Showing posts from 2008

An we have a host!

Hugh Jackman will host the 81st Annual Academy Awards Sunday, February 22, 2009. I was thinking awards season began yesterday with the announcing of the Golden Globe nominees , but the season is now in full gear, with producer Laurence Mark and executive producer Bill Condon of the Oscar telecast announcing the news today (12/12).

A great ad campaign

The recent free coffee on Election Day Starbucks ad , which I saw during last weekend's "Saturday Night Live," is simply brilliant and brilliantly simple. Because I started SNL a little late, I could have fast forwarded through the commercial but I noticed it and watched it; I was intrigued. I was not sure who the advertiser was but I loved the text and use of movement. Take a look: Now read the text again: What if we all cared enough to vote? Not just 54% of us, but 100% of us? What if we cared as much on Nov. 5th as we care on Nov. 4th? What if we cared all of the time the way we care some of the time? What if we cared when it was inconvenient as much as we care when its convenient? Would your community be a better place? Would our country be a better place? Would our world be a better place? We think so, too. If you care enough to vote, we care enough to give you a free cup of coffee Come into Starbucks on Nov. 4th. Tell us you voted, and we'll PROUDLY give you a

NBC’s massive coverage of Beijing begins

Post Details: • NBC has unofficially begun its coverage of the Beijing Olympics • Video on NBC’s site uses Silverlight • Opening ceremony is Friday night • Prepare yourself for 17 days ‘round the clock coverage The opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are Friday, but from the looks of the coverage has already begun. “Today” began broadcasting from Beijing on Monday with Matt Lauer from the Great Wall of China, and early this morning – beginning at midnight Eastern – visitors to the site could see male gymnasts practice live during “podium training.” While nothing spectacular, the event shows NBC’s commitment to coverage and even a we-paid- $900 - million -for-the-rights-to-broadcast-the-games-so-we-might-as-well-SHOW-absolutely-EVERTHING motto. NBC Universal is planning a massive 3,600 hours of online and broadcast coverage; that’s more than the total of all previous televised Summer Olympics in U.S. history . But add the pre-coverage of last night a

Harry Potter Excitement

Post Details: • New “Harry Potter” trailer debuts • Excitement ensues Today, I digress… Last night the official trailer was posted for “ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ” on AOL. The sixth movie will open in American theaters in 114 days – on Nov. 21, 2008. (Click on photo to left to enlarge.) I was very excited to watch the trailer – to say the least. Reading the book can be compared to riding an emotional roller coaster . I was a wreck upon completing the book – after experiencing many debilitating moments. (But no spoilers here…) The trailer was darker and more nerve-wracking than earlier trailers in the series. While less than 90 seconds, the preview provided fans with sneak peeks at young Tom Riddle, among other characters, and Professor Dumbledore’s adventure inside the bewitched cave. All and all, it’s going to be tough to stave off my excitement until November, but since reading the final book in the series, “Deathly Hallows,” last summer, there’s always something to lo

Sad news for Bloggers

Post Details: • Redlasso suspends use of beta site • My reaction • The company’s reaction An essential element to blogging is visuals. What’s better to discussing what you saw on TV last night than using a video and showing, rather than telling? But in order to link to that video someone has to put it on the Web. If a blogger does not have fancy technology to record and capture TV on his or her computer, or let alone capture the precise moment in question, it can be very difficult to find a video on the Web. Redlasso changed this. The Web site, whose slogan is “find it! clip it! share it!”, was revolutionary in that beta users could search through 24 hours of footage on a vast selection of channels for the last week or two. Then, users could create a clip from the footage and embed the video on their personal Web sites or blogs. I recently became a member of the site and enjoyed my experience. Last week, however, Redlasso was forced to suspend its service to beta users “for the immed

Front page text on texts

Post Details: • Free daily publishes front page editorial on texting charges • My texting story • An editorial on the FRONT?! Yesterday (7/10), I noticed something unique on the cover of the Tampa Bay Times – called tbt* and a free daily published by the St. Petersburg Times. It was an editorial. While not a hard-hitting political topic, the editorial did catch my eye – it was a photo of the new (I assume) iPhone surrounded by a sea of text with the headline “Text Robbery” at the top. The full text follows: A tbt* EDITORIAL TEXT ROBBERY It really doesn’t cost the cell phone companies anything to transmit a text message, so why do they keep jacking up the price? The new Apple iPhone 3G, which comes out tomorrow, is just the latest example of this gouging. iPhone buyers used to get 200 text messages as part of the basic voice and data plan; now they will pay $5 extra for those 200 texts. And if they go over the limit, look out. Since 2005, rates to receive and send a sin­gle text messag

Rethinking the facts

Post Details: • A look at a Washington Post profile of an Ohio town where some residents seem to believe Obama rumors • Quotes from local media coverage following the article and response • A New York Times article discussing the effect of Obama’s middle name • My thoughts A Washington Post article published last Monday (6/30) about my corner of the world – northwest Ohio – has stirred a debate in the local media and an outrage from some residents here. The piece by Eli Saslow details Findlay , Ohio – nicknamed “ Flag City, USA ” and about 45 minutes from where I live – where Sen. Barack Obama’s story seems to be twisted: On the television in his living room, [resident Jim] Peterman has watched enough news and campaign advertisements to hear the truth: Sen. Barack Obama, born in Hawaii, is a Christian family man with a track record of public service. But on the Internet, in his grocery store, at his neighbor's house, at his son's auto shop, Peterman has also absorbed another v

What a weekend for tennis!

Post Details: • Wimbledon provides some great tennis • Clip Reel from the Championships The weekend (and even the fortnight of tennis matches) has gotten me pumped up for Aug. 8, when the XXIX Olympiad begins at Beijing. The results of Wimbledon are just as inspiring as the storied games beginning in 32 days – where upsets reign and underdogs soar. Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake were out in the first round. Russian Maria Sharapova , 2004 women’s single champion, found herself out in the second round from a quick victory by fellow Russian Alla Kudryavtseva . Marat Safin became the first Russian man to make it to the semi-finals for the first time ever. Chinese player Zheng Jie , ranked 133 in the world, had to write a letter to plead her way into the Championships, and she was the first person from her country to make it to the semis of a major – and gave Serena Williams a notable run. Williams went on to battle her sister, Venus , Saturday for the women’s championship. Afte

A missing masthead?

Post details: • Did a newspaper forget to include its masthead Wednesday? • How important are mastheads? • Have a good Fourth of July! Yesterday’s (7/2) front page of The Bakersfield Californian was missing a very important element above the fold. Or, one can ask, was it even the Californian? Yes, that’s right – it looks like the page designer Monday night forgot to include the paper’s Old English styled masthead. Maybe the designer could not decide on a color to match the “Hancock” photo, so that person chose invisible. Normally I disregard odd front pages I find on Newseum and attribute it to an error in uploading or some other type of malfunction. (Some days, a Newseum front page browser can find a full page ad or the sports page instead of that paper’s A1.) After receiving an e-mail from a friend and colleague interning there this summer, I figure the masthead really was missing. (By the way, I would like to congratulate my friend for TWO – count them, one, and two – bylines on t

A dog you need to see...

It comes around once a year... the world's ugliest dog. So on this Wednesday, here's something to cheer you up: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Times front page on Monday. (And click on the photo for the larger picture of Gus. Beware.) Enjoy.

Opinion: Shame on you AP

Post Details: • James reacts to an AP article about the newspaper industry The Associated Press, known for its reporting around the world and supplying the news media with succinct articles, compelling photographs, graphics and multimedia, was a little too succinct (maybe even a little callous ) in one of its articles published last week. The article discussed the Chicago Tribune and its efforts to redesign and create a smaller paper beginning in mid-September continue to shoot itself in the foot . Here is the article: Chicago Tribune to use Saturday paper to try ideas Associated Press 12:08 PM CDT, June 20, 2008 CHICAGO - The Chicago Tribune will be using its Saturday editions to test new ideas as it prepares for a smaller, redesigned newspaper starting in mid-September. All Tribune Company newspapers are shrinking their news sections and trimming pages as part of a cost-saving plan announced earlier this month. Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski discussed the coming changes i

Recent Star cuts represent growing trend

Post details: • Kansas City Star announced job cuts • Graphic designer creates Google Map to track cuts On Tuesday’s front page (6/17), the Kansas City Star staffer Dan Margolies wrote the Missouri-based newspaper is cutting 120 jobs (about 10 percent of its work force) – about 20 to 22 positions are expected to be eliminated in the newsroom. “These cuts are part of the way we must respond as we strategically realign our company for success in this digital age,” said Star Publisher Mark Zieman, who also called the move “a painful but necessary step,” in a memo to employees Monday. Zieman cited reductions in revenue because of increased competition and the current economic downturn as reasons for the cut. The Star is “struggling to replace lost print advertising revenue quickly enough with new online revenue,” the article stated. (Having one of the worst designed newspaper Web sites in the country and one that is hard to navigate, I can see why the Star is having problems online.) Oth

Something to think about

Post details: • Global gas Graphic in Virginian-Pilot • Europeans pay a LOT more at the pump because of taxes On Tuesday’s front page (6/10), The Virginian-Pilot published an enlightening graphic about gas prices around the world, based on Associated Press statistics from May 30. The AP article written by Angela Charlton in Paris featured the stats and discussed the main reasons for the vast differences: taxes and subsidies. Surprisingly, the price at the pump varies greatly— “from Venezuela , where gas is cheaper than water [at 12 cents!] , to Turkey , where a full tank can cost more than a domestic plane ticket [at $11.29!!] ,” stated the article. Venezuela and China have no tax on gasoline; and there may be extremely high taxes in Europe and Japan but those prices do not take consumers on a roller coaster as much so as we have seen in the United States. While the prices there are still high and painful, the strong euro is helping somewhat, along with the fact that less expensive ma

Rethinking Downtown Toledo

Post Details: • Life in Downtown Toledo far from extinction • New arena, opening fall 2009, design unveiled 2002 was a good year for my hometown, Toledo, Ohio. It was the year the new downtown ballpark –Fifth Third Field, home of the Toledo Mud Hens, our minor league baseball team – opened to much buzz and excitement. I was most excited, however, about the investment being made in a beautiful part of town, along the Maumee River downtown. What had seemed like a downward spiral to extinction for non-business-related events downtown was looking to spiral back up – at least to some extent. Last summer, I worked downtown at the Toledo Free Press, a stone’s throw away from the stadium. At lunch, I would either walk down to the river to eat lunch with colleagues or find a nice eatery to satisfy my hunger. Downtown was bustling with people at lunch, but in the evenings or on the weekends, it was deader than dead – a ghost town just waiting for a new day. The exception: when there are baseball

Rethink Overload

Post details: • A look at the new "Early Show" graphics CBS News has been trying to find its voice. Since Katie Couric debuted as the anchor and managing editor of the “Evening News” in September of 2006, the news division’s flagship program has struggled for ratings even hitting rock bottom with record low numbers towards the end of last month (May 2008), according to TVNewser. What began as a refreshing take of the news – meant, I suppose for a younger audience – changed into a somewhat lackluster carbon copy of its fellow evening newscasts – meant and mainly watched by a much older demographic. I note that this twentysomething writing this blog is a huge fan of Ms. Couric and of the newscast – including the graphics package, set and music composed by Academy Award winner James Horner. But today I’m not writing to focus on the “Evening News.” Instead, I want to look at another CBS News program: “ The Early Show .” The show is a youngling compared to NBC’s “The Today Show”

A case of déjà vu?

Post details: • A look at the similarities of newspaper design Looking through front pages on Newseum yesterday (6/3), I found myself with a case of déjà vu? Or was it? Starting alphabetically, I thought the Bakersfield Californian chose a great Associated Press photo of Hillary Rodham Clinton taken Monday by Elise Amendola in Sioux Falls, S.D., when Sen. Clinton, D-N.Y., was coming from her campaign plane. The paper’s designer utilized great treatment of the photo putting text on top (“Will she stay or go?”). Continuing my perusal of Newseum, I found the San Jose Mercury News went with an almost identical photo (the second in the series by Amendola) with similar treatment. This time the text was “Is this the end?” This was not the first time similar photos and treatments have been used on the same day’s front pages. Thus, I moved on. Then I came across the Cleveland Plain Dealer , which used the same photo as the Mercury News, along with very similar text (“Is it over?”). My reactio

Online document creation in a Flash

Post details: • Adobe introduces • A review of the features Microsoft and Google, watch out for Adobe. On Monday (6/2), Adobe released the public beta of , a product for online document creation and sharing. Think Google Docs, but by Adobe and all in its powerhouse software Flash. The new Web site allows users to create simple documents and collaborate with other users (using Buzzword ) and when you are finished, you can export the file as a PDF, Word document, among other file types. With Share , you can upload up to 5.12 gigs of files, share the files with others and create PDFs. ConnectNow , the third part of the semi-disconnected set of offerings, allows users to communicate multifariously via different "Pods": chat, Web cam, file view, white board, screen sharing and note sharing - all at one URL. You can even use microphones to create a true conference. And remember, this is all done in Flash. No software required (except Flash, that is) and onl

A sign of the Times

Post details: • Washington Times to stop printing Saturday edition • Redesign premieres today • Sunday Times makeover • Web site overhaul On its front page, The Washington Times announced Friday (May 30) that it would no longer publish a print version of its Saturday edition . Instead, subscribers will receive the electronic edition for free. Blame it on poor circulation. Executive editor John Solomon told the Associated Press that Saturday had the lowest circulation of the week. But again, this is not surprising. Last summer, Tom Pounds, publisher of the Toledo Free Press told me that the Saturday and Tuesday editions of the daily paper were basically worthless. Think about the last time you actually read a Saturday edition of a paper – or even subscribed to one. One of my family members subscribes to the local paper and receives the Thursday, Friday and Sunday editions. I thought it was odd, but it makes sense. This is not, however, the only change for the D.C. daily. Beginning today

Welcome to ‘Rethink.’

As promised, this Web log – – is back with fervor . It all begins Monday, June 2, 2008. In each post I’ll be covering the media and other news items I see in regards to the idea of “rethinking” traditional media or past ideas. I will also highlight designs in newspapers, magazines and other media outlets. I cannot promise that every post will contain excellent journalistic ideas or reporting (for example, there may be a few Harry Potter posts now and again), but I will try to stick to this blog’s topic. If you have any suggestions or news items you want to share with me, comment on my latest post . What I want to create here is a forum about rethinking – you’ll see this word a lot – the way our society does business, the way news is presented, and anything else you can think of. As you can see, the new design is in place and ready for Monday. Let’s begin this journey , shall we?

A Renewed Interest in Blogging

This blog was started – I admit – for the simple sake of blogging. However, it became more than just a Web log. Some events I saw happen or experienced seemed worth sharing, but I never felt there was a true message of the blog. The first post was February 07, 2005, when I spoke about the movie “Hotel Rwanda.” A few months later I discussed a neighbor who made me smile. Since 2005, I never posted regularly, just whenever I felt compelled to share my thoughts. Starting in June, this blog will be changed. Into what exactly? I have yet to figure that out, but it will focus more and more on thoughts I read about in the media and the media in general. I would like to take a look at journalism design – an interest of mine – and interesting news items or Web sites I find. If you – the reader of this blog – have any suggestions, I’m all ears. See you in June :) ///////////

Where in the World

One of my favorite TV news segments is back starting Monday. It's "Where is the World is Matt Lauer?" The clue for Monday: "We'll travel great distances in almost no time and let a fair wind take us to a place where the people look in their prime, but the prime rate won't bust the bank." I'm looking forward to seeing where he going and learning about each culture.