prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Archive for February, 2010

Can Anyone be a Journalist?

Posted by prof e on February 27, 2010

By now you may have heard the term “citizen journalist.” The idea is that as newspapers and news magazine fold, professional journalists will go the way of the dinosaur. In their place will rise up a league of citizen journalists who will report, write and publish the new news. Because the barrier to entry is so low, anyone with a computer and some rudimentary computer skills can own and operate the “press.” Thanks to the internet they can also reach a global audience.

We already have citizens doing the jobs of professionals. Typically they do the job for less, often for free, and the final product often reflects that. We have citizen barbers. You can recognize their kids by their trendy, non-symmetrical haircuts. We have citizen graphic artists…who feature their work on the sides of railroad cars and vacant buildings. And we have citizen pharmacists…sometimes we refer to them as drug dealers. Okay, I’m being just a bit facetious and completely unfair, but you get my point. If everyone could do it, and do a good job, there would be no need for professionals. So my question is: can anyone be a news reporter…and if so, why have we had professional journalists all these years?

Personal note to Dr. Ross…just playing devil’s advocate for a moment. 😀


Posted in journalism, new media | 28 Comments »

It’s Almost Oscar Time

Posted by prof e on February 22, 2010

The 82nd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards show, aka the Oscars, is just 12 days away. For the first time since 1943, ten films are up for Best Picture. Some speculators are predicting that Avatar will take home the gold. But there are some reasons to doubt. Avatar didn’t win a best screenplay nomination and none of the actors were nominated for their roles.

There will be awards for best actor, best actress, best director, best costume design, best makeup, best editing, best visual effects, best sound mixing, best…well, you get the idea. This is a big party and lots and lots of accolades will be distributed to the best and the brightest. For a partial list of nominees, see the Oscar website.

Two of the films up for best director are Avatar and The Hurt Locker. Both films have been nominated in eight categories in addition to Best Director. Directors James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow are not only competitors, they were husband and wife for a couple of years about 20 years ago.

As a fan of documentary films I will be watching to see which film wins in this category. I’m pulling for Food, Inc. Here’s a documentary that will make you want to go out and buy five acres, some chickens, goats, steers and take up farming and ranching. Any documentary that can make me reconsider eating meat (or at least meat produced on factory farms) deserves some kind of award.

The hosts of this years show are Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin. The broadcast, by ABC TV network, will air on Sunday, March 7th and will originate from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Posted in film, media industry | 12 Comments »

Battle of the Titans

Posted by prof e on February 18, 2010

Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates? Google vs Yahoo? NYT vs Washington Post? Nope! American Idol vs the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games on NBC. This week saw the ever-popular Olympic games up against the Fox reality TV powerhouse American Idol. Early ratings suggest that the match is tied at 1 and 1. Fox took the title on Tuesday evening with a 2-hour elimination episode that pulled a 22 share among adults 18-49, while NBC won Wednesday evening thanks to six American medals, including gold medal performances  by Lindsey “Play Through the Pain” Vonn and Shaun “The Flying Tomato” White. Last night was the first time that American Idol lost their time slot since April of 2004!

One moment of controversy arose when Shaun White’s coach dropped the S-bomb on live TV during their victory celebration. According to Business Insider the indecent language will not invite the wrath of the FCC since the broadcast aired in the Safe Harbor time…at least on the East Coast, not sure if it aired before 10pm in either Rocky Mountain or West Coast time zones. In either case the bigger story may be that NBC was actually airing something live. NBC has been receiving criticism for its decision to tape delay the broadcast of downhill skiing in order to save this popular event for their more lucrative prime-time audience. For the die-hard fans out there, anything less than live is a compromise.

Posted in media industry, tv | 6 Comments »

Doritos Ads Win Viewer and Recall Metrics

Posted by prof e on February 10, 2010

If you watched the Superbowl last weekend you probably saw a few ads for Doritos. According to Nielsen, the most watched TV ad of all time, (with 116.2 million viewers),  featured a Samurai attack with a Dorito chip.  Doritos ads also took the top three slots for most-recalled spots and four spots in the top-ten most-liked category.

What you may also have heard is that the Doritos ads were consumer-generated spots. CGM (Consumer Generated Media) has been generating buzz for several years…all the while the Media Emperor’s cloths have begun to look a little thread-bare. The idea behind CGM is that individual consumers often possess great talent and expertise, and if you can just give them an opening, they may deliver the goods. Now, mind you, TV spot production is a big-budget undertaking requiring exceptional creative and technical expertise and should not be attempted by amateurs. In the case of the Doritos ads, the ideas, not the execution, were consumer-generated.

But according to MIT’s Ad Lab blog, the proverbial “average Joe” behind the winning spots is not as average as we might first believe. According to Ad Lab, this year’s winners, and winners from previous years, have come from the ranks of creative professions very near to the TV advertising business. Some of them have been film makers, producers, musicians, and even creative directors. For now, at least, the storybook ending where the little guy finally bests the Madison Avenue advertising machine remains, well, a fairytale.

Posted in advertising, new media, research, tv | 3 Comments »

Avatar Sinks Titanic and Moviegoers Turn Blue

Posted by prof e on February 4, 2010

A blockbuster is, by definition, either a large bomb (as in explosive) or a huge media sensation.  The sci-fi movie Avatar fits comfortably in that second category where it has been making news by racking up some impressive numbers….over $600 million domestically and more than $2 billion world-wide to be precise. As of late January, director James Cameron is now the proud owner of the top TWO spots on the all-time, world-wide, box office receipt ledger board with Avatar at #1 and Titanic at #2. The exceptional performance of Avatar is not only accounted for by strong ticket sales, but also reflects the additional revenue generated by the 3-D screens. Because the film continues to attract movie-goers the final total may be much higher.

But there is another story here that may be more interesting than the record receipts. According to news reports, the stars of Avatar are not the only creatures feeling a little blue. CNN and Huffington Post reported that fans of Avatar are experiencing a let-down (“Avatar-induced depression”) when they leave Pandora…er, I mean, when they exit the theater. It seems that the film is such a powerful experience for many fans that they are having difficulty readjusting to the boring reality that defines their humdrum existence on planet Earth. Wow…sounds like somebody needs to get a life!

Posted in film, media effects, new media | 14 Comments »