Pre-class and In-class video: Talking About Books

Several videos for our discussion in class this week about books.  And yes, I’m running about a week behind in class.  There was way too much to talk about in the business chapter!

History of the Printing Press

Back in 1999, A&E’s Biography program profiled the top 100 influential people of the Second Millennium. They’re number 1 pick? Johanne Gutenberg.  Can’t argue with that.

Amanda Hocking and the Long Tail of Books

Meet Amanda Hocking, the indie author sensation who now has a contract with St. Martin’s Press.

Storyseller – A profile of author Amanda Hocking in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

And a note from a NY Times media blog that Hocking sold a paranormal young adult trilogy to conventional publisher St. Martin’s Press.

Interview with KTTC TV

Interview with the Associated Press

Promotional Video From Amanda Hocking

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Long Tail Pre-Class Video: Doug and Telisha Williams aka Wild Ponies

Doug and Telisha Williams, also known as the band Wild Ponies, funded the production of their latest album, Things That Used To Shine, using a Kickstarter campaign. They raised more than $30,000 from people who wanted to see their latest CD recorded (that would include my wife and me) and were able to book studio time and a professional producer — things that would have been out of reach without support of either their fans or a record label.

Here’s Doug and Telisha performing “Things That Used To Shine.”

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Super Bowl 2014 Media News Roundup

Super-Bowl-2014-XLVIII-Logo-500x450So the 2014 Super Bowl was played last Sunday.  Seattle schooled Denver pretty decisively, and by most accounts it was not a particularly good year for the commercials.  I can’t say definitively, as I didn’t watch it. (I’m not going to be one of those snobs who brags about watching Downton Abbey instead of watching the big game.  I listened to the first half of Sunday’s blowout on satellite radio in the car.)

So what is worth remembering about this year’s NFL championship broadcast?


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Pre-Class Video: Exploring the Long Tail with Girl Walk – All Day

For those of you who are fans of mashup artist Girl Talk, there is a now a fascinating dance film out that is essentially a 71-minute long video for Girl Talk’s latest album All Day.

There’s a preview below, but here’s a link to the entire film.  It’s being released two chapters a week, with the entire film available by 1/6/2012.

The film was funded through Kickstarter, the long-tail funding website, with director Jacob Krupnick raising almost $25,000 from 577 backers who committed amounts ranging rom $5 to $500 or more.  (Most of the backers were under $100.)

This is Chapter 3 – It Goes Like This

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Pre-Class Video: Ten Year Anniversary of the “Wardrobe Malfunction”

Ten years ago, singer Janet Jackson exposed her breast for 9/16ths of a second.  As a result, broadcast network CBS was threatened with a fine of more than half a million dollars and a near-decade long battle over what could or could not be broadcast on network television was launched.

In June of 2012, The Hill reported that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the lower court ruling that threw out the fine on the basis that the punishment for showing “indecent content” was “arbitrary and capricious.”

This is essentially the same point the court made in the Fox and CBS fleeting indecency cases at about the same time.

According to Chief Justice John Roberts the case does not give a clear path to indecent content on broadcast channels today because broadcasters now know that such content is not allowed.

Unless you are Nancy Grace.

If you are Nancy Grace you can show your nipple to the world for an even longer amount of time than Janet Jackson did and have no one talk about $550,000 fines.

And if you ask me, Nancy Grace exposing herself, however accidentally, is a much more serious offense.

The Janet Jackson Super Bowl “Wardrobe Malfunction”

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Pre-Class Video: Truth about Disney Princesses

Pre-class video: Have you ever wondered what happened to the Disney princesses after the movie ended?  Here’s one possibility:

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Pre-Class Video: Pete Seeger at Farm Aid 2013

Pete Seeger at Farm Aid 2013 with John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews and Neil Young.

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Remembering Pete Seeger – Singing all the verses all the time

Pete SeegerAmerican folk singer and activist (but I repeat myself) Pete Seeger died yesterday at the ripe old age of 94. I never got the chance to see Pete in person, but I did see so many of the people he influenced, including Arlo Guthrie and Harry Chapin.

I really have nothing to say about Pete Seeger that can improve upon what Bruce Springsteen said at Pete Seeger’s 90 Birthday Concert:

And I asked him how he wanted to approach “This Land Is Your Land”. It would be near the end of the show and all he said was, “Well, I know I want to sing all the verses, I want to sing all the ones that Woody wrote, especially the two that get left out, about private property and the relief office.”

I thought, of course, that’s what Pete’s done his whole life. He sings all the verses all the time, especially the ones that we’d like to leave out of our history as a people.

At some point Pete Seeger decided he’d be a walking, singing reminder of all of America’s history. He’d be a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along, to push American events towards more humane and justified ends. He would have the audacity and the courage to sing in the voice of the people, and despite Pete’s somewhat benign, grandfatherly appearance, he is a creature of a stubborn, defiant, and nasty optimism. Inside him he carries a steely toughness that belies that grandfatherly facade and it won’t let him take a step back from the things he believes in. At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country’s illusions about itself.

Pete Seeger still sings all the verses all the time, and he reminds us of our immense failures as well as shining a light toward our better angels and the horizon where the country we’ve imagined and hold dear we hope awaits us.

Bruce Springsteen’s introduction of Pete Seeger

Harry Chapin singing his tribute to Pete – “Old Folkie”

Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie singing “If I Had a Hammer”

Pete Seeger on the Johnny Cash Show on March 4, 1970

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Pre-Class Video: Joe Jackson, “Different For Girls”

Joe Jackson playing his classic “Different for Girls.”



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Was Justin Bieber the most important story in America yesterday?

As you no doubt have heard, if you were paying attention to almost any news media in America yesterday, Canadian pop star Justin Bieber was arrested early Thursday morning for drag racing and DUI in Miami, Florida.  In fact, if you were watching CNN, it became almost impossible to avoid the story.

We generally have CNN playing on the television set in the student area right outside my office here at UNK, and all morning yesterday everything on CNN was BieberGate.  And while their coverage of the story wasn’t that interesting, the response to it was.

My college friend Larry is a television news producer in central Iowa, and he announced proudly on Facebook, “No, I will not include Justin Bieber in my midday newscast.”

This led to an extended discussion of the merits of the Bieber story among a group of news professionals and academics. Larry’s explanation was that they didn’t try to cover every drunk driving arrest.

My friend Chris, an academic and broadcast news producer had this to say:

Depending on other news of the morning, I probably would have run it. I do have questions about celebrity news, and I understand Larry’s point. The thing about Bieber is that he is a train wreck in slow motion, and we do show the occasional train wreck (usually only when someone is harmed, though). Bieber has become a story of self-destruction, not necessarily of celebrity anymore. I think there is a strong pull of human interest in that story, and it might be interesting to see the frame changed.

Al Jazeera America is trying to build its reputation as a serious news source that doesn’t give much attention to celebrity news, and other than a brief mention, they ignored the story.

Over at MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell was forced to end discussion about the National Security Agancy to have an update about Bieber’s arrest.

CNN’s media reporter Brian Stelter had a lively conversation going on yesterday via Twitter as to the appropriateness of the network’s level of coverage of Bieber.  Stelter responded to a lot of the Tweets, and retweeted a number of them that were critical of the network

For me, Bieber was a story that deserves coverage, if for no other reason than it gets people talking. But I don’t think it should be the story of the day.  When Anna Nicole Smith died, a very serious editor friend of mine defended giving space to the story, asking which new value, other than perhaps consequence, didn’t the story meet? Omitting the story in a noon Iowa newscast is certainly a reasonable call, but I do think it’s news, even if CNN did go nuts over the story yesterday morning.

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