Tag Archives: Alex Vejar

When Bullying Goes Viral

Cyber bullying continues to affect kids, adolescents and adults nationwide. About 32 percent of all teenagers who use the internet say they have been targets of annoying and potentially menacing online activities, according to a Pew Research Study. The study also indicated that older adolescent girls are more likely to report being bullied than any other age and gender group.

Research on cyber bullying is growing, but because technology use changes rapidly, it is difficult to design surveys that accurately capture trends, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey.

Dr. Brendesha Tynes, associate professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Southern California, agreed the research studies are not quite accurate.

“The studies that are out there — some of the national representative studies — show only about 10 percent of the population are experiencing cyber bullying,” Tynes said.

Roxanne Moschetti, assistant professor in CSUN’s Department of Adolescent and Child Development, said social media, particularly anonymous posting apps such as YikYak, make it difficult for educators and parents to battle cyber bullying.

“Even if we are doing our job about educating everyone about reporting cyber bullying,” Moschetti said,  “if they are using an app like that, it cannot be traced back. I can see apps like that allowing bullying to go under the radar.”

Moschetti said another problem is that kids do not want to admit to their parents that they are being bullied. She said that increased anxiety and withdrawal from social interaction are two common signs that a child might be uncomfortable.

Monica Barajas, Special Operations Administrator of the Family Violence Unit at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, said that harsher punishments would help minimize the amount of cyber bullying in schools.

“The law should implement more regulations and have harsher consequences, even at the school district level and college level,” Barajas said. “Our education, citywide in the city of Los Angeles, is to constantly educated people to report it to law enforcement if they feel they are being victimized.”

Currently, the US Supreme Court is considering where to draw the line when it comes to protecting free speech on social media.

“If you are saying direct things and issuing direct threats online, then there should be a limit to your free speech,” Tynes said.

Moschetti says it is important to distinguish the difference between a threat and free speech.

“That’s where the education comes in,” she said. “What is a threat and what is free speech? You have to pay close attention to that, and educate everyone involved.”

Barajas said that prosecuters feel that if a reasonable person feels threatened by online harassment and reports it, that’s enough for law enforcement officials to move forward and investigate.

“What I would hope to see is more reporting,” Moschetti said, “and taking it seriously – where everyone takes it seriously.”

“The other part is the bully,” Barajas said. “Getting education and resources for that person who is doing it. It’s the resources for those people, and the counseling, and figuring out what is happening in their home that they are constantly on someone else.

“My hope is we will get more of these apps like Rethink, that help people evaluate whether they want to send a message,” Tynes said. “Don’t send this. Think twice, and hopefully more people will do that.”


Moderator: Carly Bagingito

Producer: Alex Vejar

Anchor: Katie Fauskee

Social Media Editor: Lauren Llanos

Reporters: Dean Perez and Zulay Saldana

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Beyond the Haze

Greek life at CSUN has come under fire following the death of Armando Villa, a pledge of Zeta Mu. Villa died of dehydration and hyperthermia in July, during an initiation hiking trip with fellow fraternity members and pledges.

Nationwide, more than 60 people have died in fraternity-related incidents since 2005, according to  Bloomberg News. Researchers also suggest fraternity members are more likely to commit sexual assault, and sorority members are more likely to be victims of it.

Villa’s death, and the reports of fraternity-related fatalities and sexual violence across the country, have had an impact on the Greek life and its members on CSUN’s campus.

“I mean you can’t help but feel disgusted that these kind of activities are going on,” said incoming Interfraternity Council President Josh Stepakoff. “It obviously goes against every value that we preach in being part of the Greek system.”

Diane Harrison, President of Cal State Northridge, has suspended pledging for the Spring 2015 semester. Stepakoff said he was surprised she decided to let Greek life continue at CSUN.

“She made it very clear during her announcement she could’ve just suspended the Greek system completely,” he said. “She would be ridiculed no matter what she did, and she probably took the most ridicule just by keeping us around, and by cutting pledging this semester, cutting it next semester, and giving us the opportunity to regain the administration’s trust.”

While people hear many negative things about sororities and fraternities, members say there are many positives to the Greek System. The brotherhood and sisterhood the members form in a fraternity or sorority is the main one.

“I mostly joined for networking,” said Katrina Brkic, former vice-president of CSUN’s Panhellenic Council. “I never had sisters — I always had a brother — so I wanted an older sister…. I’ve gotten most of my internships through our alum, through sisters who’ve worked at different places.”

Andres Rodriguez is the former recruitment chair for the Interfraternity Council. He said fraternity and sororities also come together to do positive things like philanthropic work.

“One of the collective philanthropy events we did this past semester through IFC was the Walk a Mile in their shoes, which was to bring awareness to sexual assault and domestic violence,” Rodriquez said. “That was pretty cool because it brought members from every fraternity together for a common cause.”

CSUN’s Greek system leaders agree the fraternities and sororities must work to make improvements in their reputation, and to make sure no more tragedies occur. Students who want to rush will have to take an online prep course before they are allowed to attend a rush event. Rodriquez said the Greeks would keep promoting the good things they have done, and the importance of their values, so that the new potential members won’t be pushed away by the negative stereotypes in the media.


Moderator: Alex Vejar

Producers: Carly Bagingito and Alex Vejar

Anchor: Dean Perez

Social Media Editor: Lauren Llanos

Reporters: Katie Fauskee and Zulay Saldana

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Dying To Fit In

Media bombard us with ideal images of muscular men and thin women on a daily basis.

In some cases, some women and men may develop anxiety about their ability to fit this ideal image, and some may develop eating disorders.

In a survey conducted by People Magazine, 80 percent of women said actresses in movies and television made them feel insecure about their body.

Anne Jensen Smith, president of Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating (JADE), a peer education program at CSUN dedicated to awareness and the prevention of eating disorders, said the media have a huge role in defining an ideal image to Americans.

“The media is hitting us at all angles,” Smith said. “It is outwardly saying, ‘here are all these bodies that we think Americans should be.’”

Vanessa Birdsong, program therapist at The Bella Vita, an eating disorder clinic in the San Fernando Valley, said that media are not the sole cause of eating disorders.

“The root of an eating disorder has nothing to with food and really nothing to do with body image,” Birdsong said. “It has everything to do with anxiety, low self esteem, which is connected to low self worth, and even traumas.”

Birdsong said anxiety can lead to eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, both of which involve severe restrictions of food, which can cause the brain to starve, making it hard to focus and function, sometimes leading to various heart problems, and even to death.

The National Eating Disorders Association reports that some half a million American teen-agers struggle with eatings disorders or disordered eating, and that between 3.9 and 5.2 percent of people with eating disorders will die from them.

It’s not just a problem for women.

A 12-year study conducted by Journal of American Medical Association – Pediatrics found that nearly 18 percent of adolescent boys said they worried about their weight and physiques.

Avery Rodriguez, a student involved in the Get Real! Project at CSUN, said the ideal image for a man is “[a] big chest, big shoulders and a toned body.”

Some studies show that social media sites can also have an effect on how people view their bodies.

A recent study by Florida State University found that women who spend more time on Facebook also have higher levels of eating disorders.

Birdsong said she had seen children as young as three years old in treatment for eating disorders.

“If mom or dad are pinching their own stomachs or talking about dieting all the time, kids are quick to pick up on everything,” Smith said, “and this is where they get their ideas.”

Education and awareness about body image and eating disorders are key.

“We try to alert students here at CSUN to media, and how it is effecting everybody,” Rodriguez said. “…Communication is key.”

“So often people don’t get heard,” Birdsong said, “because we have our defenses up and we’re not really listening to each other. If people stop and listen, and just are there with somebody, that can be so healing.”

“Educate yourself, ” Smith agreed, “so when you do talk to [people] openly, and you are listening to them, you know a little about it.”


Moderator: Katie Fauskee

Producer: Lauren Llanos

Anchor: Alex Vejar

Reporters: Zulay Saldana, Alex Vejar, Christopher Perez

Social Media Editor: Carly Bagingito

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When Digital Met Radio

With today’s technology, listening to the radio has become a more personal experience. People can log on to apps such as Pandora, Spotify and Dash Radio to listen to their favorite music at a moment’s notice, without having to wade through commercials or artists they don’t like.

Every week, 86 million people listen to some form of online radio, according to a 2013 study by Edison Research.

Aron Bender, news anchor at KFI-AM and a journalism professor at Cal State Northridge, said while internet radio definitely provides more choices for listeners, it offers some advantages to radio stations as well.

“While listeners do have more control, it also gives us more control because now, we can cater to those people who are listening,” Bender said. “We can cater to the people who are consuming our product.”

But all-digital radio platforms provide something that commercial radio cannot — the absence of advertisements.  Danny Calderon, producer at Dash Radio, a commercial-free, mobile-based radio platform, said the ability to get content almost anywhere is contributing to the rise of online radio.

“There’s an app for everything,” Calderon said. “It’s easier now to listen to it online.”

For Calderon, running an all-digital radio station has its own challenges.

“[It takes] a lot of computers, a lot of servers, a lot of music,” he said.

Without commercials providing revenue for Dash Radio, Calderon said the station is funded solely by investors and sponsorships from record executive L.A. Reid, XXL Magazine and others.

“Since we’re fairly new and coming up and it’s buzzing, there are people trying to invest and be part of the movement,” Calderon said.

Traditional radio stations don’t have the same freedoms that a digital station has. DJ Fuze, an on-air DJ for Power 106, said he must abide by strict regulations while he is working.

“When I’m on air, I have no control,” Fuze said. “I have to play what’s on the list. If I play something that wasn’t on the list, I’d get in some serious trouble.”

When Fuze is not at Power 106, he is making mix tapes for use on the music-sharing app Soundcloud, accessible to listeners all over the world.

“That’s always a challenge,” Fuze said of catering to an international audience. “Sometimes I get listens from Australia, Europe. You have to think about what they like out there, too.”

Bender said the key for all radio stations nowadays is the immediate feedback platforms like Twitter provide. Fuze said there are two sides to that.

“If you ever mess up, people on Twitter and Instagram are quick to give you negative feedback,” Fuze said. “It goes both ways.”

While digital radio is seemingly taking over from the more traditional broadcast format, Bender said both platforms are here to stay.

“When TV came in, they said that radio was going to die,” Bender said. “And when Internet came in, they said TV and radio. But, there is enough out there for everybody.”


Moderator: Lauren Llanos

Producer: Dean Perez

Anchor: Carly Bagingito

Reporters: Zulay Saldana and Alex Vejar

Social Media Editor: Katie Fauskee



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