Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

George Clooney is nowhere to be found in this perfect storm.

Hurricane Sandy will go down in history as one of the largest storms to hit U.S. mainland. The storm has already claimed the lives of 64 people and is predicted to hover over more than 12 states for at least 24-36 hours when it reaches landfall, according a BBC news article. The majority of deaths, 54, occurred in Haiti where the storm first made landfall before it began crawling up along the eastern coast. The BBC news article also talked about President Obama taking time away from his campaign to instead inform people about the severity of the storm.

While the BBC news article is informative about how to monitor the storm as a whole, it is not effective in warning people about updates in their local proximity. Local news sources are more informative and reliable outlets for those in the northeastern states to receive updates on their specific situation. I think that the northeastern goveners, mayors, and news channels did a good job executing and informing the public about the evaculation/emergecy plans that were set in place for so many states.

Overall I think for a storm such as this, a local news source, even as small as a school's newspaper, has better information for how to prepare in your area than an international news source such as BBC news. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wisconsin Spa Shooting

        Three people were killed  and four others were injured when suspect, Radcliffe Haughton, allegedly began shooting inside a spa in Wisconsin. The suspect was later found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to the BBC news article, Haughton was going through a divorce and the event may have stemmed from a domestic dispute. Haughton's wife worked at the Azana Spa. The surrounding area and stores near the spa were locked down for safety reasons as the police searched for the suspect.

         In the article there is a picture of the suspect, Haughton, who I find to be frightening with his piercing eyes.  The article first shows a picture of the spa and then lower in the story is the picture of the suspect. I would have put the suspect's picture higher up in the story because it is more eye catching and intriguing.
          The article did comment on how this is the second mass shooting in the state of Wisconsin this year. The idea of a mass shooting is all to familiar to those in the U.S. during these recent months. This article not only has an emotional appeal, but also raises a bigger question about the current debate over harsher gun control policies. There was even a question during the second presidential debate about gun control policies that stemmed from the Aurora shooting incident. The article said that President Obama released a statement about how saddened he was from the news about the recent shooting in Wisconsin. 

Your two cents:

Do you think that we need stricter gun control laws?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Baumgartner, First Skydiver 
to break Sound Barrier from Space

Suite Felix Baumgartner wore while crossing the English Channel.

Austrian Felix Baumgartner is the first person to ever skydive from 24 miles above Earth and break the sound barrier doing so. The dive was sponsored by Redbull Stratos and took place above New Mexico. 

When I watched the live coverage of the event I was so nervous! The video of Baumgartner on the steps of the vessel before he jumped was breathtaking. All I could think was, wow, this guy must be crazy to skydive from the edge of space down to Earth. 

To be honest though I was disappointed with some TV news outlets and their coverage of this event. I tuned-in to CNN on TV and they did not show the full dive live. They said that once Baumgartner landed safely they would then air clips of the dive. But CNN did show Baumgartner step off the platform and initiate his decent and then later showed his two-feet landing.  But I was very upset by the fact that I was unable to watch the fall live; so I quickly looked up on my computer live coverage of the event from the Redbull youtube video. 

I did not watch the event live from BBC news' coverage, however, I did read a BBC news article later to see what additional information was shared about the event. The BBC article talked about the obstacles that Baumgartner ran into during his mission, such as a heater in his helmet that malfunctioned leaving his helmet foggy when he exhaled. While watching Baumgartner on TV, I thought to myself that it looked as though he was hesitant at times to jump. The BBC news article explained that he almost aborted the dive because his helmet fogged up. Baumgartner ran into another obsticle when he started to tumble during his dive. But because of his experience he was able to reposition his body into the correction position. What astounded me was that Baumgartner completed 2,500 dives previous to this one and trained five years for this mission, according the BBC news article.

I liked how BBC news included a video of the event and I believe this event definitely required a video. BBC news also include an audio clip of an interview with Felix Baumgartner after his dive. Baumgartner said that he did not feel anything during the time he broke the sound barrier. He also explained how he felt at multiple stages during the dive and what dilemmas he was faced with. There was a point where he debated whether to deploy his parachute when he began to tumble. But he decided to continue and quickly regained control so that he could try to break the sound barrier.  I found Baumgartner's comment about how it was such a "humbling experience" to be the most moving. 

Your two cents:

What did you think about the way the media covered the event? What were your thoughts while watching his dive?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bar Serves Teen a Cocktail with Liquid Nitrogen

Gabby Scanlan from Lancaster, UK had to have her stomach surgically removed after drinking a cocktail with liquid nitrogen. She was celebrating her 18th birthday at Oscar's Wine Bar and Bistro, and ingested the chemical before it evaporated from her drink. Scanlan is stable, but in serious condition.

BBC news shared this story through a video. The video included a short but powerful interview from Professor John Ashton, director of public health, saying that a bar is not a place for dangerous chemicals. Most people commonly know of liquid nitrogen as the chemical used to help freeze off warts. It's an extremely cold substance that kills tissue and if ingested, may be fatal.

The image in the video of the drink shows viewers how the use of liquid nitrogen has an enticing effect on making the drink look more theatrical. But it is dumbfounding that a bar would allow someone to be served a drink with a harmful chemical. The video did not say whether the bar warned people to not drink the liquid nitrogen before it was evaporated. The bar is no longer selling the drink. One mixologist in the video said that he thinks it is possible to use liquid nitrogen in drinks, but that it must be done safely and very carefully.

I find that when you compare the BBC news video to other accounts of this incident that their are some interesting details that are omitted because it was done with a video, but that is one limitation of using that form of media. However, there was a brief summary of details regarding what happened beneath the video. One detail that I found interesting from the Daily Mail article was that it shared the name of the drink, a "Nitro Jagermeister." It also included a quote that the teen posted on twitter telling people to stop making jokes, such as "stay off the liquid nitrogen," about the almost fatal incident. 

I find that a story like this does lend itself to creativity when it comes to making a headline. I for one was going to start this article off by saying:

Did you ever think you'd hear the day when someone would ask, "I'll have a cocktail, easy on the liquid nitrogen." 

I reconsidered the joke after thinking about the serious situation and reading that quote from the Daily Mail. I do think BBC news did a good job with their video. I liked the extra commentary from  the two opposing points of view. This week in our class we had to do an audio piece on a controversial subject and I think that this BBC news video showed the techniques we learned it class. The video showed the opposing views between the bar tender, who cares about the theatrics of a drink, vs. a professor in public health, who doesn't feel a chemical like that should ever be in a restaurant or bar. But I think that BBC news could have included more written details along with the video.

Christian Legal Group v. 
California ban on Gay Conversion Therapy

There is a strong tug-of-war in opinions between those supporting gay rights and those fighting for the freedom to exercise religion, the right to privacy, and freedom of speech in this case. Boston University students share their opinions about whether parents have the right to choose to send their child or teen to gay conversion therapy and whether therapy is medically appropriate to apply to homosexuality.