I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.
Recently wrote another article for Arbitrage Magazine. Check it out (click on the title) and let me know what you think!
My second article for Arbitrage Magazine. Have a read! (Click on the title)
If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water. - Ernest Hemmingway
It was interesting coming across this quote by Hemmingway, a timeless journalist. The first lesson taught in to us by our feature writing professor in second year (using the picture above) was to only report the tip of the iceberg, giving readers the most interesting and informative bits of information. He said, in order to know what those bits are, the journalist must know what else there is to the story, what treads beneath the water.
A lot goes into writing a journalistic story, much more than what’s read.
Image Courtesy: Dowsers
—Hunter S. Thompson
An article I wrote for Arbitrage Magazine. Check it out! (click on the title)
Comment sections allow readers to engage in articles on news sites but can also lead to derogatory comments that are unacceptable for private news organizations to have on their sites.
Because comments are made under a screen name users often take advantage of their anonymity and make harsher, ruder comments than they would in person. An example of this is an article written by Toronto Star editorial writer Haroon Siddiqui on the burning of the Qur’an, titled, Qur’an Burning is a Political, not a Theological, Issue explaining why Muslims are so offended by the burnings.
This article received sixty-eight comments, the majority of which criticised Siddiqui and made derogatory comments about Islam. A comment calling Islam “the most blood-thirsty religion in the world,” was agreed on 15 times, and only disagreed on three times. This comment is an Islamaphobic comment, which has not been removed or flagged.
Thus, there are changes that need to be made to the comment sections on news sites. However, journalism is about freedom of speech and this freedom should also be transferred on to readers.
The best way to handle this issue is through a mixture of post-moderation and monitoring of reader responses to comments. It is necessary for editors to handle comment sections manually; otherwise many unethical comments slip by. To make this easier, they should only manually check comments when an article has more comments than usual or a specific comment is flagged by multiple readers. Readers should also be able to like/dislike comments, making manual checking easier.
An added method of prevention is to monitor accounts of users whose comments are commonly flagged. This way, anonymity for most is secured, but users who are abusing their power can still be punishable with suspended accounts.
If this does not work, the system can also be changed to have users use their real names, to add a sense of responsibility.
The common practice in the industry is quite similar to the method described earlier; however most sites do not keep track of which users are flagged more often.
Most sites such as the Globe and Mail have their comments post-moderated. They also have a computer generated system of moderation that blocks about profanities. However, other sites such as the Toronto Star have pre-moderation.
Post-moderation is the method which is most practical in the real world, where hundreds of comments are made on major news sites daily.
An interesting practice the New York Times site started late last year is to have a system called “trusted commenter.” These users are invited by Times editors due to their previous comments being of high quality. After they accept the invitation, their comments are no longer moderated. This gives readers a sense that their actions are being watched.
Comment sections may be tricky to deal with, but are integral in attracting readers. This is especially true in the age of social media, where everyone is looking to have a say.
When I got an assignment for my online journalism course to film a mini documentary, I thought it would be really, really difficult. Aside from thinking of a good subject, getting that person agree to be in my documentary seemed really time consuming.
But I have to say, this assignment kind of fell together. One of my best friends who is Hindu told me about the Hindu Heritage Centre, where I filmed my documentary.
I was little nervous going into a Mandir (temple). I’d never been in this particular one before, and I didn’t really have a particular interview subject picked out when I went. I simply called a few days in advance and asked I could get some help for my assignment. A women who volunteers there helped arrange my interview with Mr. Gosai. I have to say, I think I got really lucky.
Going into a Mandir not knowing who I was going to interview for a mini documentary that was supposed to revolve solely around a person, well, it was kind of stupid. But luckily, Mr. Gosai was an incredibly insightful, friendly person. The interview was supposed to last only 5-10 minutes, and be about the Heritage Centre. However, once we started talking I found Mr. Gosai so interesting that I brought up Hindu concepts I had learned in my grade 11, world religions class. I began to ask him about Moksha, a concept I found particularly interesting. I’m glad I did because that turned out to be the focus of my documentary, as it was something Mr. Gosai was actively working towards.
I ended up interviewing Mr. Gosai for 40 minutes, and continuing to talk to him after the camera was turned off.
This assignment was supposed to be a one-person production, but as I’ve learned with all my journalism assignments, this is never truly the case. The quality of an assignment depends greatly on the people around you, and how willing they are to help. I have to thank the Heritage Centre for all their help, my best friend for coming up with the idea, and also my sister who accompanied me to the Mandir.
In the end, I was pretty happy with the final product. I realize that some of the technical areas could be improved, such as the zooms and pans in my video, and also the quality of the photographs.
I didn’t think so before, but this is definitely the type of journalism I’d like to do in the future.
Click here to watch my first mini doc!
Achieving Moksha: Surendrabharthi Gosai
Mini documentary I created about Surendrabharthi Gosai, a retired businessman living in Mississauga, Ontario. Gosai, a devoted Hindu, has chosen to spend his retired life volunteering at the Hindu Heritage Centre. Gosai talks about his spiritual goal of attaining Moksha, meaning freedom from the cycle of rebirth, as per Hindu belief.
Enrollments in Ontario universities are rising dramatically, meaning more high school students are choosing to pursue a university education. According to the Council of Ontario Universities, the number of applicants in 2011 was 49 per cent higher than in 2000. As high school students make life-changing decisions about how to pursue their education in the coming years, a lot of it comes down to whether or not they are brave enough to follow their dreams.
With adulthood comes many new responsibilities, but are these responsibilities leading students to leave behind their childhood dreams?
Fifth-grader, Ayman Islam talks about what he wants to be when he grows up and why he believes he’s going to accomplish it.
Stephanie Rathakrishnan, second-year business student at Wilfred Laurier University talks about her childhood dreams and why they don’t always come true.
Beverly Petrovic, student affairs coordinator at Ryerson School of Journalism, talks about why it’s important for students to follow their dreams, and what can happen when they don’t.
Click here to view my multimedia piece.
Photo Courtesy Weltflug
Image Courtesy Carnegie Mellon
The Last Lecture is possibly one of the best books I have ever read. The author, Randy Pausch, managed to take the fact he had terminal cancer, and turn it into an inspiring, humourous tale about how to have a successful adulthood, while achieving your childhood dreams.
Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, which is where he gave his last lecture called “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. He was known for using unconventional teaching methods, and working tirelessly to help his students achieve their dreams, whether it be working on Star Wars movies or starting successful companies.
But more than that, Pausch was a husband and a father to three young children, all under the age of 5.
He talked about knowing he wouldn’t be there for the majority of his children’s lives, and being helpless. Also, knowing that his children would have little or no memories of him when they grew up. He talked about crying in the shower, or with his wife at night. He talked about how he has chosen to embrace the time left to the best of his ability.
Throughout the book, he talked about his life, the decisions he made, whether they were big or small, which made him who he was. He tells readers about his childhood dreams that he carefully accomplished, no matter how unlikely it seemed.
In the end, the book had me on an emotional roller-coaster, laughing one page, utterly depressed the next. As difficult as it was to read at times, the book gives readers an important lesson, from a rare perspective.
It’s a lesson about how to live life, from someone who is dying. It makes us realize we cannot take this life for granted. We all know this; this book serves as a reminder. It reminds us to dream, and to achieve those dreams, because you never know how long life is, and there are no do-overs.
I definitely recommend this book to everyone who is old enough to read a novel. If you liked Tuesdays with Morrie or The Alchemist, this one is a must-read for you.
For more information on the book, or to watch the last lecture, click here.
“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.” – The Last Lecture
Image Courtesy GMHM