J500 Media and the Environment


Reflections on the semester: The whole enchilada by jmuselmann

Food is at the fiber of our very being. It is passed around piping hot with potholders, it is handed to us, self-contained, through the car door in paper sacks and divvied accordingly. It’s what we eat because our family does, our friends have tried, our mothers can afford. We throw it away, and we raise it high above our heads for to honor a friend or deity as an intentional sacrifice. Boxed up, it is heaved and flown across the world, passing some to bless others.

One way or another, people get their hands on food. And then we all have the decision of what to do with it. Some have the luxury of waiting to eat it, others use it as currency or a positioning of power, while for many others, who have not been able to make the decision in quite some time, it is always this: Put it into the holes in our faces in time to prolong death.

Of course by this point, we know we aren’t just talking about food. But rather, how food passes and intersects with our needs for a healthy environment and body whole. The need for change is dire and yet lingers on. The idea of going green is gaining unprecedented momentum, and yet, in many ways, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. People can easily eat their organic cake and not recycle, and we let them. But even within the green universe, there lies a wad of inconsistencies and tradeoffs to be sifted through and decided upon. It’s a voyage that has caused more than one breakdown in the grocery store, where I’m stunned into inaction, clutching my wallet in front of the onions, biting my lip at the global repercussions. Often I leave almost empty-handed. Pressure too great.

People say, “the choice is up to us” as consumers, but it sure is hard. Without good legislative infrastructure to guide food ways, it shouldn’t be surprising that it veers toward the same reckless trajectory as other things in this country, trailing irreversible damage in the wake of progress and profit.

Take me, for example: At least in some point in my life, I have recycled. I have also littered. Oh, and I have been the one calling into report the tags of those I see throw things out of their cars while driving: approximate time of infringement, rough location, type of violation, what kind of model and the company make. I guess this class has shown me that maybe I don’t need a number in my glove box to bring about change, I need only open my fridge instead.

—Jacob Muselmann



Objectivity for the Greater Good by jennibro

On September 11th, 2001 the world turned silent at 8:45am (EDT). Televisions and computers filled rooms with glowing light and reporter’s voices became the only sounds as millions began to follow the terrifying coverage.
I, along with countless others, remember exactly what I was doing at this moment. I stared at the tv, unable to think about anything other than wanting to know more. Classmates turned on computers, reading out the headlines as the words terrorism, conspiracy, attack and death screamed out.
Journalists, by training, are supposed to remain objective when it comes to media coverage. This simple ideal becomes comprised when journalists are required to report on something that strikes an emotional resonance with them. On September 11th journalists professional integrity was put to the test, and many reporters naturally became advocates in support of the war against terrorism.
In the weeks following the events, journalists fueled the fire for American Pride by reporting stories centered around terrorism, or scenes of Americans showing Patriotism. The following graph from Journalism.org  shows the  percentage changes in news coverage following 9/11. 

News coverage following 9/11

Advocacy Journalism was born from a passionate response to the events taking place. We saw a very pro-American viewpoint, but what was going on outside of America’s borders?

I believe that a journalist can never truly be objective. In a perfect world a journalist would quiet their voice and report both sides of an issue, but sometimes it is for the greater good to omit certain truths. A journalist should advocate their beliefs, but only when the audience is aware it is in the journalist’s personal opinion.

With the country in a state of grieving, some may argue that it violated journalistic ethics to show both sides of the story, and give terrorists a voice. It was easier to advocate for America, and urge people to fight back against a faceless society. However, isn’t that similat to putting a band-aid over a wound without cleaning it? Where is the line that journalists shouldn’t cross when pursuing their beliefs in reporting? Should they always show both sides of the story?

Jenni Brown