Game of Thrones Episode 501 Recap

Okay guys. This is my first recap for an episode of television, so be kind. I did it by character, not by how it aired in the episode, as that isn’t always important with Game of Thrones. Also I haven’t read the books, so no book spoilers here. Enjoy.

Cersei

Screenshot 2015-04-16 18.29.10This season started off with a flashback of two pre-teen girls, one of whom is a slightly-less-pissed-at-the-world Cersei, in the middle of the forest. Cersei leads the two into a creepy-looking cabin with an emo witch. Cersei, always thinking she is smarter than she is, asks the witch to tell of her future. The witch warns the will-be queen that “Everybody wants to know their future, until they know their future.”  Cersei pushes and the witch tells her that (1) she won’t marry Prince Rhaegar Targaryen, (2) that she will still be a queen “for a time” and that another younger girl (Margery or Dany?) will cast her down and take everything Cersei holds dear, and (3) that the king would have 20 children, Cersei would have three with “gold crowns” and that “gold would be their shrouds.”

When the flashback ended, my first thought was ‘really… just that.’ We had gone four full seasons without a flashback, and then this is what they chose? We knew that Cersei wouldn’t marry Rhaegar, we knew that Cersei would have three Lannister children and we knew that at least one of them dies young (RIP you little bastard.) But then we zoomed to present time. Continue reading

Radio’s Impact on Mass Media

Broadcast media has its entire existence due to radio. This means podcasts, satellite, television  and probably even the internet would exist today were it not for the humble radio. It was radio shows that television first emulated during its beginnings, and do you really think that modern YouTube is much different than what Frank Conrad did when he started transmitting music and entertained listeners through his wireless radio in 1919.

chartoftheday_3187_Super_Bowl_TV_audience_nOne of the major things that radio was able to bring was immediacy. When radio stations first went on air, they soon learned that broadcasting live sports was a huge element of their success. Unlike finding game coverage in the paper the next day, radio allowed listeners to hear the game and commentary on what was happening live, giving listeners the illusion of being at the game.

Today sports has continued to be a huge money source for television, with networks like ESPN and FOX Sports and events like the Super Bowl topping ratings records each year.

Similarly the ability to air things live made broadcast the site for breaking news and emergency broadcasts. Radio was able to instantly let their audience know what was going on, without having to worry about time of printing or even writing.

Eventually broadcast produced content all day long, showing the beginnings of the culture we have today of instant news at all times. Without broadcast’s existence, the public might only get their news once a day.

VOAjournoAnother impact that radio created was it’s development of broadcast writing. When radio was first produced, news announcers would just read out what was printed in the paper.

Today, there is a whole style and language that has been developed to adjust to having listeners hear it instead of read it. For one, sentences are much shorter, so that they are easier to understand and easier to say. This is because in broadcast, listeners and watchers can’t easily ‘reread’ a sentence to fully understand it. These techniques are still used today in radio, television and even web videos.

We owe a lot of our current media to radio. Radio transported us to places unlike anything the world had ever seen, and the world has been clamoring to find ways to make that transformation feel more real ever since. With film, TV, HD and 3D, broadcasting has continued to improve and radio’s impact will ever grow with time.

The lasting effect of the penny press on modern newspapers

The penny press was a significant part of journalistic history as it was the time where newspapers finally became mass communication. Before they were only for the rich and businessmen.

Now they could be read by the people, and because of that it changed how newspapers were produced, distributed and written forever.

The first effect is what’s in the papers. This is where local news, sports and business sections began. The news what now to both inform and entertain.

This has had a huge impact on modern newspapers and media in general, with full publications now focusing entirely on sports, entertainment and business news. That would have never been the case if not for the penny press and the masses becoming newspaper readers.

Example of early penny press advertising

Also the way newspapers are financed changed. Before readers had to pay a higher price for the paper and subscribe to them. The penny press changed the equation by adding advertising. Papers became funded by advertising, in addition to lowered costs to readers.

Now most media is funded completely or substantially by advertising. That is how broadcast tv networks work, that is how radio stations work and that is how modern newspapers work.

Lastly the printing press effected journalism standards forever. Competition lead to the necessity to be the most current news. This began press association, where different newspapers would combine their manpower to have stories that cover news they wouldn’t be able to cover otherwise. Newspapers around the country began sending Washington correspondents.

Also, newspapers started to value “objectivity” and quality reporting. This has become the standard of modern newspapers and is what news has strived towards since the days of the penny press.

Without these changes, I feel that modern media would be sorely lacking. Mass communication as we know it would have been only for the rich and powerful, and the ramifications would have been disastrous nationally. The penny press created a huge step forward in both quality and reach of the news.

Oscars: Boyhood please win best picture

If Boyhood doesn’t win Best Picture tomorrow, I will be really disappointed. I know, it’s just an award and awards don’t matter. But the Academy Award for Best Picture sets the tone of what makes a film great.

“Boyhood” is the reason film isn’t a dying art. “Boyhood” is the epitome of what films can do that no other medium can. You go into that film looking at life one way, and you leave having new perspective. It is an emotional movie about life and growing up and is universal in a way that so few films are.

For instance, there is a scene towards the end of the movie where the titular boy, Mason, is leaving home for college and his mom (played by future Academy Award Winner Patricia Arquette) speaks about how time passes you by. I watched this movie with my family and my mom started to cry, while my younger sister and I started laughing. There is no other scene I can think of that felt as real and truthful.

Sure it’s not the best crafted movie ever. It’s not the best shot, Ellar Coltrane isn’t the greatest actor and there isn’t even a score. But it doesn’t matter. The film is just that moving. I love some of the other nominees. Birdman is maybe the most ambitious films in years and Whiplash is one of the best scripts, but Boyhood is why I go to the movies.

I want movies to affect me, and I think about scenes in Boyhood constantly since I watched it months ago. Just watch this trailer and tell me you don’t get slightly teary eyed.

The Gutenberg Printing Press

The Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed with the printing press.

We would not have modern pop culture without the printing press and media would have never became global.

The Gutenberg Printing Press was the early discovery that had the most impact on the development of mass communications. It had the most impact because it allowed the mass production of books. This was the first instance of true mass communication, where texts could be read by many people. It also lead to more literacy, since previously illiterate people could actually get books and learn.

The Gutenberg Printing Press was such a breakthrough because before that, books either had to be handwritten or in China they had developed a plan where wooden blocks could produce multiple copies, but new blocks had to be made for every page. Both of these options were unable to produce a large sum of books, and the printing press led to multiple books, and therefore many ideas, to be read across Europe.

The printing press worked by lining up wooden characters to make words and sentences, putting ink on them like modern stamps and then pressing the paper onto the blocks.

Without the printing press, we would not have books, magazines, the further explanations of science, the recording of history and the information age we now live in. And with that I leave you with this awesome explanation of it’s impact through puppets.

Oscar Nomination coverage by medium

When the Academy Award nomminations were announced on Jan. 15, it was the biggest entertainment news so far that year. What was interesting, looking at the coverage in various platforms was how it was covered and the discussion that was formed because of it. But let’s start with it’s coverage that morning live on CBS.

What was cool about watching the nominations on TV was that you actually got to see the announcement ceremony, which I find interesting if only for hearing the press in the room sometimes ooh or aww if something got nominated they didn’t expect. CBS bookended the live coverage of the ceremony with round table discussions with the CBS This Morning hosts and a commentator from Fandango about what got nominated and what didn’t. They also talked about who are the frontrunners for many of the awards. The television medium was able to transport you to the announcement ceremony, but the discussion was more rushed and less thorough than the next two presentations.

The Washington Post’s coverage. It’s initial coverage of the nominations gave a complete list of the nominees with some initial thoughts after each category. It lacked some of the “Oscar buzz” of the television segment because you only got the list of nominees but where the print format was more useful was the ability to re-read and analyze the nominations yourself. Also, this article listed how many nominations each movie received, giving readers more information that the television broadcast did not.

Lastly, social media took a different angle than that of television or print. It was almost immediately became clear that the Academy Awards had a diversity problem when people started commenting on the apparent snubs of the movie “Selma,” along with other movies including both racial and gender diversity. None of the twenty acting nominees were people of color, and none of the fifteen directing, screenplay or cinematography nominees were women. And while there were tweets about the snubs for “The Lego Movie” and Jake Gyllenhaal, most were about the lack of diversity using the hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite.

The hashtag and social media movement led to additional news coverage at both CBS and Washington Post, creating a dialogue that wouldn’t have occurred before Twitter. It brought attention to an aspect of the story that may have remained unspoken about. However, social media coverage of news is not perfect. It lacked in overall coverage of the nominations. Knowing who all got nominated solely from Twitter would be difficult, at best.

Every medium had its own successes and failures in trying to tell the complete story, but it was the overall media coverage that made the Oscar nominations an interesting and compelling story this year that will continue to be discussed till the award show and beyond.

“A Tale of Momentum & Inertia” is totally awesome

Okay, so this video is made by the Portland, Oregon based animation studio known as House Special, who are best known to me as doing that really awful fake M&M movie that runs in movie theaters. It is just so breathtakingly simple while still saying something about the world we live in. It keeps you attention, you feel for a rock and you can’t help but smile at the end. Trust me, I’ve been showing this to a lot of people this past week and no one has been able to resist the grin.