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January 2007 - Featured young writers.


By Meghan Rathie

This summer I took an amazing trip to Alaska. We visited Anchorage, Juneau, Skagway, Sitka, Ketchikan and Denali. We thought it would be cold like 20F-30 F in Alaska, but it wasn’t as cold. It was about 50 to 60 degree Fahrenheit similar to Chicago.

First we went on a cruise for seven days. Then we went to Anchorage and Denali for six days. During the cruise, we got to get really close to 21 miles long and about 300 feet high glacier called Harvard Glacier. Every 3-4 minutes a giant chunk of ice weighing tens of thousand pounds would break off and fall into the water, making a thundering sound. We saw tons of seal fishes happily sitting on those floating giant icebergs. It was really a breathtaking sight! In the near by area not so close to the glaciers we saw hundreds of sea otters playing and rolling in the ocean. On one of the day on the cruise we saw a pod of about thirty Humpback whales. We could spot them even from far when they were squirting the water from their spouts. Then our ship passed by their side and we could see them very close by. Seeing these animals in the wild was the most amazing thing.

In Juneau I flew in a helicopter and walked on Mendel Hall glacier. It was so-o-o-o cool! There were few hundred feet deep crevices all around and we had to be very careful. In fact my mom fell down in one of the tiny crevice while taking video. Luckily she did not get hurt but got the freezing cold water in her boots.

We saw so many neat things in Alaska. I got to see real snow dogs that run in the sleigh races. They were so cute. In Juneau there was a huge land slight in early eighties and a few hundred acres of mountain land came tumbling down. Because of that, hundreds of tree became upside down. Then somebody bought that piece of land and turned that area into a garden called Glacier Garden. They grew beautiful flowers in the huge wide roots of those trees that are now hanging up in the air. It’s really pretty and cool.

In Skagway we took a water plane ride to a huge lake that is on top of Mount Forge. It is one of the largest mountain range in Alaska. We landed in the lake near a huge rocky island in the middle of that lake and got to spend some time there. It was so quite and serene.

In Ketchikan it was the most beautiful natural scenery. We drove across Canadian border and saw a lake called Emerald Lake. Few hundred years back there was a land slide in that area that brought in a lot of lime stones. Because of that the lake has four five different shads of green and turquoise. It is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen.

In Denali we took a day trip to Mt. McKinley National park. Mt. McKinley is the second highest peak after Mt. Everest. We saw hundreds of Dahl sheeps high up on the very narrow and rocky mountain. They have special paws with the small suction cups that help them climb on a very steep mountain almost vertically. By climbing very high they protect themselves from bears. We also saw a huge Grisly bear weighing almost one thousand pound with three little baby bears. One bear came very close and crossed the road right in front of our bus. We had to be absolutely quite while he was near us. Besides these animals we saw lots of Moose, Caribou and Hawks. On the way back from Denali to Anchorage we took an eight hour train ride that had glass dome all three sides giving us full unobstructed view. On that ride I saw one huge bear standing with two fishes in his hand by the river.

When we were in Anchorage it was a season for Salmon run. During this season all the Salmon fish that are ready to lay eggs come back to their birth place in Alaska from all over the world. To do that they swim back from wherever they are in the ocean, find their little spring in Alaska and swim against the water flow and climb up the river to go back to where they were born. I actually saw from our ship the Salmon jumping up into their river streams from the ocean. This is the season when the bears get to catch them and fill their stomach before they go to hibernate before winter. Since Salmon lay eggs only once in lifetime, after laying egg they hang around there and die after few days. We went to a place where thousand of King Salmon huddled in a spring waiting to lay eggs. Few days before they lay eggs their color changes to orange red. I felt sad after learning about the life cycle of Salmon fish but it was amazing.

In anchorage I also saw the Native Indian’s museum and learnt how they lived and survived on whale and other animal meat. They saved their fur to protect them from winter. It was really a great learning experience. The museum also has the history of how and when they lay the oil pipe in Alaska since Alaska is the largest oil producer in America.

One interesting thing that I noticed is that Alaska itself does not have enough people to take care of business during the busy season of summer. In fact, that is the only time when Alaska has any business. So more then seventy percent people who work there in summer are from other part of US and are mostly the college students who go there to earn money during their summer break.

The trip was truly unforgettable! I could write few more pages but if you ever have a chance to travel to Alaska, I highly recommend it! I know that I want to go there again.

Meghan is 10 year old and is studying in 5th grade in Barnwell elementary school. She loves to travel and is very interested in learning about various parts of the world and its cultures. Her favorite subjects in school are Language Arts, Math and science. She recently visited Alaska and was taken aback by its vastness and beauty and wanted to share her experience with everybody.

Why BBC owns a Weblog

By Kourosh Ziabari

It all started when blogger.com administrators announced that they would like to establish a communal bog to increase  2-way communication and interchange with consumers and readers. This way they could also reach their users and customers without any mediator or middleman.

This broke many taboos and encouraged the media giants and advertising cartels of the world to not fear  a direct connection with bloggers.

Today blogging has become an effective tool for the Media giants in responding to issues that a common man may face. For example the BBC has started its blog in response to issues raised by bloggers who are listeners and readers of BBC, and through the blog made it easier than before to interact with all of its supporters.

As a result, with most global media following suit, two way communication becomes easy as does the interaction between the media and its users. It also ensures that comments, ideas and suggestions will be received directly by the specific media team, in the other world, and response given directly as well.

In  launching a weblog BBC too is following the popular trend of interacting with its consumers, which in turn will make it easier for it to know the concerns and the positive feedback the consumers may have.

British Broadcasting Corporation belongs to a special layer of English society, where  the communication experts and specialists were the main people to grace its portals. It seemed far removed from the common folk, who while they believed in the BBC, may have felt that they were removed from being an important part of the production content, since it was not based directly on their opinion and comments.

The passage of time changed the world gradually.  Along with it came news for the commoners, news programs for people who were not well educated or even not very literate. BBC added websites in different languages along with programs. To get readers to give their opinion became crucial in sending the message that this organization is not just for the elite or the journalistic mafia in Britain nor was it becoming like some other media that was closed and non all inclusive.

The previous style of creating programs based on the perceptions that were excluding public opinion was changed. At that time program producers, editors and writers and their opinion was given priority.. But soon this was changed because it was realized that public opinion mattered.

So BBC changed its style and  soon  sound files, pictures and comments sent by users made their way into "Readers Opinion" section. Recently, BBC finally  established its weblog!

Many people don't consider weblogs as a new kind of media. They think that each post on a blog is the result of personal concerns, interests, opinions and background  of the blogger, so a Weblog is a personal page not a type of media.

But another group believes that the weblogs of great magazines, companies and organizations

could be called as independent media themselves, because every post of such blogs, would be the result of unified thinking, so it will have an impact.

After starting the BBC English blogs,  BBC has also released blogs in other languages. This has raised the BBC services’ popularity multifold. The inauguration of BBC's chain blogs was a great step toward unifying users and customers. BBC has now a dual residency called (Producer-User-based policy). Today , BBC governance respects their users, more than before and that is the result of  the last revolution in the global blogsphere!

Fifteen year old  Kourosh Ziabari is Persian and lives  in Rasht, in Northern Iran. He was selected as the world's youngest journalist by the Association of Young Journalists and Writers in 2005. He has had more than 1.100 articles published in Iranian magazines and newspapers on various topics. He has been moderating his personal website  since 2003 and officially writing on his Persian Blog for one year. He is conversant in five world  languages and  is also a web and graphic designer for Persian web portals and magazines.

Ode to A.J.

By Pranavi Narula

He inspires me to do all

He picks me up when I fall

I think about him day and night

I love him even though we fight

Whenever something is wrong,

He makes it right just like a beautiful song

He is no ordinary soul

He is the type of person who fills up that hole

Here I end my ode to A.J.

This is all I have to say!

Pranavi Narula is a 6th grader at Webb Bridge Middle school. The ode is dedicated to her friend Ajit Acharya.

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