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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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.

 

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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

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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

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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!

 

Dallas Morning News recognizes Cara Mia Theatre’s ‘Zoot Suit’ as one of the top shows in 2014

Photo Courtesy:  Cara Mia Theatre

Photo Courtesy:
Cara Mia Theatre

Congratulations to the Cara Mia Theatre company’s directors, cast, crew and design team who made ‘Zoot Suit’ a huge success. The live show has been recognized as one of the best in 2014 by the Dallas Morning News.

Arts and Entertainment reporter, Nancy Churnin named ‘Zoot Suit‘ as one of her top 10 best shows this year.  I have to agree. Ok full disclosure, I’m a board member with Cara Mia. Maybe that’s why I feel like a proud mom today. I loved ‘Zoot Suit.’ I saw it twice and it made me cry, laugh and think of how similar the storyline was to situations happening today.

As Churnin put it in the DMN:

This 35-year-old musical proved eerily apt as the rallies it depicts protesting the treatment of Latinos in the 1940s opened in the midst of rallies protesting the treatment of African-Americans. It’s part of a strong year for Cara Mía, now in the midst of its first five-play season. (more)

I know nothing about acting, and I definitely can’t sing. What I do have is a passion for keeping Latino theater alive in North Texas.  I’ve learned a lot about the theater world in my short time as a board member.  Everyone involved in these live performances is deeply committed. Three of the hardest working people at Cara Mia are David Lozano (Executive Artistic Director), Ariana Cook (Administrative Director) and Casie Pierce (Development Manager).  Thank you for your passion, energy and hard work.

Cara Mia Theatre has more live productions in 2015. Don’t miss out on the live shows. Check out the theater company’s website and see what will be on stage next. Cara Mia Theatre

 

 

WBFF-TV’s “kill a cop” video was a big mistake, angered viewers, and hurt journalists

WBFF-TV has done major damage with a deceptive video it aired on Sunday.  The Fox affiliate in Baltimore apologized for the video on Monday, but viewers are still angry.

Gawker broke the story. It reported:

Baltimore’s WBFF aired a video of protesters chanting “kill a cop”– evidence, it claimed, of murderously violent rhetoric on the part of anti-brutality protesters in Washington, D.C. The only problem? The protesters weren’t chanting “kill a cop” at all, and there’s video evidence to prove it. (read more at Gawker)

Here’s the video of the Justice For All march:

 

 

Here’s WBFF-TV version of the event:

 

 

 

DECEMBER 22 – WBFF-TV APOLOGIZES ON FACEBOOK 

Facebook Screenshot

Facebook Screenshot

 

DECEMBER 22 – WBFF-TV FACEBOOK POST

 

Facebook Screenshots

Facebook Screenshots

 

MY OPINION

I’ve worked in TV news for more than 28 years. There are layers of producers and managers who oversee everything that goes into each newscast.  Managers usually sign-off on a scripts before the video is edited. How did this script slide by?  In TV news we’re all responsible for what goes on the air.

WBFF’s actions have lost the viewer’s trust. I feel for those on the news team who will be hurt by this video and had nothing to do with it. I’ve read posts on the stations Facebook page.  Viewers are to put it bluntly–pissed off and want heads to roll.

Let’s be honest, WBFF’s actions also hurt the rest of us journalists. We work very hard every day to be factual and fair  in our reporting. We can’t risk losing our loyal readers, viewers and listeners when we know they have many news sources to choose from.

With one video, WBFF left a trail of damage.

Now I hope the news director comes out with an explanation because the “honest misunderstanding” excuse is not good enough.  If people are not held accountable for this major mistake, then I hope news management provides the Sunday staff training to avoid any future problems.

 

 

DOJ will not force NY Times reporter James Risen to reveal confidential source

James Risen is probably feeling relieved today.

NBC News reports that Attorney General Eric Holder has decided not to force Risen to reveal the name of a confidential source. He wrote a book that detailed a botched CIA effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Risen was also was facing jail time. Earlier this year, he told 60 Minutes he would never give up his source. Every reporter should watch his interview with Leslie Stahl.

 

 

 

Be thankful every day for everyone who makes a difference in your life

My wonderful husband & son

This year I decided to take the day off from cooking Thanksgiving dinner. We got a great meal at Boston Market, brought it home and enjoyed it together as a family. Since I didn’t have to cook over a hot stove and wash a bunch of dishes, I thought I’d sit down and talk about being thankful.

I’m thankful everyday for the people who have affected my life, past and present. And I make sure I let them know as often as I can.

Thank you to my family, especially my husband John. I would not be the success I am today if it wasn’t for his support, and for always allowing me to just be me. I don’t know how many times I have told him this year “I’m going out-of-town for a meeting” or “Sorry can’t have lunch with you this weekend I have a board meeting.” I’m also thankful to my son, Alex and “Pops” my father-in-law for just being loving people.

I’m thankful for dozens of friends who have my back through thick and thin, especially Bonnie Pardon, Joanna Hernandez, Genny Espinoza, Ann Bacchus, Saul Garza and Pam I. to name a few.

Thank you to board of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. They’re all volunteers who give their time to make NAHJ a stronger and better journalism organization. I’m also a board member and have learned a lot from leaders like President Mekahlo Medina and former president Hugo Balta.

NAHJ board & members

I’m thankful to all the NAHJ members who have been with us through good and challenging times. They are the backbone of the organization. I also appreciate everyone who voted for me to once again lead as VP of Online. Their trust and respect means the world to me.

I’m thankful to the board of the Society of Professional Journalists Fort Worth Chapter. I also serve on this board. Another group of journalists who volunteer their time to keep our business alive. We are a small board, but with the energy of a giant.

I’m thankful to all the journalists around the world who continue to push forward in this challenging business. I’m especially grateful to the journalists who put themselves in harm’s way to get to the truth, to get to the information they know the public needs to know. Whether you are a reporter in a small city or work for a major newspaper; remember our jobs matters, you matter!

The Texas Daily

The Texas Daily

I’m thankful to everyone who has kept me employed as a freelance reporter. From USA Today,  Latina Style magazine to Mercado Bilingue  to name a few.  After years of reporting car wrecks and house fires, now I can pitch stories that I think need to be told. These are stories that are often ignored by mainstream media.

It’s a nice feeling when media companies trust in what you believe are good stories. A big thank you to Phillip Morales at Mercado Bilingue who allows me to write op-ed (opinion pieces.) He realizes the voice of a Latina does matter. Also thank you KTXD-TV for hiring me to be a commentator on “The Texas Daily.” That was a dream job where I was able to freely give my opinion on “hot topics.” I was on there 13 times and nominated for a 2014 Emmy award. I’m very grateful, and sorry it got cancelled.

I’m thankful to the board of the Cara Mia Theatre. I’m fortunate to part of this group of volunteers who believe in keeping Latino theater alive. I’m proud of the work Executive Director, David Lozano. He and his team are making sure our future Latino generations will be exposed to everything from acting to screenwriting. I’m proud of the productions the theater company performs for the public. Coming soon–Zoot Suit! I can’t wait to see it myself.

 

Cara Mia Theatre

Cara Mia Theatre

I’m thankful for all the members of my virtual group “Wise Latinas Linked” on Facebook and LinkedIn. Thank you for coming on board to share your experiences, opinions, challenges, successes and advice. Together we are a powerful force. Together we can make a difference in the world of Latinas who give everyday to make us a better society. We continue being the largest Latina networking group on Facebook and LinkedIn with a combined membership of close to 8,000. Social media rocks!

Laredo High School students

 

Thank you to all the people have invited me to speak to their organization or students. Those who hear my message may think they are learning from me, but as I stand in front of a small or large group of people–I am constantly learning about the wonderful love of mankind. We are here for a purpose, and lets not forget that.

Lastly, I’m very thankful to my mother, Rebecca who has always shown me to have faith in God and everything will fall into place. Mom is never wrong.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Surround yourself with Mother Nature’s beauty through the Florida Wildlife Corridor

Photo courtesy: Florida Wildlife CorridorImagine exploring 1,000 miles over 100 days of Florida’s Everglades, wildlife habitats, and working on farms in ranches. That’s what they did on the Florida Wildlife Corridor‘s first expedition in 2012. The conservation advocacy organization is about to have another expedition in January 2015.

I just learned about this group today when I got an email from the organization about November being Manatee Awareness Month.  The manatee is an endangered species.

What I discovered is that the Florida Wildlife Corridors website is a great resource for journalists who do stories on the environment, wildlife, conservationists and more. It’s a mecca of great information on different topics affecting our environment, especially in Florida.

The Florida Wildlife Corridor is a conservation advocacy organization focused on connecting, protecting and restoring corridors of conserved lands and waters essential for the survival of Florida’s diverse wildlife. The organization showcases the need to protect the missing links in the Corridor, preserve Florida’s waters, and sustain working lands and rural economies from the Everglades to Georgia and Alabama. A dedicated statewide Corridor will benefit wildlife, watersheds and people for generations to come. ”

 

JANUARY 2015 EXPEDITION

The organization will start a new expedition on January 10, 2015.   Here’s more from its website:

We will highlight stories of ecological importance, from Longleaf Pine restoration and the health of the Gulf fishery to the survival of the Florida black bear – expanding the statewide corridor vision west to Alabama.”

 

 

WVNS-TV News anchor Dan Thorn’s dance moves go viral

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

When I saw Dan Thorn‘s videos on YouTube, I thought this guy likes to have fun.  The WVNS-TV news anchor doesn’t sit around looking through his scripts during a commercial break, he cuts loose.  He can dance and lip sync at the same time.

Who says news people are always serious. Not Thorn who has a lot of personality.

His co-anchor is more on the serious side, but he even gets her to crack a smile.

 

He even made CNN for his dancing.

Can you imagine Anderson Cooper, Matt Lauer or even Scott Pelley doing this?  Yeah, I didn’t  think so.  I can’t wait to Thorn’s next video. Stay tuned.

 

 

News Taco: For Texas Latinos, Voting Rights is Voter Education

Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Photo by Rebecca Aguilar

Can you guess how many eligible Latino voters in Texas did not vote in the 2012 elections? 61%

I was surprised by that percentage too. Close to 4 million Latinos were eligible to vote in Texas, but 61 percent chose not too.  That was 2012, but now how do you get them out for the midterm elections?

Everyone knows Texas Latino voters could make a huge difference in many midterm election races if they show up to cast their ballot. But that’s the challenge, getting them to the voting booths.

To get some answers on voter education and motivating Texas Latinos to vote, I talked to the Texas Organizing Project and Civil Rights leader, Dolores Huerta who was in North Texas to make her push for early voting.  Here’s my story for News Taco “For Texas Latinos, Voting Rights is Voter Education.”

If you don’t vote you can’t complain. If you didn’t early vote, don’t forget to vote on November 4, 2014.

RESOURCES: MIDTERM ELECTIONS IN TEXAS

Vote Texas

Texas Organizing Project

 

Do your part on National News Engagement Day,Tuesday, Oct. 7

Photo courtesy: Saul Garza

Photo courtesy: Saul Garza

Get ready to get involved in the news!

Tuesday is National News Engagement Day. You don’t have to be a reporter to be part of this event. It’s the brainchild of AEJMC; a nonprofit, educational association of journalism and mass communication educators, students and media professionals.

Although the public has easy access 24/7 to news through the internet or smartphones, studies show that news is not a priority in the lives of many. I don’t know how many people tell me “I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing.”  And while many young people may have their heads buried in their phones, that doesn’t mean they are reading the news. A  Pew Research Center survey revealed that 29% of young adults are “newsless.”

AEJMC wants to get the ball rolling and the conversation started about any news on October 7th.  I think it’s a brilliant idea. Think about it? News touches all our lives. Whether we are learning the latest facts about Ebola or even something more light-hearted story such as George Clooney getting married.

News can inspire, educate, empower and inform.   One more thing I have to share. The more you care about the news, the more journalists have job security. I’m not in the news business to get rich, but I love being a reporter. I enjoy being the messenger.

Now get involved. Tuesday, October 7, I am asking all of  you to read, watch, like, tweet, post, listen, comment and talk about the news on this day.  Use the #NewsEngagementDay. Here’s what I posted just now on Instagram.

 

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Oct. 7 Nat’l #NewsEngagementDay How will you get involved?

View on Instagram

 

If you post an Instagram, I will share it on my blog and social media pages.  Here are some ideas. Take a photo of yourself or someone else watching the news, or maybe someone you caught reading the newspaper at the park. Let’s get involved.

A big thank you to AEJMC for a great idea. I know it will be a huge success!

 

 

 

 

Department Store pulls ‘Snuggle with a Struggle’ T-shirt

Facebook Screenshot: karen Kunawicz

Facebook Screenshot:
karen Kunawicz

Imagine going to the store to buy clothes for your kids when you see a t-shirt in the boy’s department that reads ‘It’s not rape, It’s a snuggle with a struggle.’ Writer Karen Kunawicz says that’s what happened to her.

Kunawicz was shopping at the SM Supermall in the Philippines. She was so disgusted she took a photo of the t-shirt and posted it on her Facebook page on Sept. 22, and then it went viral. I don’t know if the t-shirts have made it to any stores in the U.S., but the fact that such a piece of clothing exists is unbelievable.

The issue got the attention of the head honchos at the SM Corporate offices in Manila.  They pulled the t-shirt off the shelves and issued a statement. Company officials did not apologize, but said “We do not tolerate such action. SM does not support such irresponsible and malicious acts that mock important and sensitive social issues….”

 

Screenshot: Facebook

Screenshot: Facebook

photo courtesy: cafepress.comRAPE IS NEVER A JOKE

I’ve covered dozens of rape stories as a reporter. I’ve been in several courtrooms when the victims had to face their attackers.  I know many women and children today who live with the terrible experience of being sexually assaulted.

Did you know that one in 5 women in the U.S. have been raped, and 78 percent of female rape victims were first raped before they were 25-years-old? Those are the facts from the Centers for Disease Control. Also, 2 percent of men have been sexually assaulted.

Now that the SM Corporate bosses have removed the nasty t-shirts from their stores, I hope they replace the t-shirts with ones with strong messages that bring awareness to the issue.  How about ones that read “No means No” or “This is NOT asking For It.”

It’s a start, don’t you think?

 

 

“F#%k it, I quit!” reporter Charlo Greene has her 15 minutes of fame or shame?

Greene on KTVA assignment  Photo courtesy: Facebook

Charlo Greene on KTVA assignment in April
Photo courtesy: Facebook

If reporter Charlo Greene wanted her video to go viral. Mission accomplished!

So far her video posted by the Alaska Dispatch has close to 8 million hits and counting. If Greene wanted her name to be mentioned on national TV talk shows. She accomplished that too. Wendy Williams, The View, Fox News are just a few who rolled Greene’s video.

The KTVA-TV reporter in Alaska quit her job Sunday night while she was on-air. Not only did she shock her viewers with “F#@k it, I quit!”, but she also let everyone know she’s the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, and she plans to help legalize pot in Alaska.

Greene told viewers “Now, everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska…”

Greene also told Vice.com that she bought a business license for her cannabis club in April 2014. I noticed that around that time she was doing five-part series for KTVA-TV on examining marijuana legalization in Colorado, Washington, and Alaska.

OK interesting career change.

Lets be honest, we have all thought once in our careers of doing what Greene did…you know go out big. Some are calling Greene brave and bold, and of course her critics think she’s gone off the deep end. BBob70 posted on YouTube “Publicity stunt of a pot fan. This woman is no hero.”

Her supporters like Kross-Slash777 on YouTube shared “I can’t believe how many people are bad mouthing her. I love this chick honestly lol who else has the guts to do what she did?”

THANKS FOR LEAVNG THE NEWS BUSINESS 

Greene has only been a TV reporter about three years. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011. I often go to that university to speak to students majoring in journalism. It’s a great school with a good program and excellent professors. It’s too bad Greene didn’t think for one minute that her alma mater would be brought into her self-created-drama.

As a veteran reporter, I’m glad Greene has taken herself out of the news business. We need people who care about journalism, not self-promotion. Remember our job is about giving the news not becoming the news.

Maybe she really is on a mission to legalize pot. Someone has to do it.

But Sunday night Greene proved three things: She is about promoting herself, promoting her new business and the hell with anyone else who gets in her way.

It was unfair and unprofessional that she humiliated the weekend anchor. It was unfair to the producer who today may be questioned “how did you let this happen?” And it was unfair to her KTVA news director who was left to clean up Greene’s on-air mess.

 

 

GREENE’S EXIT HURT WOMEN OF COLOR IN JOURNALISM

Charlo Greene’s actions were also unfair to women of color in journalism. Greene hurt us too.

I know some of you don’t want to go there, but minority women do not have it easy in the news business. The facts are in  this report by the Women’s Media Center on The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014. Not only do we have to break through a glass ceiling, but we also have to punch through a brick wall to mark our place and succeed in news.

Women of color in news have to overcome stereotypes that unfairly label Latinas, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.  You can’t imagine how many minority women I have seen come and go in my 33 years in this career.

I wish Greene would have thought for one second of all the minority women in journalism who have fought for decades to create equal opportunities, build a strong voice, and secure our place in the news business. I’m one of those women, and we continue fighting today for our place in newsrooms around the country. In many cases we sacrifice our own jobs to be heard.

I don’t know Charlo Greene personally, but maybe she didn’t have it easy breaking into broadcast journalism. Think about it.  She had to leave her Texas roots and travel all the way to Alaska to get a job.  She was one of the fortunate UT-Arlington graduates who had a door opened by a news director in Alaska.  An opportunity that many women of color today wished they had been offered.

So to you Charlo Greene, may you finally find happiness pushing your pot platform, pushing to become famous and pushing to be noticed. Enjoy your 15 minutes of…

Can someone fill in the blank?

 

 

 

Apollos Hester: Texas high school football player who will make you feel unstoppable

Screenshot: YouTube

Screenshot: YouTube

Apollos Hester is not just any high school football player. This Texas teenager has a future as a motivational speaker.

Apollos was pumped up after Friday night’s football game when his team, East View Patriots beat the opposing team 42-41. In a post-game interview he told reporter, Lauren Mickler that his team started slow, but they knew they were going to finish fast.

Apollos didn’t stop there, he spoke from the heart saying “it’s an awesome feeling when you know you’re truly going to be successful.”

Watch the video, and get inspired.

 

 

Maybe I’ll send this video clip to a few news managers who could learn a thing or two about motivating their news team.

I predict you’ll be seeing a lot of Apollos Hester in the coming days on talk shows and morning shows. Well that’s if it doesn’t interfere with his football schedule.

Nice job Apollos and thanks for reminding us we can all be a success!

 

 

 

 

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