Egypt: Is it Too Dangerous for Journalists?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Over the past couple of weeks the events taking place in Egypt and Tunisia have been consuming news headlines.

Along with the political upheaval going on in Egypt, a major issue facing the news world is the safety of American and other foreign journalists.

Making headlines this week was the sexual assault of American CBS reporter Lara Logan. In many articles including an writeup on The have uncovered the details of her assault and other journalist related violence.

Logan was assaulted in the midst of the political revolts in Egypt on February 11 at around 1 a.m. The assault occurred moments after President Hosni Mubarak had officially stepped down.

New reports say that Logan was beaten, stripped of her clothing, pinched, and whipped as they shouted "jew" and "Israeli."

Sources are now saying the Logan narrowly escaped rape with the help of a group of Egyptian women that intervened along with help from Egyptian soldiers.

Logan is not alone. Since the beginning of the revolts in Egypt 140 journalists have been killed or injured while reporting on the events taking place there.

Logan's relatives and friends have said that the emotional and mental wounds are worse than her physical injuries. She is currently recovering in her home in Washington D.C.

Photo Credit: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times via Creative Commons


Eyes are Everywhere

A Pennsylvania high school teacher was suspended from her job after placing angry, unprofessional blog posts about her students on the Internet.

Natalie Munroe, an English teacher at Central Bucks East High School, vented her frustration in her blog about some of her "utterly loathsome" students saying remarks such as they are "rude, disengaged, lazy whiners." In another post she professes "There's no other way to say this: I hate your kid."

Her attorney, Steve Rovner, says legally his client's school district doesn't have any policy in place that states what teachers can and cannot do online. He also stated Munroe did not name the school, nor her students, in her posts.

Munroe is now in the middle of a heated online debate over whether teachers are actually to blame for the problems in the current education system, as well as the boundaries on freedom of speech all together.

"It's a First Amendment issue," Rovner says. "And it's an unresolved area of the law." Also uncertain is when the online frenzy will die down on this subject as a number of national and international publications are relaying the story.

On one side of this debate, some see Munroe's comments as a systematic rundown of the dire challenges facing America's overburdened teachers. The other side sees just the kind of attitude problem that can ultimately lead students adrift in the classroom.

"The perception is that everything is the teachers' fault," says Munroe, "but teachers can only work within the system that is in place."

So, what do you think? Were Natalie Munroe's blog posts ultimately out of line? Is the perception of today's teachers a fair one?

I think instead of venting about how bad her students are she could try working with them some more to help them if she hasn't already. At the same time I remember how bad some students were in high school and it can be a harsh reality for teachers in the 21th century classroom. It is, however, undoubtedly naive to believe that a blog can be anonymous in the year 2011 as she believed it to be.

Any words said over the Internet are available for anyone and everyone to see.

Photo Credit: from Creative Commons


Real Post about Fake News

The responsibility of news reporting is to keep people informed of their surroundings and how to react. The best news companies rely on timeliness and accuracy, and in return, those viewers/readers give those news organizations the respect and trust it deserves.

In return, what kind of feedback should fake (satrical) news get? Those who report news to be funny and make fun of a real story try to get attention in a controversial or slanted way. Since they are trying to rattle someone's cage, those who are less caring about the news will not be as disturbed as one who is engaged with "real news."

One of the most famous fake news shows is the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Comedy Central. The power of satire has become a main idea when it comes to criticizing political events. People anticipate what he and Stephen Colbert will come up with each night. It cannot be found anywhere else.

Is fake news good for media? Well, it gets people talking about the issues, even if it takes a joke or two to get people aware of political happenings. It also gives the younger demographics to better understand how politics are run. Comedy Central realizes that young people may not necessarily grasp politics all that well, so they use the Stewart-Colbert duo to capitalize on that possibility.

In my opinion, fake news is needed for those of us who may not understand the political world. From a media standpoint, it doesn't help it, but it doesn't hurt it either. A 2007 Columbia Journalism Review article may disagree with this standpoint, but if it keeps people informed, what's the harm?

Photo Credit: The Sentinel via Creative Commons


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