Journalists are supposed to be able to write easily and smoothly, without any forced effort, even when we don't have much to say. Yeah right! That’s only the way it’s supposed to be. Here I am, almost at the end of one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I should be writing for the blog like every other fellow on tprogram, but my mind is empty. It should be just the opposite.
The opportunities we’ve had in the last several weeks to visit some of the most fabled newsrooms in the U.S. have been both inspiring and humbling. Whether standing by the hallowed coffee machines of the New York Times after attending the morning news meeting, or making idle chit chat in the elevator at the Washington Post, I’ve been struck by how hard so many people must have worked in these newsrooms, to turn them into the living legends that they are.
Entering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia feels like entering a military base. We were screened, pre-approved and rescreened before we could enter the premises and go through yet some more security checks. The CDC has a huge database of diseases, which makes them a target for bioterrorists. “Does that collection include Ebola?” I asked while searching for hand sanitizer. The answer was “yes”.
No, you won’t be splashed in your face with vinegar and dusted by pepper, or beaten by fists of furious racial segregation supporters when you try, 50 years after, to crawl inside the skin of activists to experience what they did during their peaceful action aimed to stop discrimination in the south of the U.S.A.
The first thing that I did when I arrived to Saint Paul on Friday August 8th for attending to the WPI Fellowship was turning on the TV to see what was on the news. I spent almost a day travelling from Caracas to Minnesota through the border with Colombia and had no clue about what had happened in my country and around the world in those long hours.
Windows on the World, it was called. And I remember that the view from the 107th floor of the North Tower, one of the Twin Towers in New York City, seemed to be exactly that to me. So high up the horizon wasn’t its usual flat, but became a slightly bended line, revealing the roundness of the Earth. It invoked feelings of being small and insignificant; a humbling experience.
Govt data Surveillance and privacy had never been the most popular subject well talked about and thought about among the people of both advanced and developing countries. But thanks to Snowden episode which opened new debate on how much surveillance can democracy withstand, and how we can lose the last shred of control over our institutions if whistleblowers don’t dare reveal such lies, the people might lose the last shred of control over their institutions.