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.