Friday, October 21, 2005


Gathering Assigment

The Bird Flu starts to Sweep the world

Panic starts to sweep over citizens

NBC reports the deadly bird flu is spreading to parts of Europe including Romania. Along the River Danube here, thousands of birds are being killed after laboratories found the H5N1 virus present in them.

The Bush Administration is discussing the government’s relief plans for the event of the outbreak of the disease in the United States. President Bush is also talking to drug company executives on how to quickly speed up production of a vaccine for the deadly disease according to reports by the Associated Press.

A group of democratic senators believe the US is behind many countries in terms of readiness with vaccines. These same lawmakers have said that other countries have enough medication for about 20 to 40 percent of their populations compared to less then two percent for Americans according to the Associated Press. In an AP report Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the nation is in great need of an increased capacity for annual flu vacancies so that it could then switch to production of a pandemic flu vaccine if necessary.

Sanofi-Pasteur, a vaccine producer, has begun production this month of a medication that will protect against the flu. The Associated Press says the company will produce $100 million worth.

Scientists are concerned that the deadly disease could transform into a human strain. A NBC report found that this happened in 1918, killing more then 40 million people including a half million Americans. Dr. Freda Scott told NBC reporter Scott Sabine how quickly viruses can spread around the world on the wings of migratory birds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also says there have been recent North American incidents of Avian Influenza with transmission to humans. These areas range from Canada, Texas, Delaware, and several other places. There are many facts and studies that citizens can read to keep themselves informed and protected.

The World Health Organization says that outbreaks are now also present in parts of Turkey. The organization also has a list of ten things that people should know about pandemic influenza.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Oct. 18 Assignment

1.) I definitely do not think it is a good idea for Yahoo to put news stories and blogs side by side. I think that this will have a devastating effect on professional journalists. When I look for news I want something credible, not someone's opinion that they decided to post on their blog. I understand that there are citizen journalists with talent and those who use credible sources; however there are so many more that do not. I agree with Robert Thompson when he says that there must be a distinction between professional journalism and professional commentary.

The article says that Yahoo will keep the sources separate by having a second level news site that includes blogs and commentaries. I think that this will work for now, but I wonder for how long this will last. I think that this is the beginning of the end for many journalists. I predict in five years people will do a search on Yahoo and find mostly blogs and commentary from citizen journalists.

I can't help but wonder where the future of journalism is going. Why are students like me studying journalism when the public eventually will not be able to tell the difference between citizen and professional?

Jeff Jarvis is wrong when he says,if you inform the public, you are committing an act of journalism.The public has a tough enough job of determining if something is biased without citizens informing the public. I mean you don't see people performing medical procedures ands taking care of patients because they feel like helping the public. I understand that there is a difference between the two however; I think that people should have training and knowledge in something before they inform the public. I definitely believe that there is a shared set of professional standards or how else would anyone be able to find credible news.

As the future of online journalism continues to change, I believe that commentary and actual news should always have a distinction whatever it may be.

2.) I think Ruggerio is being rather vague. The real question is what is the definition of media these days? If it is any group of journalists then media is not a corporate possession. Bloggers and citizen journalists are participating in media and not only are they an audience but they are also a public. In other countries citizen journalism is categorized side by side with professional journalism.

When Ruggerio says that an audience is passive and a public is participatory, I think that perhaps in the past, he may have been correct. However, in the changing world of journalism and the media this statement is no longer accuate. Those who once absorbed the news and were part of the passive audience are now those who are a part of the participatory public.

I that the defintion of media has already changed to include particaption by the public. This doesn't neccesarly have to be a bad thing, as long as the public or citizen journalists know the role they play. I think that this role should not have an effect on the media that is providing us with news.

3.) Right now I don’t think blogs are bad for mainstream journalism however I do think that they are heading in that direction. For example, Yahoo putting news stories side by side with blogs will not be good for mainstream journalism. Critics say that bloggers will never cover certain local topics that mainstream journalists do because they aren’t getting paid and they simply don’t have the time. I say how can we be so sure of this.

Just a few years ago we would never have imagined that blogging would grow to what it has become today. Other critics say that people don’t blog about things that impact their lives in real ways. I find this really hard to believe because you can basically find a blog about anything you want today. As blogging continues to grow and change, what says that topics like local neighborhood construction and the city budget won’t be things that people post blogs about?

People that say blogs will never compete with mainstream journalism are underestimating the power that bloggers have. People express their opinions on things that are important to them and with the number of blogs that are already out there, it’s pretty easy to see that different things are important to different people.

I really think that blogging will continue to become a medium for people to support things that stand for and believe in. I would compare it to donating to a campaign for an election. If someone is willing to donate money for a cause they believe in, why not pay money to post a blog that has your opinion it in while thousands of people read it?

4.)Citizen journalism is shaping the future of what journalism is becoming and continues to become. Because of this reason it must become worthy of disseminating the news. Clearly, it is not a joke and quickly becoming a mainstream thing. Ohmynews has all kinds of writers from professional staffers to people with no background at all. As a result, readers will have to absorb things and analyze things themselves. This is a good thing because people can’t believe everything they read, however this will change how many people view journalists.

I believe that there should still be a distinction between citizen and professional journalism but that line will continue to blur as even professionals begin to post their opinions in things like Ohmynews. In order for citizen journalism to work, there needs to be some sort classifying system that allows readers to recognize what and whose opinion they are reading. People should have the right to express their opinions and publish them; however people also have the right to credible unbiased news.

I personally believe that no matter the medium, journalists have the job to inform the public. This news has to have the truth and I think real unbiased news lets readers come about their own personal opinion. Ohmynews can be subjective and have lots of emotion but it can also be knowledgeable. Knowledgeable is the key word and I really think that there will always be citizens who choose not to publish their opinions and look to the professionals for the news.

5.) If I were to post a blog it would be about things that are important to me personally. I would talk about things that happen in my everyday life that help me form opinions that I have about certain things. It would be light-hearted and not inform the public on news. I think that people would have lots of other sources to find this material besides my blog. I would probably talk about my diet, working out, shopping, and my relationship. The only people that would want to read it would be people that are close to me. I would leave “informing the public” to my day job.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Oct. 11 Assigment

British Study Finds Children Develop Better Outside Of Day Cares

Are Children Raised At Home Better Or Not?

A new study questions whether day care is really the best option for kids.

When faced with the decision for the first time, some parents call it the scariest feeling they’ve ever had, leaving your small child in the care of someone else.

Working mothers are faced with this decision once they’ve had their babies and their maternity leave is up. They either have to return back to work and find a daycare or become a stay at home mom.

Dr. Elizabeth Childress of Henry Ford Hospital says, “When a childcare facility is top notch, it’s as good as a childcare as you can get. Children who are in childcare usually develop a better set of social skills. It’s like raising a group of children at one time.” However, Childress warns that childcare isn’t always the right decision for every parent.

“For each family it’s different and each family has to determine what’s right for them. It is priceless”, says Childress.

A recent British study of 1200 children found that children from birth to age three whom were cared for by their mothers developed better then those looked after in daycare, by relatives or nannies.

This doesn’t mean that parents should panic about having their children in daycare. Health and Psychology Editor of Parents Magazine Diane Debrogner says, “Parents are constantly hearing headlines and the good things tend to be overlooked.”

The National Institute of Health has found through a long term study at 14 top universities that children of mothers suffering with depression did better in day care or nurseries.
“Their findings have been very reassuring that the vast amount of children do very well in childcare”, says Childress.

Debrogner says, “The report will re-ignite the debate over the best way to bring up young children. Although the researchers argue that it does not conclude that babies would be better off if their mothers stayed at home with them, it does show that there is a need for better quality day care services for babies and toddlers.”

Parents should look at their individual childcare situation and how their children are doing in this situation. Experts say checking out a daycare for its educational value and the amount of attention it provides to your child is key.

For additional information:

  • Michigan's Department of Human Services

  • National Resource for health and Safety in Child Care

  • Find Child Care in your neighborhood

    I think my story could be a better web story if it had a photo gallery. I would like it to contain pictures of local day cares and activities that go on in these centers. I also think a survey would make this a better web story. It would increase the element of interaction even more and really get readers to think about what they should do with their children. I think a simple question like where are your children cared for, would work for the survey. Readers could choose at home, day cares, grandparents, ect.

  • Tuesday, October 04, 2005


    Huffing Story

    It's cheap, cool and legal...and your kids can easily find it around the house. Cassandra Saunders couldn't believe it when she found her thirteen year old daughter and her fifteen year old friend unconscious in a van outside her home.

    "My little girl and her friends snuck out in the middle of the night and thought it would be cool to get high with some freon." Children like Cassandra's daughter and many others are finding huffing to be fun, but it can kill.

    Huffing is intently inhaling substances with chemical vapors to try to recieve an altered physical or mental state. Studies from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse show that adolescents are getting high from a number of things that they can find in their homes, like nail polish, glue, paint, and bathroom deodorizers to name a few.

    "Huffing is inhaling something for the purpose of getting high, and they can pretty much huff or sniff anything that smells but the ones that get them high are things like gasoline products. These things have accohols in them and have what manfacturers call propellants," says Dr. Stephen R. Knazik of Children's Hospital of Michigan.

    "Kids feel uninhibited, powerful and feel as if they are drunk. Drowsiness and sleep follow the euporia....and sometimes death" says Knazik.

    Cassandra's daughter was revived but her fifteen year old friend was pronounced dead at the scene.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005


    Oct. 4 Assignment

    Assignment For October 4

    Weather Stories

    1. You are writing a weather story about a hurricane, and you want to put it in perspective. Find a site that offers a list of hurricanes, and write the name of the site and the URL; then answer these questions: Clue: Check the National Hurricane Center.

    National Hurricane Center

    a. Name the costliest hurricane in the United States since 1900.

    Hurricane Andrew

    b. When and where did it occur?

    South East Louisiana and South East Florida in 1992

    c. How much were the damages?


    2. You are writing a story about earthquakes. Find a site that offers good tips on earthquake preparedness. Clue: Check the U.S. Geological Survey.

    a. Write the URL for the site.

    Plane Crashes

    3. A small plane has crashed in or near your community. You want to find out how many plane crashes with fatalities occurred in your community and/or your state in the past year. Clue: Check the National Transportation Safety Board under aviation and do a query for your state or area in the past year or two.

    a. How many fatal crashes occurred in the last year?

    Three fatal crashes occured in the last year

    b. How many non-fatal crashes occurred in the last year?

    35 non-fatal crashes occured in the last year

    c. If the type of plane or company involved has had more than one fatal crash in the last year or two, check the record of that company using the same query site.

    No plane or company was involved in more than one fatal crash in the last year

    d. What major investigation of an airline crash did the NTSB conduct in 2000? What was the name of the airline that crashed?

    Alaska Airlines Flight 261

    Alaska Airlines

    U.S. Census Statistics

    4. You are writing a story about population growth in your state. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that in the foreign-born population of the United States will grow significantly. Using the most recent census, localize this story: Clue: U.S. Census Bureau – people – projections for your state.

    d. What is the total population for your state based on the most recent census statistics available?

    9,938,444 (Census 2000)

    Crime Stories

    5. You are writing a story about a sex offender moving into a Roseville, Mich. neighborhood. You know the man's name is Ronald Burnette, but you are not sure of his age or his street address.

    You want to check his story and do a background check on the sex offender. Where can you find information about his address and crimes? Clue: Check the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.

    Michigan Public Sexual Offender Query

    a. What is this man’s last known address?

    25214 Gratiot Lot 39, Roseville MI, 48066

    b. What is his offense as listed on the sex offender registry?

    750.520E1A Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree

    Final exercise.

    Find the home page for your state. Write the URL.

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