Making Sense of the Media

Making Sense of Internet Trolls

Feb 7, 2015
npr.org

Trolls aren't just those mythical uglies who live underneath a bridge and tend toward harassing travelers with impossible riddles.

Internet trolls are mean-spirited -- no -- hateful people who incessantly harass others on Twitter -- especially women.

One of those women is Lindy West -- a writer and frequent target of Twitter harassment.

Making Sense of the Superbowl and Facebook

Jan 31, 2015
npr.org

Super Bowl XLIX doesn't just feature The Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots.

It also features lots and lots of commercials selling for four-and-a-half million dollars for 30 seconds.

And Facebook wants a piece of the Super Bowl advertising action.

If you post anything on Facebook about the Super Bowl, ads will show in in your feed tailored to your particular interests.

Making Sense of Digital Stress

Jan 25, 2015
npr.org

Cell phone calls, texting, Facebook, Twitter and email are really adding to our daily stress, right?

Not necessarily.

There's a new study that says we aren't as stressed out by our digital lives as we think we are.

Making Sense of Charlie Hebdo

Jan 23, 2015
npr.org

The terrorist attack on the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo led people around the world to proclaim "Je Suis Charlie -- I am Charlie."

Twelve people died in the attack that was allegedly in retaliation for the publishing of cartoons that disrespected the religion of Islam.

But American journalists have struggled with publishing some Charlie Hebdo cartoons because they really are offensive to a wide range of people and groups.

Making Sense Contest Entries

Dec 31, 2014

Making Sense of Facebook Movie 2-7-14

Making Sense of the Importance of Words 3-29-14

Making Sense of The Reemerging Bill Cosby Scandal 12-26-14

Making Sense of "The Interview" 12-19-14

Making Sense of the Bill Cosby Scandal

Dec 26, 2014
npr.org

Decades old allegations of sexual assault have come back to haunt Bill Cosby in a big way.

And, it all started with a viral comedy routine about Cosby's dark past by comedian Hannibal Buress -- and a clumsy internet response by Cosby's handlers.

That made it the internet story of the year, according to Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project.

Making Sense of Sony Pulling "The Interview"

Dec 21, 2014
npr.org

"The Interview" is a comedy from stoner bros Seth Rogen and James Franco about a TV entertainment reporter and his producer who get an interview with the leader of North Korea -- and then try to assassinate him at the request of the CIA.

Making Sense of Criticizing the President's Kids

Dec 15, 2014

It has become an odd Thanksgiving tradition at the White House -- the pardoning of a turkey.

But this year it turned serious after a communications director for a Republican congressman used the occasion to criticize the behavior of Barack Obama's two teenaged daughters.

Making Sense of Uber Reporter Threats

Nov 24, 2014
wbur.org

Uber -- the ride sharing app company -- is getting all kinds of attention.

And not just because of its innovative way to get you around town with unlicensed people you don't know.

It was recently revealed that an Uber executive was thinking about hiring investigators to dig up dirt on reporters who write negative articles about the company.

How can a high-tech driven company be so ham-handed when it comes to dealing with the media?

Making Sense of Taylor Swift

Nov 18, 2014
npr.org

Taylor Swift used to be just a considerable blip on the American media landscape -- country music star and tweener heroine.

Not anymore, though. With the release of her first all-pop music album "1989," Swift is changing the way music is being enjoyed, marketed and shared.

Swift's album is heading past two million in sales. That alone is bigger than any other release since 2002.

Making Sense of Election Coverage

Nov 10, 2014
fox news

One of the big winners in the 2014 midterm elections wasn't a politician, it was Fox News

With huge Republican wins in the Senate and the House came big ratings for the Fox News Channel.

Making Sense of Where We Get Our News

Oct 31, 2014
npr.org

Would you be surprised to learn that liberals and conservatives don't get their news from the same sources?

That's one of the findings in a big Pew Research study called Political Polarization and Media Habits.

Before you say, "Well, duh," Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-Making Project says there are some things to be learned from this study.

Making Sense of #Gamergate

Oct 28, 2014
npr.org

There is a growing criticism of the rampant sexism and misogyny in the video games.

And now there's a big backlash from the world of gamers in the form of #gamergate.

A mostly male group of gamers is fighting back against people - mostly women - who have increased pressure to reduce over-sexualized portrayals of women and violence against women in video games.

Making Sense Of HBO Alone

Oct 20, 2014
homeboxoffice.com

Netflix, there's going to be a new player in your neighborhood.  

HBO has announced that next year it is launching a standalone online service, meaning people who don't subscribe to HBO on cable will still be able to watch the entertainment service's top shows - online.

Is this the beginning of the end of cable subscription services like HBO?

Making Sense of The Washington Post Comeback

Oct 12, 2014
npr.org

Reports of The Washington Post's death are apparently greatly exaggerated.         

Since the purchase of the venerable newspaper by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos last summer, The Washington Post has seen print sales stabilize and website page views increase by 63 per cent.

Making Sense of the Media's Treatment of Ebola

Oct 5, 2014
npr.org

Ebola has come to the United States.                                  

And, with the Ebola diagnosis of a man in Dallas who had traveled to this country from Africa, the frightening Ebola outbreak took on new meaning for Americans -- and the U-S media.

Cable news networks and social media like Twitter and Facebook lit up with the news that the scary disease had been diagnosed in this country.

npr.org

It's a story that's been dominating media coverage -- top to bottom -- from mainstream media to social media and everything in between.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice had already been suspended for two games after a video surfaced of him hauling his unconscious then-fiancé Janay out of an Atlantic City elevator.

Now Rice has been suspended indefinitely after the rest of that video surfaced, showing the punch that knocked out Janay, who is now his wife.

Making Sense of Coverage of Beheadings

Sep 7, 2014
AP

There's no doubt in anybody's mind that the beheadings of American journalists by ISIS extremists is news.

But the distribution of videos of those beheadings is also clearly part of an ISIS propaganda campaign.

So how can journalists cover the story and not play into the hands of ISIS propagandizing?

Making Sense of Twitch.TV

Sep 3, 2014
npr.org

Why did Amazon just pay a billion dollars cash for a website most people have never heard of -- twitch.tv?

And, for that matter, what they heck is twitch.tv?

Well, 45 million people click to that site every month to watch other people play video games.

Welcome to the world of esports.

npr.org

It is a tale of two social media sites.                                                       

Facebook has been inundated with videos of people taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge -- donate $100 to ALS research or take a bucket of ice water over your head.

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