Friday, November 30, 2007
As a student of journalism we are all trained to be objective and keep a fair and balanced perspective when we write. So when I began my blog, I found it hard to project strong opinions or even to type sentences starting with "I." After a bit of a slow start, I found my "voice" and settled into the type of posts I felt were relevant to my blog as a whole. As you will see, most of my posts are about the candidates for president in 2008 and what they have been up to. I covered funny, light stories like the Steven Colbert post and also hard news stories such as various polls and what they mean. I really enjoyed the fact I was able to include some of my own photos for stories which I think really adds to the quality of a blog, as it breaks up the text and gives a visual aid for the story. I feel fortunate that through other classes and my part-time job (former Co-op internship) I had access to stories such as my post with the Ben Affleck pictures, and the Roth family from Salem, New Hampshire.
As I continued to blog, I decided the angle I was going to take was through the notion that people, especially in my generation, are more private citizens then public citizens. Many people I have met and interviewed have told me they feel disenfranchised and as a result, have become complacent and apathetic. With that idea in mind, I continued writing and in one post I included an essay in which I looked at that issue through First Amendment glasses.
Overall, my experience was very positive. It forced me into a whole new style of writing and I really learned a lot from it. Also, it made me research alternative online resources to add to my blog. Through that research, I learned about a lot more sources than I would have ordinarily, as I used to rely on the same few websites for my daily news. Finally, my blog also offered a place to post and share my photography and my news video packages I had been working on all semester for a different class.
I am unsure at this point if I will continue blogging, or if I do decide to continue with it, if my blog will look the same as it does now. One thing I do know is blogging is quickly becoming a trend used by media outlets, other professionals and individuals alike. I think this trend will have, and is having, a significant impact on the "traditional" reporting styles. Some examples of this you will see in the links in my blog to sources such as CNN's Political Ticker and other individual reporters' blogs. I think people tend to resist change if they are used to one way of doing things, but with the sweeping changes the Internet has created for the news business and for society as a whole, a shift in how we do things is happening, right in front of our eyes. This is an exciting time to be apart of and one that should not be resisted but looked at as an opportunity to reinvent some of our old ways of doing things.
Having said this, I would have to give some props to CNN for trying to come up with a way to get voters involved and to change the format of these debates. Basically, the idea that CNN had was for average Americans to be able to submit their questions via video onto YouTube and CNN would then sift through them and chooses the ones that will be asked. However, CNN has gotten into some trouble with the second every YouTube debate that happened this week for the Republicans. The news channel has been criticized for leaning more to the left, and now is accused of "planting" questions with more liberal leanings or agendas. You should really check out Professor Kennedy's blog on this topic. He has a link to one question in particular that was asked by a former general in the military who is openly gay, and it just so happens also openly supports Hilary Clinton's campaign. Professor Kennedy also offers some suggestions to fix the current problem with the system that I think are quite interesting and worth checking out.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The ideology in our country is clearly that religion should not play a part in government and in fact, the Framers of the United States Constitution believed in the separation of church and state. For this reason, some feel that a politician's religion should not be a part of the office he or she holds and in the business they conduct there. This is why some don't feel it is right to ask a candidate questions about their religion. However I would argue, especially when choosing a candidate running for the highest office in the country, ALL aspects of that particular individual should be fair game as they all play a part in the character of the person their ideologies which ultimately play a major role in how they make decisions.
When John F. Kennedy was running for president a lot of people made a big deal about JFK being a Catholic. Up until his election to office, there had never been a Catholic president. In the current election, many have drawn parallels between JFK and his Catholicism to Mitt Romney and his religion. Romney is a Mormon and some say this may pose a challenge for him. After what happened in Utah with a Mormon man being arrested for practicing Polygamy and the popular HBO series Big Love about a Polygamist Mormon family, many Americans are unsure of what to make of the religion and many political analysts say if Romney doesn't come out and make a speech clearing the air of some of the stereotypes associated with the religion, Romney might loose a lot of headway in the campaign for president. Click here to read an interesting article related to this issue.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
*How old are you? *22 years old
*22 years old
*Are you in college?
*Yes, Castleton State College
*What do you study? *Sociology and Art
*Sociology and Art
*Do you consider yourself active public citizen? *Yes
* *I do community services like learn to skate programs, I work on arranging after school art programs for grammar and middle schools and I am a mentor for a fifth grade student.
*What do you do that is active in public life?
*I do community services like learn to skate programs, I work on arranging after school art programs for grammar and middle schools and I am a mentor for a fifth grade student.
* *Not a lot, I focus more on one candidate when the election comes around but don’t have time to pay much attention to a majority of issues. In addition I feel that some of it is a waste of my time because I don’t feel like just myself can make a difference.
*Do you know much about politics?
*Not a lot, I focus more on one candidate when the election comes around but don’t have time to pay much attention to a majority of issues. In addition I feel that some of it is a waste of my time because I don’t feel like just myself can make a difference.
* *The issues that are most important to me are education, health care and how the war in
*What are the issues, if any that are most important to you?
*The issues that are most important to me are education, health care and how the war in
* *Discussions with friends, what I learn in class and by watching the news and reading the newspapers.
*How did you learn the information you do know about politics?
*Discussions with friends, what I learn in class and by watching the news and reading the newspapers.
* *I watch the news probably five days out of the week but only for a little while. I only read the paper about three to four days out of the week. Otherwise I get my news from hearsay and by talking to other people.
*How often do you do things like watch the news on TV or read a newspaper or an internet news source?
*I watch the news probably five days out of the week but only for a little while. I only read the paper about three to four days out of the week. Otherwise I get my news from hearsay and by talking to other people.
* *Yes I do. I talk about what is currently going on and how it will affect us all as individuals and as a society.
*Do you talk about politics with your friends and family?
*Yes I do. I talk about what is currently going on and how it will affect us all as individuals and as a society.
* *No I don’t think that kids do care, they just don’t vote on things, they go out into the community instead. At my school a lot of people do community service and volunteer projects but not a lot of people participate in politics.
*Do you think our generation is apathetic?
*No I don’t think that kids do care, they just don’t vote on things, they go out into the community instead. At my school a lot of people do community service and volunteer projects but not a lot of people participate in politics.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
As a student at Northeastern University, I can understand student debt. I myself have almost six figures worth of loans out just for my undergrad degree and like NYU, Northeastern is very expensive, costing upwards of $40,000. I am not saying any of this justifies this poll's finding, because I think it is abhorrent that students in pursuit of a higher education would put voting so far down on their list of "important things" that they would take a new piece of technology over their rights as an American citizen. The college tuition thing I can sympathize with, but I think when some analyze this poll they might be quick to judge it as a glaring example of our generation's apathetic attitude and feelings of being disenfranchised. However, those same students seem to contradict themselves:
Ninety percent of the students who said they'd give up their vote for the money also said they consider voting "very important" or "somewhat important"; only 10 percent said it was "not important." Also, 70.5 percent said they believe that one vote can make a difference - including 70 percent of the students who said they'd give up their vote for free tuition.Click here to read the entire article. The findings are really quite illuminating.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
With the current elections in full swing now, there is a lot of commentary on the "race" and on the issues at hand in the newspapers, on TV and especially on the Internet. Some of this commentary can be offensive or against what you personally believe in, especially in the blog forum, which tends to be personal and tailored to the author's beliefs and ideologies. I have tried in my blog to remain somewhat neutral in the reporting aspect of my stories. If I have a strong opinion about something, I will interject it into my story if I feel the need to. I think it is important, especially today, with the almost omnipresence of the media, that when you get bombarded by information from all different types of sources, you are able to distinguish the proverbial tree from the forest. In other words, you are able to see the larger picture and you don't get caught up in too much fact, or conversely, too much opinion. Having said that, there is a great need in our democratic society for fact and opinion. Both are considered to have substantial newsworthiness and that need speaks directly to the reason the First Amendment was included in our U.S. Constitution. I felt compelled to have a discussion on the First Amendment, considering I am the author of a blog in which I do a mix of reporting and commentary. The premise of my blog is that people need to pay attention to the issues surrounding them and to care enough to educate themselves and then take some action. Without the protection the First Amendment offers us all, it would be difficult to do this because if the capability to disseminate information was not protected, the public would be powerless against a government that is designed to be checked by the people. Thus, my discussion of the our first freedom listed in the Bill of Rights.
The language of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is well-known to many and it has a profound effect on our lives as Americans. The entire profession of journalism, the media and therefore much of our society as it exists today would be entirely different if the First Amendment was not in place. The more serious investigative journalists that are a part of the media, have been called the “fourth estate,” or the fourth branch of government, involved in the checks and balances system. The question of what kind of “checks” if any, the government can put on the media has been debated and cases have been brought to the United States Supreme Court. There have been attempts the government has made to do so in cases such as New York Times v.
I can understand that certain publication of very specific classified matters should not be published in the interest in saving lives, it is important not to let those few exceptions set a precedent for a slippery slope that would leave Americans with no real First Amendment rights and the press as a public relations tool of the government.
When asked by a man on the street what type of government the Framers had decided upon,
Last month, the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was invited by
It seems that in theory our government should protect and provide for these freedoms, but in reality there is a struggle to keep them narrow and well-defined. Certain “symbolic speech” such as burning the American flag, is extremely offensive to some people. Those people tend to call upon their patriotism and claim the act should be punished. I would argue, however, the real patriotic thing is having the strength to allow the burning of the flag even though it goes against everything you might personally believe in. You can’t deny another’s First Amendment rights on the grounds that you just don’t agree with the same things as they do. The United States Supreme Court affirmed this in the 1989 case,
Americans enjoy these rights and seem to exercise them freely and without instance when their own ideas, sentiments and values are being expressed. However, they seem to be quick to argue against those rights if the speech is counter to what they believe in. It’s important to have the strength to listen to others ideas, because a loss of one person’s First Amendment rights is a loss for all people.
If you are the type of person that likes to further question things, you are probably thinking, well how much does this all cost? Excellent question. CNN's source for answers to such questions is TNSMI/Campaign Media Analysis Group. According to CNN, Mitt Romney spends about $85,000 a day on TV ads, McCain has spent about $300,000 on his ads, Obama leads the Demoracts spending $3.9 million and Clinton and Richardson both tie with $2.2 million in TV ads.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Obama may have been criticised in the media and elsewhere for his less than stellar performance in the debate, however, no one can deny he is still a major contender in the Democratic presidential race. Obama seems to answer the questions straight out even when the answer may be hard truth a voter may not want to hear. At the end of the Time article, the author tells a story about when a mother asked if he would consider extending Social Security to stay-at-home moms. Obama explained simply "No," explaining further the financial repercussions of doing so. I think a lot of candidates in that situation would have cleverly dodged such a question and moved on to the next. Keeping in mind the uphill battle our country is facing with the war in Iraq, global warming, badly damaged relations abroad, and problems at home with border security, social welfare programs and violence on our streets, the time for being politically correct is far over. It is time for straight talk and more action. This is why every American should be paying attention to the candidates and to the issues because whoever takes over the White House next year, will be dealing with all of these issues and will be cleaning up the mess the Bush administration has made. We should at least know who we are dealing with and who we are going to be sending in to do the job.
"[Obama] has been more herbivore than carnivore in debates...in the days leading
up to the Oct. 30 Democratic debate: a fevered, unsolicited-advice orgy, none of
the advice was substantive, of course. It was all about tactics. He had to make
his move or lose...and so, there he was onstage next to Clinton the night before
Halloween and not exactly dressed as an assassin. He took his shots,
judiciously - and more comfortably as the evening wore on."
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Some say that Colbert will hurt the race by taking attention away from the more "serious" republican contenders. Others say it is comic relief for the coverage of the presidential race that has dominated the media's attention thus far. Is Stephen Colbert making a mockery of our political system? There are many people that are fed up with politics in America and still others that don't completely understand why Colbert is doing this, how serious he really is, and don't know whether they should laugh or be offended. This entire situation reminds me of that movie with Robin Williams, Man of the Year, except in that movie, at least Robin Williams' character was a little more sincere.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Addressing a packed Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mrs. Clinton noted that both she and the evening’s M.C., Billy Crystal were devoted to the Yankees.Senator Clinton, according to many polls, is considered to be the front runner of the democrats in the race for president. With the "nosebleed" sections of the theater costing about $100 per seat, the entire night raised about $1.5 million for the senator, according to several different reports. Unfortunately, with all the excitement, it doesn't seem that Hilary Clinton was able to kick off her shoes and relax, as she got back to work, ending her night with a speech highlighting the main points of her campaign - as if she had to convince any of her guests!
“I have been a fan, and I remain a fan of the New York Yankees — no changes, no looking to curry favor with anyone else,” she said to much laughter and applause from the audience of mostly New York Democrats.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The people in New Hampshire really know how to get involved. Beth Roth, a local resident in Salem and her daughter Lexi, opened up their home to Barbra Richardson, the wife of Governor Richardson, a democratic presidential candidate, to talk to other Salem residents. The Roths believe by inviting various presidential candidates and their families to their home, it creates a more intimate setting so people get to know who the candidates really are. In fact, this isn't the first time Beth and Lexi have hosted such an event. The most famous example was during John Kerry's campaign when Carol King came to the Kerry meet at greet at the Roth's home and entertained the crowd by playing Beth's piano.
This is a great example of a local resident getting involved and making a difference for her neighbors and her community. This type of active involvement in politics allows for a small, intimate venue for candidates to share their message with people while also giving the voters a chance to ask their questions directly and get to know the candidates on a more personal level. I think this is the heart of the American experience, to get involved, to have a say, to express yourself and listen to others debate issues, talk about problems and how to fix them. This is democracy.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Sometimes in our political system, celebrities get involved as we have seen with more famous cases like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey teaming up to get Obama's campaign messages out. Celebrities also are active when it comes to causes. Locally, the mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, held a press conference to address the issues heath care workers in the city are experiencing. Many caregivers are being intimidated by higher up hospital executives not to organize themselves, suffer through low wages and poor health care for themselves. During the press conference, many of these hospital workers and their supporters advocated for better benefits to support their families. The interest group, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has been working to help these individuals. However, at a local level, Mayor Menino has worked the influence of his office onto the issue as well. While this is all well and good, sometimes even a local, well respected and well liked elected official does not create as much of a media frenzy as say, a celebrity like Ben Affleck who was also present at the press conference. The room where the press conference was held was packed with reporters and the fact that Ben Affleck was there seemed to generate more power then all the hospital workers and union supporters combined. Affleck isn't even in the health care industry, as many of us already know - I don't think he has even played a doctor in a movie, but the sheer fact that he is a celebrity, helped to push the hospital workers' issue to the forefront and commanded a high demand for attention.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Today, with all the technological advances and media being almost omnipresent, it is pretty hard for me to swallow that justification for people not doing their civic duty. Nevertheless, Channel 9 in Manchester, NH has just made getting information about our presidential candidates that much easier. If you click here this will take you to the political section of their web page. At the top, there are pictures of each of the candidates running for president in 2008. If you click on say, Hilary Clinton's picture, you will be bombarded with a wealth of information. There are links to her official campaign site and a biography site. There is also a section dedicated to where she stands on various issues, her date of birth (in case you needed to know her age), her political affiliation (in case you have really been living under a rock), and other news stories, clips of what Hilary Clinton has been doing, and news she has been making.
So try it out, and learn at least a little bit about the candidates, because soon, you will have to select one of them to run our country.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
This idea became evident when Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University invited Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran to speak at his university. The article in the New York Times gives a great summary of the events of that day. Many people were outraged by the invitation, considering Iran has been labeled by our government as a terrorist state and because Ahmadinejad has so many radical ideas. I do not believe that inviting Ahmadinejad to speak is in any way condoning his acts or his ideals, but highlights what our country's values are all about. Inviting such a person to speak at one of our most respected institutions speaks volumes about the freedoms we enjoy in this country. I think Mr. Bollinger explained this better then I ever could in his introduction speech that day.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Throughout the debates, there was more tough questions fired at Clinton about policies but not without the baggage of what I like to call, "what would Bill do?" I understand the weight others put on the fact that Ms. Clinton's husband is a former president, but day after day and debate after debate she seems to be running with this shadow of her husband and people can't let it go! There is some consideration to be made for who her husband is, but honestly it is Hilary Clinton who is running for president, not William Clinton.
Monday, September 17, 2007
So is this woman what Stephanopoulos and others have suggested, a nuisance? Or is she on the right track - asking the candidates tough questions no matter what they are. A precedent has been set in our society that public figures such as the former mayor of
In the article from the Union Leader Prudhomme-O'Brien defends her question.
"I was simply asking a question that people were thinking anyway. When did that become wrong?"[She] said the home lives of presidential hopefuls are relevant. If someone has trouble at home, she reasons, his professional work suffers.
Her response in the article really resonated with me. In fact, it reminds me of a book I am reading by Fred Greenstein. In the book The Presidential Difference, he evaluates former presidents on a number of different criteria including "emotional intelligence." Greenstein describes this as the "president's ability to manage his emotions..." It makes sense to me that a man - or woman now - who is campaigning to become the CEO of our country should be evaluated and questioned on all levels as Greenstein points out; there are many less obvious factors that make a difference in a presidency. So was this woman a trouble maker going too far? Or was she simply a citizen exercising her right to speak her mind?