Archive | November, 2009

All Is Quiet On The Western Front: Media Blackouts vs. Public Awareness

30 Nov

Just wrote this as a paper, but it’s something we can talk about here as well. Where do you stand in terms of media blackouts?

When CBC journalist Melissa Fung was kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2008, news publications in Canada did not publish information about her abduction to ensure her safety. Four weeks after she was captured, she was released. In that same year another Canadian journalist was abducted. Robert Fowler was taken hostage in Niger for 130 days, but in this case, media chose to report on his situation. Fowler believed that the intense media coverage had a serious impact on the length of his time in captivity.

Most news organizations see media blackouts as a slippery slope. If we ban the coverage of journalist kidnappings, isn’t it only fair to ban coverage of non-journalist abductions? What are the limits of public access to sensitive information? Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

Continue reading

Romi Reads The News [3]

29 Nov

This is what was on the wire this week:

Reverse Chris Brown? — To soon? Tiger Woods was in an accident. Did his wife beat him? Did she save him? Did he cheat on her? On the next Young and Athletic.

Russian Bombing — Questions surrounding the derailment of a train bound for St. Petersburg are slowly being answered. Now, a bomb is thought to have detonated on the tracks. Yet another terrorist attack. Scary.

Inhumane society — The arrest of OSPCA bigwigs based on allegations of animal abuse, mistreatment, and neglect forces Ontarians to reassess the way animals are treated in shelters on a national scale (or at least it should). Continue reading

Saturday, It’s Saturday.

28 Nov

Happy Saturday!

I’m taking the less noble route and not writing much today. Mainly because I’m going shopping in Buffalo ala Blackweekend (the extension of black Friday, term invented by yours truly).

While you’re waiting for me to write a highly critical and well written piece, I’ll be waiting for three hours at customs, speed shopping at Target (or Tarje as I lovingly call it), and being strip searched on the way back.

I will, however, leave you with the following: Continue reading

TTC Diaries: Youtube Edition

26 Nov

Dear Diary,

Procrastination is a wonderful thing sometimes. In my most stressful week, I guarantee you 90 per cent of my time has been spent not doing what I was supposed to do.

On one of my many (many….many) distracted moments, I decided to look up “TTC” on Youtube.

For your viewing pleasure, Diary, I have compiled my favourite vids related to the good ole Toronto Transit Commission.

1. I Get On (The TTC) – A Rap Video. Awesomely catchy with just a pinch of autotune. East side…south side…west side…word!

Continue reading

Rethinking Hypermasculinity

26 Nov

A bunch of us J-school buddies were talking sports in relation to the way they are perceived by men and women differently. Ultimate fighting was mentioned regarding it’s role as a symbol for hypermasculinity but I saw it as being somewhat homoerotic. Men wrapped around each other, half naked, crotches in face? I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

The sports considered to be the most ‘manly’ (football, hockey, rugby…) have the same sentiment. Greased up alpha males playing a high contact game, yet overcompensatingly hetero.

In ghettoizing these sports as strictly heterosexual, people who fall outside of this definition are left at the wayside or are stuck in the closet.

And now, a breath of fresh air. Continue reading

Then What DID You Mean, Keddy?

25 Nov

Gerald Keddy, a Conservative MP in Nova Scotia, has a way with words.

In a newspaper article for the Chronicle Herald, he suggested farmers in Nova Scotia should hire migrant workers because those unemployed “no-good bastards” don’t want the work. OOPSIES!

He has since issued an apology which is all good and jolly, but question for Mr. Keddy: What enticed you to use those words in the first place?

There was clearly a method to the malice because no one in their right mind would say that off the cuff, especially as a politician knowing he/she was on the record.

What I found particularly amusing in his apology is that he failed to say what he meant by “no-good bastards”, instead he told us what he “should have said”. Usually when there’s an apology issued for the misuse of a word, there is some sort of explanation in terms of what was meant by said word. I guess in this case, we know exactly what he meant, and he knows he was not the sharpest tool in the shed for saying it.

NDP MP Peter Stoffer thinks a resignation is in order for ‘Just Kidding’ Keddy.

I think the irony of the proposed situation is marvelous. Once an MP, now a “no-good bastard”.



To Make Your Week A Little Brighter

24 Nov

You Shouldn’t Kick A Ginger

24 Nov

I hate to say “when I was their age” but I’m saying it. When I was 11, there was no Facebook, maybe a glimpse of a chat program (ICQ?), and no cyberbullying, but we were still mean kids.

Bullying is not something new but the nature of it is different. My sister is 11 and I thank the internet gods every day that she doesn’t have Facebook yet.

Yes social networking sites can be used by pre-teens correctly but it opens up way too many doors for passive-aggressive kinds of abuse that kids aren’t ready to handle at such a young age. Facebook hate groups, refusing to friend someone, vulnerability regarding who finds them on these sites–all concerns that I know I wouldn’t have coped with in middle school.

Just last week, a scandal at my sister’s school. Kids were suspended acting on “Kick a Ginger Day”. Details of the situation are undisclosed for the privacy of those involved.

In the Star today, students were suspended at a Burlington Elementary school for going through with the assault on fellow classmates.

What’s being done in elementary schools to monitor their student’s use of social networking sites?

Do parents have the responsibility to educate their children on the dangers of internet consumption?

The floor is open – Debate away

Kyle Says: A Poem

23 Nov

Writing is such a diverse art form. One can report the news objectively and then write beautiful prose. I’m lucky to be a part of such a talented community of writers.

Speaking of which, Kyle is the author of our third guest post. Also a fellow journalism student, and now, a poet. Amazing.

Old Man With a Grey Beard

A long bearded man, who is well into his seventies, sits by himself in the corner of a dimly lit coffee shop. A newspaper is laid out in front of him. His lips move as he reads the words on the page. Occasionally his voice rises to a barely noticeable volume. After a moment he catches himself and his lips stop moving.

He takes a silver flask from the pocket of his trench coat and pours amber medicine into a disposable coffee cup.

He returns the flask to his pocket.

The old man takes a heavy swig of his liquor then wipes his beard with his forearm.

Outside the fall night is cool and dark. Continue reading

Romi Reads The News [2]

22 Nov

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, it must have been uncomfortable.

Here’s what you missed:

Housewife Apocalypse–a.k.a. Oprah is ending her show in 2011. Dr. Oz and Ellen, you’re under a lot of pressure to deliver. Think about giving away cars.

Fare Hike–More like unfair hike. Just kidding. The TTC has to do what it has to do to keep it running well. I just hope everything doesn’t go to shit post Pan Am. Continue reading

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