Rockin the School House

“Conjunction junction what’s your function?” That is what fist comes to my mind when I hear the word ‘grammar.’ The song brings fond memories of elementary school and watching School House Rock . Those songs still play in my head from time to time, and they are how I learned basic grammar. Grammar was fun back when sentences only consisted of five words and a punctuation mark. However, now that I’m in college and studying a major within communications, it has become a bit more difficult. I came into college with a decent amount of understanding of grammar and its rules, but it wasn’t until I was studying for the grammar exam that I realized how much I had forgotten. The Bedford Handbook became my best friend along with TongueUntied .I had so many friends who hadn’t passed the first time, luckily I did.

 Being in communications has made me a lot more aware of grammatical and spelling errors than ever before. I was already anal about it, but I’m sure it has gotten worse. Our mini grammar lesson in class was a great refresher for me. I have not mastered all of the terms and rules, but I know with time and dedication I will.

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Bleeding Blue and Gold

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FIU is a commuter school, and some would argue that most students want to come to class and go straight home.But what does it truly mean to be a “Golden Panther?” As a heavily involved student, I believe that paying tuition and going to classes shouldnt be enough. Why not get involved in the many organizations that are offered to you through our university? Is the lack of involvement due to lack of interest or lack of information? This is a question I have asked myself many times, and would like to know how other students view this issue.

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Byline Coming Soon

I am a woman in LOVE with sports and dreams of one day working in Bristol at ESPN’s headquarters. But lately I’ve wondered if I’m really ready for the broadcast journalism field. Maybe I’m meant to stay behind the black and white print of my byline.

 Recently I listened to journalist Jasmin Kripalani speak about her career and how she started working at The Miami Herald as a sophomore in college. Hearing this made me unsure of myself, and asks the question: “Why am I not working with a newspaper or some other publication?”

She went on to share some of her past stories and one in particular stood out to me. She explained that she had worked with a couple and had gained a connection with the wife through a kind gesture she had made. This is what I want as a journalist, the chance to make connections with people through their stories. Day after day, we hear about or read heartbreaking stories. As a journalist you must get the story, but as a human being you sympathize with all parties involved. 

Journalists have become catalysts on the local, national, and international levels. It’s their jobs to inform these communities. This can be a dangerous job in some countries. When Lara Logan was reporting in Cairo, she was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob. This story and some others about female journalists being assaulted worried my family. I too was a bit shaken; however, I know that these chances do come with the territory depending on the magnitude of the story.

This discussion with Ms Kripalani made me want to read more articles and stories that are not sports related. I’ve come to understand that becoming sports journalists is not easy. Everyone is not Chris Broussard, Herm Edwards, or Pam Oliver. There are so many other stories out there that have yet to told or not getting any spotlight.

That’s why I want to become a journalist. I want to shed light on those small stories that will make a difference to someone, somewhere. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. I’m already a publisher, now it’s time to let the world know my name.

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Miami: The Melting Pot Dream

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Miami. Where a number of cultures can be observed living life and embracing each other’s differences. Is this statement a reality or how the media portrays this city to the world? Some would call Miami a “melting pot” while others would argue that it is far from that. With so many different cultures here in Miami, it is in fact difficult for us to all mold and “melt” together like a true melting pot would. Within Miami we have “Little Havana” and “Little Haiti”. We have “The City” which is mainly comprised of African Americans. It is true that many will stay within the area in which they are comfortable; however, this can be both positive and negative.

Keeping within our cultural comfort zone can keep our cultures “alive” so to speak. Individuals are able to relate to each other, and continue traditions that they would back in their respective countries. The negative aspect of staying within that comfort zone is that we don’t get to experience, and learn about the other cultures that also live within our city.

The media has showcased Miami as a “dream” city, as a “melting pot.” There are times when they purposely mask the truth about the racial discrepancies happening within our city. This past weekend, Memorial Day Weekend is also known as “Urban Weekend.” South Beach is flooded with residents and also out of towners. The media glorifies “Memorial Day Weekend on South Beach” but do not warn people of the violence or incidents that may ensue.  It is not until after a tragedy where they will report on it. An article appeared on the Miami Herald’s website that has caused an ample amount of uproar over “Urban Weekend.”

This article is basically a letter to Miami’s Mayor explaining why “Urban Weekend” should be discontinued. He states, “This is not a race, economic or ethnic issue…”  However, the majority of people on South Beach Memorial Day Weekend are African Americans. Because of this, it has been turned into a racial issue. Residents of Miami have commented on this letter and it only shows how much of a “melting pot” we are not.

If you would like to read the article you can find it by clicking this link
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Memories formed from ‘Nothing’

How would you feel if someone told you “you suffer from ADD” ? In a sense, our generation does suffer from it. When a friend asks me “how are you doing today?” my response is usually “good,just busy.” It is difficult to ignore all forms of technology, and do “nothing.” However, that is exactly what I did this weekend. My phone, TV, iTouch, and computer were turned off and all I had was my thoughts. This could be both a positive and a negative thing.

I found myself staring at a picture of my brothers and I. My mind began to reach back in time, as I recalled how happy our home used to be. I could hear myself telling my 6 year old brother “don’t worry, everything will work out.” That could have been farthest from the truth. My role as their big sister caused me to blind them from what was really going on. When I was younger, I didn’t have someone to tell me “everything will be okay,” and so I learned to blindfold myself. Reaching into the archives of my mind made me realize how many of my friends’ parents were in fact divorced, or were never married at all. Unrest in a marriage can lead to arguments, disagreements, and maybe ultimately divorce.

This moment of “nothing” had suddenly turned into a walk down a very painful lane of memories. This in turn made me think ahead to my future, and how I would want my home to be run. I’ve always vowed to myself that I will not let my children go through what my brothers and I have. These minutes that I had to myself without any interruption allowed me to remember this promise.

You should always make time for yourself no matter how ‘busy’ you may become. Those moments will allow you to reflect and choose what is important to you as an individual.

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How the Media Handles HIV/AIDS

Recently, I viewed a documentary entitled “Tell Somebody: The New Face of HIV/AIDS,” and  it made me realize how differently Miami and South Africa handle the AIDS epidemic. Though Miami has the highest amount of HIV/AIDS cases in the country, there is visibly little that is being done to educate the community. However, in South Africa there are newspapers, television shows, and radio shows that are tailored for that very purpose. Susan Smuts of The Sunday Times mentions that there are stories published every week of people who have HIV/AIDS or have been affected by it. These stories help individuals get their experiences out into the community and has been credited for creating connections between readers. Another thing I found interesting about how the media approaches HIV/AIDS is that South Africa has produced a reality television show staring individuals who have the disease. Actually seeing how others deal with the disease on a day-to-day basis causes an attachment between the actors and the audience. Screenings of this show have spurred discussion and the number of tests being administered rose.

Here in Miami, the “need” to report or educate about the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been pushed to the back-burner. The documentary states that the “fear factor is gone in Miami.” I believe people have become complacent, and think this problem is just going to disappear on its own.

I enjoyed the documentary and believe that more should be made about HIV/AIDS. Documentaries that have already been made should also become more mainstream or more readily available to the public.

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Visuals Make a Powerful Statement

Back in the 1950s, the press was what kept America informed. However, when it came to Senator Joseph McCarthy and his witch-hunt for Communist, the press was a bad thing. McCarthy had learned how to manipulate the press in a way that they were unable to get the other side of the story. Newspapers were so competitive that they were basically printing lies. He also knew that the journalist would only report what was said to them because he was a US Senator. Subjectivity from a journalist was unheard of when it came to reporting on McCarthy.

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That idea changed when TV journalist Edward Murrow exposed McCarthy for what he truly was during See It Now’s “A Report on Senator Joseph A McCarthy.” Filmed speeches by McCarthy were shown and America was able to witness his inconsistency and cruelty. Just two months later, court hearings between McCarthy and alleged communist were televised live and seen by 80 million Americans.  Coverage of the hearings caused the Senate to release McCarthy from his position. This proved what a powerful force television and journalist can be when combined.

In the same year of the televised hearings (1954), Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka ruled that “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This began the Civil Rights Movement and television broadcasted it all. The entire United States now had pictures to reinforce what they may or may not have already known about the black oppression in the South. Once Americans saw blacks being beaten, and sometimes killed for exercising their rights, most began to support the movement. After the Brown ruling, a group of 9 blacks were to integrate a high school in Arkansas. CBS reporter Robert Schakne said, “Little Rock was the first case where people really got their impression of an event from television…would have remained local if it had just been a print story.” This statement could not have been truer. Television catapulted the Civil Rights Movement into Americans’ living rooms.

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As the years went on, images became more frequent, and the incidents more brutal. One image that forced President Kennedy to action was of a police officer holding a young black man in place, and allowing a dog to attack him.

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NBC decided to air a 3-hour program entitled “The American Revolution of ’63.” This decision cost them sponsors and to lose half a million dollars in one night. However, they found it to be justified. Many believed that television journalist were over publicizing and dramatizing America’s race problems past what was needed. As a journalist, you are asked to be objective at all times, but they are human too. Allowing  a bit of subjectivity and maybe even advocacy was a positive thing during the Civil Rights Movement. If no one else was sympathetic towards the blacks then the right images and stories would not have been reported to the American people. While the press was important during that time, it could not be compared to television. Seeing and hearing an incident take place will always overpower the reading of one.

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