Rebecca Goldberg: Detroit sounds that matter

With a decade-long career on her behalf, this 34-year-old DJ and producer went from mixing for an empty crowd in a local Detroit bar to open Tresor with a 3-hours long set. For Rebecca Goldberg –313 Acid Queen on her last two albums– it’s all about committing, collaborating and creating. As Rebecca Goldberg drives by the surroundings of Packard Plant trying to find a gap where to trespass, she suddenly slows down the car just beside a group of public workers. Half of the street is fully closed while two lorries and a Volvo bulldozer hold to take the old pavement of the way. The beats come from the ground: thousands of impacts per minute from an industrial drilling machine cracks the concrete for minutes in a row.

Opinion: First person in Journalism

By Diego Martorell

In Journalism school, back in Chile, they usually tell us that it’s almost forbidden to write stories in first person. Under that instruction, as journalism students, we almost never start a story with “I think that…” But when I was reading some of M.L Elrick´s investigative pieces for Fox 2, I noticed that in two of them, he actually did. At first, it was shocking. How can he do that?, I thought.

Opinion: Tips for an investigative story

Today we learned how important it is for a journalist to know every single detail of the
story that he or she is covering. You need to be able to prove it and, as the Pulitzer prize winner, M.L. Elrick, said, “disprove” it so that no one can question your work. It is also necessary to understand your story from the beginning, knowing the maximum and minimum of information you can get for your final piece. Once you are done, always look for “fresh eyes” on the subject. Search for someone who is not familiar with your topic and has nothing to do with the journalistic world because it is very likely that his reaction becomes a reflection of the rest of the people.

Michigan: Who is taking care of the homeless?

The homeless population in Michigan has decreased for the third year in a row, according to an annual report released on October of 2018 by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) in collaboration with the Michigan Campaign to End Homelessness. But, it seems there is still a long way to go. According to the Michigan Statistics of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness as of January 2018, “Michigan had an estimated 8,351 experiencing homelessness on any given day, (…). Of that Total, 965 were family households, 693 were Veterans, 604 were unaccompanied young adults (ages 18-24), and 861 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.”

That is why there are some local government institutions that are taking action on this problem by creating campaigns. One of them is the Michigan’s Campaign to End Homelessness that is seeking for new members for its Policy Council and they are also providing housing assessment and resource agency services.

East Lansing: summertime in a ghost city

Whenever Michigan State University (MSU) is in session, East Lansing is full of life. You can see people walking on the streets and the main avenue, students all over the campus and movement all around town, just like in any other city you might visit. But today that is not the scene. Empty streets, stores and restaurants. That’s the picture in East Lansing in the middle of summer.

Opinion: Is the dog barking?

According to the studies of the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media from de University of Carolina, a lot of local newspaper has closed in the US since 2004. It is not news to anyone that the media are having a world crisis because the economic model that sustained them is no longer profitable. For a long long time, publicity was the great support of the media, which paid to put their advertising in media such as the newspaper, since it was the only way to reach the masses. With the arrival of the internet and social networks, that is over and advertising no longer depends on the media. On the other hand, when the media moved to the internet, they did it for free and people got used to having unpaid information.

Reflection: Art in space

Today we were given a little break from workshops and we took the opportunity to walk around East Lansing. I decided to spend my afternoon at the MSU Art Museum checking out ‘A brief history of art in space’ exhibition. The collection of photos chosen for this exhibition show some of the objects humans have sent into space in the hopes of these representations of humankind reaching other forms of life outside our planet. In 1977, a group of scientists created the Golden Record: a copper disc containing music, images and natural sounds from earth and sent it out to travel through the galaxy on Voyager 1 and 2 probes. More recently, in 2012, artist Trevor Panglen chose a series of photographs that depict earth and our species and stored the images in an ultra archival disc that is supposed to last billions of years while orbiting the earth attached to a satellite.

Reflection: What could artificial intelligence do with FOIA?

If FOIA requests can be submitted by any US citizen, foreign person or “even a dog,” as journalist M.L. Elrick jokes about, what kind of questions could an artificial intelligence system ask? What kind of information could be requested by something that knows and can process vast amounts of information about governments, bureaucracies and data systems? What kind of questions and answers could they make public for humans? When a member of the public asks German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen about the dehumanization of contemporary music and arts in his 1972’s lecture “Four Criteria of Electronic Music,” he paraphrases Sri Araubindo’s, an Indian yoga master, poet and 21st century philosopher of the first half of the Twentieth Century, idea of evolution – or involution, as he corrects himself: “We are in a situation nowadays that is comparable (…) with when the first so called human beings came out of the kingdom that scientists do not call human beings.”

This jump took place when an ape took a flesh bone and killed another one with a bone in order to survive, Stockhausen says Araubindo’s said. The era of  intelligence came along.

Reflection: “Journalism is life”

Today we learned new tips about investigative journalism and collaborations with the Pulitzer price winner M.L. Erick. He was kind enough to talk to us about his job and the strategies he has to do an investigative piece. He taught us to remember that there’s always a story to tell, so you just need to find it, search for the facts and then figure out the best way to tell it. Here are some of the most important tips for your investigation:

1. What do I need to tell this story?

Opinion: Journalism in the era of “post-truth”

What does a Pulitzer Prize winner think about the current challenges faced by journalism? M.L. Elrick won the most important journalistic award in the USA for his stores about local politics in Detroit. For him, the most important thing in a story are the facts. “Always let the facts get in the way of a good story,” Elrick said. But what happens to the so-called phenomenon of “post truth,” when the facts are replaced by credible lies?