Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
During an impromtu sit down about current news events with 3 members of FSU, I found that what really interests them is the imbalances in journalism coverage.
My trip first started in the 3rd floor of Dunkle Hall; roaming around, rubber-necking in open offices to see if anyone was able to talk. I found Mary Anne Lutz, a professor of English in the English department. I asked her what current or recent news story most interested her and after some thought she stated the debate about contraception. She stated she was "shocked as a woman" that in this day and age people are still arguing about a woman's personal use of contraception. When asking her about what news story deserves more attention she stated the lack of news coming out of places like Syria and stated that the headlines were not reported in depth.
Next I found myself in the almost always buzzing Lane Center. I saw that the woman working at the information desk was not busy so I decided to get some information from her on current news . She was Judy Abbott, the information desk manager. The recent story that most interested her was the Obama health care plan. She stated that he "introduced a Muslim word" in his plan for healthcare that was part of the Muslim lifestyle. After conducting some research I found the word "Dhimmitude" on FactCheck.org, which states:
[Dhimmitude: Muslim system of controlling non-muslim populations conquered through jihad. Specifically, it is the TAXING of non-muslims in exchange for tolerating their presence AND as a coercive means of converting conquered remnants to islam]
Then reading further I found:
[In our article "More Malarkey About Health Care," we wrote that some religious groups may indeed be considered exempt from the requirement to have health insurance. The law defines exempt groups using the definition from 26 U.S. Code section 1402(g)(1), which describes the religious groups currently considered exempt from Social Security payroll taxes. Eligible sects must forbid any payout in the event of death, disability, old age or retirement, including Social Security and Medicare...through the Freedom of Information Act of all the groups that have successfully applied for exemptions from payroll taxes. The overwhelming majority of them are explicitly Anabaptist — that is, Mennonite, Amish or Hutterite. Those that don’t specify their denomination are still explicitly Christian. Having gone through the list, we can say with certainty that no Muslim group, and indeed no non-Christian group, has ever qualified for an exemption under the statute used to define exempt religious groups in the health care law.
Nor are they likely to want to, says Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which opposes discrimination and defamation against Muslims. "I’ve never even heard it brought up as an issue," Hooper told us. "I have health insurance. We give health insurance to our employees. Every Muslim group I know of does the same thing." Hooper told us that he has seen some Muslims raise religious objections to life insurance, but not health insurance, and that, in fact, providing health coverage is very much in line with Islamic ideals of social justice.]
Information above from FactCheck.org
When asking her about a story that seems under-reported she mentioned the soldier that shot woman and children. She stated that he was cleared to join the military despite having past "head issues" but "what normal person kills woman and children?"
Lastly I decided to make my way into the Fine Arts building where I found Nicole Houser, assistant professor of Spanish, in the foreign language department. When asking her about what current news story interested her she initially stated the republican debates. She said she was hearing about that the most although she didn't want to. Then she stated that what really interests her is Invisible Children since she is an advisor to the amensty group at this school. She stated that it's interesting how before charities were known to be good things, but now there are so many variables and controversies like Susan G. Komen pulling and un-pulling funding for Planned Parenthood, and the Kony 2012 controversy: things are not that simple anymore. She also stated that social media is also a new big factor in presenting the news to people as well, but people "only know about 20% of what's going on." When asked about what news story deserves more attention she stated broadly just the world news. "I use 4-5 newsources," she said as she showed me the New York Times webpage. Then she points out on the upper section of the page you just see personal interest stories like a celebrity rehabing out of drug use, but then she showed me a spanish news website and I saw a picture of some structure burning and Murdock's arrest front and center. She states that it seems like from foreign news "you learn more about the world," as opposed to U.S news that seems more centered on personal interests.
Frostburg State University: Who Watch's the News?
By: Caitlin Megonigal
Every day there is something new being reported in the news. On March 13th, 2012 James Robert Clark, Thomas Michael Maras and Chris Inskeep, who all students at Frostburg State University were interviewed about recent stories reported in the news. Each student was asked; what current or recent news story interests you and why? And what under-reported news story do you think deserves more attention and why?
Thomas Maras a junior from Leonard Town, Maryland is currently studying business administration here at Frostburg State. Maras said that a recent news story that interested him the most was about Payton Manning transferring teams. “Peyton Manning might be transferring to either the Denver Broncos or the Miami Dolphins; I really did not expect Manning to consider the Broncos,” said Maras. When asked about a story he thinks is under-reported Maras remarks, “news that I think deserves more attention than it currently is, is the increasing national debt and that our debt might exceed the amount of money our country has. This is an issue that needs to be made more aware. Many people are not aware about the severity of debt the United States is in, and the economy is not going to get any better till they are.”
James Robert Clark, originally from Frederick, is also a junior at the University, studying political science/law and society. Clark answered right away saying that the issue that interests him most at the current time is the 16 civilian shootings by a soldier stationed in Afghanistan. Being a political science/law and society major not only contributes to Clark’s interest in this story, but also in his feelings that this event was under-reported. “News stations have not come out with too much information and it could change the whole dynamic of the war,” says James. According to an article by CBS news, nine children and three women were killed in the shootings. This is a very serious crime and President Obama according to the article is taking this just as seriously as if these civilians were American citizens (full article link below).
Chris Inskeep, who was the last person to be interviewed, is currently a junior studying Marketing. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Chris expressed concern with the military authorization bill Obama refused to veto. “It basically gives the military the right to arrest whoever they want, whenever they want,” states Chris. According to an article by the New York Times the bill contains a provision authorizing the government to detain, without trial, any suspected member of Al Qaeda or their allies (see link below for full article). Closely related to this issue, Chris believes that the presidential candidacy is much underreported and should be a more pressing issue. The reason for this is due to the plain fact that it is over the next President of the United States.
These news stories are just a few gathered by random inquiries to students around the FSU campus; imagine if even more students and faculty were asked about newsworthy stories that are important to them because they're currently relevant or because they deserve more attention. More news would probably be brought to attention than is published daily in the Cumberland Times. News will never be a passing fad because it is renewed every single day; and although there are the few that do not have anything to say because they do not keep up with the news, this could be your incentive to go out and either learn more or share your ideas with another person who just might just be enlightened thanks to you.
Today, the students walking about Frostburg State University were abuzz, not with spring, but with the news. The most important news on students’ minds were Kony 2012 videos and news stories, but it was not because they like or even cared about the Ugandan rebel leader. The importance of the news was that it was on Facebook, said Darren Haggard, freshman majoring in computer science. The internet documentary about Kony and his possible human rights violations is making national news and the story remains a controversial issue. Bryan Murtha, a theater major noted that the Kony story is a non-issue, he stated that “nothing can be done about the issue, it is just a Facebook status.” What he believes would be a reasonable alternative “would be direct aid.” Brenden Williams, an information technology student, is not sure what to make of the story because some sites have reported that Kony is already dead. He is sure about one thing, that the story needs to be investigated and the facts displayed meticulously obvious because the donation for aid "sounds like a scam."
Both guys disagreed on which news story they would like to hear more about; Mark deciding on President Obama and the facets in which he is lacking and Andrew wanting more coverage on the "Mustached Americans" bill. "It's completely ridiculous but equally awesome."
On the complete other end of the spectrum, Kelly (last name and other information withheld upon the request of the interviewee), stated "I read a story this morning about soldiers killing a bunch of people in the Middle East. I thought that was kind of interesting. It's probably not 'under-reported' but it is something I would definitely read more about."
Junior Emily Pendleton said, “Westboro Baptist Church protesting at Glen Burnie High School” has been the most interesting subject for her while Senior Becky Miller thought the most recent interesting story was Snooki being pregnant. She “can’t believe the world would let something like that on the news”. Snooki is a reality TV star on the hit show Jersey Shore. Miller also went on to say that Ellen DeGeneres bought Snooki a crib that resembled a tanning bed. She thought the most under-reported story is about a game named Wetopia. She explained how it was a game on Facebook. The money you make on the game goes toward those that are under- privileged.
Dylan Hidey, a junior studying Information Technology, admitted that the only thing he’s been interested in paying attention to in the news lately is the presidential primary race. "I like to keep up with who's winning which states," Hidey stated.
However, the KONY 2012 campaign has caught his attention. He said that it has been all over his Facebook lately, but he hasn’t heard all that much about it in the media. He thinks it deserves more attention. “It’s basically mass genocide,” he said.
Christina Murphy, a senior studying Business, is happy the Kony story has been getting at least some attention in the media. “I feel like [the media] is getting people involved to help others,” she stated.
Murphy felt that the recent story involving Towson University deserved more attention in the media. The Youth for Western Civilization group was accused of being racist towards many different minority groups. Christina heard that the group accused a Muslim organization of being involved with terrorists. She first became aware of the story on Facebook.
Debbie Wiles, a senior Mathematics and Creative Writing major, said that she has found the story involving a U.S. Army Staff Sargent in Afghanistan who allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday to be most interesting lately. “He went door to door killing men, women and children,” she commented. Debbie found this story especially interesting because the 38 year old sergeant came from a base in Washington State that is known for being troubled.
A story Wiles thought was deserving of more coverage is of the travesty of mathematics being taught at K-12 grade levels. This story is near and dear to her heart since she is a math major and developmental math tutor. “Kids are underprepared for college level math, and they get stuck in developmental courses," she stated. Wiles feels strongly that more awareness needs to be raised about this issue or it will just continue getting worse.
By Joel Watson
Originally from Frostburg, Sean is a freshman at Frostburg State University and is currently a History major with a minor in Journalism. A recent news story that has been of particular interest to him is the situation in Iran dealing with the Strait of Hormuz. He explains that the passage is “one of the world’s biggest oil trade routes,” and is worried that it could be a big issue in the near future. Something that Sean feels need more coverage is that problems that are sparking in Syria where people are trying to overthrow the dictator that is in charge.
All the way from Laurence, Kansas, Dr. Dusty Shaffer is an assistant professor in the theater department here at Frostburg State University. With particular concern in Rick Santorum’s rise in the elections, the republican primaries have become a story of interest. One aspect of the news that Dr. Shaffer feels doesn’t receive enough coverage is the Arts. Being in the Theater department and an actual theater artist his interest in more coverage of the arts is understandable. He goes on to explain that there was a show recently on campus called “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” and that other than directly on campus there was not much coverage of the show within the actual community.
A full professor in Biology, Dr. William Seddon explains that he feels the most prominent stories within most recent news coverage is the unfortunate killing of 16 afghan civilians by an American army sergeant. Something that Dr. Seddon feels needs more news coverage is the natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The drilling can affect the environment by dirtying drinking water, contaminating top soil as well as destroying 10 acres of land per well that is drilled.
With communication tools such as the Internet widely available to all students, opinions about who and what the media covers are not in short supply. Almost everyone on campus has an immediate and assertive stance on everything ranging from American politics to atrocities committed overseas.
History major Sean Schnably from LaVale, MD claims interest in the 2012 political race. “Political campaigns always interest me,” he states. “The fact that it is possible for Rick Santorum to be our next president is frightening and relevant to all of us.” Schnably, a Senior graduating this May, also shows interest in the Occupy Wall Street movement. “I’m lucky to have a stable job in which I can move up, but many graduating students are faced with unemployment.” Sean defends the Occupy Wall Street protesters and argues that the movement was undermined by the media portraying them as “jobless hippies.”
Alex Brant, History graduate and English Junior born in Berlin, PA, conveys approval of recent media coverage involving Astronomy. “NASA has been in the news a lot lately, and I think it’s time to continue exploration of the final frontier, the cosmos.” Celebrity physicists and astronomers such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson campaign to re-popularize the space program in America. “However, some things just don’t belong in the news,” Alex professes. “If anyone had bothered to read the transcript of Sandra Fluke’s testimony before congress, they would’ve realized that Rush Limbaugh is a non-newsworthy hack that doesn’t deserve any coverage, good or bad.”
Student interest is not limited to events on United States soil. Legal Studies Junior Sam Einbinder, expresses concern for the massacre of 16 Afghan citizens by a United States soldier last week. “He killed children,” laments Sam. Incidents involving soldiers in Afghanistan reaching their breaking point serve as a poignant reminder of the escalating hostility stemming from 11 years of tension.
This reporter recently asked several FSU English department faculty members the following questions: What current or recent news story interests you and why? What under-reported news story do you think deserves more attention?
Dr. Gerald Snelson, Associate Chair of English, responded that the Republican race is an issue important to him because there is a divided electorate and “people don’t vote for people, they vote against them”. Dr. Snelson believes the recent story about Rush Limbaugh’s offensive remarks has been under-reported by the mainstream news media and the Republican candidates have not called him out for his offensive comments.
Jennifer Browne, an English lecturer, is concerned about the legislation concerning contraceptives and “that women’s bodies are being politicalized.” Browne recently learned of multiple public school buildings in Detroit for sale and she believes this has not received enough attention in the news. “As an educator, educational equality is important to me, especially the inequality of education in urban areas”.
Dr. Charles Ewers, Associate Professor of English, is disturbed by the news story he read this morning that reported over one half of Republican voters in Mississippi believe Obama to be a Muslim. Only 12% believe he is a Christian. Dr. Ewers is astonished at the level of ignorance among potential voters, let alone the general non-voting population. In response to the question about an under-reported story, Ewers replied, “If it is under-reported, would I know about it?”
What under-reported news story do you think deserves more attention?
When five students were asked, “What current or recent news story most interests you and why?” there were drastically different responses. Kristin Bayha, a sophomore Psychology major from Carroll County, Maryland, said “Definitely gay marriage passing in the Senate. It is such a big step towards equality!” On the opposite end of the news spectrum, Eddie Janeski, a freshman with an undecided major from Annapolis, Maryland answered, “Peyton Manning becoming a free agent is really interesting to me. Well, because I’m a football player.” as he stood proudly wearing his FSU football sweatshirt. Alex Peters, a sophomore English major from Lusby, Maryland finds her most important news at the local level. She said, “The influenza scare in Calvert County is really important to me right now because that is where I live.” However, Shayna Kramer, a junior communication studies major from Bowie, Maryland takes a worldwide approach to the crucial issues. She stated, “The story about Joseph Kony is interesting to me because I hate what is going on in Uganda. It is important that we try to do something to stop it.” Finally, Jessie Baker, a senior professional writing major from Frederick, Maryland gave the most common initial answer to the question, “Pretty much whatever I see on Facebook.”
After being asked what is most interesting to them, these five students were also asked, “What under-reported news story do you think deserves more attention?” Three out of five of the students interviewed had basically the same response. Peters, Janeski, and Kramer all said that they were unable to answer the question because they don’t really pay attention to the news, besides the well-publicized stories, which they see on Facebook. However, the two other students provided very fascinating responses. Bayha tied her answer in with her statement about gay marriage being passed in the Senate. She expressed, “I don’t necessarily think that the story of it being passed in the Senate needs more attention. I just think that both sides need to get more attention and that [gay marriage] needs to be more widely accepted.” Also, Baker provided a reply following what he said about getting all of his news off of Facebook. He declared, “All that shit that is going on with Koby or Kony or whatever in Uganda. One moment it’s real and we all need to pay attention. The next moment he’s a fraud and we hate him. What is going on?”
All in all, there are several important conclusions that we may find ourselves at after analyzing these student responses. First of all, has this generation cut themselves off from the news going on all around us every day? Can Facebook really be counted as a reliable primary source for what is going on in the world? These questions could be of great concern to us as students and as a generation. The important thing to focus on here is the diversity of subjects which FSU students find impacting and interesting. Everything from sports to civil rights were covered by the five interviewees. With such an assorted student body, the variety of issues and concerns is always an enlightening experience.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
With so many hearts warming up to their loved ones and so many pockets being emptied in the name of love, it came as good news that the letter “V” wasn’t just for Valentine’s Day last February. As part of V-day, a global movement using creative events to end violence against women and girls, a benefit production of Eve Ensler’s award winning play, “The Vagina Monologues” was performed at Frostburg State University’s Pealer Recital Hall on February 16th and 17th. For the price of $12 for the general public and $6 for students, attendees were able to join in on a night of entertainment, the Clothesline Project in which participants were able to make their own t-shirts as a visual representation of violence against women, and a scarf sale in which proceeds were used to benefit and raise awareness for the cause. As it turned out, the cause was a successful one, with many faces, familiar and new showing up for the production. Considering the play is made up of several monologues, Esteban Trochez, a freshman here at Frostburg State Univeristy praised the production for “how varied it was with all of the different ages, races, and backgrounds covered in the play.” Esteban states that he especially enjoyed the monologue featuring a very enthusiastic woman, played by junior Suzanne Carroll, screaming “Cunt!” Another Frostburg student, Trisha McCullen, enjoyed the play’s humorous monologues, specifically one concerned with moaning, stating,“I laughed so hard, I cried.” However, the most notable aspect of the event was not the play itself, but the cause behind the play. V-day was created by Eve Ensler herself to benefit female victims of violence and sexual abuse. As part of www.vday.org’s mission statement V-Day's vision is "a world where women live safely and freely. V-Day demands that rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery end immediately and believes that women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.” As Kyra-Marie Moir, a long-time supporter of V-day and fan of “The Vagina Monologues” explains, “The ‘Vagina Monologues’ is such a great show! I have gone plenty of times and each time I have walked away with something new. V-day makes a great case for viewers to commit themselves to end violence against women and strive for social justice internationally, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s just good entertainment. Men and women alike will walk away with a sense of shared experience from the play, scarf sale, or Clothesline Project. Thanks to FSU for showcasing a great production and cause!” With this year’s earnings going to go to the Family Crises Resource Center and the Dove Center, this particular February event at Frostburg State University was a success in all aspects. From an entertaining production ranging from humor to more serious undertones, to a great cause behind the event, it was good news last February knowing that V-day wasn’t just for Valentine’s Day.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
by Joel Watson
The newly formed Frostburg chapter of The National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi) held their very first orientation meeting in the Atkins Room on February 29th in order to introduce an outlet for students to practice their leadership skills. As students began to shuffle through the doors of the Atkins room in the Lane Center, the buzzing chatters of eager voices filled the room. It wasn’t until almost every plastic chair in the room was filled that the double doors finally closed and the audience’s attention was turned to the nervous line up of professionally dressed students standing at the front of the room. Introducing themselves as the executive board of Frostburg’s new Sigma Alpha Pi chapter the orientation commenced.
The National Society of Leadership and Success is an organization that allows students seeking a way of reaching their goals, whatever they may be, to network with other students on campus and execute these goals successfully. Although it is a fairly new society it has already extended its reach to numerous schools through out the country and is still growing at a fast rate.
Some of the ways that the organization guarantees the success of its members is through the events that are exclusively available to the organization. Some of these events include six live speaker broadcasts on the Internet that take place through out each academic school year and introduce students to prestigious leaders that have demonstrated success and leadership. The organization also has leadership training days scheduled for its members in order for students to have some hands on experience with some of the leading practices that they have learned about. On top of these learning experiences that Sigma Alpha Pi offers, the members also have access to an online job bank to help them find jobs and network with people across the nation.
Now that this new organization has been introduced on campus it gives a chance for the students with a leadership minor to uses their knowledge from classes in an extracurricular group while also furthering the influence of Frostburg State University. Whether you are in a managerial position at your job or just stepping up to the plate because no one else would, a membership to the National Society of Leadership and Success is an asset for anybody.
For more information on the organization as well as how to join and what is required you can go to http://societyleadership.org/ . There is also a Facebook page available for those interested in the events taking place in the Frostburg chapter at http://www.facebook.com/FrostburgNSLS?ref=ts&sk=info .