The world never stops turning and, like this inherent truth, neither does the news. With #DUreporters, there’s no need not to be in the know. From February 22nd to March 4th, the Denver housing market, the Oscars, corrupt politicians and privacy in the tech world were all the rage. If your WiFi failed or your TV was busy recording missed episodes of this season’s The Bachelor, here is what you missed in the news:
Denver: Defending Housing Market Champion
On February 24th, the Denver Post reported the reigning success of Denver’s housing market with the mile high city ranking in the top three cities with fastest appreciating home prices. In a race with San Francisco and Portland, Denver has been moving around within this top three echelon since 2014. Holding the top spot for the first quarter of 2015, then falling into second, then third place for the remainder of the year, the 303 area’s housing price index for 2015 showed its strongest gains since the early 2000s.
Despite Talladega Nights‘ Ricky Bobby’s claim, “if you ain’t first, you’re last,” Denver residents can rest easy in third place. After all, what’s better than making money by just living in Denver?
Corruption in California
Also on February 24th, the LA Times reported that ex-Senator Leland Yee has been sentenced to five years in prison. Yee, after losing the race for mayor of San Francisco, intended to run for Secretary of State but was subsequently caught illegally exchanging political favors for cash and potential votes. The Democrat, active in legislation aimed at gun control and water regulation, pled guilty to avoid a trial, insisting that his priority is his sickly wife.
“That will always weigh on me, and that will haunt me for the rest of my life.” — Ex-Senator Leland Yee on the shame he has brought the state, his family and supporters
With the upcoming Presidential election, weariness around the integrity of government officials is a rising concern, according to the Pew Research Center. Now, not only will Americans be closely monitoring candidates’ policy ideas and positions, their trust-worthiness will be on the table too.
Culminating Controversy & Catholic Corruption at the Oscars
This year’s Oscar’s ceremony has been talked about since the announcement of the 2016 nominees in January. Twitter’s trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has been consistently present on the social network and in the news, citing complaints about the absence of diverse, non-white nominees for the second year in a row.
On February 28th, the New York Times published the successes of 2016’s Academy Awards: host, Chris Rock and the investigative journalism phenomenon, Spotlight. Rock maintained his position as this year’s host despite calls for an Oscars boycott by other black actors, actresses, producers, directors and Hollywood personalities, like Will Smith.
Rock addressed the controversy in an engaging way that illuminated the problem while still entertaining the audience with his comedic banter: “If they nominated hosts, I wouldn’t even get the job.” Spotlight, the film chronicling the Boston Globe’s investigation of the Catholic church’s decades-long coverup of pedophilia, molestation and rape of young boys and girls in 2001, was nominated for various awards. The film won Best Picture, beating out Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, The Martian, The Big Short, Room and Brooklyn.
As exemplified by Chris Rock’s hosting and Spotlight‘s win, using the media to challenge powerful institutions gives the public a voice and is necessary in birthing change.
Justice for Privacy or Security: The FBI vs. Apple
February 29th produced a piece by the Washington Post, detailing the ongoing privacy war between Apple and the FBI, a concern for every American with an iPhone. Following the 2015 San Barnardino shootings, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) asked Apple to unlock the perpetrators’ phones to explore any digital evidence of the planning or undertaking of the attacks. Apple refused, citing the importance of citizens’ personal privacy as paramount.
Apple’s general counsel, Bruce Stewart, said that Apple has “no sympathy for terrorists,” but that this request by the Department of Justice would set “a dangerous precedent.” In fear of cyber criminals and havoc-wreaking hackers, Apple has no plans to weaken its privacy and security measures. Alternatively, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, finds access to backdoors in personal phone privacy “absolutely” necessary in solving, prosecuting and preventing cases of mass violence.
Citizens’ stance on the value of privacy vs. that of national security and safety is wide-ranging and is likely a result of their stance on technology privacy and the priority of violent crime prevention. Whether this Apple vs. FBI contest will result in the maintenance of personal privacy or open the door to public protections, the First World’s affinity for technology will be impacted.
The week’s wins in housing market prosperity, punishing political perversion, personal privacy protection and the power of media projection, parallel the winnings of a battle, not a war. These ongoing issues are sure to develop further and, as Spotlight demonstrated last Sunday, the necessity of investigative journalism is more prevalent than ever.
Stay tuned for more of what you miss with the #DUreporters.
Featured Photo: Chris Rock, host of the 2016 Academy Awards, helping Girls Scouts sell cookies and critiquing the lack of diversity. Taken by Patrick T. Fallon for The New York Times