Syrian Refugee Camps Battered by Flooding

Syrian Refugee Camps Battered by Flooding

Originally posted by Nicholas Conley on Inquisitr.com

Over 40,000 displaced persons, across 14 refugee camps, were battered by the recent flooding in northern Syria’s Idlib province, resulting in destroyed shelters, lost possessions, and at least two deaths, reports The National.

The thousands of refugees living in these camps, having already survived mortar attacks, bombings, and other violence, have been unable to return home due to the continuing war. This past weekend, the region was pummelled by heavy rains. Knee-high mud water flooded into the camps, and tents were severely damaged… READ MORE.

I thought I could fix my Alzheimer’s patients. I learned to help them instead.

I thought I could fix my Alzheimer’s patients. I learned to help them instead.

Alzheimer's - Vox - Nicholas Conley

My first day in a nursing home was one of the most traumatic events of my life. I’d taken all the classes. I’d done the required clinical internship. I had the knowledge and the firsthand experience. But nothing prepared me for that first day on the floor.

It was a madhouse. Nurses were scrambling everywhere. Residents were constantly calling for help, ringing their call bells, but the workers were too busy jumping between patients to answer them. Many patients were unable to help themselves, even in small ways. Personal hygiene wasn’t optimal.

It wasn’t because the nurses were apathetic or incompetent. Trust me when I say that the people I worked with were some of the kindest, most giving people I’ve ever met. But the whole system is a chaotic mess; the result of a structure meant to warehouse people, where patient interests and business interests are often in conflict … READ MORE.

Roundup: Join Us For Good

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you all had a great start to 2019.

Now that I’ve been a full-time writer for a few years, I’ve spent a lot of time writing for a wide array of different publications, on subjects ranging from quirky science facts to superheroes to word histories on Dictionary.com. That’s just the nature of being a professional freelance writer: you never know what you’ll be doing next week, and sometimes that’s the most fun part. One of the projects I’ve been the most proud to work on this past year, though, has been Eastern Bank’s “Join Us For Good” initiative, a campaign dedicated to spreading the word about important social issues, speaking up for the marginalized, showcasing good deeds, and making change in New England, the United States, and the world as a whole.

Here are some features I’ve written for Join Us for Good. Thanks for reading!

MIRA: Helping Refugees in Massachusetts

Celebrating International Human Rights Day, Today and Every Day

Carol Fulp: Leading a Diverse and Inclusive Future

National Suicide Prevention Month

Vanessa Calderón-Rosado: Paving the Way for Latina Leaders

PTSD Awareness Day on June 27th

2018 Midterm Elections: Massachusetts Votes YES to Question 3

Disabled American Veterans Helps Vets and Family

Paula Johnson Honored with Social Justice Award

Join in! For Good This August

World Mental Health Day

Human Rights Day: December 10th

On December 10th, 1948, the then-new United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, setting a global standard for human rights across all nations, cultures, and demographics. Obviously, that one action didn’t magically create world peace, as anyone who follows  international news can attest to. However, as a society, if we can learn from this foundation, by working together to solve the many human rights crises raging both at home, and around the world—repairing devastated locations, striving to give people everywhere access to basic needs like food, clean water, and medical services, assisting marginalized populations such as refugees, the homeless, the elderly, immigrants, and prisoners, fixing income inequality, pushing giant corporations to curb the effects of climate change—we can use the message outlined back in 1948 to shape a better future.
In honor of that event in 1948, the day of December 10th has since been known as Human Rights Day. Here are my thoughts, as written for the Join Us For Good initiative:

Celebrating International Human Rights Day, Today and Every Day

Human-Rights-Day-1

On December 10th, 1948, one of the first major achievements of the United Nations was the adoption of a bill called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was the first global affirmation of human rights in world history. Since 1950, every December 10th now honors that historic moment with the annual celebration of International Human Rights Day, a day where people of all nationalities, creeds, and backgrounds can come together to recognize our basic human rights as well as what progress can still be made today… READ MORE

 

REBLOG: True Tales Live: “Day One” (Video)

Nicholas Conley

This past month, I was honored with the opportunity to appear on the second season premiere of the local NH television program, True Tales Live.  As with the True Tales radio program that preceded it, True Tales Live seeks to give storytellers the opportunity to share actual stories from their life.

For this episode of True Tales Live, I shared my story, “Day One,” where I delve back into my early days working in a nursing home, as a nursing aide on a longterm care unit, and how that experience changed my views, my perception, and my way of trying to be there for other people.

Though the series can be watched on local TV in the NH area, everyone else can check it out here on the official True Tales YouTube! My section begins around 46:50, in the video below:

Other storytellers in this episode include Arnie…

View original post 26 more words

The Problem with Paywalls

Over the past few centuries, it’s been said many times, in many ways, how the cornerstone of democracy is a free press. For the sake of having a more free and just society, we also want an informed society. Newspapers, news websites, news stations, and so on must have the freedom to write about anyone, or anything, at any time, in order to hold the world’s most powerful institutions in check. In the same way that news institutions need to sharply critique the policies of other institutions, though, it’s equally important for citizens to be able to carefully scrutinize the news they read: to ensure that all news sources, from the New York Times to JoeBillysNews.com (not a real site!), use proper citations, follow journalistic standards, correctly present information, don’t misrepresent facts, and so on, in order to make sure that the public isn’t just informed, but accurately informed.

So, in that spirit, I have a critique: what’s the deal with paywalls?

For those who might not be familiar with the term, “paywalls” are what we call those screens which flash up when you’ve read a couple articles on a specific news site, displaying a message along the lines of, “You’ve read 2 of 3 free articles this month. Please subscribe.” Once you read all 3 (or however many) articles, the news site will then cease to display “free” articles until the following month. Basically, you get walled out. Kinda like this:

brickwall paywall news paper

Now, I understand the principle behind this. New sources are a business. Understandably, that business needs to support itself, a task which has become more challenging in this era of digital revolution.  The problem? Getting people to actively read the news can already be a challenge, and that number is only going to dwindle further if doing so requires coughing up a weekly or monthly subscription.

The truth is, we live in the age of free information. If a news site puts up a paywall, it doesn’t encourage people to subscribe: it turns them away. This results in lower readership, which in the long run, damages the business. Paywalls are an attempt to impose old standards upon new formats, and they don’t work. The bigger problem, though, is one of ethics. The “must pay if you want to read the news” model isn’t just out of date, it’s dangerous for democracy.

As a writer myself, I strongly believe that clear, informative, well-sourced news should be freely available to every single person, of any class, of any demographic, in order to promote a more educated society. Paywalls are a form of classism: they create a fiscal barrier between lower-income individuals and proper news sources. There are countless individuals and families out there who simply can’t afford a monthly subscription, because if it comes to choosing between food, medication, or a newspaper, basic needs are going to win the wallet battle. As a result, paywalls run the risk of sending potentially informed individuals into badly-sourced, less-refined news sites, thereby resulting in a less educated populace. Kind of goes against the spirit of the free press, doesn’t it?

We should want a strong free press, but we also need a press that provides free information, as well. While news sources need to find new ways to support themselves, the immense disadvantages of paywalls (both for moral and business reasons) prove that they are an ineffective method, as well as being problematic for society at large.

What do you all think?