Environmental Benefits and Repercussions of the Switch from Print to Digital News

It is a common assumption that the state of the environment has improved with the evolution of digital news outlets and the decrease in the amount of printed newspapers. In the past few years with the heightened sense of environmental awareness, many consumers have been faced with feelings of guilt regarding the method in which they are receiving their news.

It is a generally accepted idea that printed newspapers are worse for our environment than digital news outlets. This provokes the question of how developing digital media affects the fate of our trees, forests, and the environment in comparison to the effects of printed news.

News consumers are increasingly recognizing the fact that digital media technology uses immense amounts of energy. Most of this energy is generated by coal-fired power plants, which is a large contribution to global-warming. Newspaper readers assume that since they can physically see the effects newspaper printing has had on the environment, that it is the most harmful method of news consumption. However, the production of digital media is also responsible for the worsening environmental conditions, even though there is no physical evidence of its destruction.

Digital media production has had a profoundly negative impact on the state of our forests and the health of our rivers due to the vast amounts of land that are being destroyed in order to accommodate computers, cellular networks, and data centers. However, coal-powered digital media is destructive to the state of the environment in many ways beyond deforestation. The coal-fired power plants produce 93% of the harmful gaseous emissions generated by the electric utility industry. These emissions in effect destroy forests and kill thousands of fish species in several parts of the world.

It is important to consider the environmental impacts of the production of both newspapers and online media from start to finish. Both outlets harm the environment in different ways – the process of creating the newspaper is what harms the environment, not the act of reading it. Conversely, most of the damage done to the environment occurs during the time readers spend consuming online content, not during its formation.

Karl Linden, a professor in the environmental engineering department at the University of Colorado Boulder expressed his views on the matter.

“I’m pretty positive computers would still be the more environmentally friendly choice for news consumption,” Linden states. “The issue is that paper manufacturing and distribution is so concentrated on water and energy that it would be hard for digital news to trump that.”

Linden also remarks on the amount of damage the pre-existing newspaper industry has caused in comparison to digital media’s recent history as well as its environmentally destructive future.

“Digital news is also a pretty recent phenomena, whereas newspaper companies have been printing their papers in mass quantities for years and years. So the effects newspapers have had on the environment over time definitely outweigh the harm online news sources are causing,” says Linden.

Many environmentalists have come to the defense of newspapers, stating that with news companies finding more sustainable, environmentally conscious ways of producing their papers, they are then reducing their effects on the environment. Many who have considered the positive and negative effects of print and online news production in regards to the environment have typically favored online media. However, no definite conclusion has been reached as both newspaper production and online media production continue to harm the environment.1_123125_2174661_2180640_2183605_080225_gl_timestn.jpg.CROP.original-original


The Boston Marathon Bombings: The Trial Begins

Almost two years after the fatal Boston marathon bombing, victims, emergency personnel and witnesses gathered in South Boston on Thursday, March 5th to testify in the trial of one of the bombers, Dzokhar Tsarnaev. On April 15th, 2013, brothers Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev planted two homemade pressure cooker bombs, killing three and injuring 260 people on a day intended to celebrate the marathon participants and Boston civilians alike. Since that tragic day, numerous accounts of evidence and inside information regarding the bombers as well as the victims have been publicized, yet new emotions are recounted during the ongoing trials.


A verdict on the punishment of Dzohkar Tsarnaev is expected to take three months – making it the biggest terrorism trial in two decades. The formation of the jury who would take part in the trial took about four months to form, carefully considering the personal and emotional stake the jurors could have in the issue. Although talk of moving the trial outside of Boston was entertained, the decision has been reached to keep the trial in Boston.

Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to thirty counts, which could bring a life-in-prison sentence; seventeen of which are eligible for the death penalty. Dzokhar Tsarnaev claims his older brother, Tamerlan, forced him to proceed with the attack. Tamerlan died in 2013 in Watertown, Massachusetts, just days after the bombings took place. Dzokhar portrayed his deceased brother as the mastermind behind the bombing, claiming his brother convinced him that the U.S. government is the enemy of the Muslim people and forced him to read “terrorist writings” and listen to “terrorist lectures.”

Stella Carnegie, 21, a Boston University student describes the atmosphere in the city of Boston during the days following the bombing. She was a BU freshman in 2013, experiencing her first year living in Boston.

“I remember the support rallies and parades didn’t really start until a week after the bombings. The city needed some time to heal and process what had just happened,” Stella says.

“I remember feeling so proud to be in the city in that time even though something so awful had just happened. Everyone wore shirts supporting Boston, participated in chants and rallies, and truly wished the best for those affected by what happened. I remember feeling in that moment that I was really part of a community,” Stella recalls.

As the trial begins, victims themselves and the parents and families of those who were killed during the bombings remember the chaos and disarray that took place following the release of the bombs. Since that fateful day, several victims have learned how to make the best of their new situations and overcome the emotional distress of being involved in a terrorist attack. Among these includes newlywed survivors, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kenksy Downes who testified on Monday, March 9th.

During Kenksy’s speech, she explained what she experienced during the bombings, which included the physical pain she underwent as well as the emotional pain she endured while watching her husband bleeding with open wounds on the street. She explained the absolute terror and panic she felt personally as well as a shared sense of traumatization with everyone around her. Kensky lost both her legs that day, while her husband, Patrick, lost one. Kensky proudly testified that the loss of their limbs as well as the thirty surgeries the couple collectively went through has not damaged the couple’s young marriage, but made it stronger.

Victims and people everywhere are hoping the trial reaches a fair and just decision, allowing Americans and Bostonians alike to leave that tragic day in the past.









Media Coverage Assignment: UCLA’s Bacterial Infection Outbreak Linked to Medical Devices

On February 19th, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning regarding a medical device that has been linked to the outbreak of a drug-resistant bacterial disease that could be a contributing factor to the deaths of two patients in Los Angeles. This alert was issued after the University of California, Los Angeles, Health System reported on Wednesday that seven patients who had undergone surgery in which endoscopes were used, had been infected with a specific drug-resistant bacteria. Another 179 patients undergoing endoscopic surgery have been notified that they may have been exposed.

The doctors contribute this outbreak to issues in cleaning and sterilizing these devices, claiming that even after following the manufacturer’s instructions of sterilization, there have still been many instances of deadly bacterial infections. The FDA reports over 500,000 of these procedures are done across the United States per year.

To analyze the ways in which media reported this issue, I looked at The Wall Street Journal’s printed article called, “Warning Issued For Medical Device Linked to Outbreak”, CNN’s video broadcast titled, “Hundreds may have been exposed to superbug”, as well as searched “UCLA disease outbreak” on Twitter.


The Wall Street Journal’s take on this issue can be characterized by background information on the bacteria, the ways in which it is currently effecting patients in Los Angeles, as well as broadens the topic to other cities in which instances of bacteria formation from these medical devices has been seen before. The article also includes an interview with doctors in France as well as Chicago, reporting on their take on the issue. This article consists mostly of background information, experts’ opinions on the matter, and examples of similar occurrences, in order to appeal to a broader demographic and apply these issues to more than just those in Los Angeles, an approach similar to that of CNN’s broadcast. Also included are quotes from the Los Angeles Country Department of Public Health, who concludes that no infection control breaches were evident upon investigation. This confirmation by a credible, on-the-scene source is a very important piece of information that cannot be found in either CNN’s video broadcast or the several Twitter accounts reporting on the issue.

I also analyzed CNN’s video report regarding the issue in which Dr. Sunjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, further explained the issue and what this means through a medical point of view. Using a credible doctor’s expert opinion on the issue gives the viewer a sense of trust in the information being reported. His dialogue is accompanied by images of these particular bacteria as well as its harmful effects on the body, outlined in various colors. While the images may not mean much to the average citizen with no medical background, his explanation of this bacterial outbreak serves as a more in-depth analysis to the images being projected. Additionally, this online video broadcast is an excerpt from a live interview, allowing for the interviewer to ask specific, in the moment questions in response to Gupta’s report. The interviewer asks Gupta the questions in which the public is concerned about, which in the Wall Street Journal’s printed report is more of a guessing-game as to what the public wants to hear. The broadcast also features a bulleted list of statistics in clear, succinct wording which is not evident in the printed report.

Twitter’s results most directly corresponded to the public’s reaction, as well as a considerable rhetorical appeal to pathos within its short 140 character publications. The information I found throughout a general search on Twitter included several people’s opinions on the issue as well as links to articles published by news outlets such as The Huffington Post LA, a segment of NPR News, and a twitter account called @WorldHealthNews. The benefit of Twitter’s multiple posts includes several different perspectives on the matter, introducing more socially applicable angles of the issues that were not reported in the print articles or the video broadcast. While the printed Wall Street Journal and CNN’s video broadcast have an obligation to report the facts, statistics, and importance of this disease outbreak, Twitter provides multiple credible sources who offer more in-depth, personal reports on the specifics of this issue. These Twitter accounts are more representative of Los Angeles’ response to these issues, as well as more individual depictions of the patients involved.

The Impact of Therapy Dogs in Boulder, Colorado

Few things intrigue and excite college students more than the presence of a dog on campus. The squeals, massive crowds, and copious amounts of questions are only a few of the characteristics that exemplify the grand arrival of a dog owner and their furry friend.

The academic obligations, social commitments and living situations of college students create an unfavorable environment for owning a pet, which makes the arrival of a dog on a college campus a rare, pleasant surprise. The dogs that appear every so often are typically emotional support animals, or assistance dogs, which have been trained to assist their owners cognitively, emotionally, and physiologically.

Research on the therapeutic value of dogs has taken off in recent years, with the growing acceptance and scientific evidence of emotional support animals being a successful therapeutic practice. Owners of therapy dogs cover a wide range of demographics, consisting of those experiencing post-traumatic stress, disabled individuals, those with mental illness, and handicapped people. Therapy dogs offer several positive benefits, such as a reduced sense of loneliness, the development of trust, decreased feelings of aggression, anger, and anxiety, and can facilitate easier self-expression. Several studies have also shown that spending time with dogs can improve one’s body image, self-acceptance, and self-confidence.

Ashley Eder, a counselor and psychotherapist based in Boulder, Colorado, strongly believes in the therapeutic value of therapy dogs and actively uses them in her practice. She has been training her therapy dog, a Golden Retriever named Angel, since 2009. With the consent of the patient, Angel joins each of Eder’s private therapy sessions in hopes that her presence will help facilitate the therapeutic process.

“Animals help us regulate our own physiological state through a feedback system in which our bodies shift to match their own heart rates and breathing patterns”, Eder explains. “I see that effect in my office as well.”

Studies have shown that while petting a dog during a therapy session, a patient experiences a drop in blood pressure and a decrease in stress, which allows a patient to feel more present in the moment and more receptive to therapy. Eder agrees that the physical act of petting a dog can offer immense therapeutic benefits. “People who are calmed through touch or company have that available to them in their support animal”, she says.

The growing acceptance of the use of emotional support animals has spread throughout colleges across the nation, including the University of Colorado at Boulder. CU Boulder does not require any verification of a student’s symptoms that may suggest an assistance animal is a beneficial course of treatment, nor do they require any special training an assistance animal might have to go through. The university recognizes the fact that individuals with certain types of disabilities may require an assistance animal.

Brittany Otter, the Disability Access coordinator within the University of Colorado at Boulder, explains the ways in which the university has accommodated students with emotional support animals.

“The university responds to things that happen in the community. More and more students and people in general have been utilizing assistance animals as it has become more popular and more socially acceptable to do that”, Otter explains. “So just in recognizing that students might have an assistance animal on campus and understanding the responsibilities they would need to undertake for that is just kind of part of being an institution”, Otter continues.

Otter discusses the change she has seen in students after becoming the owner of an assistance animal. “Some say that is helps them litigate certain symptoms like anxiety or help them in social situations, but it really depends on a student’s unique disability”, she says. “It’s helpful for a lot of students.”

The integration of therapy dogs whether it is in private practices, or on college campuses is projected to increase over the next few years. As students with disabilities, mental illnesses, and other related cases recognize the healing and calming power of owning an assistance animal, the CU Boulder community is likely to see more fluffy, four-legged creatures roam the campus.

Daily Newspaper vs. Online Newspaper

In comparing the printed New York Times and USA Today’s online newspaper, I noticed several similarities as well as differences. Other than the different mediums in which they are both formatted, there are commonalities and differences in the content and quality of the articles, the use of advertisements, the appeal to various audiences, and the way they aesthetically appeal to readers.

One thing I noticed upon looking at the USA Today website’s homepage was USA Today’s repetition of topics within different articles. The online newspaper displays the name of the article on one part of the site, and then when scrolling down there is another article about the same topic accompanied by a photo. In The New York Times, due to the limited space, there is only one article on each topic. This provides readers to take an objective approach when reading different articles on usatoday.com, while only reading one, slightly more subjective article in The New York Times.

On usatoday.com, the lists of the top stories that are available to read consist of issues occurring only in America. In The New York Times, there is a more equal amount of articles about international and national issues.

Upon opening usatoday.com, the homepage came up consisting of different current events and articles available for readers. Yet before I finished reading the topics displayed, an advertisement popped up and occupied the whole page, whereas on the front page of The New York Times, there is only a small advertisement in the bottom right hand corner. Although the Internet provides more advertisement opportunities, as they have the advantage of unlimited space on a website, I was surprised that it was so immediate upon opening the site.

In terms of content, The New York Times consists mostly of current issues and events. There are long articles, sometimes accompanied by photos, about what has been going on within the last couple of days. On usatoday.com, there are a few articles regarding things that occurred in the past along with recently uncovered details in which the reader may not have known about before. There are also several articles offering tips, tricks, and suggestions about ways to convenience readers in their everyday lives. Also, there are significant differences in the immediacy of the news being reported. For example, regarding the issues in Yemen, The New York Times is reporting a general summary and update of the drone strike that began a couple days ago. On usatoday.com, there are several more details about how these plans have evolved, including Yemen rebels’ plans to take over the country and its parliament, which is crucial news in contrast to the more general information provided in the Times.

I found that the content posted online is more opinionated than that of The New York Times. Authors of online articles have the immense advantage of space, which contributes to their ability to have more leniencies in terms of what they post. The New York Times authors are given such a limited amount of space to depict what is most important to the readers; therefore their concentration is more focused on the facts.

I also noticed that most of The New York Times’ articles consist of more than one author, resulting in the article’s more neutral approach to the event. A majority of the stories I read on usatoday.com only consisted of one author, which allows the opinion of the author to shine through.

Northeastern Residents Prepare for Storm Juno

Cities big and small along the east coast of the United States have begun bundling up and stocking their pantries in preparation for a massive blizzard expected to begin on Tuesday. The National Weather Service predicts that the storm will impact roughly thirty million people throughout seven states, four of which have declared a state of emergency before the storm has even begun.

Large metropolitan areas such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia are already facing the repercussions of an impending natural disaster, including stopped transportation systems, closed businesses and roads, warnings of potential power outages, and dangerous weather conditions looming outside. Governors of New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey have asked residents to avoid unnecessary travel and to prepare their homes and families for the storm.

This potentially historic storm, Juno, has greatly impeded many methods of transportation for residents of urban areas and beyond. So far, roughly seven thousand flights have been canceled through Wednesday and Amtrak has suspended service in the Northeast for Tuesday between New York and Boston.

Ted Fine, a seventy-nine year old resident of Manhattan who has resided in New York City for over forty-one years, describes the frenzy that has ensued since early Monday afternoon. “Living in New York City, you become accustomed to a certain amount of chaos,” Fine explains, “But adding a blizzard into the mix creates a whole new level of panic.” Fine is a retired executive for Citibank and has worked in the finance industry in New York City for several years, and recalls some of the worst storms he has faced. “I remember being thirty-something running through snow and sleet and rain to get to work, but it was nothing like this. This can be painful,” says Fine.

When asking what measures he has taken to prepare for the storm, Fine discusses the extreme overcrowding and long lines at several grocery stores and pharmacies throughout the city. “It is impossible to push through the crowds, especially for someone of my age,” Fine recounts. “It’s gotten to the point where I had to get my groceries delivered.” Fine explains how in his recent discussion with neighbors, they are all mostly concerned about their pets. “Almost everyone on the floor of my building owns dogs who regularly go to the bathroom outside and who need fresh air.” Fine concludes that he is hopeful the storm will pass soon and the chaos will subside.

Chance Liekkio, a nineteen year-old student at Emerson College located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts explains the chaos that has accompanied storm Juno. “There’s a lot of panic, people are really freaking out,” Liekkio says. “Besides school and roads getting shut down, people are hoarding food at the dining halls for the storm.”

Within the next few days, residents of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Connecticut, and Rhode Island can expect winds up to thirty-five miles per hour, heavy snow and low visibility. Boston is expected to receive two to three feet of snow, New York one to two feet, and Philadelphia roughly one foot. Climate experts expect the worst of the storm to subside by Wednesday, yet less severe conditions are expected to last throughout the week.

Mid-town Manhattan is pictured from the top of the United Nations building in New York