Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Future of News Media -- Technology vs. Medium

My, my, how the world is changing. 
It seems like only yesterday the internet was in diapers, and I was doing my homework on a DOS operating system.  And while I might long for the classic games like King’s Quest, and Command & Conquer I used to play on it, my god was it primitive in comparison to the technology in 2011.  It seems fairly elementary, but we don’t usually pause to think about how advanced technology’s become, and how these changes affect the traditional news media.

It was around the early 1990’s when people consumed their news media, typically like this:  Listen to the morning news on the way to work, read the newspaper (remember that?) at lunch or break, and then watch the 6 O’clock news on TV. 

Fast-forward to 2011 and notice that there’s a different way of consuming news.  It’s called the internet. 

It allows us to access and share information with a broad audience in an instant.  Now that mostly everyone in Canada and the US has access to a computer or smart phone with internet access, we’ve seen the decline of paper newspapers….. Go figure.

They just can’t report the news as quickly in a paper format because of the time it takes to edit, and print.  In other words--- when you get a newspaper in the morning, it’s mostly reporting on yesterday’s news… and in the world of the internet and social media, that’s OLD news.

Why should I buy a newspaper when the same article is online before the paper, and is interactive using comments?

And social media, I can be updated on the latest news as it’s happening, before any reporter can write an article about it. 

If the newspaper’s not a quick enough medium for us in this fast-paced world, is the TV news?

Not really, I’d say.  The most common format for TV news is the local 6 O’clock news, which has the same problem as newspapers: it’s mostly old news.  In TV there are exceptions to this: they could be covering something live, and it is more personal for the news to be reported by a person you can see, rather than a faceless article.  But at the end of the day, it’s still mostly old news already, if you're online.

So, how is technology i.e.: the Internet and social media changing news media?

Newspapers are failing---obviously.  And the TV news is moving more to the mornings.  CTV launched its morning news show a few weeks ago, to compete with City TV’s The Big Breakfast, as the only TV news morning programs in Winnipeg.  Is this turning into a trend?  
Global plans to launch a new two-hour morning news program in the near future, to compete in the Winnipeg market.

Until recently, it was perceived there wasn’t much of a market for morning news, and City TV’s the Big Breakfast was the only show in town.

What’s the cause of this?  We, as a society, want our information, and we want it now.

Traditional media is learning that it needs to adapt to stay alive; and has been.  But will it be enough?

Something very important to the future of news is the medium it’s reported in.
I foresee a future where the internet, radio, and TV are all rolled into one—we practically have it already.  More and more news organizations have apps for the iPad, iPhone, Android and for other operating systems.  The problem is: how do they profit from it?  As they get more popular, I’ve seen more advertising in the apps.  Makes sense, right?  But they’re not rolling in the kind of dollars they would for TV commercials.

The news media can have their cake and eat it too, when TV and internet are one, and the distinction is negligible. 

It’s not a farfetched idea; there are TV’s that have internet access built into them.

Conversely, I fear this happening.  If and when this happens, it will mean less user control and freedom of the internet—which is the whole point: a free voice.  If it is combined with TV somehow, mark my words, somebody will regulate it.  But I think that’s where we’re headed.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride---hold on to your hat… if you haven’t already sold it for food when the financial system comes crashing down… I’ll save that topic, for next time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is The Big Bang Theory Unethical? What's Unethical?

Today in my public relations class we talked more about ethics in PR, like we have been for the last week or so.  It’s an interesting topic, because a lot of it is open to interpretation, and as far as I’ve seen, it’s not black and white.
What is ethical?
Good question eh?  I’ll get back to that.
So, after being let out early from my last class of the dayJ, which is always nice, I hopped down the RRC stairwell, across Princess street to the parkade, feeling like I was in a game of Frogger, and theatrically jumped in my bitchin Ferrari.  OK it’s a Sunfire, whatever…. They’re not that bad.
Anyways, I sped home, parked my car, skipped to my lou, entered my house…. This sure is a lot of detail… and sat my ass on the couch. 
Ah… relaxation.  TV.
As I was flipping through the channels, I noticed that The Big Bang Theory was listed as an hour in length. 
“How could this be,” I thought.  Big Bang is only half an hour.
So I info’d that shizit, and found it was, in fact, 31 minutes long.
“Hmmmm… this must be some mistake,” I said aloud, in my otherwise empty house.
But wait.  TV doesn’t screw up.  This is no mistake of the guide of the television.
This is trickery.  It is almost Halloween after all.  But wait… I’ve seen this shiznit before…
It makes logical sense that the reason Big Bang was listed at 31 minutes, instead of the standard 30 minute time slot, was to: EAT UP SPACE ON THE GUIDE, so you’re more likely to see TBBT on the guide and watch that program.
Big Bang is a popular TV show; I don’t see why this would be necessary for them to do, but point blankly, shootin straight from the hip n’ keepin it real: it’s GOOD ADVERTISING. 
Wait.  So that means it’s paid for?  By who?
And why would a satellite TV service provider do such a thing?  Surely they must’ve been provided some compensation for the 31 minute time slot. 
Can other shows do that?
Is this fair to the other shows or networks that are also competing for viewers? 
Is this ethical? 
What do you think? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Golden Cheddar

A tall tower; a golden glow emanates from atop. "And now, you must make a choice."
It's a dark night. The moon and stars are covered by a quilt of clouds, wrapping over the horizon as if tucking the world in goodnight. But the city doesn't sleep, and neither do I. Not lately at least. There's too much to do, before the night is done.
The tunnel is cramped; my body squirms and weaves its way through. Dust from the degrading stone catches on my thick fur coat. I make it through the other end, lift myself up from the floor and brush the dust off. Only some does.
My eyes scan the room, and in the corner something catches them. It's too dark to see it clearly, but i swear I've seen it before somewhere. This must be the way.
My steps are light and stealthy like a ninja. My breath is silent. The slightest noise could alert them. I wouldn't want to cause any trouble. Once I have it, I will surely disappear. No trace of my being here will be left; I’ve made sure of that. Except maybe the dust I brushed off of myself from the tunnel... I'll clean it up later.
I move closer and closer. Yes, it's just as I remember. It reeks of rich mahogany and towers above the room. I stand at the bottom, where it meets with the floor. It's a long way up. I better get started to reach the top before sunrise.
I claw at the outside of the tall structure. I make sure my grip is secure and slowly pull myself up. Soon I will have made it, and it will be mine.
The view from the top is breathtaking, though the darkness shrouds the true elegance of the landscape; enough indulging the view, however. I wouldn't want to wait long enough to watch the sunrise, though that would be impossible from this vantage point.
I open the door in the back and crawl inside. Beneath the iron hands is a golden glow emanating from the center of the room. There it is. It's extraordinary; just how I pictured it in my dreams. Its sweet aroma intoxicates my senses as I inch closer towards the Golden Cheddar.
"I knew that you were coming," says a voice from the darkness. I stop in my tracks. "And you know that I will stop you now. The Golden Cheddar has been, and will always be, under the possession of The Brotherhood. Your presence does not change this," says the voice; seeming to originate from all around the room at times. It's impossible to pin point where it’s coming from.
"And now, you must make a choice," the voice says. "Join us, or die."
"The Cheddar is rightfully mine. You stole it. I must have it back," I demand.
"Then this is where we are at an impasse," the voice said as it quickly began turning into a shadow, like a missile heading right for me.
I narrowly dodged the impact and watched as he collided with the iron hands of the towers clock. He looks out cold. No more wasting time. I grab the Golden Cheddar and climb back down the clock tower. The tunnel out is only a stone’s throw away. I make it to the tunnels entrance and notice the dust and rubble from before. I must be sure to cover my tracks. I use my tail to brush the dust around until it nearly all disperses.
"Flick," fluorescent bulbs suddenly illuminate the room.
"God damn rats!” says a low baritone voice, towering above me.
That was the last heard thing I heard, before.
The End
The Golden Cheddar


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Manitoba Provincial Election: Who Makes Me Less Sick to my Stomach?

So here comes another Provincial election. What have we seen so far.
Attack ads? Check
Confusion on the issues that matter? Like bipole 3. Check
Outright lies? Check
 These things, plus the cynicism toward the political system, have created an increase of voter apathy (despite the fact that advanced polls almost doubled since the 2007 election.  A lot of people think that whatever party you elect it doesn't really matter, you're going to get the same form of governance. Where does this cynicism come from? I think part of it starts with Barack Obama. The way he campaigned on hope and look where the states are now? He promised to get out of the iraq war, to pull all of the troops out within months and it didn't happen. He said he would be transparent, and has been the least transparent president i can recall, and that's including Bush! Point is, its been business as usual in the states, and this has an impact on cynicism toward the political system even in Canada. Whichever party is voted in on october 4, you're going to see very similar government. Plus the parties have done very little to communicate their plans on the important issues, like bipole 3, or any vision for the province. At least, not a vision that wipes away my cynicism toward the political system. I think what would speak to common voters are independent candidates. Someone with a.... Sovereign vision. Candidates who aren't controlled by their party. Perhaps a party that's not PC, NDP, LIB, Green, or Communist. Because none of these parties speak to me. I think most ppl vote PC or NDP because they're the realistic candidates and the most credible candidates. But it really is: Whose the best of the worst?
Do you really "believe" in any party or candidate? Or are you voting because you feel it's you're duty, you're being a good Canadian and participating in democracy and all that jazz? Think about it. You're probably just voting for the candidate that makes you less sick. It's sad, but true. Well, for me at least.

You can find out more about the election at: www.elections.mb.ca

Who says Star Trek Isn't Funny?

This is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I was a much bigger fan of Star Trek when I was younger, but I still watch the odd episode every now and again and stumbled upon this video when I was looking to watch an old episode on YouTube.

WATCH THIS VIDEO. Even if you don't like Star Trek, it's freaking hilarious! The words that are dubbed in match perfectly with the way their mouths move and it's just hysterical.


Click here for the original youtube link.