Monday, February 20, 2017

What Trump's "Fake News" Rhetoric Means For Someone Trying to Work in News

For many, the beginning of a career is scary but exciting. It's a time where everything you learned in college is really put to the test. But what about when the President of the United States is demonizing the very industry in which you want to build a career?

Any intro-level journalism course will tell you that responsibility of determining the quality of the news falls on both the citizens and the news industry. It is up to the media to provide the most objective and fact-based news possible, and it is up to the people to check facts and stay informed through various news sources.

As CNN host Don Lemon put it, "Fake news is when you put out a story to intentionally deceive someone and you know that it is wrong." This appeared in a recent segment where a commentator tried to claim they were producing "fake news." This kind of rhetoric surrounding the media is problematic because it is reductive and it is reinforcing a false belief that some people hold that all mainstream media is trying to deceive them.

There is nothing wrong with the American people questioning what they are reading. Everyone should maintain a certain level of skepticism, but this industry is not inherently untrustworthy.

As someone trying to break into this industry, I find it concerning that President Trump wants to foster a greater distrust in the news.

Regardless of your political beliefs, citizens have a right to information that is not curated by the government. It is time to take back the narrative and restore trust in the media.

Any credible news source makes an implicit commitment to the American people to provide them with the most accurate information possible. As a member of the media, I know we are supposed to keep an objective, unbiased viewpoint. However, with the integrity of this entire institution being shaken by the leader of the free world, how can we not take a stance right now?

While the president tries to invoke fear of the media in citizens, it is our duty to provide the people of the United States with the hard-hitting facts that our government cannot suppress. We the people will not be subdued. We the people will not be worn down. We the people will not be silenced.

Monday, January 9, 2017


"It's the most controversial season of The Bachelor in the history of ever" Chris Harrison announces in the Countdown to Nick special before the season premiere. Every season Harrison calls it the most dramatic season in Bachelor history. We scoff. And then we resume watching what we know is probably not the most dramatic thing we have ever seen. But why?

It makes no sense. We realize that we are tuning into not one but TWO hours of tears, staged drama, and gossip. Why are we doing this to ourselves?

I'll hand it to them that this is, in fact, the most unique season so far, because they pulled the stunt of having Nick Viall on the series for the FOURTH time. But no one needs to see the same guy that many times. The Bachelor franchise has already proved that they have access to an unlimited supply of America's most beautiful people, so give someone else a chance for once. This guy had his time. And then some. 

Now, let's talk about the first episode of this season. For starters: how did Shark Girl (aka The Crazy Girl Who Thinks She is a Dolphin) get a rose while several other beautiful women walked out at the end?

Secondly, why did so many girls think it was so cool that Lacey rode up on a camel? She made an awkward joke about humping, and then several girls were like, "Why didn't I think of that???"  Many of these introductions were cringe-worthy and just plain hard to watch. I don't know what was worse: Josephine making him eat a raw hotdog Lady and the Tramp-style or when Lauren pointed out that their last names (Hussey and Viall) together made them a "disgusting slut."

Once again, why are we still watching this show? Or more precisely, why can't we turn it off? It's easy for me to skip an episode or even a season, but when my friends and family tune it, I can't seem to look away.

Maybe it's the beautiful locations.

Maybe it's the insane drama that makes us feel better about ourselves.

Or maybe, it's just that we know what to expect, and for some reason we are drawn to that. The teasers before each commercial break will take something out of context to make it look way more dramatic than it actually is. One girl will force her way into the spotlight until all of the other girls hate her and have to decide whether or not to bring it up to Nick (which someone eventually will--hoping it will somehow make her seem better in comparison). And Chris Harrison will never stop telling us that we have so much drama to look forward to--in the MOST dramatic season in the history of the world. 

Whatever our reasons are for watching The Bachelor, we have to admit that we are the problem. We are the reason that this show is still on the air. In a time where Netflix and Hulu seem to rule the world, we come back every week and provide this show with enough ratings to justify another season. Remember that tonight as you sip your wine and wonder why you are still watching this show. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Since when do we have thunderstorms in Minnesota on Christmas? Last Sunday, I walked through the streets of Madison in -8 degrees (with a -21 degrees windchill). And for Christmas, we get rain? I don't understand. I blame everyone who sang Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" on repeat for weeks. 

I won't even wish for snow... 

WELL, YOU SHOULD HAVE. I'm not saying that I want it to be as cold as last weekend--that was horrible. But it is not supposed to rain on Christmas. 

As I slid through ice-coated streets of Minnie in the morning, I couldn't help but picture my car wedged in a snowbank. I could barely brake. And even though I knew it was coming, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it would actually rain on Christmas. Who would have thought I should have brought my umbrella and rain boots back from school? It's December!

While we technically had a white Christmas, something about a downpour in the middle of Christmas lunch just didn't seem right. I want pretty flurries and the streets to be lightly dusted with a powdered-sugar-like coating. Is that too much to ask for?

I think the thunder and lightening later in the night is what really put me over the edge. We really had to have a thunderstorm on Christmas? I would have gladly taken a snowstorm over this.

When I was little, my grandma used to tell me that we had thunderstorms when God was bowling with the angels, so I wouldn't be scared of them. It became fun. I imagined a bowling ball going down a lane in Heaven every time it thundered. So, if it had to rain today, at least maybe we can imagine Jesus chose to go bowling for his birthday this year?

Despite the rain, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2nd day of Hanukkah.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Today is my Grandma's birthday. Or at least, it was. They say with time it gets easier, but no amount of time can bring back my Grandma. No amount of time can change the fact that every day I miss her more and more. All it does is put more strain on my memory, threatening all I have left of her. I know that she wouldn't want us to dwell on what we cannot change, and so instead, I want to focus on the light that she brought and continues to bring to me. And so on her birthday, I can't stop thinking of what I want her to know.

Grandma Barb,

Not a day passes that I don't think about you. I know you're watching. Through my good times, through my heart aches, through my failures and triumphs, I can feel you with me. You taught me to believe in God, and I haven't always had the most conventional beliefs about religion, but I can feel your love and His love with me every day. Some days I want nothing more than a Grandma hug and reminder that everything is going to be okay. And most days I still don't truly believe that I can't do that anymore.

A few nights ago, I stumbled upon some old really poor-quality videos that I took of Sydney on my phone when she was a baby. In both of them, I heard your voice and I heard your laugh. And it was one of the happiest and saddest moments that I have had in a long time. It felt so good to hear your voice again, especially when I didn't think I had any record of it.

Every time someone brings up Joel Stave, I think of you and how much you liked him. Can you believe he went on to play for the Vikings? Everyone always rags on him for not being a very good football player, but I think you mostly liked him for his cute blonde-hair-blue-eyes-look anyway, right?

PS: Sorry, Grandma. This picture was pulled from an article called "The Utterly Replaceable Quarterback"

This semester has challenged me in ways that I never saw coming. And there were so many times, I pulled out my phone ready to dial your number, because I needed to tell you everything. I needed your advice. I needed you to know how much I valued your opinion and how much of a role you played in who I am today. You always made a bad day better. 

Recently, I have met some incredible people--people that I couldn't help but wonder if there was a purpose for meeting them. That's what you would have told me after all, isn't it? And now more than ever, I truly believe that. I think that there are certain people that we meet just when we need them most. They might not know it, but they can have a profound impact on our lives. I've never felt more convinced to go after what I want in life. Not just career-wise, but in life in general. 

It's been a messy and confusing time in my life. I have never been so certain, and at the same time so uncertain, about what I want in life. And I know you would tell me that's okay--that I don't need to have it all figured out this minute. 

I can't help but think back to my freshman year of college, when I first told you that I had planned out a class schedule to become an engineer, and you told me that you would support me, but that you thought I was making a mistake. You told me that you had always been able to see the spark writing had given me. And I want you to know, that I think you were right. There's nothing that has given me more happiness, and I think it's all because of you. Some of the times we spent chatting about books are some of my fondest memories.

On your birthday, I want you to know how much I wish I could call you to wish you a happy birthday. As you always told me, thinking of you lots.

Happy birthday, Grandma.
Your Honey Girl

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Sometimes you have to take risks. You have to risk falling flat on your face and totally failing. And sometimes you literally fall right on your face.

I can speak from experience. Yesterday, I left yoga with a swollen, bloody lip, because I quite literally fell on my face while extending myself a little too far. The worst part was that it was during a pose that I had done so many times without much trouble. I don't know what happened. Maybe my concentration was off, maybe I was going too fast, and maybe I was just having an off-day.

But regardless, I now know exactly how it feels to fall flat on your face. As I started to taste blood, I immediately pictured the worst. What if I chipped a tooth?! I felt around my mouth with my tongue checking that all my teeth were still in place. I actually got up and left the yoga studio for a minute to make sure that I everything was still there.

Here is what I was supposed to be doing:

Here is what happened: 

Here is how I felt: 

Moral of the story? So, I fell. But I picked myself up, recomposed myself and made sure that no one saw what had just happened. Sure, it hurt. I left with a cut up lip and bruised ego. But I will recover and so will my ego.

And next time that I step in that yoga studio, I am going to rock that crow pose.

So, the when you're having a bad day and everything seems to be going wrong, remember that everything is going to be okay. If you fall (literally or figuratively), pick yourself back up. Next time, you are going to be stronger, and you will remember what went wrong, so that you can do it differently the second time around.

You are stronger than you think. We all have off-days where everything seems to be going wrong and just gets a bit overwhelming. But there are better days ahead. Sometimes it takes literally falling on your face to remember that it could be worse. I could have severely chipped my front teeth. I could have left with a bloody or broken nose. I could have given up.

Some of the best advice I have ever gotten is to not take life too seriously. Instead of sulking in my failure, I laughed about it. I cleaned myself up and recognized that I could do better and I will do better.

If anything, imagine me falling on my face in the middle of a crowded yoga studio and maybe you'll get a little chuckle out of it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Whether you're looking for something to listen to on your walk to class or commute to work, you need to check out these podcasts. Close iTunes and Spotify. And open up your Podcasts app. Before I found these podcasts, I spent most of my time listening to music. And I still spend a great deal of my time doing so. But in the last year, I have stumbled upon some truly great podcasts, and I realized that there is a lot of value in listening to these, too. 

For those of you who can pause the Hamilton soundtrack long enough to listen to something else, here are some podcasts you need to subscribe to. 

If you enjoy watching TED talks, this is the perfect podcast for you. My favorite radio host, Guy Raz, compiles portions of TED talks that all have a common theme each week. Guy interviews the speakers and adds in bits from their talks to, as TED puts it, share ideas worth spreading. 

If you liked Guy Raz on TED Radio Hour, you have to check out How I Built This. Tune in to hear the stories behind the creation of businesses like Instagram, Spanx, Cliff Bars, and more. You wouldn't believe the amazing journeys these people went on to make their products successful. 

I came across TWIT because of a class that inspired me to stay up-to-date on the latest news in technology. Leo Laporte and guests will give you their two cents on the latest products and announcements in technology. With episodes that are around two hours or more, TWIT is definitely something you can put on in the background and pay attention to the parts that interest you most. 

If you missed the hype over Serial last year, you should definitely still check this one out. Sarah Koenig digs deeper into the case of Adnan Syed, accused of murdering his high-school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. 

The NPR website gives a more thorough description here

With these podcasts, I've turned a walk to class into a time to continue learning outside the classroom. I have been inspired by moving TED speakers. I have been motivated by persistent creators. I have been intrigued about the latest developments in technology. And I have been curious about what really happened to Hae Min Lee in Baltimore in 1999. 

Give these great shows a listen!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a pineapple under the sea? Now, you might be able to get a little taste of what it's like. 

Karisma Hotels presents the Pineapple Villa in Punta Cana: 

Beyond these gorgeous Spongebob-inspired rooms, "private butlers take care of your family's every need." You read that right: private butlers, people. 

You can learn more and book your stay here. The villa can accommodate 4 adults and 2 children or 2 adults and 4 children (sounds perfect, right Dad? Mom? Wealthy family in search of a new 21-year-old daughter?) with 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. 

If you need me, I'll be out by the infinity pool. 

P.S. Dad, if you're reading this, is it ever too late to help your 21-year-old daughter live out her childhood dreams? I don't think so...

Monday, September 26, 2016


In high school my friend Grace introduced me to the show One Tree Hill. It seemed okay at first, but once I sat down and really got into it, I was hooked. It has been one of my favorite shows ever since. The Scott brothers are my favorite, and many of my friends share the same sentiments. My roommate, Alex, started the series earlier in the summer, and a bunch of us have been re-watching the series with her when ever she has it on.

Lucas Scott and Nathan Scott are played by Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty...aka our long-time crushes. The premise is that they are half-brothers who are enemies when the series begins, but....well, I won't spoil for you. It's on Netflix, and I highly recommend it.
Chad Michael Murray (left), James Lafferty (right)
I mean, look at these two.

So, flashback to parents weekend of my freshman year when I see this:

A photo posted by James Lafferty (@thisisjameslafferty) on

That's right, folks. James Lafferty went to a badgers game. A BADGERS GAME THAT I WAS ALSO ATTENDING.

A photo posted by James Lafferty (@thisisjameslafferty) on

Here's James casually sitting outside of State Street Brats, a few measly blocks from my freshman dorm.  Photos of girls snapping pictures with him began surfacing, and my friends and I burned with envy. James Lafferty was at our school, and we had no idea how to find him.

Now, flash forward to my senior year, when James posts this video:

My friends and I were now determined to find him. All we wanted was one photo with our favorite Scott brother.

A photo posted by James Lafferty (@thisisjameslafferty) on

After seeing this, my roommate Kenzie and I got ready and decided to scope out the terrace--you know, just in case he might still be there. When we got there we did a quick lap, and we were immediately disappointed, but we still had hope. We waited for our friends, Amanda and Kat, and when they arrived we set out on the adventure of finding James Lafferty.

Amanda admitted she had been trying to find him for years, and now that we are old enough to get into bars, it finally seemed possible. We left the terrace and decided that even if we didn't find him, it would still be a fun scavenger hunt.

We thought this would be what we were doing all night. And then, it happened. He was at the SECOND bar we checked. We only had to check two bars, and there he was sitting watching a video off of some other guy's phone in State Street Brats. Who knew James would be so into Brats.

Since he wasn't surrounded by a giant posse or a line of girls, Amanda was skeptical at first and had to get a second look. But once we determined it was really him, we knew that we had to be those annoying fans or we would regret it forever. So sure enough, we went over to be those annoying fans, and we got the photo that all of us dreamed about--even though all of us wish it it was a more flattering picture of all of us.

And that's the story of the time we met James Lafferty. We stayed for a little bit and laughed a little at all the girls hanging around him once they realized he was here, too. And after we continued our night, knowing we had just peaked. How does it get much better than this, we thought. It was a night than none of us will forget (especially now that we have actual proof it happened).

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