Check out my new Masslive blog: Comic Book Zeitgeist

August 9, 2007 at 2:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Hey, person who randomly checked my blog! I’ve recently been given my very own comic book blog at the website i work for Masslive.com and I encourage you to check it out, and if you want, leave a comment or two. It’ll be updated very often, so check it out:

Comic Book Zeitgeist by Caleb Lyons

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Video Project

May 10, 2007 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Check out my video project for class, which is in my other blog i’d just started.

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On McCain’s Ass Like Depends: Is the Times Video Service Doing Justice to Their Reputation?

May 3, 2007 at 4:22 pm (Uncategorized)

The New York Times is doing a pretty good job tracking John McCain’s vie for presidency , and they’re moving into the realm of video with pretty bad results. On their site, they’ve got a progressive biography of McCain, a political blog by Adam Nagourney called “On the McCain Trail” and, of course, a video section. The most prominent video up now involves McCain’s potentially campaign-crippling joke about the middle east. What joke you ask?

Yeah, not the best move he could have made, and has planted a seed of doubt in the hearts of a few voters already. As we’ve seen in the past, all it takes is one viral video to end your campaign in a second:

Now, The Times has made a few videos in response to McCain’s campaign, but for some reason, the site has some of the worst talent delivering these stories they could possibly muster. It’s strange that a newspaper like the New York Times, which is arguably the best newspaper in America, has such seriously unfitting and boring talent running their video based stories. Maybe it stems from the legendary NY Time writing style, which is on-the-nose and very straightforward, but every video I’ve watched on their site is narrated by either a droll voice and/or an unappealing face. It makes one think about how poorly attempts at convergence journalism are being handled by old hats like The Times, since today, the need for supplemental video in news sites is basically expected, and while some sites are handling it well, it appear The Times is not.

Take a look at the above mentioned piece about McCain’s Beach Boys joke to see what i mean.

I don’t understand how you take something interesting like McCain being a dumbass and turn it into something so boring! It’s a damn shame, because video can be awesome, but clearly the Time has no flippin’ idea what they’re doing…

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PLEASE TAKE MY SURVEY!!!

May 2, 2007 at 10:37 am (Uncategorized)

HELLO FRIEND! DO ME A SOLID AND TAKE THIS SURVEY FOR MY IT CLASS, WILL YOU? IT TAKES LESS THAN 2 MINUTES AND WILL MAKE THE HOLE IN THE O-ZONE CLOSE, ONCE COMPLETED……TO PROVE I’M NOT LYING, HERE’S A PEAK AT HEAVEN’S GATE:

Not really, but I’d greatly appreciate any honest 18-25 year olds who fill it out for me. Thanks!

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Virginia Tech Media Coverage: Extreme or Total Coverage?

April 19, 2007 at 9:31 pm (Uncategorized)

Rarely is an event as throughtly covered as the Virginia Tech tragedy. Nearly every news web page is plastered with stories related to the event, making the idea of “total coverage” overwhelming for many. Here, we’ll showcase what many news sources are making of this event and give you some perspective on exactly how much coverage is too much. When students want news, CNN.com is still the ruling news source, and by far, the site has been the leader in coverage of this event. For example, the site has been cycling through images of victims for the past few hours:

Stories are emerging of the 32 extraordinary lives which ended in the horror and heroism of the Virginia Tech campus massacre. In this special report, families, friends, colleagues and classmates share poignant memories of those killed in the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. The people these stories speak of were characterized by great promise and outstanding achievement.

Additionally, CNN has front page links to related stories, which almost completely take up the top stories area. These links were all consectutive on the listing, and one would be hard pressed to find an angle they havent covered:

-Tech victim’s family fights to tell his story
-Columbine survivor: Emotional roller coaster ahead
-When is it OK to put a student away?
-Virginia Tech student hears of friend’s death via IM
And, of course, someone trying to pin the blame on video games:
-Survey: Violent video games ‘exhilarating’ escapism

…While even the entertainment pages contain stories related to the shooting:
-1 of killer’s photos resembles movie image

 

Most news paper sites are tossing their attention toward the shooting, while allowing attorney general Gonzalez’s to fall at a close second. Boston.com has this headline and image as their front page, with the site clearly struggling for filler in their use of a “flip flop controversy” as the main regional story:

 

 

GLOBE REGIONALS

 

Flip flop flap attracts attention at Westford school
Flip flop flap attracts attention at Westford school
A principal’s attempt to discourage students from sporting
open-toed footwear kicked up controversy at the Stony Brook School. (Janet Knott / Globe Staff Photo)

Message Board YOUR VIEW: Flip flops at school?

Virginia Tech aftermath

Classmates: Shooter was laughed at

Their accounts could shed light on Cho’s state of mind. (AP, 5:06 p.m.)

Calif. school district closes for threat

Man barred from BU for threats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not surprisingly, the coverage of the shooting is more heavily covered by the American news papers than their foreign counterparts. At the same time, it’s still a breaking story, and with that as such, even the BBC.com front page is dusted with stories steming from the shooting. At this time, the breaking of the killer’s so called “video manifesto” is the front page story:

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Police chief Steve Flaherty - 19/4/07

Police ‘regret’ at killer’s video

Officers probing the shootings at Virginia Tech say footage of killer Cho Seung-hui should not have been broadcast.

Virginia shootings: The victims

Transcript: Gunman’s message

open Video worries locals

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image was on the main page’s sidebar, with the caption:

 

 

 

Inside Cho’s mind
How Virginia Tech killer fits pattern of campus gunmen

 

 

 

Overall, the coverage of this event is certainly overwealming, and has certainly raised a lot of questions about tact and what proper journalistic practices are. If one looks at the evidence above, they can see that these things get out of hand faster than a fis full of jello. In the end, it’s up to the editor and the reader to decide what’s right and wrong, so what’s your opinion?

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Thou Shalt Not

April 17, 2007 at 1:34 pm (Uncategorized)

Check out this video posted on WarrenEllis.com: it’s the music vid for
Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s “Thou Shalt Always Kill” and it’s brilliant:

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Drankin’ Pardnas: Are 1/2 of UMass Students Boozehounds and Drug-Whores?

April 5, 2007 at 10:15 pm (Uncategorized)

According to this story in today’s Daily Collegian “about half of full-time college students abuse drugs and alcohol.” One look at the campus on a weekend, and you can tell that UMass is not a dry campus, but how bad could it be? If the website ZooMassDrunks is any indication, then our alchoholic peers have the dicipline of a kleptomaniac in a blind womans house. Take a gander at a couple pictures from the aforementioned site, selected by UMass’ own Courtney Souza:

Souza went on to searching for UMass’ alcohol-centered groups, and Lord, does the infamous college networking site Facebook, have a ton of groups devoted to drinking. And if being a card-carrying member of “AA=Alcohol Appreciation” isnt you bag, there are likewise, a bevy of anti-drinking groups as well. Notable examples include “i can only have fun when i’m sober” and, you guessed it, the “Straight Edge” group.

Drinking is an appropriate topic for publication today, what with April being Alchohol Awareness Month, and it’s lead students to question their peers as to what their drinking/drugging habits are like.

Additionally, organizations are popping up left and right into order to retard this rise in drug use. UMass has people like “The Campus and Community Coalition to Reduce High Risk Drinking” who are attempting to curb this trend, but all the while, UMass Police are increasing their presence in dorms. (Thanks to Scott Brodeur for the links)

Statistically, drinking has been on the rise for a while. According to these statistics, collected by Tara Quist: “From 1993 to 2005, there has been no significant reduction in the levels of drinking and binge drinking among college students. In 2005, 67.9 percent of
students (approximately 5.3 million students) reported drinking in the past
month and 40.1 percent (approximately 3.1 million students) reported binge
drinking.
” This same study also purported that abuse of prescription drugs is also on the rise with a “342.9 percent increase” between 1993 and 2005″. Also, UMass did a survey in 2003 that stated much the same findings.

Many UMass students have a lot to say about drinking:

Devon Courtney went to UMass’ Campus Center, and questioned students on the above topic. Click here to see his report.

To see what UMass students drink preferences are, see this story by Daryl.

You can also, check out the raw audio of Mike and Devon’s interviews here: WS_30011.WMA

While here, take into consideration the testimony of one Ryan Gibbons, an avid drinker, who said much of his first hand experiences. Why is Ryan different from any other drinker?

Need i say more?

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(pod)Cast Away!

April 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve been enjoying podcasts for a few years now, so an assignment where i review 2 original podcasts makes all those hours of listening seem purposeful. The idea of a portable “radio” broadcast came in handy when my iPod still worked, and was even more appealing during adderall fueled all-nighters. When you’re up all night, a good way to both relax and remember what the time is involves kicking back and listening to a timestamped news brief. So here’s a review of my 2 favorite podcasts:

Brainwashed Radio‘s weekly podcast was the first podcast I fell in love with, and i continue to listen to it to this day. Stemming from parent site, Brainwashed.com, a Boston based online publication devoted to “eclectic music” this podcast consists of a single, hour long audio recording made for the express purpose of spreading good music showcased on Brainwashed. Brainwashed started as a means of hosting permanent web pages for many independent bands, and soon branched out to contain things like a video section, titled The Eye, as well as CD reviews. They then started a streaming radio station
and from there began the podcast. Many of my favorite bands are featured on Brainwashed’s podcast: including Low, The Legendary Pink Dots, Arab Strap, Coil, Antony and the Johnsons and Do Make Say Think, among others. If you’re sick of pop music and radio in general, but don’t mind listening to post-folk, psy-trance and a little Japanese noise, then this podcast is right for you.

My second podcast is the legendarily convenient NPR hourly news summary, a brilliant example of how timely a pre-recorded podcast can be. Updated on the hour, every hour, this podcast is great because it supplies the listening with news as it’s happening at any given hour of the day. If you’ve got a spare minute before class, you can know the news. Better yet, NPR is amazing because they see beyond the specialized news-feeds like CNN, which report American news first, and instead give priority to reporting world news first. While NPR certainly has a liberal spin to what news they report. This can be demonstrated by the reporting of negative news from Iraq and Iran alongside growing reports of global warming concerns. At the same time, unlike Lindsay Lohan’s drug addiction, these issues matter, so they merit more attention.

It’s amazing how quickly podcasts took off. I’d first heard of them from Warren Ellis, actually. He took a few stabs at podcasts, via songs he’d gotten from MySpace, ironically. Since then, way too many podcasts have jumped up, but as long as you’re willing to shuffle through a lot of mess, you can find some seriously worthwhile content.

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The 7th Book

March 29, 2007 at 9:29 pm (Uncategorized)

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Celebrity Blogs: Are they just jerking off or what?

March 29, 2007 at 8:13 pm (Uncategorized)

Today, anyone can have a blog. Even celebrities. As far as that goes, people have always used their fame in ways they deam selfless and useful. Bono is a good example, what with him thinking he’s Jesus and all, of such celebs making the most of the attention they draw. But now they’re blogging, and it’s giving me a few mixed feelings on the matter…

In some ways, it’s an interesting pheonomenon. Lots of the time with celeb talent, we the people have questions we want answered by them, and have no real means to get such answers. It creates this air of enimga around a celebrity, full of stuff we wanna know and they arent going to tell us.

Curt Schilling, pitcher for the Red Sox (which i recently realized is a terribly strange name for a team) has a blog out now that has come under fire from the Boston Globe. Well, Schilling uses his blog to address issues formally to the press in what are basically releases. It’s an interesting way to get your opinion out there and cut out the middle man (yet another reporter loses work out there).

Now take a look his freaking site. Notice the Q&A’s? All 600 of them? It’s one thing if you’re a celebrity and you are answering questions reporters have. You owe us that. But when you answer questions on your own site, guess what? YOU ARE BEING A PRETENTIOUS A$$HOLE! Doesnt shock me that a Republican putz like Schilling would do that, but it is rather bothersome to read him always talking about himself. And people wonder why i fucking hate sports…

In my honest opinion, there are only a handful of “celebrities” i’d be interested enougb to read a blog about, and most of them are comic writers, so that’s that. Hell, they all have the right to go on about whatever they want, i just think it’s a bunch of bollicks for them to further get off on their fame by swimming in the comments they get.

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