My first passion was reading. As I child, I was the crazy kindergartener sitting in the corner trying to sound out words during research rather than play ball. The only assignments I remember from fourth grade are the short creative stories I had to write. I still have them at my parents house. I still think they were a work of genius.
Now, reading is my escape and writing is what I do.
I think that there are many people in the same boat as I am, people who love wonderful stories, but perhaps do not always set aside the time to sit down with a new book from the library or Kindle or whatever and enjoy. If it were conveniently presented though, we would soak up every word, devour each chapter.
The concept of fusing the world of journalism and the arts truly isn’t new, but I agree that right now, there is a chance to revolutionize the concept. There are so many avenues it can be taken. Like the Minneapolis Star revamping the concept of serials in the newspaper of old. It worked. People loved it. It is proof that people will take a second look at the paper if it is art infused.
While sure, a newspaper in my hands is nice, I can get it free online. What is harder to get for free is a beautifully written novella, a series of poems or perhaps even a photo essay.
I could see the Arizona Republic building relationships with local artists. What a mutually beneficial relationship! The artists get their work into the public eye, and earn more money than they would self-publishing on the web, and the paper brings in more readers and advertising. Win-win.
That is a paper I would pay for.
This post is not in any way related to Journalism, “social media”, leadership or management. That being said, let Tye take you on a tour of American Culture:Not sure how many of the Humphrey Fellows are familiar with Hip Hop, but it’s an American-born-and-bred artistic movement.
After we got the seating order figured out, the joint Humphrey-Murrow session yesterday was really enlightening for me. It had never occurred to me how the immigration crisis in Arizona would be perceived by intelligent, international observers.
A few things about the Murrow Fellows’ reactions were surprising to me:
- Fixation on the physical border fence in Nogales
- Insistence that Americans should feel a deep sense of shame for this situation
- Lack of interest in why Americans (or rather, Arizonans) are reacting as they are to immigration
All of this adds up to treating “immigration” as a topic or an event in Arizona, rather than as an active problem with tangible causes and solutions. Though I wasn’t expecting this reaction, I completely understand it. Our guests were right to point out the hypocrisy of having a border fence in The Land of the Free. Our guests were right to say we should care more how the border fence looks as a symbol internationally. Our guests were justified in focusing on the visible, symbolic aspects of the immigration crisis, because that’s all they really got a chance to see.
As journalists in Arizona, however, I think myself and the other attaches need to consider more real-world aspects of the situation. What factors make border immigration dangerous, besides the desert? What social services and networks are now available to immigrants, legal and non-, and are these fair? How are language and cultural barriers affecting perceptions?
And the best question of the day, asked by Shaima:
Have we made immigration about Joe Arpaio, or Joe Arpaio about immigration?
But in conclusion, I’d like to stress how fascinating and amazing it was to hear the opinions of the Murrow Fellows and Humphrey Fellows (and Goran). Only good things can happen when great journalistic minds from across the world talk together openly for two hours, and receive Saguaro-shaped cookies at the end.
On Tuesday evening at the Barrett Centennial Lecture, I finally got to hear the remarks from former Costa Rican president Oscar Arias on peace building for the coming generation. I was very intrigued by his belief that countries could and should demilitarize and focus on overcoming the socioeconomic barriers around the world. Arias said the human race is obsessed with violence and I was shocked by how much we have spent on war.
He cited two key statistics: Global arms spending was $1.63 trillion last year, which is 2.6% of the world’s GDP. Defense spending has going up 70% between 2001-2009.
“Poverty needs no passport to travel,” Arias said. Hunger, poverty and disease affect every one of us; wars and conflict are only results of social inequality, so by engaging in combat we are not treating the root of the problem.
Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 and Arias said the government promised its people it would never see tanks and troops in the streets and would not invest in weapons, but tools.
“Security lies in human development,” he said. We should be investing in the process that makes violence unnecessary.
As president, Arias worked on three main projects to reduce militarization around the world. One project, the Costa Rican Census, created mechanisms to forgive debt and get international support. A second project was an arms trade treaty that prohibited the transfer of arms between states and individuals not in the army. A third project was the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Development, which is dedicated to supporting peace efforts and conflict resolution.
Arias said that people may think we are not ready to negotiate getting rid of armies during a time of war and crisis, but history tell us otherwise. He mentioned examples of progress toward peace during times of uncertainty like the creation of the United Nations and the Atlantic Charter.
He introduced the peace plan between Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, and El Salvador as president to address the conflict in the region because “it was as a necessity, it was a matter of survival.” He believed that there was no need to build a strong army to achieve peace and that Costa Rica has become so prosperous because its resources go towards education and the environment rather than weapons.
So far, he has been able to convince only Panama and Haiti to eliminate their armies. Sub-saharan Africa was difficult because poorer countries need a way to integrate soldiers into civilian life and compensate them.
“The dream of peace is no longer just a dream. It is an action in Costa Rica. There is no reason why it can’t live in other parts of the world,” Arias said. This left me on a hopeful note and determined to find a solution to the wasteful defense spending that not only the United States is guilty of.
What was interesting is that Arias did not believe that world peace could be achieved because he said there were too many dictatorships and territorial disputes that threaten stability.
“We need to have democracy because democracies don’t fight each other,” he said.
As promised last Monday, a little experiment in Storify, where I track Occupy Phoenix through its official coverage, citizen journalism, and social media:
[Please forgive the short, lazy blog post; all my energy tonight went into the Storify itself.]
With Col. Moammer Gaddafi as the most recent dictator to fall victim to the Arab Spring movement, it was only perfect timing to have Reza Aslan, religion scholar, activist and best-selling author of No God, but God and Beyond Fundamentalism , to come to ASU to discuss what’s going on in the region.
Aslan was invited to lecture on Thursday at ASU’s law school as part of the Alternative Visions speaker series held by the Center of the Study of Religion and Conflict (where I am a current communications intern).
At a separate discussion with the religious studies department, Aslan said that the Arab Spring was a means of pushing back against dictatorship, colonialism and hegemony, much like what political Islam wanted to do and because of its success, jihadism is now a “dead philosophy.”
“In a span of a few months, the use of non-violent methods of the youth did more than what jidhadist have been trying to do for 30 years,” he said.
After the wave of Islamism and jihadism, now comes a new wave of the future which Aslan believes will create the possibility of an Islamic democracy, which will consiste of dedication to the rule of law, human rights and pluralism but whos moral framework is based on Islam, the religion of the majority of the state’s citizens. He likens this model to the United States, which although is a democratic county with separation of church and state, is still “deeply steeped in Christian/Protestant morality.) This is acceptable and tolerated here and it works, so why shouldn’t this be the case in an Islamic country as well, Aslan asks.
During his lecture, Aslan addressed the five myths about the Arab Spring.
1) It was a surprise
For anyone who was paying attention to the Middle East over the years, it was not a surprise. There were many signs of this uprising such as the high populations of young people, rising unemployment rates, poverty, corruption of the government, spread of communication technology
2) It’s not about democracy
Polls done in the region ranked democracy as the number one demand over jobs and wages for people in the Middle East/North Africa region. Stability over democracy leads to neither stability or democracy. Paying off dictators to serve America’s interests instead of supporting democratic structure and politics was wrong and only fueled anti-American sentiment and Islamism and other nationalist ideology
3) It’s the 1st step to Islamization
The countries in the Middle East are going to become more religious but it’ll be a good thing because they will be more democratic and the oppression of religious expression that was present in many of these countries by the leaders will finally be allowed to be celebrated and practiced freely. Democratization is the best thing to fight extremism.
4) It’s bad for Israel
In the short term, it will be bad because Israel will now have to face the people of the countries and not the dictators who are paid off by the United States. They won’t be able to get away with the occupation and settlements in Palestinian territories and avoid compromise and negotiation. Israel will have to be accountable to the other democracies surrounding it. Aslan also said this statement about the effect on Israel shouldn’t even matter because everything is not about pleasing Israel which is already the strongest country in the area with billions of aid given to it by the US.
5) It’s bad for America
Again, short term, maybe so, because we won’t be able to use the region as our “personal gas station.” We can’t bribe a democracy to do what we want the way we did with a power-hungry dictator. Long term, having democracies will be good because they will fight against the forces of extreme political ideologies, will moderate and regulate the people and will result in better educated and stable societies.
I wrote a previous post on the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. Since then, the protests have spread across the country. I witnessed Occupy Tempe last weekend and this weekend, Occupy Phoenix will begin.
October 15 has been called a day for unity for change, according to the official website.
“UNITED FOR #GLOBALCHANGE
On October 15th people from all over the world will take to the streets and squares.
From America to Asia, from Africa to Europe, people are rising up to claim their rights and demand a true democracy. Now it is time for all of us to join in a global non violent protest.
The ruling powers work for the benefit of just a few, ignoring the will of the vast majority and the human and environmental price we all have to pay. This intolerable situation must end.
United in one voice, we will let politicians, and the financial elites they serve, know it is up to us, the people, to decide our future. We are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers who do not represent us.
On October 15th, we will meet on the streets to initiate the global change we want. We will peacefully demonstrate, talk and organize until we make it happen.
It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen”
Moving from just attacking corporate greed, American students are finding their own voice by holding Occupy College movements to criticize rising college fees, student debt and lack of opportunities after graduation. At first, the organizers told participants to not go to school as part of their civil disobedience and later changed their mind to not seem “anti-education.” The college protests will happen every 2 weeks at the 90 confirmed colleges. One website, Occupycolleges.org, has links showing how to start a college walkout, become a citizen journalist and educating the public on the message behind Occupy Wall Street.
The one set back to these grassroots movements is the police arrests and pepper spray use, which is causing more chaos and determination.
“Journalism can’t change the world. But you can change one life at a time.”
I found Kim Barker’s visit to our class very enlightening and eye-opening into the somber, serious world of foreign correspondence. She had a very strong personality and determined attitude that I think lends itself to adapting well to different, strange environments or high-stress situations. From what she spoke on, I wanted to share some key thoughts.
On the difference of being a female reporter/foreign correspondent in conflict zones
-There were people saying women don’t belong in those environments, pushback for local women journalists to get involved
-Women have to deal with getting grabbed in a crowd. She has punched others (foreign journalists can do it and get away)
-Compared to what local women go through, it’s nothing. It’s an opportunity if you’re a foreign woman; you’re like a weird 3rd sex.
-On how to build a safe network of sources
- Without speaking the normal language, you don’t have the ability to read people and their body language
- It’s challenging working with a translator
-Need someone who doesn’t work for the ISI (spy agency), not someone who’s a religious/ethnic minority that will attract attention for asking around
-Pass on good sources to other journalists as a trustworthy person (this can create very lucrative jobs for local people)
-On whether foreign correspondence is better or worse than local reporting
-Locals know the language and way around
-Foreigners can be more fair, objective with less stake or opinion about conflict
-Don’t need fancy cameras to photograph anymore, now iPhones are enough to send photos in
-On whether she feels her war reporting was important
-America cares more about Casey Anthony, not the war reporting and coverage
-4% of US news was on Afghanistan/Pakistan, while 1% of news was on Iraq when we spend billions a week on the wars
-Wanted to show how badly things have gone, spiraling down the drain
-What’s important is the people affected, sources interviewed and their families, translators, drivers etc. who risk their lives and aren’t given their due for the stories that come out
-No story is worth dying over
Like most countries, probably, America has many random holidays. One of them is tomorrow: Columbus Day.
It’s “celebrated” on the 2nd Monday of October every year, meaning the date changes annually. (For example, I was actually born on Columbus Day, but most years my birthday is on a different day.)
Columbus Day became an official National holiday in 1937, though people in many states celebrated it well earlier. It commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in “the New World” on October 14, 1492.
The proper mode of celebration is to do some good works, community service, and/or reflect on our nation’s proud history. But really the only noticeable sign of Columbus Day are that government buildings are closed, and sometimes school kids get the day off school.
In fact, Columbus Day is a little controversial, because not everybody feels that Chris C.’s arrival in “the New World” was such a momentous or positive thing. Several other groups, including the Vikings, Irish, and even the Chinese, are said to have well proceeded the Spanish-serving Italian in landing on the American continent. Also there were, of course, indigenous people already living and thriving here, so in a larger sense Columbus didn’t “discover” anything. (We can say, at least, that Columbus had an interesting life.)
I have a weird interest in Columbus Day for two reasons: 1) Its close connection to my own birthday, 2) I love the idea of holidays, especially random, barely-relevant ones, and 3) I’m not a huge Columbus fan, so it bothers me that we Americans still celebrate his life in some official way.
2) and 3) produce great inner conflict. How can I celebrate this lovably small holiday when I disagree with what we’re celebrating?
Several groups around the country have answers to this question, in the form of counter-holidays.
Native Americans in South Dakota, for example, protest the celebration of Columbus Day by throwing their own Native Americans’ Day. (It’s called Indigenous Peoples’ Day in California.) They feel Columbus was the first of many “explorers” who colonized their land and destroyed their way of life. Decent argument. So, these two states celebrate Native American culture tomorrow instead of Columbus, with traditional dances, ceremonies, and costumes. Way to go, South Dakota and Cali!
If you visit ASU’s Tempe campus tomorrow, you are sure to see student protests near the Memorial Union as well. [Video here: watch?v=c2XzMqnNeFc] They are a standard sight on Columbus Day here. But there is some backlash to these protests among the youth as well, which basically goes like this: “Everybody knows Columbus doesn’t actually deserve a holiday. Your protest didn’t teach me anything new, or change anything. Now, please get out of my way, I’m late for class.”
Regardless of how you feel about this controversial piece of history, I wish all the Humphrey Fellows a happy Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day/Tye’s 23rd Birthday. See you in class tomorrow!
On Friday, October 7, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia and Tawakul Karman of Yemen for ‘their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.’
It is so exciting to have these women and their efforts recognized for the world to see.
Tawakul Karman is a Yemeni journalist and activist who was deeply involved with the uprisings against the government and seeking independence for her people. She even received death threats for her activism ranging from sit-ins, street protests and more. Karman is not only an incredible activist, but also as a woman, a great role model.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the president of Liberia and is credited for helping her country’s debt and investigating war crimes. She has worked tirelessly to empower women, educate the people and tackle corruption in all areas.
Leymah Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist who led a women’s campaign for the end of Liberia’s civil war and helped the peace treaty, the Accra Accords, get signed when “in 2003 when she led hundreds of women to Monrovia’s City Hall, demanding an end to the war.”
The Nobel Peace Prize may be symbolic and perhaps controversial, so it may not have a big impact on the majority of people, however I think the fact that it still exists is important. Peace, democracy and gender equality through nonviolence are three incredibly difficult but crucial components of a stable society and I hope more people are motivated and encouraged to emulate these women and support their ideas for change.
This weekend, I’ve already been invited to and read about numerous 9/11 remembrance events, candlelight vigils and interfaith gatherings. All these events seek to unify Americans together from all the diverse backgrounds we come from and most have some air of spirituality in them, whether explicit or not.
Interestingly enough, Mayor Bloomberg is being criticized for not including clergy at the official ceremony at ground zero this 9/11. A New York Times article discusses how various conservative politicians and religious groups are protesting this decision and attacking Bloomberg for taking religion and prayer out of the ceremonies.
Bloomberg’s press secretary says prayer isn’t omitted from the ceremonies, but that people can pray during the breaks for moments of silence as the names of victims are read aloud.
The US has an interesting culture of religious civic life where we maintain and celebrate our secularism, but frowns upon rejection of religiosity. I’m curious to see how all these various interest groups will come together to compromise and understand one another during this time of national healing.
It’s this art walk thing!
Well, it happens every first Friday of the month, in downtown Phoenix.
Ah! Umm, so, what’s it about?
It’s free you know!
Apparently, First Fridays are a free monthly self guided tour of galleries, studios, and unique businesses in downtown Phoenix, showcasing local, national and international artists.
Or so the nice little pdf pamphlet said.
So I had to check it out, for this seemed the best way for me to fully comprehend what First Fridays were.
After rifling through the map, I decided that Roosevelt Row was about as good a place to start as any, mostly because it had the most congregation of dots-to-see on it anyway.
As I moseyed up to the street, I knew something was going on: people were walking up and down with a definite intent.
But what was it? (more…)