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Matt Alonso Breaks Down Walls in the Music Industry

Matt AlonsoLast December I interviewed senior music industry student Matt Alonso about his Kickstarter for Cortex which successfully raised $5,500. It may sound cheesy, but what once was an idea has now become a reality for Alonso after nine months of dealing with the ups and downs of the industry and working four jobs to make sure his dream would come true.

The platform of Cortex is a way for musicians to connect with their fans, according to Alonso. Currently the website “thecortexmusic.com” can be used for fans to download their favorite artists’ music for free. Artists that are registered with Cortex currently include current Blue Hawk Records artists Littlebear and The Ramparts Rebel. and some Monmouth alumni bands like The Bunks, Flammable Animals, and Grin & Bear. Some local bands, such as Bounder and Black Sox Scandal, are featured on the website as well.

The website had its first soft launch in mid-September. Artists pay a single payment of $50 to start connecting with their fans and making money off their music. Although this is only the beginning, Alonso has a lot in store for Cortex. Within the next year Alonso wants to “go towards streaming music for these artists’ and get them paid more than Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music combined.”

We have seen artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift take a stand against the music streaming sites that only seek to take money from artists. Alonso’s goal is to “put the music industry back in the hands of the artists.”

 He explained that current CEO’s of these streaming sites have a formula they use to calculate how much money goes to the artist and how much goes to them and Alonso blatantly stated “I made up my own formula and it’s better.”

His whole platform revolves around making sure artist get paid fairly and can connect with their fans. Alonso recently celebrated his first two cents of revenue, and although that may not be much to most of us, it meant the world to him and the future of Cortex.

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Take A Step Back From Sharing So Much: How Social Media Overwhelms Our Lives

Kim Engagement 1It is a part of life, a routine rather, for an individual to share aspects of their life and their beliefs and values on social media. Instagram is for perfectly filtered images and videos, Twitter is used to rant or vent, and Snapchat allows us to capture pictures letting others know where we are, who we’re with, and what super fun thing we’re doing. Facebook, however, that has become a battlefield in the midst of this messy political election.

We are all guilty of sharing way too much on many sites. In college, students post their whereabouts, who they are with, what they are thinking, and so forth. Individuals are seen on their phones, refreshing these media vessels, tuning out of the real world, and becoming instantly educated on other people’s lives. People fail to realize that posting too much can be risky and threatening.

Tommy Foye, a senior communication student, said “People are very interested in the lives of celebrities because of what they do and the money they can spend. It’s all interesting but can sometimes be too much, being that they are revealing too much to the public and are almost wanting the attention.”

It is the guilty pleasure of many fans and followers to watch and see what their favorite celebrity is up to, doing, and thinking. At the same token, celebrities break the privacy barrier, and post things that should be for their own private knowledge and eyes.

Providing information for others to see on an Instagram page, Twitter account, Facebook profile, or Snapchat story, is dangerous. People who are seeing these things are not always friends or trusted eyes. It crosses over the line of what should be personal, not public. 

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The Importance of Music as Told by Roseanne Cash

Roseanne Cash Music ImportanceTen University students had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and talk with "one of Country's pre-eminent singer/songwriters," Roseanne Cash before her show in Pollack theatre on Friday, Oct. 21.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, said, "It was such a treat for Monmouth students to be able to be a private audience for sound check and have a personal conversation with such a great and gracious artist like Rosanne."

Rapolla continued, "This is a great example of how coordinated performing arts programming can be leveraged at the academic level, to the benefit of the students."

As an attendee of the workshop, I can say that this was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime and instilled a passion in me to go forward with writing music, and reflect on how important music is. While listening to WMCX last week I heard a host say, "Imagine what life would be like if there were no music at all." The hosts of the show seemed confused and upset to even think about a world without music. So we wonder, what makes music so important to us?

When I asked Cash this question, her automatic response was, "Because it's like oxygen." Many of us, especially songwriters and artists, could not imagine living without the free spirit and energy of music. Cash went on to tell us how songwriter and producer, T-Bone Burnett, breaks down music into a physics and explains how we are all made up of music. From the day we are born to the day we die, we are exposed to many different types of music. Every song has a different meaning to us, every beat hits us a different way.

Rapolla explained, "I think what the students heard from Roseanne reinforced our program philosophy, that music and the arts are part of our DNA, and how the arts enriches life, no matter what your field. There are so many ways to engage with music and the arts."

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Why You Should be Taking More Time for Yourself

More Time for YourselfBright-eyed and smiling young adults decked out in college apparel walking off to class is a picturesque scene of college to many high-school seniors and hopeful parents when thinking about future collegiate years. On the surface, higher education looks as fun and easy as sitting in lecture halls, dining in the student center and hanging out in cinderblock dorms.

However, there’s more to the story than what tour guides and college pamphlets will let you in on. Amongst all the club meetings, Greek events and sports games, students are met with an underlying sense of stress, anxiety and depression, as self-care isn’t at the top of everyone’s daily to-do lists.

While being in college gives young adults the opportunity to meet new people and discover life passions, it can also be a vulnerable and unstable period. Students find themselves overwhelmed with stress as the pressure to study, write papers, and accomplish numerous daily tasks becomes exhausting.

College students are more involved than ever; being a full-time student, working part time and being involved in clubs on campus creates insane amounts of stress and pressure, and for many it is difficult to find the right balance.

With heavy involvement and busy workloads, many college students are neglecting necessary self-care precautions to maintain their mental health. As mental health issues and concerns are on the rise for college campuses, it is important for students to put self-care on their priority list and take action to ensure they aren’t letting their busy schedules consume their lives.

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Is the Media Biased?

How to Stay Media Literate During the Election


Media Biased“Is there a bias in the media? Yes. Is the media biased against Donald Trump? No,” stated Matthew Lawrence, a specialist professor of communication.

Trump, on the other hand, told the audience at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, “This crooked media. They are worse than [Hillary Clinton] is. I’m letting you, they are so dishonest.” Is the media biased? And how much of an effect does the media have on our perception of this presidential election? The key to this question lies in becoming media literate, or learning the ability to access, analyze, and evaluate media and employ critical thinking abilities towards media consumption.

The job of the press is to report the news, and to avoid bias. This gets muddled when publications endorse a candidate. As I write this article, Clinton has been endorsed by 178 newspapers, and Trump has been endorsed by 4. “In this ongoing election the media has been completely biased,” stated John Maurer, a junior communication student. “Reporters are biased and are giving their opinions instead of doing their job.”

Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication, pointed out that journalists have always been sharing their opinions on elections. “Some journalists try to be as objective as they can be, other news organizations take a position so they let you know right from the start that they are biased,” Novek explained. “Political humor and political satire goes back to the origin of newspapers. People made fun of leaders, rulers, or anybody who was running for office… This is nothing new.”

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Lions, Tigers and Clowns, Oh My: Inside the Clown Phenomenen

penn state clown huntWhat can only be described as a bad scene from an overrated horror film has begun taking the stage in neighborhoods throughout the U.S., causing commotion and resurfacing childhood fears for many. Clowns are sweeping the nation and causing mass hysteria for concerned parents, college campuses and those with a fear of clowns.

Menacing clowns have been terrorizing the streets in dozens of cities throughout the past couple of weeks, and as Halloween approaches, this frenzy has skyrocketed.

While this phenomenon seems to have ignited overnight, the clown that started this national craze was from Greenville, SC as he gained the presses attention trying to lure a child into the woods. The buzz this unsettling story created led to many following in the footsteps of the South Carolina predator, with hopes to get their own sixty seconds of fame.

Claude Taylor, professor of communication and transformative learning, shared his opinion on how this bizarre incident snowballed into a nationwide trend. “Sometimes what happens with contagions like this one, is that people see something on TV that gets attention and they want to emulate it themselves,” Taylor explained. “For me, what I’m seeing is an extension of the prank phenomenon where people want to get in on a rush. Teenagers are tired of watching others do it online, and want to up the ante and do it for themselves. Unfortunately, people are not thinking about the consequences of their actions in the heat of this trend, and its extraordinarily dangerous.”

The frequent clown sightings have instilled such a strong fear in college students that pepper spray sales have gone through the roof, and many are ready to fight back. With clowns roaming the streets at night, some residential college students are taking precautions to a whole new level. Penn State University recently bombarded the streets on a “clown hunt” in hopes to scare away the clowns seen on their campus.

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The Power of Celebrities and Social Media

anti Trump campaignSocial media is more prevalent than ever, with apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook being refreshed constantly on everyone’s phones. These apps offer breaking news and a quick way to skim through what’s going on in the world— and also a huge focus on celebrities, which gives them a vessel for them to voice their opinions. We’re seeing a lot of this now with the upcoming elections; celebrities are voicing their opinions in hopes to influence their audiences to vote for one candidate or another. Just because someone is famous, does that give them the right to influence people, especially Monmouth students? This is a question many students have trouble answering. Fame puts someone in the spotlight, but not because of their insights on politics or social issues. Just because they have a platform and a widespread audience, they are not necessarily the most informed source. The control and power they have over people can be either positive or negative; it is up to the individuals to decide how they perceive what they hear.

When a celebrity talks about their views on a certain topic or situation, their fans can be biased, and follow their favorite singer, athlete, or actor blindly. Shannon Newby, a senior sociology student, said, “I think when celebrities voice their opinion and promote specific things it persuades us more to either buy what they’re trying to sell, or believe what they say, rather than coming from someone who isn’t very well known.”

Newby continued, “Someone who is more famous I feel like we assume they have lots of experience that has clearly made them very successful making them influential on us.” Because these public figures are in magazines, get paid millions, and have huge fan followings, people tend to think celebrities, actors, and actresses are reliable sources.

Angelo Sceppaguercio, a senior finance and real estate student, said, “Celebrities are icons, and the way they are portraying themselves has a lot to do with what students say and believe. They influence the minds of young adults who listen to social media and not the truth. Half of the student population can’t even name what parties are fighting for what.”

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From the Battlefield to the Classroom: Being a Student in the Military

cesarMost college students feel like they have enough problems to warrant all the stress in the world—balancing classes, activities, jobs, and maintaining relationships; however, there is a population of Monmouth students who balance more than the average student could imagine: serving our country at the same time.

Cesar Monterroso, a sophomore criminal justice student, is a prime example of someone leading a life of schoolwork, and a life in the military. He is a member of the United States Reserve, as a Flying Chief for the KC-10A Extender at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in South New Jersey. “I wanted to join and serve my country, but I also wanted the flexibility of being in the reserves to attend college at the same time,” explained Monterroso. “I joined with the mentality of eventually bettering myself down the road. I also loved being around aircrafts growing up, and even today I am still mesmerized when I walk up to the [aircraft], so it was a win-win situation.”

Another student involved in the military is Samuel Herrara, a senior computer science student, who is also a United States Marine. “My dad was in the Navy when I was young, so I was raised on a Naval Base in South Carolina. My dad is my hero and my greatest influence to be in the military,” Herrara said. “He raised me in a strict military manner, so the military lifestyle is all I ever knew. I specifically chose the Marine Corps because I remember as a young boy I would read about the legacy of the Corps, and I just knew I belonged in the greatest fighting force in the world.”

Being a college student and a member of a military branch are two extremely different ways of life. George M. Kapalka, Ph.D., a professor of professional counseling, explained the differences in the lifestyles, “It is a different mindset. In the military, direction is given ‘from the top’ – it is expected that the commanding officers have most (if not all) the answers and give instructions to those under their directions, and those commands are to be followed precisely and completely,”

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Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate Women’s Magazines

obamaWith the current election cycle, everything and everyone seems to be focused on politics. The candidates cover the front pages of newspapers, fill radio broadcasts and news programs, and dominate social media feeds. Now, even women’s magazines – typically seen as ‘fluff’ news – are coming into the political field.

Women’s magazines are now filled with political content, usually interviews with important figures in the election such as Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, and Hillary Clinton herself.

“I think it’s an important outlet that typically gets ignored,” said Christina Caliendo, a junior music student. “I don’t read a lot of women’s magazines but when there’s a particularly interesting interview I’ll pick it up.”

Those involved in the elections have also been publishing their own words in women’s magazines. Hillary Clinton herself wrote a piece for The Toast, a publication that closed in July. She focused on the importance of women’s spaces in media and in other fields. Katy Tur, a reporter who covered Donald Trump’s campaign for NBC, wrote in Marie Claire about her experience working with him – which often included harassment.

“Trump called me naïve,” she wrote. “He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. He shamed me when I stumbled on a question. And when the cameras shut off, he was furious. He didn’t like my questions, which were direct, or my tone, which was conversational.”

Trump also insulted and shamed Tur on national television, called her names during interviews, and announced on Twitter that she “should be fired for dishonest reporting”. All of this, and more, was covered in her piece for Marie Claire. It was shared about 30,500 times via Facebook and Twitter, according to the site; it received much less attention than typical election coverage.

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The Pumpkin Spice Phenomenon: Do You Really Love it?

starbucks coffee flickr urban bohemianIt’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air has grown crisp, and the days keep getting shorter – yes, the pumpkin spice season is upon us. Every year, when September strikes, the notorious spice makes its debut to once again provide warm, comforting flavors to the masses. Though it may seem like no human being on the planet can resist this autumnal favorite, it might actually be the media who harbors the true obsession. Do people truly love pumpkin spice, or is the media just telling us we do?

While some may choose to parade their love of pumpkin with pride, others prefer to quietly give in to the overarching trend. Toting his own warm cup of pumpkin spice coffee, senior English student, Michael Mottola said, “I don't get super hype about pumpkin spice's inevitable arrival in fall, it's just like any other seasonal event, but I always do like pumpkin spice stuff when it comes around.”

Others at Monmouth have yet to hop on the pumpkin spice train. Senior communication student Emma Gepner admitted she doesn’t quite understand all of the pumpkin hysteria. She said, “Personally, I'm not a fan of pumpkin spice coffee. I'm all for the traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but other than that, I could really do without it in my food.”

When it comes to pumpkin spice, we’re paying for much more than flavor alone. Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication, said, “Whether people love or hate all things pumpkin spice, I think marketers know how tap our desires and perceived needs to sell, sell, sell. We as consumers buy into a feeling generated by cultural traditions that advertisers amplify in order to sell products. Pumpkin spice as a flavor, a color, or a smell is framed as an expression of the beauty of the fall season, the coziness of hot drinks and sweaters, a fire, so on.  That association generates profits.”

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The Importance of Classes that Think Outside the Box: Creating a Culture of Peace

class in circle small wide picStudents do not really know what to expect on the first day of classes, or throughout the semester. Everyone has experienced the typical routine: write a few papers, be up all hours of the night to study for exams, and stay at desk in the classroom, barely raising your hand and participating. How sad is that— not learning, not growing, and not becoming involved. Well, surprise; there is a course that can change your life for the better, for years to come.

Creating A Culture of Peace is a course that is the exact opposite of many classes that a student has taken here at Monmouth University, which makes it extremely unique and life-altering. Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication, teaches this class, which has received positive results and relationships after the students have completed these credits. "The class was developed out of my volunteer work with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)," Novek explained. "AVP is a nonprofit group that offers conflict resolution programs in community groups and prisons. Through games, exercises, and shared experiences, it develops the communication skills and attitudes people need to solve conflicts peacefully.

 It is a class that is set up in a circle, having the students and Novek looking at each other, and interacting on a conversational level, so anyone can speak about any topic at any given time. Each individual is given a name for the class, making it more friendly and comfortable. The student has to use an adjective that describes them that starts with the same letter as their name.  Novek recalled, " In the class, everything we do builds a community of trust and sharing. Students journal about topics as far-reaching as early experiences of violence, holding grudges, and random acts of kindness. Each one chooses a positive name they use all semester. At the end of the semester we didn't want to leave!"

Ayse Yasas, a senior communication student who went by Amazing Ayse, said “This class wasn’t like any other class I’ve ever taken in the best way possible, and it’s probably one of my favorites of all time. It felt like a small community of peace and togetherness, and I became friends with people that I would never normally talk to. It’s also the only class that taught lessons that I could use in everyday life and genuinely made me think about my actions everyday to actively be a better person and keep the peace with people.” How amazing is that? A class that really makes an individual think about their everyday life, and change.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu