#SemesterDunn (blog post)

My last fall semester of my undergraduate career is finally over.

Raven would sing this song (by Johnny Cash) when she was little, this is why we call her our sunshine. 

I’ve learned and I’ve lost. This has been the hardest semester of my life from commuting, working at the Sundial and KCSN, trying not to break down in tears every five minutes (after I lost my niece), applying to internships, to enjoying life, and staying on top of my classes.

A few Monday’s ago I got the worst phone call in my life from my sister saying that my niece was dead. I seriously thought it was a joke, I did not believe her. I went on about my day but I was still thinking and wondering why she called like that. I called my mom and she told me the police called and told her. In that moment I lost my best friend, she was only 11 years old.

Was it an accident? Did someone do this to her? Why her? Why wasn’t I there? When’s the last time I saw her or talked to her? Did she need me? Why haven’t I talked to her? Did God really take her away to save her? WHAT HAPPENED?!

My baby, my sunshine, my everything. Only ten years and three days apart, we had a special bond she told me exactly how she felt about me, made me feel like I was the best person in the world, but I wasn’t the only one she did this to. Raven Denyse, full of love and life, little did you know you are the best person are you have a huge part of my heart.

I pray one day you come and tell me what happened. I’m so sorry, I love you so much and I know you’re always watching over me, your mom, Nana, and all your siblings. You always looked up to me and let me know that you wanted to go to college and now I look up to you.

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With this degree and my dream job I wanted to conquer the world and go get you and make you feel special. With the New Year right around the corner my goal is to make those around me feel special just like you did, whether it’s a hug, a call, a smile, or a laugh. I’m trying to be strong even though it hurts so bad, I’m trying to finish, and become a better me.

Over the semester here are some of the things I have worked on I am extremely proud of myself for making it through this semester and improving.

Last On Point show: #MeTooNowWhat (Anchor)

Third On Point show: Strolling for Success (Producer)

Second On Point show: New School, New Surroundings: Now What? (Moderator)

First On Point show: Disaster Strikes! Are You Ready? (Anchor)

Black House re-opening (Reporter)

CSUN Family and Consumer Sciences Department (Reporter)


From social media to international news coverage: where is Somalia? How can CSUN students broaden their news perspective

NORTHRIDGE, CA — At least 300 people were killed in Somalia Saturday night after two vehicle bombings went off, sources suggest that -Al-Shabaab may be behind the bombings and so far one involved member has been detained.

Locator map of Mogadishu, Somalia where truck bomb kills at least 300.

California State University, Northridge Psychology major Mahad Ali is from Somalia and described the country’s current state.

“The country is developing from scratch right now. New people are being elected… but then we have Al-Shabaab taking over the country,” Ali said. “They not doing what they are supposed to do or what they’re supposed to stand for, they are killing innocent people for no reason.”

When asked about Somalia, many CSUN students shrugged their shoulders and knew little about the bombings in Somalia, but communications major, Kahlil Young, knew more than 200 people died because of the bombings.

“I really feel like Twitter is kinda the only place that I really get unfiltered news. Social media plays a huge role and the media has a duty to give real information about the real stuff that is going on,” Young said.

CSUN Africana studies professor Sheba Lo said students may not be connected to Africa as a continent, but her community is.

“I don’t watch regular news,” Lo said. “I stream Al Jazeera news so I maybe get more of a global perspective but my social media feed has been updating the numbers.”

CNN was one of the first U.S. and international sources that reported more than 30 injured people were air lifted to Turkey by military ambulance after the Turkish minister arrived to the country’s capital on Monday.

Ali said students need to know what is going on around the world especially in countries that are being highlighted in social media.

“Somalia is 75 percent good it’s the 25 percent that the media [highlights] that makes it seem like it is 100 percent bad,” Ali said.


Lo also said Black Hawk Down and how the American perspective and news affects what history our society would know about other countries.

“We don’t have that idea that people have on the continent when they talk about how America invaded Somalia and the kind of damage that they did there, we don’t get that perspective on American news,” Lo said.

Mogadishu is Somalia’s capital and aside from the American invasion in 1993 and attacks from Al-Shaabab this is the deadliest assault in the country’s history. International news sources say dozens are missing and hospitals are running out of beds.

Al-Shaabab is a militant Islamist group but it is not confirmed that they are directly affiliated with these bombings even though they have recently increased their attacks in Somalia. The man detained by Somalia officers was driving a vehicle with explosives into the city on Saturday, according to The Guardian.

As a campus community Lo is upset that students and faculty are not talking about Somalia. In order to be prepared for the real world, Lo believes students need to travel, read and watch international news.

“If we don’t have an international perspective in general and we don’t push for a global perspective for our students we are harming our students,” Lo said.

Mogadishu, is Somalia’s capital and this is the deadliest assault in the country’s history. International news sources say dozens are missing and hospitals are running out of beds. Young believes that in order to get international news students need to take it upon themselves to get information.

“Social media apps, looking at newscasts, the NPR series would really help mobilize people and keep them informed,” Young said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get the news if there is nothing for them [outlets] to benefit from, you have to go to other public spaces to really get that unfiltered and unbiased information.”

Here are a few ways the CSUN community can broaden their news perspectives globally:

Reading news from multiple sources

From the ABC, CNN and FOX international sources like Al Jazeera, The Guardian, BBC and The Associated Press have news coverage from around the world.

Talking to multiple people about stories

Talking and hearing other perspectives helps create a better understanding of news stories by engaging with students, friends, professors and family members.

Checking social media and following news accounts

Social media is a huge platform for news only if you check the news aspect, which includes explore pages and hashtags, news account followers can stay updated with livestreams, immediate tweets, Facebook statuses, Instagram posts and now stories.

Interacting with other people on social media about stories

Hashtags are for users to engage, from a retweet or a repost to an actual comment conversations with random social media users allows to build community and develop opinions.

Listening to news instead of music

Headphones are not just for music news sources have apps and web content with audio and television broadcasts for listeners all over the world.

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, CNN

Photo, AP


U.S.’s Relationship To Somalia 

Former Al-Shabaab Deputy

Where Is The Support?

How To Help

Life Update

The Need to Know with Lauren has been placed on hold for sometime now.

Since I initially made this blog for class it’s been on the back burner but I am still actively writing, shooting and reporting.

This summer I got to go to the east coast for the first time ever and I fell in love. I was interning with the House Majority PAC in D.C. and learned a plethora of information about congress and super PACs. Being in the office from 9-5 made me realize how much I love journalism, reporting and video editing.

As a young girl I always wanted to go to New York and I managed to do that along with Philly and of course Maryland and Virginia. From D.C. I flew to New Orleans for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention and had the time of my life. Attending the convention only connected me with journalists from everywhere and strengthened my networking skills.

New Orleans is very symbolic to me because my father and grandmother were born in Louisiana. I got to explore my roots and see the damages from Katrina and I met my grandfather for the first time ever.

Now that I am back in California I’m commuting to school which has been rough. I have five classes, two on-campus jobs, and I am vice president of CSUN’s NABJ chapter. I had to let go of the Valley Performing Arts Center sadly and now I am working at KCSN as a student assistant and at the Sundial as news editor. My goals this semester are to rebuild NABJ, find a broadcast internship and an apartment and finish strong in terms of my grades.

I miss D.C. tremendously and can’t wait to go back.

Here are some links to my most recent work:

Banned Books Week

OnPoint: Earthquake Prep and Readiness

President’s address

Multicultural Greeks

META+LAB and LinkedIn

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Police Veteran of 12 Years Shot and Killed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Early this morning a New York police officer of 12 years, was shot and killed in a New York Police Department vehicle in the Bronx.

NYPD officer, Miosotis Familia. Credit, Washington Post

Mother of three, Miosotis Familia, 48 was finishing up her shift around midnight when a man shot through the window of an NYPD command truck. Familia’s partner was sitting with her in the vehicle and called the dispatch for help.

The NYPD said, Familia was shot in the head and taken to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she died. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Familia was “assassinated in an unprovoked attack on cops.” Police encountered a man who was running a block away from the scene and identified him as the suspect.

Commissioner O’Neill said, Alexander Bonds, 34, allegedly pulled out a revolver as officers confronted him, and he was shot and killed by police. They recovered the revolver at the scene, and reported a bystander also being struck but in stable condition at the hospital.


With an unknown motive, there is no telling what could have been wrong with Bonds to make him shoot at a police car and a bystander. The 34-year-old served eight years for a robbery and had a criminal record for selling controlled substances. The New York Times reported about Bonds’ relationship with the police while in prison.

Situations similar to this add to the many problems the African American/ Black community face. Coming from prison Bonds likely needed help adjusting, the lack of protection in prisons and resources have now lead to two deaths and to a broken family. Familia leaves behind her 12-year-old twins and 20-year-old daughter.

Dispatch call audio: Intense: NYPD Bronx Dispatch Scanner Audio Officer Shot and killed in ambush Level 3 mobilization

By, Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, CNN, New York Times

Photos, Washington Post

Video, AudioScanner 


KING: No, I won’t be writing about black-on-black crime

Open Letter to White People Who Are Obsessed With Black-on-Black Crime

Why Black Lives Matter doesn’t focus on ‘black-on-black’ crime

The Importance of Resources After Jail

NORTHRIDGE, CA — For more than 30 years, Homeboy Industries and The Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles help former gang members and inmates by providing tattoo removal services, general education classes, and jobs.

Homeboy Industries Founder, Father Greg Boyle with current members. Credit, Homeboy Industries

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) in L.A. is a support network for formerly incarcerated men and women. Employees talk to inmates while they are inside so that when they get out they already have a network. The ARC provides clothes for inmates, if they need them or have an interview. The ARC is an inclusive and comfortable space for former inmates to interact and stay off the streets. Some members and employees get the opportunity to go on retreats and get out of the city. Allowing time to focus on their future, learn new skills, set goals, and relax.

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Credit, Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Adrian Vasquez is a Job Developer, In-Take Specialist at the ARC. He was incarcerated and took courses at a community college. Vasquez understands the lack of resources and wants inmates to have and participate in trade and rehabilitative programs.

Husband and father of six, Larry Butler started his own cleaning business. After serving nine years he could not find a job to support his family. He cleaned at the prison and started a residential and commercial cleaning business. Butler believes the support from his family and self-determination is the reason he was able to start the business. Butler struggled with reentry, and he lived in a small town that did not have nearby resources like Homeboy Industries or the ARC. Looking back he believes inmates need to be prepared for reentry. 



The U.S. Sentencing Commission found within two years after being released nearly half of former inmates go back to jail for another offense or a violation of their parole. Dr. Allen Lipscomb helping to start up a men’s transformation program in South L.A. He works in the Social Work Department at California State University, Northridge. With the new transformation program Dr. Lipscomb plans on bettering the community. He said, “If we help mitigate the recidivism rates if we mitigate the pipeline trajectory not only are we saving funds we’re saving lives.”

Homeboy Industries in L.A. gives gang-involved men and women free services. Not all members have been in prison or jail. Homeboy Industries has an 18 month program that employs more than 200 men and women helping them re-identify themselves in the community. Homeboy Industries manufactures food like chips and salsa, and baked goods. Homegirl Cafe is a place where L.A. residents go to buy coffee for their day, or sit down and eat. Member, Ruth Butler plans on becoming an OBGYN. For her Homeboy Industries is a place to ask for help, she said members “have assistance with counselors, case management, sometimes you just need to relax your mind and they give you that.”

Carlos Caballeros used to sell drugs, and when his step-father told him about Homeboy Industries he was hesitant. Caballeros is 20 years old and has a son and recently graduated from community college. He is in the 18 month program and gives tours to visitors he questioned where he would be without Homeboy Industries. During the tour he explained his growth since he’s been at Homeboy Industries, “I never liked to talk to people, I was always quiet, but now I’m a public speaker and I give tours to strangers.”  

The Washington Post reported that the United States has the highest prison population in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 2.3 million people in the U.S. are incarcerated.

Leaving Prison: How an Inmate Spent Her First Day Free

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Homeboy Industries, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Photos, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Homeboy Industries

Video, ABC News


Guards Have It Worse Than Inmates

Prisoners Are Too Comfortable

Prisons Have More Money Than Schools

Incarceration Is Expensive

Get The Proof Ready Nicki Minaj Might Pay Your Tuition Next

NORTHRIDGE, CA – One tweet from a fan turned into Nicki Minaj paying more than 30 of her fans’ student debt, tuition, and school supplies expenses, last night.

Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ

Three days ago Nicki Minaj’s music video for “Regret In Your Tears” was released. Minaj tweeted her fans of #TheKingdom, which is the new name of her fandom. She wanted to see them create their own #RegretInYourTears video with an app called, Musical.ly.

The app allows users to make videos with music and it is the largest and easiest platform for users to share videos. Musical.ly tweeted that Nicki Minaj would pick her favorite videos and pay for the creators’ flights to the Billboard Music Awards to hangout with her. Minaj also tweeted that first place winners may get to hangout in the studio with her and listen to unreleased music. Winners may be picked next week.

In a tweet the singer-rapper expanded the competition to all countries.

Credit, Twitter @NICKIMINAJ and @cjbydesign

After the tweet and reply, Minaj responded to 31 other fans on Twitter. The fans asked her to help them pay off their student loan debt, summer programs, tuition, room and board, meal plans, and class materials. The artist replied to the tweets asking for proof of their debt and grades. She also told them to direct message her their bank information.

Nicki Minaj is known for being an education advocate. She has made comments about young girls staying in school and getting their education in her lyrics, interviews, speeches after getting awards, and during her concerts.

Credit, BuzzFeed

The 34-year-old said she plans on paying more of her fans’ expenses in a month or two. Minaj has won more than 20 awards in the last 7 years. The estimated total of how much she gave to her fans is about $50,000.



CNN reported that 40 million Americans have at least one student loan according to Experian. MarketWatch said $1.2 trillion in student loan debt is stopping Americans from economic growth making them unable to purchase cars, and homes. Forbes said that in December 2016, the unemployment rate for college graduates was only 2.5 percent. Students prefer to work jobs that are not related to their major or dream career in order to pay off their debt and personal expenses. The student debt crisis makes it hard for some students and graduates to continue school.

Student Loan Debt

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Twitter, Forbes, CNN Money, MarketWatch

Photos, Twitter

GIF, BuzzFeed


Five Ways To Pay Off Student Loans

The Rich Don’t Give Their Money Away

Ten Reasons To Hate Nicki Minaj

Soccer Player Fights Racism

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Ghanaian central midfielder, Sulley Muntari said he has been abused multiple times after a racist experience last Sunday on the field during Serie A game against Cagliari. 

Sulley Muntari after he told the referee, “This is my color.” Credit, Ghana Soccer Net
In the last 10 minutes of the game, Cagliari fans started shouting racists chants. When Muntari heard the chants he tried to report the abuse of the small group in the crowd. Referee Daniele Minelli did not stop the game to address the situation. The 32-year-old went toward the small group, and the referee then booked the player.

The Pescara player walked off the field as a demonstration and he got another yellow card. After refusing to play, Muntari was suspended but on Friday the Italian Football Federation overturned the suspension.

When Muntari was with Internazionale he helped them win the Champions League in 2009 and 2010. Pescara is standing by Sulley Muntari, they released a statement to, “send a strong signal against racism, whether it’s done by one or 100 people.” The world football player’s union, FIFPro also supports Muntari’s decision to walk off the field. The union said, “We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari’s version of events, investigated why the situation was mismanaged and take firm action to ensure this never happens again.”



They also said, “Muntari was well within his rights to approach referee Daniele Minelli, as the first point of reference, to make his grievances known and seek a solution. Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.”

The husband and father, had an interview with CNN Sport. He told the interviewer this was not the first time he experienced racism. He said his cup was full and he could not take it anymore, and that he is human. The interview was very emotional. Muntari is not the only international soccer player who has experienced racism. Mario Balotelli, Scott Sinclair, and Medhi Benatia have also experienced racism on the field.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 8.34.11 PM.png
Credit, CNN
According to a research analysis from University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, last year there were 104 racist incident reports in sports internationally.

Black and White:The Evolution of Racism in Sports (DOCUMENTARY)

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, Football Italia, ABC, Mirror, Black America Web , CNN

Photos, Ghana Soccer Net, CNN

Video, Nick Parr


UEFA Has Been Fighting Racism

Colin Kaepernick and Racism in America

Commentator Says Racism Doesn’t Exist

Malaria Vaccines To Be Tested In Africa Next Year

NORTHRIDGE, CA – In 2018, malaria vaccines will be tested on 360,000 babies and children in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi. 

Credit, Al Jazzera

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 200-million malaria cases worldwide in 2015. Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease, it affects people and animals.

RTS,S also known as, MosquiriX is a vaccine that is said to be injected in four doses. Next year, doctors and WHO officials are hoping the vaccine will work under real-life circumstances.

Africa has the highest number of malaria cases. In 2015, WHO estimated 429,000 deaths globally because of malaria, 92% of those deaths were in Africa. Kenya and Ghana are countries on the edge of Africa, right next to the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean. Malawi has a large lake of more than 11-thousand square miles.

Mosquitoes are attracted to sweat and live in water their first days, they need it to reproduce. Once a mosquito bites parasites are released into the bloodstream.

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The amount of malaria cases and deaths have both gone down more than 40% but this new vaccine is expected to close the 43% gap of unprotected people. Not having access to nets and bugs spray tests has affected pregnant women and their babies, men, and children.

Malaria is very life-threatening, it can cause: organ failure, swollen brain blood vessels, too much fluid in the lungs, anemia, and low blood sugar. The parasites make treatments and drugs ineffective.

WHO made April 25, 2017, World Malaria Day. The organization asked for serious help to improve the access to life-saving prevention tools.

The shrinking malaria map. Credit, The Economist

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, The World Health Organization, Malaria Vaccine Initiative, Healthline, BBC, Mega Catch

Photos, Al Jazzera, The Economist


Mosquitoes and Their Types

What Took So Long?

Malaria Myths

Rape Laws in Maryland Change and Remain

NORTHRIDGE, CA – Maryland Governor signed bills making it easier to prosecute rapists and an all male panel failed to end the Rape Custody Bill Tuesday morning. 

Credit, Rolling Stone

Maryland changed their definition of rape with SB 217. Maryland rape victims do not need to prove how they physically resisted against their attackers. Gov. Larry Hogan signed a new bill in the second signing ceremony at the State House. Before the Rape and Physical Resistance Bill, victims had to show evidence of trying to physically fight off or show lack of consent to charge perpetrators with rape or a sexual offense. Gov. Larry Hogan signed around 11 more bills with the intention of reforming sexual assault investigations.

BuzzFeed News did an investigation last year and found that some detectives were dismissing rape cases before looking into them. Alleged rapists would never know of the accusation because they would not be questioned by officers. BuzzFeed said cases would be ruled as “unfounded,” meaning false or baseless. Maryland reportedly had 42 unfounded cases. BuzzFeed’s analysis shows that this is an issue across the nation.Image result for trader joe's logo


The Rape Custody Bill remains the same. Five male legislators failed to pass the Rape Survivor Family Protection Act on the last day of the State’s General Assembly session. The Rape Survivor Family Protection Act was introduced by Maryland Delegate Kathleen Dumais. If the act would have passed, women who were raped would be allowed to block rapists’ parental rights. The panel reportedly ran out of time. Dumais has been working on this issue for the last 10 years.

“About 5% of women of reproductive age who are raped become pregnant,” according to The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault. The assembly will not meet to discuss the proposal until next year in January.

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, BuzzFeed, Time, CNN, Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Photo, Rolling Stone


Maryland Bills Signed by Governor Hogan

RAINN Hotline

Get Custody

Her Child’s Father is Her Rapist

Separated Dads and Rape

UPDATE: Facebook Murder Suspect Killed Himself

NORTHRIDGE, CA – The man who broadcasted the killing of a 74-year-old man on Facebook, killed himself in Pennsylvania after a police chase Tuesday morning.

Related image
Left: Steven Stephens during Facebook video. Right: Robert Godwin Sr. moments before he was shot and killed. Credit, BizPacReview

Police got a call from an employee who spotted Stephens’s white Ford Fusion in a McDonald’s drive-thru near Eerie, Pennsylvania. State police troopers were chasing Stephens and even rammed his car with the attempt to disable it. While the car was spinning out of control, police said, “Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.”

The search for Steven Stephens was in five states according to CNN. The mayor of Cleveland announced anyone with information on Stephens’s whereabouts would have been rewarded $50,000. The mayor also mentioned that there are no reports about the 13 other people Stephens said he killed, in another video.

The 37-year-old went live on Facebook, Sunday afternoon. One of Stephens’s friends posted a video and said he suffers from mental illness and depression. He also asked for prayers because his friend was armed and dangerous.

He then posted a video of himself getting out of his car approaching Robert Godwin Sr. Stephens asked Godwin to say the name “Joy Lane”, who is Stephens’s ex-girlfriend. Godwin said he didn’t know anyone named Joy Lane and Stephens then said, “She is the reason why this is about to happen to you.” Then shot and killed Godwin. Steven Stephens was driving a white Ford Fusion, with temporary Ohio tags.

Image result for robert godwin sr. steven stephens
Credit, The Sun

The video of Stephens shooting Godwin was taken down from Facebook after three hours. Godwin’s family does not want the video to be shared because they do not want him to be remembered by the way he died. The YouTube videos that were shared are also

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Godwin had ten children. He was walking home from an Easter dinner with his family. There is a GoFundMe Account set-up to help the victim and family. The account has already raised more than $48,000.

Steven Stephens: “I’m going to kill as many people as I can.”

By Lauren Turner Dunn

Contributions from, CNN, ABC

Photos, BizPacReview, The Sun

Video, LucidVisuals


Who is Joy Lane?

Facebook Says They Need To Do Better

Who is Steven Stephens?