Monday, November 16, 2009

Why Good Journalism Is Important

There is a disturbing trend I have watched develop over the last decade or so.

Yellow Journalism seems to be taking over more and more respectable news sources.

Now, before anyone forgets, Faux News, I mean, Fox News, has never been even close to a semblance of a credible news source.

I mean, come on. One of their own spokesmen ADMITTED that they use propaganda on a consistent and constant basis.

Now that we have that out of the way, I would like to talk to YOU, CNN.

Yellow Journalism, as I learned it, is the use of attention-grabbing headlines in order to draw in readers or the practice of presenting opinion as fact.

Now, more than ever, we are bombarded with a never-ending stream of information. Whether it is the internet, cable news, or the slowly dying print media, if you want to find out about what is going on in the world, it is literally less than a click away.

The information junkie part of myself is in love with this fact, but the cynical side of me often wonders just how reliable these sources are that the information is coming from.

Really? A helium balloon can carry a six year old child? How stupid do you think we are? Do you mean to tell me you are seriously going to cover this ALL DAY when it takes 4 SECONDS for it to register in your brain that this is physically impossible??? Wow. Faaaaaaantastic.

You see, I don't know if it is because I am the daughter of a former Washington Post reporter and Virginian-Pilot editor or maybe I just have common sense, but more and more I am noticing a lot more opinion seeping in and less and less facts.

And, it bothers me.

It bothers me, immensely.

I see it as a personal responsibility as a journalist, no matter what "type" of journalist you are, to present the facts as they are and NOT what you think of said facts.

I understand that as a writer, you are allotted your own voice and must use it, BUT I draw the line when journalists delve into opinion territory while reporting facts.

Call me silly, but isn't that an editorial and not a report?

I truly believe that especially now we, the American people, DESERVE to be given facts.

Just the facts.

I don't know about you, but if you give me the facts, I can pretty much ascertain my OWN opinion from it, without the help of any "talking head."

And, I truly believe that the rest of us are perfectly capable of doing that, as well.

So, this is my open letter to you, Journalists of America. It is time to bring TRUE fact reporting back.

Walter Cronkite would be pleased.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A regular genius.

James P. Miller, 20, is shown Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009, in a police photoAP

Police: Breathalyzer-costumed man accused of DUI

AP – Wed Nov 4, 4:47 pm ET

OXFORD, Ohio – An Ohio man dressed as a Breathalyzer test for Halloween found himself blowing into one after police stopped him for allegedly driving the wrong way without headlights on a one-way street. Oxford police said they stopped 20-year-old James P. Miller on Halloween night and found beer in his front seat and in the trunk. Full Story »

Monday, November 2, 2009

Space hotel says it's on schedule to open in 2012

Galactic SuiteReuters – An artists rendering of a shuttle docking with the Galactic Suite hotel is seen in an undated publicity …

BARCELONA (Reuters) – A company behind plans to open the first hotel in space says it is on target to accept its first paying guests in 2012 despite critics questioning the investment and time frame for the multi-billion dollar project.

The Barcelona-based architects of The Galactic Suite Space Resort say it will cost 3 million euro (2.7 million pounds) for a three-night stay at the hotel, with this price including an eight-week training course on a tropical island.

During their stay, guests would see the sun rise 15 times a day and travel around the world every 80 minutes. They would wear velcro suits so they can crawl around their pod rooms by sticking themselves to the walls like Spiderman.

Galactic Suite Ltd's CEO Xavier Claramunt, a former aerospace engineer, said the project will put his company ( ) at the forefront of an infant industry with a huge future ahead of it, and forecast space travel will become common in the future.

"It's very normal to think that your children, possibly within 15 years, could spend a weekend in space," he told Reuters Television.

A nascent space tourism industry is beginning to take shape with construction underway in New Mexico ofSpaceport America, the world's first facility built specifically for space-bound commercial customers and fee-paying passengers.

British tycoon Richard Branson's space tours firm, Virgin Galactic, will use the facility to propel tourists into suborbital space at a cost of $200,000 (122,000 pounds) a ride.

Galactic Suite Ltd, set up in 2007, hopes to start its project with a single pod in orbit 450 km (280 miles) above the earth, travelling at 30,000 km per hour, with the capacity to hold four guests and two astronaut-pilots.

It will take a day and a half to reach the pod - which Claramunt compared to a mountain retreat, with no staff to greet the traveller.

"When the passengers arrive in the rocket, they will join it for 3 days, rocket and capsule. With this we create in the tourist a confidence that he hasn't been abandoned. After 3 days the passenger returns to the transport rocket and returns to earth," he said.

Woman calls 911 to report herself as drunk driver

Woman calls 911 to report herself as drunk driver

NEILSVILLE, Wis. – The call came into the 911 dispatcher: "I don't want to hurt anybody. I'm drunk." And with that, Mary Strey, 49, of Granton, reported herself as a drunken driver about three miles northeast of Neilsville in central Wisconsin.

Clark County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jim Backus said Monday that Strey's call on Oct. 24 led deputies to cite her for misdemeanor drunken driving with a blood-alcohol level double the legal limit to drive. She makes her first court appearance Dec. 10.

Backus said drunken drivers reporting themselves is rare.

In the 911 call, Strey said she wanted to report a drunken driver and the dispatcher asked if she was behind the suspect vehicle. "I am them," Strey said. She then followed the dispatcher's advice to pull over and turn on her flashers, telling him she had been "drinking all night long."

Ohio woman hopes trick-or-treater may find ring

AP – Mon Nov 2, 3:19 pm ET

TERRACE PARK, Ohio – A Halloween trick or treater in Ohio may have gotten a bigger treat than expected — a diamond ring. A woman in suburban Cincinnati said she thinks she may have lost her wedding ring when she was tossing candy into trick or treaters' bags on Halloween.