Tag Archives: News.

More than a Statistic; Surviving as a minority during the pandemic

By Taylor Howard 

A little over a month after President Trump announced the national “shelter-in-place”, an order that all residents must stay home, US coronavirus cases have surpassed 1 million and the death toll continues to rise. 

Though deaths rates are the highest in the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, it was recently discovered that minority communities are disproportionately affected by the virus.

Five articles and media outlets covered their reasoning and perspective on the increase in cases within minority groups. 

While CNN, CBS and British Broadcasting Corporation are news organizations, YouTube and Twitter are web applications that connect people around the world through dialogue through visuals or through text. 

CNN is an American news based television network and it is owned by the following: CNN worldwide, a unit of WarnerMedia, a division of AT&T’s WarnerMedia. Since its founding in 1980 by Ted Turner, it has turned into a 24-hour cable channel and has over 91 million television household subscribers. 

The worldwide streaming broadcast station, CBS News has been on television since its founding in 1927 by William S. Paley and Arthur Judson in New York. CBS broadcasting is a news division of American television and radio service. Though not 24 hours on television, They now operate as a 24-hour digital news network and have over 4 million subscribers. 

Localizing things a bit, the British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service in Westminster, London. Known as the oldest national broadcaster since its founding in 1922, As it is owned by the public and covers over 14 channels.

YouTube is an American online video-sharing platform. Founded in 2005 by Jawed Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley in San Bruno, California, the platform is one of Google’s biggest subsidiaries and brings in over $1.6 billion each year. It houses many news corporations and has over 1.3 billion users. 

Launched in 2006 by several men including Evan Williams and Noah Glass, Twitter is an American blogging and social networking service. As Twitter averages 1.6 billion search queries a day, and holds over 330 million users.

On April 7, 2020, President Trump admitted the racial disparity at the task force briefing, but unsure of what the cause is.

“Why is it three or four times more so for the black community as opposed to other people?” Trump said. “It doesn’t make sense, and I don’t like it…”    

Trump may be unsure on how to solve the issue, but CNN as well as the local station CBS News mentioned that inequity in minority communities make the citizens more vulnerable to COVID-19.  

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said the death toll for Black Chicagoans was seven times higher than other groups. 

“The numbers take your breath away,” she said. “The distribution of this disease tells a story about resources and inequality.” 

CBS News mentioned the lack of healthcare and under reporting among minority residents in Chicago. However CNN reported ways the disparity gap is affecting minorities around the country, especially African Americans. 

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said this conversation is long overdue. 

“My office has been talking about the need for people to understand when they are at risk and when to intervene,” he said. 

The video proceeded with Adams listing several factors such as low socioeconomic status, overcrowding of cities and generational health issues like diabetes. 

Though CBS was more specific to Chicago in its initial article, both news organizations used numerical data to educate the public on how the fast- spreading disease through video and graphics. 

(From Left) This graph shows the percentages of population in its comparison to death rate in several US states. The other graph shows the case rates of coronavirus by race. 

Whether it was local or national news, the focus of the articles was to address the gaps in healthcare and statistical data, as well as credibility in their choice of sources. 

Race is still a factor in this newsroom, however BBC took a slightly different approach addressing the disparities. Their article focused on specific examples, rather than just explaining race. 

The article is loaded with many factors pertaining to the coronavirus, which includes income inequality, occupational factors, housing differences and more. Among the several factors listed, food insecurity and massive layoff was mentioned as a potential factor in obtaining health problems, due to lack of nutrition. 

New York resident Cherlora Williamson is a byproduct of this effect. 

Williamson has been put on furlough and is seeking to apply for unemployment. 

“Instead of making 3 thousand dollars a month, I will only be making $600/month,” she said. “That’s basically being unemployed because my rent, utilities are 900/month.” 

The holistic perspective of the BBC article is similar to the CNN article, as they both highlighted issues in America. BCC took it one step further, by highlighting global inequality. 

As the news outlet highlighted inequality, the article also breaks down racial concepts like environmental injustices and racial biases.  

Not mentioned in the previous articles aforementioned is mentioning cultural factors. BBC reporter shared how biases can discourage minority groups from wearing masks  in fear of “ being seen as a criminal or dangerous, rather than as simply protecting their own health.

Senior in Education Ty’Kira Dubose said that masks may be seen as demeaning  to most. 

“In terms of pretty much post- 9/11, I think that for all minority students, specifically of the Islamic nationality,” she said. “I think that has then triggered other minority groups to fear what happens or being judged by having their face covered.” 

BBC did not use graphics or videos, however, they used photojournalism and quotations to convey their message in informing the public. Rather than reporting on facts, this article used a more emotional perspective. 

The similarities among the news organizations are challenged to remain objective, while Twitter users are challenged to exercise their freedom of speech. 

With exercising freedom, comes with conflicting viewpoints. One Twitter account stated their opinion that constates the articles used. 

The user said in a Tweet, “Corona is not a racist disease stop. people are getting it because they’re being stupid and going out and touching…”.  This form of social media has become a direct source of news outlets. The strategy behind posting such tweets is to provide immediate response and can subconsciously skew the way people perceive specific issues. 

A person’s opinion holds validity in which the platform they serve and what Twitter and YouTube have in common is the control users have to post, with no limitations. Used by many news outlets, the video platform captures an array of topics. 

It might be questioned on whether or not a disease can, or cannot be racist, but on ABC’s YouTube, Dr. Fauci said that disparities cannot be overlooked after the coronavirus. 

“We are very concerned about that and it’s very sad, but there is nothing we can do about it right now, except to give them the best possible care with its complications.”

ABC posting the task force briefing is another way to reach large masses of people. Because YouTube is the largest video hosting website, the wanting to publish on the channel has increased due to the phenomenon of visual journalism. 

The emphasis on racial disparities is fairly newer information in the media, however, each platform continued to seek additional solutions. 

Circling back to news outlets CNN and CBS, both platforms have utilized video reporting instead. Both produced packages, however, their target audiences have both expanded. 

In the beginning of April when both of the articles were initially published, CNN provided national coverage regarding minority groups and CBS covered local news. However, in the recent articles published, CNN extended their target audience to global news and CBS extended their audiences to national coverage. 

The tone of the articles has taken two different approaches-  the UK minority coverage is updating the increase of minority deaths are causing citizens to make coffins, while the U.S. minority population is getting the virus at a rapid rate, testing sites are being prioritized for communities, like New York. 

“So in Brooklyn alone there are 2.5 million people. So once again, I think they are trying to do their best to provide testing centers close to or in each neighborhood, but I feel like it’s unrealistic. “

Less than 24 hours after its initial post, BBC did not sway from their ethos strategy and also posted a video. This time around, the news organization uploaded a package on YouTube and discussed the healthcare workers who had died. Since the initial article published on April 21, BBC has reached more audiences outside of their website through video outlets and social media outlets. 

Speaking of social media outlets, Twitter audiences continued to voice their opinion regarding the impact on minorities. Whether or not users agree, the application provides an outlet for people to say what they want to say. BBC is an example of how tweets incite opinion. 

Lastly, YouTube has been partnering with various news outlets and has provided NBC, Global News and more. The number of views for packages and briefings have remained consistent throughout the last month. 

  Pew Research has proven that social media has surpassed print newspapers as a source for American. As one-in-five U.S. adults said that they often use social media to retrieve their news over print, consumers can have all the information they need with a touch of an app, and with limited text. 

With nearly 2.4 billion internet users, 64.5 percent utilize Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other non traditional media outlets. It is shown that despite initial publications on such topics as minority issues during a pandemic, news outlets are aware that visualization grabs people’s attention quickly.

The phenomenon of visual journalism has been prevalent within the 21st century and has increasingly become more popular. With the absence of video, photos, or audio journalism, the story will lack in the quality of coverage of the effects of an issue such as this. 

Using microblogging websites and YouTube with open commentary allows news to be reshared, but has outlets for people to engage and express their opinions as well. It provides a diversity and point of view that objective news outlets cannot provide. 

Senior in the College of Media, Coltrane Zerai-Che agrees that having a platform to voice her opinions has heightened her interest with worldly issues. 

“A lot of times when opinions are based, people want facts to back them up and people are looking for credible and reliable resources and oftentimes a place where you can get those reliable resources are through the news .” 

There is power in respected media outlets and informing the public, but influence in citizen journalism and the freedom of opinion is a privilege Americans have. The mass media plays a crucial role in the millennial generation and by providing a public space for that, it allows one to express themselves, as well as encompass large numbers of people worldwide as well. 

The coronavirus still does not have a cure, but public officials and healthcare/ frontline workers are working to flatten the curve. Despite the differences of the platforms, one thing that remained consistent was the concern to address the disparities in the world. The media industry is only getting more creative in its way of storytelling and traditional networks are shifting with the culture. 

Statistics provide audiences the facts. Photos and Videos show audiences the reality. Social media gives audiences the ability to talk through issues and seek change in communities in which they live. Visual journalism allows audiences the most authentic story. 

Zerai-Che said she believes as journalism increases its multimedia dynamics, it will convey more symbolism and emotion. 

“When I think about how a picture can capture a story, I think of the quote, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” she said , “Those images tell those stories through those words.”  

With these pictures and addressing racial polarization through these platforms, change can happen in the near future.

What to expect from the media during COVID-19

Photo by: Alexandar Aguilera
Two people practice social distancing at a park.

By: Alexandar Aguilera

The world has been blindsided by the massive effects of the COVID-19 virus. It has left many to wonder it’s true risks and unknown lasting effects. From stay at home orders, to face mask requirements. Many news outlets have been flooding TV’s, news feeds, and websites on the latest updates on COVID-19. The news has been a vital source of information during a constantly changing pandemic. 

With the virus being the top story everyday for the past month every outlet has approached its coverage of it in both similar and different ways. In particular, we will be looking at NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and FOX. Despite different approaches and possible messages they might be trying to send it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

On April 22, these news outlets led with different leading stories regarding COVID-19. With NBC’s leading story it can give the impression that they chose to focus on Dr. Bright to highlight President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. This included a video of Dr. Bright speaking on his firing as well as President Trump addressing it.

With ABC, they decided to focus on President Trump avoiding questions which also leans toward the idea that they are also focusing on the President’s response to COVID-19. The story had a photo of him next to Dr. Fauci and a video which discussed Dr. Bright’s firing as well. 

FOX took a different direction compared to NBC and ABC by noting President Trump pushing back on a claim by the CDC of a second wave of COVID-19. The story also leads with a video of what President Trump actually said regarding the claim. 

Both CBS and CNN had stories not related to President Trump. CBS reported on Mitch McConnell while CNN had various stories ranging from health and updates on COVID-19.

As time has passed the focus of stories has shifted. If there is one thing that has been consistent is that there is something new each day. 

One obvious similarity all these outlets share is that each of their leading stories pertains to COVID-19 in some form. However, each outlet also has a different approach or reasoning as to why they went with the story they chose. 

Yolanda Aguilera who works as a Human Resources manager expressed some thoughts on how news outlets are reporting on COVID-19.

As time has passed the focus of stories has shifted. If there is one thing that has been consistent its that there is something new each day. 

She also touched on outlets coverage on state’s reopening specifically. 

There is a lot to take from all this. Outlets such as NBC and ABC can give off the impression that they are presenting stories targeting President Trump’s poor response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A notion can also be made that FOX tends to try and defend President Trump’s action. 

While President Trump can be an easy subject to look at when comparing the coverage of these outlets it isn’t necessarily the point. With anyone of these news outlets regardless of their status or credibility they should be taken with a grain of salt. Each one is going to present a story in their own unique way.

Julio Aguilera who works as a Director of Security addressed outlets presenting different perspectives and saying how you can’t listen to just one.  

There can always be the possibility for one of them to present one side of the story.

Eric Harris, a high school freshman talked about he receives news and outlets’ one-sided coverage of testing

Having several outlets provides a wide variety of perspectives and information to gather. From there it falls upon the reader to do what they will with the information. 

Yolanda spoke on how she reacts to information from news outlets. 

Either way news outlets are going to provide information they believe the public should know during this pandemic. 

Jackson Schneider – Final Reflection

Well, here it goes…

First off, Dr. Collins, I owe you an apology. When this semester began, I did not think I was going to like you. You came in with your big-time knowledge about journalism and broadcasting and I stubbornly thought you weren’t going to be someone I got along with.

Wow, was I wrong. I have never had a professor that genuinely cares about her students and their success like you do. I instantly began to grow to like you and learn from you quickly. Your teaching method was intense and immersive and, at times, overwhelming, but I have never gotten so much from a class as I have from this one. So, I am sorry for ever thinking I wouldn’t like you because you are hands down the best professor I have ever had.


As for my journey throughout this class, I began with little video experience and it showed in my first project. In my Video Essay, I had numerous shaky camera shots and blurry ones as well. I accidentally forgot a tripod when I filmed this video, creating the bad, shaky shots. As for the story line, I thought it was all there for an early video essay.

Moving on to the first real news stories we did on the year, the VO1 and VOSOT1, I thought that my Farmer’s Ball story was a good start to the year but the structure and planning of my story layout needed a lot of work. I thought I had a good soundbite, but it was a little long. Overall, I thought I did a good job. 

In my VO2 and VOSOT2, I began to put things together a little better in terms of structure and planning of my shots, and getting a good interview. For a story that was about the new upgrades to the union (what I would consider a horribly boring topic), I think I did fairly well.

When we set up our third stage of projects, we had to finally do different topics for the VO3 and VOSOT3. That provided a very interesting challenge. Having to find not one, but two separate stories, was a challenge I have not been faced with before. I think that it made me better though because I had to utilize a plan C.

The growth that I got from PACKAGE1 to PACKAGE2 is evident to me because I moved on from sports to a human interest story that I truly enjoyed. The second package was a story about my high school teacher whose son is battling cancer.  It’s a story I have followed since the beginning. I truly enjoyed who I worked with and how I got to know the situation and gain perspective on a community I am closed tied to.

The NEWSBREAK was an entirely different situation. I have never done any live TV of any sort before in my life and it was so intimidating but also amazing at the same time because it was a blast and it confirmed what I want to do with my career. This class helped me grow so much in my journalism career and I am so glad to have been given this opportunity.

Dr. Collins, Thank you for everything.

-Jackson Schneider

Jose Montoya – JOUR 550 Final Reflection

This semester I decided to enroll in Journalism 550 taught by a visiting professor from Illinois. At the beginning I knew the basics of video production and had spent two years in the studio helping out at Media Crossroads in the library. I knew this was good experience, but didn’t implement it to pursue my career. To start, here’s a picture of me in early December with my favorite professor Dr. Bernie Kish.

Rock Chalk! 🔴🔵

A post shared by Jose Montoya (@talkinwithj) on

When I met Dr. Janice Collins she put a smile on my face. I was ready to start this class and work with many familiar faces. Before the class I knew Jasmine, Riley, Cassidy, Kathy, Patrick, Tyler and Jackson. Little did I know this group of friends would become very close and dear to my heart.

The first assignment our class completed was the Video Essay. I think this project was a fun way to get into the idea of “storytelling.” I decided to film a group of students playing frisbee. It was fun up until I lost my SD card. This meant that I had to use my other SD card with half of the footage that I had. Luckily the video wasn’t too long and I was able to turn in a pretty good video for my first one in the class.

This screenshot is from the video. It was a fun project to do and picking music to go along with the shots was pretty great as well. “Frisbee with Friends” and can be viewed below:

The next six videos our class completed were VO’s and VOSOTVO’s. I chose a few great topics for my videos and i am excited to reflect on them.

The first VO and VOSOTVO I did was very rushed. I had to work on a tight deadline since I was in Indianapolis from Thursday to Sunday and the project was assigned on Tuesday. I chose to talk about Greek Life KU and made a short video using B roll of a meeting from the Multicultural Greek Council.

The biggest lesson I learned from this project is that writing transcripts for each quote is difficult. My interview lasted about five minutes and Darius Jones (the person I interviewed) is very long winded. Therefore, I spent way too much time typing his answers for a short SOT I was going to use later. Either way, I learned more during the interview and had some footage of Darius to work with.

I don’t think I should have chose this as my topic, but I am glad I got it finished in time which helped me learn how to be proactive and prepared for the other video projects. The videos “Greek at KU VO” and “To be Greek at KU VOSOTVO” can be seen here:

The second VO AND VOSOTVO for this project was even easier than the first. I had plenty of time to work on it since we didn’t have class and it was the perfect story to tell. One thing I found out quickly is that 8am classes didn’t get canceled which meant students still had to go to class. I also had a lot of opportunities to get some great B roll.

The downfall of this assignment was the end result. First of all, many of my edits were too quick for the eye. While I was editing I thought they were fantastic and smooth, but after watching it again a few weeks later, I changed my mind. If I were to do this project again I would film the same amount of B-roll, but I would be more selective with my shots.

I thought this was perfect because I imagine that I was the only one shooting video in Lawrence about the school cancelations. #IGotTheBreakingNews

The videos I made, “Classes Canceled Tuesday VO” and “Students go to class before school cancellations VOSOTVO” can be seen below.

I think my interview was good and my NAT sound turned out awesome. On the grading rubric I was told I needed NAT sound so I thought that was weird since some great sound is there in the video. Even though I got a poor grade on this assignment, I think this is my favorite VOSOTVO of the year.

The next project let our class split of into two different topics. I chose basketball for my VO and Rise at St. Lawrence Center for my VOSOTVO.

My VO turned out great for having shaky shots because I filmed without a tri-pod. I am very impressed that I got to work alongside Tiffany on this project. We both told different sides of the story and it was cool comparing our different VO’s while watching them on YouTube.

My VO, “KU WBB Senior Night VO,” can be watched below. I am very pleased with my script and how much I paid attention to details while presenting this project.

My VOSOTVO was very challenging because the talk I went to was in the dark and therefore I had to work with a different lighting compared to my other video projects.

My interview choice was excellent because he spoke that night and gave me a better idea of why this event was so important to St. Lawrence Center and KU. It was also a success because there were a lot of people there as well. I like how the video turned out, but if I could improve one thing, I would make my NAT sound go into the beginning of the video. This would have changed the mood almost instantly.


Then came spring break…..

I don’t know why I added more projects, but I had four major projects over the next month for different classes and team videos. It was difficult to handle, but it was helpful that I picked a package idea far in advance of the due date.

I decided to film Quidditch for my first Package. My AWESOME partner (Cassidy) and I killed it with an awesome script and some excellent B-roll of the Kansas Quidditch team playing in their annual Kansas Cup. We spent a lot of time filming various matches which helped while we were picking what shots to include in our package.

Another good thing that we did was interviewing. We shot six different interviews and they turned out fairly great. We decided to chose the best quotes even though some of the audio got caught by some wind while we were filming.

Shooting a stand-up was pretty different. I enjoyed doing one, but something didn’t turn out how we wanted…. Our audio didn’t work! I was so upset and fund out a few hours after filming. I decided to try to re-film on campus, but it didn’t have as cool of an effect. We decided to VO our stand-up and layered it over our voices. Obviously it didn’t work out too great, but I think it’s a funny story to learn the lesson about audio and filming stand-ups.

Either way, I am glad that my partner this semester was Cassidy. We have known each other for a little bit and have had some fun memories added to our list because of this class.

The video, “KU Club Quidditch,” is featured below:

After doing this video project and getting a good score, I was excited to start on a new package. I decided to film a Pooch Eggstravaganza over Easter weekend at South Park in Lawrence.

The dogs were soooo cute! I am so happy with the footage and the interviews I had, but my audio didn’t go well because the event played music the whole time. It was upsetting because my shots had different songs in them and could potentially distract the viewer while they are watching it.

Maybe I should have chosen a different idea, but I think it worked pretty great. I decided to shoot a stand-up and the same thing with the audio caused me to re-think adding it. After some thought, I decided against it and cut the TRT of my video by 9 seconds. Overall, this was an effective decision for my news break.

If I had to do this project again, I would have prepared myself by bringing headphones and talking to more people about their experience at the egg hunt. I had a lot of dog footage, but I didn’t interact with as many people as I hoped I would.

The package, “Dog Egg Hunt,” can brighten anyone’s day. Especially with the video of the dog barking at the end.

Holy cow! That was a lot of reflection and we still haven’t got to the news break.

What a perfect transition to talk about our famous in front of the camera part of the class. I really enjoyed doing the news break. Even though preparing for it seemed to take forever, I am glad it is over. My first run went “okay” at best. My classmates say I did well, but I didn’t think so.

My frustrations were with the timing of the show. I thought that I had everything timed out, but some things didn’t work out during my practice. I got upset and didn’t get to finish how I wanted to. Apparently I have a lot of energy so I guess that’s a pretty okay trait to have.

Attached below is my second news break which ended up being awesome!

The second news break went so much better! I wasn’t scheduled to go first, but I decided at the last minute to switch spots with Cain. He was an awesome classmate and let me go. I had a smooth run and was very pleased with the end result. Could have I done better? Sure, but at least I did something to improve my broadcast presence.

I think the part of the news break that was my favorite was the weather. I enjoyed tying sports to something that is vital to a newscast. Some people (Dr. Collins and every broadcast professional) would agree that weather is the biggest reason why people watch the news. I would agree.

Honestly this class was pretty fun and I am glad I did so much with so many great people. Meeting new people from different countries and states was an incredible experience.

The last part of this project was working on the Monday edition of KUJH. I think this was fun for the most part because I got to do it with some of my friends. Aksinya, Jackson and Kathy stayed for the show with me and Cain, Caroline and Olivia did things before the show with me. Even though I did an extra hour of work each week, I think it helped me prepare for the newscast and gave me a better idea of collegiate broadcast journalism.

I will forever remember this semester and the great connections and friends I made along the way. Thank you for everything you have done for me as a journalist and a future storyteller!

Smiling…… Jose Montoya

Wheelchair Basketball

No Limits To Basketball

By, Senait Gebregiorgis

Martinez Johnson is a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign majoring in Political Science. It is his second year on the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team here at Illinois. As a child he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy disease. The disease affected his muscle strength and growth affecting his ability to walk. However, this is not to say that he can’t walk because although he utilizes his wheelchair for support at times when traveling to class for example, he can still be able to take a break from the wheelchair and walk without its support.


Martinez Johnson, junior at U of I in Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team

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Breaking the Silence: Professor Salaita

After Losing his Job, Steven Salaita Speaks Publicly for the First Time

By, Senait Gebregiorgis


Steven Salaita being attacked by the press after his public speech at the University YMCA




For my assignment 2 and 3 I was initially planning on covering a trip I took to the Steve Harvey show in Chicago. However, I did not have the chance to record any soundbites or nat sounds, despite taking really nice photos. After receiving a life-saver email from Professor Collins about a Steven Salaita speaker event, I was relieved. I decided to do my project on it.

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