Thursday, May 5, 2011

Final Blog Post

For my final blog post, I will comment on the company presentation that I think is the most viable in today's society.

In my opinion, the most viable and well presented independent media organization is the by Becky Webster. Basically, the website provides users with all the information that they could ever possibly need in order to plan a trip for a family of five that will be both fun and sustainably conscious.

This is an extremely relevant topic because there is so much concern about sustainability and reducing your carbon footprint. It is also a viable company in our economy because even though we are still dealing with a financial crisis, people are still going on vacations, and what better way to enjoy your vacation than by helping out the local economy at the same time?

Becky presented her idea in a very well thought out and organized manner. Her budget presentation, ideas for marketing, and budget proposal not only made sense but convinced the "board members" that she was very invested in the subject and would be a well organized business partner.

This site fills a void that is apparent in our society today. It fills the niche of the aware traveler, and it promotes the positive side of traveling sustainably. I think this was the best presentation of the class, and is also the most viable option.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Lets take a look at Jim Lehrer's NewsHour from this FAIR article:

"Public interest groups accounted for just 4 percent of total sources. General public—"person in the street," workers, students— accounted for only 14 percent, while current and former government and military officials totaled 50 percent of all sources.

Male sources outnumbered women by more than 4-to-1 (82 percent to 18 percent). Moreover, 72 percent of U.S. guests were white males, while just 6 percent were women of color.

People of color made up only 15 percent of U.S. sources. African-Americans made up 9 percent, Latinos 2 percent, and Asian- Americans and people of Mideastern descent made up one percent each. Alberto Gonzales accounted for more than 30 percent of Latino sources, while Condoleeza Rice accounted for nearly 13 percent of African-American sources.

Among partisan sources, Republicans outnumbered Democrats on the NewsHour by 2-to-1 (66 percent vs. 33 percent). Only one representative of a third party appeared during the study period.

At a time when a large proportion of the U.S. public already favored withdrawal from Iraq, "stay the course" sources outnumbered pro-withdrawal sources more than 5-to-1. In the entire six months studied, not a single peace activist was heard on the NewsHour on the subject of Iraq.

Segments on Hurricane Katrina accounted for less than 10 percent of all sources, but provided nearly half (46 percent) of all African-American sources during the study period. Those African-Americans were largely presented as victims rather than leaders or experts: In segments on the human impact of the storm, African-Americans made up 51 percent of sources, but in reconstruction segments, whites dominated with 72 percent of sources; 59 percent of all African-American sources across Katrina segments were general public sources. "

So either we are being lied to or the rest of the population has no idea what even handedness is. hmm. Interesting.

I would much rather have a news organization tell me that they were going to support one political slant as opposed to the other so I could at least have the ability to understand the slant and take that information for what it is.

In the UK, residents have to pay to watch television with a TV License Fee. This way, they can decide exactly where they want their money to go. I studied abroad in London for five months and did not have the opportunity to watch television in my house because I did not pay the fee, but my friends who did paid the minimum for five basic channels. In the UK they are very upfront about what political slant (if any) their news outlet is going to take, and you can listen to the news from a million different stations and political slants. The more you watch and listen, the more you can form your own opinion and make a well-informed decision.

I'm not quite understanding why we haven't done this in this country..

Public Broadcasting?

For as long as I can remember, public broadcasting has been the one station I was allowed to watch. I did not watch cable when I was child- we simply did not have cable. I grew up watching PBS with Arthur and the concert series on the weekends. What I've come to find, and what has become a most devastating realization about my childhood, is that even PBS has accepted gifts from political parties.

This is most disappointing. I vaguely remember watching Arthur and then all of a sudden there was a commercial for something (which I didn't understand at the time) which somewhat resembled a political ad. Well, my suspicions have been confirmed in this article, which notes that PBS accepted a gift from the GOP and FCC- "permission for public broadcasters to commercialize some of their new digital channels."

Well that just doesn't sit well with me. The reason we did not pay for cable when I was a child was so that I would not be exposed to blatant political support and corruption and would be able to make my own decisions without the influence of colorful ads and pretty music.

If even PBS is commercializing, who can we possibly trust?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Transparency is the new objectivity

In an article on Joho, the blog, about transparency being the "new" objectivity, the author says "The problem with objectivity is that it tries to show what the world looks like from no particular point of view, which is like wondering what something looks like in the dark." I have never had an simile resonate so much with me as that sentence. It hits the nail squarely on the head, and I think it is a sentiment that should be more widely understood.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hyper Local News

Today in my news editing class we skyped with Amanda Gillooly, editor of the Canon-Macmillan site. I had heard of briefly in passing or in other classes, but it had always slipped my mind to look it up or look into what it was all about.

I was surprised to find out two things: one, that it was a hyper local site that has locations all over the country, is run by one editor and a bunch of freelancers, and reports on news in its specific "patch," and two, that is was owned by AOL.

The first question that was asked of her was whether AOL had any control over what was published by their particular Patch. Amanda said that she had never once had a problem with AOL not liking the material she was writing, nor did she think that she would be covering material that AOL would care so much to advise for or against.

It was interesting to me that something that appears so independent would actually be owned by AOL, but then again we all thought Huffington Post was entirely independent too...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homeless Inspiration

Yesterday we had a speaker, Mark Hovarth, come in to our multimedia class to discuss his path from homelessness to getting off the streets to founding his website,

Invisiblepeople is essentially a documentary website where Hovarth travels the country documenting the homeless people that he meets in order to get their story and have others hear it.

Previously a TV production manager in LA, Hovarth discussed how the life of drugs and alcohol eventually drove him to the streets. Sick of that life, he worked to get himself off the streets and back into a 3 bedroom home. But he never forgot the life he had once led. He took it upon himself to get the message out to the world that homelessness is a serious problem and what the government is doing right now just simply isn't enough.

He started another website, We Are Visible, in which he details how to set up a gmail account, a twitter, a facebook and how to blog so that they can get their stories out and their voices heard.

The most amazing thing about this is the fact that one of the twitter accounts is currently run by a homeless woman. In this age of technology, it is still possible for homeless people to be connected on the internet, even if they don't have the money to feed themselves or live in a house or shelter of some sort. This is what Hovarth is banking off of. YouTube gave him their home page on August 22, and he got millions of views.

This is the type of indy media activism that needs to grow stronger. It is in this way that he is affecting change, one person at a time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Refreshing Perspective

On Tuesday, we had a guest speaker in class, Legal Insurrection founder and blogger William Jacobson. The law professor at Cornell University started this conservative blog as a small forum to express his views with friends and family. Eventually, it was picked up and linked to by slightly larger blogs, and through some networking efforts, Legal Insurrection has become one of the most recognized conservative blogs.

The visit was an incredibly refreshing one. I must admit I was slightly nervous that we would hit a nerve with the differences in political opinion floating around the room, but it was actually one of the best presentations I have heard.

Something I really appreciated was the fact that he was very transparent with why he does what he does, especially on the financial front. I also really appreciated that he both understood and respected the fact that most people in the room were liberal or left-leaning, and expressly stated exactly what he wrote about and why.

He mentioned that he would not purposefully bash a right wing person if they did something that was not in their political favor as he would a left wing, he would simply not mention it. I respected that because he was completely honest with us, and if we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that this is how all media people work, whether we like to admit it or not.

Overall, I truly appreciated the visit and feel like I have gotten a good perspective from the other side of the political spectrum, which was, as I have aid, incredibly refreshing.