Why is a Climate Change denier at a Climate Change Workshop offered by a Research University?

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 10.11.55 PMIn a world of “fake news” why did a respected institution such as Florida International University invite a popular climate change denier to speak at a conference where students and journalists are being trained about how to report on the subject?

Avid climate change denier James Taylor was given a platform to sit side-by-side Greg Hamra, of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, to discuss “opposing views” on climate change. The conversation was masked as a discussion on the formation of public policy. However, to the outside spectator hearing the words “climate change conference” and “James Taylor” in the same sentence brought an uproar and certainly, publicity to the event.

News first came out as an indignant response by respected South Florida meteorologist, John Morales, who said he refused to be moderating the talk in which keynote speaker Taylor would be debating with a scientist on the subject.

After the tweet, several local news outlets also chimed into the story. As well as people on twitter. How can FIU invite such a character as Taylor to reach students based on the “fairness” of reporting on opposing views?

Alejandro Alvarado, an associate professor at Florida International University and co-organizer of the event, told the Miami Herald not inviting Taylor is “like having a debate on gun control and not inviting the NRA,” said Alvarado. “The key word here is workshop. This is not a science forum. It is a workshop.” He also told the Herald Taylor was invited so students and journalists can learn how to ask the right questions and “predict the counterarguments” from influencers like Taylor.

Surprisingly the Hamra v. Taylor conversation had one consensus: Climate change is real. However, it is how Hamra and Taylor want people to act on it to prevent it how it differs in their views.

Hamra, on one hand, wants Americans to do a 180-degree change. As citizens of the world, need to look into alternative power sources such as wind and solar. For Taylor, his steps are more modest, such as looking into natural gas, but still using fossil fuel.

Taylor’s views, though, are tied to big money corporations. His interests are those of these companies, seemingly. Hamra seemed to want the changes for the conservation of the environment and being continuous to leave future generations place where kids can grow up and enjoy a healthy planet.

The discussion left many of the students perplexed and slightly a bit confused. Despite the workshop being an educational resource, Solangi Sosa, a graduate student says that she felt that Taylor might be right in questioning and opposing alternative energy sources because: “What if the sun doesn’t come out then solar energy might not be a viable way to provide energy for all part of the country.” Although this is something she considers possible thanks to Taylor, she says that it prompted her to look into facts to learn more about solar and wind energy. “Will wind power still work for places that are dry or inland?” Sosa questions and says she will research to be better informed as a future journalist.

The invitation of Taylor was controversial. But the rest of the conference was promising and informative with tools given by season journalists to young journalists. Like how to ask for a grant from Nat Geo and how to cover natural disasters.

John Morales offered a workshop on how to report climate change based on the scientific method. Biggest takeaway — People are allowed opinions but they must be attributed as unsupported by reporters if they are.



Local Singer Opens up about following his Passion


In this week’s Miami Local, we profile singer-songwriter Robson.

Becoming Robson

Brazil born. Miami raised. Dallas educated. Robson Pires, 29, is one of the many artist who are fighting day-to-day to make his dreams a reality in the sunny 305.

But what makes Robson different?

I got to spend an afternoon with Robson,  this time it was different than before. We met a few months back, but this time I wanted to get to know Robson the singer-songwriter.

His passion developed when at the tender age of 7, his mother singed him up for piano lessons. She had noticed his interest in listening to his father’s records for hours on end.

He grew up going to church in south beach. There he met a drummer named Paul who took him under his wing and will teach him how to be part of the church’s worship group.

In high school is when he first formed a band and played punk-rock inspired by the late 90s early 2000s super band Blink-182.

When he graduated High school where he got an offer to go to Bible school and he lft to Dallas to ear a bachelor’s in Theology.

“My faith is what keeps me grounded, it has taken me out of dark places,” said Robson.

“I draw inspiration from my relationship with God,” he said.

Still, he plays songs that inspire others and just make you want to dance and it makes you feel good.

“you know that song that comes up when you’re in the car with your friends, and it gives you chills because it takes you to another dimension” said Robson, “this is the music I want to bring to people.”


Robson, 29, has established himself as a recognized Miami talent.

Falling in love, out of love, growing up, doing stupid things, mistakes, this is where he finds his draw to make music.

Robson admits that he has been in love but the romantic songs he has composed come from imaginary situations and not just one girl in particular. He likes to just mix all his emotions and sit down to write the song recreating feelings and experiences that have occurred to him in his head, there he lets the feelings flow into the paper.

“Songwriting plays a very important role in my life. The process at times can be very frustrating. Sometimes it’ll take years and other times it’ll take hours but you’re giving birth to something that no one ever has and no one else ever will. It’s a very beautiful thing.” said Robson when asked about his creative process.

Robson feels luck to be one of the few people who know what they want to do with their life from a young age. This he does not take for granted. He puts all his effort to produce, book gigs and rehearse with his band to put on the best shows possible for his friends and fans.

He knows that even though music is his passion. it is not what defines him. He urges everyone to to fit into a box or stereotype but to be open to enjoying and exploring many things and passions in life.

“Before I even thought of pursuing music as a career, pro soccer is what I wanted to do but my life took a huge turn when I started writing music during high school classes. I quickly realized the power of expressing myself through song so I stuck with that route but soccer has never left. Thanks to it I’m a fit and healthy musician,” said Robson.
Robson has preformed in every open mike imaginable that Miami offers.

He also books shows at restaurant bars and there are always upcoming events where you can find him.
Follow Robson in social media @robsonmusic


Create your Script

Below see an example of a script. extremely helpful  when editing, producing and organizing your documentary.

Special Needs Child TV Script

By: Cindy Reyes Arboleda

Track Timing Video Audio




Mother and Daughter together walking through the living room home


Narrator: Raising a child as a single parent is difficult enough in under normal circumstances, but when you have a child with special needs there’s even greater level of difficulty.








Child gives mother a sip of water from the water bottle,

As they walk through the hallway and camera follows


Narrator: Lisa Troncoso is a single mother who has devoted her life to her daughter Melissa, who also has special needs, and even though she has gone through very hard times due to her daughter’s condition, she is still a very energetic person.







Mother and child are interacting in the bathroom, Mom spraying perfume, brushing her hair.

Mother is tucking the child in to the bed


Liza Troncoso: a day in my life with her is very uncertain. You never know what you are going to get with her. It took a toll on my relationship. It took a toll on my marriage. That’s why I’m a single mom. I will be there with her until the day God says otherwise and hope for the best. I pray for a miracle. I have a lot of faith, because at the end of the day, that is all we have.






Photos and charts related to the disease.


Narrator: according to Center of Disease Control, the majority of cases in both adult and children have no known cause. 45 million people worldwide have epilepsy, and each year 100 to 150 thousand are diagnosed with the condition in the US, and 30% of cases are children.




1:27 Nurse in hospital room Nurse: “I am a nurse; my specialty is special need children. I mostly take care of kids that have cerebral palsy and that have mental retardation”






Children Therapist in his office with an Elsa and Anna from Disney’s Frozen posters in the back walls


Kirk Simmons (Children Therapist): Kids with special needs are challenging. Everyday there’s different atmosphere in regards to what is going to happen that day, what’s going to take place, it’s up in the air, it’s never the same routine from one day to the next. It’s something that you got to keep in mind. You got to be up to the challenge every single day.


7 2:10 Mother and daughter back at home interacting with each other B Roll Narrator: Parents of children with special needs can only hope for a miracle. Meanwhile, they are parents that take for granted the fact that their children are healthy.   Raising awareness is important for people that suffer from this condition.


Magazine Photoshop


This week we dabbed into the photoshop world.

Being new to this very essential tool, I wanted to create a magazine that was relatable to my blog Miami Local.

What other magazine covers all the need-to-know aspects of Miami than The Miami New Times? So when choosing I selected a cover where I could replace the head of the mannequin art sculpture with a photo I took.

The headline’s color I decided to change it to a bold red to capture the reader’s attention. And my headlines I included fashion brands, food, art and where to go in Miami.

I also added the barcode in the bottom right.


A Sunday Afternoon spent at The Market at Wood. Photo by Cindy Reyes Arboleda

A Miami Boy and His Dog


David Seeley, 27, moved into a North Miami house with two other guys and two dogs in October.

This was the first time in his short life he was living with animals. The dogs, not the guys.

For Seeley, getting attached to a dog was not something he had in mind.

“I never understood why people say dogs are ‘man’s best friend,’ until I met Lucky,”  he said.

Lucky is a Rottweiler and German Shepherd mix, around 5 years old.

He was rescued or donated by a friend of one of Seeley’s roommates who was moving in to a small apparent and didn’t have space for the 150 pound pup.

“She [Lucky’s previous owner] asked if we could keep him for a few weeks, then weeks turned into months,” said Seeley.


Seeley and Lucky skateboarding in Miami Beach.

Seeley has found a new love in spending time and taking care of Lucky.

One of their favorite pass times is skating together around the board walk and pier of Bal Harbour, FLA located  just 15 minutes north of South Beach.

Seeley also enjoys taking Lucky to get groomed every weekend and he make sure he is up-to-date with all his vaccines.

“I don’t take him for granted  and I want to provide the best quality of life for him.”

It’s a new-found sense of responsibility for him, says Seeley, who has never had to care for another life than his own.

“I see having a dog as having a baby, you have to bathe them, make sure they are hydrated, and that they eat.”

Seeley hopes that his story of adopting inspires others in the community and they also choose to adopt and not shop for dogs.


Best Friends sitting at the boardwalk.

There are many shelters around the city where you can adopt and save the lives of dogs and cats by adopting them.

Here are a few locations:

  • Humane Society of Greater Miami
  • 16101 West Dixie Highway
    North Miami Beach, FL 33160
  • Compassionate Pug Rescue
  • 20629 Ne 7th CtMiami, FL 33179
  • Pet Rescue
  • 3440 Nw 191st StMiami Gardens, FL 33056


The Coming Out of a Jehovah’s Witness

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Having spent the majority of his life hiding who he really was from his Dominican family, at age 18 aspiring journalist Omar Valdez came out of the closet.

“If I wanted to report the truth for a living I had to start with my own,” said Valdez about the terrifying moment he had to endure building up the courage to share his sexual orientation with his religious parents.


Omar Shariff and New York city native Jonathan Steiner at the Wolfsonian Museum Miami Beach.

Understanding Valdez’s fear starts with the fact that homosexually is still frowned upon and forbidden in the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith which he was raised in. Yet, in a survey conducted in 2015 by Gallup, 63 percent of the American population said gay and lesbian relations were morally acceptable.

Oxymoron Valdez lived first hand, growing up in New York City.

Growing up in the City, Valdez was exposed to a diverse population. He was constantly torn between being who his parents wanted him to be and who he knew he was.

“I would go from being in school with my other gay friends feeling happy to coming home and having to read in the bible that if you’re a homosexual you’re sinful,” Said Valdez.


Omar at J. Wakefield Brewery 

“There was this teacher I had when I was in junior high who encouraged me to write all my feelings in an anonymous blog.”

This is when Valdez curated his passion for writing, and at the same time was able to show the world whom he really was.

“Even though my real name was not in the blog, it was encouraging knowing there were people who supported me and I was not alone,” he said.

When Valdez came out to his family on the night of his 18th birthday it was the best and worst moment of his life, “I felt free reveling the truth but heartbroken seeing my mom and dad cry because of me.”


Shariff, 25, at Cafeina Lounge in Wynwood.

His family cut total communication with their son for 2 years. Time that Valdez used to “find himself.”

He moved to Miami and traveled to India, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom; meeting with people from around the globe, who shared their personal stories with him and this is what made him decide to go college to peruse a career in journalism.

Going back to school was the reason him and his family got to talking again.

“when they found out I was going to enroll in college to be journalist, my mom told me that she was proud of me, and that was what started to mend the broken bridge in our relationship.”

DSC_0686 1

Shariff celebrating and dancing the night away.

Valdez still has that blog that served as an outlet and helped him to be ok with who he was as a young man, and encourages anybody in his same or similar shoes to create one too.

“There’s a lot of hate in the world towards the LGBT community, but you’d be surprised on how much more love there is” he said.

Currently, Valdez is studying abroad at the University College of London; his expected graduation date is summer 2017.

“I plan on making documentaries about LGBT people, share their story and create hope for others like myself.”


Language of the image