Author Archive

The Narrows Weekly

Posted: April 25, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in Uncategorized

I’m not sure if St. John’s has ever looked as beautiful as it did the first time I saw from the ocean sailing in through the narrows. At the time of evening when the setting sun casts a glow across the entire city, the view is enough to take anyone’s breath away. Every time I get the opportunity to catch a glimpse, I always think of what it must have looked like in 1497 when John Cabot sailed his ship The Matthew through the narrows of St. John’s harbour.

View of old St. John's and the harbour

Like the ‘Ode to Newfoundland’ says, I imagine sun shining on pine-clad hills. I imagine the looks on the faces of the men aboard the ship when they dipped baskets into the sea and pull them up full of fish. Newfoundland was the land of plenty – until it wasn’t. After its discovery, Europeans flocked to the shores of the Avalon Peninsula to start a new life on new land. But, slowly resources began to disappear leaving many Newfoundlanders facing hardship.

Downtown St. John's

The Oldest City in North America is a lot different now than it was then, but St. John’s has still managed to keep a tight hold on her roots. The predominantly English and Irish cultures have remained in-tact and are still visible when you stroll down the old streets in the City of Legends.

The past decade has brought a new vitality to St. John’s. A Large portion of the younger generations that went away for post-secondary studies, have come home to start businesses and projects in the city.  St. John’s also attracts many young people from across the country, and the world, to come study in the province.  Memorial University of Newfoundland is the largest (and cheapest) university in Atlantic Canada and offers degrees in more than 100 programs. (more…)

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Stay Calm.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #10 State of the Media

The State of the media never once crossed my mind when I was getting ready to move to New Brunswick for university. I wanted to be a journalist and that was that. When I got here, all of a sudden I was surrounded by several “state of the media” discussions and I was left thinking I was headed for a career in a dying industry.

Luckily, I was wrong. It’s true that the media landscape is changing, but not necessarily for the worst.  The last few years have been particularly hard on the industry but as shown in the Pew Research Centre’s Project for Excellence in Journalism report, things are slowly on the up and up.

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Double Disasters strike Japan

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #9 Japan

When the calibre of disaster reaches that of Japan’s March 11th 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the only word that comes to mind is devastation. Mind you, I’m saying this as a detached westerner. While I have great empathy for the people who were faced with such tragedy, all I have are words. There is no way I could ever know what they feel unless I too were put in such a situation.

Unfortunately with disasters as complex as this one, it’s hard to make the public understand the background to the story – especially when things get complicated, and this disaster got complicated in a hurry.

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Julian Assange knows what you did…and so do I.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #8 Wikileaks

As soon as I knew Wikileaks existed, it made me question certain aspects of journalism. Is it okay to widely publish information from anonymous sources? Or, how about publishing “secret” documents submitted by whistleblowers? Are these things covered by the journalistic requirement to inform based on what’s necessary and important to the public’s well-being?

I view Wikileaks as sort of a grey area in journalistic ethics. While personally I believe a platform like Wikileaks’ is important to maintain a certain level of transparency in government and society, I can see the ethical problems involved and they have me undecided. I guess like many things it could be circumstantial – these ethical problems could limit the publication of some documents based on the issues surrounding the acquirement of the information.

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It’s called Eth-ics.

Posted: April 20, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #7 Ethics

The media landscape now, compared to how it was the “good old days”, is very different.  I wasn’t even alive in the good old days, and I can see it the change that’s taken place. I grew up in the transition zone — where everything slowly became digital until what’s left is the vast expanse that is the internet. It’s overflowing with information — both correct and incorrect — and journalists are now faced with having to explore and make sense of online media.

Social media tools like Twitter create problems for journalists and news organizations alike.  The demand for news now has placed the requirement on journalists to be fast. And not just fast, but correct. To me, this hardly makes any sense. How can anyone expect to increase the speed without making the accuracy of the content suffer? At some point in time, mistakes will be made.

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…you mean it’s free?

Posted: March 19, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #5 Not for Profit

One morning every week, usually a Wednesday, I get up and while I’m getting ready for the day I have the sweet sound of Ira Glass’ voice coming through my headphones.

This American Life is hands down one of my favourite podcasts and I wouldn’t have the same kind of access to it if it wasn’t for NPR’s not for profit business model. I would consider NPR to be one of the most successful not-for-profit media organizations out there and to have achieved that definitely deserves a high-five at the very least.

NPR relies on the donations of their members to keep operating. They’re known for producing high quality content, and the fact that they’re able to do this without charging their members a dime goes to show that when people really like something, they’re willing to pay for it. (more…)

Twitter

Posted: March 15, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #6 Twitter

It’s been just over a month now since I signed up for Twitter.

I have tweeted four times… That’s nothing compared to some folks. I have to admit that I really don’t know how to use Twitter properly and who knows if I’ll ever learn. I’m sure it can be a handy tool, especially for a journalist in the 21st century, I just don’t think I care enough. With that said, I have consumed all kinds of breaking news on the site so I guess that makes me a Twitter bystander — just watching it all happen without really taking part. (more…)

Gordon Lightfoot died?!

Posted: February 27, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in Uncategorized

At a glance, no one would have ever assumed that what happened in Egypt had anything to do with Facebook. Why would they? Thousands of people protesting against their government in North Africa hardly has anything to do with social media, right?

Wrong. Bob Dylan hit the proverbial nail on the head when he said the times are a’changin, but I doubt he could have predicted this one.  (more…)

ProPublica’s Brain Wars

Posted: February 14, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #3 Propublica

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. A bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

ProPublica, with the help of NPR, took a look at how so many soldiers coming back from the conflicts in the middle east (specifically Iraq and Afghanistan) are slipping through the cracks in the medical system.

When soldiers are involved in roadside bombs or the detonation of  improvised explosive devices (IED’s), the injuries are not always visible. Unlike those who lose arms or legs in these types of traumatic incidents, the ones who suffer from brain injuries more often than not become the soldiers who get left behind.

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Leanne Osmond’s Media Diary

Posted: January 19, 2011 by Leanne Osmond in #1 Media Diary

Tuesday, January 18, 2011.

As is the case in any other Tuesday, my cellphone alarm clock abruptly wakes me up at 8:40 a.m. Surprisingly, I am one of those university students who actually doesn’t hit the snooze button. Instead, like ripping off a band-aid — if you can pardon the cliché — I just get up and run to the shower. Run, as opposed to walking like a normal person, because one of the many things my home seems to be lacking is insulation which makes it feel more like being outside than in.

By 9:00 I’m in the kitchen making tea and trying to figure out what to have for breakfast, if anything. The sound of the CBC news network fills my tiny apartment and I listen to “today’s top stories”.  After deciding on just having a banana for breakfast, turn my television off and head into my room to get ready for the day. I quickly realized that I hadn’t gotten around to listening to the latest This American Life podcast and turned it on. Being a podcast junkie of sorts, they have become the soundtracks to most of my mornings.

I quickly check my email before catching the 9:40 bus to the CBC for my TV class. There, I log into facebook to get the link to a Communications NB media release so I can print it off and refer to it during the morning’s story meeting. Unfortunately not only was the story I intended to do with my partner taken, but so was our backup. Right away the computer became my best friend. At one point I had about 8 tabs opened at once all from various sites, including  www.cbc.ca, http://www.dailygleaner.canadaeast.com, as well as the Fredericton kijiji page.

After class and a lunch date with a sizable chunk of my TV class, I walked home listening to the last half of Sunday’s This American Life episode. Like most of them, this one is pretty interesting. It’s called “Kid Politics” and explores situations in which kids of different ages are given some form of political power, mock and real. The fascinating thing is they seem to make better political decisions than adults.

I don’t have class again until 5:30, so to fill the time my laptop and I make ourselves comfy in bed because it is undoubtedly the warmest place to be. when my homepage (www.msn.ca) opens I see a link to the lastest msnbc video featuring Sarah Palin defending her ‘Blood Libel’ comment. She states “they’re not going to shut me up” but after making it pretty clear she had no idea what the historical reference of the term was, I feel that she should let “them” shut her up.

I check and answer a handful of emails while simultaneously talking to a few friends from home on facebook chat. I check http://www.theglobeandmail.com as well as the website for my home paper, The Telegram, http://www.thetelegram.com. I then turn to the best boredom-busting tool I know of: StumbleUpon. It takes me to a bunch of interesting sites, however the best was arguably the five scientific ways a zombie apocalypse could actually happen posted on cracked.com. (http://www.cracked.com/article_15643_5-scientific-reasons-zombie-apocalypse-could-actually-happen.html ).

I manage to make myself get out of my cocoon of blankets to make some supper before class. Again, the sounds of the CBC news network fill my apartment. This time I only listen half-heartedly — I feel as though my mother would be a little ticked off if I called her just so she could listen to me listening to the news.

After my class, I walk home listening to another podcast on my iPod, this time its a Stuff You Should Know podcast entitled “How Ghost Prisons Work”. Definitely and eye-opener — I mean, sure the CIA is shady but I’m pretty sure the idea of ghost prisons goes against a lot of what the United States claims to stand for.

Once the podcast is over, I bundle myself up yet again and read some more of The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. So far, its phenomenal and it keeps me away from my facebook habit. After a while I turn on my laptop again to begin to write this entry, while I listen to 97.9 CHSR fm and talk to my best friend back home in Newofundland.

Throughout the day I have surprisingly only sent 17 text messages. I made two phone calls — one to my mother and one to a possible interviewee, and I visited more websites than I care to keep track of. I feel this day was a lot less digital than most.