Computer Apps and Tech
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Days 4, 5, 6, Getting Warmed Up [1/7/14]

Only three days in and I’m already breaking the rules of my VLog! Boy oh boy has this week been hectic so far. It’s a good, fun kind of hectic, don’t get me wrong. But hectic nonetheless. Watch below for more:

Long story short, I’m here in Texas. It’s pretty chilly. I’m working for DMC and having an amazing time so far. I’m staying at an absolutely lovely bed and breakfast hosted by a wonderful family. Things are going well, and I’m beyond thankful for that. I constantly acknowledge that there are tons of problems out there with the world, and I always try to remain humble. No pun intended (being that Humble is where I’m living).

The beautiful city of Houston as seen flying in to IAH airport past midnight.

The beautiful city of Houston as seen flying in to IAH airport past midnight.

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Day 1, What Should Have Been The Trip To Texas! [1/3/14]

Day One has officially arrived! Today was the day that I was supposed to travel down to Houston, Texas to begin my internship with DeLorean Motor Company, but due to the blizzard that hit the northeastern coast, all flights were canceled. Below is the first VLog episode, where I explain my current situation in more detail.

As I said in the video, the only real thing to know about this VLog is that I will post one video EVERY WEEKNIGHT, MONDAY TO FRIDAY, for the duration of my away internship (which lasts until January 25). That means that every night or early morning, there’ll be fresh content to watch from yours truly about what’s been happening with me in TX.

Obviously this first VLog isn’t quite as polished as I had hoped it would be, but such is the nature of the best laid plans o’ mice and men–they oft go awry. Until Monday, this is Daniel signing off!

P.S. – Happy Belated New Years to all!

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An Away Internship on the Horizon

I hope all of my readers and their families had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, and I also hope that everyone scored some great deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday! Getting your holiday shopping over with now (which shouldn’t be a priority of the season, but everyone is bound to do it so we might as well embrace it) makes the rest of the season that much more enjoyable.

Anyway, after a very work-heavy semester, I’m extremely proud to announce some big and exciting news to my friends and family as well as the Macaulay community. This Winter Intersession I’m going to be traveling down to Houston, Texas to get involved with an away internship! With who, you ask? DeLorean Motor Company!

The DMC world headquarters in Humble, TX.

The DMC world headquarters in Humble, TX.

 

Anyone who knows me can tell I have a real passion for DeLorean automobiles. After years of researching and learning about the car, its history, and John DeLorean, I couldn’t be more excited to finally have the chance to work with the modern day DMC. It’s an honor and something that I look forward to immensely.

After months of preparation, I’m officially set to fly down to Texas on January 3 and begin my internship with DMC as a Corporate Videography and Marketing Intern. I’ll be traveling with a large majority of my production gear and making a series of videos for the company to use on their site and social media pages. I’ll be flying back on January 25, just in time for the Spring 2014 semester.

Besides announcing these wonderful new plans to my friends and Macaulay community, I wanted to also announce my intentions to do a daily video log and a few other video projects outside of my work at DMC while I’m in Texas. Over the 16 weekdays that I’ll be working with DMC (weekends I’ll reserve to myself for exploring the state and relaxing, haha), I’m going to post a nightly VLog updating my blog followers on my progress and what I’m learning as a Macaulay Film Production and TV/Radio double major on an away internship. I also plan on editing together a look back video and a documentary on my experience as whole in the Spring 2014 semester, after I’ve returned.

All of the aforementioned content will be easily accessible on The Utopia Of Daniel in the new “My DMC Away Internship” subsection of the “College” category. I can’t wait to get to work on these projects and look forward to sharing my experiences with my followers here. Be sure to stay tuned to TUOD for more!

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The Fall 2013 Semester and One-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

I’m sure that many of my college classmates and friends as well as TUOD followers and visitors have been wondering what’s happened to my posts these past few months. Just like in the past, I come to you with a series of apologies and good reasons as to why I’ve been so so darn busy.

First off, sincere apologies to everyone who was expecting more content from the blog this summer. As I explained in a previous post, I had a very demanding internship with a production company working for Investigation Discovery from beginning of May right up until the end of August. I interned as the Assistant Locations Manager on a show originally called The Bad Old Days (it has since been renamed A Crime to Remember) and worked through the pre-production and production stages of the last four episodes of the series. You can check out the official promo video for the series by clicking on the image below.

The official video promo for the Discovery ID series I worked on all Summer 2013 long.

The official video promo for the Discovery ID series I worked on all Summer 2013 long.

 

Second, the rest of the summer was much more related to family medical issues than it did work and interning. To make a very long story short, I’m only just now getting out of a series of about five solid months where by my mother and I had a series of medical problems which involved all sorts of surgery, testing, hospital visits and stays (including a rush to emergency room on my birthday), etc. I don’t want to go into detail about them for a variety of reasons, but I can at least tell you that after non-stop stress, anxiety, driving to and from doctors and surgeons, and trying to figure out what happened to cause these problems, we’re both doing much better now.

Third, I would like to draw special attention to the fact that I’m posting this update on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. A year ago tonight, the tropical storm/hurricane that changed so many people’s lives in so many ways across the Eastern seaboard touched down. I can’t even begin to describe how many ways I’ve seen it change individuals, families and communities alike over this past year.

Sandy turned so many people's lives upside down one year ago today. The storm's effects can still be seen across the City and Eastern Seaboard.

Sandy turned so many people’s lives upside down one year ago today. The storm’s effects can still be seen across the City and Eastern Seaboard.

 

A lot of people didn’t understand (and still don’t to this day) just how bad Sandy was. I’ll never forget that Halloween night last year, when the power and heat were still out for Jamaica Bay in Queens, my family and I went to pick up our rental car from an Enterprise shop in Middle Village. I was wearing my thermal jumpsuit to stay warm, and the rest of my family had messy clothes on, thrown together in there aftermath of a day of rigorous cleaning and scrubbing. When we got to the shop, one little boy in a costume came up to me and said, “Are you supposed to be Michael Meyers!?” I looked at him and his parents, who were smiling behind him, and said that I was wearing the jumpsuit because I had no heat down in Howard Beach, and I needed to stay warm. “Sandy hit everyone down there really hard,” I said. The child’s father replied, “Really? We had no idea, we thought everyone was ok. It passed over really quickly, right?”

I like telling that story because it perfectly sums Sandy up to me. If you weren’t living in or next to an affected area and had no ties with family or friends who were living in one, you didn’t know just how bad the storm was. The media didn’t do nearly enough to capture the true damages the storm caused in the community, only following up on post-Sandy neighborhoods for one week following the storm. After that, the storm was old news. New travesties like the Sandy Hook shooting were about to happen and needed to be focused on. Now of course, I didn’t expect people to focus on Sandy forever, and of course new horrific events (such as the Sandy Hook shooting, which was a true travesty) needed major attention. However the lack of attention most people placed on post-Sandy life really proves to me that they didn’t understand just how bad it was. I have family who still hasn’t returned him, friends who still haven’t replaced their cars, neighbors who are only now getting FEMA grants to perform needed repairs on their homes.

One year later, Sandy is very much alive in my small bayside community of Jamaica Bay. I’m sure the same can be said for Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey, as well as the rest of the areas strongly affected by Sandy. It’s not all bad though, since Sandy did allow me to write, direct and edit two films about it, both of which I’m very proud of and both of which are embedded below.

 

It’s also not all bad because, my friends, family and neighbors are all still alive. Regardless of physical property and things, all the people I know and love are still here. The same can’t be said everywhere, and I’m more than grateful for that. I still thank God for getting my family out of Sandy alive, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop.

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Super Simple and Dirt Cheap – Upgrade Your MacBook Pro RAM Today

If you’re in the Class of 2015 at Macaulay Honors College or you purchased a MacBook Pro in the early part of 2011, then this blog post is for you! If not, then you’re either a PC user (don’t worry, PC content will be along directly) or you have a different model MacBook Pro (or none at all). Regardless of which category you fall into, please read on for cool computer tech awesomeness.

I’m half student filmmaker and half professional videographer. I’m always working on video content for friends at college or putting some short film together for one of my professors. And when I’m not doing that, I’m shooting and editing promotional business videos. Either way, I’m using my MacBook Pro and PC desktop a lot.

The PC desktop is another story–that was a custom build and works flawlessly through any video editing task. I took real care into custom-tailoring each piece of the computer to make it run Avid Media Composer ultra fast. Thankfully, I succeeded on that end.

As for the MacBook Pro, my non-linear editor of choice there is Final Cut Pro. When I first got the laptop, it ran lighting fast. As time went on and I installed new programs, everything slowed down. Eventually, I found it impossible to run anything alongside Final Cut, let alone Final Cut itself.

About This Mac, pre-RAM upgrade.

About This Mac, pre-RAM upgrade.

 

In order to combat the issue, I’ve upgraded my MacBook Pro’s RAM from its original stock 4GB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM to 8GB of the same type and speed. Doing so has doubled my performance speeds and allows me to use Final Cut to its fullest potential again, without any ‘spinning beach balls of death.’

About This Mac, post-RAM upgrade.

About This Mac, post-RAM upgrade.

 

The process of upgrading your MacBook Pro’s RAM is actually extremely easy. That being said, I still wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t worked on the inside of computers before. I hold two technician certifications, so I was well prepared for what I saw, but if you go in there blind, it might be a little tricky. Either way, it’s not a daunting task. I was going to put together a step-by-step walkthrough, but I honestly think the video below is the best out there.

 

As for what kind of RAM you choose, that’s up to you. Technically speaking, the Early 2011 MacBook Pro has an 8GB RAM imit, or so Apple says. Many people have installed 16GB of RAM in the Early 2011 models and haven’t had any problems, but others said the high amount of RAM caused their laptop to overheat (this all has to do with how much a computer’s processor can handle). All of this being said, I think you’d find that 8GB of RAM is more than enough for any task, whether it be video editing or more Facebook surfing. The RAM I purchased can be found via this link.

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These Past Few Weeks

So, I figured that a Summer 2013 update was in order for all of the UOD followers out there. These past few weeks have been fairly hectic for me, but in a very good way!

One of the big things I’ve been working on has been an internship with the Investigation Discovery Channel. Last summer, I met a wonderful women who was the executive producer of an ABC show called Final Witness. I wasn’t able to work with her then due to time constrictions, but after staying in touch with her throughout the academic year, she was able to bring me on board her new project with Discovery ID.

The show is called The Bad Old Days, and it’s all about telling the true tales of crazy murderers and their unfortunate victims from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Beyond that, I’m not really able to say anything else other than I’ve been working nonstop as assistant to the locations manager and general pre-production, production and post-production assistant. The cast and crew has been doing loads of great work, and I’ve been learning quite a bit about shooting in and around NYC.

A beautiful sunset seen onset in upstate NY.

A beautiful sunset seen onset in upstate NY.

 

Other than that, my company, Passing Planes Productions, has been working on a few projects with some local businesses and companies. I don’t want to give anything away yet, but I should have some promotional and business tour videos up and available within the coming weeks. Be sure to like Passing Planes Productions on Facebook if you haven’t already!

A couple of other final updates include:

– I’ve made a Vine account–be sure to follow Danny Boy Scarpati

– A few ideas for some summer short films are in the works… stay tuned for more

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Summer Break 2013 Begins with Eportfolio Expo 2013 Awesomeness!

The Spring 2013 semester has finally come to an end. After making it through hell and high water (quite literally), I survived my classes and made it out alive! I certainly hope that all of my fellow Macaulay and Brooklyn College classmates feel the same sense of accomplishment and pride that I do after finishing half of the four-year undergraduate experience.

Very thankfully, my summer break began with a serious dose of awesomeness thanks to the 2013 Eportfolio Expo. This year, a bunch of fantastic bloggers submitted their sites, ranging from club and group pages to educational blogs and travel portfolios. Below is the list of the wonderful participants and their award categories–I highly recommend taking the time to visit their sites and see what they’ve been up to for the past six months.

THE JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARDEES
Marina Nebro–“Arts and Culture”
Kanika Khanna–“The Macaulay Messenger”
Kaitlyn O’Hagan–“Writing Not Raging”
Daniel Scarpati–“The Utopia of Daniel”
HONORABLE MENTIONS
Alessandra Rao–“The Undivided Design”
Choonghun Lee–“The Macaulay Triplets”
Julia Dancer–“No Foreign Lands”
Amy Gijbers van Wijk–“The Babylon Project”
CATEGORY RECOGNITION
(Travel Eportfolio) Tamar Herman–“Kosher Seoul”
(Curation/Reblogging Eportfolio)–Zara Hoffman–“Wear Aboutz”
(Photography Eportfolio)–Marianna Lamnina–“My European Adventures”
(Food/Culture Eportfolio)–Stephanie Chung–“A College Student’s Bucket List”
(Arts/Professional Eportfolio)–Amy Gijbers van Wijk–“Diary of a Young Playwright”–
(Potential/Newcomer Eportfolio)–Christine Seguritan–“x_signature”
As an Eportoflio creator/moderator in the Judges’ Choice Awardees category, I was one of the four people who won a brand new iPad Mini. Needless to say, this piece of Apple technology is going to be extremely helpful to my studies throughout the next two years of undergraduate research, course work and internships. So far, I’ve been putting it to good use as another piece of photography equipment in audio/video arsenal, and I’ve been taking some notes on it as I work as an intern for the Discovery Channel this summer. I have a good feeling that these are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I’ll be able to use it for in the coming years.

I just couldn't resist making placing a X-Files background on the lock screen a main priority!

I just couldn’t resist making placing a X-Files background on the lock screen a main priority!

 

A major thank you goes out to Professor Ugoretz, the Eportfolio Expo team and the judges who donated their time to grade our Eportolios and give us helpful feedback to improve them in the future. Without these fine men and women, the Expo wouldn’t be any fun and we wouldn’t learn anything about our social presences online!
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More Than Great Legs – Sloan Sabbith Character Study

If there’s one character that really stands out to me on Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, it’s Sloan Sabbith. Played by the devilishly gorgeous Olivia Munn, Sloan is the only female character that has a truly complete character arc in the first season. As she transitions from a shy, socially awkward college girl to a dominating force and true student of honest news and investigative journalism, the audience has the chance to learn, grow and experience News Night alongside her.

A stunningly beautiful actress, comedian and Atlantis Cable News personality!

A stunningly beautiful actress, comedian and Atlantis Cable News personality!

 

When The Newsroom began, Sloan really wasn’t an integral part of any single story. At first, I assumed that she was a lower-level staffer on the News Night team, someone who was there to fact check and work out statistics and data. Since she was thrown in the corner and wasn’t given any real screen time, I didn’t think anything else was possible. Don even called her his “fourth and only choice”  when he needed her to fill in another newscaster’s time slot in one of the first episodes. As the season progressed however, people like McAvoy and MacKenzie started letting the audience know how smart she really was–who knew that she received a PhD in Economics at Duke University and studied under some of the country’s greatest economic minds!?

After being acknowledged as News Night’s Senior Financial Reporter, Sloan was given five minutes every night to “tell us where we are and how we got here” by MacKenzie. At this point in the show, the audience really started getting to know Sloan as a female professional in the American broadcast television workplace. Compassionate, quirky and knowledgable, Sloan captured the attention of a lot of ACN people very quickly. She was given more tasks to discuss the state of the economy and was asked to cover more stories, occasionally being allowed to fill in for missing reporters.

The most notable instance where she filled in for someone else was during the Fukushima power plant meltdown.At this point in the show, Sloan had really only focused on financial stories and helping MacKenzie try to better understand economics for a speech she had to give. Always helpful and always eager to learn, Sloan didn’t back down–she accepted the story and made the egregious mistake of using off-the-record information on live television. This is one of the parts of the show that I remember the most, specifically because it’s such an honest human error. When I worked for the Queens Chronicle newspaper, I spoke to assemblymen and local politicians off the record multiple times, and it was always hard to hear them say things to me that they didn’t necessarily say in public. No matter how much journalists would like to publish or broadcast everything they hear off-the-record, they simply can’t–it’s a matter of not only ethics and principle, but legal responsibility and overal believability.

In Sloan’s case, she caused panic in Japan based on information that hadn’t been formally released yet. Although she thought she would save lives and prove that the nuclear plant and government was not being truthful in their assessments of the meltdown level at the plant, she caused more problems than fixed them. It’s moments like this that remind the audience that everyone makes mistakes. Sloan was still learning how to do the news and do it well, and it’s safe to say that she learned a lot from that experience. Thankfully for her, McAvoy and Skinner loved her too much to let her get fired, so they had her lie (one of the only times they allowed a blatant lie to be aired) to save her job and the honor of the Japanese spokesperson she quoted.

In a video interview with Munn, she said that newsworthy is defined as something that the people “need to know.” Even during and after het worst mistake, Sloan was only thinking about the people and what they needed to know.

 

By the end of the show, Sloan had become extremely comfortable with live reporting. So much so that we would often only catch the ending of her segments on the economy and finances today. When it reached that point that MacKenzie, McAvoy and Skinner were confident that she knew what she was doing and how to get it done right, they didn’t have to watch her do it anymore.

As for Sloan’s social life, she also stood out to me as a character that went from a state of total social awkwardness to emotional understanding and bravery. In the first half of season one, she was always trying to help McAvoy, Don and MacKenzie with emotional issues and problems. Even though she didn’t have a boyfriend herself (or any real relationship experience at all, for that matter), she did her best to answer the questions of her coworkers and friends. I can really connect to this, because I’ve been helping friends with relationship problems and dating issues ever since the start of high school even though I’ve never really been involved in a relationship myself. Most people would think that this would limit the amount of help you can give, but I find that when you listen to everyone else’s problems and experiences, you’re able to form a database of knowledge that you can access to help others–and I definitely see Sloan accessing hers.

Always watching and always learning, Sloan has carried herself through one hectic season of work for News Night.

Always watching and always learning, Sloan has carried herself through one hectic season of work for News Night.

 

Towards the second half of the season, Sloan began standing up for what she thought was right. She began telling people like McAvoy, Neal and Don how she felt about them and what they should really think of themselves. In Don’s case, Sloan was courageous enough to say that she was “only single because [Don] never asked [her] out,” which was no doubt a hugh emotional boundary for her to jump. Although this did finalize her character’s emotional arc and bring her into a new stage of bravery and honesty, I did find it odd that she admitted this when she never really displayed any feelings or affection towards Don throughout the show. Don had asked her questions about problems with Maggie before, but Sloan only helped him as much as she did everyone else. Since she never gave Don any special attention or praise, it makes the audience wonder why she feels the way she does for a guy that really isn’t all that great.

Since she admitted to turning down an annual salary of four million dollars with a financial firm to serve the country and the News Night team, Sloan has clearly grown attached to the people involved in the News Night team. If I were her, I would stay with the News Night 2.0 team, too. Through the bonds she’s developed and trust she’s gained as the Senior Financial Reporter, Sloan is definitely learning that some things in life mean more than money and notoriety (cliche, sure, but Sloan absolutely displays this level of understanding by the final episode). Compared to other women on the show like Maggie and MacKenzie, Sloan comes off as smarter, sexier and more dominating (both physically and verbally) than anyone else. Getting thrown up against the wall by Sloan after calling her butt big must’ve been some experience, Neal!

For Sloan’s character in season two, I really hope to see her continuously becoming a more important, dominating force on the News Night team. As she takes on more stories and projects and continues to work under and alongside McAvoy and MacKenzie, I’m fairly confident that she’s on the straight path to success. Even if News Night were to fail or be cancelled, I don’t think there’s any doubt that a financial company (investing, marketing, actuarial services, etc.) would hire her in a heart beat.

Ms. Sabbith, you’re one strong women. If there’s anything I have to say to you, it’s keep your eyes clear and your heart open. You’re smart enough to know (on book-smart and street-smart levels) when someone or something is good for you and when that same person or thing is bad for you, and that kind of knowledge mixed with a PhD from Duke and McAvoy’s tutelage will take you places. Stay beautiful, sistah.

 

References:

HBO’s The Newsroom – Sloan Sabbith, HBO Website

@SloanSabbithACN, Twitter

The Newsroom Season One, Episodes One – Ten

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“We Told the News” – The Newsroom Season One Reflection

I worked in a newsroom once. Only it was called “The War Room” in my case. It wasn’t for a televised news show like Atlantis Cable News, but for the Queens Chronicle, the most widely read and distributed print newspaper in Queens.

During my time at the QC, I leaned a lot about print journalism, advertising, marketing and bureaucracy. I got to experience all different kinds of events and occurrences, from the Wiener scandals and Queens-based political campaigns to NYPD raids and health care festivals. All the while, I was meeting new people, both journalists I worked with at the QC and reporters from other papers.

Despite all of the aforementioned benefits of working on a very popular and widely-read newspaper, there are a few things that I never saw or heard take place: in-office relationships, verbal wars with publishers/the media gatekeepers, and scandalous choices to publish controversial news stories, just to list a few examples. Others who have worked in newsrooms (and even other workplaces) have experienced one or two of these things here and there, but I’ve never seen or heard of anyone who saw them all pile up together.

This all leads me to pretty much the main thing I dislike about The Newsroom: its unrealistic nature. Despite its accurate representation of various people, politicians and corporate bigwigs, Aaron Sorkin’s show has proven time and time again that all it is is a fictional television show meant to draw in an audience and entertain. For any television show this is pretty much necessary for survival, and I completely understand that. But for a show that goes to great lengths to convey messages about the current state of investigative journalism and the US fourth estate as well as the nation’s interpretation of what purpose television serves in society today, I wonder why so much of it stands out as unreal.

The Newsroom perfectly portrays life in a bustling news room. Go figure!

The Newsroom perfectly portrays life in a bustling news room.

 

Take for example the way characters talk to one another. There’s not enough fumbling with words! There’s never a loss for some great emotional revelation or realization about why we humans do what we do (why we love who we love, hate who we hate, side with who we side with, etc). Even in the cases of the love triangles (McAvoy and MacKenzie, and Maggie, Jim, Don and Sloan) there’s never a point where things stop and nothing is said. There’s always something going on, and the rapid pace of these relationships almost never slows.

These relationships are also the only other thing that I think works against the show. In real life, love triangles and quadrangles like the ones portrayed on The Newsroom are simply too perfect. Throughout the first season, I always had issues in believing that Maggie continuously wanted to stay with Don even though Jim offered her so much more love and respect. Granted, Jim continuously chose to stay with Lisa, so it wouldn’t have really mattered what Maggie chose anyway.

These kinds of crazy triangles not only draw attention to the way The Newsroom tries to appeal to viewers of soap operas, but it detracts from the intelligence these women are supposed to have. They’re all double and triple major college and graduate school scholars who, despite all of their collective knowledge, continuously make such ridiculous relationship and emotional choices. I can understand that they’re socially awkward and even inept at times, but being lulled into a false sense of security and love by a room full of flowers and light candles just wouldn’t work after going through countless stand-ups, multiple missed dinners with parents, continuos verbal abuse and overall emotional stress (this particular example is taken from the final episode, where Maggie and Don have one final make-up session).

Some other plot points like McAvoy smoking pot before going on air and Jim having sing-along music sessions with coworkers outside of the always-heated office space just add to the ridiculousness of certain aspects of the show. Critics like Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal, Mary MacNamara of the L.A. Times and Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker all seem to agree that The Newsroom has tremendous potential, but due to its often silly dialouge and plot points, plus a semi-unrealistic nature, it falters on multiple levels.

A Newsroom bingo card with just about every cliche/pun/repetitious act the show uses.

A Newsroom bingo card with just about every cliche/pun/repetitious act the show uses.

 

Regardless, let’s look at The Newsroom from the scope of it being a drama television show and nothing more. It does a fantastic job of telling the story of a team of investigative journalists who want nothing more than to tell the news. Many characters were written well and had a very clear and serious arc (even if the arc wasn’t integral to the core story, like Neal going from being a shy office nerd to standing up for what he believes in and taking chances with the News Night producers).

Even with debatable arcs and sub-plots like Don transitioning from a “bad guy” to a “good guy” throughout the first season (I personally think he went from a “bad guy” to a “self-aware bad guy,” but to each his/her own), I still found the show very enjoyable. Viewers were able to relive important events in the US’ past few years in a new way, looking at them from the eyes of reporters who attempt to report as objectively as possible. We were transported directly into an American workplace where things didn’t always go as planned, people sometimes got hurt, and there was always a new issue to deal with.

Watching a show like a television show should be was also refreshing–meaning that I only watched The Newsroom once a week for the ten weeks. Nowadays, everything is about instant gratification and being able to do anything you want whenever you want. So to be able to relax and take the time to really critique and review the show has been a positive media experience to say the least.

The news desk is left open for a whole series of sub-plots and stories in the show's second season. Here's hoping it takes the best of the first season and only makes it better!

The news desk is left open for a whole series of sub-plots and stories in the show’s second season. Here’s hoping it takes the best of the first season and only makes it better!

 

To complete the ‘fan service package,’ I’m a massive fan of how perfectly The Newsroom ended its first season: just enough was revealed to satiate, but just enough was left open to keep viewers coming back for more. As I think more and more about what I’d like to see during the second season (which I intend to try and watch online since my family doesn’t own cable–ironic, since it’s to watch a show about a cable news network), I keep coming back to my desire to see the show develop into less of a romantic dramedy and more of a well-balanced personal and interpersonal exploration of the media and its influence in everyday life.

Besides that, hopefully Don and Sloan will get together (a really unexpected plot twist, might I add), McAvoy and MacKenzie will become the perfect news duo and couple, Skinner will continue to fight for justice in the ranks of William Paley (and avenge the self-inflicted death of his newfound friend, Hancock), Leona will agree to work with Skinner and McAvoy (or at least allow them to survive), Sorkin will learn how to better write women in screenplays, and the show will do one heck of a job at representing the honest and true viewpoints behind Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential elections (a topic I’m very excited to see analyzed and discussed).

My overall Newsroom season one rating: 7.5 out of 10 Dunphys. Well done, Mr. Sorkin. =u)

And thank you for the experience, Professor Dunphy! This last clip is for you (it describes how I felt after finishing my blog posts):

 

References:

The Newsroom Season One Reviews Collection, MetaCritic (full online collection)

The Newsroom Season One WSJ Preview, Dorothy Rabinowitz

The Newsroom Season One LA Times Review, Mary McNamara

The Newsroom Season One New Yorker Review, Emily Nussbaum

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Who’s Sponsoring What, and Why?

In January 2009, BioShock 2 released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Both a sequel and prequel to the original BioShock in a single player story and multiplayer story, respectively, fans across the globe rushed to stores to pickup their copies. After a few short months of offline single player campaign and online multiplayer gameplay, a downloadable content package (DLC, for short) was released on the consoles’ marketplaces. As fans downloaded the DLC, they realized that the size of the file they were downloading was 128.00 KB.

You don’t have to be a Computer Science major to know that anything in KBs is pretty small. Usually, Text Edit and Notepad notes are only 10KB or so. How could a full DLC package for a fifth-generation console game (complete with high-definition video and audio) only equate to 128.00 KB? It can’t. What the fans discovered was that they were downloading a virtual key of sorts that would unlock the DLC content which came pre-installed on the original game disc.

This sparked a large debate over what constituted “DLC” and what people were really paying for when they purchased a game. On one side, the content was already on the disc, and since people paid $59.99 for that disc, shouldn’t they have been allowed to access all of it? On the other side, the content was not pertinent to the single player or multiplayer experiences and only added to the overall experience, so didn’t the developers, 2K Games, have a right to moderate when the unlock code for extra content was released? In the end, no true verdict was reached, and people eventually just moved on to the next problems life threw at them.

Many were felt bothered and betrayed by the realization that they already owned the "new content" they were purchasing.

Many were felt bothered and betrayed by the realization that they already owned the “new content” they were purchasing.

 

In the case of the recent announcement of Sony’s PS4, a similar thing happened. People noticed that of the two posts published on BuzzFeed, one was “sponsored” by PlayStation while the other was not. Both appeared to be identical posts, minus a sponsor acknowledgment and off-white background color. The problem that arises from these two posts is that readers can’t be certain what is the true, objective opinion of the reviewer, or what is the information sponsored and written in by PlayStation’s own marketing team. Like with 2K Games, fans are left with a feeling of distrust towards the company.

Andrew Sullivan of The Dish writes that what’s not being respected here is the ” divide between editorial and advertizing,” a sort of unspoken boundary that exists, much like the separation of church and state. As times have changed and the line between journalism/criticism and industry advertising has widened and dissipated, it’s no longer clear what constitutes a totally unbiased piece of writing.

The infamous PS4 announcement was where the new PS4 controller was unveiled. Will we be able to navigate true journalism and editorial criticism with it? Or just loads of sponsored, influenced content?

The infamous PS4 announcement was where the new PS4 controller was unveiled. Will we be able to navigate true journalism and editorial criticism with it? Or just loads of sponsored, influenced content?

 

Editorial writing and media advertising need one another for both to survive, so sponsored content must continue to exist–without it, many companies wouldn’t be able to continue operating due to lack of funds. However when the two things become indistinguishable, “aren’t we in danger of destroying the village in order to save it?”

The Dish blog post can be read here.