American Journalists Shaped Our Culture

Journalism’s impact on our history cannot be understated. Since it’s conception, the ability of journalism to inform the masses has shaped our modern world. The American identity is especially connected with the idea of a free press; the First Amendment guaranteeing our right to the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, petition, and press was the first to be added to the Bill of Rights, and is still regarded to be paramount to any democratic society.

The United States began because of the writings of patriots like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Samuel Adams. As our nation progressed, journalism continued to pave the way forward. Streitmatter points out the brave journalists who were not afraid to push for the truth, like Ida Tarbell, who dug deep into the dark secrets of the Rockefeller monopoly to expose their inner workings. William Lloyd Garrison, a staunch abolitionist, published The Liberator to push for an end to slavery, despite being attacked by his peers and nearly being hanged for his beliefs. His efforts are still recognized today as being instrumental in building support for abolition

American journalists have stood tall against the great villains of our history. Thomas Nast published his scathing cartoons against the corrupt “Boss” Tweed, despite all the death threats made against his family. As a result, Tweed was exposed as the crook he really was, and Nast became an icon of American journalism.

These brave journalists not only exemplify American values, like liberty and truth, they also made their mark on the world around them. As we move forward, new heroes of free speech will rise, changing the cultural landscape like those who came before them.

Movie Review: All the President’s Men

All the President’s Men is a film about the Watergate scandal, which rocked the nation following the 1972 election and lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. The movie follows Woodward and Bernstein, played by Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, as they unravel the deep conspiracy surrounding the events at the Watergate.

I really enjoyed this movie because it kept me interested, even during some of the slower moments. The Watergate Scandal was a major victory for the proponents of investigative journalism, and I think that the film covered the event well. My favorite scenes are the ones where they meet with Deep Throat, their informant. The whole thing is very clandestine and tense. I love old movies, and I’d say that this one aged very well.

Movie Review: Spotlight

Spotlight is a powerful film that tells the story of the Spotlight Investigative Team, an investigative wing of The Boston Globe newspaper, and their discovery of rampant and systemic child sexual abuse and cover-ups within the Catholic church. Starring the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAddams, the movies gives a thrilling account of the investigative process that went into the Spotlight piece, as well as the obstacles the reporters had to overcome to bring the truth forward.
I’d say my favorite scene of the movie is when the team is speaking with Richard Sipe, who was a psychologist with the church that worked to reform the pedophile priests, and they discover that the story is much bigger than they thought. Previously, they had been working off a list from another source, which only had 13 names on it, but Sipes estimated that 6% of priests in Boston could have a history of sexual abusing children. The estimate came out to 90 priests, of which the team found 87 names. I loved this scene because it shows the importance of investigative journalism and that there can be more to a story than you initially think.
Overall, I believe that Spotlight deserves the praise it gets. Though some parts may be a bit dramatized, I think that it helps the movie keep you on the edge of your seat. At the end, I was thankful that there are people out there willing to dedicate their lives to the truth.

The State of Contemporary Journalism

For me, one of the most interesting lessons came recently, when we discussed Opinion Writing, which in it’s rawest form, is becoming the most prevalent type of journalism. Sure, the examples given in class present the better part of opinion based journalism, but what about the rest?

There has always been some degree of opinion in writing. Though journalists often strive for objectivity, it has become harder to remain competitive without showing some bias.
Unfiltered, attention grabbing news outlets, like crazy tabloids or fringe radio stations, have been around as long as their mediums have, developing just as quickly as the technology.

Enter the Age of Information, where a new technology known as “The Internet” connects people all over the world with one click of a mouse. What started as a knowledge database quickly became a way to have your voice heard by anyone. When anyone can have such a large platform, it becomes more difficult to enforce an ethical code.

The first victim was objectivity. Hundreds of independent news sites have sprung up, many of dubious origins, that put a partisan spin on the news. When opinions are presented as facts, people will take them as evidence, creating an echo-chamber for ideologies. News has become increasingly commodified, and those pulling the strings profit off both sides of the aisle.

The next victim will be truth. As we move into the Post-Information Age, evidence is slowly being replaced with emotions as the backbones of beliefs. Over saturation of these rogue news sources allows for so many skewed accounts of an event, it becomes near impossible to distinguish the truth amongst the fray.

This is certainly a large challenge in contemporary journalism, and I am very interested to see where things go from here. But my optimism is fading fast.




Rampant Sexual Abuse Of Elderly In Nursery Homes

When a family makes the decision to check a loved one into a nursing home, they hope that they are minimizing the potential harm that could befall them in as they live out their twilight years. However, a lack of supervision and insufficient background checks on the staff that cares for them has led to the residents of the homes to become easy targets for sexual predators.

Many of the 1.3 million elderly Americans currently living in nursing homes lack not only the physical ability to care for themselves, but also the mental capability to be aware of their surroundings. Memory issues and communication deficiencies make these rapes, a crime that is already extremely difficult to generate solid evidence for, even more difficult.

An example of this is the sexual assault of 83-year-old Sonya Fischer by her male caretaker, George Kpingbah at Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis back in 2014. Fischer, who is afflicted with Alzheimer’s, was unable to vocalize about what was happening to her. The perpetrator was only caught when another worker walked in on them. CNN has recently discovered that he had been accused in the past of similar charges, yet was never charged. Walker Methodist suspended him while he was being investigated, but never fired him. They have refused to comment on the issue.


Former Baylor Football Director Drops Defamation Lawsuit

Colin Shillinglaw, the former director of operations for Baylor football’s team, has dropped his defamation lawsuit against his former employer, seeking arbitration instead.

After the sexual assault scandal rocked the Baylor program early last year, Shillinglaw was terminated from his position on May 26th, 2016. When Baylor officials described the football program as “out of control”, Shillinglaw took up a lawsuit against the school and their legal representatives, citing that comment as defamation of him and everyone associated with the team. He believes that it has caused him to not be able to find employment after being fired.

Backing down from this lawsuit, his legal team is now seeking arbitration, which is listed in the employment agreement that Shillinglaw had with Baylor prior to his firing. When Shillinglaw brought up the case in January, a document was released containing texts between the now disposed coach and his staff, revealing that they were working together to withhold information regarding sexual assaults and other crimes involving their players from campus authorities.

The accused have responded to the case, saying that Shillinglaw and others are attempting to distract from the fact that they perpetuated a system in which Baylor football players could avoid punishment from outside sources for crimes they committed, including sexual assault. They also said that, given his position within the organization, Shillinglaw was instrumental in creating an “internal disciplinary system”, wherein players who committed school policy violations would deal with football staff rather than the proper authorities.

Ex-head coach Art Briles had filed a similar lawsuit following his termination, but has since dropped it. Tom Hill, a member of the athletic department that was also fired following the scandal, also filed lawsuit against the school’s attorneys, accusing them of defamation and negligence.

Flint Still Without Clean Water After 3 Years

Back in 2014, the town of Flint Michigan, one of the poorest communities in the United States, was struck with a water crisis after government officials switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. When this happened, the water supply became contaminated with lead, reaching levels hundreds of times greater than the EPA limit.

While the situation has improved since then, Flint does still does not have clean water. At the rate that things are going, the water may not meet EPA standards for a few years, due to the thousands of pipes that need to be replaced.

The citizens of Flint cannot be subjected to these unlivable conditions any longer. Michigan must take action and adjust the state lead standard from the 15 ppb it currently is to 10 ppb to ensure the health of its citizens.

Bleacher Report Caves To Cuban

Bleacher Report found itself in hot water with Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank personality Mark Cuban over a tweet they sent out this past Saturday.

The infamous tweet read DIRK FOREVER and featured a gif of Mavs player Dirk Nowitzki throwing up an air ball. This prompted Cuban to send a profanity-laced email straight to the President of Bleacher Report’s parent company Turner, David Levy.

“Who the [expletive] thinks this is remotely acceptable and why are they working for you David?” wrote an irate Cuban. Levy responded, saying that it was just a joke aimed at “millennials”, prompting Cuban to threaten to “communicate with the millennials in the way i know how”.

Cuban then tweeted out the email conversation to his followers, deleting it when BR finally deleted their Dirk tweet. They have since tweeted an apology.

About Me

Hello there!

My name is Lucas Marvin, and I am a Junior studying Advertising. I am from Palatine, IL, which is a northwest suburb of Chicago.

On campus, I am a member of Alpha Chi Rho fraternity, AAF, and PRSSA. In my free time, I love listening to music and watching old movies. I even recently bought a VCR and some tapes to really get the true old movie experience.

I’m taking Journalism 200 to fulfill a requirement for the PR Minor. So far I am really enjoying the class. The other classes I am taking this semester are ADV 283, ADV 284, ADV 350, PS 280, and hopefully MDIA 390. This is easily my busiest semester I’ve ever had, but I think it is also kind of exciting.

I look forward to meeting and working with all of you.