Monday, December 10, 2012

World's Oldest Person Dies at 116

        Besse Cooper, was 116, when she passed away as the world's oldest person, according to this BBC news article. Cooper has recently contracted a stomach virus but died peacefully at a nursing home near Atlanta, Georgia.

           The article goes on to tell about her life. But what I find most interested is the multimedia NOT used in this article. There is a beautiful picture of Mrs. Cooper at the top of the article, however, no video linked to this article. On CNN there was a video of her son Sidney Cooper speaking about his mother. It was so interesting to hear from someone who knew her well, talk about this woman's life. Also the son looked very old, in his 70's, which made viewers realize how old Besse Cooper really was. I think that BBC news should have included a video interview with one of the members of Mrs. Cooper's family. I think that just saying someone is the oldest person alive, but hearing from someone who knows them well what were the most interesting parts of their life is more interesting. The BBC article goes on about her life but in the CNN news video the son talked about the stories his mother would share with him about the depression. He also said that his mother never ate fast food which is interesting to here for young people today worrying about their health in a culture where fast food is readily available and eaten often. 

Here is a video showing Besse Cooper.
Hoax Call Results in Nurses Death

        It all started off a lighthearted joke. Two Australian DJ's on a radio show decided to call up King's Hospital in London and as about Catherine the duchess of Cambridge regarding her stay there for morning sickness, according to this BBC news article. If you listen to the prank call you can hear that two nurses spoke. The first was Jacintha Saldanha who answered the call and put it through to another nurse who disclosed information about the duchess' state. The female DJ, Mel Grieg, pretended to be the Queen of England and said she was asking for her granddaughter. The male, Michael Christian, said he was Prince Charles. 
       At first it seemed the joke was on the hospital regarding the fact that they were fooled by these two Australian DJs. However, when Saldanha was later found dead a day after the hoax call, no one was laughing anymore. The two DJs have received a tremendous backlash from the public and their show has been canceled until further notice. 
         During this time I have been wondering how these two DJs must be feeling. They said they expected the call to be hung up by one of the hospital staff immediately. However, when it was put through they were shocked but continue with the joke. BBC news includes a video interview of the two DJs and how saddened they are by the incident. They both claim that there was no malice in the phone call and never meant to harm anyone. I think that it is easy to see the heartbroken point of view of Saldanha's family, but it's important for journalists to also cover the topic objectively and see the point of view of the DJs. BBC news did this.
            Comparatively, I have been watching CNN's coverage of the event and I find BBC news to be explain the facts more clearly. At first I thought the nurse that disclosed the information was the one who committed suicide; however, after reading the BBC news article I realized that it was the first nurse who put the call through.

Watch the video below. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Spending
Reaches Pre-Recession Numbers

       This year's holiday shopping season is setting a jolly tune with the hope that spending levels will return to pre-recession numbers, according to this article from the Huffington Post.  There was a 32 percent increase from last year's spending and it is projected that the average shopper will plan to spend 854 dollars on presents this year, according to the study from the American Research Group. In 2007 the average American shopper spent 856 dollars on holiday gifts. This is a strong sign that public confidence in the economy is picking up, according to a study conducted by the American Research Group, Inc.

       The holiday shopping season kicked off on a strong foot with a successful black Friday and cyber Monday. This year cyber Monday sales hit 1.5 billion dollars and were up 25.6 percent from last year's sales, according to this Huffington Post article. The hype of cyber Monday is very popular among young adults who don't find shopping online to be foreign. 

        "I am a big shopper so, because I go to the malls a lot, I know what I want. This is why I buy online during cyber Monday. I think that if you don't shop a lot you won't know what works and how certain products will turn out so shopping online is harder," said Boston University student, Shuang Guo, who says she decreased her spending this year due to a tighter budget.

        "I bought a Mac Book Pro online for around 600 hundred dollars. Overall I saved around 800 from the sales while shopping online," added Guo. She was very pleased with her holiday savings; however, did express dissatisfaction with the slow server connection while trying to complete a few transactions online during cyber Monday.

          According to this article from the National Retail Federation, it is projected that more than half of all holiday shoppers will purchase gifts online this year. 31.4 percent of consumers negatively affected by the economy are more likely to comparatively shop online and 46.4 percent are more likely to shop for sales more often, according to the NRF 2012 report.

          But surprisingly buyers started shopping months before the stereotypical start of the holiday season, black Friday weekend. The NRF released a chart (above) in its 2012 report showing that 41.1 percent of shoppers started working on their holiday shopping two to three months before November.
            However, one thing holiday shoppers do look forward to in the months of November and December are holiday sales. This year holiday sales rose to 4.1 percent, which is more than a percentage point lower than the last two years, according to this USA Today article. Meaning even with fewer sales American shoppers are still spending more. It is apparent from Deloitte’s 2012 Annual Holiday Survey that Americans feel the U.S. economy is gradually improving from the recession. In 2011, 50 percent of Americans felt the U.S. was still in a recession, according to the survey mentioned in this Huffington Post article. But in the 2012, this number decreased to only 37 percent of Americans feeling the U.S. was still in a recession. This is a good sign, but leaves the question of whether all American shoppers are spending more or if this increased spending is being done by a certain income bracket
Boston University students weigh in on their opinion about why they are or aren't spending more this holiday season.

           It has been shown that there is in fact stratification between income classes and increased spending this year, according to the Consumer Federation of America in this Huffington Post article,.  Only 11 percent of respondents who had an income under 25,000 dollars said they would spend more this holiday season. In comparison, 18 percent of the respondents with an income over 100,000 dollars said they would increase their holiday spending this year, according to the Consumer Federation of America. While the overall picture showed holiday spending increased this year, the reality that a gap between spenders and savers may be widening remains a daunting thought.

Here are some of the main shopping locations in Boston. Click on the Google map locations to learn more about what discounts and holiday festivities are offered there this holiday season.

View Holiday Shopping in Boston in a larger map


Monday, December 3, 2012

Hear Ye Hear Ye! 
Royal Baby Bliss for Catherine Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William

          The duke and duchess of cambridge are expected a child, according to this BBC news article. The palace confirmed the pregnancy just an hour ago. The talk of "Will and Kate" expecting has been playing out in the media for a few months. Speculations as to whether she was expecting was due to her change in diet and drinking habit during her Southeast Asia tour. The duchess drank water rather than wine during a toast and declined trying a local peanut paste. But now all speculation is put aside and it has been confirmed that a royal baby is on the way. 
The BBC news article was short but included a video. I like how the video recapped the couple since their marriage. It shows how much they have done in a year. According to the BBC video, most royal couples conceive within the first 12 months of marriage (this was the case for Princess Diana). It has been just over a year since "Will and Kate" were married in Westminster Abby. 
             One piece of information that the BBC news article did not include was that the duchess has been visiting a hospital due to severe morning sickness, according to a CNN television news report. I know the news of the pregnancy was just released but I am sure the next big question, besides whether it's a boy or girl, will be how is the duchess's health? But in regards to the question of the sex of the child, there are some interesting changes taking place in the monarchy. The parliament is in the process of passing a law that the first born, regardless of sex, is first in line to the throne for the British monarchy. For Prince William and Prince Harry, had they had an older sister she would not have been first in line to the throne. This is exciting news and a change in history for the British monarchy. There could possibly be a future queen born! This is another example of how the monarchy has shown a new and modern face since the royal couples marriage. First, the duchess was the first to marry into the royal family without being of royal blood. Now the old tradition of male predominance is in the process of changing and could possibly be done with in the time that the prince and duchess have their first born. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Boston Bike Video: Flash Assignment
Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales Shoot Up

Spending shot up this year for black Friday and cyber Monday shoppers. According to this BBC news article, between Thursday and Sunday 47 million people visited stores and websites spending a total of 59.1billion dollars, which is 13 percent more than last year, said the National Retail Federation. 

This is exciting news for the U.S. economy. I found it interesting that this story made the home page of BBC news. However, I think it would have been interesting if BBC news had included a video of some shoppers waiting outside some of the stores. The only visual multimedia they used for this story was a picture of Macy's shoppers standing in line in the new NYC store. According to the article, 11,000 shoppers showed up to the store for its midnight opening. I think it would have been interesting to hear how long some of those shoppers waited outside. Another thing I think the article lacked was some of the other companies/stores that had long lines outside. I know Apple had long lines of people waiting outside their stores for black Friday. 

Below is a video of shoppers in the U.S. during black Friday. The video begins by showing the crows running into a mall in North Carolina. The BBC news article addressed above did not include this video and I think it should have. I found this video on youtube, but it is from BBC news. It shows the excitement and urgency people felt to get in the stores and search for a good deal. The BBC news video even states that some stores opened up on Thanksgiving day. It has interviews of people saying that "times are better" and this is the greatest rise in spending since the recession. These are all details that should have been shared in the original article. 

In terms of cyber Monday, the article estimated that there will be a 20 percent increase in spending from last year. However, there were not pictures or videos regarding cyber monday. I think the article could have used more multimedia to cover the subject matter. Its the human interest part of these stories always intrigue me. I find it so interesting to see the lines of people at midnight waiting in the cold for the store to open the next day. In terms of shopping and saving, that's dedication!

I did like how they had a "More on This Story" section below the article where you could read similar articles about the U.S. economy. I found those to be interesting because they elaborated on some of the bigger picture economic questions that come to mind while reading this BBC news article

Monday, November 19, 2012

Israel and Gaza Continue to Fire

Here is a BBC news video on the air strikes in Israel and Gaza and the possible consequences surrounding the death of Ahmad Jabari, head of the Hamas military.

            One aspect of the conflict between Israel and Hamas that intrigues me is the media coverage. The accounts of what have happened are slightly different based on the news source you watch/read. BBC news stays impartial for the most part, however, focuses a bit more on the Israeli's than the Palestinians points of view. For example, if you click here you will see an article about how Israel is protecting itself by using an Iron Dome, which intercepts rockets that are being fired from Gaza. The Iron Dome has intercepted 245 rockets and has been 90 percent successful in all its attempts. I think the use of a video to show how there is this box-like machine that fires rockets, which intercept the missiles sent from Gaza, is a good way for people to understand how the defense mechanism works. Seeing a rocket being fired in the video also brings home the idea of what it must be like for people in the region of Israel and Gaza during this hectic time of missile firing. If you contrast BBC News coverage to Aljazeera then you will get slightly different points of view. Aljazeera clearly covers the point of view of those Palestinians who are suffering in Gaza. I'm not saying that BBC news doesn't, but Aljazeera covers that angle more. They have an article on their home page that is talking about how a 100 Palestinians have died and how of those killed many were Palestinian children. Aljazeera tends to side with the Palestinians more than Israel in their news reports. On the other hand, CNN seems to be reporting more heavily about the U.S. involvement with Israel and therefore focusing more of its stories on Israelis. I believe there is a bit of a political agenda behind the reporting on the air strikes in Israel and Gaza. I think that since the U.S. fully backs up Israel that we tend to show partiality with them, while on the other hand Aljazeera shows a partiality towards the Palestinians. BBC news does a pretty good job of trying to stay objective in the situation. One feature that BBC has on their website is a live news feed from the region. I think that constant coverage and updates like that make BBC news a more competitive and reliable news source for coverage in the Middle East.

          I think that it is important for news sources to try and remain as impartial as possible so that the citizens of the countries involved/affiliated in the conflict may see the facts more clearly. This is a prime time for an example of how autonomy between the press and the government are important. In the past the government has used the press for propaganda during or before war times. I think that Americans should be aware of this and follow up with news sources that are outside the U.S., such as BBC news and Aljazeera, to insure they are well informed and not receiving partial facts. It is also important to see how international news sources like BBC paint America. It allows us to hold a mirror up to ourselves and ask if we like what others are saying about us. BBC news does a good job of holding up a mirror to all parties involved in the air strikes taking place between Israel and Gaza.