Monday, March 28, 2016

Kevin Harlan draws attention for ‘back from the dead’ comment at the end of Syracuse win

By Braden Clark
Kevin Harlan, a TBS sports analyst, is receiving a lot of backlash for his comments at the end of the Syracuse and Virginia Elite Eight basketball game, and most of which he is reveing from people on Twitter.
Nearing the end of the basketball game between Syracuse and Virginia, Harlan announced over live television Sunday night, “Jim Boeheim and Syracuse have done it! Back from the dead on Easter Sunday!”
 “If I were Kevin Harlan, I’d be getting my apology ready. Quick,” said Mike Vaccaro, a sportswriter at the New York Post, over Twitter.
“Just to follow on Kevin Harlan. I find his comment totally inappropriate. To liken Syracuse win to Christ's resurrection is just wrong,” said Mark Champion, the radio voice of the Detroit Pistons, over Twitter.
Harlan’s comment isn’t the first time a sports announcer made a reference towards something biblical, but the timing of Easter and his comment started the outrage.
“You know, Kevin Harlan should’ve restrained himself from the moment, and by saying that Syracuse came back from the dead when the largest religion in the world is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ probably wasn’t smart,” said Del Scott, a former bishop of the LDS church and high school basketball referee. “Just bad timing, I believe.”
Others enjoyed what Harlan said, and defended his decision on the call.
“I don’t necessarily think I would have said what he said, but I don’t think he’s terrible for saying it,” said Mike Van Cott, a Syracuse, New York native. “Isn’t the whole resurrection of Christ a good thing? I don’t see why people are freaking out about this.”
It was very unlikely 10 seed Syracuse was actually going to make a comeback being down 15 points with 10 minutes remaining in the game to top seeded Virginia. However, after a 25 to 6 point run by the Orange they are moving on to the Final Four next Saturday, and some may say they came “back from the dead” in the game.
“Honestly, I laughed when he said it,” Van Cott said. “Syracuse had no hope in coming back in that game, and I bet most people around the country thought the same thing. However, they came back out of nowhere. Sometimes people are just too opinionated on certain things, and were looking for an argument.”
There hasn’t been any indication if Harlan, or anyone at TBS, will offer a comment on his call. The veteran announcer is done with his NCAA tournament duties, as the semifinal and championship games will be called by Jim Nantz, along with Bill Raftery and Grant Hill.

“I don’t think there should be any punishment on the matter, because religious phrases are used in sports constantly,” Scott said. “How many times have we heard an announcer call a streak pass in football a Hail Mary? It was just very bad timing on his part.”

Monday, March 21, 2016

Twitter’s impact in the classroom and social media life at Utah State University

By Braden Clark
On Monday, Twitter turned a decade old and over the past 10 years student life at Utah State University has been changed by the app. Not only did the social aspect of the college campus change, but Twitter, along with other forms of social media, has changed the life in the classroom as well.
“We use it as part of our class,” said Candi Carter Olson, a professor of journalism who specializes in social media at Utah State University. “In my media smarts class I make students tweet at me back channel. It’s a great tool to create conversations, and for students to continue conversations throughout the day.”
Something Twitter introduced to the world is the use of the “hashtag” a symbol originally meant the use of a number, but changed into a form to identify messages on a specific topic.
“Before Twitter we didn’t use hashtags, and in fact we still look at hashtags on Facebook and say ‘Why are you using hashtags?’ but they do serve an interesting purpose,” Olson said. “They draw people all across the globe together in conversations in ways they would have never connected before.”
Utah State University students use Twitter as a form of communication, and a way to connect to more students on campus.
“We see students on campus throughout the day, but we never really talk to them,” said Chris Glaittli, the Utah State University Student Associations assistant marketing director. “Whenever you like something that someone says on Twitter you already have an ‘in’ with that person, and people who are shyer in public don’t have that opportunity.”
“Twitter has built a community here on the Utah State campus,” said Yusuf Mumin, an avid Twitter user on the schools campus. “I got Twitter my freshman year, because I lived at home and I just wanted to stay connected to what was happening on campus.”
Twitter has brought students at Utah State University closer together, but with the 140 character limit Twitter has also help build the creativity of the students’ tweets.
“Whenever I tweet I usually go for a connection with someone, and whether that be serious, funny or something that’s just going on I feel like it helps knowing that you’re interacting with people,” Glaittli said.
“We all have the same opportunity to get noticed, because we all have 140 characters to get our opinion out there,” Mumin said. “It’s somewhat strange, because people will come up to me in class and ask ‘how do you get so many favorites?’ and I don’t really have anything to tell them, because I’m just doing what works for me.”
An event Glaittli mentioned was the first community experience for him at Utah State was the Ms. USU pageant two years ago.
“People still talk about what I said, and what Yusuf said, and what other people said on Twitter during that event,” Glaittli said. “It was really crazy because it originally started out as one or two of us, but then with the hashtag ‘#MsUSU2k14’ we were able to have a giant conversation with all the students that were there watching the event.”
Olson listed some positive things towards Twitter, but there are some draw backs as well.
“Some find it easy to communicate and connect over Twitter, but it’s hard to catch up if you sign up right now,” she said. “Your message can get easily get lost on Twitter, and it’s all about how you navigate. How do you get attention on Twitter? Appose to the people who are famous.”
Olson compared starting out on Twitter is like talking to a brick wall.
In the coming year Twitter plans to expand its 140 character limit to 10,000. Twitter expanded its direct messaging system from 140 to 10,000 in July, but Olson is worried it’ll make it too “busy on Twitter if the expansion is allowed.”

“I don’t love the increase in characters, because I think Twitter thrives on having to get the word out in a short statement,” said Glaittli. “I bet it’s going to be really awesome for some people. Especially because pictures, videos and gifs take up a lot of characters. So maybe the expansion will be a good thing.”

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mormons respond to leader’s video on missionaries who return home early

By Braden Clark
A Mormon leader’s message of love and acceptance for missionaries who return home ahead of schedule is being widely shared by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — and has prompted conversations about a topic that church leaders have rarely addressed in the past.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the church’s 12 apostles, posted the video on his Facebook page on March 7 in response to a question sent by a young man who was released four months early from his mission due to mental health issues. In the video, Holland said missionaries sent home under such circumstances should be proud to claim the title “return missionary.”
The video has been viewed on Facebook nearly a quarter-million times, was shared more than 4,000 times on that site, and has been spreading across other social media sites as well.
Dakota Lange, a missionary who served in the Orlando, Florida mission for three months, said his experience coming home was painful.
“It’s hard,” Lange said, “because if you didn’t reach that two year mark then you’re not considered a real ‘return missionary’ in our LDS society.”
Lange liked what he heard from Holland.
“That’s the first time I’ve heard a church leader talk about early returned missionaries,” he said.
“This was the best advice I have heard for missionaries who have returned home early,” said Brigg Terry, who served in the Harare, Zimbabwe, mission for four months.
There are many online support groups for missionaries who come home early, but over the years there has been little information on how to address such situations from the church’s hierarchy.
“It leaves all early returned missionaries lost,” Lange said. “The thing with mental health is that nobody really understands what it’s like to have it if they’ve never had it before. A lot of people don’t understand that depression and anxiety is a real thing that can affect people, and they think you’re weak for not staying out.”
In the video Holland expressed his opinion that each missionary who has served, no matter how long, should be “appropriately proud” of their missions, and “to take the dignity, strength and faith that came from those months and cherish them forever.”
Even missionaries who completed their service were moved by the message.
“I would definitely say that this video helped with families all over the world that are dealing with this,” said Brandon Montague, who served in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, mission for the full two years. “President Holland really expressed we should have compassion for these missionaries, because they did go out there and serve. If it was for 14 days or 24 months we should treat them all the same.”
“The point is, cherish the service you rendered,” Holland said in the video. “Be grateful for the opportunity to have testified. To have been out in the name of the Lord, and to have worn that missionary name plaque. Because you were honorable, and you were able to give your very best service, to the degree that you could, please do not relive this. Do not rehash it. Do not think that you’re inadequate or a failure, but please consider yourself a return missionary.”
Terry said he was touched by Holland’s promise that “the blessings of the lord will still be poured upon you for your service.”
“I can personally testify to the truth to that, and I have been blessed with so many things since I have returned home,” Terry said. “A testimony was gained through the refiner’s fire, and I only have that from the experience and trials on my mission.  I would never change my experience on the mission for anything in the world.”
Although he appreciated Holland’s words, Lange said there is still a lot to do to ensure missionaries are able to successfully adjust when they return home, no matter how long they served.
“I feel like there should be some area in the missionary department where they help the missionary afterwards, because as soon as you get off that plane the missionary department doesn’t have anything to do with you anymore,” Lange said. “Even if they would email you, or set you up with a support group, that would help so many of us when we come home.”
The LDS church has been practicing missionary work since the late 1830s and currently has about 74,000 missionaries in the field, mostly young men and women in their late teens and early 20s. Missions typically last two years for men and 18 months for women.