Response to Bill O’ Reilly’s Obama Super bowl Interview

A primetime for an interview to capture the nations attention was during the halftime of the Super Bowl in 2014. That interview was given by Bill O’ Reilly and he was questioning Barack Obama. For this piece I analyzed the last 11 minutes of the interview. All conversation topics were not included in the link, but the egotistical bias between both of the men gave an idea of how the rest of the interview went. The staunch opposition of O’ Reilly’s point of view was bounced off Obama many times. For example the issue of school vouchers, Obama stated areas where the voucher programs were unsuccessful. To counter that statement O’ Reilly simply says that those programs did in fact work to success. Based on the few minutes I saw and other issues that the two were conflicted about, this seemed to be more of an argument than it was an interview.


Although the interview was not correct formally or conversationally proper at all times, there were many overlaps of the president and O’ Reilly speaking at once, I admire that interview style of Bill O’ Reilly. Stern and not willing to take no for an answer, O’ Reilly hammered Obama about the issues and situations that were prevalent for his viewers. O’ Reilly’s shined through, speaking up for the best interest of certain groups and even acknowledging that he had not been treating the president with utmost fairness. When talking about paying for college, interesting side notes were given about Obama and O’ Reilly themselves. Apparently, both men found paying for college difficult and were employed as painters during the summer. The only difference is that O’Reilly did not have to take out student loans as opposed to Obama who said the painting wage was “simply not enough” to pay for college. The fact that Obama needed college loans and O’ Reilly claims to have not needed them, highlights the fact that O’ Reilly paints himself as self-reliant. In addition to that O’ Reilly accused Obama of not appreciated self-reliance and favoring “nanny” style big government spending to solve problems. The issue was well on display and it was obvious that O’ Reilly views the “nanny” style of government as another word for lazy people that conn you.


Five Shalts and Five Shalt Nots of Journalism

Thou Shalt

– Keep an open perspective: Find stories that interest you as well as stories that you would not usually flock toward.

-Understand bigger picture of story: always look at a story from multiple points of view. There are societal layers of every story.

-Stay on your toes because news is everywhere, asks someone: Ask your friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers and even that guy at the bus stop.

-Proofread, but speak your mind: Make sure you edit your writing; there is nothing less appealing than grammar and spelling errors. Also when you are editing make sure to not remove your ideas and facts because those are the meat of your story

-Enjoy it with pride; see timelessness & importance of journalism as a craft: Journalism has been an integral institution in America and the world and you have a responsibility to preserve the nature of news reporting. Humanity needs to know the news in order to grow, evolve and learn.


Thou Shalt Not

-Only comment and inquire about your own interests; bias: Don’t let your news reports be influenced by your own opinions.

-Lift others work off the Internet: Its just lazy. First off you need to create your own perspectives and news reports. Second, it reflects poorly on your character when you plagiarize. Finally, you could be removed from school or lose a job if your caught.

-Sloppy- checks facts, verify, verify: A good journalist checks facts and verifies them multiple times. Find out all aspects of a certain story. Who, what , when, where why and how. If you haven’t answered all of those questions your sloppy.

-Use poor news judgment; make irrelevant stories: Make sure that your audience will find the story meaningful. Why would you want your hard work and dedication to go to waste? Find out what your audience is interested in and keep them occupied and applied.

-Be deceitful- don’t invent characters, quotes: The moment you do this you’re not a journalist anymore. You are a news reporter and that means that you report exactly what happens. You’re not a fiction novelist who is trying to make the juiciest story. A good journalist reports the news while making the story interesting.



Derrick Gordon and the WBC

Derrick Gordon has been creating waves of attention upon himself and the UMass Amherst Campus. Regardless of your standing with the University there is a good chance that Derrick Gordon has been mentioned on your twitter feed or in some other way shape or form. Gaining attention from former and current NBA, NFL and WNBA players, just to name a few of the institutions that have been mentioned along with or personally reached out to Gordon after he became the first openly gay active Division I basketball player. It would be hard for you to miss the news if you watch ESPN. It would be hard the miss the news even if you didn’t like sports. Gordon met Anderson Cooper, known gay talk show host on CNN. LGBT resources from around the country have released statements in support of Gordon, a few of whom Gordon had relationships with prior to his coming out. If you really had no affiliation to the story by now, to make even more headlines stem from one mans sexual orientation, the Westboro Baptist Church gave this story the legs it needed to become a national spotlight. Five opinionated members of the WBC made there way down to Amherst just a few weeks ago to “protest” the acceptance of Derrick Gordon both at the University and Nationally. This story is extremely impactful because the WBC always comes to steal the show and adds layers to the story societally for America. Disrespect and slander is the name of their game as the WBC leans on their first amendment rights to free speech and right to assemble. The connection back to the constitution and start of the United States of America only heightens the hype around the Derrick Gordon story. Personally, I am not one to believe that someones sexual orientation is at all news worthy, but when a story like this is able to bring together so many aspects of society; sports, education, constitutional rights and even celebrity appeal I am able to show interest without blowing the issue of identifying with heterosexuals, homosexuals or bisexuals out of the water.

Response to the NY Times “Snowfall” piece

This is what a local headline read in the Washington area after an avalanche left 3 skiers dead. This hard news spot story was not extravagant and only spanned one page.

STEVENS PASS, Wash. – Three people were killed in an avalanche at Stevens Pass on Sunday afternoon. – In a ski at your own risk area.

However, the New York Times found the combination of societal aspects that this avalanche story brought to the table was a platform to make a world-renowned news piece. And they were right. Even though the headline of the actual avalanche was nothing immense, the NY times detailed the story by researching the people and science behind the weather and the treacherous skiing on that fateful winter day.

“Snowfall” was created by the NY Times and won a Pulitzer price. It was a loaded article with multimedia, interactive maps and visuals and technologies not usually associated with newspapers. There is a mix of culture, news, special interest and fascination with the mountain and skiing lifestyle. The interesting and unique feature article helped familiarize the complicated avalanche to me, 32 inches of snow built up on Hoar frost. The news report had nothing about the ESPN reporters or the expert skiers. Beautifully written at times. Specific ski slang terms such as “pow days”, days when there is fresh powder on the mountain (a skiers dream), were a major thing, and captured the essence of skiing well. Also the hectic conversation with the emergency dispatcher, a moment after the avalanche struck was gripping. The technology and easy flowing format was Able to keep my focus for entire article, the section break down was important and they were able to tie the avalanche with the consequences together with the technology of the article. “Finding their friends”- an example of emotion that cannot be captured by print alone. They interviewed all survivors and conducted additional research about the science and technicalities of the avalanche.

The Snowfall article is very important to the future of online journalism. The Atlantic Wire did an interview with graphics and visual designers from the NY Times that highlights the newspapers aligning themselves with the changing online landscape. “Pitchfork has done them, ESPN has done them before”, this quote from Andrew Kueneman explains how business is done in the journalism world. Sometimes those who are the best are in fact the best at copying others formats and ideas. One other aspect that Kueneman harked on was the integration and utilization of the iPad. This snowfall article was tied to reading on the new apple tablet. The times had an iPad open the whole time while creating the article, just to make sure it would be well accepted by the new tech savvy users. This integration of popular technology shows the cutting edge NY Times as shedding their “old style” or journalism for a fresher and more refined look. The NY Times are learning and successfully navigating the diverse new media format, at with a Pulitzer Prize they are confirming their presence at the new round table to powerful media outlets.

Reading a newspaper in this day and age

Reading the newspaper, has rapidly become part of my life less and less. Even now in the journalism class that I am enrolled in, this is true. Only required to read the newspaper a handful of times at the onset of the semester, my reading of the physical “newspaper” was not extended beyond what the professor assigned. Its sad actually, that the “good ole days” of the newspapers circulation have fizzled off. They have fizzled off even more rapidly in the past ten years. I view my families forgoing of newspaper delivery as the decline of the industry in a nutshell. I have vivid and happy memories of when waking up early was the easiest thing to do and instantly if my father had not already, I looked outside the window to see if the paper needed to be fetched. Even as a youngster, I was utilizing the newspaper for its intended purposes. I always checked the skybox on the front page to see the weather and the skybox on the sports section to see upcoming games for my hometown Celtics, Sox or Patriots. After properly accessing the skyboxes, a term that I learned in the journalism class, that I in took the statistical leaders for my favorite sports, always searching for Paul Pierce’s name on the NBA scoring list To be honest, I never read news articles but my father and I had special times bonding over the Boston Globe, my skimming to his reading of current events. I think the most important aspect of that time in my life was my family’s lack of a cable TV plan.

In this fast paced age, everything has undergone changes. Advertising now infiltrates life at every corner, and staying in touch with people is a lot easier through social media. It is easier to become an outcast in the ever-changing media landscape if your technology is a step behind everyone else’s. When my family purchased cable TV, even though we still had a 16 inch screen, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of perspectives and ideologies. The change from a handful of channels to a plethora of viewing options was something I grew up with that my father did not. My father’s newspaper “phase” never ended when he was a kid, because cable TV was not around to mess things up. I am thankful that I finally again found the importance of journalisms place in this new anything goes world of news reporting.

The NY Time’s stock is nowhere near as valuable because of the other, easier ways to access public information. The movie that we watched in journalism class that highlighted the NY Times adaptation to the new media landscape rejuvenated my appreciation for reading a news article. The NY Times website offers a glimpse of the newspapers dominance over the world of news reporting. A moment where you are immersed in a black and white world of education and reflection is what they offer. I credit the NY Times website for capturing the feeling of a physical news paper, and allowing me to recapture those memories of newspaper bliss from my childhood.

The public concern surrounding the missing 777 Boeing, and a reflection on the direction of journalism.

For a few weeks now the missing Malaysian Airlines plane has focused the attention of the world media unto the issue. Crucial questions remain unanswered. Questions such as; where is the plane, and how did it get off track, and were terrorists involved? Ukraine, Russia, the United States and China are some of the homelands of passengers that were on the Malaysian Flight 370 that disappeared. 239 people total were on board the Boeing 777 jet, and the families of those people are wondering if the jet will ever be found. According to major news sources, the twelve days since the plane crash occurred are important. The flight data and cockpit voice recorders have eighteen days of life let before they stop sending out “pings” and pieces of data. Once the batteries die, less information about why the jet disappeared will be revealed. Even though these batteries are difficult to pinpoint in terms of coordinates because of their limited range the information would nonetheless be vital. The longer that the why’s, where’s and how’s go unanswered in relation to this jet passenger disappearance, the clock can be considered ticking.

 With fundamental information still to be divulged, frustration everywhere grows. Especially amongst the families of those 239 passengers, as not much, if any, information “of significance” has been found about any of the passengers. Distraught relatives of missing passengers have been documented and the pictures are gripping and revealing.

The disappearance of an airplane has effected a large portion of the populated world. Americans have taken notice and the issue stretches across the Pacific into Asia and Australia. While not an issue of potential conflicts between countries, the possible terrorist aspect of the missing 777 creates an even larger feeling of uncertainty. This feeling of uncertainty, however points to an importance of journalism in society. As the general public concern grows, the need for viable information about the outcome of the search becomes sought after. The terrorist aspect heightens the public vigor and focus on the issue. If someone asked me where journalism is headed, I would proudly say the direction of enlightenment. This question of journalism’s direction relates to a midterm question in my journalism class, where the student explained to a 58 year old the importance of journalism. My argument would have been fortified if I referenced the public reaction to the Malaysian flight disappearance. CNN is one network specifically that focuses on the search for clues, and updates its website and breaking news constantly. Each time breaking news is uncovered, so is a layer of positivity for the direction of journalism. As technology becomes more and more developed, the intriguing and riveting issues are covered more intensely by journalists. The increased flow of information in our society creates more opportunities for a journalist to find breaking news and write impactful stories. Also the need for information at a moments notice requires journalists to be more awake and on their toes, always searching for the tidbit of information that will widely open the eyes of the public.

Blarney Blowout Follow-Up

The arrest total of 55 adults, most of them students, is what defined the “Blarney Blowout” here at University of Massachusetts at Amherst on March 8, 2014.  When I say students, less than 40% of the arrests were enrollees UMass Amherst or any other local school in the Five College Consortium. The latter statistic allows UMass Amherst to catch their breath for a minute, as they will have less disciplinary cases with which to deal, as many of the offenders don’t even attend the University. Once the administration breathes the collective sigh of relief and again views the statistics, there were 4,000 drunken young adults at Blarney Blowout. The Chancellor and his understudies will understand the need for change. As a publically institution UMass Amherst garnered mass attention from major news corporations as far away as Los Angeles. Good luck asking someone from Los Angeles what else he or she knows about UMass Amherst this year aside from the debauchery that was the infamous Blarney Blowout.

Taking a trip to the local courthouse in Belchertown, where all Eastern Hampshire District cases are arraigned, I was able to gauge the damage done by the daylong drinking festival. On a Tuesday, we were a day late to hear the arraignment of the bulk of Blarney Blowout cases, but one straggling case was able to paint a picture of that fateful Saturday in Amherst. An Emmanuel College student was cited for using a Fake ID and an OUI.  Our source of information at the courthouse tells us that an OUI cannot be related directly to the alleged “Blarney” activities.  That’s because its unclear whether the offense was during the instances where thousands of kids were packed in like sardines in a can at the townhouse courtyard or the 21 year olds pack the bars in the wee hours of the morning. A charge such as an OUI with a fake ID will probably mean suspension of license and a fine; with a possibility of probation .The presence of OUI makes that case more serious. On the other hand with a non-violent charge, according to our source of information, many times what the court offers is pre trial probation and a diversion program. This allows for a person to keep his/her nose clean for 6 months to a year, and if that is completed the charges will be dropped; with an expunging fine, the persons record will remain clean.

A student who visited UMass Amherst, along with those enrolled here can learn valuable lessons from the way police and courts handled the riot. Any sort of action by a student, which furthers the problem, will result in that student being arrested and placed in the hot water of the district court. Remaining non violent and non confrontational would allow someone, while underage, to remain out of police custody on drinking days such as Blarney Blowout.