The Los Angeles city attorney is moving forward with plans to establish a gang injunction in Echo Park despite opposition from some neighborhood organizations and residents. The injunction, which is expected to get a judge’s approval in October, would restrict more than 300 alleged gang members from associating in public, intimidating residents, possessing firearms and … Continue reading
Category Archives: JOURNALISM
[Blog] Jose Antonio Vargas at USC: Journalism, Immigration + 11 Million More Stories
When writer Jose Antonio Vargas spoke recently at USC, we learned that his struggles as an undocumented immigrant fueled his career in journalism. “If I can’t be here because I don’t have the right papers, what if I’m on the paper?” he had thought as a high schooler. “How can they say I don’t exist?” For Vargas, writing became a way to prove his existence in America, documents be damned. And more important, it motivated him to “succeed my way into citizenship.” Citizenship continues to elude him, though. To push for change, he shares his story around the United States with groups from college students to Tea Party members. Continue reading
[USC] Miss Chiquita Banana: Here to Stay, for Better or Worse
Imagine a packed movie theater in 1950. An audience awaits Hollywood’s latest picture — but first, the commercials. An animated steamboat appears on the screen, chugging along to cheerful music. Then a beautiful woman alights. Or rather, a banana. She is “Miss Chiquita” representing prominent fruit company Chiquita Banana. By 1950, the filmgoers know her … Continue reading
[Blog] Quote of the Day: “The life of the journalist…” from Cold Comfort Farm
In the novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932), British writer Stella Gibbons spins a tale of doom, dreams, families, and farmland. Not a morose tale, though. It’s irreverent and sometimes wacky — a parody of somber authors who have written grandiose tomes of bucolic life. (Think Thomas Hardy and Tess of the D’urbervilles or worse, Jude the Obscure.)
In the Foreward, Gibbons addresses a letter to a certain “Anthony Pookworthy,” supposedly an esteemed novelist who chronicles “spiritual struggles, staged in the wild setting of mere, berg, or fen.” Right. In the note, Gibbons reflects on her own writing career, making a hilarious jab at both journalistic and literary writing styles… Continue reading
[USC] Press Freedom for Israel?
When I wrote this essay for a USC journalism class in October, there was no obvious sign that tensions between Israel and Palestine would soon flare up in the Gaza Strip once again. But then in mid-November Palestinians began lobbing rockets over the border. A decades-old conflict over territory and homeland picked up where it had last left off. Israel responded with air raids, and casualties resulted on both sides. U.S. media pounced on the story, filling front pages, radio reports, and TV shows. No doubt coverage in Israel and the Middle East was just as robust. But was it free of government influence and other constraints? Israel treats press freedom differently from the U.S., as my paper aims to explain. Times of war are especially sensitive. Israel and Palestine may have agreed on a cease-fire, but Israel’s political situation is still unstable. Israeli citizens — and the world — will need an active press to keep us informed about what is happening, and what we might expect next. Continue reading
[USC] Freedom of the…What?
The First Amendment’s Press Clause may seem simple and straightforward at first glance: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom… of the press.” It guarantees that any material, even government critiques, can be published — no interference, punishment or censorship allowed. Thomas Jefferson’s oft-quoted declaration that “newspapers without a government” would be preferable to “a government without newspapers” supports this idea. The press should have not only the ability but also the constitutional right to hold government accountable. Yet various changes in the modern journalism industry threaten the press as a protected institution… Continue reading
[Blog] Newspapers: Nothing Left to Lose
Should newspapers erect pay walls and charge users for content, or offer it all for free? That was the question posed in my UCLA Extension “New Media Reporting” class. My response follows. We cannot turn back the clock. There is no way to slow the inevitable — and rapid! — erosion of the traditional newspaper … Continue reading
[Blog] Want a Successful Food Blog? (+ Video)
Make sure you use colorful, captivating photos. Write with your own voice — the funnier the better, but don’t aim for wit at the expense of clarity. And put a unique spin on the news, especially if it’s been floating around the Blogosphere and Twitterverse for a week or more. (Like a hot restaurant opening. Happened … Continue reading
[Blog] Jonah Lehrer Fabricates Quotes; Commentary Commences
Jonah Lehrer, a 31-year-old science journalist and three-time author, has conceded to fabricating several quotes in his latest book, Imagine: How Creativity Works. Yikes! Lehrer gave a talk at Occidental College a year ago, and some of us students were blown away by how smart and scrupulous he seemed. Later in “Popular Science Writing” class, … Continue reading
[Blog] Observing L.A. Observed: 10 Years and Counting?
First thing each morning, I read the L.A. Times. (Yes, the actual paper. More on that another time.) First thing when I get to my computer, I check my email and read the latest from L.A. Observed. Among the dozens of e-newsletters landing in my inbox daily, L.A. Observed is the only one I’ve opened almost every … Continue reading