NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — At Andrew Garcia Phillips’s job, he gets to draw maps of crime scenes with dead bodies lying on the ground, a flooded coal mine and different hanging techniques. Being a graphics editor, like Phillips, is not an average job—or a boring one either.
Garcia Phillips, who is a senior graphics editor at The Wall Street Journal, talked to a Rutgers University media ethics class on Oct. 21 and shared with them what it is like to draw up the graphics for a newspaper.
But while the job can be exciting, there are a lot of ethical precautions a graphics editor must take into consideration. Is the graphic appropriate? Is it factual?
Garcia Phillips had to ask these questions when publishing the graphic of Osama Bin Laden’s death. He gathered every diagram of the scene and compared them to each other to get the most factual interpretation.
“Some news organizations drew Bin Laden using his wife as a shield but my newspaper didn’t do that because we just didn’t know for sure,” Garcia Phillips said. “I’m not comfortable drawing something that isn’t true.”
Garcia Phillips also had to ask these questions when publishing a chart of the details of victims of sniper attacks. Some thought showing where the victims were shot, such as their head or chest, was not appropriate to be in a newspaper. In situations like this, Philips thinks it is the reader’s decision to read the material, but they shouldn’t pretend it isn’t happening.
“People see violence much worse in the video games we play and the movies we see,” he argued.
Of course, not all graphics Garcia Phillips designs involves making tough ethical decisions. Some simply involve going around the city to chart the hottest areas of Manhattan during a heat wave.
These examples show how exciting being a graphics editor can be; everyday offers a fresh story that needs a graphic.
Garcia Phillips has worked for many other newspapers before reaching The Wall Street Journal including The Home-News Tribune, The Star-Ledger and The New York Times. He even creates graphics for his own website, Chartball. Chartball is a website that graphs out baseball and football scores, records and trends and even provides buyable posters.
Imagine a world where everything and everyone is perfect. Cars run on a never-ending energy resource; life threatening diseases are a thing of the past; and everyone has 20/20 vision. Low gas prices and immortality may be a little further off than we would hope, but perfect vision isn’t something people have to hope for anymore.
Award winning, Lasik Laser Eye Surgeon, Peter S. Hersh, MD., spoke at Rutgers University last Wednesday to students about his study done in 1997 that got the FDA approval for laser eye surgery. The study included 701 patients who successfully underwent laser photorefractive keratectomy for myopia (laser eye surgery for nearsightedness). The success of the study paved the way for doctors to safely and effectively decrease a person’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses
The surgery involves cutting a very thin flap on the cornea of the eye and reshaping it with the laser so that the eye can get a better focus of what it is seeing.
“Laser eye surgery will probably be more common in the future as technology gets better,” said Hersh. “It is a very safe procedure. If anything was to go wrong, it would be an infection after the surgery due to outside causes.”
But not everyone is as comfortable with the procedure as Dr. Hersh is. “I wouldn’t want to get laser eye surgery,” said Marco Figaroa, engineering student at Rutgers University. “It freaks me out.”
One misconception about the surgery is that something could go wrong during surgery and a person could become blind in the treated eye. Out of the entire laser eye surgery procedures done over the years, there have been zero reported cases where the patient has lost total vision.
So, if laser eye surgery is so effective and safe, why doesn’t everyone get it? The thing about vision correction surgeries is that they are not typically covered by insurance. It’s not cheap. “Laser eye surgery costs about $5,000 for both eyes,” said Hersh. Laser eye surgery is not seen by insurance companies as something that is necessary, when contacts and glasses are much cheaper. “Think about the millions of people who need corrected vision and times that by $5,000. You get the point,” he pointed out.
While laser eye surgery is expensive today, it may not be so in the near future. Since the beginning of vision correction, much advancement has been made to the field. The surgery today now doesn’t need to be done with a blade, but laser alone; stabilization rate of vision after surgery is much faster than it used to be; and laser eye technology can know perform on both eyes at the same time.
In a world that strives for perfection, laser eye surgery is the next advancement towards that perfect society. Who knows, maybe in the future vision correction will go further than just 20/20. Perhaps our eyes will perform like binoculars or telescopes? Just a thought.
Although Barack Obama has taken much heat since the beginning of his term, some students still have faith in him and say they will vote for him again in the coming election in 2012.
There was an intense interest among college students for Obama before he was elected president in 2008 and their votes for him played a crucial role in putting him in the White House.
Since then, the president has received backlash for not following up with some of the issues he made promises to. The issues he was criticized for that were popular among college students included bettering the economy and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite these concerns, many students at Rutgers University are still optimistic about a second term for Obama in 2012. “Change takes time,” said Marco Figaroa, a senior at the university. “He’s doing the best he can, considering what he came into and if people don’t elect him again they aren’t giving him enough time.”
Another student, junior Emma Harrison said, “I’ll vote for him again. You can tell he cares about the student population. He reaches out to us by speaking at colleges all the time.”
President Obama is trying to maintain the enthusiasm for him he has seen in students all over the country. He is visiting campuses to give graduation speeches and hosting town halls. Last week, the president appeared before a large crowd of students at Miami Dade College.
According to a recent poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics, support for Obama among college students has increased by nine percent since October, “bringing his college-student approval rate to 60 percent.”
“He’s already changed a lot of things,” said Figaroa. “like repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.”
The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is the military’s ban on gay men and women to serve openly in the U.S. armed forces. Although the legislative repeal is only the first step to allowing gay men and women to serve openly, Obama advanced the issue immensely.
Obama may still have the same enthusiasm for next year’s election that he had in 2008 from college students, considering who he might be up against. “I’d rather vote for Obama again than Donald Trump or Sarah Palin,” said Harrison.
Among others running for the republican candidacy are real estate mogul and television personality, Donald Trump and former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
High school teacher Louis Thomas thinks Obama will have to work harder this year to maintain his student voters. “The younger voters expect to see change happen immediately and they didn’t see that when he was put into office,” he said. “But if Obama keeps reaching out to the students like he has in the past, I think he can manage.”
Rutgers University students spoke out about implementing more water fountains around New Brunswick that filter the city’s tap water, saving money – and the environment – from bottled water at this week’s city council meeting.
“Rutgers University, along with many other universities across the United States, has already installed fill stations, which refill bottles of water with filtered water,” said student Sean Monahan who addressed the issue at the meeting. “With all the construction going on now, it would be a good opportunity to implement something like this around other areas of New Brunswick.”
The fill stations, which can be found in various buildings across the university, such as the Rutgers Student Center and the Werblin Recreation Center, appear to be like any other water fountain. However, they include an area that fits a water bottle to be filled with filtered tap water and even displays a ticker that tracks how many plastic bottles were eliminated from landfills per that particular station.
Another student of Rutgers University, Caitlin D’Agostino, who is part of the organization to eliminate bottled water called “Take Back the Tap” also spoke out at the meeting.
“Water is a necessity for the body and the citizens of New Brunswick should not have to pay for it,” she said. “Bottled water is bad for the environment and companies charge thousands of times more than they should for it and it needs to stop.”
D’Agonstino has been campaigning for Take Back the Tap for over a year now. The organization advocates the consumption of tap water to eliminate bottled water companies.
According to the organization’s website, a glass of Fiji brand water is lower quality, loses taste tests consistently against tap water, and costs thousands of times more.
The website also highlights the effects of bottled water on the environment. According to Take Back the Tap, America uses enough oil in the process of manufacturing water bottles to fuel over a million cars each year, not to mention the waste they produce in landfills afterwards.
“Bottled water is a waste of resources,” said Monahan. “Support the cause to provide free water.”
Mamma Flora’s Trattoria, a locally owned Italian restaurant provides an exceptional dining experience for residents in Ewing, New Jersey and the surrounding areas while supporting its local community. Located off Olden Avenue, Mamma Flora’s serves generous portions matched with reasonable prices.
Like the typical local Italian restaurant, Mamma Flora’s is very family oriented. But, instead of dry Italian music, a wide variety of popular music can be heard over the low murmur of its diners. The walls are lined with mirrors, giving the illusion that the restaurant is bigger than it actually is and is decorated with murals and paintings of New York City, bringing the city’s Little Italy to a small town.
Customer service is superb. From the moment of entrance, it is clear that its customers are its main priority. I was seated at a small table, but at its first availability was asked if I would rather prefer a booth. Throughout my dining experience my waiter was very friendly, engaging in casual conversation and even joking with me about the New York Yankee t-shirt that I was wearing (which went well with the theme of the restaurant.) Service was speedy and punctual and a huge positive was that my drink glass was never empty.
The food is simply mouth-watering. Available on the menu is ordinary Italian food such as vodka rigatoni, chicken alfredo, pizza, etc. However, if you are feeling like you want to try something different and maybe like treating yourself, Mamma Flora’s offers entrées comparable to an upscale restaurant. On the list to choose from includes chicken or veal portofina, marsala, fra diavolo and much more. “I got the chicken francese. It was a lot, but it was good!” remarked Tyrone Michaels, 20, a diner at the restaurant.
What makes Mamma Flora’s Trattoria stand out from most Italian restaurants is its support for local events and establishments. Although the restaurant attracts a variety of customers, young and old, it was a surprise to see how many college students were present. Ewing is home to The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and is the school that many of the customers attended. Mamma Flora’s made an agreement with TCNJ to help fundraise for the sophomore class. For every group of students that dined at the restaurant with a valid TCNJ ID, 15 percent of the check was donated to the sophomore class of 2012. “We try and help in any way we can,” said restaurant manager, Gary Gulack. “Even if that means giving back to the students and having a little fun.”
Surrounded by fellow TCNJ students sat Emma Harrison, 19. “I like supporting local businesses and a lot of people have recommended Mamma Flora’s to me. It has a great reputation with great food and service.” Mamma Flora’s adds to the convenience for college students because in addition to good sit-in service, they also deliver for free.
Mamma Flora’s Trattoria doesn’t stop at school fundraisers. They also provide free entertainment to the community. Posted on a wall was a flyer advertising live music on select days. Dennis G. Rogers, a professor of music and director of percussion studies at the University of Missouri at Kansas City-Conservatory of Music, comes to Mamma Flora’s to perform live once a month with no cover charge.
Mamma Flora’s Trattoria is a restaurant that immerses itself within the community and strives for excellence. The food comes as delicious as it looks and the proportions are big enough to almost always bring some home in a doggy bag to share with the family or as late night snack after a long day of studying. No matter what the diner is in the mood for, Mamma Flora’s cannot go wrong.