On seeking the good news

Hello world!

gif source

I like thinking that people are good. And somehow finding things that remind me that they are good. Now, sure there are plenty more bad stories in the news than there are good, but just try to weed out the good and you’ll find a gem somewhere.

No really, I’m not just talking about reading things on Upworthy¬†though that is a good site filled with good sense. Sometimes its the small stories about a kid that rescued a dog that was dying or a grandfather that tells an emotional story of his life making you realize that you take life for granted. Your local news has more feature stories than you think and they are largely uninteresting, but exciting to the person(s) being featured so always give them a quick spotlight if you can. Everyone needs a little love sometimes.

I was a feature reporter for a hot minute once (I don’t really say that phrase, because like how hot was that 60 seconds supposed to be anyway?) and wrote mostly about pets, people and their dogs. Dog groomers mostly, some art shows, an pro-life rally (which I didn’t end attending but talked with the organizer which was enough for a short blurb). Most of my interviews are done via phone call. I very seldom did things in person, because I didn’t live in the same place (I was 45 min away) and so I commuted. I thought the experience was a fairly fulfilling one though and one that I won’t forget. But, I wish I was more forthright and spoke up more. Basically, I wish I did more in-person interviews. That’s where the real gold conversations and photos are likely to occur.

But, since I no longer do this. I can say that reading local feature stories reminds me of the reporter that I was. But, a better version.

So step outside of your Twitter filled with political angst and refrain from commenting any further. Instead, think about seeking out good. Any piece of media that reminds you what it means to be human. What it means to be imperfect. And then you will inevitably smile because you know that no one or nothing can take this feeling away (unless you let them, and you won’t! ūüėČ

(cover image source).


On following the news cycle

It’s easy for me to say that you can do whatever you want when I don’t know you at all.

That’s a weird way to start a post. Hello, how are you? Do you have any idea what it’s like to live in the U.S. this year with all the nonsensical political discourse going on? Maybe you do, but you might not pay attention to politics at all. Maybe that’s good right now. You shouldn’t let yourself get tainted by someone that thinks they know whats right for all despite being loved by a select few. But paying attention to news is something that everyone, no matter where you live should care about and participate in. Why? Because, things like news and current events can shape the type of person you are.

I like to read. Mostly everything. I like to experiment, but one more than one occasion I have stopped reading a book if I simply didn’t like it. If you don’t like what you hear, you don’t need to hear it but sometimes if its important its those things we hate to hear that are the most important. I’m brining it back to news now. I follow the news cycle like I’m still a reporter. I despise the term “news junkie” as it implies someone that likes the news which is seen to be depressing. In short, someone that is amused or thrilled by news events. For most this is not the case, but for me when I am Twitter it is this very place. I share news, I contemplate news, and I share some more news all while knowing that in 24 hours none of what I’m sharing will matter any longer or events will have changed. That is how it works. The news cycle is always changing and is always different and that is why it is the most interesting thing you will read all day.

But don’t get me wrong, there are those moments when I forget to follow the news for few days. I miss an important update to a political story, I miss the news that someone famous has died, I miss that some child has gone missing and I miss breaking news. All in one day.


We can’t all be perfect, but we can try to follow the things that remind us of how we’re all screwed up too.



Masjid-e Jami - Herat, Afghanistan
“Friday Mosque Herat door detail” by Marius Arnesen. ¬†Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons-

I’m a Muslim. You don’t know me. If you follow this blog or subscribe to it or whatever, you still don’t know me (mostly because those that follow this blog are all strangers, a scary thought for me a bit but alas).

Everyone has an opinion. Some of them are the wrong opinion. Some of them fall under the presumption that their opinion trumps others. Do American Muslims not have the ability to have an opinion? Absolutely not. We are writers, poets, journalists, scientists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, mothers, and fathers. We are people.

Of course there are two kinds of people in the world. Those that follow their own agenda and decide that no one should live happily if they can’t or are not able to (yes, I believe that at least 50% of hate/terror in these cases comes down to happiness level and sanity) while the rest of the others either conform to the rules of society or break them through rebellion and resistance.

This is not trying to convince you or sway you in any particular direction. Maybe you’re a socialist and think everything is corrupt. Maybe those conspiracies you said about the police were true. In at least one city. Maybe more. Maybe you wanted to be arrested.¬†To send a¬†message.¬†Who got the message? The target group or just the police? Would you die for any of your causes? If you say yes, would you really? Do you hate/love so much you would die and kill others for the cause?

What about things like Sharia law or “Refugees taking over my freedom?” you might ask. Sharia law is a system of government for running banks, laws, and day-to-day life under Islamic ruling. There are currently only 15 countries that follow this, combined with the country’s own government. Sharia would never happen in the U.S. or Canada because there are no Islamic courts. Read more here (in fact, please share it if you find it insightful):¬†http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/sharia-law-usa-states-ban_n_3660813.html

I could write¬†whole host of other topics, but if you watch the news and listen to the President then you might be confused on what to think. Besides, I’m also no expert. You might be lost and you might be wondering how to make sense of it all. While many of you are capable of googling “what is Islam” or “Islam” or any other number of combinations, I’m going to share with you now some sources that I think you might read. Especially since you made it to the bottom of this post.

New Pew Research: Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

BBC Report: What is ‘Islamic State?’

Muslim Reform Movement

Beautiful online exhibit of Muslim poets

Just a few images of Muslim scientists and discoveries

I can add more and recommend numerous Gallup polls on the topic of Muslims.

If you want to learn something, what’s stopping you. Before you say the media puts a negative light on Islam sometimes (I know) making it hard to sort through the good and bad, I ask you to seek out polls like Gallup and Pew Research for expert analysis. In addition think tanks or non-profit organizations like the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Advocates, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Unity Productions Foundation¬†as sources to seek out for information on specific Muslim groups (including law firms, non-profits, workplace, media, and community groups/organizations)¬†along with reports on the status of Muslims. And yes, that was a super run-on sentence but check out those organizations.

Current Events

Maybe I’m only speaking for a small group here, but I don’t feel like current events is part of a kid’s everyday life. There used to be a time when major networks made more of an effort to promote this. This is not a hate post or anything on the topic, I’m just saying I’ve seen like not as much educational programming. But, then thank goodness for not for profit and local companies that work on educational and useful programming. Like, the news. If I went to a regular high school today, I would probably be hard-pressed to find one kind with a good knowledge of what’s going around in the world as well as any local or national news. But, hey maybe I’m judging based on what I don’t know again. Maybe, these kids know. They just choose not to show it.

Don’t call me out here, not calling anyone stupid or anything like that. It’s probably hard to have a conversation without inserting some popular tv show, musician, or movie at the current moment at the same time. It’s high school, I get that. High school is not a walk in the park either, but that’s probably a story for another day. Does anyone remember Nick News with Linda Ellerbee? Like, that was a show that talked about some real issues with some involvement from kids. Now, that I think about it it was kind of like one of those CNN town hall things that Piers Morgan used to do and sometimes what Anderson Cooper does. What’s that? Oh, my. I’ve just read on a Buzzfeed article from 2013 that Nick News is still on. That’s kind of amazing. The Nick News site says its the longest running news show. If its still on, it has been on the air since 1992. A look at the show’s Twitter page, with the most recent tweet on April 25 tells me the show is still on. This is very good and Linda Ellerbee is not the only one surprised it would seem that is has lasted this long. I suppose if you look hard enough the news that matters to the right demographic is out there.

On that note, does anyone remember Mister Rogers? Of course you do. But, he was the soft-spoken leader in bringing educational programming to the forefront. Because, that thing about Beyonce and Jay-Z is cool and all and you can dream to be like them if that’s what you’re into but when it comes down to it what do you want? Like, really want. You don’t need role-models as much as you need yourself to be guided by a model path. As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that pretty much no one grows up without out admiring at least one person or thing. It’s probably a natural part of thinking and growing.

I want to write more in the next week, so without letting this get too long I’ll just end with telling you to keep reading, consuming and doing. Life is always going on.

Following a Guided Path

So, I’m doing my best to write in this blog everyday this week. Just, whenever I get done writing I post which makes for a lot of thinking. I don’t want to write about nothing, but I probably am. Of course, most blogs don’t always stay to a central goal (that is rather hard), but it is something to try. That’s what I’m trying to do, but it’s not always so easy.

In journalism, reporters must work to maintain that they are following a set of principles to ensure that their work touches on important matters. The news is always changing, stories do not remain constant. Journalists do not have a reliable life path because the journey is uncertain in the future. However, people still value quality journalism and news that makes sense. Take,¬†The New York Times¬†or¬†The Wall Street Journal both striving to maintain the highest quality of professionalism and honesty in the trade. This is what people want. No one wants to be lied to or to be told that what they previously believed is no longer true. Of course why should ¬†you, the reader care? Because, this form of striving to get the highest quality applies to most professions. No one wants a slacker or someone that doesn’t even try. Lawyers, doctors, teachers, analysts and more must make sure that the information they are presenting to others is accurate and in tact.

It’s not always easy to do this, as stated but one should know that they will feel a great sense of accomplishment by simply being able to do so. Follow a source that is true to your self, not others. What do you believe in? Who do you believe in? I’m not necessarily talking about faith, but more about how one should not give up on the idea of holding true to a certain dogma. Do you believe that drugs are bad news and that marriage is important? Or, maybe you don’t care so much for either and simply want to form better relationships with people (family, friends, and others) to connect more meaningfully? Maybe you are reading this thoughtfully or maybe skeptically. Perhaps you are even reading this to be polite, though you do not care at all for the subject matter. That’s quite alright as well. There is something you can do for yourself though; make sure you know what your intentions are.

By this point you maybe wondering what the point was. Well, the point is that I’m convincing myself (as well as whoever is reading this) that nothing stays the same for very long. In the same respect, goals that are too short only lead one to the end of the week. Which is not bad, at all. In fact, it’s a good starting point. A point at which one begins to recount how much it really matters to have real, concrete ideas in place. Ideas that can either make or break a person. Depending on who you are, it just might be worth it to think about what kind of path you follow then decide if it’s the right one.

The Convergence of Media

In today’s society, we seem to not think twice before we post online. Some of us do, most of us say we do then forget this when the moment arrives using the logic that it can just be deleted later on. That’s just it, what you put online is online. End of story. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about how everyone wants to take part in sharing their daily lives or breaking news with the world. Everyone wants to grab ahold of the action.

For example, in a world in which pretty much everything is digital it is no wonder that people hold most things as personal parts of everyday life. From updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram it is no wonder that people feel connected on such a personal level to their friends and comrades. When there is a storm or shooting, people want to grab ahold of it. They want to tell their version of the story, further letting people become more personal with one another online in order to tell a story or share an idea. Take the CNN ireport, which is fueled by the idea of citizen news and active participation in events. This lets everyone take part in the news and being a part of the media story. But, does everyone want this? Some people may not like the idea that their story is going to be edited heavily thereby taking away their viewpoint. Of course, that is not everyone. The point is that the stories of events are told in a manner meant to evoke a certain emotion and citizen reporting helps this facet of a news report. Everything is meant to come together in a timely fashion so that it all makes sense when put on the air or placed in a news article. Who does not want to be a part of creating lasting change? Creating the news is easy, it is telling it that is changing.

That first sentence was not a pointless fact, it is common sense. It applies to most practices done online as well. Don’t be careless, send in what you think will be relevant and substantial content. Reporters work to gather sources and if they are at their last source and turn to a citizen for information (that’s you!), then know that you should not make up stories to simply be in the news. All the news stories will come together, but if a story is important enough then more outside sources from regular people may be included. Don’t be scared, this is your chance!

Alright, enough on this topic. Here are some links to pages and articles related to this topic. Everyone should be informed before deciding to contribute or what type of message to send out.

Nieman Reports- Citizen Journalism and the BBC
Citizen Journalism & Democracy: How User-Generated News Use Relates to Political Knowledge and Participation (abstract)
Forums for citizen journalists? Adoption of user generated content initiatives by online news media (abstract)
Good article on journalistic ethics, important for citizen journalists/reporters to keep in mind