Contemporary Issues/NewsActivist Winter/ Spring 2017: Champlain, Saint-Lambert

About this class

This course requires students to develop individual portfolios about contemporary issues, sharing work with increasing depth as the semester progresses.

Students write and collaobrate to develop cross-disciplinary knowledge and broaden perspectives regarding local, provincial, national, and international news. Assignments encouraging interactions with peers across campuses and borders will build broad understanding of issues in an exciting and personalized manner.  

Themes addressed during the semester involve: Journalism, Critical Thinking and Credibility of sources, Personal Voice in writing, impacts on communities of non-profits, NGOs, and socially-conscious businesses, the impact of academic research on communities, and the  possibilities of Collaboration and civic journalism in 2016.

 

Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Easy LB on April 3, 2017
Fentanyl: 3 articles to explain why there is a rise in opioids abuse  

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by BR on April 3, 2017
                                         In the article “Understanding the roots of homophobia around the world” written by Amy Adamczyk she explains how different factors such as money, freedom of speech and religious play a big role in homophobia in different countries. According to Adamczyk, every characteristic in each part of the world influences how people feel about homosexuality. She analyzed 80 nations in the attitudes, values and beliefs in order to explain the roots of homophobia.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Mila NY on April 2, 2017
Human Trafficking and Human Rights: Three articles showing the plausible causes and resolutions to the social issue  

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by AlexeKantchev on April 2, 2017
In 2008, in Alberta, a university created a movement to spread awareness by living in the streets for a week just like homeless people do all year long. The students who do so live with the basic things a homeless person have access to such as a coat, a sleeping bag and maybe blankets. This movement became popular over the years and is now practiced here in Montreal by Concordia’s students. On March 16th, while there was a snowstorm here in Montreal, students decided to do the project anyways and were very happy of the results.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by isabelleallain on April 2, 2017
On March 27th, 2017, CBC News reported through “Privatization of Seniors’ Care Leading to Poorer Quality Service, Think Tank says” that the access to publicly funded senior care in British Columbia, such as homes and community care, is declining over time. Indeed, between 2001 and 2016, home support access experienced a decrease of 30%, whereas residential care with assistance access experienced a decrease of 20%. On the other hand, profit facilities are experiencing a growing demand of 42% from 2011 to 2016 as well.  

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by michelle.bsparkx on April 2, 2017
The Star article titled “Mental health advocate Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, dies” is about, as the title suggests, Amy Bleuel who passed away and the change she has made in the world. The article, written by Alina Bykova and Colby Itkowitz, describes what Project Semicolon was about, features things said by those close to Amy Bleuel and the importance of the project. The article was published very recently, on April 1st 2017.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by pascaleworld on April 2, 2017
The 13th of March, Global News published an article "Penticton woman charged with human cruelty" which exposes a woman who had abused her dogs. One of them was found with only skin on his bones. She will be facing the court on April 26th for making her dogs suffer without any reasons, leading the animals in distress. The article seems reliable as Global News provides many contacts and had published about the same issue before.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Laura-Camille on April 2, 2017
During the majority of the semester, my blog posts have focused primarily on women’s rights in several different spheres of life. From women’s reproductive health to women’s relationship with the law, I have used examples of recent news stories to illustrate that there is still a need of feminism in the 21st century.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by B.Matthews on April 2, 2017
The Star has published an article called “Ban food and drink ads to fight childhood obesity.” This article summarizes a non-profit organization, “The Heart and Stroke Foundation”, talking about a call to action towards the federal government in passing a law that prohibits food and beverage marketing towards children. According to Diego Marchese, interim CEO and executive vice-president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian children obesity rates have tripled since 1979 which places them at greater harm to developing heart problems, diabetes in their futures.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by SamanthaW on April 2, 2017
In this article a volunteer by the name Neesha, talks about her experiences as a volunteer teacher in a third world country. She said it would be nice to have some sort of certificate saying that she has volunteered somewhere. She also says, it’s not just about having a certificate, it’s about making young kids smile and making a difference.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Julia G. on April 2, 2017
         The epidemic of rabies is the negative result caused by dogs that have been abandoned and neglected by careless owners. The newspaper article, "I Want to Kill These Dogs: Question of Whether to Cull Strays Divides Yangon" written by Poppy McPherson and published to The Guardian on January 19, 2017 addresses the concerns of the community in regards to the dangerous stray dogs.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Naomie Tat on March 31, 2017
Last Thursday, Robin Camp, a Canadian judge who gained popularity last year when he asked a sexual assault victim why she could not just keep her “knees together”, resigned from Federal Court. It was a rare event in the Canadian justice system and was followed by the release of a report from the Judicial Council which demanded him to be fired.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by anthonydm on March 27, 2017
The topic of clean energy responds to the issue of non-renewable energy. It is linked to technology, the branch of knowledge used in relation to science and has many academic disciplines, including Informatics, Computer Science and Energy Engineering. Informatics

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by Demetrios.C.Ort... on March 27, 2017
The article “The US Military Is Building Gangs of Autonomous Flying War Bots” by Patrick Tucker, published on the Defense One news website on January 23, 2015, talks about the appeal of unmanned drones compared to their manned equivalents, as well as discusses the inherent drawbacks of automating war-machines. In addition to discussing the legally grey area surrounding the issue, Tucker also talks about the moral danger of the situation. It must be noted that this article is hosted on Defense One, which is less subtle in its support for US national security than most other sites.

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by isabelleallain on March 26, 2017
In the United States of America, there has been a decrease of voting participation. Indeed, in between the 2008 and 2016 election, there has been a decrease of 8.3% of voter turnout according to CNN Politics. The poor voting outcome of this important North American country raised my concerns.Source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/11/politics/popular-vote-turnout-2016/ 

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Champlain College, Saint-Lambert
by michelle.bsparkx on March 26, 2017
Social Anxiety Disorder is a mental illness that affects millions of people around the world and despite how common it is, it is rarely spoken of. However, there is research although it isn’t often mentioned in media and out in the open.

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3 years 8 months ago

I found the topic you chose for this piece is very interesting. Being a fellow college student, I understand the pressure that is placed on you as a student to be the best that you can be. The education system forces you to compete with other students to portray the best academic grades you can achieve. Students tend to cheat on exams because of the overall pressures they have to perform and keep their grades up. When I was in high school, during my grade 10 year, there was a grade 11 student who wrote her public speech on the pressures of education. Her speech went on to winning the gold medal in the national public speaking contest. Her speech allowed for us to see the pressure students have to go through to have a higher final grade them our classmates.

3 years 8 months ago

The title of your post caught my attention right away. Great work on introducing this topic and allowing for more people to know more about this topic. Out of all the articles that I've come across, I have not seen any other topics on this issue. Overall, this article was well written and I would love to learn more about this topic.

SVL

3 years 8 months ago

I genuinely appreciate your comment and how passionate you are about this subject, but in my defence, I never intended to write an essay or a complete analysis on the issue of "fake news". My goal was to write a news summary explaining the mistake a newspaper did which is why there is only "one proof".

SVL

3 years 9 months ago

Your article hit a nerve with me, in a good way. Your writing shows how passionate you are about your subject and I do love how you start this post with a personal anecdote. It is a nice way to have a little bit background on where you are coming from (what experience made you have this position in this article).

I remember when I was younger, my brother and I were playing at a park when someone started pretending to speak Chinese to us. What do I say? How do I act? How do I pretend this never happen? I was absolutely embarrassed from being put in this sort of position. I, for once, will be the first to admit that for the longest time, I was ashamed of being an Asian. From this point, I started to despise my black hair and wished my eyes were a different color than my current boring brown ones. I hated how the fact you were not “white” made you automatically an outsider. That somehow, you could not understand other people’s problems and issues. I had to remind them we all go through some shit (sorry for the language) no matter what skin color you have or where do you come from. And like you say in your post, it is definitely not okay to make fun of someone else culture and language.

I guess forgetting my origins was easier for me than being proud of it. Now, I need to forget that the shape of my eyes does not define who I am and the snarky comments and insults I get or the frustrated looks from employees says more about them than it says about me. I know who I am and that’s the most important thing. You said you were tired of fighting for Asian people and you are definitely not alone in this one.

Reply to: A bigger nightmare
3 years 9 months ago

Hi BR, I really like how you introduce your points! It is true that too many crimes happened because firearms were too easy of access. There should really be stricter laws to avoid other tragic events like that to occur again. I found that the system is not serious about taking his license for only 3 days after having done something like that. I also think that there is another issue with the system, the rehabilitation of soldiers coming back from war. In psychology, I learned that many soldiers come back with PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder) and when there is too much stress they fall into depression or commit crimes as the one you have reported. Crimes like this one are likely to happen when the person is in a flashback state where his senses get distorted and they can no longer make the difference between reality and what is not real. If he had better treatment for this mental issue, I think it would not have happened. Here is an article from a reliable source from a governmental website who explain PTSD and its implication in crimes.
Source: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/co-occurring/research_on_ptsd_and_vi...

3 years 9 months ago

Your news summary does an excellent job at explaining the consequences of the events that happened between the two presidents. The article is also very well summarized as I did not feel that it was repeating itself, boring or long to read. As someone who is also from East Asian ancestry, I completely agree on your standpoint. I always felt that there is always an ongoing competition between the East Asian countries to be number one especially China that hold tightly to its crown. Even back then, the countries never got along and fought war against each other. China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan all have conflicts between each other. I find it a shame that they never and most likely never will consider to collaborate instead of fighting each other despite coming from the same roots.

3 years 9 months ago

I think you raise a good point about the dangers surrounding polarised media outlets, such as Breitbart, but I feel that the article you summarised, and you yourself didn't go far enough. It seems to me that Breitbart functions more like a propaganda machine than a Journalistic news source, though I admit the line between the two is rather opaque.
As someone who falls far left on the political system and someone who pointedly disagrees with just about every issue Breitbart has meddled themselves into, I realise my bias, which as you said is something constantly and consistently in play, has definitely become part of the conversation. That being said, I believe I must still address the elephant in the room, but I’ll get to that a bit later on.
I am an avid reader, particularly of anything related to the organisation of societies and civilisations, I consider my self a history bluff, in that there is still so much more for me to glean from the mistakes of our ancestors, and from what I’ve manager to learn, for thousands of years the world operated on a few simple rules:
1. Might makes Right
2. Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
This is solely my cynical perspective, but if you humour me for a second and consider that in that last few hundred years, Might has shifted from solely Military Strength to other areas like Information and Money, you’ll notice something very interesting.
Now I shall get to my point. Forgetting any political-ideological aspect, Breitbart is a For-Profit news source, meaning the bottom line is to make more money, and this presents an issue for the integrity of its “news.” To make more money, Breitbart would need to gain more readers, and by extension get more people talking specifically about Breitbart. Essentially the goal is to become a monopoly, but as you might recall, Absolute power corrupts absolutely, hence you could say that Breitbart was founded on an ill intentions. Note Breitbart is not alone in this crime, merely the loudest of the lot. Going further, if you liken Breitbart to a virus that uses news and articles simply to grow larger, it becomes easy to see it as a propaganda machine that operates on a self-serving objective. On the other hand, I would liken the ideal media source to be like a plant seed, instead subsisting off the readers, it would require effort from the readers to “cultivate” it in a sense.

For those who made it this far, I must thank you for reading. I Really encourage you to send my way your own opinions to further the conversation.

3 years 9 months ago

Your content is very good and has lots of information that really helps prove that your opinion is the right opinion. From personal experience from family living in the United States and visiting, I have had a few encounters with the American health care system for example a family member who was injured while on vacation was not able to afford to pay for the treatment he needed so we were forced to send him money to pay for a treatment to fix his broken leg. So in the end I do agree with having healthcare that is free or cheeper. Although this also does have its disadvanteges such as higher taxes and longer lines because of the fact that it is free and people will go to the hospital for whatever reason. In the end I do think that the advantages out way the disadavantes and I think you have a valid point.

3 years 9 months ago

I completely agree with your article. I think that the media has definitely done a bad job at covering stories on not only people who suffer from mental illnesses, but also studies on mental illness. I also agree with the fact that the tone used to describe people with mental illnesses is often negative and badly portrays the topic.

On the point that you mentioned that the media has to educate people on these kinds of issues, I would also like to add that people are often unaware of ableism (which is the term used to describe discrimination against people who are handicapped, ill or suffer from mental health problems). Racism and sexism are somewhat well covered by the mainstream media, and especially by liberal news organizations, and news related to these topics usually spark a discussion on social media, but ableism seems to still not be considered by the media. I have definitely met a lot of people who saw no problem with using the word 'retarded' as an insult because "ableism doesn't exist", even though that word directly refers to people who are mentally challenged. I have also heard words such as 'autistic', 'dumb', 'hysterical', 'crazy', 'schizo', 'insane', etc. being thrown around, often negatively, which really breaks my hear whenever I hear anything of the sort because it shows just how insensitive people are on the topic of mental health. I am not personally mentally ill or physically handicapped, I can only imagine how disheartening for people who are already not taken seriously to see names for their conditions used as jokes or negative expressions.

3 years 9 months ago

Your article gives us an interesting outlook on women’s oppression throughout history. It has introduced the reader to the Korean society, and how the women are defined within it; as you have written that the women received no medical aid despite illness, we can conclude they were also dehumanised by the government as disposal tools. I like how you mentioned specifically that Asian women were socially taught to think that they are inferior to men. You wrote that all over Asian women are labeled as inferior, but I cannot entirely agree. I am of various Asian descent, and in some part of my culture what you state is the unavoidable truth. However, in my Hokkien roots, women are considered to be equivalent to men, if not superior. This belief derives from our history because women were known to be courageous and capable when the Hokkien tribes were fleeting from one area to another. It is not only because Hokkien women are historically known to provide for their family that they are well acknowledged by their male counterparts, but also because the men recognise and respect all works categorized as “maternal”— cooking, nurturing, cleaning.

When I read your post I was reminded of another historical event which could possibly relate to this one. During World War 2, Korean women and Chinese women were used as “comfort women” by the Japanese empire, meaning that they were used as prostitutes for the soldiers. Many conflicts between the countries have risen from this horrendous event, but in most cases, the people have said that the issue should be forgotten because it happened during a time of war, hence considered “normal”. Yet, I like to think how because the issue remained unresolved it continued again: history repeats itself. So, as your articles says it, in the 1960’s and 1970’s the government of Korea itself decided to illegally make their own female citizens prostitutes for American soldiers.

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About the author

I'm a Humanities Teacher at Champlain College, Saint-Lambert and the designer and founder of Newsactivist. Between 2007 and the present, I've developed a course, Newsactivist, which asked students to blog about the news that they felt showed parts of the world in need of improvement.