Category Archives: Journalism

University of New Haven Department of Communication student work in the area of journalism.

Power, Money & Fashion?

Written by Dayna Lindo

Cloths

When we think of pollution, we envision coal power plants, strip-mined mountaintop,s and raw sewage piped into our waterways. We don’t often think about the shirts on our backs, how they get to us, and where they end up once we no longer need them. The impact the fashion industry has on our planet though is quite grim.

It would shock many fashion lovers (It definitely shocked me) to find out the clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, just a smidgen cleaner than the oil industry. An extreme demand for quick and cheap clothes is destroying our environment.

It’s very likely that the shirt you are wearing traveled to you after coming halfway around the world in a container ship fueled by the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

Pollutants such as pesticides used in cotton farming, toxic dyes used in manufacturing, and the waste of discarded clothing play a role in the destruction of our planet. Add ot that the extravagant amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and shipping.

Another issue, and arguably the most overlooked, is the physical and mental warfare the fashion industry wages on workers, farmers, and citizens in third world countries. The battle is joined by the pressure the West places on industry executives in the countries where people make the clothing.

It is painful to admit that fashion and the pressure to keep up with it has ahuge negative impact on not only third world countries, but the entire world. But it is also understandable that, frankly, people love fashion. Should we have to sacrifice what we love for our world?

We don’t have to.

Safia Minney is a British social entrepreneur and author. She has done amazing things to combat the negative impact the fashion industry has on our planet. She is a well-known spokesperson and campaigner on fair trade and ethical fashion. In 1999, she initiated World Fair Trade Day which is endorsed by the World Fair Trade Organization and their members. It is celebrated on the second Saturday of May each year.

bPerhaps her greatest accomplishment has been the birth of People Tree. People Tree is recognized by customers and the fashion industry as a pioneer in fair trade and environmentally sustainable fashion. For over 20 years, People Tree has partnered with fair trade artisans and farmers in the developing world to produce ethical and eco-fashion collections. Minney and her team make it their mission to create a new way of doing business by creating access to markets and opportunities for people who live in the developing world.

Minney is not the only person seeking to transform the fashion industry into something more environmentally friendly. There are many other organizations such as Fashion Revolution, the Sustainable Apparel Coalitiondoing similar work. As a fashion lover, I realize it is the responsibility of the consumer to invest in these organizations to start the ball rolling. Be mindful of the effect your dollar has because with great power, comes great responsibility.

Each week the editors of the Corral will be highlighting their favorite blog posts from the department of Communication’s senior seminar course. This semester the course focuses on the issues of income inequality and poverty in the United States. Check out the class blog here. A link to Dayna’s original post can be found here.

R.I.P to the American Dream

Written by Steven Mahoney

If, like many Americans, your American dream is to build a better life for your children, you might be better off moving to Denmark, Norway, Finland, or Canada.

single_moms_business_deskAn article by Miles Corak for Pathways magazine analyzes vast amounts of data surrounding intergenerational earnings mobility, or the percentage change in child earnings for each percentage change in parental earnings.

In the U.S., 40 to 50 percent of income inequality is passed on to children through generations. This is closer to countries like Peru, South Africa, China, and Brazil where 50 to 60 percent of income inequality is passed on generationally. On the other end of the spectrum is Denmark, Norway, Finland and Canada, where less than 20 percent of inequality is passed down generationally.

ladderThis may come to a surprise to many Americans, especially those who believe the American Dream is still intact. Corak finds that money isn’t the only thing that matters for increasing intergenerational earnings mobility. This is a better system, Corak said, because children need more than just money to flourish. In a high-mobility country like Canada, a much higher percentage of parents read to their children on a daily basis regardless of parental education level.

In the United States, a higher percentage of mothers are in poor health. Why? We have expensive healthcare and no federal paid sick leave policy. A higher percentage of mothers are forced to work full-time jobs to make ends meet. That’s not the case with countries with higher economic mobility. The United States also has more children born to teen moms, and less children who live with both biological parents.

Corak says that there are three takeaway from this information: stable and secure families are central to childhood development and must be promoted, work-family balance needs to shift in favor of families, and the playing field needs to open up to the disadvantaged early on because it’s more difficult to create opportunity after the fact.

Each week the editors of the Corral will be highlighting their favorite blog posts from the department of Communication’s senior seminar course. This semester the course focuses on the issues of income inequality and poverty in the United States. Check out the class blog here. A link to Steven’s original post can be found here.

The happiest (and most expensive) place on earth

Written by: Elissa Sanci

As many college students do, I made the pilgrimage to Florida for spring break. Initially, I wanted to go to Disney World for at least one day. In my 22 years of life, I had yet to see Cinderella’s castle, hug Goofy, or wear a pair of mouse ears, so I figured now was just a good a time as any.

After looking at the ticket prices, I was appalled, immediately scratching “visit the happiest place on Earth” from my list. A one-day pass to any of the four Disney theme parks in Orlando, Fla. was an unbelievable $97.

Then I started thinking. Millions of families from all over the world visit Disney World every year, and, at $97 for one day, I wondered how much revenue Disney World makes per day.

I found a website that continuously updates the amount of money each individual Disney Park makes. After spending just 30 seconds on the Magic Kingdom’s page, I watched Disney earn more than $1,900. After 12 minutes on the site, the happiest place on Earth had racked up a little less than $48,000—roughly the same amount as a year of tuition at the University of New Haven.

aAccording to the site, the Magic Kingdom, arguably the most popular of the Disney parks and home to the iconic castle, earns $67.14 per second. Blizzard Beach, a water theme park owned by Disney in Orlando, Fla., makes the least, racking up $6.86 a second—but that’s $411.60 per minute, and that’s more money than I make in two weeks at my minimum wage job.

So is it fair that Disney rakes in millions a day when some people in Americastruggle for access to clean water? There are Americans living in poverty, children without access to education and single parents struggling to buy toilet paper—but it’s all okay as long fireworks go off every night over Cinderella’s castle.

Each week the editors of the Corral will be highlighting their favorite blog posts from the department of Communication’s senior seminar course. This semester the course focuses on the issues of income inequality and poverty in the United States. Check out the class blog here. A link to Elissa’s original post can be found here

Toyota is Moving in the Wrong Direction

Written by Alana-Rose Davis

One of Toyota’s famous slogans is “Moving Forward.”

However, the only thing this company seems to be doing is moving backward. Recently, the Japanese car company was caught red-handed discriminating against its minority customers. Toyota was charging higher interest rates on auto loans to African-American and Asian and Pacific Islanders, in comparison to Caucasian borrowers. According to CBS Los Angeles, “the average African-American borrower paid more than $200 more during the term of a loan, and the average Asian/Pacific Islander borrower who paid more than $100 over the term of a loan.” The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits this action, but Toyota seemed to feel exempt from this law.

Read more here to see what Toyota thinks of these allegations.

toyota-airbag-recallTo right their wrongs, Toyota has agreed to pay $20 million to borrowers who took out loans between the 2011 and 2016. Toyota also agreed to pay $2 million to Blacks and Asians who were discriminated against.

This is, sadly, a direct example of the racial gap and income inequality effect. When companies such as Toyota feel that people who are not Caucasian deserve to pay higher interest rates, it creates distrust between the consumer and the producer. It also may put minorities in debt they really shouldn’t be in. This debt could go on to affect their credit score, which could affect any future loans. This further advances income equality because Johnny who is African American will have to pay more money than Billy, his Caucasian peer — merely because of his race. Read more here!

The Face of Student Debt

Written by Kaitlin Mahar

Shakeem T. Fowler, a 22-year-old student at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn., was charged with second-degree larceny last week for stealing about $14,000 in cash receipts from BJ’s Wholesale Club.Why, you ask? What’s the difference between this man and any other troubled youth from Bridgeport, Conn.?

shakeem-fowler

The answer is simple. Shakeem needed to pay his tuition.

While not everybody takes the route of stealing from their places of employment, college students go to ridiculous lengths to be able to get their education, all for the slight chance of providing a better life for themselves and their loved ones. According to a 2013 Huffington Post article, 53 percent of readers said a college degree was necessary for a good life, as opposed to the 28 percent who believed it isn’t.

Additionally, 62 percent believed that public college tuition wasn’t affordable. Fowler exemplifies what this country has come to: Students having to steal in order to afford their education.

Is he really the criminal here? Or is he yet another victim of the cold, domineering hand of Sallie Mae as she squeezes the life and life savings out of today’s students?

Take another look at Fowler. He isn’t simply a poster boy for those who want an education. Shakeem T. Fowler is a representative of those who need an education and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, no matter the cost.

Each week the editors of the Corral will be highlighting their favorite blog posts from the department of Communication’s senior seminar course. This semester the course focuses on the issues of income inequality and poverty in the United States. Check out the class blog here. A link to Kaitlin’s original post can be found here.

Sexism is Burning a Hole in My Pocket

Written by Maya Szymanski

UntitledWhy are women products higher in price compared to the male forms of the same product? A Washington Post article said “women’s deodorants typically cost 30 cents more than the same product for men.” And:

“The only discernible difference was scent.”

Listen, I didn’t ask to smell like flowers, yet these companies are telling me that’s what a woman should smell like.

UntitledIt’s a deeply flawed system created by big companies punishing an entire gender. This relates to other self-care products as well. At this point I’m getting dangerously close to making shady deals in back alleys for my razors. And women’s hair product prices are through the roof, compared  to men’s. We both need shampoo and conditioner but women are told they need “special” stuff completely appealing to the superficial nature of society. Why should I be punished for having luscious hair. (I can’t pull off the pixie cut; I just won’t do it, and you can’t make me.)

Coat a product in pink adds much to the price. Business Insider refers to this phenomenon as the “pink tax” and said that there was a…

California study that revealed women pay $1,351 a year more for the same products as men.

This is literally the definition of American capitalism. It’s actually not a market of choice. It is a system driven by the constant goal to turn a profit by exploitation. I say we try to abandon the mindset that everything needs to be separate with men and women products just because of societies determined gender roles.

But I guess at the end of the day we may both be tired and overworked. But at least my nails look unbelievable.

Each week the editors of the Corral will be highlighting their favorite blog post from the department of Communication’s senior seminar course. This semester the course focuses on the issues of income inequality and poverty in the United States. Check out the class blog here. A link to Maya’s original post can be found here.

Everyone Has Body Issues

Written by Caleb Harris

Our culture has many views on what a person should look like.

The media covers body issues for females, but rarely for males. Males suffer from the same pressures that females do to maintain that “perfect” image as well. For males, most body issues start with action figures, male models, and comic book heroes with muscular physiques.

chartAccording to TheAtlantic.com’s article on body image pressures, Dr. Alison Field, an associate professor of pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, studies pressure on young boys.

“You want people to be concerned enough about their weight to make healthy decisions, but not so concerned that they’re willing to take whatever means it takes healthy or unhealthy to achieve their desired physique,” Field said. Many young boys feel pressed to look a certain way, often leading to unhealthy performance drugs.

A Huffington Post article discusses Tyler Kingkade’s story.

“At 14, I don’t remember a single day I felt thin,” he said, “and yet I was in great shape, playing hockey regularly.” Both males and females suffer from their own hidden insecurities. It’s not merely a gender thing, it’s a people thing. We go through our own issues as we get older because of the media and society’s expectations of perfection.

Super Bowl Rings Cost More Than My Tuition

By Elissa Sanci

On first glance, I mistook last year’s Super Bowl ring for an over-sized bedazzled high school class ring as the camera zoomed in on it during Super Bowl 50. I caught myself wondering why anyone would want an eyesore like that.

And then I caught myself wondering—and Googling—how much that eye sore even cost.

Let’s do some simple math. According to ESPN, the rings for last year’s winning team were $36,500 a pop. The NFL foots the bill for 150 rings for the winning team, so, depending on the ever-fluctuating cost of gold and silver, they normally spend more than $5 million. On rings.

The NFL spends $5.475 million for these rings—each year. Multiply that cost by fifty Super Bowls, and we’re looking at a grand total of $273.75 million. One ring alone costs more than a year of college for me, and it’s spent in a matter of minutes, just to remind an already well-paid football player that he’s won the Super Bowl, which could have easily been done with a $15 t-shirt.

More than 45 million Americans are living in poverty. The annual income threshold for a person living in poverty was $11,490 in 2013, and $23,550 for a family of four. In some states, a family can make as little as $25,309 while still meeting the criteria for middle class, the “average” class of America.

The price of one Super Bowl ring—essentially a glorified class ring—is greater than the net income of an average family of four. So when a Super Bowl champ wears his ring even once, he could be supporting an entire family for a year. Let that one sink in.

Each week the editors of the Corral will be highlighting their favorite blog post from the department of Communication’s senior seminar course. This semester the course focuses on the issues of income inequality and poverty in the United States. Check out the class blog here. A link to Elissa’s original post can be found here.

 

Why Millennials are ‘Bern-ing’ for Bernie

By Steven Mahoney

Bernie Sanders’s life long history of advocacy for the oppressed and authenticity terrifies the establishment and excites young people while giving them hope and interest in the political process. Sanders promises revolutionary change that excites young people who are fed up with crony capitalism and big money in politics. Some of Sanders’s promises include breaking up “too big to fail” banks, placing more regulation on Wall Street, creating a single payer healthcare system, and providing free college tuition at all public universities.

Primary season kicked off at the beginning of the month with the Iowa Caucus. According to NBC News, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders came away with about 50% of the vote with Hillary taking the slight edge. February 9 was the New Hampshire Primary, where according to NBC News, Bernie Sanders came away with 60% of the vote, while Hillary Clinton lagged behind with just 38%. In both of these cases exit polls showed that young voters had a strong preference for Sanders over Clinton. In Iowa, according to an NBC News exit poll, 84% of 17-29 year-olds supported Sanders. While in New Hampshire, 83% of 18-29 year-olds supported Sanders.

Jamelle Bouie of Slate was onto something when he said that Hillary Clinton is a transactional politician, while Bernie Sanders is more ideological. Typically, transactional leadership is compared with transformational leadership. This may be one of the main reasons why Bernie is so successful amongst young voters even though he and Clinton have many similar views politically.

Transactional leaders are managerial leaders who focus on supervision, organization, and group performance. They motivate their followers by reward and punishment, and are typically associated with maintaining the status quo. Bouie says that it is hard to get people excited about a transactional politician, and says this is why Sanders’s campaign has generated so much more enthusiasm than Clinton’s.

Bernie Sanders is a transformational politician whose campaign revolves around the idea of leading a political revolution. Transformational leaders work to implement new ideas and create change by inspiring subordinates with high minded idealism and authenticity. They also encourage followers to think about group interest rather than self-interest.

Hillary Clinton is not fighting for the best interest of working class Americans, nor does she have the foresight needed to create the change our corrupt political system needs. Clinton represents the establishment and everything wrong with the current system. For Clinton the presidency is likely about legacy, power, and ultimately feeding her ego.

Clinton represents the reckless financial sector that many attribute with cause of the Great Recession of 2008. The New York Times reported that Bill and Hillary Clinton have made over $125 million in speaking fees since 2001. The Clintons gave some of those paid speeches to Wall Street firms. The New York Times reported that Goldman Sachs paid Clinton $675,000 for three speeches. The Washington Post reported that Bernie Sanders has criticized Hillary Clinton for taking over $15 million dollars in Super Pac money, many of which came from Wall Street. Just last week it was widely reported that the CEO of Goldman Sachs expressed his fear at the idea of a Bernie Sanders presidency.

Young people want real change and not deception and empty promises. Hillary Clinton represents the status quo, and everything wrong with the United States, while seeming manufactured. Bernie Sanders is a lifelong advocate for the oppressed, an authentic change maker, and a revolutionary leader. If Bernie Sanders does not get the nomination I will not be voting because that would be reinforcing the oppressive American ideological system of profits over people.

 

UNH Seton Gallery Debuts Spring 2016 Exhibit

Written by Dayna Lindo

This Thursday, February 11, UNH Seton Gallery with artists and director, Laura Marsh will debut well-known artist, Felandus Thames’ most recent works, Whereabouts Unknown. The opening will take place in Dodds Hall from 5pm to 8pm, and will provide coffee, light refreshments, and a relaxing environment, allowing students the opportunity to revel in the art, and exchange thoughts, feelings and experiences.

For the past month, Thames has been working within the UNH community as an artist-in-residence, and has transformed Seton Gallery into a space reflecting his calm, and hospitable demeanor. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, and having spent some of his childhood in Chicago and Detroit, Thames emphasized how important community is to him. He says one thing he likes to do to gain inspiration is walk through his community.

“I like to think about how dollars circulate in the community. I try never to go to the big store, because those dollars go straight out. If I can get my art materials in my community, that’s what I want to do. I don’t care if you’re the white guy, black guy, green guy, indian guy, whatever. I am a stickler about community. And I begin to make relationships with the people who own the shops too. It’s important to me to community build on that level,” replied Thames.

In 2010, Felandus earned his MFA in Paint/Printmaking from Yale University’s School of Art. He described his art studio as a scientific lab, stating that he’s constantly pulling from previous work, and scrapping other ideas completely.

“My work is self-reflective in a weird kind of way. I think about my personal experiences, but I also try not to make it too personal. I teach a little bit, but I try not to be too didactic. I also try to think about myself, outside of myself, and what people may want to gain from experiencing me. I allow multiple discourses to happen at once in my work,” said Thames.

Thames revealed that his inspiration for this particular show was the prison industrial complex. He talked briefly about his love for haikus, and how two books in particular helped him build inspiration for his most recent works, ”Ideas of Ancestry” by Etheridge Knight (central theme) and S.O.S by Amiri Baraka.

Laura Marsh, the director and curator of Seton Gallery, as well as the owner of her own gallery in Downtown New Haven, expressed what she hopes students will take away from the experience of an artist-in-residence.

“Our university talks a lot about experiential education, and interdisciplinary studies. I’ve noticed that a lot of the conversations that I’ve been a part of here, or at Yale, surrounding the idea of race, always has breaking point. As an artist myself, I think when artists work together to build on personal narratives, or community, it is essential to keep that dialogue going,” Marsh explained.

Marsh stated that when race is discussed in a classroom, most of the time, she feels it is discussed in a very didactic manner, and is not always humanizing. She expressed frustration to this practice, and hopes that the gallery will be an experiential learning experience for students to create a new dialogue in how sensitive topics are discussed.

“If there is a way to discuss personal narratives, and how communities can relate to each other through class, through objects, through sharing, but also talk about the work, where its coming from, and the diaspora; when all of those things can connect, a point of intersection happens,” stated Marsh, “I hope there will be more experiences where, instead of attempting to cover 30 years of U.S. history in one class session, we could share family experiences.”

Marsh concluded that the end result of the exhibit is definitely important to her and Felandus Thames, but the reason she asks students to come and visit before the debut, is because it is important to her that students  actively share in the experiences leading up to opening day.

The Advantages of “Shallow” Journalism

Written by Dayna Lindo

Published December 4, 2015

While the western journalists shown in the movie The Year of Living Dangerously were portrayed negatively, the viewer can come away with some positive thoughts about journalism. The western journalists were portrayed as crude, insensitive and money-hungry with only the intent to capitalize off of the Indonesian citizens’ struggles. But if examined more critically, their role in Indonesia are essential because they embody the “mainstream media.” Though the journalist’s news stories might not illustrate the personal reality of the Indonesian citizens’ struggle, their objective reporting still leaves room for individual interpretation.

            When compared to mainstream media of today like NBC news, CNN, or FOX news, the role of the western journalists in the movie prove no different than these popular news outlets’ objectives. The western journalists are seeking to produce news stories that will generate the most profit. Although shallow, the stories that the journalists in the film produce are important because their audiences are diverse. People who read their stories are not only citizens of the west, but also freelance journalists, non-profit journalists, bloggers, and other diverse forms of medium enthusiasts. These kinds of writers are less interested in making the most profit from their stories, and more interested in reporting journalism from a humanitarian perspective. But in order to invoke change, journalists who pride their success on spreading awareness have to acquire their inspiration from some form of media first.

            In short, getting rid of the western journalists in The Year of Living Dangerously movie would do more harm than good. It would decrease awareness of a pressing international issue. However, like with anything, I do believe there is always room for improvement. To do this, the western journalists could have reported the facts of the Indonesian government and environment, while also including Indonesian citizens’ testimonies to support the facts. Not only would this improve their news stories, but it would also paint a picture, or put the reality into perspective for media consumers.

This piece was written by Dayna Lindo for a Pictorial Journalism course taught by Professor Robert Rattner. The assignment was to watch the film, “The Year of Living Dangerously” and provide a response to whether the Western journalists portrayed in the film served a purpose, or if the Indonesian citizens of the time would have been better off had the journalists not sought to exploit their harsh reality.

Media Literacy Combats Media Bias

Written by Dayna Lindo

Published December 4, 2015

With each story we encounter, what we deem most important and choose to take away depends on our individual ideologies. Ideology refers to how an individual understands the world in which they live based on the experiences they have had. Every written story is brought about from the same thing; a storyteller. The same logic holds true for news stories published in the media, but instead, the storytellers of news stories are referred to as journalists. Any story, be it fiction, non-fiction, folktale, or a biography, leaves each individual reader with a different feeling. The content published in the news medium we consume has been censored in one way or another. It is impossible to write an unbiased news story, unless a journalist solely limits their story content to who, what, when, where, and why. But even then, the content that is selected to portray the “who” and the “why” are still influenced by a journalist’s ideology.

Critically examining the top news media outlets’ headlines on the recent tragedies taking place in Paris is a prime example of how collective ideology seeps into news stories. American media channels such as the NBC News display similar headlines with words like “terror” or “ISIS.” These  word choices are influenced by the terrorists attacks of 9/11, and invoke fear and excitement in the targeted audiences. International media channels such as BBC News display headlines such as, “Paris Attacks: Search goes on for missing.” This kind of headline places emphasis on the victims of the attacks. The ideology within international news and American news content varies widely, and exposes what each medium deems as most important.

Most American citizens consume messages within media passively. They accept what is laid out in front of them as truth, and often forget to analyze the content critically to ensure it is in line with their own ideology. Most are not even aware that they have the power, freedom or ability to challenge the content within the media. The content that news sources select, and how they are covered embody media bias. A revolutionary approach to interpreting media and technology, known as media literacy, seeks to provide a framework that educates and encourages individuals to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate in media messages. It is the process of understanding and using mass media in an assertive and non-passive way. Media literate individuals understand the nature of media, can identify the hegemonic techniques used in a medium, and explain the impact of these techniques.

Media literacy involves watching carefully, and thinking critically. Because most news media take part in agenda setting, which is the persuasive ability to tell people what to think and who to talk about, media literacy advocates encourage media consumers to take advantage of their access to news sources. Access is the ability of media consumers to produce their own texts and to have those texts acknowledged by the agenda setting media. Consumers of media are encouraged to respond to the dominant media and challenge the connotations within news stories. Simply looking for political agendas, stereotypes or misrepresentation is not media literacy; it also involves exploring the systems making certain representations seem “normal.”

Works Cited

            Boles, Derek. “Language of Media Literacy: A Glossary of Terms.” Language of Media Literacy: A Glossary of Terms. Center for Media Literacy, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Chrum, Alex. “A Quest for Truth: A List of the Top 8 Unbiased News Sources.” Debateorg Blog. N.p., 24 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Engel, Pamela. “Here Are The Most- And Least-Trusted News Outlets In America.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“Media Literacy: A Definition and More.” Media Literacy: A Definition and More. Center for Media Literacy, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

This piece was written by Dayna Lindo for an American Government and Politics course taught by Professor Kate O’Gara. The assignment was to support or refute the statement, “The is no such thing as an unbiased media source.”

Media Censorship: What They Don’t Want You To See

Written by Alexandra Halfinger, Benjamin Hammel, Jazmin JeanBaptiste & Marwa Lahlou​

The censorship of the media plays a bigger role in our lives than we commonly believe it does. The controlling involvement of the government and the fourth estate of media have influenced the lives of many generations, and will continue to deter the minds of the media researchers. We hope that in our research we can confront the issues of censoring, banning, and the prohibition of certain media properties, including those from television, music and radio, film, and the internet. As each part is examined, it will disclose the puzzling questions and myths regarding what is and is not allowed to be inserted into the daily lives of Americans. Once these sources are touched upon, the increased and heightened knowledge will help us better understand media and technology.

What is media censorship?

After much research and speculation, media censorship is a concept in which the media that is consumed daily by people is blocked or filtered for the safety of the public. It has been identified as a major factor affecting American lives, specifically through mediums of television, music, news, and film.

Summary:

With experience and deep review, it can be confirmed that the censorship of the media is a heavier topic than once discussed. The media hides certain aspects of what is produced for the public, due to the reason of protection and appropriateness. The media gatekeepers monopolize broadcasting, whether it be through the radio, television, the big screen, or news sources. The industry of music and recording has a massive reputation in terms of censoring, because of the inappropriate or government defying properties incorporated. Other genres, like hip hop, have been targeted because of the excessive implication of violence, profanity, and promotion of drugs. Initially, music genres were formed as a creative outlet for artists, yet the FCC interjected and generated an industry stir. In the research conducted about television, it was discovered that the “The Big Three,” consisting of obscene programing, indecent material, and profane language, changed the way television was censored by the FCC.

These three concepts made it so certain materials were either banned from daytime television or television entirely. Six different television ratings were also mandatorily given to all television programs, with the exclusion of news, sports, and unedited movies on premium cable channels. In 2000, it became obligatory for channel blocking, and also for a “V-chip,” to be put in all televisions 13 inches or larger. This gives parents the option to block certain material. In connection to content being blocked for censored on a screen, the film industry is another large corporation which takes part in graphic prohibition. Although cinema has been a part of American culture for centuries, the rise of violence and profanity caused a spark in the MPAA. After a ratings system was introduced in 1968, it was determined that movies which followed specific MPAA guidelines would have ratings to inform an audience on what type of movie is being shown.

The MPAA singles out the usage of explicit language, nudity, violence, and sex in a film, and will determine the initial rating based off of that. As much controversy as this caused, it then questioned a filmmakers first amendment rights and the right for creative expressionism and freedom of speech, particularly through visual art. As lenient as censorship in the film industry may be, it does bring about key points in the monitoring from the MPAA and what people are and aren’t allowed to see in a movie theater. The last form of censored media is through the regulation of news. It has been analyzed that the government gatekeepers filter out news and arrange what the public can get a hold of. There are also instances in which the news eradicates important topics for the purpose of public interest. This is done because if individuals focus on specific sound bites or a 30 second clip about important news, it could make that individual question the government and it’s policies. Eventually, the concept of “Garbage News” was generated to inform people that the unimportant news they read daily is intentionally released so the real news doesn’t affect the public. This method of news filtration can be summed up through the act of gatekeeping, which is related to the other mediums of the media which are censored.

This is a research paper that was written in an Understanding Media and Technology course and submitted to the New Haven Corral by Professor Eun-A Park.The paper was presented at a workshop at the University of Hartford and will be submitted to the Eastern Communication Association 2016 conference.

Are Honorary Degrees Pointless?

Written by Steven Mahoney

October 7, 2015

A recent New York Times article reported on the universities that are revoking the honorable degrees Bill Cosby has been awarded in his tenure as an entertainer. Why do honorable degrees exist in the first place? As a society, are we are better off without them?

The University of Oxford gave the first honorary degree on record in the late 1470s to honor and gain favor with Lionel Woodville, brother-in-law of Edward IV, the king of England, according to the University of Oxford. These degrees were given when it deemed necessary to exempt some or all of the degree requirements. The degrees were considered to be full degrees.

Today, honorary degrees are given more as an award for achievement or recognition to famous or otherwise noteworthy people. The degrees serve a more practical purpose of creating publicity, or generating donations from the recipient. They generally do not carry the same weight as a degrees earned by meeting standard university requirements.

Honorary degrees send the wrong message to people that have to do rigorous coursework and spend countless hours earning their degrees. Celebrities like Bill Cosby, Ben Affleck, Oprah Winfrey, and Kanye West are given honorable degrees for being famous. These people didn’t necessarily become famous because they worked harder and are smarter than you or I. They are famous because the conditions of their life were right for them to rise to the top of the sphere of pop culture. It takes a lot of luck and other conditions that are completely outside of one’s control to get famous.

Many people are unable to attend college or have to drop out because they suffer from depression, the death of a family member, illness, or financial trouble. Giving celebrities degrees for “achievement” supports the notion that the reason the rest of us aren’t as financially successful is because we are lazy and stupid, which is simply not true.

Celebrities should not be awarded these honorable degrees because they disproportionally benefit from the societal and economic structures that keep the rest of us oppressed. Universities, as academic institutions, ought to stay outside of pop culture, and award honorable degrees to average people that make a contribution to the sum of human knowledge, invent something groundbreaking, or do selfless work in their communities.

This article was written in an Interpretive and Editorial Writing course and submitted to the New Haven Corral by Professor Susan Campbell. Steven Mahoney is a Senior at the University of New Haven graduating in May of 2016.

8 Reasons Why Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders is “Bae”

Litigated article by: Dayna Lindo

Published October 8, 2015

As stated in an article published by the Guardian, since declaring his bid for the White House in April, Bernie Sanders, a self-stated Democratic socialist, has held some of the biggest rallies of any of the Democratic or Republican candidates. The Vermont senator – an independent in the Senate, but running for the Democratic nomination – hosted a live webcast in July that was watched by around 100,000 people at 3,500 different events nationwide.

1. He is engaging more Millennials to become interested in politics

Bernie is Bae 1

Politicians do not often inspire memes, or clothing lines, or indeed young people in general. Young people are not even supposed to be interested in politics right now. The number of 18- to 29-year-olds voting declined from 2008 to 2012. The 2014 midterms saw the lowest youth turnout ever: just 19.9%.

Since his announcement for the presidential seat, Sanders has inspired countless hashtags, memes and general fanfare. On Instagram, #feelthebern and #Bernie2016 vie for dominance with the #babesforbernie hashtag – which is mainly self-applied by young women who are holding or wearing some sort of Sanders apparel. On Facebook, 1.8 million people like Sanders’s page, 0.6 million more than the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and 1.6 million more than Republican Jeb Bush.

2. His moral track record is consistent

Bernie is Bae 2

“One thing is his genuineness. He’s been a consistent warrior against economic inequality since the 60s, and he hasn’t changed a bit,” stated Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, an organization that encourages young people to get involved in politics.

Nick Kowalczyk, 29, when asked about the design on his shirt which vaguely resembles an outline of the head of the Vermont senator and leftwing candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, stated he is planning to wear a lot of “Bernie For President” apparel in the next few weeks and upcoming year.

“Bernie Sanders uses socialism in the way it makes sense, which is just good, common, moral, ethical policy,” Kowalczyk says. “And I appreciate the guy’s honesty and his steadfastness to his beliefs. His consistency.”

3. He acknowledges that civil rights is a work-in-progress in the U.S. and wants to work on it

Bernie is Bae 3

Before the Supreme Court’s recent “equal marriage for all”  announcement, Sanders declared that it was “time for the Supreme Court to catch up to the American people and legalize gay marriage.” In 1996, then-Rep. Sanders voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed by the states and was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the 14th Amendment in 2013.

Sanders doesn’t just stop on the issue of equality for LGBT Americans; he has been a longtime supporter of women’s rights as well. Sanders has voted against numerous anti-abortion bills in his time in Congress, and has been given a 100% rating by NARAL every year since 2003.

Beth Basketville, 25, stated that she attended an event supporting a political candidate for the first time in her life. “He’s the only person running who I’d actually want to be in the White House,” Basketville says. “I like that he’s the candidate that supports women and marginalized individuals. He’s the only one who’s really looking out for those groups.”

4. He understands the HELL that is student loans, and actually wants to do something about it

Bernie is Bae 4

It isn’t a secret that the burden student debt has dampened the once idolized idea of attending college for a higher education, and in turn, a higher income salary. But even long before Sanders declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, finding solutions to combat the increasing cost of higher education was a major part of his mission as a senator. He has supported extending subsidized federal student loan rates, as well as making employee educational assistance tax-deductible.

Last year, surrounded by Vermont college students and graduates wrestling with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, Sanders announced that he was introducing legislation to help students earn college credits in high school in order to cut the amount of time they spend paying tuition costs.

“Millennials, we in general identify ourselves as the generation of debt,” says Moumita Ahmed, part of a team which runs People for Bernie, an activist group independent from Sanders’s campaign. “That’s our identity. Bernie Sanders that’s one of his biggest issues: his biggest platform is debt inequality.”

5. He’s down with the digital era

Bernie is Bae 5

Who ever said you can’t bring about change through the internet? With so many Millennials spreading “Bern-fever” through sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we are proving just how we CAN actually make a social impact through the use of social media.

According to social media monitor Crowd Tangle, Sanders has the highest-level engagement on his individual Facebook posts when compared to the other candidates running for president. He has the largest number of people liking his messages, sharing his thoughts, and commenting on his plans.

Kawashima-Ginsberg stated that his ability to translate online popularity to real-life support is a demonstration of how millennials do not have the same separation between their online and real-world lives as older generations.

6. He questions the validity of the war on drugs

Bernie is Bae 6

Although he’s still skeptical of legalization across the board, Sanders labels the War on Drugs as a “failed policy” that has trapped millions of nonviolent offenders in an endless prison-to-prison pipeline.

This aligns with the views of a vast majority of millennials, who support the legalization of marijuana use and possession. According to Pew Research Center, 68% of millennials support the legalization of recreational marijuana nationwide. (Before tossing out the “that’s just pothead twenty-somethings” canard, Pew also found that only 52% of millennials have actually tried marijuana, meaning that legalization of recreational pot is more popular than pot itself.)

7. He is concerned about the well-being of our environment

Bernie is Bae 7

In 2012, Sanders blasted Sen. Jim Inhofe (he of “snowballs prove climate change is a scam” infamy) for being one of the biggest climate skeptics in Congress.

“The bottom line is that when Sen. Inhofe says global warming is a hoax, he is just dead wrong, according to the vast majority of climate scientists,” Sanders said. “For better or worse, when Sen. Inhofe speaks, the Republican party follows. And when the Republican party follows, it is impossible to get real work done in the Congress.”

The next year, Sanders introduced the Climate Protection Act, which would tax greenhouse gas emissions and invest the revenue in research into clean energy. According to a University of Texas Energy Poll, 56% of millennials say that they are inclined to vote for candidates who support cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

8. He is less concerned with filling his own pockets with cash and more concerned with America’s widening wealth gap

Bernie is Bae 8

Sanders told Mother Jones in an interview, “There is something immoral when so few have so much and so many have so little. I don’t come to San Francisco very often, but we’ve driven around the city and seen people sleeping out on the streets. In my state, you’ve got people working 40, 50 hours a week and going to emergency food shelves because they don’t earn enough money to feed their families adequately. You have millions of young people graduating college deeply in debt. They can’t get their lives started, can’t get married. So I think the issue of income and wealth inequality is in fact a moral issue.”

Sixty-four percent of millennials believe that the gap between rich and poor has grown during their lifetimes, according to a Harvard Public Opinion Project poll. And they are finding that even in their twenties, income inequality is widening the wealth gap between them and their peers.

“People are working longer hours for lower wages and are exhausted,” Sanders told Mother Jones. “I think they don’t have the energy to engage in political struggle. And second of all, the power of the billionaire class, people look up and say, ‘We can’t beat them.’”

Sources:

Gabbatt, Adam. “Millennials ‘heart’ Bernie Sanders: Why the Young and Hip Are #FeelingtheBern.” The Gaurdian. © 2015 Guardian News and Media Limited, 20 Aug. 2015. Web.

Bixby, Scott. “Definitive Proof That Bernie Sanders Is the Candidate Young People Need.” Mic. Policy.Mic, 15 May 2015. Web.

Social Media – Not So Social After All

Over the last decade there has been an incredible shift in the field of communication technology. Websites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many others have changed the game not only for the business industry but also for the average consumer. When talking about social media most put an emphasis on all the good that has come out of it in terms of advertising and global connections among other things. The problem these new generations are beginning to face is the way they are used to communicating. Social media allows people to dedicate more face-to-screen time which is creating less face-to-face time.

Apps like Instagram have created this false sense of “enjoyment”. Younger generations are more focused on making sure the lighting is perfect in a picture at a concert than actually enjoying the concert itself. The main purpose behind Instagram has shifted from being a place where users can look back and remember fun times he or she had, and has not become a place where photos are primarily posted to make others envious of what someone else is doing. The emphasis is no longer on the event itself but on what the event can make others feel in comparison to the individual posting. The illusion of fun social media is giving, takes away from the actual fun that can be had interacting with others.

There is no denying social media technologies have not done incredible things as far as keeping families and friends in touch no matter how far away they are from one another. The problem arises when an increasing number of people would rather stay at home and communicate with others than get off his or her couch and have some real world interactions. According to an article written by Jennifer Brannock Cox, a professor at Salisbury University, research conducted by social scientists has shown signs of decreasing participation in community events. More people are deciding to stay indoors on his or her devices instead of meeting up with people to participate in such events.

There are even more people using online dating sites as a means to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. A study conducted in 2013 showed 17% of marriages that year consisted of those who had first encounters through online dating sites, according to statisticbrain.com. As the online presence increases, users will forget how to interact with one another when forced into close quarters. Now-a-days if a person looks around, whether it is on the train or at a restaurant, he or she will find a majority of the people are looking down at his or her phone, unaware and uninterested to what is going on around him or her. Research has shown that “one in four people spend more time socializing online, via sites such as Facebook and Twitter, than they do in person,” according to a study conducted for online casino Yazino. Avid social media users are forgetting what it is like to actually experience things because he or she is too concerned about what “Sarah” is doing tonight.

Written by:

Brianna Rodriguez

Editor-in-Chief

How to Prepare for the Graduate School Application Process

Throughout the last few years, I have had a number of students come through my door asking questions about whether they should pursue graduate study. Given that many students have had similar queries, I thought it would be useful to provide a short explanation of considerations that should be made when making decisions about graduate school and steps that should be taken when preparing for the application process. Depending on one’s personal interests and career goals, the steps that should be taken when deciding to pursue graduate study are different. In particular, the process for individuals seeking a professional degree such as a J.D. or a M.B.A., would be different than the process for an individual seeking a degree in the social sciences. For these reasons, it must be noted that this article is focused on the steps one should take when pursuing a graduate degree in communication (in particular, a research-oriented degree).

Prior to discussing how to prepare for the application process, it is crucial for a potential graduate student to take some time to consider why they wish to attend graduate school. Is it because one believes an advanced degree will make them more competitive on the job market? Is it because an individual has an intense passion for a particular field and would like to devote their life to it? Regardless of one’s reasons, it is very important to consider the rationale for this option. Pursuing graduate study can be a long process that requires a considerable amount of drive and commitment (if done well). As such, it is incredibly important that individuals put a lot of thought into their decision about moving forward in higher education.

While I found this path to be challenging and rewarding, it is not a path everyone has to take. Since we all have varied interests, expertise and career goals, graduate study will certainly benefit some more than others. When it comes down to it, whether or not one wishes to pursue graduate study is a personal decision. While graduate study can refine existing skills and make an individual a more attractive candidate for some communication-related positions, this is not a “one-size-fits-all” decision. Therefore, it is necessary to determine whether or not working toward an advanced degree would assist a prospective student in reaching their professional goals.

If an individual has weighed the options and decided that pursuing graduate study is the way to go, there are a number of tasks that need to be completed prior to (and during) the application process. Starting these tasks early will make the process easier and will likely improve one’s chances of success.

Step One: Gain Experience

When pursuing graduate study, students learn how to be an expert in their field. For example, if an individual is pursuing a research-oriented program, he or she will learn how to become an expert researcher. Eventually, these skills can translate into positions in government, non-government organizations and/or higher education. Prior to delving into these programs, it is important for an individual to determine whether or not this would be a good career fit by gaining experience in this domain. There are a number of ways one could gain research experience. The easiest way would be to contact a professor at one’s university, discuss research interests and determine whether or not it would be possible to work on a collaborative research project. Another way to gain experience would be to obtain a research-oriented internship. Each summer, countless research-oriented internships are available for students looking to gain experience in this sphere. If this is something one would like to pursue, they should get in touch with faculty members for more information on where to find internship opportunities.

Step Two: Make Connections

Making connections within the discipline can also be incredibly helpful when applying to graduate school. Nearly all graduate school applications require prospective applicants to submit letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation speak to a candidate’s qualifications to pursue graduate study. These letters often come from mentors, supervisors and faculty members who have long-standing relationships with the applicant. Strong letters can make a candidate stand out amongst others. Therefore, it is important to develop strong relationships with instructors and professors. To do this, students should try to stand out in class and visit professors during office hours. Not only will those connections assist students in obtaining letters of recommendation when they are needed for graduate school, but faculty members will often be able to provide students with invaluable advice about the ins and outs of the graduate school application process.

Step Three: Prepare and Take the Graduate Record Exam

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is intended to assess students’ abilities in the areas of analytical writing, mathematics and vocabulary. Admissions committees use students’ scores on this test as one (of many) proxy measures to predict potential success in their program. Given this, students should start to review for the exam early in their college career. Specifically, junior year would be a good time to start preparing for this exam. Students should make sure they have taken the exam prior to applying for graduate programs.

Step Four: Research Graduate Programs

A very important component of pursing graduate study is identifying a program that fits one’s needs. Prospective graduate students will want to try to balance program prestige with personal research interests. Specifically, students will want to identify a rigorous program (with outstanding faculty members) that also offers course work that is in line with their interests as researchers. When searching for this information, a good place to start is at NCA’s doctoral program guide: http://www.natcom.org/DoctoralProgramGuide. Students should also speak with faculty members about their recommendations for doctoral programs.

Written by:

Professor Carolyn Lagoe

What’s in your bowl at Bartels? Students complain of strange finds in food

Many students at the University of New Haven say they aren’t exactly hooked on the food at Bartels Dining Hall.

But student Dan O’Shea took to Twitter to tell just how Bartels hooked him.

On April 22, he tweeted, “Literally found a metal hook in the fish at Bartells [sic], thanks @UNH_Dining!”

O’Shea uses the Twitter handle @theoshow3. The accompanying photo clearly shows a metal fish hook.

“I told one of the supervisors and she offered me a new piece of fish,” O’Shea said.

Lawrence Lisborg, Bartels general manager, said he knew nothing of the fish hook incident and had no idea how it happened because everything comes packed from the vendor.

“We don’t go fishing for the fish, you know what I mean?” Lisborg said.  “That’s scary. No, I mean we don’t do stuff like that.”

Lisborg said the food is the same quality found in a supermarket and said he is disturbed that the incident was not brought to his attention. He said he plans to ask around and talk to the supervisor whom O’Shea spoke with.

Several other students have complained of inedible items being found in the food they are being served.

“I have found multiple hairs in my food, and I also found a pebble in my rice,” said junior Margo Meteyer. “Why is there a pebble in my rice? That

was the most disgusting. I couldn’t eat Bartels for awhile.”

Lisborg said it is unfortunate, but occasionally things do happen despite precautions that are taken.

“Well, like any restaurants, you do see stuff like that,” Lisborg said. “Sometimes, it’s by accident, like maybe the customer, you know, their own hair falls into their food. Things like that happen. We try to prevent it. We require all employees to wear hats when actually dealing with the food.”

Lisborg said he had heard nothing about the pebble in Meteyer’s rice, and since it was not brought to management attention, there’s no way they could have known. He said Bartels employees are required to follow all sanitation laws.

Other students present a more balanced opinion of their Bartels experiences.

“I feel like some days the food can be very on, and other days it can be extremely off,” says freshman Jon Spiegel. “There could be lots of stuff wrong; it could be undercooked, the food could be too dry, or problems like that. But sometimes it can be very good.”

Kate D’Alessandro

 

 

Diversity Integral Part of New Haven Campus Life

University of New Haven freshman Ryan Gordon knows what it feels like not to fit in because of his sexual orientation.  But he said he finally feels accepted since moving on campus at UNH.

Gordon explained how, prior to taking what can already be a daunting step from high school to university, he had apprehensions due to a past bad experience during his school years.

 

“I have been the target of homophobic abuse once when I was in middle school” he said. “Some guys drove up behind me [and] threw a rock at me.”

The same people then proceeded to direct offensive language toward him, he said.

Thankfully though, Gordon’s experience as a gay student living in a campus environment at university has been a happy one so far.

“I have never been the target of homophobic abuse again,” he said. “It is so great seeing a campus [where] so many diverse walks of life come together and show how accepting they are.”

Gordon credited staff at the university for their handling of the diverse nature of its student population.

“I feel [that] everyone–at admissions, residential life, and teachers and staff are accepting and treat everyone fairly,” he said.

Gordon said he knew little of measures the institution takes to try to bring out the best of its diverse student population.

This lack of awareness is something that was recently challenged when a student and staff-made video was uploaded on YouTube. The video, called ‘It Gets Better’ was released on March 31 and has received 170 views at the time of going to press.

The video was posted to the University’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, and Gordon was keen to stress the importance of such initiatives.

“I did see the YouTube video,” Gordon said. “It is very important… that colleges and high schools show how diverse and accepting they are of a major social and political issue.”

Plenty of work is going on behind the scenes in order to promote on-campus diversity at the University of New Haven.

According to its website, the University of New Haven makes a number of efforts to promote diversity through its Office of Intercultural Relations including a ‘Non Discrimination Policy’, and the on-campus Safe Zone Program.

In recent years, discrimination due to sexual orientation has been treated with increasing importance. As a result, it seemed pertinent to find out what the University is doing to tackle this issue, and how students affected by these issues have found their university experience.

The page of the University’s Office of Intercultural Relations has a variety of information on diversity, including FAQs, resources, and the Safe Zone program.

There is also a ‘Non-Discrimination Policy’, which aims to achieve a ‘diverse and pluralistic community.’

 

Wanda Tyler, the director of Intercultural Relations at the University of New Haven, who has been at the University for eight years, was also an admirer of the video.

“It was fantastic,” she said. “[It was] very polished, very impactful, and a great way to promoted the fact that UNH has a lot of people from different backgrounds.”

She said the student-run UNH PRIDE organization, which has been present on campus for several years. They aim to ‘hold events and inform students about issues surrounding our community,’ according to its website.

Tyler said the Safe Zone Program, an initiative that is present at many universities nationwide, was introduced at the University of New Haven in 2009.

“It teaches people about LGBT culture, but also gives people the information they need to be an ally for LGBT members,” she said.

According to the results of a ‘climate’ survey that Tyler oversaw, just over 85 per cent of students felt that the University ‘promotes the appreciation of cultural differences’. The survey, conducted in Fall 2011, is designed to measure how accepting and accommodating the campus is of issues including to sexual orientation.

The survey, while mostly positive, did identify areas for improvement. Only 73 per cent said they thought the University ‘appreciates differences in sexual orientation’.

“Over a thousand students who took the survey,” Tyler said. “The results suggest that while the majority of respondents believe the University is doing well with providing a supportive learning environment for various demographics of students, there’s room for improvement.”

One area identified for improvement was the enhancing support and understanding for students and staff based on cultural aspects including sexual orientation.

More information about topics covered in this article can be found at the website of the University of New Haven’s Office of Intercultural Relations.

Students can also report any abuse they experience related to issues in this article online using the Bias Incident Report Form.

 

William Annetts

Open minds key to open discourse and societal change

With the debut of The Corral comes a wealth of pride and emotion on the part of the entire Department of Communication, Film, and Media Studies at the University of New Haven. Similar to giving birth, I feel like a proud parent showing off what my wonderful, intelligent and beautiful children have done.  Forgive me for bragging, but the work included in this first edition is just a sampling of the best our students have created in their courses, internships, Communication Club and in their free time.

 

Please read, watch and listen at your leisure.  Share your favorites through social media.  And get involved in the issues.

 

This summer 2014 edition features several pieces from the spring honors course, Voices of Confinement, which was team-taught by Dr. Eun-A Park and myself. 

 

The news media bombard us with partisan and pocketbook-driven drivel from all angles and in all venues.  Few people have the media literacy skills needed to decipher the meaning of the messages and the deeper effect those mediated messages have on societal norms and expectations.

 

A major purpose of this course is to specifically address how different confined groups within American society are shown to the public and how media treat individuals belonging to those groups. 

 

But we don’t just look outward at what the media are projecting.  We look in the mirror, as well.

The purpose is to create an open and honest classroom dialogue that allows participants to examine their own biases in hopes that by semester’s end they see similarities within marginalized groups and themselves. 

 

And it works. 

 

In reading the words of a convicted murderer who spent more than 40 years in prison, by watching to a former death row inmate smile when talking about his 4-year-old daughter and his newfound life devoted to helping others, in watching men convicted of heinous crimes change the diapers of their dying fellow inmates through volunteer hospice work, the “others” become our brothers. 

 

Students dig deep within themselves in this course and share it with others through journal entries, Blackboard discussions, essays, conversations and Facebook comments.

This kind of thoughtful communication to address social issues matters,  and it’s too often lacking in our current infotainment industry that purports to be news.  But it is our responsibility, as educators, to inspire it.

 

Elizabeth Barfoot Christian

Assistant Professor of Communication