The future of journalism

4 05 2011

Things like Coke in a bottle, fresh milk delivered to your front porch, and a young boy screaming at the top of his lungs for you to read all about it, are now part of a nostalgic America. The very essence of what these details meant to each one of us at one time or another are now but only memories of a slower, more intimate time in American Culture, including the latter: The newspaper and news delivery business; in particular, the business and future of journalism.

“Traditional news is struggling and continues to struggle, say Mark Flatten investigative reporter for the Goldwater Institute.  You don’t go to one news source anymore, now, you can find your news anywhere in the world.”

Flatten, who has 20 years of investigative writing experience at the Arizona Capitol has won numerous awards for his stories on political corruption and scandal says investigative reporting is very time consuming, expensive, and labor intensive and continues to say that more people are getting their news from the internet.

According to Tim Vetscher, reporter for ABC15 in Phoenix, Arizona says that the trend for news broadcast is not the same as it used to be, where one reporter would go out on an assignment and work along a cameraman and producer.

AP photo by Ross D. Franklin

“Things have changed, says Vetscher, now, you go out to get a story, interview people, shoot the video, and bring it back to the station where you write your script and edit the news piece without any other help.”

Vetscher says that the new role of the journalists is to know many things, not just one thing.

“You need to know how to use a camera, how to write, and how to edit, this is the new Multi Media Journalist.”

An article in the Washington Post regarding the future of Journalism says that more people received more of their news on-line in 2010 than any other sources according to survey data from the Pew Research Center and that on-line news consumers still headed towards traditional news sources such as the New York Times and CNN.

“There is value on the Internet as far as content, says Flatten, but it’s not being monitored. And most news sources don’t have a proper business model to sustain this type of media, although it is very dynamic, free and accessible, but it’s true, the traditional news model is collapsing quietly.”

Flatten also says, Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Peter adds that some traditional journalist are being funded by non-profit organizations to write as reporters. Organizations such as ProPublica, and Voice of San Diego are helping most journalists find a home says Edmonds.

Vetscher states that even though he is doing more work to produce a viable news story in broadcast form, there isn’t much leverage when it comes to asking for a raise.

Mark Cooper, reporter for the Huffington Post, wrote in a 2009 article regarding the future of journalism that one of the most important aspects in traditional newspapers is still “good” journalism, which is a public good and is valuable to readers.

“Advertisement is also in the toilet, says Flatten, when it comes to print media, there was a 43% decrease in 2007 and 2008 and 13,000 less newspaper jobs in 2009.”

Cooper also writes that revenue from advertisement has been declining rapidly.

Ben Norris, journalist and freelance writer says that marketing for journalism is quickly becoming one of the tools for the future of journalism.

“You must be a business person in order for you to succeed as a journalist, today’s journalist needs to wear different hats, especially when it comes to selling your stories.

Vetscher says that today’s journalist has to have access to different media platforms, such as tweeter and video. He says that having a resume on-line with a reel showing your experience in different types of stories is almost a necessity.

“Traditional newsrooms are empty, says Flatten, its the lowest since the 1950’s, but it’s true, the traditional news model is collapsing quietly.


5 reasons there’s a bright future for journalism:

1. More access to more journalism worldwide.

2. Aggregation and personalization satisfies readers.

3. Digital delivery offers more ways to reach people.

4. There are more fact-checkers than ever in the history of journalism.

5. Collaborative investigations between pro and amateur journalists.

Courtesy of Mediashift


Puma Palooza at PVCC

26 04 2011

Every student, no matter what his or her major is, needs a special day of relaxation. A special day of recognition meant to reward those working towards their educational goals.

This year, from March 28th to April 1st, the Second Annual Puma Palooza (Spring Fling) is part of Spirit Week at Paradise Valley Community College and is an event designed to allow students to just “get crazy!”

Ryan Novo, Student Life and leadership Office Coordinator says, Spirit Week Allows students to take a break from classes and midterms and just have fun at school.

Novo says that Spirit Week is designed to help build tradition on campus, which is difficult in a community college setting because of the turn-around of students moving on to other schools or careers.

“There is not a lot of opportunity to develop tradition or school Spirit on campus.” Says Novo, who coordinates Spirit Week with clubs and organizations on campus, and Spirit Week allows for students to participate in their school spirit.”

Puma Palooza, which is the Spring Fling of the college, is a student-oriented event with fun activities and prizes for students. Many students came out on Wednesday for this spring event to try their courage on the rock-climbing wall and the over-sized boxing glove ring, even Dr. Dale, President of PVCC, was seen climbing the wall, (on a dare, so the story goes.)

2nd Annual PVCC Puma Palooza

Puma Palooza took the spot from the Wellness Fest, which has lasted 8-10 years as an official event at PVCC and was also run by PVCC Faculty and Staff.

Jon Baez, president of the film club along with Mikaela Rischard who is also member of the club, says “The pocket change donated here goes directly back to our students.”

  • Monday 28th  Sports Day
  • Tuesday 29th  Twin Day
  • Wednesday 30th  Puma Palooza
  • Thursday 31st  Character Day
  • Friday April 1st  Crazy Hat Day

Educational Spring Break in 2011

9 03 2011

Spring break, what does it mean to people? A road trip to the nearest beach, drinking on the beach, playing on the beach, sex on the beach. For many students, it’s the same event every year. But recently, most students are opting to use their money and time by doing more educational and volunteer type of vacation.

In Mexico which is a big Spring Break destination for most Americans is a perfect way to let loose all those feelings of wanting to give back. And to work with communities that need assistance in building or teaching. In Costa Rica, a student can volunteer in health clinics and environmental conservatories while earning credit for school.

Andrew Green who is a student, studying music at NAU says he would like to visit third world countries to teach music in a workshop format on his Spring break and is now talking with his professors to help him organize a musical workshop in Puerto Vallarta or Cancun Mexico.

Most students have often thought of taking this route to earning class credit. But this type of credit is still considered non-credit course work and is not even considered an elective. Volunteering during a student’s Spring Break is considered solely personal time from colleges, but looks great on a first-time-hunting-for-a-job resume.

Expensive and exotic trips around the work by many students including those with better than moderate incomes have also scaled down the Spring Break vacations since the economy spiraled several years ago.

As far as the die-hards, the beaches of America and Mexico are still open for business.

Students considering educational Spring Breaks should also consider free money for their trips. Today, many colleges and universities are offering scholarships to qualifying students and also group rates to exotic places in Mexico and here in the U.S.

Elliot Snore, is an engineering student at NAU who has taken advantage of such scholarships offered at the school.

“I have traveled to Egypt and Chile on these types of scholarships and hope to get another scholarship to help rebuild some areas of Haiti this Spring Break,” says Snore.

Also, and for many, Under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, most students who are going to go into the public service sectors after graduation can also benefit from this program by having their loans decreased or eliminated and Spring Break volunteering and research can help place you in many public service jobs in your community.

Spring Break, it’s not about sunning, drinking, fornication on the beach anymore. Its about gaining personal growth and educational networking for a student’s unstable future. Perhaps someday, we will see the indulgence of our college students fill their vacations with more useful and productive activities than just going out and getting drunk.


Side Bar:

Three organizations, if you want an educational Spring Break in 2011

Projects Abroad-Community Building in Jamaica, Health Care in Costa Rica, and Conservation in Mexico

United Planets – Working in an orphanage in Guatemala, Environmental Conservation in Costa Rica

ELAP-Protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica and Mexico from poachers

The Wall Street Journal is for Everyone

2 02 2011

The reason I am writing my news stories using The Wall Street Journal is that I believe the “Journal” to be a very informative and hopefully unbiased news site. Reason for this may come from the financial information the Journal is known for. – How can math be wrong, is my theory.

Of course, there may be certain stories that do not fall into the financial category of the news, which can also be published in this on-line news source and still be able to deliver unbiased news. I also believe, that any story that is published in the Journal must pass very stringent and unbiased criteria, I hope.

I think that trust may be one very important reason that has kept this news source active for so many years.

In the Wall Street Journal you find stories from around the world, but also a more focused and precise financial section straight from the gut of the financial hub of the world.

Some stories in the Journal will take you to the front lines of the war in Afghanistan, or to the front lines in a Tucson grocery store parking lot, whatever the story, whatever the location, “The Wall Street Journal” is there to bring us the news with a no-holds-bar zeal and accuracy that is matched by only a few in the world of journalism.

Mexican drug gangs force Mexican citizens to U.S.

18 04 2010

Due to the extreme violence and continued death threats in border towns of Mexico, people are beginning to plead for political asylum in the United States:

Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times The opening in a rusty metal fence built in recent years to keep illegal immigrants from crossing into the United States has a new nickname among local residents, Jurassic Park Gate, a nod to the barrier in a 1993 movie that kept dangerous dinosaurs at bay in a theme park. Today, it separates Fort Hancock, Tex., from a brutal drug war in El Porvenir, Mexico. The influx of people trying to escape the violence has disrupted the area's peaceful rhythms.

In recent weeks, people of small towns bordering the U.S. have swarmed the border stations in search of asylum from drug dealers who have burned homes, maimed and killed citizens. Some of the drug gangs have even gone to the extreme effort of announcing in large banners in the middle of town squares that if anyone was left after the Easter Holiday they would be hunted down and killed, which prompted the Mexican Federal Police to occupy these towns immediately to avert the threat. (These people who are not involved in anyway with drugs are targeted by the drug gangs for little or no apparent reason, but mostly for individuals who have seen just a smite of the gang’s crime is enough reason for their murder.)

Photo: Ivan Pierre Aguirre for The New York Times El Porvenir, Mexico, can be seen just over the border wall from Fort Hancock, which is home to about 2,000 people in ramshackle trailer homes, weather-battered recreational vehicles and well-kept brick houses.

The law states that people seeking asylum from drug violence in Mexico doesn’t’ necessarily mean they will be granted safety in the U.S. but at times, the U.S. does provide “temporary safe haven for those people in their countries in immediate danger, this is called “temporary protected status” or TPS and is only asylum status and can’t be regarded as a qualification for a green card according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Black Maria and The Katyn Forest

12 04 2010

In the movie “Katyn” an officer is writing to his wife, telling her that he is finally getting off the train and will soon be escorted into a “Black Maria.” The Black Maria is a hearse like wagon that took several Polish officers to their deaths. . .The Katyn Forest was their destination. . . the place where a mass grave had been prepared.

Koch Lorber Films, A scene from Andrzej Wajda’s “Katyn,” which deals with the massacre of Poles in 1940.

In 1940 right after the Soviet Army invaded Poland, in a dense wooded Katyn, an area near Gneizdovo Village close to Smolensk in Russia, approximately 20,000 polish officers, were massacred by the Soviet Government.

On April 10, 2010 Poland  President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others including his wife Maria was killed in an airplane crash on the way to ceremonies in Russia, in which the Polish Government was to commemorate along with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin the anniversary of the massacre.

Aleksandar Plavevski/European Pressphoto Agency Poland President Lech Kaczynski

Russia’s Communist Party denies involvement in the massacre, blaming the Nazis. Although,  last week, Mr. Putin took major steps, according to the New York Times, in healing Russian, and Polish Relations by commemorating the massacre’s anniversary.

Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images Mourners stood in line to sign books of condolence in Warsaw. Candles, flowers and portraits of some of the people killed were placed outside the Presidential Palace.

Lech Walesa, Poland’s first president from the transition of Communism called the airplane crash “the second disaster after Katyn.”

Photo: Adam Warzawa/European Pressphoto Agency The former president of Poland, Lech Walesa, center, attended a memorial Mass in Gdansk, Poland.

“They wanted to cut off our heads there,” he said, “and here, the flower of our nation has also perished.”

Photo: Sergei Karpukhin-Reuters, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, center, took part in a wreath-laying ceremony in the Katyn Forest on Wednesday

Book Review – From Beirut to Jerusalem

3 04 2010

From Beirut to Jerusalem – Where does one begin with such an immense undertaking?

-An award winning book by Pulitzer Prize journalist Thomas Friedman. A 10-year journey when he travels across the violent landscape of Southwestern Asia (The correct location and name,) otherwise known as the Middle East, while with United Press International, then with The New York Times. The experience he shares is a kind of metaphorical type of education regarding the crisis of that region. Friedman explains the Ottoman Empire to the present time. It is a primer, and an overview for those hard questions behind the Arab-Jewish Conflict.
Thomas gives a broad base of understanding and coats it perfectly with pin point accurate insight to individual ideals and beliefs. He also shares first hand knowledge of people he meets along the way, but also provides a sort of history lesson through a myriad of powerful world actors. Thomas, who is now a columnist with the New York Times shows-and-tells the never ending conflicts, dissolved resolutions and that extreme belief that individuals; tribes, towns, cities and countries must possess in order to exist in the world where your enemy vows religiously, and to God that you must not exist, the belief that cycles over through every generation, and has become the war cry of every Jew and Muslim, the code of; Hama Rules: Rule or die.

Thomas Friedman-New York Times Columnist

The journey begins with Beirut; what a place it was. A place that seemed to be completely wrong, or all correct all of the time; it was good and it was bad; it was beautiful, and at times when Beirut was in the mood, it was very ugly. The mood of Beirut was always changing, and if you wanted to live there, you were best not to take Beirut too serious exclaims Thomas.
“Would you like to eat now, or wait for the seize fire?” asked one host of his guests during an attack right before dinner. Beirut seemed to have one foot in an obscured reality and one foot in an absurd fantasy. It was a place where you could be anything you wanted, for example; if you wanted power, you would get a couple of old oil drums and a 2×12 piece of lumber, paint some political words on it, perhaps a military uniform would be nice, and you and your buddies could create your very own road side check point, Viola! You enforced your own law that day.

The conflict of the Middle East, as explained by Thomas is always changing, just like Beirut. It was the knowledge of the special ingredients that went into the mix that set leaders apart; like Saddam Hussein. Thomas explains the mental savvy of such a destructive leader. Saying he was one that was able to change to meet a special need, for his own benefit. But as always, the purpose was never for the good of the country. For one example, and of most violent and oppressive regimes he would propose a toast in your honor in his palace, while his subordinates where at your home raping your wife. Hussein was a master of such illusions and myths says Thomas.

“One can never get it right, it is difficult to understand the violence in the Middle East,” says, Vaswati Ghosh, World Politics Professor at Paradise Valley Community College.

Ghosh says that the U.S. sees the Middle East conflict through a western perspective. “It is very hard to understand, very hard.”

In the book, Lebanese historian Kemal Salibi says,”When it comes to thinking about Middle East politics, the American liberal mind is often chasing rainbows. They are living in a world of delusion.”

“It is a kaleidoscope of ideas and beliefs,” said one Israeli soldier when they attacked Lebanon. There was a window and we went through it not knowing what was on the other side.”

It was these same beliefs that guided Ariel Sharon and Menachem Begin-both leaders of Israel, myths about their own survival and the destruction of their enemies.

Thomas explains the myths on the other side of that tell-all window. And the myths that guided the Palestinian Liberation Organization leader, Yasir Arafat, in making his fellow Palestinians and the other Arab nations, but also the Israelis and even the United States in believing their was much more than what they saw.

When the Palestinians had found leadership in Arafat; and one that would put them on the world stage as a legitimate and viable people in need of a country, they soon became disheartened at the cause as they saw him crumble in Lebanon. Instead of building through actual compromise with the Israelis so to create a place of their own in Palestine; Arafat made them see their own future through a crystal ball, always distorted and always an illusion.

Thomas decided to leave Beirut on June 1, 1984. He expressed his passion for his friends and the city that harbored him for so many years, saying how he cried saying goodbye to his friends knowing they had to stay behind to endure the strife of their home.

Thomas crossed the Lebanese-Israeli border with a suitcase and his golf clubs. Some thought they were special weapons and even tried taking apart his pitching wedge. Even the soldier girls, who knew what they were, still made him empty the golf bag placing all the golf balls on a table. He cautioned as the golf balls began rolling off, bouncing everywhere inside the customs hall as the soldier girls quickly gathered them. (The irony of humor in such a difficult place) He writes of having to catch them before they rolled back to Lebanon.

Thomas explains the Crosswinds of the politics of Israel and the beliefs of the Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion. A true and descriptive analysis as to where Israel stands in the fight for its home and its conflict with the Palestinians.

Thus; the story of the conflict in Israel is not totally complete unless the struggle of the Palestinians is fully explained, which Thomas does very well.

“I am going to fuck your mother, I’m going to fuck your sister,” screams a young Palestinian boy to a young Israeli soldier. The anger seems to come within the soul of each party. No one really understand this hate, it just is.
An Israeli commander in charge of the Gaza Strip witnessed a one-year old boy who could barely walk. “He held a stone in his hand, he said, he was just learning to walk and he was ready to throw a stone at someone, he didn’t know at whom, I smiled at him and he threw it on the ground, he could barley walk,” he said reflecting.

It is a time of the intifada, or as Thomas explains, the earthquake of a revolt against the Israelis from the Palestinians. It was a good revolt, as far as the Palestinens were concerned because it kept them in the lime-light, of course the world would hear of the oppression and they would come running, little did they know that the world was not paying too much attention. They thought they were the only refugees in the world that had this type of attention, and they were, but no one cared, not even the Americans. So an explosion was inevitable, stemming from years of anger and frustration, it was like a pot of steaming hot water, it was boiling over all these years until one day everything all went to hell, the peace and the negotiations and everything else.
Fallah, a candy seller in Jerusalem describes the struggle as meaningless, “You know what this intifada is? It is a drop of water in the sea.”

But in all of this, again Thomas explains how the west sees this particular Middle East conflict through its own viewer. America sees something that is not real, something that is covered in a shroud through the media. Everything in the Middle East is magnified out of proportion. Life always seems to go on. If there is strife in the West Bank, Israelis go to the fair in Tel-Aviv, and if a struggle erupts in the Gaza Strip, Israelis go the fair in Tel-Aviv.

In the book, West Bank expert Meron Benvenisti, says that whenever he watches news coverage while in the United States, of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict he feels he needs to go back home to find his reality.

When the American Media goes to Israel, they don’t go to film Palestinians throwing rocks; they prefer to film Israelis with billy-clubs.

From Beirut to Jerusalem also explains the intimacy Americans have with Israel. As with a lot of things in the world concerning kinship and belonging, Jewish Americans have found a love of Israel, and Israel a love for America. But when Jewish Americans began to read and see through the media that their distant relatives had invaded Lebanon, and how Israeli soldiers were braking Palestinian bones, they soon began to ask who they were and, “Who am I?”

In ending Thomas Friedman uses an excerpt from Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad. Where he reflects, describing the Jordan River. In the story Twain tells how the river is not what we think it is, not as long or as wide as the imagination leads us to believe, (then again we normally let our imaginations run as wild as they want. Surly it is our right to expand the truth in our heads in order to make things more interesting.) In the end of the excerpt, Twain is forced, and in turn forcing us to accept whatever the truth may be. I believe it’s the same with the conflicts in the Middle East. We are always seeing the world, just as we see our neighbor or friends and even family through this different and personalized perspective, ours!

Ghosh says, “we want them to vote in ballots. This is all new to them, a western view. It doesn’t work.- and its funny,-Israel needs to fight, it’s surrounded by Arab states.”
Thomas Friedman, through his journalistic journey shows us that there is a different perspective and that ours is not always the right one, but there is a different one that exists and tells the truth, because it’s real. (It takes an objective eye to see the world in full light, and in order to promote any type of goodness or peace one must stay focused on the truth. But we also must understand that some things are worth dying for, a principle we as Americans say we believe when we talk of freedom. These are the same feelings and dreams that the Palestinians and Israelis thing about themselves. How is it or ever will be possible to change such convicted beliefs?)

Ghosh agrees with Thomas, and cannot over emphasize that The Middle East violence is seen through a western only perspective.
“Democracy, she says, does not work in the Middle East, it cannot function.”

She ends by saying, that all Arabs are still against Israel, “it doesn’t matter if they are moderates, extremist, Shiite, or Sunni. Israel needs to show violence-according to Hama Rules; they can not show weakness if they are to survive.

From Beirut to Jerusalem is one of the greatest non-fiction books I have ever read, but not as great as The Life and Times of Sonny Barger of the Hells Angels. Although, I have read Barger’s book three times, I will read From Beirut to Jerusalem once again later this year – its a must read and so is the Hells Angels Story by Sonny.