Growing up with the Gay Civil rights movement

The Tenley Times reporters' view of the steps of the Supreme Court on the day of the DOMA hearing

The Tenley Times reporters’ view of the steps of the Supreme Court on the day of the DOMA hearing

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn DOMA and Proposition 8 today, I  wanted to share my opinion piece I wrote after standing on the steps of the Supreme Court during the DOMA hearing. The Tenley Times reporters and I shared many special memories that day.This is an exciting time to be a young adult, an aspiring journalist, and a California citizen.

By: Alyssa Goard @AlyssaMGoard

November 4th 2008, I stepped onto the Foothill High School quad and was wide eyed to see girls who I respected proudly wearing yellow “Yes on Proposition 8” shirts  with  cutesy matching hair ribbons. I was a  high school junior in the East San Francisco Bay Area and Proposition 8 was up for vote in California, proposing to prevent same sex marriage. I was baffled to discover that many students had starkly different opinions than I did about same sex marriage.  My peers and I were too young to vote but certainly old enough to understand and be deeply affected by the outcome of Proposition 8, our opinions were starting to become our own rather than just the mouthpieces of our parents. Proposition 8 made the issue of sexuality visible in California at the time my high school peers and I were just starting to explore our own sexualities.

March 27th, 2013, I stood outside the Supreme Court during the hearings of the Defense of Marriage Act, the day after Proposition 8 had been heard in the very same place. As a 3rd generation resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, my life has been sculpted by living in a region known worldwide as a hub for the LGBTQ ( Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community. I watched as Proposition 8 passed in California the same time that President Obama won in the golden state with a 61.1% vote. I watched the confusion and debate amongst local politicians and community members as we in the Bay Area wrestled with our famously gay-friendly culture and the reality that we live within a state which denied same-sex marriage through public referendum in 2008. I fell in love with politics as the legality of Proposition 8 made its way to the federal courts and I began to understand the complexity of the issue of gay marriage as many of my peers and close friends were just beginning to “come out” publically.

My senior year of high school, I debated at the state level on my competitive civics team about the place of gay rights within the broader civil rights movement, my colleagues and I spoke about the Supreme Court’s power to alter  Proposition 8  in hypothetical terms, “assuming this case is appealed to the Supreme Court, it has the potential to negate Proposition 8 on the basis of unfair discrimination.”

That hypothetical distant someday my competitive civics team spoke of has arrived with force, and I had the chance to follow California’s quest to resolve its position on marriage equality all the way to the nation’s capitol. I met many other Californians on the steps outside of the Supreme Court, including a friend of mine from high school debate who went on to be a rising leader in the California campaign for marriage equality.

Public opinion about same sex marriage has shifted significantly since the 2008 vote in California, according to a 2012 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, 54% of Californians favored allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, a significant increase from 2008 when only 47.9% opposed Proposition 8.

Proposition 8 is a public issue at heart, it was included on the 2008 ballot because it was promoted through public referendum and good ol’ signature gathering. But the problem with basing enduring law on public opinion is that public opinion can easily change. I go to Whitman College (renowned for having one of the most supportive LGBT college communities in the nation) in the state of Washington where Washingtonian voters proudly approved same sex marriage. As many of my progressive peers at my college point out, marriage equality is only one step in addressing the slew of burdens and inequalities which queer Americans experience. Like other civil rights issues, formal recognition of the right to a same sex marriage is just one de jure way of establishing a national commitment to addressing the inequalities which LGBT people face today, behaviors and minds will take infinitely longer to change.

The Supreme Court, the branch of government which, at its best, is the last bulwark against the ever tumultuous political tides in the country, holds this multifaceted issue of same sex marriage up to the light of our nation’s ethical code amidst a fire of visceral religious and personal reactions. The issue of love and a formal commitment of love strikes people to the core, regardless of their opinion. The appeals I saw in front of the Supreme Court were deeply personal, signs identified people who knew that their lives and families would be directly impacted by the court’s decision, humanizing an issue which has the potential to be relegated to economic and legalistic confines in the court.

As a young adult, my undergraduate years are almost behind me, and my peers and I are rapidly approaching an age where we will have to consider if we want long term, committed love to enter our lives and what that would mean for us. We are considering committed relationships with the expectations we face (college graduates being queried by relatives at dinner parties about how serious their romantic relationships are) and with our life choices – do I want to have kids? Do I want to have a partner to raise those kids with? Will we move in together?  As my peers and I wonder about and define the parameters of our romantic commitment, we are especially aware of the weight which love and marriage hold.

The decisions reached by the Supreme Court and by the behavior of Americans towards sexuality and marriage in the future will make a statement about our national perspective on sexuality, and how much freedom and acceptance young adults like me will have in our journey to find love and personal identity.

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View of the Supreme Court and the citizens anxious to find out about the DOMA hearing

View of the Supreme Court and the citizens anxious to find out about the DOMA hearing

DOMA Plaintiff Edie Windsor

DOMA Plaintiff Edie Windsor

In the footsteps of a blogging journalist

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Valerie Strauss, an education writer at the Washington Post, curls up in a beige couch in her yellow walled living room of her big, but relaxed home. The house is a red brick home near American University. Her blond bangs are cut just right so you can see her eyes smiling. She is twinning her golden necklace between her fingers while she concentrates on telling her story.

“I hate the word blog,” says Strauss, 57, a wife, mother, journalist and now a blogger for Washington Post. She shakes her head as she describes her discontent against blogs, smart phones and kindles. “I don’t understand why anyone would watch a movie or a TV show on a little mobile phone, I don’t get that whole thing. I love the actual physical newspaper. I love to pick it up, I love to feel it and I love to turn the pages. Today people live on their phones, it’s beyond me.”

Strauss was born and raised in Miami, Florida, and was the middle child of three sisters. She got used to being around girls, a good thing since she is now a mother of two teenage girls. Her father taught at the University of Miami, and this is where she took her bachelor degree in English and Anthropology before she moved to Chicago and Northwest University to take her masters in journalism. Her career is packed with admirable jobs, at Miami Herald, United Press International, Reuters, Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post to mention a few. She is now the education blogger for Washington Posts blog, The Answer Sheet.

When Strauss opens her home this second Monday of April, she is finished for the day with her blog. It is 5 pm, but the heat is still there, giving previews of the Washington summer that’s right around the corner. On the glass table next to the couch there is a water glass filled with ice cubes, very much needed on this warm April day. “Blogging is very different than writing for the print paper,” says Strauss, who is the mind behind the blog Answer Sheet. Prior to the blog, she was an education reporter, where the rules are strict and must be followed, like any other journalist.

“It’s a whole different mindset, the language is more casual,” the journalist says. “I write with a voice, and sometimes an opinion. But the opinions are always backed with evidence.” The blog is about everything concerning education, which she finds very convenient while she still has two teenage girls in the house. It’s important for her to be up to date on her daughter’s future. “As my kids got older, I realized that I could get paid to research things that would affect my kids. So it was kind of fun,” says Strauss as she laughs. “I never told my bosses that’s why I would keep doing it, but it’s worked out.”

It can be hard to move from a print journalist to a blogger for the same newspaper. The writing, and maybe some of the audience, takes time to adjust to. And Strauss did use time to adjust, mostly to the concept. “Blog; its not a word I like. Blog is actually a format, but now it’s become sort of like the word fuck. They use it for everything,” she says while cringing at the idea. “It’s an adjective, it’s a verb, it’s a noun, and it’s an adverb. It’s everything. There is something annoying about it.”

The Answer Sheet consists of short items, long essays, book reviews, videos, writing from contributors and more. “It’s really more of a magazine than anything else,” states Strauss, and she is glad its not only her voice and opinion being heard. “I have a lot of guest writers, so it’s not just my voice. I think that would be boring. The truth is it’s more of a magazine, but it’s called a blog.”

In the most southern part of the U.S., in sunny Miami, Florida, is where Strauss grew up and was inspired to be a journalist. It wasn’t the place in itself that gave her motivation and creativity; she actually didn’t like Miami growing up. “I hated the heat, I hated the flatness and I hated that there were no seasons,” she remembers. Her feelings towards Miami have changed, much because her daughters love to travel there. “My kids love Miami, they really do,” Strauss says. Sadly, her parents passed away, but Strauss is very enthusiastic and gets a spark in her eye when she talks about her fathers love for newspapers and how they received the New York Times in the mail. “My father wouldn’t believe anything until he read it in the newspaper. The earth could have exploded, but until he got the New York Times he wouldn’t believe it,” she says with a smile.

Maybe she was meant to be a journalist, because Strauss had always been a good writer. She was interested in writing and why things happened and started writing for the student paper in high school. “I kind of knew I would wind up at a newspaper. It just seemed like the only right thing to do,” she says. She continued at the student newspaper at the University of Miami before she went to Chicago and Northwest University to improve her writing even more, where she took a master in journalism.

One of her first jobs was for United Press International, and there she made friends that she is still in touch with. Some of them have also pursued a career in Washington and the curly haired and energetic Iris Krasnow is one of them.

“I have known Valerie for more than 30 years and she is by far one of the sharpest and most thorough journalists not only in Washington, but anywhere in the world,” says Krasnow, a bestselling author and journalism professor at American University who worked with Strauss at United Press International during the 1980s. “Valerie does journalism the old-fashioned way, with solid interviews, checking with multiple sources to confirm accuracy and is fearless in her mission to tell the truth. She has been able though to transfer her deep knowledge of the old journalism into reporting for new mediums, her Washington Post blog is very popular and well written.” Krasnow brings her students to see many of the most interesting journalists in Washington to give them an impression of what the business is like. “I can also add that in 20 years of teaching Washington Journalism Semester, Valerie Strauss is always voted as one of the students’ absolutely favorite speakers,” she says

After a career with UPI, Strauss has been a National Security Editor at Reuters and, again at the UPI, the Deputy Foreign Editor. It was with this experience she came to the Washington Post to work at the Foreign Asia Desk. She loves to travel, but didn’t work as a foreign correspondent, much because she got married early. “I chose not to go overseas, because I got married,” she says while shaking her head. She is now married to her second husband, whom she has her two girls with. She obviously has second thoughts about her choices in her early career. “Don’t do it”, she says referring to her first marriage. “Don’t get married in your twenties.”

As life with a lawyer as a husband and a baby at home became time consuming, Strauss realized she wanted to go back to reporting and focus on education. “The three of us were never together, my husband, I and her,” she says referring to the time with their first daughter. “I finally realized I had to do something else, and I went back to reporting.”

Her youngest at 17, Becca, enters the room, wearing a white tank top and black shorts with studs. Becca moves so lightly around the room, its almost like she doesn’t touch the ground. She has a dream of becoming something completely different, and college may not be a part of that journey. “I want to go to California, and I want to pursue music. I don’t know about college yet”, says Strauss’ daughter, knowing her mom would probably not accept that. “It’s weird because my mom works with education, and I don’t really want to go to school.” Her black long hair and nail polish is a contrast to her mother, but they both share the easy and welcoming attitude. She sits down next to her mother and plays a recording of her covering “Coldplay – Fix You”, on her iPhone. Her voice is beautiful and even though she didn’t inherit her mother’s interest for journalism, she definitely got her writing skills. “I never wanted to be a journalist, but she always helps me with my writing, she is really good at writing,” says the teenager with a grateful voice. She writes her own songs, and Strauss helps too. “My mom helps me out, and its great. She really knows what she’s doing with it,” says Becca.

Strauss has lived all over the U.S., but has been placed here in Washington since 1983. In the cheerful living room, Strauss discusses Washington as a city and mentions that it is all about power. “It isn’t a money town,” she says. “I mean, money obviously matters, but it’s a town of power, political power. That’s the currency here.”

If you would give Strauss’ home a currency, it would definitely be passion. Her passion for her family and her work shines through everything she talks about and when her daughter walks into the room you can feel her pride. “I’m lucky. I feel like a very lucky person, I have gotten to do what I wanted,” Strauss says while she reflects on her life and career. There are several benefits with her blog and one of them is that she can work from home. “I thought I would hate that, working from home. But I’ve come to like it a lot,” she says. But as anything else, there is also a downside. “I work hard, and have always worked hard, but especially with the blog you always have to be refreshing it and updating it. I even do it on weekends, so I rarely take a full break.” Having a family and a full time job as a journalist, which today basically means a 24/7 job, can give you a bad conscience for working too much and not spending enough time with family. Strauss realizes that this is an issue, and has never really come to peace with it. “Still, after 35 years of working, you’re thinking; well, I should be doing this, except I’m doing this,” the Washington Post blogger says. “You know, I never really gotten over it, but for me there is no choice, I couldn’t have not worked. I would have gone completely out of my skull.”

Innocence Lost

Prostitutes talk to potential customers on the street in Pattaya, Thailand. "Customers/exploiters come from all over the world. Legalized or tolerated prostitution is a magnet for sex trafficking. The U.S. Government considers prostitution to be "inherently demeaning and dehumanizing

Prostitutes talk to potential customers on the street in Pattaya, Thailand.
“Customers/exploiters come from all over the world. Legalized or tolerated prostitution is a magnet for sex trafficking. The U.S. Government considers prostitution to be “inherently demeaning and dehumanizing

– By Megan O’Malley. Michelle Marshall, former Girls Inc. Intern, shakes her head in dismay when recollecting her findings on sex trafficking in the United States. She remembers feeling shocked that victims of domestic sex trafficking were considered prostitutes and being arrested time and time again.  Many of these victims were children who had their innocence stripped from them and who were subjected to tactics of manipulation. One story that has stuck with Marshall is that of a 14-year-old girl who was sex trafficked in the DC area.  After being abducted and traded for sex, the girl grew to distrust anyone whom she did not know.  When police raided the house looking to rescue her, the girl hid in a dresser drawer and it took many officers to coerce her to come with them.

Author Megan O'Malley

Author Megan O’Malley

“People don’t realize that this issue is very real and taking place everyday in the United States,” says Marshall, now a post-grad with high hopes of a career battling this pressing issue, “I’m upset that the focus on this issue has been international for the most part.”

The Merriam-Webster definition of sex trafficking is, “organized criminal activity in which human beings are treated as possessions to be forced into prostitution.”  The definition’s first known usage was in 1988. 

According to many organizations combating the issue, such as the Polaris Project, many people don’t view prostitutes or subjects of pornography as being under the age of 18.  The sad reality is that more and more children are being exploited in this manner.  On Shared Hope International’s website it is stated that 100,000 American children are exploited through the commercial sex industry each year. The average age a child is first exploited is 13 years old.

In Washington DC the rate of sex trafficking has increased over the years, according to the Rebecca Project (a nationally recognized organization for women’s rights).  It is believed that the Internet is to blame for this spike in the sex trade.  Sites such as backpage.com and craigslist.com have made it possible for pimps to sell young girls online in exchange for money.

In 2010, Craigslist was subject to large-scale scrutiny when it was discovered that its ‘Adult Services’ section assisted in the sex trafficking of minors.  As word spread of this issue nationally, a campaign to shut down this section of the website took place.  Initially Craigslist argued that they did not hold liability for third party content reflected on the site.

The House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on September 15, 2010 to discuss this issue.  There it was announced that Craigslist shut down the ‘Adult Services’ section in the United States.  In December 2010, the section was closed internationally as well.

“The activity taking place on myredbook.com, eros.com and backpage.com is equally as horrific,” said U.S. Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) at the hearing, “These sites are facilitating crimes.”

Backpage.com and other websites have made it difficult for authorities to shut them down.  They comply with regulations and whenever a case of underage trafficking is presented to them, they allow courts to subpoena their records.  Owners of the site have claimed time and time again that nothing they do is illegal and that they do not condone sex trafficking either.   This is difficult to believe because majority of revenue that the site gains comes from prostitution, often of minors.

There are many movements against these websites and sex trafficking of minors in general.  Change.org has an ongoing petition to shut down trafficking on backpage.com and 262,994 people have signed.

One group that is actively working to free and provide a safe environment to minors who are victims of sex trafficking is Courtney’s House.  The non-profit organization is located in the Washington D.C. Metro Area.

Most victims are referred to the organization by a family member.  Social workers, law enforcement and tips through the survivor hotline also help victims find refuge at Courtney’s House.

“The most striking thing about interning at Courtney’s House is the being a part of the ceaseless push to change lives for the better,” says Angela Gale, the Communications Intern at Courtney’s House and an eager participant in the fight against child sex trafficking, “Every minute of every day, the staff members have one goal in mind: how to rescue as many boys and girls from traffickers as they can.”

Upon arrival victims take an initial assessment, which indicates what will help them most through their healing process.  They are provided with many direct services, such as individual therapy, mentoring, tutoring, support groups and group activities.

In September, Courtney’s House reached its maximum caseload capacity of 21 clients.  Luckily, there are other organizations in the area much like this one that are dedicated to helping victims, such as Turn Around Inc. located in Baltimore.

“Sex trafficking is a huge crisis all over the United States. DC is a major hub because of its prime location and endless supply of eager buyers,” says Gale, when asked about the prevalence of trafficking in DC, “I wish I could say it was more than I expected it to be, but unfortunately the reality is that domestic minor sex-trafficking (DMST) is so rampant, it is not unexpected at all.”

Before 2000, the issue of sex trafficking in the United States was barely recorded.  The Urban Institute conducted a study in 2008 based on court cases from 1998 – 2004.  Researchers found that 58% of those cases brought to prosecutors were tossed out over a year.

Prosecutors threw out this cases due to lack of sufficient information.  When it comes to cases of sex trafficking, it is difficult to find people that are willing to testify.  Victims are often afraid of shedding light on their identity and law enforcement often found out about these cases through anonymous tips.  In 1998, majority of the defendants received a sentence of probation.

In 2000, the issue of human trafficking in the United States was more widely recognized.  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was passed, becoming the first federal law to address human trafficking.  TVPA took a three-pronged approach – protection, prevention and prosecution.  It was a good start, but did not specify the types of trafficking taking place, such as sex trafficking; it referred to human trafficking as a unit.

In 2003, 2005 and 2008 provisions were made to the TVPA and it became newly referred to as the TVPRA.  These provisions enacted new human trafficking crimes and allowed for the greater protection of victims.

            On February 12, Senate passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA).  If passed through the House of Representatives, the act will work on a federal and state level to assist children who are victims of sex trafficking.  TVPRA will allow for grant programs that help these victims get out and stay out of sex slavery.  The act will also strengthen the ability to prosecute the pimps and those who advertise sex online.

When asked what students can do to prevent sex trafficking, Ambassador in the office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking, Luis CdeBaca says, “raise your voices and start the issue at the grassroots. Nonprofits and other organizations can only do so much. Students need to bring awareness and demand something to be done.”

Statistics have shown that from 1998 to 2013, the issue of sex trafficking in the United States has become more widely recognized.  Due to the increase of the trade there is still a long way to go.  Anybody can help in spreading the importance of this issue. Every voice counts.  Organizations like the Polaris Project and Courtney’s House are always looking for volunteers to help in the fight.

“You can hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes, but more than that it’s evident in the copious amount of energy they expend daily to reach one more child, to train one more pair of arms. It’s very grounded, but at the same time, it’s very triumphant,” says Gale of the feeling staff members get when seeing victims who have been saved.

The Impact of Political Satire

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– By Bradley Whitaker.

The day after returning from his winter break, Jon Stewart spun around in his chair, battling a cold, ready to start another episode of his hit late night program The Daily Show. But rather than talking about something sarcastic, as The Daily Show often does, Stewart chose to tackle something serious, the issue of gun control. In his tapering voice, Stewart weighed in on how absurd the arguments for reducing gun violence had become. Max McCauley, a student at Trinity College in Hartford, CT remembers Stewart’s monologue clearly.

“As someone who grew up just minutes from Newtown, CT, I couldn’t help but notice how quickly the gun conversation changed from keeping people safe, to people looking out for their own political interests. Jon Stewart was able to put that conversation in perspective and talk about what was really important,” said McCauley, 20, wearing his Guilford Fencing jacket from his former high school in Guilford, CT.

Author Bradley Withaker

Author Bradley Whitaker

“It didn’t take the media long to forget about the tragedy in Newtown and turn it into something political. But the people of Connecticut definitely didn’t forget,” McCauley added. “It was refreshing to see Stewart actually talk common sense about the issue.”

While Stewart’s main role on Comedy Central is to be funny, his comedy doesn’t only inform viewers, it makes a real point. As the world of politics becomes increasingly polarized, news networks become more biased, and certain talking points become fact among politicians, pundits, and lobby groups, a path has been paved for comedians to cut straight to the bone on political issues that others are too frightened to touch. As a result, an increasing number of people, especially of younger demographics, are taking their trust away from mainstream media outlets such as network and cable news, newspapers, and magazines, and are turning to sources such as fake news programs, talk shows, satirical websites and tabloids. However, this phenomenon isn’t just due to what news outlets are doing wrong, it’s what comedians are doing right.

McCauley added, “I’ve been watching The Daily Show since I was in high school, and most of my friends who follow current events use it as their number one news source.”

Farleigh Dickinson University recently conducted a survey asking what news programs people watch on television, and then asked those people to answer a few basic questions about both international news and domestic affairs. 1,185 random New Jersey residents were contacted by landline and cell phone in February of last year in the survey. Viewers of The Daily Show were some of the best-informed viewers, with Sunday show viewers and National Public Radio listeners just beating them out. However, frequent viewers of Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC were some of the worst informed.

Jasper Zweibel, who recently wrote an article about Stewart’s influence PolicyMic.com, and had plenty to say on the matter: “Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart really are legitimate news men. They are bringing you the information and not making things up. The stories are funny because that’s just what happens in politics,” said Zweibel, 26, a contributor who’s been at PolicyMic.com for a couple years now. “If you let the comedy come naturally to the news, it let’s jokes really tap into the heart of the issue,” said Zweibel.

Satire doesn’t always have to be funny in order to keep people entertained. When something comes off as cathartic and is able to pull at one’s heartstrings, adding a humorous element to that can be both humanizing and extremely powerful. In an age where people’s attention spans are becoming shorter, that emotional attachment is almost necessary.

“People aren’t going to watch the news if it’s dry,” adds Zewibel. “They simply don’t. The jokes may keep people coming, but the purpose is to inform and the entertainment is used as a hook. The substance is the story.” Zweibel typically uses political satire to stay informed and keep a level head on what’s really happening in the news.

Mock news programs such as The Daily Show and Colbert Report aren’t the only satirical media outlets people get their news from. Over the last decade there has been a growing number of hits on websites such as The Onion and The Washington Fancy, whose soul purpose is to write pretend news stories that are designed to poke fun at the real news. The Onion, which started as a small entertainment newspaper in 1988 by two University of Wisconsin students, has since grown to average 7.5 million visitors per month, and recently won a Peabody Award back in 2009.

Editor-in-Chief at The Washington Fancy Steven Tobiasz discussed the role his news organization plays: “In terms of what we post online, we are similar to The Onion, but are more heavy politically. However, unlike most political satire on television, we are the complete opposite of the truth. We have to have an outrageous headline that makes people want to click and read it, and at the same time we can’t write three to four page articles because the attention span on a website is like ten seconds for some people,” stated Tobiasz, 25, who has experience working in comedy writing including being a research assistant at Conan.

“What keeps people coming back to our site is the fact that politics is terrible right now. Most news stations have a political affiliation, and don’t really investigate the real issue if it doesn’t align with their own political interests. I don’t even think some news organizations even know they’re doing it,” said Tobiasz. “But if my number one goal is to be funny, I can’t afford to waste my time trying to appeal to the left or the right. It’s not in my best interest to do so.”

Tobiasz is touching on what separates comedians from most opinionated journalists. Rather than looking to inform the viewer or reader on what the author thinks is happening, a comedian is looking for an emotional reaction. Creating this type of reaction actually can inform people. When talking about controversial or sentimental issues, comedy can actually be much more appealing. This explains how Stewart was able to articulate his gun argument nicely on The Daily Show.

“Comedy is a way of directing around a tough subject,” said Tobiasz. “There is a filter, but there’s a fine line with that filter. You’ve got to be willing to push buttons, and you have to be willing to say something that nobody else is willing to say. You have to dare to offend people, but do it in the right way.”

With online proliferation and apps taking over the media landscape, the future of how consumers will get their news is uncertain. However, things are looking bright for the future of comedy. More and more people of younger demographics are getting their news from these comedy sources and are actually becoming smarter by doing so. The Onion says that 90 percent of its online viewers are between the ages of 18 and 44 years old. If it isn’t comedy’s ability to relay the information across to people, it’s their way of keeping people entertained and connected to the subject.

Hunched over in his chair, Max McCauley reflected the thoughts so many people in Connecticut were thinking, “After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, I couldn’t even watch the news. When the news wasn’t discussing the difficult losses people had faced, it was a hysterical response from the NRA, or Alex Jones getting in an uncivilized argument with Piers Morgan. It wasn’t until I saw Jon Stewart frame the gun argument in a way that allowed people to speak openly and honestly about the issue that I actually felt like something could be done.”

Postponement in Filming

An Update on The Hand You’re Dealt: Due to time constraints of those involved in the production, filming has been moved to later in the weekend and even to the weekend. Hopefully before the semester ends we can get the video done and put up for the viewers pleasure.

Thanks you!

—Culture Shock Team