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In the 1989 “Back to the Future” sequel, Marty McFly travels to Oct. 21, 2015. The newsroom answers: Where do you see yourself in a year? What will the world be like?

Hayat Norimine / Medill Reports



2014 Medill News Rap Battle



Cowboys on Capitol Hill


George Martin, a member of The Grass March Cowboy Express, rode 2,800 miles on horseback to get the attention of the Bureau of Land Management.

WASHINGTON — A band of cowboys (and girls) rode on horseback towards Capitol Hill Thursday, demanding a Nevada representative of the Bureau of Land Management be fired.

The troupe, going by the name of The Grass March Cowboy Express, started the journey in Point Reyes, Calif., but hails from Battle Mountain, Nev. They set out on horseback Sept 26 with 11 riders traveling at any given time. Support crew members drove vans and pulled horse trailers, following closely behind. They traveled towards the East Coast with petitions in hand and stopped in towns along the way to rally support and fund raise for the trip.

The group’s main grievance is what it calls “regulation without representation” on behalf of the Nevada branch of the BLM, and say their grazing rights for cattle have been drastically reduced.

“The BLM has so much power that they can come out and say that you’ve overgrazed,” said Kelly Martin, a member of the Cowboy Express standing outside the National Museum of the American Indian Thursday morning.


A member of The Grass March Cowboy Express locks a horse trailer parked on Maryland Avenue Thursday.

Police had blocked off the stretch of Maryland Avenue in front of the museum for the group to park their trailers, horses and vans. When the Medill reporters showed up at the makeshift home base Thursday morning, all but four members of the group had left to find lunch.

"The BLM says it’s because of drought conditions,” Martin said, “but the grass is the best grass year we’ve had in years.”

The Bureau of Land Management has different records. According to a statement from the agency, Nevada is in its third year of severe drought.

“This prolonged dry period has impacted a broad range of public land resources,” the statement read, “including the amount of grass and forage that is available for wildlife and cattle.”

A spokeswoman for the BLM said, via phone, that the cowboys did not meet with anyone from the agency Thursday, despite an invitation from director Neil Kornze. This could have been an opportunity for the group to talk about why they want Doug Furtado, the manager of the Nevada branch of the BLM, fired.

George Martin, Kelly Martin’s father, was one of the few left behind on Maryland Avenue. Now retired, he used to be a cowboy for a ranch in the Battle Mountain area.

“The BLM, they make a rule,” George Martin said, “but they don’t talk to us about it.”  

After The Grass March Cowboy Express reaches the coast of Maryland Friday, the troupe will turn around and head west.

“The trip home isn’t going to be a lot better than the trip here,” said the older Martin.



Two reporters go to Capitol Hill



Washington DC: People on the street talk about what do they think are Ebola symptoms.



North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has been out of the public eye for over 38 days. Where in the world is he? The newsroom’s got some theories.

Hayat Norimine / Medill News Service



The First Lady hosted a fashion workshop at the White House today, inviting the question: Who is the greater style icon - Michelle Obama or Jackie O?

Natalie Pacini / Medill News Service

Doctors say medical school needs a revamp

WASHINGTON – Learning anatomy and biochemistry might help medical students diagnose diseases, but possessing “emotional intelligence” and teamwork skills will turn them into good physicians, prominent doctors stressed Wednesday.

“If you came down from Mars, you’d think we were really smart, really analytic,” said Stephen Klasko, president of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia. “But we’re not really nice people.”

Speaking at the “Hospital of Tomorrow” conference hosted by U.S. News & World Report, Klasko argued for changing medical school admission standards to include subjective factors along with objective criteria.

“When you think about it, we still today accept students pretty much based on GPA and MCATs and organic chemistry grades,” he said. “Then somehow we’re amazed that doctors aren’t empathetic and uniquely creative.”

Medical school curricula should focus more on teaching doctors to be sensitive to patients’ needs, said Klasko and Michael Williams, president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center. During his years practicing, Williams said he “saw physicians who couldn’t talk to families.”

The bedside manner problem is driven by a medical school culture that places too much emphasis on results, rather than competency, Klasko and Williams explained. Because of that culture, students are more likely to focus their efforts solely on performing well and passing the three-step United States Medical Licensing Examination – the passage of which is needed to practice – and less on factors like leadership and technical skills.

Solving the problem needs to come from the top, the panelists said. They stressed that accreditors need to shift medical school admission and curricula standards.

“The simple fact is we need to make bold moves,” Klasko said. “We need to start to select folks differently and get people who will be great doctors who might have not been the ones literally studying their botany or physiology and not doing anything else –  and changing it so it’s not as USMLE-oriented, so that it’s also partly how you deal with patients.”

-Jani Actman



The World Hickory Open is underway in Scotland.

Do you know what that means? No? then click and learn. Also, check out our views on the unique sport .




The Supreme Court Monday refused to hear any cases involving gay marriage. As a result, same-sex marriage will now be legal in 11 states where it was previously banned: Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Gay marriage is now legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia. Here’s a look at Twitter’s reaction to the news.



The GOP is trying a new and unusual method of fundraising for this November’s midterm elections. They’re offering “a pair of special-edition Patriotic George H.W. Bush Socks.”

"President George H.W. Bush is legendary for his bold leadership — and even bolder socks," a GOP email reads.

The 41st president is known for his love of humorous socks. His presidential library hosted a “crazy sock” contest on former President Bush’s 90th birthday, and last year he gifted President Obama a pair.

No word on whether Obama has worn the socks in public.

Some strategists blamed the GOP’s lack of an online presence for Mitt Romney’s defeat in the 2012 Presidential election. The “wacky socks strategy” could be part of an attempt to humanize the party with the internet generation. Last month, Republicans rolled out a Twitter hashtag, #IAmARepublican, but it was quickly and thoroughly hijacked by Twitter users on the left.

The George H.W. Bush socks have a limited run of 1000 pairs and come with a donation of $41.




We asked reporters and editors in Medill’s DC office: what do you think about Ebola in the U.S.?