Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Man. The Myth. The Legend. The Household name.

Saint Martin’sUniversity has about 1300 students attending the school, but there is one student that has become a household name here, Denver Garcia. Denver is a senior this year and I have known him since my freshman year and he is one of the most interesting students I have met here; so I decided to interview him to share some of his interesting stories, travel experiences, his future goals, and advice that will not only help students at Saint Martin’s, but others in the surrounding community.
A picture of Saint Martin's University's Old Main

When you walk around the Saint Martin’s University community you often recognize familiar faces all the time because of the relatively small size of the school, but you do not always know their names, but I can almost guarantee that at least every student, faculty member, or campus employee has met Denver Garcia. If you were to ask anyone on campus if they have met Denver, I am sure the general consensus would be yes and for those who haven’t met Denver; they should meet him.  Denver has become a household name here on campus. In my interview with Denver, he jokes about being a household name and says “Yeah, everyone tells their parents about me.”
The man, the legend;
Denver Garcia
 I remember the first time I met Denver, it was about two and half years ago when I was a freshman and Denver was a sophomore. I came a semester late my freshman year and I didn’t know anyone and nobody cared to get to know me. One day, my dorm room door was open and Denver walked right in and started talking to me and that talk lasted about three hours. After Denver left my room, I was both happy because I felt a sense of welcome but I was also in utter shock that this guy that I had just talked to had plenty of stories, random facts, and has travelled to quite a few places.


I was have always been fascinated by Denver’s stories about all the places he has been too; locally, nationally, and internationally, so I decided to ask him about it. In my interview I asked Denver about where he has been to and he told me, “I have been all over the place. I grew up in Japan from when I was a baby up until I was 5 or 6. I have been to Canada a bunch of times. I went Vancouver once and Victoria twice. I have been to Costa Rica once and most recently Tanzania.”
A map of Japan and where Denver grew up
After Denver came back from Tanzania, he would have “Tanzania Tuesdays” where he would dress in clothes that he got in Tanzania and post a picture of him in the outfit on Facebook.
"Tanzania Tuesday! This shirt originated as a bolt of cloth in Dar es Salaam and for a couple thousand shillings a tailor made it into a shirt for me."-Denver Garcia
"Tanzania Tuesday wut wut!"-Denver Garcia
Tanzania Tuesday! 

One of my main pressing questions for Denver was what he took back from his travels and how he applied to his life and if he had learned any valuable things from travelling. In my interview, Denver stated “Travelling makes you more cultured, gives you a broader global perspective on the world, and it makes appreciative for what you have because you don’t live in a mud brick hut.” Even though the mud brick hut part was a joke, what he was saying can be applicable to any person who travels or engages in other people’s culture. The funny thing about Denver, is he often reminds me of a walking, talking, human encyclopedia because of the stories, random facts, and how he knows so much about different cultures.  I also asked Denver about what was the thing he took most away from the travels and he said, “I don’t know man, I think you just got to keep an open mind and just go with the flow and whatever happens happens. Don’t have too many expectations or you will just be disappointed.” What he took away from his world travel made me think about my own life and the more I thought about it, Denver is right. Those lessons can be transferred to anyone and their own lives. Going into to life with an open mind is so helpful because life is never a straight line up to the top, it goes through turns, twists, loops, slides, and it’s always unpredictable. If you are open minded in life, your expectations won’t constantly be let down like Denver stated. Denver told me a story that went something like this,

"If monkeys stole your bread at breakfast, no big deal. You’ll have a good story for the rest of your trip and for the rest of your life.”

*Not the actual monkey that stole Denver's bread8
Not only did I crack up at the story that Denver had told me, but I will say we all have a story similar to monkeys stealing your bread at breakfast where it may have sucked at the time but you will almost love telling it because it’s funny in the long run; I have plenty of stories like that and I know many of you reading it do too. Travelling is a great analogy to life. When you go through life, you never ever know where you will end up, who you will meet, what you will eat, where you will go and that is the same as when you travel to a new place. Denver is somebody that I would consider a free spirit and absolutely fearless. In my interview with him I asked him if he was ever afraid of travelling to all these foreign countries when there is so much danger being shown in the media with the recent attacks in France, where Denver is actually going in the summer, and in Brussels.

 Denver promptly told me, “No I don’t really worry because I have only been to places that are relatively safe and I didn’t plan the trip. It was already planned out and out of my control.” I followed up with a question asking him if had any worries at all about going to France in the summer after the terrorist bombings and Denver’s response shocked me but it didn’t really surprise me. Denver told me that,

Statistically I am more likely to get killed by a psychotic maniac staying here in America. You can’t go to mall, you can’t go to school, you can’t go to the movie theatre without having a risk of, you know. I am probably safer going there than staying here, and hey, if I die in a terror attack overseas, I would much rather die there, as long as it was a quick death, because I could say I died doing something I love and that is travelling.”

I was honestly shocked at his passion for travelling where he would be okay with dying somewhere outside his home because he was doing something he love; which didn’t surprise me.


Denver’s free spirit and his love for travelling has led him to giving me some good lessons about life that many of us can relate too. Denver told me some good lessons like, going with the flow and don’t set your expectations to high because you might get disappointed. This is great advice for any situation that we may face. He also told the hilariously funny story about the monkey that stole his bread at breakfast, even though it sucked, it made a great story that he will have for the rest of his life. We all have those moments or events in our life that seemed bad, but made for good stories and life long memories that we can share with friends, family, and the ones closest to us. Denver’s passion for travelling has given him a view into other people’s cultures, with food, Tanzania Tuesdays, and it has made him appreciate the things he has in life. Denver may be graduating this may, but the lessons and memories that everyone that has been blessed enough to meet him will last forever. Denver will be attending a graduate program where he will be pursuing his goals in journalism which will allow him to be able to travel more in the future. I asked Denver if he had any advice for incoming freshman at Saint Martin’s or current students to help them be successful and he told me this “Just don’t be a dick and you will fine.”

I will personally miss you a lot Denver and I know a lot of other people. You are a Saint Martin's icon and the man, the myth, the Legend, and a household name. Make us proud buddy.

Monday, April 18, 2016

How Good Is Digital Journalism?

Is digital journalism working out the way we thought it would? or is it even as credible as print journalism?
In Michael Massing's article, Digital Journalism: How Good Is It?, it discusses the topic about how digital technology is disrupting the business of journalism. Massing makes the claim that internet is helpful for journalists.  "The distinctive properties of the Internet—speed, immediacy, interactivity, boundless capacity, global reach—provide tremendous new opportunities for the gathering and presentation of news and information." We all have used the internet and can all agree that the internet is god send when it comes to finding information and getting that information out to the masses. You would think that it would help aid journalists become more successful, but that is not always the case. Massing critiques the idea that many readers of these online journalist based website don't fact check to see if the information that they are reading is accurate and factual. "Yet amid all the coverage of start-ups and IPOs, investments and acquisitions, little attempt has been made to evaluate the quality of Web-based journalism, despite its ever-growing influence."  Massing can describes Huffington Post, a web based news outlet, as one of those who is struggling from the quality of their articles. Massing makes the statement that although Huffington Post has good articles, it finds itself catering to the popular, not so pertinent form of journalism. "But even this material often seems swamped by the ever-rising tide of gossip, celebrity, titillation, and headlines of the “Rachel McAdams Doesn’t Look Like This Anymore” variety. There are sections dedicated to Healthy Living, Horoscopes, Dr. Phil, GPS for the Soul, Good News, and The Third Metric—a yardstick of success beyond the first two metrics (money and power) to include well-being, wisdom, wonder, and making a difference in the world."
Michael Massing has another article that he wrote called, Digital Journalism: The Next Generation, in this article Massing talks about the issues he sees for this new generation of journalism. Massing states, that online journalism sites are primarily supported by the journalist unlike print journalism where they were supported by the institution in which they were ran by. “The fate of journalism in the United States is now far more squarely in the hands of individual journalists than it is of the institutions that support them. Since then, however, the era of the go-it-alone star seems to have receded; more and more, institutions such as the Post and the Times, with their financial support and audience reach, are critical." Many readers could probably see why this could be detrimental in the future for the new generation of journalism. Massing also critiques the idea of investigative journalism. He asks the question, "Can a site devoted to surveillance, surveillance, and more surveillance, with some counterterrorism, national security, and criminal justice thrown in, attract a large and loyal enough following to make a difference?"  Massing makes a very good point because in this day in age, there are so many websites, blogs, and online journalism sites that have so many narrow topics; it's hard to read them all.  "On virtually any subject these days, you can find opinionated, informative, provocative sites and blogs." All those articles, websites, and blogs generally end up on facebook and it's hard to tell if it's a reliable source or not. Another pressing issue that is pointed out in this article is criticism from it's readers. It talks about how the comments section on digital journalism sites seemed to be a good way for the journalist to improve their articles but that failed miserably with trolls, racial slurs, profanity, and spammers. "When these were first introduced, most journalists valued them for the instantaneous—and often thoughtful—feedback they provided on articles. Before very long, however, the sections became clogged with insults, slurs, and partisan attacks posted by trolls hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, and more and more news organizations have decided to either rigorously vet them or drop them altogether." Massing wraps up this article by saying that these digital journalism websites are more comparable to Radio Shack or Block Buster that seemed like good entities but were destroyed by new start ups.
When I read Massing's articles, I want to say I was surprised but in all I honesty, I wasn't all that surprised. I did find the idea of the comment sections below articles that was implemented to hopefully get good feedback to better their website; turned sour. "When these were first introduced, most journalists valued them for the instantaneous—and often thoughtful—feedback they provided on articles. Before very long, however, the sections became clogged with insults, slurs, and partisan attacks posted by trolls hiding behind the anonymity of the Internet, and more and more news organizations have decided to either rigorously vet them or drop them altogether."  I thought this quote was good because this has been a real problem lately. It's not just comment sections on journalistic sites but any place that people are able to comment on things. When I peruse through Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube I am shocked by individuals calling each other words I would never in my life say, spam links talking about how you can make millions of dollars by clicking a link or how you can buy thirty pounds of marijuana, and lets not forget the trolls or "keyboard warriors" who fight with strangers on the internet. I think the idea of comments were good, but too many people ruined it. I found this quote on the same website written by Massing, "These organizations are commonly referred to as “legacy” institutions—a gently derisive term that lumps them in with Blockbuster and Radio Shack as enterprises that, once thriving, were undermined by more innovative startups." I discussed it above but basically it means that there will always be something bigger and better that could potentially end you career/company or you will be overshadowed. For example, Block Buster got killed because of Red Box, Netflix, and Hulu because they were more user friendly than Block Buster. This could be true for some of these new digital journalism websites; like BuzzFeed.
All in all, I believe with Massing that digital journalism is not the same as print journalism. Print journalism, to me, seems more credible because somebody took the time to write it and that's their job. Where as in digital journalism websites it feels cheesy, inaccurate, and overwhelming. I also agree with him on the fact that anybody can be a journalist with blogs and websites, but it doesn't mean they are credible or what I want to spend my time reading and believing. I also recognize that they are journalism websites and blogs for every topic and that makes it overwhelming too. You could type in a word, like "dog," and say "Blogs and Digital Journalism Websites about dogs," and you could get thousands of hits.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Season Two: Episode 02 The Golden Chicken

Wikileaks: Is The Information Harmful?
In the Serial Podcast, "The Golden Chicken," it describes Wikileaks, which was an enormous leak of classified information to the public in 2010. In the podcast there is a brief summary of some of the classified information that was leaked like; missions, intercepted messages, information, and even videos. With that brief snippet of information that was being shown, I as a reader was curious to know what they meant or how they aided or were harmful to the people involved.
If you scroll down on the Serial Podcast page it has sources related to the Wikileaks page. The podcast is mainly about Bowe Bergdahl who was held captive by the Taliban. They have a link of pamphlet fliers to people surrounding the area and they said, "If you do not release the American will be hunted." (See picture below of the flier). The link to the picture on Serials Website gives the listener a sense of how far the U.S. was going to go to bring Bergdahl home.
There is also another related link that shows a map of Afghanistan to give a global perspective where many of the events in this podcast took place.
Serials podcast about the Wikileaks and Bergdahl was a investigative watchdog piece. Although I am not doing an investigative story, I definitely liked how they gave so much background in the related sources. I felt that when they did that, if definitely informed me as a reader. I also felt like I had a better understanding of the story. If at all possible, I want to incorporate some of similar styles into my profile article.