It’s always encouraging to meet a young, successful journalist. Especially people like myself whose  perception of succeeding in the journalism field was undoubtedly foggy, with fears of  slim job opportunities and filled with rejection.

Eric Athas, a 2008 UMass Journalism graduate, diminished my fears, shinned a new light and gave me new hope. In Athas’ presentation, Athas stressed ‘the traditional standard steps of working your way up’ in the journalism field is a fallacy in order to become a successful journalist.

Although, Athas states that there is nothing wrong with wanting to pursue ‘the traditional standard steps of working your way up’ but  it’s not the only option. Athas is living proof and a prime example of a journalist that found an alternative solution. Instead of following ‘the stereotypical steps’ novice journalist need to do in order to be successful.

The beginning of Athas’ presentation, I was in awe when I discovered that Athas work experience included:

It’s very impressive that someone only four years out of college could gain this much experience. Especially since many journalists wait years upon years to achieve those kinds of experiences.

As Athas continued further on with his presentation, I learned that it is attainable for a young journalist to gain those experiences.

The secret I learned is to fully engage yourself with an array of journalism internships before college graduation.

When Athas graduated his resume included:

Many future employee were impressed with Athas resume which made him an ideal candidate for any journalism position.

And within a couple months after graduation, November of 2008,  Athas’ assiduous portfolio landed him a job/ editor at The Washington Post.

When Athas spoke about his experience at the Washington Post, it was very pleasing to hear him reminisce about his experience because he spoke with great enthusiasm and charisma.

One of Athas fondest memories while at the Washington Post, was the night of Bin Laden’s death. Athas recalled it was one of those dull nights in the newsroom and everybody was packing to go home. Then the unexpected happen, all hands were called on deck and the quaint newsroom instantly became pure chaos.

Another fond memory was when Athas happened to be present on a spot breaking story. The story later developed and unraveled into having major twists and turns.

Currentlt Athas is working on a new project  for NPR, that uses geotargeting on the NPR Facebook page and is also a digital news specialist at NPR’s Digital Services division in Boston.

Lastly, one piece of advice I’ll take from Athas’ presentation is to never stop thinking, never stop challenging yourself and blogging. Athas is a firm believer that blogging is crucial. Athas ephasized ‘mastering the art of blogging’ helped him become a stronger and better journalist. Overall, Athas’ presentation was uplifting, appealing and informative.

Early in the morning on Sunday, February 19, 20 year-old University of Massachusetts student Brandan Wall was struck by a moving vehicle. The accident took place on North Pleasant Street in the crosswalk next the Fine Arts Center. The Umass Daily Collegian broke the story in their February 22 edition of the newspaper. The accident has raised student awareness of pedestrian safety on campus.

Almost two weeks after accident, Wall is slowly recovering. When we caught up with him in his dorm room Tuesday night, he was moving slowly. A pair of crutches leaned against the wall and a spirometer sat on his desk. We asked him how he felt about pedestrian protection on campus. As he shooed us out he said in a tired voice,
“I think it needs to be a more prominent concern, the fact that there are so many crosswalks around campus, cars don’t give enough diligence to pedestrian safety.”

According to Massachusetts’s law, pedestrians do not always have the right of way. The law states that a ticket may be given to a driver who does not stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk. This is true unless the car has a green light, or the pedestrian is crossing the other side of the road. Despite the confusing legal details, the University abides by the state law.

While students are beginning to take note of crosswalk safety, the UMass Police Department policy remains unchanged. The department encourages the people on campus to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street. They also suggest that pedestrians wear clothing that allows them to be seen by oncoming traffic. Soon after the accident the UMPD issued a safety bulletin to help ensure student safety. The bulletin underlined the same basic points:

  • Always walk on the sidewalk –  If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the road, always walk FACING traffic, so you can see any dangerous-driving cars heading towards you. This is also a good precaution to take if the driver does not see you.
  • Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime. At night, wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap, or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars coming towards you.
  • Tips for crossing the street:
    • Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
    • Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road.
    • Stop and look left, then right, then left again, before you step into the street.
    • If you see a car, wait until it goes by or stops. Then look left, right and left again until no cars are coming.

The majority of students we spoke to agreed that crosswalk safety has been an ongoing issue campus since before the accident. The UMPD has been sponsoring a pedestrian safety campaign this year. Driver safety posters have up around campus and on PVTA buses since the fall. The ads show the point of view of a driver on their cell phone about to strike a student in the crosswalk with the words “R u ready 2 stop?” They also put together this great video.

Post by Melissa Gately, Tyler Manoukian, and Remy Schwartz

At one point in their life, everyone has probably stumbled upon a website and questioned it’s credibility. Unfortunately these days, anyone can be a publisher and it’s hard to know if the information on the web is valid. So how can we decipher the reliable websites from the unreliable? By reading John R. Henderson’s tutorial on how to recognize Web sites vs. Junk and doing the Peak Oil exercise, I gained a better perspective on how to decipher the real and the unreal websites.

Exercise: Website Evaluation- Peak Oil

Peak Oil – True of False?

The first thing I noticed about this website is the url and how it’s .org (organization) and from our readings .org websites are typically valid especially compared to those .com websites. The article has a lot of interesting facts but it’s a fairly easy blog to read. Although there are no links within the article there are links on the right side and those links are legit. Also the layout of the blog isn’t exactly pristine like most reliable websites which are usually clear-cut and reserved. Again there are a lot of good counterparts in the article and well supported arguments but it’s like Henderson wrote, when in doubt, doubt. So because I somewhat doubt this website, even though it seems like an authoritative website, it would not be my first choice of a website to reference or want to use. Also the blog was written in 2008, I would probably want to use an article that could possibly be outdated.

Peak Oil – the clear and the present danger

The first thing I noticed about this website was the graph, which was centered at the top of the article which is exactly what writers want to do for their viewers. I believe the writer of the this is did an exceptional job, inciting me since  the graph held my attention and the website is very conservative. The next step I did was just like Henderson said know who’s the writer, it was easy to see who wrote it, when it was written and time. This article was recently published and there are tags and links which is precisely what every blog post should contain. There are over 200 comments about this article and in conclusion, summoning my thoughts that this is very much an authoritative website that I would use or recommend.

5 Reasons To Question “Peak Oil” Theory

The first trouble I had with this article was that it sent me a faulty link but I eventually discovered the real link. The first thing I noticed when I finally found the correct link was the weird URL, it wasn’t the typical .com or .org but it was .me. A URL I never saw before. Her article has interesting arguments and that’s the best part of the blog is being able matter of opinion. But a lot of her sources she uses don’t seem to be factual or valid links, a lot of the sources she uses seems to be questionable. Another thing I noticed was a lot of people who commented doubted her arguments in the article. Lastly I couldn’t find out who wrote the article, and because of this I do not think this is an authoritative website. At the end of the article is says that it was posted on Global Governance Archive but that website is confusing and says in progress, so I am in doubt, subsequently I doubting this website.

Peak Oil is Snake Oil!

Even before noticing that the article was written from The Huffington PostI immediately thought clever title and definitely would entice me. This is a rather old article since it was posted in 2007, but it was easy to see who wrote it and there was even a link to the writer’s mini bio. And if you read his bio, you’ll know he wrote a book which links you to amazon and there are customer reviews. So typically when I would see this I would then think that this writer is legit. In the article, Learsy has a lot of valid arguments and well supports them by using specific authoritative people. Even though the comments are under maintenance, it is an authoritative website.

The End of the World As You Know It

This website has a lot of valid information and at first I was a little hesitant but then as I began reading I got the jest that the writer knew what it was talking about. The layout and the way the article is structured is a little dry and not as appealing as other websites typically are. The article does have links, and links that are also authoritative and resourceful. Although the link for the video at the end and the link to see the comments don’t work, Klare’s writing seems legit since he’s published a book and there are many article written about him. So I believe that this is an authoritative website even though it’s appearance lacks which could hinder and possibly turn away online viewers.

Overall after doing this exercise I have learned several valid lessons on how to decipher the real and unreal websites. First lesson is figure out where you are, who wrote it and are the authors legit. Secondly, read their article, notice if there are any grammar errors, check proper links and see if arguments are well supported. Lastly, check out people’s comments on the article and see what people wrote.  Just like Henderson stated, when in doubt, doubt and keeping search for a website that is reliable.

This is my first video that I produced and edited. It’s safe to say that I still have a lot of learning to do and this is definitely just the beginning. There are still some things I wish I could fix and some errors that I don’t how to fix but I’m hoping with time and more experience I will get better.

Unfortunately I can say I have searched, downloaded and streamed illegal movies and music. The good thing I can say is I stopped about two years ago. The number reason one why I stopped because I received a lot of viruses on my computer. Number two was because I heard of people downloading music illegally and getting caught and subsequently fine. Lastly downloading illegal music took up a lot of space on my computer making my computer slower.

It wasn’t until January 18, when I saw on Facebook everybody’s status that I discovered SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act. I didn’t know what SOPA was and the first thing I do when I’m unsure of something is Google it. That day when I went to Google there was a black box covering the Google’s logo on the homepage. I also noticed that the Wikipedia website was shut down for the day in support for the SOPA act.

As I began researching and reading, I realized all of those years that I illegally downloaded music, pirated movies and TV shows how wrong it was. To be frank, I didn’t know at the time how wrong and illegal it was. That is because to me it was so easy to find an illegal movie or TV show to stream. In fact, it was so easy that all I had to do was Google it and several links would show me the correct link. Also many times it was word of mouth, for instance whenever a friend discovered a  new website that allowed online streaming of movies or downloading music and it always spread like wildfire.

In my mind I thought something so easy, so accessible wasn’t harmful or couldn’t be illegal. Now having read several articles, I realize how out of control online piracy is and has been over the past couple of years. All I could picture while reading the SOPA articles were the hundreds of websites that I use see and download illegal music or stream illegal movies.

Also it made me think of an Anti Piracy AD that the movie theaters use to play right before the start of the movie. At the end of the AD it said ‘you wouldn’t steal a movie.’ I guess I never really understood that AD until I got older because I thought stealing a movie was stealing a DVD or videotape from a store. But having read several articles on SOPA from The Washington Post and Huffington Post  that I was indeed stealing. This is since even though I wasn’t physically stealing, I was stealing online since I was taking money away from the copyrights of the movies and music.

There are many concerns people have with SOPA and once is that SOPA wants to censor the internet to the entertainment world. Protect IP gives the government to shut down infringing websites. But a lot of people think that it won’t stop online Piracy. People can still download since people can just type in the IP Address and not the title. Also SOPA can target big websites like iCloud, tumblr if the websites don’t monitor enough piracy. Lastly corporations already have tools fighting piracy.

With SOPA, a lot of internet users think that it will threaten and harm the stability of the internet since it could make people abuse the website even more subsequently making the internet even less safe.

The recent action on SOPA was in January the SOPA Bill was postponed by Senate. Since then I have noticed a lot of websites that I use to go on is now no longer available.  The next question is how long will this last and can they continue to monitor and shut down illegal domains. It seems like an impossible task but so far it seems the they are taking are the right ones because it seems to be working.



Introductory Page

February 2, 2012

Now I know many people would disagree with me and yes, I do think there are many benefits with the new advances of technology but I also believe it has brought a new collection of mayhem. I can’t count the times I have lost a document because my computer malfunctioned and unfortunately backing up the files on your computer is still a mystery.

For me, I like the verifiable proof of a tangible piece of paper in the palms of my hand. To me a document saved in a computer isn’t secure enough. I’m similar with CDs, I would rather buy a cd at a local store than on iTunes because yes, I have bought and downloaded music from iTunes and then lost the files because a ‘malfunction’ on my computer.

So where I am going with this? Well, it started the other day at lunch when my friends looked me square in the eye and confirmed, that among them that I am the worst.

It was no surprise when my friends told me this. I have always been bad with technology. I’m not talking about navigating my way through the internet, no it’s mostly that I am the worst with my technology devices. For instance I just recently got an iPhone and many of friends will say that I don’t deserve an iPhone. I agree because I don’t use my iPhone to its full advantage. For instance, I have very few APPs, and no Apps that are used for amusement. I rarely update my phone and APPs, partly because I’m lazy and I don’t get why I have to update everything after a month, it’s just unnecessary.

My friends will tell you, that I call them the most out of their friends. Mainly because I don’t like to type everything out through text and calling to me is just easier and quicker because you get a response right away.

Lastly, I don’t understand this twitter scene, I know it’s a huge news outlet for journalists. It’s hard enough for me to keep up with Facebook, always changing their settings and I don’t even want to involve myself with the new timeline because if I do a new Facebook format will have been created. Although I check my Facebook probably everyday but I can’t browse Facebook for more than twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, my eyes begin to hurt, my headache sets in and everything gets repetitive. For instance I can’t be that person that can browse the internet for hours upon hours on Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter or those amusing websites people find, and I know a lot of people are like that but it’s just not for me.

I mainly use my computer to write papers, check my email, blog and assignments. I’ll listen to pandora or watch TV/Netflix on my computer. If I do surf the net, it’s either looking at clothes that I know I’ll never get because I’m a struggling unemployed college student. Or I read articles from newspapers or articles like Women’s Health. If I’m assigned to read an article for homework, I will most likely print it out and read it. Mainly because looking at the computer screen hurts me visionally, and also if I print it out I can highlight and make comments.

In conclusion, I am the worst of the worse. Not because I don’t know how to use electronic devices to my advantage but because I don’t like to put much effort (laziness) and I am simply not interested (basis to the days of ink and paper).

Although I know journalism isn’t dying because there is always going to be a need for journalists. Unfortunately, its newspapers that are quickly deteriorating. Again my retro self aches inside with the thought of that because I know I’ll miss the days of being able to hold a newspaper, hearing the sound of the people wrestling with their pages, and as annoying as it was trying to find the continued article on the next page.

But just like Mark Briggs said in his book Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing, I have to embrace this new world of technology and use it to my advantage to become a better journalist. I have the right equipment, I have access of information at the corners of my fingertips, now it’s time for me to learn. Which is why I’m looking forward to taking the Multimedia Journalism class with Steve Fox.