Journalists should not amplify the ableist biases of untrained sources

Being a cop, lawyer, patriot, protestor, or journalist does not qualify you to diagnose mental illnesses. Journalists are trained to cite credible sources, which would not include citing a random ableist conjecture voiced by a decision-maker or witness. If the source has verifiable knowledge of an actual diagnosis, and the diagnosis is legitimately relevant to the story, that’s a different matter. (Verify or duck.) Avoid unsubstantiated statements from witnesses or…

Vaccine hesitancy morphs into hostility, as opposition to shots hardens

What began as “vaccine hesitancy” has morphed into outright vaccine hostility, as conservatives increasingly attack the White House’s coronavirus message, mischaracterize its vaccination campaign and, more and more, vow to skip the shots altogether. The notion that the vaccine drive is pointless or harmful — or perhaps even a government plot — is increasingly an article of faith among supporters of former president Donald Trump, on a par with assertions…

Take a moment to appreciate these good COVID-19 statistics

May 1, my state had the third-highest per-capita C-19 infection rate. A little over a month later, Pennsylvania now has the fifth-lowest rate. I am privileged that I have access to good healthcare and that my income hasn’t been affected by the lockdown, and that my school has taken the initiative to require this fall’s students to show evidence of vaccination (or to apply for accommodations). The pandemic is not…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

In June, 2001 it seems I only blogged three times…

I’m not sure what else I was doing during the month of June 2001, but I only blogged three times. All three links were dead, like tears in rain. As is my habit with all items I feature in my “I was blogging about…” series, I’ve replaced the broken links with archived content from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. Author “used up all the hardship” from her youth in her…

A WWII Propaganda Campaign Popularized the Myth That Carrots Help You See in the Dark

Yet another widely held cultural myth falls to the cold hard power of actual research. During the 1940 Blitzkrieg, the Luftwaffe often struck under the cover of darkness. In order to make it more difficult for the German planes to hit targets, the British government issued citywide blackouts. The Royal Air Force were able to repel the German fighters in part because of the development of a new, secret radar technology. The on-board…

Seton Hill discontinues mask requirement for vaccinated individuals

The pandemic is not over. It’s a blessing to live in a country with the resources to acquire and distribute vaccines, and a privilege to work for an employer that respects science and cares for the public good. The email arrived while I was at home relaxing with the family. Seton Hill is no longer requiring masks for vaccinated adults, and students will be asked to show proof of vaccination…

Four Benefits of Being in a Relationship

The pandemic sucks. We’re spending more time with a smaller circle of people, and tensions can mount. But I’m grateful my family is together, and grateful for our health. Sure, things could be better. Recently in my email I found this reflection on the benefits of being in a relationship. 4 Main Benefits of Being in a Relationship Humans have an innate desire to build relationships and connect with other…

Dennis G. Jerz | Associate Professor of English -- New Media Journalism, Seton Hill University | jerz.setonhill.edu Logo

Having a rough day. But in a span of about 24 hours, three former students reached out to thank me.

One former student said I’m the only adult male in their life who ever supported their creative efforts. A second former student posted an essay on social media, describing bouncing back from alcohol and cocaine addiction, and after mentioning several life-savers, mentioned me in the final line of the essay — thanking me for teaching them how to write. A third former student thanked me for the “Dystopia in American…

Fact check: You can safely ignore that “HOW TO FIGHT COVID AT HOME” meme

I noticed this meme a few days ago. I recognized the “friend of a friend who has insider knowledge” formula that makes people want to share a memes. I know better than to trust anonymous online sources that claim to have special knowledge, so I just re-read what the CDC says and moved on. Here are links to what the CDC says: Symptoms of coronavirus How to protect yourself How…

Swiss cheese metaphor for fighting the pandemic: “Multiple Layers Improve Success”

The anti-maskers are right when they say masks aren’t 100% effective. The pro-face-touchers are right when they say not touching your face isn’t enough. The bar-hoppers and close-talkers and eaters-in-crowded-diners are right when they say social distancing alone won’t stop the spread of a pandemic. The “98.2% survival rate” crowd is right that most people who get COVID-19 don’t die. But the more steps each of us takes (staying home;…

I’m glad President Trump was right about the coronavirus vaccine

In May, NBC published a “Fact Check” challenging President Trump’s prediction that there would be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year.   NBC was factually reporting the answers they got when they asked experts. Those experts didn’t say there would be no vaccine, they said it would be extremely unlikely. The fact that an unlikely thing happened is not evidence of a media conspiracy against the 45th…

We Had the Vaccine the Whole Time

You may be surprised to learn that of the trio of long-awaited coronavirus vaccines, the most promising, Moderna’s mRNA-1273, which reported a 94.5 percent efficacy rate on November 16, had been designed by January 13. This was just two days after the genetic sequence had been made public in an act of scientific and humanitarian generosity that resulted in China’s Yong-Zhen Zhang’s being temporarily forced out of his lab. In Massachusetts,…

Elderly ballerina hears familiar music from 50 years ago

First Dancer of the New York Ballet in the 60’s. One of the most impressive moments that we have experienced since Music to Wake up. Being able to listen to this immense work of art with a person who danced it and was a fundamental part of its history. The power of Music is immeasurable. Thanks to life. www.musicaparadespertar.org Music and Love to live with #Alzheimer. Listen again and feel…

What is a COVID-19 compliance supervisor? What to know about Hollywood’s newest job

In the wake of the pandemic, the entertainment industry created a new position on set to help keep outbreaks at bay. […] The demands of the job are big: sanitization, testing, safety equipment and distancing. Cast and crew are split into different zones, based on the frequency of testing and ability to wear masks. The compliance supervisor is responsible for making sure these groups don’t mix and has to intervene…