prof. e.

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

Archive for October, 2015

So How’s that Media Fast Thing Working Out?

Posted by prof e on October 27, 2015

Fasting, abstaining, cleansing, detoxing, going Walden, Amish month…whatever you call it, dialing back the media technology for a period of time may just help you get your head on a little straighter. I know it’s not comfortable, or fun. Shoot, it’s barely tolerable at times. You’ll get bored (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing) and fidgety. You’ll probably do more homework and cleaning, or working out and sleeping, than usual. You may even spend more time having real interaction with real people…you know, the face-to-face variety of interaction.

In a recent blog post on AdAge’s website, Jamie Barrett described their attempt at the ad agency BarrettSF to make meetings tech-free for all but the presenter. They called it “Amish month”, and the rules were pretty simple…

When you’re in a meeting, and you’re not presenting, you can’t look at your laptop. Or your tablet. Or your smartphone. Or your Apple Watch. Or your discontinued Google Glasses. Or your contact lenses if they receive a wi-fi signal.

According to Barrett,

There is some wild stuff that happens. With no keyboards to pound or screens to stare at, heads tilt up and start to look around the room. There’s eye contact. Facial-expression recognition. People speak words and others hear them, and can perceive whether those words are serious or funny, sincere or sarcastic, angry or glad.

Like I said, it’s wild stuff. We’ve decided to extend Amish Month into October.

Maybe the Amish are on to something.


Posted in media effects | 2 Comments »

Are You Ready for Some Star Wars?

Posted by prof e on October 26, 2015

star-warsLast week’s Monday Night football game on ESPN was an excellent opportunity for Disney (parent company of ESPN) to promote its latest Star Wars movie. In case you didn’t know, Disney bought Lucas Films (creator of the Star Wars franchise) in 2012 for $4B. That acquisition was what happens, “when you wish upon a death star” according to one report.

Advertising is when one company pays another to promote its products. But if the company that wants to advertise is a media company, and it wants to promote its own products by using its own media space to do so, we call that promotions. TV networks promote specific programs to targeted demographics watching other programs. Radio stations promote themselves with their own airtime trying to build brand identity and loyalty. Even newspapers and magazines promote upcoming features or issues.

Disney using ESPN’s broadcast of NFL football to promote its upcoming film release is a no-brainer. NFL football is hugely popular…and a perfect audience for the new blockbuster. But this promotion actually worked both ways. The ESPN telecast actually saw a ratings spike as people tuned in to see the world-premiere of the latest trailer. That’s right, people tuned into the program to see the commercial! Now that’s marketing mojo. Theater servers crashed as fans rushed to pre-buy tickets for the latest installment. According to Josh Rottenberg of Tribune News, in the first hour after the half-time trailer, 1.3 million people interacted with it on Facebook and the Twitterverse lit up with some 17,000 tweets per minutes. AMC Theatres sold out more than 1,000 shows nationwide in less than 12 hours. Now THAT’s a force to be reckoned with!

You can see the buzz-generating promo on YouTube at


Posted in advertising, film, global media, media industry, social media | Leave a Comment »

Soap, Cars and Sugar Water

Posted by prof e on October 25, 2015

Who spends the most on advertising?



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

#NoNotoriety for Killers

Posted by prof e on October 13, 2015

You may have seen the hashtag #NoNotoriety in response to the latest mass killing at the community college in Oregon. The idea has plenty of support from well-meaning and thoughtful people who want the violence to stop. If only, they argue, the perpetrators could be banished from the front page and forced out of the limelight. Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. Yes, media coverage likely contributes to copy-cat killings. But media coverage contributes to lots of things, good and bad.

What is a realistic alternative? Are we going to selectively decide to cover some stories when we think it will lead to positive outcomes and not cover other stories when we have reason to suspect that readers/viewers/listeners will  take the information and use it inappropriately? The dictionary definition of “slippery slope” might as well use this scenario to illustrate the concept.

Steve Henson, CSU-Pueblo Mass Communications alumnus, editor of the Pueblo Chieftain, and guest speaker to our class last week, wrote a column recently addressing this very issue. You can read it here. In his column Mr. Henson lays out his argument for why the Chieftain will not refrain from naming killers. Henson argues that more information, not less, is likely to help us prevent future instances like these. What do you think?

Posted in 1st amendment, ethics, journalism | 12 Comments »

The Magic of Motion Pictures

Posted by prof e on October 4, 2015

Movies, aka films, aka motion pictures, are actually optical illusions. To capture motion on film, or as digital bits, simply involves capturing still images in quick succession. How quickly depends on how much temporal resolution you want to capture…but for the illusion to be believable it should probably be, at a minimum, in the neighborhood of 18-24 frames each second. That’s it…just a new picture every 18th to 24th of a second and our eye/brain thinks it is seeing motion. Persistence of vision is the technical phrase used to explain the illusion that makes motion pictures possible.

So when you see TV or film images flicker on the screen just realize that you’re really seeing a bunch of still pictures displayed at a rate that is fooling your brain into thinking that you’re seeing motion. Animation is based on the same principle. There are many forms of animation, but if you remember Gumby, or the California Raisins, you can thank stop-motion animators for this technique that involves taking a photograph, then moving a real object in front of the camera, then taking another photograph…repeat until you’ve made a short movie. I once shot a claymation TV commercial for a local cable TV company and I can tell you that it is a very tedious process.

Equally tedious is a process of animating drawings to create a fluid appearance of motion. Check out this ad from Honda…

According to Ad Age,

The spot, called “Paper,” weaves together roughly 3,000 hand-drawn illustrations using stop-motion filming that takes viewers through a paper-flipping, historical journey of Honda products.

So if motion is an illusion, what do you call a short film made up of many very short motion clips? Move.

Posted in film, photography | 2 Comments »

Help Us, Please, Somebody Help Us

Posted by prof e on October 3, 2015

What’s more fun than going out to a baseball game? Well, for a group of sorority sisters from Arizona State University the only thing more fun than the game was taking selfies. While the game continued in the background, the TV crew and commentators became mesmerized watching the gals enjoy their cell phones. The commentators offered their own perspective, calling for someone to “help us, please…somebody help us.” They went on to ask for an intervention, suggesting that someone go out and “collect all the phones.”

This raises serious questions about several issues:

  1. What is appropriate cell phone behavior at your local __________ (insert public venue of your choice)?
  2. Is living life through your smart phone screen a viable substitute for living life without the assistance of technology?
  3. Does the announcers’ commentary cross a line into public shaming? And if so, is that an appropriate response?
  4. Why is social media so obsessed with calling people out for what is perceived bad behavior (on the part of either the gals or the commentators)?

Here are two of the comments I read on posts about this topic:

Yeah, the announcers are correct. You are completely wrong and asinine. We have a pathetically Narcissistic, ego-manically infantile society. Selfies are the most disgusting revelation of the new century. People used to take pictures of other people, places, things… Now they just take pictures of themselves.


How mature of a bunch of middle aged me to mock girls for doing what girls do. They should stick to baseball comments and stop bullying people.

Posted in interactive media, new media, social media | 4 Comments »