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, 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!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How easy can it get?

You don't have to worry about finding news. The news will find you. NBC News is now extending their services way beyond the traditional means of dispersing news.

As of Monday, news can now be watched in the form of video podcasts. The reason for this technological addition is simple.
"It makes sense to provide the content to viewers in whatever format they prefer," deputy editor Randy Stearns said. He said that still believes that streaming ad-supported video-on-demand is what users want.
News is everywhere and it's important that people keep up to date with the news. In a world like ours, we're always on the go. Therefore, as news hungry people, we need more options available. If we miss the televised version of the 6:00 news there's no worries -- get online and download the video podcast version.

As long as the news remains accessible to readers who want it and can get it on their own time, multiple options in the news field is the way to go.

Monday, November 06, 2006

No more ads please!

Great, here comes more ads to our newspapers. Google Inc. is experimenting with the sale of print ads for newspapers in hopes that it turns out better than last year.

Google is attempting to simplify the process of selecting ads by allowing companies to bid on the ads according to their size, section and days offered.
"We need to figure out whether the upsides outweigh the downsides, and we won't know that until the test is done," said Tara Connell, corporate communications vice president for Gannett Co., which has eight of its 90 daily newspapers, not including USA Today, participating in the test.
Google's first intention is to have the testing period be free. The online mega-company will later be charging a fee for these featured ads. Online companies are looking backwards to attract a specific audience by reverting back to print. This should be interesting for newspapers to hear.

I feel the addition of more ads to our newspapers will kill off even more of its loyal readers. More ads means less space for actual news. You can compare this to listening to a radio station for solely the musical aspect and in turn you get more talk commercials than actual music. This doesn't make any sense.

Working together is a plus

Education poses as a life saver for the Washington Post. As other newspaper company's futures look pretty dull, the Washington Post takes a different stride.

The company is incredibly grateful for its ties with Kaplan Higher Education.
"In the years to come, Kaplan will become a bigger and bigger part of our total business," said Donald Graham, the company's chairman and CEO, in his annual letter to shareholders. "This will change our company."
Kaplan really stepped it up for the Washington Post by boosting its revenue to an 8% gain. Teaming up with other companies may not be a bad idea if it means saving your own business. Selecting an education company as its division was a smooth choice by the Washington Post, because there will always be a need and profit for learning.

Everyone likes free stuff

The New York Times has hooked up with Royal Philips Electronics to offer free access of its online source, Times Select. This limited time procedure will take place today and will expire Nov. 12.
Times Select has 551,000 subscribers, according to spokeswoman Diane McNulty. About 35 percent of them pay for it directly, while 65 percent get it as part of their regular subscription to the print edition of the newspaper.
The company is hopeful to attract more future online subscribers to boost the loss of revenue from the print side of the paper. A few extra perks will also be a part of this new package.

The New York Times could be hot on the trail of something big. It wasn't long ago that phone companies had trial-run texting free of charge. Texting now has a small cost attached but has not scared away users by any means. If Times Select can continue giving readers good bait, chances are they'll get some big catches.