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Posted in Breaking News, Protests

“We’re all here together…”, Shreveport officer comforts protester in tears

 

 

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Screenshot: Jade Jackson Twitter

 
In the middle of a protest in Shreveport, LA, an officer noticed a protester who was in tears. He took the time to let the young man know that he understood what was he was feeling. “I feel your pain.”

 
It was a very tender moment during the protest on Sunday.

We need to see more of this today.

The video was shot by Jade Jackson.

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Posted in Human Interest, Protests

How to cover a protest: Be precise, avoid loaded terms, dig for the truth

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A friend of mine in Minnesota brought up the topic of how some television anchors and reporters in her state were calling protesters “rioters” before law enforcement made that distinction. It had me thinking. What are the right terms to use, and when? Are looters also rioters? What’s the difference between a peaceful protester and a protester?

RTDNA came out with one of the best guidelines on how to cover civil unrest. Key points:

Do not use words like protest and riot — or protester and rioter — interchangeably. Protest can be legal or not. Rioting is by definition a crime. When violence breaks out at what was a peaceful protest, the people involved may or may not be the same ones. Marching, chanting, carrying signs, even occupying buildings and blocking traffic can constitute non-violent protest. Vandalism, arson, assault and other illegal acts may be forms of protest, but they are not protected by the First Amendment.

Be mindful of loaded language from all sides and skeptical of simplistic accounts: “Police were forced to fire on the crowd” — according to whom? “Peaceful protesters were beaten by police” — did you see that yourself, or are you reporting what you were told? “This is being called the biggest march in the city’s history” — by whom is it being called that?

Be as precise as possible in describing crowds and their actions. Words like riot, mayhem and thug may carry unintended meaning to various audiences. Avoid subjective language like huge, scary, ugly, etc. Choose objective terms like actual numbers and specific actions. Describe what is happening; do not assume to know the motives of those doing it.

Get the rest of the RTDNA tips on its website.

 

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Posted in Breaking News, Health, Uncategorized

Parkland Hospital asking for donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

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Photo Courtesy: Parkland Hospital

Parkland hospital needs the publics’ help. It needs donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). This equipment is vital for medical staff as they care for patients who have COVID19. Hospital officials are asking for new and unopened PPE for Parkland’s medical staff on the frontlines of coronavirus.

These are the items needed;

· N95 masks (Medical Grade)

· Surgical masks

· Industrial masks

· Surgical caps

· Medical protective gowns (water-resistant)

· Foot/shoe covers

· Medical latex-free gloves

· Eye protection goggles

· Medical face shields

· Powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) and PAPR hoods

· Hand sanitizer (all sizes)

· Antibacterial soap

· Disinfectant wipes

· Disposable food-grade gloves

· Thermometers (non-contact digital)

No word yet on how much PPE they have at Parkland for staff to use. Items can be donated Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Parkland’s Logistics Building located at 5223 Tex Oak Avenue, Dallas, Texas. For additional information about donating PPE, the public is asked to email Pamela Bryant at pamela.bryant@phhs.org.

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Posted in Breaking News, coronavirus, Health, Uncategorized

Michigan doctor says clean groceries before stored away and heat up take-out food

 

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Screenshot: YouTube 

 

 

Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen of Grand Rapid, MI, wants you to play it safe with your groceries and take-out food you bring into your home during this coronavirus outbreak.  He has put his recommendations on YouTube. He’s a family physician with 20 years of experience and knows the virus can live on different surfaces for several hours, and that includes food containers, fruits, and vegetables.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a report that revealed the virus can live up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel.

SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfacehe CDC has determined the coronavirus lives on for hours and days on different services. That means many of the food containers and packaging may have it without you knowing. – New England Journal of Medicine

VanWingen says stores are doing a good job of sanitizing at night, but we as consumers need to do more.

But they are not cleaning every single canned good, every single bit of food that is wrapped in plastic. That is up to us. It’s not just about wiping the handle on the grocery cart. We need to be a bit more savvy when we go into the store.

— Dr. VanWingen

Dr. VanWingen also gives tips on what to do if you have take-out food. He says, heating it up in the microwave helps.

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The Michigan doctor likes to see steam coming off his take-out food before he eats it.  He recommends buying take-out food that is hot over cold.

Share this information. Be safe.

 

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Posted in coronavirus, Health

Texas Governor Abbott issues executive order: closes gyms, bars, and restaurant dine-in sections

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Screenshot: Facebook

Texas Governor Greg Abbott took measures Thursday to bring the state of Texas in line with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. At a news conference at the State Capitol, Abbott announced an executive order that will temporarily close gyms, bars, and dine-in sections at restaurants statewide. The order also limits social gatherings to only ten people. 

We have to get back to business as usual as quickly as possible. We can only do that by everybody joining with us. -Governor Greg Abbott

The executive order will take effect at midnight Friday, March 20, and will end on Friday, April 3, at midnight. Still, it could be extended depending on the number of coronavirus cases in the state. Although restaurants cannot offer dine-in services, Abbott said the businesses could sell food and alcoholic drinks through take-out.

Use of drive-thru, pick up or delivery options are allowed, and in fact, highly encouraged throughout the limited duration of this executive order. – Governor Abbott 

People are banned from visiting nursing homes except those in critical care. Many nursing homes and senior living facilities in Dallas took these measures earlier when the CDC issued its guidelines.

Schools in Texas will be closed until April 3 under the executive order, but the Governor encourages schools to continue educating students. But this does not mean that education stops; instead superintendents should continue to work with the Texas Education Agency to continue online or additional educational options.” 

State Health Commissioner John Hellerstedt also declared a Public Health Disaster, which gives state and local officials additional tools to respond to coronavirus. The declaration provides the state officials the ability to put everyone under quarantine, but Governor Abbott hopes that will not have to happen.

We want to depend on the responsibility that all Texans will show. If Texans are irresponsible in their behavior, there are more tools where we can be aggressive only if needed. – Governor Abbott

Abbott said Texans can still conduct regular business like banking and grocery store shopping. He advised businesses to remain open, but should only use essential employees and allow other workers to do their jobs remotely.

Up until Thursday, the Governor had left the issue of dealing with the spread of the COVID-19 to local city officials. Many of the stricter measures were adopted by Dallas County last week. Wednesday, Dallas County Clay Jenkins enforced mandates of social gatherings of no more than ten people and community gatherings of no more than 50 people. He also announced that people not following the guidelines could be fined or go to jail.

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Posted in coronavirus, Health

Dallas County takes stricter measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, break the rules and end up behind bars

 

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Screenshot: Facebook

 

People in Dallas County could now face jail time if they don’t comply with new restrictions put in place by Dallas County officials to slow the spread of coronavirus. There is also a relief for renters who may face eviction and people who may be without a paycheck if COVID-19 has put them out of work.

 Wednesday Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins amended mandatory guidelines he made earlier in the month. Now no more than ten people can gather at social events like barbecues or pickup basketball games. And only up to 50 people can attend any community gatherings. 

I’m not at the point where I’m going to tell a family at this point which one of them can’t go to a loved one’s funeral – Judge Clay Jenkins

 He also asked the public’s help to report people who are not abiding by the county’s mandated restrictions. 

If you see a gathering, a social gathering of 10 or more, please call 211 and report that, because we don’t have officers who can drive through alleys and listen for loud parties. – Judge Clay Jenkins

Those who are caught breaking the county guidelines face a hefty fine or 60 days in jail.  

The county is also ordering Dallas County Justices of the Peace to suspend eviction cases for at least 60 days. Judge Jenkins said people need to have a home to fight this deadly disease.

We can ill afford to have people couch surfing or homeless at a time when the safest way to keep us all safe is for people to limit their trips out of their homes and to do that they have to have a home. – Judge Clay Jenkins

Sandy Rollins, the Executive Director of Texas Tenants Union, said stopping evictions, for now, will help renters struggling to pay rent to survive this crisis. “While suspending evictions won’t relieve tenants of their obligation to pay, we hope this reprieve will provide time for a tenant to obtain unemployment benefits or possibly a federal stimulus check to help them stay housed.” 

DISTILLERIES HELPING WITH HAND SANITIZER

Distilleries that usually make alcohol for consumption may help Dallas County fill the need for hand sanitizer. Judge Jenkins is arranging for a local distillery to switch production to help with the shortage of hand sanitizer in the county.

That hand sanitizer will be delivered to us in 55-gallon drums, and we’ll put that in spray bottles for our first responders and our health care workers, because we have a critical shortage.  – Judge Jenkins

REACHING OUT TO CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Dallas County is reaching out to construction companies that may have supplies of N95 masks. These masks are the most needed by medical staff working with patients with COVID-19. Judge Jenkins pleaded with construction companies for help.

…please consider giving some of your inventory to Dallas County Health and Human Services for use throughout our medical community. We are doing everything we can to keep up that supply chain. – Judge Jenkins

 

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Posted in Health, News Now

Dr. Ian Smith shows how to make your own hand sanitizer with three ingredients

 

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Screenshot: Rachel Ray Show

 

Right now, many people feel they are unprotected from the coronavirus because they can’t find hand sanitizer at their local stores. The shelves are empty.

No need to worry anymore. What did people do before someone invented a hand sanitizer and bottled it? Many people made their own with a few ingredients you probably have at home.

Rachel Ray invited Dr. Ian Smith to her show recently to show the public how to make a hand sanitizer with three ingredients. FYI, Dr. Smith says the right sanitizer should consist of at least 60% alcohol because alcohol kills the coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has added this video to its YouTube Channel.

Here’s what you need:

  • Rubbing alcohol (99% alcohol)
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Essential Oil (Lavender, Rose, Orange, etc.)
  • Funnel
  • Small plastic spray bottle

 

WASH YOUR HANDS FOR 20-30 SECONDS

Dr. Smith recommends that the best prevention against the coronavirus is washing your hands. Wash the palms and top of your hands, and make sure you have a good lather.

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Posted in Breaking News, Health

How a New York Times profile of two brothers led to an investigation by Tennessee’s State Attorney General on price gouging during the coronavirus crisis

 

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Screenshot: Twitter @HunterHoagland

Tennessee top prosecutor is looking into two brothers for possible price gouging of hand sanitizers, wipes, and facial masks.  Matt and Noah Colvin admitted to the New York Times that they had an idea to make money off the coronavirus by buying as many of the products they could get their hands on and then sell them for a big profit on Amazon and eBay. The brothers drove around Chattanooga and into Kentucky to find the goods.

 

Matt Colvin posed in front of a garage full of boxes of the products bought. The New York Times reported that Colvin posted the items on Amazon, and they sold fast.

Mr. Colvin said he had posted 300 bottles of hand sanitizer and immediately sold them all for between $8 and $70 each, multiples higher than what he had bought them for. To him, “it was crazy money.” To many others, it was profiteering from a pandemic.

 

Colvin also told the New York Times that he bought packages for $3.50, that each included masks, hand sanitizers, and a thermometer. The packages brought in big money.

He quickly sold all 2,000 of the 50-packs of masks on eBay, pricing them from $40 to $50 each, and sometimes higher. He declined to disclose his profit on the record but said it was substantial.

Amazon stopped Matt Colvin’s sales and those of others who were price gouging on hand sanitizers, masks, and wipes. Colvin showed the products he was stuck with to WRCB-TV.

 

Was Colvin sorry for what he had done?

 

The media reports got the attention of Tennessee’s Attorney GeneralHerber H. Slatery, who told The Chattanoogan that he takes price gouging very seriously.

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III said he has reason to believe the brothers bought these items at stores in both Tennessee and Kentucky. He said, “We will not tolerate price gouging in this time of exceptional need, and we will take aggressive action to stop it.

 

Kentucky’s Attorney General is also interested in the case. He also spoke to The Chattanoogan.

This is a time where we have to focus on helping our neighbors, not profiting from them,” said Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron. “We’re not going to tolerate selfish actions that put the health of Kentuckians at risk, and I’m grateful for Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s partnership in bringing an end to this harmful scheme.

 

Noah Colvin has kept a low profile since appearing in the New York Times, but his brother,  Matt, is being ripped apart on social media. People are so angry they have posted his email address, phone number, and Facebook page. And the public wants the brothers to pay for what they have done. Someone started a petition to encourage Tennessee’s AG to prosecute the brothers. In a few hours, thousands of people signed the petition, and the number keeps growing.

Maybe the Colvin brothers should hire an attorney. The Chattanoogan reports that under the law, the Attorney General’s Office can put a stop to price gouging and seek refunds for consumers. The courts may also impose civil penalties against price gougers for every violation.

Update: The New York Times is reporting that Matt Colvin is donating all the products he hoarded.

On Sunday morning, Matt Colvin, an Amazon seller outside Chattanooga, Tenn., helped volunteers from a local church load two-thirds of his stockpile of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes into a box truck for the church to distribute to people in need across Tennessee.

As of Monday morning (March 16),more than 25,000 people had signed the petition to have the Colvin brothers prosecuted.

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Posted in Breaking News, Journalist, News Now, Uncategorized

Newsrooms need a Plan B to keep employees safe from the coronavirus but continue to keep the public informed

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CBS News was caught off guard when two employees tested positive for the coronavirus. The New York Post reported CBS News managers had to think quick on how to get the news on the air, but also look out for the safety of the rest of their employees.

Broadcasting giant CBS ordered its staff in two Manhattan offices to work from home after two employees tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday, the network announced.

The network will be closing its main East Coast production hub — the CBS Broadcast Center, at 524 West 57th Street, and its nearby property at 555 West 57th Street — for disinfecting following the positive COVID-19 results.

All employees forced to work remotely for the next two days, according to a memo sent by CBS News President Suzan Zirinsky.

SET UP A PLAN B NOW, DECIDE WHO CAN WORK FROM HOME OR IN THE FIELD

News managers around the country should be taking precautions now to keep the newsroom functioning but also employees safe. As a reporter, I am always out and about and can take my own precautions, and as a freelancer, I write my stories from home or where ever I set up my laptop.

Journalists who work outside like photographers and reporters don’t have to go to the newsroom. As long as we have phones and laptops, we can work independently and report to the newsroom from wherever.

News managers cannot wait for the coronavirus to reach their newsrooms. Start planning who will work inside the newsroom and who can work from home. This will probably help parents who may have their children at home because some schools are closing down.

The goal is to keep employees safe, but also keep the gathering of news going. The public need us, but if we get sick, we can’t do our jobs.

Have a Plan B already? Let us know in the comments.

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Posted in Breaking News, Uncategorized

Coronavirus news coverage: Don’t fuel misinformation by using photos and video of Chinatown or Chinese people

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When the coronavirus started making the news, I started seeing video included in television news stories of people in China and in various Chinatowns in the U.S.  It was  “generic” video that often television stations have on file. The video implied the people in the video were ill with the fatal disease. Some of the reports lacked explanation to the viewers on why they were seeing Chinatown or Chinese people. It was video used to make the story interesting, but instead, it was misleading.

The Asian American Journalists Association(AAJA) has issued a statement to make sure the coronavirus coverage is accurate.

…urging journalists to exercise care in their coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in China to ensure accurate and fair portrayals of Asians and Asian Americans and to avoid fueling xenophobia and racism that have already emerged since the outbreak.

Here is the rest of the statement issued by AAJA this week:

Some of the news and commentary that have raised concern include:

Use of images of people wearing face masks without providing the proper context:

For many years prior to the coronavirus outbreak, face masks have been commonly used in East Asian countries, including for protection from pollution. This practice has crossed over into immigrant Asian American populations in the United States and the masks are now more prevalent as a result of the outbreak. AAJA urges news outlets to consider the various reasons for the face masks and provide context when using such images.

Use of generic images of Chinatown: Only include images of a local Chinatown if it is directly related to a news story, not as a way to illustrate the virus. The images are appropriate, for example, if the story is about Chinatown businesses emptying out over fears of the virus, or if there are potential cases stemming from a particular Chinatown. AAJA warns against blanket use of Chinatown images that reinforce stereotypes and create a sense of “otherness.”
Use of the term “Wuhan virus”: The World Health Organization issued guidelines in 2015discouraging the use of geographic locations when naming illnesses because it could stigmatize the people living there. Coronavirus is the umbrella term for a large group of viruses that can cause anything from the common cold to SARS, according to The Associated Press stylebook. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the virus that originated out of Wuhan.

Meanwhile, AAJA is heartened to see examples of comprehensive, fair and accurate coverage of the outbreak, its impact in East Asian countries and among immigrant communities in the U.S. and around the world. For example, news outlets have coveredthe impact on daily livesof residents in and around Wuhan; the culture and history of Wuhan beyond its relation to coronavirus; efforts to help businesses in local Chinatownsaffected by fear over the virus; the proliferation of xenophobic incidents against those of East Asian descent around the world; and more.

AAJA encourages journalists to turn to reliable resources like the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control in their ongoing reporting. And as always, AAJA is available to engage in a dialogue to foster fair and accurate coverage of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

– AAJA MediaWatch Committee

As journalists, we have a responsibility to report accurate information and that includes photos and video. Take the extra time to make sure that any photos and videos you use to for a coronavirus story are fully explained on why they are part of a report.

–Rebecca Aguilar

 

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Posted in Human Interest, News Now, Uncategorized

Anderson Cooper unleashes on Blagojevich who ignored 3,000 clemency cases when he was Governor

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Screenshot: CNN

This had to be some of the best television I’ve seen in a long time. Former Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich thought he was going on CNN to show viewers that he was a changed man, a man who thought of criminal justice reform. He asked CNN anchor Anderson Cooper to join him in reforming the criminal justice system because of the over sentencing of Black and Latinos.

Cooper wasn’t having any of the former Governor’s talk. Cooper reminded Blagojevich that when he was Governor, he ignored 3,000 clemency petitions that landed on his desk. These were cases of many people of color behind bars.

Cooper to Blagojevich:

Because when you were actually in power and actually Governor you could have helped thousand of people with clemency and you blew it off!

Politicians, even those who have done prison time, need to remember, a good journalist, is always prepared with the facts.

 

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Posted in Diversity

How diverse are your sources? Why a New York Times reporter decided to keep track

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Screenshot: Twitter 

How diverse are the people you include in your stories? Maybe it’s time you keep track and see if you are genuinely bringing all voices to the table. New York Times reporter Ben Casselman’s thread of tweets on diversity got my attention. For one year, he kept track of who he quoted in his stories.

One of my goals this year was to be more aware of the diversity (or lack thereof) of my source list. To that end, I’ve been tracking (as best I can) the gender and race of everyone I quote in my stories.
In the interest of accountability,…

Casselman’s results proved to him that he needs to do better at bringing diversity to his stories, but at least he is trying. Close to 50% of the people he interviewed were white males.

Focusing specifically on people I quoted as experts (mostly economists, but also political scientists, industry analysts, etc), 44% were women and 11% were people of color. Again, close to half were white men.

Check out Casselman’s thread on his diversity tracking. All the tweets will be a teaching moment.

Casselman should inspire us as journalists to do a better job of having diverse sources, and it starts with something as simple as keeping track of who we talk to. Let me know in the comments if you have done something similar.

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Posted in Inspirational, Motivation

Rejection is a redirection in life

As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.
How many times have you been re-directed? I saw this quote, and it made me think back on times where my life shifted drastically.

I have always said being fired from a job in TV News was the best thing that happened in my life. I became my own boss as a freelance journalist. I no longer had to be in a toxic work environment. I wake up happy every day. I took on leadership positions on different boards of directors and got my masters and also became a guest lecturer. At the same time, I got to spend more time with my family and adopted four dogs, and I’ve had lots of time to mentor other journalists. Yes, being fired was the best thing that ever happened to me.

What was your redirection? Leave in comments, because I’d like to know.

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Posted in education

Rejection from a “prestigious” university is not always a bad thing, check out these tweets

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Brian Koppelman, the co-creator of the show Billions, piqued my interest when I read one of his posts on Twitter, and the responses he got were inspiring.

Some prestigious colleges are sending early decision notices today/tomorrow. I know this can seem life or death to students and parents. So: if you were rejected or deferred from your first choice, and life ended up just fine the following years, shout out. Tufts deferred me!I never applied to any prestigious college.

 

I applied to Bowling Green State University, a state school in Ohio. I was happy I got in with my grades, and life turned out well for me in my career and personal life.

The responses Koppelman received make you realize that getting rejected from a “prestigious” school is not a bad thing. What people shared with him is proof that it’s not about the school, but what you do with that degree you get in the end.

Feminist and Opinion columnist, Moira Donegan tweeted,

I got rejected from Wesleyan, which at the time seemed like a horrifying insight into my personal and moral failures. Now I never think about it and live a very happy, professionally fulfilling life.

Jim Bankoff, Chairman and CEO Of Vox Media said,

I was waitlisted or rejected everywhere I applied.

Los Angeles Times columnist Virginia Heffernan:

Wanted Princeton. Didn’t get in. Went to UVA and didn’t like the social life so actually studied and it all worked out so much better than fancy Princeton would have, because I would have tried to fit in there.

Award-winning romance novelist, Racheline Maltese,

Rejected from Northwestern. Got a scholarship to GWU which meant I was able to get my journalism degree without debt. Worked at the AP in NYC my first couple of years out of school. Now a novelist.

Novelist, Bryn Greenwood,

I’m not even gonna confess the ridiculous hopes I had for places I couldn’t afford without scholarships. I went to Kansas State instead, was mocked by friends who went to KU. I’m a NYT bestselling novelist & make my living as a writer, so I guess it turned out okay

High school counselor, Sean Patrick Burke summed it up in his tweet,

As a school counselor, I can’t thank you enough for posting this. Current high school seniors, they need to hear this message from successful people like yourself to know that there are ways to success even if the decisions they receive from colleges are disappointing.

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Posted in Human Interest, Social Media

News anchor apologizes to anti-bullying activist after his insensitive post on her Instagram

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Philadelphia anchorman  Jason Martinez has learned a lesson. Think before you post on social media. What he did a couple of days ago has gone viral.

Martinez posted, “God. That’s scary” on the Instagram page of Lizzy Velasquez. She is a motivational speaker, author and anti-bullying activist. Lizzy has been bullied her entire life because of her appearance. She has a rare disease that does not allow her to gain weight and it has effected her eyes. I did a story on her in 2013.

When Lizzie saw Martinez’ post on Instagram, she is gave him the benefit of the doubt. She replied,

Dear @jasonmartineztv, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and say you didn’t mean to say this directly to me. Since October is national anti bullying awareness month, let’s take this as a learning moment and remember even “joking” like this to a friend can always end up hurting someone else. Shortly after posting this he did reach out to apologize which I will always accept and offer forgiveness. Let’s do better next time. #daretonekind FOX 29

Right away her more than 600-thousand followers on social media slammed Martinez for his insensitive post. Martinez who is the main anchor at Fox 29 in Philadelphia apologized with a post on his own Instagram page. He called it “a mistake”, but he had already angered Lizzie’s supporters.

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Screenshot: Instagram

The Martinez post even made it into the Philadelphia newspaper within hours.

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Screenshot: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Lizzie’s friends and followers did not let up. Some turned into bullies themselves and that’s when Lizzie stepped in. She posted a video Monday afternoon on her social media and said, “You know my style is always  kindness and forgiveness above everything and anything.” She encouraged her supporters to stop sending hate to Fox 29, Jason Martinez and his family.

Maybe Martinez should take some advice from some of the kinder people who posted on his Facebook page and use this as a teachable moment on Fox 29.  He should do a story for October anti-bullying month and use his bad post as an example and interview Lizzie for the story since she has become the voice for anti-bullying online. It’s a good way to make up for a “mistake” that will live forever on the internet.

 

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

El Paso Matters CEO dues ICE and Border Patrol for ignoring his FOI requests

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The president and CEO of El Paso Matters is taking legal action against the federal government. Bob Moore tweeted, ” I have filed a lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Health and Human Services that alleges repeated failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.”

Our job as reporters is to get information to keep the public informed. When federal agencies ignore our requests for information which looks into how the government is conducting business it appears suspicious. We ask why are journalists being stonewalled?

Freedom of Information Act Statute

From FOIA.gov

(a) Each agency shall make available to the public information as follows:

(1) Each agency shall separately state and currently publish in the Federal Register for the guidance of the public—
(A) descriptions of its central and field organization and the established places at which, the employees (and in the case of a uniformed service, the members) from whom, and the methods whereby, the public may obtain information, make submittals or requests, or obtain decisions;
(B) statements of the general course and method by which its functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available;
(C) rules of procedure, descriptions of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained, and instructions as to the scope and contents of all papers, reports, or examinations;
(D) substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by law, and statements of general policy or interpretations of general applicability formulated and adopted by the agency; and
(E) each amendment, revision, or repeal of the foregoing.

2) Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection in an electronic format.

Read more at FOAI.gov

 

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Posted in Uncategorized

Tips on interviewing at the #EIJ19 Job Fair

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Job Fair at EIJ 2018

Bernice Kearney says “Come in to win!”

She’s the news director at KSAT 12 in San Antonio, TX. Every year she attends the Excellence in Journalism conference and interviews many candidates looking for a job in television news.

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Bernice Kearney at EIJ 2018

This year the conference is a collaboration between RTDNA, SPJ and the NAHJ. It will be packed with news managers looking to hire.

I asked Bernice for her tips on how to come well prepared for an interview at a job fair.  Listen closely and take notes.

 

Be ready to talk to any and all news managers.

Thanks Bernice.

 

 

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Posted in Journalist, TV News

Interview Tip: Your salary is your business

Don't give up the goods (1)

“How much money do you make?” Stop. DON’T GIVE UP THE GOODS!

I’ve been asked that question several times in job interviews. I know in some states it is illegal to ask the question, but often managers do so because they don’t expect a job applicant will push back.

I’ve grown up in television news, but the advice I’m about to give you can be used by anyone interviewing for any job.

If a news manager asks during an interview, “What’s your salary?” or “How much were you paid in your last job?” Stop. DON’T GIVE UP THE GOODS!

In the past two weeks, I have talked to a web producer and an anchor/reporter who were interviewing at different television stations and they gave up the goods.

Why not say how much money you make?

Because some news managers will find a salary that’s a little more than what you are making now and offer that. This is why some people come in at less money. I’m not saying all managers are cheap, but when you reveal your salary you risk being low-balled.

How do you answer the question?

If a manager presses for you to give up your salary, be polite and answer, “I am not at liberty to say. Out of respect for my current company, I would rather keep that between us, but my hope is if I join your company I will be able to grow as a journalist and financially too.”

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If you don’t have a job and they ask for salary history, again you don’t have to give up that information.

Another polite answer, “I’d rather not say out of respect for my last employer, but my goal is to work at a company where I will grow as a professional and increase my income.”

What you’re saying is— I want more money, but in a softer blow. I have many news manager friends and they always tell me that we (job applicants) give up the goods too fast. We talk too much.

What if the job application has a salary question?

If you’re applying online and it asks how much money you are making now or how much you expect to make, fill in the blank with “0.”  Zero will allow you to still submit it.

If you get an interview and the manager brings up the zero you put down, be honest and say you didn’t know what was the high and low pay scale for the job, and you did not feel comfortable adding a number. No one feels comfortable giving a number, especially if you don’t know the pay for the position.

Do your research

If you’re going for a job in news,  call the competition and ask if they know how much an editor, reporter, producer, or web writer pays. Put your journalistic skills to work. You can always ask a friend of a friend. This is a small world. Someone knows the information you need.

Here’s another secret especially in television news, news managers and general managers often get a big fat bonus if they stay under budget. Yes, they get a nice check for saving money. This probably happens in other businesses too. Don’t screw yourself out of a salary that you are worth.

Play it smart.

Here’s a list of states where it’s illegal for an employer to ask about your salary history.

Good luck!

 

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Posted in News Now, politics

Rand Paul makes a run for it, dodging questions from NY1 Reporter asking about 9/11 Fund Blocking

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Screenshot: @NY1

Here is how you interview a politician who doesn’t want to stop to answer questions on something he has done. NY1 reporter, Jeevan Vittal tried to get answers out of Senator Rand Paul who blocked the swift passage of a bill funding medical care for 9/11 first responders.

Paul got nasty, but Vittal did not give up and neither did his photographer.

 

Vittal was calm, cool and professional. In the end, the Senator made himself look bad.

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Posted in Diversity, Journalism Conferences

Many empty chairs at Diversity panel for managers at IRE 2019

This photo taken at the 2019 IRE conference in Houston got my attention right away and so did Francisco Vara-Orta’s tweet.

#IRE19 crowd here’s a photo of current attendance on hiring & retaining journalists from historically marginalized groups as we start. (The JOC luncheon was packed.) if you want to learn true inclusion in your newsrooms/getting stories no one else is – join us now in Texas C.

I did not attend the conference, but I do applaud IRE for having these important panels. This one was meant for managers and those who do the hiring for jobs in newsrooms around the country. Some people tweeted that several managers left the conference on Saturday when the panel happened. Maybe that’s true, but it’s hard not to think that they are easy excuses. I wasn’t the only one disappointed.

 

 

 

Investigative producer Megan Luther summed it up.

Vara-Orta also tweeted that eventually they had about 40 people in the conference room. I’m not sure if that included the panelists, but there were still a lot of empty chairs.

I keep saying that news managers love the word “diversity” because it makes them feel warm and fuzzy. If they really want a newsroom to reflect their community they have to make a better effort to attend these panels and stop the excuses.

 

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Posted in Mental Health, Work Conditions

Journalists need to talk about their mental health and get help if they need it

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A few months ago Sonali Kohli with the Los Angeles Times did something very courageous. She decided to talk about the her mental health and the reasons she was going to take three weeks off from work. She shared it on Twitter.

 

I recommend you read her entire thread where she talks about covering mass shootings and deadly fires in California and how those assignments took their toll on her. She got help from a therapist who told her she had symptoms of post traumatic stress. She didn’t take a break right away even though her therapist said she was on the verge of PTSD. Finally, another assignment and that’s when she got very sick, and she knew her body needed rest. She tweeted,

Secondary trauma is a real thing and it can happen whether you are reporting from the field or a computer. Self care for me is therapy, puppies, exercise, cooking, baking, reading, time with family and friends.

Freelance journalist, Amanda Svlachula looked into the issue in her story,  The Newsroom Trauma Equation. She said,

As first responders, journalists must take care of their own emotional well-being, while also being sensitive and careful in interviewing sources in the midst of tragedy.

Kohli got a huge response from other journalists. Writer Micheline Maynard tweeted,

It’s up to us to set boundaries and call time when we need it. Once you get comfortable doing so, you can learn to pace yourself

Journalist Athandiwe Saba tweeted,

To all journalists. This thread is so important. We rarely want to seek help because we are meant to be strong and right the wrongs for other people. Take care of you too.

Journalist Gary Ghioto said it best also in a tweet,

It’s rare that a journalist speaks about the toll this profession takes on the psyche. We teach that journos need to be on the outside looking in to remain objective. We neglect to teach that journalists are human.

Journalists are humans too. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your life matters.

Other stories and resources:

Poynter: How journalists can take care of themselves while covering trauma

Vice: When Being a Journalist is Terrible for your Mental Health

National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)

Trump takes toll on those who cover him

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Posted in Human Interest, Inspirational, Uncategorized

Bailey Jean Matheson’s obituary inspires us to live, ’35 years may not seem long, but damn it was good!’

Bailey Jean Matheson died earlier this month of cancer. Two years ago when she found out she had cancer, she decided to make several major decisions that she shared in self-written obituary.

My parents gave me the greatest gift of supporting my decisions with not going through chemo and just letting me live the rest of my life the way I believed it should be.

I didn’t know Bailey, but her death made me think of the recent deaths of my dear friends, Laura Brigante and Ana Real. I thought they would be around for a long time. Their deaths and Bailey’s obituary reminded me that we cannot predict where our lives are headed or when they will come to an end. We must enjoy our lives now.

Surround yourself with good people. Do a job that you love and make sure the people around you support you and not bring you down. If it’s toxic, leave and find something else.

Use your talents to help others. Volunteering is a good thing.

Don’t worry about what other’s think. Don’t let fear hold you back from taking a chance or speaking up.

Stop worrying about money. You can always live off rice, frijoles (beans) and tortillas.  Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians.

Laugh today and love with all your heart.

Find some kind of spiritual nourishment. Yes, I believe in God. Remember you are never alone. If you’re on my social media, you know I keep it real. I follow my own advice.

Feel free to share this message with someone who needs some inspiration today.

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Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest

KPIX TV News Crew is robbed on assignment, but an armed security guard fights back

An armed security guard for KPIX-TV is recovering from a gunshot, after he and the crew he was protecting were robbed at gunpoint.  Reporter Joe Vazquez and his photographer were covering the Oakland teachers strike when they were approached by two thugs.

Joe wrote on Facebook:

Thank you, friends, for your well wishes. Our guard was shot today in Oakland while we were on assignment covering the Oakland teachers strike. We believe his wounds are not life threatening, thank God. Photographer John Anglin was robbed at gunpoint. John quickly backed away from the camera and tripod and took cover inside the live truck, warning me to stay down. Gunshots rang out. Then more gunshots. Our guard believes he may have wounded the robber, but we are still working to confirm that. They got away with our camera and tripod. John and I are shaken up, but are otherwise fine. Thank you to KPIX colleagues for all your kind words.

UPDATE: After a high-speed chase that ended up in a crash, police arrested a suspect. Another suspect walked into Highland Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. He is also under arrest. Most importantly, the security guard is going to be OK. Talked to him tonight, and he is in good spirits surrounded by family and friends. I thanked him profusely for protecting us.

Joe is a friend. I am glad to know that he and his crew are doing as well as they can be under the circumstances. This is a reminder to all news crews especially MMJ’s (who travel alone) to be on the alert. Don’t be afraid to tell a producer or news director that you don’t feel safe at a location where you can become an easy robbery target.

Who would have ever imagined three adult men would be robbed in broad daylight. Joe was lucky he and his photographer had a security guard along on assignment. Just think what could have happened if they did not have that extra protection?

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Posted in Breaking News

Jorge Ramos, Univision anchor and crew detained in Venezuela after President Maduro gets upset over tough interview

Univision’s anchor Jorge Ramos is known as one of the best interviewers in the world. Monday, he was interviewing Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro. Ramos had asked several tough questions. Eventually Maduro walked off. Soon Ramos and his crew found themselves detained and their equipment confiscated. He called Univision after he and his crew were freed more than two hours later.

I have translated what Ramos had to say into English. Posted below.

Translation:

We were detained for two hours inside the Palacio de Miaflores. We had an interview with leader, Nicolas Maduro. After a 17 minute interview, he didn’t like the things that we were asking over the lack of democracy in Venezuela and the torture of political prisoners. Over the humanitarian crisis that is happening. He got up from the interview after I showed him video of some people eating out of a garbage can. Shortly afterwards, one of his ministers, Jorge Rodriguez came to tell us the interview was not authorized and they took all our equipment. We have nothing. They kept the cameras. They kept all our equipment.

Anchor: And the material?

They kept the cards…yes, they have the interview. They took all our cellphones. I’m calling you from a cellphone that is not mine. We don’t have our equipment or the interview. This happened over a 2 1/2 hour period. They were interrogating us including producer, Maria Guzman. They put us in a secured room, turned off the lights, they grabbed our cellphones. They took our backpack. They kept many of our personal belongings. We just got back to our hotel. That is the situation.

This is the video that Ramos showed Maduro before he walked off. It shows several men picking through the trash looking for food in the back of a garbage truck. They’re starving. Ramos asked one of the men what he would say to Maduro. The guy responded, “As president you are useless. I’m from the streets. You’re useless, useless, useless. I want you to leave the country!.”

 

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Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest, immigration, Uncategorized

NBC’s Tom Brokaw insults the Hispanic community, apologizes, and then claims, “I got your attention”

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“it worked! i got your attention. ‘night,” that’s how Tom Brokaw ended his day on Sunday after he angered many around the country.  His tweet makes you wonder does this former NBC anchorman even understand the magnitude of his insults on “Meet the Press.” He revealed his real feelings about Hispanics and mix marriages.

As usual, there were no Hispanic commentators or journalists at the table to push back. This is something I have addressed with moderator, Chuck Todd when I saw him in person at the Excellence in Journalism conference in September 2018. Fortunately,“PBS NewsHour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor was there to respond to Brokaw’s comments.

 

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro tweeted his disappointment at Brokaw, and gave him some history about “assimilating.”

 

Brokaw apologized on Twitter and kept tweeting. “My tweet portal is whack…”

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Tom Brokaw wanted our attention and he got it. Now, it’s time for NBC to let him retire for good. He’s out of touch with the Hispanic and immigrant community. Please don’t blame it on his old age.  It’s also time for NBC and “Meet the Press” to get serious about including Hispanic/Latinos in the conversation. With 58 MILLION Hispanics in this country, we should not be missing from the round table.

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Posted in Awards, Human Interest, Inspirational, Uncategorized

Women who inspired at the 2019 Golden Globes: Regina King, Lady Gaga, Meher Tatna

Regina King won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by a Supportive Actress in a Film for her work in If Beal Street Could Talk.  On stage Sunday night, she challenged those with power and a platform to give more jobs to women.

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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association awarded one million dollar grants to nonprofit journalism organizations: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Inside Climate News. The president of HFPA said it’s important to protect our freedoms.

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Lady Gaga took home a Golden Globe for Best Original Song for A Star is Born. On stage she thanked her male co-producers for their support in a tough music business.

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And an unknown water girl became the social media craze at the 2019 Golden Globes. The Fiji Water Girl gets the Golden Globe for “Best Photobomber” on the red carpet.

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Posted in Animal Cruelty, Breaking News

You’re fired! Arkansas deputy gets his walking papers after caught on video shooting a dog

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Screenshot: Twitter @CatieJWoodson

Fox 16 is reporting that Faulkner County’s Sheriff has fired the deputy who was caught on video shooting a small dog in Arkansas. If you haven’t seen the video you may not want to see it, because it’s hard to watch.

Here is the other shocker in this story. The deputy, Keenan Wallace, was on the K9 Unit and had a police dog assigned to him.

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Screenshot: KATV 

Sheriff Tim Ryals issued a statement Saturday night about the firing of Wallace. The sheriff said the deputy had numerous opportunities to de-escalate the situation.  Ryals said:

“As a result of the incident that occurred on January 4, 2019, in the Shiloh Estates Subdivision, Deputy Keenan Wallace has been relieved of his duties at the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.”

 

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Facebook Screenshot

Did the public’s outcry and anger on social media play a part in the Sheriff’s decision? We will never know, but no law enforcement agency likes bad press or an employee that puts them in a bad light.

Sheriff Ryals apologized to the public in his statement:

“Our Department is sadden about this incident and apologize for any distress and disappointment this incident has caused anyone who was affected by this disheartening event. We will keep Reeses inour thoughts through the recovery process.”

Now the District Attorney’s office will investigate and decide if Wallace faces any criminal charges.

The dog called “Reeses” survived. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help pay for his medical care. The Sheriff said in his statement, “We will keep Reeses in our thoughts through the recovery process.”

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Screenshot: GoFundMe
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Posted in Animal Cruelty, News Now

Should the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department in Arkansas fire a deputy who shot a small dog on private property? Graphic video

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Screenshot: Twitter @catiejwoodson

Let me just say this video is very hard to watch.  KARK-TV’s news director, Austin Kellerman   posted on LinkedIn about an Arkansas deputy who shot a small dog:

This disturbing video is sparking outrage on social media. What we know: a deputy in Central Arkansas shot a small dog Friday during what authorities labeled an aggressive animal call.

KFSM 5 News reported:

The Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an aggressive dog in the Shiloh Estates subdivision in Conway on Friday night and sent a deputy to the scene. During the incident, the deputy fired his weapon at the dog.

The “aggressive” dog the deputy feared and shot was a small chihuahua. Again this video is hard to watch.

Today the deputy is suspended with pay.  The Faulkner Sheriff’s Department is investigating. FYI, the homeowner attempted to get the officer’s name and badge number, but the deputy covered the number on his badge.

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Screenshot: Twitter @catiejwoodson

Another officer showed up and told the homeowner that the deputy “had the right to protect himself” against the small dog. The Sheriff’s department issued a statement on its Facebook page, and it has gotten a lot of angry responses.

 

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Screenshot: Facebook
None of this looks good for the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Department and people on Facebook and Twitter are letting the Sheriff know they’re not happy that a innocent dog was shot and the deputy just left her there to die.

Sheriff Ryals I’m a strong, emphatic supporter of law enforcement. That being said, after reviewing the video it’s appearent this is not a shooting of self defense or to protect the public from immenint danger. This was a result of someone losing their self control and acting with aggression to assert their dominance. Anything less than charges of animal cruelty and allowing this to be settled in a court of law will not allow true justice to be served.

Another said:

This officer is sick and should be fired before he can and will harm another human out of spite, obviously a very sick and twisted soul.

And yet another posted:

How about TRAINING the police officers better how to deal with animals. Although it does NOT seem he was ACTUALLY threatened by the dog….yes, it was more like he was being impulsive and spiteful. He should be fired… this is NOT the type of individual I would want walking around with a gun or with any sense that he is in charge of anything or anyone.

The dog called Reeses survived. It’s still confusing who owns the dog or who is taking care of her.  A GoFundMe account has been set up to pay for Reeses medical bills and care. Here’s hoping Reeses finally finds a forever family. The person who set up the GoFundMe claims Reeses was abandoned by a former neighbor.

Keep up with what the public has to say to the sheriff’s department on their Facebook page. Stay tuned.

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Posted in Human Interest, Inspirational, Motivation

Keep it simple, be happy in 2019

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I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Every year my goal is to be happy. Are there things I can do better? Of course. Are there good changes I need to make in my life? That never stops. Are there people I need to spend more time with on a weekly or monthly basis? The list is long. Is there something I need to take on to grow my professional world? I’m always looking.

Keep it simple.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with goals.
Be spontaneous.
Meet new people.
Try something new.
Accept no one is perfect not even you.
Stop trying to keep up with the Kardashians.
Everyday write down your ideas, thoughts and accomplishments. You’ll see why.

Be happy!

Enjoy 2019.

Featured
Posted in Human Interest, immigration, Women in Journalism

Sinclair fires Chattanooga reporter who is battling cancer

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Alex George: Facebook

 

A heartless move by Sinclair Broadcast Group that owns WTVC-TV in Chattanooga, TN. It fired WTVC reporter Alex George. The 22-year-old has been away from the station being treated for  a malignant tumor. Many of her fans and friends including talk radio host, Brian Joyce let Sinclair have it on Twitter.

 

Alex told her viewers on Twitter and Facebook that Sinclair decided to terminate her job.  It doesn’t look like anyone in management or Human Resources gave her a warning.

 I wanted to share that sadly I will not be returning to work at WTVC. It was not my decision and I had hoped to come back to Chattanooga to continue telling your stories. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for all the good wishes and prayers y’all have sent. A piece of my heart will always be with the people of Chattanooga. (Edit clarification* Hi all, I want to clarify for those who asked. I want to assure you that treatment is going incredibly well. The decision was not made by me it was Sinclair Broadcasting, they terminated my contract.

 

In May, Alex made her emotional announcement that she had cancer and wasn’t going to hide it from her viewers.

 

At the time Alex also thanked her news director .

Goodness gracious!  Thank you to my news director, Tom for everything. And the man behind the scenes making magic. Thank you. Thank you for your understanding and for everything you have done.

 

Many are wishing Alex well all over social media.

 

FACTS ABOUT SBG

sinclair_Logo

Sinclair Broadcast Group owns 193 television stations. (SBG Map)

In 2017, the American telecommunications company reported a revenue of 2.73 billion U.S. dollars. (Source: Statista.com)

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

SBG could afford to keep Alex George employed while she fights to get healthy.  Sinclair’s decision can’t be good for company morale, because it appears that profits matter more than people.

 

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Posted in Breaking News, women's rights

Pregnant and disabled employees were fired or denied accommodations on the job, The Cato Corporation agrees to pay $3.5 million to settle EEOC case

catoThe Cato Corporation makes money off women who buy their clothing and accessories, but now they have to pay $3.5 million for mistreating pregnant employees and those with disabilities.  An EEOC investigation found the retailer of women’s fashion and accessories denied accommodations to certain pregnant employees or those with disabilities. The EEOC said Cato made employees take unpaid leaves of absence, and or fired them because of their disabilities.

According to the EEOC,

Failing to accommodate pregnant women with restrictions and limitations violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Denying employees with disabilities job modifications, leaves of absence or returns to work as reasonable accommodations violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The North Carolina company has agreed to pay $3.5 million. According to the EECO, the money will be distributed to employees who were fired because they were pregnant or had disabilities. The company has also agreed to revise its employment policies to more fully consider whether medical restrictions of its pregnant employees or those with disabilities can be reasonably accommodated.

The company will also conducted training to more than 10,000 employees and report to the EEOC for three years.  Julianne Bowman is the EEOC Chicago District Director. She said, ” Giving employees a job modification that allows them to continue working can be a critical reasonable accommodation for pregnant women or people with disabilities when they really need that paycheck.”eeoc

The EEOC said that this was a voluntary settlement by the Cato Corporation. Read more on the case at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

Interesting facts about CATO Corporation:

  • The top executives are men and the majority of their board members are men too. >> Corporate Governance
  • The company made $842 million in sales in 2017 according to a letter to shareholders from John Cato, Chairman, President and CEO of the company.  2017 Annual Report 
  • Sales are down according to the company website’s News Releases:

    The Cato Corporation (NYSE: CATO) today reported sales for the four weeks ended December 1, 2018 of $59.4 million, down 4% compared to sales of $62.2 million for the four week period ended November 25, 2017.  Same-store sales for the month decreased 6% compared to the four weeks ended December 2, 2017.

 

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Posted in Human Interest, Inspirational, Journalist

Reporter Alicia Barrera makes the switch to English TV news, headed to KSAT 12 in San Antonio

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Alicia Barrera is doing something you don’t see happen much in television news.  The Emmy award-winning reporter is switching from Spanish-language news to English-language. She’s leaving Telemundo 40 and is headed to KSAT 12 in San Antonio. 

I met Alicia a few years ago and realized she is in television news for the right reasons.  It’s about news not about her being “on television.” Yes, some people get lost in that part of the business. 

I also admired she grew up with immigrant parents who made sure she learned how to speak proper Spanish.  It would come in handy when it was time to break into television news. 

Alicia started in English-language news in high school in North Texas when she was part of the Coppell High School news team. After graduation she went to study at Our Lady of the Lake University in the Alamo City. During an internship at the local Univision station she was able to stay on to do freelance work.  She later got a part-time job as a production assistant with Telemundo San Antonio while still a full-time student.  

She graduated from college in May 2015 and a month later she landed a full-time job as an MMJ at Telemundo 40.  For more than three years, Alicia covered a variety of breaking news stories on the border and also filled-in anchored. Along the way she won a few Lone Star Emmy awards. 

A few months ago, I heard KSAT news director, Bernice Kearney Bonner was looking for someone to fill a reporter’s job. I thought Alicia would be a great fit, but I wasn’t sure if she wanted to do English-language television.  Full transparency, Bernice and I have known each other since she was in college. She was my intern when I was at KENS-TV.
In 2018, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists honored Bernice with its presidential award. 

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My goal today is to get more Latinas in newsrooms around the country. We are still “missing in action” in English-language newsrooms everywhere.  I started the Facebook group, Latinas in Journalism to help open doors.  It’s a place where news managers can find Latina journalists from those coming out of college to veterans with several years under their belts. 

I asked Alicia if she was interested in going to San Antonio.  She knows how to shoot and edit her own stories. She does excellent  “Facebook Lives.” I thought I’m sure she can do it in English too. I asked Alicia to put together a video reel (audition video) in English and the rest worked out.  Alicia starts this month as a reporter at KSAT 12. 

I am not a TV agent. I’m just a freelance reporter who volunteered my time and efforts to help a fellow Latina journalist get a better opportunity with a top-notch boss. I hope I encourage other journalists to open doors for other in the business. News managers don’t know what they are missing if you don’t put the person in front of them. 

Follow Latinas in Journalism on Twitter

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Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest, Trending

National Adoption Day: Hundreds of children finally get a forever family

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Image Courtesy NationalAdoptionDay.org

Today judges are granting adoptions around the country.  On this National Adoption Day hundreds of children who have been waiting for a forever family finally have their wish come true.  Here are some of the tweets celebrating this special day.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, 156 children were adopted by 120 families this year in Mecklenburg County.

 

In Massachusetts, 136 children in foster homes got adopted.

 

In Dallas, 40 children were adopted and now have a forever family.

In Fulton County, Georgia there were 12 adoptions.

 

An adoption changes a child’s life. Listen to these children who found happiness when they were adopted.

Here are many more happy forever families.

 

 

 

 

While we celebrate all the adoptions today and this month, we must not forget that more than 400,000 children remain in foster homes around the country. Some may never have a forever family.

If you are interested in adopting a child, please head over to NationalAdoptionDay.org for more information and resources.

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Posted in Breaking News, farm workers, migrant workers

Farmworkers work the fields in California’s Central Coast area while toxic smoke fills the air and raging fires surround them

This photo in my Twitter feed caught my attention. Farmworkers working the fields in California’s Central Coast region while toxic smoke filled the air and raging fires surrounded the area.

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Photo courtesy: causenow.org

CAUSE is a nonprofit organization that helps immigrants and farmworkers in California’s Central Coast region. Six days ago, members of CAUSE arrived at the fields to hand out masks to the workers. They needed masks to help filter out the smoke.

 

Handing out N95 masks with @MICOP805 to farmworkers working during the #Hillfire Please help out by donating to 805undocufund, to aid farmworkers that lose time off work and are often unable to apply for federal assistance because of immigration status.

Were the farmworkers forced to stay by the growers or did they choose to stay because they would lose pay for the day? I don’t know the answer yet, but I have asked CAUSE to give me some background.  I’ve been told the farmworkers are still out there today working the fields and conditions are not better.

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Photo courtesy: CauseOxnard

In one photo, you can see they pick artichokes for Ocean Mist Farms. I’ve sent Ocean Mist a tweet and Facebook message to find out who made the decision to keep the workers out in the fields under these conditions. I’ll let you know if and when the company responds.

Here’s more about CAUSE and its mission:

CAUSE’s mission is to build grassroots power to invoke social, economic and environmental justice for the people of California’s Central Coast Region through policy research, leadership development, organizing, and advocacy. CAUSE defines the Central Coast Region as the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito.

Meanwhile, CAUSE is working with MICOP , also known as The Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project. Both organizations are helping raise money for the farmworkers. The 805 Undocufund Donations will help immigrant families who are not covered by the federal government for disaster aid. Here’s more:

The 805 UndocuFund is a joint effort of immigrant-serving organizations in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties to provide disaster relief to local immigrant families who are excluded from federal aid programs like FEMA and Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Many immigrant families were affected including loss of homes and essential belongings with the destruction of farmworker housing and apartments, lost jobs as the houses where they cleaned, gardened, cooked, or cared for children were evacuated or destroyed, and lost wages as the only freeway between Ventura and Santa Barbara was severed by mudslides and outdoor air quality was hazardous for outdoor workers like farmworkers, landscapers and day laborers.

 

If you’re interested in donating please head over to 805 UNDOCUFUND DONATIONS.

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Screenshot: Instagram 

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Posted in Journalism Ethics, Journalist, News Now, politics

Why would Geraldo Rivera post his “private” moment with Trump on Twitter today?

I opened my Twitter to find a smiling Geraldo Rivera posing with President Trump on midterm election day. Rivera claimed he had a “private” moment with the president in Cleveland, but it was so “private” he had to post it for the world to see on Twitter.

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Screenshot: Rivera Twitter  

Photos like this send the wrong message. What did it say to the public?  His critics on Twitter believe the veteran journalist is bias and a supporter of the Republican Party. Rivera may disagree, but as the cliché goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Rivera knows better. He allowed his ego to get in the way of his job as a journalist. He had to let everyone know he was hanging out with his buddy on midterm election day. It also doesn’t help that he works at Fox News that leans to the right.

I’ve said it before,  journalists should not be posing with any politicians even if they are friends. It is our job to make sure we have balanced coverage without bias every time we cover a story.

Rivera needs a refresher course on the SPJ Code of Ethics:

Act Independently: The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Journalists should avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.

As journalists we can always learn from other’s mistakes. Rivera gave me another photo I can use to teach student journalists WHAT NOT TO DO on the job.

Check out my article, Why journalists should not be taking selfies with political candidates.  Also, it’s always a good idea to know the SPJ Code of Ethics. 

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Posted in politics, Uncategorized

Why journalists should not be taking selfies with political candidates

Selfie_politics

We’re only a few days away from election day and political candidates are still beating the pavement for votes. If you’re one of many journalists assigned to the political beat, you know that balance matters in your story. No matter how you may feel about any specific politician including the president, it is our job to have balanced political coverage and reporting.  It’s different if you’re a TV or radio commentator or opinion editor. They can say what they want and take a side.

Now to my point.

I have seen several reporters in Texas who make it obvious they are Beto O’Rourke supporters. They take selfies with him and post them on their social media. It seems like something very innocent to do, but you may be sending his opponent’s press team the idea that you are bias. That you have a favorite.  I have also seen a few journalists take selfies with Senator Ted Cruz. 

It’s an issue several news directors have told me they are dealing with today. Reporters who can’t stop taking selfies with politicians, especially those running for office. I know news managers who have pulled reporters off election/political coverage, because of a photo or because the opponent’s side has brought it to management’s attention. They will demand a reporter be taken off the story. That selfie with a candidate sends the message “you like him/her better than our candidate.”

I’m not saying don’t take photos with politicians, but don’t post them. Don’t think because you post a photo on your private Facebook that it remains private. A photo of you interviewing a candidate or politician is fine, because you’re on the job. Your post to your readers, viewers or listeners can be you promoting your story with the politician. 

We have to work smart, because the media is being judged more today than ever before. 

A reporter on Media Buzz (Fox News) said 12 reporters have lost their jobs this year because of bias political tweets. That’s another issue. 

So what do you say to a political candidate when he or she wants to take a photo with you? Politely decline. I have had politicians ask to take a photo with me and I always  turned them down politely, “Sorry I can’t, I’m on the job, but feel free to have someone on your staff take photos of us during the interview or while we’re talking. That’s fine.” I have interviewed Clinton, Carter, Bush, and even the late Ronald Reagan. I don’t have any photos with them, but I do have the video. That’s good enough.

Good luck on election night.

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Posted in Human Interest, Inspirational, News management, Uncategorized

National Boss Day: What does it take to be a good boss?

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What does it take to be good boss? Ask yourself that question. How would you like to be treated?

On National Boss Day, I think about the good bosses I have had in the past. I’ve had great managers, but also my share of bully bosses.

The good boss will make you better at your job. They know your strengths and weaknesses. They realize that each employee brings their unique talent to the workplace.

LiveChat shared this list of “Signs of a Great Leader: How to be a Good Boss.” How does your current boss rate?

  1. Build a bond of trust.
  2. Praise your employees.
  3. Inspire your employees.
  4. Let your employees be themselves.
  5. Value feedback.

The bully boss is insecure and lacks confidence. They hide behind bully tactics and other bully managers to rule a workplace. They teach bad habits to managers who are lower in the company food chain. As someone who has worked mostly in newsrooms, it happens there too.  And don’t get me started on the enablers of bully bosses. That is a future blog.

Former news director, Kevin Benz talked at the 2018 Excellence in Journalism conference about bad bosses. In his “No More Assholes Part 2: The coward’s guide to conflict in the newsroom,” Benz reminded journalists that there is no room in a newsroom for an asshole boss. In my opinion, asshole managers don’t belong anywhere.

I’ll be sharing more of Kevin Benz’s tips on good and bad management in the future. He tells it like it is.

On this National Boss Day let us celebrate those who are doing it right. Give them a pat on the back. Give them a shout out on your social media, even those from your past.

Remember you are a success today because of those good bosses.

 

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Posted in Human Interest, Inspirational, Journalist, Motivation

Start seeing your worth

Sometimes in the news business we have bosses who can’t even say “good job.” Sometimes we work in newsrooms where there is no manager to motivate or inspire us.

We get beat up more often than given a pat on the back. This probably happens in many other professions. My advice is to seek out the motivators and surround yourself with them. Often they don’t have a title. They are just good people.

quote_worth

Create your own circle of empowerment.

They will hold you up when your bosses don’t ever lift you up. Believe me, I have a strong circle of motivators and that is why I am still standing today after more than three decades as a journalist.

 

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Posted in Breaking News

Border Patrol agent is a suspected serial killer, victim’s niece says ‘She was murdered by a monster’

Claudine_mom
Claudine Anne Luera

Karina Ramos wants the world to know about her aunt, Claudine Anne Luera.  The Laredo mother of five was found murdered on Thursday, September 13. Two days later, Border Patrol agent Jose Ortiz confessed to killing three people in Laredo including Luera.

Investigators told KRGV that Ortiz committed the murders over a two-week span. Today he sits in a Laredo jail on a bonds totaling $2.5 million.

Ramos talked opening about her aunt in a Facebook post.  She gave me permission to share her Facebook message. Her aunt struggled with drug addiction, tried to stay clean, made small bad decisions that snowballed. But as Ramos puts it what was most important was that “she was loved.”  Here is the post.

She was killed on Thursday, September 13th.

We’ve lost loved ones before, but nothing prepares you for the pain and pure rage you feel when someone you love is murdered. Nothing prepares you for waking up with swollen eyes from crying and squinting at a phone screen that shows an article for ABC News about your aunts murder. Nothing prepares you for the violent details of your loved ones murder being thrust into the public. Everyone you know learning, as you do, what her last moments were like. But there are some things no one will learn from the headlines, and articles, and Facebook posts.

She was a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, and a friend. Most of all SHE WAS LOVED. She was murdered by a monster who murdered 3 others, luckily the 5th woman got away. The fact that there’s a “serial killer” in a small Texas town is big news, and the one thing all the articles mention is the victims were PROSTITUTES. As if that makes her less of a victim. As if that makes him less of a monster. As if she deserved what she got. As if it makes any difference at all.

Her name was Claudine Anne Luera and let me repeat myself: SHE WAS LOVED, so let me add some more details to the narrative. She was the daughter of a beautiful Scottish mother and grumpy Mexican father.

She was the mother of 2 sets of twins and a hardworking, wonderful daughter. Two of her children are autistic, and we are a proud autism family full of love and support for them.

She has 3 sisters with the biggest hearts you’ve ever seen. She was always considered beautiful when she was young and always will be to us.

Claudine_3

When she was winning her fight against drug abuse, she was a wonderful thriving mother. She loved her kids fiercely and navigated life as a stay at home mom to 2 sets of twins born within a year of each other, as well as, their older sister.

It couldn’t have been easy for her. She held out as long as she could, but seemingly small bad decisions snowballed. We don’t know why she fell off the wagon. We wished and prayed she’d overcome her demons and go back to who we knew she could be. But even when she lost everything because of her drug dependence, SHE WAS LOVED.

We took in her children, provided them with safe homes and waited. And waited. She always proclaimed her love for her kids and I know they’ll always know how much she loved them. If only that were enough.

And now we’ll have to wait for another lifetime to see that version of Claudine again. Our hope for her rehabilitation will never come to pass because a monster took away that chance from us.

We had to break it to her 5 children that their mother is gone forever. We had to hear their agonized cries and screams. It’s not something I’ll ever forget, ever. The only silver lining is that her killer was found less than 2 days after he attacked her. By that time, he had killed 2 others already.

Our family is devastated and reading articles about the “prostitutes” or “sex workers” being killed by the serial killer just rubs salt in our wounds. These women were brutally killed and nothing they did made them deserve that.

I’m thankful for the woman that got away and alerted authorities immediately. Without her we might be sitting around for weeks, months, even years waiting for some closure. So in that sense we consider ourselves lucky.

This monster has been caught and we can bury our aunt knowing , full well, he’ll pay for what he did. That lifts our broken hearts a little BECAUSE SHE WAS LOVED. So we’ll remember her as she was and try to get these headlines out of our minds.

Claudine_2Claudine was beautiful, she was kind, and she was loving. SHE WAS LOVED.

We couldn’t get through this difficult time without the love and support of all of our wonderful friends, family, and coworkers. Your kind words and thoughtful gestures have been absolutely heart warming. We’ll get through this.

My thoughts are with all families of the other victims that are struggling through what we are right now. My heart goes out to all families that are dealing with substance abuse. To those of you fighting her fight, don’t give up.

Rest In Peace Claudine❤️ give Grandma Ann and Sean Brandon a hug for me.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE. ❤️

https://www.gofundme.com/in-memoriam-of-claudine-a-luera

Because of posts I’ve seen on FB I did find it important to add that we hold NO animosity whatsoever towards Border Patrol. We’ve got friends and family in the Border Patrol (and other law enforcement) and we love and respect them.

That man’s profession did not make him commit these evil crimes and this evil does not represent all Border Patrol as a whole. HE is solely to blame. And I don’t want to take away from that fact.

http://www.krgv.com/…/laredo-border-patrol-agent-accused-in…

Funeral arrangements are still being made and announcements are to come.

Photo courtesy also goes to Karina Ramos who shared several photos of her aunt on her Facebook post.

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Posted in News Now, Nonprofits, Trending, Uncategorized

Support 15 of the best nonprofit news sites #NationalNonprofitDay

HANDMADE

There are many nonprofit news sites that are flushing out wrongdoers, revealing scams, and giving a voice to many communities ignored by other media outlets. They count on donations to stay in business. On this National Nonprofit Day, please donate what it would cost you to buy a cup of coffee. Every amount, small or large, does make a difference. Here are 15 of my favorite sites. Check them out.

Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) is a non-profit entity created in 2007 by journalist Omaya Sosa Pascual, former president of the Overseas Press Club, and journalist and lawyer Oscar J. Serrano, former president of the Association of Journalists of Puerto Rico. It promotes access to information for the people of Puerto Rico through three channels: investigative journalism, litigation and journalistic training. Donate

ProPublica

ProPublica is an American nonprofit organization based in New York City. It is a nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Founded in 2007. 501(c)(3).

Center for Investigative Reporting

The Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit news organization based in Emeryville, California, and has conducted investigative journalism since 1977

Honolulu Civil Beat

A news outlet in Hawaii dedicated to public affairs reporting. Its mission is to engage and educate the community on important public issues through in-depth reporting, explanatory and investigative journalism, analysis and commentary.

The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit media organization in Texas. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it aims to promote civic engagement through original, explanatory journalism and public events.  Donate

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is a nonprofit investigative news organization housed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Donate

The Connecticut News Project, Inc.

In 2009, a small group of Connecticut residents, concerned about the decline in watchdog journalism, formed the Connecticut News Project, Inc. A few months later, after securing start-up funding and hiring some veteran journalists, CNP launched The Connecticut Mirror, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news outlet with a very clear mission: Produce deep reporting on government policies and politics, to become an invaluable resource for anyone who lives, works or cares about Connecticut, and to hold our policymakers accountable for their decisions and actions.

Florida Bulldog

Investigative news is in peril in South Florida. Investigative reporting uncovers injustice, exposes corruption and holds those in public decision-making positions accountable for their actions.

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to educating the public about crucial issues in the Midwest with a special focus on agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy.

MinnPost

MinnPost is a nonprofit, nonpartisan enterprise whose mission is to provide high-quality journalism for people who care about Minnesota.

The Lens

The Lens aims to engage and empower the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It provides the information and analysis necessary to advocate for more accountable and just governance.

Chicago Defender

The Chicago Defender is the oldest and most respected African-American newspaper in Chicago. Founded in 1905 by Robert Sengstacke Abbott, the Chicago Defender celebrated its 111th Anniversary in 2016. It was recognized nationally as the second most widely read and best African-American Newspaper by Nielson and Essence Survey 2014.

Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting 

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom based in Louisville, Ky. We produce investigative journalism that affects you, your neighborhood, your Commonwealth. Our mission is to protect society’s most vulnerable citizens, expose wrongdoing in the public and private sectors, increase transparency in government and hold leaders accountable. We promise to dig for the truth without fear or favor, cut through red tape and spark public conversation.

The Intercept

After NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden came forward with revelations of mass surveillance in 2013, journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Jeremy Scahill decided to found a new media organization dedicated to the kind of reporting those disclosures required: fearless, adversarial journalism. They called it The Intercept.

Institute for Nonprofit News

The Institute for Nonprofit News is a non-profit consortium of journalism organizations. The organization promotes nonprofit investigative and public service journalism through its association of member entities.  It was founded in 2009.

 

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Posted in Human Interest

Nixon resigned 44 years ago today; how two Washington Post reporters broke the Watergate scandal, followed the money and never let up

President Richard Nixon resigned forty-four years ago today.

Here is NBC News’ coverage of the resignation.

It took two tenacious reporters with The Washington Post to take down the president. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward followed the corrupt political trail that started when five men were caught breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. in June, 1972.

Here is coverage of the break-in at Watergate.

The two reporters followed ever lead and never let up. At the time, Woodward’s source called “Deep Throat” help guide their investigation.

In October 1972, Nixon was informed that “Deep Throat” was Mark Felt, an associate director at the FBI. Nixon did not know how to deal with Felt.

The president often recorded many of his conversations in the Oval office.  Here is a conversation he had about Felt.

Felt revealed himself as “Deep Throat” at the age of 91.  He gave his exclusive story, “I’m the Guy they called Deep Throat” to Vanity Fair in 2005.

On a talk show one month before Nixon resigned, Woodward and Bernstein discussed how the Nixon administration denied their stories and called their reports “character assassinations” and “shoddy.”

Interesting note, the two reporters were each making $15,000 a year when they started working on the Watergate story.  The TV host revealed their salaries two minutes into this interview.

Bernstein and Woodward uncovered enough information that made it clear that the Committee to Re-elect Nixon was involved in attempts to sabotage the Democrats. Nixon lost much popular support including from those in the Republican party. He denied any wrongdoing and promised to stay in office.

The Senate Watergate Committee was a special committee established to investigate the Watergate scandal. Those hearings started in May, 1973 and were televised.

In the end, forty-eight people, many in the Nixon administration, were convicted of wrongdoing. Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment. Vice President Gerald Ford became president.

Here is how ABC News covered the resignation in August, 1974.

Woodward and Bernstein wrote a book, “All the Presidents Men” which was turned into a movie. Robert Redford played Woodward, and Dustin Hoffman played Bernstein.

In May 1977, Nixon talked to television host, David Frost. He defended his actions and claimed he did not have knowledge of some events.

Forty years after Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein reflected on their work.

Today Woodward and Bernstein’s reporter notes and documents about Watergate are archived at the University of Texas and they continue to investigate political stories including those connected to President Trump.

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Posted in Breaking News, Discrimination, Human Interest

How the Washington Post’s ‘White, and in the minority’ fuels racial divide, and more anger and hate against immigrants and Latinos

Terrence_CoverWS
Screenshot: Washington Post Website

 

It’s nothing new to most of us that President Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants has fueled anger and hate against Latinos and people south of the border. So when I saw a recent story by The Washington Post, I thought when did the media get into the business of creating stories that fuel the same hate and division between the two sides: White people and immigrants.

The Washington Post has some of the best reporters in the country. No doubt about it. But the story by Terrence McCoy took the Post’s journalistic standards to a new low.

“White, and in the minority” is a story about a White couple who currently works in a chicken factory in Pennsylvania. The majority of their coworkers are Dominican and Puerto Rican. If McCoy was out to make the White people appear as victims and outsiders, mission accomplished. If the reporter was out to make immigrants appear like threatening, menacing thugs; once again, mission accomplished.

McCoy’s entire story was framed to put immigrants and Puerto Ricans in a bad light and make readers feel sorry for the young White couple.

“Heaven often feels alienated and frustrated…”

McCoy peppered his story with loaded words and phrases that only create fear among readers, especially those who are White.

“In a country where Whites will lose majority status in about a quarter-century…”

Journalist are taught when you make a statement, you should have attribution. McCoy made this statement, but never said who said “Whites will lose majority status?”

“Seven minutes left: Employees gathered around Heaven, first three, then four, then six.”

This phrase alone made it appear like the immigrants were ganging up on the White female. All they did was show up for work at the same time.

“Studies have shown how some whites, who are dying faster than they’re being born in 26 states…”

Again a statement made with no attribution. Who said this? What study revealed this information?

“Heaven, looking at the floor, heard laughter and jokes exchanged in the rapid Spanish of the Dominican Republic.”

This sentence made it appear like the immigrants were laughing at the young white female. The reporter only perpetuated the stereotype that Spanish-speaking people only speak in Spanish to talk about White people who don’t understand what is being said.

“They feel threatened, even if not directly affected by change…”

McCoy got this statement from a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, but did not bother to ask the professor to speculate how the immigrants feel?

“She felt more alone than she’d ever thought possible.”

Once again, McCoy made it appear the immigrants purposely isolated the woman. Did he share this with the immigrant workers? Do they have any idea she feels “alone?”

“There were days when Venson imagined what might await America. This would be a nation where whites weren’t only a minority, but disadvantaged.”

Another loaded statement that makes it appear like the couple will be stripped away of a good life and should fear minorities.

If the chicken factory was full of immigrants and Puerto Ricans, why didn’t McCoy ask them how they felt being the majority.  Do they know that Heaven and her boyfriend  feel “threatened?”

The couple’s story is important, but so is the point of view of their coworkers.

BACKLASH COMES FROM EVERYWHERE

This story is not sitting well with a lot of people.  Latino Rebels posted “Why The Washington Post’s ‘White, and the minority’ Story is So Damn Dangerous.” The author of the blog said,

McCoy makes us all want to take out the tissues and cry for our two white tragic heroes (seriously, that’s how it reads), but it’s McCoy’s ridiculous depictions of the “foreign” Latino workers (who lack any humanity in any part of the piece) that stand out, while Engle and Heim (even with their racism) come across as these misunderstood figures who need sympathy.

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement on Friday morning. NAHJ President Hugo Balta hopes to meet with the Post’s Editor-in-Chief to discuss the issue. The organization’s statement partly read:

The story, ‘White, and in the minority’ published on July 30, does not provide a variety of viewpoints at the center of the topic, but instead leaves readers focused almost entirely on one viewpoint. The national board has discussed the danger this poses and questions the journalism of the story.

McCOY DEFENDS HIS STORY, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF IS STANDING BY REPORTER AND HIS WORK
Despite all the backlash, Terrence McCoy continues to defend his story via Twitter.  He also continues to stick to the narrative about the poor, poor White couple.

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Terrance_3Terrence_4Terrence_5

A source who contacted Marty Baron, told me the Post’s Editor-in-Chief is standing by the reporter and the story, and even said that the story was approved by an editor who is a person of color.

I’d like to know how many Latinos or immigrants are part of the editorial staff.

As journalists, our job is to inform the public. It is not our job to create a racial divide and peg one group of people against another.  The Washington Post failed the immigrant and Latino community. Let’s hope decision makers at the Post open their minds and look at it from our point of view.

SOURCES

Latino Rebels
NAHJ 

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Posted in Human Interest, Journalist, Reporters in Mexico

Semanario Playa News co-founder is laid to rest in Mexico, Reporters Without Borders says Mexican authorities failed to protect the journalist who was murdered

Playa_journalist_killed
Screenshot: Facebook 

The owner of Semanario Playa News Aquí and Ahora, Rubén Pat Cauich, was laid to rest today in Playa del Carmen. The journalist was shot to death Tuesday outside a bar in Playa Del Carmen in the southern state of Quintana Roo.

Today dozens of family and friends paid their last respects. The journalist’s procession was posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, Playa News shut down while staff members dealt with Pat’s murder.

Semario_PlayNews

Translation of Facebook post:

We appreciate each one of our faithful followers during this time, at this time we have decided as a team to put this project on pause.

Thank you all very much

Pat knew his life was in danger. In June, he told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that police in Playa del Carmen had jailed, beat, and threatened him for his work.

They told me to stop publishing articles about a local police chief, and that I knew what would be coming to me if I didn’t.

Pat started the digital news site on Facebook nine months ago with two other journalists. Playa News staff demanded state and federal authorities in Mexico help swiftly solve Pat’s murder and that of reporter, José Guadalupe Chan Dzib.

Chan Dzib was shot to death on June 29 in a bar in Sabán, southeast of Cancún. He also worked for Seminario Play News. One of his last assignments was the murder of a local political leader.

Playa-Murder_Post

Translation:

We demand that the Government of Quintana Roo and the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Quintana Roo investigate and find those responsible for the murder of the journalist and director of the Playa News Weekly, Rubén Pat and reporter, José Guadalupe Chan Dzib of Felipe Carrillo.

Killing journalists does not kill the truth!
Justice for journalists in Quintana Roo.

At the time of Pat’s murder he was under the Federal Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders. Emmanuel Colombié, the head of Reporters Without Borders’ Latina America Desk, said Mexican authorities failed Rubén Pat Cauich.

The Mexican authorities must draw the inevitable conclusion from this terrible event, namely that the Federal Mechanism for Protecting  Journalists failed in its duty to protect Rubén Pat although his situation of vulnerability had been known for a long time.

Cristina Torres Gomez, Mayor of Playa Del Carmen said the reporter had requested protection for his home several months ago. She told Noticias Canal 10 that Pat’s request for protection had not been processed.

Warning the following video has graphic images.

CPJ reports Mexico is one of the most deadly countries in the world for journalists.

SOURCES:
CPJ: Mexican journalist says he was attacked, threatened by police

Reporters Without Borders: Mexican authorities failed to protect journalist murdered in Quintana Roo

 

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Posted in Inspirational, Journalism Conferences, Journalist

15 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Next Journalism Conference

NAHJ_Panel_julian
EIJ 2017

I’ve been to dozens of journalism conferences. I have lost count. But throughout the years, I have been able to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

I have made many professional connections and developed great friendships from my visits to NAHJ, IRE, RTDNA, EIJ and AEJMC conferences. I have also found 90 percent of my jobs from my networking at those conferences.

Here are my 15 tips to help you get the most out of any journalism conference you plan to attend this summer.

1. Comfy shoes are a must. For you ladies, sure heels make your legs look great, but after a few hours walking the conference floor you’ll beg for comfort. Pack a pair of flats in your bag for later. Men, comfort matters for you too.

2. Get out of the “pack” mentality. We often get into the habit of hanging out in groups.  It’s our comfort zone. Be adventurous and roam on your own. It forces you to meet people. This also includes when you go to the after conference parties and hang-outs. I know a lot of people, because I love to walk around alone and just talk to everyone and anyone.

3. Start a conversation with anyone you see hanging out by themselves. He could be your next boss, or she could have that next opportunity of a lifetime. I say hello to everyone whether I meet people when they get in an elevator with me or walk by me. “Hi! How’s it going?” Is a great way to start a conversation.

NAHJ_Sid_crowd
EIJ 2017

4. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR PHONE. Sorry, I had to say that very loud. When you have your head buried in your phone, you miss opportunities to meet people. Also people, including news managers won’t approach you, because you look busy and preoccupied with your phone. Your text and Facebook can wait. Put your phone away, look up and enjoy the view. And please DO NOT take your phone out and start gazing at your Instagram, especially when you’re in conversation with new people and in a group. It’s rude.

5. Look happy and smile. Those two things make people want to get to know you. Sometimes you see people at conferences and they already look tired and miserable. Don’t be that person.

Rebecca_NAHJ2
EIJ 2017

6. Business cards matter. Yes, it may sound old school, but it’s easier to hand someone a business card than a resume. It’s even better if it has a photo of you. There is no way they can forget your face. Also when you collect a card, write a few notes on it to remind you of that person.

7. Invite people to join you. If you see someone alone, who looks like they need someone to hang out with, don’t hesitate to invite them to join you and/or your group. Another great way to get to know people. I do it all the time. Many of those people have become good friends.

8. Find a mentee. I usually leave a conference with more than half a dozen mentees. Remember it’s about paying it forward. There are people who need your expertise and guidance. Be giving with your time.

9. Find a mentor. Some of you may feel that you need someone to guide you in your career. The conferences are a great place to find that person who you feel can help you on your journey. There are many people waiting for the chance to be a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask. And if they don’t seem interested, move on…there are plenty of others.

10. Plan your conference, and even schedule in your networking time. There will be dozens of panels and workshops. Sit down and write out your day and schedule in your networking time during conference hours. It will help you not miss a beat.

NAHJ_JobFair
EIJ 2017

11. The best time to meet news managers is when they are taking a break from the recruiting booth, walking around the conference hall or getting a cup of coffee. I learned that tip a long time ago. When you get to the job fair, check out who is recruiting at your target company. Make a mental note. If you see them later taking a break, don’t hesitate to approach them.  “Hi there! Aren’t you with ABC News?  I saw you at the booth. I’m Rebecca Aguilar. How’s everything going so far?” Start the conversation. Get to know them. Sometimes they are more relaxed and may invite you back to their booth to continue the conversation. Once again, be the person outside “the pack” standing in line.

12. Make time to put on your sneakers and walk outside and enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes we’re in such conference mode that we forget just to relax and breathe. Yes, conferences can take a toll on you, because networking takes effort and being out late sucks up time to sleep. Get out and relax and get some sunshine. It makes a difference.

13. Act like a professional even at the after-parties.  Do not forget that recruiters and managers go to the after parties and hang out at the hotel bar too.  What I’m saying is don’t do something that can end up “going viral” for the wrong reasons and hurt your reputation.

RA_Frida_500
Smile and look happy!

14. What not to wear. A journalism conference is still a professional setting. What you wear says a lot about you. Don’t kid yourself, it does. Before you leave that hotel room, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you are dressed to meet the Pope, the President and would your parents approve. Give your outfit my “3 P’s” test. Believe me it works.  What I’m saying is leave the mini skirts and muscle shirts in your suitcase.

15. As soon as you return home, don’t forget to send out a few thank you cards. Yes, old school again. Send them to people who made your conference experience very special and who took the time to give you advice.

Most of all enjoy the ride!

Bonus Tip: Start saving for next year’s conference when you get home. It helps to plan ahead. Whether you’re a professional or a student, it’s okay to start saving right away. Put $10 cash in a jar every week. It will add up by the time the next conference rolls around. No need to start a GoFundMe or beg people for a donation. Do it on your own.

Bonus Video. You can pack everything for the conference in a carry-on bag. 

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Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest

Bay Area publisher resigns after public apology for using N-Word and several journalists quit the East Bay Express

east_bay_expressStephen Buel, the publisher of the East Bay Express apologized Friday in the weekly for using the N-word in a meeting with staff members and for taking down stories written by a culture and music reporter.

His apology came with a lot of pledges for change. It didn’t look like he was going to resign. Then today, he did just that, resigned.

WHAT LEAD TO THE RESIGNATION

Buel has been the co-owner of the East Bay Express since 2007. He was also the editor of the weekly for ten years.

In May, reporter Azucena Rasilla was covering the Bottlerock Napa Valley Music Festival .  In a phone conversation this afternoon, Rasilla told me that Buel took down her story about rappers using the N-word during their performances and white people in the audience singing along also using the N-word. Rasilla said she mentioned in her story that she thought it was wrong that white audience members used the N-word when they repeated the lyrics.

In a meeting after Buel took down Rasilla’s story, she said she was shocked when he used the N-word in front of the staff members.  Friday, Rasilla had enough. She quit her job. Here is what she posted on Facebook:

Azucena_Resigns

 

Friday, Buel published  “An Apology and a Pledge.”  He admitted he used the N-word and that he took down stories, because he didn’t agree with them. In his “apology” he said he had plans to make major changes. There was no hint he planned to quit or remove himself as publisher.

Here is part of his apology he wrote in the East Bay Express:

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Stephen Buel/ Facebook

The past month has been a traumatic one at the East Bay Express. As the paper’s publisher and onetime editor, I consider furthering our journalistic mission to be my life’s work. Yet as the person most responsible for our current troubles, I now feel a need to directly address our readers.

One night about a month ago, I read some week-old online coverage that did not live up to my editorial standards. So, I took the stories down the next morning and promptly explained my concerns to the author and editors.

One story described white people singing along to live hip-hop songs that contained the N-word. This is a worthy topic for coverage, and I said as much. But while referring to hateful words subsequently reclaimed by the communities they once oppressed, I said a couple of those words aloud. I should not have done so and am extremely sorry that my remark caused others pain.

I also should not have unilaterally taken down the articles. Instead, I should have respected our editorial structure and taken my feedback directly to our editorial management so that the editors and author might have addressed my concerns without permanently removing the pieces from our website. I am sorry for the way I disrespected the writer and editors involved in that coverage. (continue)

Comments left in the comment section, had people demanding Buel’s resignation.

THE PUBLISHER MADE PROMISES WE HAVE HEARD BEFORE 

Stephen Buel disrespected his staff, used a racial slur and apologized.

His apology appeared to be a way to convince himself and his readers that he had “seen the light.”   He made all the same promises we have heard over and over by those in managerial positions who have used racial slurs, apologized, and promised never to do it again.

Promise to increase diversity. Check!

Promise to have newspaper reflect the community. Check!

Promise to create a code of conduct for staff. Check!

Promises to attend “implicit bias training.” Check!

Promise better communication as publisher with editorial staff. Check!

GLAD BUEL SAW THE LIGHT AND RESIGNED 

Stephen Buel is a veteran journalist who should knows better.  Saturday, something convinced him to resign from the newspaper he owns.  He published his resignation. Here it is:

Perhaps now more than ever before, the East Bay needs healthy independent journalism. Because my presence at Telegraph Media has become a threat to that mission — and to the careers of the hard-working people who produce the East Bay ExpressOakland MagazineAlameda MagazineThe East Bay Monthly, and Bay Woof — I am stepping down as publisher of those titles.

Publications such as these depend upon the support of many people and institutions. I urge the advertisers, readers, journalists and community members who have long supported our publications to stand by them now — and not let my indiscretions threaten their survival.

During my 37 years as a journalist, I have worked to advance equality, seek truth, and fight injustice. The thousands of stories I have written or edited express my values far better than any self-righteous summation possibly could today. The cruel caricature I see of myself on social media does not reflect who I am, but I have sadly come to the conclusion that I cannot defend myself without endangering the journalism that is my legacy.

Following a brief transition period, longtime East Bay journalist Robert Gammon will replace me as our company’s publisher.

Buel is old enough to understand that you NEVER use the N-word.  It’s an ugly word. He knew his apology was not good enough and he would sink his own ship if he did not remove himself.

Here is hoping that the changes and improvements that Buel had promised will still happen. There should be better diversity, a code of conduct, and the newspaper staff should reflect the community.

Let’s be honest, Robert Gammon will still work for Buel because he will still own the paper. Gammon has to decide now if he will be Buel’s puppet or a true leader. We must  keep an eye on whether Buel will do things behind scenes. Believe me, I  will be watching.

The new publisher has a big job ahead of him. He needs to show the staff that they are respected and their journalists are trusted for their work.  More than anything, the East Bay Express needs to show the community that it cares about its staff and the people who read it.

Trust, honesty, and ethics do matter.

Earlier today I contacted Buel to get his side of the story. I am still waiting for a response.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

It takes a brave journalist to create change in the news business. I am very proud of Azucena Rasilla. When her stories were taken down a few months ago, she could have let it go. When Buel used that racial slur, she could have kept quiet. She did not. She spoke up and realized that it was the right thing to do. We should all learn from her courage to create change.

I talked to Rasilla tonight for her reaction to Buel’s resignation. She said, “It’s a step in the right direction, but the ultimate goal should be for Steve to sell. The Express will not truly change until it changes ownership.”

 

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Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest

U.S. Customs harasses Latina CEO and daughter over their different last names

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Sylvia Acosta 

Sylvia Acosta still can’t believe how she was treated by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. On Sunday, she and her daughter were on their way home to El Paso after spending a beautiful time in Europe.  During their pit stop at DFW airport, a U.S. Customs agent had a problem with Sylvia and her teenage daughter having different last names. Something he noticed when Sylvia handed him their passports.

That’s when he started giving the YWCA CEO the third degree. She posted her experience on Facebook.

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Sylvia didn’t sit there and take it. She let the officer know she got her PhD with the “Acosta” name, but also established her career with it. The agent told her she should have taken her husband’s last name to prove she was her daughter’s mother.

Sylvia and her 15-year-old daughter had been part of a tour group, and she had the group’s paperwork which included the names of all the kids on the trip and the chaperones. The paperwork revealed flight reservations, schedules and names of every person. Each member of the group was also TSA pre-checked.  Sylvia told me on Facebook that the rest of the group got through with no delay.

Sylvia and her daughter are both American citizens. She is the CEO of the YWCA in El Paso de Norte Region with more than 25 years of management experience. She said she did not get the agent’s name. “I was so shocked and taken aback I really did not even think about it.”

A CBP spokesman issued a statement on its treatment of Sylvia and her daughter. In short, agents interrogate people traveling with children, because of the human trafficking issue. Here is what Sylvia added to her Facebook post from CPB.

USCustomsU. S. Customs and Border Protection has reviewed the audio and video of the encounter between a CBP officer and a woman traveling with her daughter, and found that the video does not support the claim as it has been reported. The audio and video prove that there weren’t any inappropriate questions discussed.

On December 23, 2008, President Bush signed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to combat human trafficking. In instances where the relationship of a minor and accompanying adult can’t be immediately determined, CBP may ask additional questions to determine relationship. This additional questioning could take place in an area away from the general public.

CBP strongly recommends that unless a child is accompanied by both parents, the adult traveling with the child have a note from the child’s other parent (or, in the case of a child traveling with grandparents, uncles or aunts, sisters or brothers, friends, or in groups*, a note signed by both parents).

CBP strives to ensure that t

Sylvia’s Facebook post has gone viral, and she is being embraced with a lot of support from friends and strangers. She put things into perspective with a positive note on her Facebook.

I love the mission statement for the organization I represent —YWCA which is to eliminate racism and empower women, two things I have had to stand up for this week.

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Posted in Breaking News, Human Interest, immigration

How TIME came up with the powerful cover “Welcome to America” with Trump and a crying immigrant child

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Screenshot: Time magazine

Time magazine’s latest cover shows the famous image of young Honduran girl sobbing as President Trump is standing over her. The headline reads, “Welcome to America.”

How did Time Magazine come up with this cover?

Karl Vick, Editor at Large at Time magazine told CNN that they knew they had to use the photograph of the girl , because she is an “iconic image.” Vick added,

We call this a photo illustration obviously, because the President has never met her. They just seemed to go together once you put them both on the cover in that dynamic. It captured a lot and then it was the matter of what you say with it.  ‘Welcome to America’ works.

Getty photographer, Jim Moore, took the photo of the little girl crying as border patrol agents patted down her mother. He told CNN earlier in the week that it was a very emotional shoot for him.

Molly Ball is the national political correspondent at Time magazine. In a story that goes with the cover, she writes about Trump,

He thinks shock is a temporary condition, moral outrage is phony posturing and that the American people can be numbed to just about everything.

Vick also told CNN the cover is aimed at Trump’s leadership,

This episode is the country telling the president what we’re about, and what kind of country we are. It’s a role reversal and it’s really quite striking.

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy has resulted in the separation of parents and children who are taken into federal custody after they are caught crossing the border illegally.

Trump signed an executive order reversing his policy after pressure from politicians and the public. Officials say around 2,300 children are in detention facilities. Young children under six-years-old are being kept in facilities called “Tender Age” shelters. There are reports that several immigrant children are being taken to other parts of the country away from the border and their parents.

SOURCES:

TIME magazine story “The Story Behind TIME’s Trump ‘Welcome to America’ Cover”

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Posted in Human Interest, Inspirational, Journalism Education, Journalist

Speak from the heart and you’ll get your message heard

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Photo Courtesy: Alberto Mendoza

I have something to share. How I turned something unexpected into a fantastic experience. I was invited to speak at the Latino Media Summit in New York City over the weekend. One of the best conferences I have been to in my career. More on that in a future blog.

I thought I was going to be on a panel with others, but Friday morning, an hour before the panel, I learned I would have to speak for 10 minutes alone. Say what? Yes they had told us weeks in advance, but I messed up. All the other speakers had fantastic, informative slide shows.

When I hit the stage, I said, “God give me the words, in Spanish too.” I had written down a few notes, but honestly I spoke from the heart. Not to brag, but it was one of the best presentations I have ever done in my life. I laughed, I teared up, and I shared. I talked about creating change as individuals, making a difference, and not being selfish with your time and knowledge. To be authentic.

 

So remember, speak from the heart when you have to, and it will be ok. Again thank you to Graciela Mochkofsky and her team for inviting me to the summit at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. A blog is coming soon on the Summit. Go out and inspire!

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Posted in Breaking News

Death toll rises in Guatemala, organizations reach out to help the survivors of Fuego Volcano

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Photo Courtesy: Conred Guatemala

Organizations around the world are making efforts to help the victims of the volcano eruption in Guatemala. Several fundraisers have been set up. There are also several grassroots efforts.

Dina Potter of Alexandria, Virginia is working with the Shriners of Guatemala to raise money for those in need.  The HR consultant has set up a GoFundMe account to raise $30,000. Here is what she posted:

My name is Dina Potter, I was born in Guatemala & now live in Alexandria, VA. It breaks my heart to see the devastation that the Fire Volcano’s eruption has caused, and the limited resources the country has available for rescue efforts. I was leery of donating to organizations that: 1) I didn’t recognize or 2) could be pocketing the money. That is why I have joined forces with Monica Corzo (a trusted friend) & Miguel Angel Valdez, President of Guatemala’s Shriners Club (FB page: @Guatemala Shriners Club No.1) They are boots on the ground in Guatemala, helping coordinate efforts & are also fundraising. Shriners Hospital in the US is a trusted and reputable non-profit organization, that depends on donations to be able to provide medical care to children in the US. Guatemala Shriners Club No.1 in coordination with Shriner’s International, have activated the protocol for humanitarian aid to be able to provide dire medical attention to children under 18 years of age, who have suffered critical injuries or are burn victims due to this natural disaster.

Dina says the $30,000 raised will be used in the follow areas:

1. Guatemala Shriners Club will take part in aid to the children affected due to the devastation caused by the Fire Volcano.
2. A team of medical specialists from Shriners Hospitals for Children (USA), is in Guatemala to evaluate & deliver medical interventions to children who need urgent medical attention due to life-threatening injuries sustained by this natural disaster.
3. We need your help to be able to move the children in air ambulances. Each air ambulance costs $1000/km, so one trip is @$15,000-$20,000.

ACTION AGAINST HUNGER

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Map courtesy: Action Against Hunger

Action Against Hunger is also in Guatemala helping the survivors. The organization’s teams work in nearly 50 countries worldwide to carry out innovative, lifesaving programs in nutrition, food security, water, sanitation and hygiene. Teams are now in Guatemala. Here is what it has posted on its website.

On Sunday 3rd June, the Fuego volcano or ‘Fire Volcano’ began its second eruption of the year with strong explosions creating ash columns which have risen 6,000 meters above sea level. 3,265 people have been displaced and at-least 700 people are missing. The main area affected by this eruption is the Department of Escuintla, a region where our teams have been implementing a disaster preparedness project, with a specific focus on floods since 2016. Our teams on the ground are working hard to undertake a needs assessment before launching our response to the volcanic eruption. Reaching the areas most affected and to ensure communities have access to clean water and shelter is our top priority.

Miguel Ángel García is the Country Director of Action Against Hunger in Central America-Guatemala and Nicaragua. He described what has experienced on the ground.

The atmosphere is practically unbreathable. Within two to three days, access to clean water and basic sanitation will be a vital humanitarian need for more than 3,200 displaced people living in temporary shelters provided by local authorities.

There are still many people who have not been accounted for and rescue workers are having a difficult time getting to those who are buried under the volcanic ash.

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Posted in Inspirational, Journalist, profile, Women in Journalism

Miami TV co-host decides to remove breast implants, “Back to a B Cup”

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Screenshot: 6 in the Mix

 

Jen Herrera says “I feel amazing you guys” as she fights back tears.  She posted a video on YouTube letting the public know how she is doing since removing her breast implants in November.

Herrera is the co-host of “6 in the Mix,” a daily lifestyle show in Miami.

Five years ago, Herrera was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease. She underwent treatment and decided to go the holistic route. She even left her television career for a while.

She says she was never diagnosed with a breast implant illness, but she had similar symptoms related to that illness.  Her research on breast implants lead her to the decision to remove them. Herrera calls this journey “Back to a B Cup.”

Follow Herrera’s journey. She starts from the beginning when she decided at 18-years-old to get her implants. More on her website>>  Back to a B Cup

Kudos to Herrera for sharing her story and I’m glad she’s feeling healthy again.