Friday, March 20, 2015

The Internet & Journalism ---- Will The Use of The Internet Force Us to Sacrifice Journalistic Integrity?

Courtesy of Azfar Rizvi
by Jaylin Paschal
I have always wanted to be a writer. Always. When I was little I'd imagine myself living in New York City and working for some big newspaper or magazine. I thought about a life with deadlines and seeing my name in print beside a weekly column and in the issues that would circulate daily. Now I'm older and am realizing that the life of a journalist is not what it used to be. Journalism in its entirety is not what it used to be. Chances are I won't be able to see my name in print as often as I'd like or clip out and save my articles in my own, personal archive. And this is all because of technology - more specifically, the Internet.
Since the internet was created, the ability to instantly access information has been granted to millions. News is available with the literal click of a button, and can be constantly updated and edited to be more timely and precise. And this is wonderful. It has revolutionized journalism and provides people with the news they need exactly when they need it. No one has to wait for tomorrow's paper, with news that will seem old by the time it's reached the masses.

No one has to look specifically towards journalists for information and updates. Social media is the new age platform for instantaneous reports, and anyone with an account can release information that can potentially reach millions of people. People can upload information, photos, and videos, and often quicker than reporters can. With constant information coming from hundreds of sources, no one has to solely rely on journalists anymore. Journalists no longer control how informed or knowledgeable the general population is. With the internet available, ignorance is a choice. I think Aleks Krotoski from 
The Guardian explained it extremely well when stating, "If knowledge is power, the web is the greatest tool in the history of the world."

People can connect like never before and ideas can be shared across the globe. Entire revolutions have been started and carried out online. There are countless events that never could have taken place without the use of the internet to communicate plans and organize ideas.

I am very excited about how the internet has changed journalism and happy that I will be apart of the digital age of releasing news and information. I think it's exciting to have the world at my fingertips, and consider myself lucky to be alive in the age of the internet.

However, although the internet has changed journalism in a way that is quicker and connects more people, it has taken a serious toll on the quality and integrity of journalistic writing.

Less and less journalists take the time they need to perfect a story as they are in a great, big rush to upload their articles and update their blogs before everyone else. I can't tell you how many typos I've found in online articles because there's just no time for proofreading if a writer is to remain timely and relevant in the age of the internet. There's no time to really think about a story; to evaluate it from every angle; to make sure what you're publishing is quality work. Journalists are rushed by their editors - who hardly edit - and their audience, who want more and more as quickly as they can press the refresh button.

With the internet came the ability to cheat and more easily abandon the ethics and rules real journalists believe in. Plagiarism is so much easier to do, as one only has to press "Ctrl + V" to claim the words and work of another as their own. It is simple to edit images online to falsely portray a scene. It is easy to tell a blatant lie without having others fact-check. It is easy to hide behind a screen and do all of these things. And it is not just journalists who do this, but random people all across the world with Internet access and blogs or Twitter accounts to use.

Reporters no longer have to keep their ears to the ground and go out searching for stories and scouring for witnesses and quotes. There's hardly anymore "pounding the pavement". Journalists just simply log into Twitter and see what's trending; see what everyone's talking about on Facebook. Reporters can wait for the facts to be tweeted and can pull photos from online. They simply obtain their information how everyone else does: online. The stories come to them, and practically write themselves and the need for a journalist's analysis has dwindled. Some may consider this to be a benefit of the web, but I think that a basic and important (and fun) part of journalism has been loss to the internet.

Although it's great that everyone can do some "reporting" of their own and join the conversation online, a lot of the facts are lost when civilians are reporting. Those who are not trained to write as journalists often give information that is biased or misleading because they do not look at the story objectively. It's information - but is it trustworthy? Like Yves Eudes stated in the same Guardian article as cited previously, "Anyone can make bread, but it's lousy bread."

There are obvious benefits of the internet that have changed and will continue to change journalism for the better. However, the negative aspects of the internet have altered the practice of journalism in such a way that I often question whether or not it is the profession I want to go into. Hopefully I will end up writing, and I learn how to use and share my work on the internet without ever having to sacrifice the quality or integrity of my writing.

Jaylin Paschal is the founder and editor of INSIGHT Magazine. She also runs Creative Liberation, a personal blog where you can read through her rants and rambles. At school Jaylin is Editor-in-Chief of her school paper and an editor of the school's literary arts magazine. She spends her days writing and sleeping, or wishing she could write or sleep.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Beauty of #BLACKOUTDAY ---- A Celebration of Black Bodies

Singer-songwriter Kimya Dawson shares her opinion on #BlackOutDay via Twitter.
by Alexandria Montgomery
The first Friday of Women’s History Month was highlighted on social media with the hashtag #BLACKOUTDAY. Black women (and men) shared photos of themselves celebrating the blackness so many were taught to hate. Timelines, feeds, and dashboards on nearly all social media platforms were inundated with photos of black people truly taking pride in their blackness. What stuck out to me was the photos tweeted to Twitter user @zellieimani. He encouraged users to TwitPic themselves engaging in activities off the accepted gamut of blackness. The photos, and there were many, showed people hiking, zip lining, and graduating high school/college. @zellieimani, with his tweet, set the table for a discussion I (and many others, I am certain) felt was necessary, but just weren’t sure how to bring it to start.
When I was younger, I was always called ‘white girl’ and ‘Oreo’. No one ever told me why, but I’m sure it had to do with my music taste. I never understood why my blackness was validated with things outside of my genealogy and ancestry. Even now, certain sentiments I hold are ‘only for white people’. Especially my spirituality. I’ve been told it is white girl stuff. What? My seeking to align Atman with Brahman (a Hindu ideology) is only for white girls?! It’s as if anything that breaks the social barriers other races  have placed on black people suddenly refutes our blackness. I believe those social barricades were created for the sole purpose of keeping white people comfortable, though they often yield feelings other than comfort:

Thoughts on #BlackOutDay shared on Twitter from @deray and @Smok1ng Aces
When the ‘criteria’ for blackness is met — poor, Christian, ghetto (whatever that means), rap head, etc. — white people are either comfortable because we become docile, subservient to their idea of what we should be; or they are uncomfortable, because we become angry thugs. When the ‘criteria’ for blackness is not met — a black person enjoys anime, a black person is a homosexual, a black person is a deadhead — white people are either comfortable because we “aren’t like most black people; you’re so...not ghetto!”; or they are uncomfortable, because we are no longer docile, subservient people. We have conjured our own identity that we share and shed at our own discretion, rather than at their discretion.

#BLACKOUTDAY was beautiful, and considering the coverage in the media and support from non-black people of color, very successful. But, we must keep the dialogue going. Issues will not evaporate at the typing of a hashtag and tweeting of a selfie. My solution? Shatter stereotypes. Wear your blackness like the hair that grows from your head: let it be versatile, malleable; readily taking new forms while remaining strong at the roots.


Alexandria Montgomery is a crazed poet with an acumen for not only social consciousness, but spiritual consciousness as well. Alexandria, or the Sohamist, has a reputation for being a 'radical' and nearly getting her journalism teacher fired. Writer for high school paper (found at and regular blogger at

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Bitcoin ---- All About the Digital Currency

Photo courtesy of
by Kara Combs
What are bitcoins, you ask?

Bitcoins are a popular digital currency. Satoshi Nakamoto is the name by which the creator of the Bitcoin is known by. She/He has not been released.

This abstract currency can be used to buy items all over the world online or in person. As of February 21, one Bitcoin is equal to $246.87 US dollars.

I bet you’re wondering where you can find some bitcoins, since they are so valuable. I’m afraid that Bitcoins are very difficult to obtain. To receive Bitcoins, one may go to online exchanges such as or or mine them on your computer. You can’t simply mine Bitcoins on your everyday computer, you must have excellent hardware on your computer. Therefore, your everyday laptop with cluttered with 100 high school research papers and 200 downloaded memes, is not capable of doing the job. Once you obtain a highly advanced computer, solely for bitcoin mining, you must download software and from there you start mining.
When I use the term “mining” it’s not your computer searching in the deep dark caves of the “matrix” for Bitcoin ore. When you “mine” Bitcoins, your computer actually solves extremely complex math problems in the form of blockchains. The blockchains are actually just transactions of other Bitcoin users that your computer is verifying. Like extreme couponing, this is extreme bookkeeping. You get rewarded in Bitcoins for checking and verifying the sales and trades of other Bitcoins. The downside to mining, is that it takes days, even years just to get one Bitcoin.
Another issue with the Bitcoin is that there is a finite amount of Bitcoins. You can’t just code a few extra Bitcoins to raise inflation. Bitcoins were created so that there will be capped off at 21 million. As of November 2012, there were already 10.5 million in regulation, leading to the production rate being cut in half.

There are many positive and negative effects of using the Bitcoin, however most of them are on the fence of good and bad. Bitcoins allows a person to shop online rather anonymously. During a Bitcoin transaction, a record of the buyer’s and seller’s wallet ID number is kept, but not much more than that. Although many people find this to be an advantage, secret sales can lead to the buying and selling of illegal material such as drugs, hitmen, and foraged documents. These transactions often took place on “The Silk Road,” a recently closed secret online marketplace found in the “Deep Web.” (The Deep Web is a section of the internet hidden by a Tor encryption. Anyone can access these websites, however it is difficult to find them since their IP addresses are hidden from regular search engines. Illegal sales often take place in the Deep Web.)

Bitcoins are also not insured by the FDIC or any other service what will cover your money in the bank. In June 2011, a man known by the name “All in Vain” had 25,000 Bitcoins (around $6.15 million dollars today) stolen from his online wallet while he was asleep! Thanks to Bitcoin’s great encryption levels and anonymous transfers, the theft was never caught and probably will never be caught.
A positive fact about the Bitcoin is that it is decentralized, meaning that no specific group of people running it. One moment of corruption can ruin many years of great trust. When we elect the new government, we are trusting that they will govern in favor with the people. We all known power can go to someone’s head. For example, back in the late 1800s, the government was full of weak politicians willing to take bribes from the wealthiest businessmen. In order to fulfill the potential of any organization, you must have no corruption. To be an honest, trustworthy person may seem simple, however power changes you and your morals. This was what Nakamoto was afraid of. He didn’t want to have to rely on someone’s honesty in order to have a successful economic system. This is the beauty in Bitcoin, the people truly have the power. The people who record all the Bitcoin transactions are the same people who use bitcoins. There is no government interception, it is truly laissez-faire economics.

So, could Bitcoins become the ultimate currency? My opinion is that they absolutely could. Bitcoins are only around five years old, so it has plenty of time to either excel or crash and burn. With so much money being transferred electronically, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bitcoins started to become more and more prevalent in our everyday life. Bitcoins would help unite the world by becoming the only currency, however 21 million Bitcoins might not be enough to distribute around the world. I can’t wait to see how the Bitcoin market will turn out in the next decade. Bitcoins have so much potential if they are used responsibly. Who knows? Maybe this time next year there will be a Bitdollar!
Sources: Bitcoin Mining, CNN, The Verge, Coin Desk, Discovery


Hi! My name is Kara Combs and I am a student at Northmont High School. Outside of school I participate in Academic Challenge and Youth group at church. I hope you enjoy my contributions to Insight.

Colorism ---- The Devastating (and Senseless) Divide in the Black Community

Photo courtesy of The Inclusion Solution
by Jaylin Paschal
Black women, in case you were unaware, your value is determined by your skin tone. Women with light skin at the top of the pyramid, women with dark skin at the bottom.

Why? Obviously because the light-skinned girl has all of the right qualities for the black male (the wavy hair, the light eyes, etc.). She is close enough to white without being controversial. The light-skinned woman has just enough melanin to have a bit of kink in her hair and sway in her step. This keeps anyone from starting the interracial couple conversation.

Members of the African-American community, and only members of the African-American community, praise light-skinned women. And it's not like we're just noting their beauty. Because that'd be okay. But we are also shaming women with darker skin. Their skin is "too" dark; their curls "too" tight. We are treating them as if they are less than. Young black men will discriminate against women that have the exact same skin tone as their mothers and sisters. And it's sad.
Being an African American woman, who is not light-skinned, I can honestly say that my brown skin is a burden. I am never beautiful; just "cute for dark-skinned girl". My hair is never "good" hair; just "pretty good for a dark-skinned girl's". My best will only ever be mediocre in the eyes of other black people, simply because of my skin tone.
Now, I expect that there will be light-skinned women chiming in about how they're teased and called names, too. Light-skinned women are stereotypically called yellow, made fun of for having large foreheads, or teased for never texting back. Compare these insults to those received by darker women: roaches, demons, burnt/crisp, etc. Where lighter women are teased, dark women are dehumanized. Neither instance is right, however one obviously has a more detrimental effect than the other.
I don't know when or why dark skin became something to hate, or to be ashamed of. (Especially when white people tan, but we won't get into that.) And I definitely don't know when or why it was okay to divide ourselves based on skin tone. If I see another "#TeamLightskin/#TeamDarkskin" or "brown skin girls are winning" tweet, I may lose my mind. No other race in the world has created distinction within itself based on skin tone. It's pointless. Especially when we're all the same to everyone else in the world. Other races don't really see a specific tone, all black is the same to them. So why isn't it to us?
Hopefully soon we'll realize that we're all beautiful, light-skinned and dark-skinned. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. It's based on so much more than the pigmentation of your skin. Your skin tone will only ever determine your beauty or worth if you let it.

Jaylin Paschal is the founder and editor of INSIGHT Magazine. She also runs Creative Liberation, a personal blog where you can read through her rants and rambles. At school Jaylin is Editor-in-Chief of her school paper and an editor of the school's literary arts magazine. She spends her days writing and sleeping, or wishing she could write or sleep.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


The youth is responsible for two things:
1. We must understand and learn from the past. We have to know our history. We have to listen to our elders. We have to comprehend why things worked as brilliantly as they did and why other things failed as miserably as they did.

2. We have to apply all of this knowledge to our own political and social decisions and endeavors. Our second responsibility is to build upon what generations before us have left- we are not to take any steps backwards and we are not to stay still. We are to look at current situations with fresh, innovative eyes. We are to bring a youthful and lively perspective to every discussion. We are responsible for changing things up; for improving things, for fixing them, for manipulating them in a way that more accurately serves and reflects the times.

My understanding of the two responsibilities of the youth was the catalyst for the creation of INSIGHT.

My dream for INSIGHT was to create a place where young people could learn, voice their opinions, and join in on political, social, and cultural debates, as well as stay informed on current events. INSIGHT will serve as a platform for the lover of politics and the hater of politics. INSIGHT will serve as a platform for the outspoken and the reserved. INSIGHT will serve as a platform for the certain and the confused. INSIGHT will serve as a conversation starter, and ender. INSIGHT magazine is for young adults with ideas that they want to put out to the world. INSIGHT will allow young students, writers, and cartoonists to speak out about the political, social, and cultural issues that matter to them. INSIGHT will act as a forum for important discussions, and a place where the youth's small ideas of today can advance into the big, game-changing ideas of tomorrow.

INSIGHT will be of the youth, by the youth, and for the youth.

Enjoy, contribute.
Jaylin Paschal --- March 2015

Everything You Need to Know (and maybe some things you shouldn't know) About the Deep Web

Photo courtesy of Security Affairs
by Kara Combs
Ever heard of the Deep Web? If you haven’t, then that means you’re probably doing legal things on the internet. If you have heard about it, you’re just an extremely informed internet user. If you are constantly on the Deep Web, you might be on the FBI watch list.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Deep Web, it is the majority (around 96%) of the internet. A lot of the information on the Deep Web cannot be found by simply searching it in Google. If they were found that easily, they would probably be shut down by now.

Most recently, The Silk Road was shut down in 2012 by the FBI, however that didn’t stop them! In less than a year, the Silk Road 2.0 was opened in November 2012, but in 2014 it was shut down again. The Silk Road is probably the most popular online black market. The creator of the Silk Road goes by the name of “Dread Pirate Roberts,” however it is believed to actually be Ross William Ulbricht. When the Silk Road was first shut down Ulbricht was arrested on the accounts of hacking computers, collecting illegal amounts of money, and five more “slightly” illegal things. One of those “slightly” illegal things was the attempted murder of six different people. Point of the story: Ulbricht wasn’t the best influence on the world. Although according to, he is a kind, generous, good ole’ boy, but you can’t trust everything you read on the internet. Ironically, the group is attempting to raise $450,000 to defend him, you can even donate bitcoins through a QR code! On February 4th, Ulbricht was found guilty of all seven charges, however he will not be sentenced until May 15, 2015.
This was the story about just one site on the Deep Web. Most websites on the Deep Web are not as bad as the Silk Road. A lot of websites are just extremely negative chat forums such as 4chan or torrenting sites such as The Pirate Bay. These websites can be accessed by typing them into any search engine. However as you get deeper and deeper into the internet, the websites become more dangerous and secretive.
These dark websites are protected by a proxy by the name of Tor, of which is an acronym of The Onion Router. Tor helps protect the user’s identity by passing through different nodes, or paths, of the Tor network. Tor acts as a VPN in a way. The main difference between them is that Tor re-routes you through nodes, encrypting you along the way, until the data reaches the destination, however a VPN only pushes you through one server hiding your real server, but everything you do can be traced. If you want to do illegal actions, Tor is definitely the way to go. However, I am not condoning anyone reading this to commit illegal activities.
Another layer of the Deep Web is completely consumed by our government. Everything is online. Although it opens up our government to cyber attacks, we can’t afford to be behind on the times. Our enemies would laugh at us if we wrote everything on paper and had them delivered to officials by horseback. Of course, the government doesn’t want everyday people snooping through secret battle plans or missions, so they encrypt the information deep, deep, deep down in the Deep Web. (No pun intended.) 

Now you are an extremely informed member of society about the Deep Web. I find it to be an extremely interesting topic but please do me a favor and never use this information to actually use the Deep Web. The Deep Web can lead to serious issues such as the Silk Road crisis. It is amazing how far people will go to bypass government monitoring. The internet has lead us to a new domain, good and bad. Please use it wisely.
Sources (click for article): Security Affairs, Free Ross, Stack Exchange

Critical Culture ---- Why We Must Be Critical of Pop Culture

Still from Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines - Photo Courtesy of Entertainment. ie
by Alexandria Montgomery
I stumbled across an article on The New York Times website titled 'Does Pop Culture Deserve Serious Study?', written by Holy Epstein Ojalvo. The article provides a prompt for students to share their opinion on the significance (or lack of significance) of analyzing mainstream culture. Judging from the responses, there is a general consensus that pop culture, though entertaining, doesn't merit a deeper study.
I disagree. 
Pop culture, though shallow on the surface, actually does possess a deeper value. There is a hushed dialogue between itself and our society's values. Take, for example, Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' (yes, I know a lot of you are tired of womanists and feminists dissecting this song. Well, we are tired of our sisters being raped). At this point, it is common knowledge that this song is absolute trash for condoning date rape. When I first heard it, however, I was completely oblivious to this. I loved it. I was fourteen. I was on vacation with my family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was nodding my head to the (I hate to admit) catchy beat while eating French fries at Moe Moon's. I, at the time, had no idea what garbage I was listening to. It was until about two months later I'd read and analyzed the lyrics. The song was blared at parties, skating rinks, school dances, etc. It was accepted and integrated into pop culture. We, as a society, normalized a song that supports rape culture and trivialized rape in doing so. What does that say of us?
There are many other ill facets of pop culture we accept as normal; there are behaviors and beliefs we internalize as our own without question. The studying of pop culture strives to eliminate this alarming docility, as it urges us as individuals to look beyond the entertainment factor of music, TV shows, slang, etc. and examine why we consider it to be acceptable. It compels us to trace the treads that connect dominant cultures to occulted cultures - such as rape culture, as mentioned above. 
Pop culture deserves critical observation simply because it is our societal duty to do so.
Alexandria Montgomery is a crazed poet with an acumen for not only social consciousness, but spiritual consciousness as well. Alexandria, or the Sohamist, has a reputation for being a 'radical' and nearly getting her journalism teacher fired. Writer for high school paper (found at and regular blogger at