Specialized Journalism: Cultural Consumption

Week 1: August 32-September 6

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Big Brother
  • Music
    • Macklemore: Downtown
  • Movies
    • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Videos

Week 1 Focus: Macklemore–Downtown

One song that I have consumed this week that I believe deserves a closer look is the song titled Downtown by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. In addition, this song features the rappers Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel, Cool Moe Dee, and singer Eric Nally. I have been a fan of Macklemore’s music for about four years, as I believe his content and production is very different from others musicians, especially rappers, who are currently popular.

Downtown is the first major song Macklemore has released on platforms such as Spotify and iTunes, since his debut album three years ago. The song has an inherent quality that makes the listener realize that although it is mainstream rap/hip hop music, it’s not coming from an artist such as Kendrick Lamar, Drake or Kanye West. What makes Macklemore different from other artists is where his lyrics fall on the musical spectrum. He can play both ends and the music is equally as enticing. There’s songs like “Same Love” and “A Wake” which, respectively, aim to point out the social issues of Gay Rights and Racial Inequality, whereas ‘Downtown” is a song about mopeds. Within the somewhat frivolous and ridiculous topic though, he is able to make the listener almost forget that they are listening to a song about a glorified scooter.

The song begins with a lot of piano and brass which are typically seen as sophisticated instruments. When the lyrics start, Macklemore immediately begins referencing mopeds and how he went to the store to buy one. The juxtaposition of a very classy art form with lyrics that are quite juvenile shows the range of the song. On a more personal level, I played an instrument and I know the time and dedication that goes into mastering it. While I didn’t play a brass instrument, I find the sound of trumpets, which are very prevalent in the song, a way to make music sound more upscale without acting like the artist is trying to hard. Rather than using synthesized tracks, or something more basic like a guitar, Macklemore uses the jazzy sounds of the trumpet to enhance the sound and quality of the song.

As an rapper, Macklemore often tries to incorporate other artists that are either someone he sees potential in, or someone that is well respected in the industry to feature on his songs. In this song, the three rappers he featured were all very big during the 70’s and 80’s and helped to build a platform for rap music. In contrast, Eric Nally was the lead singer of a rock band that wasn’t very well known, but now his voice, which is featured during the song’s chorus, is a focal point of the song. Macklemore is able to pay homage to the roots of the genre he now practices, but also makes cultural references like throwing fish at Pike Place that allude to his hometown of Seattle, or how using a moped is more preferable than using Uber, which is a very current form of transportation.

Overall, I think Macklemore’s ability to make art out of a topic as mundane as mopeds, shows the uniqueness of the song and his skills as a rapper. He is able to contrast all of the facets of mopeds against sophisticated instrumental verses, that, along with the featured artists, lead to a mashup of new and old school cultures.

Week 2: September 7-September 13

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Big Brother
  • Food
    • Chicken Enchiladas
    • Pork Medallions with Mushrooms in Marsala Sauce
  • Music
    • Spotify Peaceful Piano Playlist
    • Ryn Weaver
    • Alessia Cara

Week 2 Focus: Big Brother

No, I am not talking about the illusive overlord in George Orwell’s pivotal novel “1984.” It may not be as symbolic or culturally defining as 1984, but the TV show Big Brother has a cult following and “houseguests” that could compete with the characters in the book.

Seventeen seasons in, Big Brother is one of the longest running reality TV shows for a plethora of reasons. While this is only the second season of the show that I’ve tuned in to watch, I can now relate to why every Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the last 17 summers viewers have tuned into the show.

In summary Big Brother is a show where 16 strangers are put into a house, all vying for the grand prize of $500,000. Each week competitions determine the Head of Household, who will be sitting on the “block,” who will earn the golden power of Veto and on Thursday nights, houseguests vote to evict someone.

Aside from being weekly entertainment, Big Brother is a show that combines strategy, friendship, deceit, alliances, and above all, surprise. The show’s motto is “except the unexpected” and throughout the summer the producers employ many twists to shake up the house and change the course of action and power.

The show has you rooting for housemates on the basis of much more than looks or likability. Strategy is a huge component of the show. Each week, competitions can change the scope of the game. On a personal level, I watch the show with one of my friends and at the beginning of the summer we draft housemates and see who has the winning housemate on their team at the end of the summer. While I root for people on team, I also respect the game and personality of people of my friends team. Even though this is a personal way to look at the game, I do think it expands into the greater meaning of the show.

Housemates, both evicted and active, have complemented or despised other housemates’ game, despite them being friends and competition. In the end, the winner is decided by the evicted houseguests which adds another element to the game. Instead of being determined by the somewhat skewed vision of viewers on shows such as American Idol, the winner is determined by the people who lived in the house together. This means houseguests are held accountable for their true personalities and gameplay, rather than the one hour cuts, put together to form the show that the general public has access to. Luckily, if viewers are invested enough, since the concept of Big Brother is that you are always being watched, the 200 plus cameras in the house are broadcasted onto a live stream on the CBS website. This means that dedicated viewers can always be in the know.

Like Orwell’s novel, the game has a bigger meaning, but can be taken at face value as well. The depth and strategy involved in the game is to be admired, as being trapped in a house for three months could drive anyone crazy. At the least though, it is a reality show that broadcasts the clean and dirty sides of people when half a million dollars is on the line.

Week 3: September 14-September 20

Week 3 Focus: David Carr Fellowship Program

One article I read this week that struck me was how the New York Times is starting a fellowship program in honor of late NYT columnist David Carr. Carr was known for his off-beat yet cutting edge column about media and technology. I enjoyed reading about the program and why the NYT felt it to be a necessary addition to their repertoire. The most positive critique I have of the unveiling of the fellowship, was in the delivery. It did not come off as pretentious or braggy. Instead, it was a way to memorialize Carr’s legacy while acknowledging how his past and personality grounded him as a writer.

I also enjoyed how the fellowship parallels Carr’s role at the NYT. The application specifically states that they are looking for someone that comes from an “unusual background.” It was refreshing and honest for the NYT to not only reinforce how Carr’s life helped shape him into such a staple in the Times’s newsroom, but look for someone who can contribute to the publication in the ways Carr did. While no one can replace a journalist, as one’s voice and writing style is simply too unique to recreate, especially in the case of Carr, they are looking for someone similar to Carr. The NYT not only felt that this was a way to better remember Carr, but I also see it as a way to reach out to the community.

Carr wrote about topics that are very relevant to the current journalism landscape. While journalists have been working towards adapting to the media platform, the younger generation of up and coming journalists are some of the strongest resources that newspapers can use to enhance their media based content. By acknowledging a continued need for work in Carr’s specialized area, and pairing it with an outreach fellowship, the NYT is forwarding two important areas. One is the integration of new blood into the journalism field. The other, a way to remember Carr’s legacy by building a program for people much like himself.

This is not a call for the weak and scarred, but rather a way to show how scarring circumstances forward one’s knowledge, experience and style in the most honest of ways.

Week 4: September 21-September 27

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Big Brother
  • Food
    • Rossi’s
  • Music
    • Leon Bridges: Coming Home/Spotify Sessions
  • Apps
    • Apple iOS 9 News App
  • Videos
  • Media

Week 4 Focus: Apple iOS9 News App

When I updated my iPhone to the new operating system, solely to get rid of the little red notification, I expected it would improve the little bugs and add more irrelevant apps that seem to only exist to take up space on your phone. About a half hour later when the phone had finished updating, I spent some time sifting through the new features and observing the small changes such as the text, but what really struck me was the News app. At first glance it sat among the worthless apps such as Game Center, Wallet, and Health that are only opened when I meant to open a different app, but accidentally click them instead.

I was a little reluctant at first, but once I opened it I was pleasantly surprised. I was met with a long list of news sites ranging from The New York Times, to Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, HGTV, and Travel and Leisure. Of the hundreds of new outlets and areas such as “Entertainment,” and “New York City,” you could click any and all that seemed interesting. I spent more time than I’d like to admit selecting the perfect concoction of news sites. Some serious, some fluffy, and some I had always wanted to start reading, but never seemed to have the time. After I created a list perfect for me, it brought me to a home page where had picked articles from each outlet I had selected appeared in what seemed like a never ending list. While this can be a negative to some people, I view it as one of the strongest aspects of the app.

As a journalist, reading the news is an essential skill to understanding the current landscape of the profession. Subsequently, I find this is one of the hardest things to do. Not because I do not have time, or I’m not interested, but because there is so much news I often don’t know where to start. Because of this, I will usually stick to the same few news sties, such as the New York Times for serious, newsworthy content, and Buzzed for lighthearted content. I follow a sampling of news sites on Twitter, but I often find their excess of posts, often on similar matters, to be overwhelming and repetitive. I once had a professor who said that a journalist not reading the news is like Derek Jeter going to the Yankees for tryouts and never having picked up a baseball. I’ve always found that to be a spot on comparison, but nonetheless I’ve always struggled to meet my bar of news consumption. This is why I see this Apple News App as a game changer.

Not only does the app cater to your specific interests, it provides a variety of articles from each outlet. This means little to no duplicates, and that each sites entire repertoire is not featured at once. Often times when you visit one website, you fall into a blackhole of reporting. The News App helps to lessen the blackhole, which is much appreciated. In addition, it is constantly updated. Any time of day, you can click on the app and it will refresh with a new list of articles that have been posted since you last visited. Variety, in both content and outlet, keeps the news relevant and the reader interested. The customizable nature and up to date material keeps me interested in the news, but also opens my eyes to websites that I would not have originally clicked on.

Week 5: September 28-October 4

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
  • News
    • The Skimm
  • Podcasts
    • Serial
  • Movies
    • Paper Towns
  • Music
    • Houndmouth: Little Neon Limelight

Week 5 Focus: Serial Podcast

I came upon Serial when the first season was ending. A lot of the people in the media industry that I follow on Twitter were up in arms that there may not be a second season. At the time I kind of brushed off the idea of podcasts as I held an archaic view of them. I just pictured a bunch a old men in a room discussing the latest political debate or something of that nature. Over time the idea grew on me and when I found out that we needed to blog about our cultural consumption for this class, I took it as an opportunity to get involved with areas of the media that I’d never previously explored. I had been wanting to start listening to a podcast for a while and I remembered all of the great things I’d heard about Serial. So one afternoon, with no prior knowledge or information on the podcast, I pressed play on the first episode on my way to the gym and I’ve been hooked since.

The podcast breaks up the different aspects of a 1999 murder into 12 separate episodes. In January of 1999 in Maryland, high school student Hae Min Lee was murdered. Her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed is currently in prison after he was convicted for her murder. A true American crime story, black and white, a suspect and a conviction. But as Serial discovers, this crime was not as formulaic as is seems. Missing alibis, mixed emotions, and a look into the specific details of one afternoon over 15 years ago make Serial as gripping as it is.

Serial is a crime podcast as much as it is a humane look into the people and crimes that we so often objectify. Narrator Sarah Koenig speaks with friends, witnesses, authorities and even Syed himself to demystify the legal jargon and repercussions of the crime. Even the most straightforward interviews and accounts have a spin attached to them. Koenig seeks to explore these and make the biases known to the listener. You go into each episode thinking you will only be talking about the facts and figures related to the title. The podcast goes far beyond that and explores the angles and ideas that may not have been discussed in trial. Criminals become people with a real life and a story that were affected by that day in January as much as Hae.

Week 6: October 5-October 11

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
  • News
    • The Skimm
  • Podcasts
    • Serial
  • Movies
    • The Longest Ride
  • Sports
    • West Point Army vs. Duke Football Game
  • Food
    • CIA Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici
    • Palace Diner

Week 6 Focus: CIA Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici

As with many Marist students, since I was a freshman I had always wanted to eat at the Culinary Institute. Being a senior, this bucket list item became a priority. My parents had always picked a weekend to come down and visit and since it is the last year that they would be able to do so, my mom made sure she reserved dinner for four at the Italian Restaurant called Caterina de’ Medici. Conveniently named after Catherine Medici, one of the most well-known women in the Medici dynasty which ruled Florence for hundreds of years.

The outside of the restaurant look extremely Tuscan. The grounds looked just like the Boboli Gardens in Florence, the walls were a faded mustard yellow and the roof was the quintessential rust orange. This trend continued inside with mahogany wood, high ceilings, and Venetian glass chandeliers inside.

When we sat down, we found out that normally the CIA restaurants aren’t open on Saturdays. This happened to be a special occasion as the school was collaborating with a local theater company. That night they were offering a pre-fix menu with 2 appetizers, 5 entrees, and a desert, none of which are usually on their regular menu.

We started with a caesar salad, and a meat and cheese plate. The caesar salad did not look like anything special, but was very good. The dressing was light and fresh and did not weigh down the rest of the salad like often times it does. The meat platter had prosciutto, salami, 2 types of cheese which were not named, figs, peppers, and olives. I only ate the meat and cheese since I’m not a huge fan of peppers and olives, but the meat tasted like it was straight out of Italy.

For the 5 entrees we were served: Roasted Shrimp & Crab Penne, Pumpkin Sage Risotto, Charcoal Roasted Brisket Cavatelli, Ricotta Ravioli, and Sweet & Spicy Sausage Orecchiette. While I tried each one, my favorites were the Ricotta Ravioli and the Shrimp & Crab Penne. I’m not usually a huge fan of ravioli because I find it is never cooked correctly. The inside is usually too cooked, while the outside is not cooked enough and is too hard in comparison. This ravioli could rival any stuffed pasta I ate in Italy though. It was coated in basil pesto cream sauce and parmesan cheese. My second favorite was the Roasted Shrimp & Crab Penne. Seafood and pasta are probably two of my favorite types of food and even though it seemed like a simple combination, it was full of flavor. It had a saffron sauce mixed with asparagus and kale, which made the dish taste and have a complexity that was reminiscent of paella.

For dessert, I had espresso with Cannoli Mousse. I originally thought this meant we were being served a cannoli, but instead it was the filling served over brownie bites, pistachios, and candied oranges.

Overall, I was very happy with my meal. Although I wasn’t originally expecting the meal to be a pre-fix and even though it was served in a classy family style way, that was the best part. I was able to try each dish and my favorite one would not have been the one I would have ordered if I originally had to choose just one. And after the fact,my family had a lively debate about which entree was everyone’s favorite. The ingredient’s were fresh and tasted just like many of the meals I had while in Italy.

Week 7: October 12-October 18

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Democratic Debate
  • News
    • The Skimm
  • Podcasts
    • Serial
  • Movies
    • Hocus Pocus
    • Wet Hot American Summer
  • Sports
    • West Point Army vs. Bucknell Football Game

Week 7 Focus: West Point Army vs. Bucknell Football Game

This weekend my friends and I drove up to West Point to attend the Army vs. Bucknell football game. In one word Army football games are an experience. We arrived at 9:30 and the kickoff was at noon. The West Point campus is absolutely huge and we wanted to spend some time exploring before we entered the stadium. We walked around the central part of campus as alumni and cadets all dressed in uniform walked to and from the dorms and the dining hall. Their campus is also located on the Hudson, and their view can rival the view at Marist. At around 10:30 we left to go to the game. Since the campus is so big, they have a shuttle service that drops you off at different points around campus. Once we arrived at Michie Stadium, they had a walkway called Black Knight Alley where there are different booths selling apparel, food and at the end there was an Army band performing and signing songs.

When we entered the football stadium, we bought some of the worlds most delicious chicken nuggets before finding our seats along the side of the goalpost. Before the game, about 6 groups of cadets marched on the field with their company and the name of their group and cadet leader were announced over the intercom. There was such an air of pomp and circumstance to the whole ordeal. In a sense that is expected since it is a military academy, but it’s so easy to forget that they’re the exact same age as most college kids. They all cheered in sync and sang in sync and although it seemed very uniform, they genuinely seemed to enjoy it.

The first half of the game was rather uneventful and it was not until the the last quarter that the game really picked up. We moved seats during the second half since the sun had gone behind the building and ended up sitting on the first row right by the 60 yard line. With about 5 minutes left, Army scored a touchdown to tie the game and within the next few minutes scored again to win the game.

The most interesting thing about the game was that people seemed to care so much more about the atmosphere than the final score. There were people dressed in Black Night jerseys and shirts, but an equal amount also dressed in jeans and a sweater. To be honest, I’m not a huge football fan. I don’t think it is fast-paced enough, I don’t understand why play stops every 10 seconds and why it takes over three hours to complete one hour of timed play. With the Army game though, the focus was not only on the team and the game. People cared about seeing the Army band perform at half-time, or watching the cadets in the stands cheer “Go Army, Beat Navy!” The experience trumped the numbers on the scoreboard, win or lose.

Week 8: October 19-October 25

Week 8 Focus: Olympic Freeskier Gus Kenworthy’s Next Bold Move — Coming Out

I’m not much of a sports fanatic. I love the camaraderie, the rivalries, the bonding, and the team spirit, but as for the nitty gritty stats, careers, and overall obsession for the game I’ve never been one to fall into that dark hole. I love baseball, and there are select players and teams across the sports board that I like, but it ends there. Although I am a sucker for a good “based on a true story” inspirational sports films. When it comes to the Olympics though, something washes over me. It is a different level of commitment, dedication, and exposure. The events are less publicized during the average calendar year and are usually only followed by die hard fans. So when the athletes come to compete every 4 years, the profiles aired before their event or competition are informational, uplifting, and show the life of a specific athlete four years in the making. I hope I am not alone in saying that I would rather watch a four minute clip of an athletes ups and downs when preparing for the Games, than listen to two overaged white guys discuss the probability of Tom Brady throwing the perfect pass in next Sunday’s game. I don’t mean this is a cynical way as all athletes work hard to get where they are, but there’s more magic in the under exposure of Olympic events than in the over publicized careers and lives of traditional athletes. When an Instagram post from Olympic free skier silver medalist Gus Kenworthy came up on my feed this morning, the news struck me more than usual. The first sentence in the caption read, “I am gay,” and was accompanied with a picture from ESPN magazine. The headline on the magazine cover read, “Is being the best in the world enough to be accepted?  Coming out in the post-Michael Sam world.” I immediately clicked on the link to learn more about Gus and how gay athletes in the sports world are viewed.

The article was as much about Gus’s personal experiences as it was about the stigma of gay athletes in the extreme sports world. One of the points that struck me the most was how Gus described the world of skiers and snowboarders. The public, and the athletes, often see the world of extreme sports as alternative. But, for all the progressive lifestyles associated with these sports, they are just as conformist as less alternative sports. Yes, they wear baggy pants, wear beanies and are more lax than other althetes, but this machismo personality is apparent in the large majority of extreme athletes. Rather than being accepting of the LGBTQ lifestyle, there is a tendency to use words like gay and faggot as negative identifiers. I personally loved this angle as it pointed out the hypocrisy of how these sports are progressive, but more-so only for people who fit the alternative mold within a specific set of parameters.

The article also focused on how, for Gus, ignoring this part of himself ate away at his confidence and performance in the sport. He contemplated quitting after a disastrous season following him medalling at the Sochi Olympic Games. He expressed how he’d rather retreat into a normal lifestyle and have a better chance of acceptance out of the spotlight than be asked if he had girlfriend in the stands cheering for him. With help from his parents and coaches, he decided to keep with free skiing for another year and decide after that. Luckily for him, he had one of the most successful seasons in the history of the sport. I enjoyed how the article did not focus on the negative, down in the dumps angle. Rather Gus described how to fit his personal life seamlessly with his professional life: on his own terms.

Week 9: October 26-November 1

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Wicked City
  • News
    • The Skimm
  • Podcasts
    • Last episode of Serial 😦

Week 9 Focus: Wicked City

This week my housemates and I decided to all sit down together and watch the new Ed Westwick show on ABC called Wicked City. For anyone that knows Ed Westwick is probably obsessed with his character named Chuck Bass on the old CW show Gossip Girl. That show basically defined my semester in Manhattan and my friends that I lived with in NYC make every conceivable effort to include him in any conversation about the city. He stars in Wicked City with an actress named Erika Christensen. She, coincidentally, is one of the main characters in another one of my favorite shows called Parenthood. Even though the roles that both she and Westwick played in their past shows are completely opposite of the one’s they are playing in Wicked City, I was excited to see both actors in a new light.

Wicked City takes place in Los Angeles in the 80’s. The show follows Kent, Westwick’s character, who is a serial killer that the cops are looking for, but don’t know that he is their suspect. One night, he tries to kill Betty, Christensen’s character, but holds back once he finds out that she has kids. He becomes obsessed with her and at the end of the pilot episode, they decide to team up as a murderous duo. The show switches between following Kent and Betty and the cops that are involved with the case.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of crime based shows. Anything CSI, Criminal Minds or the like I am immediately hooked on. Even though the pilot only delved into the plot and character development so much, I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the season. I really liked the dynamic that both Kent and Betty are portrayed as charming sociopaths, but the show isn’t completely focused on them despite being the main characters. I think the pull between the cops and the muderers will create a new type of crime show where one crime is followed throughout the series rather than a different crime each episode.

Week 10: November 2-November 8

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Wicked City
  • News
    • The Skimm
    • New York Times Virtual Reality App: Walking New York
  • Videos
  • Movies
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    • 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Music
    • The Neighbourhood: Wiped Out!
    • Blue Swede: Hooked on a Feeling
  • Sports
    • Marist Women’s Rugby vs. Albany @ Vassar

Week 10 Focus: NYT Virtual Reality App: Walking New York 

One night, my friend sent me an article that talked about how the NYT had just released a virtual reality app and would be publishing videos and stories on the app. At first when I read the article I was super confused as to what the meaning of virtual reality was. The article mentioned that you could watch the videos with or without the cardboard viewer, but the viewer would make the experience better. I obviously didn’t own a pair of the cardboard boxes and although the article mentioned they would be sent out with the Sunday paper, I don’t subscribe to the Times so I would have to deal without them. It also doesn’t hurt to add that I rarely ever download new apps. I’m not totally sure why, probably because I hate that they take up so much room on my phone, but for me to even download the app was a big step. I have the NYT mobile app, which I use so I figured if I really hated the virtual reality app I could just delete it–but I had high hopes.

When I opened the app, there were four feature stories and I chose to watch the one about the making of the NYT Magazine cover for the month. I really had no idea what to expect, but when it started I realized it was a 360 degree video. This meant that as you moved your phone, you could pan around, up, and down the landscape that the video was shot in. I had watched videos like the before and once I realized that this was what the were referring to virtual reality, I was a little let down. As cool as it was, with a name like virtual reality I was expecting a little more. I would love to use the glasses though, just to see if it enhances the experience at all.

The video I watched was about a French immigrant artists who lives in NYC and was commissioned to make and photograph the artwork for the cover of the NYT magazine. The artists talked about how he had seen a random guy in his neighborhood walk around from time to time and although he had only met him once, he thought he had a dynamic demeanor. He proceeded to photograph the man, and then digitally render his image to to make a life-sized poster. One night, the artist and his team glued down each panel of the image on the pedestrian walkway in front of the flat iron building. Come morning, the walkway was filled with people admiring the flat iron and ignoring the fact that there was a giant photo plastered under their feet. The artist commented on this phenomenon and how people often ignore the beauty right in front of them because they are too busy focusing on everything else. At the end of the video, the artist flew in a helicopter over the flat iron to photograph his plastered photo. The aerial shot included all of the people in an around the area and was such a great way to represent the symbolism he talked about earlier in the video.

Overall I liked the app and the video. I thought that the name “virtual reality” was a little deceiving since I had previously watched videos just like it on YouTube. Again, I do think that viewing it with the cardboard glasses would improve the experience. I would watch more videos since I do think it is very immersive and keeps your attention focused on the video rather than having your mind drift off the other things or apps on your phone.

Week 11: November 9-November 15

Week 11 Focus: New York Times: Coverage of the Paris Terrorist Attacks

For as much news as I read, I rarely write about specific articles on this blog. It’s not that they don’t strike me, but I often find that I have more to say about other forms of media or other things I consume. This week that was not the case. On Friday night, I found myself more consumed with the horrible attacks happening in Paris more than anything else. With a shooting threat that happened earlier in the day at Marist, it shows how seriously these threats should be taken for some places are not as lucky as we were.

Earlier in the week when trying to read articles on the New York Times, I had reached my article limit for the month. It was super frustrating, but at that point I was not about to pay to gain access. While reading all of the updates on Paris, some on the app, some on the website, I noticed that I was not hitting the paywall anymore. I then read a tweet from the news outlet stating that they had removed their paywall in order to give people unlimited access to their live coverage. I thought that this was a great decision that really emphasized the magnitude of the situation. It showed that at some points, being together and empathizing with a group of people is far more important than the news as an monetary industry. In the grater picture of news though, I think it showed how despite paywalls being a preliminary step towards making news profitable, there are still some kinks to work out. Times like these are when people need to be informed the most, so if that is when you are taking down the paywalls, what does that say about the system?

As an organization, I thought that the New York Times did a great job covering the events. There were maps, photos, strong quotes, and it was very objective. The morning after, Hollande attributed the attacks to ISIS, and while other news outlets were assuming this on the night of the attacks, I respected the fact that the NYT didn’t point fingers for the sake of immediately having a name to print. I also liked that a lot of the coverage was put in one news story with different sub headlines. It made it really easy to be fully informed without having to click on 100 different stories. My heart goes out to everyone affected in Paris, and I really appreciate the full, objective, and informative coverage provided by the New York Times in a time of such distress.

Week 12: November 30-December 6

  • TV Shows
    • Parenthood
    • Master of None
    • Girls
  • News
    • The Skimm

Week 12 Focus: Master of None

While I was home over Thanksgiving break I binge watched the new Netflix series starring Aziz Ansari called Master of None. Aziz Ansari is by far one of my favorite comedians. I feel like he has a completely unique stand up style, and aside from being a great comedian he’s also a great actor. He was one of my favorite characters in Parks & Recreation so when I found out that he was making a series for Netflix I knew it would be a must watch.

I’m a fan of Netflix series just because I can watch the shows on my own time. With shows that air on a week to week basis, I find it hard to keep up with them. Even though watching Netflix series is very different because when you finish a season you have to wait a year for the next one, I do prefer that. Since I was home I had the time to actually sit and enjoy the show.

I knew it would be a comedy, but it spans far beyond that.  The show deals with issues such as race in Hollywood, long term relationships, and immigrant parents, but does so with a level of comedic seriousness. The way the characters react to the situations is realistic and I feel like I can see different people in my life saying what the characters say in the same tone of voice. I like that the show is relatively politically correct without trying to be. The focus of the show isn’t on the safeness of the jokes or pleasing everyone, but addressing why we get offended and the twisted nature of our world. It’s refreshing to watch a comedian crack jokes and not feel like a terrible person for laughing at it. At the same time though, I feel like I’m learning something whenever I watch the show. I know when casting for the show, Aziz Ansari made a big point to cast ethnically diverse people for the roles. So hearing about race issues from a wide variety of people makes it that much more enlightening rather than having the token ethnic friend that all those questions are fielded at. The themes feel more innate to the show because it’s an active part of the dialogue rather than the focus of one episode. Overall, I would 100% recommend Master of None, if not for the eye-opening approach to 21st century issues, than at least for the comedic genius that is Aziz Ansari.

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