The Latest News is posted online. Most of it is negative. However, there are some positive stories in the New Jersey news. A story on Net News mentioned that New Jersey Transit will soon be adding tolls to its upcoming commuter train service improvement plan. It said the new measure was expected to go into effect in June. That news report said the new tolls would be implemented for the nine commute routes across the state.
A New Jersey news story quoted commuters who were frustrated with the lack of information on the proposed toll increase. Assemblyman Faviana Butler (D Essex) criticized the lack of information saying, “It’s like you’re not even coming to the table to eat. When you pay a fee, you expect the service you receive to be of an acceptable level.” She went on to say that it’s an unfair practice for NJ Transit to raise fares to pay for the services provided to the public without providing information about the cost or the impact of the rate increase on individual commuters.
Other local news sources made note that the proposal is expected to pass the state legislature by a large majority. As expected, the measures will affect commuters. NJ Transit officials told the Associated Press that about half a million extra pounds would be added to the costs of using the transit system this year. In response, many people turned out in large numbers at a recent bus rally in Washington Square Park calling for the cancellation of all tolls on the New Jersey system.
A report on ABC News suggested that a man bites a dog. The story indicated that the dog bit the man in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack. According to the report, the man suffered a gash and needed stitches. The incident made national and local news, and the story made many people ask, “What makes news?”
NJ Advance Media provided this comment from Superintendent Luanna J. Guiliano, during a meeting with the school board members: “We are always looking for new ways to enhance the media opportunities that we can provide for our students, staff and community.” The news organizations had covered several incidents of inappropriate behavior by school employees, and the superintendent wanted to ensure that “a higher standard of behavior” was enforced. She explained that the policy was not intended to be an attack on free speech. She told NJ Advance Media that she felt the policy was written broadly and could discriminate against viewpoints or opinions that differed from her own. She cited a case in which the principal had refused to allow a boy to use the restroom in her daughter’s classroom because that boy had cried when she had shared with him the news that her daughter was expecting a new sibling.
CBS News suggested that the story showed how important it was for different societies and cultures to have the ability to express their identity. A middle-aged man aged in Australia stated that he was disturbed by news stories that painted all immigrants as criminals and terrorists. He told CBS News: “I don’t like the way the media portrays all immigrants. I don’t know anybody who wants to be stereotyped or seen as a bad person.”
News editors must consider their target readers when writing a story. This may mean that a story about a little girl in a wheelchair who moved across the United States to live in Connecticut would be more informative and interesting than one about a middle-aged man who shot his wife from Arizona. It is interesting to note that both stories mentioned immigration, but the reporting implied that the young girl who moved with her disabled family had more motivation to succeed than the man with a gun and a wife who had been killed. This example of crossing the border to find refuge provides a unique example of PR, but it is a reminder that regardless of your own country of origin, the press should avoid focusing on race or nationality and instead choose to focus on the individual act or people.
As the coordinator for a group of young people who migrate to Connecticut from Canada, one cannot help but notice the recent spate of “amnesia” regarding previous crimes committed and crimes prevented in the US. We have heard about Boston bombing, San Bernardino, Orlando and the victims of San Bernardino, but mass killers Elton John and Jared Loughner were never even mentioned in the news until after the mass shootings in Connecticut. This amnesia extends to our immigration system, which has significantly under-served our population over the last decade or so and has led to many Americans feeling like their government has become largely ineffective in protecting them. These thoughts do not help the cause of journalism, which is to provide information and knowledge to the general public. However, this article does hope to shine a light on the importance of immigration stories and the value of investigative journalists working to get the facts.