The Power of the Media Revisited

Media - image 2

The media shapes our beliefs as we get information from several sources through our television, computer, phone or tablet. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram flash information that we cannot ignore as we are constantly with our phone or tablet. Information from these sites influence us in our daily lives and our relationships.

Change of Views?
Looking back at my first entry in this course nine weeks ago, my perspective on media influences on us has not changed. My view of world events, no doubt, has been influenced by the media. An example is this case of the Zika virus in South America. People, especially pregnant women, have become apprehensive that the disease might get to the United States and to them. The news of the Zika virus is all over the media. People are apprehensive and afraid of travelling outside the country. Just as I try to forget about this virus and its dangers, the media reports new outbreaks and sometimes flash it on the internet as breaking news. The media, no doubt, is telling us what to think about and how to think about them.

Role Writers play in the Dissemination of Information
Writers play an important role in the dissemination of information. The public relies so much on writers, or those in the media to do their research and deliver the truth. One important Code of Ethics for Journalists is to “seek truth and report it.” In as much as the public looks forward to breaking news from social media, they still know that there is no code of ethics that bind those who use social media for breaking news. The public, therefore hold professional writers to a higher standard expecting them to have more evidence before making their stories public. Even bloggers or unprofessional writers are expected to share the truth on an issue and to do their research before sharing their views with us. Accountability and reliability is required or expected of any writer to make their stories worth believing.
When writers do not act ethically in delivering the news or information, the public is deceived and misled and when the public finds that they have been deceived or misinformed, they lose trust in that particular news media or writer. The public is in danger when they are misinformed. In the course of reporting a story, writers have made mistakes with a whole story or part of the story. Professional writers seem to be competing with nonprofessionals who blog, twit, use Facebook or other social media to disseminate information. Even the public excuses these mistakes. In the case of an event that is of a deadly nature, Kovach and Rossenstiel (2010) state that “this is an event that we want to know about instantly while events are still unfolding, and given that, we might forgive a certain amount of uncertainty and confusion.”

Media Literacy And Influence on Content Consumers

Media - image 3

Media literacy is a good thing to have in this 21st century where everything around us is controlled by the media and technology. We are so consumed by the media and technology that we are constantly at the computer on the internet, on Facebook or in our email. We are also on our phone or tablet checking out twits, text messages or other instant messages that we bombarded with the same messages in different ways to keep us in tune with what is happening in the world.
In conclusion, the media is powerful in the way they control our belief, relationship and culture. In this age of technology and social media, writers are still held to a higher standard as they share their stories or opinions on as professionals or non-professionals.

References
Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). The Tradecraft of Verification. In Blur (pp. 36-50).

New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.

Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2016, from
http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Multimedia Tools

 

tech devices
What is a message without some multimedia? Multimedia represents the consolidation of all elements of technology as they combine other technological multimedia tools like sound, image, video, graph or drawing with text to create a high quality in addition to interactive environment. Sure, a message is never complete without the use of these multimedia tools.

Enhancing Message with Multimedia
Multimedia makes a message more appealing to the audience. Blog with a comment space and date and time makes it possible for the audience to participate in the communication. They give their feedback which helps the writer to know that the audience wants and how they want it. A message without a comment box is like a one-way communication where the audience is not given the opportunity to participate. Smith (2013) stated “People love images; after all, “a picture speaks a thousand words” which means that a message without a picture is missing another level of meeting with the audience. Any images that are added to articles that help describe what one is talking about are always worth adding. Some people learn more by seeing. In this case, a video adds more information to the text. Graphics also add to explain the information as people have different learning styles. Enhancing a message with multimedia helps to appeal to diverse audience. Choosing whether to read, watch a video or slide show, or listen to a podcast of the provided information is often the first step for some users of any well-designed site. This ability to choose a preferred medium also encourages a higher degree of focus from the audience and even provides opportunity for re-engagement.

More Effectiveness Multimedia Techniques
All multimedia tools are effective, but care is needed to use these different tools at different times. Different audiences need different multimedia tools. For example, materials for children need to have more pictures as children are attracted to images. Images catch and maintain their attention and therefore lead to their understanding of the material than mere texts. Videos also capture the attention of children. Pictures are a great way to tell a story in another way as some people learn more by seeing. Multimedia engages an audience for a long time through several senses and creates a more engaging user experience. Multimedia can also provide clarity less easily conveyed via text alone. It also has the potential to hold an audience’s attention longer than text may on its own. Multimedia engages the senses, and provides a variety of ways to enhance the delivery of a message to an audience. An audience with the advantage of a multimedia presentation is more likely to remain engaged with the content for a longer period of time. Interactive multimedia through thoughtful response via the physical actions of clicking and typing may prompt further engagement.

Conclusion
In this technological age, the message is never complete without the use of multimedia tools like image, video, graph and some links to other sites. Multimedia tools enhance the meaning of the message and attracts traffic to the message. The audience is a primary factor to consider when writing an article and assembling a multimedia presentation is important to pull and maintain the attention of the audience.

References
Science Direct. Journal of King Saud University – Languages and Translation. Volume 24, Issue 2, July 2012, Pages 75–82
Smith, M. (2013). Why Multimedia Blog Content Is Good For Your Site. Retrieved from
http://www.benchmarkemail.com/blogs/detail/why-multimedia-blog-content-is-good-for-
your-site

Coping with Food Allergies in Children

Introduction
Food allergies have become prevalent in children, making them to be sick and in some cases, taking their lives. As a parent of a child with food allergies, I have seen first-hand the difficulties that children and parents go through on a daily basis. This article will discuss the foods that children are allergic to, symptoms of food allergies, parents’ dilemma and coping strategies for both parents and children.
I do not hold a medical degree nor am I a healthcare worker, but I have chosen to write on this topic as a parent of a child who has struggled with food allergies for the past 13 years. Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) estimates that 1 in 13 children in the United States has a food allergy. It is my belief that this article will help parents who are new in the food allergy business of their children to look out for symptoms of food allergies and for them to know that there is help and hope for them and their children. It is also my hope that this article will help them to choose to have food allergy test before opting for medications. I hope that my personal story will motivate them to be strong on this journey and for them to know that they are not alone on this food allergy journey with their children. I have been there, done that and I am still standing. It is my belief that the high number of children who are suffering from food allergies and yet are being medicated for the symptoms of food allergies would be reduced if their parents are educated on the dangers of food allergies and provided with resources and coping strategies.teamfareheader2015final

My Food Allergy Journey
My food allergy journey started 13 years ago, one month after my son was born, but the doctor did not diagnose him with food allergies until he was two and a half years old. Yes, it took that long for a doctor to diagnose that he had food allergies. Yes, my son took a lot of medications, including some steroids to treat the symptoms of food allergies. Yes, my son’s food allergies continued because he was unknowingly eating foods that cause allergies. Yes, his pediatrician was a seasoned pediatrician, but yet did not “think” about food allergies while he was treating my son of symptoms of food allergies that include rashes, eczema and itching for more than two years. This was very odd that he did not think about food allergies especially since Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE, 2015) stated that “Children with atopic dermatitis (often called eczema), have a higher risk for developing food allergies.” Yes, my son was also on antibiotics almost every three weeks because he had infection from itching, scratching and bleeding all over his body. He lost weight. Yes, my son went to three different dermatologists and yes, my son used over 20 creams and lotions on his skin. Three weeks after my son was born, he started itching badly and breaking out with rashes. The doctor diagnosed him with eczema and two drugs were prescribed. Soon, another drug was added to the list, meaning that my little boy was on three medications daily. Two drugs were to help calm his skin, and another was to help him sleep, since one of the drugs made him not to sleep. But yet, my son was still not sleeping and he was still itching very badly.
As a parent, I spent many sleepless nights carrying and soothing my son as he itches very badly and scratching and bleeding. My husband and I took turns to watch him just so that one of us could sleep and be able to go to work the next day. I spent almost $200 every month buying his drugs and ointment/creams prescribed by the dermatologists. As parents, we were very exhausted, helpless and confused, so, we decided to take matters into our hands, we changed his pediatrician. This was the big move that led to my son’s relief and healing. It was the big move that helped to give us back our sleep and put money back into our pocket. This was the big move that admitted us to the school of food allergies where we learned a lot about the powerful effects of food in our body.
This new pediatrician tested my son for food allergies and he was diagnosed to be highly allergic to milk, eggs, fish, soy and nuts. The doctor advised that I take him off all the foods that he was eating and to work with the dietician in her office to figure out how to feed him. We started by feeding him with only one type of food like macaroni and ground beef (for protein) for two weeks. Surprisingly just after a few days and not being on any drugs, my son stopped itching and scratching, was able to sleep well. In one month, eczema was gone and he gained 8 pounds, and also did not need antibiotics. It was like a different world for us and our allergy world became more manageable than ever. Thank goodness! My son is allergic to the five foods listed earlier, but other food allergens also include wheat, shellfish and sesame.

-allergen-food-recalls

Coping Strategies
I learned a lot of lessons in my food allergy journey. That allergens are not always easy to avoid. That allergen avoidance means careful and consistent planning with your doctor. That you have to read food labels carefully to be sure that there are no allergy ingredients. That your child’s teacher and everyone who takes care of your child need to know the emergency plan for your child, just in case he/she is accidentally given any food that he/she is allergic to. That you have to have a couple of EpiPen Injections at home, school, and with your child at all times just in case of emergency. Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE, 2015) stated that “patients with food-triggered eczema warrant an emergency action plan and prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector.” The doctor’s first option may be to prescribe drugs, but you have to advocate for food allergy test as the first option before allowing your child to be drugged while you spend so much on those drugs. Ford (2010) stated that “patients and caregivers who bring up the subject of food allergy during a medical consultation are more often than not, brushed off.” Do not allow any doctor to brush you off when you ask for food allergy test as the first option for your sick child. There are support groups for parents who have children with food allergies. Food and Allergy Research and Education (FARE) has a newsletter that educates parents on how to control their children’s food allergies. They also provide information on support groups that are in your area. These support groups have been very useful to me in this journey. They remind me that I am not alone on this journey. They organize walks in different cities to raise fund and awareness for children’s food allergies. They teach you how to work with your health insurance and restaurants to keep an eye on your child’s allergy reactions. For more information on the services of Food and Allergy Research and Education (FARE), visit their website at http://www.foodallergy.org. Also feel free to check my blog often for more tips on how to survive the food allergy saga.

Conclusion
In conclusion, I agree with Burks, Tang, Sicherer, Muraro, Eigenmann, Ebisawa, and Sampson,
(2012) that “The primary therapy for food allergy is strict avoidance of the causal food or foods” and not medication as first option. It is my belief that children with food allergies can live a normal and happy life.

References
Food and Allergy Research and Education (FARE) (2015).
New Research on Food Allergies and Atopic Dermatitis
Burks, A. W., Tang, M., Sicherer, S., Muraro, A., Eigenmann, P. A., Ebisawa, M., Sampson,
H. A. (2012). ICON: Food allergy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 129(4), 906-
920. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2012.02.001
Ford, R. P. K. (2010). Food allergies in children: Common but overlooked. The New Zealand
Medical Journal (Online), 123(1327) Retrieved from
http://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1034261655?
accountid=3783

Blogging Best Practices

Blogging has become second nature to some people as they discuss events or describe different things. As common as blogging is, it is important to follow some best practices in order to attract and maintain traffic and for people to refer to it as a trusted news source.

Best Practices when creating a blog
In my opinion, some of the “best practices” when creating a blog is the authenticity of the information. Blogging has become another source of news that many rely on and if others rely on a blogger’s information, then they need to trust that the blogger is telling the truth. Perlmutter & Schoen (2007) stated that “while many bloggers may be amateurs in that capacity—although most prominent bloggers are professionals of some kind such as journalists, professors, or businesspeople—they are performing many functions that mimic professional newsrooms.” And if bloggers are performing some of the functions of a professional journalist, then they need to be able to reach the readers at their different levels.

Some best practices when creating a blog include the following:
1. The blog needs to be straight to the point
2. Appeal to more than one audience
3. Authentic and interesting
4. Educational and/or entertaining
5. Blog follow-up/consistency to create an audience
6. Use key words
7. Use references when using someone else’ information
8. Use images for illustration
9. Provide social media links for audience to share the link, thereby increasing your audience
10. Provide space for comments
11. No use of profanity

Self-assessment of my own blog
In assessing my own blog, I see that my blog meets some best practices, but there are some things that I need to work on. My blog meets best practices in several ways:
1. It is straight to the point
2. It uses introduction
3. It provides references
4. It is authentic
5. It does not use profanity
6. It uses some key words
On the other hand, my blog needs some improvements in the following areas and I am already beginning to implement them in this particular blog.
1. Use images to illustrate my point.  I am still learning my way in blogging.
2. Provide social media link for audience to share
3. Provide space for comments

Blog Choice and Best Practices
My blog choice is one by Susie Miller published in The Huffington Post on February 6th, 2016 in which she discusses “5 Ways Toxic Relationships Are Ruining Your Life.” The blog site is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susie-miller/5-ways-toxic-relationships-are-ruining-your-life_b_9145078.html. Her blog, in my opinion, meets best practices. She uses an appropriate image at the beginning of the blog. She used listings to discuss the five ways toxic relationships are running people’s lives. There is a provision of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, where the link to this blog can be shared with others. Sharing the link will increase the audience pool. This is a topic that appeals to a large number of audience, young, old, in all types of relationships, whether as in marriage or friendship. In accordance with Blogging Best Practices (2010) that states that “Blogs should be written conversationally and should be short. Think op-ed length and e-mail tone,” her blog is short and is conversational.

As a blogger, if there were an official “Blogger’s Code of Conduct,” would I read it, follow it, and find it useful?

As a blogger, if there were an official “Bloggers’s Code of Conduct,” I would read and follow it. Why would I do so? I would follow a code of conduct because I think that a code of conduct makes my blog appeal to people as they see me as taking responsibility for my writings. Although I am not a professional journalist, I still have the responsibility to deliver the truth to my audience. I have to credit those that I use their materials so that my audience knows my source of that information.

References
Blogging best practices: Tactics techniques, procedure. (2010). Fires, , 50. Retrieved from
http://ezproxy.snhu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/
858868340?accountid=3783
Perlmutter, D. D., & Schoen, M. (2007). “If I Break a Rule, What Do I Do, Fire Myself?” Ethics
Codes of Independent Blogs. Journal Of Mass Media Ethics, 22(1), 37-48.
doi:10.1080/08900520701315269

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

Social Bookmarking
I signed on to delicious.com for Social Bookmarking.  My link to Delicious.com is https://delicious.com/monicagkblog.  It is like a community sharing their interests, but in websites I like the fact that you can keep your bookmark private and share them only with specific people, groups and networks.

Flickr
My user name with Flickr is monicagkblog. One interesting thing with Flickr is that they asked you sign up with yahoo. I now have to have another yahoo account. Videos and pictures saved in the cloud. It is a site on the web for organizing, sharing and storing your photos. They help to provide the tools for easy collaboration with one of the world’s most passionate photo communities. People of different age groups use Flickr. Families who live far away from one another would be interested in using Flickr to share photos of kids that are growing or places that family members visited.

Twitter
My Twitter account is @monicagkblog. I found that to open a Twitter account is more simpler than opening a Flickr account. Twitter has mostly young people with over 645,000,000 people. Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables registered users to read and post short messages, so-called tweets.
The welcome message on Twitter is very interesting, in line with what young people would like. It says “We’re glad you’re here, Monica George-Komi. Twitter is a constantly updating stream of the coolest, most important news, media, sports, TV, conversations and more—all tailored just for you. Tell us about all the stuff you love and we’ll help you get set up.” This is a good media tool to use to share shot blogs of not more than 140 characters. It helps with being straight to the point about any issue. For example, I can just give a short feeling of how I feel about the weather by saying #not feeling well today.

Oconee County Observations

The Writer
The writer of the blogger on Oconee County Observations is Dr. Lee Becker. His profile that he posted on the site shows that he holds a Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Although his first degree was in journalism, he is not a professional journalist. He says that he enjoys blogging. As a communication and journalism major, he enjoys writing and he blogs for this site because according to him, blogging “is one of my hobbies” (2015).
Purpose of Site
The Oconee County Observation site is a Special Interest site that can be accessed by logging on to http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org. The purpose of this site is clearly written on the top of the page, right after their name on the website. Their purpose is stated as “news and comments about developments in Oconee County, Georgia.” They report news in the county from the meeting of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners to concerned citizens of Oconee county. The site uses this medium to inform and influence the citizens of Oconee County and to rally them to support or oppose a particular project proposed by the county. For example, the widening of US Road 441 in the south of the county. There is a bias in this site. Dr. Becker clearly stated that his “experiences and aspirations for the county have influence on what I post here.” The model of journalism that is exhibited on this site is that of Interest Group journalism where the writer points to a conclusion and this conclusion is geared to persuade a particular audience, which in this case, the citizens of Oconee County in Georgia.
Use of SPJ’s Code of Ethics
As a non-professional journalist, the writer in Oconee County Observations, Dr. Becker, reports the county’s information to his audience, but does not for the most part, adhere to the Standards of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. One of the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is to “Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting”(SPJ, 2016). Dr. Becker’s writings are influenced by his own opinion and aspirations, and persuading his audience to see things the way he sees them.
Same Standard For Professional and Non-professional?
In my opinion, everyone reporting news should be held accountable for what they report, whether they are called professionals or not. They should all try to seek truth and report it. However, with the various new media technology and the rush for everyone to be the first to report “breaking news,” writers are not patient to verify all information before reporting it. That is why it is important for news consumers to beware of who they get the true news from. Professional journalists have fallen short of living to the ethics of their profession. It is therefore not surprising that non-professional journalists like bloggers will also find it difficult to hold on to the same professional standards.
References
Becker, Lee. (2015). Oconee County Observations. In Oconee County Observations. Retrieved
January 23, 2016, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org
Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2016, from
http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Mistakes, False News, and Errors

For as long as journalists have been reporting news, mistakes have been made, either in the whole story, part of the story, or other details of the story. Even in these mistakes, journalists are held to a higher standard in the code of ethics by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Report Now, Apologize Later?
In this age of information flying right and left from professionals and non-professionals journalists and consumers of news need to consider the authenticity of every story before sharing with others. Mistakes are not unexpected in reporting the news, but at the same time, the need for journalists to verify the authenticity of any story is important at this time that new media technologies make stories go faster than ever. News agencies have at one time or the other, reported news that were not correct and later retract their story. Although journalists are required to abide by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, they still fumble sometimes. The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics includes “seek the truth and report it, minimize harm to their sources, act independently for the interest of the public and be accountable to the consumers. For an event of deadly, Kovach and Rossenstiel (2010) state that “this is an event that we want to know about instantly while events are still unfolding, and given that, we might forgive a certain amount of uncertainty and confusion.”

Expect More Evidence?
Although social media is competing with professional journalists in releasing breaking news, journalist the public still expect more evidence to verify information before it is reported. The fact that journalists are required to “seek truth and report it,” In as much as the public looks forward to breaking news from social media, they still know that there is no code of ethics that bind those who use social media for breaking new. The public, therefore hold journalists to a higher standard, expecting them to have more evidence before making their stories public. When CNN, Fox News, Boston Globe and the Associated Press reported erroneously the arrest if the Boston bomber, the New York Times (2013) stated that the FBI issued a statement to news agencies that they should “exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”

Who is to Blame?
The journalist is held by a higher standard of abiding by the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. It may be easy to blame journalists for this trend of false news and mistakes in delivering the stories, but it is understandable that journalists are responding to the culture and demands by the society. The demand and availability for instant news is made possible by social media and communication technology. I believe that our instant message culture is to blame. People demand the news now, as fast as possible, without waiting on the long process of verifying the news before it is shared with the public.

References
By BILL CARTERAPRIL 17, 2013 The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media After Several
Mistaken Reports of an Arresthttp://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/business/media/fbi-
criticizes-false-reports-of-a-bombing-arrest.html?
Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). The Tradecraft of Verification. In Blur (pp. 36-50).
New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA