U.S. Army infantryman J.R. Martinez was only 19 when he was deployed to Iraq, in 2003. Less than a month into his tour of duty with the elite 101st Airborne, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb. The vehicle was thrown into the air, ejecting three other soldiers. Martinez, trapped inside, was engulfed in flames. The skin on his face, arms and hands burned away.
Liz Murray's childhood was bleak. Her drug-addicted parents kept a ready-supply of heroin in their family home in the Bronx -- but no food. At 15, Murray's mother died of complications from HIV/AIDS and her terminally ill father moved to a shelter, leaving her homeless. She and her sister ate from dumpsters and rode the subways at night, imagining a better life.
Even before she was bullied, before she became a role model for victims of schoolyard tormentors and those struggling with mental illness, songstress Demi Lovato knew she wanted to give back. Now, at 20, as an official Ambassador for We Day and Free The Children, Lovato has been busy making a difference. Watch and find out what helping others means to Demi Lovato.
Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair became Manitoba's first Aboriginal Judge. Later Justice Sinclair was appointed co-commissioner of Manitoba's Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. Today, as Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, he is building a lasting and meaningful legacy for every Canadian.
The trouble with Lance Armstrong's fall from grace is that he wasn't just a sports hero; he was a self-styled symbol of hope. Which is why we're all left wondering: does his doping confession negate his charitable work? Candidly, we're conflicted. Some of the onus for Armstrong's fall lies on our cultural tendency to elevate celebrities and sports idols to too-good-to-be-true status, then crucify them in the court of public opinion at their every transgression.
Print journalism is changing fundamentally. Three dramatic events last week make the point: On October 18, Newsweek magazine announced it will become a digital only publication in 2013, ending 80 years in print. Newspapers have failed, so far, to acquire the skill sets required for print journalism in the 21st century.
Last night I stood in the kind of hip club space I haven't visited since my 20s, jammed with nominees for the annual Canadian Online Publishing Awards. That spirit of course imbues our own upstart site here at HuffPost Canada, which was nominated for no fewer than eight awards. You can imagine how proud I was, as the former Managing Editor of Blogs here, to see our talented writers walk away with both the Gold and Silver awards for Best Blog in the daily and weekly newspapers, and broadcasters category.
So declared our main news splash on Thursday, announcing the birth of two new regional editions of HuffPost, in Alberta and British Columbia. As other major media organizations across the country lay off staff and shutter their presses, HuffPost's expansion west is good news -- great news -- for readers who are rapidly running out of sources of local news and opinion. Meanwhile it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas -- which is a parent's way of saying it's Back to School time. I need advice on how to a contrive a sympathetic and sorrowful look on my face when my kids and I bump into the stacks of school supplies at the mall. My impulse is to shout, "YES!"
Huffington Post's big western Canadian debut this week. After all, for anyone interested in the emergence of real, substantial alternatives -- in both reporting and editorializing -- to the stagnant status quo of the western establishment press, it's hard to deny that the web's where it's at. The political backdrop accompanying this western release could not bode more auspicious either, considering the substantial partisan evolution both British Columbia and Alberta are undergoing at the moment.
Politics is to religion, like oil is to water, they just don't mix. Recently, UNESCO politicized religion by labelling Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity as an endangered world heritage site, despite the fact that the UN's own experts investigating the state of the Church's premises concluded that the building is not in any urgent danger and that PA hype is just hot political air.
Well, it was quite the week -- beginning with a showy demonstration of fireworks for the visiting Royals and ending with demonstrations by thousands of student protestors in downtown Montreal. In between, HuffPost Canada celebrated its first birthday with quite the party. Our own royalty, HRH Arianna was, in attendance -- and our blogger, Lord Black, made his first big public appearance since being released from prison on May 4.
What a birthday celebration that was! The true definition of a cocktail mixer ... a superb and beautifully balanced blend of present and past political leaders, artists, publishers, prominent Bay Streeters, celebrated journalists, social entrepreneurs, dreamy young interns, our very own national corporate celebrity felon and -- of course -- the one and only Arianna Huffington.
The Huffington Post is a disruptor. A year after we launched, I can confidently say the readers are coming: As of April, 2.9 million Canadians visited Huffington Post sites to the tune of 415 million page views. We have a tone and personality, and it helps us connect to our audience. It is part of our identity and I think you love us for that.
As you boot up your computer bleary-eyed this morning, groping about for your cup of coffee, I'm going to be that peppy friend across the table who is just so GOSH DARN EXCITED it's the new year! And do you know WHY I'm so excited?! (C'mon ask me, ask me!!)
Because it's the first new year you can start your day with The Huffington Post CANADA. YES! How sweet is that, eh? Canada news, Canada blogs, Canada celebs, Canada style, cute Canadian kitties on YouTube...