Hillary Clinton Announces 2016 Election Bid
On April 12, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton officially announced that she will be running for President in 2016, confirming the rumors that date back to her defeat in the 2008 presidential primaries. Shared online 3 million times within the first hour, Clinton’s campaign spot went viral on social media.
Support for her candidacy is expected to be overwhelming, largely due to the fact that her election would mark the first election of a female president in United States history, a fact that has gained her the support of many female voters.
The announcement was released just before National Equal Pay Day, putting thoughts of wage equality at the front of voters’ minds. President of Bloomberg-affiliated Selzer & Co. J. Ann Selzer affirmed, “Clinton’s strong performance in 2008 seems to have addressed any question of whether a woman could be a capable president.” (Bloomberg Politics, “Democrats and Independents Don’t Want a Hillary Coronation,” 04.10.15)
Clinton’s platform will be centered around striving for greater economic equality for the average American. On the agenda are issues such as paid sick leave and child care, issues which, according to the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, will appeal especially to families. In her announcement video, Clinton asserts, “Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion.” (The Washington Post, “What Hillary Clinton’s campaign announcement video tells us,” 04.13.15)
According to a poll taken in February by CBS News, 81 percent of Democrats confirmed that they would consider voting for Clinton, a percentage far above those of potential opponents for the Democratic nomination such as current Vice President Joe Biden or former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. (CBS News, “Poll: Who would Americans consider voting for in 2016,” 03.29.15)
April 15 marked the first stop on Clinton’s campaign trail, in Iowa, where some of the race’s first primaries will be held. Clinton’s 2016 campaign manager, Matt Paul, remarked, “Hillary’s committed to working hard to earn the support of every Iowan.” (CNN, “Clinton outlines rationale for running in Iowa swing,” 04.14.15) She will be meeting voters in small groups throughout the next month, and an official, public kickoff event will be held in May.
Obama, Castro Break Historic Silence
President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro broke a decades-old silence between the United States and Cuba at the seventh Summit of the Americas, which took place April 10 and 11 in Panama City.
Since the first Summit in 1994, 35 American nations have gathered every three years to discuss a broad range of issues for which they share concern. A White House release on the summit goals stated, “[W]e [must] redouble our commitment to a more prosperous, safe, sustainable, equal, and democratic Western Hemisphere.”
Obama took part in discussions with leaders of many South and Central American nations on a wide range of topics, including climate change, education and the regional economy. He participated in the Civil Society Forum as well as a CEO business summit involving officials and business executives from 12 South, Central, and North American nations. (The White House, “FACT SHEET: U.S. Participation in the 7th Summit of the Americas,” 04.11.15)
At a dinner on April 10, before the official opening of the Summit, Obama met with Castro for the first time, manifesting the United States’ commitment to improving relations with Cuba. Before their meeting, Obama remarked, “We are now in a position to move on a path towards the future, and leave behind some of the circumstances of the past that have made it so difficult, I think, to for our countries to communicate.” (CNN, “Obama, Castro finally meet face-to-face,” 04.11.15) Obama had announced on December 17 that he was hoping to include Cuba in talks about lifting the American embargo. He expects to remove Cuba from the list of nations that support terrorism, but is prepared to withhold it to achieve further negotiation goals.
Complications with rebuilding U.S.-Cuban relations have arisen due to recent tensions in Venezuela, Cuba’s closest ally. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused Obama of trying to overthrow his government, and has labelled several US senators and officials terrorists. Maduro’s reaction was reportedly provoked by the American sanctioning of seven Venezuelan officials in March, and a concomitant statement that Venezuela is a threat to U.S. security.
Despite tense American-Venezuelan relations, however, many Cuban officials have expressed their desire to promote cooperation with their capitalist neighbors.
Although the exact implications of Castro and Obama’s meeting remain to be seen, Castro himself expressed of his country’s relationship with the United States, “[O]ur countries have a long and complicated history, but we are willing to make progress…” (The White House, “Remarks by President Obama and President Raul Castro of Cuba Before Meeting,” 04.11.15)
– Eilis Donohue, Guest Reporter
Pulitzer-winners leave journalism for PR
On April 20, the winners and finalists for the 2015 Pulitzer Prizes were announced. Among the awarded media publications, poets and fiction writers, winning journalist Rob Kuznia has been making headlines after an article broke out claiming he left journalism because he could not pay his rent. (LAObserved, “LA Times, Daily Breeze win Pulitzer Prizes,” 04.20.15)
Kuznia shares the Pulitzer for Local Reporting with Rebecca Kimitch and city editor Frank Suraci of The Daily Breeze, based in Torrance, for their investigation into a corrupt, cash-strapped school district. According the to the Pulitzer Prize website, “For a distinguished example of reporting on significant issues of local concern, demonstrating originality and community expertise, using any available journalistic tool, [The Daily Breeze is granted] Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).”
Although the award marks a milestone in the careers in each of the aforementioned journalists, Kuznia no longers works as a staff writer on the school beat at The Daily Breeze. After four years he left, citing financial difficulties.
He said, “Journalism was my thing. I always felt lucky that I had found what I wanted to do in my 20s while others were still looking for it…[but journalism] seems to be melting and I felt too financially unstable” (Los Angeles Times, “South Bay papers revels in its first-ever Pulitzer Prize,” 04.20.15).
Kuznia now works in the Publicity Department of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation. According to a press release on the department’s website, As publicist at USC Shoah Foundation, Kuznia is now on the other side of the journalism coin, helping to pitch stories about the Institute to reporters…But working with the USC Shoah Foundation communications staff has taught him a larger lesson about journalism – that every story is really a group effort, not just the work of a lone reporter.”
Kuznia is not the first person—or Pulitzer Prize winner—to break away from journalism for public relations. Former staff writer on the cops beat of The Post and Courier Natalie Caula Hauff worked as a part of a team on a seven-part series entitled “Till Death Do Us Part.” The series, which captured a statewide epidemic of domestic abuse, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Before the first installment of the series had been published, Hauff began a new job as a media relations coordinator for Charleston County government. (Columbia Journalism Review, “Another 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winner left journalism for PR. Here’s why.,” 04.21.15)
While her departure did not stem from financial troubles, Hauff expressed similar views to Kuznia, that publicity is still related to journalism. She said, “What I was doing was really demanding, as far as the time on my family. So I wanted to find that balance between work and family…So I found this new way to serve the public in a different way.” (Columbia Journalism Review)
– Chris Gonzalez, Humor & Satire Editor