Author Archive

Your HRM

Posted: April 20, 2011 by lukemuise in Uncategorized

Nestled together on the east coast of Nova Scotia lie the cities and communities which make up the Halifax Regional Municipality. Its a vast expanse of business parks, residential areas, downtown cores huddled neatly around Halifax harbour. For many visitors, it would be easy to think that the Halifax Regional Municipality was all one place, but really there are several communities that make up the HRM. The two largest are Halifax and Dartmouth, but there are also Sackville, Bedford, Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage and Eastern Shore.

The Halifax area has become known for its cultural diversity, rich history, opportunities for education, its unparalleled music scene, and its ability to organize top quality events like the World Hockey Championships in 2008, or more recently The Canada Games. Aside from that, people can still find beautiful scenery in places like the Public Gardens, or if they’re feeling old school they can check out one of many historic sites around the city. Halifax is a city with a lot going on. From sports events at the Metro Centre, to plays and concerts at Neptune Theatre, to the annual Busker Festival on the boardwalk.

When you walk around its streets there is a palpable sense of a place that is trying  modernize itself while still being able to hold onto the the history that makes the city what it is. For every old, stone building there is a new, modern one beside it.

In a place with so much going on, the people need a way to be able to keep track of it all. Hopefully, using the tool I call “Your HRM”, people will be able to get the information, organization, and connectivity they need to make the Halifax area come alive for them.

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Japan – Muise

Posted: March 23, 2011 by lukemuise in #9 Japan

I’m not sure if I’m alone on this one or not, but I didn’t find out about the disaster in Japan through any kind of social media. I woke up, made coffee, and turned on the T.V. The disaster in Japan was dominating the airwaves, and I couldn’t look away. Of course, the internet was buzzing too; after watching the video news channels I decided it was high time to check out what the web was saying.

I was totally overwhelmed. Not by emotions, but by the sheer amount of information about the very recent disaster. There was so much I hardly knew where to start, but when I finally did I found it difficult to find any real consistent information. Such is the nature of disasters, it’s hard to say for sure how much death and damage actually occurred until weeks or months after, but a little consistency would have been appreciated at that point.

Then came the murmurs about the  potential for nuclear disaster. I went back to the Internet and had absolutely no idea what to think. Some places were saying that the Japanese people near the nuclear reactors were in imminent danger. Other places were saying it wasn’t a big deal, and some even said not to believe other sources because they were sensationalizing the danger. Ann Coulter even said on T.V that small amounts of radiation are good for you (I think that is a ridiculous statement, but I included it just to demonstrate the variance in reports).

It was only after a few days of reading internet reports that I finally saw something that was actually helpful. It was a video done by CNN that explained, in detail, the problem with the reactor. It even had an interview with one of the men who helped design the plant in question.

As far as coverage goes, the Internet had far more information than T.V news, but it was too varied. When I finally got some good information it came from a combination of the two, which works for me.

 

Checking Facts is Rather Important.

Posted: March 2, 2011 by lukemuise in #7 Ethics

Last year at the annual Dalton Camp Lecture, Sue Gardner, the executive director of Wikimedia, took to the stage to talk about the strange world of the new media. I was especially interested to hear how she would defend the use of Wikipedia as a credible source of information. When she inevitably got to that point in her lecture she started with a short anecdote which ended with her saying “yeah Wikipedia has mistakes, so does the New York Times, so does the BBC, so does CNN, so does the CBC.”

She went on to say that in the new media landscape everyone would get the credibility they deserved. People would separate the good from the bad on their own. She also hinted at a future change in the distinction of what really is credible; news organizations would no longer be the only trusted source of information.

She presented a decent case to defend Wikipedia’s credibility, making a point to emphasize how quickly they can eliminate false information from a page. But I wasn’t fully convinced. The problem with it is still (as we were always warned by teachers and professors) that Wikipedia users can edit the articles on the site, which makes it vulnerable to vandalism. No matter how fast Wikipedia’s editors can correct vandalized articles (believe me, it’s fast), they aren’t always fast enough to stop something like this from happening. For the time being at least, one way we can all determine an online news organization’s credibility is if their journalists check facts on Wikipedia. Don’t get me wrong, I check for plenty of things on Wikipedia, but I never use it to check facts for articles I’m writing. It’s not because I think Wikipedia has bad intentions, I actually think the opposite, it’s a huge collection of free information, which is great. I would just rather not get embarrassed by some internet troll who got bored and vandalized some comedian’s Wiki page.

 

ProPublica – Luke Muise

Posted: February 2, 2011 by lukemuise in #3 Propublica

Until yesterday, the U.S. had been very careful not to choose a side when it was addressing the current revolution in Egypt. They were walking a political tightrope – praising the egyptian people for standing up for themselves in a democratic way, but stopping way short of condemning the leader they were revolting against. I found it weird that a country that prides itself on being the first democratic nation would hesitate to give its support to a people eager to install democracy themselves. Of course, that’s not all there was to it: the U.S. and Egyptian governments have been scratching each other’s backs for years, and the U.S. was not about to turn theirs. Probably because they would rather Egypt not spill the beans about this.

It’s too late though, ProPublica was already all over it. Yep, turns out the U.S. had been sending suspected terrorists to places like Egypt, where torture and illegal detention are not out of the ordinary. This strategy backfired in a terrible way for the U.S.. One of the men they shipped off to Egypt, Ibn al-Shaikh al-Libi, was detained and tortured until he agreed to give the Egyptian Intelligence Service the information it wanted. To escape the torture (which included being put in a box no more than 2 feet square for 17 hours), he gave false information. That information was passed on to the U.S., where then Secretary of State Colin Powell used it in his speech to justify war with Iraq, and we all know what was never found there.

This is why investigative journalism is so important, people need to know that things like this happen. The people in charge do make mistakes, and they will try to hide them if they think they can do it. We can’t just let them do this though. People need to keep them accountable, and ProPublica is doing a fantastic job of it. Some people might say that they’re journalistic methods are harsh, but you know what else is harsh? Being stuffed in a 2 foot squared box for the majority of a day then getting beaten afterwards. As long as they are journalistically sound, which they appear to be, people shouldn’t have a problem trusting the information they get from the site.

Muise – Media Diary

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

Tuesday, January 17th

Today was a rather light media day for me; normally I spend more time on my computer during the course of a day. I suppose I was busy, and didn’t feel the need to be plugged in all day. Judging by my media timeline, I should probably start going to bed earlier.

9 am – Cell Phone Alarm – Snooze Button

9:05 – Cell Phone Alarm – Snooze Button

9:10 – Cell Phone Alarm – Snooze Button

9:15 – Cell Phone Alarm – Snooze Button

9:20 – Cell Phone Alarm – Snooze Button

9:25 – Cell Phone Alarm – Get out of bed

9:45 – Ipod on the bus/Read news on cell phone

10:00 – Communications Class – Watched several youtube videos on the class screen

11:20 – 11:25 – Text conversation

11:55 – Read more news on the bus

12:15 – 12:30 pm – Check email and Facebook

1:00 – 3:00 – Xbox Live

3:00 – 3:20 – T.V – CBC News

8:45 – 11:00 – Movie: The King’s Speech

12:00 – 1:00 – T.V – Comedy Network