Opinion piece: How Twitter is writing itself into the history books.

With a little blue bird and 140 characters, Twitter is fast writing itself into the history books thanks to the help of the United States 45th president Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has taken to social media in a way that no other president has done before. Unfiltered and clearing speaking his mind, the president uses the platform to directly speak with not only his own country; but also the entire world.

With over 45 million followers, the globe now turns to Twitter each day to find out whether the country is at war with North Korea and the links to the latest New York Times and CNN pieces regarding him.

Quite frankly. Twitter has become the new newspaper when it comes to Mr Trump, America as a country and global politics.

And with all this, the social media giant is able to simply rub its hands together and chuckle, knowing that Mr Trump’s presidential legacy and their application have become indefinitely intertwined and their name is not going anywhere fast.

 

Why Italy remains unsympathetic over the #metoo campaign

Italian actress Asia Argento is one of the latest to accuse Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.  However, it has been revealed that she has not faced the same sympathy in her own country that she has abroad.

The actress reported that she felt “doubly crucified” by both the assault and by some reactions from Italy since sharing her story and temporarily moved to Berlin to escape.

“I am being shamed by the Italian media…”

– Argento in an interview to Variety (News.com.au)

So why has the #Metoo campaign not had the same effect in Italy, that it has across much of the rest of the world?

News.com.au reports that many question the length of time been the incidents and the allegations since many of the accusations coming forward are from multiple years ago.

However, as The New York Times investigates, Italy’s unsympathetic response may reveal something deeper about their own culture.

President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini discussed how it wasn’t the fact harassment did not occur in Italy, but the fact there are strong repercussions for those who do speak up.

 “They know that in this country, there is a strong prejudice against them.”

–  Laura Boldrini, president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies (The New York Times)

This creates a silencing effect and explains both some of the reactions to Asia Argento’s story and why the #Metoo campaign has not had the same response in the European country.

 

 

 

Alabama Senate election results

Today marks the first day in over 25 years that Alabama has elected a Democrat.

In a close election, Doug Jones has beaten Roy Moore to claim the state’s Senate seat.

According to statistics from the New York Times, Jones claimed 49.9% of the vote compared to Moore’s 48.4%.

Prior to the election, Trump gave the Republican candidate shrowded in sexual misconduct accusations his undoubted support. Shortly after the election, Trump tweeted his response:

Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 7.26.58 PM

The victory helps to tighten the Senate seat gap between the two parties going into 2018 and will shorten the Republican’s majority which may have an impact on future decisions.

The controversial case of Cyntoia Brown

The case of Cyntoia Brown, a 29-year-old serving life for murder has recently come under the spotlight again.

Brown was sentenced to life in prison after killing 43-year-old Johnny Allen in 2004 aged just 16. The teen endured a rocky childhood and after running away was forced into prostitution. When taken to Allen’s house to perform sexual acts, she was unnerved by the guns as well as his army training, and feared they would be used against her as demonstrated in the quote below provided by Fox17.

“He was a sharp shooter in the Army. I’m sitting here thinking if he does something, what am I going to do?” – Cyntonia 

Since then, attention has since refocused on her after a post from Rihanna. The post reignited support for her from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West and brought her case back under the spotlight.

People supporting Brown’s release look at her case through the terror and abuse she endured while being subjected to sex-trafficking. They also bring attention to the prenatal damage done to Brown through alcohol use. Her alcohol-related neuro-development disorder may have had an effect on her unstable behaviour. People also have questioned the decision to try her as an adult.

People opposed make mention of the fact she left his house with a couple of his guns, his truck and trousers that included a wallet. It also appeared that Allen had been found in a sleep-like position by authorities. This suggests he may have been asleep when he was shot and makes Brown’s claim it was done in self-defence murky, (as previously mentioned, Brown was made nervous by Allen’s gun collection and training and was scared he would pull a gun on her).

In 2011 a documentary was made about Cyntoia Brown and her case and is available on Youtube.

 

 

 

The Paradise papers & collaborative journalism

Whilst, not a breaking news story, I wanted to take a moment to break down the Paradise papers and the impact such a set of documents could have upon collaborative journalism.

To provide some context, the Paradise papers released on the 5th of November investigated a number of (13.4 million) documents regarding the offshore investments of a number of businesses and people. Offshore investments can sometimes be used to reduce taxes and particular countries have come to be known as ‘tax havens’.

The Paradise papers (and predecessor Panama papers) were only made possible through a combined effort and incorporated nearly 400 journalists from around the world.

This extensive number of journalists allowed the large number of documents to be analysed, and each journalist (or group of) to focus on different people/businesses.  It also allowed different collaborations and people to come together that otherwise would not have the opportunity to work together.

Trying to keep things secret and under wraps can be difficult through collaborative journalism as there is such a large number of people working on the project and leaks are a real risk.

The Paradise papers (and earlier Panama papers) successful demonstrated how collaborative journalism can be used to break larger stories that would not be possible otherwise and will hopefully promote further work in the future.

To learn more about the Paradise papers themselves and their development, check out this behind the scenes Vice documentary.

Halloween

According to History.com, the celebration can be linked back to the Celtic festival of Samhain, where dressing up and lighting bonfires were thought to warn of unwanted spirits.

When all saints day (Nov 1st) was developed, some of the same traditions from this festival were incorporated, the night before this became known as All Hallows Eve and now referred to as Halloween.

Over time, Halloween has developed to what we know it as now, a celebration where people dress up and children wander the neighbourhood looking for candy, but is it still relevant?

A Christian group has recently made headlines by developing what is called “Jesus ween” where participants hand out bibles and dress in white to represent righteousness. In a quote provided by Huffington Post, The creator of the event Pastor Paul Ade told Gawker

“Halloween is not consistent with the Christian faith. Many people say they feel uncomfortable on that day. We think people should choose an alternative activity.”

The holiday has also caused much debate in other countries, such as my own (New Zealand), where some people have decided not to follow the overseas holiday and feel they should not have to comply with the Americanised celebration.

According to one NZ poll, 1/3 of respondents expected trick-or-treaters but only 20% were planning to decorate their houses.

There is also been discussion suggesting that the Mexican celebration of Dia de Los Muertos celebrated on the 2nd of November is losing its individuality by being pulled into Halloween.

Regardless of whether you support Halloween or not, the candy-centred holiday does not appear to be disappearing fast. Time to start carving some pumpkins and stocking up on those sweet treats.

 

 

Breaking down: Google maps cupcake controversy

What is it? 

Google recently updated their map application to tell users how many calories they would lose by walking to their destination instead. But before you pull out your devices and look for it… it is already in the process of being revoked.

Why was it criticised?  

Criticism was cropped for the update from a “mini” feature. This feature measured a number of calories the user could lose and compared it to mini cupcakes.

The feature was considered potentially harmful towards those with eating disorders and overall a bit judgemental.

A response provided to BBC  (excerpt below) reflects this criticism also touching on the internal competitiveness and feeling of shame that could unintentionally be brought on through it.

“Although it is good to encourage people to walk more, having the calories used on Google Maps does not seem to be the best way to do this… if people want to count their calories then they should be given the option to do this, rather than it being enforced.”  – Priya Tew, The Association of UK Dietitians

According to The Verge,  A Google spokesperson has indicated that “based on strong user feedback” the update will start to be removed.