On set at a fellow student filmmakers’ shoot, I took some pictures to capture what the glamorous hours of “show business” look like for student films.
Using news, television news in particular, to make money caught on with the success of the news magazine. Straying from just hard news into a mix of topics, they inserted themselves into putting together the story, and took a new pacing and look to create a new genre. The news magazine program still exists today, but as cable channels try to draw in more viewers during prime time and late night (just as 60 Minutes became prime time ) with political commentary programs such as Hannity or The O’Reilly Factor (Fox News.)
Other genres such as comedy have even found a way to use the news to be funny or satirical like self declared “Fake News” shows The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, making fun of politicians, celebrities, and parties alike. The important news meant to inform the audience with the facts may still exist on television, but are now competing and sometimes overshadowed by entertainment and news that leans towards what you want to hear. 60 Minutes may have been the drama of the righteous quest with a social purpose, but now prime time news related programs are more to draw in viewers with opinions or humor. Is it just the capitalist quest with a financial purpose?
News making money was just one way the line between news and business started to blur and make radical changes to the newspaper industry. In the 60s and 70s newspaper began going public to make money. It resulted in the need to appeal to a mass audience and advertisers in order to fund news gathering, changing the business model that supported journalism.
Today, with the prevalence and amount of different news sources online, information and news seems to have gone extremely public in a way: now anyone can write it and post it, digital first and other non-legacy companies have formed online, and news can be accessed by smaller and smaller devices from almost anywhere…for free. This has been a devastating change to the business model that supported newspapers through subscriptions and ads. Why pay for a paper when you can go online, even get the news online from that papers’ s website? Why pay for an ad in the paper when you can post on Craig’s List for free? Papers are still struggling (some shutting down or going to only three days a week instead of a daily paper) to respond to this shift to the Internet. No longer are legacy, traditional news sources the only source of news and no longer do Americans have to pay to learn more.
While the massive censorship of war correspondents and individuals during the WWII controlled a lot of the print sources of news,
emerging technologies were treated differently from the beginning. Unlike a newspaper that you pay to read and have to pay close
attention to, radio and television could be accessed by anyone with a set. With information and content just flying around in the air, the FCC swooped in with the famous/infamous Fairness Doctrine. Broadcasters could take a stand or allow others to, but must give a
reasonably balanced presentation by having both sides. TV and radio could be a forum for opposing views, but were not meant to be places for opinionated, biased news.
At first that concept seems laughable compared to the extremes of cable news channels today, like Fox News and MSNBC. More conservative viewers might claim there is bias in what is presented as more neutral news by the so called liberal media. However the presence of those extremes, in a way, is more of a similarity to the Fairness Doctrine than a difference. Instead of forcing every source to share both sides, opening up channels to have the freedom to express each side allows for an ideologically balanced media. People can choose to go to them, and in the case of cable channels like CNN, have to pay for them, so make even more of a choice to pick what news they want to hear, see, and know.
A big difference between the big broadcast networks lied more in their motivations for being on air. NBC and CBS lost money in the 50s and 60s, but served as public interest programming to please the FCC and put them closer to the important public affairs and history being made as they covered it. Fox and MSNBC are arguably more about making money than informing the public or doing the public a service. Studies such as this one about how informed Fox News viewers are misinformed about domestic affairs show how going to the news tilted to what you agree with can reinforce what you want more than help you learn the truth about the world.
And as far as whether news should be neutral and what is better motive is news, the question of professional objectivity is still one present today. After all, having a blatant opinion or political motive isn’t the only way to be biased. What a station chooses to air as important, relevant, and interesting, as well as how they frame it and how they tell the story can give away or inject a bias. It’s more subtle and sometimes more effective, and whether or not its intentional can change the way viewers receive,feel about, and act upon what they learn about the world. Is it even possible to have truly unbiased news? Does it matter if it is pure and solely informative if people don’t watch and a show no longer has money to go on?
At a first glance, it might be hard to see how World War II and the War on Terror have much in common politically, on the home front, or in the field of journalism. Looking at those differences more closely can help show how technology has changed the way Americans receive and participate in journalism in times of war, and how that can have a political, historical impact on the world.
Take, for example, comparable big moments, big stories that seem sure to warrant huge, bold headlines. Both wars start (for the United States) with a sudden act of violence against unsuspecting Americans – Pearl Harbor and the 9/11. While troubles may have been raging throughout the rest of the world all along, it suddenly became personal and impossible to ignore once it came to American turf.
What is striking is how different the initial response was for each. For Pearl Harbor, at a time with less preparedness and protocol for handling war news, naval officials declared a news black out, seizing all forms of communication between the Hawaiian islands and the mainland. One United Press report slipped out before the censors blocked it though:
HONOLULU, Dec. 7 (UP) – War broke with lightning suddenness in the Pacific today, when waves of Japanese bombers assailed Hawaii and the United States Fleet struck back with a thunder of big naval rifles.
The story came to Americans from Washington and the White House, and FDR’s administration controlled how much Americans knew, acknowledging the surprise attack but claiming only one old battleship was sunk and that heavy causalities were inflicted on the Japanese. The White House could manipulate what people knew to manipulate how they felt about it, taking years and investigations letter for the full story to come out.
Compare this to the first time you heard about the Twin Towers on 9/11. Perhaps it was told through another person, but where did they find out? Maybe word of mouth, maybe they were in the car and on the radio, but what everyone remembers and has burned into their visual memory is what they saw on TV: live video of the Towers burning, the second plane crashing, and seeing them fall.
Even the huge headlines in the many days that followed the attack and the accompanying pictures on a front page cannot compare to those videos, whether they were seen live or not. The broadcast journalism was not well crafted as the event happened and as the new broadcasts learned more information, but Americans across the country were glued to the coverage none the less. Why the drastic differences?
Location: At the time of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was not yet a state. Even more, it was an island far isolated from the mainland, and though unsuspecting, was a military facility. 9/11 was an attack that wanted to be seen– in the most populous city in America, at some of the tallest buildings in the world, on unarmed civilians. Even without journalistic communications, one had a much greater impact as far as eye witnesses who lived to tell the tale.
Technology: No matter where the attacked happened, television news could bring the event into your house or onto your computer instantly. You saw it and responded to it in a way that cannot be manipulated the same way words or radio prepared in advance can. Live video from the source versus the time it takes to craft text was more instant and less filtered.
Furthermore, New Yorkers with cameras or camera phones could upload footage to the internet or send it to news channels. Even if the collective media or the government had wanted to cover up the significance, it was no longer so easily in their hands. The scale needed to block all communications would be more extensive and would likely have been treated as more outrageous.
The wars that followed these sparks are worth looking at as far as journalistic freedom and American response/participation – while WWII is famous for its propaganda encouraging Americans to help in the effort (“Loose Lips Sink Ships” or Rosie the Riveter’s “We can do it!”), what they didn’t know certainly changed how they felt about it and their level of support.
Today it seems outrageous to hear of the level of censorship about the war with pictures, videos and newscasts being sent to quickly and easily through television and the internet. Bias and filtering still exists, but the internet also allows Americans to participate in their opinions by contributing their opinions in different ways (blogs, social media conversations, websites, etc.)
In the past year I’ve courted two of the world’s most famous, internationally known cities: London, the sprawling city of history, arts, and literature; and New York City, the rigid grid of shiny skyscrapers, flashing lights, and capitalism. Both I love for their vast size, diversity of attractions, and –perhaps most importantly as a non-car-owner/non-drivers-license-holder — are the extensive underground systems that can get you to any part of the city. Below the colorful, blinding lights of Times Square and the flurry of Piccadilly Circus are my fast track to anywhere else in the city for a couple of dollars/pounds.
But as I wandered around NYC last week, I came very quickly to an important realization: The Tube kicks the Subway’s ass. It’s not even close.
DISCLAIMER: When I said I had courted both cities, I was fudging the truth a little. I was in a committed relationship with London for months. I had a huge crush, it got pretty serious, I even moved in. We were totally into each other and had the greatest relationship ever and circumstances tore us apart. (And the long distance thing was just not working) Sometimes I drunk call London sobbing about how much I miss it and how I shouldn’t have taken it for granted and to please please take me back.
New York on the other hand, is the new crush, the new interest, and there’s definitely some spark there. I’ve got to move on from London after all, and what better way than to find some new city to hang out with? But as I was getting down and dirty with NYC (riding the Subway of course) I couldn’t help but compare it to London, and it couldn’t even pretend to keep up with my beloved Tube.
Before I completely rip the Subway, I’ll say the one thing that’s better about it than the Tube: it can go all night. The Subway runs 24/7, while the Tube calls it quits at midnight and gets 5 or 6 hours of sleep. New York never sleeps.
And now, Sparknotes version for those with short attention spans or who are lovers of lists:
1) Cleaner, nicer, more artistic
2) More regular service
3) Easier to figure out
4) Easier to find
5) Easier to use
1) Cleaner, nicer, more artistic
You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but the Tube is way sexier than the Subway. You can expect a clean, newer look out of every Tube station and train. The Subway has a very dirty, claustrophobic underground feel. The Tube trains have shiny, colorful, uptech vibe. The Subway has a very metallic, train feel with a tragically ugly orange on the seats. The Tube trains, though more narrow, have bright, shiny seats and a cozier feel. The Subway stations are dirty, moldy, raw exposed concrete with some advertisements thrown up here and there.
Many of the tube stations walls are art unique to that station, giving each more of an identity and significance. Along all the escalators are colorful, electronic ads that go all the way up the ride, and the huge colorful advertisements are like art too. Some Subway stations have art, but it’s overshadowed by the grimy feel, and any attempt at art is the same in every station (the small tile, mosaic look). Which is hard to appreciate when you’re watching rats fight over trash on the tracks (this really happened)
While some Subway stations are more uptech and have electronic signs indicating when the next train is or what the next stop is, only a few do. And while there are of course more or less uptech lines in the Tube, once you’ve seen one, you know what to expect out of any of them as far as cleanliness, technology, and art.
2) More regular service
On the Tube, I never remembered waiting for more than 3 or 4 minutes max for the next train in the center of the city (some outlying stops or occasionally a later night train before it closed would be more spread out). Many stations had a sign that said which trains were coming next, and in how many minutes.
On the Subway, I’d wait 5-7 minutes on a popular Manhattan stop like Times Square waiting on a train (during rush hour), not knowing how much longer I’d have to wait on a train, or if the next one would even be the one I wanted. In some of the less popular lines in Brooklyn, a train would sit in the station for 10 minutes before going, waiting for more people to come and fill it up. Economically practical? Yes. Tragic for when you’re running late for a flight? Hell yes. (A story for a later time)
3) Easier to figure out
Ironically, NYC, which is a grid of streets, has a messy tangle of curving lines on its Subway map. Then London, which is a curving sprawling map of streets, has a simplified, organized underground map.
In London, there are huge maps of the line you’re at by any platform. Just as you think you don’t know where you’re going, you walk across a huge 5 foot tall map of the line. Once you got in the train, as soon as you looked up you saw the list of stops on the line.
In New York, good luck trying to find a map, except maybe one down by the platform if you’re lucky. Don’t expect to figure much out on the train too, except for the one map that someone is sitting in front of, or the one map of the lines are one side of the car that you have to walk right up to to read. New York lines are also somewhat confusingly named with letters and numbers, as some letters go to the same places, but are labeled with different letters because they branch off to different places at some point.
On the Tube, an recording (in a pleasant, British woman’s voice) announces what stop you’re and what stop is next. Some Subway stations do, sometimes the conductor mutters something inaudible through the Subway system, and sometimes there’s nothing at all. Which is a bummer, because many stops aren’t largely and frequently enough labeled in a way that can be seen from inside the train. Tube stations are very consistently, obviously labeled.
4) Easier to find
With exceptions like the entrances to the Times Square Subway stops (that are giant sparkling light up signs), Subway stops are usually just stairways down into the ground. It is marked, but not easy to see from a distance. To make matters more confusing, there are too often multiple exits from a station or multiple stations with the same name (or in the same place, that are different lines…), making it hard to get directions somewhere when you’re not sure what exit you came out of. The Tube stations are marked by the iconic light up signs that can be seen from further and are impossible to mistake.
5) Easier to use
If you’re hauling luggage or in a wheelchair in the Subway, sucks to be you. Most ways in and out of the Subway and to other lines are stairs, with some elevators in certain places. The Tube has a lot more wheelchair accessible stops and more escalators than NYC’s Subway.
The Subway will also have the entrances to a certain line be on opposite sides of the road, so that if you want to take the train going in the opposite direction, you have to go upstairs and around, then back down (and by then you’ve probably missed it, and possibly had to swipe in again and spend another $2.25) On the Tube, the platform is in the middle of the two trains, so you can simply turn around and walk up to the train to go the other way. Stops with multiple lines tend to be a mess of a lot of different entrances and stairways.
To be fair to my new romantic interest, the Subway is not as scary or dangerous as people say at all. But considering it runs all night with far more spread out stops, there’s definitely more worry for crime. The above ground stops (which are often in less desirable areas of town) are more worrisome. And while the Tube does have above ground stops in the outskirts of the city, there are also a lot more TFL employees around to help with a problem and likely CCTV, as London is a big fan of that in public places (different issue).
The Tube also just cares more about you : some stations even have a voice declaring the famous phrase “mind the gap” when the train doors open, in addition to the words printed on the edge of the platform, and other signs regarding safety. New York you’re more on your own.
Don’t get me wrong — I think New York City and I will have a meaningful and rewarding relationship that will make us both happy. But sometimes, no matter how hard I try not to, I’ll think about the Tube while riding the Subway. And would possibly dump NYC like last season’s shoes if London wanted me back…
When Ashley and Megan found out who their freshman roommates would be last summer, they were surprised to find that they were already Facebook friends with each other. Considering roommates are assigned randomly freshman year, it was unique enough that both girls were from the same small state.
Ashley Henry and Megan McGarel, freshmen in Howard Hall and both from Tennessee, now have even more in common: they were both recently elected as representatives for Howard next year. Henry will be Howard’s Student Union Board Representative and McGarel will be Howard’s Senate Representative, and both are excited to get more involved and to meet new people through their new roles in the dorm.
Henry explained that she and McGarel knew each other from the Girl State program in Tennessee.
“It’s your own little government that’s only girls, you vote for governors and stuff like that,” Henry said. “You have cities within that , and we knew of each other because we were in the same city.”
As far as both roommates running for a position in the election, McGarel said they talked about it a little bit beforehand, but it wasn’t a huge issue.
“We both really wanted the position, but nothing that became a stressful thing,” said McGarel. “With midterms coming up there’s other things to stress about. But we were both really anxious before the results came out and kept asking each other ‘Have you gotten an email yet?’”
These roommates are not the only girls in the hall looking forward to a new role in Howard: Bridget Doyle and Kerry Walsh, also freshmen, ran unopposed as Howard Hall presidents. Doyle and Walsh met during Freshman Orientation at the beginning of the year and had a math class together. They decided to run together due to their shared love for Howard and their pride in the dorm.
“As presidents, Bridget and I hope most importantly to foster community and spirit around Howard,” said Walsh. “By encouraging the spirit of Howard, we hope to increase participation in hall-wide events, especially service opportunities. Personally, we are both very excited to connect with the residents of Howard. We can’t wait to get to know everyone in Howard-especially the incoming freshman!”
The current presidents of the hall, Bridget Callaghan and Charitha Isanaka, are sad to be stepping down, but have plans for the last few months in the position.
“The simplest way to describe our role in the dorm is to serve as a liaison between Howard and outside of Howard,” said Isanaka. “We do this by having routine meetings, informing the dorm of events, motivating them to do things outside of Howard, and eventually building community and making this place home. We want to end our term with a bang! So we’re having a campus wide golf tournament and the Tunnel of Love coming up.”
Callaghan also wishes well for the upcoming freshmen who will replace her next year.
“I am really excited for the new presidents and commissioners because I hope that they bring new energy to the dorm, said Callaghan. “This experience has made my overall college experience so much more than I expected. I really enjoyed it and it changed my perspective of ND and Howard. I would say this has been the highlight of my ND career thus far.”