National News Nightly

By Parmita Protik Das, CNN

 

Guda Raad, Blog Post

The decision that faced the staff at NNN ahead of the 6 o’clock news:

There has been an explosion in Downtown Boston and the police suspect nefarious motives rather than a simple technical glitch because there was a suspicious suspect at the location. How should NNN go about reporting the incident?

As the President of International, my responsibilities were not just to the NN Nightly at 6 o’clock but also to NNN International, so I had the duty to divide the time slot for the coverage in both platforms.

I believe that field reporters at the scene of the bombing could help gather information and I dispatched journalists to retrieve security footage from the scene. Some reporters were instructed to go interview several key witnesses, first responders, police officers, medics and emergency personnel disposed to the site. To reassure the American people, we would need to inform them of the steps being done to keep them safe as such incidents have the tendency to cause mass hysteria and panic. I knew that reinstating their trust in law enforcement was key and I knew that NNN could not air speculation because it goes against our duty as gatekeepers of the 4th Estate to mislead the public with unconfirmed information.

 

As President of International, I knew from my experience covering such events that take place around the world that graphic images would add to the air of uncertainty and should be avoided as much as possible to keep our ratings high. To be competitive, we needed to be the first to get hold of any new information so the strategic dispatch of our reporters would be necessary.

 

I was taken aback when I heard the update that Reddit users were pointing fingers at minorities and putting targets on the backs of two men, who may be completely innocent, without due process. I knew that this would lead to Islamophobia as people tie it back to the stereotype they have of Muslims. I felt a particular need to emotionally appeal to the masses and urge them not to fall for the demagoguery as such speculation has widespread and lasting impacts on the Muslim population around the world. I would hate for my young nephews to grow up in a world even more divided by fear, where they are constantly ostracized.

 

To reinforce the trust the people were losing in traditional media I felt it was necessary to inform the public of the measures we were taking to obtain accurate news and urge them, through our anchor, Dulce Doolittle, to not give into fear because that would be exactly what any nefarious individual would want. I believed it was imperative to remind them that terrorism exists in all forms and the culprits behind such acts do not fall into any particular religious or racial category. I wanted to humanize the people who would be impacted by baseless speculation, I felt personally responsible for that. My colleagues differed in their perspective and did not see the urgency I felt the matter deserved; in fact I struggled getting them to hear me or see my point of view. I could not communicate with them about the times I felt stared down as I made my way across the John F. Kennedy International Airport on my way to Qatar after 9/11.

 

As other news flowed into the boardroom, I quickly began drafting the schedule for NNN International, NNN 6’ o clock and highlighting the topics we needed to cover in our 24-hour channel. I felt that, since the world would be losing faith in humanity just a little bit more in light of this incident, the clinical trial for HIV which showed promising results would need to be banked on heavily in the news cycle and advertising. The Women’s March would also need to be capitalized due to its relatability and the personal stakes that half our viewership has in the event. The fact that Nigeria would be hosting the 2020 Olympics would become a matter of discussion in a few days after the dust settles, so it needed to be aired semi-prominently. I sighed internally because I knew we would need to be airing Donald Trump falling out of his plane (what a comical character that man has become). The stocks would also be of interest to our viewership, those of who have investments in the stock exchange. I quickly jotted those notes down and passed them across the table. (Approved, excellent)

 

Further updates came pouring in. The explosion had two confirmed casualties and 5 injuries. We would have to offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

It was relayed to us that the Boston mayor would make a few announcements and that the Police Chief would be speaking to the press. I quickly got our journalists on the phone, securing prime locations in the pressroom for the announcements and asking for one-on-one interviews with both these prominent personalities. As celebrities’ tweets poured in, I decided that it would be best to run them under the Breaking News banner for the 24 hour cycle. To stop the people from sending in unsubstantiated tips to the police hotlines on the basis of the Reddit posts, it was imperative that we ask them in our 24 hour news channel not to disrupt the investigation thereby.

 

On hearing the attacks on traditional media by User124 from Reddit, claiming that Reddit users would be personally staking out the alleged suspects that Reddit identified and had run down their home addresses and other such information, I was immediately angered. As if to lift me out of my internal tirade, came the news of the actual suspect who had been identified by the police. The suspect was affiliated with Brothers of Liberty, a white supremacist group. Now the debate on the floor was whether or not to air the video and photographic evidence on air. Acknowledging the need the victims’ families had for closure, I felt it best not to air the graphic scenes but to snip the video to only that part which showed the suspect’s guilt. It seemed in the flurry of the moment, the rest of my colleagues had forgotten about this technology. I also deemed it best that we should air the picture of the suspect so that the people could take measures for their safety and also help the police in apprehending the criminal.

 

However, our actions may have contributed to a copycat bomber in Chicago who wanted the fame that the Boston suspect was receiving and had posted his intentions on Tumblr prior to his activities. Unwavering from my belief that people had the right to know of the suspect to take precautions for their security, I felt the best course of action would be to warn people to call in any suspicious online activity to the police if they indicate such intentions. I also adjusted our schedule to reflect the new development believing it prompt to dismiss coverage of Donald Trump falling down the stairs and subsequently air the Boston and Chicago bombings on the basis of evidence available to inform the public of, believing that geography is not a factor to decide coverage on.

 

Three draft resolutions, but still the same aims in the WHO

Now that the merging process is over in the World Health Organization, all countries find themselves arguing about the strengths and weaknesses of the three draft resolution they have. Even though each country seeks its personal interest, all of them are standing against the same issue, Antimicrobial Resistance. For instance, countries such as Ukraine admitted being in favor of the 1st draft resolution as its “clauses benefit and can help much better the country”. Nevertheless, the delegate affirms that that resolution emphasizes on aspects such as the awareness campaigns and education, which he believes are crucial. Indeed, he claims that “there are few laws regarding the use of antibiotics, and people remain unaware of the situation”. In Ukraine, prescription are not needed to buy those drugs. Although this is illegal, there is still a lot of over-the-counter selling.

Besides, according to the UK, one of the authors of that first draft resolution, the plan that they have set called DAIS, Development of Awareness, Innovation and Surveillance, focuses on a much efficient awareness, which is “key to developing countries as they need to be properly educated on the matter”. Although the UK supports the first draft resolution, the country is still open-minded to combining with the other drafts. “Everyone wants the same things, he says, but it all comes down to the preciseness and effectiveness of each clause”.

Obviously, the same sentiments were expressed by Germany, who invites other delegates to debate and amend the third draft resolution. As an author of that draft, the country thinks one of its advantages are that it includes the developping countries, through the creation of GARAR, Global Association Responding to Antimicrobial Resistance. In fact, that body works on both regional and global level, “providing immediate funds and care, having the objective to build up long term infrastructure”, as told by the German delegate.

To cut a long story short, all countries hope to reach an agreement by the end of the conference, and are convinced that the amendment process could lead to the resolution that suits all countries’ policies.

 

The Times of India.

An open letter to a terrorist

To the man who shot my parents,

It took me a while to digest the news. It took me a while to accept that someone could be so far gone as to not reflect on his deeds, to be incapable of empathizing.

When the news was brought to me, I was picking out a cake for their anniversary. Do you understand what that means? Because I don’t think you could be half as dedicated to your religion as they were to each other; or perhaps you don’t understand because it isn’t inscribed carefully enough in the Quran. I could use bigger words, playing with sentences was something my grandfather taught me well. But I fear that you will not understand those either.

Is your god so weak that he needs you to defend him?

I pity you. I pity you because you will never know the soothing sound of a mother’s lullaby or her soft gentle hands that put you to sleep. I pity you because clearly your father never taught you what it means to be a man. I pity you because your world is built on violence and sadism instead of love and compassion. Mostly, I pity you because all you will ever know of this beautiful world is guns and destruction.

You see, I was ten when my mom told me and my brother that death was natural. I wish I understood then, she was just subtly telling me that she and dad won’t always be around. I wish I’d finally learnt how to make that ginger tea and sew a button on occasion.  I wish I could make dad proud before you decided to take him away.

But then I realized something. I realized that my father was proud that I wasn’t raised like you. That they know the value of the knowledge they passed on and they know I was better than seeking revenge. I realized people miss them, they will always hold that special place because we won’t allow them to be lost into oblivion. But you? Your own damn god will be placing a bet on your death, and you will be forgotten like the remaining ashes of a fire that caused nothing but fear and loss. You will roam these empty streets as mere shadows of the past. You will learn that words are mightier than a sword; mighty enough to help collapse an entire world once uttered, mighty enough to destroy lives.

I remember when mother spoke the most beautiful lies in the world to me, cradling my head in her lap, she spoke of unicorns and rainbows built on promises of a better world. Now, those lies are stuck under the debris along with her remains and with them lies my heart, sanity and humanity.

As I walk around the city, I survey the remains of the battleground. Hearing the echoes of the cries that helped build this ground brick by brick and have now broken it missile by missile.

If you win, know, that the taste of victory will be as bitter as acid on your tongue and the tears that were shed and wounds that bled will hang like an albatross around your neck. You may conquer the world, but with no one left to inhabit it.

Regards

The girl who will smile regardless.

Shots Fired in Myanmar Assembly, Reporters Scattered, Delegates Applauded

World News

By Chief International Correspondent

NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar — Earlier today, ethnic ministers took over the Myanmar Assembly. Sources told Komsomolskaya Pravda that the defense establishment orchestrated a brutal coup that resulted in the resignation of the Foreign Minister and the executions of the President and Vice President.

Just as journalists gathered for a conference in the Assembly, armed gunmen took control of the committee while delegates applauded. At least three shots were fired in the room with a weapon resembling a semi-automatic machine gun. None of the reporters were harmed.

Diplomatic Love

As the Harvard Model United Nations 2017 is coming to an end, I must say I enjoyed the best out of the experience. I have seen it all: cover all kinds of committees, interviewed and talked to a lot of people, made friends from all over the world and built connection with people that I really don’t want to lose. I traveled more than 15 hours just to be here. To simulate and to learn from the best delegates, the best chairs and the best directors in the world. I couldn’t pass an opportunity like that.

This is my 7th simulation overall and my 6th as a member of the Press Corps. Since I got into this whole new world of simulations and debates about the United Nations, I simply loved and got addicted to it. I’m a freshman now and I want to take part in this at least until the end of high school. And as my story here meet others people stories, I will tell a brief case about two people who helped and mentored me along this short path. This couple, just like me, have discovered the wonder world of MUN and met lots of people, but not as special as one another.

Camila “Caull” Sobrinho and Luis Clayton Mourao are dating for one year and two months now. Clayton took part in 12 MUN conferences and Camila, 10. The Harvard MUN is their first simulation as partners and they are representing Panama in the Human Rights Council. However, they are just finishing high school, so HMUN is their last event of its kind.

I did an interview with both together and the primary thing I could notice were their eyes. Caull’s eyes shine when she is talking about her partner and Clayton pass an air of peace and joy in his look. They are the cutest couple and are reunited for a very noble reason. Clayton will study Public Policy Management at the Universidade de Brasilia (UNB) and Camila will attend in law school at the same university. She plans to be director of an MUN simulation and be a public defender. He wants to get a double graduation and work in the Brazilian Senate.

They first met in their sophomore year, as Camila just founded out that an average high school boy was more handsome than the others. For her eyes, at least, he was just so gorgeous she couldn’t just stay looking at him. It was love at first sight. And Camila knew she had to talk to him and built a friendship tie between them if she wanted to approximate and get something serious. Their first meeting was a disaster. She couldn’t stop laughing at his funny way to talk and behave. However, she couldn’t control her heart and although she was already in love, Clayton was far from even considering her a close friend.

So, she was now in love. Her heart betted faster when he was near, her smile was brighter and her life was better. And it is beautiful to see how the feelings for Clayton haven’t change. At the time she described her emotions for him in the interview; it is clear in her eyes, her smile and her body language that the feelings are still intact.

However, Clayton was still a high school student not looking forward to a serious relationship. So Camila was accepting doing anything to impress him. And it’s here where the passion for simulation begins.

Clayton was doing applications and tests for being the delegation chief in a high school MUN in Brasilia, named SINUS. Then, Camila asked to go with him, saying that she was interested in participating in SINUS and was also doing applications. Lie. Camila had no idea on what she was taking part in. She showed up for her first test there just to impress and call the attention of her biggest crush.

And it worked to perfection! Clayton even quotes “it was the first time I really paid the due attention to her. She deserved it! And as she was admitted to participate in the SINUS with me, it was when she really started to make the difference in my life. She was so kind and wonderful… And that was when it happened”. As an unexperienced delegate, Camila shocked her teachers, advisors, the whole delegation and her major high school crush. “Well, it changed my life! And I’m not talking only about Clayton, far from that. By entering that room to make the tests, I met new people who divided the same passion as I do and a few of them who I can now call my best friends. The Models have given me a new life’s perspective” says Caull.

In their first conference together, they helped each other out, even though they were in different committees. It was Luis’ favorite conference overall, because it was his first experience simulating and debating on one of his favorites committees: the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Camila had also a good experience debating in the International Labor Organization (ILO). During this event, they got even closer and realized they had something special among them.

Later in 2015, after lots of dates and stories, Clayton would be finally ready to take the next step on November 18th: he finally asked her out. “I really wasn’t expecting at that time. I was almost giving up and letting it go. But he surprised me like he always does”. She was very shocked and emotional as she accepted it with tears of joy dropping from her face. “I just felt it was the right time. I started to realize since that day in SINUS training she was the person who I wants to stay more time with and the one I loved”, said Clayton when asked about why he did it.

Since then, they always simulated together- but not as partners. Camila’s favorite event was Mundo CM 2015, in Brasilia, and her favorite committee overall is the WHO. Clayton’s favorite committee is G20. “What’s funny about we two is that we have very different preferences when talking about committees or subjects. I like economics the most but I don’t really enjoy committees about health, human rights or war. Caull is totally the opposite! But as our first and final time simulating as partners, I wanted it to be special. So I gave up committees like World Bank or IAEA to stay in a committee she enjoyed the most, like the UNHRC.”

I also asked both on what the MUN conferences have added to their life as individuals and as a couple. “We both learned a lot about how to work with others and to help each other, even when it is a subject that is not your favorite”, Camila declared. “To sacrifice and to offer your time to other are things those make you a better delegate and a better person. In addition, I’d say I learn much more when I’m with him than I would learn being by my own”.

As my final question I asked “what will you guys miss the most about simulating in the MUNs?” Without any hesitation Clayton answered for both: “the knowledge added in our lives by challenging ourselves to discuss topics that mostly people wouldn’t discuss in their everyday lives and the connections we made along the conferences.”

So, as Luis and Camila are simulating in their senior year, a lot of others are too. For those, I wish you had an amazing experience, such as me or the couple and took the most out of it. And for those who can still take part in a Model United Nations simulation, I will say to go for it. Leave your mark, show your thoughts, say what you want to say, make friends. Because in the end, the only thing that really matters is to have fun and to learn. Thank you all for making the 64th HMUN the great conference it was and I hope to see all you guys as soon as possible.

Best Corps, Press Corps

Press Corps is hands down the greatest committee without question at Harvard Model United Nations 2017. From having an absolutely astounding Director and Assistant Director, to being surrounded by intelligent and thoughtful individuals who take their job seriously and genuinely enjoy every second they spend interviewing, reporting, writing, or any other functions of journalism. Regardless of what others say, I have never encountered any group of dedicated and driven individuals quite like this. From both experienced delegates and new delegates to HMUN, professionalism and “journalistic integrity” were always the priority of each and every member of Press Corps.

To those who may be reading this next year, I hope that you find the same amount of value in this prestigious committee as I have.

To those who are currently in this committee, I say to you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this committee so much more than I expected, from the assistance with stories and structure, to the constant sarcasm and chatter present amongst the reporters there was seemingly never a dull moment with you all. I would also wish to commend you all on your undying commitment to reporting and giving a voice to those who may not be able to get their points heard outside of their committee were it not for you.

So, as a final send-off before both myself, my friend the “observer” and the rest of my school are to return back to the desert, I wish you all the best of fortunes in everything that you do. Whether that be skiing, running marathons, studying mathematics or humanities, continuing in journalism, pursuing a career in law, I wish all of you the best and I thank all of you for creating such an incredible and energetic environment for both myself and Cam “The Observer”.

New York Times, Haydon Bergren