The Terror of Trump

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December 7th, 2015 Republican Candidate Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Mt. Pleasant, SC aboard the USS Yorktown.  As a part of a collective group of organizations in Charleston and the surrounding areas, a protest was held in response to the candidate and his propensity for hate speech and Hitler like proposed policies.  I was personally involved as the lead for #BlackLivesMatter Charleston.  Strong young people from the Fight for $15 Campaign, The People’s Solidarity, The Campus-Community Movement all made their voices heard and represented that Charleston still has soul.

Here is the media’s side of the story:

Screenshot 2015-12-09 09.12.23

An incorrect quote that’s supposed to be from me by journalist Matt Alba from Channel 2… Twitter handle @MattalbaWCBD

Live 5 News @HannahMoseley:

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His hate speech that day has since resulted in a Tweet like this:

From Activist @ShaunKing

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My side of the story is one of both fear and amazement.  When we arrived at the Yorktown there was a Disney World type line in which everyone had to stand to get by security and into the venue.  There were all kinds of people there and many of them looked at me very harshly and even stared at me.  I am a dark-skinned, natural haired proud African American woman.  A white ally stood next to me, she was thin and sandy blonde so we probably looked as different as night and day which may have encouraged the staring longer.

A couple of people in front of us a long haired Duck Dynasty looking older white man was asked his thoughts on Trump by a reporter.  I listened in pain while he recounted the state of our country in his eyes, and stated very confidently “Our constitution was based on Christianity and that’s what we need to get back to.”  A dark haired woman who looked like she stepped out of Sister Wives smiled and clapped him on.  I was in agony.  And so the night commenced full of free bumper stickers, vendors with everything from buttons to Trump hats with hair on it, and of course, an airport worthy security check courtesy of TSA.

Finally, we were complete frozen and inside the building.  Trump had already started speaking.  It was time.  The first shout went up… It was time.  He indicated for the ally to be removed, and I took up suit.  I was fueled from the dirty looks, and Trumps promise of walls and the deportation of ALL Muslims.  I shouted “Black Lives Matter” with everything in me.  The pain of black death over the past year, the pain of losing my own apartment due to state employment, and the fear of losing my boys to this country’s hate, fueled me.  I yelled, and yelled.

Immediately at least 4 to 5 officers escorted me and the 3 other people I was with off of the ship.  I continued to yell “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice, No Peace”, “People are Dying” and even the Assata Shakur chant until we reached the relegated protest area cordoned off with tape.

Then the cops follow I and other melinated people around the tape to begin harassing us separately and then all together.

 

 

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Homage to the Emmanuel 9

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Forgiveness in Charleston regarding the Emmanuel 9 is a sticky topic.  It is very true that close family members and even those who were there have in ways forgiven the shooter to gain some peace with the situation.  However to make it crystal clear the community as a whole may not feel the same way.

I remember the night I heard of the shooting like it was yesterday.  A hot, sticky night my girlfriend’s friend called to say she had to go home early due to a shooting at a church in the area.  Charleston is a place with churches on every corner so we silently prayed and immediately dismissed the seriousness, because really who goes and shoots up a whole church of people.

The reports began to come in, and worry and stress spread over everyone for friends and loved ones.  I immediately recognized the church due to being a former African Methodist Episcopal church member.  We held conferences and programs there in the past and a knot began for me.  To make a long story short, 15 total victims with 9 people dead at the end of the night.  The next day I went to the employment office in town, and before I walked in the building I checked the media.  Then me and a white woman locked eyes and gave each other a hug.  Pain shared is pain lessened.

Since we have had marches and rallies, so this page is dedicated to the imagery I have gathered from the church and Days of Grace March held over Labor Day weekend which commemorated the solidarity of the city and those who lost their lives.

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Best Practices

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The blog I chose to look at is Black Girl Dangerous.  I have watched and loved this blog since I chose to be true to myself and follow my own heart.  This blog is a collective sounding board for queer and trans identified people of color.  It explores the area of race, social justice, sexuality and support on separate pages, with some of the stories actually intersecting in areas.

In my opinion, some “best practices” for blog creation is making the blog easy to read, clean, responsive, and include many interactive elements.  When a blog is clean and responsive to many formats, it consequently will drive up traffic since someone can search and easily see it no matter what type of device they use.  Interactivity draws people in to spend more time and in the end that also creates a more valuable spot in search algorithms.

Black Girl Dangerous does well with whatever device I use, they use easy to read font and crisp, well-taken pictures.  They have also added a podcast feature to the site which is very enjoyable.  My own blog design was chosen to be easy to read and definitely engaging.  I chose to include pictures and illustrations that relate to the topics at hand.  A video may make a good addition to the blog itself for a multimedia element.  A code of conduct is definitely always useful and warranted when noting how to handle online situations.

Multimedia tools

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Multimedia enhances a the effectiveness of a message by involving the viewer to actively engage and participate in their viewing experience.  In and of itself good blogging involves the curation and creation of content that others find useful and engaging.  The use of multimedia makes it possible for a source to be full of shareable information which makes an impact on the viewer (Smith, 2013).

In the study “Multimedia effects on processing and perception of online news: A study of picture, audio and video downloads”,  it is suggested that audio and video downloads make more of an impact that just some text and pictures.  News stories are enhanced with either audio or pictures, but not both at the same times since it seems to make the message lose effectiveness.  The loss of effectiveness seems to be triggered by the user’s brain mirroring activity that is normally used when watching television or during radio listening.  The listener or viewer becomes more passive which creates the loss of impact (Sundar, 2000).

Advertisers can enhance their effectiveness by including their content on sites that feature effective multimedia features that will complement their chosen use of multimedia.  Keywords and phrases included throughout the page and included content drive search traffic which in turn increases the value.  Images, audio, video, and slideshows are all excellent choices for multimedia features and all can be titled with keywords which can assist with SEO to the site (Smith, 2013).  A best practice to keep in mind is to not bog the blog down in junk and keep it simple with one possibly two of those elements to engage not create an overload on the senses.

I have always believed The Atlantic has a great online setup for Multimedia.  The images they use are engaging and memorial and they are not afraind to embed video aspects to their articles.  The information articulated in the articles is very clear and supported with whatevery media they choose to include within the article.  Buzzfeed is on the other end of the spectrum and manages to make excellent use of their entertainment powers to slightly educate its readers.  Finally, I love how Comedy Central has utilized video to give hilarious and informative history lessons with their drunk history sessions.  My personal favorite is Octavia Spencer as superspy Harriett Tubman.  Many sites use segments such as this to add content to their sites and capitalize on the traffic that comes from the keywords used.

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References

Smith, M. (2013, March 28). Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site. Retrieved from Benchmarkemail.com: http://www.benchmarkemail.com/blogs/detail/why-multimedia-blog-content-is-good-for-your-site

Sundar, S. S. (2000). Multimedia effects on processing and perception of online news: A study of picture, audio and video downloads. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 480.

 

Using Social Media Tools

For this post I will try three social media tools for integrations within my blog and future social media efforts.  These tools can expand the interactivity and reach within other social media platforms.

StumbleUpon – Social Bookmarking

StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site in which you can like articles and share them on various platforms.  Screenshot 2015-12-03 18.59.50

(intial bookmarked page)

What makes this app unique is the Stumble feature that allows one to find and read articles related to a topic or at random.  Socially you can see what your other friends like, curate your own category, and see even what other random people like.  An important aspect of blogging is the ability to curate and come up with unique and interesting content. This platform combines that and can be connected to your major social sites for maximum visibility.

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(related stumble article)

Youtube – Video Sharing Site

My second choice of a social media tool is Youtube which is a video sharing site.  I enjoy what is shared there and I am finding that the comments are many times as amusing and contreversial as the video itself.

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I have also found that Youtube is an excellent source also for how-to videos and even old movies or TV shows.  On the wordpress.com platform, Youtube videos can actually be embedded which I thought was unique and a definite way to draw and keep traffic for a blog.  YouTube brings pictures and sounds to stories and events shared and reshared by many differnet people.

Check it out here!

Twitter

Twitter continues to be an enigma for me.  Unlike Facebook full of people I know directly and audiences that I have many times met, and very unlike the pictorial nature of Instagram, Twitter appears to be random social interactions.  I am working on becoming more engaging and interested in following the apparently neverending posts of random thoughts and various world events.

I went and revamped an old page:

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Followed some planned and rather random people:

 

In the end I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best, as well as put actual effort in connecting this account to my mobile to better access at all times.

#socialmedia #twitter #StumbleUpon #Youtube

The writer of the Oconee County Observation is Lee Baker.  He can be considered as a professional journalist due to his experiences with being a communications educator on a college campus.  The apparent purpose of the blog is to inform people about the governing of Oconnee county.  This site does not appear to be biased other than the fact it only does committee and governmental type of news.

Baker does appear to adhere to the SPJ’s Code of Ethics, due to the fact that the articles seem to be full of direct quotes and first-hand information.  It is not used to create false news or accusations.  His pledge on the right side of the screen seems to indicate his dedication to transparent, fair and balanced news.  His links to actual video of the meetings and documents used in his postings help the reader to follow a chain of evidence and verify the information themselves.

Being a professional is not a requirement for fair and balanced news in my opinion.  The dedication to your work and creating verifiable and informative content are things that I believe are necessary elements when someone posts news content.  I believe that these days we all share the responsibility in making sure that false content is not shared the world over and the best practice for that is to ensure your own work is accurate.    Citizen Journalists are very prevalent on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.  Bloggers have become the new outlets for information since the media itself seems to never have the complete story.  These writers have the opportunity to do and say much more on more controversial topics because they are not censored and made to work within parameters.  This is also a disadvantage because extremism and false information can spread like wildfire without any limits.

I have seen many bloggers build up credibility with solid, and consistent involvement as well as accurate, and insightful reporting.  This is what has made spaces like the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Black Girl Dangerous and the Salon, outlets that people look to for information not talked about in the mainstream media.  These spaces have nurtured the careers of people who started out with little experience but great passions for getting to the truth.  Much Respect!

Becker, Lee.  (2015).  Oconee County Observations. Retrieved
from: http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/

News Mistakes

The media’s attitude of report now and apologize later is an irresponsible vein of thought which indeed go against the SPJ Code of Ethics.  In the article “The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media After Several Mistaken Reports of an Arrest”, the mistakes in the Boston Marathon case are reviewed and pointed out.  What makes this case of inaccuracy interesting and unfortunate is that it could have impeded the investigation and also resulted in accusing completely innocent people.  The media seemed to report hearsay information with no true verification or permission from the FBI and law enforcement themselves.  This in and of itself should have been the first basic source in releasing this delicate information at a time of so much suspicion and emotions from the tragic event(Carter, 2013).

We as consumers of the media should definitely demand more accuracy and ethical use by the media.  All information, especially information regarding violent acts or international conflicts, should require double fact checking by reputable news organizations.  I wholeheartedly agree that the former lessons of inaccurate reporting are starting to wane and it is becoming more important to the media to break stories first(Carter, 2013).  This is very unfortunate because as the media tries to beat the social crowd they are throwing caution to the wind and releasing information without verifiable information from first-hand sources.

(true suspect)                                            (false suspects)

This case is a model for the fact that not all information pushed by social media is accurate and should not be followed as such.  The actions of amateur detectives on Reddit and Twitter morphed the story into a dangerous atmosphere of paranoia and false accusations. These platforms were the source of very valuable information such as the photo identifying the suspects and false information such as Sunil Tripathi as one of the bombers.  Accordingly this has changed the way the media reports and where they look to for first-hand, accurate information(Ziv, 2015).

Carter, B. (2013, April 18).   The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media
After Several Mistaken Reports of an Arrest.  The New York Times.
Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/business/
media/fbi-criticizes-false-reports-of-a-bombing-arrest.html?_r=1

Ziv, S. (2015, April 15).  How Social Media Changed News Coverage After
the Boston Marathon Attack.  Newsweek. Retrieved from:
http://www.newsweek.com/how-social-media-changed-reporting-
wake-boston-marathon-attack-322416

Blog, Sources and Credibility

The news can be full of rhetoric and at times you have to very careful to make sure you are reading something with credible sources.  The article I chose for this entry is “5 Things To Tell Anyone Who Blames Black Lives Matter For Violence Against Cops”.  I would say that this article is an editorial piece aimed at informing the masses, but is not an end all authority piece on the topic.  To come to this conclusion I looked at the included links as well as the quoted information inside of the article and the endgame of the article as a whole.  I looked to see if the quotes and links were firsthand accounts or second hand which would effectively make the article closer to third hand or hearsay accounts (Montecino, 1998).  This does not mean that the information is not credible, but it does however mean that this particular article is not the authority on the topic.  It is my belief that this article was created to educate the public on a topic from an unpopular point of view, which would depend on the sources being available and credible.  The  writers of the article are frequent posters of political and viral Huffington post articles (Kovach & Rosentiel, 2010).

The initial quotes in the article are directly from Sheriff Ron Hickman of Harris County.  Sheriff Hickman was the basically the spokesperson for the county where Deputy Darren Goforth was shot and killed by Shannon J. Miles.  He references “#Blacklivesmatter” as motive for the deputy’s murder.  What makes what he says important is that Fox News, a figurehead in conservative contempt for anything liberal, has taken it to label the movement as a dangerous hate group.  In following the links and trackbacks in the article there is a wealth of other articles of information written by the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, and even CNN who is considered a news authority.  These other articles contain first hand commentary, links to other Associated Press information, and other even the Officer memorial page which can be considered an authority reference since it comes from law enforcement themselves.  These sources further educates the reader on points that are very unpopular on Fox News or other news outlets (Craven & Wing, 2015).

I enjoy articles from bloggers, however I am always mindful of following up on the information shared within the articles.  It is way too easy to be caught up in to the activist persuasion that comes easily on the internet and social media (Kovach & Rosentiel, 2010).  I am careful in sharing information that is posted in multiple places and if possible has many different points of view.  This ensures that within another blogger’s writing or even a news article there will be real tangible information that can be transformed into useful content.  This takes away the scariness of some of the propaganda posted for political and social gains.

Craven, J. & Wing, N.  (2015, September 03).  “5 Things To Tell Anyone Who Blames Black

Lives Matter For Violence Against Cops”.  Huffington Post.  Retrieved from:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/black-lives-matter-violence-cops_55e77d82e4b0c81

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Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information

Overload. New York: Bloomsbury, USA.

Montecino, V.  (1998, August).  “Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources”.  GMU.

Retrieved from: http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm

Conscious Media Use

Media Use

On a daily basis, I consume new media in the forms of Facebook, Youtube broadcasts, and podcasts if I am lucky.  Becoming more active in local community organizations has made these mediums a must for coordinating and becoming an effective force.  The fact that #BlackLivesMatter is a hashtag makes the curation of this type of content easier, however I have to be even more vigilant in regards to misinformation that will circulate along with the popularity of the hashtag.  Friends and family frequently point me into the direction of new and interesting content that ends up being very shareable.

The media influences my consciousness in the way that I know it is a requirement to not believe everything I hear or see.   During the 70’s a government agency known as COINTEL-Pro used subversive tactics to breakdown and infiltrate minority civil rights movements.  They spread “Bogus mail” which were fabricated letters which worked to spread misinformation and dissent within ranks.  They also spread “Black propaganda” which worked much in the same way but was distributed to the community at large (Wolf, 2006).

These tactics are continued to be used today by media at large with a definite emphasis on Fox News.  Over and over again we heard the Baltimore Riots began from thugs and bad seeds, when in actuality the students were dumped in front of Modawmin Mall and taunted into taking action on an already tense day.  With rumors of a Purge like event, police met buses at the end of the school day and forced everyone off.  They then directed the area closed from those attempting to leave  (Brody & McLauglin, 2015).  Needless to say this was not the way the story was reported.  Over and over again outlets connected the beginning of this situation on Freddie Gray’s funeral, and not once uttered the fact that the police orchestrated the circumstances of this event.

In short, we as a people need to educate ourselves and become less dependent on the media to tell us what is happening in our own backyards.  Media has been shaped on the fantastical and many times make believe stories from the past and that type of news continues to sell and consume mainstream media.

Brody, Sam, & McLaughlin, Jenna. “Eyewitnesses: The Baltimore Riots Didn’t Start the Way You Think.” Politics. Mother Jones, 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/how-baltimore-riots-began-mondawmin-purge&gt;.

Wolf, Sherry. “Spies, Lies, and War The Lesson of COINTELpro.” ISR. Internation Socialist Review, Sept.-Oct. 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <http://www.isreview.org/issues/49/cointelpro.shtml

Yan, H., & Ford, D. (2015, April 28). Baltimore Riots: Looting, Fires Engulf City after Freddie Gray’s Funeral. CNN. Retrieved October 14, 2015, from Cable News Network