Tag Archives: media

Advanced journalism course will continue building students’ media skills

By Evelyn Archibald

Staff Writer

Summit Shasta is wrapping up its first year offering Multimedia Political Journalism as an Expeditions course, and student journalists are ready to continue. While the intro class won’t have the opportunity to be taught at Shasta next year, students can choose to take Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism as an independent study course.

The AMPJ course will use the skills journalism students developed this year – interviewing, reporting, photography, editing articles and video – and build on them in a more self-directed curriculum. Because it is an independent study, students will lead themselves and their peers in the class, taking more responsibility on deadlines and finding stories, going off campus and working in specialized beats such as politics or sports. 

“It’s a really cool opportunity to have at Shasta, especially since we don’t have a normal school newspaper. It’s useful to have that resource, to write and have the freedom to express yourself,” Shasta sophomore Albert Chang-Yoo said about the journalism course.

The class is mainly geared toward students who have taken MPJ already; however, if you haven’t taken that course but are interested in journalism, photojournalism, working in an independent study and current events, you can still apply! 

Rising sophomores and seniors are the target grades, as it is a full-day independent study. If you are interested, have an English teacher, history teacher or Expeditions teacher fill out this form and email the course instructor, Elizabeth DeOrnellas, at edeornellas@summitps.org for more information about the required paperwork. 

Although AMPJ is a form of independent study, students will submit projects through the platform and receive grades based on cognitive skills and focus areas. The course is UC-approved and a VPA credit. For more information, see Shasta freshman Evelyn Archibald who will be the Shasta Editor-in-Chief next year! She can be reached at earchibald.sh@mysummitps.org.

See below for a video about the Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Shasta freshman Melissa Domingo practices her photography skills. 

Why is the #MeToo movement so important?

By Kai Lock and Ethan Sheppy

Staff Writers

It seems now that #MeToo has been the topic of conversation for many months now, especially in the entertainment industry.  It has been showcased in several award shows, influencing things like speeches and wardrobe. High-profile men in the industry continue to face fallout from the movement toward accountability and transparency. 

More and more actors have been coming out and speaking their truth as well as promoting inspirational speeches from those who have shared their stories. One of these cases was when Oprah Winfrey preached at the Golden Globes, stating that speaking your truth is one of the most powerful tools you have.

#MeToo was created by Tarana Burke in 1997; 20 years later it has risen into an immensely powerful movement all over the nation, creating conversations and evoking uncomfortable subjects that need to be uncovered and fully assessed.

According to a New York Times article, “The Woman Who Created #MeToo Long Before Hashtagsby Sandra E. Garcia, when Tarana Burke initially created the Me Too movement, her intention was to create a nonprofit organization to help those who have been affected by sexual harassment and assault.

The entertainment industry has been solely responsible for the attention that #MeToo has gotten within these past few months, starting with Alyssa Milano, who is believed to have brought attention to the movement.

The attention arose with a single tweet which stated, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” She provided an explanation for the tweet, “Suggested by a friend: ‘If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me Too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

On Jan. 7, the distinguished Golden Globes took place in the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Known for its prestigious awards and celebrated celebrities, the Golden Globes was quick to promote #MeToo in many aspects.

Those in attendance dressed in all black to show their respect and support for the movement. The wardrobe was not the only thing to showcase the support, having inspirational speeches from actors also take part in advocating #MeToo.

Oprah Winfrey’s powerful speech moved the audience. She brought up topics such as #MeToo, racism and hope for a new future. Her speech easily became one of the most iconic moments of the night.

Actors standing behind the movement are not only hoping to provide relief for those in the entertainment industry, but also for those whose stories might not get told. Using their power in social media and fame in the industry, they are hoping to inspire young girls and spread an important message to all teenage and adult women.

We talked to two people outside of the film industry to help answer if those promoting #MeToo are helping them understand it better and to explore how it’s personally affecting their life. They both provided insight into their perspective as women outside of the entertainment industry.

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Gretchen Oorthuys, resource specialist and sophomore mentor

Gretchen Oorthuys, a resource specialist at Summit Prep, helped us understand her stance on #MeToo.

“I think it started a lot of conversations with different people in my life, not just about their personal experiences, but about how awareness of power imbalances between the genders impacts their daily lives.”

Eliza Insley, a sophomore at Summit Prep, elaborated on the #MeToo movement and what her perspective on the subject is.

” I think the Me Too movement has affected me personally because I know people who have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment and sexual assault, and watching them experience the shame and the guilt and the pain that goes along with not feeling like they can express and share what happened to them was rough. I think this movement that is gaining so much support for the victims of this abuse is really powerful because it’s life changing how these people have kept it in so long and now they feel like they’re in a safe enough environment to share this. ”

Hearing such shocking stories these past few months has resulted in a new growing awareness of the problem. What people would like to know now is the solution, a positive ending to these dreadful stories.

A few developing ideas are now being discussed with the hopes of preventing more women from experiencing trauma. According to an article by The Washington Post, Women share their #MeToo experiences on Metro — and offer solutions,” an idea from women who have been harassed or assaulted on the Metro was to share stories to the public via social media.

Margaret Wroblewski created a project called #IWasOnTheMetroWhen, sharing unsettling stories of women who have been harassed or assaulted on the Metro. She was hoping these stories could provide relief and awareness to those either affected or not affected by this movement.

Her intention is to promote self-empowerment and encourage women to seek assistance from passengers on the bus or to speak up for others in such situations. Beyond Wroblewski’s project, there have been many others who have also followed the tactic of using social media to speak their truth.

#MeToo has been a wake up call to the nation, educating those who are oblivious to this unvoiced problem. Though all the stories have upset many people, it brought something deeper amongst all men and women who have been a part of #MeToo.

Finally speaking the truth has been described as a relief and a weight lifted off the shoulders of those assaulted. It brought them peace and unity. Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes summarized our future perfectly. A new day is certainly on the horizon.

See below for a video on the #MeToo movement:

Youth writes about the ignored side of the homeless population

By Giselle Alejo, Judy Ly, Jeana Rose Meneses and Pauline Valezquez

Staff Writers

Many of us are guilty of making assumptions about people before taking the time to get to know them; however, Isabella Zou, a senior at Westlake High School in Austin works to enlighten her community about the real people of the homeless community.

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Isabella Zou, 17-years- old, senior at Westlake High School.

She described the overarching stereotype we all seem to buy into: “We often just lump homelessness into one category of people that are all just very similar, but I’ve learned that people are very diverse, and the one thing they do share is the status of homelessness.”

The way that Zou battles this cliche is through her website, Austin Street Humans. This blog gives the homeless population a voice by sharing their stories and providing insight into a community that has been pushed to the side.

The blog is comprised of numerous different articles, each one focusing on a member of the homeless community about their personal story. Zou described the process in which she gets each interview: “We go to community centers where the homeless people gather and are given services in Austin and we sit down with people and have long conversations, just about their life path and how they became homeless, but also just about what their childhood was like and what their future prospects are.”

When asked about why she started her website, Zou replied with, “My life was being changed by hearing these stories, and like that effect could be multiplied if we put it on an online space.”  She later commented in the interview, “The overall goal is to just bring the stories of people experiencing this condition to light and I think the more broadly and deeply we can do that the better.”

She further voiced her motives behind the blog by saying, “I want to prove that homelessness is not always a choice.”

She elaborated on what the stereotype of homelessness being a choice means in our society by giving a personal example about her parent’s original views on the topic. As background Zoe mentioned that her parents were first-generation immigrants and came to America with practically nothing. She relayed her parents point saying, “They were like: it is a choice because they had experience with what it means to build yourself up from nothing; like they had nothing and they could make themselves better from nothing.”

Although her parents might have believed this to be true prior to Zou’s personal work with the homeless community, her mom is now a supporter of her work and leaves frequent, encouraging Facebook comments on her Facebook page that are dedicated to her work.

Her mom is an example of why she started the blog: to open people’s eyes to the reality of the homeless community’s situation.  In light of this realization, she commented, “I guess this work can make a difference.”

Through her interviews, Zou has been able to get to know those she talks to as human beings rather than just members of the homeless community. When asked what she tries to do with each interview she answered, “I always try to find the things that they’re interested in because every person has things that they lean towards … bring[ing] those things to light kind of helps humanize them and kind of make them seem more like people.”

Zou shared an anecdote of a person named Michael who took a remarkable interest in literature and NPR. Zou reminisced about her relationship with Michael by saying, “He got rid of any stereotype that I had of homeless people being not smart.” She shared Michael’s story by telling us his life “involves a lot of tragedies, one after the other.”

Zou commented on his situation by saying,“With him it is just a constant battle with himself, like his drug habit, and for him to make the choices that make it easier for him to make good choices.”

After being sent to jail for 12 years, Michael decided that he wanted to turn his life around and made the decision to get his GED and license to become a truck driver. Zou concluded her thought by saying, “It’s encouraging to me because that’s something that I relate to a lot, like the difficulty of making choices sometimes and the fact that once you made enough of them they sort of like start to build up into the base that can make it easier for you to keep making the same kind of choices.”

In short, Zou made the connection that even though both her and Michael are in two completely different times in their lives, at the root of it, Michael is just another human being that faces the same struggles that she does.

You can read Michael’s story here.

Another personal story that Zou shared was about a man she met on three different occasions named Nawin. Nawin’s story begins after he divorced his wife and a couple years later moved to America. He started out in Mayland where he worked with gas and sent what little money he could back to Nepal for his kids. Finally, he moved to Austin where he hoped to find better job opportunities. This is where his wallet went missing which meant his green card, Social Security, money, ID were all gone. This is what ultimately led Nawin to be homeless.

Zou admitted that Nawin opened her eyes about, “our community’s apathy about the homeless community and also whether the things that I’m doing to try and combat that apathy and raise awareness are actually effective.”

Unfortunately, Nawin passed away last May.  

“Incidentally his death is what sort of convinced me that there is some bear to what I’m doing because after he passed away, I actually found out about it from his sister, …. “ she commented.

The story goes as the following: A couple days later following his death, Nawin’s sister who lives in Nepal, got in contact with Zou after searching up her brother’s name.  “She was asking me whether I had any pictures of him and I didn’t have any pictures but I did

have the audio recording of our conversation,” Zou said.  “And so I was able to give that to her and she was like ‘It is so comforting to be able to hear his voice because I hadn’t seen him since he left for America which was years ago.’”  

This moment shared between Nawin’s sister and Zou made her realize, “Getting people’s stories out there not only helps the public but also might help the people that love that person.”

You can read Nawin’s story from Zou’s blog here.

Later, Zou defined the word “homeless” as, “The lack of place where you have the assurance that there are people that will care for you and accept you.” She furthered this definition by alluding to the magazine, “Household Words” by Barbara Kingsolver and reiterates, “Home is a place where when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” So, by extension, “Homelessness to me is just the lack of that.”

Following that, Zou found similarities in the people she interviewed and said, “One common theme is just something that went wrong in their family, whether that be in their childhood or even later on.”

She continued this sentiment by adding on, “I think that this is a very potent thing to see because our families are so vital in shaping the people that we become and even if your not homeless from a young age, if you’re exposed to abuse and … just a lack of basic care from that young then it can affect the way you see the world for the rest of your life.”

She continued this note by talking about how we, as a society, could work to help the homeless by arguing, “Instead of treating homelessness as one big problem that needs one big solution, it is like a case by case kind of thing.”

Furthering the statement she explained, “Some people … all they need is like a caseworker to help them reapply for their ID and then somebody else might need like a lot more specialized care, like mental health care or otherwise.”

Zou added that, “For people who aren’t homeless…we have arguably more choices than those who start out with less and I think that ultimately the responsibility that we have is to use the amount of choice that we have access to …. to help those who are less lucky be able to make choices anyway” when asked who she believes should be the people to help those in need.

In regards to her aspirations and hopes for the future, she replied with wanting to expand Austin Street Humans with more staff writers and her nonprofit called After Hello.  “Like one of [the programs in progress] is basically the Austin Street Humans work but minus the writing.  And so you go there, it’s like a safe environment

MePhillip

To the right of Isabella is Phillip, one of her friends who was homeless when she first met him.

where your parents can feel safe to send you.   And like you have conversations with people,” said Zou.  This would allow people to be in a safe, controlled environment and be able to conversate and connect with the homeless population.  

Zou also mentioned hosting sock drives, where they would collect socks at different schools and also letters that the students would write to the homeless population with thoughtful notes of endearment attached that would be delivered to a number of shelters.

As for other young people who want to make a difference in their community, Zou readily said, “It’s possible to do seemingly radical things at a young age.” She finished this thought by saying, “I don’t think that most adults are able to gain an audience that easily, so definitely age, instead of being a detriment, it can actually be an asset as you try to build connections because people are always very encouraged that youth care about things.”

Zou’s final piece of advice was, “Start doing it now.”

Related:

San Francisco struggles to serve the homeless in the Bay Area

Booming Silicon Valley confronts cold reality of homelessness

Teen uses voice to amend legislation

Journalists feel the effect of President Trump’s perception of libel

By Amanda Ramirez

Staff Writer

Donald Trump might take action on his negative views toward the media by “opening up libel laws” during his presidency. Many times throughout Mr. Trump’s campaign trail, the public has noticed his libel threats upon journalists. One example is from a Donald Trump rally in Fort Worth, Texas on Feb. 26, 2016, which gave insight of his thoughts and plans for the media.

“I’ll tell you what, I think the media is among the most dishonest groups of people I’ve ever met,”  he said at the rally, according to Business Insider.

Business Insider also recorded that Mr. Trump went on to say, “I’m going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.

However, he contradicts his statement of “…we can sue them and win lots of money” by also saying, “With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people, but I’m not taking money, I’m not taking their money” at the same rally in Fort Worth, Texas.

During this rally, Mr. Trump mentioned that he plans to change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations for writing “purposefully negative, horrible, and false articles.” In order to understand what Mr. Trump’s future intentions of weakening libel laws are, it is important to understand what libel is in the first place.

According to the Student Press Law Center, libel is the publication of a false statement of fact that seriously harms someone’s reputation.

* What are the steps to sue for libel?  

  1. Has been published
  2. Identifies a specific individual
  3. Is false
  4. Asserts a fact
  5. Causes serious harm to a reputation
  6. Shows — at a minimum — that a journalist acted unreasonably, that he or she was somehow at fault.

Mr. Trump believed that he could sue the New York Times for an article written about him, but that article did not meet the libel requirements.

This threat to the New York Times began with a video from 2005 that recently went viral as it revealed Mr. Trump’s ‘locker-room banter’ and derogatory language to describe women. After the video surfaced, the New York Times released an article including additional claims of Trump sexually assaulting women.

After the release of the New York Times article, Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, threatened to sue the New York Times for libel in a letter stating, “Your article is reckless, defamatory and constitutes libel per se,”

Considering this article “falls clearly into the realm of public service journalism,” as spokesperson for the The New York Times Eileen Murphy mentioned in a responding statement, The New York Times will not renounce the article from their website. In other words, since the purpose of journalism is to inform the public, it would be a disservice to hide these allegations from the people. Therefore, The New York Times will continue to stand by this article.

David McCraw, vice president and assistant general counsel of The New York Times, responded to the letter from Mr. Trump’s lawyer to explain why their article is not libel. In Mr. McCraw’s response letter, he argued that The New York Times cannot be sued for libel in damaging Mr. Trump’s reputation because he has publicly created that reputation for himself in other statements he has made.

“Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself,” wrote Mr. McCraw.

With these requirements in mind, Mr. Trump’s idea of libel in this scenario does not fit the true definition. Just because what the media writes might not always flatter Mr. Trump, as long as the information reported is proven to be truthful, journalists will be protected from Donald Trump’s libel threats.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr