Making Sense of the Media

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.

Making Sense of Ferguson Reporter Arrests

Aug 17, 2014
npr.org

Rioting in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson -- after an unarmed teenager was shot to death by police -- has brought media attention the likes of which that small community has never seen.

And, reporters have experienced everything from tear-gassing to arrest as they try to cover the story.

Making Sense of a New Way to Teach Journalism

Aug 9, 2014
wikipedia.org

It's just a journalism class. But the syllabus for this once a week class at Boston University went viral.

No doubt that is,  in part, because it is being taught by iconoclast  New York Times columnist David Carr.

Making Sense of NPR One

Aug 4, 2014

There's a new way to listen to national and local NPR programming.

It a mobile app that tailors what you hear to your listening interests.

It's called NPR One.

Is it a game changer for digital news delivery or more like 'some' things considered?

Making Sense of Social Media Shaming

Jul 24, 2014

Is seven million views on the internet more punishment than being charged with stealing?

That's the thinking of a man who caught two women stealing his beach tent on New Smyrna Beach, Florida on the Fourth of July.

He video taped the whole thing and posted it to the internet where it got seven million views -- and the numbers are still climbing.

He decided not to press charges, figuring their worldwide internet shaming was punishment enough.

The 7-1 victory by Germany over Brazil in the World Cup generated the most activity around a single sports game on Twitter ever.

Over 35-and-a-half million tweets during the game itself, and at peak volume, nearly 600,000 people were tweeting about it at the same time.

Making Sense of Internet Comment Sections

Jun 26, 2014

Are internet comments sections the new town square, or cesspools of racism, sexism and worse?

Whenever you scroll down through a comments section, at some point you encounter something that makes you cringe.

Can these often offensive comments sections be improved without cutting off free speech?

"It's definitely problematic and if we're going to make the internet work as a form of communication, we have got to figure this out," said Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute's Sense-making Project.

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