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Fahrenheit 204 (Neff Hall)

Posted by absolutelyape on September 12, 2008

Ambient Content – a new form of interior design, a moving painting, a new category of entertainment.

It’s essentially moving art on your television screen, set to soothing music. Just like an aesthetically beautiful piece of art or music, it has the capacity to alter your mood (calm you down, wind you up, whatever). It’s a blend of art forms to form an atmosphere for your home or office.

Sounds like a pretty innovative (yet entirely simple) concept.

Why do I get a little bit sick when I learn about it, then?

Well… have you read Fahrenheit 451? It reminds me of that. Yes, it can be relaxing… and I believe in visual art. But it’s a little sickening to think about how Ambient could be on everyone’s television, all the time. It’s distracting, it draws you in… it’s not the same as having a static painting on the wall or listening to a song in the background. It’s more than that. It’s a lot more to consume. And it’s designed for pleasure. AND it can and will include branding, which is a whole other concern.

Marc Kempter (the creator) says that people are sick of their black, empty televisions. They want something on it besides “people screaming at one another on CNN.”

Yuck. I think about how we, as a culture, feel the need to continuously consume media in some sort of way. I’m not an outlier to this – I’m blogging right now with three other tabs open in Firefox – but maybe the point where our empty, black television makes us feel lonely… maybe that’s the point where we should be talking to another person, walking or riding or driving around our community, forming relationships with people…

Kempter says he sees Ambient going everywhere – offices, entire walls of buildings and homes…

How obsessed are we with beauty? It has to be everywhere, all the time. Some of the Ambient stuff includes just pretty people – talking, acting, whatever – is that really ambient media, or is it a way to satisfy our lust for pretty things?


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Scholarly Symposium

Posted by xtina02234 on September 12, 2008

On Wednesday, September 10, I attended the Scholarly Symposium to get a taste of all the Centennial Events that I would be attending back to back the next day. At three, I was able to catch a discussion about the beginnings of Journalism and its role a hundred years about, when the school first came into existence. 

The first speaker, Berkley Hudson, discussed the topic of immigration journalism. He stated that in 1908, we were having the same debates and raising the same questions about who can be an American. Immigration journalism helped to secure America’s national identity as a cultural melting pot and a land of opportunity of all. The “authentic American” is a cultural mix and the state of journalism at the time reflected that. In 1920, every state had publications in at least 33 different languages. It affected the globalization of journalism because immigrant citizens of the United States were interested in what was going on in the country they left. They enjoyed, and to some extent needed to know what was going on in their homelands and this helped give rise to the international scale of journalism, a topic the next speaker, Hans Ibold elaborated on.

1908 was a pivotal year for global journalism. In order to learn more about the writings and stories of the time, he set out to study Walter Williams and his work. It emphasized the importance of globalization and the challenges it presented to future journalism. Journalism was to become “a journal of men” written for an audience, not confined by physical boundaries, but applicable to all people.

There is no denying the importance of stories that inform people about what is going on in the world in which they live. At the same time, Maurine Beasley brought up and interesting point about the entertainment value of news. She talked about the front page of the first issue of the Missourian- a story detailing the legal battles surrounding a rich widower who was proposed to by two women, both convinced they were to be his wife. She concluded by staying that we can talk all we want about ethics, morals, and standards, but as perfect as a story may be by that criteria, its no good if nobody cares to read it.

Janice Hume was next to speak in the line of expert panelists and her topic was the role of muckraking and magazine journalism.  Muckraking did not slowly creep into the vocabulary of journalists and the American public; it was a phenomenon that exploded into the industry with over two thousand articles in just a few years. It was met with waves of criticism for its overwhelming negativity, but the writers turning out this type of journalism took that to be the highest compliment. As “negative” as it was, muckraking was instrumental in casing social, industrial, and political change across the nation. It was able to have such an impact because of the wide readership made possible by the marriage of advertising and magazines. Though at some times, ads accounted for over half the magazine, the low price and important topics proved to be a winning combination for people everywhere.

Another aspect of emergent American culture, as discussed by Tracy Everbach, of the time was sports. One hundred years ago, our success in the Olympics secured the idea of American dominance on the playing field as well as the political stage. In that same year, the term “America’s Pastime” was coined and sports gained popularity both for athletes themselves and spectators. Naturally, journalists took the opportunity to pioneer a new aspect of the industry and solidify sports and a part of the American identity.

The last aspect touched upon, by Earnest Perry was African Americans in journalism. When the school began one hundred years ago, African Americans had no role and no opportunities to change that. It was not until, over thirty years later that the issue became more central and change was slowly starting to occur within the industry and throughout the country in general. Earnest had insisted upon going last, and once he was through discussing the issues and hardships of the time, it was clear to me that it was the perfect way to end the Roundtable.

Though it is always beneficial and interesting to look back at the origins of our craft, it is also important to remember that we must always be progressing and moving forward in a positive way that benefits all people.

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Carrying Photojournalism’s Practices to the Marketplace

Posted by rak2mf on September 12, 2008

As soon as I stepped foot in the session, it was clear that I should have gotten there earlier. I was one of the many that didn’t actually have a seat, as people piled in excitedly, resorting to lining the back walls.

I should have anticipated the immense popularity of this event with such amazing photographers speaking—Brian Smith, Jean Shifrin, Jennifer Loomis, and Mark Petty (and when we found out each only had 17 minutes to present, I admit I was a little disappointed and would probably be left wanting to hear and see more).

Not only did they cover the basics and valuable lessons for future photojournalists, but each speaker also gave us a taste of their world and immersed us in their lives and differing careers.

With each speaker brought new aspects of photojournalism I had never seen nor considered before, and I can honestly say that I was moved by much of their work.

We went from seeing Smith’s favorite assignment from Sports Illustrated about nudist golf (I am still having some difficulty getting those images out of my head) to Shifrin’s photos capturing the lives of everyday people to make personalized family albums.  Then Loomis brought us over to her career as a studio photographer depicting the beauty of the pregnant nude, where her motto is “feel beautiful.”  And finally, we viewed Petty’s astonishing work with leprosy patients at a hospital in Carville, La.

Despite each of their vastly differing lifestyles and careers, they all stressed a few main messages that they seemed to agree are key for all photojournalists. First, and arguably most important, photojournalism is more than simply taking photos—it’s about making photos by working with and getting to know your subject.

In each of the speakers I saw that they truly love what they are doing, and they emphasized that it’s critical for photojournalists to shoot what they are passionate about if you want to succeed in this business.

I believe that a lot of what they suggested can be applied to all fields of journalism, and I left definitely feeling empowered by their example. 

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Interview with Pulitzer Panelist Roy Harris

Posted by sjbutterfield on September 12, 2008

Thursday afternoon I had the opportunity to sit down with Roy Harris, author of the book “Pulitzer’s Gold,” a history of the service Pulitzer, and a resident of my hometown of Hingham, MA. Harris penned the book as a tribute to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where his father was involved in winning four service Pulitzers. 

Harris and I spoke in the always comfortably air conditioned and sedate lounge of Mark Twain Hall, where some “Cops” investigation blared away in the background on the prominently displayed television. Though we began our conversation by discussing interesting aspects of Harris’s personal career, the discussion quickly moved to his book and how it reflects why journalism, in Harris’s opinion, will endure. 

“If you look at it, it’s not like journalism changes every 10 years,” Harris told me with enthusiasm. “You’ve still just got the reporter, supported by editors, even in the age of video and blogging.” 

Harris said he believes journalism has also repeated itself, in a way, as he feels perhaps the watershed moments of journalism occurred in the early 1970s with the Watergate and Pentagon Paper scandals, while he believes that more recently the New York Times’ coverage of 9/11, and its series “A Nation Challenged” and the ensuing coverage of the woeful medical care at Walter Reed hospital were high marks for this decade. 

Harris said he feels his book is not just relevant to journalism buffs. “If you look at each decade and what prizers were won, you get a great snapshot of American history,” he said. It’s hard not to agree, as Harris and I discussed everything from the first service Pulitzer, awarded to the Times for its coverage of World War I, to more recent events like the Boston Globe’s coverage of the Catholic priest scandal earlier this decade. 

Harris and I did talk a little about his own exploits. His justification for why he never found himself receiving a Pulitzer; his biggest stories never materialized, another element he stressed one must accept in reporting. Harris mused on his time covering all of the potential problems with the 1984 olympics in Los Angeles, though, as it turned out, the games went off without a hitch and all of the chatter about traffic, smog, and terror was unfounded. 

On the whole it’s fairly remarkable to step back and think that we all just brushed up against the most celebrated figures in journalism. Roy Harris was certainly approachable and warm.

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This is Your Brain on Media: Producing Media for the Mind in a Digital Age

Posted by Julie Willbrand on September 12, 2008

Paul Bolls, Glenn Leshner, and Kevin Wise all made some interesting points during their forum Thursday afternoon in the Reynolds Journalism Institute.  One of the most interesting to me, though, was articulated by Paul Bolls, who said that Mizzou’s PRIME Lab (Psychological Research on Information and Media Effects) has observed that people are generally more responsive to political ads in which a single person speaks to them versus very high-tech ads or, worse, a person speaking to them from several unrelated settings.  This, he explained, is because the human brain is designed to deal with real life, not media, and is therefore more responsive to a more “realistic” form of communication.

Bolls also discussed the importance of distinguishing between attention and emotion.  Wise talked about the transition between text and video, and Leshner covered the “yuck! concept” of fear appeals. 

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“From Whence We Came to Where We’re Going”

Posted by Julie Willbrand on September 12, 2008

During this symposium, which took place Wednesday afternoon in the Reynolds Alumni Center, authors of the soon-to-be-published 1908:  Birth of a Profession discussed everything from immigrant voices to sexism in journalism in the year 1908. 

Some of the more poignant points made were:

“The thing I keep thinking about is how can we get to these rich, rich, rich documents… which are so important as we consider the role of immigrants today?” ~Berkley Hudson

“When we do start to talk about journalistic ideas that span cultures, they are always fallible and never complete.” ~Hans Ibold (PhD ’08)

The symposium was well-attended and guests had the privilege of hearing from eight contributing authors.


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What’s Happening at the School in Strategic Communication

Posted by Hannah Jones on September 12, 2008

As a new student to the Missouri School of Journalism, I was ecstatic to learn that I would be able to take part in the Centennial. The Centennial is a great opportunity for all journalism students, and I am very thankful to be able to participate in this wonderful event. The topic of strategic communication instantly caught my eye in class, because strategic communications is the sequence I am currently most interested in. My senior year of high school I was recommended for a Public Service Practicum class, and the class gave me insight into the public relations and advertising industry. Not long after I came to the conclusion that I would enjoy a career in either advertising or public relations. I would love to some day be able to have a career in public relations for a non-profit organization.

Stephen Kopcha, a member of the strategic communication faculty, did a great job of relaying important information to the audience, yet still making the discussion very fun and enjoyable with his added bits of humor. Of course it is always fun to make a stab or two at KU.  Stephan Kopcha began by introducing the Strategic Communications mission; “to be, and to be known as, the best”. A mission I believe to be demanding, but necessary and achievable. He proceeds to show the increase of students entering into the sequence of strategic communication; in 1988 there was a mere 175 students, and in 2008 there is 401 students. Next, the discussion turned to the curriculum and the implement of the Missouri Method. The curriculum, in short, is to develop career-oriented coursework that prepares skilled and ethical communications and create hands on learning opportunities in the tradition of the Missouri Method. Some key phrases mentioned about the curriculum, etc. where:

-“Productive on day one”

-“Real word, for real clients, for real money”

-“Solving business problems with creativity”

Stephen Kopcha also commented on the obligation to meet the needs of an expanding curriculum. Currently, the strategic communications sequence in is need of an endowed chair in international advertising, two endowed professorships, and endowed scholarships to fund international experience for strategic communication students.  The strategic communications research and proposed research were also discussed, such as the Psycho-physiological research on information and media effects (PRIME). 

Stephan Kopcha then turned the mic over to Heather Bashaw, a University of Missouri alumni who graduated this past spring. Heather Bashaw walked the audience through the process of making and Ad in this day and age. It was fascinating for me to learn about the process because I was unaware of the majority of the steps necessary to make an Ad.  I believe the returning alumni found it interesting to see how the industry and the University of Missouri Journalism School has changed. Some steps in the process of making an Ad include, the necessity to know EVERYTHING about the product, goal, target audience, creative brief, finding a higher order benefit, photoshop, etc. Heather Bashaw also did a great job of adding humor into her lecture and making it enjoyable to listen to.

Lastly, Larry Powel, Director of Mojo Ad/Creative director, and University of Missouri Journalism students informed the audience about Mojo Ad, which stands for Missouri Journalism. In 2005 Mojo Ad was created. Mojo Ad specializes in YAYA, which stands for youths and young adults (people between the ages of 18-25). Mojo Ad is a University of Missouri student run Ad agency. The students shared some of their previous experience over the past coupe of years working with Halmark and Long John Silvers. Unfortunately, only about 40 students are able to participate in Mojo Ad. Mojo Ad is very competition driven, just like the advertising industry, and offers a wide variety of positions for students. For more information about MOJO you can visit http://www.Mojo-Ad.com. 

It is hard to believe that it is only the third week of my first semester as a University of Missouri Journalism Student. I have already gained an immense amount of knowledge and experience in just a couple of days, and I cannot wait for the 4 years that lay ahead. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who made this event possible. I really appreciate the opportunity you provided for me and the other journalism students. 

Story written by Hannah Jones


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The Black Stripes of the Tiger: Reflections of Black Journalists on the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism

Posted by Bianca Aaron on September 12, 2008

Perhaps the main display of a tiger’s beauty is its black stripes– these badges of honor, strength, and pride that distinguish its beauty from any other feline. In a way, these same beauty marks can be aligned with the many black journalists who proudly deem the University of Missouri their alma mater, as they represent the touch of diversity on the school’s campus. However, as the panelists of Thursday morning’s forum, “Then and Now: Learning and Doing Journalism as an African American in Mid-Missouri,” expressed, the University did not always provide such a soft and welcoming foundation for journalists of color. 

A crowd of fascinated faces permeated the atmosphere of the Dr. Edward C. Lambert Seminar Room as the panelists shared their experiences of being rejected by many other white journalist students, faculty members, and even people in the community. Gail F. Baker, the Dean of the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, discussed how her experiences with such rejection now helps her to be an aid to students of color. She expressed how she tells the students the reality that the business of journalism is far from a utopia, and that they will face racism and prejudice. Baker went on to express how, despite the ignorance of others, one must continue to pursue what ever it is that he or she longs to pursue.

A feeling of pride and unity began to diffuse throughout the room as audience members were able to relate certain experiences in their own lives to those of the panelists. In the open forum, one audience member, a young Chinese woman, talked about one situation in which a group of individuals made her feel uncomfortable about her racial appearance. She expressed how before the occurrence she didn’t realize how others may portray her because of her race, but became more concerned with her image after the incident. The panelists were able sympathize with the woman’s story and as a follow-up, I was able ask Kia Breaux, the Acting Bureau Chief for Missouri and Kansas, about her view of appearance in journalism, not only as a minority, but as a woman. Breaux told of how dealing with appearance as a reporter can be difficult at times, but it’s just one of the many struggles that minority journalists endure. 

Every memory expressed about the University did not all spring from frustration, however. All of the panelists could agree that, despite the disappointment concerning the continuation of racism as an issue today, the University provides a great education and foundation for future careers. Baker prided on the educational experiences she received from the school: “What I learned here, I have been able to transfer to every environment.”

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The Grand Collaboration: Radio, Television & Ivory Tower

Posted by Suvro Banerji on September 11, 2008







Innovations are gripping every radio/television operations. The stations are experimenting with new technologies and using different news gathering tools. There is a lot of emphasis in delivering news through mobile devices. This seminar threw light on leading international news and information companies that are redefining the concept of mass media journalists who are able to report on all platforms.

Dave Smith, an alumni and CEO of SmithGeiger feels that the broadcast managements aren’t just thinking about issues with the concept of one-man bands. “Quicker isn’t necessarily better,” Smith said. “They also have to be good story-tellers.” Beat-reporting is falling apart in local news industry and it is an unfortunate plight.

The news stations are gradually shifting towards consumer generated news. New forms of media like iReport and cell phone videos are not only faster in nature, but they also empower Americans with the ability to engage directly with other viewers thus showcasing the raw, firsthand accounts of the news stories.

But how do the colleges and universities plan to teach the next generation of broadcast journalists? “Technology is cool, embrace it,” Smith said. “Journalism itself is not changing; it is just changing its form. It is still about fundamental skills and so it is important to bring back the passion of Television/Radio news.”

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Embracing new technology and maintaining the integrity too…

Posted by Suvro Banerji on September 11, 2008








Embracing new technology and practicing them in our daily lives has become a huge part of our culture. We, as journalism students are more than willing to mold ourselves to meet the demands of the news industry in this multimedia era and honestly, we really don’t mind. However, this seminar reminded us of something which is concerning and even sometimes bothering a lot people. Will integrity of journalism be compromised with the advent of convergence era?

Faculty member and panelist, Mike McKean described convergence journalism as a media to tell compelling stories no matter what it takes. “That means breaking down walls to bring the stories faster and to different levels,” McKean said. But, convergence journalism is a team-work and it is tough to bring such stories through a one-man band.

Martin Hirst from Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand believes that convergence journalism cannot be taught in a traditional way. “It doesn’t require teaching, it is about team-based learning,” Hirst said. But then there are problems linked with offering such non-traditional forms of journalism. There is shortage of staff and shortage of talent, not only in the faculty level, but also in the assistant level. Convergence journalism thus needs to be more inter-disciplinary. McKean said talents from other departments like computer science, business and economics need to contribute to this new sequence.

Convergence journalism is really not all about technology. It is about engaging that group of audience who are typically not interested in traditional form of news. And this can be easily done by using non-traditional resources like cell phones, blogs, Facebook, twitter which potentially could attract such audience. “Forty years from now, we will not be teaching journalism in J-schools,” Hirst said. “We will be teaching how to become digital gatekeepers.

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