It’s not everyday that you come across a real hero on the Internet. But today, you’ve found one.
Michael Panik, a communications student at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama successfully used the crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise $10 so he could buy himself a 20 piece Chicken McNugget meal at McDonalds.
Panik explained the motivations behind the campaign.
“A friend and mine were talking about all the ridiculous GoFundMe campaigns we’ve seen recently, basically people just asking for money to buy personal stuff: new equipment, software,” Panik said. “It’s pretty rude, honestly-just begging for money for things you want or need, that ultimately aren’t super expensive, and aren’t true necessities.”
Panik also said that he was a little bitter over the crowdfunding concept since he failed to raise money in the past on similar sites.
“I think that crowd funding is excellent, really, when used the right way,” Panik said. “I had a campaign for $10,000 to make a documentary fail back in the spring, and I’m a little bitter, but I think the concept is there. A lot of people do really spectacular things with money raised through GFM, Kickstarter, and others.”
Panik’s crowdfunding campaign for $10 was met in only a few hours. A man named Michael Brown gave him the money, saying “Enjoy!” in the comments.
His tongue firmly planted in his cheek, Panik thanked Brown.
“Michael Brown is a truly beautiful soul, devoted to philanthropy, and has the highest honor in my heart,” Panik said. “I sincerely hope to make him proud by using his generous donation to achieve my supreme goal.”
While not in class, Panik works as a web developer with Plexamedia, and as a technical director at a church in Rome, GA. He said that was primarily interested in filmmaking and was focused in producing documentaries. His first feature-length documentary, Thrift Store Symphony is in post-production and will premiere next fall.
“I’m so glad my Chicken McNugget scheme kind of took off just in my network, honestly, Panik said. “I’d love to see more people find this, and realize that maybe, if you want something, you should spend less time asking people for money, and going out there, working, and getting it for yourself.”
Panik wasn’t sure when he would be seeing his windfall.
“I’m not totally sure, but I hope it’s soon,” Panik said. “Ya boy is hungry.”
Cover Photo: Screenshot/ GoFundme.com
What Do You Think?
About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
You Might also like
Christiane Amanpour is one of the most respected and well-known journalists in the world.
Her reporting is an impressive mix of depth and clarity, and it has been for decades.
As a result, when Amanpour speaks out on a topic, people in the media tend to listen.
That is why her speech at the recent International Press Freedom Awards was powerful.
In short, Amanpour believes that many in the media treated Donald Trump differently than Hillary Clinton during the general election.
But more troubling than that is what she had to say about her fears of press freedoms being taken away in the United States.
Citing her experience in reporting on crackdowns of journalists by despotic regimes from around the world, Amanpour said that “First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating–until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison–and then who knows?”
“I never in a million years thought I would be up here on stage appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home,” Amanpour said in the speech. “I actually hoped that once president-elect, all that that would change, and I still do. But I was chilled when the first tweet after the election was about “professional protesters incited by the media.”
She went on. Oh boy, did she go on.
Here is the full text of Amanpour’s speech. You really should take a couple minutes to read the whole thing:
“I never in a million years thought I would be up here on stage appealing for the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.
Ladies and gentlemen, I added the bits from candidate Trump as a reminder of the peril we face.
I actually hoped that once president-elect, all that that would change, and I still do.
But I was chilled when the first tweet after the election was about “professional protesters incited by the media.”
He walked back the part about the protesters but not the part about the media.
We are not there but postcard from the world: this is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al.
As all the international journalists we honor in this room tonight and every year know only too well:
First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating–until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives.
Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison–and then who knows?
Just to say, Erdoğan has just told my Israeli colleague Ilana Dayan that he cannot understand why anyone’s protesting in America, it must mean they don’t accept–or understand–democracy! And he thinks America, like all great countries, needs a strongman to get things done!
A great America requires a great and free and safe press.
So this above all is an appeal to protect journalism itself.
Recommit to robust fact-based reporting without fear or favor–on the issues.
Don’t stand for being labelled crooked or lying or failing
Do stand up together–for divided we will all fall.
The historian Simon Schama, in the house tonight, told me early on that this was not just another election, and we cannot treat it as one.
And he says if ever there’s a time to celebrate, honor, protect, and mobilize for press freedom and basic good journalism, it’s now.
At the start of this campaign, a network news president said this phenomenon may not be good for America but damn good for us.
During an interview on my program this summer, the film-maker and historian Ken Burns asked me what would Edward R. Murrow do?
First, like many people watching where I was overseas, I admit I was shocked by the exceptionally high bar put before one candidate and the exceptionally low bar put before the other candidate.
It appeared much of the media got itself into knots trying to differentiate between balance, objectivity, neutrality, and crucially, truth.
We cannot continue the old paradigm–let’s say like over global warming, where 99.9 percent of the empirical scientific evidence is given equal play with the tiny minority of deniers.
I learned long ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then you are an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.
I believe in being truthful, not neutral. And I believe we must stop banalizing the truth.
And we have to be prepared to fight especially hard for the truth in a world where the Oxford English Dictionary just announced its word of 2016: post-truth.
We have to accept that we’ve had our lunch handed to us by the very same social media that we’ve so slavishly been devoted to.
The winning candidate did a savvy end run around us and used it to go straight to the people. Combined with the most incredible development ever–the tsunami of fake news sites–aka lies–that somehow people could not, would not, recognize, fact check, or disregard.
One of the main writers of these false articles–these lies–says people are getting dumber, just passing fake reports around without fact checking. We need to ask whether technology has finally outpaced our human ability to keep up.
Facebook needs to step up
Advertisers need to boycott the lying sites.
Wael Ghonim, one of the fathers of the Arab Spring, dubbed the social media revolution, now says:
“The same medium that so effectively transmits a howling message of change also appears to undermine the ability to make it. Social media amplifies the human tendency to bind with one’s own kind. It tends to reduce complex social challenges to mobilizing slogans that reverberate in echo chambers of the like-minded rather than engage in persuasion, dialogue, and the reach for consensus. Hate speech and untruths appear alongside good intentions and truths.”
I feel that we face an existential crisis, a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession.
Now, more than ever, we need to commit to real reporting across a real nation, a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril, including by foreign powers like Russia paying to churn out and place false news, and hacking into democratic systems here and allegedly in upcoming crucial German and French elections too.
A quick anecdote from out there: in the 1997 Iranian elections, the reform candidate won and the establishment ayatollahs were caught totally off guard. One of them asked me later how I was so sure and when did I know that Khatami was going to win. I told him, as soon as I got on the ground and started talking to people! Just saying.
We must also fight against a post-values world.
And let me hit back at this elitist backlash we’re all bending over backwards to accommodate.
Since when were American values elitist values? They are not left or right values. They are not rich or poor values, not the forgotten-man values.
Like many foreigners I have learned they are universal. They are the values of every American from the humblest to the most exalted. They form the very fundamental foundation of the United States and are the basis of America’s global leadership. They are brand America. They are America’s greatest export and gift to the world.
So yes, like so many around the world, I was shocked–very few ever imagined that so many Americans conducting their sacred duty in the sanctity of the voting booth, with their secret ballot, would be angry enough to ignore the wholesale vulgarity of language, the sexual predatory behavior, the deep misogyny, the bigoted and insulting views.
Gov. Mario Cuomo said you campaign in poetry and govern in prose. Perhaps the opposite will be true this time around.
If not, I will fight as a journalist–as we all must–to defend and protect the unique value system that makes these United States–and with which it seeks to influence the world.
The conservative radio host who may be the next White House press secretary says mainstream media is hostile to traditional values.
I would say it’s just the opposite. And have you read about the “Heil, victory” meeting in Washington, DC this past weekend?
Why aren’t there more stories about the dangerous rise of the far right here and in Europe?
Since when did anti-Semitism stop being a litmus test in this country?
We must fights against normalization of the unacceptable.
A week before the heated Brexit referendum in the U.K., the gorgeous, young, optimistic, idealistic, compassionate MP Jo Cox, a remainer, was shot and stabbed to death by a maniac yelling “Britain first.” She was particularly sensitive to the plight of Syrian war refugees.
At his trial, the court was told the accused had researched information on the SS and the KKK.
Just a few weeks ago, her husband, Brendan, now raising their two tiny toddlers, expanded for me on an op-ed he’d written:
“Political leaders and people generally must embrace the responsibility to speak out against bigotry. Unless the center holds against the insidious creep of extremism, history shows how quickly hatred is normalized. What begins with biting your tongue for political expediency, or out of social awkwardness, soon becomes complicity with something far worse. Before you know it, it’s already too late.”
So now the solutions!
Somehow, the war of attrition in this country has to end. You’ve all seen the results of this election. It’s very close. The nation is very divided, and angry.
Are we in the media going to keep whipping up that war–or are we going to take a deep breath and maybe have a reset?!
It matters to us out there abroad too.
For better or for worse, this is the world’s only superpower. Culturally too.
The political example, the media example set here, are quickly emulated and rolled out across the world.
We, the media, can either contribute to a more functional system or to deepening the political dysfunction.
Which world do we want to leave our children?
In the same way, politics has been driven into poisonous partisan and paralyzing corners, where political differences are criminalized, where the zero sum game means in order for me to win, you have to be destroyed. What happened to compromise and common ground?
That same dynamic has infected powerful segments of the American media.
Like it has in Egypt and Turkey and Russia, where journalists have been pushed into political partisan corners as we see here tonight–delegitimized, accused of being enemies of the state.
Journalism itself has become weaponized. We have to stop it.
We all have a huge amount of work to do, investigating wrongdoing, holding power accountable, enabling decent government, defending basic rights, actually covering the world–Russia, Syria, North Korean nukes.
Can’t we have differences without killing each other off?
As a profession, let’s fight for what is right.
Let’s fight for our values.
Bad things do happen when good people do nothing.
In the words of the great civil rights leader, Congressman John Lewis:
“Young people and people not so young have a moral obligation and a mission and a mandate to get in good trouble.”
So let’s go out and make some.
And especially–let’s fight to remain relevant and useful.
Perhaps contemplating the long weekend ahead,
Let’s resolve not to be turkeys voting for Thanksgiving!
Happy holidays, everyone.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: AIB (Association for InternPost Views: 346
What Do You Think?
Apple and the FBI have captured the public’s attention by battling over unlocking the San Bernardino shooter’s phone, but this is about more than one terrorist attack. This is a power struggle over the future of digital communication.
Encryption seems opaque and impossibly complex, and that’s the point. Even though it has only recently entered the popular lexicon, humans have been using encryption to keep secrets hidden since ancient Greece.
Now it’s an essential component to everyone’s electronic communication, and the United States security apparatus is essentially demanding unilateral power over its on/off switch.
A judge ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to help the FBI unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone 5c, which seems like a reasonable request.
After all, it has the word reasonable in it.
But like many vague government directives, its request is far from the definition of the word it uses. What the FBI really wants Apple to do can best be explained by the world’s most notorious hacker.
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) February 17, 2016
Granted, there are so many layers to the Snowden story that you have to take everything he says with infinite grains of salt, but the man clearly knows his tech.
He’s pretty much stuck where he is for the rest of his life, so it’s hard to see how criticizing the FBI benefits him in any way (unless you believe that he’s a Russian operative, but that’s a discussion for another day).
This isn’t just about hacking into this one phone. The FBI wants Apple to build them a cyber weapon that bypasses encryption on iPhones around the world.
Encryption has been a central debate in the intelligence community for quite some time, and lines have clearly been drawn between civil cabinets and law enforcement, as the Obama administration has offered conflicting messages on this topic.
Leslie Caldwell, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division alluded to the need to bypass encryption at a technology policy conference earlier this year:
“The Department of Justice is completely committed to seeking and obtaining judicial authorization for electronic evidence collection in all appropriate circumstances. But once that authorization is obtained, we need to be able to act on it if we are to keep our communities safe and our country secure.”
Ironically enough, the very next person to speak at that conference was another top Obama official at the Federal Trade Commission, Terrell McSweeny, and he offered a diametrically opposite opinion:
“As a person charged with thinking about consumer protection, I deeply worry about things like mandatory backdoors. We need to be very mindful of consumer data security, and we should be very, very careful about anything that undermines that data security.”
James Comey, the director of the FBI, is one of the chief architects of the case against encryption, as he laid out in his famous 2014 “going dark” speech:
And if the challenges of real-time interception threaten to leave us in the dark, encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place.
You can see this schism in on the campaign trail too. Here’s the child of the former head of the CIA Jeb Bush’s take:
“If you create encryption, it makes it harder for the American government to do its job — while protecting civil liberties — to make sure that evildoers aren’t in our midst. We need to find a new arrangement with Silicon Valley in this regard because I think this is a very dangerous kind of situation.”
Compare that to former HP CEO/former Presidential candidate/future Fox News analyst Carly Fiorina:
“I certainly support that we need to tear down cyber walls, not on a mass basis, but on a targeted basis. I do not believe that we need to wholesale destroy every American citizen’s privacy in order to go after those that we know are suspect or are already a problem. But yes, there is more collaboration required.”
So why is the private sector so concerned with protecting encryption? Apple’s stance doesn’t seem to be based on firm principle since they have unlocked iPhones for the feds at least 70 times before.
This is a high-profile case, so what Apple does or does not do will be scrutinized infinitely more than those 70 instances combined, and the public has never been more sensitive to the security state than it is right now.
Apple doesn’t want to hurt their brand. Plus, what the FBI is demanding is unprecedented. They’re ordering Apple to build a backdoor into its seminal product.
That’s not something that can only be controlled by one party; once a backdoor exists, anyone with the wherewithal can access it.
The second the FBI uses this new software to bypass encryption, the race will be on to reverse engineer it, and if/when this type of technology falls into the wrong hands, a huge chunk of mankind’s digital infrastructure would be compromised (not to mention the horrors authoritarian regimes around the world would inflict on their people with this weapon).
Given that our security state already looks like a Orwellian fever dream, we should heed President Dwight Eisenhower’s prescient warning from his farewell address and support Apple in this fight:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place.
Cover Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 220
What Do You Think?
By Staff Report
Carly Rae Jepsen doesn’t have to be one of your favorite musicians (or even someone you can stand) for you to appreciate what she is doing with her latest music video.
The video for the song “Boy Problems” is a throwback of sorts to a 1980s slumber party scene. But it also features plenty of selfies, laptop computers and tablets.
While the song is ostensibly just about those moments when you just can’t stand your friend talking about her troubles with boys, it can also be read in a deeper way.
Perhaps Jepsen is trying to point out how silly modern drama about relationships and social pressures tied to those moments really are.
We shouldn’t be so hung up on another person that we lose sight of ourselves and our own emotional well being. And in the end, drama is such a waste of time and energy.
Anyway, watch the video and tell us in the comments whether you think our theory makes any sense:
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
Cover Photo Credit: Carly Rae Jepsen/ Facebook (Screenshot)Post Views: 302
What Do You Think?