Back in 2010, the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, was approached by roughly 30 students with a petition containing over 430 signatures that demanded that the paper use gender neutral terms- chairperson instead of chairman, first-year instead of freshman.
This week the paper decided to make the change to gender neutral terms.
“We don’t really believe in leaving things the same way just because it’s the way it’s always been, and now more than ever, we all see a pressing need to be inclusive in the way we write about people.” Paige Ladisic, editor of the paper said in a message explaining the decision.
These changes, like the Associated Press Stylebook, considered by many as the Bible of journalistic standards, seem to reflect society.
For example, Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant, tracked news media’s use of “illegal alien” to convince outlets to use the term “undocumented immigrant” instead.
But was the Daily Tar Heel in the right to make the change?
“Gender neutral titles have slowly been making their way into everyday usage for decades. For instance we don’t call a female flight attendant a ‘stewardess’ anymore,” Jason Parsley, Executive Editor of South Florida Gay News said in an interview. “As for ‘chairperson’ there doesn’t need to be separate terms for men and woman because both positions are equal. Men and women are equal. Period. And ultimately that’s what this gender neutral movement is all about.”
Marimar Toledo, a 20 year old freelance journalist also supports the use of gender neutral usage, because it was more respectful to people in the LGBT community.
“You’re just never gonna know- and just to be on the safe side, and be on the respectful side, you should use the gender neutral terms, rather than the ones that specify which sex you are.”
While people may be of different opinions, The Daily Tar Heel‘s decision seems here to stay.
Rise News reached out to DTH editor Paige Ladisic and will update this story when she responds.
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Cover Photo Credit: William Yeung/Flickr (CC By 2.0)
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In the music industry, Nashville has once again become a fresh hot-bed for rising talent, which makes new music more difficult to stand out. Artists are having to find new and creative ways to promote and brand themselves in the ever changing city.
Born and raised in Nashville, country singer Mitchell Tenpenny is working on becoming a success in this booming industry.
“I think I stand out by trying to have a different sound and approach to how I present my music,” Tenpenny said. “I want every song to feel authentic and real.”
Tenpenny started playing music when he was in the 7th grade. He went to a friend’s house to play a round of golf but found several instruments to play instead. The next day, he picked up a guitar.
Growing up in Nashville influenced Tenpenny to strive for excellence – to make himself stand out.
“The music scene has changed a lot. I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. Everyone is trying new ways and techniques to make a living in this industry with streaming,” Tenpenny said. “It didn’t exist when I grew up watching songwriters have hits.”
He has seen some of his favorite songwriters and artists break through from the beginning and he said that it is one of his favorite feelings.
“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”
One of his favorite aspects of the experiences the city has to offer is how it is ever changing. The moments all lead to other adventures like hearing his songs, or ones he’s written on the radio or being performed by someone, and getting to write with such talented musicians. Nothing can top those moments for him he said.
His best advice to anyone trying to “make it” in Nashville is to “be there.” Be a part of the city and the culture that is there. It is one of the “tried and true” ways to gain acceptance.
Paying your dues is also just as important. With long hours, hard work, and heartbreak, Tenpenny said a big break will come. You just have to earn it.
“I’m not trying to write music for a lunch time,” Tenpenny said. “I’m trying to write music for a life-time.”Post Views: 560
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By Ana Cedeno
For most people their daily job consist of a day at the office, losing vision in front of a computer monitor and telling jokes amongs coworkers during lunch, all for the a salary that allows them to life a comfortable and sensible life with limited to minimal free time or breaks in routine.
That’s the reality of work for many of us.
For Kristen Sharp however, the routine is a little different. Her workday starts when she puts on body paint and dresses up as the Statue Of Liberty.
Sharp is part of the The Liberty Learning Foundation, which provides civic education to children by taking a theatrical approach.
According to their website the Libby Liberty Foundation aims to tackle the financial situation and aims to get kids college-ready and job-ready by bringing back Civics into the classroom.
They do this by training volunteers and teachers to “teach beyond the test” and giving students lessons that supplement what they learn in the classroom.
This is where the person Libby Liberty comes in.
Having a love for acting, and a practice in it since age 14 Sharp, has been putting those talents toward teaching children about the importance of civic duties for a little over a year.
“It is a bit of a whirlwind being thrust into a costume and green paint on a first interview so I was pretty terrified,” Sharp said adding that that first performance she did on that interview didn’t actually go so well.
In spite of that early hiccup, Sharp and the staff at the foundation sat down to exchange ideas and got to know one another.
“We became a family,” Sharp said. “A family with a common vision and goal and that changed things. That’s when I decided to be a part of the team.”
Kristen from then on became part of the Libby Liberty team, dressing up as the Statue Of Liberty and taking on the moniker to help children learn about civics and patriotism in a more interactive way.
As Libby Liberty, Sharp travels around the country delivering to students a message of hope and liberty.
The students themselves take part in the Super Citizenship program, a ten-week long course intended to teach civic duty, leadership and entrepreneurship.
Kristen, or rather Libby, usually surprises the students by jumping off her pedestal and ‘coming to life’.
She then tells them her history-America’s history- and explains to the young citizens how even young students can someday have an effect on the country they live in and make a difference.
This is something that Kristen, along with the Libby Liberty foundation, feel is truly missing from a lot of the kids in the country.
A photo posted by Libby Liberty (@libbyliberty) on
“It is important because most, if not all, of these students haven’t heard this message,” Sharp said. “I am not standing up delivering a fluffy message for the students to clap and cheer to, I am empowering them to break out of the mold and to not be oppressed by what they may or may not have been born into. I am showing and telling them that because of what Lady Liberty stands for, they can make a tremendous impact in their lives and the lives of people around them.”
The impact this message has on the children is according to Sharp, palpable and invigorating all at once.
“The best part of what Libby does is to light a fire of hope and excitement in the eyes of these children,” Sharp said. “They go on to do incredible things in the Super Citizen Program, in their schools, homes and communities. I get to see first hand what a difference Libby makes in the lives of these students.”
This feeling of making an impact is what really cemented her commitment to the Libby Liberty foundation.
“I did not choose to truly love Libby until I watched my first Super Citizen Kickoff,” Sharp said. “Hundreds of children in crowns, waving flags and singing ‘YOU in the USA’ at the top of their lungs. I sat surrounded by them and cried.”
Sharp has a long history of performing, and has been acting since the age of 12.
She did her first musical theater role in high school and started touring with Broadway shows at the age of 16.
She then proceeded to act professionally for many years.
She traveled back south 9 (she’s originally from Alabama) after 9/11 saying the attack made her “refocused to what was truly important to me “
While the theater is her first love and passion, and she still performs from time to time Sharp states that she doesn’t consider Libby Liberty to be a performance.
“Acting is not really a part of Libby for me,” Sharp said. “While I may have to muster up some energy backstage, once I see the faces of the students, it is just my heart to tell the story and see the change happen in their lives.”
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.Post Views: 329
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By Georgia Lala
Rebecca Black’s childhood dream was to attend The Juilliard School in New York.
Far before the viral hit “Friday” was ever conceived, Black says she spent all of her free time performing.
“I was in dance groups, singing groups and musical theatre,” Black said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
A driven student, Black says she was always looking to her future, planning for college and life after high school.
“I was always thinking college, college, college”, Black said.
And that drive, according to Black, was where her song “Friday” originated.
A bubblegum pop song about what tweens get up to on the last day of the week, Black and her mother organized the recording of the song as a way for Black to boost her resume and get some performing experience under her belt.
“I just really wanted to go that extra mile at my school and get some experience,” Black said.
According to her, it was never really meant to go far beyond her circle.
That, of course, is not what happened.
When “Friday” was uploaded to Youtube by ARK Music Factory on March 14, 2011 it quickly went viral. In its first month online, the video amassed 30 millions views.
The 13-year-old Black didn’t know what to do.
Suddenly, she was propelled into the forefront of the public eye.
And with all of the sudden and unexpected attention came large amounts of criticism, directed both at the song, and Black herself.
It became one of the most “disliked” videos in the history of Youtube.
Eventually comments on the video had to be turned off due to the negative and hurtful nature of them.
Today, Black struggles to watch back interviews of herself in the weeks and months following the viral success of “Friday”.
The pain she was experiencing at the time, she says, is so clearly written over her face.
“I was so scared and so confused and had no idea what to do,” Black said. “I was hurting inside”.
Black herself admits there was no way anyone in her position could have been prepared for all of the attention.
“I just put on, or at least tried to put on, a really brave face”.
So, Black did what any person in her situation would do, and turned to the people around her for advice, all of whom had an opinion of what the teenager should do next.
But the advice, which largely came from music directors and talent managers at the time, wasn’t what she expected.
Rather than stepping down from the spotlight, Black went on to produce even more music, under the advice of the studio.
“A lot of the music was stuff that other people told me to make”, Black said. “I just thought I’ll listen to everyone around me because they obviously know better than me…I thought, I’m 13 and dumb”.
Sadly, the internet was more than happy to have another swing at the child star trying to make a name for herself, promptly tearing down all of her work.
The “dislikes” just kept piling up.
Black finally had enough, and in 2013 she split from her talent agent and went independent.
It wasn’t until the release of her song “Saturday“, a collaboration with Youtuber Dave Days, that Black finally felt like she had some control over her music career.
“[Saturday] was when I was able to take [my music] into my own hands, Black said.
The song itself almost acts as a parody of “Friday”, with witty references to old jokes and a sense of understanding that Black’s previous songs lacked.
Black herself admits that the song was less about making a serious single, and far more about making something fun for her own enjoyment- for the first time.
Around the same time, Black also reformed her roots on Youtube, signing onto the Youtube Network Maker Studios.
From her bedroom at home, Black began to upload casual videos, including question and answers, vlogs and song covers.
Black says that this was the time she finally began to feel free to do what she wanted creatively, free from a team of advisors telling her how to craft her image.
“It was very freeing to take it into my own hands and make content,” Black said.
Black also made a point on her channel to talk about her experience being bullied and share her advice with others.
Now, her channel has amassed a strong following of over one million subscribers, and the reception of Black’s videos today contrasts vastly with the reception of her old music videos.
Black believes this is due to the more genuine nature and rawness of her new videos.
“I could finally show a little bit more of me as a person in these videos”, Black said. “I was able to connect with others out there who have dealt with or a dealing with bullying, and I really hope that I have been able to reach them and let them know that it’s ok.”
Finally, Black feels like she can move on with her life.
She released a single called “The Great Divide” in 2016, during a period of time in her life when Black said that she started to accept everything that had happened to her since “Friday”
“The song itself is about letting go of the the people that might be holding you back, and also the parts of yourself that might be holding you back,” Black said.
And move on, she has.
In April, Black released a new single, “Foolish“, a song which she says truly shows her progression as an artist and her own growth, “ I think [Foolish] is very representative of how, stylistically, my tastes have changed and started to develop.”
Now 19, Black seems comfortable and at peace with her past.
“A lot of people ask me if I hate ‘Friday’, and I truly don’t,” Black said. “I never want to put down my own music”.
The young star’s level headed attitude is something to be admired.
Black knows that she can’t convince everyone to move on from “Friday”, and that she might always be known for its unbelievable notoriety.
But Black says that’s ok.
“You’re not going to be able to change everyone’s mind. You’re not going to please everyone,” Black said. “But at least I could finally start pleasing myself.”
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.
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Photos/ Rebecca Black- FacebookPost Views: 614
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