NY Times RCL Speech Draft

“Deadly Storm Transforms Houston Streets Into Raging Rivers” That was the main headline of the New York Times on August 28th, 2017. Since 1851 you can expect these kind of direct, journalistic headlines from the Times in its’ classic and nationally recognizable font. You can also expect award winning journalism, as in its history it has won over 100 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other paper in the world. The New York Times has been one of the most important journalistic institutions in the United States in the 19th, 20th and 21st century. The newspaper has been rated as one of the most reputable sources of news in the country. It has covered every single major American event since the Civil War and has been instrumental in recent American history. Its’ powerful political influence began when it took on Tammany Hall’s corruption in NYC in the latter half of the nineteenth century and by the 1940s it was being shipped nationally. The paper’s influence spread and began to take shape into what it is today.

Simply put, the NY Times helps Americans fulfill their civic duty by delivering them the news taking place in the country and the world.. By doing this patriotic duty it keeps Americans literate and knowledgeable. It keeps them engaged in current events and what is happening in their government and otherwise in the world. It offers a whole view of the world from Sports and Arts to opinions from dozens of writers who all compete to be featured on the opinion pages of the Times.

The Times has also performed its civic duty when it has challenged the laws of the United States government and has exposed scandals and has pushed the boundaries of investigative journalism. In 1964 the Times went to the Supreme Court in a landmark case that expanded Freedom of the press for all newspapers. The case established a precedent in the use of malice in the media and it placed a burden of proof on the plaintiff to prove they had been libeled so that Newspapers could legally criticize public figures. In the Case of NY Times V Sullivan the Times defended a suit against a Montgomery civil servant who claimed the Times published an advertisement that he believed was libeling him. The Times won and expanded the freedoms of the press in the United States

The paper also went head to head with the United States government in 1971 by publishing the Pentagon Papers, which were documents on the Vietnam War that had been leaked to them. The government didn’t want them publishing these documents and sued the Times for what they claimed was the sake of national security. The Times believed the people had a right to know what the government was doing, as it was their job. The case again went to the Supreme Court and again the Times won landmark freedoms for the press in the United States. The Times had again performed their civic duty of informing the people and maintained their journalistic integrity. Their tagline has been “All the News that’s fit to print” and that is what they have done.

In recent years the Times role as the “newspaper of record” has been called into question. It has been referred to as “failing”, “fake news” and “Sad!” Those are only a few of the insults they’ve endured over the last couple years but the liberal bias it has had for years is now being criticized more and more in our polarized society. Yet while it has come under these attacks, the newspaper has done the same thing it has done since day one; it publishes the news that the American public needs.. Their mission has always been to search for the truth and give it to the American People and in that way, The New York Times fulfills its civic mission to the citizens of the United States and the World.

RCL Blog #3

I’ve lived 15 out of my 17 years in Post-9/11 America, but for Addario the experience was new and it especially meant her entire life would change. She spent time in Pakistan and Afghanistan but in the excerpt of this part that effected me the most she was in Baghdad. She describes the building they are staying in and it becomes what seems like a safe home in Iraq. “Eventually the Times house became a fortress…” she goes onto to describe the human aspect of a war zone. The compound, the love and the sex. It sounded like liberation in a war zone, and I really appreciate this aspect of Addario’s writing. The choice to describe everyday life for her in a war zone is a rather effective and strong one and one you see throughout the book, but is one of her best qualities. The calm in the storm is almost leisurely to read until the book swings back to war. The entire book really touches on the human aspect of war, but this description of them feeling almost safe is a nice touch on describing how they really live.

I could use this advice in my writing because it reminds me it doesn’t have to be serious all the time. There is of course the story you want to tell, but its nice to take a break and tell the side stories. Especially stories of elicit love and feelings of freedom and so on and so forth. In politics, theater and sports, you can often find these moments. It’s what happens in the backrooms, the lorckerrooms and the green rooms. What’s happening when these people aren’t working in the public eye. It reminds me of the famous “King of all Kings” piece about Muhammad Ali’s out of the boxing ring life. Sometimes you need to pull away and find what’s true in the world. It’s what is reliving about Addario’s writing, and it is what I would like to try and incorporate in future pieces if I can find the space or time to do it without pulling away from my original message.

RCL Blog #2

In the first part of “It’s what I do”, Lynsey Addario provides the exposition as to how she gets involved in her career as a photojournalist and the tales of her early life. Near the end of the first part she tells an anecdote about her grandmother and he tale of forgotten passion and love in its purest form. It is added in this section as Addario is telling her audience and reminding herself not to let love and passionate kisses pass us by. If it feels right to Addario, she’s going to follow it. It’s her gut that she follows in this novel to make most of her decisions and leads her around the world into the faces of war. For Addario, he works is her passion, but she is sure to not let love slip through her fingertips. She keeps this story in her heart as to never forget to lose sight as to what is really important to her.

The story that defines my passion is being shaped as we speak. My call to action in the political realm is unfolding every day. I will never forget the days after the 2016 election. I personally didn’t go to school the next day as to take a mental health day. I remember waking up and seeing my sister and mother sitting on the couches crying. I remember turning on the news and seeing countless Americans crying as well. I called my friends and they too were shaken to their core. It reminded me how these elections affect us all. Millions of people were going to be affected negatively as a result of the election and I will never forget the pain felt by people around the country that day. That pain will always remind me as a call of action and will always be reason to fight for what I believe in and my passions.

Stories of kisses and tears are important in human lives. They both create a call to action in different ways. They are both often unforgettable turning points in a person’s life. They are reasons to fight, and reasons why I will always continue to fight for what I believe in and convey my messages in any means necessary.

RCL Blog #1 It’s What I Do

Lynsey Addario’s quest for finding happiness has taken her to war torn places of the world where the carnage and political climate create situations that make them some of the worst places on earth. For Addario, it’s her definition of “Nice Work if You Can Get It.” She gets a front row view of life in many corners of the world. From the United States to Libya and Afghanistan, wherever the drums of conflict sound, she is there. She gets to travel around the world to seek out and document people’s lives for her living.  She brings these stories from their birthplaces to people around the world.  Her passion involves living a dangerous and fulfilling life that allows her to have love, a family, and a career. At the end of the day, followings one’s passions are what makes life fulfilling. My passions may be much less riveting than Addario’s but they don’t make them any less valid. What fulfills people is different on an individual basis.

I have three passions that really make me who I am as a person.

I love politics, I love theater and I love sports. I was raised and nurtured by these three things.   I love the stories the three of them get to tell and how they affect people’s lives and how illustrative they are to our own experience.  The competitive aspects of all three and the real-world implications of these results meld together in strange ways in my brain.  So much of my intellectual contemplations and my participatory energies go in to these three areas of my existence.

Some may argue that sports may not often have real-world implications but the thrill of participating in a game is all too satisfying.  When you participate there is a special feeling that comes with winning.  And even in losing, we are taught a lot about life though whether we win or lose we feel the passion for involvement.

Often, sports stories have heavy political implications and are quite meaningful. The triumphs of athletes like Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Tommy Smith and John Carlos, and countless others have contributed greatly to my passion for sports and have affected my political views. These athletes had great impact on the political climate of their times by following their passions and stand up for principals to influence change in the world.

Theater has also meshed with politics in every historical age. Playwrights, actors and directors often take stands when they find the political climate unfair and knowing the progressive nature of the theater, they place their political commitment on stage.  The AIDS crisis ripped through the theater community and together they began to write and perform and take a stand. This past year after a performance of Hamilton where Vice President Mike Pence was attending, the cast addressed a speech to him as to how he could make lives better for all Americans. Then of course there is theater as what it is, Art. When I saw the production of Fun Home on Broadway, I had no idea how emotionally impactful the show would be. That’s what good theater can really do. It can shake a person to the core of their worldview and make a deep emotional impact they will carry for life.

The most important thing I derive from these three passions, is how they inspire me to action. My love for sports drove me to play baseball “for the love of the game” until I ran out of leagues to play in.   I started my own set of games with friends. How I got up on the stage, playing whatever parts I could, just for the thrill of hearing the laughter and thunderous applause of an audience. I had this drive to make people feel that emotional connection from impactful dramatic productions or the emotional relief of laughter when the audience laughs at something you did (I don’t mean by flubbing lines).   How in all these endeavors, I was a part of a team, something bigger than just myself. It was something really worthwhile.

Politics has inspired me to become a political science major at Penn State. I want to really get out and change the world. Now I don’t want to be some cliché ridden mad-men who talks about how “I alone can fix it.” I wouldn’t lie like that. I can’t fix it alone. I want to get involved and have the platform of a stage, or a field and really drive change in this country. The reason people like Jackie Robinson and Tommy Smith and John Carlos have such an impact on me is because they stood up for issues out there in our country that have been around for hundreds of years and we need to deal with them. We can’t sit around idly and let our country fall apart, which is the way things seem to be heading. We need things like sports and theater to give us a break from things that may seem tough, but at the end of the day I need to throw my hat into the political arena and do whatever I can to drive change in my country and in my world. These are the things that at the end of the day, truly matter to me.

When I sit down like Lynsey Addario and try and write about my passions in an eloquent and life changing fashion, I am really driven to be a life changer. I want to be someone who gets a big enough political stage to actually change policy and improve people’s quality of life in this country. Theater and Sports often demonstrate stories of common, yet gifted Americans. They bring to us stories that can teach us why we need to be the change in the world. If it were up to me, I would be the first Tony-Award Winning member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to be elected President of the United States.

Unfortunately, I am confined by my singing and dancing ability and my inability to throw a ball 100 MPH or hit a ball 450 feet. Yet, I have a voice and I have words and a drive to climb and I will use them to the best of my ability to bring meaningful and long-lasting change to those issues that inform my passions. This passion and drive will be examined over the course of my Passion blog.  I will write about these three things and how the lines between them blur and ultimately how they affect me as a human being.