Oh, Canada! (Country Change; Proposal Memo #2)

No, Canada is not another state. Located in the northern region of North of America, the country borders itself with the United States and is home to 35 million inhabitants. English and French are the two dominant languages, particularly in vastly populated urban areas: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

With recent headlines surrounding an attack on a mosque and the recent arrest of a dual citizen to have been part of the alleged Russian hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the country has emerged as a hot topic of sorts when it comes to extradition, emigration, and how the U.S. financial shift will affect the nation.

I’m looking to delve deeper into what makes Canada stand out as a country that provides universal healthcare to its citizens, still has close ties to its British mother, but remains as politically independent as any nation can be.

Ranked 18th on the 2016 list of World Press Freedoms, the country’s journalists enjoy more freedom than that of the United States, which is ranked 41st.

Italian Food Customs (Pitch)

When planning a trip to Italy, or any destination outside of the comfort of your own home, one thing that you should always consider even before picking the most cost effective airline and hotel, or the best spots to visit, is the various types of food that your destination is best known for. Embedded, however, in the fine food is the customs you should become aware of, particularly before arriving in the country.

When I traveled to Italy in December 2016, I found that it’s not just which utensil to use for the right dish, it’s also how you eat that matters. In many cultures, manners DO matter.

In Italy, you are supposed to drink your coffee after your entire meal, not before. Unless otherwise noted, you are not to tip your waiter as they are paid based on the service fee already included in your bill. Water is provided by the bottle and not the glass, which you can choose either sparkling or distilled. Bread is a desert and should be enjoyed as such. It shouldn’t be dipped in olive oil like we are accustomed in the United States. You should also be aware that it is custom for the customer to inform their waiter that they are done with their meal as waiters aren’t expected to take dishes off your table, or provide you with your bill until you indicate to them that you are ready for either something more or to complete your time at the restaurant.

Had I not known some of the above customs, I, as an American, would probably get dirty looks from those surrounding me, particularly the expected “that American” when American customs and culture intrude on the customs of the destination outside the U.S.

Website such as Walks of Italy, Reveal Drome and Never Ending Voyage provide good insight on the do’s and don’ts of eating in Italy, but there few resources available that provide a journalistic viewpoint on what to do and what not to do when visiting the foreign destination. I’m looking to provide a mix of firsthand perspective and interviews with Italian Americans, and Italians living in the country, alongside those who have visited the country themselves and have had both good and bad experiences to determine if there is truly a culture clash or just particular destinations within Italy that creates the stigma of eating culture.

— Errol L.





Lewis, Errol – Beat Memo (Italy)

After traveling to Italy for the first time as part of my international traveling debut during Christmas 2016, I was surprised to find that what people have told me about the country, its traditions and its culture were not just words, but there was some truth to what they said. The country is stunning. The roads were clear of pot holes, gum indentations, its people were classy and they respected their visitors. That’s not to say it is the happiest place on earth – this isn’t Walt Disney World, after all.

Part of the European Union, Italy is a country made up of nearly 60 million people, including clusters of Albanian, Greek, German, French and Slovene-Italians, according to infoplease.com. The population has grown steadily since the World Bank kept records of population growth per country dating back to 1960, when Italy had just over 50 million people. Italy became a nation-state in 1861, according to the CIA, during a time when regional states were united under King Victor EMMANUEL II. Italy is member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Economic Community (EEC). While the country is known for its vast lands, religious prowess and proximity to much of the Eastern world (located in Southern Europe), the country is often finding itself in debt due to poor economic growth, high unemployment rates with young people and females, and a decent amount of organized crime and corruption. The median age of an Italian is 45.1 years, while population growth is estimated to be 0.23% for 2016.

The capital of Italy is Rome, where much of their religious identity stems. 80% of Italians are Christian with Muslims, atheist and agnostic individuals, among others, making up the remaining 20%.In Italy the pre-dominant language spoken by its people is Italian. Other languages spoken by people residing in the country, albeit not large numbers, include Albanian, Bavarian, Catalan, Cimbrian, Corsican, Croatian, Emiliano-Romagnolo, Franco-Provencal, French, Friulian, German, Greek, Italkian, Ladin, Ligurian, Lombard, Mocheno, Napotelano-Calabrese, Piemontese, Provencal, Romani, Sardinian, Sicilian, Slovenian, Venetian and Wasler.

For native English speakers, TheLocal.IT is a great resource of information on the happenings in Italy. Another resource for information is the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), which provides news coverage for many European countries, albeit not as tight as they cover the United Kingdom. The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The New York Times are just some of the news outlets that cover Italy in more intimate ways. However, for best coverage you’ll find them directly from such national news outlets such as broadcast media Radio 24, RAI News, TGCom.

NPR – Errol Lewis

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., National Public Radio (NPR) is a broadcasting and media production organization established in February 1970, but did not begin broadcasting until 1971, by Bill Siemering. The radio network is made up of approximately 900 radio stations across the United States.

NPR prides itself on getting their news in methods that the average journalist might not utilize, including “bunkers, streets, alleys, jungles and deserts around the world.” They also highlight their diverse workforce made up of engineers, editors, inventors and visionaries.

In a case study by FAIR.rog, NPR has been accused of having elitist and influential guests during their broadcasts whose views do not represent that of the American public.


National Plutocrat Radio

Errol Lewis – Italy and Switzerland

After taking my first international trip in December 2016, I was fascinated with the differences in cultures from surrounding nations. One is on the brink of bankruptcy according to some economists and the other is notorious for allowing corrupt millionaires to hide their American dollars behind the walls of a rich nation’s creative laws. As an American citizen traveling from one country to the next via rental car, I found out just how easy it was for an individual to make their mark in one country and another soon after as boarder crossing is very lax between the two nations. From an immigrant perspective, the ability to travel is an easy one but if this were America, we’d be hearing loud and proud individuals making their voices heard.