Ex-NFL player charged with murder


Cierre Woods, a California native that was once a member of the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Houston Texans, appeared in court on Thursday in Las Vegas. He is facing first-degree murder charges after a five-year-old girl, whom he was accused of abusing, died.

Authorities said the 28-year-old was initially arrested on Wednesday at Summerlin Hospital on suspicion of first-degree child abuse. But then on Thursday, the first degree murder charges were added because La’Rayah Davis, the little girl, had died.

The girl’s mother, Amy Taylor, is Wood’s girlfriend and was also arrested and charged with firs-degree child abuse. However, it is not confirmed whether the 25-year-old will be charged with first degree murder as well.

According to the Associated Press, Las Vegas Metro police reported that La’Rayah had bruises on her abdomen, legs and torso. Prosecutors added in court that, while the cause of death is yet to be determined, an autopsy had revealed the existence of a large liver laceration.

La’Rayah’s father, Danaun Davis, traveled from California to be in the courtroom Thursday.

“She had so many people she touched, and she was only 5,” he said. “[The] most tragic thing is [that] I can’t call her. I just spoke to her on that Monday before. ‘Dad, I’ll see you in two weeks.’ The next day, I get a call that she’s gone.”

Woods was a former student-athlete at the University of Notre Dame and ran for almost 2,500 yards there and 16 touchdowns. He also appeared for three games in the NFL in 2013 and two games in 2015 for just five carries. According to Yahoo Sports, he most recently played in the Canadian Sports League, but is now currently a free agent.

All the reports I read on Woods were detailed with facts of the event and his former career. Likewise, most reports included a timeline of how the events transpired in the past week. It’s unfortunate that the La’Rayah passed and so I hope she gets justice.

New football league names teams


Remember the times when, after the NFL Super Bowl, we were forced to wait nearly six months to watch the pigskin get thrown in the air? Well the wait is finally over with the new Alliance of American Football league,better known as the AAF.

The AAF starts its season the week right after Super Bowl weekend. They have eight official cities that are hosting teams; Orlando, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, San Antonio, Salt Lake, San Diego and Arizona.

The eastern teams already announced logos and team name. Orlando will be named the Apollos, named after a Greek mythology god of music, light and truth.

Orlando is full of players represented by schools all over the state of Florida. Standish Dobard, Paul Kelly, Tyriq McCord and Joe Yearby each went to the University of Miami and they were teammates in 2014.

“I feel like this is a second calling,” Standish explained. “Things did not go as planed with the NFL and I feel like this is God’s way of giving me a second chance especially playing with my former teammates.”

Florida, Florida State, UCF and USF each have players on the team that had stints with NFL teams.

The season will provide fans 10 games of football with two playoff games, including the championship game. The rules and regulations are the same as the NFL with only difference that there will be no kickoffs; instead teams will start offensive possession at the 25 yard line.

This will be the start of the new beginning for many players to get an opportunity to get back on the gridiron.

Woman in 9/11 photo hires photographer


A woman in a famous photograph and the man who took the picture reunited on her wedding day, 17 years later.

On the tragic day of 9/11, photographer Phil Penman snapped a historic photograph in which Joanne Capestro is shown moments after escaping the 87th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, where she worked as an executive assistant. Seventeen years later, the woman in the famous photograph contacted Phil Penman to have him as her wedding photographer.

The image on 9/11 captured by Penman is well recognized because of the details and rawness that are noticed in the photo. In an article written by Nicole Darrah, published by Fox News, the popular photograph is described, “Capestro and her friend, who are seen covered in debris, ash and dirt”. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/09/20/woman-in-famous-911-picture-employs-same-photographer-for-her-wedding.html

Joanne Capestro wanted to employ Penman as her wedding photographer so that he would be with her on “the best day of my life and the worst day of my life” said Capestro.

Fox News reported this emotional story in a respectable way since the article is based on such a sensitive topic and sad memory. The story shows the beauty and bond between two people that came along over time after experiencing something so tragic and unforgettable.

Seventeen years later, surviver of 9/11, Joanne Capestro, stood alongside Penman in a moment of happiness and joy.

TV star overcomes insecurity with faith


Joanna Gaines, who stars with her husband, Chip Gaines, on the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper” recently told Darling magazine that she was bullied as a child in school because she is half Asian.

“If you haven’t heard my story, my mom is full Korean and my dad is caucasian. Kids in kindergarten would make fun of me for being Asian and when you’re that age you don’t know really how to process that; the way you take this is, ‘Who I am isn’t good enough.’”

The “Fixer Upper” is one of HGTV’s highest-rated shows and is entering its final season.  The Gaines are well-liked by the American public.  Yet, Gaines revealed her long struggle with fear and insecurity, particularly during her childhood and early adolescence.

“I don’t think confidence has ever really been one of those things that came naturally for me.  if people thought I was confident, it was really just the way I masked my insecurity, because I didn’t want people to really get to know the real me,” she said.

The reality star grew up in Texas and moved to New York in her last semester of college.  Gaines said that in New York, she battled insecurity and identity issues for six months before she discovered that her purpose was to help others overcome their own insecurities.

“So while I was in New York I really felt like God was telling me that I would be able to help women who weren’t confident, who were looking for guidance or who were lonely.  And so I knew that from that place of pain there was going to be a place to reach others, because I had actually lived in that place; I had felt that pain myself,” Gaines told Darling magazine.

Gaines’s mention of how it was God calling her to help others struggling with lack of confidence and low self-esteem garnered a lot of attention for soft-news reporting on Christian news outlets such as the Christian Post.

The article on the Christian Post about Gaines’s interview is titled, “Joanna Gaines Says She Was Bullied for Being Half Asian, but God Used Her Insecurity to Help Other Women.”

Their article is centered around the star’s faith and how her family has been recognized and praised for their Christian values.

The Christian Post mentioned that notable evangelical leader, Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., commended the couple’s home renovations as examples of how God redeems and restores.

“They will take the couple to the home, and they will have this giant blown up photo of how the home used to look, and then they will pull the panels and reveal the new home – and you can hardly believe it’s the same place . . . God can take that which is outdated and antiquated and make it fresh and new,” said Laurie.

The story of Gaines’s interview was picked up by secular news outlets with the focus being on the star’s experience with bullying and how she overcame it.

AOL wrote a considerably shorter piece than the Christian Post with the headline, “‘Fixer Upper’ star Joanna Gaines says she was bullied as a child.”

AOL did include the quote from Gaines where she mentions God, but that was the only mention of faith in their article.

FOX News covered the story under the headline, “Joanna Gaines reveals struggles with insecurity, being bullied for being Asian in school.”

Similarly to the AOL story, the FOX News article recounted the star’s struggles with being half-Asian and the teasing she received in school because of her nationality.

The Fox News article provided more details on Gaines’s life and personal experiences with fear and insecurity, but did not include her quote about God until the very end of the article.

The varying ways of covering the same interview of Gaines revealing her struggle with bullying and insecurity exemplify how news outlets carefully tailor their words and coverage of events to appeal to a wide audience or a very particular niche.

Did ABC’s ‘The View’ cross a line?


Recently, former White House staffer Omarosa Manigualt, on the reality TV show “Celebrity Big Brother,” commented on Vice President Mike Pence’s faith.

“As bad as you think Trump is, you would be worried about Pence . . . everyone that is wishing for impeachment might want to reconsider their life . . . I am Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things.”

On ABC’s “The View,” Joy Behar and fellow panelists discussed Manigault’s comment.  “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct, hearing voices.”

“The View” member, Sunny Hostin, said, “I’m Catholic, I’m a faithful person, but I don’t know that I want my vice president speaking in tongues.”

Behar continued to mock the vice president.  “My question is, can he talk to Mary Magdalene without his wife in the room?”

Joy Behar on ABC’s “The View” (screengrab from YouTube)

In response to the comments on “The View,” Pence said during an interview with Axios journalist Mike Allen, “I actually heard that ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness.  And I’d like to laugh about it, but I really can’t . . . It’s just wrong.”

Pence told Allen, “And it’s an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people who, like me, cherish their faith.  My Christianity is the most important thing in my life.”

CBN covered the story in favor of Pence and supported the vice president’s stand against the comments made on “The View.”

As a Christian, upon reading the quotes made on national TV mocking the vice president’s Christian faith, I was deeply offended.

Regardless of your politics, to make fun of someone’s religion, especially on national TV, in such an insensitive way is completely inappropriate.

“But I just think it demonstrates just how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that,” said Pence on Axios.  “And I call them out on it. Not because of what was said about me.  But it’s just simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance.”

FOX News provided more coverage of the conversation that was held on “The View” by explaining that the panelists’ conversation was surrounding the idea of Pence, an evangelical Christian, becoming the new president and what that would entail.

“He’s not very popular at all,” Hostin said.  “I think when you have a Mike Pence who now sort of puts this religious veneer on things and calls people ‘values voters,’ I think we’re in a dangerous situation.”

FOX News, which is typically criticized for conservative biased, did provide more well-rounded coverage of the story than CBN or the Christian Post.  Although CBN, the Christian Post, ABC, and Fox News cater to niche audiences, Fox News presented a broader perspective on the incident.

The FOX article mentioned the political debate unlike CBN, which only mentions the attack on Christian values.

In the FOX News article, journalist Brian Flood wrote, “Behar said hearing voices is a ‘mental illness’ before Sherri Shepard offered a limited defense of Pence.”

“As a Christian, that’s just par for the course,” Shepard said “You talk to Jesus, Jesus talks back.  What concerns me is, how long is the conversation with Jesus?”

The rising #Churchtoo movement


The #metoo movement has now inspired a new movement that is gaining traction called “#churchtoo.”  The campaign was launched over Twitter by Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy, who are both survivors of sexual assault.

The mission of #churchtoo is to bring to light the rampant sexual abuse occurring in churches and among the Christian community.

Unlike the #metoo campaign, coverage of the #churchtoo movement has been very minor by secular news networks, if it is even covered at all.

However, the Huffington Post ran a lengthy online article written by Paasch.  In her article, Paasch shared Joy’s story, told her own story and described the campaign.

Paasch wrote, “#ChurchToo is a platform not only where survivors can out their abusers — yes, names and all — but also where Christians, ex-evangelicals and agnostics alike can ask one another: How can we do better? What would a theology of consent and autonomy look like? How would we build a world in which that sort of church was not the exception?”

Time magazine was the only other well-known publication to run a story about #churchtoo.  Their article was only a few short sentences and then a series of screenshots from fiery Twitter posts using the hashtag.

Many Christian publications have written about the campaign such at CBN, Relevant Magazine, and the Christian Post.  All show support of the victims and are in favor of the campaign.

How the story of the campaign is told has varied greatly across Christian publications.  I believe this is likely due to Paasch’s blatant criticisms of the Christian church.

Paasch fervently condemns what she calls, “purity culture” preached in churches and the widespread ideology of sexual restraint in the Christian community.

“That theology of abstinence that singles out women and slut shames everyone who engages in any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage.  Purity culture is the religious antecedent to rape culture, as it lays the bulk of the responsibility for maintaining the sexual purity of both genders on women’s attire and behavior,” wrote Paasch in her article for the Huffington Post.

In her Huffington Post bio, she refers to herself as an “ex-Christian blogger.”

In CBN’s coverage of the #churchtoo campaign, Paasch’s name is not mentioned once.  Instead, their coverage focuses on pastors and prominent Christian leaders who are advocating for churches to address the issues of sexual abuse.

CBN interviewed Jimmy Hinton, who is a pastor of Someset Church of Christ in Pennsylvania and consultant for the nonprofit GRACE on sexual abuse issues occurring in churches and faith-based groups.

Hinton reported his father, who had pastored the church for years, to the police.  Hinton’s father confessed to multiple crimes against children and is now in jail, according to CBN News.

“Survivors are ready to fight for what’s right and they’re ready to fight to have their voice,” Hinton told CBN News.

CBN, a more conservative Christian network, did not quote any of the Twitter posts for the campaign or any survivor’s fiery condemnations of the Christian faith.  Nor did CBN mention anything about “purity culture.”

Conversely, the Christian Post and Relevant Magazine, ran stories about the campaign where the majority of the text was direct quotes from survivors’ Twitters.

The Christian Post and Relevant Magazine both mentioned the oppression of women in churches and told the stories of people who have left the church as a result of sexual abuse.

This raises the question, is coverage of the #churchtoo campaign another way of suppressing the voices of victims?

In my opinion, the CBN story did not suppress the voices of survivor’s.  They quoted prominent Christian U.S. gymnast, Rachael Denhollander, who was the first U.S. gymnast to publically accuse USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

“I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so you may some day experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me, though I extend that to you as well,” Denhollander told Nassar in her impact statement in court.

I personally enjoyed reading CBN’s story about the campaign because it focused on church reform and the big strides being made to put an end to sexual abuse in the church and faith-based organizations.  The CBN article did not dwell on the horrific crimes of the past, but rather spoke of optimism for the future.

Brexit ‘diet’ arises as snacks get smaller


What if you were to pay the same amount of money that you usually pay for a bag of M&Ms, but with fewer M&Ms? Well, this is happening in Britain and not only with M&Ms. Because of Brexit, big American food companies have acted under pressure in accordance with the decreasing value of the pound, by diminishing the sizes of their products but leaving it at the same price.

The term Brexit comes from Britain’s decision to exit the European Union. The voting was held June 23 last year and the decision of leaving Europe was a very close call as “exit” won by 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent.

Since June, the pound has dropped 17 percent against the U.S. dollar. This is changing foreign exchange rates and is impacting the cost of commodities, such as ingredients and materials, increasing the price of imported goods such as food and electronics.

The chocolate industry seems to be one of the most impacted, as cocoa is priced in dollars and so producers in the U.K. pay more.

The process of shrinking the packages or decreasing the amount of the product in the packages is called “Shrinkflation.” Firms use shrinkflation hoping that their consumers do not notice, in fact, most of the time consumers do not seem to check the quantity or weight of the product on the packages.

Companies such as PepsiCo and Mars have been downsizing their products to make up for the decrease in values of the pound, which is why reporters in news articles have been calling this situation “Brexit Diet.”

For example, the 160 grams bag of M&Ms has been downsized to a 145 grams bag of M&Ms, but has remained the same price. Another example is the bags of Doritos, Tostitos, and Fritos, which now have 20 percent fewer chips than before but at the same price.

The retail sales have dropped significantly in the U.K. for three consecutive months. Many articles seem to focus mostly on how companies are decreasing the packaging, but not the impact that this is having on the British economy.

There doesn’t seem to be as much coverage on American news sites on this issue. The few American articles that do feature this topic, lack to mention how Brexit and how these current events also impact the American economy. Yes, the dollar is getting stronger, but this only makes American products more expensive outside the country, making them less attractive in the U.K.

March Madness draws big numbers


March Madness is one of the leading sports stories throughout the news media currently.

News media outlets such as CBS, TNT, TBS and ESPN Sportscenter have been booming since the start of NCAA play. As brackets are busted as a result of many upset, the basketball world remains highly attentive to games played day in and day out.

On the women’s side, there has been a significant amount of tragic injuries causing some to miss the remainder of the season. Journalists and news anchors make it their priority to try to get in touch with those who have any type of inside information about injuries that may potentially hinder players from engaging in play.

Being first to the punch is ideal because as fans are tuned into games, they are dying to receive immediate follow ups and  coverage in regards to unknown or hidden information.  Once this news is released by a credible source, they in turn receive an immense amount of credit which is a vital component in the media world.

This time of the year, there is a ton of basketball played both on the men’s and women’s side. Therefore, every game cannot be aired at once. ESPN works around this by focusing on one pairing in which it thinks is a game that will attract more viewers, while still cycling through other games either during timeouts or at halftime. This coverage gives each team a chance for an adequate amount of TV time.

Currently heading into Sweet 16 play for the women as the men just started up yesterday, sports channels are responsible for a ton of coverage for the NCAA tournament. Until the first week of April, when all the brackets are finalized and a winner is known on the men and women side, this tournament is responsible for attracting lots of viewers and a ton of revenue being generated.

Kardashian West faces gunpoint robbery


At around 2 a.m. Monday, Kim Kardashian was robbed of jewelry worth nearly $9 million while held at gunpoint in Paris.

She was alone in the Eighth Arrondissement when two men burst in, tied her up and gagged her, then escaped with at least three accomplices, officials said.

Kanye West, Kim’s husband, abruptly left the stage in New York, while performing for the Meadows Music and Art Festival, after he heard of this news.

The men appeared to identify themselves as police officers. They tied up the hands of the receptionist and stormed into Kardashian West’s room. They then tied up her hands, held a handgun to her, and put a gag in her mouth.

A spokeswoman for Kardashian West said that she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed” following the incident.

Sources say that Kardashian West begged for her life because she has two children to take care of as she was threatened with the gun and was bound and forced into a bathtub. Tape was placed over her mouth.

It was also discovered that two cellphones were stolen, one being Kardashian West’s phone with a lot of private information on it.

Kris Jenner, her mother, was staying at a nearby hotel at the time of the robbery, while the sisters were at a nightclub, along with Kardashian West’s security guards.

The first to flood to the scene were other mansion guests, and her sisters and mother came soon after, as soon as they heard the news.

Media writes about this because the Kardashians are one of the most talked about celebrities in the entertainment industry today. This means that a major crime like this would be important to broadcast because she is a public figure.

Kim Kardashian being held at gunpoint and robbed of millions of dollars worth of jewelry is newsworthy because it is not only a crime story, but also an unlikely and concerning entertainment story that is likely to cause the public to react.