 12 to 13 years for them to mature. Until this point, the calf needs its mother.

In Kenya, poaching is a problem, so the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, one of the centers that rescues orphaned elephants in Kenya, works to protect these animals.

They now have saved hundreds of baby elephants and offer veterinary accommodations and educate local communities about elephants and taking care of them.

The ultimate goal is to create a new family and a new home for these elephants who have lost their own.

I thought that it was very interesting that CNN produced a story on this. I for one, absolutely love elephants. I’m obsessed with them so writing about it feels right.

With everything that is going on in the world that is newsworthy, CNN decided to prepare this story, and to be honest, I’m glad that they did but I’m not really sure why.

I looked to see if other news organizations were writing about the same things like they usually are, and there was nothing about protecting young elephants that came up.

I searched Google, looked at other news websites and found nothing. I found this to be a little odd.

Another thing that I would like to point out is that we are in the middle of a HUGE elephant marketing trend. At any store, you will find elephant apparel. Ivory Ella, a website that sells apparel but donates a portion of it to help save the elephants, is also another trend within itself.

Could it be that CNN may have covered this story to pull in new readers knowing this? If so, why are other news stations not doing the same?

Either way, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is the most successful orphan elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. Things like this should get news attention and media coverage because it matters.

They deserve it.

Brain scans may predict autism


The two words “Autism Awareness” still get tossed around daily. There isn’t really a whole lot information about autism, including why children are born with it and the time sensitive years where parents may not be aware that their children have autism.

A new study revealed that it now may be possible to detect autism in babies before their first birthdays, a much earlier diagnosis than ever before.

Using magnetic-resonance imaging scans, otherwise known as MRI’s, researchers at the University of North Carolina were able to predict, with 80 percent accuracy, which babies who had an older sibling with autism would be later diagnosed with the disorder.

The brain imaging scans were strategically taken at six months, 12 months and again at two years. The results showed significant growth in brain activity during the first 12 months in babies who would later meet the criteria for autism.

Symptoms such as not making eye contact, not being able to talk when babies normally start talking and other behaviors are included in babies that might have autism.

Autism is a very interesting subject because very little is known about it. Studies are done but there isn’t a lot of funding and money going into it, especially when compared to the magnitude of funding that goes into breast cancer.

This being said, it makes it hard for journalists to report about autism. In general, there aren’t a lot of studies being released or even underway for that matter. This is one of very few articles I have ever seen about autism when it’s not around the “Autism Awareness” date.

Since there aren’t a lot of breakthroughs, journalists don’t really have anything to write about when it comes to autism.

This new breakthrough where autism can now be detected in babies less than a year old is, in my opinion, monumental.

I have a cousin who has autism, so I hope that more awareness can be spread about it by journalists so that more money can go into studies such as why kids are born with it and fine tuning the detection of babies that have autism.

Penn State bans alcohol for greeks


A 19-year-old student, Timothy Piazza, who attended Penn State University, died on Feb. 3 after falling down a set of basement stairs at a fraternity party.

It was reported that he fell down the stairs around 11 p.m. on Feb. 2, but the police weren’t notified until 11 a.m. the next day. Piazza was eventually taken to a medical facility and died later that morning.

The former student had recently accepted an invitation to join Beta Theta Pi where the tragic incident took place. It was announced that in response to the death of Piazza this week at a fraternity, university officials have placed a moratorium on all social gatherings at on- and off-campus fraternities and sororities.

This being said, all of greek life is being revealed in a very negative light now that this happened. Several news articles focus on the actual incident that happened and the current investigations that are currently taking place due to the fact that the police were called nearly 12 hours after the accident.

The next big problem with this situation is that all of greek life is banned from having any social events. I have a friend who knows a lot of people at Penn State and she was describing to me how greatly impacted they were due to the death.

The news, I believe, does a great job of covering what the news organizations can do with this story. But even with these news stories and incidences occurring, it doesn’t seem to actually effect the greek life at other schools whatsoever.

So, I come to this conclusion that although there are very tragic deaths due to alcohol and hazing, fraternities still partake in these sort of events because, well, they always have.

Unfortunately, even with all the coverage of this accident, the news media and journalists have not been able to change this aspect of greek life or perceptions and mindsets about hazing.

There was only one article that I saw that covered the other side of the story, not what happened directly to Piazza but how it affected other students in other fraternities. I found this to be interesting.

All in all, I think journalists covered this breaking story well. Negative perceptions of outside greek life members will prevail and inside greek life students will have the same mindset as always; the more booze, the better it is.

Texas gets transgender elected official


A Collin County mayor in Texas came out on Feb. 1. This is historically significant given that Texas has never had a transgender elected official, nor did I expect it to any time soon.

The mayor, Jess Herbst, made the announcement that she was transgender in an open letter to the town’s residents.

Most of Texas is known to be very conservative. Issues such as the “bathroom bill” that Republicans proposed was set in place to ban transgender people from using public bathrooms of their choice. With this bill and large numbers of people to support it, it is surprising that the mayor of New Hope is transgender.

Collin County, where New Hope lies, is considered one of the most conservative suburban areas in Texas. To put it into perspective, President Donald Trump won this area by 17 percentage points in the general election.

I think that journalists who covered this story did an exceptional job. I first came across this story on BBC which is known to be a more liberal international news network. Once I read the story there, I searched for it elsewhere. Numerous smaller newspapers around Texas covered the story as well as the Huffington Post, CBS and other news organizations.

I then checked Fox News, already thinking that it might not even have the story about it, or, that it was skewed into something its targeted audience (conservatives) would appreciate.

I was pleasantly surprised when I found the story there with no apparent bias. It was in this moment that I was proud of the news coverage on this story.

Although it was covered well, I did run into an issue as I read the story from all the different news stations. It was a lot of recycled material. The direct quotations were the same, given she had only released just a few, but also the content was very similar as well. This is something people have to keep in mind when reading stories from various news stations.

We have to ask the question, are journalists becoming lazy? Is recycled information the new norm?