3
April
2015

News doesn’t attract0

The Readership Institute released an article by Rich Gordon back in 2008 about the way online audiences consume items through different media outlets.

A survey was issued that asked individuals to rank their top four programming genres in order out of a list that consisted of ten genres total: news, sports, game shows, music videos, documentaries, reality TV, soap operas, dramas, comedies and science fiction.

Only five percent of participants listed news as their number one and 11 percent ranked it second. Other responses weren’t listed, but we can infer that the majority of respondents’ first pick lies within the broad entertainment category.

It was said that, “Among people with a preference for entertainment, cable TV and the Internet just make it easier to avoid the news” (Gordon).

This is so true for a huge percent of the population, I’m sure (myself included). Now this brings me to a question: WHY do we (you) avoid the news?

For me, I find the nightly news more snooze-worthy than cringe-worthy. This might sound shocking to some of you, but much of the coverage on the news revolves around war, death, terrorism and crime day after day. This goes for both local news stations as well as national stations. It’s no wonder that people blatantly avoid it!

The solution? Gordon’s article suggests a two-tier content approach, which is (for the most part) a universal tactic nowadays. A mix of news and entertainment should be provided in each outlet. The problem with this approach is that online newspapers continue to make hard news the basis of their publications, “Which is a big part of the reason why so few people visit newspaper Web sites” (Gordon).

How do you think the news industry can help resolve this issue? Is it possible to create a happy medium between hard news and entertainment news in online media?

We are constantly drawn to sites like Buzzfeed, Gawker, and articles and posts that pop up on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. These items rarely feature hard news stories, but instead cover things meant to get a rise out of society. If national and local news sites featured one or two “entertaining” or provocative articles on their homepages, would more users visit their websites daily?

8
March
2015

Can you see it?0

Recently, a phenomenon commonly known as “The Dress” essentially broke the internet. I’m sure most of you (if not all) have seen it. I originally found it on my Twitter feed, shared by pop culture outlet Buzzfeed. Looking through the RSS feeds I follow on Feedly, I ran across an interesting article posted by Poynter that discussed the distribution of retweets by certain types of news accounts. It claims that, “Journalists at The New York Times were much more likely to retweet journalists at other traditional media organizations, and reporters from BuzzFeed were more likely to retweet journalists from other digital news organizations.” Nothing too shocking, right? Wrong.

What really got me was the fact that journalists of traditional news outlets still haven’t really grasped this new digital way of accessing news. You would think that with the explosion of media-related mobile applications and easily accessible news online, everybody would be on board. We’ve been hearing it for a while now: Traditional journalism is slowly, but surely being eaten by the web.

Conclusion: Traditional journalists have not embraced the new wave of online journalists. Instead, they prefer to mostly interact with other similar individuals in their field. On the other hand, while digital journalism is constantly evolving, those changes are, for the most part, sticking with the digital journalists.

This brings me back to “The Dress.”

Domestic violence has been an issue highlighted by the media A LOT lately. The amount of headlines, retweets, articles GIFs, ads that I see on a daily basis on each of my feeds is unreal. I follow both traditional news accounts as well as more popular, digital ones, and where I find things like “The Dress” is in places like the Buzzfeed website or Facebook page or whatever. I’ve seen very little coverage of the campaign you’re about to see in the traditional media, which is a bummer. I think traditional journalists could benefit from participating a little more in the spread of such things like “The Dress.” Not the whole black/blue vs. white/gold debate itself, but the powerful transformation that it underwent in The Salvation Army’s campaign. Internet sensations attract a wide variety of demographics, so why shy away from covering them?

Anyway, this dress, reportedly black and blue, but sometimes seen as white and gold, has created a harsh division in society. Whether you lie on the black and blue side or the white and gold side, it doesn’t matter because some real good has come of the spectacle!

The Salvation Army is a national organization that serves those in need. Its services range from donations of food, clothing, furniture and other material goods to monetary donations that support specific causes.

What The Salvation Army has done to spread further awareness about this matter features “The Dress” like you’ve never seen it before.

Salvation Army Dress Ad

In this campaign, the dress (clearly white and gold) is used as an item to highlight the blacks and blues that oftentimes go unnoticed in victims of abuse. If you ask me, this is an incredible representation of how oblivious society can be when it comes to seeing what’s really going on. It is a real issue that needs to be resolved. As you can see in the ad above, one in six women are victims of abuse. That is a message that should be as clear as day, but somehow those numbers remain unchanged year to year.

I thought this campaign was awesome. I think I’m mostly just glad that “The Dress” wasn’t as pointless of a subject as everyone thought. The fact that it blew up in a matter of days was insane. (Thanks again, Buzzfeed!) The brains behind this one deserves a round of applause because they transformed a seemingly worthless internet sensation into something meaningful.

If you would like to donate to programs that support victims of domestic abuse, click here.

4
February
2015

Three Blogs0

There are three things that inspire me on a daily basis: music, art and entertainment television (by this one, I mean trending topics, fashion, artists, etc.). Now, don’t mistake me for a girly girl- once upon a time I dreamed of becoming the next Erin Andrews. My laptop wallpaper is Chris Paul, Prison Break and Breaking Bad are two of my favorite shows and I’d choose chapstick over lipstick any day. With that being said, here are the three blogs I’ve chosen to analyze over the course of this semester.

1) Music – Pitchfork

Pitchfork is a website dedicated solely to music. It reaches out to almost every demographic out there that you can think of, which is why I love it so much. It is home to a slew of different writers, who all share a love for sound. It covers everything from album reviews, to upcoming artists to listen for, to music from the 1960s-now, to interviews and more.

Greatest strength: Pitchfork’s greatest strength is in it’s range. It contains such a wide variety of music-related things, which is definitely clear just by looking at the homepage. There is a different graphic or video clip for each article/link, which makes the site really appealing.

How it plays into this strength: You could scroll forever on Pitchfork’s homepage, which makes it both extremely easy and difficult to select a link. The fact that there is so much to choose from leads me to believe that tons of people come and go through this site every day.

Community/audience building: On the top right side of the page there are widgets linking the audience to Pitchfork’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify and Tumblr pages. There are links to access each and every one of the artists featured on the site, as well as Pitchfork’s staff. With all of these ways to get in touch with both the musicians and writers involved in the website, Pitchfork’s following/community/audience is undoubtedly growing and getting connected.

2) Art – Art Sucks

The reason I love Art Sucks is because it’s a single-author website, run by Colin C. Jorgensen (Cojo), that follows the NYC art scene. The blog itself is currently under construction, but that doesn’t mean the entire site is temporarily down. It still has copious amounts of cool, cultural “stuff” to look at. Cojo is an artist himself and this website began as a sort of ever-changing canvas for his fan base to follow. It’s developed into a source for artists and art-lovers to find news about upcoming events, galleries, fashion shows, film premieres, etc.

Greatest strength:  The blog and website are ever-changing. (If I had to pick a second strength, it would be the diversity within the site. It started as just Cojo’s art, and now covers historical art references, comic book art, street art, films, contemporary art, famous art… The list goes on.)

How it plays into this strength: The Art Sucks homepage is constantly being updated. This is in part because the author is so dedicated to his own work as well as the work of others and because the site’s following has grown to be so big. One article might be featured on the page when you wake up in the morning and that could change by the time you go to bed.

Community/audience building: On the top right side of the page there is a subscribe button that users can click on, which forever keeps them connected and updated with the site. This is essentially equal to following the website’s Facebook or Twitter page. (I’m not a subscriber, but I should be!)

3) Entertainment Television – E! Online

Now, I’m not entirely sure if this counts as a blog, but I figured if it hosts several writers and covers entertainment news, it’s got to be close. E! is definitely on the list of my most-watched t.v. channels, and their website and Twitter are in my recent browsing history.

Greatest strength: It’s greatest strength probably lies in its popularity. This doesn’t necessarily have to mean popularity in terms of how big its audience is, but the popular culture it revolves around. Pop culture is something that pertains to everyone’s lives, whether they like to believe it or not. Pop culture influences society’s taste in fashion, music, television and film.

How it plays into this strength: The only reason E! Online can feature these public figures and their work and lives is because they exist. That is the simplest way to put it. If there weren’t any actors or actresses or musicians making more movies and more music and having more public outbursts, then E! would have nothing to report on. As for the pure popularity of their site, it’s a give-take relationship between the audience and the reporters. Pop culture only becomes pop culture if the audience decides that.

Community/audience building: Again, the top right side of the page features buttons for their Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts. Additionally, there is a phone number and a text number for citizens to contact with any possible news tips. You can subscribe to their newsletter as well as a variety of E! RSS feeds.