Friday, June 10, 2016

2 Questions


My grandmother says that I am German from her side and Swedish from my grandfather’s side, that is why their last name is Carlson, because in Sweden, your last name was always your father’s name and then ended with a “son” if you were a boy or “dottir” if you were a girl.  I tried to prove that using Google and I found a blog on it from the ancestry website.  My grandma always jokes that you can tell a Swede a mile away, but when they get up close, you can’t tell them anything. 


I googled my last name, Rohlin, and found that it is a Swedish name, that’s about all I found out because there really wasn’t much for information, which I found surprising.


I know that in the past, a person’s heritage used to be very important.  You could only marry the people that had the same heritage, but now times have really changed.  It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your last name is.


The definition of heritage from is:


1. something that comes or belongs to one by reason of birth; an inherited lot or portion:

a heritage of poverty and suffering; a national heritage of honor, pride, and courage.

2. something reserved for one: the heritage of the righteous.

3. Law.  a.something that has been or may be inherited by legal descent or succession.

b.any property, especially land, that devolves by right of inheritance


So, the questions that I have for you is, think about when you were young and growing up, do you remember what your aunts, uncles or grandparents said about your heritage:


Do you know your heritage?

What does your heritage say about you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Fake News
According to Wikipedia, news satire is “fake news” (News Satire), which is basically a comedy because its content is so light hearted and just funny.  The websites they list are Antarctica Daily, Onion News and Faking News.  
After learning more about the history of fake news, I was really entertained especially about Mark Twain’s hoax articles.  I knew he was a famous author, but not at all about the articles that he wrote and how because of that was chased by police.  Fake news has been around for a long time, very popular during April Fool’s and prevalent on TV since the 1960s.  From the long time running Saturday Night Live fake newscast, to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, just to name a few.
But, some people think that “fake news” isn’t funny at all.  In fact, Fake News Watch lists three types of fake news:  Fake/Hoax News, Satire and Clickbait.  They want to help people know fact from fiction and to help people identify these hoax sites.  The definitions from Fake News Watch are as follows:
  • Fake/Hoax News
    • “Fake/Hoax News sites are satire sites that are not funny.  They are an attempt to play on gullible people who do not check sources and will just pass the news on as if it were really true.”
  • Satire News:
    • Satire websites are sites that make fun of the news.  The stories are typically over the top and meant to be funny.  The most famous satire site is The Onion.”
  • Clickbait News:
    • “Clickbait websites are sites that take bits of true stories but insinuate and make up other details to sew fear. Most of these are conspiratorial in nature are very unreliable.”  
In the past, I have received emails that I wasn’t sure if they were true or not, so I would just have to copy and paste the subject line into Snopes, and I would get a fact check on the truthfulness of that email.  They have since expanded to checking other things like news from the media,Facebook , etc.

But, for Facebook, they now let users flag them if they find fake news and then those stories might get an attached warning.  But, no matter how hard they try or even other news sites try, “fake news” stories will continue to show up and users will continue to get use them.  Even credible news places can be tricked into being gullible and publishing this “fake news”.  These journalist are tricked and are supposed to be checking their facts.  But, I suppose they are trying to get things done quickly and have quotas to meet.  
When I checked out The Onion, the popular “fake news” trending were about Clinical Trials, a Voyager Probe getting smashed and then about how a family chooses a different dog other than their reincarnated grandfather.  I couldn’t read much on that website, I really didn’t care for it because it was not true and I felt like it was a waste of my time.

What does your news say about you?
News is important, it’s more than just information, its information that affects us and how we live, and how it affects the lives of others.  We need news to decide how we are going to dress for the day, to know who won the game yesterday, what shows are out, and what is going on in our public office.  Just think, even events that happen in a distant location can impact economies all over the world.  A drought in a foreign country can cause grain shortages or price increases in another country that then could cause them to need aid from even other countries, or worse yet, it could cause political uprisings.    

Political uprisings/tides, or changes can happen so quickly and if we are not informed, we can’t be prepared.  For example, it seems like ISIS, which translates as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (from Wikipedia) is a militant group, just happened overnight.  I understand the group only originated in 1999, which really isn’t that long ago considering the terrorist impact that they are making today.  Another example of the news that we should be watching is what is happening in North Korea, are they cyber attacking other countries or could they be a real nuclear threat to us.  The New York Times even has a web page dedicated to what is happening in that country.

To me, I find that the news is depressing.  Every morning when I wake up and eat breakfast, my parents have the news on as we start the day.  The local news that we watch is KSTP, but we do switch around and I think it is all the same, it seems like all it talks about is the weather, traffic and shootings.    To me, all local news has is happy anchors, live shots of nothing, the traffic over and over again and "Cute Cat News".  But, the reason for this is that is what people want to see.  People running out the door, on their way to work, want to see how their commute will be, what the day will look like outside and how to dress or what is happening in their neighborhood.

News is entertainment because that is what people want.  If you see what is on TV during the day that is offered on the local stations, it is entertainment news.  You see concerts playing during the newscasts and other news shows that have the title “Buzz” in them.  Online, you see Entertainment in the title along with news, like Entertainment News, which is one of the most popular entertainment news sites.  Because most of the public wants “Infotainment”, is it really all that bad to entertain and inform, all at the same time?

Who owns our reality?
I remember when I was young and having to go and get the paper on the weekends at my parents, they would read it and I would look at the ads.   I also remember spending the days after school at my grandparents, with my grandpa especially always having his nose in the paper.  I always thought that the print media was, back then, a source of truth and I still do.  However, I do know that we have gone away from the “printed” newspaper.  The Pew Research Center (newspapers-fact-sheet), have shown that Newspaper Circulation has declined, see below.
The demographics from The American Press Institute, from article Social and demographic differences in news habits and attitudes, show that young people are more attentive to breaking news versus adults age 60 and over are less likely, but they go in depth on regular news (see below).  Which I can see with my group of friends because we have our smart phones in our hands and stay connected that way to what is going on in the world to what I saw with my grandparents.  But, I do see my parents converting because they don’t buy the traditional print anymore and I see them on their computers or smart phones too.

I believe that we can protect our democracy in the digital age.  In fact, there many nonprofits that work to protect civil liberties and human rights in order to keep the Internet open, innovative, and free (see about CDT at  We should all make sure that the internet stays a platform for free speech and makes sure that all people around the world are equalized, empowered and emboldened.

The Freedom House is also another group out of many that want to defend human rights and promote democratic change.  In fact, I was amazed that the group was founded in 1941, the first in America to want advancement of freedom globally.  Here is a link to one of their YouTube links:  Freedom House YouTube

Looking at the Freedom House YouTube link and also what I have learned about democratic change and personally how I feel it is important to not have freedom be under threat, not have journalists harassed and not have women harassed.  I haven’t traveled to the countries that are under these kinds of threats, but when you are a journalist, I believe strongly that you should be protected and be allowed to report the truth.  There are countries like still don’t allow the media in and I think it would actually be better for them and also for the rest of the world to see what their reality really is.


I believe there is a difference between a news article, and an article based on opinion, that we are calling “news”, when in fact it is really mainly the opinion of the writer and/or news affiliate.  We, as readers need to be aware of how to detect bias in news media; I believe we should challenge actual “news” coverage to be unbiased.  From the Fair & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR),, suggest that we need to answer some basic questions about the news source, be it newspaper, TV, internet or radio news:

1.       Who are the sources?  Is there a political perspective, or are they relying on “official” sources, like the government, corporate or other think tanks?

2.       Is there a lack of diversity?  Are there enough experts the news cite from different race and genders, for example?

3.       From whose point of view is the news reported?  Is there too much political or corporate coverage?
4.       Are there double standards?  Are some people held to different standards than others?
5.       Do stereotypes skew coverage? 
6.       What are the unchallenged assumptions? 
7.       Is the language loaded?  Are buzz words being used that could skew the readers’ opinion?
8.       Is there a lack of context?
9.       Do the headlines and stories match?
10.   Are stories on important issues featured prominently?
It has been argued that bias exists in media today, also called confirmation bias, some of these bias’ are seen as liberal, conservatism, mainstream and corporate bias, read  Watchdog groups exist today to help readers understand the media bias, these groups try to find and report the facts and bias in news.
I personally disagree about some people believing online news is bad and that it was better in the olden days when there were fewer choices.  I think that it’s great that we can get news whenever we want it, it makes us more global and we are now more global than ever before, and will continue to be that way.  Most people get news throughout the day, then after that it is a close tie between in the evening versus in the morning.  That says a lot about how Americans get their news.  Most Americans now get their news from TV, then their laptop or computer and the radio and paper articles are a close tie.  But in talking with my grandma, who is 86 years old, she remembers sitting and listening to the radio to get her news.  She also jokingly said that when the internet came along and when she and grandpa had it installed in their house, that “she lost a good man”, because that was all he did, read news articles on the internet.
                To me, the presidential election campaign is annoying, there is too much coverage that is saying the same thing.  When we were on vacation this past spring break, it was such a relief to not watch the news.  I am so used to getting up in the morning and watching news while eating breakfast, and all you see is Bernie, Hillary, Donald, Jeb, etc….  I think because we didn’t have the news on or read any news articles that week, we made a decision to not be informed of what was going on in the world.

Future of Journalism
The future of journalism is here, it is all about technology.  Everyone has a smartphone and has the ability to connect with the news as faster as ever before.  But with that quickness, comes the increased chances of stories not being as credible.  In the past, with the paper, articles were fact-checked and proof read, now anyone can be a journalist, you don’t need a degree, and you just need to write a blog.

This ‘digital journalism’ can be presented in many formats like, text, audio, digital photography,video and even using interactive forms.    The distribution cost is lower, you have the internet or social applications, you no longer solely need the traditional media like newspaper, television, radio and magazines.  Some argue that with this new ‘digital journalism’, allows the writer greater creativity, more free thinking because the control of what is written comes from the writer and not the proof reading of the editor and/or publisher.

‘Digital journalism’ is quick, efficient, and can be accurate, it can be providing up to date reporting as the event(s) occur.  It can be more accurate provided that the information can constantly be updated and also critiqued by viewers or people that are at the scene.  Even the average person can make an impact through tools like blogs or their comments on news stores.

It’s obvious that the future of journalism is changing, last year Jason Goldman was named the White House Chief Digital Officer, he helped create Twitter and other internet mediums.  Jason Goldman stated the following:  Broadcasting isn’t the same as connecting.  Broadcasting can create awareness.  But connecting people can create engagement and change.  Just imagine what the internet has done for us so far, the tools that are being used to track how many people are reading a certain story, that has led to the page view obsession.

Goldman believes that broadcasting is passive, it is pushing info, but the future is getting connected, connecting is being a part of the story, or at least a collaborator, a sharer of information.  Goldman believes that Twitter’s success is because it is asking a simple question in 140 characters or less, What are you doing?” and not limiting or editing people in their answers, this is what he would call connecting.

The future of journalism is going from broadcasting, to collaborating, to start a conversation, mold it and then share it.  It’s about building a community, an on-line community.  The future of journalism seems very exciting and sounds like anyone can be empowered, we just have to be careful about credibility and reliability.

What is Journalism?

A journalist can report, research and write about anything, but their objective should be to be accurate.  Journalism is about getting the news and then sharing it with an audience while making sure it is accurate.  Without journalism, we, being the United States would not have been aware of all of the historical and current events that are happening today.  Just think about the journalists that sacrificed their lives, to report back on like the Vietnam War or even what is happening with ISIS today. 

Think about the difference of journalism from just 20 years ago, our parents only saw the news at certain times, it was like morning, noon and night, there was no CNN on all of the time.  Today, as soon events across the world happen, some US journalists take off and get there to report the event or events as soon as they are happening.
Sometimes it seems like we are consumed with the same story, if their is a tragic event, it is hard to break away from it.  It's everywhere, in your car, on your computer, on your phone, on the radio and on TV.  Journalism can be used to scare the world, an example is the tragic events from ISIS and also the World Trade Center.

There are other forms of journalism besides TV, but it seems like TV and internet journalism is most popular.  The newspaper journalists seem to becoming less and less.  People aren't buying the newspaper, they prefer to surf the web and get their information their.  In the past, our parents used to get the paper every day to stay connected, now, they just rely on the internet and their social applications to get the current news and also the weather. 

Journalists have to be concerned about their journalistic freedom, some are even imprisoned in other countries.  The countries with the largest number of imprisoned journalists are Turkey, China and Iran.  And to think, the only thing they did wrong was just doing journalistic activities.  These journalists are being psychologically harmed and possibly even physically.

It's hard to believe that journalism isn't always accurate and free in every country, we are so lucky to be living in a democratic country where journalists use each other for checks and balances, to make it fair.  In a democratic society, our information is free, but in a socialist country, that's not always the case.  Socialist journalism can be censored and biased.  We are lucky to have been born in the United States that has journalists that for the most case are ethical, professional and uncensored.

The first ever White House Chief Digital Officer wrote the following, "Broadcasting isn’t the same as connecting. Broadcasting can create awareness. But connecting people can create engagement and change."  The full article can be found at  It really tells you that it really is all about the Internet of Things (IoT).  The IoT is all about collecting and exchanging data, more information on IoT's can be found at