Thursday, May 22, 2014

Starting a Discussion

Should the drinking age be lowered from 21 to a younger age? This question is brought up a lot, especially when you're a high schooler. Many BHS students argue that the age should be lowered and I agree with this. However, I've decided to look at this controversial topic from multiple viewpoints. Here is a list of many pros and cons.

Pros of lowering the age
  • 18 is the age of adulthood in the United States, and adults should have the right to make their own decisions about alcohol consumption. With turning 18 comes many responsibilities. You are allowed to vote, smoke cigarettes, get married, serve on a jury, be prosecuted as adults, and even risk your life by joining the military, yet you cant drink a beer with some friends... 
  • If we allowed 18 to 20 year olds to drink in regulated environments with supervision, it would decrease unsafe drinking activity. By not allowing this, it causes teens to drink in unsupervised places where they may be more prone to binge drink.
  • Traffic accidents and fatalities are most common among newly-legal drinkers. We place teens behind the wheel before they learn how to consume alcohol responsibly, and I believe this SHOUTS that there will be trouble to come when they finally hit the age of 21. There are fewer accounts of drunk driving accidents in other countries with a drinking age of 18.
  • Prohibiting drinking until the age of 21 is highly ineffective, because many teens continue to consume alcohol. Surveys were done, and 72% of twelfth graders said they had drank at at least one point in their lives. Another benefit of lowering the age, would be a more prosperous economy. More people could legally drink, and revenue would increase for private business owners and greater amounts of tax revenue would be collected by the government. 
Cons of lowering the age 
  • Lowering the age to 21 would not only be morally irresponsible, but medically as well. Alcohol consumption often interferes with the development of youth's brains. This creates a potential hazard for problems to spring up later down the road, such as more risk-taking behavior, memory loss, depression, violence, etc. 
  • Prohibiting alcohol consumption until the age of 21 is proven to reduce the number of underage drinkers. Another positive note to take from this is the trend that youth who do not drink until they are 21 tend to drink less as adults. 
  • Drinking poses many dangers, and because of this it should have a higher age of initiation. Although many rights are granted at the age of 18, there are still many that aren't until later down the road. You cannot legally purchase a handgun or adopt a kid until the age of 21. You cannot rent a car until the age of 25 either. 
  • Americans as a whole support this law. Numerous surveys and polls have been taken throughout the years, and the majority of the American public are in favor of keeping the drinking age the same. 
After educating myself on both sides, I am still in favor of lowering the legal drinking age. There are many good points arguing that the age shouldn't be lowered, however the pros outweigh the cons. But I'm more interested in hearing what everyone else's point of views are on this topic.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Satire is changing the way we watch and understand news. This new take on delivering information is altering our understanding of the current events around us. Traditional news oftentimes gets presented in a very plain and factual way, creating the stereotype that all news is boring. But Satire is re-shaping the world of news and how its perceived. It puts a new twist on news, adding humor for the viewers.

With satire comes not only laughs, but other positive effects. Studies show that viewers who watch satire news such as "The Colbert Report" or "The Daily Show" are more likely to retain information and be more informed than others. However, to understand the humor in these shows, you have to be up to date with current events. I believe that this encourages the public to follow the news, because people want to be apart of the "sophisticated humor" that comes with these satirical shows.

One of the driving forces behind the success of satire is the relate able viewpoints on current events. Many viewers hold the same opinions as the hosts of these satirical shows, and because of this are more inclined to watch these shows. However, there are negative effects that follow with Satire. Although the majority of viewers can pick up on the sarcasm, some viewers have difficulty understanding the humor. This can be a dangerous path to head down, because if viewers are using these shows as their primary source of news with no previous background knowledge, their viewpoints can become heavily mislead.

Satire Example:

High Schoolers Get Boosted Self Confidence with False Sense of Writing Ability

The Hoofprint has a brand new idea to quickly spread around current school news! They've decided that the best way to represent our talented BHS community and the current events that surround it, is to let a bunch of inexperienced high school writers publish stories on a widely read online news source without any monitoring. And get this, there’s a required amount of stories that you must write and publish over the course of the term, affecting the quality of your stories drastically. If you don’t want to take extra time to write a quality paper outside of the very limited work time you receive, then there’s a simple solution, you get a bad grade.  Everyone's stories get published, no matter the quality of their work, because we want everyone to feel good about themselves. Participation medals for everybody!! Quantity over quality, that’s what we’re always told as kids, right?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Who Creates Your Reality?

Many argue that traditional print media is a dying industry, however I believe it still plays an influential role in our news. Yes, our society is shifting to a more technological based news, and with these advancements comes a change in how we learn. These changes result in many positive advancements, however consequences follow.

Media ownership is a very controversial topic that has arisen these last few years. Monopolies hold lots of power with merely no monitors to screen out biased content. If the public chooses to obtain their news from only one online news source, the information they are receiving could be heavily biased depending on where they are obtaining their news. But that's the thing, we as readers say we don't want to read biased news, yet we continue to do so. I think that the public has a much easier time reading news that caters to their beliefs and viewpoints, because we oftentimes don't like the critical thinking that comes with understanding viewpoints other than our own.  

In my mind, newspapers still hold a vital role in today's news. Newspapers typically challenge readers to step back and analyze a story from multiple viewpoints, where as online news continues to feed the consumers biased information. Newspapers are more personal with their audience, oftentimes covering more local events that are occurring. I don't find newspapers to be outdated, I think they'll stick around for the long run. 

We as readers hold an extremely important role in today's world. Online news monopolies surround us, yet they cannot survive in today's industry without support from us as viewers. We hold the power to potentially create or destroy an online news source just by choosing whether or not to view it. I personally believe that readers have the potential to influence and own the media, however we are not capable of this as of yet. Many monopolies manipulate us as consumers to read and follow their news, without us even being aware of it. Through a history of mergers and acquisitions, these monopolies have concentrated their control over what we see, hear, and read.

Monday, April 28, 2014

What Constitutes As News

I spent the last week obtaining my news from strictly only one news source, "The Onion". It was definitely interesting to say the least. the Onion is an American digital media company and news satire organization. It runs an entertainment website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and local news. It was much more entertaining to read the Onion, as compared to major news publications such as CBS or CNN. But what was surprising to me, was the fact that I actually had an idea of what was going on in the world.

The point of news is to relay important information to the public not only quickly, but accurately. News is vital for multiple reasons. It keeps the public informed and up to date on important issues. It keeps government in check, as their every move is watched closely. The news is what helps maintain balance in our world. Yes, it can be boring at times or it may seem like none of it affects you, however this doesn't have to be the case. News doesn't always have to be boring or strictly factual. Believe it or not, the news can be a source of entertainment. Now that I'm not limited to only one news source, The Onion is much more enjoyable. I know whats going on in the world, and the stories on The Onion are more entertaining because I can pick up on the humor much easier now.

Advancements in technology have dramatically changed the way news is presented. Access to the web is becoming more and more accessible to the public, and many news corporations are using an online paper as well as the traditional newspaper. The web has resulted in a wide variety of news options, limiting virtually no one to a single news source option. This is a positive change for many reasons. Its almost impossible for a news source to be completely unbiased, and by having a wide variety of news sources to obtain your news you can better learn the straight facts.

Many people argue that the news is merely pointless, for it rarely directly affects us. However, I personally disagree. I think it just depends on what you choose to view. Many issues that major news publications cover aren't directly related to our personal lives, which is why I find myself closely watching more local news as compared to international or national news. The news might not always be a top priority on your list, but it's a satisfying feeling being up to date on pressing issues. When I watch the news, I find myself to be more involved in conversations among my peers, rather than in the dark. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Getting Familiar With InDesign

Design plays a huge role in the success of many major news publications. We may not always realize it, but design and the way information is presented to us can greatly affect our experience as a reader. There are many different design elements that can be used to dictate where our eyes are drawn. It helps writers relay important information quickly, and its used to lure a reader in to the article. Journalism is oftentimes seen as just writing, but its about more than that. It takes more than just a good writer to be a good journalist. It's the way you present your stories that can separate you from the others.

This past week, we have been experimenting around with the use of InDesign. I started out completely new to the program, but in just a week I feel I've made lots of progress. I discovered many new aspects that can be applied to enhance the readers experience. This includes design elements such as contrast, alignment, dominance, etc. It was frustrating at first, trying to understand how to do something as simple as add a picture, but once I caught on it became more fun than work.

One of the challenges we were presented with was to create a layout from scratch on InDesign in just 40 minutes. I felt rushed, but the product I ended up with was much better than I thought it would be. Our next challenge was to improve the layout we had created, using the new design elements we learned. I decided to scrap my first project, because I didn't see much potential in it. I wanted to start from scratch. My new layout turned out much better in my opinion, however there's still plenty of room for improvement. The alignment was a little off, and the background color of my picture isn't matching now that I examine it more closely.

My first design wasn't perfect, but it had some good design elements that I was able to apply to my second piece as well. It had contrast with color, and dominance was shown through the different sizes of the pictures. I included these features in my second layout and I also applied some new effects that I learned such as the transparent boxes and varying font use.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Was it Really Like?

Italicized - Me
Normal font - Jane Hayano (Grandma)

How old were you at the time?

I was six years old and I lived on a farm. My parents were fruit farmers and we had quite a bit of land. At the time of the internment, all of the farm machinery had to be sold along with our cars. Because we had to leave within a month, they were not compensated for any of the equipment the way that they would have been had we been given more notice.

How long had you been in the United States?

My father came in 1907 and this took place in 1942. So they had been there for quite a while.

How much time in advance were you notified of the move?

We found out when government officials came around and posted a sign on the telephone pole outside by our mailbox. It gave us about a month to get everything in order before we would have to leave.

Did you basically lose all the property too then?

My father was leasing the farm so all the property was lost.

What did you do with the things you weren't able to sell?

We gave them away to friends. This included our piano, the refrigerator, the dining room tables, and all the big furniture in the house. I had pets, but no recollection of where they went. I think my family tried to shield me from it. The pets went to some friends, I'm sure.

What were you able to bring with you to the internment camps?

We were limited to one bag a piece. In our household, we packed things that we felt were going to be necessary beyond clothing.

How long were you there for?

Three years. By the time the war was coming to an end, my three brothers were all in the service.

You mentioned you were really young at the time, in the three years that you were there did you receive any schooling?

Yes, very poor (chuckling). The school was a barrack with 42 kids in one room. Spelling was something that was easy to teach, so we all became pretty good spellers. Books were available, and we did learn how to read. Basic math was also taught, but it was not something that I would consider to be a good education.

When your family was finally able to leave, did they hold a grudge after being held there for that period of time.

You know, this is amazing. I do believe its a cultural thing. We were all from a culture that emphasized perseverance and to do the best that we can in whatever conditions we were in. Therefore, I never felt that my parents held a grudge. It was always looking forward to something better, and my brothers joined the army because they wanted to prove that they were true Americans, and wanted to participate in the war effort. I do think that even though it was an injustice and everyone would agree that it was an injustice, they didn't harbor a grudge.

Monday, March 3, 2014

With Choice Comes Responsibility

Excess is the new thing. We see it on a daily basis, making choices throughout the day to meet our needs as individuals. When you go to your local cafe to pick up a coffee before work, It's not do you want coffee with or without sugar? Its do you want an espresso, americano, latte, macchiato, cappucino, espresso, mocha, etc.? Choice is often regarded to as being great. The more choices you have the better. However, many are realizing that the power of choice holds many consequences as well. Oftentimes when we are given too much freedom of choice, we make the wrong decisions or spend too much time trying to make the right one.

This relates directly to modern day news and how it is presented. Many major news publications are converting to online coverage, allowing people to customize what they see on their news feed based on their liking. This of course seems like a great thing, however there are many consequences that come with this privilege. Choice always involves a loss. Many critical issues that the public should be knowledgeable about will be ignored due to the fact that they simply don't want to hear about it. It's easier to ignore controversial topics online when you have the option to simply not see them at all. Confirmation bias is also an issue that we are confronted with today, especially in online news. Looking at issues from another perspective is oftentimes uncomfortable, but its vital in order to fully understand the issue. Many will argue that online news is helping support individuals and their confirmation bias.

We have journalists and reporters who relay information to us for a reason. Just like doctors, they're the ones who are experts in the field. We should be relying on them to decide what news coverage we are exposed to. If major publications all make the switch to an online paper, I believe we are headed for trouble. I don't believe people, as a majority, are capable of making good information choices for themselves. I will admit, that even I have trouble clicking on the story that's a more important issue, at times I'd rather click on the lighter reading that doesn't take any deep thinking to understand. Major news publications need to work on finding a balance, and although this may seem impossible to many, I believe it can be done in the near future.