My Response

My opinion towards Smiths outlook onto the other cultures of the world is that he wasn’t the best at what he did although he did a pretty good job about keeping and open mind towards the other cultures I would have personal liked to have seen a further in depth look into each culture rather than a broad outlook on the different religions he talked about. The in-depth I am talking about is how they did the different practices/rituals towards worshipping their gods and goddesses. I would have loved to learn more about their gods and goddesses. The reason why I enrolled into the class was to learn more about the different religions out there in the vast religious world we call our planet. I wanted to see how the religion worked and not the people but then I thought you couldn’t have one without the other like a balance between the two or a direct correlation between the two. Now I really am not able to take anything away from this book because I am deism. Deism is to believe in a creator but with no name and basically letting things take the course they are on. Writing this book I think Smith was trying to open the readers eyes more than trying to convert or not to covert to a religion. We all strive to find enlightenment in our own way or fashion, its just religion helps people in the same way as a person who is a scientist trying to prove his thesis and or hypothesis depending on who you are talking to. Smith’s writing was very well rounded and had vast and knowledgeable vocabulary.

Like I said he did a good job of not putting Christianity or any other religion above one another. He did compare the religions he encountered to Christianity but that was for the reader, so he/she could grasp the concept of that religion better. I do think more people should read this book to help them understand other religions so they will be able to see what is put on that religion by our society. For my English class we have to do a self identity paper and one of the topics is how people put this stereotype over a persons religion like Christianity how some not all are close minded and unable to look pasted the gay rights movement, how the KKK did there horrific act out of Christ’s name, or how Westboro Baptist Church is giving Christians a bad name. Another group that gives its religion a bad name is Al Qaeda and how all Muslims are terrorists. Its what our society does to one another is to put a whole group behind a small sub section of that group that takes things to the extreme. I personally think that this is a hard fact that everyone should realize that this is happening and it doesn’t get published while celebrities and other nonsense its making the 6 o’clock news.

It’s All Relative

In class, we were given a list of scenarios and told to write down how we would react in these scenarios. This exercise was similar to one I did in high school, during my Current Events and Global Studies class, so I already knew the context of some of the scenarios before it was given. However, I also knew that my gut reaction to these situations would be the same no matter how many times I did this exercise. If someone came to a meeting late, I will probably always be a little mad, even if I understand that other cultures aren’t as stringent as the United States is when it comes to time management. Since I have the humor of a five-year-old boy, belching will probably never cease to be funny to me, and, even though I don’t belch much myself, I would never judge someone for letting out a natural bodily function; if it was deemed polite to belch after a meal, then I would certainly join in. Although my gut reaction towards these types of things will probably always be inherently American in nature, I will always rely on rational thinking when it comes to making a move, because usually it’s the best (and safest) thing to do.

The exercise the following day was simultaneously the most fun and the most frustrating thing I have ever done. I, along with three other students, had to figure out as much as we could from a culture that has not had much outside contact with the rest of the world. However, nothing we thought we had “figured out” turned out to be true and the answers these tribe members gave us were based on the length of our sleeves and our facial expression. I learned just how easy it is for us to forget that not all cultures take the same things the same way as we do. A simple smile could end up giving you an answer that’s completely different than the answer you’ll get with a frown. We can’t just go in for a few hours, days, or even months and expect to “know” about a culture. Thinking about this exercise still rattles me a little bit, because I thought I was immune to making these kinds of quick assessments about other cultures. I’m not entirely sure what will change as a result of this exercise, but something will definitely change for the better.

Net Neutrality Debate: Is the Internet a Public Utility?

When I am writing this blog, thousands of companies, organizations and individuals are observing the “Internet Slowdown Day”, demanding for a free and unbiased internet for all. Companies and organizations from different sectors have joined forces to fight against the discriminatory policy of the giant ISPs. This movement is claiming that giant cable companies (Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable & AT&T) are charging more money for their poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. They are also consolidating their utmost control over the Internet. These big ISP are accused of charging higher mandatory fees to the small and medium enterprises without any added services. If anybody doesn’t pay that fees, Internet speed is slowed down, which makes the Internet “dead” for them.

But the very first question that pops up in the mind of a common person, what actually net neutrality is. Net neutrality (aka network neutrality or Internet neutrality) is defined as the standard that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally. Internet service providers cannot discriminate or charge differentially by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, and modes of communication. Domain registry company “Namecheap” stated, “Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet, the principle that Internet service providers (ISPs) treat all data equally.” The term was initially proposed by Columbia media law professor Tim Wu in 2003. Advocates consider net neutrality as an important component of an open Internet, where policies such as equal treatment of data and open web standards allow those on the Internet to easily communicate and conduct business without interference from a third party. However, a “closed Internet” refers to the opposite situation, in which established corporations or governments favor certain uses. A closed Internet may have restricted access to necessary web standards, artificially degrade some services, or explicitly filter out content.

In the USA, net neutrality has been a very hot debated issue from early 2000. Cable companies are allegedly monopolizing the internet market and often blocking common services to the users at their own discretion. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is work4540678705_3817c0152b_oing on a new plan by which service providers will be able to charge more money for better and specialized service. But the interesting fact is that there is no legal restrictions on how access providers should give service to the users. There is also no rules regarding intentionally limiting or blocking Internet speed or content. But this is not only a legal issue anymore. It has become a concern whether free and open internet is a basic human right. Even president Obama also opposed the new rules that will make the giant companies benefited. Recently, president Obama said in a speech that big and wealthy companies may be willing to paying higher amount for faster Internet but small companies won’t. The president also said that an open Internet will allow for “the next Google or the next Facebook” to enter the industry, and become successful. Industry pioneers also showed their concerns over the issue. Inventor of the Internet Vint Cerf commented that “Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success…A number of justifications have been created to support carrier control over consumer choices online; none stand up to scrutiny.” Father of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee also said, “The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true. Let us protect the neutrality of the net.”

FCC got a major shock when they lost a lawsuit over the net neutrality issue. FCC had regulated the ISPs from contents based on discrimination. But Verizon challenged the policy and received a court ruling in favor of them that voided FCC’s policy. Since then, FCC has been criticized for its soft attitude toward the major service providers and being nonreactive toward public rights. Nevertheless, FCC had opened an inbox to receive comments on the issue, which they will use to revise their proposed plan. Till date, FCC has received more than 780,000 comments on that topic. The debate remains on the table as the victims of Internet monopoly have institutionalized their movement to a new level. 4890075994_31f15bd12e_oThey have launched massive campaign claiming that general mass are deprived of their rights due to the monopolistic attitude of the big brothers of the industry. The activist group declared 10th September as the “Internet Slowdown” day. This campaign gained huge popularity very quickly and it went viral on social networking sites. Millions of people supported in favor of the campaign and asked the federal government and FCC to take immediate actions to implement a neutral Internet. Supporters of the movement are arguing that Internet is a public utility and it should be regulated keeping that in mind.

On the other hand, another group is opposing the movement claiming that the situation is position “wrongly” to the public. They argue that most of the points of the debate are artificial, distracting, and based on an incorrect mental model on how the internet works. They are also claiming that the concept of “fast lane” and “slow lane” is not even true and this debate is such a waste of time. Another reason they put in favor of their argument is that the Internet operation system has changed radically recently and user growth is also increasing massively. Therefore, current scenario should not be compared with the past one. Internet giant Google is also alleged of discriminating service users based on their consumption size. However, Google authority had denied such allegations claiming that it was just a “myth”. They even said that they are actually standing in favor of net neutrality.

Net-NEutralityAs the issue heated up from last couple of years, tons of researches have been produced on the net neutrality topic. Some scholars argued that net neutrality should be considered a social problem and it should be solved with top priority. Stakeholder engagement is necessary to come up with possible suggestions. It has been also argued that blocking or slowing down the Internet is against freedom of speech and against the law. Moreover, federal government, law makers and FCC are fueling the battle for free Internet. There might be valid arguments on both sides of the debate, but using the public sentiment for this movement is making it more appealing. Sooner or later the government and the FCC has to come up with a solution that gives something to both the parties and make our Internet experience smoother.

BONUS: Infographic- Join the Action

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We were told in advance we would be having a speaker in class and like a typical student I assumed it would not really apply to me or be interesting enough to listen because I had honestly never heard of Mike Boettcher. So I get into class and wait for the discussion/talk to begin. Immediately I become so fascinated that he started from the bottom and rose to do what he dreamt and hoped to become. He talked about his time spent documenting the war in Afghanistan and how his son deployed along with him. I have always been fascinated with war, not that I approve of it by any means. There are just so many things we as Americans are not informed about. Like Mike said, “we are storytellers”, we need people like him putting their lives on the line to tell the world what’s happening around us.

Mike told us all about the ups and downs of traveling along side United States troops and how he was there to pick up the story but also ended up being a victim of terrorism. He experienced first hand the hardships that our troops face everyday and was able to bring that information back to inform the world. Documentation can become difficult for reporters because of how unsafe it is for Americans to be there. Mike also stated how journalists have now become major targets and some have even been killed and unable to tell their stories. He also showed us a clip from his documentary/movie, “The Hornets Nest”, and it gave us a better glimpse into what he encountered in Afghanistan.

After sitting in class and hearing his lecture it opened my mind to the struggles that are taking place in the Middle East. I am not one to particularly follow the news on a daily basis. I do know and understand for the most part what is going on in the world around me. I am pretty biased on the whole war situation. There are a lot of different aspects to question and consider. Personally being a traveling news correspondent is not my type of job in the aspect of journalism but it did interest me but I know I wouldn’t physically be able to do his job or have enough courage. I came to realize how important Mikes job is for the media and American knowledge on the world.

Diversity in the World of Mass Communications

Gender issues have always been a controversy in America. Today’s society likes to pretend that it is no longer a concern for women anymore. But is that true? Not only is it a concern for women, but also for minorities. As you watch the news like ABC, CNN, and FOX look at the variety in gender and race. You will see a media system that is not all is represented.

The hiring of ethnic minorities has gone up significantly since the 1990 poll that showed less than a 17% penetration of the profession by minorities. That is superb increase, but I believe that there is still some work to be done. Even if women and minorities get into the media system, they then have the disadvantage of climbing the latter or advancement and upper level jobs. Some minorities do get upper level jobs, but not only because the FCC made regulations, threating to take action if they did not hire more diversity. John Quinones for example is the Hispanic host of ABC’s What Would You Do? Mr. Quinones was fortunate to get is start because a San Antonio community organization threatened that if the stations didn’t hire more Latinos then a FCC would challenge their license.

In my opinion it is ridiculous that protest like the San Antonio organization has to happen so that minorities in America can climb the media system latter. When given the chance you see that minorities, just like the majority in America can succeed and do excellent, if not better.

Not only is race and gender an issue in the media system in America, but also your sexuality. Just recently the first professional NFL football player announced that he was gay. This was a huge step for the gay activist. Not only did Michael Sam get support from family and fans, but also from his teammates. This displays that America may be slow at accepting minorities, but it can be done. Michael Sam was gay, and knowing that it could hurt is career he did not care and let it be known. Even after doing that he got drafted by the well-known NFL team the St. Louis Rams.

Yes, there are still minority issues in today’s society that effect people profession, self-worth, and pride. Minority actors, professional sport athletics, talk shows host, news anchor, and much more have a great deal to overcome, but it can be done. Judging someone based on there gender, ethnics, and sexuality, should not be a reason that they cannot climb the media system in America. America has been known as the “melting pot” – meaning that we all come from different backgrounds, countries, and culture. So my question to you is why is it still so hard for most to climb the latter in the media system, when most of the audience is the minority?

Today our generation had the privilege of growing up in such a technology world. Since birth our the 90’s kids have been used to phones, computers, televisions, social media, and much more. Generations before us were not like that. My parents like many of other parents were born in the “baby boom” generation. They did not grow up having colored television, laptop, ipads, cellphones, and social media. Growing up with all this communication we are able to gather and receive information more quickly then ever before.

When something drastic happens in our society, you will know about it via twitter, instagram, Facebook, snapchat, etc. This is very convenient, and also a good way to market anything you could imagine. But do we rely on our technology too much? Next time you go to a public area, look around and see how many people are on their phones instead of interacting with others around them.

Diversity in the World of Mass Communications

Whether or not the world of mass communications has been diversified cannot be determined on the basis of success or failure. There is still too much gray area, too many double standards to justify one way or another.

This is to say that one of the media field’s greatest successes in the area of diversification has made its weaknesses all the more apparent and vice versa. While women and minority groups, both ethnic and social, have gained representation within the field, I still see a glaring problem preventing the field from becoming truly diversified in my mind. When articles either praising or bemoaning the progress in diversifying the media field take up as much space as those covering breaking events or capturing the human experience, there is a serious issue.

Journalists are plain and simply tasked with telling stories to inform the public. Nothing in this job description specifies gender, race, religion or social affiliation. Journalists should be the ones covering the news, not becoming it. As long as a story is reported accurately and objectively, it should make no difference whether it came from a young Caucasian woman or an older African-American man.

However, I do not intend to imply that any group should go back to being underrepresented. As a female journalism student, I value having influential women in the field that I can look up to.  This same sentiment applies to anyone, within the media field or not. We want someone to be able to connect with, to trust, especially if they have something in common with us.

This field should be growing based on the skill of the journalist, not the need to meet a certain requirement to improve diversity. In fact, this issue of diversity would not be a problem if people could be hired objectively rather than looking for a boost in ratings and viewership because of the variety of executives, reporters, anchors and correspondents working for the corporation.

When I can open a newspaper and see a story about an African-American female reporter receiving a Pulitzer Prize, and the article focuses more on the work she performed to be honored with this award than the fact she is a minority woman, then I will truly believe the world of mass communications has achieved full diversity. Until such a time, the industry needs to remember the job it has and adjust to meet the needs of its audience with the most skillful and qualified people, not worrying about how diverse they appear to be.

Diversity In Mass Communication

For as long as I can remember, I have been told that diversity is a wonderful thing and that we can always learn from others. While watching the news recently, a few stories have struck my attention. The first openly gay football player, Michael Sam, was released from his team, the St. Louis  Rams, and many believe the reasoning is the publicity from him being gay. No team picked him up, simply because the publicity was too much. He is now on the practice squad for Dallas Cowboys. The attention from the media has crippled many of his chances to play professional football, all for being diverse. How are we expected to be ourselves if we are almost punished for it? While it is 2014, racism and stereotyping are still very present in all of the world. Ferguson, Missouri is an example of this.  After an unarmed African-American boy was gunned down by a police officer, protests broke out in the small town. The police officers responded with force and violence. This caused an uproar throughout the entire nation. Personally, my entire twitter feed was nothing, but Ferguson for days and days. Racism still exists in a society where the majority looks down upon on it, and it is unacceptable. My competitive speech coach in high school had an obsession with Julie Chen for whatever reason and often showed me videos of her doing interviews and hosting ABC news, just so I could maybe pick up on her speaking habits and movements. I had to learn a lot about her. In my studies I learned that she underwent an operation  that reshaped her eyes making her appear “less Asian”. Why would an Asian appearance matter at all? It is sad that we have the mentality that we will never make it unless we appear white.  According to an Huffington post article, “Black women are the only demographic not going down in unemployment”. While women, men, and black men unemployment demographics all went down, black females are still where they have been for a while. There is a problem in diversity within the Mass Communication department. On a brighter side, Saturday Night Live just hired their first black female cast member and The View just hired their first Latina show co-host. Those a strides in the right direction, but when will those things not be such a huge deal? When will the headline be “The View adds new co-host” rather than “Latina co-host”. People are people. The color of skin or sexuality should never matter, because the way we present information is really what is important.

Mike Boettcher

Getting the chance to hear Mike Boettcher, emmy winner, famous reporter, and the University of Oklahoma’s very own, was an awesome opportunity for Tarpenning’s JMC class 1013. Boettcher is an awesome reporter who traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq to report on the war while his son was in the army. The extensive measures taken by him to get a personal and real take on the war between the United States and Afghanistan are absolutely admirable for not only journalists but for all aspects of mass communications in all generations. He put himself in harms way and was away from his family for about 300 days throughout the year. The amount of dedication Boettcher had for his career is truly inspiring with all of the sacrifices he had made.

When asked in class after Boettcher’s presentation if he agreed with the war or not, he said that he didn’t necessarily agree with it, he simply just wanted to report on it hands on. He was not for the war, he was not against it, but getting some truth to the news and even getting to experience it all first hand was what he was determined to do. I personally have the same outlook as Boettcher when it comes to the war. I don’t completely agree with it, but then again I am not completely literate to America’s warfare, therefore I cannot form a definite opinion on the matter. I believe that the United States will do what they have to do to keep our country safe no matter what extents they must go to.

Mike Boettcher’s experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are absolutely remarkable. He has been covering conflicts in Iraq since the 1990s and has even been a victim of terrorism himself. By telling the stories of soldiers over the last three decades and covering stories for CNN and NBC news, Boettcher has won numerous awards for his amazing coverage of U.S. warfare in the Middle East including the award for Best News Story. He has been recognized for his research and coverage of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups.

The United States have been in the Middle East for decades now trying to get terrorism and their uncivilized nations under control. Although from our perspective we are just trying to help and keep our country safe as well, it seems as if we’re only upsetting and disturbing these countries by being there. Never mind my opinion and the news reporters’ opinions and Mike Boettcher’s opinion on the war, what are the civilian’s of the Middle East countries’ opinions on this war? What is their perspective and point of view of the thousands of men in uniforms carrying guns around in their backyards and in their hometowns? Maybe that should be something we consider when going into such long and invasive wars.