Debate in CCSU

CCSU hosted their first ever debate between the College Democrats and College Republicans on March 9th, 2017. The event was hosted in Semesters in the Student Center and was moderated by the Society of professional journalists. Josh Quintana and Stephen Dew represented the Democrats while Nathan Buyak and Andrew Lanciotto represented the Republicans.

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David and Goliath

In Malcom Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”, the author tries to explain how the supposed take of “the underdog” is wrongly analyzed. While it’s seen as a tale overcoming impossible odds, David in many ways had an advantage.

Goliath might have suffered from acromegaly, the overproduction of the human growth hormone, which might explain his six foot nine inches height but also his possible poor sight. When challenging the Israelites, Goliath is being accompanied by a servant holding up a shield. While such servants were common for projectile warriors, they were rare for combat warriors. This, the servant might have been there as Goliath wouldn’t have known how to shield himself due to his poor vision. As David is coming down the hill with no armor, Goliath seems not to see him clearly, as he seems to make no mention of the lack of armor as he tells David to come next to him, possibly to see him clearly. When David finally comes down the hill holding a stick, Goliath seems insulted and says that he’s s opponent is treating him like a dog with sticks. But instead of sticks, David only had one, so Goliath could have possibly thought there were several of them due to his poor eyesight.

As for David, while legend regards him as a mere Shepardboy, he was in fact also a warrior.He was a projectile warrior, a slinger to be more precise. His abilities with a slingshot were akin to that of a pistol holder. He could arguably sling a stone towards an opponent 35 feet away in a second,  giving Goliath no time to respond. In these times, different types of warriors cancelled each other out, like rock,paper, scissors. Cavalry solders beat out projectile soliders while projectile soliders usually defeated ground soliders. This David, a projectile fighter had be advantage over Goliath, a ground solider.

In many ancient tales, the true meaning of the story is often misinterpreted or missed to simplify it to a wider audience. The story of “David and Goliath” is simply stated as a tale of a person defeating someone who was physically superior to him, while failing to acknowledge that strength comes in many different ways. David used his speed to overcome Goliath’s brute strength.

We are in an era where physically strength is of low importance. People who go to the gym usually go just as a personal goal to get fit and or impress other people. That form of strength is no longer needed in life or death situations. Now intellectual skills like how good you are are in a computer are generally more important in terms of success. And it seems that in the realm of intelligence, David clearly beat Goliath in that department as well.

Principles of Trustworthy Media Creation

According to Gilmore. journalists need to have four essential principles to be trusted by their audience. They are thoroughness, accuracy, fairness, independence and transparency. Of these, transparency is the most the most missed in my opinion. Transparency is letting the audience know about your personal motivations for doing what you do, basically saying their biases. While new media such as blogs have been very focused on letting people know about their passions, Big Media had been timid to do as such, perhaps fearing their credibility will be dented.  Objectivity can never truely be achieved, though we can come close to it by referencing  as many different viewpoints as possible. Yet most traditional journalists often deny having any sort of conflict of interest, even when crystal clear. Many journalists come into the field to push their own views, even indiscreet ways. For example if you were pro-Iraq invasion,that reporter would have emphasized the facts or opinions that supported their view while downplaying the info that suppressed their view. Many journalists in MSNBC and Fox News have a oblivious tilt to one end of the political realm, yet many state that they’re unbiased and often say that their view is common sense. Sean Hannity is a clear example of this. Hannity is a conservative journalist who often breaks many of the rules of good journalism. With such antics as in placing quirky audio in an Obama clip and oftening referencing the now former president by his middle name, Hussein, Hannity clearly show his bias but refuses to state it.

As for me, I also know where I stand in my own biases. Though I haven’t acknowledged them in my previous writing pieces, I will assure I get it out there more often. In a recent video I did about the business of one of my father’ friend, I stated his relationship to me in the video. My interest in journalism certainly grew to the polarizing statements of our current president, Donald Trump. Until a few years ago I was actually a fan of Trump, thigh to his ventures in getting skyscrapers named after him. As a fan of skyscrapers, I slightly admired him. Yet as his brither movement began to lose my support for him. I even give him a chance to redeem himself after the ‘illegal rapists’ comments he made at the start of his campaign. Now I am very anti-Trump and tend to focus much more on negative articles I read about him than the postive ones. Especially as an immigrant,  I feel that Trump does not have this group as high up on his list of constituents he needs to win over. As a journalist I think I would emphasize Trump’s treatment of the immigrant community, such as mentioning Trump’s initiative V.O.I.C.E., which intends to single out immigrants as dangerous, more prominently than other commentators.

Principles of Media Consumption

We as consumers of media must have principles when consuming it. Dan Gillmor states that we must always use critical thinking when reviewing any media. Being skeptical is among the most notable of principles. Whether if its newspapers, blogs or social media, we can never take what we read as being true for granted. Businesses call skepticism due diligence and it well works here too. First off we must admit that even the most prestigious newspapers make mistakes. While many newspapers eventually point out their mistakes, readers see that section. Another issue is that journalists often don’t ask the hard but necessary questions. During the Iraq War, The New York Times and other prestigious newspaper passively followed the info of the Pentagon. As the Pentagon wanted to gear up for war, they only told the media info that would pump up Americans for an invasion. Reporters didn’t go to Iraq itself and interview Iraqis, asking them what their opinion of the situation was.   The same is true of the housing bubble burst which almost no major media talked about in the pre-Recession years. Often times, particular in financial matters, only the voice of the rich and powerful are heard. Google and other tech companies have been controlling what we see by often placing on top articles that will most likely fit our worldview. For example if you get your news from liberal leaning sites like The Huffington Post then your search engine will put conservative sites way down on the list. While this is a good business model, it deprives users of exploring other points of view and makes us more sucked into our own echo bubble. However, the best reporting is often done asking the employees over the bosses. Just like we must be skeptical to media, we must also question what were taught by prominent people in our lives. Our parents often tell us that we must have a hat when its cold outside or else we’ll catch a cold. However, a cold is caused by a virus, not the weather. In school, we’re often taught by our teachers to glamorize European explorers like Christopher Columbus, while minimizing the genocide that occurred in the Native American communities. We must be skeptical that even if something is taught by a person in power, it isn’t true.

The Chocolate Man from Middletown

Right in the center of busy Main Street, Middletown, lays the small but mouthwatering store that is Tschudin Chocolates and Confections . Established in 2009, the store is particularly known for its larger than life owner, Roberto Tschudin Lucheme. Tschudin, a  friend of my family, is dressed in his full attire of a white apron and chef hat, complete with a beaming face. No matter who enters the store, Tschudin already knows them by their first name. Even as he waits for his strawberries dipped in chocolate to dry, Tschudin is outside his store, calling out to people passing by to come in.

The left hand wall is filled with framed plagues from the ‘Hartford Courant’ and ‘Connecticut Magazine’ being testimony to the shops’s success. And more recently he starred in the Food Network’s ‘ReWrapped. Life couldn’t be sweeter.

Inside the store, an odor of dried coca conquests your nostrils, the odor of patience and hard work. Two glowing containers beam you, filled with handcrafted chocolates, full of jealously, all fighting to capture your attention.  On the left, rows of heart shaped sweets lay next to the turquoise colored Malsa Beans and the chili filled Mrylion shaped “A Night in Tunisia.” A gallery of shoes dominates the eastern portion of the delicacies. Soft is the big word here. Each show seems to appear the most gentle, the smoothest for consumption for only the most elegant of clients.

The sweetness of it all couldn’t contrast more with the life of the man behind the counter. Having lead a life of jumping into buildings and spending hours in court, Tschudin has known moved to a ‘happier’ profession. That doesn’t mean it eliminates all the crumbs however. “You have to be willing to clean the floors, clean the bathrooms yourself”, explains Tschudin. He is also the only employee to the limited budget. Any Wesleyan student that helps out is an unpaid intern. It’s a testament of its enduring duration  as yogurt shops said adieu.

The shop is particularly well known for its creative creations, some which have been award winning. “The biggest sellers tend to be somewhat seasonal and somewhat steady.” says Tschudin. So we have a chocolate called “A Night in Tunisia”, that’s been a big hit, we’ve gotten some awards for it. And its amusing. It’s red chilis, coriander, cardamom, infused into a dark chocolate grange and that’s all piped into a shell that in a shape of a merlion, with attitude you might say , she’s got a lion’s head, and it’s all hand printed. So it’s pretty to the eyes, and when you eat it, it’s like a pinball for your taste buds. Just when you think you know what it tastes like, it changes

A family friend of mine, Tschudin came late into the culinary industry, coming after careers in broadcasting, law and  firefighting. “I was coming into the point in my life were it was no longer safe for me to go into burning buildings or do ice rescues as I was running out of breath, so I was looking for something else to do to keep occupied. “So I went to a restaurant called Cavey’s in Manchester, Connecticut and I taught my way in.

“So I started calling around local chocolate shops and checking in and most of them looked at me and said ‘Hmm, at his age, he’s gotta be a corporate spy, can’t just be a guy who came out of culinary school.’ But the last person who owned this shop before I took it over, all she wanted to know was how much I wanted to get paid. And I said nothing. She said ‘You can start tomorrow. So now I’m down here for three weeks and everything was going fine, she keeps talking to me into buying the shop.”

Th tough economic conditions of 2009 made accepting a tough choice for Tschudin. “And I keep saying “No, no, no”. And I figured, I never ran a kitchen, I never did retail,what shot do I have? And here it is, nearly eight years later, we almost outlasted all the yogurt shops.”

The shop is particularly well known for its creative creations, some which have been award winning. Tschudin says that “The ideas comes from all sorts of places. But a lot of the time it’s improvisation. For example, the sculpture of hearts in the front of the shop right now. I just kind of improvised as I went along. And said ‘Ok’ this seems like it could fit here and this looks like it might fit there and it looks like it will sit up straight. So we put it up.”

“The biggest sellers tend to be somewhat seasonal and somewhat steady.” says Tschudin. So we have a chocolate called “A Night in Tunisia”, that’s been a big hit, we’ve gotten some awards for it. And its amusing. It’s red chilis, coriander, cardamom, infused into a dark chocolate grange and that’s all piped into a shell that in a shape of a merlion, with attitude you might say , she’s got a lion’s head, and it’s all hand printed. So it’s pretty to the eyes, and when you eat it, it’s like a pinball for your taste buds. Just when you think you know what it tastes like, it changes.”

A constant in Tschudin are the large varieties of chocolate shoes. “Well you could saw its a foot fetish well channeled.” joked Tschudin. “But the truth of the matter is that I saw a model of it in a trade show, and didn’t think much of it, and then I noticed in the New York Times one day that all sorts of women were having their show pimped out and running across the streets in New York , and I said “Hey,  that’s pretty cool.” So I said, Alright I call the guy at the shoe mole and get one. And i started doing the shoes out of chocolate and people started to buy them. And we’ve been doing them ever since. And now we have high heeled shoes, stilettos, we have platform shoes, we even have flip flops, running shoes, and I haven’t decided what my next shoe will be but who knows!”

Tschudin is no stranger to failure, with vivid memories of a failed Valentine’s Day. “(I)ran down to the local restaurant supply and I bought there best chocolate and came back to the kitchen and couldn’t do anything. I was falling flat on my backside. So I had to struggle through Valentine’s Day doing  variations of all my regular pastries. But I had to find out what went wrong.” Luckily, he got an answer . “…About three weeks after I took over the shop, I finally got one of the manufactures reps to sit down with me. And wouldn’t you know, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. What I didn’t know is that chocolate comes in different viscosities. So there is the equivalent of summer weight motor chocolate and winter weight motor chocolate, so some are very thick and perfect for making cakes and pudding. And some of it is very thin and perfect for  doing molding work. So of course I purchased sludge, which is why I got nowhere the first time around, but it goes to show you, just because you failed, you can’t eventually be successful.”

Despite the store’s upbeat feel, Tschudin’s is a testament of hard work. Tschudin questions the status quo that one needs to have their ideal job straight after college. “I would certainly recommend to anyone looking to do this as a career, go apprentice yourself to someone, don’t look for money, just go out for the opportunity to learn.”In his opinion, it takes time before one finally finds their place in society.Of Puerto Rican ancestry, Tschudin is no stranger to hardships. Despite what it takes to keep ‘Confections’ open, Tschudin doesn’t do it for the bucks. It was a dream to one day partake in an industry designed to make people happy.

“Just as Michangelo and Da Vinci dabbled in this and dabbled in that into it finally come together for them , eventually it’ll eventually come together and your gonna make it your own.”

 

 

Principles

Anonymous Sources and Images are two essentials of the news value of journalism. At a time when journalists are facing constant attacks, these two values have been very prominent.

Recently, President Trump had attacked the use of anonymous sources by the press, saying each source should be identified. Despite the hypocrisy of Trump, with POTUS often not naming his sources, this standard is important for our profession. An anonymous  source, by the name of ‘Deep Throat’ was the one who gave vital information into the investigative reporting in Watergate, perhaps the pinnacle of American journalism. Under AP rules, anonymous sources can only be used under three circumstances. The first is if the material is information and not opinion. Using anonymous sources for opinion could easily make the article biased with the journalist just using an unreliable source that would only fuel speculation on a topic.  The second circumstance would be if the information can only be obtained under the condition of anonymity. Often, when the source has been threatened by others, they will only disclose their info if they remain unnamed, afaid of being attacked due to his disclosure of facts. A journalist would usually need to disclose the motive of who the source wanted anonymity. The last circumstance is that the source must be reliable and in a position to have correct information. A journalist must know if the source has some barrier that could prevent them from being truthful. Journalists also need the approval of their news manager before using a such source. The manger must know the identification of the source and like the reporter, is obligated to keep it confidential. Reporters should ask the source has the direct knowledge that she or he knows. In most news stories, multiple sources (both anonymous and not) are recommended, so an anonymous source when used is often never the sole source of a news story. When a journalist is getting ready for a interview, they assume it will be ‘on the record’- that everything said can be used. If the person being interviewed wants other conditions, like the interview being ‘off record’ when the information given can’t be published, they should negotiate them at the start of the interview. A reporter can not label an anonymous sources as simply a source, they have to be descriptive, as such ‘a top White House aid’. ‘Background’ means that info given can be used but only under certain conditions. Generally the source will give their position but not their name. ‘Deep background’ is when info can be used without attribution. Also any complaints of anonymous sources can be brought to the attention of the news manager.

As the image of the dead Syrian boy on the beach in Tuekey captivated the world, images can be the key to ending inaction. The images can’t be misleading. AP prohibits the alteration or digital munipulation of sources. The only retouching is to eliminate scratches or dust. Minor Photoshop is acceptable in terms of cropping or color adjustments that is needed for accurate representation. An employee should contact a senior photo editor if s/he has doubts on any photo. When AP recives a photo that has been altered, they must caption the photo explaining it. AP doesn’t stage, pose or re-enact events and if something is being staged, posed for or re-enacted, it should be stated somewhere so as to not mislead viewers. For example if a celebrity is posing for the cameras, the caption would say “XXX is posing at the premiere of his new movie.” For video, AP does allow methods to improve its video and or audio. This includes color correcting to white balance, removing long pauses in a video, and eliminating any unimportant  sounds. It is also permissible to obscure faces if the person wants anonymity. Also online videos can contain the logo of the company which shot it. These changes to video must first be shown to the editor or senior manager before being aired or posted.

Craig Silverman

Buzzfeed’s News Media Editor Craig Silverman come to CCSU on February 16th to discuss a presentation concerning  the current phenomenon of ‘fake news’.

Silverman stated that the danger of said news is that it creates confusion and gives oxygen to nonfactual statements. He also stated that the term is becoming meaningless as it’s used by people to show their dislike of an opinion. Silverman read a quote from Steve Bryant that notes  “Whoever has the most people and activates them the most effectively, determines what truth is.”

Silverman defined ‘fake news’ in his own terms as having three components: it has to be completely false, is financially driven and the writer knows it’s false. A notable example sharing all theses components were the stories often written in the New York Sun, a staple of the ‘penny press’ in the 19th century. As the name suggests the papers were extremely cheap as the founder wanted the largest following possible. To grow at all costs, the paper often made up stories like how half human, half bat creatures lived on the moon.

The largest difference now from then, notes Silverman, is social media. Facebook, which has 1.8 million users, is now the top place globally to get info. During the recent US election, the popularity of fake news increased, particularly ones that were pro-Trump. This is because pro-Trump sites tended to be the most successful, surpassing the pro-Clinton or pro-Sanders fake sites. However, Silverman mentioned that liberal fake sites have been on the rise since Trump’s inauguration.

Silverman explained why people are so willing to believe in these fake stories by noting two human behaviors. The first is that humans quickly develop an irrational loyalty to our beliefs. The other is that we’re more likely to believe things in situations of uncertainty, fear or lack of information. Silverman stated that fake political news had eight purposes: to gain attention, to generate emotion, to be seen widespread, to misinform people, to set up a platform or for filtering.

Silvernan disccused how many of the fake news sits were traced to teenagers in Macedonia. Those teens were often from working class families, who in Silverman’s words ‘lived like kings’ by creating fake news sites that generated a lot of money for them.

Silverman ended his presentation by saying that Trump wants to be liked by the media, mentioning how the media was usually nice to him before he got into politics, when he was in the industry of business and entertainment.

One of the questions Silverman received post-presentation was asked about the dossier that Buzzfeed had controversially released that contained several defaming and unverified facts about Trump. Silverman stated that he was not involved in the decision making process on whether to release it and that several respected groups like the Columbia Journalism Review have approved of Buzzfeed’s decision.

Tompkins ch.12

With the recession hitting newsrooms hard, many had workers become OMBs (one man bands) to save costs. These reporters had to shoot and edit their own stories. Reporters in this position need to be self reliant and innovative. Like everything, practice is needed. Janie Porter from WTSP in Tampa gives advice to OMBs such as manage your time, park as close as you can  to avoid security from getting in your way and don’t be afraid to ask for help. For your backpack, Tompkins says you need equipment such as a camera, a microphone, a cord, a tripod, spare batteries, among other things.

Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu

John Updike’s “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”, is considered among sport’s journalism’s greatest works. Updike starts the article by writing about his observances as he enters Fenway Park as fans arrive to see Ted Williams play his last home game for the Boston Red Sox.

Updike focus on the structure and history of Fenway, denoting the green paint and its unusually  deep field. This is an example of Updike “describing not telling.”Instead of simply stating that Fenway’s irregularities have made the ground famous, Updike simply describes those irregularities so the reader can make the conclusion themselves. Upside then contrasts the recent disappointing history of the Red Sock with the outstanding career of their outgoing left fielder, Williams. The relationship between the team and player is described as a “marriage” constisting of “spats, mutual disappointments and, towards the end, a mellowing hoard of shared memories.” That sentence reflects the personality that Updike wants to give the article, one of marriage and not just a ‘summer romance’. Upside wants to give you an article that you’ll remember for your shoe life, not just rave about for the new few days about it, then move on.

Updike describes the troubled relationship of Williams with his team, the fans and reporters, creating the sense of a story of a loner against the world. He is creating Ted to be the protagonist of the story, as readers are more inclined to follow a story the more it inclines to human attachment. Updike quotes Huck Finnegan on how Williams career was a series of failures, in comparison to Babe Ruth’s. This brings a sense of sympathy towards Williams, perhaps bringing a sense of humility in a time where others might just be boasting him up due to his impending retirement.

Updike mentions his first encounter with Williams as a child, bringing insight on why he’s so fixated on him. Updike gives away his bias by telling the audience he’s a fan, but his acknowledgment of this doesn’t prove a buffer to his intended message. He puts Williams in heroic imagery, of how he “was always coming back”, whether it was from war (he had served in the Korean War) or a serious injury. He also writes of a figure who never reached his full potential, of someone who should have, but never claimed his status as “the greatest hitter who ever lived.” Updike laments that the history books will never compensate for how Williams is first when combing both power and batting average.

Updike sites what he himself describes as an ‘anti-climax’. When Williams gets a home -run, he drowns out the applauses from the crowd. However, he refuses to board the bus with his teammates to New York, suggesting to Updike that he does know how to make an exit. William’s finale is supposed to reflect his own career, never reaching the highest echelon but still doing it in a way that makes him great.

Personally, being a big soccer fan myself, the article resonated with me. Like Updike with baseball, I constantly see soccer as an art, and players as arts men. Despite its main use being entertainment, both Updike and I seethe sports as being more than grown men with a ball. The sports tell a story of the triumphs and failures of individuals, whose greatest achievements might just be how quickly they can pick themselves up after a defeat.