Snarky article slams black hole image


Yesterday saw one of the greatest scientific achievements of the decade: the first direct photograph of a black hole. Specifically, the photograph showed the supermassive black hole located in the center of Messier 87, a galaxy 53 million light years away from Earth. Previously, any representation of black holes were artists renderings. This photograph, taken by a network of connected telescopes entitled the Event Horizon Telescope, represents a major breakthrough in the history of astronomy.

However, not everyone was impressed by this new photograph. One journalist in particular, Heather Schwedel of Slate, wrote an article entitled “We Need to Admit That the Black Hole Photo Isn’t Very Good.”

In the face of an extremely important moment for cosmological studies, Schwedel complained that the photograph is “too blurry” and “just not that aesthetically pleasing,” Apparently, she is unaware of the amount of painstaking work that went into trying to capture the photograph in the first place. An excellent video by Vox explains all the variables that went into this groundbreaking project. It shouldn’t come as a purpose that the result isn’t perfect since it is the first of its kind.

These kinds of snarky and cynical articles anger me because they undermine genuine human achievement. Its possible this article was intended to be deliberately infuriating as a way to increase clicks. Clickbait journalism is not just annoying for not providing genuine news, but for undermining it. The black hole photograph should be considered an accomplishment. Maybe more reporters like her should be able to show more respect.

Man arrested for three church fires


CNN posted an article Thursday evening entitled, “Suspect in Louisiana black church fires is the son of sheriff’s deputy, officials say.”

The article summarizes the story of Holden Matthews, a 21-year-old that recently just burned down three historically black churches in Louisiana including St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, which burned on March 26. This was followed by Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas on April 2 and, two days later, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in the same town.

The article notes that Matthews may have been influenced by black metal music and its associated history with church burnings, mentions the state fire marshal this past Thursday.

Matthews is currently being charged with three counts of simple arson on a religious building. Each charge carries a penalty for over 15 years. The most ironic part of this devastating matter is that Matthews has no previous history of violence or prior arrests, officials noted. 

Matthew’s investigation is still ongoing and federal officials are looking to see whether or not the fires were meant to represent a hate crime. 

To add more irony, Matthews is the son of a local sheriff’s deputy. St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz who is reportedly very good friends with Matthew’s father broke the harsh news to him. Guidroz  mentions how the father was shocked and hurt as any father would be.

This breaking news is a reflection of the racist behaviors that continue to happen around the world. It is a sad reality but it needs to be dealt with as it is completely unfair to the African Americans who consider their church to be a safe place.  

School tragedies lead to three deaths


This week, there have been three suicides related to school massacres. In an article from CNN, the writers stated that “three suicides have devastated communities already linked by mass tragedies.” Getting through tragedy is hard for any community, but does the news media make it worse to get through these times?

It is the duty of a journalist to tell the truth and report on what is happening in the world. When tragedy strikes, it is a journalist’s job to report it. However, to what extent do we report this tragedy?

When the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre happened just over a year ago, the story was constantly in the news. It was on every station you turned to, especially in South Florida, and you could not escape it. While it was necessary for people to stay updated on everything surrounding the tragedy, we did not really look at how it affected the community.

If you attended the school or were a part of this community and constantly heard the name “Nikolas Cruz” on every station you turned to, then you could have very extreme reactions to that. Often times people believed that news stations were making Cruz famous or helping him accomplish what he set out to do.

This also bombarded people in the community because they were constantly having to hear about the tragedy. It does not help with trying to cope when you are reminded about the incident constantly. While the suicides were likely caused due to survivor guilt, according to CNN, the news media talking about these tragedies were probably not helpful to the people trying to deal with these losses.

It is the job of journalists to report the news, but not to insight fear and tragedy in a community that has already taken many hits from it. By over saturating the news with one topic of conversation, it can hurt the community and affect other’s who had a similar tragedy happen to them.

Mainstream media vs. Momo Challenge


By now, many have heard of the terrifying new phenomena on Internet. According to news media reports, the “Momo Challenge” involves several videos on YouTube encouraging children to harm each other and commit suicide. The videos are accompanied by a photograph of a terrifying creature that appears to be a woman with bird like features. As a result, parents across of the nation have been terrified for their child’s safety and have been calling for stronger regulation of Internet content.

There’s just one problem: the “Momo Challenge” is a hoax.

To begin with, if such a challenge were to exist, it wouldn’t last long anyway as YouTube is very strict with its policy involving content promoting violence. Also, the infamous image of Momo is actually a sculpture created by Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa entitled “Mother Bird.” As a result of this panic, the Internet has responded with several memes involving the supposed challenge, mocking those who were gullible enough to believe it existed.

The fact that many parents were fooled into believing this challenge existed represents not only a failure on their part to do their own research, but also a failure on the part of mainstream news media. Several videos and articles related to challenge have only fed into the fears of parents. This kind of misinformation can potentially do even more harm than good. As I previously stated in my post about the vaccine crisis, it is the responsibility of journalism to spread the truth and set the record straight and this incident is an unfortunate example of journalists failing to meet that standard.

Separations still common at border


In an article posted on CNN by Priscilla Alvarez on Feb. 22 reads the headline, “At least 245 children separated from families since Trump admin said it would stop doing so.” I am very happy CNN decided to post the article because I feel like many people have stopped talking about this topic and it’s vital that people know. This is a painful immigration issue that needs to be fixed. I understand that immigration laws should be enforced, but not in such a harsh way.

Children should never be separated from their parents unless that parent is causing them harm. Alvarez did a very good job at getting to the point quickly and not making the article way too long. She provided a helpful video and links to anyone wishing to receive more information about the matter. 

It mentions how an immigration lawyer stated that “family separation never ended.” Sources have found that between late June 2018 and early February of this year, the administration has identified over 245 children that have been separated from their families. Four children are still under additional review.

The court will hold a hearing this Thursday upholding the concern of the separation of families. 

Administration has uncovered even more information regarding children being separated from their families. In a Health and Human Services Inspector general report it reveals that thousands of more children have been separated than previously reported. Thus indicating the number reported was false. 

The government’s response is soon to come this Thursday at the hearing. 

Opinion-based news now dominates


A lot has changed since Donald Trump has become president, especially in the world of news. Many of the main news outlets that American viewers used to trust have now turned into public enemy No. 1.

To be completely honest, at this point, I cannot even remember how it used to be. Maybe news was polarizing then and no one noticed, but it is especially polarizing now. While news used to be publicized as only stating facts and communicating information, many news stations have turned into a contest.

Fox News and MSNBC are some of the more common networks referred to by the president. Fox News is usually mentioned in President Trump’s favor, while MSNBC is more looked at as the anti-Trump cable network. This is up for interpretation, however, and it is up for the public to decide which to watch and support.

After watching a video titled, “Cooper: Trump Declared emergency, headed to Mar-a-Lago,” I started thinking about the idea of opinion based news. The video showed Anderson Cooper questioning Donald Trump’s sincerity regarding the national emergency. Cooper even mentions that Trump headed over to West Palm Beach for a few days to relax rather than work at the White House.

The video mostly presented facts. It said when Trump arrived, what he had been doing and the results of Trump’s declaration of emergency. Cooper does not add his opinion too much in the video and he even says some comments in Trump’s defense. While the reporting was done well, I think Cooper did mildly insert his opinion through the tone and delivery of facts in the story.

People trust reporters and anchors to deliver the news. I would expect that most people would also want the news to be delivered in an unbiased way. The news should provide information, while viewers should shape their own opinion about what they saw. Without the trust and hope for unbiased reporting, we stray farther and farther away from what people want and become too reliant on opinion rather than facts.

Parkland victims reflect one year later


The New York Times published an article on Feb. 14 remembering the Parkland Incident. It is the one-year anniversary since the devastating and heartbreaking shooting that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Fla. The article written by Patricia Mazzei is beautifully written since it not only outlines the horrific events that happened this day but also shows the lasting impact one year later. 

In the article, photographs are taken by Eve Edelheit. These photographs I believe are the strongest element of this article and why photography is so important in journalism. In a series of interviews nine members from the Stoneman Douglas community including students, teachers, police officers and parents reflect on this tragic event a year later. In each segment of the article there is a photo of the person interviewed and beneath is their story. 

I love the way Mazzei approaches this matter because instead of writing an article explaining all the horrible events that occurred that day again— she let the people who actually experienced it be able to shine and tell their story. Reading these stories are extremely impactful hearing all the different things these people had to go through. It is important to know these stories because after this school shooting occurred, many citizens wanted to see a change but shootings in America and around the world continue today. 

The photographs are mostly candid, showing the true emotions the person felt. This article felt very raw and that I could relate to these people interviewed on an emotional and personal level even though I haven’t been what they have been through. It shows again and again the courage people have when violence outbursts occur and how we all must come together in order to remain strong. I hope journalism continues to use this approach of photography and journalism merged together because it makes the article and the story itself more relatable and interesting. 

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.

Digital changes news consumption


This week, we are discussing in class how to create news stories that make use of media. Learning this skills is a new way to use technology tools to the journalist’s advantage incorporating more and new information to our online pieces. It is not only a way to make what we are writing about more visual, but it is also what catches “the eyeballs” of our consumers nowadays.

Digital content is the journalist’s last spicy touch to each of his stories, what makes the whole recipe complete. It is the pictures, videos and social media that sometimes make the articles are more appealing for people, especially younger generations.

The Internet and ,more recently, social media have been shaping the news landscape in many ways. People currently consume news and receive information in strikingly different ways than previous generations. The paths to a discovery of information are more nuanced and varied, one click away in a variety of devices.

News stories are woven into ways readers are connected to the world generally, mixing it with social connection, social action, and entertainment. Social media have also evolved a lot, now it’s about a lot of sharing articles, sharing of videos, sharing campaigns, and so forth. These companies are exposing users to more news than they initially would search for, making this mix of random and intentional learning greater.

Despite the fact that there is a lot of controversy and opinions on which news consumption method is the best and why I think one of the strongest points of getting your news from social media is the immediateness.

I spent last summer in Venezuela, where most of the news media outlets are owned by the government or they are banned. CNN in Spanish vanished from the channel list among many other channels that informed and reported the truth of the situation in the country. The only way people could get another point of view was through YouTube and more information about protests and attacks through Twitter. It is a really extreme example because Venezuelans are living in a dictatorship. However, is a different example of how a population can use social media for news consumption.

Texas’ mom arrested children die in hot car


The Parker County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office arrested Cynthia Marie Randolph, 24, for the deaths of her 2-year-old daughter and 16-month-old son, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

According to Randolph, she left them in the car to teach her daughter a lesson.

“Throughout multiple interviews, Randolph created several variations of the events which led to the death of her children,” the release said.

On May 26, Randolph found her children fooling off around the car at 12:15 p.m. To teach them a lesson, Randolph closed the car door “to teach her daughter a ‘lesson,’ thinking ‘she could get herself and her brother out of car when ready.”

Randolph then went inside and smoked marijuana before falling asleep for two or three hours. According to authorities, Randolph purposely broke into the car window to make the deaths look like an accident.

The children “entered the vehicle on their own and had locked themselves inside,” according to the release. She claimed that she broke one of the car’s windows to try to save them, said Randolph.

This incident is very unfortunate, knowing that the mother of her children lacks the love to care for her children. The real question, though, lies in whether marijuana and sleep was logically more important than the well being of her children left unattended and uncared for prior to the time of her death.

Life is something one cannot get back. The past will no longer return, life has been lost, future doctors, lawyers, engineers or even journalists that could potentially change the world, gone due to a woman’s lack of responsibility. This is problematic of her standing and this crime should not go unnoticed.

Randolph facing a two felony charges in the deaths of her children, the sheriff’s office said.

Brussels and news media coverage


When I read the report on Fox News about the Brussels attack, I remembered of what I learned about source trust and how we should use our sources in journalism. First, to tell the readers about the exact number of injured people on the attack, they used as a source a CBS tweet. Shouldn’t they be asking the Belgium authorities about it instead of basing their number on a tweet of another news organization?

With that, I go to the second point where in the article is cited an “intelligence source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation” about where the attackers were focusing more the explosions and where it exactly happened.

If Fox News had a “firsthand knowledge of the investigation source” why not ask them the exact number of injured people on the attack? The name of the source is not cited on the article which makes me even more confused and suspicious about the kind of information that the text provides.

The hurry about giving the information to the readers, specially on breaking news cases, is not uncommon in journalism. But we have to be careful in those situations. News reporting is an art and it is supposed to be done in a way we can offer our readers the most accurate information we could have gathered.

In a time where news organizations are trying to have a say on a certain topic, sometimes some inconsistencies can slip and the effects are directly reflected on the journalist and on the reader that consumes this type of information.

The article has other trustful sources, from officials and new agencies, but there is still a lot of citations from other sources not related to Fox. Sources in this type of story are really important (in all types of stories) but focusing on this one, the readers want to know accurate and precise information and it would be helpful if the information was checked and crossed checked with other official sources or if they could have more warranty that the data or the quotations were taken by the journalist that wrote the piece.

The Zavantem Airport in Brussels and a subway station at the heart of the city were bombed by the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) on Tuesday morning. According to The New York Times, at least 30 people were killed in the attack and more than 230 people were wounded. Social media and news media companies are using the hashtags #BrusselsAttacks and #prayforbrussels to talk about the subject and relate to other articles about it on social media.

A winning year for women at Oscars


I found it really interesting that while other news websites were talking about the highlights of the Oscars being about the racial diversity speech of Chris Rock, which was also important, Vox decided to also talk about a gender issue that has confronted many women on the cinema industry: the lack of women winning categories in the Oscars. This year, as the website pointed, it was the best year for women “in ages.”

Vox pointed that for the first time, a woman — Sara Bannet — won the category of Visual Effects Supervisor, for the movie “Ex Machina.” The category is usually dominated by men. Also, many other women won the categories of Documentary Short, Live Action Short, Production Design, Makeup, Costume Design and Film Editing.

What was also interesting is that Vox pointed that the awards itself were not the biggest accomplishment for women of the night, but the stories that the movies focused on. Usually, two women won the Oscars for lead actress and best supporting actress, and sometimes the woman does a part in which she supports the man in the movie.

This time, Brie Larson won the category of Best Actress for “Room” in which the story is centered on a woman. Other movies were also centered in a female figure, like “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” “Amy” and “Inside Out.”

Other than movies, there was a presentation at the Oscars by Lady Gaga in which she focused on sexual assault both for men and women and for women specifically on “Mad Max,” “Room” and “A Girl in The River.”

Other issues still have to approached in the Oscars, specially the racial diversity – no women with color won the Oscar this year, Vox pointed — for all the genders. The focus that the news website gave to the event was interesting and it analyzed the Oscar in a different journalistic way.