THE IDENTITY OF MINORS

I really enjoyed this week’s On the Media podcast segment concerning the Torrington High School rape incident and the bullying of the victim that occurred in the aftermath. It is a shame that much of the media attention has been focused on the athletes rather than the bad attitude and victim harassment from their community because their actions are nonetheless part of the ever-growing problem.

I commend the Register Citizen for outing the bullies, even though doing so exposed them to national ridicule. It was harsh perhaps, but undoubtedly necessary in inciting the school’s communities to take a good hard look at the kind of people they are raising. The reporter’s actions reveal two parts to the problem. For it is one thing to have such blatantly misconstrued notions about rape, respect and consent, but another entirely to brazenly post on social media for the entire world to see. And see the world has.

If they don’t learn anything about rape, then let us hope they learn the lesson about the responsibility that comes with social media. If you say something on a public forum, you should be prepared to take accountability for those words just as you would in real life.

Minors or not, you are never too young to have a lesson in responsibility. And I’d even argue that having kept their identities confidential would have only done them a greater disservice in the end.

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The Threat of Cyber War

After listening to this segment of On the Media discussing whether or not cyber warfare is something concerned about, it seemed clear to me that it is something to be worried about. However, I don’t believe we should all begin panicking but a few things during this segment definitely stood out to me as red flags. The first being that if it isn’t something truly to be concerned about then why is President Obama giving a speech about increasing security. A fact that we can all agree on is that technology has progressed at an extremely fast pace in the last 5 or so years and it isn’t slowing down one bit. We are becoming more and more dependent on it in all aspects of our life. So to say that it isn’t a threat today might be true but with that said who knows what tomorrows technology will be like. I agree that cyber war seems like a much more safe alternative to regular warfare in regards to human lives, who is to say that only one type of warfare will be used. Together it could cause chaos. Also, the fact that we are now giving out awards in the military for cyber war is very contradictory. This is in a way promoting our military to engage in cyber war and use what we know to take down other countries technology. Therefore it can’t be just the United States that is beginning to look into technology as a means of warfare. Overall, I think that we should be prepared for a cyber war because of how fast technology is advancing and we do not want to be unprepared.

The Truth, and Nothing But the Truth, So Help Me God

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“All of practical politics consists in ignoring facts,” remarked my high school world history teacher once during class. Cynical? Perhaps. But it’s a rather fair remark to make. There’s certainly evidence to support his claim.

In this week’s February 16th podcast, On the Media showcased an ingenious prototype dubbed ‘The Truth Teller’ created by the Washington Post. The goal of The Truth Teller is simple. Inspired by Apple’s ‘Siri’, the Truth Teller is a web-based application that fact checks speeches in real time (or as close to it as possible). This new piece of technology is in its early days yet, but I believe it has the potential to be something huge.

With the Truth Teller, politicians would no longer be excused for blatantly ignoring or twisting the truth because the power of fact checking would be firmly placed in the hands of the people. I can see this becoming especially useful during the Presidential debates where the validity of some facts this past year, for instance, were sacrificed for the sake of persuasion.

To some extent, streaming fact checking already exists in our world but it is not so widespread or as common. I remember watching the debates with my friends’ iPad propped up beside us, tuned towards the New York post Twitter feed that was constantly being updated by the second with responses of people also watching the live event. Twitter was used in the same way that NPR strategist Andy Carvin from a previous podcast utilised it during the Arab Spring Revolution to verify information.

With a bit more improvement, I believe the Truth Teller could very soon be a part of the future of news technology.

The Ever-Growing Facebook Privacy Dilemma

Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once wrote, “All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.” But the rise of social media networks such as Facebook has made it easy, almost a little too easy, for these three spheres to merge.

In last week’s Jan. 25th podcast, On the Media discussed a feature that had recently been made available to some Facebook members. The new search tool is essentially a filter that allows users to cross-search individuals using ‘Likes’ or general information found on public profiles. The show invited Tom Scott, British humorist and a fellow beta tester, to speak about the way in which he’d utilised the site’s latest search to create (as he dubbed it) “cheap jokes”. And indeed, finding Catholics whose passions included the existence of condoms is rather comical. But beneath the humour, there is a very sobering message to be taken about the privacy of our online selves.

As Scott pointed out, this search function is nothing new. Ever since advertisers learnt how to use the Internet, they have been finding ways to make it work in their advantage. We should not be shocked by these invasions of privacy and yet, we are. And though Scott encourages the use of privacy settings to limit the information that can be put out to the world, the fact remains that that data still exists and with it, a landmine of potential that can eventually be tapped into. And so if privacy is the desire, logically, completely forgoing Facebook is the answer.

… But seeing as I’ve got my Facebook open in a different tab even as I type this, I can talk the talk but I obviously can’t walk the walk just yet.

C’est la vie. 

On The Media: Saturday, December 8th.

It would be cheap to post a reproduction of today’s test answer to the question pertaining to OTM. So, instead I’ll discuss another segment of the episode- the Javon Belcher tragedy and persistent NFL publicity battles.

As I see it, most every player and fan of the NFL know the dangers in playing the game. The 4,000 law suits filed against the NFL, by ex-players, may seem convincing evidence to the contrary, but its not. Players may have once been ignorant to the long-term repercussions to concussions, due to the NFL withholding information they were aware of. However, by now, every player knows the dangers.

I can only imagine if Johnny Cochran were alive today; he’d have no use for the ‘if it don’t fit, you must acquit’ argument, and he surely wouldn’t need it. He could simply argue that O.J did do it- but it’s ultimately the fault of football. This way O.J could have been in a mental institution on that fateful day when he decided to do more stupid crap and get himself locked up again.

Regardless of the NFL’s marketing strategy or if Belcher has a history of concussions, the thing we need to be talking about more in media is human aspects of a story; such as the little girl who is now orphaned as a result of this awful murder/suicide.

The Secret Formula That Predicts When Celebs Break Up..

This podcast was basically a way for the general public to understand or learn how to calculate the length celebrities will be together.

The 5 factors include; months spent dating, combined ages at times of marriage, amount of skin showing for the bride on her first google picture, measure the quality of bridal popularity and marital bliss

If her fame is tabloid fame, it is going to be a short marriage? I think this whole idea and podcast, while funny is kind of sick. I mean I understand the life long obsession everyone has with celebrities that it totally understandable, but I think this is kind of mean. We are predicting when they are going to fail? How about we predict how long they are going to stay together, or the attributes that make someone have a happy marriage. Marriage is such a blissful happy idea, and it is a unity between two people that is suppose to last “until death do we part”, but these days that doesn’t happen.

Without getting into this long discussion on people in general and how I think people get divorced for fashion, I will narrow it to celebrities. Famous people are only together for months, even days in recent history. Especially with the all famous situation of Kim Kardashian. Now this, in my opinion is terrible. If you are signing an agreement and whatnot, you should truly trust the vows placed. Marriage is something serious to me and to not be played around with and I think celebrities see it more as something like dating. They get together for a bit, decide they want to change get divorced. Why the hell did you get married in the first place? And I think this is why, terrible ideas like this podcast present came about because celebrities don’t really realize how they are being viewed by people. I think it’s bad for the public to scrutinize the people for something they do in their own lives, I mean everyone makes mistakes and messes something up once or twice, and I myself and doing some scrutinizing, but I do think they need to realize the image they are presenting, and this is why people get gossiped about.

Final “On the Media”: Battlefield Journalism

I really enjoyed the segment on “On the Media” this week regarding the lack of training for freelance journalists covering war. I am really conflicted as to where I stand on the issue for two reasons. While the obvious consideration is that journalists need training to protect their lives during war, my devil’s advocate feels that war correspondents are surpassing their duty as a journalist to only gather and report a story rather than also being equipped with the added duty to have to possibly help others in danger. There are just so many ethical implications to this story. At the end of the day, a journalist has a job and I personally feel it is crossing the line when a reporter may also be required to apply pressure to battle wounds or wrap hurt soldiers. I understand that ethically it is wrong to watch someone die but is it fair to the reporter to have the pressure of having to save another? I remember discussing this conflict during a Media Ethics course I took at Manhattanville, and we too had to make this ethical decision regarding the level of contact a journalist should really have during war correspondence. Ultimately I believe it is smart that both on staff and freelance journalists do receive basic training, I just don’t feel it fair for journalists to feel obligated to use that knowledge under pressure on the battlefield.

A Uguanda Response 2012

What ever happened to the Kony 2012 campaign?!?!, its been a while since we’ve heard anything on the topic. For the past month or so, we’ve been only getting one side of the Kony 2012 campaign and so I found it very interesting to listen to NPR podcast about the Invisible Children Kony 2012 video.. In response to Kony 2012, a group of Uguandan journalists made a video that sheds light on the Uguandians and their reaction to the campaign and their plans for helping the Uguandans. According to the podcast the video was “less polished” than the original video and only had 3,900 youtuve views within the first week.

According to Uguanda 2012 contributer Rosebell Kagumire, Uguandans were worried about the video damaging Uguanda’s reputation and having it affect its tourism, and image. When asked to talk about the video, Kagumire said that “We are not looking to raise up emotions, we are looking to get thoughtful emotions to end this war.” She then goes on to explain that the aim should not be just to capture Kony, but to think about his victims and their struggles, along with their hopes for their future. Instead of just focussing on eliminating Kony from being a threat, Uguanda has other issues that need to be dealt with. For example, Rosebell talks about a major neurological disease in Northern Uguanda called the “nodding disease” that currently affects 2,000 children between the ages of 5 and 15. She uses this an example to claim that there are other serious health issues in Uguanda that the world should be more imformed about instead of just directing their attention to Kony 2012. In reaction to the Kony 2012 video and Invisible Children, Rosebell says that she “finds it obsurd that people who can afford to tell the story correctly, choose to tell it the wrong way” and that she owes nothing to invisible children because of the way thay have depicted the situation in Uguanda.

I am completely for expressing the views of the Ugaundans themselves, instead of just having a one-sided story. If the world were more for the interest of the Uguandans and the victims of the war, they would have involve the Uguandans themselves to create a joined effort in solving Uguanda’s issues. As for the health concerns of Uguandan children, I feel that there should be more exposure on this through the media , as well as a mobilized effort to spread the word about the real truth behind what is happening. It is almost as though the U.S is trying to tackle this problem on its own without including certain factors that have been left out. People should be more aware of why they are doing something or joining a cause rather than just because everyone else is. Its sad to know that the Uguanda 2012 video received much less attention than the Kony 2012 video. This just goes to show how much social media and video editing could really make an impact on its viewers, instead of the people behind the videos themselves.

A Viral Video from Your Government

And yet another viral video about KONY was updated to the web, this time by a member of the United States Senate. The 8 minute film intentionally follows the uplifting KONY 2012 template. The video raises a number of questions, one being: How much can the U.S. government really do about Kony?

Senator Coons uses this channel as an attempt to capture the immediate imagination of the online public about the capturing of Kony. Senator Coons states that the United States Congress needs to begin using the tools that modern America uses to remain connected to the world.

I agree with Senator Coons statement. I feel that in this day in age there are so many outlets to remain connected to others that there is no reason for people not use it for an important cause. More people today are on social media than ever before. It would be smart to begin implementing this form of media to farther pass news and information on to others in a quick and easy manner.

A Ugandan Response to KONY 2012

A group of local journalist released a You-tube video in response to KONY 2012. Although this video did not get as many views as KONY 2012 did–the group prefers a few viewers interested in the truth rather than millions enthused by a lie.

This video aims for people outside of the Uganda to not only focus on capturing Kony but also the victims of the war, what they’re struggling with, and they’re future. The Ugandan people have other serious problems in education and health that the world can seriously help with. They fear that similar to most, once this war has ended organizations will pack their bags and go and forget that people are left to pick up the pieces.

I honestly do not blame contributor, Rosebell Kagumire for feeling a certain a way about Invisible Children. It is sad that the people who could afford to tell the story choose to tell it the wrong way. Rosebell wants to call the correct attention to the actual problems of Northern Uganda. I feel that many people get caught up in these “fads” and get enthused by helping out a cause for a while and sooner or later the same people forget what they were even fighting for and move on to the next thing that people deem to be important or novel in some way.