Archive for March, 2011

Tuition Increase for the CSU System

According to this article, which is extremely relevant for us CCSU students, a panel of trustees has approved a 2.5% tuition increase for the Connecticut State University System.

In September the trustees said they would try to freeze tuition if possible, but they found that the increase will bring an estimated $7.8 million in new revenue. After that, there will still be a lot of money to make up for since Richard Balducci, vice-chairman of the board of trustees, said that there is currently a $22 million shortfall.

On April 7, the recommendation for the increase will be considered by the full board.

It is understandable of course that we need to make up for our debt in Connecticut and the U.S. in general, but in this economy it’s already hard for people to afford things, especially an education. Increases in things like taxes and tuition might help us in the long run but it’s going to hurt in the present and near future for individuals.

Vanessa Johnson

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Lifted Veil Reveals Surprising Truths

      From infamous nicknames, changing demographics and industry secrets, CCSU’s conference entitled ” Lifting the veil on Journalism” revealed some surprising truths about today’s media.

    The conference which will be broadcast on WNPR’S ” Where We Live”, was hosted by CCSU professor and Senator Ned Lamont. Ned, who spent the afternoon talking to the audience and his guests like old friends, turned the table on WFSB anchor Dennis House, CTMirror political reporter Mark Pazniokas , and ” Where We Live” original host and news director of WNPR  John Dankosky.

     During House and Lamont’s conversation, they discussed the use of nicknames  like ” Greenwhich Millionaire” for Blumenthal and Lamont, ” Kennedy Cousin” during the Skakel trial , and ” Centurist” for Joe Liberman. House explained that the names were sometimes given for variety and attention-grabbing appeal. I’m in favor of this , because it keeps people with my dwindling attention span engaged and entertained. Repitition can get on my nerves.

   House talked about his on-air trick when asking politicians those tough questions. Sometimes, he said, you need to space out the questions so that they don’t feel bombarded, especially when dealing with first-time politicians when we’re still trying to get to know them.

Dankosky talked about the attacks on NPR and how over the years people have tried to defund them because some feel they shouldn’t have to pay for news, or that NPR has a liberal view. However, he said that if NPR began resorting to commercial funding, they wouldn’t be able to provide the type of uninterrupted news they do now.

” Not to be ashamed of what we are, or what we do” said Dankosky. And I agree, NPR has been legitimate source of information and we shouldn’t turn our backs on them now that they face the troubles of human error. We’re all people with thoughts and opinions , that shouldn’t devalue the face of a reputable company. Dankosky said NPR should ” punch back”  at all the criticism.

  An important discussion followed about the demographics of readers/watchers/listeners of the news. And lets just say Pazniokas was pissed. Well, not pissed, but  concerned with the  dwindling of followers since he began reporting three decades ago. He said that there is a demographic shift, and that college aged readers are mostly going online, and have been brought up with mostly free news, and thats bad. I agree with Pazniokas, because while we are the public and are entitled the know whats going on in our community and beyond, we need to pay up. Reporters have families too.

— Diego Xavier-Vicente

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To Censor or Not to Censor?

Central students and faculty met on March 16 to discuss the controversy at the Enfield Public Library surrounding the documentary “Sicko”.

As college students, and more specifically, journalism students, we should be well aware of what the First Amendment entails. Many people like to flaunt and abuse their freedom of speech, religion, the press, and assembly. However, there are those of us that appreciate our right to do what we want and watch what we want, especially those who are willing to speak out.

On January 21, the Enfield Public Library was scheduled to show Michael Moore’s film “Sicko”. However, three days previous to this showing there was a town council meeting where the mayor and some members of the town decided that this film was too controversial to show at a public library.  As a result, the film was cancelled.

At the panel, John Dankosky, WNPR News Director and professor here at Central, as well as men who have dealt with censorship battles before discussed the basics of censorship. Those men included Peter Chase, Michael Hatfield (a reporter who orginially wrote about the Enfield story) and Nels P. Highberg.

They talked about the idea of cultural censorship vs legal censorship. In the case of “Sicko”, they believed that this was not legal censorship because the film is readily available in other locations for those who want to view it. If the movie was legally censored, citizens wouldn’t be able to access it, much like how certain countries have banned controversial books.

I think it’s great that we don’t live in a country whose leaders ban every type of reading material or movie that they don’t agree with. However, it is still unfair to stop the showing of a movie in a library. The library wasn’t showing this film to be defiant. Peter Chase, a library director himself and part of the Connecticut Library Association, said that the community sometimes suggests movies they would like to see. In addition, he said that “Sicko” was supposed to be part of a theme and they would be showing other documentaries like “Waiting for Superman” and “An Inconvenient Truth”. These movies aren’t being shown to turn the people against the government and they’re certainly not going to cause street riots. So what’s the big deal?

“Sicko” was shown after the panel and it was a very emotional film. It covered people who had trouble getting health insurance and were denied by multiple insurance companies. However, I think for the most part it is common knowledge that people get denied every day. And for those who don’t know, well they should know the truth.

One good point that Chase brought up is the fact that people want to censor things because a book or a movie may only represent one side of the argument. However, he expressed that although this is a good idea and the library wouldn’t be opposed to it, this is a difficult thing to do. I think that if a library was forced to screen a counter argument to every film they showed, that would be really overwhelming and in many cases, unnecessary.

Besides, in cases of religion people don’t usually care about showing every side. Many people of a certain faith don’t want to hear about any other faith than their own, much less atheism. So if people want libraries to show counter arguments to all of their films then they should be okay with books about atheism sitting next to the other religious belief books, right?

Overall, the point of this panel was to get people thinking. Audience members were able to express their thoughts on the censorship at the library and connect with each other on ethical issues. I think that if more students attended, we could have struck up an even bigger discussion. What I took away from this is that we can’t sweep censorship issues under the rug; maybe “Sicko” and other movies are available in other places, but if we can’t watch what we want at a public library then what are they going to take away from us next? Speak out if you disagree with censorship and make sure your voice is heard, that’s what these panel members did.

Vanessa Johnson

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Partnerships in News Media

Phillip Junno
Four journalists from internet media outlets spoke at a panel yesterday hosted by NPR’s John Dankosky and discussed their thoughts on partnerships within news media. The discussion was held at CCSU.
The speakers all seemed to agree that there needed to be partnership and sharing among journalism outlets. Their websites all provide news stories to other websites, newspapers, and radio stations.
What was interesting about the conference was hearing the speaker’s thoughts on how to make an economically sustainable online news source. Doug Hardy, the business manager for CT News Junkie, spoke about how essential it is to partner with other media providers in order to be successful financially. Hardy was the only speaker representing a for profit website. CT News Junkie is mostly funded by ad revenue and donations from readers. “The more beneficial partnerships you make, the faster you’ll grow,” Hardy said.
Hardy also spoke about how newspapers are an economically driven business model that is mostly buoyed by ad revenue.
Jim Cutie, the CEO of CT Mirror agreed that good journalism is worth paying for. “Journalists need to be compensated for the work they do,” said Cutie. The CT Mirror is a non-profit organization which gets funds by selling sponsorships, partnering with other media outlets, and through donations.
The two other speakers, Mike Webb and Lynne Delucia, are both members of organizations that provide investigative journalism to other news outlets. Webb is the communications director of the website Propublica and Delucia is a journalist for the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Propublica is funded through several grants and CHIT is funded by the newspapers it contributes to as well as through grants.
Propublica is an interesting organization because it provides its news absolutely free to places where their stories will be the most relevant and have an impact.

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Politician Turns Reporter

Jamie Lynn Thompson

Ned Lamont, a Democrat who recently lost the race for governor to Dannel Malloy in 2010, took on the role as a reporting journalist Tuesday.

Lamont, an adjunct philosophy professor at Central Connecticut State University, sat down with locally known broadcast journalists at a seminar at CCSU. The concept of this assembly was to explain the process of being a reporter or journalist and find out how to target a younger audience.

Dennis House, news anchor at WFSB news channel 3, discusses politics every Sunday morning on his show Face the State. Mark Pazniokas is a journalist for the CT Mirror. John Dankosky, a journalism professor at CCSU, hosts Where We Live on National Public Radio [NPR].

Dankosky made a reference to news media being like the Weekend Update skit “Really?!” on Saturday Night Live [SNL]. “It gets people thinking,” regarding a younger audience listening or watching news segments. “[I] never ask background or personal questions. [I] get right to the tough questions.”

House gave good advice noting the importance of really listening to source during an interview. “[I would like to] get to know the person [politician/person] and then ask the tough questions. Politicians have a good way of going around answering questions [filling up time].”

Pazniokas mentioned his own kids always thinking that the news is free and how many jobs have been decreasing and vanishing. “In 1983, the Associated Press had six reporters. Now, they only have one.”

Lamont was concise with his questions and followed up giving the audience his views from each side; as a politician and temporary reporter.

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The Wealthier Are Only Getting Wealthier

by: Bryan Morales

Lately, income increases have been directed towards the very richest Americans, leading to larger share earnings and expanding the inequality between them and the lower earners.

The New York Times said in this article “About 21 percent of income was received by just 1 percent of earners.”

Earners at the top of the list have better resources to pay for better tax preparations, giving them the opportunity to reduce their taxes and save money as well, said New York Times. Another benefit the top 1 percent of Americans is their advantage in capital gains, in which is taxed at a lower rate.

“The top 1 percent of earners receive about a fifth of all American income; on the other hand, the top 1 percent of Americans by net worth hold about a third of American wealth,” said The New York Times.

Income inequality focuses on what people make a hour, a weak, and a year. The fact that the wealthier earners have the ability to save more money, than lower earners, due to many reasons, goes to show that the bar between both classes will continue to increase.

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Journalism Uncovered with NPR’s David Folkenflik

by Chris Ezzo

David Folkenflik, a broadcast reporter covering the media on National Public Radio, spoke for an hour yesterday in front of a small crowd at CCSU’s Founders Hall as part of a journalism conference entitled “Lifting the Veil: Journalism, Uncovered.”

Folkenflik was interviewed by CCSU’s Vance Chair in Journalism and Mass communication, John Dankosky, in a live broadcast directly from the Davidson Administration Building. 

As one may have expected, the NPR employee spoke about the recent resignation of NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller while fielding questions from Dankosky.

In reference to the recent video footage that featured an NPR fundraiser by the name of Ronald Schiller (no relation to Vivian Schiller) bashing the Republican Party and Tea Party enthusiasts, Folkenflik stood by NPR as a unbiased newsource.

“Love it or hate it, [NPR] is increasingly a vibrant source of news,” he said.  Folkenflik also went on to describe the incident as a “painful” time in for NPR reporters. 

According to Folkenflik, journalists and executives working for NPR need to be more careful about what they write or say because NPR is a large target as a leading news source.

“It was very helter-skelter,” he said of the recent dismissals of both Vivian Schiller and Ronald Schiller.  “It went very very quickly.”  Folkenflik went on to say “In this instance, by the time I was on the air, there were consequences.”

Folkenflik also briefly discussed the evolution of journalism in recent years as well as his own personal jump from news writing to a broadcast media outlet.  He spoke about the criticisms and the future of the media.

“Media serves as this window into other worlds,” said Folkenflik.  He also said that it is important for a journalist to be thinking in a multiplatofrm world to cover the media because “Everybody is a media critic right now.”

Folkenflik closed out the conference by taking quetions and comments from the listeners in attendance.

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