Reporting Across Multimedia is No Walk in the Park

There’s plenty of room for improvement, or so say the number of views of my blog. Fortunately, I’ve come a long way in working with multimedia.

Most Viewed Post

My most viewed blog post on the 2012 Presidential Election has–drum roll, please—a whole whopping FOUR views. Not too thrilled, to say the least. Though, I should have advertised my blog more through Facebook and Twitter. I suspect writing about the Presidential Election and linking to other blogs is the reason why I have all four of my views. Also, maybe because the election was such a controversial subject and some were undecided as to who to vote for.

Least Viewed Post

All of my other posts during the fall semester have received only one view, which I’m sure is from my reporting writing across media professor, Dr. Daniels. Yet again, probably due to my lack of linking my blog to social media sites. The topics I wrote on may also have contributed to such few blog views. In the future, I think writing on controversial topics is the best route to go to draw more attention to my blog.

Favorite Blog Post by a Classmate

My favorite blog post of the semester  is from my fellow classmate, Erin Armstrong, “Better Read than Dead.” I love to read, so seeing that other people are just as passionate as I am about the written word is exciting. I love finding more books to add to my “must read” list, too.

Reading is so under-rated, while television is incredibly over-rated. Getting lost in a book can offer the best escape when school is stressful or life gets tough. Something Erin said resonates with how I perceive diving into great books:

Reading has always been part of my life as more than an escape but as a chance to encounter new ideas and alternative realities and sit in the mind of a character doing things you could only imagine. 

The enlightening world of literature offers insight into every facet of life. I’m adding Neil Gaiman and David Foster Wallace to my list now.

Lessons I’ve Learned about Cross Platform/Multimedia:

  1. Never underestimate the power of knowing how to work with multimedia. In today’s world, so much attention is focused on videos, recordings and pictures to go hand-in-hand with a written story. Having the knowledge on how to report across different multimedia is the most marketable characteristic to have when entering the workforce.
  2. Keep learning. Technology is constantly evolving, so to keep up with the times and stay in the game, remaining eager to learn is essential.
  3. Here’s a cheesy one: never give up. There were times over the past semester when I was so frustrated, I almost gave up on trying to figure out how to do something. I stayed strong, though I’m certain some of my projects weren’t quite up to par. I’m glad I persisted, though. There are some things I’m not good at, but at least I get the gist on how to do them.

What I Want to Improve on:

  1. Definitely my blogging. Looking back at past blogs, I see room for improvement, specifically in content. I want my blogs to entertain, not put to sleep.
  2. Videography. I really enjoy photography, so I tend to focus more effort in that domain. In all honesty, I need to improve my videography skills, seeing as much of the video I took during my reporting writing across media class is mediocre at best.
  3. Timeliness. I want to blog more often to maybe help build readership.

Another ‘Bombshell’ for Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret received backlash from the Native American community Wednesday night after model Karlie Kloss strutted down the runway decked out in a traditional Native American headdress during the lingerie company’s annual fashion show.

Sadly, this is not the first offense for the lingerie brand in the ethnicity department. As I wrote in a previous blog post, Victoria’s Secret first encountered attacks back in September over their “Go East” lingerie line that portrayed model Rosie Huntington Whiteley as a Geisha, “mocking” Asian culture.

To add insult to injury, some believe that Kloss donned the headdress as a slight to her ex-boyfriend, St. Louis Ram’s quarterback Sam Bradford, who is a member of the Native American Cherokee tribe. Surely, no person could be so cruel. The model took to her Twitter following the incident saying:

Personally, I don’t believe Kloss intentionally chose to wear the controversial accessory, but was merely doing as she was told. Victoria’s Secret, on the other hand, should know better by now considering this isn’t the first time the brand has come under fire for the same affront. VS continues to demonstrate inconsiderate and insensitive behavior, but apologized for the blunder.

We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way.

The blog Native Appropriations, a forum for discussing all things related to indigenous culture, called VS out for “…their egregious cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and marginalizing of Native peoples,” as well as several other designer brands and celebrities for making similar mistakes.

Earlier this week, the band No Doubt was hit with criticism over their newly released music video for “Looking Hot” in which Gwen Stefani wears the traditional Cherokee headdress. The band members played “cowboys and indians” in the video, offending the Native American community. The band removed the video shortly after its debut and sent out a public apology.

In retrospect, I’m sure each offender feels bad for their mistake and will–hopefully–think twice next time before they dress or behave in an offensive manner. Honestly, it is hard to catch actions or thoughts that may be offensive to some cultures, which leads me to question whether or not culturally diversifying one’s staff would benefit the media relations for a company.

Hurricane Sandy Provides a New Topic of Discussion for Presidential Candidates

A mere six days away from the 2012 Presidential Elections, Hurricane Sandy strikes the northeast coast, providing a new campaign for candidates Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.

The hurricane has claimed 39 lives as of October 30 and left destruction in its path. Both presidential candidates are making sure to speak out about the natural disaster, letting the residents effected by Sandy know they care. Or at least making themselves out to seem like they care.

President Obama didn’t hesitate to show compassion this week when visiting New Jersey and New York. His concern appears genuine, similar to that of the 2012 tornado that destroyed Tuscaloosa, Ala. There are claims that his visits to the northeastern states hit by Sandy are a new addition to his campaign fro re-election. 

Personally, I believe the President’s sympathy and consideration is the real deal, though it probably does help his campaign. Nonetheless, as President of the United States, Obama is simply doing his job as the leader of our country. The fact that he is also speaking today with New Jersey’s republican governor, Chris Christie, instead of using the air time to campaign shows gumption and authentic care for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Mitt Romney, on the otherhand, is spending the remaining days of his campaign in Florida, the most divided state.


Jose Antonio Vargas to visit The University of Alabama at Birmingham, ‘Let’s Talk Immigration’

An undocumented immigrant, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas speaks up about the recently implemented Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act on Oct. 30 from 7-9 p.m. at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

The act, also referred to as HB 56, was passed by the Alabama Legislature on June 2, 2011 and was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on June 9, 2011. Having faced much opposition over the past year, the law has received criticism on its effectiveness. The law is said to:

  • Enforce undocumented immigration laws
  • Allow police to check ID’s for immigration status
  • Checks immigration status for receiving benefits
  • Looks into the immigration status of employees in state-wide businesses

While the provisions of the law seem harmless and somewhat fair given the taxes citizens pay that undocumented workers and immigrants don’t pay, HB 56 is called an embarrassment for the state of Alabama . To a certain extent, I agree and here’s why:

  1. HB 56 leads to racial profiling. A person of a certain race is not necessarily illegal just because they look foreign. Granting law enforcement the ability to pull over any person based on their ethnicity only perpetuates the bad rap the state of Alabama already has for racial discrimination.
  2. The law distracts police officers from their responsibility of protecting society. If our law enforcement is out searching for undocumented immigrants, who is fighting crime and upholding justice? Sadly, “super heros” don’t exist. Police officers are the real super heros.
  3. If undocumented workers willing to perform unpopular, manually laborious jobs are deported, who will take over? Men and women immigrants of all races who have yet to obtain legal status in the United States are not taking any of the positions being fought for, so why get mad? It’s frustrating hearing U.S. citizens say, “They’re taking all of our jobs,” when in reality, they’re taking the jobs nobody wants. If anything, U.S. citizens should appreciate undocumented workers’ efforts.

Vargas’ speech on HB 56 in the Alumni Auditorium at UAB’s Hill Center should be interesting and will allow Alabamians to see a different perspective, on of an openly undocumented immigrant.


Round Two of the 2012 Presidential Debate

Tonight President Barack Obama and republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney go for round two of their tete-a-tete in the 2012 Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hampstead, New York.

The two presidential candidates will address foreign and domestic questions from undecided United State citizens. President Obama needs to pick up his game during tonight’s debate to make up for his big flop two weeks ago.

Here’s the first 2012 Presidential Debate:

First 2012 Presidential Debate

Victoria Secret Causes Racial Controversy Over “Go East” Lingerie: Much ado about nothing?

 Victoria Secret is receiving accusations of demonstrating racism through  their new “Sexy Little Things” collection called “Go East,” intimate apparel inspired by oriental influences.

The lingerie retailer removed the collection off of their website after a feminist website called Bust came across a blog on Racialicious by 26-year-old Nina Jancito, a non-profit development manager, bashing the latest “Sexy Little Geisha” design donned by model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

“When someone creates a collection like this, making inauthentic references to ‘Eastern culture’…it reinforces a narrative that says that all Asian cultures–and their women–are exotic, far away but easy to access,” Jancito wrote. “It’s a troubling attempt to sidestep authentic representation and humanization of a culture and opt instead for racialized fetishizing against Asian women.”

Jancito makes a strong argument (obviously, since the company removed the collection from their website), but I think she’s chalking the situation up to be way more than what was intended. The company was taking a fashion cue from a culture and came up with something different from other lingerie companies–in short, doing what Victoria Secret does best. 

Then again, Jancito is right in a sense: if society allows big-time retail companies like Victoria’s Secret to continue to perpetuate racial and social stereotypes, there will be no end to them. Taking a stand against the powerful is the only way to ensure the stigmas are put to rest. So what may seem like no big deal at first glance may really be something quite influential on the mentality of today’s society and how they perceive individuals.

Although what Jancito did was the right thing to do in the end, I still say don’t take everything so seriously; you’ll never be able to enjoy life.

For those who don’t know, I’m blonde. When I saw this bumper sticker, I thought it was hilarious, so I took a picture of it. I know it’s not near as serious a topic as race, but it’s a minor example of how we should all relax and laugh at how silly stereotypes are.


Luke Kiszla Discusses ACE Project in Douglas Moore

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—The Athletic Community Environment demonstrated the power of volunteer work when they refurbished a recreational facility for the Douglas Moore community this past summer.

Luke Kiszla, a sophomore majoring in history with a minor in theater at The University of Alabama from Mobile, Ala., was one of several ACE students working on the project. The group tore up and repaved two tennis courts along with a baseball batting cage in the blistering Alabama heat.

“We’re really looking to inspire following classes and the rest of the community to help pitch in and help us realize this goal of this beautiful recreational facility we have in mind,” Kiszla explained. “Right now, since we’re not able to really achieve it all ourselves or bring it up in these three weeks, we’re really hoping that this will inspire the rest to continue the work to give this community what it needs and deserves.”

I want to talk to you tonight about that one great thing that unites us, that one thing that brings us our greatest joy when times are good, and the deepest solace in our dark hours. Tonight I want to talk to you about love.

Ann Romney’s speech Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL spoke about the admirable qualities of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, her husband, and how he can better the country as President of the United States.

Call me cold hearted, but as a woman, I find her speech somewhat insulting.

Yes, her speech was heartfelt and sincere.  The issue I have with her speech is not the tenderness, but rather the fact that she intentionally attempts to appeal to women by taking on society’s stereotypical role of a woman: sensitive and emotional.

Not that there is anything wrong with being sensitive. However, women have fought far too long and hard to banish the stereotype of being overly emotional to play it up, especially in politics.

Women in politics and other high-powered women seem to feel the pressure to remain emotionless in their work in fear of the never ending badgering they will face from their male–and sometimes even female–counterparts. Hillary Clinton received a severe backlash back in 2008 while campaigning in New Hampshire for tearing up while discussing the countries future. Her tearful display of passion for her country raised many questions about her competency as a strong political leader.

Ann Romney’s whole speech seems like a huge campaign set-up to make Romney more appealing to women voters, which I’m sure was the purpose. Romney’s often cold exterior portrays him as uncaring. Ann Romney’s speech introduced a different side of the Republican presidential candidate that the public never sees.

I do commend Romney for his strength and support of his wife throughout her battle with breast cancer and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Maybe Mrs. Romney’s speech is getting to me.

The campaign tactic may prove effective. Ann Romney’s speech is already receiving quite a bit of publicity from the press covering the RNC. In the end, only the polls will show.

Soledad O’Brien Visits the University of Alabama

 On Wednesday, November 9,  words of wisdom were spoken when award-winning news anchor Soledad O’Brien of CNN‘s “In America” documentaries stopped by the University of Alabama amidst her national tour to speak about her personal experiences as a journalist and as a woman of mixed ethnicities.  Her visit consisted of an hour long speech followed by a 30 minute question and answer session.

Thanks to my Introduction to Journalism professor, Dr. Daniels (you are now my favorite person), I was able to meet and speak with Soledad O’Brien first hand at her reception before her speech.  Unfortunately, her attention was desired by all in the room, so a group of several other students and I were only able to share her for only a few minutes.  Insisting we call her by her first name, we each bombarded Soledad with questions, me in particular asking about her travel experiences.

Image A charming woman, she captivated all in the room with her welcoming smile, intelligence and stories of her life.  Laughter erupted from whichever corner of the room Soledad, surrounded by admirers, happened to stand in.  I was privileged to have the opportunity to take a picture with Soledad and have her sign my book Latino In America.  Although I have both of her books, I only brought Latino In America for her to sign because I myself am part Portuguese (I know, I don’t look the least bit Latina).  Plus, I didn’t want to overload her with demands.

In the course of her speech–which I sat second row for (I almost died of happiness)–Soledad discussed the many difficulties she overcame as a woman of mixed ethnicities and as a working mom; the projects she took on, such as covering the tsunami in Thailand, hurricane Katrina, her documentary on Dr. Martin Luther King, “Words That Changed a Nation” and her latest documentary, “Black in America: Silicon Valley”; the struggle her parents faced as an interracial couple and her life growing up, as she describes herself, a “bi-racial black girl from Long Island”; all while encouraging students to challenge boundaries and have passion.



Soledad O’Brien and I at her reception prior to her speech she gave at the University of Alabama. Such an exceptionally kind spirited and intelligent woman. An aspiration for myself not only as a woman, but as a Latina.

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