Putin meets with NATO leaders and algaculture

4 04 2008

ArticlesI personally have nothing against the University of Cincinnati’s newspaper, The News Record, but seriously…

On the front page of the April 3, 2008 issue, there is a headline above a picture reading Solar-power alternative. The picture depicts a field in front of one of the college buildings covered with pinwheels. Then beneath that is the caption for the photograph, which reads, “Pinwheels in the ground on McMicken Commons represented the 1,000 people that die from some form of terminal cancer every day.”

pinwheel2

I am now absolutely lost on the intended meaning of the photo.

Perhaps the headline is implying that, because solar-power is not a worthwhile endeavor, we should offer our resources to some alternative cause, such as curing cancer. The irony, of course, would be that the pinwheels imitate sources of wind power, which is an alternative to solar-power. But what then does wind power have to do with terminal cancer? I would really like to know.

Or perhaps the the headline implies that a good alternative to solar power is wasting resources. Solar power is usually tagged when speaking of alternative forms of energy and environmental causes, but here there is none of that at all. All I see is a magnificent waste of plastic, in the form of pinwheels, promoting ideas completely contrary to those usually related to solar power. What else are we to believe other than that the university does not support environmental causes?

That last possibility is that someone wished to tag a photograph with a completely irrelevant headline to make it appear as if the University has some sort of relationship with alternative energy research that is most easily disseminated subliminally. If this is the case, I recommend insert random keywords like green, conservation, and algaculture into headlines whenever possible. Nothing sends subliminal messages like “Ethnic Unrest Continues in China and Algaculture.”

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This is your article on drugs

9 02 2008

ArticlesWhen people write articles for widespread publications, I like for the authors to draw clear lines between objectivity and subjectivity. Otherwise, it can be really hard to tell what the point or motive of the entire article is, like in this one about Barack Obama and drug use.

The article offers insights into Barack Obama’s college days and focuses on drug use presumably because of its headline value.  While the article seems particularly objective, offering information directly from Barack’s autobiographical works and comments by college friends of his, by the end of it, I wondered why I had read an entire article to learn absolutely nothing.  The entire articles uses the following format: paragraph about Barack and claimed usage of drugs, paragraph about Barack’s friends and their lack of knowledge of drug usage, paragraph about random, unrelated activities Barack participated in during college, repeat.  This pattern is followed to the very end, which ends with someone quoted as saying, “I would never say that he was a druggie.”

In the end, we assume that Barack’s statements are true as well as those made by his friends.  If they are true, then the article appears to be worthlessly objective.  The author offers no conclusions or analysis, instead choosing to simply end the article.  I feel it’s fairly obvious that, if Barack used drugs in college, not everyone would have complete knowledge of it.  That point is clearly illustrated here, but that seems to be the only point.  I’m fairly the headline of the article tells the entire story of the article much more succinctly and effectively.

If the article has some other motive, perhaps to hurt Barack’s image if only by using a title that misleadingly accuses Obama of being a liar, then suddenly the point is something completely different.  The article is still a worthless read, but because it is fairly well-written and lengthy, it can be published in a newspaper such as the New York Times.  In essence, it successfully hurts Barack’s image without appearing as if it is, which seems to be the cruel path some journalists are taking nowadays.