Archive for July, 2012

A Response to “When crime victims tweet, new and old dilemmas meet for news organizations”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2012 by jayaregee666

The article raised the interesting notion that just because a person decides to share something personal with a few select people does not mean that they give up their right to privacy.  Sometimes we use social media without consequence. It is how we express ourselves in a way that standard journalism no longer can.

In the piece Mallary Jean Tenore tells the story of a rape victim and how she used Twitter to post details of her ordeal.  The journalists covering the story had to be careful not to take her tweets and use them as a source. because technically speaking she had not released her words to any media outlet. The information was there but it could not be used.

In conclusion the article was very interesting. It forces us to ask: “What are the limits of our free speech” and “Where does our responsibility lie when it comes to expression?” Of course the victim was only using Twitter to cope with the ordeal in her own way, but at the same time she also has to consider what kind of information she is releasing.

Sports Assignment Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2012 by jayaregee666

For the assignment I chose two different sports. I researched the MLB (Major League Baseball) and the NHL (National Hockey League). For each league I chose two teams: The Chicago Cubs and the Dallas Stars.
And finally, I focused on two individual players from the teams: Pitcher for the Cubs, Ryan Dempster & Left Wing for the Stars, Eric Nystrom.

The League Sites:

The official site for the MLB has many different outlets covered. If you’re a fan of baseball, or new to it, the site has so many different features to offer. From a list of every single team, players (both past and present- complete with their stats) to real time games, the site seems to have everything. The thing that I was surprised with was the ability to see a game in real time through flash graphics. The MLB site works well on so many different levels.

The official site NHL seems to mirror the one for MLB. It basically contains the same features. Once again, it is very non-sports fan friendly. It allows you to look up teams, players, and stats with external links for further information. Both sites contain Facebook pages and offers Twitter feeds.

The Team Sites

The official site for the Chicago Cubs is linked from the MLB site. They
basically contain all of the same features. Even the layout looks identical. Once more, it contains in depth player information, game schedules, as well as the feature on being able to watch a game in real time.

The official site for the Dallas Stars, interesting enough, is also linked from the NHL site. As with the Cubs and the MLB site, the website for the Dallas Stars is identical to the NHL site, complete with all of the same features.

Researching the Players

Ryan Dempster seems to have no online presence. The only information I could really find was a stats page linked from the MLB site. He doesn’t seem to have a direct Twitter or Facebook account.

Interesting to note in comparison, Eric Nystrom does at least have a direct Twitter account. Even though it’s probably not true, it appears as if the public has a connection with him because of this.

In conclusion, the league sites seem to be the controlling factors in both the team sites and the player information. This is smart feature. Instead of having different sites, the fans can conveniently get all of their information in one place.

Suggestions:
In the end I couldn’t think of anything else to suggest to the sites. Both had a numerous amount of features that allowed the media consumer to connect more with the teams and players. The pitcher Ryan Dempster didn’t have a real Twitter feed, it was just his foundation, and that may be the only thing I could complain about.

Dancing with the Devil

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2012 by jayaregee666

Somewhere, out in the dark outskirts of the city, nestled back among the thick bramble of undeveloped land, there sits a small bar. The name of the bar isn’t important. It is, by all accounts, every small bar to ever have graced the back roads of America. There is no unusual decor: A pool table or two, a juke box playing quietly in the corner, and a neon sign on its last legs flickering softly in the window.

By the time the moon has climbed high into the sky the bar is crowded.

The music is loud and the air is choked with the remnants of a thousand burnt cigarettes.
At the bar there sits a young woman. She’s a regular customer here and knows the bartender by his first name. She taps off the ash from her cigarette and scans the room uninterested. The woman really likes to dance, but tonight her usual queue of partners are missing in action.
Suddenly the door swings open; A dark silhouette is framed in the entrance.
The woman watches as a handsome man strolls into the noise of the bar. He is sharp dressed with dark hair and a crooked smile, and he walks up to the counter right beside her, ordering himself a drink.
The woman pretends to have not noticed him and even feigns surprise when he leans over and asks her if she wants to dance.
Together, both the man and the young woman are having a great time on the dance floor. The woman prides herself on being a good dancer, but tonight she finds herself having a little trouble keeping up with her new partner. He moves with an odd fluidity and at the end of every song he seems to have not even broken a sweat.
The woman finds herself suddenly wanting to go back to bar, but the man wont let her and persuades her to dance to just one more song instead. Reluctant, the woman agrees and as the next song begins to blare the woman gets the sudden sensation that the room is spinning. She tries hard to keep up with the man but it’s not possible. She begins to feel sick to her stomach.
All around her the bar seems to stretch and swim. She looks to the man, suddenly terrified and can’t help but take note that he seems to be laughing at her. Is she imaging this? Is he really laughing at her? She can’t seem to make sense of what is taking place.
Suddenly, unable to break away from this strange nightmare, the woman glances down. She doesn’t know why she does this. It’s just an impulse. All at once her eyes make contact with her partner’s feet. To her surprise they are not human feet. She loses her breath at the sight of one cloven hoof and one scabby talon as they beat off of the dance floor in time with the music. This all proves to be too much for the woman and faints, collapsing onto the ground with her eyes rolled up in her head. As darkness creeps into her vision she can hear the loud music blaring and the sound of the man still laughing high above it.
As a child I heard this story tossed around quite often. It was something that got told a lot around campfires. At the end of the story the teller would always point over the fields across the tracks to where a small bar sat, and claim that this was where it took place. I grew up thinking that this strange tale- which I had no reason to believe was NOT true- had actually occurred. It was something that both thrilled and frightened me. The devil had actually set foot nearby where I lived. Needless to say, whenever my grandmother warned me that the devil would get me in my sleep if I didn’t behave, I always thought about this story. I’m sure that I may have suffered a few nightmares on account of this.
The interesting thing about this story is that whenever I asked friends who had grown up in the city about it, they immediately knew what I was talking about. It was a story that everyone had also heard growing up, however, every version pin-pointed to a different bar. Interested, I began to do some research.

The story is still the same, but just as before, the location is different. Why? Did this story have any origins material? Is this strictly a Texan story?  An online search pulled up the same story, except this one this one took place in Kingsville, Texas.

Further investigation could not bring up any more answers. I did find a brief reference to the term “To Dance with the Devil” which basically means a personal struggle between good and evil. Could this be the root of the story? Is it nothing more than a morality story meant to scare aware teenagers from hanging out in bars? Perhaps.
In the end I can only speculate at its origins. Readers, I implore you to take this tale with a grain of salt. The next time you hear someone telling this story pay attention to the details. Be open-minded, and beware of all of the nameless bars that dot the back roads of where you live.

 

 

 

The Lechuza

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 by jayaregee666

Peeking from the dark tree tops, poised to snatch at any unlucky victim who happens to be out for a midnight stroll, the Lechuza watches on silently. Its eyes are wide lidless orbs that look ghost white when they hit light. They are witches in the guise of huge owls and they love to prey on children, swooping them away never to be see again.

Their signature calling call is a melodic whistle. As a matter of fact, that is how the Lechuza lures children away. They whistle a song out from the dark, and when the child- or even adult- moves in closer to investigate they feel the scabby talons clamor onto their back and then are whisked away into the sky. I have heard so many different stories about these creatures. In some versions they are not owls but just huge dark birds. In others, the witches would morph back and forth to lure men. A recurring theme has been that the Lechuzas prefer first borns.

For this post I am going to take a narrative approach to three accounts that I have heard my entire life.  These stories belong to my mother, her mother, and my father’s mother. All of these stories also take place in Coal Mine, which I write about in my blog Due to the Weather. If you aren’t familiar with it I suggest you check it out. Now, whether or not the culture and community of Coal Mine has any influence on the stories is left to be seen. Perhaps by the end of the blog something will be apparent.

Story 1: My Mother’s Account

I was born in 1983. I grew up in Coal Mine. My home was at the end of a lonely road that abruptly ended in farm land. On one side of the community there was a railroad track and empty fields. On the other side there was a lot of brush. We lived close to the tracks, so close that you covered your ears when a train went by.

A few days after I was born my parents brought me home for the first time.  One day while my father was at work my mother was at home taking care of me. She had just put me to sleep when she heard a loud thud on the roof of the house. She ignored it at first but then there came the sound of something walking above, suddenly accompanied by the flutter of wings intermittently. Spooked, she dared not make a sound. She had had all of the windows open for it had been a hot day and she listened intently as the noise traveled to one end of the roof to the other, as if whatever was out there was pacing back and forth. Suddenly she heard the tell-tale sound: A high pitched whistle coming from high above. In a mad dash, my mother closed and locked all of the windows, returning to my crib to watch over me.

When my father got home later he asked her why all the windows were closed, and when my mother recounted the story to him all he could do was nervously laugh it off. It was superstition, he knew that. He had heard all the stories too.

Story 2: Grandmother’s (mother’s side) Account

My grandmother lived in Coal Mine her whole life. She would always tell this story whenever the topic of spooky things came up. When her first child had been born my grandfather worked the night shift. Every night he would wake up, eat dinner and then head off to work, leaving his wife alone.

On one particular night, her first child having just gone to bed, my grandmother heard the sound of someone whistling outside. She said that it was loud, and when she looked out the window she could only see the tree branches swaying fast in the night breeze. Even though she could not see anyone or anything outside she could still hear the whistling. She ignored it and turned away from the window.

Suddenly the whistling was very close, seemingly coming from right outside her door. It startled her, but after she caught her breath she went back to the window to see if someone had indeed come along in the dark, perhaps a neighbor in need.

She paused against the glass as the whistling suddenly stopped. Outside shadows danced in the wind while crickets chirped in the dark.

Suddenly the whistling started up again, this time from on top of the roof. My grandmother, having grown up with the stories of the Lechuza too, went to her sleeping child and picked him up in her arms. She prayed aloud to be protected, and the next time she heard the sound of the whistling it was far off and fading, eventually disappearing all together.

Story 3: Grandmother’s (father’s mother) Account

Both of my grandmothers grew up in Coal Mine. All, if not most, of their families were there. My father’s mother actually lived down the street from my mom’s mother. It is a small closed knit community.

My grandmother said that when she was a little girl she awoke in the middle of the night needing to use the restroom. At that time there was no indoor plumbing, and my grandmother dragged herself out of bed to go use the outhouse that stood out in their backyard.

As she clamored out of bed she ran into her mother who had also woken up to use the restroom. Together they walked out into the night.

When the reached the outhouse both of them were startled by a tremendous rustling in the tree above them. They watched silently as an enormous dark bird pushed off from the branch it had been resting on and flew off into the empty night sky. There was a bright moon out that night and they both watched in amazement as the giant bird perched atop of large dead tree a half a mile away. In those days the surrounding area wasn’t developed as much and they were able to see clear over empty fields as the bird fluttered its wings and then stood still watching them.

My grandmother said that her and her mother used the restroom quick after that, the dark bird keeping perfectly still. Suddenly in the dead air they heard a high pitched whistle float out to them and they rushed back into the house.

Coal Mine is a very interesting place, complete with its own myths and history. However, I guess that is true with every small forgotten town.

In all three stories the prevalent themes seem to be that there is a first born child involved, and that the bird-whatever it is- whistles out to people. The story of the shape shifting witches is nothing new. Through out history witches have been believed to take the forms of cats and rodents. In some corners of the sheltered little towns you might even find some one who will tell you that they do this to try to smother babies in their sleep. There are also numerous stories involving witches kidnapping children, many of these stories also state that first borns are sought after for sacrifice.

In the end I believe further research must be collected in order to see a distinct connection between culture and superstition when it comes to the Lechuza. If this is the first that you’ve ever heard of them I would suggest that you look online for more stories.

So, if you happen to find yourself out one night taking in the moon, and you hear the sound of someone whistling in the dark, beware. Do a double take at the treeline around you.

Media Users, Media Creators

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 by jayaregee666

The most important thing that I got from this article was that technology has been the catalyst for what journalism is today. However, because of this news has become saturated. With an over abundance of comments and blogs it no longer matters where we get our news from. Is this a good thing?

The public’s trust of journalists is already declining. Soon it will be gone all together. What does that say for the future? Will some kind of credibility still remain or will all news outlets go the way of rumor and gossip? Should there be a connection between journalists and their audience? Or is some distance required to give the truth? Only time will tell. But by then it might be too late.

“Why the News Media Became Irrelevant—And How Social Media Can Help”: A Response.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 by jayaregee666

Michael Skoler addressed the question: Are we out of touch, as journalists, with the public? I would have to say yes. The most important thing as news writers is connection with the readers and I believe social media is dominating in this field because in essence, social media and the public are the same.

The writer concludes that creditable journalism will have to adapt and connect more with their readers in order to survive.  However, I fear that it might be too late. With the Web being completely open to seemingly everyone on the planet the voice of the conventional journalist will eventually be drowned out by the noise of the readers.

 

A Response to “The Public and Journalists: They Disagree on Core Values” By Esther Thorson and Michael R. Fancher

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2012 by jayaregee666

 

The public doesn’t trust news organizations. Why? Where is this mistrust coming from? Is there a misconception about whether or not news organizations are in the pockets of their sponsors? And because of this does the public really feel as if they can’t trust a credible journalist? Does this mean that readers will only trust writers from their own ranks? 

The idea that journalist are starting to be viewed as a non credible source is important to take note of. For a very long time we have always held fast that it is the public who shapes what is newsworthy, but in all honesty that line has been muddied. News organizations take what they deem to be the most important topics and push them out onto the public. “Here, this is what you’re suppose to know. This isn’t.”

However, now it seems that the public is starting to favor a voice similar to their own when it comes to the news, as opposed to the privileged few that have “access” and a different viewpoint. Can this be the future of journalism?

A Response to the “Costas Now” Episode

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2012 by jayaregee666

Interestingly enough, I felt myself conflicted during the panel.

I agree with Will Leitch. He is operating within his right to free speech. Besides, he wasn’t publishing hard hitting news, just editorials and opinion pieces, if you could even call them that. This should have been understood more. However, Buzz Bissinger was just relentless from the start.  It became apparent at the very beginning of the segment that this was an open attack on Leitch.

I began to sympathize for Leitch. For being ambushed I think he held his own well enough. However, halfway through the panel I realized that Leitch was at fault as well. When you have a large enough fan base like Deadspin you also have a responsibility to uphold as a source. As an editor he should be aware of this.

In the end I’d have to agree with both sides. Anyone has the right to express themselves, but as soon as they do they are also responsible for it. One thing did stand out though. Blogs like Deadspin are the future.

The Ghost Tracks

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2012 by jayaregee666

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you happen to find yourself near the San Juan Mission there is a road close by that is crossed by a railroad track. There’s nothing extraordinary about it when you first see it. It looks like every other street that you have ever seen in your life, except this one is supposed to be haunted.

The story goes that this road was the site of a horrible accident in which several children were killed when a train smashed into a school bus that had died on the tracks. The ghosts of the children are still rumored to haunt the place of the accident, pushing anyone who parks on the tracks safely onto the other side of the road.

This is a story that I remember hearing all the time as a child. I had known many people who believed the story and had even parked over the tracks to be pushed. I remember thinking as a kid that it all seemed too good to be true. Here was a well frequented paranormal hot spot, with what seemed like a solid story. The icing on the cake was that this phenomenon happened every single time someone parked on the tracks. There was no off chance that the ghosts would not show up, it happened every single time.

As a child I remember begging my parents to take me to the ghost tracks, but they never did. They thought that it was morbid for people to play around with ghosts like that for the sake of sheer entertainment.  So I never got to visit the tracks at the height of their popularity, but it was something that always stayed at the back of my mind.

As I grew older the tracks slowly faded away. It wasn’t as if the ghost children were no longer there, it was simply that there were other things to talk about. Occasionally I still heard of someone visiting the tracks but there was never any detail. It eventually just became something that everyone knew about and accepted.

Several paranormal investigations were conducted on the tracks, usually around Halloween, into the history of the crash and what they discovered was that there had never been such an accident in the city’s history.If there was no real history of the event then it can’t be the ghosts of the dead children doing the pushing, right? “Just because the story isn’t real doesn’t mean that there isn’t something paranormal about the tracks. Or does it?

Eventually it was discovered that there was nothing paranormal about the tracks after all. What seemed to be the ghosts of children was actually a geological illusion sometimes referred to as the “Water Running Uphill” effect. What this means is then when people are parking on the tracks they are actually parking at the top of an incline. The road appears to be straight and running up the road when it really is just running down.

As with the Donkey Lady Bridge, I was in my early twenties when I finally go to see the ghost tracks. I was hanging out with my future wife and out of boredom I suggested we see the tracks. At first she laughed it off. Her being a native of San Antonio it was something that she had done with friends several times. However, I grew up in the outskirts, further south, where there are less lights and more dark at night. I really wanted to experience this phenomenon that seemingly everyone else had already tried and gotten bored with. So, in the end, we went.

It was dark when we went and we did exactly what all the stories say you’re supposed to do. We parked over the tracks and put it in neutral.  As soon as we did this the car started to move on its own. I remembered rolling down the window and leaning out of the car in juvenile amazement. The car did seem as if it were being pushed. Once we were on the other side of the road the car stopped.

Even though I knew that it wasn’t real I still enjoyed myself, and that is what’s important. Sometimes a story doesn’t have to be real to be scary. It is something we do together as a people. It is another way that we connect. The ghost tracks are a staple of urban legend in south San Antonio. If you have never visited them I urge you to give it a try.

A response to “What is Journalism’s Place in Social Media?”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2012 by jayaregee666

To Geneva Overholser’s title/question I would like to respond that journalism IS social media. The definition of what social media is, as it stands today, can not simply be described as online media sharing. For the essence of what media is, has- and always will be-social. It is just the means of how we share it that has changed. In today’s technological landscape journalism continues to be vast amounts of information that we deem newsworthy exchanging hands at a rapid rate. From the very beginnings of news-writing it has pretty much remained the same thing.  Once again, the only difference from then and now is the rate in which we share our news. From word of mouth, to the printing press, and all the way up to the internet, journalism at its core has remained unchanged.

Overholser also points out that journalists, no matter what era, have always been able to adapt to the time’s industry and will continue to do so when the next form of social media arrives. This is why this course is so valuable. It teaches us to adapt and serves as training for whatever might be on the horizon next.

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