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Pulitzers Consider the National Enquirer COM Dean Fiedler’s inquiring mind says, “That’s not journalism.”

When news broke that the National Enquirer would be allowed to compete for a 2010 Pulitzer Prize alongside mainstream outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, reaction included celebration.

“It’s official!” blared the supermarket tabloid’s Web site.

On the Huffington Post, Emily Miller blogged, “The Pulitzer Board’s decision to give The Enquirer its rightful place in the competition for the award shows the old guard journalists recognize and respect the importance of the investigation by the paper’s reporters, photographers, and editors.”

Not exactly, says Tom Fiedler, College of Communication dean, who shared two Pulitzer Prizes while at the Miami Herald.

“The fact that they are going to consider it doesn’t alter the fundamental and, I believe, fatal flaw: the ethical foundation on which the National Enquirer gathers its journalism,” says Fiedler (COM’71), referring to the tabloid’s practice of paying its sources for information. “I simply cannot fathom any Pulitzer jury accepting as appropriate the fact that the National Enquirer engages in checkbook journalism. If that becomes the standard, I think the meaning of the Pulitzer Prize would be devalued tragically and precipitously.”

Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in 21 categories — 14 in print and online journalism, as well as in poetry, drama, music, and books of fiction, nonfiction, U.S. history, and biography or autobiography. In each category, seven-member juries, made up of editors, publishers, writers, and educators, examine the entries and offer three nominations to the Pulitzer Prize Board. The board assembles in April at the Columbia School of Journalism, reviews the nominations, and votes on winners. The 2010 Pulitzer winners and nominees will be announced on April 12.

The Pulitzer Board had deemed the Enquirer ineligible because the tabloid described itself as a magazine; magazines and broadcast media cannot enter. But the board changed its tune, accepting the paper’s entries — coverage of the John Edwards sex scandal — in February.

Fiedler has served on two Pulitzer juries.

What they also might be doing is opening the way for what we would consider more respectable magazine journalism, such as the Atlantic or Vanity Fair. So perhaps they’ve decided to let something rise or fall on its merits, as opposed to how often it appeared or where it appeared.

If so, it’s a fatal flaw. I believe you can’t trust journalism that somebody paid for.

Now there’s no question, the National Enquirer did a gotcha. They got John Edwards doing what he was doing. But the end doesn’t justify the means. We have to be able to say that we attained the information by upholding all the ethical standards that journalists believe in. Otherwise it’s not journalism.

It also gives them an opportunity, once they bring it in, to publicly reject it and make a statement about that, too. The Pulitzer Prize cannot allow itself to be tainted.

Occasionally, do they hit on something that looks like journalism? They may. But does that make them journalists? No. They’re entertainers, like the old Police Gazette of the 1930s.

The Enquirer started saying, “They’re trying to shut us out.” Well, it’s not that the mainstream didn’t pay attention. When something like that breaks, you check it out, but you also go into it with the appropriate level of skepticism so you don’t end up spreading a rumor.

What a horrible, horrible thing to happen.

Cynthia Buccini can be reached at [email protected].

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Seven Gorgeous National Parks Where You Can Watch The August Eclipse

John Day Fossil Beds

The painted hills

Scenic striped hillsides. Big blue skies. Around 40,000 fossils. The John Day Fossil Beds just happen to be in a part of the country deemed especially perfect for 2023 eclipse viewing. Eastern Oregon is hot and the Fossil Beds aren’t exactly in a hoppin’ area, so you should come very prepared: stock up on water, snacks, and gas before you go.

How do I get there?

It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from Portland, Oregon.

When is the eclipse?

It should start around 9 am local time, and the sun should go completely dark for around two minutes at 10:20.

Is camping allowed?

Not in the park, but there are other camping options nearby.

Any special events?

The park says plans are still in the works, so keep checking.

Grand Teton National Park

A mountain reflection at Grand Teton.

Grand Teton National Park

String Lake in Grand Teton National Park.

How do I get there?

The park is just a few minutes away from the Jackson Hole Airport. You can also drive a couple hours from Idaho Falls, or take a five-hour car trip from Salt Lake City. If you’re coming from Denver, you’ve got 10 hours on the road.

When is the eclipse?

The eclipse should arrive at around 10:15 am local time and end at 1:00. Totality is expected at 11:34. It will last over two minutes in some parts of the park.

Is camping allowed?

Any special events?

Four designated viewing areas will be staffed by rangers and astronomers.

Congaree National Park

Some of the tallest trees in the Eastern United States.

Congaree National Park boasts amazing hardwood forests and gorgeous hikes. Unfortunately, that dense tree cover means there are very few optimal viewing sites within the park. But if you register for one of their guided eclipse hikes, a ranger will get you to a prime eclipse spot just in time for the big blackout. If you can’t manage to snag one, consider enjoying a vacation in the park before visiting a nearby town to view the eclipse.

How do I get there?

Columbia Metropolitan Airport is just 30 minutes away. Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC (both of which have major airports) are each a two hour drive.

When is the eclipse?

Totality should start around 2:41 pm.

Is camping allowed?

There are two designated campgrounds (you’ll need to make a reservation) and backcountry camping is allowed with a permit.

Any special events?

The aforementioned guided hikes, as well as staff help at several designated viewing areas.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Courthouse Valley, pictured here, will have the longest stretch of totality.

Wherever you go for the eclipse, you’re probably going to need to do some driving. So why not make that the whole point? Blue Ridge Parkway is a designated “All-American Road”—an official scenic byway, as opposed to all of those unofficial scenic byways—that runs 469 miles. It’s the longest linear park in the country, and it links the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Of course, you can’t expect complete totality along the whole road (how cool would that be) but about 100 miles of it should have a good view. You can figure out what’s going on at different mile markers here. Make sure you’ve got plenty of fuel—you might get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for much of the day.

How do I get there?

You’ll see a total (or quite near total) eclipse at outlooks from milepost 357 to 468. Luckily for out-of-towners, Asheville, NC has exits between mileposts 382 and 393. To get more totality, head south. But here’s a pro-tip: you’ll get up to 90 percent totality as far north as Roanoke, VA. To avoid insane traffic, you might want to fly there instead and only venture as far south as congestion permits.

When is the eclipse?

It varies—this is a long road—but the best stretch of totality is 76 seconds. That’s expected at Courthouse Valley (mile 423.5) at 2:37 pm.

Is camping allowed?

There are three official campgrounds on or close to the path of totality, and another five farther north. Backcountry camping requires a permit.

Any special events?

The designated lookouts will all have staff on hand to help you enjoy your eclipse viewing. And several North Carolina towns along the route have eclipse activities planned.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove will provide prime viewing.

Maybe you’d rather enjoy the scenic byway before all the eclipse tourists descend? In that case, you can make your way to the western Great Smoky Mountains. The park will have eclipse-centric events going on in three locations.

How do I get there?

The Blue Ridge Parkway, of course! Or drive 60 miles from Asheville, NC.

When is the eclipse?

Totality will sweep through the western portion of the park starting at about 2:33 pm. Some locations will experience totality for around two and a half minutes.

Is camping allowed?

There are many campgrounds, including some near the designated eclipse event locations. Some require reservations. Backcountry camping requires a permit.

Any special events?

The big, ticketed science bonanza (not an official name) at Clingmans Dome is sold out, but cancellations may put some last-minute tickets online. Cades Cove and Oconaluftee will both have informal, staff-guided eclipse viewing activities. You may have to get to these locations on foot due to congestion.

Agate Fossil Beds

You can check out the fossil exhibits while you’re there

If you’re near Nebraska, consider enjoying the eclipse at the Agate Fossil Beds. This national monument is quite close to the center of the totality path—and features some incredible fossils (“Devil’s corkscrews”, anyone?) And as a bonus, the park has put out a call for amateur astronomers to help educate the public: if you’ll be showing up with a telescope and some eclipse viewing know-how, check in with the Chief Ranger beforehand to see how you can chip in. One caveat: the park service says that fire danger is expected to be very high that weekend, so be sure to park only in mowed, designated areas (and definitely don’t smoke).

How do I get there?

The Western Nebraska Regional Airport is just 50 miles southeast of the park entrance.

When is the eclipse?

Totality will arrive around 11:48 am local time, and is expected to last two minutes.

Is camping allowed?

Not within the park, no. But campgrounds and hotels are available nearby.

Any special events?

So many! The park has kid’s activities starting first thing in the morning on Saturday, August 19 (including a toilet paper tube viewer building session). Sunday features a talk from the Kelly Looking Horse family, providing a Native American perspective on the phenomenon, and a night sky program. You can make some sun prints on Monday morning, and catch a reprise of the Kelly Looking Horse family’s talk just before the partial eclipse starts. Astronomers will be available on Sunday and Monday, and food vendors will be around on Sunday and Monday as well (the park doesn’t usually sell food).

Obed Wild & Scenic River

Wild and scenic is right.

“National Wild and Scenic River” might be an even better sounding designation than “official scenic byway.” Hike, kayak, and enjoy over two minutes of totality in some spots.

How do I get there?

The closest airport is 50 miles away in Knoxville, TN.

When is the eclipse?

Totality should occur around 2:30 pm, with the exact start time and length varying along the river.

Is camping allowed?

There’s a reservation-only campground near the river.

Any special events?

The park plans to have organized public viewing events at Obed Visitor Center, Lilly Overlook, and Big South Fork Gateway Visitor Center. The details are still TBD.

For a full list of parks, monuments, and national trails in the path of totality, check out the National Park Service’s website.

Want Big Red’S Service On The Cheap? Consider A Verizon Mvno Instead

Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Verizon is known for its extensive LTE network, which is the largest in the United States. It also offers one of the fastest 5G networks as well. There’s a lot to like about Big Red, but the price isn’t one of the reasons. Verizon is one of the most expensive carriers in the United States, but the good news is you don’t have to pay their premium. A Verizon MVNO uses the same network but can cost significantly less.

In this article, we explain what a Verizon MVNO is, as well as the pros and cons. Afterward, we’ll take a closer look at the best carriers on Verizon’s network.

What is a Verizon MVNO?

What is a Verizon MVNO, exactly? As we said, it’s essentially a carrier that uses Verizon’s network to service its customers but is an independent provider. That means it uses Verizon’s towers, but it handles its own marketing, customer service, phone activations, and more.

Behind the scenes, a Verizon MVNO works like this:

A company decides it wants to start its own MVNO service. It starts talking with Verizon, T-Mobile, and/or AT&T to negotiate the best possible prices.

It then cuts a check to the carrier for a large reserve of capacity. Since the partner network is seeing a huge influx of immediate cash, they are more than willing to part with the capacity for a significant discount.

An MVNO then resells capacity back to its customers. It sets the prices, plans, and more.

You can learn more about mobile virtual network operators in our guide to MVNOs.

Throttling and deprioritization can be a much bigger issue on a Verizon MVNO

When Verizon’s network becomes stressed due to congestion, it will start deprioritizing users in order to ensure it can handle the load. Its own postpaid Verizon plans will take priority. From there, it will apply different degrees of deprioritization to its cheaper plans as well as partner services.  Some MVNOs have higher priorities than others, which can make finding the right plan even harder. The good news is that some Verizon MVNOs have high enough priority that you’ll rarely run into any issues.

Verizon MVNOs typically have fewer perks and extras

While Verizon doesn’t include any perks for free, it does offer discounted additions like a Disney Plus bundle for just $10 a month. It also has good international roaming and calling features, domestic roaming, quality customer service, device financing, trade-in promotions, and the list goes on. While some MVNOs offer similar experiences, many cut corners. For example, some MVNOs only offer customer service through the web, while others have no brick-and-mortar location but offer a 1-800 number.

Device financing is also less common among MVNOs, though some do offer it. It’s also worth mentioning that phone selection isn’t always as good on an MVNO, though this will vary depending on the carrier.

The best Verizon MVNOs

Verizon MVNOs used to be the least common type of prepaid service, but these days there are over a dozen prepaid carriers that use Verizon’s network! Not all these services are created equal, but a few stand out above the rest. 

We will start by highlighting three of the most interesting options for consumers in more detail:

Visible Unlimited is the best for single users

Okay, technically, Visible isn’t a Verizon MVNO, as it’s not an independent provider. Instead, Visible is a brand that operates semi-independently but is owned by Verizon. Nonetheless, Visible is arguably the best Verizon alternative. You get truly unlimited data, for starters. There are no caps, though Visible may deprioritize your line depending on traffic congestion.

There are two plans, with the base plan starting at $25 a month and the Plus plan at $35. 

The Visible base plan will see the most aggressive congestion during peaks. In my own experience, speeds can get as low as 2-5Mbps during peaks. Outside of peaks, I often hit 10-20Mbps. Visible also has unlimited hotspot use, which can really come in handy. 

Want faster speeds and better prioritization? There’s also Visible Plus, which has higher prioritization. I briefly subscribed to Plus to see how it compared. While my speeds weren’t that different in rural areas, I saw a major improvement in the city. Speeds easily hit 25-50Mbps during non-peaks, and even peaks were often well above 10Mbps. 

Learn more about this carrier, its phone selection, and more in our full guide to Visible’s network. 

Pros:

Truly unlimited data with no caps

Decent phone selection

Device financing is available

Limited international calling options are available

Cons:

Customer service isn’t great and can only be done online or via an app

Deprioritization can be pretty bad, especially for base users living in congested areas

Pros:

Plans are extremely affordable

Perfect for families

Decent phone selection

Cons:

Data prioritization can be a bit aggressive after using up premium access

‘Premium’ data can be notably slower than Verizon or Visible’s premium data

Pros:

Extremely affordable plans for basic users

Cons:

Plans with higher data counts can get pricey

Phone selection is limited; very few flagships are available

Verizon MVNOs: plenty more choices to pick from

That’s just three options! There are many others. Here’s a quick TL;DR look at some of the other honorable mentions:

Total Wireless: Verizon-owned service with decent prioritization and coverage. Pricing ranges from $30 to $60 a month. The good news is there are discounts for adding multiple lines. You’ll also find perks like Disney Plus on the highest available plan. 

Reach Mobile: Plans start at $20 per month and scale up $45 a month for unlimited data. There are also multi-line discounts available. 

Page Plus Cellular: One of the oldest Verizon MVNOs, pricing starts at $10 for limited data options, and scales up to $55 a month for its highest-tier unlimited plan. 

Xfinity Mobile: Designed for those with an active Comcast internet subscription, Xfinity has pretty decent pricing and prioritization. Plans range from $15 a month on the limited data end to as high as $45 a month for unlimited data.

Spectrum Mobile: Similar to Xfinity, Spectrum Mobile requires an active Spectrum internet subscription. Limited data plans start at $14 a month and range up to $55 per month for Spectrum’s highest-tier unlimited plan. 

Additionally, there are several other carriers that use Verizon’s network as an option but also support networks from either T-Mobile or AT&T. This includes Straight Talk, Twigby, TracFone, Red Pocket, and Net10.

Keep in mind you’ll typically have to pick one network when signing up for a plan; you can’t just switch networks as you please from the same phone. 

Indonesia Plans To Launch A National Cryptocurrency Exchange In 2023

A major shift in Indonesia’s crypto industry: Will launch a national cryptocurrency exchange in 2023

2023 will see key reforms in Indonesia’s crypto industry: Indonesia plans to launch a national cryptocurrency exchange in 2023 before it shifts regulatory powers over such assets to the Financial Services Authority, from a commodities agency, according to a report from Bloomberg. Crypto assets in Indonesia are currently traded alongside Bappebti, a commodities-focused agency, which has jurisdictional power over the cryptocurrency space in Indonesia. As part of a broader financial sector reform, the FSA will assume regulatory power over the assets over the next two years, by which time the exchange should be set up, said Bappebti acting head Didid Noordiatmoko on Wednesday. With the reform, Indonesia aims to embrace cryptocurrency and provide related services for citizens of the country.

Didid Noordiatmoko, the acting head of Bappebti, stated that the FSA will assume regulatory power over crypto assets from the commodities agency over the next two years. During this time, Indonesia will set up a crypto exchange.

An official from Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance reported that the shift of regulatory power from commodities to securities agencies was warranted due to the status of crypto assets as investment vehicles. He added:

“In fact crypto assets have become investment and financial instruments, so they need to be regulated on an equal basis with other financial and investment instruments.”

There were 16 million cryptocurrency investors in Indonesia in the first eleven months of 2023, an increase from 11.2 million at the end of 2023. However, last year, the trading value dropped to around 300 trillion rupiah ($19.2 billion) from 859 trillion rupiah ($54.9 billion) a year earlier.

Countries such as Morocco, Nigeria, and Israel are working to introduce crypto regulations in 2023. Attention will be paid to the regulatory frameworks of countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. In the U.S. the cryptocurrency community is on the watch out for the rectification of the Lummis-Gillibrand crypto bill this year.

The crypto industry of Indonesia The shift in regulatory authorities will affect the 383 crypto assets and 10 local coins currently available in Indonesia. Bappebti is currently reviewing another 151 assets and 10 local coins. The country has 16 million crypto investors, with more rushing in despite an industry-wide downturn.

The crypto winter had an impact on the country’s crypto trading volume. Between January 2023 and November 2023, the trading value went from 859 trillion rupiah to 300 trillion rupiah, a 66% decline.

In December 2023, Perry Warjiyo, the Governor of Indonesia’s central bank, unveiled plans to launch a CBDC dubbed the “Digital Rupiah.” The CBDC will reportedly be used for various digital economic and financial transactions.

A digital token must be based on distributed ledger technology in order to be traded in Indonesia. The ABI and Bappebti conduct an evaluation known as the ‘analytical hierarchy process’ (AHP) on each local token issuer seeking a spot on the whitelist.

Due to a lack of personnel, particularly those knowledgeable about the technical aspects of the cryptocurrency industry, Indonesia’s regulators are turning to the ABI for help.

Bitcoin Is ‘Suboptimal,’ But What About Ada As A National Currency

The Latin American nation of El Salvador made headlines worldwide last month when it became the first country ever to officially recognize Bitcoin as legal tender. While both critics and proponents remain in abundance, the country has managed to popularize the use of the top cryptocurrency. Albeit, with a few hiccups along the way.

It’s too early to assess if Bitcoin will solve the country’s economic uncertainties. With the likes of Brazil heading in a similar direction, we’ll have a clearer answer soon enough.

However, according to Cardano Founder Charles Hoskinson, this isn’t exactly a particularly well thought out move from the economic perspective.

In that sense, even Bitcoin is “suboptimal,” the exec claimed. So, what about Cardano’s native token ADA? According to the exec,

“I doubt that ADA will ever be considered a national currency.”

Why? Because the dollar value of these cryptocurrencies keeps fluctuating, making them unreliable sources of credit. Hoskinson explained,

“People think in terms of dollars, and you have to kind of get to a point where you create an instrument that has values stability, high velocity, and price predictability, so that you can use it for credit, because money is very closely related to credit.”

This makes it tough for Bitcoin or similar cryptocurrencies to be used as a lending instrument due to the volatility of the underlying asset.

The solutions to that, according to Hoskinson, however, are algorithmic stablecoins like MakerDAO’s DAI and Cardano’s own recently announced Djed. He added,

 “Instruments like ADA and cryptocurrencies in general can be used to construct derivatives or structures that become tremendously good currencies.”

Stablecoins – Best of both worlds?

Algorithmic stablecoins can keep their peg using only software and rules instead of any fiat currency, enabling them to scale infinitely. They do so in accordance with the needs of the economy, while also being completely decentralized.

This will not only remove reliance on fiat currencies, but will also allow countries to have greater control over their monetary policy. Especially if they decide to include cryptos in it, according to Joel Telpner, Chief Legal Officer at Input Output Hong Kong.

In fact, Telpner was also quick to clarify that as was the case with the U.S Dollar, El Salvador can’t control any aspect of Bitcoin either.

“But if you use that as a base and adopt some type of stable coin, now, you’re not only getting the benefit of crypto but you do have the ability once again to also control the monetary policy and so I think in a way you get the best of both worlds.”

According to Hoskinson, these include “instant finality, ease of storage, programmability, with the signature for added security and support,” along with the ability to activate “Know-Your-Customer” and “Anti Money Laundering” provisions.

In his view, countries will be much better poised if they didn’t focus on solely adopting Bitcoin. Instead, they should move towards creating their own digital currencies.

“For El Salvador, the sequel to their work will likely be a digital currency. And that digital currency will likely be value stable. And it would then make a great medium of exchange and unit of account.”

10 Things To Consider When Choosing Your Cell Phone Provider

There are a few things one might want to keep in mind when selecting a cell phone provider. Some notable considerations are the cost of calls, text messages and data plans. You should also consider network coverage and a few other factors. Below are ten things you should consider before agreeing to a cell phone provider.

Reputation of the Company

Consider the number of years the cell phone service provider has been in the industry. Think of the results they have garnered over that time — either good or bad. For instance, if a company has been in the business for decades, it means it is intent on longevity and probably has a good reputation (how else would it have lasted that long?).

Regional Coverage

On the other hand, there are a large group of territorial carriers that are conveying truly awesome services for individuals in specific parts of the nation. Look at those organizations and choose if that matters.

Contract Length

It is somewhat easy to get a quality cell phone via an attractive deal from a service provider. Unfortunately, that may leave you with a contract which could span two years or more. These contracts usually come with harsh penalties when you try to get out of said contracts earlier than the plan intended. A good cellphone provider will look to sell you even the world’s top phones at their most affordable prices, but without restrictive contracts. They look to offer you the best plans without much of an ulterior motive.

Good Customer Service

At one point or another, you are going to need assistance with your service. Something is bound to irk you or confuse you and you are going to have to call customer service to get some help. Look for a cell phone service provider that has good policies and service that is friendly to customers. Look for a cell phone service provider that prioritizes customer satisfaction.

Costs/Pricing Structure

Since many of us live our day-to-day lives on a budget (some times a tight one), you have to consider the overall amount of money you are going to spend on your cell phone bill. Always take a long and hard look at the pricing structure of the service provider. Ensure you know for sure just how much of your money is going into the service provider’s bank account.

In spite of the fact that most cell phone users are contract subscribers, there’s also the choice to run with prepaid services. Keep in mind, in the event that you are searching for a prepaid service, your decisions may be restricted.

Network Coverage

You should always know the extent of the service provider’s network coverage. With adequate network coverage, you should not be restricting yourself to locations that you can get a signal. Ensure its coverage is as wide as you need it to be, especially if you travel a lot. Also, roaming fees shouldn’t be included.

Look at the 4G LTE network that the cellphone provider offers. 4G LTE networks are a big deal nowadays and are something to be taken into serious consideration when choosing a cellphone service provider.

Devices

The mobile phone the company sells in its deals may not really be a big thing, but it’s one to consider. You probably want the cell phone service provider that can sell you the very best phones from th biggest brands in the world, so it’s something to consider. Also, consider any other types of devices (such as routers) that the company offers.

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