Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good Discussion

    A topic that has come up a lot in the news recently is the death penalty. The death penalty has been used many times in the past and is still legal in thirty two states. The use of Capital punishment is limited by the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution to aggravated murders that were committed by mentally competent adults. Nineteen states have abolished the use of the death penalty including Minnesota. Some states, like Vermont, have reserved the death penalty for treason only.
    Recently, there has been some controversy about whether or not to give Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty or life in prison. Tsarnaev had a numerous thirty charges against him and a few days ago he was in fact, sentenced to death. Most likely there will be an appeal that will take years to process, but most are saying that the outcome is that he will die.
    There are many people who agree with this outcome, and many who disagree with it and they all have their reasons. From not wanting him to die because it would be wrong and he should be allowed to live, or because they think he deserves to suffer, that he got off too easy. Either way, there will always be debates on this topic.
    In my opinion, I think it is fine to keep the death penalty around. I mean it's more than likely the person will end up spending quite a good amount of time in prison while waiting for appeals or the execution day. Like I said, some people say that criminals get off too easy because of the death penalty, but most death row inmates, according to, spend over a decade awaiting execution, so that isn't really 'getting off easy'. I mean if you have to wait 10-15 years knowing that at the end of it all you will die, the dread, its plenty of punishment.
    I think that the death penalty is just fine to keep. It is good to use in cases where big or many crimes were committed. The biggest thing is that it doesn't get abused or used to much, which I don't see that as being a problem anytime soon. But I think it is a good thing to keep in our back packets to use just in case it is needed or preferable.

Do you believe in the use of capital punishment?
If so what kind of cases should it be used in?
If not, why not?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

News Sources

    For the ten days I have been looking at as a news site, looking at what they report, and how they report it. The nice thing about this source, is that not only does it have its own writers and people creating stories for themselves, they also have many stories on the main page that are stories from other sites such as Bleacher Report. I liked that so that stories have the possibility to be written differently, and with different views.
    I think I will keep looking at news even after this ten days are over because, personally I enjoy knowing what is happening in the world. I like to learn things and gain knowledge, so I personally like to look at news stories. Now I'm going to contradict myself, I don't like the media or people who work for news companies. This is because, it happens so often where the media delivers the news in a way that is biased, not completely true, or they don't know the whole story. I don't like media because it can misinform people and manipulate their opinion. But enough about the media, even though I don't like it, I think it is something that can be very helpful to me. It can tell me what's happening, even though the details may not always be completely correct, I at least get the base of what they are reporting.
    But CNN is very good in the fact that it has a lot of the news that happens. Most everything that happens that needs to be known is talked about on CNN. I really like how they are so thorough with their reporting and getting the scoop on what happens. I honestly think that this is one of the better news companies out there. They report information in a style that is enjoyable for me to read, and report it in a way that is interesting while still seemingly factual. It can be hard to tell what is completely true in a news story, but I think that CNN does a good job at keeping things honest and as close to the truth as they can, keeping any exaggeration to a minimum.
    News is important to keep people informed about what is happening in other parts of the world, so people should look at the news. Its important to know more than what happens in your own life. News is important because it tells us things and shows us things that we otherwise wouldn't get to learn. It allows you to become knowledgeable about things bigger than yourself.
    The problem with news, is that nobody really reports the good things that happen in the world. This could possibly be for multiple reasons, one of them possibly being that people aren't as interested in positive things as they are in negative things. I don't know, because I'm no expert, but some people may not click on something about an underdog winning in a sports game, as much as a story on a shooting in Texas. News corporations want as many views of their stories as possible. If something that happened is not interesting, why run it? Something negative, in my opinion, would get more views. If I had to choose, I would probably choose the negative article at least 92% of the time.
    Shawn Paul Wood wrote an article about how negative stories get much more views, using actual data from a study. He talks about how people say that they hate negative news, but according to the study they look at the negative more than positive. In my opinion this could be out of pure curiosity. The positive stories may be something that the reader has already experienced, so why waste time reading about it? If there are two stories about hockey, one about Cal Clutterbuck making a huge hit (just as an example not historically accurate), or him missing a check and going into the other teams bench, which would you click? Here's a more extreme example, what if Clutterbuck makes the same hit, but the negative story is Clint Malarchuk getting his jugular vein cut by a skate in a game, then which would you click on?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

New Species

    Over the past few years, scientists have been taking a much deeper look at a species that not much is known about. Scientist say that the new species is a form of human, the difference is members of the species have extensive knowledge in today's new technology, and are very good at using social media.
    The creatures of this species are known as Millennials,  who are part of a species known as Generation Y. Experts are baffled by the fact that Millennials were only born over a twenty-some year span, starting in the 1980's and ending in the early 2000's. The thing that continues to confuse scientists is that they were born from normal human beings.
    This epidemic is getting so serious, that even the White House is intervening. They have made an informational guide that will tell you everything you need to know about the differences between normal humans and Millennials.  A few differences are that Millennials get married later in their lives than normal humans do, they are less likely to be home owners as young adults than their normal human parents, and that they value family.
    The only flaw in these differences is that there is even different beliefs between the younger aged Millennials and older ones. The younger Millennials don't have as much work ethic
as older ones. Scientists have concluded that this phenomenon is due to the creation of Yahoo in January of 1995. Studies show that most Millennials born after that month no longer value family and don't enjoy putting effort into things.
    This new species is taking over the United States, now accounting for about one third of the population. As we continue to learn more about this spin off breed, we will continue to talk about them like they are a different species in every single one of our newscasts and news articles.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Good Story

    This story is told by my mom, Becky. It is about the days leading up to when she was diagnosed with M.S, and a little bit about her reaction. M.S or Multiple Sclerosis, is a disease where your immune system attacks a fatty material called myelin which wraps around your nerve fibers to protect them. The damage caused makes it so your brain can't send signals in your body properly. This is my moms story:
    "I started having symptoms that I wasn't clear on what it was in about the year 2006 and I was running into walls, I would drop things, I was having a lot of headaches, some nausea. And in 2007 in December my husband Mitch said 'Ok that's enough we're gonna go in,' and that very day, he took me into the hospital and we were in Emergency almost all day. I remember getting there about seven o'clock and by two o'clock we still weren't really getting anywhere. The doctor had been in and out all day and they had been doing test and I mentioned that I couldn't really see the picture that was on the wall about five feet in front of me. And then the doctor came in and she sat down real close and she said 'Becky what do you think is going on?' and I said 'I think I have M.S.' I had not said those words to my husband and he looked very surprised, and she [the doctor] said 'Alright I am going to order an MRI for you for tomorrow and set up an appointment with your regular doctor for the following day and she will have the results.' So we left, and I thanked her for her time, because she spent a lot of time on me trying to figure it out. She knew I wasn't just pretending or faking or anything like that, she took me very seriously. So I did go the next day, to have the MRI, and that was a very easy process. Then when I went to the doctor the next day, I went by myself because my husband had to work, and I remember she was reading the paper and the results, and she was looking pretty intent and I said 'Well I suppose it's like every other time I've been in and you can't find anything.' And she said 'Actually not, you have Multiple Sclerosis,' and she read all the words that were on the report, a lot of them I didn't really know what they meant so she explained it to me. And I didn't stay there long and I wasn't surprised. I got in the car and I called my husband and I told him, that I had M.S, and he had been dealing with his brother who has M.S, so we just kind of had an idea of what to expect, even though everyone is different. I came home and my reaction wasn't like I said, it wasn't a surprise, I knew it would change my life because prior to that I had been missing work on and off for years and I knew that I wasn't able to walk up stairs very well anymore, I knew I would get tired very quickly, so I knew something was going to change, and it did. I started really paying attention to my symptoms, and I ended up going to part time at work. Then I tried to go two hours a day, and I couldn't do that, so at that point I went on short term disability, then after that required time passed I went on long term disability, and I've been dealing with the symptoms and all that comes with the multiple sclerosis."
  Here I paused and asked my mom when she first started disability.
    "I went on short term disability in January of 2008, in June I applied for long term disability and I've been on that ever since, every year having to fight for my benefits to keep them, so far I have, so we're going on seven years that I have not worked in the workforce. I've done some volunteer work, but that's only when I am able and I don't plan anything, I just go if I can."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


    Design can play a roll in publications that I read, or look at. If something isn't designed well, I won't look at it, because I don't think that it will be professional or be reliable. An article that does not look neat and nice, I will just brush it off as nothing important. The way something is designed, can change peoples opinions on things and also decide if it is worth their time. Looking at poorly designed page or spread will not be as enjoyable as a well designed page.
     While looking for examples of a bad design, I came across this. This I think is a great example of how not to design a website. It has all the information about the company that anyone could possibly need, but it's just too much. It's in a paragraph style so when you see it, it's just overwhelming, nobody wants to read all of that. And the buttons on the left, some of the text goes off the buttons, it just looks unprofessional. Which is just the point, I went to the website, but then I had to search for the company to make sure it wasn't a fake page, that's how poor the design was, I didn't think it was real. Design is what people use as a first impression about you when they look at something you have created, if it is in disarray and doesn't look professional they might think the same about you.  So while creating a page, that is something that we have to think about, is this a good representation of myself? Will this leave a good impression about who I am?
    Take this blog as another example, is not designed well, it is just paragraph after paragraph on a white page, with some wood on each side. Nothing special, no design, no cool effects, just word after word with links on the right side. I would not read this if I saw it while exploring the Internet, because of the design. I would not even read MY OWN blog, with this design, that shows how big of a factor design plays into our decisions everyday.  
    For something to be designed well, it needs to have good proximity or it could  be taken the wrong way or misunderstood. If a person in the Hoofprint is making a spread, they can't have information and pictures all of over the place. Things about topic A need to be near other things about topic A, and things about topic B need to be other things about topic B. You can't have something from topic A right next to something from topic A like in that picture that was linked. If something is too close, you automatically assume it is related, or if it is far away, you don't make that connection that you need in a design.
    Two more things fall right in with proximity, alignment and consistency. For something to look visually appealing, it needs to have both of these qualities. On the business card, some of the text is centered, and some is left aligned, and none of it is lined up. It is placed seemingly randomly and not within a margin or column. The company name is centered but the logo is off to the right, with her name a little off center off of the logo. It just varies too much and is not consistent or aligned well.
    Design can affect everyday things in our lives, it is more important than I knew even just a week ago, design is a major part of our lives. It is in every aspect of our lives, and affects the decisions that we make. Design is extremely important, no matter how much we think it isn't.

My designs
I recreated this from a page in ESPN Magazine.
I had 50 minutes to create this spread. There are parts I don't like, but it was 50 minutes and it was the best that I could do.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


    Choice is normally a good thing, especially when you're growing up. As a kid you get more and more choices as you get older. Eventually it seems that we can get too much choice. If you think about it when you were, lets say ten years old, you go to get ice cream with your parents, but when you get there it's not just choose between chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. There are so many choices and you don't know what to pick. So you freeze. When your parents start to rush you about what you want, you just choose something you know you like, not something you haven't had before.
    That choice applies when people are looking to see a news story. They don't want to open up the stations website or open the newspaper and have hundreds of story headlines on the front page. Most people don't want to have too much choice, because then it's hard to make a decision. The decisions people make when deciding whether or not to look at a story is based on the headline and the main photo. Nobody wants to scroll through page after page to find a story they're interested in, they want it narrowed down for them. To much choice can be a bad thing.
     Sometimes even having a choice can be a bad thing, like if a doctor acts what you want to do about an operation or treatment you need. Barry Schwartz talks about how that is the case with patient autonomy, which is, as Schwartz puts it, "A shifting of the burden and the responsibility of decision making, from someone who knows something, [...], to someone who knows nothing. So having any choice at all can even be a bad thing.

"It is no longer the case in the United States that you go to the doctor and the doctor tells you what to do. Instead you go to the doctor and the doctor tells you, 'Well we could do A or we could do B, A has these benefits and these risks. B has these benefits and these risks, what do you want to do?' And you say doc, what should I do?" -Barry Schwartz

    So with all the choice that we have in the news, what do we choose to look at? Most likely something that could affect us or has to do with something around us. Or something that we think is more interesting or entertaining. If a story says "This is super popular in 'insert your town' see why you need it," wouldn't you be more likely to click on that than a story titled "This happened 3000 miles away"?
    I think that Schwartz is correct when saying that you can freeze in the face of decision. Picking a news story to read can be hard, if you don't want to read it that can be a problem. There are things that you should know but you don't learn because of the choices you make.
    If you go to CNN's website and scroll down, there are a ton of choices. When I went on I was overwhelmed with the choices, I picked the headline that was the most interesting to me and I thought was either funny or entertaining.
    Peter Preston wrote an article titled "If you choose your own news, you'll be less well read," which is fairly true. If you choose to read only what you want, you won't learn about things that are happening. You learn less when you choose what you read. That can be a problem, people won't know all the problems going on around them if they don't read what they don't want to.

    These were two headlines on CNN's home screen. Which would you choose? One is way more intriguing and interesting than the other. So do you really have a choice in what you pick?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Future of Journalism

    The phrase "Everything was better back when everything was worse" is something that can apply to journalism. Back lets say fifty years ago, a writer didn't need to worry about entertaining the reader as much as just giving them the news. So back when technology was worse could journalism have been better? People not being able to look things up whenever they have the incentive to do so, not being able to find something out the moment it happens. Journalists, I would say, had more pressure to make sure the story was right and it was informative.
    The current styles of news are in a decline. The world is changing around journalism and it can't adapt fast enough. With people constantly on their phones and technology, journalism has to try to keep up with everything. They need to not only create a story for someone to look and read, they have to find a way to keep the reader or viewer interested. You can't just have a factual story anymore, people want more, pictures, videos and exciting stories. A journalist has to write the story, but try to make it interesting for the reader and short enough so they don't get bored.
    So the future of journalism could be in trouble. Most people don't take the time to sit and read the newspaper anymore, journalists and their employers need to find a way to make the news more interesting. They have a big challenge ahead of them. But journalism in the future, I think, will be much different than it is right now, and much different than it used to be fifty years ago.

    In our project we went with the idea that people need information to be readily available and easy to use. We decided to make a kiosk or directory at a place such as a mall into a news screen. To put the news on a large screen in a public place so that anyone can use it. We also created an app so that people would always have the news on them and could check it at any time.
    Our ideas were in the right area, but we had room for improvement. Part of it is that we were working in a group so it was hard to come up with an idea that we all agreed upon. Personally I would have liked to not do the kiosk at all. It was a good idea yes, but didn't think it was a well thought idea. It would be expensive to put around town, but we couldn't just do an app and I didn't have any better ideas.
    I think that I would have come up with something else to apply with the app instead of a kiosk. Something that we could to sell to a consumer because THEY want to use it. I don't think that anyone would buy a kiosk to put at their establishment because it doesn't do anything for them in my opinion. I would have come up with more of a product that presents the news instead of something that we pay to put up.
    Nels' group had a different approach to this, put the product for news, built into a self driving car. With a self driving car already a reality, it's actually a great idea. People drive pretty much everyday, so if they can access and read the news on their way to work, that's just absolutely amazing. They had a great idea and presented it in a great way.
    Overall I think we had a good idea that just needed more time to expand and be refined. This project will definitely help me when thinking about the future of journalism and how I write my future blogs and stories.