1,000 Words On US-Syria Attack

When I started this site, I meant to blog only about media because I’m a working journalist and I thought it’d be beneficial to analyze industry news. But there are far greater things in my life that I’m passionate about, that move me to write. And today I find myself intensely driven to type up some words on the all-but-confirmed United States military strike on Syria. Human rights has and always will remain at the core of my heart; it’s what I hope to spend the rest of my life reporting on.

The Syrian Civil War is one I’ve followed closely since its fledgling days during the Arab Spring. If you’ve paid attention to my tweets, you’ll know this to be true. The war began as an understated, afterthought to the cause but is now the only country still fighting the same war more than two years later. Even Egypt has evolved into something far more politically convoluted.

Here’s some quick, consolidated background info on what I’m about to discuss: Syria’s been engaged in a brutal civil war since March 2011, the war involves mainly Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his military regime, the Free Syrian Army (rebels who seek to remove Assad), Hezbollah (sided with Assad), and Al-Qaeda (sided with the rebels), last year President Obama drew a “red line” for military intervention and that was chemical warfare, last week the Syrian army committed genocide with sarin nerve gas, the U.S. and its foreign allies are now weighing their options for a military strike. [UPDATE: Secretary Kerry just confirmed in a press conference 1,429 were killed in the chemical attack, including 426 children.] More than 100,000 Syrians have died to date (and that’s a very conservative estimate). Here’s an excellent interactive timeline for in-depth information on the war. The Washington Post’s Syria for dummies is a good primer too.

Without further rambling, I present my thoughts on U.S. military intervention. Disclaimer: These thoughts are my own; they stand independent of any media organization or publication I’m affiliated with. They are biased opinions. Treat them as such.

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Download Vertical Floor Now!

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In my life updates, I promised to tell you more about my grad program’s capstone when it dropped. Well, as of midnight Vertical Floor’s September issue is officially available for download on the iTunes App store for the low, low price of $0.00. That’s right, it’s completely free (so no excuses)! But before I ask beg that you download, read, and tell every single person you know to do the same, it’s only right I give some background on what Vertical Floor’s all about and the story behind its creation.

Me and the rest of my MNO cohorts launched this magazine as a means to serve the parkour and freerunning communities. It all started with a tablet competition (my team’s mag proposal was a finalist!) to see which team in the entire Newhouse master’s program could come up with the best pitch for a tablet magazine to be made from scratch by my grad program. In their first round presentation, the group that presented what was formerly known as Tracer stressed the lack of media representation for a rapidly growing niche discipline known as parkour — so rapidly growing, in fact, the NYT recently covered it. Well, that point resonated with second round judges from Conde Nast, Tumblr, and the Atlantic and it went on to win the competition and became the subject that consumed our lives for six week.

The MNO program (minus a few students that chose the internship/30-page paper option) along with our advisors Professors Melissa Chessher, Aileen Gallagher, and Doug Stralher met in late May to sit down and really begin conceptualizing our magazine. What it would look like, the name, our audience, and most importantly, the stories we would tell. It isn’t easy to dive into a subject like parkour; not a single person in our class had actually ever practiced parkour or freerunning prior to capstone. I never even heard of parkour until the first round of the competition. It took hours upon hours, pretty much the whole six weeks, to really immerse ourselves in the world of parkour. So in case the NSA is wondering what’s up with the spike in parkour-related Google search queries mid-May to the end of June out of Syracuse, here’s your answer.

Now, for a more in-depth look at my role in making Vertical Floor.

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