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Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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Stories to keep an eye on next semester

What’s buzzing in print as the summer turns to fall

Drop your books and pick up a newspaper.

Although the school year hasn’t started up just yet, it’s never too late to stay updated on what’s happening in the media. Here are just some of the stories you should look for as the fall semester approaches.

Updated privacy policies

In late May, you may have received a few emails from companies on altered privacy policies.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation was the cause of some of these changes. The regulation, passed on May 25, asks companies to give consumers more control of data collected on them.

The new law also requires companies to inform consumers of data breaches within 72 hours. This is similar to the New York State Information Security Breach and Notification Act, which required UB, a state agency, to inform users when their email accounts were breached in May.

As a result of the regulation, some U.S. news sites who don’t comply with the regulation like Chicago Tribuneand theLos Angeles Timesare blocked for EU users, according to Digital Trends. Due to ad-revenue sources, some of which can tally in the hundreds for news organizations, it will take time for full compliance to the new regulation.

Time will tell if the new regulation can change existing laws in the U.S. but in the media, its effects are already here for some international readers.

The #MeToo movement

It’s been less than a year since more than 80 women in the film industry accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct, assault and rape.

On May 25, Weinstein was formally charged with rape, committing a criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct, according to the New York Police Department.

In the #MeToo era, hundreds of entertainment figures have faced similar allegations. Actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., TV personality Matt Lauer and others have lost movie publications and contracts as a result of accusations.

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As Weinstein faces charges, others accused of misconduct and assault have already faced trial. Bill Cosby was convicted of three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault in April.

More male entertainers are likely to face accusations in the coming year but whether accused entertainers will face charges is not yet known.

Safety in the wake of school shootings

Just three months after the Parkland, Florida shooting, another mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas left 10 dead in May.

There has been nearly as many mass shootings in the U.S. as days this year, according to Business Insider, as 101 mass shootings have occured in 2018 as of May 18.

On average, 96 Americans are killed with guns each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are roughly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the United States and seven children or teens are killed with guns in the U.S. on an average day.

Some politicians, like Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, have blamed the number of doors in schools as the problem. Others, like Tennessee congresswoman Diane Black, have blamed pornography.

No matter the case, mass shootings are on the rise and becoming more prevalent in schools. As more awareness regarding gun violence is brought to the public’s attention, the pressure is mounting on the NRA and government officials to make changes.

Marijuana legalization in New York

What do Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Washington D.C. have in common? The answer: legalized, recreational marijuana.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who once called marijuana a “gateway drug” and opposed recreational marijuana use, is now softening his stance toward the drug.

“The facts have changed,” Cuomo said in April. “You have states that have legalized it now. ... It is no longer a question of legal or illegal.” Earlier this year, he appointed a panel to study the issue of marijuana legalization.

As Cuomo seeks re-election in the 2018 gubernatorial election this fall, look out for other candidates’ stances on the issue and who gets weeded out by voters.

Nine states and the nation’s capital are already on board. Is New York next?

United States and North Korea relations

From North Korea testing long-range nuclear missiles in 2017 to President Donald Trump’s “fire and fury” threat, U.S.-North Korea relations have been rocky in the past year.

But relations between the two countries may shift during a June 12 summit in Singapore.

The summit, originally announced on May 10, went through its share of ups and downs.

On May 24, Trump announced the summit was off. He wrote to North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, explaining the summit was canceled “based on tremendous anger and open hostility,” likely referencing North Korea’s anger toward the U.S. and South Korea’s joint military drills.

Nonetheless, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the summit was still on five days later. Trump confirmed the summit on June 1 after meeting with North Korean diplomat Kim Yong Chol in Washington.

The talks could prove to be either a step toward denuclearization or a risky move for the Trump administration. Still, the summit was the first time a North Korean leader met with a U.S. president.

Nipah Virus

Move over, Ebola and Zika Virus - there is a new zoonosis in town. Nipah virus (NiV) is a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans and is making headlines this summer.

NiV causes encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, according to the CDC. The disease can progress to cause comas and respiratory issues, and has a 74.5 percent average mortality rate, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In May, a family in the southern state of Kerala, India contracted NiV. Fifteen people have died from the virus as of May 31, according to Reuters.

Health officials first identified NiV in 1999 during an outbreak in Malaysia and again in Bangladesh in 2001. NiV transmission can “occur after direct contact with infected bats, infected pigs, or from other NiV infected people,” according to the CDC. As of now, there is no Nipah virus treatment or vaccine.

Pay attention to the disease’s progression, death toll and spread, too. NiV is listed on WHO’s 2018 list of Blueprint priority diseases that could cause a “public health emergency” and “need accelerated research and development.”

Features desk can be reached at

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Benjamin Blanchet is the senior engagement editor for The Spectrum. His words have been seen in The Buffalo News (Gusto) and The Sun newspapers of Western New York. Loves cryptoquip and double-doubles.



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