, week of
Aug. 28, 2023
1. SOCCER SCANDAL
Soccer federation president Luis Rubiales is under pressure to resign after he kissed Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermoso on the lips during the World Cup medals ceremony last Sunday. Rubiales claimed the kiss was consensual, but Hermoso released a statement that ‘in no moment’ did she consent to it. Rubiales has refused to step down from his position, despite being urged to by others; the federation vice president and two other members have stepped down. Spain’s government has planned to file a lawsuit against Rubiales for violating the country’s sports laws. Write an opinion article detailing whether you think Rubiales should be forced to resign over the issue and why.
2. WHITE-COLLAR QUESTIONS
The advent of new technology often impacts blue-collar workers the most; think automation in factories and robotic telemarketing calls. However, the rise in artificial intelligence is threatening the jobs often thought to be beyond the reach of technology: those that are creative in nature or require emotional intelligence. While many of the uses of AI currently assist workers, there is concern about the future. Hollywood’s strikes are one example; screenwriters are concerned about scripts being written by AI and background actors worry their likeness could be digitally included in a show regardless of their participation. Research from the Labor Department’s O*Net database analyzed by AI found that just 4 percent of jobs had zero tasks that could be assisted by AI, including athletes, carpenters, and dishwashers. Consider what jobs you think could be assisted by AI, which could be replaced by AI, and which wouldn’t benefit from AI at all. Make a list of each and share your ideas with your classmates.
3. ANOTHER CANDIDATE
Among the participants at the first Republican debate for the 2024 presidential election cycle, Vivek Ramaswamy was one that many pointed to as the so-called “winner” of the debate—including frontrunner Donald Trump. Formerly a relatively unknown figure in the public eye, he’s now ascended to third place in the polls behind Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The Cincinnati native was a biotechnology mogul before transitioning to become a conservative commentator and leading an investment firm. Look up Ramaswamy’s stances on political issues in your newspaper or online, including his response to recent hot topics like the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Covid-19, and gender and diversity programs. Then, write an article summarizing his background and political stances.
4. PROBLEMATIC PFAS
A new report on PFAS looked at the presence of the so-called “forever chemicals” in different demographic groups and found that they were present in much higher levels in Asian Americans: The median level of PFAS was 88 percent higher in Asian Americans than in non-Hispanic white people. One possible cause could be the high amount of fish and seafood in their diets—wild-caught freshwater fish are a significant source of PFAS. More research is needed to determine the exact causes. PFAS are linked to numerous health concerns including high cholesterol, kidney and liver disease, and cancer. Do you think it could be detrimental to report on research that doesn’t point to a clear cause or solution for readers, or is the spreading of knowledge more important? Write a paragraph detailing your thoughts about reporting on preliminary research like this and how it can be done responsibly.
5. SUSPICIOUS CRASH
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian mercenary group that threw a brief mutiny against Vladimir Putin, was likely killed when a plane he was on crashed, possibly due to an intentional explosion. US intelligence has said it was very likely that the explosion was intentional and Prigozhin was the target. Putin has denied that his administration was behind the crash and gave a eulogy for Prigozhin, whose death has not been confirmed but is presumed based on his name appearing on the passenger list. Think about the challenges in reporting on a story like this, where much of the information is not confirmed or is coming from a country that isn’t known for being forthcoming. How would you approach reporting on this event? Write down some of the factors you would try to be aware of and how you would address them.