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.

One in 8 Million, a new approach


When we talked about multimedia in class, one thing came into my mind: One in 8 Million.

One in 8 Million is a feature article about stories of different people in New York. The newspaper canvassed a large collection of different portraits of New Yorkers and attached them to their story in an audio piece.

Not only does it have a very user-friendly system, but also a very elegant and polished one, making it seem as if you are in presence of a true work of art. In black and white, they display many characters and a title for each story that catches the eye of the readers.

The stories are about one minute or two in length, however, they are accompanied by stunning professional pictures that show us the everyday life of the protagonists.  It is important to remark as well the impact the audio has on the reader, mostly because of how it was recorded. It has a lot of natural sounds, and one could even feel as they are talking to you.

I thought this format was very similar to the one we saw in class called “Snowfall.” I loved both pieces because I think they engage the readers in a completely different way. It is a more crafted piece, very detailed and woven into something bigger. It illustrates what the writer wants to say in various segments with a number of tools. In my perspective, it is an amazing way to use technology in a newspapers advantage, going further than using social media which has become more popular. I would love to see more stories like these ones.

Reference links: http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/1-in-8-million/index.html#

Earthquake kills hundreds in Middle East


The Iranian city of Sarpol-e Zahab was strongly hit by an earthquake on Sunday near the Iraqi border.

The New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink told Americans about the aftermath, writing that Iranians spent the night digging in a frantic search for survivors after the powerful earthquake struck near the Iraqi border on Sunday evening. oreM than 300 people were killed and thousands of others injured, officials said.

The epicenter of the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, according to the United States Geological Survey. Many buildings, farms and homes were destroyed. People are sleeping in the streets in fear of aftershocks.

According to the state news agency IRNA, at least 341 people were killed and nearly 6,000 people in Iran were injured.  According to Dr. Saif-al-Badir, from Iraq’s Ministry of Health, at least eight people were killed and 535 were hurt on the Iraqi side of the border.

As needed when reporting catastrophic events of great magnitude, news organizations use reliable sources as the United States Geological Survey, the Iran News Agency, Iraq’s Ministry of Health, and the Iranian Students News Agency.

Long-term efforts aren’t supported


This week, storm-ravaged Puerto Rico faced another widespread power outage. A little more than a month ago, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Maria – one of the most powerful storms to hit the island in modern history.

Following Maria, the entire island of Puerto Rico was without power, there was widespread flooding, extensive damage and a significant lack of resources for recovery. The 2017 hurricane season has been one of the most active with many large, named storms making landfall in the Caribbean and the United States.

And the response was initially unparalleled. Celebrities, public figures, politicians and everyone in between reached out to help those impacted by storms with an outpouring of monetary donations, volunteering on-site and organizing events around the country to gather supplies to donate to the impacted areas.

This response was possible because of continued coverage on major news outlets and social media. In times of disaster people come together, but sometimes that isn’t always the case for people who aren’t directly impacted. This year, this was not the case. Almost everyone showed their support for storm victims in any way that they could, but something else came to light as a result.

It seems that storm relief is not sustained long-term. In today’s business and social climate, it is understanding that news organizations can only cover a story for so long without any new information. But, social media and the internet are new tools for people to connect, engage and support other groups of people that they may not have had access to otherwise.

This can also be a powerful tool for the opposite impact. In order for countries like Puerto Rico to not only rebuild, but repair its infrastructure to reduce the number of power outages, citizens need help. While initially an overwhelming support, much of the world, and media, has moved on to other stories.

What’s next, America?


It feels like we are in a constant cycle of tragedy. From mass shooting to sexual harassment scandals, it’s as if we have become numb to the cycle. Something bad happens, we mourn, have little discussion, then move on to the next sad thing. There’s little to no solution being discussed, as we feed off of the next thing that makes the news.

Earlier this week we mourned the lives of innocent people in Texas, in yet another mass shooting. Simultaneously, the list continues to grow, in Hollywood, of high profile men making sexual advances and misconduct in the workplace. So far names like Kevin Spacey, Ed Westwick, and recently Louis C.K, are making headlines as more and more are speaking up against the harassment.

As we hear about all the tragedies that are happening, maybe instead of asking what’s next, we ask what can we do next?

In an article by Vox.com, since more people are speaking out, acknowledgement of sexual harassment in the workplace has become more prominent and therefore easier to stop. People are become more comfortable and accepting of speaking out, especially if it means it might help the next person.

However, unless like the little progress made in workplace harassment, nothing has been done with gun control in America.

In an article by TIME, many have noticed the lack of action to prevent tragedies like Los Vegas and Texas. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin told TIME, “It just strikes me that we see tragedy after tragedy and no action….”

It is the news media’s job to bring attention to and shift talking topics, but so far no one is talking about the cycle we constantly find ourselves in. Maybe we are too focused on reporting the next tragedy instead of doing something to prevent one from happening.

Why have mass shootings increased?


After the Texas shooting last week, many of us kept wondering what is going on in the country. Why are the shootings in the U.S. gradually becoming more deadly ? All we have seen in the news lately include shootings, injured and people killed.

During the week, I read two different articles that somehow tried to address the issue with a lot of facts, information and in an appealing way. Both, The New York Times and BBC News, wrote an article on their websites titled: Why are U.S. mass shootings getting more deadly? Why U.S. mass shootings?

It seemed really interesting to me as a reader not only for the timing of the subject but also because it is such a controversial, broad topic about which it is hard to write .

The article in the NYT explains how America is different to any other country when the issue involves a gun and gun policy. The article stated that one of the main reasons the mass killings in the U.S. have been constant is because of the gun regulations. Although the newspaper explains fairly enough how it reached that conclusion, statistics and facts are presented vaguely. In my opinion, the story and analysis is really good but the newspaper could have presented the data more effectively using more than two simple graphics. Moreover, the newspaper fails to include multiple sources and just uses information provided by Adam Lankford, a professor from the University of Alabama.

On the other hand, BBC News did a similar piece in which it explained how the frequency of mass shootings has increased during the years. The news network gives us a little background to each of the shootings in modern history and dismantles factors that have changed during time. For this article, BBC News engages the attention of the reader in any way possible. The BBC offers various facts and information through explanatory videos, graphs, videos of each event, etc. Readers can even keep listening to the videos while they see other pictures or read the article. The network offers a really good analysis and provided evidence and visuals that help the viewer imagine the full context.

Helpful Links:

TripAdvisor hides warnings of rape


More than 10 travelers from around the United States say reviews website TripAdvisor is deleting and muzzling their accounts of rape, blackouts and other injuries suffered at resorts in Mexico, according to an extensive investigation published Wednesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

This report came out two days after U.S. officials called on the U.S. State Department and the Office of the Inspector General to investigate Mexican resorts that have allegedly been serving dangerous, tainted alcohol.

Tourists who have had terrible experiences say their posts of TripAdvisor are frequently removed and labeled as “hearsay.”

“To me it’s like censoring,” said Wendy Avery-Swanson of Phoenix. “It wasn’t hearsay. It actually happened to me.”  In her review, she wrote she blacked out after being served alcohol at a swim-up bar.  This review was scrubbed from the website.

Another review that was taken off the website was one by Kristie Love of Dallas. She posted that she had been raped by a security guard at the Iberostar Paraiso Resort near Playa Del Carmen.  She wrote that she had been followed by the guard who later overpowered her and raped her outside. She claims that the hotel staff refused to call police.  Her post was taken down for violating the “family friendly” guidelines.

“We apologize to the sexual assault victim,” said Brian Hoyt, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Since 2010, when the forum post was removed, our policies and processes have evolved to better provide information like this to other travelers.  As a result, when recently brought to our attention, the victim’s initial forum post was republished by our staff.”

Hoyt also said the company is creating a “badge” notification to apply to businesses to “alert consumers of health & safety or discrimination issues at that business reported on within the media or other credible sources of information.”

Hopefully TripAdvisor is being truthful and will no longer censor these voices.

The media has done a very good job of covering this story.  An interview of a woman whose post was deleted had been featured on the NBC Nightly News last week.  The story has been showing up on CNN, FOX, and MSNBC’s websites as well.

This is an important story that many should be aware of, especially college students since many of them go to Mexico for spring break each year.  It is very good that many major news sources have been covering it and getting the word out there.  A lot of people will likely think twice about going to Mexico after reading about this.

Cam Newton and the news media


Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton doesn’t have many friends in the news media anymore.

Newton’s rocky relationship with local Panthers sports reporters and columnists took another turn for the worst last week when the quarterback left his press conference early with no explanation. This was his first press conference after skipping several press conferences over the course of a week. Many people believed that he was boycotting the news media because of an earlier incident that occurred involving a female reporter.

In this press conference, Newton was asked a large amount of questions about the Panthers’ struggling offense, which only managed to score a field goal in its game the previous Sunday. A reporter then asked Newton about “big chunk plays” that the Carolina offense was lacking, which sent Newton over the edge.

Newton responded to that question saying, “Next question,” then he rolled his eyes, paused, and then left the press conference without any explanation.

The Panthers released a statement saying, “Cam didn’t intend to be discourteous toward any specific media member, in his mind after answering questions for nine minutes he had fulfilled his obligations.”

It’s still questionable why that question caused his sudden outburst but it seems like his relationship with the news media has been stalled for a while. This comes a couple of weeks after  Newton replied with a sexist comment during a press conference to a female reporter when she asked about running routes. Newton later apologized and then lost an endorsement deal with Dannon.

The reality of the situation is that Newton can’t escape the news media. As a public figure and a former MVP quarterback, he is going to have to deal with questions he might not want to answer. Some of the questions might be pointless, but it’s also the job of the news media to ask questions that Newton might deem stupid or unnecessary.

But to Cam, it’s his world and the news media is just living in it.

Man serenades dying wife in Puerto Rico


Among all the disheartening stories that have been covered about Puerto Rico since its devastating hurricanes in September, we find many personal experiences of people who suffered in their beloved land. This week, The Miami Herald featured one story about a Puerto Rican that was accompanying one of his family members on her last days. Many were sick from the contaminated water and mosquitoes that followed the hurricanes.

In the medical center, “generators hummed in the background, powering the ventilators and feeding tubes of patients who had fled nearby hospitals after Hurricane Maria knocked out power across the island.” But in the middle of this climate of nervousness and the preoccupied crowd, an old man took his guitar and started to play songs for his wife lying next to him.

Santos Candelaria also said he was playing songs to thanks the medical staff and volunteers that came to help his country in this crisis. This act from Candelaria reunited a small crowd of people singing proud to be Puerto Rican, but also people looking for support and hope.

There were a lot of things that impressed me about this particular story published by The Herald this past Thursday. First, is the fact that it focused on those little pieces that really change your perspective and make you smile. I realized that this could be one of the reasons why it is the center of the front page and essentially the day’s cover story. The second thing that called my attention was the use of multimedia in the article.

When you look the publication from the “front page” of The Herald it looks like a simple video and then you wonder why would they have that as one of the most important stories? Yes, it is a nice story but isn’t other news more controversial or shocking. The only thing that came to my mind was the fact that the video that was accompanying the piece was definitely a perfect video for social media. It was a short video, with images from the stories but titles that narrated what was happening. This is one of the formats that Facebook and many other websites have been using to advertise, promote a story and have a larger reach. It is a short story, with good visuals, that is appealing to the emotional, easy to understand and easy to instantly share.

I also noticed that although they had this self-explanatory video, the newspaper decided to also write a larger article with a more in-detail store for those who were looking for more information. It is also interesting because it makes us think of a balance between getting our news from social media and newspapers’ websites.

To see the original Miami Herald story, go to:

8 killed in New York City truck attack


Police and witnesses say a man deliberately drove a rented truck onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center in Manhattan which killed eight people and injured at least 12 others.

The man later got out of the truck waved around a fake gun before being shot by police.  He was wounded and taken into custody.

“This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians.  It was a very painful day in our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

This was the deadliest act of terror in New York City since 9/11.

The suspect was identified by law enforcement as Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old truck driver from New Jersey and Florida.  He immigrated to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010.

A federal law enforcement source said a note had been found inside the truck that was in reference to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Saipov does not appear to have an extensive criminal background, according to the FBI and the NYPD.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the attack appeared to be a “lone wolf” incident with no links to a wider terrorist plot.

The incident occurred at West Street and Chambers Street at 3:05 p.m.  The truck drove down a bike path for about four blocks and stuck cyclists and pedestrians before moving back into traffic lanes and striking a school bus.

The media should pay very close attention to the fact that this attack occurred without the use of any firearms.  Lately the media has been giving a lot of attention towards the possibly of banning firearms to increase safety.  However, I believe that they do not realize that there are many other ways that criminals commit murder.

This incident shows that even without a gun, a person can murder multiple people at the same time.  Firearms aided the police in this situation.  They wound the man with their firearms and stop him from creating anymore havoc.

If firearms are banned, I believe that terrorists will find other ways commit mass murder.  As seen in Nice, France last year, a trunk ran over and killed 86 people.  This was more than the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history last month that killed 58 people.

Media should report these facts accordingly and point out the fact that this incident shows banning guns will not solve the occurrence of mass murders.

Documents about JFK death released


President Trump has ordered the long-awaited release of more than 2,800 documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  However, due to pressure from the CIA and FBI, he withheld thousands of additional papers and put them on pending review before release.

These documents are a treasure for historians and conspiracy theorists who have spent years searching for information on what really happened in Dallas on the day of JFK’s assassination in 1963.  The papers include suspicions that Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the killing and other talks of mobsters and spies.

The documents had fuzzy images of CIA surveillance photos from the early 1960s.  There was a report that Lee Harvey Oswald obtained ammunition from a right-wing militia group.

Some of the files convey the drama and chaos of the days immediately after the murder  of the president.  One of them is a memo dictated by then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover on Nov. 24, 1963 after Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald as he was being moved from police headquarters to a local jail.

President Trump, who has shared his own speculation about the assassination, had a strong desire to finally open the last government files since he was campaigning for president. This was when he accused Ted Cruz’s father of being a part of the assassination.

Although Trump has rather outlandish ideas involving the killing of JFK, I believe that having released these files is a useful decision for this country.

Citizens have a right to know everything that the government knows involving this.  Having this information out there may allow people to draw firm conclusions and put conspiracy theories aside.

The act of releasing these files is really something that President Trump has done to fight against the elites and give power back to the common people.

Aside of the content of the files, the news media should report that Trump is taking a stand against big government and bureaucracy. This is a step in the right direction for our nation. Freedom of information has always fueled this nation and I hope that the major news media organizations will report Trump’s efforts in this step forward.

Opioid deaths continue to rise


Opioids, which are among the deadliest drugs in American history, continue to concern public health officials, as the number of drug-related American deaths rise.

An opioid is a drug derived from opium, which is a narcotic that has served as a base to produce other drugs with similar “pain reducing” effects like heroine and morphine.

Approximately two million Americans have a problem with opioids. Although it is a necessary medical advancement because of its continual aid for chronic pain and cancer patients; it is also a highly addictive drug that has increased the amount of deaths in the past years.

The problem began in the 1980s, when scholarly articles, which were popular among doctors, began easing the fear of prescribing opioids for chronic pain. Its effectiveness among patients began an uprising demand for pain killers. By the 1990s the pharmaceutical companies caught on. Shortly after, they began marketing drugs of this type and helped the industry for pharmaceutical narcotics grow.

Among the contributors to these fatalities is Fentanyl, a synthetic, cheaper, and more potent version of the narcotic, that has become more popular among drug users in the recent years.

According to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, “Heroin has become much cheaper in recent years as the supply in the United States has grown.”

Residents are becoming concerned about the high number of overdoses, especially in places with a more common vulnerability to drugs, like The Bronx, in New York City.

“Especially in the South Bronx, you have so many people in housing who overdose, says The Bronx native Terrell Jones.

This is not only a social issue in The Bronx, but also among areas where drugs are easily accessible. People are overdosing by the numbers and it seems to see no end.

Trump blasted by widow of soldier


Donald Trump continued to make headlines this week after speaking on the phone with the widow of a soldier who was killed in action. Sgt. La David T. Johnson was one of four Americans killed in an ambush in Niger on Oct. 4. As is customary for the commander-in-chief, Trump contacted Sgt. Johnson’s widow and spoke at length with her.

Listening to the call were Sgt. Johnson’s mother, and Democratic Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson of South Florida. Sgt. Johnson’s mother accused Trump of saying that he “knew what he signed up for,” and only referenced him as “your guy.” Trump denied these claims, insisting that the entire story was “fabricated” in pursuit of her politics.

Due to the emotional nature of the issue, it was a very complex story for the media to handle adequately, and in analyzing the work by news organizations, it is clear that decisions were handled with care. Maintaining impartiality was key, especially since the majority of the story rests solely on accusations. The New York Times, for example, made sure that the sources were the ones making the claims, while the narrative of the reporters was more focused on connecting the dots between them.

Balanced reporting, especially in the era of fake news and the constant attacks on the media by the Trump administration, is very important. The New York Times ran a piece about the issues other presidents have faced in reaching out to families in this similar situation. This allowed their organization to remain neutral, and to offer a look into the other side, and examine the complex issues involved through multiple perspectives.

On a much more humorous note, The Times chose to refer to the complex aftermath of the accusations as an “imbroglio” in the title of their online story, a word so incredibly articulate and yet completely obscure that I could not help but chuckle.

Police charge 10 in LSU fraternity hazing


Police at Louisiana State University have issued arrest warrants for 10 Phi Delta members in an investigation on whether fraternity hazing lead to the death of a freshman student.

The student, Maxwell Gruver was a Phi Delta pledge from Roswell, Georgia whose death last month had been ruled accidental and was caused by “acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration,” according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office.

Gruver’s blood alcohol was 0.495.  Anything above 0.4 carries a moderate risk of death.

Last month, LSU President F. King Alexander said the 18-year-old’s death is being investigated as a “potential hazing incident.”

“As we’ve continually warned over and over again, hazing is dangerous, irresponsible, and unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated at LSU period,” said Alexander.

All of the 10 fraternity members were charged with hazing.  One of them faces an additional charge of negligent homicide.

Phi Delta’s LSU chapter has been suspended by the university and by the fraternity’s national office.  The national office also has opened an investigation into the incident.

Hazing incidents such as these happen far too often at American universities and colleges.  I believe the news media do not put enough effort and reporting into these cases.

Hazing deaths happen multiple times each year and usually do not receive major coverage. If college students and administrators saw these stories in the national news, they would likely think twice about the risks they bring to campuses.

With broader coverage of these stories, students would likely take time to reflect and think before deciding to join a fraternity.  Many would realize that making friends and getting into parties is never worth the risk of death.

Social media content not regulated


Exhaustive research by The New York Times has evidenced Russian psychological strategies addressed to American citizens who shared the social media to broadcast their frustration during the 2016 presidential elections, but who lacked a well-informed vision of the matters in discussion. This manipulative dystopian weapon raises the subject of Russian agents’ intervention in United States domestic issues.

This brave Times initiative during difficult political times, which took several months of thorough investigation of thousands of posts, meets the goal of investigative journalism to discover and reveal to the public a critical hidden truth, one involving manipulation of  freedom of expression.

On the side, this report highlights another aspect of social media (Web sites like Baidu, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, Viel, Weibo, WhatsApp and YouTube have more than 100 million subscribers): while there is legislation for press and television content, there is lack of control of content of social media. You can say anything, criticize, influence, but since there are no parameters nor filters in the messages, you can also silently manipulate, distort and confuse information.

California wildfires continue to rage


Wine country in California has been engulfed in flames since Sunday night, leaving at least 17 people dead, hundreds more taken to the hospital with injuries and more than 2,000 buildings affected by the blaze.

The fires were spread in part by strong 50 m.p.h. winds that were present when the fire started. While they have since dissipated, they will likely resume as the week goes on, and the fire remains uncontained, according to officials. Based on the nature of the fire and the lack of control that firefighters have been able to establish, those numbers are sure to rise.

In analyzing the news coverage of the fires as the story develops, I notice two prominent characteristics that are worth discussing. The first is the personalization of the stories that are being written. The fires are the week’s biggest developing story at the moment, but readers are usually unsatisfied with the simple hard read of the facts. In using a softer lede by recounting a personal tale of tragedy, before getting into the colder facts about the fire, readers are naturally drawn into the story.

The New York Times, for example, started its story by introducing the reader to Matt Lenzi, who “hiked through smoke-choked vineyards and waded the Napa River to reach the home his father lived in for 53 years.”

This is a deeply personal story, which brings personal connection and life to an otherwise cold read about fire statistics that are likely to be updated in half an hour. Readers can connect to his experience and are motivated to keep reading. If they do, they’ll meet Maureen Grinnell, Pamela Taylor, James Harder and many more victims, who are able to offer an emotional perspective that makes reading the story a worthwhile endeavor.

The second element of the stories that I noticed is the use of new technologies to supplement the article and take advantage of the full capabilities of media today. The New York Times included drone footage of the fires, to give online readers a sense of the scale and devastation that the fires have caused.

CNN has included video from multiple sources, to allow readers a complex look at the fire from multiple points of view. Combined, these two techniques compel readers to continue reading and give them a complete experience of the events that are unfolding.

News and information at what price?


Past weeks, everybody across the world has been paying attention to Hurricane Irma news. The hurricane that has devastated 10 countries and took the lives of 60 people, has attracted the attention of every news media corporation.

Irma has been covered by all the news shows. But these shows, with an enormous competition, look for formulas to fill their programs with attractive content to steal the audience of the competitors.

That’s all right so far. But the issue is that the fight between news media for getting the most impressive coverage has been sometimes irresponsible.  Scenes of reporters risking their lives have been repeated. In the middle of the hurricane and in the most dangerous areas, when the order of the government was to evacuate, there were many reporters reporting live in the middle of the storm for their channel.


That’s unacceptable because of two reasons. First of all, journalists have to be a role model to viewers. And disobeying safety orders of government, such as evacuating a dangerous area, is not exemplary behavior. People will try to imitate them or just underestimate the situation and risk their lives, too.


The second reason is that audience could view a death live. Fortunately, they didn’t. But it wouldn’t be surprising if that had happened, when we have seen reporters near to the sea with great waves, in the street when lot of objects were flying and they could crash into reporters, or when reporters were tied with ropes to prevent them of blowing away.


Television news can be an entertainment show and behaviors contribute to that show, but we need to think where are the limits of what we do as reporters. If the purpose of news media is to inform, I’m sure there are other safer ways to do the job and show the reality to an audience.

Tropical Storm Nate may hit U.S. Gulf Coast


The United States may still not be off the hook for hurricanes this season.

A tropical cyclone in the northwestern Caribbean Sea has recently been upgraded to a named tropical storm called Nate.  Meteorologists believe the system is likely to become a hurricane in the next three days.  They also predict that it may hit the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday morning.

“Nate is expected to strengthen as it moves over warmer waters on its way to the U.S. coast,” says the National Hurricane Center.  “But at this point, it is too early to specify the timing, location, or magnitude of these impacts.

Nate is currently bringing heavy rainfall to Nicaragua as it is heading towards Cancun. It has triggered flood warnings in these areas, as well as a hurricane watch in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

Right now the tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.  It is expected to take a northwestward path later today and start to move at a faster speed, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The sustained winds are expected to reach 75 mph by Sunday.  Although this is much less than recent hurricanes such as Irma or Maria, forecasters are still warning people to watch out for flash floods and mudslides.  Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, has already addressed the state to discuss preparation for the storm.

After the devastations from hurricanes Irma and Maria, another hurricane clearly is something the United States can do without at this time.

Congress has been debating passing a 15 billion dollar hurricane recovery bill.  However, if Nate ends up being as catastrophic as Sandy was in 2012, American taxpayers may have a lot more to worry about.

Technology redefines news for all


The technological advances of the last decade have strengthened the scope and enriched the resources for the visualization, oral and written presentation, diffusion and the impact of the news in the mass media.

In parallel, today anyone enjoys these resources and can instantly disseminate the news, share information and offer an opinion.

Anyone can be in the center of the news and capture that piece of news. The common person’s empowerment in the news media contributes to the traditional mass media, the journalist can use the images of the person who was there at the precise moment of the event for his report, something that he could not have been able to count on if he had not arrived at the time of the event.

Yesterday’s passive receiver of news can be now a distributor of news, active in some aspects of a reporter’s job due to a mobile phone or tablet at the moment of the incident.

A passerby can record instantly the event and place it on social networks with the use of just one mobile phone. However, journalism and, specifically, reporting is much more than that. Even though this passerby is the first to have the scoop and to spread the news, a journalist’s work goes far beyond exposing an image reflecting what happened.

A reporter has to inquire and question the largest number of reliable sources available on the subject. He or she must write the news in a coherent, explicit way and leave aside the emotion of the moment. He or she must be capable of addressing and reaching a wide audience. The impact of immediate recording of a crime is undeniable, but the reporter will go much further, questioning the victim, the aggressor, the authorities involved in the case, the witnesses, in order to be able to provide a coherent and trustworthy news media report.

Celebrity deaths: Successes dominate


On Wednesday, the estate of Hugh Hefner released a statement that the Playboy founder passed away, age 91, in his infamous Playboy Mansion. Known for many things, Hefner was most recognized for his lifestyle that encompassed his Playboy brand.

But through the years, Hefner was in the spotlight for some negative things, including loss of some of his fortune, how he treated his beloved “Playmates” and scrutiny for his sometimes “dangerous” lifestyle. As referred to by many of those close to him, “Hef” was so focused on his Playboy image that as he aged, he retreated from the spotlight in his final years.

Until the sale of his popular LA home for $100 million in 2016, Hefner was shying away from public appearances, hosted fewer Playboy parties and was not featured in the news.

But following his death, the world has been pouring out their memories and reflections on the late Playboy founder. Every news station, every newspaper and every social media site is covering his death nonstop. More than just a magazine publisher, Hefner started a new revolution of sexual acceptance and extravagant living – shifting the Playboy brand from just a magazine to a brand and lifestyle.

All news outlets, celebrities and everyone in between has been sharing kind words and remembrances of Hefner, and a total disregard for the criticisms that many shared in recent times.

Hefner is not the first celebrity to experience this kind of coverage post-mortem. Before his death in 2009, Michael Jackson was in the news media for scandal after scandal and legal and personal problems. Immediately following his death, the world came together to remember his profound impact on the music industry, and nothing else.

It seems that, especially with the era of “fake news” and social media, scandals and rumors overshadow some celebrities’ work and careers until they are dead. With so much competition, all media outlets need to stay current, and get viewers and readers engaged, so, sometimes coverage of trivial celebrity drama is the best thing to achieve this.

Once celebrities die, it is newsworthy in itself, so media outlets have the time and flexibility to dig deeper into their lives and appreciate what made them famous. The coverage of Hugh Hefner shows that media is on this path, and doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.