The Future of Journalism: An Open Letter to CNN

Dear CNN,

I’m writing to share my concerns about the anti-journalism rhetoric that Trump and his Republican peers have been spreading in recent months. As a journalism student, I’ve been gritting my teeth at the very sight of Trump, who I refuse to call my president, writing every news media outlet off as “fake news” and an “enemy of the American people” and turning journalists away every chance they get at asking him questions about whether or not the Russians helped him cheat his way to the White House; the police arresting West Virginia reporter Dan Heyman for “willful disruption of state government processes” after asking Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about the GOP healthcare bill;  and more recently, then Republican candidate for Congress Greg Gianforte body-slamming Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for inquiring about the aforementioned bill the night before Montana’s congressional election.

Journalists work very hard to write and report the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the events they have witnessed to the public, and make sure that everything they report is accurate and fair. “Fake news” is considered “fabrication” in the eyes of every news organization in the country, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, who had to punish their fair share of fabricators and plagiarists (Jayson Blair played both roles during his tenure at the former company). Trump, on the other hand, considers “fake news” to be your reports about alleged communications between him and our communist neighbor overseas during his campaign, and he’s gone to great lengths to criminalize every reporter for their attempts at getting to the bottom of the greatest political scandal since Watergate, therefore unraveling the very tenet of our democracy as we know it.

Freedom of speech and the press is not only a constitutional right, but also a basic, inalienable, universal human right. It’s already a travesty that journalists in countries that limit or restrict the press are facing prison time or even death for reporting the atrocities of their governments to the public. It’s even more tragic that the very government that guaranteed our rights to free speech, expression, and press over 240 years ago is threatening to silence us for reporting his fraudulent practices inside the Oval Office and beyond simply because they believe that everything you’re reporting is a lie when, in reality, you’re reporting the truth.

I always told my family that I would never travel to a communist country since such countries are notorious for restricting freedom of speech and the press. Now I fear that the United States is turning into one in light of these attacks against journalists. It breaks my heart to hear that once I graduate from college and enter the news media industry, instead of receiving high praise from people for reporting on issues that matter most to them and myself, I will be met with bodily injury and/or even death by fear-mongering politicians and their supporters.

I commend your courage for continuing to hold Trump accountable for his gross misconduct during his six months in office. Your bravery in the face of political adversity gives me hope that someday I’ll be able to perform my job without the risk of cruel and unusual punishment from any government official. I can’t imagine myself living in a country where journalism is no longer a job opportunity for people who want to enter that field, so thank you for all you’re doing to keep that dream and freedom alive. I didn’t want to study journalism before I set foot in college, but now I don’t want to change that path for anything or anyone, especially the man who doesn’t deserve to stay in the White House. I refuse to let Trump make me feel as if everything I’m working for is at risk.
Sincerely,

Cristina Alexander

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Driven to Anxiety

Driven to Anxiety

I thought I would be happy to get back into the groove of academic life after my eight-month break from school, but unfortunately I’ve transferred to Florida Atlantic University in worse emotional shape than when I left Broward College with my AA degree in hand. Why? Although I’ve become more socially engaged, my anxiety has somehow managed to come back to ruin me–not just in mind, but in body and soul as well. For over two months, I’ve had heart palpitations, headaches, upset stomach, muscular spasms, and more recently pins and needles. I can still function just fine, but my body would still be in optimal condition if not for the following issues looming over my head.

  1. My incomplete novel
    • I’m just one hair strand close to done with writing my first novel, but I just needed some inspiration from Law & Order: SVU to finish the last chapter or two. I promised myself I would finish the book by the time I got back to school, but it seems I kind of let myself down. If I had signed my soul over to a publisher, then I would’ve had it finished, edited if need be, and placed it on  the shelves of Barnes & Noble a lot faster.
  2.  Driving
    • On Friday, September 9th, I passed my driving test and acquired my driver’s license. While I am grateful that I worked so hard to get the ultimate ticket to social freedom, I should’ve done this a lot sooner. Right now, I’m driving to and from school with my mom in her mini-van, and so far I’m doing remarkably well. My parents got me a new car on Halloween, but I have to put off driving it by myself for a few days.
  3. The possibility of someone ending my new relationship
    • Kristoff is just the most amazing man to ever come into my life. He’s smart, funny, affectionate–and he was in my church’s youth group back in high school (even though I don’t remember talking to him much). Unfortunately, someone on Facebook wasn’t too happy about the fact that I found love during the summer and he didn’t. That someone was my college acquaintance, who I’ll call Juan. About a week into the Olympics, Juan messaged me on Facebook asking me what I did this past summer. My answer was very simple–“I went to Vegas, went to SuperCon, and I found love.” The last part pissed Juan off to the point where he bitched at me for spending so much of my time with Kristoff and not him, to which I responded, “He’s a good guy! I even practiced some of my driving with him!” (Okay, I probably didn’t type that last sentence, even though it was true. Either way, that conversation has been long since deleted.) Juan got pissed off even more, saying that I sat our friendship on the sidelines as was the case with all of his other friends when they got into relationships. I decided he went too far, so I blocked him immediately. A few weeks later, I talked to Juan over the phone and told him that me having a new boyfriend doesn’t give him the right to yell at me. I assured him that he’ll find somebody to share his life with someday, but he has to do some growing up first. Juan apologized, and I never spoke to him again since. What Kristoff and I have is beautiful, but I’m scared that someone will do something that will bring our relationship to a screeching end.
  4. School
    • Attending university may cost a lot of money–and thank God for financial aid–but it shouldn’t have to cost me my mental health. In Broward College, I was able to focus in class and complete my assignments without any issues. Now at Florida Atlantic University, because I’m now a junior, the workload has become a little unbearable, especially because I’m taking one class that’s not exactly required for my major. On top of that, the majority of the journalism classes I need to take are held at the main campus 45 minutes from home, and my mom isn’t exactly ready for me to attend classes at that campus next semester, which means I will be forced to take two classes next semester and two classes during the summer (if my financial aid will even cover that), or I’ll have to take two online classes (which I don’t want to do, not after what happened with Intro to Ethics). If my brother is able to go to a medical school far from home, why can’t I attend a campus that has all the classes I need for my major? This brings me to my final point.
  5. Double standards
    • This practice is highly prevalent in Hispanic families: sons have more social rights, whereas daughters need to be overprotected regardless of their maturity level. Even though I’m autistic, I’m quite mature for my age, yet my mother insists that I shouldn’t participate in the some of the same activities as my brother based on the simple fact that I’m a girl.
      • My brother can go on trips to Orlando, New York, Vegas, and pretty much all the other 50 states with his friends and his girlfriend; I can only do so with my family.
      • He can work while he’s in school (although he’s unemployed now because most schools forbid Master’s students to hold a job); I cannot.
      • He can go sleep over at his girlfriend’s house if he so chooses; I cannot do the same with my boyfriend, even though his apartment has a guest room available.

These problems have been causing me great anxiety for over two months already, and I’m afraid I won’t relax until I take care of most of these issues. Why anxiety chooses to afflict the smartest people on the planet, especially autistic people, is something I cannot fathom. It’s a bitch, but I have to fight it so I can be fully happy again.

Tight Deadlines and Cosplay Blues

Tight Deadlines and Cosplay Blues

School has made me feel like I lost total control of everything in my life, including sleep. My professor for Intro to Ethics has made the deadlines for assignments, quizzes, and discussion posts extremely tight, giving me the impression that I have little time to get the work from my other classes done, especially Geology since it’s one of those Science credits (my last one) that I CANNOT afford to fail. I’ve taken three online classes in the past two years I’ve been at Broward College–Intro to Short Story, Total Wellness, and Creative Writing–and the professors sitting in front of the computer for those classes never gave me a hard time with tight deadlines for every assignment they wrote. Here’s what the assignment schedule for Intro to Ethics looks like.

Tight Deadlines for Ethics

If you pay close attention, the written assignments and quizzes are due every week. Since there is a discussion post to make every two modules (there are 6 discussions out of the 12 units), those are due every two weeks if not more.

Meanwhile, I have to do pretty much the same thing for my Intro to Mass Communications, only the professor doesn’t grade the discussion posts until everybody in the class has made a contribution to the discussion board. Also, I have to write an essay about what TV shows I watch–which you guys already know by now–and how I access them based on the chapter in the Mass Communications textbook on television. It’s not necessarily an academic essay because there’s no research involved, but rather an opinion/analytical paper. That’s due October 7th, if not sooner.

For Journalism, I have to write an article about a cultural arts event I went to by October 12th. It happened last Wednesday, and I managed to stick around long enough to interview the person in charge of the event, the artists showcasing their work, and the people attending the event because it was held around the same time as the Journalism class, which my professor had to cancel that day due to some obligation.

Geology… I just took the first exam on Thursday, and I found out via D2L that I got a 95%, which was very impressive because I never achieved that feat in my first exams for College Algebra, Statistics, and Biology. What’s stupid is that professor gave a 10-question assignment on plate tectonics two days before the exam that was to be due by midnight Tuesday. I spent a couple days grueling over finding the answers on the websites he provided in the assignment description, and I submitted it Sunday night, so I hope to God I did well on that.

To put this situation simply–and please excuse my French–I am fucking overloaded.

❤❤❤❤

Since Halloween is around the corner, I decided to cosplay the female version of Sora from Kingdom Hearts II this year. I Googled “female sora cosplay” for examples of people who attempted this cosplay, and half of the models were exemplary while the other half were just abysmal (I know cosplay is supposed to be fun and not competitive, but still). Then I came across this drawing.

image

I thought it was perfect. The only problem now is finding the materials to match up to drawing. I already have the crown necklace, black faux-leather fingerless gloves, and black shorts, so that’s a start. Everything else is gonna be a mission.

Last week, Jack and I scavenged all over the mall for a black cropped hoodie only to find it in the one store we least expected: Justice, a tween girls’ store. I tried on one of the hoodies in a size 10/12, and it was a perfect fit. It was surprising to see that some of the clothes that are manufactured pre-teenage girls still fit me at age 21. Unfortunately, I have to wait for another time to buy the cropped hoodie. Hopefully they’re not sold out by the time Halloween comes around.

On Saturday, I went to Party City with my mom and bought yellow suspenders to modify them into straps for my upper thighs and hips. The real problem was finding the red fabric to sew onto my blue tank top, which comprised of 94 percent cotton and 6 percent spandex. I found that red fabric in the form of a catsuit, but my mom got beleaguered by the idea of me cutting even a sliver of the catsuit just for the sake of my cosplay, even though that was one of the many ways to go about it.

I want my female Sora cosplay to look adequate, but simultaneously I don’t want it to come out like crap. How am I supposed to use my imagination for this creative endeavor if there are people and things–my mother and the increasing demands of my college professors–restricting it? I’m just gonna have to do the best with what I have and the time I have left before Halloween–one month.

#CollegeProblems: Workload Anxiety

#CollegeProblems: Workload Anxiety

My first two years of college weren’t a very big deal, except for the part where I had to take two math courses–College Algebra and Statistics–the first year because I thought I had to take only ONE math class based on my Mass Communications major. I’m now in my third year of college, and although two weeks have passed since school started I’m already overwhelmed by Geology, Intro to Ethics, Intro to Mass Communications, and Journalism–especially the first two classes because they’re making my acne worse.

Geology is yet another Gen. Ed. Science requirement slapped onto me by the Gordon Rule, which dictates that I have to take two English courses (not a problem because I love writing anyways), two Math courses (didn’t like it, but I passed them with a B), and two Science courses (I took Biology last year, and I passed that and the lab with an A-minus). I don’t need the lab with Geology, but I’m still worried about the pressure the class itself is giving me. First, the professor talks through the PowerPoint slides a little too fast for me to write down the notes, so I had to print them from D2L–six slides per sheet. Not only that, but the test would be given on either the fourth week or the fifth week of class. The professor said it’s highly likely he will give the test on the fourth week. “[The test] is coming up fast,” he says. I know that the first three chapters are on the exam and that there is a study guide for it online, but I still feel it’s a lot to study for.

What can I say about Intro to Ethics? I like it so far because it’s a branch of philosophy revolving around the standards of every facet of society–the workforce, home life, education, even relationships. The only problem is that it’s a fully online course, and the professor teaching Intro to Ethics expects more from his online students than those taking his class on campus. His quizzes are comprised mostly of True/False questions, and you have to take really good notes from the online textbook in order to fully understand what those problems ask you. On the first two quizzes I got a 90% and a 75%. I got ten more quizzes to go and a proctored final exam that I may have to take at a campus that I don’t go to. As for the assignments–oh, my God. Each assignment has 15 questions pertaining to the chapters on which they’re based. The answers have to be written in our own words, citing where appropriate. I have no problem with writing stuff from my own thoughts once I have understood the material, but I saw no point in citing an answer that I wrote in my own words. I emailed the professor about this discrepancy, and he said that if the answer is written in my own words alone, then no citation is needed. If I have to quote something, then a citation is needed. Of course, for the first assignment I answered everything in my own words and turned it in two days ago. It’s due today, and the professor hasn’t even graded it yet because he only grades it within five working days after the due date. That further builds up the suspense, my anxiety. I hope to God I did fine on that assignment.

I’ve been off of the anti-anxiety medication Prozac for four months, and I hope this semester doesn’t force me to ask my doctor to take it again.