One year later: Parkland shooting


One year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting and people everywhere are still grieving. While Feb. 14 used to be the day of love, people are now mourning and changing their outlook on the day. This day will be remembered by many forever and has made a huge impact on the lives of many.

This was not the first time there had been a school shooting. In fact, there were approximately 11 before Parkland happened. However, shootings in the past did not get covered like this one. This shooting in particular seemed to affect everyone all over the country and even in different parts of the world. One of the biggest reasons this become such a prominent movement was because of the people leading this movement and the news coverage it was given.

Shootings happen every day. There have been an estimated 38 killings that have already occurred in 2019 alone. I have heard about maybe three of these shootings, but nothing close received the coverage that Stoneman Douglas did.

The news media played a huge role in the start of this movement. Often times when there is a mass shooting, the news media move on to something else after a day or two of coverage. With this particular shooting, people discussed it for weeks. And even one year later, the coverage continues on what the people affected by this shooting are still doing today.

Why did the news media care so much about this and not about others? Was it the number of people affected and the area of the school? Was it because of the effect it had on the community? While the coverage for this instance may have been exactly what people needed to hear, the same attention has still not been brought to anything since then.

News outlets need to give equal coverage to events that may have links to them like this. The news media oftentimes takes out details and downplays events as to not insight fear in society. However, information like this should be of public concern. People should know the details about everything that happens, not just when it happens one time.

Dramatics dominate Florence news


At the height of hurricane season, it’s no surprise that a large storm has formed and will hit the East Coast. That being said, news coverage of the storm is verging on theatrics.

It seems that each year the news media’s coverage of natural disasters increases in sheer time allocated towards the events and in the dramatics with which the news is delivered.

While this may very well be due to an increase in the intensity of storms, the news media are not attempting to quell the general population’s discomfort regarding impending natural threats. This leaves the outlet’s intent when covering storms to question: are they just doing their best to spread breaking information for public safety or are they intentionally using fear-inducing tactics to keep a captive and large audience?

This questionable phenomenon is no different with approaching hurricane Florence.

Opening with dubbing the hurricane as “violent,” Washington Post article “Category 4 Hurricane Florence drawing closer to Carolinas and threatens ‘catastrophic’ flooding” by James Samenow, is one of many fear-inducing pieces circling the web.

Throughout the piece Samenow uses various, arguably unnecessary, phrases to describe the approaching hurricane.

Samenow describes the storm as, “monstrous” and “like a bulldozer,” and emphasizes his intentions with verbs like “unleash.”

Even the direct quotations chosen for the piece are ominous. Including one from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper saying, “Even if you’ve ridden out storms before, this one is different.”

Granted, Samenow does prove to have some educational intentions with this article through the inclusion of scientific information, quotations, and graphs via sources like The National Hurricane Center, High Plains Regional Climate Center, and The National Weather Service.

Furthermore, Samenow elaborates on various path projections and the fact that storms are very unpredictable.

The article is extremely informative, but the threatening vocabulary scattered throughout the piece points towards underlying intentions beyond informing the masses.

Twitter bans Alex Jones, InfoWars


Twitter banned Alex Jones and other accounts pertaining to InfoWars, his fake news website on Thursday afternoon. This was covered by countless local and national news sources including ABC, CBS, NBC, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post to name a few. This story has also been covered by a number of tech websites such as CNET and Engadget.

InfoWars is known for promoting fake news stories and conspiracy theories such as 9-11 being an inside job, the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, and countless untrue stories about various public figures.

“Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope. We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations,” the company wrote on its account.

Twitter is not the first high-profile company to drop Infowars. Apple, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify removed InfoWars from their platforms earlier this August. These companies mostly cited “hate speech” as their reason for removing Jones and InfoWars from their platforms and not for deliberately spreading false information.

Back in August, Twitter publicly stated that they would not remove Jones or InfoWars because they did not violate their policies. Twitter had previously suspended Jones for one week for promoting violence against news reporters, saying to get their “battle rifles” ready.

Twitter decided to ban Jones and InfoWars after Jones publicly harassed Oliver Darcy, a reporter at CNN. On this same day, Jones also harassed Senator Marco Rubio.

News sources such as The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post and The New York Times have done a better job of covering this story than most other news sources because they also mentioned that these tech companies have been criticized for waiting too long to remove InfoWars and other fake news sources from their platforms.

Many believe that some of these companies only removed Jones and Infowars because other companies did so and not for the reasons that they provided. This is a fair and valid point, as sources like InfoWars have already made a major impact on the public. In addition to this, InfoWars has been around for years and has had few problems releasing false information, hateful content, and promoting violence. Many news sources have made the mistake of labeling InfoWars as a far-right website and not a fake news website.

Kardashian attracts press for clemency


After her first visit with President Trump in June to lobby the release of Alice Marie Johnson from her lifetime prison sentence, Kardashian West returned to the White House this Wednesday to attend a listening session on clemency reform.

An article on, headlined “Kim Kardashian at White House for clemency review session,” briefly mentioned Kardashian West’s participation at the meeting, but quickly moved on, focusing rather on other reform activists and attendees. 

Authors Jeremy Diamond and Betsy Klein chose to interview human rights attorney Jessica Jackson Sloan, who attended the session to advocate the reduction in inmate populations of federal prisons. Sloan complimented Jared Kushner and other White House staff for their efforts, and even regarded Kushner as “one of the most persistent and passionate advocates for criminal justice reform.”

The article even went on to discuss the progress of the First Step Act — a bill pushing to entice prisoners with early release if they participate in rehabilitation, thus decreasing the number of federal prisoners — which is still in limbo after pausing in Senate this summer. 

The article mentioned that Kardashian West gave “concrete feedback” at the meeting and brought up her involvement with another drug-related imprisonment case, quoting one of her Tweets on the subject. But, that’s it. 

There was not one direct quote from the reality star, and her presence in the article seemed, in my opinion, out of place. The purpose of the article was to report on the progress of various sentencing reforms, as well as explain what was discussed at the clemency review. 

Despite the clear goal of the article, Kardashian West’s name seemed to plague the headline, lede and first three paragraphs of the story — not to mention the video interview with her at the very top of the article. It is obvious that the beauty icon’s insertion into a blatantly political article was a media ploy to appeal to a larger readership. 

The strong emphasis on Kardashian West was unnecessary in achieving the goal of the article and actually proved misleading as to the contents of the rest of the piece, which did not have much to do with her. The authors could have definitely mentioned her attendance at the meeting, but should have probably chosen a different headline, lede and visual medium to accompany the story. 

Nonetheless, what the article does well is detail Trump’s involvement on the issue, as well as the standpoints of various attendees of the meeting, including former federal judge Kevin Sharp and the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. It is also well-reported, quoting three attendees of the listening session. 

Negative news coverage hurts Tesla


Tesla, a very well-known luxury vehicle company, has been exposed by the news media in much negative light the last few days. Apparently, a Tesla employee confessed to sabotaging the company by disclosing confidential information as well as making changes to the computer code of the company’s manufacturing operating system.

After reading this story, I decided to Google search more information about Tesla and the company only to find many reports of these cars catching on fire— specifically the new Model 3. These stories can be traced all the way back to January.

These fires are allegedly caused from the new model’s battery. According to an article on Digital Trends, employees claim some workers, who lack training, routinely install the lithium-ion cells in the battery pack too close to each other, which could cause the battery to short out or catch fire.

Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, sent Digital Trends an e-mail denying the allegations. On the other hand, Tesla’s projected manufacturing goal for September was 1,500 new Model 3 cars. In October, they were only able to produce 260. It is my opinion that this projection led Musk to do whatever he could to speed up the production process in order to reach the goal, but like most things in life, taking shortcuts will get you nowhere.

Now Musk is bashing journalists about their recent coverage even though Tesla admits most of its sales have come from the news media. After everything is said and done, this coverage has changed many people’s view on Tesla and their vehicles. Some on waiting lists have pulled out their investments and the companies shares dropped five percent on Tuesday.

These reports show the type of impact the news media has on a businesses success. Businesses rely heavily on news coverage of their products for sales and Tesla is currently suffering from its bad press.

Singapore summit news lacks objectivity


President Trump met with Kim Jong Un on Tuesday and they have come to an agreement to work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

The news media have covered this issue with much scrutiny towards Trump. In other words, no one seems to show the president support for efforts to reach peace with North Korea. The coverage comes with very little information because the agreement lacks detail. Although there is much talk about getting rid of these nuclear weapons, there is no deadline set for when and no guarantee that the agreement will be irreversible.

The lack of detail has been leading journalists to cover this issue with much skepticism. News outlets believe that Trump is giving up too much and reporters are not hiding it. Objectivity has flown out the window for this summit’s coverage and Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio was not happy about it. Rubio jumped in to defend Trump by pointing out the news media’s “hypocrisy.”

“Presidents meeting with #KJU exposed incredible hypocrisy of many in media,” Rubio tweeted. “When Obama did these things, he was described as enlightened. When Trump does it he is reckless & foolish. 1 yr ago they attacked Trump for leading us towards war,now attack for being too quick for peace.”

The New York Times’ opinion columnist, Nicholas Kristof, wrote an article where he too criticized the exchange between Trump and Kim Jong Un. Kristof believes Trump was”out-negotiated” by Kim.

Rubio came back in with another two cents to swoop Trump away from scrutiny. Kristof’s piece was one out of the many opinionated journalists who expressed the same view about the exchange.

This issue leaves many questions unanswered for both sides. It is hard for the news media to cover an issue like this objectively without the right amount of detail needed to inform  readers and viewers. If politicians want to start seeing less “fake news,” then they should give the news media enough information to avoid misinformation. Until we get more detail, journalists will most likely continue criticism towards Trump.

Suicides lead to news guidelines


The deaths of prominent figures such as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain in the past week have brought much scrutiny about suicide news reporting. Mental health experts and researchers are saying that this type of news reporting could have life-or-death consequences for readers.

In recent years, public health officials have noticed a correlation between news coverage about suicides and an increase in suicide deaths. That discovery has the World Health Organization suggesting guidelines for news about people who take their own lives.

But many voices in the news media, as well as medical professionals, are pressing for standardized rules that can be used throughout newsrooms across the country.

Dr. Dan Reidenberg, executive director of the suicide prevention center, SAVE, has published guidelines drawn from scientific research.

In his guidelines, he suggests that news outlets should be including phone numbers and links for suicide hotlines and treatment centers (something that has been done in the NBC News reports about Spade and Bourdain).

In my opinion, I don’t feel like the news media have reported on these issues in an insensitive manner, but because the news media are more influential in shaping the minds of younger audiences, it is something we must consider.

Although we do not know these people (Spade and Bourdain) personally, we feel some connection with their their products and shows. In a way, there are more people than just their immediate families who are affected by these incidents. I can see the need to tip-toe around those who are already feeling vulnerable and are considering the same path.

I think it is important for journalists to critique each other and develop discussion around this issue. There is a line of ethics that should not be crossed, but some people need to be reminded of it. At the same time, a reporter’s job is to seek the truth and report it. Creating guidelines could be an unnecessary way of censoring the media and if it starts there, who knows what other guidelines may be implemented in the future.

Kate Spade’s death leaves questions


Kate Spade was found dead in her Manhattan apartment on the morning of June 5 after she allegedly took her own life. Articles on this tragedy can be found on any major digital news reporting site such as The New York Times, ABC News, CNN and NPR. Because of Spade’s contribution to the fashion industry, digital fashion magazines are also covering her death including websites like, and

For the purpose of analyzing coverage by the news media on Kate Spade’s death, I chose BBC as the most reliable source of news. Click here to reference BBC article:

This story began like any other breaking news story should — inverted pyramid style with the most important information highlighted at the top of the article and the least important at the end. The lead included who, what and where, but was missing the when. The next sentence stated the current investigation of her death which gave us an insight that the incident happened recently.

As a reader, the next thing I would want to know is, who is Kate Spade? BBC did just that. The story informed us on her contribution to fashion as a shoes, clothes and accessories designer.

After that, the article described details of the incident. BBC explained the discovery of Spade’s “unresponsive” body, as well as a note that was left behind. In my opinion, I feel like there was a lot of information that was left out that could’ve been included in this section of the article. Some things I would be curious about is whether or not there were signs of depression that led her to take her own life. If she allegedly took her own life, how did she do it?

BBC provided basic information but didn’t dive into detail. After the basic summary of the incident, the article ended with more information about Spade’s fashion legacy. The coverage felt incomplete and left me, as the reader, with many unanswered questions. BBC was not the only source who could’ve used more detail in their reporting.

On the other hand, I believe the news media are attempting to respect the privacy of Spade’s family. In the next few days, these news outlets will continue to fill in the missing pieces as the police investigation progresses.

U.S. media adores royal wedding


The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was held on May 19 and was covered by many local and national news stations including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and The Washington Post to name a few.

Harry, member of the British royal family, took the hand of former American actress, Meghan Markle, in marriage. Because of her background, broadcast and print journalists repetitively stressed how rare this union of marriage was for the British monarchy. Not only is Meghan an American actress, but is also a bi-racial divorcee. American news stations used the wedding as a symbolic gesture of acceptance and unity between both countries. More importantly, the wedding was seen as a progressive footprint in the monarchy’s past customs.

CBS, out of all the different networks, was the one that seemed to be the most uninformed and over-the-top. The voice overs for the b-roll were obvious narrations of things that were going on within the footage. Ex: “Here she is walking down the aisle.” No extra information was given that couldn’t already be known from what was playing on the screen. In addition, they had trouble informing their viewers on who designed the wedding dress, as well as some other basic facts that could’ve been checked before air-time.

The media was heavily focused on who the attendees were and what they were wearing. The reporters on CBS even singled out which attendees were “A-listers” and “B-listers.” I would’ve liked to have seen the media cover more information about why this was such a prominent moment in British history or even how it was relevant to the rest of the world.

When I think of news, I think of the words prominence, relevance, impact and timeliness. The news outlets I tuned into had most of these characteristics, but they seemed to lack enough impact and relevance which led me to categorize this event as nothing but entertainment news.

As for ABC, I found them to be more informed and concise than any other station. Aside from the usual on-air fluff and filler comments, they used historical references to inform viewers on family ties. ABC attempted to cover possible questions viewers may have while tuning into the wedding. Who is Prince Harry? Who did he descend from? What is the Windsor Castle and why is it so important?

ABC used graphics and maps to show us where the castle was in relation to the church, the routes where the parade was held, etc. For those who have never visited England, this was a good addition to the segment.

ABC called on correspondents like Paula Feris, Lloyd Webber, and interviewed Andrew Morton (a royal biographer who studied Diana and Meghan Markel). They had informants, numerous sources to back up their information, and compelling historical facts.

I was also surprised at the amount of hype our local stations put out before and during the wedding. South Florida stations were broadcasting the wedding and commentating in re-decorated newsrooms resembling customary British tea parties.

Local business and bars were celebrating, movie theaters opened early to air the wedding on their screens, and tea shops were selling Prince Harry and Meghan Markel memorbilia. Aside from the media, businesses were using this event as a way to reel in the public. The sad part is that it seemed to work! Even the media covered these local events (see media below).

Overall, media coverage of the Royal Wedding was marked by fascination, criticism, speculation and an exaggerated level of significance. This event had some journalists reporting with disparity trying to pump out as much nonsense as possible. At this point, it is safe to say that the media (at all levels) will report on just about anything that will increase ratings and readership.

Were your Facebook data shared?


After tens of millions of people have had their Facebook data harvested and exploited by Cambridge Analytics, a data analytics firm with ties to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook is attempting to redeem its reputation. Starting this past Monday, Facebook has begun adding a “see how you’re affected” tool to the top of affected user’s homepages.

The information was compiled after Facebook users granted a psychological questionnaire, hosted by a website called “This is your life,” access to their Facebook before completing the survey, according to CNN. The data, including location, friend’s information, and things user’s liked, was then sent to Cambridge Analytics.

According to The New York Times, Cambridge Analytics used the collected data to “help build tools that it claimed could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.” The firm obtained the data before 2015, but was hired by Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Records obtained by The New York Times say that about 300,000 people took the survey, but because the survey allowed access to user’s friends information, an estimated 87 million people have been potentially affected.

The new tool that is appearing atop affected user’s homepage is headlined “Protecting your information.” The users see a message explaining that some of their data was misused when Facebook shared it with Cambridge Analytics.

According to CNBC, the ex-CEO of Cambridge Analytics, Alexander Nix, was caught on camera saying that the firm ran all operations for Trump’s campaign. Despite this, Cambridge Analytics is denying any accusations.

Affected users will see a message at the top of their homepage addressing the breach.

Millions of users are appalled by the scandal and have even started a #DeleteFacebook movement. They want to voice their anger about their lack of privacy on the widely-used platform.

Christopher Deason, who owns his own computer business, said, “If I were just working my 9-to-5 at the local bank or whatever, and coming home and getting on Facebook to check on my friends and whatnot, yeah, I would delete Facebook.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify in front of Congress on Wednesday, April 9.

Zuckerberg responds to privacy scandal


Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has found himself under immense pressure to address the safety of Facebook users after The New York Times and The Guardian published an investigation into Cambridge Analytica’s supposed breach of privacy against millions of unknowing Facebook users in 2013.

According to The New York Times, voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica, which engaged in work for the Donald Trump campaign, bought the data of millions of Facebook users under the pretext of “collecting it (data) for academic purposes,” while in reality the company used the information to tailor individual content, with the intent of influencing 2014 midterm elections.

Despite the clear breach of user privacy and unethical use of information, the controversy remains heated in that, technically, Cambridge Analytica was not, in fact, a breach of any Facebook privacy policies at all. It was intentionally deceiving, but its actions were within Facebook’s privacy rules.

Facebook gave permission to University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan to access information of users who downloaded his app “thisisyourdigitallife.” Kogan then turned the information over to Cambridge Analytica, which used this information to allegedly tamper with midterm elections.

Former contractor for Cambridge Anayltica Christopher Wylie exposed the company to The New York Times and The Guardian.

The scandal has raised great concern over Facebook’s seeming lack of privacy regulation and account for user safety, as it is unclear whether Cambridge Analytica’s actions technically broke Facebook’s privacy policies or simply duped the company within its own allowances.

The news media, therefore, has turned to public figure and founder Mark Zuckerberg to respond. Though it is not uncommon for major CEOs to remain behind the scenes in such incidences, Mark Zuckerberg’s public presence and personal branding demands a response from him directly.

Five days following the exposure, Zuckerberg has finally issued a response via Facebook, claiming that user security is of the utmost importance, stating “…if we can’t (protect your data), then we don’t deserve to serve you.”

The statement has been met with mixed responses, most focusing on his line, “The good news is that the most important actions to prevent this from happening again today we have already taken years ago.”

The line contradicts itself; if the steps were taken years ago as he claims, the whole incident would not have occurred in the first place. Supposedly, Facebook began refining its policies in 2014, which would have been just after the incident occurred.

As the speculation into Zuckerberg’s claims continues, the media questions how much the company knew about the information leak, when they knew it and how safe the trailblazing social media platform really is.

Spotify and Apple battle for users


Spotify has been around since 2008, when it was released Ken Parks (the chief content officer from its founding until 2015) was asked ” Why wouldn’t Apple just kill this thing while it’s still in the cradle?” The simple answer to this was: Because Apple probably didn’t think it needed to.

When Spotify first started, Apple’s iTunes store had a dominant position in the music industry when it came to downloads, not streaming. Spotify was competing against less dominating services such as Pandora.

When Apple released a service called Apple Music, it was not viewed as an existential threat. Spotify believed its focus on algorithms to personalize the music experience was a better bet than Apple’s push for human curators.

Although, in 2017 Spotify had a net loss of $1.5 billion, more than double the amount from the prior year. Those losses would once have been unfathomable for a startup, but Spotify was able to raise billions in debt despite them.

Today both Apple Music and Spotify are widely used by people all over. It is a personal choice as to which is more your cup of tea.

Since Spotify has been around longer, there are people who had no interest in using Apple Music when it came out. Although, for Apple enthusiasts who weren’t apart of Spotify, Apple Music became more attractive.

This was reported in a very informative matter displaying facts regarding both companies, which I found useful because I had no idea about Spotify having a decrease in subscriptions. The reporter didn’t side with one company at all.

Melania Trump addresses social media


First Lady Melania Trump delivered a speech about the challenges of American youth at a recent a White House luncheon.

In light of the recent protests by the younger generations of Americans regarding gun control, FLOTUS stressed the fact that children deserve a voice when it comes to these issues. Additionally, she encouraged parents to teach their children positive social media habits.

Many, saw the irony in this remark, as her husband’s social media presence has been anything but positive. And, as highlighted by BBC news, these people took their frustrations to twitter, where her comment about positive social media was ridiculed.

The BBC news article did a great job at providing tweets from Twitter users criticizing Melania’s speech:

These tweets and the others highlighted on the article imply her remarks are ironic given the nature of Donald Trump’s tweets.

However, he is not the only member of the Trump family guilty of negative social media usage.

The article also highlights the fact that Donald Trump Jr, her stepson, liked a post on social media that falsely accused an innocent man of being an “FBI stooge”.

Further, Mrs. Trump has been known for posting risqué pictures to her social media accounts prior to becoming First Lady. Even after her new position, she has been criticized for posting selfies and utilizing Snapchat filters on her posts.

So, the mass criticism of her speech also comes from her own usage of social media, which many believe to not be appropriate for the First Lady of the United States.

More companies cutting ties with NRA


In the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., many companies have cut ties with the NRA.

Gun control activists have been increasing the pressure on companies to end their relationships with the NRA. The list of companies that have done so includes major airlines such as United and Delta and rental car services such as Hertz.

Much of the pressure being put on companies is happening on Twitter. Twitter users have been tweeting at companies asking them to publicly state their stance on the NRA and to reevaluate their relationships with the NRA in light of the NRA’s pushback on strengthened gun control legislation.

Many of the companies have been using Twitter to make these announcements, which makes sense given that much of the pressure to cut ties is happening on Twitter. Many articles covering this developing story have included screenshots or links to tweets from the various companies that have cut ties.

I find that including the tweet is more visually appealing than simply copying and pasting the company’s statement into quotes for the text of the story. Including the screenshot also allows readers to see if the tweet was in response to a user or a stand-alone tweet, which is a detail that some readers want to know.

Michelle Obama to release second book


“Becoming,” a memoir by former first lady Michelle Obama will be released on Nov. 13. After much anticipation, the announcement was made on Feb. 25 by Penguin Random House. “Becoming” will be published by Crown, an imprint at Penguin Random House. Crown obtained the rights to publish the memoir worldwide.

According to The New York Times, Crown said that the memoir will touch on topics like Obama’s experience in the White House, as a mother of two, on her campaign on public health and more.

CNN reported that Penguin Random House said that the Obama’s memoir is “an unusually intimate reckoning from a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations — and whose story inspires us to do the same.”

Courtesy of Michelle Obama via Twitter.

Obama said via her Twitter account that the memoir was a “deeply personal experience” to her.

According to the The New York Times, “Becoming” will be published in 24 languages.

Read by Obama herself, audio versions will also be published. The former first lady will donate a million copies of the memoir to First Book, a nonprofit based in Washington. First Book helps children get access to books and educational resources in the U.S. and Canada.

CNN also included that Penguin Random House said that the memoir will sell for $32.50 in the U.S. When the release day comes around, Obama will promote Becoming through an international tour.

This will be Obama’s second book. “American Grown” was published in 2012. The book encourages healthy living and talks about the White House Kitchen Garden.

Parkland continues to dominate news


More than a week later, the mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High in Parkland, Fla., continues to be the biggest talking point for most news organizations.

A quick visit to CNN or The New York Time’s websites will reflect this, as the stories closest to the top of the page and in the biggest fonts are related to Parkland. Even stories about the Winter Olympics or new developments from the Mueller probe into the Russia investigation, stories that at any other point in time would eat up most of the space on the homepage of any news organization, have not been garnering the same attention as any of the stories related to the Parkland shooting.

This is a typical occurrence with mass shootings. Tragedies such as these come as shocks to the community and to the country as a whole and we find ourselves unable to turn away our attention from the aftermath. Writing and profiles of victims and survivors become a means of paying respect to them.

Another aspect of mass shootings that keeps them in the news is the political debate over gun control and mental health that always follows. Some recent examples of this are the stories on the chief of the NRA attacking Democrats about their gun control stance and Trump’s suggestion that we let teachers be armed and incentivize them to carry guns with a bonus. Many marches and demonstrations have happened, and more are being planned, each one garnering coverage.

Details continue to emerge about the shooting, consistently reigniting interest in the story and leading to more stories. For example, a recent look at the police response found that an armed school resource deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School never went into the building where the killer was, drawing intense criticism. The deputy has since been suspended following an internal investigation.

Fergie bashed for national anthem effort


Fergie’s performance at the NBA All-Star game has received so much negativity and has been described as “cringe worthy, laughable, and my friends drunk mom acting sexy.” Roseanne Barr also mocked her saying her own rendition of the song in her 1990 performance was “low key better.” The singer took the responsibility into her own hands by sincerely apologizing for her artistic risks and explained she tried her best.

Even the NBA players were unable to contain themselves, as it was evident during the performance. Players including Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Matt Dollinger, were ones who proved their problems with the performance, as they laughed and made faces throughout. Fergie has always been known to put her own kick into her music, making her stand out as an individualistic artist who has proven to sing from her own soul. Apparently, this was not good enough for everyone.

Every report of this performance has been nothing but disgraceful and hurtful towards Fergie. She has been respected as not only a performer but also a person. She is real, successful, and different. Singers are ridiculed for being too bland and for being too “risky?” The backlash of her performance can be understandable to a certain point, but the coverage of the situation is unnecessary.

Albeit it is the national anthem, but if the NBA is all about respect, how is it that the players are allowed to laugh during the performance of this “sacred” anthem? The players are free to laugh, talk, and ridicule the performance and performer of the national anthem? Reports need to also focus on the mutual respect between the performer and the players. What needs to be done is for whatever incident occurs, it needs to be taken seriously and in a fair manner. For players to be tweeting and mocking Fergie as she apologizes for the incident, just seems like the system is rigged and the players are bullies.

It is 2018, crazier things have happened. Having such a well-liked and respected woman perform the national anthem, should be the automatic point made to not ridicule her. However, if there are going to be rude comments given, they should come from both sides.

Parkland focus turns to mental health


On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed at yet another school shooting by former student of the school. This time it was Nikolas Cruz at Stoneman Douglas High School. This is the 18th one of the kind this year and Americans are getting fed up of the gun violence and wonder when it will end.

An image has been circulating on social media in which the words “thoughts & prayers” are crossed off and replaced by the words “policy & change.”

This differs greatly from the way America has responded to these incidents in the past.

Rather than the usual tone of remaining positive, people are calling out politicians and demanding change. The president, along with many news media outlets, has decided to, once more, ignore the gun issue and give the incident the completely wrong focus.

As reported by The New York Times, POTUS tweeted about the mental state of the shooter a few hours before he formally addressed the public.Later during his formal speech, he also failed to mention gun control. Instead he continued to focus on mental health.

Similarly, an article on the Miami New Times the next day makes mention of the mental state of Cruz.

Although the article mainly focuses on how someone in that psychological state is able to get their hands on such deadly weapons, the mention of his mental health seems unnecessary when there are bigger problems at stake.

In this instance, the shooter had mental health issues but the reality of it is that many of the people responsible for these types of massacres do not. While mental health should be addressed when looking at these issues, that is an issue in itself that should not obstruct the gun debate.

Both the news media and American politicians need to focus on the real issue instead, which is the unnecessarily high accessibility to weapons in this country.

Shaun White and backlash culture


One of the most well-known American Winter Olympic athletes, 31-year-old snowboarder Shaun White, accomplished an amazing feat on Wednesday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, producing an electrifying final run in the men’s halfpipe to leapfrog Japan’s 19-year-old phenom Ayumu Hirano to capture his third gold medal in four Olympics.

The feat itself was a story, but the media storm in the aftermath of White’s gold medal victory was just as intriguing, and indicative of the current level of backlash in our society. Nowadays, it’s only a matter of time before the backlash comes, regardless of how beloved a figure may seem at the time.

In this case, it came almost immediately via social media. Many athletes and celebrities took to Twitter to congratulate White on his accomplishment, but some questioned whether we should be celebrating a man who was accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that was eventually settled out of court.

In the ongoing #MeToo culture, many prominent faces have come into question, leading to trepidations among people who call themselves fans of the accused. It’s an interesting moral quandary. If your favorite celebrity has been accused of sexual misconduct of some kind, should your feelings toward them change?

Some might say that they won’t give their support to anybody who may have sexually harassed another person. Others might say that accusations aren’t proof, or if a person was convicted,  it’s totally separate from their exploits in their field, and those exploits can still be enjoyed. It’s certainly a point of contention, and one that will be brought up repeatedly as more prominent figures have dirt dug up about their pasts.

Curiously, NBC chose to cut to figure skating in lieu of interviewing possibly the greatest snowboarder ever after one of the greatest feats in his career, so the first comments we heard from White came in the press conference which followed the medal ceremony. The media members there began to question him about the 2016 lawsuit, and if it might tarnish his legacy. He said he preferred not to speak about what he called “gossip,” understandably wanting to focus on his tremendous win. That comment brought a whole new wave of backlash, and he issued an apology for his wording on an appearance on NBC’s Today later Wednesday.

That just illustrates how strong the backlash cycle can be: within a few hours, White won a gold medal, faced an initial onslaught of backlash (and a fair amount of praise, to be fair), responded to it, then faced another onslaught of backlash for his response to the backlash. On one hand, who can blame White for wanting to talk only about the Olympics in the afterglow of his win? On the other, it’s fair for people to call him into question in light of the scandal. It’s a huge gray area, and one that won’t be made black or white anytime soon.

Kylie Jenner anounces baby’s name


On Feb. 4, reality star and socialite Kylie Jenner announced she gave birth to her daughter whose name has been revealed to be Stormi.

Had this been any other celebrity, the reaction of the public would’ve been very different from what was seen on Sunday. This is due to the levels of information that came with the announcement and the dramatization of such.

After nine months of the 20-year-old neither confirming nor denying her pregnancy, Jenner broke the news to her fans on her Instagram account through a post explaining why and apologizing for keeping her pregnancy a secret. She followed this post with an excerpt from a YouTube video following her journey.

On the post she explains, “My pregnancy was one [journey] I chose not to do in front of the world. I knew for myself I needed to prepare for this role of a lifetime in the most positive, stress free, and healthy way I knew how.”

Placed No. 3 on the list of trending videos for YouTube, the video has more than three million views already.

It has received this much attention because the video not only confirmed the rumors of Jenner’s pregnancy but, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, it also informed the public that rapper Travis Scott is the baby’s father.

Additionally, the video is also the first public appearance of Kim Kardashian’s youngest daughter, Chicago West.

The amount of information that the 11:32 video shared is certainly not all it has to offer. It’s dramatic tone and the sentimentality it conveys has caused even the people who don’t necessarily keep up with the Kardashians to be talking about it since it came out.

This, in addition to the fact that the news were released on Super Bowl day, brings to attention the true motive behind a secret pregnancy and whether or not she kept it secret for the reasons she stated.

Having been in the spotlight for more than 10 years, the Kardashians have become masters at playing with the news media to their own benefit of promotion and this situation could be another reflection of this.