Comm issues

This is my blog site I'll be using for my Mass Comm & Society class as well as my Editing/Design class. I will be posting my thoughts on topics that I feel need noted upon that arise in class.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stories = boring news without pictures

What's a story without pictures? I don't know about you, but a picture is usually what first draws my attention to a story. There's a new rumor about photojournalism jobs slowly disappearing.
They can’t possibly compete in the media-sphere of the future. We’re entering a world of ubiquitous media creation and access. When the tools of creation and access are so profoundly democratized, and when updated business models connect the best creators with potential customers, many if not most of the pros will fight a losing battle to save their careers.
In an era when news organizations are whacking away at staff as fast as they can, the pressure to use what the community can provide will be irresistible given the money it will save.
I really hope this isn't what newspaper companies have wound down to in order to save a little money. How is a paper supposed to retain any aesthetic qualities? I feel elminating photojournalism jobs would definitely do more harm than help.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Is change worth the risk?

Some papers, like The Wall Street Journal, would answer "yes" to this question. They are currently redesigning the look of their paper to save money.

Paul Steiger, The Wall Street Journal's managing editor, elaborates on the paper's upcoming design.
So the way we've adapted the print paper is to make it more user-friendly, have greater recognition that many if not all of our readers will know what yesterday's announcement news was, to devote more of our space to added value.
We are squeezing the size of announcement news and devoting more of the space to stuff that may spring from news that everybody knows but where we've added value. And also devoted more space to stuff that's entirely our own.
There are many pros and cons to redesigning a paper, especially if it's been around awhile. The paper should be easy to navigate and should remain recognizable. Familiarity is an important element that long-time readers desire, and it also establishes tradition. Hopefully this change gives The Wall Street Journal a hitch in their step and not a bullet in their own foot.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

I want to talk about me

Newspaper columnists shouldn't be drawing a blank on what to write about. Write about yourselves! Newspaper companies all over are encountering big changes left and right, front and behind.

You don't have to search the Internet or flip too many pages to find what I'm talking about. "Editor quits paper", "Tribune blasted for cutting staff", and "Newpapers expect another hit". It's never-ending.
The more journalism declines into depression and general dysfunction, the more journalists and other media types obsess about themselves.
A reader can't escape the media news on the media. The stories in tangible papers don't end there -- they continue onto websites, and then to blogs and RSS Feeds. Can all this talk about themselves even begin to solve any paper problems?

Searching for the perfect cast

Mel Gibson is at it again as a film director! Gibson's new movie, "Apocalypto", is about a Mayan civilization coming to an end.

When creating films about different cultures, the directors and their company must take into great consideration how it will viewed by those from that particular ethnicity. Offending these people wouldn't just be embarrassing; it would also rip apart the director's entire career.

Gibson and filmmakers looked long and hard for the perfect cast to accurately portray Mayan people for the film.
He wanted an indigenous cast for the project, so the filmmakers found people from the Yucatan, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Xalapa, Veracruz and other spots. Two of the cast members are from the United States, three are from Canada and the rest hail from Central America.
Finding the correct and best casting members can easily make or break a movie. If a film dealing with ethnicity is casted well, it not only makes the director look good but it also gives acting opportunities to a wider range of people. A realistic cast also enables a better learning experience to the viewers.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Consequences of exaggeration

How professional is it to exaggerate a story? What if it will help bring awareness to an issue? A Maryland newspaper editor wrote an article about teens and the so-called "sex parties" in one particular county. The problem is no one seems to know how reliable his sources were.
Cindy Marucci-Bosley, women's health program manager for the Carroll County Health Department, told The Examiner that "There's a huge number of 16- and 17- year-olds who say they've had 30 or 40 [sex] partners." She later said she had been misquoted by the paper; she had allegedly qualified her statement to say that the girls had 30 or 40 sex partners over the course of their lives, not in one particular evening. "Everyone kept adding things," she said later at a presentation to parents in Westminster, "and making assumptions you just can't make." She says she heard about the parties from Mark Yount, a Carroll County drug counselor.
Larry Leitch, health officer for the Carroll County Health Department, heard of the teen-sex parties from Marucci-Bosley, who says she heard it from Yount, who, in turn, says two teenagers told him. Despite the recent media coverage, though, Leitch says he doesn't know whether the rumors reported are true.

This issue should make any journalist question if this article was appropriate or not to print regarding the sources used. It seems to me the majority of the information used in the article was from traveling rumors and shouldn't have been printed. Yet on the other hand, this is an urgent issue that needs to have attention brought to it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Newspapers undergo critique

Enough of this negative junk! We want to hear some positive action with newspaper businesses. An article from reports about the top ten papers in the country.

Howard Kurtz, a media reporter for The Washington Post since 1990, discusses specific articles written in the past, how newspapers covered and dealt with these issues, and also the new inovations of podcasting and more.
"I think that the NYT, LAT, WP and WSJ are widely seen as in the top tier of American newspapers, and the Chicago Tribune and Boston Globe a notch below," Kurtz says.
Having papers be critiqued by "professional" personel should be a positive action. Just like anything else in the world, everything could use some change so they can improve their chances of becoming better.

The spirit of Christmas is already here

There are so many classical and traditional holiday movies out that it becomes a seasonal ritual to sit down and watch those that you've grown up with year after year. One of these movies is "The Nativity Story".

This movie serves as a newer version of the real Christmas story. Mel Gibson has already proved to be a worthy film director with his big hit with "Passion of the Christ" in 2004. This movie has big shoes to fill.

"The Nativity Story" has it all: Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem, King Herod's order to slay the first-born over his paranoia about prophecies of a new king, the angel Gabriel's appearance to shepherds in the field, the trek of the Three Magi from the East.
The story of Joseph and Mary's journey is a classical example of the typical narrative pattern with the first stable situation evolving into a disruption and then being resolved into the second stable situation.

While you're on your holiday break, you certainly won't have to worry about being bored. Just jump in your car, take a seat in the movie theatre with some popcorn, and you're set!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Slide across the ice to your seat!

Numerous movies are scheduled to come out over the holidays Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the major family movies featured is "Happy Feet", which is expected to be an avalanche at the box office.

So why the choice of penguins in an animated film?

"I was amazed that these creatures, half the size of human beings, lived by community in this very immense and harsh landscape - very beautiful, but very tough landscape," marvels George Miller, movie director. "And they did it by sharing the warmth, by basically sharing energy. When I knew that they sang to each other to find a mate, I was really blown away by that."

The audience for "Happy Feet" isn't just targeted toward the little ones because adults, too, will enjoy this film. This movie stars the voices of Robbin Williams, Elijah Wood, and other well-known actors and actresses.

"Happy Feet" is a great example of a generic hybrid. The movie contains the genres of Action/Adventure, Kids/Family, Musical/Performing Arts and Animation. Adults will also get their dose of comedy from the expected wise-crack jokes coming from Williams' character.

Spirits of all will be running high and jokes and laughter will be plentiful inside theatres with "Happy Feet" over the holidays beginning Nov. 17.

College papers stand and deliver

Successful college newspapers are now catching the eye of large newspaper corporations. These papers prove college students are the perfect group to target with their many needs and spending decisions.

Dina Pradel, general manager of Y2M, explains the reason why college papers are successful is very clear.

"The typical campus audience they cater to is 'a very attractive demographic,' a group whose members will spend $1 million or more in buying things and services over a lifetime. While in college, many students will be making major first-time purchasing decisions - cars, insurance, electronics - a market advertisers dearly covet."

Interesting enough, with the scare of print edition of papers burning out like a light bulb, there's still a high percentage of students who are still reading their campus paper via print edition. These numbers have remained consistent over the past few years.

I believe students will continue to read their campus paper simply because it's got the news that's directly happening in their life and it's typically written by their peers and classmates. It's also a plus, atleast on our campus, college papers are delivered directly to every single student's mailbox making it readily available.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Let's make a change

Does the question 'Maybe I should do something now?" only arise if your company is on the verge of death? The Washington Post executive editor, Leonard Downie Jr., just now sent out a memo proposing new changes to be made to increase print circulation, boost the numbers of Web readers and reduce costs in the newsroom.

Downie refers to his action as an "opportunity to transform journalism for a new era."

It appears that The Washington Post is making changes to ensure that readers will get news that they can't get anywhere else.

"We are moving reporters and editors within and among staffs to accomplish this. In particular, we are moving a number of reporters from general assignment positions to more specific assignments and beats. We also are centralizing reporting and editing of some core subjects across staff lines...."
Downie remains optimistic about these new changes with the paper.

"This remains a challenging time, but also one of great opportunity. Even as we reduce newsroom staff and costs, we will have amply sufficient staff and talent to make this transformation."
I applaud the initiative Downie is taking, but are these new adjustments really going to make a difference in print circulation? The ease of retrieving news via websites seems to outweigh the action of having to walk to your front door or mailbox, pick up the paper, sit down, then flip the pages open to your desired section. Online users are also ensured they won't have any missing pages or smudged print, unlike the tangible news item.

Wow, there really is a connection!

I don't know about you, but my mother has a hard time navigating around the Internet let alone working her own email. So, as a college student, it seems so unreal that "old people" make up the majority of people who use YouTube.

This just proves that conversion technology is not just a young person craze.

Having MySpace as part of their daily ritual, young people still undoubtedly make up a huge number of video viewers. Also, music videos are ten times more likely to be viewed by a teenager or college student. This is why it seems so shocking that the average age of U.S. viewers is an ancient 39.
According to data compiled by Nielsen/NetRatings, comScore and Quantcast, Web surfers ages 35 to 64 make up anywhere from 48% to 65% of YouTube's audience.
I would think twice next time you think about putting a video online that documents your late night activities. Your mother could be watching it for Heaven's sake!