Today, 5 media conglomerates control over 90% of the Western World's media content. What affect does this have upon the content that that is produced?
Journalism is a field with a strange dichotomy. On one hand, journalists are supposed to be public servants, bearers of knowledge for the public. On the other, news organizations are profit-driven.
Mass media owner's have unlimited power over the content that is produced. But with this power comes more resources for journalists. More money for investigative journalism, larger news room staffs, and an increased opportunity to produce local news content.
Many critics have lashed out over the recent trend of "infotainment", where stories about the activities of starlets like Kim Kardashian take up precious time in hard newscasts. But entertainment news is profitable and is one of the largest growing "news" sections in the country.
Does the rise of "infotainment" threaten to harm the credibility and identify of some of our country's most trusted news organizations? Or does entertainment news supplement the budget for harder news stories?
A recent news report states that large amounts of sugar can prove to be fatal and "toxic" for humans.
Yet another report in a string of bad news for those who like the occasional cupcake or ice cream cone.
We have always known that sugar is bad for us, but toxic?
Dr. Robert Lutsig of U of California says that he believes the main reason that obese children get sick is due to large amount of sugar in their diet.
Research by the University of California-Davis, backs up his claim and shows that consuming large amounts of sugar increase cholesterol levels, therefore increasing the risk for heart disease.
Dietians recommend that individuals consume around 8 grams of sugar every day, but Americans consume over 130 lbs. of sugar every year- in every form imaginable.
2 tsp. of ketchup contains 4 grams of sugar.
A Bud Light and a can of Coca-Cola have the same amount of sugar.
Some food for thought.
I was home in Minnesota over this past Easter weekend and was eager to check in on what is going on "news-wise" in the land of 10,000 lakes.
I was surprised to see that on the front page of the Star Tribune was one of the same issues that I have been covering here in Missouri- a voter ID bill, which is projected to make its way on to the November ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment. Governor Mark Dayton has since vetoed the amendment. The controversy swarming the issue in both states highlights it's divisive nature.
In a country where we have to show an ID to get on a plane, should Missouri voters be made to have a government issued ID in order to cast a ballot? If the proposed constitutional amendment makes in on to the August or November ballot, then it will be up to Missouri voters to decide.
Spring break gave legislators and the reporters here at MDN a well-deserved break. The Capitol was quieter than I had ever seen it before. It was eerie to hear that my footsteps were the only ones on the marble floors of the building. I almost missed the hustle and bustle...almost.
The spring break also gave me the chance to report a bit on the Republican Presidential Race, which is an issue that has gained unparalleled media attention both in Missouri and throughout the country. I got a chance to interview the communications director of the Missouri Republican Party regarding the caucuses which opened last Saturday. He shed some light on the exact proceedings of the caucus. The Republican primaries in Missouri have been a complicated issue, which I tried to explain in an easily understood manner for my print piece.
I also covered the Ron Paul Rally held at the University of Missouri. Paul appealed to the mostly youth crowd with talk of liberty, freedom, a "hands-off" foreign policy approach, legalizing marijuana for sick patients, and ending the war on drugs. The story was my first VOSOTVO for Broadcast One and it was a comedy of errors. I arrived at the rally only to realize that my lens was dirty and therefore I could not film the rally. I had to race back to the lab to pick up another camera. Thank goodness I didn't miss anything. Lesson learned.
Inspiration for the feature story that I am pursuing came at an opportune time last week- at the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, MO.
I saw the documentary "Bully", which has been causing a lot of buzz in the public for it's "R" rating. The film profiles several kids who have all been affected negatively by bullying. It contained powerful scenes of physical bullying which took place on school buses and on playgrounds. I was emotionally affected by the violence that elementary school kids inflicted upon each other. I had never seen anything like it before.
But after the screening, I got to thinking. The filmmakers didn't interview anyone with the perspective of the bullying. And it didn't address the topic of how to avoid being bullied. It was a public service announcement more than anything.
Seeing this documentary has proven to be a great jumping off point for my feature. I am eager to speak with legislators regarding their views on the issue and whether or not they will sponsor "anti-bullying" legislation.
As of 9:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 1, The Supreme Court of Missouri has not handed down their ruling regarding the constitutionality of the new re-districting maps. The new maps have caused quite a kerfuffle; squeezing out some Senators to districts hundreds of miles away from their homes, and forcing others to run against friends in their own party in the August primaries. There has been a palpable sense of distaste that I have felt from these senators scorned by the new maps. I think it is safe to say that it has been an emotional hot button issue for all those involved.
With a filibuster of the new proposed filing deadlines by the Senate last week, I am left wondering what exactly will be the end result of the saga. Now it is a matter of waiting to see if the districts will change while candidates have begun to file in districts which they are not 100% sure of. I am left checking the Supreme Court's website and Twitter constantly, eager to find out the fate of the new maps, which were challenged for not being "as compact as may be."
This has been a fascinating issue for me to cover as a journalist. I am left wondering if there are changes that can be made to the system so that our legislature can avoid a debacle like this every 10 years.
After the hearing, the girls and I got to sample some of the best confections that beautiful Jeff City has to offer- Valentine's Day cupcakes.
Late last night, in a post-term paper induced delirium, I found myself watching Nightline on ABC. They did an investigative piece about the runaway hit TV show "Toddlers and Tiaras" where pageant mothers "dope" their children with extremely sugary and caffienated drinks to make them more peppy and hyper on stage. One mother is seen giving her 6 year old daughter "Go Go Juice", a potent mixture of Moutain Dew and Red Bull. Obviously high doses of sugar and caffeine can be extremely detrimental for children in the early stages of development. It can cause brain and cardiovascular complications that can last a lifetime. Not to mention it can cause obesity in the future. The investigative piece got me thinking about my own daily "Go Go Juice" routine. I usually start the day with two cups of strong coffee, and then move onto copious cans of Diet Coke and Diet Mountain Dew throughout the day. If I have to work late into the night, I will usually grab a gas station Red Bull to keep me awake. If all of this caffeine is bad for children, it can't be that great for me. Maybe I should rethink my beverage choice. Or get some more sleep.
This week at the Capital was crazy per usual. I got to cover my first House session, which was worlds different than the Senate. There was a vote regarding required Voter ID in the state of Missouri- a hot button emotional topic. The bill was preliminarily approved by the House in a straight party line vote and will be voted on in the coming weeks.
In terms of the Capital, it was also a very exciting week (though there wasn't any spilled beer or chicken wings left on the Senate floor after the game). I covered the Senate's filibuster of the vote to approve Craig Von Matre to the MU Board of Curators.