Taking in all the Super Bowl has to offer


The Super Bowl is the single-best sporting event. Period.

Although I prefer basketball to football, there’s just some magic to the Super Bowl that can’t be topped. It’s the culmination of four consecutive win-or-go-home playoff rounds, and the fact that there’s always a reasonable chance that any of half a dozen or so teams can win the championship when the postseason begins makes the NFL Playoffs totally enthralling, and the Super Bowl is the dramatic conclusion.

One of my favorite aspects of the Super Bowl is the hyper-detailed coverage of everything surrounding it. Every year, my favorite podcast duo, Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal (of “Jimmy Kimmel” fame), puts out my favorite podcast episode of the year — the Super Bowl prop bets. While I don’t gamble, hearing the minutiae of the things that can be wagered on — from as normal as the point spread to as insane as how many times Tom Brady’s wife will be shown on the broadcast.

Then comes media day, which is basically a free-for-all. Media members from around the world gather to speak to players and coaches, all of whom are available to talk. My favorite coverage from this event has to be from people like NFL Network’s Dave Dameshek and Guillermo, again from “Kimmel.”

Both personalities have a similar schtick: going around to the players and coaches and asking them ridiculous questions like, “Is this a must-win game?” It’s always entertaining, and it’s great to see all the personalities of the players and coaches shine through as they get more exposure.

Best of all, of course, is the game itself, but I love what comes after almost as much. Even if the team I’m not rooting for wins, reading all the stories that come out of the players’ reactions to the ultimate team accomplishment in pro football makes me love being a sports fan.

Media members who are fortunate enough to be in the winning team’s locker room post-game, like The Ringer’s Robert Mays, always come up with great anecdotes. Mays pointed out one thing that really stuck with me. It was Malcolm Jenkins, a nine-year veteran and the undisputed leader of the Eagles, just sitting at his locker, holding the Lombardi Trophy. Mays said that Jenkins was cradling it like a baby, just staring at the silver football, “as if there was a deeper meaning to be held in the metal.”

It’s these innocent, purely human moments that are unique to football’s biggest stage. The sheer amount of media attention means that as fans we know more about the match-up, the players, and the legacies at stake than any other game. With only one game to cover, there’s hardly an angle that’s missed.

These guys work so hard, and put in so much effort, that no matter who you root for, it’s hard not to smile when you see just how much this accomplishment means to them. There’s something about seeing some of the toughest men in the world break down from winning a game that makes me appreciate the magic of sports. There’s nothing like it, and the detailed coverage means that we can see every tiny, beautiful moment.

Bitcoin surpasses expectations


On Wednesday, Nov. 29, Bitcoin, a virtual currency, surpassed the $11,000 mark for the first time. Hours later, the value of Bitcoin dropped by nearly $2,000.

Although the current valuation is nearly $10,000 for each Bitcoin, this shows a hefty return of more than 1,000 percent this year alone. This rise and fall shows not only the power of virtual data, but also the extreme volatility of it as well.

Today’s mass media represents a marketplace where all consumers want to feel represented and connected. This has opened a paradigm where people want to be involved in all things trendy – adjusting diets to be trendy, adjusting products used because they are trendy and adjusting lifestyles based on trendy material seen online.

This virtual paradigm causes a new level on inflation and growth that hasn’t been experienced in the past. Even 10 years ago, a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin would not have been successful, let alone making new millionaires.

The news media love to follow things that are relevant and Bitcoin has been no exception. All business journals and mainstay news networks alike have covered the swift rise in Bitcoin popularity and value.

Although not everyone is an expert on currency trading or this new category of currency, it is a trend that has been supported as such. News media coverage and influence has led to the rise and popularity, but with the uncertainty of all trends, Bitcoin may not be on the rise forever.

Times takes deeper look at musicals


This morning, New York Times writer Michael Paulson released a lengthy piece about what he calls “’The Lion King’ Effect.” The work featured both article text and multimedia presentation, including extensive photographs and video, and gave readers a deeper look into the effects of the popular musical on the South African performers who have taken on roles in the signature production.

When I saw the story, I immediately clicked on it, because it was something different. The piece took something I was already familiar with and offered a new, deeper angle that pushed me to continue reading. Every other lead story on The New York Times’ landing page was about politics, or war, or scandal. This was unique and exciting: original content that I wasn’t going to find everywhere else.

The article itself was very well written. It was structured logically, with larger headings to sections that were comparable to the “Snow Fall” multimedia piece that was done by Times reporters several years ago. While this piece was much shorter, it still offered a variety of images to pair with the reading. Major characters in the story were shown in large, full-screen photographs in costume, and the pairing allowed readers to really identify with their personal stories, myself included.

I also enjoyed how the story immersed the reader in separate stories without convoluting them. Each personal story was distinctly separate from the others, with images, text and investigation of its own merit. This allowed me to stay focused on the story I was reading, without confusing details between the different people involved.

The video was a great addition to the story because it provided a visual representation of life backstage at one of “The Lion King” shows, which was essential to understanding the mindset that these performers have in that situation. All of the work that goes into the journey of these people, the success, the tragedies, the constant effort – everything leads to this moment of the makeup being applied, the curtain lifting, and the triumphant chant that opens the show.

Air Force racist slur graffiti hoaxed


The news media and those on social media jumped all over a story from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs of five black students reporting racial slurs posted outside their dormitory rooms.

Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria’s speech to cadets denouncing racism then received incredible enthusiasm and went viral. And yet, the circumstances that generated the passionate speech have been proven fabricated.

The Air Force Academy said on Tuesday that one of the cadets who was targeted by the racist remarks was in fact the perpetrator of the act.

While hoaxes of racist bigotry may be few and far between, they are certainly energized by the mainstream media who more often than not jumps all over stories like this one. When the media sees an opportunity like the one at the Air Force Academy, they latch on and ride it for days. They utilize the story to revamp attention on a supposedly racist America and divide people by their ideologies and cultural backgrounds.

The news media is obsessed with racial division.

Especially in this case, but certainly in other cases of hoaxed racism, the news media is complicit in failing to allow the truth to surface. If news media outlets had allowed a proper investigation of the situation by Air Force Academy administration before hyping up this story, the embarrassing turnaround here would only be on the perpetrator, not the news media as well. But they didn’t.

Like so many cases like this one, especially the rare hoaxes, news media hype and plain excitement to rile up this sense of American division and white vs. black is obvious.

It is unfortunate that people feel the need to post racist remarks directed at their own race in order to raise attention to a cause or simply garner pity. It is equally unfortunate when the news media encourages this and seeks to generate excess division.

New media: Inform, discuss, educate


In the middle of the huge competition and fight between news media to become the leading newspaper for readers, newspapers offer new services that have been previously unnecessary .

As I pointed in one of my past posts, online newspapers use new tools as Virtual Reality to offer a new experience of the same service. But that’s not enough now.

As a result, The Washington Post tries to differ from the competitors providing a service called “Washington Post Live.” It’s described as “the newsroom’s live journalism platform.” It’s a platform where legitimate voices of different fields discuss the main issues that concern the citizenship.

The service is based on live programs about some contemporary topics, but not necessarily related to breaking news. The procedure to attend is free and just requires a pre-registration. And for those people that cannot attend in person, they can subscribe to receive a notification and watch it streaming.

This open knowledge almost plays a public service role participating in the audience’s education.

If we assume that one of the duties of the news media is to inform the readers about issues that can impact their lives, we can claim that this platform contributes to achieving it. Also, it contributes to the democracy because an informed public serves democracy the best.

Photo by Esther Vargas

For example, the last program was the 8th of November about Cybersecurity: Personal Privacy in a Digital World and the next one will be on Nov. 14 about the transformation of American cities to adapt to demographic, economic and technological changes.

The Washington Post is a sample of how a newspaper without neglecting its main informative priorities, such as breaking news, can cover other important topics that most of the times don’t create break news by themselves, but they’re enough important to be known by the society. And meanwhile, The Post creates a discussion space and empowers every single listener.

Sex scandals, accusations continue


It has been a month filled with accusations of sexual misconduct for many high-profile individuals in the entertainment industry, with multiple scandals emerging. Victims seemed to gain the confidence and will to speak out about the abuses they endured, following a New York Times piece that followed the misconduct of Harvey Weinstein. The article cataloged his trail of abuses and paying off victims for decades, with clear supporting evidence. Weinstein was later removed from his own company, following a public scandal in the wake of the devastating story.

Next came an accusation against Kevin Spacey, star of Netflix’s breakout original series, House of Cards. Actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of assaulting him 31 years ago, when Rapp was only 14 years of age. Spacey denied any recollection of the alleged event, releasing an apology for what he says, “would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.” Spacey went on to publicly come out as gay, vowing to live “honestly and openly” and to examine his behavior.

Netflix suspended the star from his show, ultimately deciding to suspend production of the show indefinitely. Since the initial report, multiple men have also come forward against Spacey. Just yesterday, Heather Unruh, a former TV news anchor in Boston, accused Spacey of assaulting her son in 2016, when he was 18.

In the most recent of the scandals, five women are accusing Louis C.K. of various separate incidents of sexual misconduct during the past several years. All of the allegations revolve around the comedian masturbating without their consent, whether over the phone or in person. C.K. or his publicist have not yet commented publicly on the issue, and this story has yet to fully develop.

News media outlets have done a good job covering these delicate issues, being careful with language choices so as not to paint an inaccurate picture of the allegations. The New York Times, in particular, has done an outstanding job keeping information straight and making sure to remain unbiased in the handling of these complex situations.

Pending answers on Niger attack


The U.S. Department of Defense continues to investigate a more accurate account of events for the attacks in Niger.

On Oct. 3, 12 members of the U.S. Special Operations Task Force and 30 Nigerian forces left Niger’s capital, Niamey, to travel to a small village near Tongo Tongo, to complete a mission for the purpose of gaining information. The following day, U.S. soldiers and the Nigerien forces were ambushed by an Isis-affiliated group composed of 50 attackers.

Two hours after the attack, French Mirage jets came to assist the soldiers. Questions remain about why the soldiers waited an hour into the fight to call for help.

“But it’s important to note that when they didn’t ask for support for that first hour, my judgment would be that that unit thought they could handle the situation without additional support,” said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford during a briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. “And so, what we’ll find out in the investigation exactly why it took an hour for them to call.”

Information is still pending about why the mission in Niger went wrong, leaving four U.S. soldiers dead, two soldiers injured and five Nigerien troops dead.

Even after the most updated timeline of events were released, it is uncertain why fallen solider Sgt. David Johnson’s body was left unrecovered for two days.

“We owe the families of the fallen more information and that’s what the investigation is designed to identify,” said Dunford.

The U.S. Africa Command is continuing a thorough investigation of what happened.

Allegations against Weinstein continue


30 women have come forward to confirm sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

Stories of assault from women who interacted with one of the most powerful men in Hollywood have been circulating the media since October 5th, when the New York Times shed light on a crime that has been terrorizing women for decades. Three of the thirty women that have come forward about Weinstein’s advances go as far as defining the violation as rape.

The New York Police Department is further investigating claims of assault made by women who worked with the co-founder of the production-and-distribution companies Miramax and Weinstein Company. This was no surprise to the N.Y.P.D., who had a secret recording of Weinstein apologizing to a model after admitting to groping her outside of a hotel room. It was determined that the recording did not supply sufficient evidence against Weinstein.

“Our sex-crime prosecutors made the determination that this was not going to be a provable case and the decision was made not to go forward,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. when questioned about the recording.

Previously received reports accusing Weinstein of sexual assault are now being used as evidence in reviewing the case.

“We are focused on the facts, not if people liked Harvey,” said the DA.

Several actors have come forward with statements about the abuse of power in the film industry. Reports of Weinstein’s abuse were overlooked even though suspicions circulated around Hollywood for years.

“Why weren’t people able to speak out in the way they wanted to?” said Film producer Elizabeth Karlsen in a detailed interview.

She goes further to explain that the inability of entertainers to speak up about this sort of behavior is one of the worst and unspoken issues in the industry and has to end.

“This behavior toward women in any field, any country is unacceptable,” said Angelina Jolie, who is a director and well-known actress and worked with Harvey in the 90s. She too spoke up about the producer’s advances.

Weinstein’s career at the Weinstein company has been terminated and he has issued a public apology for his inappropriate behavior. However, he has not admitted to any allegations of assault. Meanwhile police investigation continues.

Las Vegas coverage evolves by hour


Over the past week, the world has reacted to the gruesome Las Vegas Massacre, cited as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. In its wake, there has also been intense scrutiny into the man behind the attack, Stephen Paddock, and his potential motives.

News coverage of the event has been very high, as expected due to the magnitude of the attacks and the public interest in seeing the story develop. A renewed battle for gun control has also been sparked, with social media biting on both sides of the controversial issue.

In following the story for several days, two things have stood out to me: how the information has changed so rapidly, and each news organization has approached putting the story together in a unique way.

First, there were two people dead. Then ten. Then 20, 30, 40. The number was different with each new article until the final toll was reached, with hundreds more injured. Information about the shooter was unknown, or even if there were more than one.

There were unconfirmed reports that ISIS had taken credit for the attacks. What we saw were news organizations trying to get information out to the public that craved them, without having enough time to properly verify it. In some cases, accurate information was unknown, and could only be speculated.

I also noticed that, while each organization was telling the same basic information, they had different ways of drawing in potential readers. The Washington Post highlighted that “new details have emerged,” while The New York Times chose to focus on the “cryptic clues” and the “vexing and terrifying mystery” behind Paddock’s motivation for the massacre.

Either way, the methods of differentiation made each story slightly different than the previous, ensuring that readers had to check out all of them to understand fully.

’13 Reasons Why’ addresses teen issues


Netflix released its new original series “13 Reasons Why” last Friday and, yes, I binge-watched it. The series is based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher, which follows around Clay Jensen and his quest to uncover the truth about why his friend and crush, Hannah Baker, committed suicide.

The series starts off with Clay coming home to a mysterious box with his name on it. Inside the box, are cassette tapes recorded by Hannah leaving detailed stories dedicated to specific people about why she decided to take her life. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend that you do. It’s a great show and will definitely pull at your heart strings with its intense emotional content.

Personally, I think this series is great and I’m glad it’s generating a lot of buzz because it sheds a lot of light about the issues teenagers deal with everyday in high school. It gives you a real portrayal of how high school can be for some students. It shows just how bad things can get between bullying, friendships that end in betrayal, rumors, and loneliness. Basically all things that pushed Hannah to take her own life.

If you have a heart and soul, than you can definitely empathize with Hannah Baker’s tragic decision, and Clay’s need to try to make things right for her even though it is already too late.

This story shows that each of us need to hold ourselves accountable to being a good person, because we never know what a person is going through or how much they can take. I don’t want to give away anything for those who haven’t watched it, but this story can definitely serve as a fictional cautionary tale about why we need to treat others with kindness and respect.

Tommi Lahren sues The Blaze


Tommi Lahren is an outspoken conserve commentator that formally worked for Glenn Beck and has filed suit against The Blaze for ” wrongful termination.”

“The suit, filed in Texas Friday, alleges that Beck and The Blaze got rid of Lahren and her nightly talk show due to her making pro-choice comments on “The View” last month,” CNN reported.

Her comment on the view was “I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government, but I think the government should decide what women do with their bodies,” she said on the broadcast.

It was because of this comment that she was let go from her job and was informed that she would have no more shows.

She is not one to do nothing about it so she exclaimed in a tweet that “playing dead,” isn’t her style so she has decided to sue for wrongful termination.

Lahren may not have a lot of people on her side, but she will stop at nothing to get her voice heard.

She is certainly relentless and her strong conservative beliefs will take charge as she tries to win her case on wrongful termination.

Whether or not this is news is debatable, however her comment on the view caused a lot of uproar as it can be considered extremely inappropriate or even incorrect.

News media say ‘protect trans kids’


Earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s administration took back a policy that allowed transgender children in public schools to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they identify with. This policy originated in then-President Obama’s administration to protect trans kids on a federal level.

Now that this policy has been taken away, it is up to state government to manage the safety of transgender individuals.

The U.S. Supreme Court in March will be hearing a case that’s result will affect the future of the transgender community. The case involves a 17-year-old who is fighting to use the boy’s restroom at his public school in Virginia.

Without Obama’s reasoning, Title IX, all previous cases involving transgender people and bathrooms are being brought into legal questioning.

Many news media outlets, such as the Huffington Post and the Guardian covered this major event by Trump’s administration. Both articles stressed that it’s up to the public to educate itself and to stand up for minority groups whose voices cannot be heard.

Celebrities and other social media influencers responded to this event on Instagram and Twitter by posting a picture of the words “protect trans kids.” This small act done by many people quickly spread the word.

I think there is an under representation on the issue at hand in the news media.

Super Bowl Ads send a message


If you watched the 2017 Super Bowl LI, then you probably saw how some of the Super Bowl commercials took a political stance. It’s clear that President Trump’s policies and his overall views on politics, sparked ideas for many big-name companies to show which side they stand on.

Audi used its 60-second commercial spot to speak about gender equality. Starting the commercial off with the words “What will I tell my daughter?” with an image of the narrator’s daughter in a soap-box car race.

The commercial continues on with the young girl racing against boys and her “dad” doing the voiceover asking questions like “Do I tell her despite her education, her drive, her skills, her intelligence, she will automatically be valued as less than every man she ever meets?”, to bring up key issues with gender equal in America.

The commercial then ends with him saying “or maybe I’ll be able to tell her something different” and Audi stating their stance on equal pay by letting viewers know that “Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work.”

Airbnb decided to highlight Trump’s anti-immigration ban and show that they are against it. The commercial shows the faces of real human beings of different gender, race, sexuality, and religion with the words “We believe no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful when you accept.” When Airbnb originally purchased its ad-spot, it had a different concept in mind. But because of Donald Trump’s travel ban, they were inspired to take a stance and send the message “We Accept” to everyone watching the Super Bowl LI.

Despite everything that is going wrong in America, it is comforting to know that companies we know, love and trust, do not share the same views with a president who causes so much hate and mistrust in a country that is suppose to be free and full of love.

LGBTQ groups on TV is at record high


A recent study conducted by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, entitled “Where We are on TV,” found that LGBTQ representation on television is at a record-high.

With rising awareness of the under-representation of these groups in the media and on television, a multitude of large news media organizations reported on the study’s findings.

However, a majority of the news media sources that reported on these findings failed to mention the under-representation of other groups. For example, the GLAAD study found that people of color and women are extremely underrepresented on television, especially when compared to the percentage of the population these two groups account for.

While this year’s report marks a record-high percentage of black series regulars on broadcast (20 percent), black women remain underrepresented at only 38 percent of all black series regular characters.

The study also found that, this year, 44 percent of regular characters on prime-time broadcast programming are women, which is an increase of one percentage point from last year but still greatly under-represents women who make up 51 percent of the population.

I realize that race, and sometimes gender, are sensitive subjects, and that the under-representation of people of color in many facets of our society has been a topic of discussion for long enough, which may explain why media outlets such as BBC decided to focus on more positive aspects of the GLAAD annual report.

However, without attention to these issues from large media conglomerates, how is the under-representation of these groups expected to improve?

While still failing to include the GLAAD findings on the under-representation of people of color and women, CNN’s report on the GLAAD study did note that, although GLAAD found “there are more LGBTQ characters on broadcast then ever before,” 25 queer female characters across all platforms (broadcast, cable and streaming) have died since the start of 2016.

“Most of these deaths served no other purpose than to further the narrative of a more central (and often straight, cisgender) character,” Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president and CEO said in a press release.

“When there are so few lesbian and bisexual women on television, the decision to kill these characters in droves sends a toxic message about the worth of queer female stories,” Ellis would add.

Of the three sources listed, The Guardian was the only one that mentioned the scarcity of women of color on television, noting that “Black women have an especially difficult time breaking into the industry as they make up only 38% of all black series characters. Despite the overall increase, LGBTQ characters remain overwhelmingly white. The report found this was particularly true on cable and streaming services, where regular and recurring LGBTQ characters were 72% and 71% white respectively.”

Although The Guardian gives readers an extremely well-rounded report on the GLAAD study, the reporting done by other media outlets begs the question: Which parts of the study are important to the news media and, more importantly, why?

Media monarch lives on after death


One of this week’s top news stories focuses on someone who used to lead the news by reporting it.

Gwen Ifill, former co-host of PBS NewsHour, died on Monday at age 61.

Ifill dominated the world of news media and politics, having covered the White House, Congress and many national campaigns over the course of her career. The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and PBS all hold spaces on her impressive resume.

Another impressive accomplishment, Ifill broke glass ceilings before it was cool. She began her journalism career in the 1970s, a time when white men ruled the newsrooms, as an African American woman. And she didn’t stop there.

More recently, she became half of the first network nightly news female co-anchor team with Judy Woodruff on PBS.

According to her family, Ifill’s death was related to uterine cancer.

Ifill as a news media monarch is still ruling the news today. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and more paid tribute to Ifill with headlines and stories this week.

“I got my first job by exceeding expectations,” Ifill said in an interview with the Archive of American Television in 2011.

Ifill changed journalism with her acclaimed work and dedication, and helped pave the way for females and minorities now and for years to come.

Trump cuts into Clinton’s lead


With Election Day four days away, the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has tightened significantly.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Clinton now has a 66 percent chance of winning the presidency, down from 86 percent in the middle of October.

Trump’s resurgence can be attributed to FBI Director James Comey, who wrote a letter to Congress indicating that the FBI was reviewing more of Clinton’s emails. Comey wrote that, while the investigation has been reopened, it is unknown whether or not the emails contain any relevant information.

Comey was chastised by the news media, Democrats and even some Republicans for interfering with the presidential race so close to Election Day.

Daniel Richman, an adviser to Comey, criticized the news media for blowing the letter out of proportion. Richman argued that the letter explicitly expressed the uncertainty of the case and that the news media took the information out of context.

“It would be really nice if members of the media and members of the public realized that there’s a real possibility that there will be duplicates,” Richman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “Since they haven’t been checked, the bureau can’t say, but we can guess from the outside.”

Richman’s argument, while logical, ignores the fact that the news media has an obligation to report on issues relevant to the public.

Considering the amount of uncertainty in the case, Comey should have kept the information within the FBI and written the letter after determining whether or not there was significant information. The news media is not to blame; the vague, ambiguous letter is itself misleading to the public.

Comey’s letter and its subsequent coverage has impacted voters who already consider Clinton to be untrustworthy. In addition, it has distracted voters from the sexual harassment allegations that nearly sunk the Trump campaign in October.

Convergence of news media platforms


Beginning Nov. 14, the Wall Street Journal will debut a new version of its print edition after a decline in print advertising.

The paper will combine different sections due to a reduction in pages.

The Business & Tech and Money & Investing sections will be combined into one section. Likewise, the art, lifestyle, sports and cultural news will be incorporated into a section dubbed Life & Arts. Futhermore, the Greater New York section will be minimized in size.

The Wall Street Journal‘s move is not unlike other print-based news media. The decline in print advertising is affecting newspapers across the nation. Companies are investing more time and energy into digital platforms and less in print publications.

Although there will always be a market for print, it is necessary for print news media to adapt to the trends of the time. Because digital platforms are increasing in popularity, companies need to develop new techniques to deliver stories to their audiences.

The issue with online news, however, is that the editing process can be mitigated. Online news media are published with the immediacy that readers expect, but often not for the better. Although sites can update articles in an instant, the issue of posting inaccurate information increases with digital news media in comparison to print (which is edited thoroughly).

On the other hand, focusing more on digital platform can allow for companies to invest more in content. Page numbers are no longer a problem, cross collaboration happens in an instant and articles can be updated with new information.

As long as news sources continue to produce quality content, investing in online endeavors may be the only thing companies can do to survive in the modern media world.

Miami Heat begin new season


The 2016-17 NBA season began this week and with it comes a whole new set of narratives. Perhaps most relevant to the city of Miami, is the expectation for the Heat.

This season symbolizes the first year of life without any of the “Big Three.” With LeBron James winning a title in Cleveland, Dwyane Wade choosing to represent his hometown Chicago Bulls, and Chris Bosh’s career being in doubt due to blood clots, the core of one of the most dominant NBA teams in recent memory has disassembled.

As a result, the Heat is expected to enter a transition period in which they struggle. According to NBA experts in Las Vegas, Miami is expected to win about 36 games — 12 less than last year.

Many pundits and prominent news media members have picked the Heat to miss out on the playoffs entirely. ESPN’s Amin Elhassan, for example, bluntly stated that he believes the team “isn’t very good.” This is in stark contrast with what Elhassan thought of last year’s roster — one he picked to reach the NBA finals.

These are just a few examples of the overwhelming negativity surrounding the team’s prospects for this season. There is, however, one rather distinguished voice backing the Heat to surprise some people.

Notorious Boston Celtics fan and self-proclaimed Miami sports hater Bill Simmons has picked the Heat to not only make the playoffs, but be a six-seed in the East.

Simmons’ endorsement, while surprising, is credible. He points to the team’s core of  Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow as an exciting one with incredible potential – especially on the defensive end.

Though there is no way to know which side of the prediction spectrum will be more accurate, Miami natives will be hoping it falls closer to Simmons’ end.

Good deed goes unnoticed by media


Unfortunately, good deeds and good news often go unnoticed by larger news media organizations as these touching stories are often overshadowed by the hard, political news we are accustomed to seeing when we turn on the TV.

However, acts of goodwill and selflessness that serve to better a community should never go unnoticed, as service gives way to change and the betterment of the collective.

So that is why when I got wind of the generous and benevolent efforts of an elderly Canadian couple, I couldn’t dare keep it to myself.

Rick and Donna Wanless, the owners of a 25-acre farm in New Westminster, Canada, have decided to extend the use of their land to veterans and first responders suffering from PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

In partnership with a local housing project, known as Honor House, the couple plans to turn part of their farm into a sanctuary for Canadian first responders and veterans dealing with PTSD.

Honor House, also native to New Westminster, provides individuals facing PTSD a place to stay with their families while they seek treatment and rehab in nearby areas.

The farm, which will be named Honor Ranch after Honor House, will offer programs geared towards rehabilitating those veterans and first responders, and Rick says that he hopes the project will provide a bit of an escape from the everyday rigors of life.

Rick, a retired teacher, developed the idea following his encounter with first responders who rescued him after he fell of his horse. With a broken pelvis and some down time, Rick had some time to think, and says that his accident helped him realize what a great help these individuals can be.

Rick is hoping that those individuals battling with PTSD will use the ranch as a retreat, where they could camp, fish and do some boating.

Personally, I find it upsetting to note that this story of goodwill was not covered by any major news networks such as Fox, CNN, or MSNBC, as these networks need to do a better job of covering positive news, even if it’s only a short piece once daily.

Goodnewsnetwork.org along with Otherbuzz.com were the only two sites as of Wednesday that had written their own stories in reference to the project, and given the Wanless’ sacrifice and dedication to service, I hoped that there would be a little more coverage on the project.

However, although the noteworthy project has not gained the media attention it deserves, once the New Westminster Fire Department got word of the development, they offered to contribute by building a 300 square foot cottage on the property.

Although news is meant to be informative, I believe that news is often too negative and, sometimes, amid the daily chaos, we need something positive to remind us that this world is not all bad, a fact that is too easy to forget.

NFL’s television ratings decline


The NFL’s ratings have been on the decline for the 2016-17 season. People have blamed this on the ugly on-field product that it has produced this far, the outspokenness of its players and how the league has been handling celebrations.

The Seahawks versus Cardinals game is a perfect example of how the NFL’s on-field product is deteriorating. This game was billed as the game of the week and had a prime-time spot on television to show for it. And what did we get? A sloppy, turnover-filled affair that ended in a 6-6 tie. No touchdowns were even scored. Disappointments like that lead to people not watching NFL games.

The public has also been turned off by the fact that so many of NFL players have decided to protest the national anthem.

People see this and decide not to watch because they do not believe the NFL deserves their money if its players don’t support our country. Broadcasts have stopped focusing on players protesting the anthem and, I am sure, a big reason why is because it is starting to lose money.

The last major thing contributing to the NFL’s ratings plunge is how the league is dealing with touchdown celebrations. The league hands down punishments like it is candy when players are celebrating in the end zone. These are often some of the best parts of the game and replayed on highlight reels all week yet the NFL seeks to discourage them. That is bad for business.

To make matters worse for the NFL, the NBA, the NFL’s cooler, tech savvy cousin, has just started its new season and that will make ratings drop even further as they have to compete with another sport for the rest of the year.