What it’s like being a journalist in a world of ‘fake news’…

If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know President Donald Trump has declared a war with the media.

Why, you may ask?

Because according to him, all the media prints are ‘alternative facts’ and ‘lies.’

Well, I for one, call bullshit.

I’m not saying that news outlets are perfect and never make mistakes, because we do–usually unintentionally–but, what he is implying is outright ludicrous, offensive and damaging to our credibility as journalists. And I especially take offense because I am a journalist. And I’ve worked damn hard, just like the rest of us, to become one.

Now I can’t sit here and claim I’ve never made an unintentional mistake or two here and there because that would be a lie. I’m only human, after all. And Despite Trump doing his best to make media the anti-Christ, there are people out there who, thankfully, still believe in us media. They rely on us to report the truth, inform them of current events and breaking news happening locally, nationally and internationally.

And to those people who support us, I thank you.

As for those who are on Trump’s side in regards to the war with media, I am astounded. I am astounded because so often I come across people on social media sharing and re-posting news articles that aren’t from a reputable or even real news site but, believe it’s real. They fail to do any work of their own to check the credibility of that site/publication and instead  just assume that actual, legitimate news organizations are just full of straight crap.

As a reporter, I strongly urge to anyone reading this to please, please, please in the future consider double-checking the news sources from where you’re getting stories and re-sharing from. Because not only do I take offense to this on a professional level, but it also makes me lose respect for your personally to see you didn’t care enough to even bother double-checking your source(s).

It truly is a shame that there are so many people who side with Trump when it comes to blasting and ragging on the media day in and day out. And I don’t simply say that just because I am a journalist. I would be pissed even if I wasn’t a journalist because I would still rely on them to report the news and keep me informed and educated. I would rely on them even if I wasn’t a journalist because I know that they actually went (or you know, should have) to school to earn their degree in it. And yes, a degree in my opinion separates the real journalists from the non-real journalists. But, that’s a completely different topic in itself.

Being a reporter in the present when Trump is president is tough. It’s not easy. And while the chances of Trump ever noticing and calling me out personally or the newspaper I work for on something we reported on are like 1 in 1 million, I still stand by my fellow reporters across the state, across the nation and across the globe. And I appreciate so much the news outlets who took a stand against Trump and Sean Spicer regarding their recent press conference by not attending it even if they were actually on the very exclusive, small list Trump created.

Being a reporter in the present when Trump is president is frustrating. Even though I work for a small paper, I (well, mostly the paper I work at or any newspaper/other news outlet in existence for that matter) still deal with and experience people’s nasty comments on news articles we write–saying we’re this and that because of what we report; or how dare we report on this; how dare we not report on that; etc. Of course, there is always going to be something, whether it’s Donald Trump or regular everyday people sitting behind their computer monitor, that people dislike about what my newspaper or other news outlets report on. And that sucks.

No profession goes unscathed by people who call out their flaws and rag on them now and then but, in Trump’s term as president right now, the media is definitely subject to more scrutiny and hatred a lot more openly and frequently.

So my point is, please consider formulating your own thoughts about the media before just blindly jumping on Trump’s (or any one who is anti-media) bandwagon. Perhaps through your own fact-checking you’ll see that maybe it’s not actually the media that has it wrong, but the viewer/reader of the news just happens to have a different perception of what is being reported.

It’s OK to have different perceptions, thoughts, opinions — all that. That is what is great about this country–our ability to have different perspectives. But, what’s not OK is simply bashing the media and/or other people/professions just because you don’t agree with them on every minute detail. The media can’t and shouldn’t be the enemy just because you or Donald Trump don’t agree with what is being reported. You can’t claim something is a ‘lie’ or an ‘alternative fact’ simply because you disagree.

Like I said, I for one stand with the media whether I am a part of it or not. Who knows, maybe one day in the far future I may no longer work in the media but you can be sure as hell I will still support them 100 percent. And trust them. They do have a degree in it after all. And, because I know well enough and understand that journalists are human, too, and make mistakes from time to time but that just because they do doesn’t mean they’re bad people, ignorant, stupid, or reporting ‘alternative facts.’ Sure, you can be a Trump supporter all you want but, for crying out loud, politics aside, even before this war was declared with the media by Trump, you should have been doing your damn research. And so if you haven’t, now is as good a time as any.

Just be informed, OK?

Again, even if I wasn’t a journalist, I would still be urging you to do the same–fact check. But I am even more strongly urging you to be informed because I am a journalist. Trust me, nothing makes anyone more annoyed (I can only assume), when people don’t bother to fact-check and make sure that the news they’re seeing,  re-sharing and believing is actually legitimate.

So please, do your part by verifying the news site’s legitimacy before hitting “share” on Facebook or “retweet” on Twitter. It’ll give a lot of people, but especially us reporters, less of a headache.

Until next time…

XO,

Anamaria

What To Know: Life as a Central Michigan University Chippewa

It’s hardly half-way through the first day of classes at CMU and already I am missing so many things…

I was done with classes in May so it’s not like I just gave up what I miss yesterday or anything, but, I can’t help feel nostalgic after seeing all my friends’ social media posts. In honor of the first day of my alma mater’s classes, I will post some things I personally miss, along with advice/tips incoming freshmen and anyone in general should check out/know during their time at CMU.

TIPS/ADVICE:

Tip #1: Invest in FLEX dollars. These are absolutely worth it and can be used to buy copious amounts of Starbucks at the University Center OR to buy endless spicy chicken sandwiches, also at the U.C. Or to buy anything else your heart desires, as long as it’s on CMU’s campus.

Tip #2: When driving to the U.C. and PARALLEL parking, make sure you do JUST that–PARALLEL park. Don’t park too close to the front or back line and mess up the parking for everyone else. If there’s one thing that peeves me the most it’s when people don’t take the two seconds to readjust their parking. Besides, you don’t want anyone else accidentally hitting your car or something, do you? Just do it and save yourself a scratch or fender bender.

Tip #3: It’s an unspoken, unwritten rule that where you sit on the first day of school is where you’ll sit every day after–unless your professor assigns you seats–in which case sucks. But, if you don’t have assigned seats then know where you pick to sit on the first day is pretty much guaranteed where you’ll be sitting the rest of the semester. In other words, please don’t be THAT person who decides halfway through the semester that he/she doesn’t like his/her seats and sits in someone else’s and then messes everything up for everyone else. Just don’t do it. Pick carefully.

Tip #4: While it’s still technically summer and not fall for another month, remember to dress for the appropriate whether. As it was just brought to my attention from one of my sorority sisters, there isn’t AIR CONDITIONER in the buildings. Meaning as soon as you step foot inside whatever building your class is in you’ll be wishing you could jump in a pool or have one of those portable fans with you like the ones that were popular (although I never understood why) when we were younger. It’s hot and depending on how long your class is, or regardless of how long your class is, you WILL be miserable if dressed in clothes made for cooler fall temperatures or even winter. And as an extra precaution: pack water, or something else to hydrate.

Tip #5: Join RSOs (registered student organizations). I can’t stress this enough. I will admit I wish I had joined an RSO sooner than the start of my junior year but you know, it is what it is. Anyway… Join a group, whatever it may be, as soon as you can. You might be worried you won’t have the time to commit to it, which was my major concern, but trust me, you will, and in the end it will benefit you immensely. And for the times you really don’t have the time for it, again, it will be worth it in the end. There are so many groups/clubs to join on campus that if you really can’t find one then, well, you’re probably doing it wrong. You’re bound to find something that sparks your interest or may end up sparking your interest if you at least give it a try. Check out Orgsync for a list of all the RSOs CMU has–that is, if you didn’t already check out Main Stage this past weekend. Even if you’re not sure about joining a club right away at least attend one meeting/event or even e-mail the president to get a better feel of what that particular club is about. Trust me, you won’t regret joining an RSO. Besides, after having joined my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, I use that in my cover letters when applying for jobs talking about my experience as the Public Relations Chair AND how to effectively engage/work with different kinds of people as my sisters and I are all different.

Tip #6: Get to know your professors, especially ones in your department of study. Don’t just know their name but, when their office hours are, a little background info about them–like what inspired them to teach what they do, where they went to school, what type of internships they did, career advice, etc. When it gets closer to graduation and you’re applying for post-college jobs or even internships earlier in your college career, you may (or MOST likely) will be required to submit letters of recommendations to said job. And who better to have write you one than someone who knows you for longer than one semester? Once you’re at the point where the majority of the classes you’re enrolled in are your major classes then you will most likely have the same professors from there on out. Utilize them. They were once students too and while it was a different time when they went to college than it is now, they can still offer valuable insight and advice on how to successfully reach your goals both academically and professionally.

Tip #6: This pertains more to Welcome Weekend, which already happened, but also can apply to any other weekend. It’s no secret Central is known as a “party school”, which, to some may seem like an elite title while others look the other way. Regardless, in my opinion, students like to let loose–whether it’s every weekend or once in awhile. And just because you let loose doesn’t mean you have to be raging all night until the sun comes up the next morning or even drink at all, but you should still remember this next tip. Watch out for your friends! I’m not sure if it’s still up, but at one of the bus stops outside of Pearce Hall there is a poster that says something to that effect–take care of each other. Not everyone is friends with everyone at CMU but, if there’s one thing I really appreciated learning my freshman year was that everyone was at least friendly/cordial with each other. You don’t have to be besties but during my experience at CMU I realized how close-knit we are and are there for each other through the good and bad. Might sound a bit cheesy but trust me, you’ll be thanking your peers later if you ever go through a rough experience. My point in saying watch out for your friends, and non-close friends (peers) in general is because that’s what CMU Chips do. Even though CMU has the “party rep” and can be seen as negatively, I know CMU can also do a lot of great, positive things. So, if you see something, say something. All of CMU chips know this motto as every new student/freshman is required to attend the “No zebras, no excuses” skit put on by SAPA every fall semester. It’s okay to have fun–by all means, I think if you’re not having even the slightest bit of fun at college then you’re doing it wrong (although, just MY opinion)–but, be safe too. Some people might think the fun they’re having now and the capturing of it via pictures/social media, etc. won’t have an effect on them later in life but trust me, it will. After all, once something is posted online is never fully goes away–even if you do “delete” it. Have fun, but be smart about it and take care of each other.

Tip #7: Put quarters in your meter. I can’t stress this enough because although you may THINK you can get away for parking at a meter for a mere 5 minutes, trust me, the parking enforcement officers will be out and you WILL get ticketed. Sometimes you get lucky and you can get away with it but in my experience during my time at CMU–they’re ALWAYS watching, ALWAYS there–somehow, someway. Just pay your meters. It will save you the hassle. Plus, if you think you can get away with ripping the ticket up and throwing it away, it won’t do you any good. The parking enforcement office will continue ticketing your account and eventually can put a hold on your CMU account until the fees are paid in full. 

Tip #8: As a freshman it’s easy to go overboard buying all the CMU apparel, mugs, stickers, tattoos, etc. your heart can desire but think ahead and ask yourself how much of it you’re actually going to wear/use in the future? (Side note: Think of when you graduate and able to buy the alumni apparel/gear–that I think is way more fun. But, just my opinion.) Especially LANYARDS! Okay, just kidding, this is an exception. While I do believe it’s a “freshman” thing to wear a CMU lanyard around your neck 24/7 with your car keys/dorm keys/CMU ID on it, people continue to do it after, myself included, in which case I say: rock on. People can silently judge you all they want but in reality they’re probably doing the same thing as sophomores, juniors and seniors–you just can’t tell because it’s typically freshmen who wear the lanyard all the time. Just saying… Embrace it. Plus, a lanyard is really handy and even to THIS day, I use mine for my car keys so I can easily find and access them from my purse. 

Let’s see, I can’t think of any other tips off the top of my head but, if you have any to share please feel free to in the comments section.

But, back to what I miss and will continue to miss while being a graduate of CMU…

I’ll miss seeing the colors of the leaves change as I’m walking to class each day. I’ll miss meeting with my sorority sisters for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Down Under Food Court. I’ll miss going to my weekly CM Life, GC Mag and Yellow Ribbon meetings. (I know I used to complain a lot about my life seeming like it was just all about meetings but trust me, I miss that familiarity now.) I’ll miss going out on Thursdays with friends, being so happy and thankful I didn’t have Friday classes–because let’s face it, that doesn’t happen post-college life. Jobs are five days week! II’ll miss seeing all my friends on a regular basis, and even more if/when I ever move further away than I am now.

I will miss A LOT of things about CMU, too many for me to name, but thankfully I’ll always have the memories to look back on. For all of you new and current students at CMU enjoy your time. Make the most of it. Have fun but don’t go too overboard. Take pride in being a CMU Chippewa. I know it’s something I’ll take pride in until the day I die.

Forever a Chippewa. FIRE UP!

Until next time…

– Ana