Repercussions of Rolling Stone’s story


I remember when Rolling Stone‘s University of Virginia gang rape story first came out, there was a level of fear and understanding that resonated with me regarding the story. I had been a freshman for only a month or so when the story came out and after seeing what university was like there was no doubt in my mind that the story was true. That is what this article preyed upon.

Regardless of the validity of the story, Rolling Stone was the first ones to talk about it in a big way, to draw attention to a real issue. However, they used the wrong story, they fabricated it, it was intentional manipulation.

A scandal like this has many repercussions on many levels. Not only will true experiences like this be doubted in the future, thus making it harder for victims of rape to speak out, but the whole topic of rape itself will become more of a taboo.

On a journalistic level, however, will people trust journalists less and less as time goes on? There have been multiple events in the past year or so that has called into question journalistic integrity.

The scandal relating to Brian WIlliams was one of the biggest ones in recent times that has made the public call into question if it really can trust journalists to be honest and give them correct information. A scandal like this could have been easily avoided with simple fact checking by the editors and the main writer, this kind of fabrication was intentional and says a lot about journalism today.

Implications of a reporting assignment


A couple of weeks ago we received an in-depth assignment. Everyone in our class was given an address of a house and we were told to find out everything about the people who owned the house without contacting them or entering their property. This was my first time experiencing hands-on investigative work and it was thrilling and surprisingly easy.

Why do I say thrilling? Because, as I drove by the house while munching on my Publix sub, I felt like a CIA agent. Why do I say surprisingly easy? Because the ease at which I could find private information about strangers without any legal restrictions surprised me.

As a person who studied theory of knowledge, the implications of the task I had just completed dawned on me and reminded me of George Orwell’s famous 1984 quote “Big Brother is Watching You.” During my day of investgative work I had the opportunity to access all kinds of public records information, like someone’s criminal record, marriage certificate, birthday, legal involvement, the day they registered as a voter, who they were married to, if they were divorced and if they had kids.

Our information is everywhere and, as Orwell appropriately summarized, “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” With Facebook documenting our every move socially and LinkedIn documenting our every move in the workforce, there is not much we can hide from the public and, more importantly, the government.

As citizens of this country, we have the right to access all of this information, refusing to hand over certain information that we request is against the law. In regards to public records, even voter registration is a public record in the U.S. The only two areas that maintain restrictions is a person’s Social Security number and their driver’s license number.

Jailed over a Facebook post


I recently wrote a post about how I dislike the idea of using Twitter because of the repercussions it could have on my image and how perspective employers might judge me from that. Overall, I didn’t believe the that the benefits of Twitter outweighed the negative repercussions.

For me being cautious about what I post is about prospective employment and nothing else. However, for some around the world being cautious is based of a whole other ball game. I read recently that a 19 year old in India was jailed over a Facebook post. As a Third Culture Kid from India, I never really experienced the dangers of being outspoken in a country such as India, simply because I really didn’t live there for a very long time.

How can a teenager be arrested over a Facebook post that didn’t threaten or allude to violence but merely expressed distaste? Well, this isn’t the first time this has a happened. In November 2012 two young Indian women were jailed overnight for a Facebook post they had made regarding a supposedly great (evidently corrupt) politician. They expressed their distaste regarding the fact that the city of Mumbai was treating him like a great leader that he really wasn’t.

I think that jailing someone based solely upon their opinions is ludicrous and, from what I have learned in the few months that I have lived in America, it would not be tolerated here. Having the freedom to say what I want to say as long as I’m not actually threatening anyone is something that I now see as gift. However, the freedom to say what I want when I want especially on forums such as Facebook should not be a privilege, the teenager in India deserves this right as much as I do.

Media get us closer to social causes


I am a Feminist. It is not something that just happened, I think I was a Feminist for a long time and just didn’t have a word to express how I felt until very recently.  In September 2014 Emma Watson gave her famous speech for the United Nations ‘He For She’ campaign.

HeforShe event sponsored by UN Women with Goodwill ambasador Emma Watson New York, USA -20/09/2014/SIPA_SIPA837.01/Credit:UN Photo/SIPA/SIPA/1409230856 (Newscom TagID: sfphotos325055.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

HeforShe event sponsored by UN Women with Goodwill ambasador Emma Watson
New York, USA -20/09/2014/SIPA_SIPA837.01/Credit:UN Photo/SIPA/SIPA/1409230856 (Newscom TagID: sfphotos325055.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

She defined Feminism as  “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

She gave light to a very misunderstood word, opening it up to males and not just females, to her Feminism was equality for both sexes not just women.

Since then I have actively kept up with the facts, stories, events regarding a cause I feel so strongly about and there has been no shortage of ways in which to access this information. There are not only numerous organizations supporting this cause but also multiple ways in which you can recieve information whether it is through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat etc.

I even had the opportunity to see Secretary Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton speak on the issue of women’s rights on our campus for the Clinton Global Intiative University less than one month ago.

Chelsea Clinton introduced a newly created website that held all the data possible on issues pertaining to women’s rights. It covered statistics on the number of rape cases in the United States and countries across the world like India as well as the pay gap across the world between men and women. Aptly named No Ceilings the website has all the information you can get your hands on, whether you wish to talk about the data or act on it.

In addition to having all these platforms, Facebook collaborated with ‘He For She’ campaign and planned a live chat with Watson, that was held on March 8th ‘Women’s Day’. Comments posted and questions sent had a chance of being asked during the course of the conversation.

Not only is it becoming easier to access the information we require, it is becoming easier to engage with the information we are receiving, and that is exactly how media is changing the world.

Twitter’s negative effects for users


I remember that, as a child, my mother would often chide me about the lack of filtration in the comments I made and the stories I told. There were no boundaries; I was a brutally honest child — and a loud one, too. Nothing that happened in the family stayed in the family. They often suffered the consequences of what they called my “verbal diarrhea.”

As I got older, though, I’d like to think I figured out what I should and should not say depending on the situation. However, there were times that I slipped up in a big way and was only lucky that spoken words weren’t lamented like the ones we let loose on the Internet. Media forums such as Facebook and Twitter have made it infinitely easier to express our opinions for the world to see and I learned the hard way that once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back.

So, when at 19 my Dad questioned why I didn’t have a Twitter account, I laughed and looked at him incredulously, “Do you really think Twitter is the best tool for someone who has to consciously remind herself of what she can and cannot share with the public?” At which he replied that he simply used Twitter for his work and perhaps I could use it in the same way.

The truth is that a social media forum such as Twitter terrifies me, the number of times celebrities get hauled up for their tweets or accidentally send out a nude picture for all of two seconds someone out there catches them and, like I said before, it’s words or nude images they can’t ever take back.

Twitter is essentially used to capture what you’re doing thinking or feeling in that moment in 140 characters or less. Often times when things are said in the moment they aren’t fully thought through, and these words can be read by future employers, college professors, colleagues and friends and can potentially hinder your future. We have to be careful about what we do and do not post on the Internet and Twitter does not help.

Essay resonates in CNN forum


I recently happened upon an article written by a young girl in India on the CNN website, titled ‘My country’s problem with menstruation’ the article tackles taboos surrounding menstruation in India. Being a young Indian girl, this article resonated with me and there was a level of depth and understanding I derived from this that I do not normally experience with most news articles.

The essay by 18-year-old Anisha Bhavani was picked up from the iReport section of CNN, which essentially is a forum where you can share original essays exploring personal identity and the things that affect and eventually make up who we are.

For the first time, CNN picked up an essay from iReport and showcased it on its main website. This to me marked a major transition for online bloggers and young writers out there today. The fact that something written from the perspective of a young girl, still in college, showcasing an intimate and personal anecdote of what it means to be a young woman in India was taken seriously and posted on their main website speaks volumes.

It means that, in today’s world, young adults who have something to say, cannot only freely express themselves, but also be taken seriously.

What’s trending? Ask Facebook


When you look up a particular news article, it is because you want to know more about what people are talking about today.

A couple of years ago, I would have gathered this information by what was on the front page of my local newspaper, by what my parents and friends were talking about or what I saw on television.

These days, however, I know what’s  “trending” thanks to my Facebook news feed. What’s best about the “trending” section on Facebook is that it combines news both in the entertainment area and world news.

For example, this week I was informed about Kim Jong Un’s new haircut from “Kim Jong-un Takes Cue From Fashion Week, Reveals Ambitious New Haircut” as well as the death of Harris Wittels from “Parks and Recreation’ Executive Producer Harris Wittels Found Dead.” My point is that you’re being told what you need to know in every aspect of your life now and, to some extent, it’s great. But there are some issues that come up.

Once again, Facebook makes it easier to avoid interacting directly with other people in order to make friends, connections and now get our daily news fix. We are being fed what we need to hear, need to know and need to see. It is removing our ability to make our own decisions, start our own interactions and discussions with others. In a world where everything is being handed to you, how do you step back, analyze and maintain your media literacy in order to take control of the information you take in today?

What is the buzz about?


Buzzfeed, a name I am sure you have heard of before, is a name I see everyday. As a journalism student I have always aimed of writing in a way that is both entertaining and informative and I feel that Buzzfeed encompasses just that.

If you have not heard of Buzzfeed, it is essentially an American Internet news media company, created and founded by CEO and co-founder Jonah Perreti. Although Buzzfeed originally seems just entertainment oriented, at the root of it, it is an extremely multi-faceted Website where you can either take fun quizzes like ‘Which “Which ‘SNL’ Icon Are You?,” look up articles based entirely on cats “17 Extremely Helpful Cats” alongside articles about ISIS “U.S. Condemns ‘Despicable’ And ‘Cowardly’ ISIS Beheading Of Egyptian Christians In Libya.”

What makes Buzzfeed so buzz worthy is that it is one of a kind, audiences can interact with the website by clicking buttons like “OMG” or “LOL” depending on the article. In addition comments by viewers are taken seriously and Buzzfeed take the extra step to acknowledge the readers for noticing these errors.

Recently, Buzzfeed uploaded a video involving President Obama “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About, Featuring President Obama.” Buzzfeed managed to not only provide an entertaining video featuring the most powerful man in America but editors also managed to inform the public about ObamaCare.

In an age where media are merging, so are the aims of articles. In today’s world, you do not need to choose between CNN and ENews. Buzzfeed is a one-stop shop to newsworthy stories whether its entertainment or serious news.  It is all about latest the buzz.

Humans of The White House


Humans of New York

If you have not heard of it before today, you will know about it soon. Brandon Stanton, the creator of the Facebook pages known as HONY, has forever changed the life of Vidal Chastanet, a young boy from a Brooklyn Middle School.

What was an extremely popular photo series blog created by Stanton, turned into a vehicle for change. Just by sharing a few kind words about a very important person in Vidal’s life, the lives of Vidal and those around him have changed forever.

Stanton’s blog shows ordinary people and gives insight into their extraordinary lives, and that is exactly what this story has become, extraordinary. After Vidal expressed his sentiments for his middle school principle Nadia Lopez on Stanton’s site, the photo went viral, and the viewers of HONY did what they do best which was to offer all they could to assist in the aims of Vidal’s principal, Lopez. With Stanton heading the fundraiser, the school managed to raise $1.2 million — far exceeding their initial aims.

One boy’s kind words helped raise $1.2 million, helped provide the additional support his principal needed to continue fighting for what she believed in and got him to where he was this past Thursday, The White House.

In perhaps the most important of Stanton’s photo stories, he captures President Barack Obama’s words “You don’t do things alone. Nobody does things alone. Everybody always needs support. For a young man like you, you should never be too afraid or too shy to look for people who can encourage you or mentor you,” Obama said. “There are a lot of people out there who want to provide advice and support to people who are trying to do the right thing. So you’ll have a lot of people helping you. Just always remember to be open to help. Never think that you know everything. And always be ready to listen.”

President Obama’s words could not be closer to the truth and Vidal’s story is proof of just that.

Today, anyone can write an article


I am a freshman who hopes to major in journalism one day and, even as I write this blog post, I am still learning, growing and improving. Writing is not just about putting words on paper, it is about using accurate sources and grammar and essentially being able to communicate a story in the best way possible.

In a world where online media are the No. 1 source for information, anyone can post an article and often times it is difficult to tell whether the information you are receiving is credible or not.

Oftentimes, when we see an interesting article posted on Facebook, we tend to click on it right away and, more often than not, these articles tend to either be advertisements or even mischievous viruses of some sort. Most of these articles contain incorrect information, wrong sources and are, at the core of it, poorly written pieces.

You can argue that media such as Google allow us to consume more information than ever before. However, if the information we consume is incorrect, how does it impact the way we view society?

Along with Photoshop with tools for editing, we cannot completely trust what we see. That is where the problem lies in journalism today. There are many news and information Web sites; therefore, there are numerous platforms for anyone to showcase what they have written. And anyone can create a new Web site, too, if that is the desired way to publish.

However, when does this start to devalue journalistic work? And in today’s world, what criteria can we use to decide what is and is not real journalism?