Social Progression and Podcasting

While the word podcasting may seen ancient to the modern millennial, podcasting is still a very relevant part of journalism. When it was first mentioned in 2004, it seemed quite obvious to have this idea of a radio in your hands with your MP3 player or iPod. While technology has expanded tremendously, podcasting still seems to be a relevant aspect.

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Podcasting, similar to other social media outlets, allows users to give their opinion on any topic they desire. One topic that is especially relevant for American listeners in this time of political haywire.

March on Washington, 1963
Black Lives Matter, 2016

While women’s rights, racism, and LGBTQ rights are not new issues facing Americans (pictured above), Trump winning the election in combination with the widespread opinions on the Internet, has created an uproar of political and social activists.

Suddenly, practically everything and everyone was politically charged. While before the question of who you voted for, or what party you were apart of was socially unacceptable now people are publicly saying their opinion on live and nation television as seen in the Yara Shahidi and Stephen Colbert video above.

However, this doesn’t stop at television and social media. There are podcasts primarily dedicated to talking about these political and social movements. 

Before jumping into the specifics, a few places to find good podcasts are Audible, iTunes, and National Public Radio.

Pictured above is what it looks like when you are trying to purchase/download a podcast with iTunes. Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham are writers for the New York Times and also the lead writers for their podcast, “Still Processing.”

Below is an example of one of their podcasts entitled, “We Paint the Town Obama.” In this podcast they look at the portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama just recently installed in the National Portrait Gallery. But beyond that, they look at the controversy that surrounded the portraits and decipher the meaning of the photos.

Although there was no embed code for their podcast you can listen to the full podcast linked here.

Another example of a politically charged podcast is one with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu called “Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell & Hari Kondabolu.

Their episodes (another word used for different podcasts in the same series) is surrounded on the idea of learning how to survive in the age of Trump. In the season 2 of their podcast, the two comedians “navigate the dumpster fire that is the US political landscape,” as worded on their website. In their podcasts they interview a number of different people from artists, activists, journalists and more to talk politics and fake news.

In one of their episodes entitled Charlottesville: Why did this happen and how do we move forward? In this podcast they speak on the white supremacist protests which occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. They interview two different people to get their takes and give advice on how to cope with such a horrendous act.

Again, there was no embed code for this podcast but you can listen to the full podcast for free here.

Unfortunately, racism is usually taught and there is a power dynamic that comes along with it. Below is my podcast where I look at and analyze the privilege dynamic seen around the N-word and why it makes people of color uncomfortable.

For this podcast, Dr. Traci Parker of UMass Amherst, student Lyndsey Dyer at Georgetown University, and student Brita Turner at UMass Amherst were all interviewed. All the interviews were conducted via Skype.



The Real Value of Study Abroad


Study abroad: a time when college university students get to pick their city of choice to live and study in. With programs costing more than $16,000, and students spending up to $10,000 on traveling, what is the real value of studying abroad?

The number of study abroad students has been increasingly rising. According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators the number of U.S. students studying abroad for credit during the 2015-2016 academic year grew 3.8 percent from 313,415 students to 325,229 students.

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Popular locations vary all throughout Europe, even venturing into Australia. According to Access Masters, the post popular destinations for students in 2017 United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany.


What seems to vary more is the field students focus on whilst studying abroad. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and Business and Management studies are two fields that students tend to study the most– 25.2% for STEM and 20.9% for Business and Management. However, Liberal Arts such as Communications and Journalism are also preferred fields for American students.

However, gaining credits abroad is only one of the benefits students see in studying abroad. For most students, study abroad is seen as a semester long vacation. It enables them to travel Europe, Asia, or whichever continent they’re in; soaking up the culture, food, and alcohol.

While students can view their experience however they’d like, employers, parents, and universities alike all see study abroad as not only an invaluable life experience, but a resume builder as well.

In this TED Talk, Marina Meijer explains the benefits of studying international. In short, she explains that she would not be the person she was had she not studied abroad, nor would she be there had she not studied abroad.

Below is an interview with Paula Scipio-Menifiee, a student who studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland last Fall. Scipio-Menifee currently attends American University in Washington, DC, however attended Trinity College while in Dublin.

In the video below she explains what she gained out of her international experience:

Paula describes studying abroad as a once in a lifetime experience, an experience she couldn’t think of reason to not do it.

As mentioned in the interview above, study abroad enabled Paula to travel all over the world. Her Instagram page is private which explains the lack of embedded posts.

Below are a few of her favorite abroad memories:

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While studying abroad enables people to grow in many ways, not everyone needs the experience in their life. Lindsay Zambrano, transferred universities going into her third year of college. Most students usually go abroad either spring of their third year, or fall of their fourth year.

The now 25-year-old explains there were multiple reasons she didn’t, and couldn’t study abroad. Not only did she want to optimize her time while at her new university she loved so much, she also was a Biology major. Her rigorous curriculum made it hard to find a program in which she could gain credits for her higher level courses.

In the video below Zambrano talks about her life without studying abroad:


As Zambrano mentioned, although she was unable to dedicate four months to abroad, she was able to travel in her adulthood. From Nice, France to New Orleans, Lousiana, Zambrano feels she has not missed out on an experience at all.

Below are a few snapshots of her favorite travel memories. Zambrano does not have an Instagram.

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 3.02.27 AM.pngNashville, Tennesee

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Nice, France

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Monte Carlo, Monaco

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As with any experience, or really anything in life there are both pros and cons to consider. While these possible pros and cons were mentioned in the post above, below is an easy list indicating all the possible advantages and disadvantages.

It is important the reader acknowledge these are not all the possible pros and cons, and might not apply to everyone. Read the list below, and find out if study abroad is right for you


  • Experience a new culture
    • Living in a new country completely emmerses a person in the country’s culture, which is usually much different than their own.
  • Meeting new people and making new friends
    • Most study abroad programs and universities are students from a mixture of different schools and countries allowing students to make new friends.
  • Learning a new language
    • Again, students are completely emmersed in the culture which allows them to practice the language with native speakers.


  • Fees and living costs
    • Traveling can be very expensive. Also, many programs and universities do not offer meal plans, so students either need to eat out or buy groceries to cook for themselves.
  • Homesickness
    • Not everyone can handle being so far away from home for such a long amount of time, which would make studying in a different country almost unbearable.
  • Falling behind on studies abroad
    • It is easy to fall behind in student’s home base, let alone when they are traveling every weekend. Being so busy and excited to learn about a new country can make it hard for students to focus on their school work.

This pros and cons list should help you decide whether you should study abroad, or if it was right for you. Traveling and being far away from home can be hard for some, and if study abroad doesn’t seem like the right fit for you there are always other experiences to travel around the world when it seems right for you!

On the other hand, if study abroad does seem like an option for you; do a lot of research, eat a lot of food while you’re abroad, and have fun!


Politics 2.0

As technology rapidly changes, it changes our society and the way we communicate as well. As seen in my last posts, there are benefits and drawbacks of this new inclusion of technology.

What role did technology play in the last American election?

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In the last U.S. election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, people saw tactics that had never been done before. The creation of openly, and dramatically criticizing the media, “fake news,” using attack Tweets more than ever were all facets both politicians and the American people were not used to.

Twitter played a massive role in the last election. Donald Trump often went to Twitter to criticize almost everything, and everyone. In a lot of ways, Trump’s Twitter account was entertaining for people– and often times entertainment wins. This is seen with the amount of followers each candidate has.

Hillary Clinton currently has 22.1M followers. Impressive, but not as high as Donald Trump’s 49.4M followers. More than double what Clinton has. While I am unaware of the follower count during the election, assuming they were relatively the same, that means that Trump’s tweets went to almost double the amount of people as Clinton’s, and that is without retweets.

Social media, and news platforms were often criticized for their fixation on Donald Trump. Below you can see the data from The Atlantic, where they track the data of media coverage for the candidates.

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(I only included data from Clinton and Trump, however the full article has the data from all the 2016 candidates).

So was the entertaining tweets and media coverage enough to win the election?

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While I admit I am slightly biased because I am not a Trump supporter; looking at the list above I don’t see how Trump necessarily did any of these things besides transmit passion.

In an interview between journalism Anderson Cooper and comedian Seth Meyers, Cooper explains how Trump has “defied all the laws of political gravity:”


Although many people were not openly Trump supporters, he had everything on his side. As Cooper explains, he had the money, the charismatic behavior, and the attention to be the favorable political candidate.

Hillary on the other hand was seen as cold, bossy, and bitchy for lack of a better word. Not only did she not have the favorable personality traits, she also lacked entertaining tweets and less political coverage.

Trump was made a spectacle of by the American news media and American citizens.

The New York Times made an article of of “The 425 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List.”

This is definitely an eye-opening article as it shows just how many negative critiques Donald Trump has said about practically anything he could talk about. But it also shows you the amount of attention Trump received during the election.

This article shows a lot of things, but one thing it indicates is that a New York Times journalist, which is a prestigious news outlet, had to go through Trump’s tweets, organize them, and file them to make this article. That couldn’t have taken long.

So it is undeniable that technology changed politics, there are many other factors of what makes a candidate successful. As Cooper pointed out, Trump had much more than just entertaining tweets to be seen as the favorable candidate.


MOJO: Mobile Journalism

It’s no secret that journalism has changed drastically within the last 20 years. The expansion of technology has allowed for journalism to grow in ways no one could have ever imagined.

One of the new facts of journalism introduced by technology is MOJO, also known as Mobile Journalism. In this post, I’ll be answering a few questions about how to be a good mobile journalist, and where to get started.

Below is a video explaining the importance of MOJO, especially for news organizations:

There are important pros and cons to consider when looking at MOJO.

However, if you ask almost any journalist… they’ll say the pro’s outweigh the cons.

What does a mobile journalist look like?

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My kitlist for @bbc5live’s trip to #southkorea #mojo

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It doesn’t take much to be a mobile journalist. With the right equipment, and proper journalism background/training, anyone can be a mobile journalist. Below are some good examples of mobile journalism:

So you want to be a mobile journalism? Below is a video explaining how to not only achieve this, but be good at it as well:

Here are some other tips on how to be a good mobile journalism. There are whole books written on this topic.

Where to get started? Some video editing apps which are easy to use include: LumaFusion, KineMaster, and iMovie.

The proper equipment you’ll need?

Mobile journalism allows for an even easier, more accessible way of communicating what is happening in the world. Get involved by following the helpful advice above!





Citizen Journalism

With the rise of social media sites, especially Twitter, practically anyone could be a journalist. I mean this is the way that now, anyone can spread information online, similar to the foundations of what a journalist does.

This is referred to as Citizen Journalism.

By its formal definition, citizen journalism is:

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From the protests in Baltimore to footage of the riots in Syria, citizen journalism has proven especially helpful to not necessarily replace journalists, but supplement them. Although there are some consequences of citizen journalism.

Before I go into the benefits or drawbacks of citizen journalism, I feel as though I should explain the controversy around the term.

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As someone studying journalism, I can understand the frustration behind someone with no formal studies or training calling themselves a journalist. However, some “citizen journalists” can be doing the act without even realizing. Below are a few examples.

The first video shows footage from a Black Lives Matter protest, the second video features footage of the Syrian protests, and the last two show a video and photo of the London Tube explosion back in 2017.

In cases such as these, citizen journalism is essential because it helps inform the world what is happening. Citizens who are there tweeting, recording, etc. allows for first-hand knowledge that may not be released or available yet to mainstream media organizations. Especially when people are hurt, especially in the case of the tsunami in which people needed help were able to receive it due to their social media aspect.

However, there are some drawbacks as well.

  1. There is no one to fact-check what is being posted.
  2. Social media usually only tells the user when the content was published, not first shot so there is no way of knowing whether the footage was edited.
  3. Because everyone shoots the footage from different angles, it sometimes creates confusion.

We saw this with the Boston Marathon Bombing.

Everyone was trying to figure out different suspects, and there was so many different options because of the different angles shot.

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This starts rumors, and creates more confusion rather than helping the situation.

Overall, citizen journalism is still in the process of being perfected however I believe it helps journalism overall rather than detriments it.




YouTube Star: Valentí Sanjuan

It takes a special type of person to bike from Madrid to Lisbon under 55 hours. It also takes a special type of person to participate in a 3-day triathlon event.

Valentí Sanjuan seems to be that special type of person.


This YouTuber completes seemingly impossible races and events, and records his story and the stories of the inspiring people he meets along the way. Below are some of his most viewed videos:

In just four years, Sanjuan has finished 5 ironmans in 5 days a day after finishing the Titan Desert, Marathon des Sables, Ultramans in Wales and Hawaii in the World Championship, 2 Titan Tropics, 2 Titan Deserts, Ultra Pirineu, 770km (~478 miles) nonstop from Madrid to Lisbon, and many others.

While Sanjuan has completed all these amazing, and seemingly impossible races, what he cares more about is the people he meets along the way.

“Pero esto que suena tan épico no son más que nombres y números en una estantería, pero no en el corazón. Si con algo me quedo es con las personas que conocí en todos estos desafíos.” -Valentí Sanjuan

This roughly translate to: “But what sounds so epic are just names and numbers on a shelf, but not in the heart. If I stay with something, it is with the people I met in all these challenges.”

Sanjuan has his logo which says: Menos cabeza, Más Corazon which translate to less head, more heart.

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In his videos, Sanjuan will interview and talk about the lives of the people he meets along the way who inspire him. Although he may be an inspiration to us, there are people who have to train harder due to physical limitations he does not have, that he finds to be even more inspiring.

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In addition to his daily vlogs, Sanjuan also creates longer length documentaries which document his trips.

Although you don’t have to get up right now and start training for a 3 day marathon, Sanjuan teaches us the valuable lesson that telling our stories and the stories of other people is what makes social media so useful.

No one would know of the inspiring stories of Sanjuan’s and the people he meets if it wasn’t for how widespread and accessible the internet has become. Tweets, Instagrams, YouTube, his website, all make it possible for us to not only follow his story but become inspired as well.

While Sanjuan pushes himself both physically and mentally, he serves as a reminder that as people we can do what we want as long as we want it enough, and stay inspired. Sanjuan has a pretty large following (200,00 followers  Facebook, 122k followers on his Twitter, 231k on his Instagram, and around 200k subscribers on his Youtube), which only exemplifies the idea that he is inspiring people on a day to day basis.