Saturday, December 31, 2016

The government's dangerous legacy of stifling a free press

I think this NY Times report got it right. Donald Trump's administration's disregard for the Constitution and the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press has dangerous precedents, notably under the Obama and Bush administration.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

First Amendment freedoms et. al

Hello neglected journalism blog.
It was always my intention to update this blog with important issues, links and stories regarding our industry, but somehow I have neglected it, but I hope to rectify this moving forward into 2017.

Things are progressing at a good pace at The Willits News. Today I put the pages together, working with our designer in Chico for the first time, without much supervision from our managing editor who as of tomorrow will be on Christmas break until the end of the year.

After covering my first meeting of the Little Lake Fire Department, I trekked my way to the Brooktrails Township board meeting, which was no small feat considering Mendocino County is under a flash flood warning until Friday. We are expected to get anywhere from 3-12 inches of rain in the next few days, so I was extra careful driving down those windy roads leading back into town this evening.

Dec. 15 (coming up later this week) marks an important anniversary for democracy and for our industry. It is the anniversary of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which among other freedoms grants us the freedom of the press. I plan to write my first editorial for Friday's newspaper on this topic, but as a bit of preview and research, I found this article by the Newseum Institute to be very enlightening and important to all journalists and journalism students alike:

The State of the First Amendment survey, conducted by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center, tests Americans’ knowledge of their core freedoms and samples their opinions on First Amendment issues of the day.
The results of this year’s survey show most Americans favor free speech, even over speech that offends, and support religious liberty, even in the face of terrorism. However, 39 percent of Americans could not name a single First Amendment freedom: religion, speech, press, assembly or petition.
The annual survey, which began in 1997 and this year was conducted in late May, showed that 86 percent of those responding in the national survey favored “protecting speech,” while just 10 percent favored limits aimed at “protecting people from hearing things that offend them.”
There also was strong support for free expression on college campuses: 57 percent said college students should be able to speak freely. The results dropped to 35 percent for students in high school.
Also, a follow-up survey done after the June 12 mass shooting in Orlando showed support for First Amendment protection for all religious faiths, regardless of how extreme or fringe the survey respondents might consider the beliefs of those faiths, actually increased, despite anti-Muslim rhetoric and reports of an ISIS connection that followed the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Here is a link to the full report if any of you would like to read it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Willits News has new City Editor


 source: The Willits News 10/25/2016

  Ariel Carmona Jr. has joined The Willits News as City Editor/reporter. Carmona grew up in the Southern California region in Los Angeles where he cultivated an appreciation for good food, family and community oriented journalism.

    Prior to joining The Willits News this fall, Carmona was a columnist at the Valley Daily Post, a hybrid newspaper website in Espanola, in Rio Arriba County and covered education in the Northern New Mexico region. He also worked as a reporter for the hyperlocal Community Impact chain of newspapers based out of Pflugerville, Texas.

    He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and an M.A. in Communications from California State University Fullerton.
Carmona has written for various print and online publications including the San Gabriel Valley Tribune in West Covina ,California, AOL Patch media, the Orange County Register and the Walnut Weekly News in Walnut, CA where he served as sports editor and as a general assignment reporter.

   “We are glad to have found Ariel for this important position,” said Willits News Publisher Kevin McConnell. “Ariel will be able to coordinate coverage of the Willits community and be ready to interact with our readers as well as do the great reporting we know he can do.”

   Carmona can be reached at the Willits News office at 707-841-2123, on his cell phone at 707-671-3575 or by email to He is on Twitter @AOCarmona.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A year later in New Mexico

A year has passed since I packed my bags and left the state of Texas. It is ridiculous how time flies and you get busy and don't realize it.

I also left the Rio Grande Sun newspaper about three weeks ago after almost a year of employment there and now am writing columns and doing educational coverage for a hybrid news website in Northern New Mexico The Valley Daily Post.

My time as an education reporter in New Mexico has been amazing, I have covered controversies regarding teacher vacancies, school districts, charter schools and funding and program cuts at Northern New Mexico College.

Personally, I have been enriched by a good group of friends in Los Alamos and by a friendly game group I belong to in nearby Santa Fe. If I have to move on and leave the area anytime soon like I was forced to do a year ago because of employment, at least I can say I have made some amazing friends here.

The experience has been a good one overall for me. 

My education column has been featured in the Espanola and the Los Alamos newspapers and I am excited to have the opportunity to write a column for a professional newspaper like the Post.

You can read the first part of my series on Charter Schools here. I will be posting the next couple of articles and featuring some of my other work here on the blog.