Written by: Emily Fritcke
Edited by: Javaria Tareen
On February 26, 2014, Dr. James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, retired U.S. Navy Admiral, and former Supreme Allied Commander of the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013, shared his perspective on resolving global issues with an audience at Tempe Center for the Arts. In his lecture entitled, “Learning, Literature, and Leadership,” he stated, “Walls don’t work. We must create bridges.” He went on to profess that he believes that it is through literature, reading, and studying that we create the ultimate bridge. I was inspired and encouraged by Dr. Stavridis’ comments, because I too believe that exposure to great works of fiction, expressive poetry, and thoughtful biographies provides us insight to world issues, international perspectives, and human strengths and challenges.
As a notable advocate for the study of the humanities, Dr. Stavidris, referenced an article, “Don’t Say Goodbye to Intellectual Diversity,” written Lt. Alexander P. Smith to outline why the humanities are critical to the development of a successful military commander:
“Engineering, math, and science tend to draw certain types of people. Humanities draw different types. The first are inward-focused, rule-bound, risk-averse, and bureaucratic. The outward-focused, improvisational risk-takers who hate bureaucracy and embrace Verantwortungsfreudigkeit—joy in making decisions and taking responsibility—are usually drawn to the humanities.”
Dr. Stavridis acknowledges that there are certain qualities that are essential for a dynamic military leader and claims: “An education in the humanities, especially history and literature, is the best preparation for thinking militarily.”
Violence, regional instability, ruthless dictators, and religious radicalism are unfortunately a part of the fabric of the 21st century. These factors are the greatest deterrents to solving the most persistent global issues. We can possess effective solutions for disease prevention, sustainable agricultural development, safe-water treatment, and economic challenges, but, without the ability to connect, the implementation of these resolutions is unachievable. To effectively build bridges to create an atmosphere for successful resolution of critical worldwide issues, it is essential to have an advanced sense of global awareness and understand the foundations of certain beliefs and actions of specific cultures. According to Dr. Stavridis, this is best accomplished through reading great literature, fluency in languages, genuine interaction with the people of foreign nations, and drawing on the contributions of all disciplines. As Admiral Stavridis stated in his closing comments, “No one of us is smarter than all of us connected.”
By: Emily Fritcke
Sales guru and best-selling author, Zig Ziglar, pronounced himself as the “Undisputed King of Motivation.” His career soared in the 1970s and encompassed multi-million dollar book sales, speaking tours, and a legacy of enthusiastic inspiration for individuals desiring ‘the next level’ of achievement. An engaging speaker, Ziglar was renowned for his many quotes about success, which relate to both professional and personal goals, such as this one that is applicable to our weekly theme of persuasion:
“The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity.”
The beauty of this quote is its simplicity. Unlike other sources that offer step-by-step outlines of how to persuade others, Ziglar’s message is clear and concise, accentuating the significance of the elements of honesty and reliability in an individual’s endeavors.
A compelling example of creative integrity is the conviction a writer has in his or her literary vision. Celebrated author, Jane Austin, illustrates exemplary integrity in persevering in her commitment to her personal writing style and avoiding compromising her artistic principles by succumbing to the lure of commercial success. The Secretary of Prince Leopold of the House of Saxe-Coburg attempted to commission Austin to write “a historical romance illustrative of the august House of Coburg.” He suggested this venture would be mutually beneficial to both parties because it would be politically advantageous to the Prince and would bring Austin financial success. The timing of the proposal coincided with the failure of Austin’s most recent book, Mansfield Park. Austin responded to the secretary’s proposition with astounding grace in a letter, published in A Memoir of Jane Austin, in which she wrote:
“No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.”
This tactfully worded response is a notable illustration of how personal integrity prevailed over the enticement of shallow success. Jane Austin is revered for her distinctive style, which examined the complex intimacies of domestic life in country villages. Had Austin consented to write an idealized historical tale of a Prince, her literary legacy could be very different than the one she is recognized for today. At the time Austin drafted her response to the Secretary of Prince Leopold, she began work on her final novel, which was published following her death. This final novel, titled Persuasion, exemplified Austen’s signature narrative style and was widely admired as a poignant love story.
Jane Austin’s loyalty to her own personal writing style reveals to us that in order to be successful you must not only learn to persuade, but also recognize when not to be persuaded. Austin’s integrity and commitment to her artistic vision is what earned her distinction as a beloved author. She could not be persuaded to abandon her writing style by the deceptive inducement of financial gain; thus, it was her integrity and commitment to her personal principles that contributed to her enduring success as a literary luminary.
Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor and outspoken opponent of Adolf Hitler, was one of the earliest Germans to speak openly about the broader complicity in the Holocaust. He is most well-known for the quotation:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
Following Germany’s humiliating defeat in World War I, Niemöller believed his country required a strong leader to promote national unity and honor. Sharing Hitler’s belief in the importance of Christianity’s role in a renewal of national morality and ethics, Niemöller enthusiastically welcomed the promising leadership of the Third Reich. As a well-known Christian leader, he was a supporter of the new regime until he and his church came under attack. As he began to critique the Nazis in his sermons, he became a target and was ultimately incarcerated in a concentration camp. Following the war, he gained controversial prominence for his acknowledgement of collective German guilt, which he expressed in his famous quotation cited above. In acknowledging his own prejudice and inaction during the Nazi’s regime, he offered future generations a lesson to be learned.
The sentiment expressed in his famous statement recognizes the compliance of those who did not speak up for their neighbors and fellow citizens who suffered. By acknowledging that it was too late for action when it was his people under attack, he informs us that we must recognize the plight of others before we lose the opportunity to act. We must know what we stand for and respond to oppression by voicing our protest. Those who have responded to this call to action and have voiced their opposition are the individuals who live in history as heroes, individuals who spoke up for those who had no voice, individuals like – Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and teenage rights activist Malala Yousafzai. I realize that not everyone can be a national hero, but each of us has the ability and moral responsibility to respond to injustice. It is important to recognize the significance of speaking up for the ideals you believe in and speaking against prejudices and ideas that promote intolerance. It is equally important to acknowledge the consequences of remaining silent. Martin Niemöller’s experience compels us to acknowledge our beliefs and values, find our voice, and speak up, otherwise, we are all responsible for the negative consequences!
Written by Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr
Edited by Sammi Davis
Regarding SOTU 2014, I must say that it reminds me of a lot of elements we find in Hollywood events, but without the red carpet of course. What got my attention was that journalists were interacting with the politicians with a very personal approach.
It is clear that there are certain individuals that spend their time in Washington D.C. covering what the politicians do and therefore, they establish a relationship with them. I believe that is fine, but the point is that journalists become public figures too, with a certain degree of fame that could get go to their heads. This might make them feel powerful; the same power that politicians experiment with, and that sometimes overwhelms them.
Mainstream media in the USA should hold their politicians more accountable, but when channels are owned by the same politicians, this is very unlikely to happen. In the end, the result is what Guy Débord calls the Society of Spectacle which is, precisely, the title of one of his best books: La Société du Spectacle.
The french author describes the way societies care more about having rather than achieving, transforming human interaction in the that way. Another key element explained by the author is that in those societies, appearing is more important than being. In a sense, appearing to know something is the way to go, instead of really knowing having full consciousness of the actions.
It appears to me that mainstream media in the USA covers only the stories they are interested in covering, instead of really holding their government accountable for acts of corruption. I am not saying that politicians do not face justice, it happens, but there are a lot that get away with it.
In the end, SOTU 2014 could be easily perceived as part of the Society of the Spectacle, as many other events mainstream media covers and advertises. This happens not only in the USA, but around the world
The State of the Union address that takes place each year, giving the President the opportunity to address Congress and the American people, is one of the nation’s best arenas for displaying democracy. Article II, Section III, Clause I of the United States constitution outlines the responsibilities of the President to offer periodic reports to Congress on the state of the union. This practice was intended to increase transparency and allow for the President to share with Congress his unique knowledge gained from the President’s station on the national and international stage.
During President Obama’s most recent address, Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas) made a show of walking out of the chamber during President Obama’s speech. Following the broadcast, he shared with reporters that he was distraught by President Obama’s abuse of his constitutional powers. Although this was perceived as a disrespectful gesture on the part of Representative Stockman, it was an act that put on full display the democratic nature of the nation. The fact that the United States’ government allows for such dissent is a testament to the country’s democratic ideals.
Famed Russian novelist, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, known for his literary critiques of Soviet totalitarianism described in his book, The Gulag Archipelago, how there were dire consequences for anyone who was the first to break off their applause during any speech given by Stalin. The KGB would identify those in the crowd who did not show an ‘appropriate’ amount of appreciation for their leader and would classify those individuals as dissenters. Without trial or appeal, those individuals would be immediately sent to the Gulag. As everyone feared the consequences of ending the applause first, standing ovations would go on for minutes on end. The Soviet’s solution to this problem was to ring a bell in order to alert the audience that they could be seated.
Although the State of the Union Address often resembles propaganda, rather than guidance for the nation from its leader, the rhetoric is geared towards emphasizing the shared principles of United States. A tangible illustration of our democratic ideals is a member of Congress demonstrating his First Amendment right to openly and publically criticize the President of the United States and suffer no act of retribution. There are many factors that distinguish the United States from totalitarian governments but, by far, the most important is the ability to dissent without fear of punishment by the State. The nation may be divided along political party lines, but its people are committed to the basic doctrines set forth in the Constitution of the United States and will hold its Representatives accountable to protect it.
Edited by: Javaria Tareen
One piece of advice that I got from Ryan Avery, the 2012 world champion of public speaking, is that great speeches are made up of stories not merely facts. He explained during a toastmaster gathering in Phoenix that people remember stories more often than facts. Was Obama’s 2014 state of the union address a great speech? According to CNN poll, 76% of the people who watched the address rated it a great speech, that is, either positive or somewhat positive. So, what stories did Obama share with the citizens of America and the world? Here are six stories I have extracted verbatim from the speech:
1. Why is creating jobs important and very possible?
Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make those parts. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up an American Jobs Center, places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job or a better job. She was flooded with new workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees. And what Andra and her employees experienced was how it should be for every employer and every job seeker.
2. Why should Congress restore the expired unemployment insurance?
Let me tell you why. Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She’d been steadily employed since she was a teenager and put herself through college. She’d never collected unemployment benefits, but she’d been paying taxes. In May, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. Last month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter, the kind I get every day. “We are the face of the unemployment crisis,” she wrote. “I’m not dependent on the government. Our country depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society, care about our neighbors. I’m confident that in time I will find a job, I will pay my taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. Please give us this chance.”
3. Why college education should be accessible by all including middle-class students?
Estiven Rodriguez couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.
4. Why is raising minimum wage possible in private organizations?
Nick Chute is here today with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it. John just gave his employees a raise, to 10 bucks an hour — and that’s a decision that has eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.
5. Why is healthcare a right not a privilege?
A preexisting condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician’s assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn’t get health insurance. But on January 1st, she got covered. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would have meant bankruptcy.
6. Why should Americans continue to pursue progress?
I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day…. He was a strong, impressive young man, had an easy manner, he was sharp as a tack. And we joked around and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain. For months, he lay in a coma. And the next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak, could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye, still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad, Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. And, day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again. And he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again. “My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”
Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.
Which story did you enjoy or remember most? Share yours in a comment below.
Edited by Domenico Nicosia
A South African man marries four wives at the same time – internet photo.
South African President Jacob Zuma has four current wives. He has 21 children. Mswati III, King of Swaziland, has 15th wives and 27 children. My father had three wives and seventeen children. Polygamy …..the practice of marrying more than one wife …is Illegal in US. However, in Malawi and many African countries, it is not only legal but culturally promoted. What leadership lessons can we get from a polygamous family?
1. Your title is not enough.
In my polygamous family, the title dad or father did not yield enough influence. There were many people around us we could follow – uncles, aunts, village headmen, neighbors. My father had to conscientiously use his position as a dad in creative ways to help the family and yield influence. Getting together and sharing stories was one such ways. In modern institutions, leadership is now based less and less on position and title. People might follow you because of your title or position. But truly effective leadership is about influencing those in positions above, peers, and below, regardless of title.
2. Be proud to show your emotions.
My father was a Moslem and I never saw him without his kofia (Moslem hat). He openly displayed his beliefs and emotions. He shared his joys, excitement, values, and aspirations. This created a sense of group identity. In doing so, the three families relate to and mingled well together in sorrow and in happiness. While rules, procedures and protocols are important, rigidity must be avoided. Leaders need to recognize that emotion can be a strength. Displaying joy, passion, excitement, and hope is not only infectious, it can create a deeper sense of connectedness with the people you lead.
3. Don’t befriend concrete thinkers.
Concrete thinkers as opposed to creative thinkers are people who perceive things as they are. Concrete thinkers see five fingers covered with jerry. Creative thinkers see planes being flown made from the same five fingers. In a polygamous family, you have both sets of players in the field and you watch them fail or succeed. Effective leaders dream of things that never were and ask the question why not. They see what others can not see.
4. Be fearless about what you change.
Despite being a dedicated Moslem, my father allowed us to worship whatever God we wanted. The family wanted the children to focus on education rather than religion or jando rite of passage. This was considered a taboo but the family did not back off. The ultimate test of leadership is change. Instead of trying to change others, effective leaders change themselves first and after help others to change.
5. Avoid failure forecasters.
Some people have a tendency to always look at things in a negative way. They see problems. This can’t. That will not. You will never do A, B, C. They spread pessimism everywhere. In a polygamous family you quickly learn to avoid failure forecasters. You have to wade through mudslinging, gossip and false prophesies to get the recognition you desire from your own father and fellow siblings. As a leader avoid associating with failure forecasters. Have an end in mind and don’t let people dissuade you from reaching the goal.
The family is an important institution to begin learning and practicing leadership. A polygamous family presents even greater opportunity. Did someone say Obama’s father married more than one wife? What is your perception about polygamy and leadership? Share your comments below.
By Ivana Braga
The importance of Native Americans for U.S. history is not questionable, but the little space they have in media is. To minimize this situation Arizona State University Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication goes to the high schools located in reservations to explain the relevance of Native American’s voices in the news media. So, my mentor Anita Luera, director of Cronkite Institute for High School Journalism Institute of ASU, invited me to go along in a trip that started the afternoon of September 23, 2013 and finished late at night on the 27th. Since then, I’m more passionate for the Arizona landscape and I’m interested in understanding issues of race, education and media in America.
The 2011 US census bureau estimated that the population of Arizona is 6,482,505. The data about ethnicity from 2010 shows that 73% of people in Arizona are white, 4.1% are black or African American, and 4.8% are Native American or Indian. In fact, Arizona has 22 federally recognized tribes, communities and nations. It is the third largest population of Native Americans in the country. Here, more than 85,000 people are able to speak Navajo and 10,000 speak Apache. Despite these numbers, Native Americans are misrepresented in mainstream media.
At the first stop in Hopi Junior Senior High School, I had my first shock. The Native American school reservation didn’t remind me of anything the Brazilian schools, which Native people attend. Here, the schools have good structures and staff, they are just the way all educational institutions should be, but that is not common in my country. In the teacher Stan Bindell’s classes, Anita Luera prompted a reflection about media and Native American stories. Then, a student, Lacey Tewanema, expressed how some news stories reinforce stereotypes: “Still today many people think that Native American lives in tepees, don’t have electricity, dress traditional clothes all the time and have others ideas like that. But, we are not. Here in our school reservation we learning from modern technology, we try keeping our culture, but also become border towns,” she said. How would the media look if it was diverse?
Anita Luera talks about news media career, Cronkite School, advice to students to look in advanced for the school they want to attend, compare price, see the scholarship opportunities and other information. But, the part I like the most is to see how the students react when she shows the possibilities of a smartphone and tablet, put a professional camera in front of them, and teach them how to play with these machines. At the St. Michael Indian School, I observed how the position of a student change when she goes from the listener to author. How proud American society would be if more Native Americans could be author of their stories?
I found out more about Native American diversity listening to local radio stations and talked with students who produce and present programs. Indeed, the role of school radio stations in Arizona reservations is crucial for these communities. “The outside radio stations are important for people keep themselves updated about what happens in the world, but our radio helps us to take care of each other,” said the student Hertasha Begaye, who has participated for three years at radio school. It is the same to a volunteer D.J. Agnes Setalla, “our radio station has value because it is the only one that talks about our community calendar, cares about our issues, and speaks in both languages, Navajo and English,” she explained.
At Red Mesa High School, a senior high school student Allen Hongout, has traveled with his family since he was child. They periodically go to Canada and stop in a couple of states such as North Dakota and Montana to meet other tribes. “We travel to celebrate for three days with different tribes. In these occasions we usually dance five different kinds of dances. My uncle initiated me in dancing when I was younger. Now I compete, and I already have won once.” So, why is he taking radio classes in high school? “I can make a voice for my people and myself as well,” he replied. How the media would look if we knew more about Native American celebrations?
Thank you to all the teachers and students that I met, and to my mentor for the extraordinary experience. I hope more Native Americans join the media, tell us their history and help to understand that diversity is one of the most important treasures that a nation could have.
Grammatically revised by ASU Writing Center – Downtown, since English is not my first language.
‘Journalism is not a dying industry, Journalism is changing and the need for journalism is greater than ever,’ said seven times Emmy Award winner newscaster Bob Schieffer during the luncheon organized in his honor as he accepts the 2013 Cronkite Award. For me it was an honour to be able to listen to him live. I was watching before me a leader who has the vision and power to motivate and encourage people who believes in him.
I found Schieffer as a visionary leader with strong integrity. He hasn’t reject the power of social media/new media. But accepting the influence of the social media he just identified the facts that a journalist should take care about. “Social media is fine. Tweets and such are nice,” Schieffer said. “But journalism is not about scratching the surface. It is about going beneath the surface and finding the truth.”
‘Journalists don’t work with government we watch the government,’ this statement by Schieffer depicts how serious and responsible he finds journalism.
The question is does journalists of this time carry the same values and integrity as the early leaders in journalism as Walther Cronkite or Bob Schieffer?
As part of the Humphrey Seminar we, Humphrey Fellows, received the visit of Aaron Brown, a very well known broadcast journalist who talked to us about his personal experiences as a journalist. One of the ideas that got my attention was that news were born as a stepchild of the entertainment business. I believe this thought is accurate in a certain context: most of the news media that is provided to us and that we consume, has become a spectacle.
This is definitely not new, paradoxically. the french author Guy Debord, for example, was very aware of how media plays a significant role in modeling societies thru news or entertainment in his book La Société Du Spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle). Another author we can rely on is the american Noam Chomsky, considered by many as the ”father of modern linguistics”. The bewildered herd, term Chomsky uses to exemplify the premise that many people are in need of being told what to do and what where to go, is a concept that comes from his analysis of the societies around the world based on how mass communication works.
What we have is certain groups of power persuading the majority to act or live in a certain way. Some people are in “need” of certain expectations or believe in something, to have a feeling that they belong to whatever they believe in. This is truly legitimate, but we must analyze where these thoughts come from, and how is it that they think the way they think.
News and entertainment media have a certain degree of influence in our societies. Obviously there are degrees of pesuation, but it is true that the entertainment industry is what prevails, rather than investigative work that sometimes is supressed by authorities. Our task is to provide perspectives about what happens and these perspectives are enriched (or sometimes biased) by our experiences, thoughts, feelings and, ultimately, our own vision of life.
By Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr
by Ivana BragaUntil days ago, Bob Schieffer was a name that eventually a heard about, one of the famous American journalists with a familiar face on TV. From now, he is one of the people that reminded me why 16 years ago I chose to do journalism. I had two opportunities to listen him on this November of 2013: one exclusive session with some Cronkite School faculties, Humphrey Fellows and attaches students; and other was his speech for a crowd during the annul luncheon at Walter Cronkite Excellence Award, which he received.
Those experiencies was valuable and special to reinforce the role of journalism today and for ever. He gave many lessons, advices and insights. If I could summarize them I would use two words: accuracy and ethic. Journalism is essential part of the democracy, as much it raise as much people demand for information. That cycle won’t to stop, people want to be feed more and more, in many ways, by different devices. The challenge is do the right thing on time. He, like me, is from one age that at least two people look over what you wrote before it be published. Today, journalists have to do it by themselves. He also alerted about social media that should no be superficial journalism. The respect for the language and accuracy on the process are fundamental.
Doing the right things is not question only the accuracy, it also requires ethics. It is coherent, once journalism is made by selection. We select the words, angle, who has voice and who not, what should be published and which not. For me ethics is when we have good answers for why we selected each one of these elements. For how many today’s headlines the answer would be public interest?
I don’t work directly in news media for almost threes years, but I don’t believe in former journalist. The lessons from Bob Schiffer continue to make sense for my job as communications consultant for NGOs, strengthen my commitment as journalist in everywhere, and as citizen that expects for responsible media contents.
These words from Bob Schieffer bring to the table several topics for debate. One topic could be the validation and accuracy of the information. Another one could be the access to the data, and there is where we are going to stay. The fact that information is being accessed from different platforms around the world in a way that we did not have before.
What is important is to understand what does a person mean by News when mentioning that word. I know this is hard to define, but what is clear; again, is that the information is there: on the Web, newspapers, magazines, television, etc, and some called journalists (and others) filter the data and present it to the public as so called news (or any other thing).
The French writer Guy Debord wrote a book called La Société Du Spectacle (The Society of the Spectacle) in which he explains how media works with information to maintain a certain status quo. One of the thesis is that, in a consumer society, social life is not about living, but about having. Media this way rely on information and images to convey what people NEED and MUST HAVE. Consequently, social life moves from a state of “having” into a state of “appearing”.
Are we informed about the issues around the world? Are we being misinformed? I think both. We can be misinformed and informed depending on the media we consume or the validations we put in place. In the end, I believe there is an individual responsibility to deep dive and investigate what is of one’s interest and, of course, no one can judge what one’s interests should or should not be.
By Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr
Bob Schieffer, the 2013 Walter Cronkite Award for excellence in journalism recipient, answered some fundamental questions I have had about journalism? Often asked by public relations practitioners like me is the question to what extent should journalists publish leaked stories from government or private corporations. What do journalists seek to achieve by publishing classified information? In whose interest are the published leaks?
In this acceptance speech Bob, the host of “Face the Nation” and CBS News correspondent, said journalists and schools of journalism must basically recognize what journalism is in the new world.
Journalism is not about scratching the surface. It is about going beneath the surface and finding the truth. The government keeps too many secrets – we all know that – but obtaining and releasing mountains of classified information just because it is classified with no thought on whether it might harm, endanger or in fact put nation’s security and citizen safety at risk is not journalism. It is the hype of irresponsibility. We should never let someone in government think that they have an exclusive on wisdom, at the same time, we must also remember that neither do we.
In a world in which we are able to get information from thousands of sources and from various point of views, it is fundamentally important for journalists, bloggers, twitters and public relations practitioners to pay much attention to the content. Is the content accurate? Is it vetted? Is it true? Is the information something we can trust? And most importantly is it in the interest of the public?
Having watched the Fifth Estate, a film that reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power through WikLeaks, Bob’s speech answered two questions of our time “what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society-and what are the costs of exposing them?”
Do you agree that publishing leaks with no regard to the security and safety of the citizens is irresponsible journalism?
The Malawian proverb “mutu umodzi susenza denga” (literary meaning one head alone can not carry a roof) means that you can’t solve problems alone. This proverb is often told to instill a sense of group superiority over the individual. This does not mean that Malawians do not celebrate the success of an individual. We do. I do. But the work of an individual is much more appreciated in relation to the group.
In my rural village when you have constructed a roof of a traditional granary, you need relatives or friends to help you lift the roof up and fix it atop the granary. You can not lift it up alone. It is close to be impossible as much as it is a taboo to do it alone.
The process of lifting up the roof atop the granary is equally important as the process of building the roof. Here is how important it is! My personal reasons why I like working in teams.
Teams help the individual showcases his or her talent
By inviting others to help you carry the roof atop the granary, you, the builder of the roof, are acknowledging that your work is complete. You are happy with it. And by accepting your invitation, your friends or relatives acknowledge your work, skill and achievement. It’s like inviting them to celebrate your success. It is a mini exhibition.
Teams help to sharpen individual talents
Before helping you carry the roof, your friends and relatives will examine the roof and either approve it as effective or not. They may make a small adjustment to tighten the ropes for it to be stronger or increase the layers of grass so that water should not leak through. The team help us to sharpen our skills and create a better product.
Teams compliment our effort.
There are situations that require more than one head. Some situations demand more than two hands. There are challenges that cannot be solved by an individual alone. You need friends and relatives to help you carry the roof atop the granary. You cannot do it alone. We need teams to compliment our effort and achieve more.
Teams propel individual skills to new levels
By carrying the roof and fixing it on the traditional granary, more people will be to see the beautifully crafted roof. More and more people passing by will be able to appreciate your work. This is possible because the roof has been put on a higher level. It is no longer on the ground. In basketball, football or soccer, the talent and skills of players is magnified by the work and skills of other team members. Michael Jordan wouldn’t have been the greatest player in basketball without being in a team.
So whatever roof you are carrying – talent, skills, or performance – you need a team.
by Ivana Braga
Friday 11 October, the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced. I’m wondering what are the chances of a journalist to be awarded? Usually when we ask about the media’s responsibility, the classic answer is a question: Is the window to blame for the landscape? And then, the discussion stops. However, when everybody is called to be part of peacebuilding, the media should be involved and take its place.
Graham Spencer, author of The media and peace: from Vietnam to the War and Gadi Wolfsfeld who wrote The News Media and Peace Processes – The Middle East and Northern Ireland, categorically say that the media is obsessive for conflict situations and violence. From the TVs guideline and newspapers’ front page, it is easily certified. In writing this post, I have searched for many examples of news culture in conflict situations, and this three-minute video about US and Syrian below illustrates it very well.
By the argument of audience’s taste, journalism in mainstream media has increased the level of sensationalism without questioning the impact of that in people’s minds and lives. As a result, the process of peace has less media coverage than violence. “World enemies” are more well know than leaders that work in peacebuilding. On the other hand, very often the media intensify political confrontation and summarize complex situations in “win-lose” terms.
For Spencer, one the roles of responsible journalism is to approach cultures, “contributes a deeper understanding of each so that judgments made about those culture and societies can be drawn on the basis of detailed information and interpretation.” Even the mainstream still is far of that; many people and groups are dedicated to questioning the media’s role, to producing their own information, to raising the awareness of the audience, and with the Internet, all of it can be made by citizens. Perhaps, these movements will show that peace also interests people, and change the news headlines.
Twelve hours ago BBC regarded French President Francois Hollande as “too hawkish” in an article on the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. Publications such as the Washington Times agree, and the outlets also put President Obama in the same realm.
While mild joy has been shared across the globe at the diplomacy in the US-Russia deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, Hollande and Obama urge that pressures should remain the same.
Contrastingly, the citizenry of both France and the U.S. concur with the media’s interpretation of the leaders’ stances: they are too disposed to a militant solution.
What’s interesting about the two leaders political leanings is they’re both considered to be socialist in some regard (Hollande obviously more so). And although socialism is by definition an economic system, it adheres to the notion that “policy should arise from the people, that [their] Labour Movement is a movement of free working men, linked together for the common cause, and that the politicians must carry out the will of the people they represent,” R.H.S. Crossman and Honorary Kenneth Younger said in Socialist Foreign Policy. (Essentially, policy is a derivative of the economic schema. Therefore policy should be a direct reflection of the peoples’ desires.)
It’s plausible to assume presidents Hollande and Obama have strayed from their political mores. More importantly, they disregard the obvious distaste their countries have for a military solution in Syria. Why?
In short, the answer – partly so – is Iran. While a media blitz followed the deliberations in the U.S. Congress after Obama initially suggested involvement, and European presses juxtaposed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s reactions to Hollande’s, Iran’s limelight was dimmed. Iran is an embarrassing menace for the U.S. and European Union and the situation in Syria is the two leader’s opportunity to have an ironclad hold on a fraction of the discord in the region. For a short while, the ever-present threat and debate on nuclear warfare has been sidestepped, making way for chemical weaponry instead.
Ironically, Hollande proposes that sanctions and other means be considered to impede Syria from using the chemical weapons – a method remotely effective when used on Iran.
The two leaders agree the deal is a stepping-stone, but no less than President Bashar al-Assad’s removal from power is acceptable, the BBC said.
Clearly the Syrian conflict is far from resolved – and whether Hollande and Obama lend their ear to the people versus their current stance will largely determine the direction the civil war (and possibly, the climate on nuclear warfare in the future).
“Leadership is influence” wrote John Maxwell author of the book “Developing the leader within you”. Maxwell observed that a leader is one who is able to influence others to follow his or her ideas or opinions. A leader is the one people watch most when discussing issues. So who is watching who between Obama and Putin regarding the Syrian civil war.
Well, we can answer this question better by looking at the position each President has taken and the level of support garnered so far.
Lets look at Obama’s stance first. Obama says: Syrian President Assad is a killer; he is killing his own people using chemical weapons. He argues Assad must be stopped, must step down, must be disarmed through military action. Whom has Obama influenced to follow his position? Did he influence Congress or the Senate? Did he win public support?
If you ask Obama and his White House’s supporters the above questions; they will hasten to tell you that the President has plenty of backing for his planned military action against Syria, both at home and abroad. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, appearing on CNN on Wednesday, claimed “there are dozens of countries that are ready to stand behind the United States politically, diplomatically, and militarily.” She did not name any country for ‘security reasons’.
In reality, only one country has pledged military support to Washington – France. Even long time ally Britain is not on board. The House of Commons in Britain rejected the proposal to strike Syria. Even US Middle East ally, Saudi Arabia, has been undecided as much as ambivalent on the use of military force, “whatever they (Syrian people) accept, we accept, and whatever they refuse, we refuse.” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal is quoted on Aljazeera online news.
President George W. Bush brought to his side around 40 allies for the war in Iraq. Obama has embarrassingly failed to win even two, not for a fully fledge war, but targeted strikes.
What about President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia! President Putin message is no war on Syrian soil. He argues for a diplomatic solution. US strike is against international law. US strike against Assad would result in more innocent victims. US strike will potentially spread the conflict “far beyond Syria’s borders”. Putin does not support Obama. Instead of military action, Moscow proposes that Syria’s chemical weapons be placed under international control.
Whom has Putin influenced? Many! Iran, Syria, China, Germany, UN Secretary General, EU Commission etc. Putin has also managed to influence France, USA publicly declared ally, to support Moscow proposal albeit with conditions. And the big catch in the net is Obama himself. Obama has changed his stand from military action against Assad to “… now we may not strike if Assad gives up his weapons to Russia.”
Has Putin influenced African countries? Yes. No country in Africa is supporting the war. With exception of Kenya, African countries are not even supporting a UN resolution condemning Assad. Zimbabwe voted ‘no, along side Russia and China while Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Cameroon, Comoros and Namibia abstained.
So as the plot of Syria continues to unfold it is quite interesting to observe whose opinion seems most valuable. Who is the one others watch the most when the issue is being discussed? As of now people are watching Moscow. Putin might have eclipsed Obama. But for how long?
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club……..Jack London
Where do successful leaders draw their inspiration from? Is it from God? Is it love for money or passion to help others?
My thoughts about Martin Luther King Jr. is that he had many sources of inspiration. Wife and children, personal experiences and great world leaders before him. However, there are two sources of inspiration that I think influenced King most: game changers and change itself. I will talk about these two in a moment, but first here are my favorite quotes from King and world leaders about their sources of inspiration.
Darling, I miss you so much. In fact, much too much for my own good. I never realized that you were such an intimate part of my life. My life without you is like a year without a spring time which comes to give illumination and heat to the atmosphere saturated by the dark cold breeze of winter…….King wrote to Coretta his wife.
I have a dream, that my four little children’s will grow up in a nation where they will not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. – King – I have a dream speech<
…. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man – President Barak Obama
My personal inspirations are my parents. Yes, I admit it’s a bit cliché, but their voices have been in my head for my entire life – David H. Stevens, President and CEO at Mortgage Bankers Association
That night will never leave my memory as long as I live. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life. Never before, or afterward, can I remember myself being so angry? …….King wrote reflecting on a day he was asked to give up a seat in a bus to a white passenger
What about the influence Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi had on King. Thats a new subject or book on its own. Remember King visited the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in India in 1959 and was ‘baptized’ in non-violent protest. Three words that quickly come to my mind when thinking of Lincoln and King are braveness, perseverance and assassination.
Well, here are two sources of inspiration that had greater impact on King as a leader.
Game changing people
Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group shares the power of game changing people in his ‘Who inspires me’ post on LinkedIn . He says game changers are people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.
King had plenty such characters in his team. He worked with Whitney Young, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, James L. Farmer, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph, the renowned labor leader who is credited for originally conceiving the idea of bringing protesters to Washington.
This was a team of game changers. The unrelenting ‘Big Six’ as the six organizers were referred to refused to call off the Washington March when President John F. Kennedy held a meeting with them at the White House and informed them that the march would jeopardize the Civil Rights Bill to be presented to Congress. The ‘Big Six’ stopped at nothing but reaching their goals.
Perhaps King would have agreed with Richard Branson, the Virgin empire magnate, when he says “I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.”
Change: Please Tell Me I Can’t
One of the greatest inspiration for King was the idea of change. This is what I consider to be his main motivation: changing the status quo. He was motivated by being told you can’t. You can’t sit in a bus when a white passenger is standing. You can’t vote. You can’t do this or that because you are black. This motivated King to fight on and on. And the more he achieved the impossible the more he was motivated to fight even greater impossibilities.
When he successfully destroyed the racial discrimination policy in the Montgomery city’s public transit system, he aimed for a higher goal: right to vote, economic rights, labor rights, etc. This was achieved too. The successor to the assassinated John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One year later, he signed the National Voting Rights Act of 1965. These achievement were even greater motivation for King to aspire for more.
Naomi Simson, Founder of RedBalloon, puts more weight on impossibilities as a motivation. She writes on the topic of ‘what inspires you’ on LinkedIn:
Tell me I “cannot” do, be or have something – and that is the surest way to inspire me into action. What inspires me is simply when the ‘impossible becomes possible’ – to tackle a problem and never give up, no matter how challenging.
What do you think really inspired Martin Luther King Jr.? I would love to hear your views.
Finding the next big thing isn’t easy. If it were, more Americans would be cashing in on the trends. But predicting those trends may be as simple as talking to up-and-coming generations. They can tell you what’s in or out. And, as Business Insider reports, teens are officially over Facebook.
What does that mean for us as journalists interested in engaging a new audience where they feel most at home? It means constantly seeking new outlets for our material — everything is becoming more visual. Teens may be over Facebook, but Instagram and Snapchat are quickly rising in popularity, with YouTube becoming the latest fodder for afternoon and late-night talk shows (like RightThisMinute and Upload with Shaquille O’Neal).
I found most interesting in the Business Insider article that the author examined several different samples of teens to see what the general consensus was, not just interviewing a select few. That way, it shows the greater trend among the group and doesn’t assume what’s popular opinion or not.
Journalists and future leaders shouldn’t just depend on technology to drive their industries. The latest inventions aren’t going to just present themselves to us at opportune times for us to gain traffic and garner success with whatever messages we’re trying to send. Maybe we should be less reliant on the Internet for predicting the future.
Maybe we should be paying attention.