Sunday, December 11, 2016

Video Blog - Tuition at Glendale Community College

Video Link:


Anchor: Wayne Young
SLUGLINE: Tuition Costs at GCC
Timecode: 02:33

INTRO: Hello. I am Wayne Young and this is Reflections on Online Media. The date is December 9, 2016. A pleasant winter day in Phoenix, Arizona.

WY: Today I’ll I would like to talk about the rising cost of college tuition; especially here at Glendale Community College. One of the most important issues for students at GCC is the cost of tuition. For the 2016 - 17 school year, the cost of tuition was increased 2 dollars per credit hour. While this seems to be a small amount, it adds up to a 2 (point) 4 percent increase for full-time students with 30 credit hours of classes per year. In addition to the tuition increase, there have also been increases in many of the course fees paid by the students.   

WY: Research into this issue has revealed one of the reasons for this increase. Funds to operate GCC come from a combination of tax revenues, class tuition and course fees, and state aid. The budget of the Maricopa County Community College District, which GCC is a part of, was reduced by 68 million dollars with the removal of this state funding. This, combined with reduced enrollment, has led to increased tuition cost. Fortunately for GCC students, the increase is the smallest in several years.

WY: To find out what GCC students thought, I spoke with Shannon Crosby and Dawn Creighton. They both agreed that while the increased tuition costs were of concern, the overall costs of attending GCC was reasonable, especially when compared to a state university.

WY: After speaking to Shannon and Dawn, I did additional research and found out that tuition and fees make up a relatively small part of the overall budget; only 18 percent overall. It appears that the students of Glendale Community College are receiving a great value for the tuition they pay.

WY: For more information and other stories, go to wayne-young-online (dot) blogspot (dot) com.  

OUT-RO: Thank you for watching this Reflections on Online Media vlog. Be sure to keep watching.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Online Journalism Philosophy Statement

Four months ago I started the class Writing for Online Media with the idea that it was merely a requirement for the Associate’s in Digital Media Arts that I am pursuing. However, I have learned the true importance and power of online journalism in our current connected age. While I do not plan on pursuing journalism as a career, I can see the usefulness in being a citizen journalist.

Being able to report on and respond to current events, be they worldwide or local, is a powerful tool that needs to be exercised by all who are interested in affecting change in their communities. Learning about online journalism, provides the needed tools and standards for the individual journalist to be seen by the internet audience as bona fide. To be seen as someone whose words and thoughts should be taken as more than mere opinion or a rant.

Part of being seen as a bona fide journalist is portraying oneself as such. This comes down to branding and the marketing of that brand. In freelance journalism, the journalist is that brand. Having a consistent and professional presence on the internet builds leads to recognition of the journalist. Once the audience becomes familiar with a journalist, they will tend to return to him in the future. However, this will only happen if the reporting is done using good standards and practices of journalism.

The biggest step towards practicing good journalism is if the journalist has verified and provided the sources of his information. Other practices include covering all of the pertinent information; the who, what, where, when and why of the story being reported. Putting this all together using proper grammar and using the proper style of the news organization that the story is being reported through is also part of being a good journalist.

In journalism, an image, still or moving, depicting what is happening in the story is certainly very powerful. This is just as true in the internet age as it was in the heyday of print news. As a photographer, I certainly see myself continuing to look for stories that can be conveyed in images. Since taking the Writing for Online Media course, I have the tools to make those images even more meaningful and hopefully more impactful.

I also have gained a greater understanding of the power of social media and the role that it plays in our current society. Also, I have a gained an understanding of the roll that I might play in driving social media. As a citizen journalist following good practices and presenting a consistent and recognizable internet presence, I have the opportunity to provide the information that others need to make informed decisions. Overall, my goal is to continue to be both a content creator and an aggregator of stories affecting myself and my community. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What is the Future of TV News?

Even though we are well into the Internet age, online media continues to evolve. Video continues to improve in quality, and at the same time, it continues to be easier to produce and distribute. Online video is also expanding in the wide variety of ways that it is informing us. From straight news style interviews, to footage from stabilized drones that would have required an expensive helicopter just a couple of years ago. The profuse variety of video is encroaching on, and may be displacing, TV news.

According to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, television viewing has declined on by as much as 4% per year since 2012 in countries like the US and the UK. This is similar to the decline in newspaper circulation that happened in the 2000s. I see this as an indicator that as those raised on broadcast television continue to age and decline, viewership of scheduled programming, including TV news, will also decline. They also point out that there is no reason to expect the subsequent generations raised with access to on demand video to choose programmed viewing as they get older.

To further show the demise of cable television, including TV news, the Reuters Institute notes that those habituated to on demand viewing are less willing to be constrained to viewing a cable connected television. They have become accustomed to being able to access video content on any number of internet connecting devices including smart phones and tablets, smart TVs, personal and laptop computers, and gaming consoles. This idea is supported by Digitalsmiths and TiVo’s 2016 quarter three Video Trends Report survey showing nearly 18% of respondents had “cut the cable” within the last 12 months.

With the growing number of people opting out of scheduled programming, more people will either encounter their news by happenstance, or they will actively seek out news programming; most likely it will be a combination of both. Network news will most likely become a place we verify what we have encountered elsewhere. I know that this is the case for myself. Also, it seems to me that TV news programs will continue to shift their focus turning into infotainment programs populated by talking heads. I see the more substantive news being delivered by standalone video articles reporting on specific news events. This would fall in line with the growing demand for instantaneous information.       


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Audio Podcast - Who Cares if it's True?



Anchor: Wayne Young
SLUGLINE: Who cares if it's true?
Timecode: 02:06

INTRO: This is Reflections on Online Media. The date is November 20, 2016. A rare rainy afternoon in Phoenix, Arizona. I am Wayne Young.

WY: Today I’ll be speaking about truth in reporting in the Internet age. Does it matter anymore and if so, how do we achieve it. Let’s take a look at one successful example of reporting via the Internet, and it is Buzzfeed.

WY: From its start, Buzzfeed’s journalists shared the idea that the quicker a story was put out the better, even if it had not been thoroughly vetted. They felt that the internet was self-correcting and that the truth would emerge through open trial and error. While still maintaining much of this philosophy, Buzzfeed has decided that convincing its readers that its posts are true makes good sense regarding both journalism and business. In order to do so, they have started to use journalistic tools that have been derided as “old-school”, and one of the most fundamental of these tools is the copy editor. 

WY: This philosophy falls in line with a primary concern that veteran reporters have. The old guard holds that reporting is a quest for truth and for what the readers need to know to stay informed. Their process was all about verifying the facts and only then presenting them to the public.

WY: Adding some of the old tools doesn’t mean Buzzfeed is going to be slavishly following the “rules” of the past. Instead of insisting that stories have at least two source, one really strong and credible source is enough to see it to publication. The editor in chief, Ben Smith prefers to rely on smart reporters and on Twitter, fixing stories as they develop.

WY: For more information and other stories, go to wayne-young-online (dot) blogspot (dot) com.  

OUT-RO: Thank you for listening to Reflections on Online Media. Be sure to keep listening.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

Buzzfeed - Who Cares if it's True?

How is Buzzfeed changing its practice in regards to stories it posts/shares each day?

From its start, Buzzfeed’s journalists shared the idea that the quicker a story was put out the better, even if it had not been thoroughly vetted. They felt that the internet was self-correcting and that the truth would emerge through open trial and error. While still maintaining much of this philosophy, Buzzfeed has decided that convincing its readers that its posts are true makes good sense regarding both journalism and business.
Buzzfeed, along with other non-traditional news organizations, is working to find a middle ground from which to approach journalism. In order to do so, they have started to use journalistic tools that have been derided as “old-school”, and one of the most fundamental of these tools is the copy editor. Buzzfeed has decided that it better to get it right from the start instead of trying to fix any errors after a story has been published.
This doesn’t mean slavishly following the “rules” of the past. Instead of insisting that stories have at least two source, one really strong and credible source is enough to see it to publication. The editor in chief, Ben Smith prefers to rely on smart reporters and on Twitter, fixing stories as they develop.

What is the primary concern that media veterans have with this type of hyper-immediate news delivery?

The primary concern that veterans have is the question of what is the very purpose of what journalist do. There is an ongoing debate over the core values of journalism and reporting. The old guard holds that it is the quest for truth and a sense of what the citizens need to know to be informed participants in our democratic process. The process was all about verifying the facts and only then presenting them to the public.  

Where do you see potential problems with Buzzfeed's practices, or process of vetting stories?

The digital news revolution has been around long enough for the consequences of overly fast, or overly slow journalism to be evident. Too fast and the news reporting could become shoddy. Too slow and thoroughly vetted stories could lose their timeliness. It seems that there does need to be a balance between the old guard’s and the new digital journalists’ approaches to the dissemination of the news. The new readership wants to have their news served up with a minimum of delay. However, it is the responsibility of all journalist, from professionals to the newly risen citizen journalists, to delivery their stories with at the quickest speed possible, and with the largest amount of veracity.  


Friday, November 11, 2016

Podcasts Part II, Podcasts and Audio

In this blog, I'll be looking at how interviews are conducted in a podcasts by answering a few questions. I chose this particular podcast because it is well regarded and the interviewer is a seasoned journalist. Another reason I chose this podcast is that it is produced locally.  
What is the program called?
KJZZ’s Here & Now, Nov. 9, 2016 
Who is the interviewer (full name)?
Steve Goldstein
Who is the interviewee?
Chris Herstam
What did the interviewer know about the subject before the interview?
The questions were political in nature and centered on the recent election. Steve Goldstein seemed very knowledgeable about the issues.
What kinds of questions did they ask?
Did Arizona play an important part in the election as a swing state? Because Joe Arpaio and Donald Trump were lumped together, was it surprising that Arpaio lost and Trump won? Why did John McCain win even though he has lost popularity over the last few years?
How did they build up to questions?
The questions started on a national level and then proceeded to state and local concerns.
How did they follow up questions?
Many questions were followed up with questions asking for more details and explanations.
Did the interviewer appear to have a strategy?
Steve Goldstein did allude to other topics that would be covered later in the podcast with the continuation of the interview with Herstam.
How were any inadequate or evasive answers handled?
There did not seem to be any inadequately or evasively answered questions.
What was the apparent relationship between the interviewer and interviewee? Did they seem like friends, or adversaries?
It seemed apparent that they had interviews before and were comfortable discussing the subject. They certainly seemed friendlier than if they had been strangers to one another.
What did you learn about interviewing from this interview?
It seemed that Goldstein’s familiarity with the subject was a strong point. He also seemed to have follow up questions ready that would lead Herstam into more detailed answers.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Podcasts Part I, Reflections on Podcasts

I have never been a fan of podcasts. To me they seem inconvenient. I searched for a podcast to listen to and came upon Fresh Air. I had listened to Fresh Air before on the radio and it did not occur to me that it would be classified as a podcast. I think that the delivery mechanism, more than the content, determines if something is classified as a podcast. I also learned about the NPR One app for accessing and scheduling the delivery of podcasts to your device.

Fresh Air is produced by radio station WHYY in Philadelphia. It is associated with NPR. It is a weekday broadcast that covers the contemporary Arts and other issues. I listened to an interview with Stephen Colbert. They talked about the ending of his last show, The Colbert Report, and the beginning of his current position with Late Show on CBS. They discussed how the Late Show is influenced by the network, if there is any interference, and if he feels limited by CBS’s language restrictions on curse words. They also discussed Colbert’s feelings about the Presidential campaign.
In listening to the podcast, I noticed that the audio quality was good, but a bit heavy on the bass. I think that may be an effect of their sound engineering. While it was not objectionable, it did make them sound a little flat. There were a few drop outs of the audio, but no real buffering.

I generally prefer to read news stories which allows me to reread sections at my discretion to make sure that I am understanding the subject of the story. However, because of the conversational tone and language that was used in the podcast, I do not feel that it would read well. I did not mind listening to this podcast even though some Colbert’s answers were fairly lengthy and detailed. It is here that the conversational tone worked and the language was easily comprehensible.

I will be listening more to Fresh Air and other NPR podcasts now that I know how to easily access them. NPR has been very smart to streamline the process of searching for and scheduling listening to their podcasts. They may have won me over.  


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Maricopa County Community Colleges Work to Save Students Millions

After tuition and housing, books and supplemental instructional materials can be a substantial percentage of a student’s budget. Since 1978, the cost of college textbooks has increased by 812 percent. This is a faster increase than even health care or home prices. On average, a student will pay $655 for textbooks per year. This is just an average, meaning 50 percent of students are paying more than this; not surprising when just one book can cost as much as $300. The cost goes even higher when supplemental materials are added in. Students in some classes spend up to an additional $150 per semester for art or other supplies.

There is a growing movement among community colleges to decrease the cost of learning materials used in the courses they offer. They are doing this through the switch to Open Educational Resources. These are any resources that are available at little, $40 or less, or no cost that can be used for teaching, learning or research. OER are generally digital resources and tend to focus on online or hybrid courses; however, they can also be used in traditional classroom settings. Beyond electronic textbooks, the materials include learning applications, syllabi, online quizzes and exams, and instructional videos and any other type of material that can be delivered to the students electronically. These materials are usually released under a Creative Commons license.   

Maricopa County Community Colleges, which Glendale Community College is a part of, started the Maricopa Millions OER Project in Fall 2013. The project’s goal is to substantially lower student costs associated with course materials with low or no cost options. No cost courses have no additional fees beyond the tuition. Through Spring 2016, the project has generated nearly $6 million in savings for MCCCD students. To assist students in locating classes with no or low cost textbooks, a search option has been added to the student information system’s Find A Class section.  

However, the benefits to students can be hard for them to appreciate as there is a savings involved instead of an easily noticeable out of pocket expense. The experience of former GCC student Dawn Creighton brings some perspective. She says that when she was attending GCC, “There was no book advance and that caused the hair raising situation of having to pay for my books, including expensive math books, on my own before getting any of my grant money.”

The OER Project not only benefits the students; it is also benefiting the instructors. Jeff Del Nero, faculty member in the GCC Art department, told his Art Marketing class, “Being able to use online materials takes pressure off of the teachers.” By having these materials available, teachers don’t have to require their students to purchase often expensive textbooks.

In its current form the project appears to be a success all around. However, MCCCD is continuing to evaluate more OER materials and expand their use in more classes. The project timeline calls for the use of OER materials during live classroom session starting in the 2016-2017 school year.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One of My Journalism Heroes

While I can name quite a few heroes I have in journalism, the majority have either passed away or retired. Also, like many participating in a growing trend, I have cut the cable and no longer watch any of the major television networks. Instead of my news being served at a regular time on a regular channel, I have to make the effort to seek out those who I trust to convey truthful news to me via the Internet. One of those who I turn to again and again is Rachel Maddow.

Rachel Maddow is the host of The Rachel Maddow Show on the MSNBC news network. She has a bachelor’s degree in public policy and as a Rhodes Scholar, she earned a doctorate in political science from Oxford University. From 1999 through 2005, Maddow worked as a radio host on several programs ending up on Unfiltered for Air America. After Unfiltered was cancelled, she began appearing on several news shows as either a co-host, substitute host or a regular panelist. In 2008, she started with MSNBC, which eventually led to The Rachel Maddow Show.  

While journalism serves a purpose beyond entertainment, we tend to watch what entertains us. Rachel Maddow entertains me, but not in a yuck-yuck way. She intelligently dissects the current events and delivers them to her viewers with wit and barbed humor. While she tackles political issues with a liberal leaning, she does not consider herself to be part of partisan politics.

I like the way Rachel Maddow tackles the issues, looks beyond the obvious and delivers news and commentary in a way that makes me feel better informed. And entertained.     


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Volunteers Tend the Gaucho Urban Garden

Several students and a faculty member gathered on October 14, 2016 to tend Glendale Community College’s Gaucho Urban Garden. It is located on the GCC main campus between the Language Arts and Humanities buildings. The garden was started three years ago and anyone who is interested may participate in its care. Meeting dates and times are listed on GCC’s website in the Events Calendar.

Angela Schwendiman, from the Biology faculty, talks to the student volunteers about they are going to be planting in the community garden. The north section of the garden will be planted completing the work started two weeks earlier in the south section.

Angela Schwendiman shows the volunteers how to prepare the soil before the seeds can be planted. The plants are arranged in sections like a square foot garden, and they are watered by an ecological drip irrigation system.

April Truscott, Biotech, Alex Garcia, Nursing, and Alyssa Figuerroa, Nursing, plant root and leafy vegetables in alternating sections so that nothing becomes overly crowded. Unlike most of the United States, Arizona has a low desert climate and the growing seasons are reversed. Planting is done in the fall and harvesting happens throughout the winter and spring before the temperatures become too hot.

The volunteers get their hands dirty helping to maintain the Gaucho Urban Garden. Their hard work benefits everyone at Glendale Community College. Angela Schwendiman, the faculty adviser, says that when the vegetables are harvested, they are given out to anyone who is interested, not just the volunteers who have worked in the garden.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Online Branding Questions Concerning Journalists

Why would a professional journalist want to create an online resume site or web       presence?
It makes sense for all professionals, including journalists to have an online presence in the age of the Internet. Virginia Commonwealth University has a guide for journalists about creating a digital portfolio for journalists. An online presence allows prospective employers a place where they can:
  • View your collected works in one place.
  • The overall website shows them that you are able to put together an effective communications package.
  • It also shows them that you can produce news content for multiple platforms.
What kinds of tools would you use to build your site?
There is a plethora of tools available for building a website. has an article how to promote yourself as a journalist online. They do advise that as a professional, you should invest a little bit of money in registering your own domain name. Some of the tools that they talk about include:

What considerations do you have to keep in mind regarding branding and consistency? How does this help a reader or potential employer find you?
By having a presence on the Internet and in social media that is consistent and strongly portrays your brand as a journalist, you make it easier for prospective employers to find you. Using the same information about yourself on multiple websites and social media outlets allows the search engines to return more results concerning you and your work. Without this search engine optimization, SEO, you are dispersing your online presence under multiple search terms that people might not know. If you go by Susan, use it consistently and don’t call yourself Suzi when you’re feeling informal.
What types of files will you collect to present and link to (be thinking what types of digital formats)?
You should be including examples of your work including articles, pod casts and videos that you have produced. File formats can be recognized by their file extensions, .xyz. Most web browsers can handle multiple file formats, but it is best to stick to the most commonly used ones. These include .docx, .mp3, .mpg, .jpg, .gif, .tif, .au, and .pdf.
The PDF, Adobe’s Portable Document Format, is particularly useful for archiving documents. This is a reliable and nearly universal format.
How will you organize your site? Explain and provide one link from a search of professional journalists' websites as an example.
There are certainly many ways to set up a website for your digital portfolio. After looking at the sites of a few professional journalists, I really liked the look and simplicity of the website of John Tedesco, a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News. It had a home page with links for just four additional pages: about, blog, clips and contact. This covered all of the pertinent information without overwhelming.
This was contrasted by the website of Timothy Harper, a freelance writer and journalist, which has a menu of twenty different pages and many clickable links within the text of each page.
Finally, how can creating a web presence help you work or represent yourself better as a professional?
I think maintaining a web presence allows potential employers and readers to see that your writing is consistent and that you have the ability to produce content in multiple formats for multiple platforms. Showing consistency is central to being seen as a professional and to building your reputation as a journalist.   


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Amy Goodman is Facing Prison for Being a Journalist.

I am sharing this story at 5am. I just read about what is happening to a respected and longtime journalist. Please take the time to follow this link and read about Amy Goodman's fight standing up for here rights as a journalist covering an unpopular event.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What is Our Greatest Ethical Obligation as Journalists?

This is a quick overview of a few of the many guiding principles laid out in the code of ethics on the Society of Professional Journalists’ website. It is truly a great resource for both beginning and seasoned journalists. These principles are so important to the idea of what makes up an ethical journalist, that they are prominently held by many journalism organizations. These include the Ethical Journalism Network, and in the NPR Ethics Handbook.   

I do not think that only one of these principles can be labeled the greatest. I believe that these principles need to be incorporated as a whole. They need to inform how reporters approach the responsibilities that they assume when they take on the task of being a journalist. However, the overarching principles of seeking the truth and reporting it, and being accountable and transparent resonated with me the most. These were presented and feel to me like the bookends that prop up the entire code.

Under the principle of seeking the truth and reporting It, I was drawn to the idea that journalists must take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. I feel that if more journalists took this to heart, the public would be able to spend less time fact checking the information put out and more time actually exploring the content provided about the issues that are affecting their lives. While the public should remain vigilant about the information they choose to believe, it can become a daunting task to verify what is coming from the many diverse sources available in the Internet age. Constantly having to comb through these sources to find reliable information can lead to frustration and a turning away from those sources.

This ties in with being accountable and transparent. A journalist should be up front with their audience and explain how and why they approach the job of being a reporter. With the journalist’s motivations clearly stated, the public can spend more time engaging with what is being reported, and less time trying to work out why it is being reported. Also, being able to clearly see the motivations of the report allows the public to build a rapport with and a trust in the reporter.

One last thing I would like to explore is from the middle of this great list of guiding principles. It is a succinct principle that might be easily overlooked. In fact, I feel that it has been overlooked by many reporting in the last weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaigns. The warning about pandering to the lurid curiosity of the public seems to have gone straight out of the window. While the current candidates are working hard to engage our attention, the journalists seem to be buying in and giving the public the entire peepshow. I feel that many are going beyond writing about the antics, and instead, are using the antics themselves as the content of their reports.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Does Democracy depend on Journalism?

CBS News journalist Scott Pelley has been quoted as saying, “There is no democracy without journalism... If we lose good journalism, America will lose its vitality in the world.” The sentiment of this statement is as topical now as when our founding fathers bound the freedoms of speech and of the press into The Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution. We are living in a world were those who would control your way of life are also trying to control the information that you have access to. This is evident in not only the corporate controlled media prevalent in the United States, but extends to the outright slaughter of journalists that is happening around the world.  

In 2015, sixty-one journalist were killed for providing you information about those who would oppress your freedoms. Despite dangers to themselves, journalists continue to report about those committing acts contrary to the common good. Be these acts of violence and terror or the secret intrigues of corporations and governments. To report on those who seek to remove your rights to self-actualization and self-determination, journalist provided us, the public, with information that we may act upon. That we may use to defend our rights and to try and secure the rights of those being oppressed. Without journalists exposing these activities and informing you of the atrocities being committed, the perpetrators would be able to take you unawares. Without good information, Americans lose the ability to effectively react to what is happening in the world.

In the connected age of the Internet and social media, it is more important than ever to have strong journalism. Extremist organizations are now not only using social media, but are also becoming experts at it. They are using its power and portability to aggrandize their acts of terror and spread them beyond regional borders. This is clearly demonstrated in the online celebrations by the Islamic State after the terror attacks in Paris in November 2015. By having a strong journalism and reporters willing to find and report about what is really happening and place it in a wider context, we have a counter to the propaganda that is being spread by those seeking to oppress freedom.

Reinforcing his sentiments, Scott Pelley also said, “The quality of life in America is dependent on the quality of the journalism. Most people don't realize that, but if you think about it, journalism is one of the pillars on which our society is perched.” If we fail to protect and nurture this pillar of our society, we will lose what it is supporting. We lose one of the checks and balances against those who would undermine our society.  We lose the voice of those interested in the common good advising us about what we need to know. Whether this is about unethical quests for bigger profits or the terrorist pursuits of those holding extremist beliefs, we as a society need to know.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Tuition Costs at Glendale Community College

One of the most important issues for students at Glendale Community College (GCC) is the cost of tuition. GCC is one of ten community colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD). For the 2016-17 school year, the cost of tuition to the students was increased $2.00 per credit hour. While this seems to be a small amount, it adds up to a 2.4 percent increase for full-time students with 30 credit hours of classes per year. In addition to the tuition increase, there have also been increases in many of the course fees paid by the students.  

To understand these increases, a request for a statement was sent to Mr. Alfredo Gutierrez, the president of the MCCCD Governing Board. Unfortunately, no reply was received from President Gutierrez.

Researching these issues through the MCCCD website and the local community college news has provided an overview of the situation. Because the annual budget of MCCCD is in excess of $1.4 billion, only the broadest outline can be provided. The funds for MCCCD are provided through a combination of tax revenues, tuition and course fee payments, state aid and other sources. However, the annual budget was reduced by $68 million when Arizona pulled all state funding for the 2016-17 school year. This combined with reduced enrollment has increased the tuition cost. Fortunately for the students, the increase is the smallest in several years.

To provide a student’s perspective on the increase in tuition costs and course fees, I spoke with Shannon Crosby. He is studying Digital Media Arts at GCC. Shannon said that he thinks that the tuition costs he is paying are reasonable when compared to the costs of attending one of the state universities in Arizona. I asked what he thought his tuition dollars paid for and he assumed that they went to cover expenses directly associated with classes. I asked what he thought of the course fees; he thought that some of them are ridiculous high and don’t make any sense. Shannon feels that he doesn’t understand what the fees are used for.  

I also asked these questions of Dawn Creighton, a GCC alumnus. She attended GCC between 2004 and 2006. She felt that the tuition costs at GCC were reasonable, especially when compared to the tuition costs she paid after she transferred to Arizona State University. I asked Dawn what she thought of the course fees. Like Shannon, she felt that some were either too high or even completely unnecessary.

After speaking to Shannon and Dawn, I did some additional research to find out what tuition costs and course fees pay for. According the MCCCD website, tuition and fees total approximately $288 million annually. However, they make up a relatively small part of the overall budget at only 18 percent. It appears that the students of Glendale Community College and the other Maricopa Community Colleges are receiving great value for the tuition costs they pay.


Activist or Aggregator?

When looking at the world of information and how it has changed in the digital age of the internet, we have to ask the question: Activist or Aggregator? Is the person providing the information acting as an activist, or are they accumulating information for others to act on. This question especially comes into play when looking at Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. Both have been involved in disseminating classified information through the organization WikiLeaks. Looking at their backgrounds helps answer the question.

Edward Snowden was working for as a U.S. government contractor in 2013 when he copied and then revealed to journalists as many as 200,000 classified documents. Snowden claims that his motivation for revealing the documents was so that Americans would be aware of the magnitude of domestic surveillance being done by the government. Edward Snowden is facing many repercussions for his actions and is currently living in political asylum in Russia. It seems that considering this, Mr. Snowden could certainly be thought of as an activist for the revelation of surveillance to the American public.   

On the other hand, Julian Assange, a founder and the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, seems to fall mainly into the role of an aggregator despite starting out as a journalist and activist. Assange has provided a platform where documents can be made available to the public. While the revelation of this information can have significant consequences for those involved, the information is not being reported in a journalistic way. WikiLeaks announces that they have published a document and the situation surrounding it and why that is important. Then WikiLeaks, without talking to those involved in any given situation, makes broad pronouncements about what is happening.

It can be seen that while roles of Activist and Aggregator are clearly separate things, they are certainly not mutually exclusive.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Should All Bloggers be Considered Journalist? What is Reporter's Privilege?

Over the past few years there has been increased access to online media content. This access provides not only the ability to read news content, but also the ability to produce it. One area where this is clearly evident is in the realm of blogging. Not only can blogs be read on any internet capable device, they can be created and uploaded to the internet on most of them. The explosion in the numbers of people exercising this modern ability to post content on the internet makes it imperative that we ask the question should all of those blogging be considered journalists? This is a question not only for those working in the news field, but a question for everyone accessing online media for information about the events that impact their lives.

According to the website for the American Press Institute, anyone can produce journalism; that is the gathering, assessing, creating and presenting of news content. However, merely participating in journalistic-like activities does not make someone a journalist. Journalists must follow a set of principles that have been self-identified by those working in the field. A summation of these is that the journalist places the public welfare above all other concerns and does this based on a foundation of rigorous verification. The journalist gathers the information, assesses its veracity and disseminates it. However, this is not done in a vacuum; it is done with the needs of the journalist's community in mind. Be that community local, national or international in scope.

Why should a community be worried about who is calling themselves a journalist? Because there are certain protections that go along with being a journalist or reporter. One of these is the idea of Reporters' Privilege. The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes Reporters' Privilege as a qualified privilege to keep confidential sources anonymous. The courts have found that this is provided for in federal and state constitutions. This brings the question, as an anonymous news source, would a person be protected if the blogger that they talked to is not considered a bona fide journalist?

Maybe another question that should be asked is whether Reporters' Privilege still applies in the age of online media. One thing to remember is that Reporters' Privilege applies not only to the journalist, but ultimately to the community new sources that it protects. Until the question of who can legitimately claim the title of journalist is better resolved, Reporters' Privilege should be painted with a wide brush. Personally, I feel that it is one of the cornerstones of the news remaining democratic and truly informative.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Critiquing the Reporting of Possible Charges for Sheriff Joe Arpaio

According to a recent CNN article by reporter Kimberly Hutcherson, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio could be facing criminal charges. These charges would be for criminal contempt for failing to abide by instructions from Federal Judge G. Murray Snow regarding a racial profiling case.

The article by Kimberly Hutcherson is laid out in several sections. I like how this allows the reader to clearly identify the various issues covered in her article. Hutcherson covers Arpaio’s history with the courts, how the plaintiffs and Latino community feel, how Arpaio’s notoriety could work against him and a recap of the allegations of discrimination that led up to the current events. While Hutcherson covers the salient points of Sheriff Arpaio’s current situation, I feel that the order in which the information is presented, from the present backwards to their origins, leaves the article unresolved and the reader unsatisfied. To alleviate this, I would have put the sections of the article in an order that moved the reader forward from the history of the situation to its current state. Additionally, while I personally feel that Sheriff Arpaio and his office have committed the alleged offences, I would like to have had more detailed information on his position. This would have balanced the article and made it feel less biased.

There is a related podcast by NPR’s Jude Joffe-Block that helps to expand on the understanding of the situation facing Sheriff Arpaio. In the podcast, we get to hear about the case from some of those personally involved. These include Judge Murray Snow, Sheriff Arpaio’s lawyer Mel MacDonald, Latino community activists Lydia Guzman and Alfredo Gutierrez. Also, David Harris, a law professor, explains that while bringing civil contempt charges against an elected official is rare, it shows the level of frustration felt by Judge Snow about Arpaio’s continuing disregard for the court’s instructions. While being not only informative, the podcast also helps bring a sense of immediacy to the situation that the written article lacks.

Both the article and the podcast present Sheriff Arpaio current position in clear and informative ways. They certainly stress the importance of the upcoming events in this ongoing situation. 

Links to the article and podcast: