Monday, June 23, 2008

Gloucester, Massachusetts

By now, you have probably heard about the group of high school girls in Gloucester, Massachusetts who have gotten pregnant. The number of pregnant girls has been reported at 17 total.

For the past week, since this story has spread, there has been a lot of finger-pointing back and forth between the mayor, the high school principal and district superintendent. There have been plenty of conflicting stories as well in terms of whether or not there was a pact amongst the girls.

Following a closed door meeting with city, school and health leaders, Mayor Carolyn Kirk addressed the media. And during the press conference today, the mayor said the spike in pregnancies (in Gloucester) is in keeping with similar spikes in other cities.

WHAT?! Did the mayor really say that? As in, "well, it's happening everywhere else."

I think the media is missing so many other critical angles on this story. First, OK, we got the point, there's a jump in pregnancy this year. What's being done in the high school to educate kids about sex? What's being done to let kids know about the responsibility of having a kid as a teen? What's in the curriculum? Secondly, how are the kids' parents involved? Third, now that we know that the girls are pregnant, what support will they get? At home? At school? In the community?

It just seems so absurd that for the past several days, there has been this ongoing three-way battle between the mayor, schools superintendent and high school principal over whether or not there was a pact. And let's suppose for now that the girls didn't have a pact, does that mean this is less of a story? I'm just blown away that there was this gathering of city, school, and health officials and the only thing that came out of it was a statement by the mayor that "there's no evidence of a pact."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dangerous recreation

People in the news, especially television news, go to great lengths to make stories visual. Otherwise, without video, you would have anchors on camera simply reading, which amounts to radio on tv. The photo above is from WKYC is the Cleveland NBC affiliate. The photo goes along with the following story.

BERLIN TWP -- A one year old is in stable condition after falling into a fire pit at the Mill Creek Campgrounds in Manhoning County. Officials with the Berlin Twp fire department say they were called to the campgrounds just before 10 a.m. The child was flown to Akron Children's Hospital burn unit with severe injuries to its back. No other details on the incident were available. Stay with WKYC.COM for further updates.

There's a small caption underneath the photo that says "camp fire." It doesn't say if it is the one at Mill Creek where the baby fell in or if it is a recreation of a camp fire. Either way, anyone who deals with visual media has to be very careful. Also, by showing a camp fire that is unattended, isn't that fairly dangerous by unintentionally giving the inference that campfires simply burn unattended at this camp?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Getting fired

Whether or not you are a sports fan, I think the controversy surrounding the firing of New York Mets manager Willie Randolph is worthy of discussion. The controversy is that after the Mets beat the Angels in California earlier this week, Randolph did his post-game chat with the media and drove back to the hotel separately from the team bus where team general manager Omar Minaya was waiting. He fired Randolph. A press release came out shortly after midnight that same evening.

Randolph didn't see it coming as he is quoted as saying he was "stunned."

Sports talk shows have been buzzing with the question, "Is this the way to fire someone?"

Blog readers: Have you been fired or know of someone who was fired in an unusual way? Were you or someone you know "stunned"?

I can remember when Paxson Communications bought out WAKC TV 23 in Akron where I used to work, the day the company cut the news and sports operation, an announcement was made in the newsroom to the staff that was there. Unfortunately, not everyone starts their day at 8 a.m. Some people who work the afternoon shift found out they were fired by hearing it on the local radio newscast.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert dies

Legendary newsman and interviewer Tim Russert died today of an apparent heart attack while at work for NBC. He was 58 years old. Russert was a graduate of John Carroll University and also went to Cleveland State. Anyone who watched a debate moderated by Russert or one of his Meet the Press shows knows how well prepared he was. Tom Brokaw, on MSNBC this afternoon, called Russert a "tireless worker" who researched a lot and did his homework.

Tim, you will be missed. Below is an example of his work from Meet the Press.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Intellectual development

This Tuesday, I begin another class, Research Methods. It's a Doctorate class in the Communications School at Kent State University. Five weeks with lots of work that will be very challenging.

What do you plan to do over the summer that will keep you mentally active? For me, besides class, the occasional nap helps.


Westlake High School recently got embarrassed for misspelling the word "education" on the diplomas they were handing out to graduates. The principal took a lot of heat for it. All of the diplomas had to be redone for it.

Then, in today's (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, a Westlake grad of 1990, wrote to the editor saying that Westlake is a fine place to go to school and that his English classes prepared him for his career. This person said that basically the goof was blown out of proportion.

The first sentence of his letter goes like this: "Twelve academic years for a diploma on which is misspelled the word "education.""

I had to read that sentence over again to make sure I wasn't seeing things. That is exactly how it is in the paper. I'm hoping for his sake that the Plain Dealer goofed and not him.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Class act

The photo above is of one of the best teachers to walk the halls of any school...and even at Aurora High School. Mr. John Smolko is an art teacher who is retiring this Friday. As a colleague, John was like a father-figure. He gave me advice and was honest. He didn't sugar-coat anything. I really appreciated that.

As a teacher, he was great to watch. He got on his kids when they needed it and he knew when to lay off and let them go to work. His kids constantly won awards. I loved going to his art room to watch his kids work. Their art skills were mind-blowing.

I told him during my first or second year at Aurora High School that if I had him as my art teacher when I was growing up in Massillon, I would have probably taken art up as a career. I love to draw and still do it on occasion. It's a very relaxing hobby of mine. I would have enjoyed taking Mr. Smolko's classes.

Get this, when I asked Mr. Smolko what he would be doing in retirement, he said he would be spending lots of time in his studio working on art. You have to love a guy who is so passionate about his craft.

Hat's off to you, Mr. Smolko. You deserve it.

Fellow readers of this blog, what teachers do you recall as being your favorite and why? What made them special?

Monday, June 2, 2008

How violent is too violent?

This past Saturday night on CBS, a mixed martial arts fight event was shown during prime time. The main event featured YouTube star Kimbo Slice against a guy named James Thompson who had a cauliflower ear that looked like a balloon.

The main event ended in the third round when Kimbo punched Thompson in the ear and his ear gushed blood. As reported on some sports talk shows, 7 of Kimbo's last nine punches landed on Thompson's head.

CBS has contracted to show three more MMA type events. Early numbers show Saturday's fight card did well viewer-wise.

Are we at the point where this is acceptable Saturday night entertainment for a broadcast network? USA Today had a great editorial tying the MMA fights to the recent death of Harvey Korman. Harvey once starred on the Carol Burnett/Tim Conway comedy shows on.........Saturday night. My, how times have changed.

The FCC regulates sexual content and language on tv but not violent content. My question is: what will be the 'tipping point' for violent content to be regulated on tv? Someone dying in the ring?

Much like Janet Jackson's breast sent shockwaves throughout the broadcast media in terms of sexual content, what will happen for violence to be regulated?

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Last student rant of this school year.

This rant comes to us from Jamaal from my talented junior class.

This rant is about "An Inconvient Truth", the documentary made by Al Gore. After I watched this, my opinion on our environment and what we are doing to it can be prevented but we are too used to our way of life as we know it. To get rid of some of the luxuries to just give more time for the earth to be even longer. I saw this movie in my environmental class, forced, but I am so glad I saw this and if anyone haven't seen this I think you should rent it and watch it during this summer.