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New research digs into link between social media and avalanche safety – Pique Newsmagazine

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How does social media impact your decision making in avalanche terrain?

That’s the question Amelie Goulet-Boucher is trying to answer as part of her masters thesis for Simon Fraser University.

As a student of the Avalanche Research Program, which is part of the school’s Resource and Environmental Management department, and an apprentice ski guide with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, Goulet-Boucher knew anecdotally that social media platforms impact how and where people spend time in the outdoors, but few formal studies have been done to dig deeper into the impact.

“We all know it’s happening,” she said over the phone from her home in Golden, where she’s studying online due to COVID-19. “We’re just trying to understand—and officialize—how it’s happening, how much of an impact [it has], and how much [recreationalists] are using that information in the field.”

Her research, which will be aimed at winter backcountry users of all levels, ranging from skiers and splitboarders to snowshoers, ice climbers and snowmobilers, and will take place in three phases.

The first happened two years ago with a study that asked broad questions on social media use. This winter, Goulet-Boucher is heading into the second phase, conducting in-depth interviews with around 20 recreationalists.

“For people using [social media], we’re trying to determine what that landscape looks like—who’s using it, what platforms, at what stages in decision making are they using it, how does it have an impact? Are they making riskier decisions?”

For example, are people using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, even Strava to decide where to go? Are they gleaning information from posts to make decisions about avalanche risk?

Phase 3, meanwhile, is expected to start in early spring 2021 and will involve an online survey.

The data from the interviews in Phase 2 will help shape what questions Goulet-Boucher asks in the survey, which will be more widely distributed.

While people might be reluctant to admit if they’ve put themselves in risker situations for, say, an Instagram photo, she hopes the anonymity in the online survey will lead to people answering honestly. (The interview information will also be private, she added.)

“I’m really hoping in the survey—it’s totally anonymous, just them and the computer—maybe they’ll be inclined to talk about specific situations,” she said.

She put a call out for volunteers in the Sea to Sky corridor—and around Canada—and was overwhelmed by the number of people who were interested in taking part. While she plans to whittle down people to interview, there will be another chance for corridor recreationalists to participate in the online survey next year.

Those who are interested in what her thesis uncovers will be able to find the results on the Avalanche Canada website (or simply reach out to her).

The project is funded in part by the organization and it will also look at how people are using its Mountain Information Network (MIN), which features un-moderated posts about weather, snowpack, and avalanche conditions from backcountry users.

“Avalanche Canada is interested in learning how they can harness that information on social media better so their forecast will be more accurate, which is a big part of why they created MIN,” Goulet-Boucher said. “We’re bringing that into the conversation.”

Find more information or sign up to take the survey here

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Joe Biden keeps a tight lid on mainstream media – Boston Herald

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Why is Joe Biden always putting a “lid” on his campaign? If you’re not familiar with the press lingo, a “lid” is a note to your press pool that you plan no further public events on your schedule. Biden tends to put a “lid” on it at 9 or 10 in the morning, saying his press corps has nothing to cover.

On Sept. 23, they called a “lid” at 9:30 a.m. — the ninth time they’ve done it this month. Is it due to never-ending debate prep? Biden denied that, saying he’s just getting ready to prepare.

Since March, Biden has barely done any campaigning, trying to make a virtue out of the fact that he’s not going anywhere or saying much of anything during the coronavirus pandemic. Biden’s staff would claim that while Trump endangers his voters by having rallies, their candidate is leading by example.

He’s not leading by example. He’s lidding by example.

Guess what? The liberal media, those energetic watchdogs who bombastically claim to keep democracy from “dying in darkness,” don’t care one whit. I popped into the Nexis search engine to find out how many times Brian Stelter’s Army at CNN has raged against Biden’s “lid.” In the last month, there are two scripts that contain the words “Biden” and “lid.” Neither was about a Biden story.

One was CNN’s White House shrieker Jim Acosta still obsessing over the Lafayette Square protesters cleared out on June 1 so President Trump could strike a pose in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Apparently, someone in the military wanted to use a heat ray on protesters, but it was never used. How this nonstarter is “news” is anyone’s guess.

Acosta used the L-word as he told Don Lemon: “I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard from this whistleblower. He is, I mean, he is doing something patriotic here, Don. He is blowing the lid off of our government using what are some pretty ridiculous tactics, harsh and un-American tactics on our fellow citizens.”

Actually, no — these tactics were not used.

ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS? Is there something wrong with the search engine? These networks all send cage fighters into the Trump and McEnany briefings, but they’re docile little lambs on the “lid.”

The Washington Post? No stories with “Biden” and “lid,” and media specialists like Erik Wemple and Paul Farhi haven’t touched it. USA Today had nothing.

What about NPR? Nope, media reporter David Folkenflik was napping like a Biden, although one weekend anchor promised “breaking news on the canning lid shortage.”

The New York Times? “Biden” and “lid” drew no stories. At least Mark Leibovich of the Times reported on Sept. 22 describing Biden’s “tightly restricted bubble,” that his “pandemic-era campaign appearances can resemble the pandemic-era NFL — quiet, eerie and almost entirely fan-free.” He noted pro-Trump protesters hold signs saying “Hidin’ Biden.” But the story was loaded with Biden fans supporting his, er, restraint.

It’s not like Biden’s press corps is known for asking him the tough questions. On Sept. 23, he traveled to North Carolina, and reporters asked him softballs like, “What gives you the sense that you can win?”

Let’s bet that if Biden loses, all this extremely cooperative behavior will be upended. The media will complain that Biden was a bad candidate who didn’t campaign and venture outside the bubble enough. As usual, they’ll assign exactly zero blame to their own pusillanimous silence.


Tim Graham is a syndicated columnist.

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Minister sees strengths in BBC critics eyed for top UK media jobs – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s culture minister said on Sunday that two prominent critics of the BBC who have reportedly been offered important roles in the British media had “strengths”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked Charles Moore, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, to become the chairman of the BBC and wants Paul Dacre, a former editor of the Daily Mail, to be chairman of media regulator Ofcom, according to The Sunday Times.

Culture minister Oliver Dowden said the process for the appointment of both roles would be launched soon and that the government was seeking “strong, credible” people and a chair of the BBC who could hold it to account.

“There are strengths to both Charles Moore and to Paul Dacre,” he told Sky News.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Reporting by Andrew Heavens)

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Sania Mirza on social media toxicity: Everybody has an opinion about everything and feels the urge to… – Hindustan Times

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Like many others in the public domain, Sania Mirza too feels social media toxicity has reached an unusual high. The tennis ace feels that people are expressing their anger and frustration in the space. And no matter how much ones tries to avoid this negative environment, it does get on people, something Mirza herself have experienced.

“We’re living in difficult times and I honestly think that a lot of people are frustrated. And somehow that is coming out on social media and you can see how much it has erupted. There’s a lot more hate in the last few months on social media than it was before. Everybody has an opinion about everything and they somehow think that they need to put it out on social media every single time, which should not be the case in my opinion,” she says.

With no intention of passing any judgment, Mirza adds that every individual has their own way of dealing with things. Though it’s important to have a dignified stand when it comes to expression, according to her, most of these people do not realise that expressing opinions, discussions are fine but passing judgment and all the threats and abuses aren’t.

 

“The last few months, things haven’t been easy and it has affected us real hard. People are going through a lot and may be, unknowingly, have become hateful towards others. And everyone is forming an opinion about almost everything, right or wrong,” she adds.

Highlighting the “great ups” of social media, Mirza agrees that there are lot of cons too that have come out in the fore more now, turning the otherwise valuable space “pretty toxic”. And she has her way of dealing with it.

“I do take a break from social media every now and then and don’t really indulge in it every single day. To be honest, I never read the ‘mentions’ because I think that mental sanity is important than anything else. I laugh at it most of the time but there are days when it does get to you, so I kind of cut off from it. You’ve to take social media with a pinch of salt. Good or bad, you can’t take it too seriously,” she explains.

 

Spending time with family is what keeps Mirza’s heart and mind off this negativity. The 33-year-old, had earlier spoken about how difficult it is for her and son Izhaan to stay away from husband and cricketer Shoaib Malik for over six months due to the pandemic. Finally, along with her son, sister Anam Mirza and brother-in-law Mohammad Asaduddin, she flew down to Dubai recently.

“It was obviously very tough and it wasn’t really something that was in our control. We had to deal with the circumstances… It was great to see Shoaib after so long, not just for myself but also for Izhaan. I think Izhaan is very excited to spend time with his dad. I thought he would take a little time but actually he went to him straight away. Surprisingly, he remembered him and all the little things he used to do with him. I guess that’s what a father and a son relationship is all about,” she says adding, she will be coming back to India soon.

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