The second edition of Mass Communication: Living in a Media World is now available at the very student-friendly price of $45. (Yes, the new edition sells for less than used copies often do of the first edition.) It features a newly strengthened media literacy focus, greater depth on a number of topics, extensive coverage of "long-tail" media, and new chapters on media effects and global media. For more information, visit the CQ Press website.
On The Media Takes On The Music Industry NPR's On The Media typically takes a news/press orientation to what they cover, but this week the show has Rick Karr as a guest host and reports on the current state of the music industry and how it got there. Aired on the 10th anniversary of the creation of Napster and the brave new world of online music, this program is an absolute must for you to listen to. (I suppose you could read the transcript, but how much fun would that be?) Here's the run down of stories:
The Minefield of Targeted Advertising, Part I - McDonald's It's pretty obvious, given demographic trends, that major corporations are going to need to target racial and ethnic communities if they want to stay relevant in today's market. The census estimates that approximately 65 percent of Americans identify themselves as "white only." The exact figures get a bit confusing, given that Hispanic is an ethnic category, not a racial category. But that means if you make your advertising primarily relevant to white people, you're leaving at least 35 percent of the market out there on the table.
As companies go about trying to market to Hispanic, African American, and Asian American audiences (to name just a few), they need to walk a careful line between appealing to their target and avoiding offensive and dated stereotypes.
McDonalds, for example, has frequently targeted with African American market, though efforts that are usually called "urban marketing". Here's a couple of the company's ads that have attracted attention:
McNuggets Love "I woke up and found you creepin' / Oh girl, I know your secret,"
Big Mac Remix Mickey D's meets supa dj Peter Parker
"We have a responsibility to all of our customers to effectively reach them. We certainly take pride in all of our advertising and try to make it relevant and appealing."
"We work with a dedicated African-American advertising agency that works with us to develop relevant, contemporary creative for our brand, that will resonate with this demographic. Again, as with all our advertising, these commercials reflect a light-hearted, fun approach to our brand, our menu and our customers' experience with our brand."
Not Everyone Has Joined the Digital TV Generation Nielsen reports that 1.96 percent of Americans have not gottent the TVs or converter boxes necessary to receive digital TV signals. Biggest population lacking access to digital signals? Hispanic households in San Antonio, Texas, as 3.38 percent.
Is Halo As Big As Star Wars?
Probably not, but then again, what is? But the video game franchise has sold 27 million copies, it has a comic book, a home video series, a collection of paperbacks, several sets of action figures, and a potential movie. (District 9started out as a Halo movie idea.) Does anyone still doubt that video games are a new mass medium? (USA Today)
This week in my feature writing class we're talking about a couple of classic Esquire feature stories from the mid 1960s - Tom Wolfe's piece on Junior Johnson and Gay Talese's on Frank Sinatra. I found a number of great links to use with Frank Sinatra Has A Cold. Here they are for your consideration. (I know, not really for Intro, but many of us are either teaching or studying feature writing!)
Twitter Twitter Little Star, Tell Me When I've Gone Too Far
While everyone needs to be careful about revealing too much through social media like Twitter, journalists see this as a particularly difficult issue because of fears of alienating sources and readers.
On the other hand, Wall Street Journal reporters are not supposed to post about how a story was reported. The paper's code of conduct says: “Let our coverage speak for itself, and don’t detail how an article was reported, written or edited.” Reporters are also required to get their editor’s permission before friending a confidential source.
The BBC has fairly elaborate guidelines on using social media, especially when they identify themselves as BBC employees. Among the rules are not indicating their political preferences . The rules suggest that BBC employees should have no online political identification, even if they don’t indicate that they work for the BBC.
Even tweets intended for a limited, private audience can be problematic. Raju Narisetti, one of two managing editors for the Washington Post, discontinued his personal Twitter account after questions about his tweets had been raised by Post staff members. One of the tweets in question read “We can incur all sorts of federal deficits for wars and what not, but we have to promise not to increase it by $1 for healthcare reform? Sad.” Another read “Sen Byrd (91) in hospital after he falls from ‘standing up too quickly.” How about term limits. Or retirement age. Or commonsense to prevail.”
The Washington Post put in new guidelines about what editorial employees ought to be posting online. The guidelines read, in part:
“When using [social networks], nothing we do must call into question the impartiality of our news judgment. We never abandon the guidelines that govern the separation of news from opinion, the importance of fact and objectivity, the appropriate use of language and tone, and other hallmarks of our brand of journalism.”
“What you do on social networks should be presumed to be publicly available to anyone, even if you have created a private account. It is possible to use privacy controls online to limit access to sensitive information. But such controls are only a deterrent, not an absolute insulator. Reality is simple: If you don’t want something to be found online, don’t put it there.”
“Post journalists must refrain from writing, tweeting or posting anything – including photographs or video – that could be perceived as reflecting political racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility.”
WP media reporter Howard Kurtz joked on his Twitter account that "Under new WP guidelines on tweeting, I will now hold forth only on the weather and dessert recipes." In a recent blog post about the Twitter guidelines, Kurtz listed his own, informal rules for his Twitter account:
a) Don't say something that makes you look like a blithering idiot.
b) Don't appear to be in the pocket of Democrats or Republicans (or birthers or truthers).
c) Stick to subjects on which you actually have a clue.
d) Refrain from boring people with the minutiae of your daily life.
e) Don't say anything you couldn't defend as fair analysis in print or on the air.
Is Comcast Trying To Buy NBC Universal?
Well, they tried (unsuccessfully) to buy Disney back in 2004. And, as the WP's Howard Kurtz reports, cable giant Comcast would control a lot of content if they took control of NBC Universal. And GE has been rumored to be wanting to unload the media property for some time. If this comes true in the next month, I'm going to have a lot of rewriting to do on the third edition of my book! The story initially surfaced on Sharon Waxman's blog The Wrap.
Is It Time To Buy An HDTV?
Lots of people (including me) seem to think so. Digital TV is on the air and lots of channels have HD programming options. Even my father, who bought his first color TV in 1985, has an HDTV. The story reports that 71 percent of US households will have at least one HD set by the end of the year, compared to 16% in 2005. The big difference (sorry) is that these tend to be mid-sized sets rather than big screen TVs. Which shouldn't surprise. HD has now moved into the mainstream and is no longer just something for people who want the latest-greatest. Also, HDTVs are just about all you can buy anymore. Yes, there are standard def digital TVs, but I don't see them anywhere. (MediaPost)
KLR650's To Alaska 2009
A father-in-law and a son-in-law ride KLR 650 motorcycles to Alaska and back together and have a wonderful adventure. As of now, this is a short-term blog, but it's a great little story with fun photos.
A motorcycle blog by Jerry Smith, who freelances for a bunch of motorcycle magazines.
One of my favorite types of music (and media content in general) is when an artist takes a work and then completely turns it on its head. That's why I love British new wave musician Joe Jackson so much. He had one live CD many years ago that had three different versions of Is She Really Going Out With Him on it - and each was radically different. So I give you today media turned on its head:
Bruce Springsteen Doing A Klezmer Version of Blinded By The Light
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