Although the media has added so much to our lives, it can also be harmful. Today I read an interesting article by Alec Baldwin in New York Magazine. Alec Baldwin is a famous actor who has had his fair share of scandals and negative press, especially recently. He has been accused of making homophobic slurs to a paparazzi and is often thought of as being hot-headed and ready to explode at any moment. In this article he states that he is sick of the scrutiny, false press and lies and that he is done with living in the public eye. To be honest, I can’t blame him. Reading the article got me thinking that we as Americans often put too much pressure on celebrities to be perfect all the time. In today’s world where everyone has a camera and internet access in their pockets, you can take a photo of a celebrity and upload to the internet in seconds, they have virtually no privacy or room to have a bad day. If someone tweets a photo or a video of a celebrity that is even slightly negative, the internet goes on a warpath and the celebrity feels the backlash. We forget that they are human with human emotions. How would any of us react if men with cameras were following our wife and child and threatening their safety? Probably not too differently from Alec Baldwin.
He made several quotes in his article about the media such as, “I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst.” He goes on to say how he experienced several negative effects from TMZ’s false stories about him–“After the TMZ event, Capital One did not renew my contract, although it politely said the two things were unrelated. AT&T had booked me for a paid speech in Orlando—and then canceled. WNYC lost funding for my radio show. Bill de Blasio, who apparently gets his news from TMZ, too, distanced himself from me.”
Media and technology have given us so much power, and much of it is used for good. However, sometimes we need to take a step back and remember that celebrities are humans and we can push them to their breaking point. The media can have harmful effects on people that we do not always consider. Read Baldwin’s full article here.
Jayson Blair has become a famous name in the journalism industry for all the wrong reasons. In 2003, an investigation began that eventually uncovered that Blair, who was an intermediate reporter for The New York Times, had been plagiarizing his stories.
While in college at the University of Maryland, Blair was the editor-in-cheif of The Diamondback, the school newspaper. During his time as the editor, he made four serious errors that caused the students to question his integrity, however these mistakes were all overlooked by the owners of the paper. He spent a summer interning with the Times and took a job there the following November. The Times national editor Jim Roberts called Blair on April 28, 2003 to discuss the similarities between a story he had written two days earlier and one published by the San Antonio Express-News on April 18, 2003, written by Macarena Hernandez. Hernandez had worked with Blair as an intern at the Times and then went on to write for the Express-News. The discovery of this plagiarism led to many more details of Blair’s phony journalism, like claiming he went on-location to cover stories but instead he simply took the information from other sources to make it appear like he was there. He claimed quotes that were not his and wrote several false statements that were published.
Blair is an example of what not to do as a journalist. He was lazy, and thought he could spend his career doing half-ass work and getting away with it. The New York Times is one of the best news sources in our country and he tarnished their reputation with lazy journalism. For months he was claiming other reporters works as his own from other papers and reusing quotes and false information to create his stories. It is important that journalists always have good integrity and write their own words and no one else’s. I think all aspiring journalists can learn a lesson from Jayson Blair on how not to act as a professional journalist. You can see his side of the story on his website.
This week in my emergent media class, we discussed a chapter that talked about the life cycle of mass media. While reading this chapter, I cam across an interesting passage about radio and how it has adapted. The radio used to be the most innovative and best form of mass media. It provided entertainment to households across the country and was the newest technological advancement. When television was developed, radio lost its audience because television was able to provide the same entertainment and then some with the added ability to view the program instead of just listen to it. The invention of television could have led to the extinction of the radio as we know it. However, it adapted. Radios are still very much a part of our lives and media today and here’s how: It understood that it could not compete with television as far as entertainment shows, so it stopped airing them. The soap operas, comedies and drama shows that used to be played on the radio ceased to exist. Instead, the radio shifted to music and played popular songs in succession. This was a brilliant strategy because television could not out-compete it; you do not need to see music to enjoy it. It stopped marketing to the general population and instead went with a niche marketing technique. Radio markets each have different stations for different genres which will each attract a different set of listeners. Lastly, the radio went portable. Currently, television is becoming more portable, but for many years, radios were appealing because you could take them anywhere. You could enjoy music in your car, outside, and anywhere else you wanted to go.
While thinking about the radio and how well it has navigated through its adaption stage, I started thinking about some things that have not adapted so well. Movies and films are another form of mass media that have become largely accessible not only in theaters but at home with rentals. When I was younger, one of my favorite weekend activities with my family was to drive to Blockbuster and pick out a VHS or DVD to rent and watch with my parents and brother. Typically, the rental was for a week and it was a very convenient service. However, as I got older, companies like Netflix and the development of the internet has rendered Blockbuster obsolete. There are virtually no Blockbusters any more because they have simply been out-competed by Netflix and even RedBox, the simple one-day DVD rental kiosks. It makes me nostalgic and sad that my own children won’t experience the joy of wandering the Blockbuster aisles searching for the perfect movie and will instead have every program at the touch of their fingers via the internet.
The Pentagon Papers are a set of US Government documents that outlines the United States’ political-military involvement in Vietnam from 1945-1967. The papers were released and discovered by Daniel Ellsberg who was a US military analyst; they were released to the public on the front page of the New York Times in 1971. This scandal showed American citizens how easy it is for the media to hide facts from the public. The papers revealed that the United States secretly enlarged the scale of the Vietnam War by bombing Cambodia and Laos, raiding North Vietnam, and through Marine Corps attacks. None of these were reported in the media which shows us that we only know what the media wants us to know. Four administrations of presidents–Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson–lied to the American public regarding their intentions.
Daniel Ellsberg was charged with conspiracy, espionage and theft of government property, but all charges were eventually dismissed in light of the Watergate scandal that came out three years after the Pentagon Papers were released. I think it is important that people like Ellsberg are brave enough to call out the government on its unconstitutional and corrupt practices. As American citizens, it is important that we remember that we live in a democracy and should always be on our toes and knowledgeable about the government and their practices. The media is an important tool, and in my opinion, the media needs to be responsible for all aspects of the news and report on everything, instead of what makes the government look good. I hope one day there will be less media secrets and we will live in a more honest society, and I believe the media can help us achieve that goal.
Walter Cronkite was a famous broadcast journalist who spent 19 years of his career as an anchorman for CBS Evening News. He reported on many of America’s most famous historical events like World War II, the Nuremberg trials, the Vietnam War, Watergate, the Iran Hostage Crisis, and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lennon. He was an honest and level-headed anchor and he earned the trust of his viewers. During the time of his career, he was known as “Uncle Walter.” His voice and image are often associated with some of the most famous events that he reported on during his career.
He attended the University of Texas but dropped out before graduating to work for the Houston Post and eventually got into radio. After his coverage of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials, he began his career with CBS in 1950. He did smaller segments for twelve years before becoming the anchorman of the CBS Evening News in 1962, a position which turned him in to an American icon. He retired in February of 1980 at age 65. Even after his retirement, he was still very active in the field. He was a special guest anchor for several special events into the 21st century. He has done a large body of voice-over work, narrating several films. He made several cameos in movies and on TV.
Walter Cronkite had an exceptional career. He was alive at a time when broadcast journalism was thriving in our country, and he got to experience several of this country’s most memorable events. Since his death in 2009, he leaves a legacy behind for all future journalists. His career shows us that hard work and dedication to your craft are crucial to being successful. He was such an influential journalist that there is even a school of Mass Communications and Journalism named for him–The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Many of you have probably heard of the dating app “Tinder.” It is an app that connects to your Facebook page and matches you up with people with common friends and interests. Essentially, you either approve or disapprove of the people who come up on your screen and if someone that you approve also approves you, it’s a match and you can choose to message that person to further the communication. Apps like this are similar to online dating, except for a younger crowd and with far more casual intentions. Nobody on Tinder is looking for a lifetime partner.
Tinder’s popularity has reached across the globe to Sochi, Russia where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games are being held. On Monday, USA snowboarder Jamie Anderson gave an interview to US Weekly and said that the app Tinder is very common in the Olympic village for finding other athletes. She was quoted saying, “There are some cuties on there.” However, Anderson deleted her app because it was “way too distracting”, and thank God she did! Anderson won the gold medal in the Women’s Slopestyle Event on Sunday.
Apps like these have become increasingly common in our culture. It is yet another reason for our elders like to blame the breakdown of communication on technology. Many often say we do not date anymore, which is true in a sense. We do not date the same way our parents did. It is far more convenient for us to use social media, apps, etc. because that is primarily how we communicate. Whether it be right or wrong, if it’s good enough for Olympic athletes, it’s good enough for the rest of us.
For the past few months, I feel like my life has been consumed with internships. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be an intern for Pennsylvania State Representative David Millard in Bloomsburg last fall which I really enjoyed! I learned so much, however it isn’t the field that I would like to work in when I graduate. Recently, I have been trying to find internships more suited to what I would like to do in the future to gain experience for after graduation. My goal is to move to Nashville, Tennessee and work in the country music industry. It is very difficult trying to find a job states away from where you live, and as I have been this process, I realize that I take the internet for granted. I would never be able to apply for jobs so easily in Tennessee from my home in Pennsylvania without the internet.
I also want to talk about the amazing thing that is networking. Since I have started college as a Mass Communications major, networking is something that I have heard about over and over again. One of the best skills you can have in this industry is networking skills. If I forget everything else that I’ve learned in college, I’ll remember how important it is to network. This week, this fact was proven to me through a real life situation.
My uncle, who is very personable, was at the gym in Wilkes-Barre and struck up a conversation with a woman next to him. After they had started talking for a bit, it somehow came up in conversation that she used to work in Nashville for two years, and my uncle mentioned to her that I was looking to live and work there when I graduate. She gave him her contact information to pass along to me, and so I contacted her. She no longer works in Nashville, but she has connections there and was kind enough to pass along my resume and cover letter to her friends who work in the business. I do not know if anything opportunities will come from it, but because my uncle went to the gym that night, I now have a new connection who could possibly help me further my career. Networking is always important, no matter where you are.