Debate coverage boosts Clinton


On Tuesday night, the Democratic Party presidential candidate debates were in full swing. It was highly noticeable that news coverage was positively geared towards Hillary Clinton.

From CNN to NBC, all online news articles praised Clinton’s debate. CNN stated she was poised, passionate and in command. I find it interesting that all news organizations across the board, all agreed on something for once. Leading up to the debate all news organizations covered the debate on Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would come up on top as the top candidates.

One of the main topics that was discussed during the debate, and it has been a trending topic on social media, is Bernie Sanders comment “America is Tired of Clintons Damn Emails.” What was also interesting during this debate is that Donald Trump used social media to live Tweet his thoughts during the debate. I think that it is very interesting to have a candidate actually weight in on a debate, as it is occurring, and reaching out to the public. Trump actually praised Clinton and said she won the debate. It should be interesting to see how this positive reaction affects the rest of the race.

Twitter used to contact Oregon witness


Like the majority of the nation, I have been following the news about the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, which occurred yesterday at 10:40 a.m. and killed 10 people. One thing that came across my feed was an article about a girl who had been on campus when the shooting happened and tweeted, in live time, about the incident. The user @KP_KaylaMarie, a student at the school, tweeted: “Omg there’s someone shooting on campus.” at 10:41, followed by another tweet the minute after: “Students are running everywhere. Holy God.”

The power and immediacy of social media sites like Twitter have been revealed to all of us by now and we’re reminded of it in situations like these. What I found so incredible about the situation was that within minutes of her tweet, her timeline was flooded with incoming tweets from news reporters all over the nation, requesting information and interviews. She was approached, via Twitter, by reporters from ABC News, CNN, New York Daily News, Al Jazeera, and BBC News among others, all requesting phone interviews.

Of course every station wants to be up-to-date on the latest news and they all want their exclusives from eyewitnesses. It’s how the media works. But this girl was basically struggling to stay alive amid the chaos of a mass shooting, and meanwhile, all of these stations are blowing up her Twitter feed trying to secure their interview and up their ratings. Obviously I don’t blame the news media for wanting they information — it’s their job. However, I think there’s a time and a place to get it and it looks pretty insensitive in this scenario.

Another thing worth mentioning here is that it’s actually been proved time and time again that bringing a lot of media attention to senseless tragedies like shootings heavily influences future shooters. Adding that factor into this situation definitely makes me more frustrated with the news stations that approached the girl, because instead of taking into consideration the part they play in preventing future shootings, they’re desperate to get a hot lead on the one happening currently.

The situation in general frustrates me, because obviously the shooting was completely senseless with nothing good coming from it. It’s hard to sugar-coat any way of approaching witnesses when it’s about this type of incident, but it’s these situations that remind why so many people are resentful of the media and the manner in which they cover the news.

Twitter boosts TV audience, appeal


Recent research conducted by Twitter revealed the importance of real-time tweets for the popularity and audience of broadcast and cable television.

New and rising media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, and other online news and search engines have grown among all generations causing television to lose much of its prominence and value in the past years.

However, a new research made by Twitter revealed that Twitter and other social media platforms can actually increase the interest for TV shows and programming and drive a greater audience to take action regarding a specific TV show.

According to Twitter’s global media and agency research director Anjali Midha, the talk about TV shows and its programming on Twitter strongly influences mainstream media as well as consumer attitudes and behaviors.

“There are actionable strategies and tactics that can help both programming content and advertising work harder by tapping into the power of their audiences,” said Midha.

In other words, through TV related posts on Twitter, advertising agencies, directors, anchors, hosts and all others responsible for television programming, gained a real-time access to the audience’s opinion about their work and thus are able to create and deliver material that directly meets the public’s expectations and needs.

Results from the research show that in 2014, 93 percent of Twitter users had a cable subscription and that 85 percent of people active on Twitter during prime-time hours Tweeted about TV. Also, every show with a hashtag integration, had a significant 20 percent increase in tweets per minute about it.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 12.24.09 PM–> Tweets about Television has influenced the audiences to:

– Take action on a show’s social media sites – 52 percent

– Search the show online (through Google, Yahoo, etc.) – 47 percent

– Follow TV show or talent on Twitter – 46 percent

– Search show on Netflix – 43 percent

– Plan to watch show later – 42 percent

Finally, with this increase in viewership and brand engagement, Twitter is reshaping the ‘TV landscape’ and ironically preventing television from becoming obsolete in an era where social media has taken over.

New report on antibiotics in meat


Fast food chains claim to be actively improving the quality of food through their suppliers. While some are actually progressing, many well known and loved restaurant chains scored low ratings in a new report on the use of antibiotics in meat and poultry supplies. Some of these chains are found on campus.

Friends of Earth’s new report on the largest 25 fast food chains’ use of antibiotics, called “Chain Reaction,” attributes grades based on a restaurant’s antibiotic use policies and its application to which types of meat, the implementation and transparency of these policies to the public, and the actual amount of meat produced without antibiotics.

The two chains that received A grades were Chipotle and Panera Bread. These restaurants serve a majority of their meat without regular antibiotic use and have been doing so for a while, hoping to establish a precedent for other restaurant chains.

Chick-fil-A received a grade of B, while Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s received Cs.

Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Domino’s and Starbucks all received Fs, earning one out of 36 possible points established in the report.

Olive Garden, Papa John’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Applebee’s Sonic, Chili’s, Dairy Queen, and IHOP received F’s with no points at all, among other fast food restaurants.

The report brings the question to light: what have these low-scoring restaurants actually done to improve meat quality compared to their claims of progress?

Papa Johns’ slogan, “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza,” seems false since their low grade was released. However, the company claims to eliminate artificial ingredients and additives and offer antibiotic-free chicken on their pizza by the first half of 2016.

Dunkin’ Donuts has a policy to improve meat quality, but no timeline for implementation, while Panera and Chipotle publicly affirm their meat standards without antibiotics.

The public holds a strong voice, being the sole consumers of these products. Since all of those restaurants hold Twitter and Facebook accounts in order to connect more with its customers, consumers have power to end harmful additives in our foods and raise awareness for our collective health.

By posting messages which not only contact the company, but can be seen by other social media users, ending the use of antibiotics starts with a direct approach towards these restaurant chains. Journalists can also use social media to attain commentary from the restaurants for their articles.

Facebook features keep us connected


Facebook, one of the leading social media outlets in the world, is consistently growing and expanding.

Just recently, Facebook has updated its “trending” feature. This feature can be found on the right-hand column of the home page and gives the most trending topics that aren’t only popular within the Facebook world, but across the globe.

This feature keeps the discussions on Facebook relevant, and timely. While other social media sites like Twitter, also utilize the “trending” feature, Facebook eliminates the limitations by connecting us to constantly changing information around the world.

Live updates have always been one of Facebook’s strongest features, but as Facebook continues to expand that feature, it may be the reason behind Facebook’s constant success.

To date, Facebook currently has 1.49 billion monthly users. Also, according to Facebook 2015 reports, Facebook has 968 million active daily users. Of course, websites such as Twitter and Instagram are increasingly becoming more popular for teenagers and adults in their early 20s however, Facebook continues to dominate the social media world. There are numerous factors responsible for Facebook’s success. Features that currently keep its audience engaged and connected may be the secret to that success.

Social media enhance cultural activism


Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim, was handcuffed and arrested on Monday for taking his homemade alarm clock to school in Dallas.

Claiming that “it wasn’t immediately evident that Ahmed’s clock was a class experiment”, police officers and Ahmed’s English teacher accused him of terrorism for creating what they thought was a fake bomb.

Besides revealing the evident Islamophobia that prevails in many people’s judgments of Muslims in America, this incident also reveals how social media are used as a powerful platform geared towards social chance and activism.Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 4.58.12 PM

Within one day after the incident, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg and thousands of others immediately showed support for Ahmed and expressed their indignation towards the negative stereotypes and racism that greatly occur in our contemporary society.

More than 100,000 tweets and the hash tags #IStandWithAhmed and #engineersforahmed were trending worldwide by Tuesday morning as well as the school’s Facebook page was filled with criticism.

Seeing this, not only in Ahmed’s case but also in many others related to racism, social media have proven to be one of the greatest platforms to promote justice and equality. And, despite the negative aspects and controversial ideas that may also rise among its users, social media can and have been used for a greater good.

As controversial as it may seem, one can’t deny that in many current cases social media has been crucial in promoting social equality and bringing people together.

New Periscope helps us explore world


New applications and types of social media come out everyday. This is no surprise since it’s almost impossible to see someone not walking around with their smart phone in their hand. People love posting pictures and statuses about their life and liking things about their closest 500 friends’ lives. So, naturally, the next step for social media was a live-streaming video app.

Enter Periscope. Periscope allows users to live-stream whatever they’re doing at any time of the day and anyone can watch and post comments that momentarily appear on top of the video.

The Periscope team said the idea behind the app is to be able to see the world through someone else’s eyes. For example: seeing though the eyes of a protester in Ukraine or watching a sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. But that might be wishful thinking on their part because the most popular videos so far have been people showing you what’s in their fridge.

The app, acquired by Twitter, is already expected to have new updates in the near future including being available to Android users and film in landscape mode.

Interactivity elevates news coverage


I was catching up on the day’s news recently when I came across an ingenious post at the top of an article.
FullSizeRenderSomething like this may seem basic these days, but it so rarely shows up on news articles.

Journalists have these tools that are waiting to be utilized, so why wouldn’t they take advantage of them? Social media are such a powerful platform for journalists, and incorporating social media into stories takes journalism to another level.

Editor’s notes such as this one are a great way to get readers involved and further their intake of information. Hashtags are so easily used and accessed that it makes sense that journalists include them in their work. This particular author took it a step further, deciding to bring readers’ questions to aviation experts to get the most informative, accurate answers. They’re essentially acting as the middle-man, helping readers learn even more about the subject than they would have if this editor’s note had not been included.

I think every journalist should use these powerful tools that we’re so lucky to have in today’s world to their advantage. Interactivity through social media lifts the bar that much higher in an already innovative industry — one that should be looking to improve every day.

Media get us closer to social causes


I am a Feminist. It is not something that just happened, I think I was a Feminist for a long time and just didn’t have a word to express how I felt until very recently.  In September 2014 Emma Watson gave her famous speech for the United Nations ‘He For She’ campaign.

HeforShe event sponsored by UN Women with Goodwill ambasador Emma Watson New York, USA -20/09/2014/SIPA_SIPA837.01/Credit:UN Photo/SIPA/SIPA/1409230856 (Newscom TagID: sfphotos325055.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

HeforShe event sponsored by UN Women with Goodwill ambasador Emma Watson
New York, USA -20/09/2014/SIPA_SIPA837.01/Credit:UN Photo/SIPA/SIPA/1409230856 (Newscom TagID: sfphotos325055.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

She defined Feminism as  “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

She gave light to a very misunderstood word, opening it up to males and not just females, to her Feminism was equality for both sexes not just women.

Since then I have actively kept up with the facts, stories, events regarding a cause I feel so strongly about and there has been no shortage of ways in which to access this information. There are not only numerous organizations supporting this cause but also multiple ways in which you can recieve information whether it is through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat etc.

I even had the opportunity to see Secretary Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton speak on the issue of women’s rights on our campus for the Clinton Global Intiative University less than one month ago.

Chelsea Clinton introduced a newly created website that held all the data possible on issues pertaining to women’s rights. It covered statistics on the number of rape cases in the United States and countries across the world like India as well as the pay gap across the world between men and women. Aptly named No Ceilings the website has all the information you can get your hands on, whether you wish to talk about the data or act on it.

In addition to having all these platforms, Facebook collaborated with ‘He For She’ campaign and planned a live chat with Watson, that was held on March 8th ‘Women’s Day’. Comments posted and questions sent had a chance of being asked during the course of the conversation.

Not only is it becoming easier to access the information we require, it is becoming easier to engage with the information we are receiving, and that is exactly how media is changing the world.

Twitter’s negative effects for users


I remember that, as a child, my mother would often chide me about the lack of filtration in the comments I made and the stories I told. There were no boundaries; I was a brutally honest child — and a loud one, too. Nothing that happened in the family stayed in the family. They often suffered the consequences of what they called my “verbal diarrhea.”

As I got older, though, I’d like to think I figured out what I should and should not say depending on the situation. However, there were times that I slipped up in a big way and was only lucky that spoken words weren’t lamented like the ones we let loose on the Internet. Media forums such as Facebook and Twitter have made it infinitely easier to express our opinions for the world to see and I learned the hard way that once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back.

So, when at 19 my Dad questioned why I didn’t have a Twitter account, I laughed and looked at him incredulously, “Do you really think Twitter is the best tool for someone who has to consciously remind herself of what she can and cannot share with the public?” At which he replied that he simply used Twitter for his work and perhaps I could use it in the same way.

The truth is that a social media forum such as Twitter terrifies me, the number of times celebrities get hauled up for their tweets or accidentally send out a nude picture for all of two seconds someone out there catches them and, like I said before, it’s words or nude images they can’t ever take back.

Twitter is essentially used to capture what you’re doing thinking or feeling in that moment in 140 characters or less. Often times when things are said in the moment they aren’t fully thought through, and these words can be read by future employers, college professors, colleagues and friends and can potentially hinder your future. We have to be careful about what we do and do not post on the Internet and Twitter does not help.

Can news keep pace with social media?


One of the great things about social media is that you can post something and instantly everyone whose interested can see it. It has created a window of opportunity for information to be spread far and spread quickly.

The way I first heard about the tragic shooting at Florida State University was not via CNN or ABC, but on social media. I always check my phone first thing in the morning, not turn on the news right when I wake up (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this), so social media sources were how I first heard about what happened.

People who were actually in the library when the shooting took place were sending out texts and tweets, and the news of the incident spread like wild fire across mediums like Facebook, Twitter and even Yik Yak.

There is no way that a journalist could have learned about the event and written an article faster than someone could have written a tweet.

Social media are changing how we get our information in this day and age. Of course, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, so social media don’t have as much credibility as an actual news source, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still getting their information from people posting on the Web.

Social media are changing how reporters do their jobs. Everyone wants information sent directly to their phones right as it is happening. We want everything right now without having to wait.

Reputable news sources are beginning to take advantage of social media and it is shaping the future of journalism.

Journalists and using social media


I want to preface this by saying this person is a college student and not a paid reporter and, according to a comment from ESPNU in a Washington Post article, has a “very loose affiliation” with the network.

A student reporter at the University of Alabama made a name for herself Thursday morning, but not for any good reason. Marisa Martin, a ESPNU Campus Connection reporter, took to social media to express her opinions regarding the Florida State University campus shooting that occurred just after midnight Thursday morning.

Martin tweeted, “reported gunman on the FSU campus. Maybe he is heading for Jameis” in reference to the FSU quarterback who has been in the spotlight for both on-field and off-field action. Immediately she received criticism from followers and responded with: “Since apparently I cant make a joke in all seriousness I hope everyone at FSU is safe & that the gunman is found. But I stand by my opinions.”

She has since deleted the tweets and is claiming her account was hacked.

Whether in college or not, Martin’s actions should concern all journalists. Are our future journalists too comfortable with social media? Is social media enabling hasty and opinionated reporting?

Given the context of the situation, it would have been inappropriate for anyone to tweet something even semi-offensive, let alone an aspiring reporter working for one of the most prominent news outlets. Joking or not, college students, especially those entering the journalism field need to think twice before posting on social media.

Make that three times, just for good measure.

Fairly reporting Eminem’s ‘F-bombs’


Everyone knows there are the seven deadly words you cannot say on air. These are typically the words you emphasize, the words you use at the end of an argument, the words for which your mother would wash your mouth out.

This past Veteran’s Day, I tuned into HBO to watch the Concert for Valor — a concert held in the National Mall with a big crowd and an even bigger lineup of familiar voices.

After a little bit of “Born in the USA” from Bruce Springsteen and “America the Beautiful” from Zac Brown Band, the concert (the first of its kind) closed with a “Happy Motherf—-ng Veteran’s Day!” from the one and only Eminen.

He dropped more f-bombs than Times Square has dropped the ball. According to a source from USA Today, the count added up to more than 55. Gutsy for an event held in commemoration of our country’s heroes and in celebration of all that they have done. Obscene for a crowd whose ages and interests all varied greatly. But then again, it’s HBO. HBO is notorious for its laissez-faire approach towards censorship.

However, unlike the usual, the channel allowed its cable operators to open the signal — broadening its audience potentially from 30 to 70 million viewers at home who do not subscribe to it.

In a poll on Entertain This!, 51 percent said that the show was fine and represented our emphasis on free speech while 49 percent just said it wasn’t the right venue for that kind of performance.

Social media have lit up in response to this cursing which naturally has made it all the social craze on the media.

Most tweets read disappointment:

“Turning off HBO after all the swearing coming out of EMINEM..they cld have put him on later..after kids like myself have gone to sleep,” from Najat Dawaji.

“Pretty strange to hear Eminem swearing up a storm as the grand finale to thank our vets. So much anger and hostility is those F-bombs,” from Ace Hoffman.

“With the gun shot effects, swearing, lyrics, I don’t think Eminem was the best choice for #ConcertForValor…” from @VTJawo.

Through all of this, the media have rightfully remained unbiased in their publications — something to admire. With each major news source pumping out the same story, I have half expected one of the reporters to slip and show his or her true colors.

Blog post after blog post, I have criticized or critiqued the reporting of our day — either calling into question issues such as media blackouts, bias or hype. Fair reporting is not entirely a lost art, however. And in this case, with a topic that could easily ignite high emotions, the media has responsibly remained impartial.

To read more on USA Today, follow the link:

#BreaktheInternet supported by media


If you’ve checked Twitter lately (or opened up the Internet for that matter) you will know that Kim Kardashian is trying to “break the Internet.”

Ground-breaking news, right?

Kardashian took very tasteless (read: nude) photos for an issue of Paper Magazine, which was released earlier this week. The “goal” was to get the magazine and Kardashian trending on social media so much that the Internet would crash, at least I think that was the point.

Regardless, it’s been a topic of discussion.

Using social media to promote the cover is one thing, but when journalists start reporting reporting on it? Simply absurd. This “story” does not deserve the attention it’s gotten but unfortunately, sex, entertainment and controversy sells. Readers and viewers hone in on stories like this that are pop-culture focused with recognizable names probably more than an international or finance story.

What’s funny is that in all of the #breaktheinternet coverage, the reporters discussing the topic bash Kardashian and the hashtag trend. I’ve heard things like “Horrific! She is famous for nothing,” “I can’t believe people are following this trend,” and “why are we talking about this?”

Yes, why are you talking about it? If you don’t find it valuable information to report to the public, use some judgement and shut your mouth.

Media focus on college athlete, porn star


On Wednesday, Notre Dame freshman football player Justin Brent was spotted at the Knicks preseason game with his date, well-known porn star Lisa Ann. Brent, a wide receiver for his school,s football team, later posted an Instagram picture on the two in bed together.

Immediately, the story was all over the news: from sports publications to gossip magazines to hard news outlets.

Some gossip-fueled news outlets like TMZ were quick to jump to conclusions and judgment about the fact that not only is the woman a porn star, but she’s also a 42-year-old dating an 18-year-old athlete.

However, this story was also covered by what some might call more credible news outlets, such as the Huffington Post. In the article published by the Huffington Post, the writer is careful to not share any personal opinions on the matter. Instead, the article consisted mostly of the Instagram pictures in question, as well as quotes taken directly from Lisa Ann’s Twitter feed showing her reaction to the ordeal.

This goes to show that even the most trivial of news stories, like who’s dating who, can instantly spark media attention from all types of news outlets. However, there is a big difference in the ways that these news outlets portray these types of stories.

In addition to falling in the popular college football category, this story in particular also involved many common controversies, such as age difference in relationships, the male / female double-standard and respectability of occupations in the adult film industry.

Obama’s ‘latte salute’ and social media


On Tuesday President Obama departed his presidential helicopter, Marine One, in New York City with a coffee cup in hand. Following a tradition started by Ronald Reagan, Obama saluted the Marines standing guard on the ground … while holding his latte.

Immediately the “scandal,” which was caught on camera, went viral and Obama was attacked for what people called, “disrespectful actions.”

Without commenting on the ethics of the latte salute, it’s interesting to note social media’s role in the situation. First, the video was posted on social media via Instagram (by the White House nonetheless) with the caption “President Obama just landed in New York for #UNGA2014.”

The White House intended to promote his speech on climate change at the UN assembly and they even joined in on the social media lingo by using a hashtag (which stands for United National General Assembly). But that caption was most likely ignored by viewers who gravitated toward the cup in Obama’s hand … and then took to Twitter. The hashtag #lattesalute started trending on Twitter with journalists, politicians and the general public voicing their opinions in 140 characters or less.

No longer are we writing letters to the editor or calling news stations to comment. We are tweeting about it. We are including hashtags and text lingo like “u” and “nvr” in order to fit in more words. We are taking things for face value without doing any research. We are impulsively commenting on everything.

If a newspaper reporter needed to write a story on this scandal, he or she could easily just go to Twitter without doing any reporting.

But would that the best method? Should we take what people tweet and post literally? Even if journalists asked follow-up comments to people via Twitter, would their responses be skewed because they have the ability to hide behind a computer?

I wonder how many of those people truly have the passion behind their harsh statements or were just reacting spontaneously. Then again, maybe the spontaneous reactions are the most truthful.

If only Twitter was around when President Bush was criticized for saluting while holding his dog. It would have been interesting to see the difference, or lack of, in the public’s response.

Twitter gives stars platform to fight back


For the past few years, Twitter has been a main source of news for young people. They find out about breaking stories and everything relevant in current events. In a way, Twitter could be viewed as a young person’s newspaper.

However, with the rise of Twitter, celebrities have been given an easy platform to get their thoughts and opinions across, no matter how offending, or if it makes a major brand look bad. Twitter cuts out the middleman, and lets celebrities interact with fans directly.

This new direct contact between celebrities and fans can be problematic, however. In the recent case of Cee Lo Green, one stupid comment can ruin a celebrity’s whole image and, in the recent cases of Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna, uncensored criticisms can ruin the image of a major company.

Earlier this month, Cee Lo Green tweeted controversial statements about rape, one of which claimed rape isn’t “real” unless the victim remembers it. This moment of ignorance on the famous singer’s part cost him a huge loss in fan base, even after deleting the tweets and making a public apology.

In the case of Green, we can see how easily it is for public figures to reach their fans and how quickly a public image can change.

This also happened in the case of Shonda Rhimes and Rihanna. Although they didn’t ruin their own images, they used Twitter as a platform to fight back against attacks from big corporations and voice their own opinions.

Shonda Rhimes is the creator of many shows, like “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Recently, she was described as an “angry black woman” in a New York Times feature, after which, she took to Twitter to give her own thoughts. After voicing her displeasure, other figures such as Kerry Washington criticized the Times writer too. The Twitter backlash proves that the growing popularity of Twitter certainly changes the way the media can criticize celebrities – because they will not get away with it anymore without a fight.

A similar case happened recently with singer Rihanna, after CBS pulled her song from “Thursday Night Football” following the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. Initially, CBS pulled the song the week immediately following the release of the second Rice video, because they felt Rihanna, a famous victim of domestic abuse from Chris Brown, would give the wrong message.

Rihanna reacted through Twitter, writing, “CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, Fuck you! Y’all are sad for penalizing me for this.” CBS then had to deal with the disapproval of many Rihanna fans, which ultimately led them to pull her song for good.

These recent events involving celebrities shows just how impacting social media can be, especially as Twitter gives stars a chance to bite back at the media.

Twitter strikes again


I last posted about how social media, more specifically Twitter, are becoming a very integral part of how news is not only spread, but also generated in today’s culture. Once again, the social media giant strikes again, this time bringing to light a very distasteful issue.

Earlier this week, it came to light that the popular brand, Urban Outfitters, was selling a “vintage” Kent State sweatshirt. What was interesting about this item wasn’t that it was supposedly “vintage”; not that it was the only one for sale; not even that it was being sold for an outlandish $129!

What made this particular item so buzz-worthy was its design. It contained what appeared to be blood stains surrounding holes in the shirt (presumed to be bullet holes), reminiscent of the 1970 “Kent State Massacre.”

The listing for the Kent State sweatshirt on

Forty-four years ago, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a group of unarmed students, leaving four dead and nine injured.

The image of the sweatshirt on the Urban Outfitters website spread like wild fire on social media, after being posted on the popular website Buzzfeed. Outrage ensued and spurred Kent State officials to write Urban Outfitters a letter expressing their disgust.

Urban Outfitters released a full apology to Kent State and all those offended by the sweatshirt, claiming that the dye pattern was a result of poor coloring on the sweatshirt, and the holes were due to wear and tear.

Obviously, this did not pacify anyone.

Why would Urban Outfitters buy and sell such a distasteful and offensive item? Was it an honest mistake?

We may never know, but luckily for us we’ll always have Twitter to vent and get our opinions heard.

Twitter: The ultimate news source?


The Internet has revolutionized the way people communicate with one another. This is an undisputed and well-known fact.

But I’d like to argue that social media, and more specifically Twitter, has begun to revolutionize the field of journalism.

Since its beginnings in 2006, Twitter has taken the digital world by storm. In spite of the skeptics, it grew in popularity at a record pace and has even been accredited with “launching what has been referred to as the “microblogging” phenomenon.”

Backing up a bit for my less tech-savvy readers, Twitter is a social media site through which people can create a profile for free and post messages of 140 characters or less about things going on in their lives. These messages are called “tweets.” People can “follow” their friends, family, favorite companies/brands, and news organizations to keep up with what’s going on in their lives.

Now, I say that Twitter is quite possibly becoming the ultimate news source for a number of reasons.

First, the obvious reason being that people no longer have to tune in to their local news station on the radio or television for the news. They also don’t have to wait for the newspaper to come the next morning. They can simply go their favorite news station’s Twitter account to keep up with what’s going on.

Not only is this a more effective way of distributing news, since it is reaching a mass of people at once; but it also is efficient because people can find out about news almost as soon as it happens.

But Twitter also acts as a news source for journalists and reporters.

By scrolling through their timeline, journalists can see what people are talking about and what the big news stories are at the moment. If there is a big event or big story occurring somewhere across the country, news companies can simply send out their people to go get the story instead of waiting to hear about it via another outlet.

In my opinion, these are all huge signs alluding to the fact that Twitter and other social media outlets are going to begin dominating the field of journalism and playing a larger role sooner than we think.

Are social media trusted news sources?


I feel like the way that our culture is now, social media are now considered an official news source. Whether screen-shotting a tweet off Twitter or pulling a picture from Instagram, the candidness of these platforms appears to be what the public likes to see.

When was the last time you actually sought out to see a press release, for any recent? Even a news report from a trusted news source. Readers today don’t want to take enough time to read all of that. They want to know what happened in a single picture, or 140 characters or less.

So what does this mean for the future of journalism? Obviously we will always need writers. And as for photographers, a camera phone will never compare to the clarity living inside a Nikon D-5000. But, still, half of the time when something happens in the news, there’s an image of a public figure’s tweet or a video someone took at a moment’s notice.

Maybe writing styles will become more lax, I don’t know, but it’ll be interesting to see in the future how much more accountability that social media holds. We no longer live in an age where we need official reports and public speeches. It’s enough for us to see a picture on a verified social media account and we trust it.