How TV journalists were played by Trump and failed journalism and the public

journo_trump

TV journalists meet with Trump

A good journalist does not allow anyone to set the ground rules for an interview or meeting. And we do our best to avoid “off-the-record” conversations.

Our job as reporters is to get the facts and share them with the public. You can’t do that if you agree to go “off-the-record” which means you can’t share anything you talked about during that discussion.

TRUMP HAD HIS WAY WITH TV JOURNALISTS

On Monday, President-elect Donald Trump had his way with some of the best TV journalists and their bosses. They were suckered into a meeting where they became his punching bags.

I watched on a live feed as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett,  NBC’s Lester Holt, CBS’s Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos arrived to Trump Tower. According to the New York Post the meeting turned into a Trump tirade. He was finally facing the people he called “scum and liars” on the campaign trail. He took the opportunity on his turf to let them know what he thought of them and according to sources it was ugly.

I am disappointed they agreed to have an “off-the-record” meeting with the President-elect.  What were they thinking? What happened to digging for the truth, standing up for journalism, and not taking his abuse anymore. 

All these high-profile TV news anchors, reporters and managers missed a big opportunity to stand together as journalists and tell Mr. Trump that we won’t be humiliated, berated, intimidated, or bullied for doing our jobs. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe one of the TV anchors or reporters was brave enough to speak up for journalists in that meeting, but I guess we’ll never know since it was “off the record.”

Donald Trump played the media. Here’s hoping those high-profile TV news anchors and reporters don’t get suckered by him again in the future.

MORE ON TV JOURNALISTS AND TRUMP

Here’s a video worth watching.

Washington Post media columnists Erik Wemple and Margaret Sullivan talk about the meeting between the TV journalists and Trump, and how the broadcasters and their bosses should have known better.

//www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/cd8a7f32-b0da-11e6-bc2d-19b3d759cfe7

Update: President of the Latin Grammy Awards addresses issue of press told not to ask winners any political questions

latinagrammy

Gabriel Abaroa the president and CEO of the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences told reporters that presenters, nominees and winners were never discouraged to talk about their political stand at the Latin Grammy Awards on Thursday.

But the same didn’t go for the media.

Gaby Natale the creator and host of SuperLatina was covering the event. She posted on Facebook that Grammy organizers told the press not to ask the celebrities any questions about politics.

After the awards, she and other entertainment reporters wanted answers from the president of the Academy.

He said the nominees and presenters always do what they want when they perform, say what they want during their acceptance speeches and that type of  freedom has never changed. Albaroa admitted he was concerned the Latin Grammys would be perceived as political that could have financial ramifications.

Here’s Gaby’s video:

I’ve translated some of Abaroas statements:

(:30) “We try to concentrate on the music and what happened today. And if you believe the Academy should take a position politically over a topic, we’ll think about it, consult about it, and talk about….”

(1:39) “We did not talk with any artist or told them what they should or shouldn’t say during their acceptance (speech). We’ve never done that and never will”

(2:32) “If we establish ourselves as a political platform, we can do it in the country that we live in… but remember we are international. ”

(3:07) “When we are here (press room) we are trying to help them focus on the music and the awards…”

MY OPINION

Whether covering a political race or a red carpet event, as reporters we should never be told how to do our job. Thank you Gaby Natale for speaking up on this issue.

 

 

Media told not to ask questions about politics at Latin Grammy Awards

gaby

Gaby Natale -SuperLatina

Latinos may have been the big voting block in the 2016 Presidential elections but apparently the folks at the Latin Grammy Awards didn’t want the media to ask any questions about politics to the winners or nominees.

SuperLatina Gaby Natale who is covering the Latin Grammy Awards tonight posted the following on Facebook:

EN SHOCK. En la sala de prensa @latingrammy nos pidieron a todos los miembros de medios de comunicación q no hagamos preguntas de politica. Que error buscar silenciar temas que importan tanto #latingrammy
IN SHOCK In the #LatinGrammy press room they have just asked all members of the media NOT to ask questions related to politics. What a mistake to silence the topics that are so important for Latinos right now.

The media should not be silenced. We have the right to ask anyone including celebrities questions about any topic. And guess what? Everyone has an opinion on the recent election of President-elect Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s loss.

Here’s hoping someone in the press let the nominees and winners know they have been told not to do their jobs, ask the questions they want about politics. Here’s to hoping the celebrities, entertainers, and Latin Grammy nominees and winners speak out and complain too.

Stand up for the media. We have to do our jobs even at the Latin Grammy Awards. 

Gwen Ifill taught me not to be afraid to ask the tough questions

 

I am shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Gwen Ifill.

As a well-respected journalist, Gwen broke barriers for many women of color including myself.

The picture I share is one of the highlights during my time as a student at Walter Cronkite School in Arizona State University.

guzman_ifill

This was in 2013. Gwen was a guest speaker at a school event.

Her topic was on diversity and inclusion in the news. Here’s the event video from that day.

 

Gwen Ifill: “Diversity and Inclusion in the News” from Cronkite School on Vimeo.

 

Before her appearance, Gwen wanted to meet with groups such as the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). When I heard she was coming, I knew I had to attend.

During the meeting, she answered our questions, talked about her journey, gave us some great tips and about having more diversity in the newsroom.

Gwen was a class act. She was kind enough to take photos with everyone that day. She took her time to talk to all of us about any questions we had.

To me, she was one of the nicest people I have ever met.

LESSONS FROM GWEN

As a woman of color, Gwen taught me not be afraid to ask the tough questions. She was also not afraid to be her unapologetic self in the society where women, especially Black and Latina women, are undermined and ignored in their contributions .

Even with her success, I loved how she was still humble and down to earth. She never forgot her New York roots.

While she may no longer be with us, her spirit lives on through our interventions in creating more stories about us in a medium that still undermines our contributions in journalism.

Stephanie Guzman is a  digital producer at KMTV, the CBS affiliate in Omaha, NE. She’s also a 2015 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Communications at Arizona State University, and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. 

Remembering Gwen Ifill, a fair and fearless journalist

I admire good journalists. I admired Gwen Ifill for everything she had accomplished in the world of journalism. I met her once at a journalism conference. She was surrounded by many journalists, all of them fans of hers.  When I heard of her passing on Monday, I remembered three of my favorite Gwen quotes.  Rest in peace Gwen.

 

ra_gwen_quote2

 

ra_gwen_quote1

 

ra_gwen_quote3

 

 

Moving forward as a divided country; now what President-elect Donald Trump?

ra_trump We start our day with President-elect Donald Trump. For those who supported him. Congratulations. For those who did not, wipe off those tears and remember your rights as Americans still exist.

But this is now a very divided country. We know that. It will be Trump’s job to figure out a way to bring all Americans together. As people of color there is a fear. Do we regress to what we had in the 1950’s or will Donald Trump figure out a way to unite us?

As women we also have our fears. Do we lose our rights to stand on an equal platform or do men feel a win for Trump means a pass to grope us when they want?  Yes, that’s a valid concern after hearing the Access Hollywood tape.

LET FEAR FUEL YOUR PASSION TO DO THE RIGHT THING 

But now is not the time to allow fear to hold you back. Use that fear to fuel your passion to do what is right for this country. One man, one political party, one election does not take away our voice, our strength, our power as Americans.

It hasn’t been easy for journalists either, but we still have a job to do. Learn from the journalists who covered the Trump campaign. Often they endured verbal attacks from Trump and his supporters but kept pushing forward, seeking the facts. We need to continue asking the tough questions of our President-elect as we have done with past individuals voted into office.

Donald Trump has four years to prove himself  and keep those promises he made to his supporters.  The clock starts now.

Leave the props at home, how handcuffs didn’t work for WFMY-TV

In the world of TV news, producers are always trying to come up with creative ways to keep the audience interested. Someone at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, NC thought talking about the polls, and having the news anchor hold a pair of handcuffs would be a great idea.

anchor_prop

Screenshot: WFMY-TV 

Well today WFMY-TV continues to feel the backlash of that creative moment that didn’t sit well with Hillary Clinton supporters.

As FTV Live  reported Morgan Hightower was reading a story on the political race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump when she grabbed a pair of handcuffs. As she starts talking about Clinton, the viewer suddenly saw a tight shot of those cuffs.

The news anchor Morgan Hightower explained it like this on Facebook.

morgan

Station management also had a response: 

“Last week, our newscast aired a brief story on the deadlock closeness of the Presidential polls in North Carolina using handcuffs as a prop. We commonly use props and visual comparisons in storytelling. In response to a Huffington Post article about our report, it appears social media has separated the words of our story from our pictures and the storytelling intent.

Our story was not about – and made no reference to – any investigation, criminality or possible prosecution of either Presidential candidate. It was a story about the neck and neck closeness of the candidates in current polling – the prop meant to denote the discomfort of these bitter rivals locked side by side in the polls. We should have better explained, more so, used a better prop. We regret the confusion. “

 

DUMP THE PROPS, REPORT THE NEWS

 

Our job is to report the news, not to be actors and actresses with props. In the race to be creative, don’t get lost in doing something that can backfire.

If you’re a producer, anchor or reporter run your idea by several people before you go live. Get feedback from different people.

If I was in that planning meeting I would have said “It’s not going to work. Haven’t you heard Trump supporters chant ‘lock her up?'”

The WFMY segment was an epic fail but the rest of us can learn from it.

Leave the props at home.

 

Who is using what social media in 2016

Social media is part of our lives and for many of us it is part of lives at work. Can you afford not to be on social media?

These 2016 infographics by Global Media Insight  give you an update on who is using what, which platform rules, and how males and females have their favorites. It is smart to be on one or many social media platforms if you run your own business, operate a nonprofit or want to build your personal brand and reputation. Check out these statistics.

FACEBOOK

2016_facebook

TWITTER

2016_twitter

INSTAGRAM

2016_instagram

YOUTUBE

2016_youtube

LINKEDIN

2016_linkedin

GOOGLE+

2016_googleplus

 

Now after looking at all the people using social media can you afford not to be on one or all of these platforms?

Visit globalmediainsight.com for more information on other social media networks.

 

A win for journalism, North Dakota judge throws out ‘riot’ charge against Amy Goodman

amygoodmanA win for journalism and freedom of the press today in North Dakota!

A ‘riot’ charge has been dropped against veteran journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! The State’s attorney’s office hit Goodman with that charge on Friday after dropping trespassing charges for her coverage of the thousands of Native American’s protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Today, the North Dakota District judge found no validity in the charge. Goodman said on DemocracyNow.org “This is a complete vindication of my right as a journalist to cover the attack on the protesters, and of the public’s right to know what is happening with the Dakota Access pipeline.”

Democracy Now! plans to continue covering the story. Read more at Democracy Now! 

IN MY OPINION

Freedom of the press is alive and well thanks to North Dakota District Judge John Grinsteiner who made the right decision, but State’s Attorney Ladd R Erickson needs to learn you cannot abuse your legal power to silence the media when we seek the truth.

Thanks for your coverage and bravery Amy Goodman.

Stand in support of journalist Amy Goodman who will turn herself in to North Dakota authorities

amygoodmanCovering protests is part of the job for any journalist. And that is what Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was doing over Labor Day weekend. On Monday she will turn herself into authorities in North Dakota where she is wanted on riot charges. Prosecutors dropped the criminal trespassing charge on Friday.

Democracy Now! has been one of the few news outlets that has been covering the protests going on for months by thousands of Native Americans against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s more from Goodman on going back to face charges.

As The Nation has reported:

The $3.8 billion oil pipeline is slated to carry barrel after barrel of Bakken crude through sacred sites and burial grounds of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and tribe members fear it could pollute the Missouri River, the source not only of their water but of millions of others’, should the pipe ever rupture.

AMY GOODMAN ON THE FRONTLINES

Again Goodman was doing her job. Now prosecutors in North Dakota are abusing their legal power. These intimidation ploys are their way to silence the media.

I agree with Amy Goodman that actions against her are an attack against the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the public’s right to the truth.

Watch Goodman’s coverage. She identified herself as a journalist and did nothing wrong but follow the protest.

SUPPORT AMY GOODMAN

I stand with Amy Goodman. I hope journalism organizations will show their support. I’m a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Today it is Amy Goodman facing jail time for doing her job in covering a protest. Who will be the next reporter facing charges for covering the news?

Amy, I got your back!

Jesse Watters thought viewers would laugh at his racist Fox News report on Chinatown, now he’s apologizing

Jesse Watters is apologizing tonight on Twitter for a report he thought was clever and funny on Fox News. But it was actually insulting, sick humor, and stereotyped people in the Chinese community.

jessewatters

Jesse Watters claims he is a “political humorist” but his report in Chinatown in New York City on Monday night had little to do with politics. At one point he asked a merchant selling watches “I like these watches. Are they hot?” What does that have to do with politics?

As a journalist, I support the stand taken by the Asian-American Journalist Association (AAJA). The organization wants an apology from Fox News. Paul Cheung, the president of the organization wrote the following on the organization’s website:

It’s 2016. We should be far beyond tired, racist stereotypes and targeting an ethnic group for humiliation and objectification on the basis of their race. Sadly, Fox News proves it has a long way to go in reporting on communities of color in a respectful and fair manner.

Host Bill O’Reilly called the segment “gentle fun.” There was nothing gentle or fun about it. It was rude, offensive, mocking, derogatory and damaging.

 

WATTERS SENDS THE WRONG MESSAGE TO YOUNG JOURNALISTS

I mentor many young journalists, and speak to dozens of journalism college classes every year. Watters is sending the wrong message to those who want to do TV news. His offensive reports and he has done many, send the message that it is OK to use the airwaves to humiliate and stereotype people of color and hide it all behind the excuse of “humor.”

Watters needs to apologize on the O’Reilly Factor, the same show seen by  millions of viewers when he offended the good people of Chinatown. And shame on the Fox News producers and Bill O’Reilly for allowing this racist report to air on Monday night.

No one is laughing!

Once again, you know there was probably not one Asian-American or Asian in the producer’s circle at Fox News to put up a challenge.

“Fair and balanced?” You decide.

 

Kelly Ripa returns to show says drama ‘started conversation…respect in the workplace’

RipaStrahan

Screenshot: Live! with Kelly and Michael

Live! with Kelly and Michael is the syndicated morning show millions of American’s turn to every morning. But for the past few days viewers have been caught up in the show’s drama.

Last week, Michael Strahan announced on the show that he was leaving to join Good Morning America, but his co-host Kelly Ripa had no idea. She was blindsided.

Obviously upset, Ripa decided not to show up to work until Tuesday morning. Kelly took center stage alone as the audience gave her a standing ovation and a warm welcome. I thought Strahan appeared uncomfortable.

Ripa called the drama a “bizarre time” and added “I needed a few days to gather my thoughts after 26 years with this company I earned the right.”

She said what happened to her “started a conversation about communication, and consideration and most importantly respect in the workplace.”

I’m sure what happened to her has happened to many of us. We feel Ripa’s pain.

Roll the video…


Bigwigs at ABC and Disney which owns the show have apologized to Ripa. But let’s face it, a blindside is a slap in the face and that sting is hard to forget.

Shame on the bosses who left her out of the loop. Shame on Strahan for not letting Ripa know he was leaving. Ripa helped him get on the show, and that’s the thanks she gets.

Even if Strahan was sworn to secrecy he could told the bosses “I need to tell my co-host and that’s all there is too it.”  He had an opportunity to man up and failed miserably.

Thanks Kelly for speaking up.

 

 

Millennial shames her generation ‘not contributing anything to society’

Alexis Bloomer accuses her generation “The Millennials” of not having any manners, being lazy, fans of obscene music that degrades women, idolizers of people like Kim Kardashian, and self entitled.

Bloomer describes herself as a journalist. I’m not sure if she’s done news but her social media shows off her numerous rodeo show interviews and many modeling photos.

Her message posted on April 22 on Facebook is powerful but not really fair to young people. I’m sure many millennials aren’t going to like it.

Roll the video.

 

Bloomer wrote on her Facebook:

Disclaimer: I know that not all of Millennials are bad, when I posted this I had just watched as a young man stepped in front of a limping elderly man and didn’t hold the door open for him, it made me think…This video was not intended to offend anyone, in fact, it shouldn’t offend anyone unless you’re guilty of doing any of these things. The beauty of Facebook is that you can scroll past something you don’t like. I guarantee MOST of you that liked/shared/commented on this video do not have a problem with anything I said in this video because you don’t do any of these things. Also, I had 3 guys staring in my passenger window making funny faces as I posted this…So I apologize for the distraction (I’m ADD). I hope that when you watch this, you listen to the underlying message and don’t take it as an insult.

Alexis Bloomer it took guts to post what you had to say online.  I think it will make many millennials sit back and think about it. Thanks for sharing your message.

How a Dallas woman pitched an idea and got hired by Mark Cuban

RA_PitchJob400

Is there a job you know you can do but it doesn’t seem to be out there? Maybe you have an idea for a job that you know could fill a void.

Rachel Kuhr had the right idea.

Kuhr recently told the Texas Standard  “I found that jobs that I really like don’t usually exist, so the best way to get the job you want is make it up and see if they hire you.”

The 28-year-old followed her own advice. She pitched an idea to billionaire Mark Cuban and he hired her. Listen to what Kuhr had to say to the Texas Standard.

 

 

 

Now get out there, start pitching and find that “dream job.” Good luck!

MORE ON RACHEL KUHR

Why Rachel Khur is the innovator for Mark Cuban’s Shark Tank startups – Dallas Morning News

 

 

World Water Day: The Water Crisis is Threatening your Life

photo courtesy: Thrive for Water

photo courtesy: Water To Thrive

We can’t survive without water. And while it’s easy for most of us to run to the faucet to fill a glass with water to quench our thirst, that is not the case in many parts of the world.  The United Nations reports that by 2030 we will have a serious water shortage.

We need water to keep us hydrated. Medical experts say we can only go without drinking water for three days before it becomes critical to our health. We also need water to grow crops for our food supply.

We need water to wash our clothes, for bathing and sanitation. Imagine having to ration water or not having access to a toilet because of the lack of running water.

The water crisis is not only happening in poor parts of the world, but also in beautiful states like California, a state hit hard by a drought in 2015.

Some countries are seeing rivers and lakes drying up. Water pollution adds to the problem.  The U.N. is giving us a warning. Watch this video and learn more.

 

 

 

On this World Water Day I share a few videos that bring the problem home. My hope is that these videos will inspire you to do something to help save the water many of us take for granted.  Watch how the water crisis could have been avoided in California.

 

 

Seventy percent of the Earth is covered in water but only one percent is fresh water.  That one percent is the water supply that 7 billion people on this Earth depend on to survive.  Here’s more on the world water crisis.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Here is a list of programs and projects aimed at helping save our water supply and keeping it clean. Do your part.

Also call your local state and city officials and find out what kind of water conservation projects are going on in your communities.

Water.org

The Water Project 

Water To Thrive

 

 

 

Double check photos: TV station used wrong photo in story of death of Frank Sinatra Jr.

Slow down and triple check any image or photo you plan to use on a TV newscast, especially in the death of a celebrity.  A mistake can be embarrassing.

Twitter_Sinatra

Frank Sinatra Jr. died on Wednesday. Someone at WDNU-TV in Indiana pulled up a Sinatra photo and used it as an OTS (Over-the-Shoulder) on the 11 p.m. newscast. The photo was not Sinatra Jr. but that of Joe Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live comedian who used to imitated Frank Sinatra Sr.  Oops!

HOW TO AVOID A MISTAKE

  1. Don’t be in a hurry.
  2. You’re not expected to know everyone. It’s OK to admit it and ask for help.
  3. Look for at least three reliable sources for photos.
  4. Check to see if the celebrity or family has a foundation. SinatraFamily.com
  5. If the person was an actor there is probably a photo on  IMBD .  IMBD has photo of Sinatra Jr. 
  6. Check YouTube to see if the singer/entertainer has video. Sinatra Jr. was on YouTube 
  7. Look for a fan forum or website.

We are a team in a newsroom. Everyone from the producer to the anchor should have their eyes open to catch any mistakes before they make air.

 

What was Yelp thinking? Slams former employee on Twitter

 

yelp-blog

 

When I teach social media I remind clients:

  1. Think before you tweet.
  2. A negative post will have ramifications.
  3. One tweet can make you or break you.
  4. Never get into a war of words. Someone will always lose.

Now let’s talk about Yelp, the company that lets people give their opinions on everything from bars to restaurants.

A former employee, Jaymee Senigaglia criticized Yelp because she said the company fired her after she asked for a 3-day unpaid leave to care for her boyfriend who was recovering from a serious biking accident.  In her blog “Yelp Fired A Single Mother Today: Me” Senigaglia talked about the challenges she faced at Yelp as a single mother.

Yelp prides itself on posting the opinions of people who have visited spas and coffee shops. But the company didn’t care much for Senigaglia’s opinion on her blog that went viral. Yelp fought back with a tweet that definitely broke (in my opinion) many Human Resource rules and can probably get them in legal problems.

 

Yelp

 

OK we don’t know all the details on why Yelp terminated Senigaglia.  I would think they can’t talk about it because its a Human Resource issue.  But what was Yelp thinking when it posted the tweet giving many details of Senigaglia’s work record at the company?

I am shocked this tweet was approved by HR. I am hoping someone on Yelp’s social media team tried to stop the madness and went up the food chain and said  “Hey CEO Jeremy Stoppelman do you really want us to post this? It’s very unprofessional. We need to take the high road.”

 

A BUSINESS HAS MORE TO LOSE WHEN IT GETS NASTY ON TWITTER

People on Twitter are not the type to sit back and take it or watch someone like a single mother out of a job get trampled. Yelp hurt its image and business when it decided to get even with Senigaglia. Here are only a few of the tweets in response.

 

YelpFeedback

 

ONE VIDEO STATEMENT CAN MAKE THIS RIGHT

If I was on Yelp’s media relations team I would have the CEO address this issue in a short video right away. It’s never too late to apologize to Senigaglia. I’m not saying apologize for firing her, but apologize for putting her private business out in the Twitter world. That tweet could hurt her future job prospects which means future earnings, and you know this single mom needs a paycheck to raise her child.

Something is going on at Yelp, because this is the second employee who has made her misery public about working at the company. In mid-February,  Talia Jane another Yelp employee also harshly criticized the company in her blog “An Open Letter to My CEO.” That blog went viral too and within hours Yelp fired Talia Jane.

Yelp has chosen not to respond to those who have criticized the company on Twitter. A big no-no in social media. That’s like saying “We’re not listening and we don’t care.” But Yelp should care because each person on Twitter has followers they can influence. And if they are encouraged not to support Yelp those numbers add up. Today no company can afford to lose business.

Here’s hoping Yelp makes this right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Journalism Fellowships: Health, Mental Illness, World Issues, Immigration, Science, and Investigative

RA_FellowshipsFB400

 

Journalism fellowships give you the opportunity to continue growing in journalism and in specific areas of expertise.  This is free education. I have listed 23 journalism fellowships that are offering everything from learning more on health and immigration issues to developing an investigative report. Apply today and expand your mind. Good luck!

 

Sylvia Rowe Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 5

Good for Graduate students interested in nutrition and journalism.IFIC Foundation now accepting applications for 2016 Sylvia Rowe Fellowship for Nutrition, Food Safety Communicators>> Application

 

Neiman Foundation Fellowships
Deadline to apply Jan. 31

Candidates chosen get a paid year at Harvard to explore journalism and world ideas. U.S. fellow applications due last day in January. >>Application

 

The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism
Deadline April 6, 2016

Mental illnesses constitute some of the most serious, unrecognized, and under-reported health problems in the United States and around the world. As part of an international effort to reduce stigma and discrimination, The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism provide stipends to journalists from the United States and Colombia — and previously in Romania, South Africa, and New Zealand — to report on topics related to mental health or mental illnesses.>>Application

 

Institute for Justice and  Journalism Fellowship on Immigration
Deadline Feb. 16

Journalists must propose an enterprise project on immigrant children and families for publication or broadcast. In addition to travel and accomodations, each fellow will receive a US$500 stipend upon completion of the story project.>> Application

 

Arthur F. Burnes Exchange Fellowship
Deadline March 1

Arthur F. Burns Fellowship offers an exchange program that gives media professionals from the United States, Canada and Germany an opportunity to report from and travel in each other’s countries.>> Application

 

Health Journalism Fellowships
Deadline Feb. 19

AHCJ offers several health journalism fellowships for journalists in California, Missouri, Rhode Island, and New York. Also fellowships are being offered to college journalism students and college instructors, and journalists who work in ethnic media, >>Application

 

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Residential Fellow
Deadline Feb. 15

Designed for persons inside and outside media industries who want to collaborate with RJI in the pursuit of solutions to a particular journalism problem.>> Application

 

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Non-Residential Fellow
Deadline Feb. 15

Designed for entrepreneurial individuals with a strong interest in journalism and issues related to digital communications. Your fellowship can be about something you are interested in pursuing on your own or something that could benefit a current employer.>> More information and application

 

The Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 9, 2016

Working journalists with less than 10 years of professional experience in print or online journalism are eligible to apply for the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program. Applicants propose a one-year writing project on a topic of their choosing, focusing on journalism supportive of American culture and a free society. In addition, the program awards separate fellowships on the environment, on free enterprise and on law enforcement.>>Application

 

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute Institutional Fellows
Deadline Feb. 15

Designed to unlock some of the thoughtful, meaningful ideas inside newsrooms, ad departments, boardrooms, break rooms, etc., that for various reasons can’t get any traction. RJI will collaborate with a leader at a company or institution who will identify an employee who can develop an idea or lead a team that could do it. The employee will be named an RJI Fellow but will continue working at his or her job.>> More information and application

 

Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme
Deadline March 1

The Journalists Fellowship Programme was first established in 1980 by the United Nations General Assembly with the aim of exposing junior and mid-level journalists from developing countries to the work of the Organization>>Application

 

Spotlight Investigative Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 29 

Investigative project proposals from experienced journalists with substantive bodies of published or produced work that have appeared in major print, broadcast, radio, or online outlets. Story leads must have a U.S. domestic focus and be of public interest. >>Application

 

UNITY 2016 Fellowship
Deadline Jan.31

UNITY Journalists for Diversity is proud to announce that it will sponsor a student fellowship for the summer of 2016. For the third consecutive year, a college student dedicated to both journalism and diversity will have the opportunity to attend four different minority media conventions in four cities. The hosts will be the Asian-American Journalists Association – AAJA (Las Vegas), the National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association – NLGJA (Miami), the Native American Journalists Organization – NAJA (New Orleans), The National Association of Hispanic Journalists – NAHJ and the National Association of Black Journalists – NABJ (combined convention – Washington DC). Travel and hotel accommodations will be covered.>>Application

 

Knight Science Journalism Program
Deadline Feb. 29, 2016

The Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program supports a global community of dedicated and thoughtful journalists specializing in science, health, technology and environmental reporting. The program is designed to recognize journalists who demonstrate a high level of professional excellence and accomplishment as well as a long-term commitment to their craft. Journalists from all countries compete on an equal basis and are encouraged to apply. >>Application

 

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MLB) Logan Science/Health/Environmental Fellowships
Deadline March 1, 2016

The Logan Science Journalism Program at the MBL, founded in 1986, offers professional science journalists, writers, editors, and broadcast journalists a chance to forget about story deadlines and immerse themselves in the process of basic biomedical and environmental research. Room, board, lab fees, and U.S. travel are covered for accepted fellows.>>Application

 

The O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism
Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

This is a reporting fellowship.  O’Brien Fellows will return to their newsrooms after an academic year with a world-class project and a paid Marquette student intern for summer 2016.>>Application

 

Jefferson Fellowships
Deadline Jan. 29, 2016

The Jefferson Fellowships offer print and broadcast journalists from the United States, Asia and the Pacific Islands the unique opportunity to gain on-the-ground perspectives and build international networks to enhance their reporting through an intensive one-week education and dialogue seminar at the East-West Center in Honolulu followed by two weeks of study tour travel in the Asia Pacific-U.S. region.>>Application

 

The Bringing Home the World Fellowship for U.S.-based minority journalists
Deadline Mar. 13, 2016

The Bringing Home the World Fellowship helps U.S.-based minority journalists cover compelling yet under-reported international stories, increasing the diversity of voices in global news. The program helps level the playing field and redress the inequality minority journalists often face by giving them the opportunity to report from overseas and advance their careers.>>Application

 

Fund for Investigative Journalism
Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

The Fund encourages proposals written for ethnic media and submitted by journalists of color. Grants average $5,000 and cover out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, document collection, and equipment rental. The Fund also considers requests for small stipends>>Application

 

Joan Shorenstein Fellowship
Deadline Feb. 1, 2016

The mission of the Joan Shorenstein Fellowship Program is to advance research in the field of media, politics and public policy; facilitate a dialogue among journalists, scholars, policymakers and students; provide an opportunity for reflection; and create a vibrant and long-lasting community of scholars and practitioners.>>Application

 

Loyola Law School Fellowships for Journalists
Deadline Feb. 24, 2016

Loyola Law School is offering 35 professional journalists fellowships. The challenge of reporting on the legal system without a law degree is daunting. To help support journalists who cover the courts on national, regional or local levels, the Civil Justice Program at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, has developed the journalist law program consisting of a four-day intensive seminar on the legal system. Lectures, lodging and most meals are covered by the program.>>Application

 

Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship
Deadline March 1, 2016

The Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow spends nine months full-time in residence at Council of Foreign Relation headquarters in New York. The program enables the fellow to engage in sustained analysis and writing, expand his or her intellectual and professional horizons, and extensively participate in CFR’s active program of meetings and events. >>Application

 

The UC Berkeley-11th Hour Food and Farming Journalism Fellowship Deadline Mar. 15, 2016

Aimed at early and mid career journalists, the Fellowship presents an opportunity to report ambitious long form stories on the full range of subjects under the rubric of food systems: agricultural and nutritional policy, the food industry, food science, technology and culture, rural and urban farming, agriculture and the environment (including climate change), global trade and supply chains, consolidation and securitization of the food system and public health as it relates to food and farming.>>Application

 

 

Best cold weather live shot, thanks WGN’s Nancy Loo

NancyLoo

YouTube Screenshot: Nancy Loo at WGN

Standing in freezing weather delivering a live shot is part of the job of any television reporter. We’ve all done them.

We’ve also heard the news anchor in the warm studio toss it to us out in the field with “How cold is it?” That made me cringe every time.

Well Nancy Loo of WGN in Chicago gets my kudos. She had one of the shortest weather reports, got a standing ovation and left me thinking “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I love this live shot. Nice job Nancy!

 

 

10 Goals to Keep it Simple in 2016

By now most people have a long list of resolutions for 2016. My advice is to keep your resolutions or goals simple and doable.

Here is my short list.

 

RA_2016List

Texas ‘Affluenza’ teen Ethan Couch taken into custody in Mexico

Update: Mexican officials say Ethan Couch and his mother entered Mexico under false names.  Telemundo 40 spoke to authorities in Mexico>>Ethan Couch Story

 

CouchArrested

UPDATE:  Tarrant County Sheriff Department hopes to have the case of Ethan Couch transferred from juvenile court to adult court when he is returned to Texas. At a Tuesday press conference, Sheriff Dee Anderson said the teenager’s mother will be charged with hindering apprehension.

One of my sources with the  U.S. Marshals Service, not directly on Couch case said Immigration authorities in Mexico are not done with Couch and his mother. Both face charges there of entering the country illegally.

__________________

U.S. Marshals are on their way to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico where Ethan Couch has been detained with his mother, Tonya. Couch, better known as the “affluenza teen” has been missing for two weeks. CNN broke the story Monday night.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department has been looking for the 18-year-old Couch ever since he allegedly violated his probation. Investigators were also looking for his mother who they said was missing.  A warrant was issued for Couch to be taken into custody after his probation officer couldn’t reach him earlier this month.

Two years ago, Couch made national news when he was sentenced to probation for a drunken driving crash that killed four people. A psychologist had testified that Couch suffered from “affluenza” and that the 16-year-old at the time of his court case was a rich kid whose parents didn’t teach him the difference between right and wrong.

WHAT HAPPENS TO COUCH NOW?

The U.S Marshals Service North District of Texas office will return Couch to Texas. According to one of my sources with the U.S Marshals Service, if a fugitive from the U.S. is a U.S. citizen, the Instituto Nacional de Migracion (INM), which is Mexico’s Immigration Service will make a formal determination if the fugitive has an legal status to remain in Mexico. The fugitive will remain in its custody until that determination is made.

 

TonyaCouch

Tonya Couch,  Photo Courtesy: Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department

INM generally views U.S. fugitives as undesirable aliens, and will order them to be deported from Mexico. The U.S. Marshals who arrive in Mexico will then escort the fugitive to a U.S. destination on a direct flight from Puerta Vallarta.

My source who is not on the Couch case and was speaking in general terms said there should not be a lot of paperwork involved with Couch, because it is an internal Mexican immigration process and not a formal request from the U.S. like an extradition. The U.S. Marshals Service will provide documentation and photos to Mexican authorities.

The process to return a fugitive from Mexico to the U.S. can take between 24 to 48 hours. That means Ethan Couch could be back in North Texas very soon if there are no problems with the paperwork. As for his mother, Tarrant County Sheriff’s investigators still have to determine if she was allegedly involved in her son’s decision to take off and hide in Mexico.

 

 

 

Fund set up for family of Petra Porras, mother of four killed in North Texas tornadoes

Today the family of Petra Porras is grieving her death. The 27-year-old was one of the victims killed by a tornado that hit North Texas the day after Christmas.

Porrosfamily

Photo courtesy: GoFundMe

Porras’ family told Fox 4 News that her SUV was thrown off an overpass by a tornado. In total, 11 people lost there lives in North Texas. Meteorologists say three tornadoes tore through the area.

Porras was the mother of four children. Her husband told a local reporter that she was a great mother and the family had a wonderful Christmas day together. Porras’ 9-year-old daughter had given her a handmade coupon book for Christmas full of coupons offerings hugs and kisses.

GoFundMe account has now been set up to help the family raise money for funeral costs and other needs. Please donate and let’s help this family get through this difficult time in their lives. Let’s help Petra Porras’ children understand that they are not alone.

Porras’ GoFundMe page>> GoFundMe

 

 

Be Merry at the U.S. Post office

postoffice2015

The post office has been my second home for the past few weeks. I’m busy sending out Christmas gifts to friends and family. Twice during my visits, I have witnessed people burst through the post office doors, looking at the long line of customers and start verbally abusing the postal clerks.

Stop it!

Stop blaming the post office clerks for the lack of workers at the counter and for the long line of customers. Can we say budget cuts? And have these idiots forgotten that the internet and lack of business has forced the U.S. Postal Service to tighten its budget and that means having fewer workers dealing with customers at the post office.

Here’s my recommendation. The next time you go to the post office and you get to the counter, smile and ask the clerk how they are doing, and say “thank you” before you leave. They are hard workers who deserve our respect.

Happy Holidays!

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Editor shows no compassion on Twitter for laid off workers

My topic today is Nancy Phillips. I don’t like calling out journalists, but in this case I have to. Phillips ranks high on my “Shame on You” list.

Recently 46 journalists lost their jobs at The Daily News, Philly.com and The Inquirer. The massive layoffs were a move by the Philadelphia Media Network to save money and merge all platforms into one newsroom.

No one likes seeing anyone lose a job. I feel for the 46 journalists who are out of work and that includes my friend, Regina Medina. She’s one of the best investigative reporters in the country.

But what really got under my skin was a tweet by The Philadelphia Inquirer’s City Editor Nancy Phillips.  Just days after the massive layoffs, Phillips bragged about a fancy meal on her Twitter page. Where was her compassion for the journalists out of work wondering how they were going to pay for their next meal?

 

 

I hope management at the Media Network does something about Phillip’s callous statement. She should apologize on Twitter to those she has hurt with her tweet.  Yes this hurts!

 

Now is the time to show compassion for those who lost their jobs, and figure out a way to help them get work. Nancy Phillips you’re lucky you have a job, but we now know you’re a manager who has no compassion for your fellow journalists.  Shame on you!

 

 

Mercado Bilingüe, the small Dallas newspaper with a big vision for our Latino community

It’s nice to see that two of my stories have made the front page of  Mercado Bilingüe’s online site. One was about the impact of Pope Francis’ visit and the other about a Texas group fighting to get water breaks for construction workers.

But this blog is actually a big shout out to Mercado Bilingüe and Editor-and-Chief Phillip Morales who allows me to write opinion pieces and cover stories that affect our DFW Latino community. Something I’ve always wanted to do as a journalist.

A while back I realized Mercado Bilingüe was making an impact in North Texas. It is a small weekly newspaper but one with a big vision. The vision is to cover stories that mainstream media often ignores. Stories that are impacting Latinos and their families. You can also read Mercado Bilingüe online.

When I worked in local television news in Dallas, doing a positive story on Latinos was nearly impossible. Breaking news and blood and guts feeds the local television news beast every day. The only Latinos I covered as a TV reporter were those accused of committing a crime or victims. I also covered many immigration stories. That was my job and I was good at it.

But Latinos are more than stories about immigration and undocumented workers.  We’re business leaders, scientists, doctors, lawyers, community leaders, teachers, fundraisers and much more. We are contributing every day in local neighborhoods and businesses.

Today small news outlets around the country like Mercado Bilingüe are giving readers, even non-Latinos a good and important choice. Would you rather watch another local crime story on television or read a story in Mercado Bilingüe that can inspire and empower you as a person?

I also applaud Morales for embracing this veteran news woman. At a time when many news managers are actually posting jobs that read “Looking for a young eager reporter to cover…”, Morales realizes that age has nothing to do with good journalism.

Funny story, a local newspaper manager turned me down for work because he claimed I didn’t have enough newspaper experience.  My decades of experience in television news didn’t count for him. Yes, doors are closed even for women like me with 50 journalism awards and nominations.

My last bit of good news, I will be covering the 2016 Presidential race for Mercado Bilingüe. I love politics. As Latinos we are a huge voting block and I will be finding out what the candidates have planned for us.

I am my father’s daughter; what I learned from a true leader

Photo courtesy: UAW

Photo courtesy: UAW

I was thinking about my dad today and how proud he would be that I stand up for what I believe is right, and when I feel people are being wronged. My father, Alfredo Aguilar was an immigrant from Mexico, raised a family of five kids, and became a union organizer, migrant rights activist, and civil rights leader. He also had the first Spanish-language radio program “Fiesta Latina” in northwest Ohio. Yes, a super multi-tasker.

I often heard him in his broken English defending the little guy or gal. Whether he was addressing a room of 3,000 union members or defending a group of migrant workers, my father knew how to lead by inspiration. He was always looking out for the worker not getting fair pay, the person of color being discriminated, and even women who were not getting equal opportunities. Most of the time he was the only voice, unafraid to use it when it was not the popular thing to do. And let me say he made an impact.

When he died in 1981, his funeral was packed with people, and they didn’t stop coming for two days. Everyone had a story about how he made a difference. I think he would be very proud of me today…unafraid, a voice for the people.

RIP Papi.

Feel free to share and inspire another leader in the making.

Re-evaluate your life, get your priorities right, and be a good person

Fellowship Dallas

Fellowship Dallas

I got my dose of inspiration today. My pastor says re-evaluate your life and get your priorities right. Be a good person.
My thoughts… don’t get caught up in status, money, selfies and even how many followers you have on social media.

Get out of your ego.

Be a person who helps those who are in pain or suffering. Look for those in need of support especially when others have turned their backs on them.

Have courage to stand up for what you feel is wrong even when it’s not the popular thing to do.

Volunteer your time to help organizations help other people. Never say “no” to those who turn to you for advice or ask for mentoring. Always make time for people who need your help. Even 10 minutes of your time can give someone hope.

I was recently at a journalism conference and kept hearing “You look so happy.” It’s true and that’s because I believe in God. That simple. He gave me talent and a fearless heart. I am a success today because of him. He has surrounded me with the right people too.

Remember today you are here… tomorrow God may say “Time to come home.”

You can make a difference. Your life counts.
Please share. Have a great week !

Until next time,

Rebecca

One year anniversary of the 43 missing students in Mexico, they will not be forgotten

Social media today is connecting people around the world who want answers and justice for the families of the 43 students who disappeared in Mexico one year ago. Protests are going on all over Mexico and even in the United States.

 

If you’re not familiar with what happened to these students. Please watch this short video by AJ+

Monica Ortiz wrote on Facebook.

September 26th marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from la normal Ayotzinapa in Iguala, Mexico. I stand in solidarity with the families that are still left with no justice over such a tragic event, still with so many questions that remain unanswered. Today, I am proud of my daughter Gabby, for taking part in the vigil and standing for 43 minutes in representation of the normalistas who were brutally abducted and murdered. She and 42 other student demonstrators held up painted hands and signs with “43+” on them. Today, we mourn the loss of these students and share in the grief their families are still enduring.

 

Protests are everywhere.

 

More stories:

BBC: Mexico’s missing Iguala students: The disappeared 43

Al Jazeera:Remember Ayotzinapa Superb coverage of each of the families of the victims.

Proud to continue serving on the SPJ Fort Worth board

SPJFW members at #EIJ15

SPJFW members: (L-R) Eddye Gallaghar, Britney Tabor, Kay Pirtle, Rebecca Aguilar, Kim Pewitt-Jones

I am proud to announce that I have been re-elected to serve as Vice President of Membership for the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter.

SPJFW continues to be a big voice for journalists in North Texas. It helps us find jobs, keep jobs, get the training we need to keep us sharp in the field and it also protects us when we need it as journalists.  SPJFW also helps students fund their education in journalism and mentors those who are getting in the business. We follow the lead of SPJ, our national organization.

Recently, I was fortunate to attend the Excellence in Journalism Conference #EIJ15 in Orlando as one of our chapter’s voting delegate.   One issue tabled until next year is whether to change the name of the organization.  I don’t want a name change, but I’ll leave that for  another blog.

 

 

 

I have served on the SPJFW board since 2011, and have also served on two national committee. SPJ is a great place to make contacts and continue growing as a journalist.

If you’re a journalist in North Texas, I welcome you to join SPJFW. Visit our website – SPJFW and explore.

 

 

 

5-year-old Sophie Cruz, child of undocumented immigrants tells Pope Francis “I have the right to be happy”

Sophie Cruz Screenshot: Univision

Sophie Cruz
Screenshot: Univision

When Pope Francis heads back to the Vatican, he will leave with a hand-written letter from five-year-old Sophie Cruz. The daughter of undocumented immigrants was able to break through security Wednesday to get to the Pope during his visit to Washington D.C.

Sophie and her family had traveled with an immigration advocacy group from California to see Pope Francis. The Mexican-American girl had a mission to let Pope Francis know she lives in fear as the child of undocumented workers.

Sophie had a brief face-to-face meeting with the Pope and before she left him she handed him a yellow t-shirt with a letter. She later told  Univision in Spanish about what she wrote in the letter. Here’s a translation:

 

 

 

 

My name is Sophie Cruz. I am 5-years-old. I am an American citizen with Mexican roots. I live in Los Angeles, California in the heart of the culture. My parents are from Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Pope Francis I want to tell you that my heart is very sad because I am afraid that one day ICE will deport my parents. I have the right to live with my parents. I have the right to be happy.

My father works very hard in a factory. All immigrants like my father help this country, they deserve to live with dignity. They deserve to be respected. They deserve immigration reform. They deserve this in my country.

They have earned it and have worked very hard picking oranges, onions, watermelons, melons, spinach, lettuce and many other vegetables.

Don’t forget about us children, especially those who suffer because they don’t have their parents, because of the war, violence and hunger.

 

According to the Pew Research Center: In 2012, there were 4 million unauthorized immigrant adults living with their U.S.-born children.

 

Sophie put her home address on the letter she handed to Pope Francis. Here’s hoping he writes her back.

 

Young girl breaks through security to get closer to Pope Francis, and she gives him a message about all immigrant children

Screenshot: Telemundo

Screenshot: Telemundo

As I was watching live news coverage of Pope Francis’ visit in Washington D.C., a little girl caught my attention.

Today the world will be talking about this girl, daughter of immigrants and how she was able to see Pope Francis face-to-face.

A man named Raul told Telemundo he was an immigrant and the father of the little girl named “Sophie.” He said he and his family were hoping to get a glimpse of Pope Francis as he passed by them on a Washington D.C. street lined with thousands of people.

Raul’s daughter broke through heavy security in excitement as the Pope mobile got closer. Secret Service and the Pope’s security tried to get Sophie back behind the barricades, but she kept trying to get the Pope’s attention as his vehicle drove by.

Pope Francis saw Sophie and waved security to bring her to him. Security quickly rushed the girl to the Pope and he gave her a soft hug and kiss on the head. Sophie wrapped her little arm around his neck. Then as security placed her back on the ground on her feet, the little girl quickly turn back to the pope and handed him a letter and yellow t-shirt.

Screenshot: Telemundo

Screenshot: Telemundo

Her father told Telemundo that the letter was asking Pope Francis to help all immigrant children in the world. He said that immigrants in the U.S. need protection from violence, racism and especially against people who have hate for immigrants. Sophie’s father told Telemundo that he is an immigrant who goes out to work everyday, and works hard to provide for his family.

One tenacious little girl has touched the heart of Pope Francis and has spoken for immigrant families struggling today in the U.S.

Sophie has made a difference.

Here’s a short Instagram video of the girl’s father talking to Telemundo right after the special moment between the Pope and Sophie. (Video)

I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about Sophie and her family for days to come.

Update:  According to CBS News, the little girl is 5-year-old Sophie Cruz. She’s from South Gate, California.

Gamers flush out hoaxer on WSB-TV; station retracts story about gamer claiming to know Virginia killer

Screenshot: YouTube

A few days after the WDBJ-TV news crew was gunned down during a live report in Virginia, someone in Atlanta, GA decided to take advantage of the situation. My Twitter blew up with gamers (people who play video games online) telling me about a guy in Atlanta who had played a hoax on WSB-TV.

The guy told a local reporter that he was a gamer who had communicated with the killer, Bryce Williams AKA Vester Flanagan. He claimed that he had chatted online with Flanagan for a few years while they played video games.

The guy did not allow WSB-TV to use his name or show his face. He also told the reporter that the killer supported something called the “GamerGate” community.

First of all what is “GamerGate?” The reporter stuck that term in the story. The guy told her it was a group. Another issue that angered gamers who knew this guy was a fake.

For nongamers, “GamerGate” is a confusing controversy within the gaming world.  Unless you’re a hardcore gamer, you won’t have a clue about “GamerGate.” But it was obvious that the hoaxer used that term to shed a negative light on other gamers. Several gamers told me the WSB story had red flags all over it from the screenshots to the soundbites the guy gave the reporter.

The guy also claimed the way in how Flanagan killed the two journalists was very much like a video game he played with him.  My gamer sources say the guy knew that the media loved a story that connected violence with video games.  Again information feeding into the stereotype that all gamers are violent people. Not true.

The station promoted the interview as an “exclusive” and the hoaxer ended up on the evening news. The WSB story spread quickly via social media within the gamer world.  Many gamers knew the guy had duped the station. 

GAMERS COMPLAIN ON TWITTER

I told many gamers who complained to me via Twitter to contact WSB-TV, but they needed solid proof the guy was a fake. I have to admit many of us journalists do not  know the gamer world. Very few of us cover it.

FakeGamer2_Flush

I recently started looking into the gaming world and realize that community does not trust the media.  Many say they’ve been burned by several writers who exclusively report on the gaming world. That’s another blog.

So it took me the power of persuasion to get many of these gamers from around the country to contact WSB-TV to tell them what they knew about the hoaxer. I recommended they tell other gamers to contact the station with their own facts.

Many of these gamers do not like the limelight and tend not to use their real names online because of privacy reasons. I told them they had to come forward before this guy got the attention of another reporter.

My Tweeter

My Tweeter

My Tweeter

WSB-TV RETRACTS STORY

The gamers came through and WSB-TV retracted the story and apologized for its mistake.  I’m not sure if WSB  reported the retraction on television, but that usually is proper procedure. If the mistake happened on television, the apology is done on TV too.

Here is part of the statement WSB-TV posted on their website on Friday, Sept. 4:

“We had an onslaught of emails and calls from online gamers saying we’d been duped. Among other things, they questioned that profile. This week, we asked a Georgia Tech scientist, who is also a gamer, to analyze the profile and other screenshots the man showed us.  Our expert determined the profile had not been active long enough to support the man’s claim he’d known Flanagan three years. He found problems with other screenshots, enough to conclude the man’s story was not true.  As a result we are retracting the story. We apologize for any confusion it caused.” 

Kudos to the gamers who came forward to help WSB-TV get to the bottom of the hoax.  This guy was out to damage for the thrill of it.  But most of all he was out to hurt the gamers who are mostly in the sport to play, have fun and network with others online. Yes, playing video games is called a sport today.

LEARN FROM WSB-TV

I applaud WSB-TV for retracting the story and apologizing.  But what happened to WSB is bound to happen again to another news media outlet. We have to remember to be on alert to a “low life” who get thrills from the pain of others. And they will do anything to get their mug or name in the news.

I don’t know how the station in Atlanta vetted the guy before he got on television. But if you’re a journalist learn from what happened to WSB.

As journalists we need to slow down when collecting the facts. Get two or three sources.  When someone says do not use my name or show my face, dig deeper on the “why not?” Do not be in a hurry to be “first” or have an “exclusive” even on social media.

These “low lifes” do not care about victims in a story. They do not care about the reputation of a reporter or a media outlet.  If this happened to me, I would be suing the hoaxer. I would go through legal channels to make him pay for hurting my reputation.

A big thank you to the gamers who helped WSB-TV flush out the fake. We need to work together to get the truth out.

Until next time!

Rebecca

Source: WSB-TV statement

10-year-old girl has fun with NFL players; her questions leave some speechless

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

I see a future reporter in Isabella Day. Check out this cute 10-year-old girl who the NFL brought in as a special correspondent to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Sunday Night Football on NBC.  Isabella had fun with the NFL players, but also had a few questions that left some of them surprised and speechless.

The new season starts September 13.

 

Now we need to send Isabella to a Donald Trump press conference. I wonder how long she would last?

It’s all in fun.

Happy 99th National Park Service! Discover 408 national parks

Today the National Park Service celebrates 99 years. Happy Birthday!

Did you know there are  408 national parks ? I’ve only been to about 25 of them in Arizona, Ohio, Texas, South Dakota, New York, California and Washington D.C.

Visiting Mount Rushmore

Visiting Mount Rushmore in August 2015

 

I have a lot of discovering to do. As I look at the list of parks in every state, I keep thinking I need to see Mother nature’s beauty, and learn about the history behind each park. I can’t wait to explore more. Maybe I need to take a national park tour from one side of the country to the other and Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam and Virgin Islands.  I’ll have to talk my husband into it.

Here are a few photos of National parks I have visited so far. As a reporter I’m curious all the time, and I love taking photo. Enjoy!

 

The Badlands in South Dakota

The Badlands, SD Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

The Badlands, SD
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

 

Montezuma Castle in Arizona

Montezuma Castle Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Montezuma Castle
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

The Grand Canyon in Arizona

Grand Canyon, AZ Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Grand Canyon, AZ
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

 

Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Lincoln Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Lincoln Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

 

Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

 

 

Other Online Resources:

National Park Service website

List of national parks by state – page

The world embraces President Carter who has been diagnosed with cancer

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich

Our 39th President, Jimmy Carter has cancer, and it has spread.  But the 90-year-old plans to fight it with treatment in Atlanta.

Today this cartoon got my attention. Mike Luckovich is the editorial cartoonist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He told CNN on Thursday that he was working on another cartoon when he heard the news about President Carter. “I kept thinking I really want to do something about him, because he’s such an amazing person, and he means a lot to me and to people all over the world, so I just kept thinking what can I do? What can I do? And I just arrived at this cartoon and I ran out to my editor and said listen I have an idea to do on President Carter, he said OK and so I did it…” says Luckovich.

The cartoonist also told CNN that in the past, President Carter had invited him and his family  to meet with him. “It was just an amazing thing. You know there aren’t many people in this world that you can attach the world ‘saintly’ to, but I really think with President Carter you can, because he is such a giving person and throughout his life he has never stopped helping other people.”

Thank you Mike for a wonderful and meaningful cartoon. I agree, President Carter has been about giving back to the world. May our prayers lift him up and comfort him during this time.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT LINKS

Mike Luckovich  Gallery of Cartoons

Atlanta Journal-Constitution website

News story: Plains struggles with news of Jimmy Carter’s Cancer

President Carters statement about his cancer: Statement

Mailman makes wish come true for Utah boy who could not afford books

Books are piling up in the home of Matthew Flores in Sandy, Utah. Thanks to his mailman and the help of strangers around the world, Matthew is getting all kinds of books.

At an age when most kids are hooked on their video games and smartphones, all this 12-year-old loves to do is read. He loves to read anything he can get his hands on including junk mail.

Matthew met his mailman Ron Lynch last week. He told Lynch he couldn’t afford to buy books or get a bus pass to go the local library. Lynch decided to post Matthew’s story on Facebook and his plea for help went viral.

Screenshot: Facebook

Screenshot: Facebook

 

The young boy’s story not only spread on social media, but it also got the attention of local TV station. Here is a story by Local 12 News in Salt Lake City.

 

 

It is Christmas in July for young Matthew Flores. But a big thanks goes to Ron Lynch who took the time to stop during his busy day to listen to a little boy in need.  Here’s is one of Lynch’s latest Facebook updates.

 

Screenshot: Facebook

If you’d like to send Matthew some books, please send them to:

Matthew Flores, ℅ Sandy Post Office, 8850 S 700 e, Sandy, UT 84070

 

54 Twitter photos of Donald Trump’s visit to Laredo, TX

Donald Trump’s was met at the airport in Laredo,TX by dozens of reporters and also protesters. Here are 54 photos taken by the media and Laredo citizens during Trump’s stop in the border city. See the collection of Twitter and Instragram photos: 54 PHOTOS 

Screenshot: Twitter

Screenshot: Twitter

 

Pregnant woman delivers her own baby in the car on the way to the hospital

Lesha PettiJohn of Lake Jackson, TX deserves the Mother of The Year award. She had a 10 pound baby on the way to a birthing center.

Yes, 10 pounds.

Her husband was driving and was able to record the birth with his GoPro. There is nothing revealing or hard to watch. It’s a beautiful moment.

 

 

Congrats to Lesha and her husband. They have two other children at home.

 

34 Years and Counting: Still kicking it in journalism

This month I celebrate 34 years as a reporter. Today I still have the same passion for news that I had when I started in the business in 1981. I didn’t get into journalism to become rich, but I have been given a richness of experiences that money can’t buy.

In the coming weeks I will share more about my 34 year journey so far in news. I’ve been hired and fired. I’ve made a salary so low I could have applied for government help. It’s true. I’ve also made great money in the six figures.

I have had great mentors, and have mentored many who have gotten into the business. I’ve seen many great journalists leave the business because they were discouraged or burned out. I have also seen others continuing to push on in a business that has changed and forced them to work longer hours for less money.

Along the way I have had opportunities to do some amazing stories and meet interesting and courageous people. And yes, I have also interviewed many politicians, entertainers, community leader and criminals.

Journalists are messengers, and that’s what I do.  Real journalists care about the story, not whether they have enough “likes” on their Facebook page. Real journalists are constantly looking for the next story.

I’m proud to be a real journalist and today a freelancer. That means I’m my own boss.

Stay tuned for more.

 

 

#HonorThem: Share a photo of those who you are honoring this #MemorialDay weekend

Who will you be honoring this Memorial Day?  The U.S. Department of Defense has a great idea.

Share it on Twitter. #MemorialDay #HonorThem

The ultimate survivor, my mother

On this Mother’s Day I celebrate the life of my own mother, Rebecca. Every time I speak to groups of women, I always share the story of my mother. A survivor in many ways.

RA_Mom2015

The wonderful artwork of Johannes Stötter

 

Johannes Stötter uses the human body as his canvas.

His work is amazing, surprising, and just beautiful.

Just watch this video “Chameleon” and experience an “aha” moment.

Have a good day!

My “aha” moment, inducted into Napoleon High School’s Hall of Fame

Today I was inducted into the Napoleon High School’s Hall of Fame. Not many people realize that I was raised in the small rural town of Napoleon, Ohio. It now has a population of just over 8,700 residents.

Today was a big “aha” moment for me, because I never thought I would be recognized with such a great honor. I was a “C” average kid, never ran with the “popular” kids, wasn’t involved in any high school extracurricular activities (band, track, cheerleading.)  I went to school, did the best I could and didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do in life.

Now 39 years later, it felt good to be recognized for having a distinguished career in journalism. I’m proof that life has interesting turns and results. I’m very thankful that a plaque with my life story will now hang in the hallway for all the students to see. I hope it will inspire many teenagers to just go for it!

Thanks to Kim Cordes from the NorthWest Signal newspaper for nominating me, and thank you to the NHS Hall of Fame committee for awarding me this wonderful recognition.

I’ll never forget today. Definitely a highlight in my life.

The dancing skeletons and the video that proves love is universal

I want to end this week with a video that will make you feel good. It starts off in sunny southern California, mix in a little piano and then a big screen parked in the middle of somewhere. Suddenly you see two skeletons dancing, embracing, kissing and then the “ah-ha” moments.

 

Don’t forget…

Love has no gender
Love has no race
Love has no disability
Love has no age
Love has no religion

ABC News promotes Latinos to weekend anchors and 2016 election team

Big changes at ABC News.

The network announced today that two Latinos, Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas have been promoted to anchor ABC’s “World News Tonight” Saturday and Sunday editions.  Both are accomplished award-winning journalists with a resume of experience.

Also announced today: Vega, Llamas and Senior National Correspondent, Jim Avila have been named to ABC’s 2016 Presidential Election Team.

In my opinion this is HUGE!

Two Latinos named to anchor weekend news at the same time has to be a first in media history, and definitely at ABC News. Yes, Elizabeth Vargas filled the seat on her own a few years ago.

Naming three Latinos to the prestigious presidential election team has to be a first too. In 2012 you hardly saw any Latino journalists assigned to election coverage on any of the network or cable channels.  Jim Avila will be a great addition because he can cover any story and he knows politics. He’s also currently Fusion’s White House correspondent.

The promotion of Vega, Llamas, and Avila is a big deal to the Latino community, because finally we’re seeing people that look like us on network news and on big assignments. I’ve been watching network news for decades and finally I’m seeing good change.

ABC News has done a great job of hiring more qualified Latino journalists and now the promotions of these three correspondents is a sign that we are being included in all areas of network news. Congrats to Cecilia, Jim and Tom!  I know they’ll continue to do outstanding work.

More information:

ABC News announcement of promotions

Jim Avila biography

Tom Llamas biography 

Cecilia Vega biography

 

 

 

Cedar Hill Police ‘Live in your Moment’ video spoofs Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial

Photo Courtesy: Screenshot

Police departments in North Texas are showing the world they do have a sense of humor.

My last blog was about the Arlington Police Department having fun on Twitter and Facebook with the snowfall in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They questioned Disney’s Queen Elsa.

Now the Cedar Hill Police Department has posted their “Live in your moment” video featuring Sgt. Larry Wise.  It’s the department’s spoof of Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln commercial.

Creative, funny, and worth a watch.

 

Thanks Sgt. Wise for the laugh! I can’t wait to hear what McConaughey thinks about the spoof.

 

 

Let me know what you think of the video.

Rebecca Aguilar

Arlington Police question Queen Elsa during the North Texas Snowfall

As the snow piled up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area on Friday, and traffic came to a standstill on most roads and highways; Arlington Police thought about having a little fun on social media.

They asked on Twitter and Facebook “So who is responsible for all this cold weather and snow today?” Well it had to be Disney’s Queen Elsa. The rest will give you a laugh.

 

Courtesy: APD Facebook

Courtesy: APD Facebook

 

Image courtesy: APD Facebook

Image courtesy: APD Facebook

By the way, Arlington Police told me on Twitter that the woman dressed as “Queen Elsa” is one of their own detectives. Thanks APD for having fun today.

 

The Best 2015 Super Bowl commercials: #LikeAGirl, Lost Dog, Pay with Lovin, #RealStrength

After watching most of the 2015 Super Bowl commercials, I have to say the ones with emotional ties were the most memorable. And although she’s considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, putting Kim Kardashian in your ad doesn’t mean you’ll even remember it when it’s over.  I wasn’t wowed by any of the ads with celebrities. Some were good, but my best picks made me laugh, tear up or left me empowered.

Here are my Top 5 best picks and there is one tie. Enjoy!

Top Picks was a tie – Always #LikeAGirl and McDonald’s Pay with Lovin

 

 

 

#2 Budweiser’s “Lost Dog”

 

 

#3 Bud Lights Real Life PacMan #UpforWhatever

 

#4 Snickers Brady Bunch

 

#5 Dove’s #RealStrength  

Bruno Mars moved to tears by Dallas High School’s ‘UpTown Funk’ video

YouTube Screenshot

YouTube Screenshot

The tech students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas have made Bruno Mars one happy man, so happy the Grammy award-winner was moved to tears.

Mars recently got to see the high school student’s choreographed dance video to his collaborated hit “UpTown Funk” with Mark Ronson.  School Director and Theatre Arts teacher Scot Pankey and his students had fun producing this video. They danced their way through the school.

Pankey posted on his Facebook “So proud of my kids. We filmed this in one take! This is a great example of how a bunch of technology students dropped their fears, trusted their teacher and got down to Uptown Funk!!!!”

The video just posted a few days ago already has more than 3 million views.

 

Bruno Mars showed his appreciation to the teacher and students on Twitter.

 

 

What a great way to inspire students. Kudos to Scot Pankey and the school administration who allowed it to happen.  Here’s hoping they get on  Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen or even The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

 

 

2015 will be the year to declutter my life at home, work and on the web

I don’t have a long list of New Year’s resolutions. A list has never worked for me.  I keep it simple and it’ll be that way in 2015.  My aim is to declutter my life at home, at work and on the web. Along the way I hope to get more organized and make my life more simple.

Jerry Seinfeld on the Tonight Show inspired me to get on this declutter project. He recently told the audience that his wife likes to collect everything and he’s the opposite. I’m like his wife. I collect a lot of stuff and am afraid to throw anything away because “I may need it in the future.”

I’m not a hoarder, but its time to get down to the basics and get rid of a bunch of “stuff.”  And I’m not wasting anytime.  I got up early on this first day of 2015, and got to work.

I started by going through more than 100 books on my shelves at home. I got down to about 30 books worth keeping, the rest I plan to donate. I’m not done with my books, but it’s a start.  I have to admit it was rather liberating. I figure if I do a little bit every day, by next year my life should be leaner.

                                                                                

CLEANING HOUSE ON THE WEB

If you’re like me you have hundreds of emails, lots of Facebook friends, and files all over the place on your computer. That’s another place where I plan to declutter my life, which is also connected not only to my personal side but my career as well.

Today I got rid of more than 1,000 emails that I had held on to for a long time. No idea why, but it just happened. I still have more than 3,000 to go and that’s just on one email account.  There was a sense of freedom when I trashed all those email.

It’s time to clean house on my Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. I need to surround myself in the virtual world with  people who really engage with me, and are not just observing my life as I put it out there on social media. I know some people love to have thousands of followers and friends, but I want more than “numbers.”  So if for some reason you find yourself off my social media, I hope you understand. I probably didn’t hear from you in a while, and I’m sure you won’t miss me.

I will make progress every day as I work to simplify my life. Wish me luck!