the end…or just the beginning?

“The time has come,” the walrus said, “to speak of many things.”

Don’t know where I was going with that, but I always wanted to say it! The end though, has come and gone. Classes are over, the grades are all submitted and some (many?) have already started to enjoy life without worrying about assignments.

Myself, I’m just wrapping things up, which is why I am posting this message. I was pretty happy with how our venture into social media went, and I hope all of you will make the effort to try to stay connected. I believe it will be a very large part of how we exchange information in the future, and those that are the most comfortable with it will be able to move to the front of the line quickly.

So, what to do about our site? I don’t mind leaving it up, at least until it gets to the point where no one is using it, but if that point is now, I’d rather blow it up than let it die a slow death.

What think you? Let me know in the next week or so, and we will go from there.

In the meantime have a safe and happy summer and I look forward to seeing you all again in the fall. It has, so far, been a pleasure, and there is nothing to make me think that the best is yet to come.

PS  Anyone interested in helping out at orientation, please let me know. I’d like to try to integrate all our people as soon as possible (before they know what is happening, heh, heh, heh…)

If you’re in, send me your summer email and t-shirt size and I’ll sign you up.




The other half

Occasionally I watch television through the week, but most of the time I relax and unwind through entertaining YouTube videos or connect with friends on Facebook. Last weekend though I surfed the channels and on the discovery channel I came across a documentary about mental disorders, and the one featuring Sunday night was about split personality. Unlike most documentaries there was plenty of information, explaining why the brain is different physically and psychologically. One case followed a man’s life threatened by his mental disease, living an ordinary day to day life this individual worked as sales representative in New York city, but through the night his mind split into his “other half” with no recollection of any events that took place. Until the law was involved he didn’t realize he was becoming a vicious party animal, seeking out clubs and drug dealers. This in all cases was not anything like him, his colleagues describing him as a shy soft-spoken man who spent most of his time working and reading not socializing. As the disease progressed and his mind altered more often he was caught for money theft from a convenience store, frightening the store clerk with a knife. Arrested by an officer who happened to be in the grocer and within a few hours he was confused and lost, wondering why was he in a jail cell? The police not buying his story of no recall of what happened was sent to court and under actual examination found he was developing a severe case of split personality, which explained in the documentary can happen to a person at any time in their life through a genetic trait passed down through the mother, locked in the primal brain region until various reasons ranging from over stressing to life style activity can release and damage the chemistry balance in the frontal lobe. Two years later after his court order not to prison, but a temporarily mental institution under doctor prescriptions and advice, he walked away with a lot healthier state of mind and overall well-being. In many similar ways this story reminds me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde a scientist who is fair and a gentle person, but as we know his mind is taken over by a monster and in the end loses more than his research. The novel was written well over 150 years ago, but the message stays true…. human nature is divided by a sense of good and evil, conflicting with each other for eternity, but when the boundaries are no more we lose our sense of sanity.


call of the wild

The only place in the world where I feel stress just lift away as if a heavy blanket was suffocating my every thought and action, making me feel small and insignificant is the wilderness. This is where I truly sense a power of raw energy stored and finally being able to release it, and to be connected with life at its most primitive and basic level. “It’s more important to feel strong, than be strong in life”, a quote that always sums up my beliefs and values, and when it’s just you and nature, at least for me your surrounded by this feeling of bliss and peace. To be honest I was never much for the outdoors, rather staying inside sitting on a couch and spending endless hours on my computer a bag of chips in one hand, a bottle of Pepsi in the other, isn’t that a lovely picture? One afternoon after my sixteenth birthday I was switching through channels on my TV and I came across the outdoor network, and a show called “survivor man” was on. At first I wasn’t interested at all, but as the show progressed I became more intrigued and by the end of the show I fully wanted with all my heart to experience what les stroud the host of the show was involved in, camping, hiking, canoeing, hunting, and of course surviving. The only problem was my parents were not huge fans of nature and camping, even to this day there not too fond of activities which shaped the way I want to live my life, so with a little effort and searching I found a local air cadets branch where their main goal was camping and survival training. After almost a whole year of straining my 180 pound overweighted body, I reached my goal of 140 pounds through never-ending military styled drills and training, I was finally able to start being taught how to survive and live off the land in a forested area west of tamagami  park. For the first whole week we were divided into two groups with only the necessities to survive, tents, food rations, matches, and pots, the group that passed the test would go through the next stage of survival training, the group that failed would have to launch their flare into the sky to admit defeat for many reasons, fear, hunger, etc. Luckily our group had passed and moved onto the second stage where it was only a pair of two, with the same camping supplies without food rations. Let me tell you it is not as easy as it looks the feeling of always being busy to feed your hungry body is not a walk in the park, but by the end of the second week I adapted to this way of life, plants became easier to find and animals (rabbits, ruffed grouse, fish, snails) seemed to just jump into the pan. The day I was reborn as a new person was when the final third week passed by, I had just been placed in a location to survive the week by myself no one to rely on and I began to have a sense of feeling at home. The day was gorgeous, no over cast to hide the sunshine, and I was out setting snares for rabbits that were abundant in the area, leaning over one of the branches to set the steel snare across a path carved from the feet’s of hundreds of hares that crossed the trail every day, a sound of snapping twigs were behind me. Turning around I saw a deer staring directly into my eyes and for a moment my body felt paralyzed I never seen a deer so close before, I could see every pattern on the deer’s gleaming velvet coat and just as it was there for a second it was gone, vanishing back into the forest of whispering pine and birch trees. At that moment I realized where I belonged, not in a complex world of lifeless people, but in the untamed wilderness.


“The Men who stare at goats”

When you think of “super soldier” what comes to mind? For me I pictured Arnold Schwarzenegger dressed in a full-out commando suit, a killing machine with sweat dripping down his emotionless face marked with camouflaged war paint. Ready for anything. But as it turns out the American military’s intentions of designing super soldiers were quite different from my perception, focusing more with psychological strength and building rather than a muscular animal. During the 1960s when the Vietnam war was taking place, drafting thousands of young American men and Castro was at large and seen as threat by the united states for their relationship with Russia, a new regiment called black op and sas elite teams were created to eliminate and kill people or terrorist groups which threatened the united states and Canada. Missions which included assassinating Castro or the Russian president were among the few known outside the government and military. If we take a step 20 years later, in the 1980s there was a new training program created for the “super soldier”, the idea was designed by a general called Albert stubblebine, head of the army intelligence and the leading character in “the men who stare at goats” based upon the true story and events in the mid 80’s. His revolutionary new idea was to build a soldier that could withstand pain, torture, and the elements, but at the same time be a person with no conscious but only one motive to eliminate.  In interviews he admitted there was evidence that with training using the mind itself these super soldiers were able to explode the heart of a goat and have other extraordinary capabilities, but of course with such strict and secretive codes to follow the general public will never learn what the military’s purposes are for the new super soldier of the 21st century and will remain a mystery for now.

Time Spent in Western Society

It always amazes me how very little time we have in one day, if you’re a person such as my self where school, work, and sports keep your day from becoming  uneventful and quiet im sure you understand what i mean, hours become minutes, weeks turn into days .But I guess this is the norm for western Civilization, day to day lives are spent busy and when all is done, you just want to come home sit on the couch watch some t.v or read a book, than drift away into a sleep to start the whole entire process again. Sounds fun right ? Compared to most societies family and leisure comes first, of course if this was introduced in western society this would break apart the system that has formed our basic structure we know of today,  there definitely would not be as much progress, construction and development.  Why is this a wrong thing though ? If you really see the entire picture what good developments or progress has western civilization, not naming any countries (united states) created for the planet and life.  To be honest, I cant see any negative effect from this way of thinking and structuring society, from my point of view life would be simpler and certainly a lot easier.In the end is the western world really progressing or just causing issues that are becoming more challenging to fix ?


Discussing the relationship between citizen journalists and professionals

This is posted on the web site. Nice place to visit if you’re looking to learn a bit about Journalism!

Feb 23, 2012 – Posted by Belinda Alzner

What should the relationship be between “citizen journalism” and traditional journalistic professionalism?

As a question often asked, this was the topic of a panel at a UNESCO conference last week, as Hannah Vinter reported

Vinter said some main points that were discussed included the need for professionals to rigorously fact-check information given to them by citizen journalists, but that collaboration between the two groups was key in achieving thorough news coverage. Vinter writes:

According to [head of Al Jazeera social media Riyaad] Minty, one way to ensure accurate information from citizen journalists is to build strong relationships with trusted sources. “Don’t wait until something’s trending on Twitter before you report it,” Minty advised. At Al Jazeera, he said, “getting in early and building these relationships is absolutely pivotal to what we’re done”.

Minty also stated that Al Jazeera also uses experts with the right language skills and local knowledge to verify citizen contributions. In the end, he said, only a small proportion of citizen journalism submissions are broadcast by Al Jazeera: of the 16,000 videos that came to the news organisation during 11 days of Egyptian revolution, less than 300 or 400 made it to TV screens.

Of course, the idea of citizen journalism and the debate around its role in the industry is nothing new. In 2008, David Silverberg wrote that citizen journalism goes as far back as 2004, when citizens with cameras captured the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. Silverberg also said that traditional news needed to embrace citizen journalism in order to make the most of the participatory elements of Web 2.0; Online news could no longer be passive, he said.

So, while some news organizations are making a conscious effort to engage users more often, the question inevitably is raised that asks if the era of participation and citizen journalism threatens the role of professionals? In an interview with Lisa Lynch for J-Source, Alfred Hermida, UBC professor and co-author of the book Participatory Journalism, talked about the relationship between citizen journalists and those who are professionally trained:

There’s long been this idea of the mythical citizen journalist, but it hasn’t turned into a reality. I think what’s happened instead is that we’ve seen that citizens can indeed perform acts of journalism, but in fact they’re doing a fragment of the actual work a journalist does. They might be taking a picture, they might be reporting on something happening in front of them, they might be sharing a link, they might be editing an entry in Wikipedia. But the idea that you’re going to have a mass public who are going to do what journalists do hasn’t really transpired except in very specific circumstances.

What do you think? Is collaboration the key to making the most out of the relationship between citizen journalists and those professionally trained?

Jill Hudson, 1964-2012

It is with sadness that I learned earlier today of the sudden death of Jill Hudson, one of the first graduates of our program. Jill passed away on Saturday, February 25th in the Kingston General Hospital.

Jill was a student in the first intake of Journalism students at St. Lawrence College, and as a result, helped me to learn what teaching is all about. From day one she was enthusiastic to the extreme. No one enjoyed what she did or treasured the career that lay ahead of her more than Jill.

As a student, Jill freelanced with the Glengarry News and after graduation moved on to work with the Prescott Journal and the St. Lawrence EMS paper. She became a blogger and a tweeter and still kept in touch with many of her former classmates as she worked at becoming an honest Journalist.

It is fair to say that Jill had a way of getting on people’s nerves from time-to-time, occasionally getting an idea in her head and refusing to let it go. She never entered or left a room quietly, but I can honestly say that no one ever worked harder than she did in trying to learn how to “get it right.”

What ever else you might say about Jill, you can say without reservation that being a Journalist really meant something to her, and I only wish that more people cared as much as she did. Sometimes that will carry you farther than anything else.

Her final deadline came, and Jill has moved on to her next great experience and I’m sure that she will embrace it with the wonder and joy of a child. Competitive by nature, Jill always wanted to “scoop” her classmates and be the first to find something new. It seems that once again, she has managed to do just that.

Rest in peace Jill, you did well.