Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Assignment #9

The U.S. v. Matthews case was definitely fair. Since NPR reporter Larry Matthews had no proof, despite mentioning on-air his intent to write an article on child pornography, he had no legal defense. Even if he had no contract with an editor, he should have at least had some form of notes. Without this, he was completely vulnerable and subject to any legal ramifications.
It serves as a lesson to any future undercover reporters. If their subject matter happens to be something illegal (smuggling, drug dealing, child pornography, etc.), they must take extra precautions to ensure they have at least some legal defense should police arrest them. If a reporter was going undercover as a drug dealer, and got arrested with a kilo of cocaine in his car, he better have some thorough notes or a contract with an editor to form at least some backbone of a defense case. Drug dealing, child pornography, and any other illegal activity is pretty serious business, so these risk-taking reporters must be ready.
In the legal sense, it wouldn’t and shouldn’t have made a difference. If all performers and viewers are of legal age (usually 18), no laws were broken and no arrest should have been made. In a perfect world (and here’s where my conservative and liberal views clash), all forms of pornography would be illegal, putting an end to the exploitation. So, if I ruled the world, it wouldn’t make a difference. But the laws being what they are, it makes a significant difference.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Assignment #8

Scott Baradell's presentation made me excited about journalism for the first time in a long time. After my experience with 2320 last semester, with its veritable funeral dirge of current and former print journalists, I was pretty depressed about the future of my chosen career path. Bleak bleak bleak was the outlook, but now I'm a bit more hopeful.

While I still have a long way to go to becoming a modern journalist (mainly in the realms of video shooting and editing), I feel a bit more confident since I'm comfortable blogging and using Web sites such as Twitter. Many of the users I follow on Twitter are businesses (mostly magazines--i.e. Rolling Stone, and news outlets--i.e. Pegasus and the DMN), and "tweeting" seems to be a skill many publications will look for in the near future.

Baradell's presentation was informative, engaging and insightful. I was afraid that as a PR professional, his time would focus mainly on that topic, but he stayed mostly on journalism as we know it, fielding most of the group's questions. His grasp of new media was vast and I always appreciate it when adult lecturers don't talk to my generation like morons, especially when talking about technology.

I enjoyed this lecture and feel excited about being hopeful about my future vocation.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Assignment #7

"The Ninth Floor" by Jessie Dimmock

1. A Point (of View)
We get to be a fly on the wall here. We get to truly experience life in this dilapidated apartment with these wiry heroin junkies.

2. A Dramatic Question
"Will these addicts ever get clean?"
That's the question on the viewers' minds as they view this project. We all hope they do, but for anyone who's experienced drug addiction amongst their own family and friends (or even firsthand) knows the nearly insurmountable challenge of overcoming their jones for the junk.

3. Emotional Content
You can hear the emotion in the voices and see it in the photos. The three people the photographer followed were all desperate to get clean, yet undeniably hooked to the powerful drug. The most devastating image: Jessie (the addict) shooting up while in her hospital bed.

4. The Gift of Your Voice

I found no bias in this project. Dimmock doesn't judge these users, but simply lets the images speak for themselves: the violence, the lack of self-respect, the desperation. Her voice is gentle, not abrasive. The images are powerful enough.

5. The Power of the Soundtrack
As a big believer in music and its power, the tunes composed for this project fit perfectly: the anxiousness, the despondency, the squalor. It's all here.

6. Economy
Not a single second is wasted or extraneous in this project. Every image, note, and line of dialogue fits where it should. As Radiohead once said, this project has "Everything in its Right Place."

7. Pacing
A multimedia story should flow well. Even in our ADD society, it's nearly impossible not to be riveted, to be glued to the computer screen for the 13-plus minutes of this project. Going back and forth but focusing on two stories (Jessie and Rachel & Dionn), the entire project feels complete, without missing any crucial details.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

In-Class Assignment #3

U.S. panel passes tobacco regulations
By Kip Mooney
Based on a Bloomberg report

After 10 years in limbo, legislation allowing the FDA to regulate the $80-billion-a-year tobacco industry passed in the House, and may have widespread support from Congress.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act passed 39-13 in the House today. Back in July, it got 3-1 favorable support but slowed in the Senate over concerns the bill didn't ban menthol cigarettes.

Smoking causes one in five U.S. deaths, and the new bill, backed by Altria, admitted tobacco user President Barack Obama, and the American Lung Association, aims to lower the number by restricting tobacco marketing to youth, adding larger warnings, and requiring the FDA to monitor ingredients and new products.

"Regulating tobabcco is the single most important thing that we can do right now to curb the deadly toll of tobacco, and FDA is the right agency to do the job," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) said.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Assignment #6

I'm not quite sure who's to blame, but everyone at Tuesday's class seemed extremely disinterested.

Students were bored either because they didn't care (which they should, since if they want to go into journalism, they're really going to have to know videography) or they'd heard it all before. If they took 2320 last semester, they heard Dan X. McGraw, a frankly more accomplished mojo ("mobile journalist"). Also, many students are in Lisa Parisot's class, so they are probably already in the process of learning these things, so it was just old hat.

Even the writer himself admitted that his current vocation isn't even what he really wants to do. He desires to be a feature film director, but the class wasn't made aware of this fact until nearly the end of the class, and by that time, all students were ready to get on with their days, so any questions about his filmmaking career remained unasked.

Only one student seemed interested in asking his inqueries, and those were all technical questions that no one had any interest in hearing or answering. It made for quite the yawn-filled class frankly.

And honestly, the video quality was merely adequate. Questions were asked about compression, which makes the videos load faster and take up space, but the quality is diminished even more.

The videos on the site still looked amateurish. It may be a lack of funds or the mojo was on deadline, but none were too impressive.

I normally love guest speakers, but Tuesday's experience all-around was unenjoyable (but that could just be the fact that the MacLab lost my I.D.).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Assignment #5

Latest pit bull attack: 2 teens
By Kip Mooney
Based on a report by Dan X. McGraw,

NORTHEAST DALLAS--Four pit bulls attacked two teenagers Monday, making it the third dog attack in a week, according to Dallas police.

The 13-year-old (who was bitten but not seriously hurt) and his 18-year-old sister (who used a belt to scare the dogs away) were walking along Hoblitzelle Drive Monday around 5 p.m. when the dogs attacked them.

Dogs caught two of the dogs and held them in their squad car, and cornered the other two in a backyard.

The unidentified owner was issued three citations.

But these teenagers aren't the only victims.

On Feb. 21, dogs attacked Clarence Webber and Helen Fuller outside Jerry's Market at Bernal and North Westmoreland in West Dallas.

At Parkland Memorial Hospital, Webber received treatment for injuries to his eye, face, hand, and thigh, while Fuller received treatment for arm and head wounds.

Later that day, a 12-year-old boy was attacked after trying to retrieve a lost ball.

The series of attacks have ignited debate that cities should ban certain violent dog breeds.

  • MAP: Send us locations of other attacks.
  • PHOTOS: Send us photos of the attacks; help put a face with this problem.
Lakeview Prep reopens after fire
By Kip Mooney
Based on a report by Dan X. McGraw,

After a weekend fire, East Dallas' Lakeview Preparatory School will reopen its doors.

The two-alarm blaze broke out around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning. No injuries were reported. Fire officials have not yet determined the cause.

"The damage looks significant," said Gigi Ekstrom, Lakehill's director of marketing. "We haven’t determined how significant it is. We are hoping to have some more answers by the end of the day."

She said it's likely the gym will be unavailable for the remainder of the school year. Sports are done for the year, but phys-ed classes will use the cafeteria.

  • PHOTOS: Share your before and after photos.
'One Man Star Wars Trilogy' comes to Addison
By Kip Mooney
Based on a report by Lawson Taitte, Dallas Morning News

Millions of kids have been impacted by the original Star Wars trilogy (not to mention horrified by the prequels), but perhaps none as significantly as Charlie Ross.

He's performed his One-Man Star Wars Trilogy more than 1,200 times in over 200 cities, and now brings it to Addison's WaterTower Theatre.

Over the course of an hour, he burns through all three original films, performing all the roles, making sound effects, and singing along with the orchestra.

The Canadian actor got his start a Fringe theatre festival in Minneapolis, only fitting as he takes part in the Addison's Out of the Loop Festival. May the force be with him.

Opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday at WaterTower Theatre, 15650 Addison Road, Addison. $15, festival passes good for all shows $60. 972-450-6232.

  • EXPERIENCE: Share your 'Star Wars' experience on the blog
  • PHOTOS: Share your photos from the show

Monday, February 23, 2009

Assignment #4

Oscars Gala attracts movie buffs
By Kip Mooney

The Red Room, a lounge inside Bruce Hall filled with couches and easy chairs, is pitch black Sunday night, save for the glow of the big-screen TV. Some guests tonight are dressed to the nines, in accordance with the requests of signs advertising tonight's event. Others remain in their everyday clothes, all ready for "the biggest movie event of the year."
The crowd (the term used loosely, as only about a dozen or so folks showed up) filled the room with uproarious laughter during Ben Stiller's presentation of the award for Best Cinematography, where he openly mocked Joaquin Phoenix's recent transformation to disheveled rapper.

Resident assistant Arielle LaGuette put on the Oscars Gala this year, and called watching the telecast "one of her favorite times of the year."
LaGuette printed out ballots for each guest, who then made their predictions to see who's picks most closely matched the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Radio, television, and film sophomore Rob Sheehy got 19 of the 24 categories correct.
One of the few Sheehy missed was Best Actor, a category in which he chose his favorite performance.
"I really wanted Mickey Rourke to win," he said. "I liked his performance and I just felt so bad for him in the movie."
Sheehy, unlike many of the guests, saw most of this year's nominated films, with the exception of Stephen Daldry's The Reader. He agreed with many critics and fans that its inclusion among the Best Picture nominees shouldn't have happened.
But the omission that really irked him was Charlie Kaufman's Synecdoche, New York in the Best Original Screenplay category.
"I'm convinced that it didn't get nominated because the Academy can't spell Synecodche," he said.
LaGuette however, defended The Reader, or at least its lead actress (and Oscar winner) Kate Winslet.
"Her roles are always inspiring and she's consistently amazing," she said.
At the end of the night, even when the winner became apparent, the attendees erupted with cheers for director Danny Boyle and the announcement of Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Assignment #3

Religion Blog (Dallas Morning News)
Plenty of interesting tidbits, and veteran writer Jeffrey Weiss keeps his topic lively, when it could normally get dry. But this blog has problems indicative of most blogs: very little related content. It's almost as if all of the DMN's blogs are in their own little world. They blog away each day, but very few print stories include a tease to the blog for readers to weigh. Yes, there are comment sections, but a blog should add to content, not be an entirely separate entity. If it becomes that, it replaces the newspaper. And nobody likes cannibalism.

Square Pegs (Pegasus News)
Same problem here, but Mike Orren's entries are perfect for blogs: short, to-the-point, and filled with links. If they expand out, they'll need blogs for specific topics. He's pretty all-over-the-map here. But again, where are the links to stories on the site? It's here that Orren updates readers on changes to the site, a good idea, especially for frequent visitors. To improve, this blog needs to be better categorized. It's too much of a hodgepodge.

Naked Politics (Miami Herald)
Now we're talking. Timely, constantly updated with pertinent information, and augments the print stories, rather than overtaking them. Much like the Herald's website itself, the layout is a little bland, but at least the content's there. It's well-categorized, and features good use of video, something the other two blogs I checked today barely attempted.

Unfair Park
(Dallas Observer)

One thing a good blog needs: a great title. And the Observer blog certainly has that. But it's also an excellent example of what blogging can be: in-depth, insightful, and entertaining. Now that the Village Voice has syndicated all their film reviews, it gives Robert Wilonsky a chance to show his news-writing talent beyond being a cranky film critic.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Assignment #2

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, AK)
While it should have been a laughably bad site, this Alaskan newspaper's website, features a fair amount of content, and it all seems highly relevant to the audience. Functional and sleek, it's not nearly the two-bit operation an outsider would expect from an Alaskan newspaper. It's not hard to navigate, but the site is a bit cluttered with ads. The video quality is fair, and definitely better than expected. Most videos are ice-related, but likely highly relevant to the people of Alaska. The photos, especially their sports photos are top-notch. The site allows comments, the bare minimum for interactivity. Letters to the Editor are accessible, a good idea.


The Daily Sentinel (Nacogdoches, TX)

Now we're talking. Almost laughably bad. Very little content, and what they do have is hardly relevant, bordering on worthless. Covering stories that have already been done, and pulling countless AP stories and reviews. The only function is to take you to stories you don't want to read. The website is clunky and cluttered and their photos and video leave much to be desired, though "A Long Journey" was a step in the right direction. The interactivity was limited, and featured a difficult quiz on Black History Month that doesn't entice readers to play again.


ABC-13 (Asheville, NC)
Talk about sensory overload. Far too many links make it impossible to decide where to go. As a reader, I want to know the good stories right away, not search for something that might be interesting. I'll get bored too quickly and go to another site. This cluttered site certainly could not be defined as functional, and the poor navigation speaks for itself. The video quality is sub-par, the lead story looks as if it was embedded from DailyMotion, and not the quality of where it should be, and interactivity is practically non-existent.


NBC-15 (Mobile, AL)

A surprisingly well-designed website, perhaps the best of those selected today. Content is broken up into appropriate chunks, and the stories worth reading are prominently displayed. The content is useful, too. It's functional and easy to navigate, but the video quality is barely adequate. However, the site does feature an entire online forum for its devoted readers. And, of course, this station was the first to broadcast this video:


Thursday, February 5, 2009

In-Class Assignment #1

Unemployed Americans reach 626,000
By Kip Mooney
Based on a report by Courtney Schlisserman and Timothy R. Homan, Bloomberg News

Americans filing initial jobless claims rose to its highest level since 1982, the Labor Department said today.
Economists project the unemployment rate rose to 7.5 percent in January, the most since 1993, according to the median projection in a Bloomberg survey. The U.S. lost 2.6 million jobs last year, the most since 1945.
The U.S. economy is "in for a tough several months," President Barack Obama said Feb. 1 in an interview with NBC. "It's going to take a number of months before we stop falling and then a little longer for us to get back on track."

Homeless Palestinians pitch tents in Gaza

By Kip Mooney
Based on a report by Andrew Hammond, Reuters

HAY AL-SALAM, Gaza Strip -- Thousands of Palestinians have pitched tents along the Gaza Strip, waiting to return home after Israel's three-week assault here.
"I lost everything," teacher Yousef Abu Eida said.
Aid agencies have handed out blankets, but many camps have no latrines.
With no formal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, refugees say they don't feel safe.
"We can't sleep at night," Bashir Khidr said. "We're afraid the tanks will come back."

Lil' Wayne eyes slate of Grammys
By Kip Mooney
Based on a report by Jayson Rodriguez,

Lil' Wayne has had a big year: he sold more albums than anyone else, picked up Best Hip-Hop Video at the VMAs, and even strummed his guitar alongside Kid Rock and the Country Music Awards.
Now, to cap it all off, he's poised to sweep the rap categories at the Grammys. He could even take the big prize: Album of the Year.
The New Orleans native joins past winners Lauryn Hill and OutKast as the only rappers nominated for music's top award.
His competition includes Coldplay, Radiohead, R&B crooner Ne-Yo, and Robert Plant and Allison Krauss' crossover album.
The Grammys air this Sunday, Feb. 8.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


All links for multimedia for this class will appear in this post.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Assignment #1

The green cushions of the lightly-stained stools seem oddly inviting. Much like a bar, the ladies and gentlemen behind the counter dispense both advice and what their duties require. And like a bar there are two groups of people here tonight: those wanting to stay and share their stories, and those here to get what they need and leave.
In most cases, the ones in a hurry are here for keys. They trade their ID cards for access, like cash for drinks. Some disappear, gone forever. Others return later to retrieve their identity, in essence cashing out their tabs.
Those who leave miss out on the conversation: pithy comments and pitiful confessions. But for those who stay, the sages behind the counter, the bartenders of this residence hall, offer up their open ears and words of wisdom. Like the Talking Heads once sang, this must be the place.
This bar doesn't close. Folks stay and spill their guts all night long. A frequent guest mentioned he stayed up till 3 or 4 a.m. chatting with the night crew.
But at this hour, the sky is a downright oceanic blue with a tint of tangerine on the horizon. No one is bleary-eyed, but rather wide awake.
A writer stops by, killing time while he waits on friends to meet for dinner. He divulges his late arrival into his bed the previous night: 2 a.m. He had stayed up chatting to a friend. Had it been any other friend, he would have cut the conversation short, but he allowed the two-hour digital discussion to run its course. He still has feelings for this friend, and voraciously hungers for any form of communication with her.
But the topic quickly turns to the cinema, in lieu of a more serious discussion on matters of the heart. There are other patrons, after all.
Regardless, the writer soon leaves, as a phone call informs him his friends are ready and waiting. As he leaves, he tells the group he'll see them later. Judging by his demeanor, he'll definitely return.