Member Comments

  • Reply to: Another Black Man Life Made Public   4 years 1 week ago

    Your main point about how the media chooses what to cover is an important one and there is no doubt that journalists perspectives (political and more) shape stories and even more that editorial orientation of newspapers and tv channels shapes coverage. At the same time, your claim that media did not provide front page coverage to the other side of the story is not accurate:
    New York Times Article: Ferguson Report Puts ‘Hands Up’ to Reality Test
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/us/in-ferguson-both-sides-see-vindicat...
    The acquittal of three officers and the dropping of charges against the rest were extensively covered, in major stories in the New York Times
    "Police Officer in Freddie Gray Case Is Acquitted of All Charges"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/us/baltimore-officer-edward-nero-fredd...
    "All Charges Dropped Against Baltimore Officers in Freddie Gray Case"
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/28/us/charges-dropped-against-3-remaining...

  • Reply to: Another Black Man Life Made Public   4 years 1 week ago

    The data reporting twice as many whites shot by police compared to blacks is widely raised, but as one commenter below notes this needs to be seen relative to the overall proportion of whites and blacks in society. Since only about 12-13% of US population is black, it means that blacks are much more likely to be shot by the police relative to whites.
    "White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers."

    This link has more details:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more...

  • Reply to: Fall 2016 - Collaborative problem solving and the pain and join of a virtual team   4 years 3 months ago

    Hi,

    I'm planning to use NewsActivist with my SOC 100 class at the University of Rhode Island this fall. IT will have 54 students and I imagine students will be writing 3 brief blogs posts on social issues of interest to them. They will start with a critical response to a newsmagazine article and then write two critical responses to social science research articles. I think this might be a good fit with the information literacy element of your course. Part of my course is also aimed at increasing their recognition and critical thinking about cultural difference. I would love to have them selecting a few NewsActivists to reply to about three times during the semester. Depending on the topics of your students' posts this might work for my course.

    Let me know if you think this might be worth talking about in more detail.

    Best,
    Eric

  • Reply to: seeking collaborators for a CEGEP ESL class (ideally high intermediate, 102) Fall 2016   4 years 3 months ago

    Hi,

    I'm planning to use NewsActivist with my SOC 100 class at the University of Rhode Island this fall. IT will have 54 students and I imagine students will be writing 3 brief blogs posts on social issues of interest to them. They will start with a critical response to a newsmagazine article and then write two critical responses to social science research articles. Part of the course is also aimed at increasing their recognition and critical thinking about cultural difference. I would love to have them selecting a few NewsActivists to reply to about three times during the semester. Depending on the topics of your students' midterm based posts this might work for my course.

    Let me know if you think this might be worth talking about in more detail.

    Best,
    Eric

  • Reply to: Ethics class fall 2014 looking for collaborative partners- contemporary issues/difficult problems to solve   6 years 1 week ago

    Hi Gabe and Gina,

    I know this is last second, I've had this new course to deveIop and only just managed to get my deadline sin order. My Learning to Learn course will start this coming week and runs from Oct 15th to Dec 12th. We will be looking at different disciplinary approaches to learning and growth. My students will be responding to posts on NewsActivist during the weeks of Oct 20-24 and Oct 27 to Oct 31. Each week their deadline to reply is by Friday each week. We will be exploring the topics that raise our intellectual curiosity. They will be talking about what drew them to two posts each week and explaining how their social location shapes their response. They will be posting their own work by Nov 14th and Dec 5th at 11:59pm. These posts will be describing some key finding in their research into learning at the college-level.

    Let me know if our students can collaborate,
    Eric

  • Reply to: Sickness and Youth: How volunteering at The Children's Hospital can help brighten a child's day   6 years 5 months ago

    Summary: This blog post looks at how changing the meaning that is attached to donating to Miracle Flights may help increase their revenue and ultimately be able to provide more free flights to sick children in need of transportation to receive the best medical care possible.

    Miracle Flights for Kids is a national non-profit organization that was developed in 1985. Their mission is to fly low-income children who are sick, with cancer or other debilitating diseases, to the proper hospital or treatment facility. Similarly, Miracle Flights also flies sick children to places for second opinions to ensure they are making the best medical decision based on the information provided to them. This organization has already donated over 84,000 flights to families who would not have financially been able to provide transportation to receive the necessary care for their child.
    The main assumptions of Miracle Flights is that it provides a safe and efficient method of transportation, free of cost, to children in need of reaching the destination of the best medical services. This non-profit assumes that the sick child needs this transportation in order to visit the best medical facility for their specific ailment. Another assumption is that Miracle Flights takes as much of each donation as economically possible and puts it toward the transportation of children. Miracle Flights is operated entirely from donations from the generosity of the public, organizations, and foundations. This assumes that they will receive enough donations to keep this organization functioning for as many sick children as possible.
    The outcomes for Miracle Flights are both short and long term. The short-term outcomes are that the child will board a flight and be transported to a hospital and begin treatment for their illness. The long-term outcomes are that this child’s health will improve because of this treatment and will grow to enjoy a healthier lifestyle that might not have been possible if it was not for Miracle Flights.
    The inputs for Miracle Flights are the costs of the plane, the maintenance of the plane, the fuel, the pilot’s compensation, and office supplies (for marketing and advertising purposes). Another input is the costs associated with making sure each sick child, and his or her family, is comfortable (i.e. reclining chair, blankets etc.). Eighty-one percent of all donations go directly to providing these flights.
    The outputs for Miracle Flights are providing a free flight to sick children who cannot afford transportation to the best care facility. This organization provides a safe and dignified flight for these children. Every 29 dollars that is donated to Miracle Flights can fly a child 100 miles. To date, Miracle Flights have traveled over 46 million miles to help these children.
    Based on this logic model, there are methods this organization could use in order to better achieve their goals. Adapting the ideas of Blumer could help Miracle Flights better achieve their goal of flying more sick children to the best medical facility. The main component from Blumer’s writings that can be applied to Miracle Flights is to use symbolic interaction in order to get more people, preferably more wealthy people, to donate to this organization. By using Blumer’s ideas and attaching more meaning, or a different kind of meaning, to this organization, Miracle Flights could see a great increase in their funds. Currently they rely on the generosity of individuals, organizations, and foundations. They also partner with corporate airlines by allowing people to donate their frequent flier miles to sick children and offer the lowest flight prices possible to this organization.
    Blumer’s work discusses how individuals attach certain meanings or values to things in society. Once this meaning is attached, it becomes an influence over our interactions with others. People have an internal dialogue in order to fully understand the meanings they have attached to certain things. We also attach meanings and values to symbols in our everyday life. Using Miracle Flights as an example, a person might put a Miracle Flight sticker on their car if they donate to this organization. That sticker becomes a symbol of support for the donator and the organization will hopefully receive more support and more attention by that sticker being driven around town.
    It is considered a symbolic gesture to donate to a charity in our society. Donating money makes people feel good about themselves, makes them feel like they are helping others in need, and provides them with a positive status in our country. Since, as Durkheim discusses, people are social products that serve a purpose, it is important for organizations like Miracle Flights to help attach more crucial meanings to the act of donating. There are two ways to donate to Miracle Flights, a one-time donation or a reoccurring donation through sponsorship. The meaning attached to donating, either once or reoccurring, is similar. Miracle Flights would benefit financially by working to attach more symbolic meaning to reoccurring donations. When people donate to a charity they feel good about themselves for that moment and perhaps for a short period of time after that. When people give a monthly donation to a charity, they are able to experience these feelings connected with donating on a constant basis. By helping individuals understand the meaning attached to reoccurring donations, Miracle Flights would be able to increase their revenue and be better suited to meet their long term goal of providing more safe flights for sick children.
    Individuals act towards things (Miracle Flights for this example) based on the meanings they have attached to that thing. If people attached some of the longer-term goals that Miracle Flights has to donations, they may increase their annual revenue. Currently, it appears that the main component that a donator would attach meaning to their donation to would be the flight itself. Instead, donators should be attaching meaning to the bigger goal of Miracle Flights, the ability for a sick child to receive treatment at the best facility.
    One avenue for improving their donations is to target high-profile celebrities. Many celebrities aim to promote a Good Samaritan image to the public. Many do it for selfless reasons; they have the money and can afford donating some of their revenue. Others do it because it helps them create a positive image to the public eye, which in the long run may help them in their careers. If Miracle Flights were able to get a few big name celebrities to donate money for flights, they could use the story to promote the celebrity, but more importantly get the name of their organization into the public ear. Other celebrities would see the meanings that are attached to donating to this cause and may become interested in donating as well. Similarly, as consumers of popular culture, non-celebrity people may see celebrities attaching meaning to an organization like Miracle Flights and want to feel connected to that particular celebrity, so they might then also desire to donate to Miracle Flights. This approach could greatly help Miracle Flights increase their annual revenue.
    I would imagine the sick child, and perhaps more importantly the family of the sick child, attaches great meaning to the flight that Miracle Flights provides. This organization strives to provide a safe and dignified flight to the necessary destination. Anyone who has worked with children before understands the importance of making a child feel safe and secure, and this organization aims to do the same. Families will attach the treatment and (hopefully) healing process of their child to the opportunity given to them by Miracle Flights. If Miracle Flights can broaden the meaning that accompanies donating to this organization, they will increase the amount of miles they can fly each year.
    Miracle Flights have had a successful first 28 years in business as a non-profit organization. Their business has a clear logical model, which helps them achieve their short-term and long-term goals. Making some changes in how meaning is attached to the act of donating money to this organization and what types of donations are acceptable can help increase their revenues and ultimately help meet its long-term goal.

  • Reply to: More people with mental health issues in jail than there are in hospitals.   6 years 5 months ago

    I want to start by saying that there are worse things in life than spending one night in jail for a severe offense. In extreme cases, sometimes hard decisions need to be made, and I would rather this man be locked up until help can be given than to let him roam around and possibly hurt someone or himself. That being said, I think the way our prison system is run is extremely unproductive. I'm not sure how it is in Canada, but here in the U.S., there is very little focus in rehabilitating the people who are sent there. I do not think people commit crimes because they are "bad people who deserve to be punished". Most of the time, there is a reason people are making these decisions. A man who murders needs help. If we focus more on helping these people, it is possible that we could extend our society in ways we never thought we could by bringing a fresh perspective that we are currently keeping locked away.

  • Reply to: What Came First Substance Abuse or Homelessness?   6 years 5 months ago

    To say that substance abuse is the main cause of homelessness is similar to saying that ice cream is the main cause of obesity. Every situation varies according to the individual in that situation. In some cases, yes, substance abuse can lead to homelessness. More often than not, though, it is due to economic reasons. It makes sense that people turn to drugs after they become homeless because of the combination of their current difficulties and the company they are keeping. I think certain people are more prone to substance abuse, though, and are more susceptible no matter what their situation.

  • Reply to: More people with mental health issues in jail than there are in hospitals.   6 years 6 months ago

    I have always thought about the dangers of mixing mentally ill prisoners with other convicted felons. Their own danger is at risk because other inmates may target them because of this ‘weakness’. They can be singled out if they are acting in a way that other prisoners see as weird.

    The court doesn’t really care about the person; they only see them as a criminal and nothing more. They couldn’t care less if they get beat up in jail. That’s what needs to be changed. These prisoners, mentally ill and not, should still be treated as humans. Yes they committed something awful, but that doesn’t make them any less human. Mentally ill felons should be treated more as patients than prisoners.

  • Reply to: Dating Expectations and Realities: College Edition   6 years 6 months ago

    This is an interesting topic to talk about since there can be much confusion in college relationships. A lot of the time, people just want to hookup and that’s why they go to parties, but other people want a real relationship. So when they go back to whomevers room and one of them makes the move to have sex, the other one is shocked because they wanted more than just a one-night stand.

    Your reference study sounds like a good reference, but as you said, it’s somewhat inconvenient for them to not state how many people of each gender were surveyed. In our society, it’s typically the male that just wants a quick fling while the female wants something more substantial. So if the reference surveyed 80% men and 20% women then it is not evenly depicted.

    Interesting topic and a good read, thanks!