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Rachel Sterne Explores the Frontiers of Journalism
Question: What stories has GroundReport broken?
Rachel Sterne: Well, one of the stories that is most incredible to me is that, is the Taliban activity in Pakistan. GroundReport has been covering this for a year and a half. We've been getting almost daily reports of increased, you know, militant activity in this areas, we have a very strong constituent base there, that's been reporting to us. Lots of professional journalist and only just now has the American media woken up to the fact that, okay, we're in the midst of a major crisis here but if you had looked at GroundReport a year ago, you have seen all of the indications that was set to happen. I just mentioned that I was at the NASA Shuttle Launch live streaming with an Inmarsat satellite dish and a laptop and that's stuff that you can put in a knapsack. That was pretty exciting. Some of the other breaking stories that we've seen, let me try to think, in Zimbabwe we've been seeing lots of signs of unrest we have a lot of reporters there who are writing under pseudonyms to protect their identity but it will be anything from you know there is mutiny among Mugabe's soldiers, they want to break away, to general unrest among the public, things that wouldn't end up in a newspaper in Zimbabwe because people could be in danger but that we're very happy to publish and sort of counteract all the disinformation out there.
Question: Does GroundReport protect its foreign correspondents?
Rachel Sterne: We can't really take responsibility because our model is not really giving people assignments so much as allowing them to publish their own work. So in contrast to something like Current TV, we don't send reporters and pay for them to go places and equip them with all this tools although we will sometimes give people things like flip video cameras etcetera. We sometimes do outreach, when there is a breaking event but it's usually, nothing that requires someone to go the scene of an event and we're very cautious about, listen, and your safety is more important to us than anything else. So never compromise that in anyway. We're usually more, take the event and say, okay what are people thinking about, how do people feel about this, how have you been affected personally because that's, that's what sort of takes, takes the event and stops you from sort of glazing over and saying this is some big international issue and saying, wow! There is some emotional engagement there. That's a real person who has experiencing it.
Question: Do your reporters have better access than correspondents?
Rachel Sterne: Absolutely. That also plays into the safety question because you say, are you worried about being in Pakistan? Okay, these are people who have grown up in Pakistan and they are probably the safest that anyone will ever be because they have relationships there. So again, that's exactly the kind of mobile or digital or even citizen reporter that we try to recruit is people who already have their own networks, who are already very connected in that region, are able to speak to people in decision making capacities at the head of any event that takes place or able to sort of tell us, here is exactly what you know the head of the police is saying, here's what the head of the local political party is saying and maybe they're even part of those political parties, et cetera. These are the kind of people who really be able to connect us in a way that a foreign, a foreign reporter never could or foreign correspondent never could be, the other side of that is they can get an answer out of this people that maybe much more honest, much more revealing than a foreign reporter.
Question: How do you accommodate reporters who lack technology?
Rachel Sterne: Our goal for working with developing countries is more to acknowledge what the situation is with their technology and sort of take advantage of that in the best way we can, so for instance in a lot of these countries, the mobile phone penetration is enormous. So instead of pushing them to do live streaming video which is basically impossible because they won't have an internet connection that is fast enough, we'll push them to contribute via mobile phone or to post reports that way, so we're really focused on the mobile capacities, so when basically every region in the world, there is different ways that we interact in different tools that we encourage people to use.
Recorded on: June 12, 2009
The founder of GroundReport shares her company’s strengths and weaknesses.
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Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.
- A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
- Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
- This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".