Comm 620: Visual Storytelling I — Assignment Three

This assignment is an audio interview project. I decided to focus on one of my residents from where I work because I see this man every Wednesday, alone, painting miniatures for gaming. No one really talks to him. No one says much to him. However, I noticed him. Nearly a year ago, I said, “Hi.” This is only audio. I do plan on reposting after I have completed this semester to add visual content with the audio.

Mr. Wayne Hansen

The Person Your Parents Aren’t Talking to Online

Tech-novice grandparents are taking over social media to communicate with friends and family. However, when it comes to talking with their doctors, their signal falls silent.
Seniors are missing out on online conversations with their doctors

Seniors are a steady growing demographic for technology usage, especially for the internet and social media. While many seniors are not as tech-savvy as younger generations, they are finding their way around a computer and online. According to a Pew Research Center report in June, usage of the internet by adults 65+ has increased by 44 percent from 2000 to 2015. Social networks will see a surge in their base of 65 and older uses by 2020. There’s an estimation of 55 million seniors to be online by 2020. Currently, seniors are showing a faster adoption rate for the internet, although young adults are still most likely to actually use the internet.

An April 2014 report from the Pew Research Center contends that even with the increase in adoption, seniors remain isolated from digital life. There are many benefits for seniors to be online. Majority of these benefits include communications, either with loved ones or friends. Some seniors are utilizing social media to connect with colleagues and friends. They are video chatting with family, cyber-visiting their loved ones. Some have even enrolled in online studies from a variety of Universities. The chief person being left out of online conversations with seniors are physicians.

Assisted Living Communities Teaching Technology Usage, Not Communication

Wishpond created an infographic based on information from various sources.
Wishpond created an infographic based on information from various sources.

Assisted living communities for seniors are including technology usage classes for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones. While many seniors are not so quick to select a smart phone over a cellphone, they are getting the most usage of the internet via portable devices like laptops and tablets. Merrill Gardens, a Washington-based assisted living company, said, “Our community uses social media, not to just connect with our residents. We connect with the children of our residents through social media.” Merrill Gardens says that social media is a great way to keep the residents involved with activities in the community and to let children see the progression and interact. “Our Pinterest account allows seniors to express and share their creative works,” said a community representative. There was no comment on the communications between physicians and residents, out of concern of a possible Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) violation.

“The benefit of assisted living is that we are located on the campus…. It is easy for residents to come directly to us”

Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living community, says that they have added technology classes for iPad usage. While they have more advanced technical programs, such as videography and video editing, many residents shy away from computer-based training out of fear of “breaking the internet.” However, when it comes to communicating with their residents, the medical center relies mostly on telephone and face-to-face communications.”

“The benefit of assisted living is that we are located on the campus and are in walking/shuttle proximity of the residents. It is easy for residents to come directly to us,” said an Ashby Ponds Medical Center representative.

Immigrant Debate Takes To Literature With New Book

Tanya Marie Golash-Boza
Tanya Marie Golash-Boza, Author Listen: Golash-Boza – Eric’s Story

The nation in a heated debate over immigration policies and the relocations of thousands of Syrian refugees. In the lively bookstore, Politics & Prose, the debate continues amid demonstrations at the White House gates. Today, author Tanya Golash-Boza introduced her new book “Deported: Policiing Immigrants, Disposable Labors and Global Capitalism.”

Following Golash-Boza’s previous book, “Immigration Nation”, which covers the policies involved in immigration, “Deported” develops a human rights perspective from interviews with 147 deportees. From these interviews many factors are thrown into the debate: commercial restructuring of communities, neoliberal reforms, and the unequal criminalization of people of color.

So over the past few decades, trade agreements have facilitated the movement of capital across borders. And these trade agreements have not facilitated the movement of workers across borders. –Tanya Golash-Boza

“Eric’s story allows us to consider the connections between individual migration stories and larger economic trends, such as outsourcing, economic restructuring, cutbacks in social services, the enhancement of police and the privatization of public services,” says Golash-Boza. Eric’s story began with his mother migrating to America for better wages in order to provide a better life for Eric. The story details many disadvantages of migrant workers, including lack of benefits, longer hours, lower wages than American citizens. Golash-Boza says, “As an undocumented worker, Eric’s mother was less likely to challenge her low pay and lack of benefits.”

“Deported” delves into the capitalization of deportations and the U.S. prison system. Golash-Boza says, “Once arrested, Eric was placed in a private prison, and privatization of public services is another key economic trend, as is the profitability of prisons. So over the past few decades, trade agreements have facilitated the movement of capital across borders. And these trade agreements have not facilitated the movement of workers across borders.”

Eric was able to gain work in Guatemala, where he was deported to from the United States. However, his wage is not enough to bring his wife and children to Guatemala. The American corporation that operates the call center in Guatemala where Eric works is able to keep a steady supply of low wage workers deported from privatized prisons. The company is able to obtain low-wage bilingual workers, familiar with American geography, products and lifestyles. This gives Eric priority at hiring, but the American company will close U.S. operations, paying $400 a month to a deported immigrant to secure larger profits.

“The heavy policing of poor neighborhoods predominated by people of color made it much more likely that Eric would be arrested, even though he had in fact not committed a crime,” says Golash-Boza. These stories explore the bias and racism of mass deportations in the United States. The Secure Communities Act from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was repeated throughout the presentation as a condemning policy that allows racial profiling of people of color.

We have this vast apparatus of laws and regulations and policies that most people know nothing about. –Linda Rabben

According to the ICE website, the Secure Communities Act, replaced by the Priority Enforcement Program in July, states that “Secure Communities was designed to reduce the potential for racial profiling. Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of every single individual arrested and booked into custody, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, are checked against immigration records – reducing the risk of discrimination or racial profiling.”

There are American citizens who believe more immigration reform is necessary. The process for accepting immigrants, especially refugees is strenuous. Several Americans are worried that terrorists will slip through cracks in the refugee resettlement program and that there are no controls in place.  Associate Professor at University of Maryland, Linda Rabben, says, “Immigration is already controlled in the United States. We have this vast apparatus of laws and regulations and policies that most people know nothing about.”

Numerous Americans are responding to televised media coverage of recent terror attacks, crime and policies and opinions, from opinionated pundits to candidates running for president. Rabben says, “And if you rely on what the media tells you, then you’re going to get a very distorted picture of how the system works.”

Additional Media

Click And Follow: Advertisers Are Getting In Your Head

Online advertisers are watching what you’re doing online to see how you feel about advertising.

Advertisers are tracking your movements online in an attempt to add a value to your social media activity. These metrics are databased and studied for a number of factors. The method of getting the information isn’t really new, but the information and method of response is.

Current Advertising Is Wrong

Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, a data analytics company, published an article last year on, describing how content creators and marketers were wrong about the behaviors of online users. The click started as the original method of measuring web traffic for online advertisers. Clicking also began a two-decade misunderstanding of online usage, simply applying one action to online content. Haile attributes this click action to creating Internet giants like Google, but also spam and adware.

Haile writes that Chartbeat has looked at user behavior and found that 55 percent of users spend less than 15 seconds on a page.  Also, one in every three visitors barely reads articles they have clicked on. The myths about online usage from Haile and Chartbeat includes scrolling habits and readability for web sites.

Facebook Banking On Your Emotions

One company benefiting from online data research is Facebook. The social media company has increased its 2015 second quarter advertising revenue by 43 percent, a total of over $3.8 billion. The golden key for Facebook is the “Like” button, which in 2010 began with just data-logging. In 2014, Facebook started using the data from likes to target advertisements to users.  While Facebook and advertisers have benefitted from this data, it also took a negative turn.

Facebook currently only has the Like feature available to users. There are no other emotional data for Facebook posts. The only data tracked for advertising is “Like”, seen as favorable content. The user may receive sidebar or newsfeed “sponsored” ads related to the liked content. However, if someone likes a negative post, advertisements related to content of that post may appear. Facebook does not see the negativity of a post’s content. This means ads for relatable content would be displayed as well.

In Sept. 2015, Facebook’s Global Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Stephen Deadman released in his statement, “We sometimes hear from people that the ads they see aren’t as useful or relevant to them as they could be.” A user could choose to opt-out of Facebook’s advertising within the settings.

Facebook is currently testing more emotional reactions to posts to make available to users. This new data will contour data to be more specific. Deadman continued in his statement, “We are continuing to roll out online interest-based advertising and will now begin including information from pages that use Facebook’s Like button and similar social features, as we announced last year. We hope that the ads people see will continue to become more useful and relevant and that this new control will make it easier for people to have the ads experience they want.”

Web Users Fighting Back

The true test of Facebook and online advertisers is ad-blocking software, such as Blockr, created by Arno Appenzeller. The option to hide Facebook widgets, a limited web-executed app, is the general function of ad blockers.

“The specific point of the like button is that most people know it tracks you even outside of and tailors Facebook ads for you that can be very creepy,” said Appenzeller, in an interview with the Wall Street journal.

Despite the intentions of ad blockers to protect users from annoying ads, smart phones negate their efforts. Ad blockers protect users from web-based ads. Smart phones are another world, using applications for social media, not necessarily web-based.

Facebook’s Early and Current Advertising

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Week 03 Assignment: Broadcast Writing – Upcoming Stories


Local environmental advocacy group, The Potomac Conservancy, wants 500 trees from Donald Trump. The petition demands replacements from Trump’s National Golf Club expansion.
HEDRICK BELIN [ The president of Potomac Conservancy] SOT: “Trump’s irresponsible actions to cut down trees and destroy water quality for the sake of a golf course show how out of touch he is with the way we do business in Washington, DC.”


The Metro is giving free perks to green-conscious cyclists. To encourage public transit use, Metro is expanding facilities and offering free, covered and secure storage for bicycles at several of its stations. Metro riders, who ride bicycles, will need to register their SmarTrip card and sign up to use the new facility.


Some classrooms in Virginia school districts are overcrowded. According to The Commonwealth Institute, an independent economic focus group, there are over 4,000 teachers “missing”.
CHARLES RONCO [math teacher at Stonewall-Jackson High in Manassas] SOT: “There’s a critical tipping point at right around 30 students. As soon as you hit that 30 threshold, the class dynamic changes immediately.”

Week 02 Assignment: Michael Brown FEMA Testimony


FEMA’s Michael Brown says some criticisms of government response is and is not valid, details the agency’s responsibilities.

The federal government is simply not a “first responder.”

The former head of FEMA defended the agency’s actions today at a House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform hearing. Michael Brown responded to various criticisms of government handling of Hurricane Katrina. Brown said that criticism of FEMA “must be understood in the context of understanding FEMA’s role in responding to disasters…”

Brown explained the function of FEMA as providing the basic “cycle” of standard emergency management: preparation, response, recovery and mitigation. Brown shifted responsibility, saying, “Emergency management begins at the local level.”

Brown said, “The federal government is simply not a “first responder,” has never been, and should never be. The role of the federal government in emergency management is generally that of coordinator and supporter.”

Hurricane Katrina, made landfall in New Orleans, in late August of this year.  Fatalities totaled 1,833 in affected Southern states, with damage totaling $108 billion. The committee required an explanation into the events which involved the agency before, during, and after Katrina.

“Emergency management begins at the local level,” said Brown, deflecting majority of the criticism onto Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Brown said that local government are better at “understanding the vulnerabilities and capabilities of their communities.”

Lastly, he passed responsibility to the affected residents, saying, “Individuals must take personal responsibility for being prepared.”

Brown was appointed in 2003 by President George W. Bush and resigned September 12, 2005.

Journalism Student Devising Plan To Make World Better

Anahid Ali, an American University student in the Interactive Journalism program, is trying to make the world better one place at a time.

Anahid Ali is a cheerful student at American University, located in Washington, DC. Her studies revolve around the Interactive Journalism masters program at AU, but journalism wasn’t always her education focus.

Growing up in Baghdad, Ali dispels some misunderstandings of being a woman in the Middle East. She attended an all-female secondary school, the equivalent of high school in most areas of the United States. “Living in the city was different than living in the suburb areas,” says Ali. Living in the city meant that there was little opposition to her going to school because ‘to everyone, in the city, education was a big deal whether you were male or female.’

Ali’s upbeat personality and warm smile makes it easy for strangers to see why a communications-based study would come easily to her. However, she admits that even though she studied science in high school, English was her favorite subject.

With a degree in translation, Ali worked at the US Embassy in Baghdad, until it was proven unsafe for her, leaving her job and coming to the United States in 2007.

Ali says that she would like to use her degree from American University to unite communities in the Middle East, by providing an Internet outlet for the youth and community leaders to interact towards change.