Is In-Touch Magazine Really…In Touch?

November 27, 2010 - Leave a Response

When I was younger, I remember wanting to be famous. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be famous for, I was just fascinated by the lifestyle. As the years went on, that fascination faded. I learned that being a celebrity requires you to practically hand over your privacy and free will. There’s always someone prying into your personal life and assuming things that they don’t know for a fact.  I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t even imagine what that must be like.

Soccer superstar David Beckham is one person who doesn’t enjoy that aspect of his fame. Back in September of 2010, In-Touch magazine put out a story about Beckham having an affair with a prostitute that cost $10,000 a night. We all know how writing about a celebrity’s love life is like Christmas for the press. This time, Santa didn’t bring any presents for In-Touch. Instead, they got a lawsuit.

Beckham and his wife (who are still happily married) were very upset about the story for the simple fact that it wasn’t true. They took the publishing company of the magazine and the prostitute (who provided them with the story) to court on a libel lawsuit. In addition to libel, they also sued for slander and “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.

In my research for a ruling to the case, I instead found out that Irma Nici, the prostitute, has countersued Beckham. She is claiming that the heat she received from his legal team is what recently  sent her to the hospital. Now Nici feels that David Beckham should have to pay for this.

When a ruling is finally made, I think that the judge or jury should rule in favor of David Beckham. It’s obvious that he is very into his family, and even has his wife behind him instead of jumping on the accusation bandwagon.

Just as Tiger Woods’ mistresses gained fame when his secrets hit the fan, I think that Irma Nici is seeking that kind of attention. In-Touch was even told beforehand that her story wasn’t true. It was foolish on their part to take the risk in publishing it, though they were probably just trying to get the story first, they compromised their fact checking.

For Beckham to win the case, he’ll have to prove that actual malice was used, which will be very difficult. If he does win, In-Touch magazine could lose some of its credibility. But what if Beckham doesn’t get a ruling in his favor? Would you ever have imagined that the press would be so powerful? This case is just another prime example of how complicated the law is when it comes to the news media!!

(I’m pretty sure that the actual article has been removed, but check out this article from E! Online. Here you can see the actual lawsuit in writing and the related documents!)

Waking Up Mr. West

November 26, 2010 - Leave a Response

Kanye West. Need I say more? This is one man that certainly does not require an introduction. Everyone has heard about the infamous interruption during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009 VMA’s. You may also remember Kanye accusing former President Bush of being a racist back in 2005. But what negative attention is Mr. West drawing to himself now?

Earlier this month, Kanye was interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Lauer fairly asked Mr. West about his past shenanigans. In the background, a clip was played of that moment at the VMA’s, and then a picture of George W. Bush was shown as well. This had the rap star very upset, and after the interview, he turned to Twitter to express his emotions. That interview on the Today Show along with is frustrated tweets have Kanye back in the spotlight again. Will he ever be seen in a positive light?

If you’re not a fan of his music, Kanye probably seems like a very outspoken guy (for lack of a better word). Actually, I don’t mind Kanye’s music, but his attitude isn’t always the most pleasant. Maybe his appearance on the Today Show was a PR attempt gone wrong, and Kanye’s performance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was used as a chance to gain some leverage in a more positive direction. Anyhow, Kanye West could really use a good PR campaign.

I’m not sure if I’m a part of the minority or majority, but I think that Kanye is misunderstood. If the public did understand him, it wouldn’t be as hard to get him to be seen in a positive light. A documentary would do the trick.

Viewers would be able to see how Kanye functions on a day to day basis. Maybe he’d even express how he is still learning how to cope with his mother’s death (many people hypothesize that his mother’s death is what led him to his current type of behavior). We’d take a look at his process for writing music and the type of company that he keeps. The documentary would span just about a week, but should be edited to about an hour and a half. That way it could fit neatly into an MTV, BET, or VH1 movie time slot.

Another part of the PR campaign could be to give back and advocate a greater cause. Kanye didn’t finish college, but there’s no reason why he couldn’t help someone else to not follow down the same path. He could donate to a college scholarship fund such as UNCF, or more specifically, LIFE Lessons Scholarships, a scholarship for students with a deceased parent.

For the campaign to be successful, Kanye will have to make appearances and do more interviews. Even though after the incident on the Today Show Kanye tweeted that he was done with the press, having that publicity will make or break the campaign.

There are a few ways that these strategies could backfire. People could use Kanye’s words in his documentary against him. Instead of being given a chance to understand him, they could associate it with him having a big ego. Maybe people would even think that he’s using his mother’s death to gain publicity instead of sincerely contributing to a cause. As for the appearances and talk show interviews, Kanye is going to need some interview training. His temper could also make the campaign backfire.

Another important factor is that these strategies meet the PRSA Ethics Code. Everything in the campaign is factual; nothing is made up or could be considered as a wild “publicity stunt”. Kanye West has caused quite a bit of uproar, and these strategies will fulfill the responsibility to the public. It is their right to know that he is more than what meets the eye.

[Insert Product Here]

November 17, 2010 - Leave a Response

If you’re anything like me, you love watching movies. They’re longer than television shows, and there aren’t any commercials interrupting the movie you’re enjoying. After all, a movie that’s shown on television a few years after its release date just isn’t the same as the real thing. Advertisers have a strategy for compromising this issue, and it is called product placement.

In the product placement, sponsors pay to have their products featured in movies as well as TV shows. Their products may appear in the background, or could even be weaved into the dialogue. That’s pretty sneaky, huh? Nonetheless, product placement doesn’t stop us from watching our favorite movies.

I’m very in touch with my inner child. I love animated movies! One of my favorite animated movies is Madagascar (released in 2005). Product placement doesn’t just occur in movies with real actors. Products are strategically placed in animated films as well. As I watched Madagascar, I noticed some advertisements that found their way into the movie.

A lion, zebra, giraffe, and hippopotamus are all animals that you would typically find in the wild, right? Well Alex, Marty, Melvin, and Gloria (respectively), are not your typical animals! Their adventure takes them out of the zoo and to the island of Madagascar. At first, all of the animals except Marty the zebra find themselves out of place. The others want to get back to where they feel like they belong. Within their adventure, they befriend a comical and friendly community of lemurs. By the end of the movie, the animals find that living in the wild isn’t so bad after all.

In relation to product placement, it’s where Alex, Marty, Melvin, and Gloria came from that is the most significant. These special animals are from the Central Park Zoo in New York City. While escaping from the zoo, Marty finds himself in the middle on Time Square. It’s no surprise that this scene in the movie was utilized for product placement.

Signs, marquis, and billboards were all filled with names of different companies, from restaurants, to services, to clothing stores. This part of the movie looked very similar to the real Time Square. It very easily overwhelmed Marty the zebra and me as well, with its pervasiveness and clutter.

I think that the products placed closest to the middle of the screen will have the greatest chance of being noticed and remembered. When someone visits Time Square, one of the sights that they cannot miss is the jumbo screen in the middle of it all. In the movie Coca-Cola and Krispy Kreme are positioned to the top and bottom of the jumbo screen. Toys R Us was also seen in the movie. Seeing that this filmed is aimed at children, Toys R Us will definitely stand out to them.  These items were probably chosen by producers because of their familiarity and how they could easily be weaved into the context of the movie.

Madagascar is a Dreamworks film. Dreamworks has used a lot of product placement in the past, but check out how their use of it has declined since the release of Madagascar in 2005.

From the Desk of a Bookworm…

November 14, 2010 - One Response

“This is not a love story”. “There is no happy ending”.

These two quotes from the forward of the novel, Exit Here, written by Jason Myers, let me know that this book was not going to be like any other that I’d read. It just so happened that I was looking for something different when I stepped foot in Barnes and Noble that day. 

It was a couple weeks before the first day of my senior year in high school, and I hadn’t read a good book all summer. I found this particular book in the Teen Fiction section, on the new release shelf. You wouldn’t think that such a simple front cover and title would catch my attention, but it did. I knew that there had to be more to the title or some kind of ambiguity within its pages. 

Exit Here is the story of a young man named Travis. He’s home for the summer from college and falls back into old habits that he thought he had left behind. Travis is holding on to a dark secret while dealing with his friends and their dysfunctional lives as well. For fun, Travis and his friends like to party, smoke, and drink on levels that are in no way, shape, or form safe. He even loses a couple friends to their idea of “a good time”.

Reading this book put me in a couple different places mentally. It made me wonder how many other Travis’s are out there in the world, trying to find an exit from their destructive lifestyles. It also made me question why I enjoyed a book that was “not a love story” and had “no happy ending”.

After I got my good friend Keith to read Exit Here during the start of senior year, we found ourselves having quite a few discussions about Jason Myer’s book. We talked about how outrageous their drug use was and how nearly every chapter included drugs and drinking. The fact that Travis would hook up with any random girl, but still wished he was with his ex-girlfriend was a topic of conversation as well. It wasn’t until the near end of the book that we learned about Travis’ horrible secret, so we often discussed the consequences of it if there were to be a sequel. Keith and I couldn’t really understand why the main character would throw away everything that he had going for himself.

Myer’s book has had a significant impact on my life. It brought to my attention how a lot of people my age think that they’re invincible. According to them, we can live life just as reckless as we please without consequences. Different factors such as drugs and guilt can take over your life if you let it. I’ve never been interested in that kind of recreation, and Exit Here assured me that I didn’t need to take that route.

The novel was so powerful and such an impact because it didn’t sugar coat anything. The forward didn’t promise that the story would be heartwarming, and it stuck to its word. This book really proved that there isn’t always a happy ending. Even though I couldn’t really relate to what the characters were going through, the way it was written made sure that I understood the magnitude of their mistakes.

I’m an avid reader. In fact, I wish I had more time to read for leisure, but being in college makes that nearly impossible. The main characters of my favorite books are females, and several of them are love stories or dramas. Exit Here has broadened my horizons for the type of books that I like to read. I don’t turn away from books that don’t conclude pleasantly, or those that I can’t relate to from personal experience. Any book with a great plot and an even greater message is worth reading!

Disney: Making Magic Since 1923

October 21, 2010 - One Response

I can still remember how my favorite movies from my childhood started. A blue screen appears, followed by the image of a castle that descends and comes into view. In a bright, white flash, the words “Walt Disney Pictures” appear underneath the castle. A medley of a classic Disney song, “When You Wish upon a Star” plays in the background. The introduction concludes with a shooting star creating an arc behind the castle and the music fades out. It didn’t matter what movie I was watching. Just as long as that introduction played before it started, I knew that I was going to enjoy whatever VHS tape my mom put on to keep me occupied.disney_logo_old.jpg disney image by twaldsch

Every movie has a theme, and no matter how much Disney seemed to recycle theirs, we still loved them all the same. A lot of the Disney movies conveyed a theme of finding true love just by being you. As a young girl I enjoyed movies like “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, and “Aladdin”. The main characters were princesses, and made me want to be one myself. Even though these girls were royalty, they put that aside just to have their Prince Charming.

Whenever I think of the “Toy Story” movies, the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” comes to mind. The themes in these movies revolve around friendship and how important it is to be there for one another no matter what. As a child, I especially found myself closer to my friends after watching a Disney movie.

Not only do the movies have reoccurring themes, they also have distinct characteristics which make them worthy to be Disney movies. In every plot, there is a protagonist and an antagonist. Even though at one point it may seem as if our beloved protagonist isn’t going to win, they always come out on top. Music is a huge part of Disney movies! In the older films, the characters would sing in the middle of the movie. Now the music is geared more towards soundtracks and original music remakes. They also involve some sort of enchantment or magic, especially in the cases of talking objects and animals.

Because I grew up in this culture, I view Disney movies as a part of a typical childhood. Watching these films made me a very optimistic child. In the younger Tierra’s eyes, if people don’t accept you right away, they will eventually. If my friend was mad at me now, we’ll be the best of friends by the end of the day. If the boy I had a crush on didn’t want to be my boyfriend today, one day I would find the perfect guy.

all.jpg all of them image by look4shootingstarsSadly, Disney movies don’t compare to the real world. As I got older, I realized that everybody won’t like you for you. Some friends aren’t even meant to be in your life forever. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Prince Charming was fictional, and real guys hardly ever come close to that standard (I’m still dealing with that harsh reality!).

Even though some aspects of the films create a false hope, I still think that Disney movies are a great part of our culture. They are something that children can relate to with one another, and can even be given the credit for expanding their imaginations. The magic I felt while watching these movies make up most of my childhood memories. In my eyes, Disney movies, especially the classics, will always be worthwhile.

I Tube, YouTube, We Tube

October 19, 2010 - Leave a Response

youtube_logo-1.jpg youtube image by LuiginnSocial networking is such a huge part of the average teenager’s life. Maybe they spend hours on end surfing different user profiles on Facebook. Or updating short statuses of 140 characters or less throughout the day on Twitter could be their thing. One of my personal favorite social networking sites happens to be YouTube. YouTube is a massive collection of videos uploaded by users wishing to visually share what they find to be interesting, humorous, or even emotionally moving.

Did you know that about two billion YouTube videos are watched every day? In the minute that just passed by, 24 hours of video were just uploaded. There is no doubt that YouTube has a huge impact on our lives. Analyzing the Societal Effects of YouTube, an article from Certification Magazine, discusses the different effects that the social networking site has had on society as a whole.

Written in July of 2008, the article acknowledges online video as “an explosive new medium”. In addition to using YouTube for research, it is used as a way to express oneself or even to show unusual happenings. According to the article, the current generation of high school and college students will see television being offered via YouTube as they grow older. The article then splits into three sections describing more specific areas of life that YouTube has impacted.

Recordings of fights, beatings, and other violent acts are among the many videos that are uploaded on YouTube. A Mass Communication professor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stated that YouTube isn’t a catalyst to violence; it just gives a new way to promote it. In addition to violence, YouTube impacts our lives by giving people a new way to humiliate each other. A special case discussed in the article revolved around divorce. YouTube can bring different issues to our attention in a more effective manner, especially when it comes to politics. It came in handy during past campaigns and elections to educate the people on what the candidates stood for.

Overall, I think that the article did a pretty good job exploring the different aspects of society that YouTube has changed or enhanced. Even though the effects that were discussed could be viewed as negative, it didn’t denounce YouTube as a negative form of social networking. I agree that violence and humiliation are now very easy to showcase with the use of YouTube. On the other hand, I don’t believe that divorce was a good way to extend that idea. Cyber bullying would have been a better example.

If no other social networking website impacts journalism and advertising, YouTube definitely does the trick. The article even talks about how the videos give reporters access to things that were said or done in particular instances such as political debates. Advertisements are plastered all over YouTube. Commercials show up before a video is played, and some videos are even sponsored by a specific company. I think that YouTube is making the jobs of journalists and advertising companies easier; it’s providing them with more resources. For an avid social networker, experiencing the YouTube effect is inevitable!

The Future of Information Technology – Beneficial, or Bleak?

October 14, 2010 - One Response

With new technologies developing every day, I’ve often wondered what the fate of the future would be. Movies and television shows have portrayed a variety of possibilities, ranging from a perfect world to the complete end of society as we know it. Turn on your imagination and follow me on a quick trip to the future of a college student…

Welcome to the year 2035! Your personalized alarm clock wakes you up with “Good morning (Insert Name Here)!” It then proceeds to project the news, weather, and daily reminders on the closest wall. Forgot to finish your paper last night? No problem! Just say what you would write in your paper, and your alarm clock will get it all together for you. In 2035, nearly everything has its own intelligence. Your closet knows what you want to wear, the refrigerator knows what you want for breakfast, and your iPod knows what you want to listen to.

You could be old fashioned and walk to class, but why would you want to? It’d be much easier to hop on the elevator that takes you anywhere on campus at the press of a button. Your first class of the day would probably be something like TECH 101, The Evolution of Daily TechnologyThe Jetsons (credit: Boomerang). Classes like these would become general education requirements in order to inform the young members of society about the always changing world around them. When you arrive to class you pull out a device that evolved from today’s Kindle. Textbooks and notes from every course you are taking are combined in the compact, portable device. It even allows you to beam your work to your instructor. The use of paper, pencil, and traditional computers is basically extinct!

Who could argue with living daily life like that? Having fewer decisions to make and even less manual labor to do both seem to be suitable characteristics of a utopian society that is dependent on information technology. But what if things took a turn for the worst?

Welcome to the year 2035. Information technology no longer supports your everyday life, it controls it. Schools, including college, don’t even exist anymore as social institutions. Actually, you attend school from your bedroom. Professors are computer personalities that were built to teach certain subjects. There really isn’t much of a reason for anyone to leave the house anymore. As a result, most of the population is obese and lack adequate social skills.

Because of our extreme dependence on the new inventions of the year 2035, it is a federal law that you must own the latest technologies in order to be compatible with everyone else. The old technologies are now big piles of waste, lying on just about every street corner. Every one complies with the new technology law because no one wants to be exiled to the new prisons that were built on Mars. If you do dare to venture outside of your home, you will rarely catch verbal conversation. The most common noises are the hums, buzzes, beeps, and whatever the neighbors are watching on television.

What will my life really be like in the year 2035? My initial thought was that the way I lived 25 years from now wouldn’t be as dramatic as either one of the above scenarios. But then I thought about how we communicated 25 years ago compared to today. By 2035, I’ll have a family of my own. My children will have grown up in a world that is even more developed than the one I grew up in. I’ll probably only step foot inside of a real office a couple times a week due to the new capabilities of a home office. Maybe my children will have to explain new technologies to be like I have to explain them to my mother today.

I think that by this time, all of the fields of mass communication will be directly connected to the internet. After all, Google TV, allowing you to surf the web and watch television, has made its way to the markets. Journalists will do all of their work in front of a computer screen, and newspapers will become a thing of the past (similar to the transition from cassette tapes to CDs and digital music). Who knows what the future of information technology holds, let’s just hope that the world is ready!

Hey There Lonely Girl

September 22, 2010 - Leave a Response

Once upon a time there was a girl who lived in a lonely and quiet world. There was no music, television, Facebook, or any internet at all for that matter. She barely consumed any media at all besides the signs on the walls and the boring textbooks for her classes. Day after day, her life was dreary and left her feeling like an outsider to the happier world she once belonged to.

This sounds like the beginning of a very sad story right? It’s a very sad, but very true story. How do I know? For the past two days I was this girl. Okay, so I’ll admit that was a tad dramatic, but you get the picture. I haven’t listened to music, visited a social networking website, or watched television (voluntarily) for about two days. Surprisingly, I didn’t go crazy from this lack of mass media. It just left me feeling a little out of touch.

The assignment was to “do without all forms of mass media” for two days, but I found myself being exposed to media involuntarily. In all of my classes, the professors usually use a PowerPoint presentation to teach from, or show examples from websites. If I completely went without checking my email, blackboard, or using the internet, my homework grades definitely would have slipped. Let’s not forget that textbooks are media too, and they are essential to understanding my classes as well. If I really left the room every time my roommate had the TV on, I might as well had moved into the study lounge for two days! Signs posting information and advertisements are everywhere on campus, and it was nearly impossible to stop my brain from reading them automatically.

I did however, for this assignment, decide to limit my media intake. Facebook and Twitter were not on my internet browser, but I did think about them a lot. However, I was surprised that I wasn’t even tempted to visit the sites. That may have been because I had so much catching up to do with my classes because I went out of town this weekend. Or maybe I’m just not as dependent on media as I thought I was.

I also chose to do without my iPod for two days, and it was indeed the two most annoying days of my life (also a very dramatic statement). I heard every phone conversation on the way to class, every scribble of my roommate’s pen, and even the buzz of the light bulbs. Not having music made me a little irritable and even lowered my tolerance for things. Music helps me focus by giving me thoughts to relate to and ponder. 

Believe it or not, there were advantages to not having media. I was forced to have verbal conversations with people. It also made me more aware of my physical surroundings. I noticed people on my day to day routes that I didn’t notice before. Procrastination wasn’t really possible without media. I was more productive than I have ever been since getting to college. My cell phone battery stayed with a full battery longer without using my social networking applications. Everyone loves a charged cell phone!

The major disadvantage I felt was being out of touch due to the lack of social networking. I didn’t get minute by minute updates of what everyone was doing or how their day was going. I even feel like I have to play catch-up with some people now that the assignment is over. In a way, I was short handing the people who also like to keep up with me via social network. If it’s any consolation, I did think about possible status updates or the things I would tweet about if I were choosing to use Facebook or Twitter.

This assignment wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. My generation especially seems to worry about even the thought of giving up all forms of mass media. Most of the time, we forget that the world did indeed exist back when these technologies weren’t available to us yet. It is understandable why we fail to revert our thinking this way. Media has become a habit for today’s society; it is practically programmed in our brains that we need it to survive.

Text, iPod, Facebook, Repeat.

September 17, 2010 - Leave a Response

Okay, let’s set the scene. I’m in my dorm room; sitting at my desk while Jersey Shore is on in the background (No, I am not a Jersey Shore fanatic, but my roommates seem to love it). My cell phone is sitting to my left. Text messages from my mother, boyfriend, and best friends back at home have it vibrating almost nonstop. In addition to WordPress, I also have Facebook, Twitter, and Blackboard open in different tabs.

Can you guess what makes tonight different from any other night? Tonight I’m not listening to music while I text, read for tomorrow’s classes, or social network. That may seem like a minor detail at first, but after logging my media usage for two consecutive days, I realize that it is actually a huge change for me!

My media habits are full of patterns! Every morning, instead of a traditional alarm clock, the alarm on my phone wakes me up. It only takes a half hour at the most for me to start texting. These two things are essential parts of my day.

Prior to this assignment to keep track of the media that I consume, I was aware that I spent a vast amount of time on social networks. This includes time on my laptop, and on the social network applications that are on my phone. What my log did help me notice about this form of media in particular is how I alternate between Facebook and Twitter like it’s programmed into my brain! If nothing interesting is on one news feed, I switch to the other. This process repeats numerous times within an hour!

I was, however, surprised at the amount of time I spend listening to my iPod. My headphones are in my ears on my way to each class, and even up to the point where my professor starts their lecture. If I’m walking somewhere on campus, my iPod is always in my company. When I’m in my room and want to tune everything out, I’m listening to my iPod. About 2 hours a day are spent with just me and my music.

Being in class didn’t stop my consumption of media. Instructors are also guilty for being a part of the mass media craze. I have a few that use PowerPoint presentations during their lecture. Two of my professors even have websites for their classes to view assignments (the cooler of the two is a social network!). In another class, we watched a video instead of having a lecture. It was informative, and not very exciting, but a mass media form, nonetheless. I can’t forget about the amount of reading I did! From textbooks, to menus, to online news articles, I surely got my full dosage of media!

Media is truly all around us. Within these two days I also watched a movie that was set in the early 90’s. There were scenes in the movie that included older versions of desktop computers, and a car phone – the cell phone’s great-grandfather. It’s amazing how throughout the years the usage of mass media has grown and evolved. This assignment helped me realize how media connects me to the rest of the world and vice versa. Because we always have it at our fingertips, we fail to realize just how much we use and/or abuse media.

Hello world (and Mass Comm 101)!

August 30, 2010 - 2 Responses

Even though this is starting out as an assignment for my Mass Communication 101 class, I must admit that I’m actually pretty open to the idea of blogging.  I can express myself and share my thoughts with others in a more creative way than Facebook or Twitter allows. Here goes nothing, bring on the blog posts!

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