Friday, June 3, 2016

2 Questions

There are many big, controversial questions in this world that I could just write on here that would set the room on fire with opinion, but I'm going to choose to focus a bit on questions that relate to our generation and may not be talked about very often. Hopefully they will provoke a little thought in each individual person that reads this because they are more personal questions.

The first question I would like to look into is how what you wear affects how well you work (at school in this case). There was a study done by people in different outfits, and the ones who were more dressed up did much better, and were more confident. Do you think this is true? When you come to school in sweatpants, are you as confident as when you come to school in a well put together outfit? People compare in high school a lot. Who does better in school, who is wearing the nicest outfit, who has the best personality. Let's talk about how it does or does not affect you. 

Another question that I would like to bring up is are you really addicted to your phone or are older people just telling you that? What makes someone addicted to their phone?

This link from the Huffington Post talks about how phones affect our lives and how we can check if we may have Nomophobia. 

“Nomophobia is considered a modern age phobia introduced to our lives as a byproduct of the interaction between people and mobile information and communication technologies, especially smartphones,” Caglar Yildirim

First, take the quiz to find out where you lay on the scale. It ranges from not at all Nomophobic to severe Nomophobia. Are your results accurate? 

Let's talk about how phones affect us in our everyday lives, and if you think you are actually addicted to your phone. Or, if you think the test is an inaccurate depiction of your relationship with your phone. Be honest with yourself!


1. Does what you wear affect how well you work and how confident you are in school? 
2. Are you really addicted to your phone? 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Who owns our reality?

Media has changed a lot over the years. People used to rely entirely on print media such as magazines and newspapers to get information about their town, national, and global news. This was the most efficient way possible, even though now we may think it is not fast or efficient enough. There was no thought that the internet could take over and be dominant over the traditional way of getting news. It has most definitely dominated the world, though. Print media seems to be getting more and more obsolete.

The Internet may be faster, more efficient, more diverse, and easier to access, but print media has some advantages that we must not forget about. Some are mentioned on this website from an advertising standpoint. When reading a newspaper, there aren't pop-up ads or click bait. You can hand pick exactly what source you would like to receive your news from, and they are often more trustworthy than some companies online. If you are a company trying to decide what the benefits for print publications are, you may think of your audience that appreciates having a hard copy in their hand, or the reduction of competitors trying to get your viewers to get on their website instead, for example. The Internet has many advantages, but in reality, print media is much simpler.

Another difficulty that we are facing is the fact that there are a handful of huge companies that own literally all of the news that we see on television, hear on the radio, look up online, or read about. It seems as if there are no unique, original stories out there that we can easily get access to. The images below depict what the reality of media looks like today.

When thinking about my own life and how I am affected by the media, I have predicted that I will mostly likely not subscribe to any magazines when I am out of college. In reality, you can get the same information online for no cost at all. I would be must more interested in purchasing media that is printed if there was more diversity in the owners of the news we have access to. Unfortunately,  I believe that the lack of diversity is one reason that they are becoming obsolete to my generation. Why buy the same story you are constantly hearing about over and over? By the tenth time hearing the same story reworded and forced down your throat, it becomes significantly less appealing.

Major struggles have been brought to my attention while learning about the media, and who owns it. The most difficult part is in our hands, though. The job of a reader is to stay informed about the world by selectively choosing sources that try to be as well rounded as possible. We must first read the story, think about it, and then form an opinion about it. Stories are supposed to make you feel something, so part of our jobs, as readers and consumers, is to have an individual opinion. What does it make you feel? We must do our best to look past the drawbacks in the media, and have an open mind when trying to stay as informed about the world around us as possible.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Satire is an extremely difficult thing to write, and for some, to understand. It has the ability to be very powerful, but can also be extremely misunderstood.

On The Onion, the story about a "Brain-Dead Teen" has been all over social media. Some people understand that the girl is not actually going to be euthanized and The Onion is trying to prove a point, but others... they just don't understand what is happening at all. As you can see from the comments on the Facebook post that links to the story, there are people that are genuinely upset about what the story says because they think it is true. Luckily, there was someone who tried to make it aware to others that The Onion is supposed to be funny. Unfortunately, it takes a special person to understand that The Onion is a satirical website, and nothing said on it should be taken literally. It should in turn have a "victim", and a point.

On the other hand, when satire is understood, it is extremely powerful.

I really love the quote by Molly Ivins because it basically implies that satire by the powerless has the potential to be extremely powerful in society. In class, we saw that those who watched satirical knew more about what is going on in the world than those who watch factual news. Satire has the ability to grab our attention for a second, and strategically give us information without us even knowing it. It is basically a sneaky way for news sources to give us information and help us form our own opinion about something.


I am going to totally change subjects and talk about the act of writing satire. It isn't easy because there are so many things you need to take into account. When making something that is satirical, you need to be sure you are not targeting the wrong person (people, group of people, or idea) because you're skating on a fine line between powerful and/or funny, and extremely offensive. If you make one mistake, people will lose trust in you and that trust may never come back. Being very careful is necessary.

Above, there is a photo of the Satire that Serena and I created. It is a syllabus for Mr. McCallum's class. We targeted the students in his class that may take advantage of his classes. There is a lot of freedom in McCallum's classes, which is what most people love about them, but there are many students that are just simply not mature enough to get things done. Instead, they will look up silly YouTube videos and play, for example. Then, because of their actions, they end up having a grade that they (or their parents) may not be thrilled with and proceed to say that we have not had enough work time (which is obviously not true). Serena and I wanted to stand up for Mr. McCallum and make it aware to the students that are not putting in their full effort that they are not good at hiding why they have a bad grade, and I'll give you a hint, it isn't what McCallum "isn't" doing!

Overall, Satire is an extremely in-depth art. It is not easy and takes a lot of thought. In the end, a good piece of satire will make the audience think about what is trying to be said and will hopefully get a point across that has the ability to be very powerful in society.

Monday, April 18, 2016

What does your news say about you?

I have been researching Fox News for the past two weeks. I studied what stories were portrayed as the most important, the layout of their page, how their stories are written, and what political "side" they publicly support.

I will start off by saying Fox News is Republican and proud of it. They will always support the views of the right and defend it against others who have opposing opinions. Even though some people think that a news source being biased is uncalled for, I 100% support it. What would Fox News be without a conservative viewpoint? Not the Fox News we know (and love... or hate), that's for sure. 

Having a biased news source is a very good thing for society. Fox News attracts Republicans, which is exactly what they want to do. Instead of being a mediocre neutral source, they want to take a stand and be daring. This brings Republicans directly to their website or television shows because people love when they agree with something. What about the Democrats? That's the beautiful part of having the ability to choose where we receive our news from. They can choose to get their news from a source that most closely relates to their point of view. 

Getting back to the original question of this blog, what does your news say about you?

It makes your political views fairly apparent. By looking at what news source a person uses, you can make a prediction as to their personal opinions. This does not always work, though, because there are still some sources that are (or try to be) unbiased and neutral. Of course, no one can be totally unbiased, but some sources stick to only the facts and make it hard to decipher if they are Republican or Democratic. 

Below, you will see some major news sources placed on a 10-point scale. It ranges from the audience being consistently liberal to the audience being consistently conservative.

Fox News is placed at a 2, and some programs aired on the Fox News Channel are around the ranking of a 6. This means that their audience is more consistently conservative. 
Interactive: Audience Profiles & Media Habits

I found this website, which really interests me, and supports what I was saying above. It basically implies that your personal political view influences what news sources you choose to trust. Fox News, for example, is trusted by 88% of conservatives, but CNN is only trusted by 14% of conservatives. CNN and Fox News are the two most trusted sources out there, though. It just depends on who you agree with more to figure out which one you would rather watch.

A coincidence I found on the website is that many shows on the Fox News Channel are not trusted. It is interesting how the same company can be trusted for their website, but distrusted for their television shows. I am thinking maybe it is because the TV show is even more biased than the website, and they are sometimes quite blunt about their opinion.

News sources vary in many aspects, which is why it is nice to be able to choose how we want to be informed.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


This is a video of my sister, Olivia, telling a story about the Hall of Fame Dance Competition that we had this weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Choices: The Obvious & The Hidden

Choices impact our entire lives. Every single day, we have choices to make. According to this article, we make around 70 choices per day. How many times will you hit snooze? Will you get coffee on your way to school or work? For lunch, will you choose to eat healthily or will that double bacon cheeseburger with onion rings look really good? These are the choices that you are aware you are making.

There are some choices that are almost impossible to realize you're making, but they actually mean a lot and can affect our lives. They are hidden from us. The scary part is that the internet is catching on to certain things we do online (such as "liking" curly fries on Facebook relating to someone's intelligence). We are not even aware that there are people and companies out there digging so deep into our personal lives -- they know exactly who we are, what we stand for, and what we are going to do.  

The quote above seems extremely inspirational, right? I wish it were that simple. How do we know what choices are "better" when sometimes we are not even aware of the choices we are making? It is hard to fix a problem with your decision making when you don't even understand the issue in the first place. 

It is possible, however, that Facebook (and other sites) may know us better than we even know ourselves. They understand the decisions we make and why we are making them. Websites, such as Facebook, can even influence our choices that need to be made in the future. Let's pretend that all you ever could do on Facebook was "like" things. Based on this article, they would still know so much about you. It's frightening that just based on your choice to simply "like" something on social media, they literally can figure out exactly who you are as a person even when you are offline.

Choices will forever impact our lives... whether they are obvious or hidden to us.  In order to understand the hidden choices, we need to somehow try to comprehend what Facebook and others like it are doing. The Internet, and technology in general, is a wonderful thing that has brought us together as a world (especially when it was first created), but looking at how it has evolved, it is almost becoming too powerful. We need to find a balance between living plugged in to technology and living in the real world. We must learn the ways of sneaky companies online and how to recognize what is really going on. It is important to make all choices in life evident so that we have the power to choose for ourselves. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Future of Journalism

The future of journalism (or, well... everything) can be a bit scary, intimidating, something to look forward to, or even something to dread.

I predict that as technology rapidly advances, so will journalism. Technology and journalism have always kind of been tied together, and I don't believe that will ever change. What will change, though, is how journalism travels from the writer's desk to the public.

My group and I came up with one example of what the future could hold.

We came up with a holographic app that you can download on your phone. It will give you detailed, customizable, user-friendly news that is interesting. One major reason for people to feel obligated to go on our app is the fact that their favorite celebrity will be recorded talking about current events. What kind of mega-fan are you if you don't see every single video of them? They will morally have to watch the holographic video. People will be listening to the news and learning about the world at the same time that they are intrigued with the person they admire.

How would I feel about a change in journalism such as the one mentioned above? Honestly, I think this is fine and am actually excited to see something like this happen. As of now, sadly, the public is not aware of important things happening locally, nationally, and globally. The main thing that attracts peoples' attention are celebrities and people we look up to. By using our idea, the majority of people will have a reason to learn about the news (even if they are subconsciously learning while only paying direct attention to what the person is doing). We have created something extremely motivational for most people in this world!

Another group in our class created this presentation on their thoughts of what the future of journalism looks like.

Basically, their idea is a chip that is actually inserted into the brain and is like "a tablet in your mind". You would have interactive apps literally in your mind that are shown as a layer over your actual sight.

In my honest opinion, this is crossing the line. When I said that the future can be scary, intimidating, and dreaded, this is an example of what I am referring to. This is so technologically advanced that maybe I just cannot process what it would even be like, but I just feel like this will cause problems for people. We have a hard time living in the moment as it is now with screens in front of our faces, so I believe it will be much worse when a chip is surgically inserted into your brain and you are seeing layers in front of your sight.

In conclusion, there is no stopping what the future has to hold for us. It may be exciting and it may also be extremely frightening. Journalism will somehow live on forever, but we can only tell with time how that will look.