Wednesday, February 27, 2008

We still have the freedom speech...even if some people don't want to hear it.

In 2001, Novato High School senior, Andrew Smith wrote an editorial on "illegal immigrants" who weren't able to find work through legal routes and either ended up becoming drug dealers or doing manual labor in which they recieved pay in cash and under the table. The editorial was ran in the school's paper 'The Buzz'. Administration recieved complaints and the school said they were sorry and that the editorial didn't go with the school's policy and they tried to confiscate all remaining editions of that paper and ended up delaying the printing of another article written by Smith. Smith than challeneged the school where a local state court agreed with the school. Smith appealed to a 3-seat panel of the California Appeals Courts and won.

The court ruled that even though the article was written in distate and offensivly, Smith's voice was protected.

The story goes on to talk about more details and explains that following the suit, a discussion and debate of sorts was held, allowing both sides to talk on the issue of illegal immigration and in the end everyone ended up happy!

My thoughts on the story: I'm glad the Supreme court didn't hear the case and agreed with the final decision. I feel people get a little too upset when they don't hear what they won't and think that its wrong. I once had a friend verbally attack me last year because the Simpsonian had a pro-life ad insert in an edition of the paper. She told me she didn't "want to see that shit, if both sides weren't going to get a voice". I explained to her that it wasn't the view of "The Simp" but a paid ad and if she wanted to find a pro-choice company to pay for an insert in the Simp we could arrange that.

It just annoys me how so many people don't want to hear anything but their side of the story and even when they pretend to listen the other side. They're just listening and not hearing. They're not critically thinking about what people are actually saying.

Of course, the case of free speech always gets muddied in public school systems I think. There's additional tape sometimes and the overbearing parents who don't want their kids seeing real life before the age of 20.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Where's the middle man?

In his article "Hero or Victim: There's no other choices, Roy peter Clark talks about how in media a quadrapalegic or person in a wheel chair with diabilities is always either the victim or the hero and we never seem that as anything else.

Clark talks about his experience with his neighbor who was always seen as the "hero" in news stories in local media. He also talks about the case of Brian Sterner, who was dumped out of his wheelchair, onto the jailhouse floor by not only a woman, but a woman of color as well and while these are both not important in the story, theey make for an interesting twist on who the usual victim/perpertrator's are.

Clark points out that until the media starts portraying the disabled as something other than a hero or a victim, society won't change their views and I agree.

Once again, I refer back to my GRC class and how 90% of what people do,say,hear,feel,touch, whatever is impacted by the media. If in news stories and movies and tv shows we keep making the kid in a wheelchair the protaganist or the kid who no one likes, society is going to think only that. That disabled people are to either be hated and mde to feel awkward or that we should throw ourselves at their feet because they have such horrible lives.

I think disabilities should be dealt with like race and that its a big society thing...for the most part. Ovbiously there are very real physical differences that cause issues, but if a person in a wheelchair gets pissed when people feel bad for them or offer to help. Then they better not complain when it comes time to them needing pushed or something and no one does.

So, maybe someday we'll see a newstory where our focus is on John Doe who did something amazing and we interview a disabled person as the supporting detail and not the lede.

Monday, February 11, 2008

You're Fired

A recent story by the AP and ran by the Des Moines register talked about a local NBC affiliate in Davenport who laid off 12 employees, including the main weekend news anchor, causing the cancellation of its Saturday morning newscasts. The layoffs and cancellations have been attributed to debt and poor "advertising vunerability."

This article was interesting to read,especially after the talks I heard at the Iowa Newspaper Association/Iowa College Media Association conference.

Quite a few of the presenters spoke on how NOW is the exciting time to be a journalist with the field opening up and broadining, while the workshop I went to on broadcasting talked about how competitive the market is and how its getting even harder to find a job in broadcasting. It just makes me wonder, whether or not journalism is the way to go, if I want to eat more than just bread and top ramen.

The other question that came to mind when reading this article is, does this station really follow the big rule of journalism is having a loyalty to the reader? If they are cancelling 2 broadcasts (the 6:30 and 9am shows on Saturday's). What if something important happens Friday night and people can't find out about it until later on Saturday because this broadcast wasn't aired? It was just a thought.

To see the full artcile go to: