Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Public service journalism in peril

Journalism spurred by the passion to orchestrate an informed citizenry, a truly functioning democracy, is for naught if the financial means are nonexistent. It seems as though the need for service journalism to join the money-making game is ever-intensifying. Service journalism may be perceived as a public good, but once the cards are dealt and the game has begun, this ideal becomes agitated by increasing concerns. How can a press retain its independence when startup funds are issued directly from the state? Can an article be published with a solemn pledge to fairness and accuracy when the reporter in question receives his salary from the very individuals he is covering? Such inquiries accurately illustrate the tense relationship between financial need and strict adherence to quality journalism. A journalist’s rendering of utopia would entail a press not bound by a capitalistic agenda, but free to serve the public with the untainted truth. Is public service journalism an idealist’s illusion, or is there a financial relationship of a more stable nature, capable of sustaining a free press?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Renegade craft fair

I am giddy at the thought of attending the Renegade Craft Fair with my dear friend Mandy this coming Sunday. How wonderful to be able to spend my weekends in Austin!

Plight of the impoverished

According to the 2010 edition of World Development Indicators published by the World Bank, the number of people living in extreme poverty has greatly reduced in the past decade. The greatest reduction has been observed in East Asia and the Pacific regions. A rather close contender, South Asia, has also shown signs of vast improvement. Even in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region of grave concern, the report provides evidence for optimistic thought. Though the population in developing countries is continually increasing, the report proves expectant in its claim that the number of people living in extreme poverty will be reduced to 90 million by the year 2015. As a matter of clarification, in the context of World Development Indicators, people are considered to be living in extreme poverty if they obtain their basic means for survival on less than $1.25 a day.

The United Nations Development Programme published a similar report in order to properly assess whether progress has been made toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Based on the assessment of 50 countries, the report makes a similar claim to the World Bank and provides evidence for reduced poverty rates. The report continues to list the Millennium Development Goals. It is worth noting that the first goal set forth by the United Nations demonstrates the urgency placed on the aim to cut the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 in half from its 1990 estimate by the year 2015.

In view of this admirable pursuit, proponents claim the microfinance industry is an essential tool for ultimately eradicating poverty. There are those, however, who cast strong doubts on this so-called “humanitarian miracle.” Such critics suggest microfinance initiatives cannot be sustained to improve quality of life and fulfill the promise of alleviating poverty. Though there is no definitive answer amidst this microfinance debate, empirical data published in the State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report 2009 illustrates growth in the number of clients microfinance institutions reach around the world. Despite a recorded growth in industry, whether microfinance initiatives are reaching those in extreme poverty remains an ever-lingering question. The plight of the impoverished is debated among economists and policymakers alike, whilst those in question fight for sheer survival.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Delightful journals

I believe my writing would be utterly transformed if I were scribbling in one of these delightful journals. Inspiration would flow from my pen if only I were not slumped over my computer with only the glare of the screen to light my thumping fingers.

The journals above can be found as follows: anthropologie.com, potterybarn.com, katespaperie.com

Snippets of a year gone by

I am terribly abashed to acknowledge that the last time I wrote I was marveling at the beauty of autumn leaves. A full year of graduate school has swept by and rather forcibly, carried me with it. Though perhaps a bit disheveled from the whirl and twirl of life as a graduate student, I have made a little visit to my neglected blog to announce that I am smiling as brightly as ever. And though one might think, due to my lack of posts, that writing has lost all of its luster, . . . I am even more pleased to announce that I am writing more than ever. The topics I have most recently surveyed are a bit of a different sort from my previous ramblings on shopping and home d├ęcor. My impending posts offer you snippets of my year gone by, . . .