Women on Wheels

This week I wanted to take a look an interesting article titled, “How a Group of Women Fought for Equal Pay in Contest Skating,” and analyze the overall quality of it. I want to be able to show you why this is a credible story to read, what makes it credible, and then give it a final grade that represents my feeling on how well this article was written.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, in the past I’ve mentioned that skateboarding is being introduced to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and that will definitely include a men’s and women’s section. This is great news, but one touchy aspect that is associated with competitions is the amount of pay each athlete earns. In the past, women of the professional skate world were making significantly less than men for winning a competition. The article states that back in 2005, the men’s cash prize for the X-Games was $50,000, while the women’s was only $2,000, even though they take place on the same exact course. In order to find out how these women were able to close this wage gap, and bring an equal pay to both men and women competition skaters, you’ll have to read the article here. As for now let’s take a look at how well this article was reported.

There’s multiple reasons I found this article to be very credible and well written, so I’ll try and sum up the main reasons why this is a great read. The first thing I noticed was that the article uses multiple sources, and doesn’t rely on the same source for information throughout the article. The author, Ian Browning, uses a total of 9 or 10 sources to further back up information he’s included in the article, or help educate the reader on a topic he has mentioned. He references sources and information from The New York Times, Pew Research Center, the Department of LaborCalifornia Legislative information, the non-profit CalMatters, and to top it off, the founder and president of the Women’s Skateboarding Alliance, Mimi Knoop, someone who experienced the wage gap first hand and wanted to change it. The great part about his use of these sources, is that he links, when possible, every source to the webpage he received the information from, so that the reader can reference the original source.

I believe by including well-known sources such as Department of Labor, The New York Times, etc., Browning has increased the quality of the article by assuring the reader that this information is credible as well as allowing the reader to educate themselves by linking the original content, or where he learned the information from. If Browning hadn’t directly linked those sources, or used sources that weren’t a, “.org” or well-know news outlets,  the story would be harder to verify. He allows the reader to verify everything he’s saying is factual, and includes pictures from the time that Mimi Knoop and her alliance started fighting for equal pay.  The inclusion of pictures helps boost credibility because people tend to believe a story more often when there is visual evidence of it happening, and this article includes many pictures that clearly include Mimi and the alliance.

As for the reporter himself, I couldn’t find a lot of information on him and the only online sources I could find was from his Twitter and Instagram. He seems like he is heavily involved in the skating industry and would be somebody who has knowledge on this subject. His first article published on Jenkem mag was from 2016, so he has been blogging for the site for at least 4 years, giving him more experience and credibility than someone who is just starting out. I believe that Browning did a good job reporting the issues of the subject, and I don’t feel that he failed to ask any questions. He stuck to what was most important to the reader, especially since the topic of equal pay could be spoken about in great depths, and represented the wage gap issue in a fair manner. He showed that it was an issue in society and not just in skateboarding, but also gave detail on how a small group of women have influenced the equal pay we see in competitions today. I couldn’t see any bias from this writer, and it didn’t seem like he was highlighting one perspective, even though his experience in the skating world, being a guy, is most likely opposite from what he’s reporting on. It would have been easy for him to defend his own gender, but I believe he gave a fair voice to the women and subject he wrote about as well as linked to very credible, and informative sources that help educate the reader on past examples of the ongoing war of equal pay.

So, to sum up what I thought about this article, the information, and it’s credibility, I’ll give it a letter grade. *Drum roll please.* I give this article an A. I found this article to be very informative, interesting, easily readable, credible, and covers a subject in the skateboarding industry that can translate to industries as well. He represented the Women’s skate industry well and gave them a solid and fair voice without over supporting him or showing bias to his own gender. I really liked this article, and will be continuing to read blogs from Browning.


Veganism and the Media

Within the last decade veganism has gone from an “on the fringe” diet trend, to an extremely popular lifestyle choice. With concerns about the state of our planet, animal welfare, and our overall health raising globally, veganism has become an extremely popular option for those who are looking to live a cleaner and more health conscious lifestyle. While veganism used to be synonymous with simply eating a plant based diet, it is now a term to describe a person who chooses not to consume animal products in any part of their life from an ethical standpoint rather than a health standpoint.

While I personally consider myself to be plant based as opposed to fully vegan, veganism is important to me because I believe that our earth will not be able to function for much longer if we do not significantly decrease the amount of animal products we consume. I think that with the trend of veganism rising, people are becoming more conscious about their choices and begin to question where it is their food and goods come from.

While the concept of veganism is based in good intentions, it is no secret that it can be highly controversial and gain attention in the media for negative reasons more often than positive.  Youtube in particular has made veganism into something that resembles a cult more than a lifestyle. With Youtube creators such as Freelee, Raw Christina, and Ellen Fisher  dominating the vegan Youtube content, it often appears to be a lifestyle that is very strict with zero room for error.

While Youtube is a place that I often turn to for news pertaining to veganism (Specifically Unnatural Vegan), I think that it can be hard for users to find an information source who is realistic about the mistakes that can be made while living a vegan lifestyle and the challenges that it poses. Those living extreme vegan lifestyles are often those who show up first when looking for vegan Youtubers, which can be intimidating for those looking to live a more plant based lifestyle.

The Vegan Society is a vegan news source that does a great job of covering veganism in our daily lives and the impacts it is making on our world and our government. sharing many fact based articles about how veganism is making its way into legislative situations and the impacts it is having on our planet, it looks at veganism from a more refreshing standpoint. In this article discussing the need for veganism to have an impact on food and farming policies, The Vegan Society shows that veganism does not need to be something that is all or nothing but rather that every small step helps.

Aside from Youtube and The Vegan Society, veganism is becoming a hot topic on more mainstream news sources such as The Washington Post and BBC as well. While the health benefits are usually the driving force behind these articles, veganism is transitioning from something that was often criticized for being extreme to something that is becoming more widely accepted by traditional sources.

In addition to these sources, documentaries such as Cowspiracy and Earthlings have become considered essentials in the process of converting people to veganism. While I can’t downplay the effectiveness of these vegan documentaries, they play into the extreme sides of veganism by showing people the horrors of their animal products and shaming them for their consumerism. While everyone should have an understanding as to where their food and goods come from, going vegan can come off as an intimidating transition when people are faced with the fact that they have been participating in something they do not want to support for so long.

The way veganism is treated in the media is something that is far from perfect, but is definitely improving. While some may continue to give it a bit of a bad name, others are coming to embrace it and look at it as a necessary change that some will have to make for the sake of our future. Veganism doesn’t need to be presented in the media as something that is extreme or intimidating, but rather as something that is doable and on a learning curve with room for mistakes and error.


24 Hour Media Use

Media Use

10:00 AM: My alarm goes off and I of course click snooze for a least 20 more minutes as I just can’t leave my bed so soon. After the 2nd or 3rd time my alarm goes off again I decide I should probably get up. I usually open my phone as soon as I open my eyes and click right onto some sort of social media checking my notifications I got throughout the night, just to make the little red number go away. I usually will have a few retweets and favorites from Twitter so that’s where I go first. Most accounts I follow are either people I know, pop culture celebrities, or online influencers. Most of the content I consume isn’t really credible news outlets. As I scroll through the memes, and selfies I will often see either retweets of things like this: 

I really don’t have much knowledge of The Hill and how accurate and trustworthy the content they post is, so I really take everything online I see with a grain of salt. But with all the silly and ridiculous posts I saw I think this is the one that was the most important article I could’ve come across. 

So, I finally get out of bed and get ready to go to work. As I only live five minutes away from my job, I rush to get ready and make it on time.

2:30PM: Lunchtime rolls around and while eating I decide to scroll through TikTok, which is for a lack of better words, stupid. Its mostly just younger kids/adults posting “cringey” dancing videos, funny and quirky short comedy sketches, or cute animals. So not much news going on over there, just something to pass the time.

5:00PM: I leave work and head home. I grab dinner from somewhere usually and head home to find some sort of movie, tv show, or YouTube series to watch until I go to have to work on schoolwork then go to bed. I usually will jump on over to YouTube as that’s my most used form of entertainment. I watch shows like GMM, which is a morning show style of videos where the two hosts mostly do comedy videos of trying new foods, diving into a random topic, or doing challenge type videos.

I feel as though I really don’t see too much of any news related things, or maybe I just don’t notice, unless something major political is going on such as an election, or a major scandal. Even during these times, I use my better judgement, not just as a communications major but also as a young person who is well versed in how the media can portray things, and view posts I see on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with a perspective of skepticism.

Media Outlet ranks

Twitter:  1

I believe Twitter to be one of the least trusted sources of anything from news to pop culture related. I have been on twitter for about 8 years, so I’ve seen it all. To things being so far wrong and the truth being very twisted. So, when I see something on Twitter I honestly dismiss it as not credible.

TikTok: 1

I really don’t think you could count this as anything credible, it’s really just a form of entertainment.

YouTube: 5

Most shows or videos I watch are usually created through some sort of studio with some sort of policies or ways of conduct so they can’t just post misinformation to the masses. But again, with being well versed in social media I look at everything with an eye of skepticism, and do my own research if needed.