TMZ Punk’d Over JFK Photo

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Celebrity site TMZ, fresh off its coup with its holiday-season grilling of Tiger Woods, flamed out like Icarus when it published what it called The JFK Photo That Could Have Changed History. Kennedy giving secrets to Khrushchev? Proof that Joe Kennedy bought his son’s contested election? A previously unknown photo of mobsters pulling the trigger on the Grassy Knoll?

Not quite. The photo, published on Monday, was of John F. Kennedy allegedly cavorting with nude women on a boat in the Mediterranean in the mid 1950s. Publication of such a photo, TMZ argues, might have derailed JFK’s 1960 presidential bid and changed, well, pretty much everything that's happened over the past 50 years.

Which, as Brian Stelter reports in the New York Times, would have been a great story. If only it had been true.

The trouble is that it wasn’t. The Smoking Gun debunked the photo later in the day, demonstrating that the photo was doctored from a spread that ran in the pages of Playboy magazine in 1967.

TMZ published a mea culpa later in the day, admitting that it had been taken in. What’s interesting is that TMZ claims to have vetted the photo through forensics experts and through two unnamed Kennedy biographers, who said they believed that Kennedy was on holiday in the Mediterranean around the time the photo was allegedly snapped (and about the same time that future first lady Jackie Kennedy was miscarrying their first child — but that’s another story). So why did it take The Smoking Gun only a matter of hours to expose the photo as a fake?

The incident shows the dangers of using unnamed sources, dubious photos and (perhaps) wanting so badly for a story to be true that it opened itself to attack from other media. When a story’s too good to be true, many times it probably is.


Positive Light for Tiger

Thursday, December 17, 2009

By: Chris Mars

Believe it or not, all is not terrible for Tiger Woods. Despite his recent string of bad press, Woods was awarded with the
AP Athlete of Decade. Woods received 56 of 142 votes, beating out Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer and Michael Phelps.

The voting focused on the last ten years where Tiger's performance outweighed events of the last three weeks. Interestingly enough almost all top four nominees have had some bad press in recent years which goes to show there is hope for Tiger. Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps had their run-ins with the media and scandal, giving hope to Tiger that he be able to rebound from recent events.

This is a great starting point for Tiger's PR team to build upon. Setting the stage for a triumphant return to glory in the years ahead. Although a tough time, Tiger will not be the first to come back from scandal. Other iconic sport figures like Kobe Bryant have made it back on top in recent years. It may be a long road ahead but if anyone has the ability to turn it around, it's Tiger.

Photo Credit: Associated Press


Magazines Sell With Colbert

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By Zach Jevne

Stephen Colbert dons speed-skating tights and a tie on the upcoming Sports Illustrated cover. Why is Colbert on the cover? A couple of reasons. His show, The Colbert Report, and its fans are sponsoring the U.S. Olympic speed-skating and his face on the cover has proven to boost sales.

Colbert has appeared on Newsweek, Rolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, New York and Wired in the past few years. According to research, he boosted newsstand sales for four of those magazines, including a 38 percent increase for Wired.
In October, the primary sponsor of U.S. Speedskating declared bankruptcy. Facing a $300,000 funding shortfall, "Colbert Nation" picked up the team by taking contributions from fans. So far, more than $250,000 has been raised.

Many Americans believe that the Colbert Report is replacing "traditional" news outlets and is helping America stay informed on current events.

(Photo Credit: Newsweek)


Tiger Saga Continues

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By: Chris Mars

Tiger Woods has now been connected to a Canadian doctor who is under investigation for providing performance enhancing drugs. Anthony Galea was arrested in Toronto on Oct.15 and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation will look into the case.

For Tiger, this is another crack at his personal image since his car crash outside his Florida mansion. This makes one wonder how his personal image could have been preserved until now. I assumed Tiger would love to hit rewind and change the last few weeks but now it looks like he might go back a few years.
This incident now take Tiger's problems from personal to professional as he may have cheated. Was the epic win on a torn up knee really just Tiger cheating? Should his work ethic be questioned now since we're hearing this new connection?

Tiger needs to have another emergency meeting with his PR folks and figure out a new action plan. For Tiger, I hope this is the last swing in a string of blows to his image and career.

Photo Credit: Associated Press


The difference between journalism and reporting (if there is any)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

By Michelle Zimmerman

Journalism and reporting consideribly have the same criteria but what makes them different is the question being determined.

George Snell, an American media commentator claims that these two categories hold a significance difference from one another. According to Snell reporting lies along the lines of getting right to the point, stating facts, and moving on. Journalism on the other hand focuses more on the situation itself and multiple facts and descriptions that support a journalist's work.

Where do we find reporting? The Internet. Where do we find journalism? The printed press. This is yet another of the multiple difference between reporting and journalism. Any one in the media business knows that since the rise of reporting news via Internet has hurt the revenue of newspapers around the world.

It can be assumed that people search for the easiest and most sufficient ways of finding news. The generations are no longer seeking the full page story but rather the few paragraphs that give the most important details in a matter of seconds.

People will continue to gather their news whichever way is easier, therefore the newspapers have every reason to be worried.


Gillette Drops Tiger Wood's

By Keri Waterhouse
Gillette is one of Tiger Wood's sponsors, they have decided not to feature him in their marketing while he takes time off to figure out his life.

They announced this Saturday. Gillette is one of Wood's major sponsors. This is going to be a huge upse to him and his publicity.

Other sponsors are discussing and thinking about what they are going to do with Wood's and his problem that is going on right now.

He has decided to take break from golfing for a while and focus on rebuilding his marriage.


Shield Law passed

By: Mallory Tandy

The Shield Law has finally been passed. Even though it has been passed it still does not give journalists the authority to protect all the sources they want to. The full Senate still has to approve.

There is more work to be done, but atleast it is passed.


Time Warner Sheds Weight

Saturday, December 12, 2009

By: Chris Mars

Time Warner is finally saying goodbye to AOL after what was considered as one of the worst deals in corporate history. The 2001 deal allows Time Warner to become a more content-focused company and "reach new heights" according to Chief Executive Jeff Bewekes.

Even though the company has shed the extra weight of AOL they still have more cutting ahead. Bewekes says "These measures are often difficult, especially when they involve jobs and benefits, but they're sometimes necessary to keep the business strong."

Time Warner also looks to revamp their publishing division which consists of magazines like People, Time, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment weekly. This just goes to show that minor changes will not suffice and a complete makeover is needed to stay on top.

Photo Credit:


Tweaking Facebook

Thursday, December 10, 2009

By Tessa Leone

After many user complaints, Facebook has changed it's privacy policy. People were complaining that their friend lists were public and could not be hidden from people that weren't on the friend list themselves.

Facebook listened to these complaints and evolved to accommodate its users needs.

"We have heard user concerns and we will soon enable people to hide their friend lists. Those who choose to hide their friend lists will not have their lists discoverable through search engines or viewable by other users," the company said in a prepared statement.

It's interesting to see how the public can make changes and 'tweak' the world around them if they speak out and band together. It makes me feel like the public has more control of the media than they realize.

Photo Credited to Facebook


Facebook Introduces New Privacy Settings

By: Meghan Vosberg

Before you can start harvesting your crops on Farmville, Facebook first asks you and its other 350 million users to review their privacy settings.

Though this new move is gives users more power and control over their own settings, Facebook has another motive. To stay ahead of competitors Google and Twitter in the social networking competition Facebook is using this new move to fix problems that have been accuring with it's continuous growth.

Photocredit: creative commons


SPJ Holds Personal Branding Event

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By Zach Jevne

On Dec. 5, the Iowa chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) held an event at the Des Moines Social Club that focused on personal branding for journalists, marketers and public relation professionals.

The crowd of roughly 30 people, mostly students and people in career transistions, listened as four speakers talked about branding yourself in the industry. The speakers included Drew McLellan, Claire Celsi, Nathan Wright and David Bulla.

McLellan is the owner of McLellan Marketing Group and writes a blog called "The Marketing Minute." He recently updated his blog about his presentation and provided helpful tips to create a personal brand.

McLellan was very informative and helpful. He says that you must figure out your personal brand, but it must be organic, not fake. Your brand has to be something that's already inside of you. And you must figure out why it matters. Have people you can count on for honesty answer this question about you: "What three words describe me?"

Nathan Wright is the founder of Lava Row, which is a social media strategy and consulting firm in Des Moines. He stressed the importance of having a "robust" presence online. He reiterated some of McLellan's points, such as creating a LinkedIn profile and a Google profile. He said the advantages go to people who use those tools.

Claire Celsi is a public relations professional and operates the Public Relations Princess Web site. She made the point that it is impossible to distinguish between your personal and professional brand and should be discouraged in general. The professional and personal brand should be one in the same and authentic.

David Bulla was the final speaker and is a professor of journalism at Iowa State. He used Mitch Albom as an example of a journalist using multiple platforms to become incredibly successful. He mentioned that journalists need to have two skill sets today: 1) the analog skill - writing, photography, editing, etc. and 2) the digital skill - making use of the current media tools available and combining both.

The last hour of the event all four speakers took questions and discussed topics as a group panel. Some other highlights of the event: A personal brand is not what you do, but how and why you do it. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just tools and you must continue to meet people and build relationships. Be fresh and opinionated and be yourself. In essence, have a take. When you have reached the point where half the people love you and half hate you, that's the sign of a strong personal brand.

Participation and understanding media are important on blogs and Twitter. In regards to your Twitter volume, make sure there is frequent, quality content. Transparency is key to marketing your brand. Dan Schawbel is a personal branding expert with information on his Web site.

Figuring out your message and who you are is the key to beginning to brand yourself. You also need to find a way to stand out. Social media is a great way to help, but it is just tools to help "plant the seeds" of your brand.


Too Much Coverage

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

By Tessa Leone

Tiger Wood's recent misfortune has caused a waterfall effect in the media industry. Everywhere you go it seems as though you can't escape his all to public scandal. If there is a scandal at all.

The press are having a hay day with Tiger Wood's accident and love life. He is being put on trial and exploited for matters that many feel should be private. Wood's is famous for golfing, not for his driving skills and morality.

If you go to headline coverage of his accident is still circulating on the current news, even though it happened over a weed ago. There are three headlines to be exact.

It makes you wonder what actual newsworthy events are being bumped from the page to allow the space for these invasive and obsolete articles.

Photo Credit to USA Today


Rudolph helps CBS out

Monday, December 7, 2009

By Brianna Carlson

Last Wednesday night, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was shown on CBS. The movie was shown to the largest amount of viewers in prime time.

Amount 10.7 million people watched the Christmas movie.

CBS was at the top of the ratings while NBC fell behind with only 6.2 million viewers that night. Fox was right there with NBS at 6.3 million viewers.

Photo Credit: (


Bing – Trying To Keep Up With News

By: Amy Johnson

Another search engine is up and running. Microsoft has started up the site Bing in hopes of adding to their big list of achievements. How will they keep up with Google?

Microsoft's top search technology executive said that they will not pay users to leave Google. These comments were released a week after news came out that Microsoft had been in talks over a News Corp-led initiative that would have paid publishers to break away from Google in hopes of boosting Bing.

Bing's senior vice-president stated that out doing Google was not the point, nor was keeping information off of Google a major benefit to them in the long run.

Since relaunching its search engine under the name of Bing in May, Microsoft said that in the United States its number of visitors had risen by 16 per cent. Microsoft claimed that those relatively modest gains had marked a successful first five months for Bing. Since Google launched, no one else has grown five months in a row.

It's evident that Bing is trying to compete with Google. The new search engine is comparing many of their moves and accomplishments to that of Google. The press conference with Bing's vice-president acted as a cover up for their eagerness to discuss the anti-Google plan with News Corp. This highlights Bing's sense of urgency to gain a stronger foothold in search.


Iowa's Debt Will Climb

Sunday, December 6, 2009

By Keri Waterhoues

Iowa's government debt has grown by almost $3 billion in the past few years and it is expected to take another hike in the current fiscal year, it is said to be partly because of Gov. Chet Culver's $830 million I-JOBS program.

According to an annual report that was just released last week by State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald. Iowa's total state and local government debt is $11.6 billion. Cities had the greatest amount of debt, with $4.3 billion, followed by schools, with $2.3 billion. State government authorities and agencies have a combined debt of $2.56 billion.

This amount of debt is going to affect everyone. This is a large amount of debt and it's sad that it's just going to get worse.


Washington Times staff cuts

By: Mallory Tandy

On Wednesday, the Washington Times claimed they will cut a huge amount of their staff, possibly by 40 percent and they only have a 370-person staff.

They are hoping to make the paper different, and have more readers. They plan on focusing national political coverage that they will go in-depth when reporting. They will focus on the papers core strengths.

I fell bad that the paper is having to make such huge staff cuts, but hopefully it will help the paper in the future in their sales.


This Just In: Radio to Improve in 2010

By: Meghan Vosberg

2009 is officially the worst year for radio. Predictions show the total industry revenues at $13.3 billion at the end of the year- a 19 percent decrease from 2008. But the radio industry will improve in 2010 or at least halfway into the year.

2010 will slightly improve. Revenues will climb from 1.5 percent to $13.5billion. This is due to the large growth in revenues from online and mobile distribution. In order to reach the predicted 20 percent increase in 2010, radio groups must use new online and mobile platforms to sell advertisers on more than one level of channel campaigns.


Future of Online Newspaper Doesn't Look Promising

Friday, December 4, 2009

By Michelle Zimmerman

I blogged last month about newspaper companies straggling to find new ideas and ways to market themselves over the Internet, but a recent blog shows that there isn't much hope for those ideas.

Newspapers were expecting to make print motions towards the Internet in hope that there would be a turn around in the circulation of their news but people are still not willing to pay for the news they're offering.

Unless you are a highly respected newspaper there isn't much success on the Internet. Many people will find similar stories that are free of charge that will have a greater appeal then paying for the outlets newspapers will or could offer.

With the news of this it is still difficult to know what is to come of those passionate about the newspaper as well as though who support the newspaper. It seems that with the Internet trend people of new generations do not feel the need to pay for news that is provided freely over the Internet promptly rather than daily.


Newsworthy Tweets

Thursday, December 3, 2009

By Tessa Leone is a well respected, reliable source to receive the latest breaking news from. They have live video clips and striking photographs, sections for world news, health news, politics, and now they even have a section for 'Tweets of the Week'.

They showcase the top 10 twitter updates of the week that the CNN editors find most powerful or newsworthy from public figure heads, politicians, and just plain influential people.

There's quotes from ambassadors, senators, even Michael Moore...

"Did President Obama promise 2 have more troops in Afghanistan than the Soviets did durring their occupation? Well, he's topped them now. Sad".

Its good that the news industry is keeping current with the latest forms of media.

Photo Credited to Twitter


Nielsen Ratings Soon to Include Online Views

By Laura Reid

With more viewers tuning into shows online, media companies are now asking that the Nielsen Company start monitoring who is watching on the Web. The Nielsen Company is responsible for national TV ratings.

Nielsen's measurements are very important to TV ratings because they are used to sell around $70 billion dollars in advertisements a year.

This is a very important move to Nielsen. If they are able to track the number of viewers online, those who watch on phones, and other methods that are not just television, this would greatly help the advertising industry. They are constanty trying to find where to place their advertising, and if they can easily track where viewers are going, they could follow them and perhaps help the industry out of its slump.
(photo credit: search-engine-land)


Sports Illustrated Unveils Tablet

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Zach Jevne

Sports Illustrated unveiled a prototype of the magazine on a tablet computer. While tablet computers are not yet available, the magazine hopes this will be an important move for the industry.

SI demonstrated what the magazine would look like on a tablet and showed the features and capabilities. Live scores, video and more pictures are all features that the tablet version would offer.

There have been recent discussions about tablet computers and when they might be released by certain companies. Many believe that Apple will release its anticipated tablet sometime in 2010.

The Apple tablet would be like a large iPod Touch or iPhone, with interactive touch-screens. There have been two sizes discussed, a 9.7 inch screen and a 10.6 inch screen.

Sports Illustrated seems ready and willing to make the transition to these progressive devices that will certainly play a factor in the future the magazine and newspaper industry. GQ has already created a version of its magazine for the iPhone which sells for $2.99.

(Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)


The Decency of Television Broadcasting

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

by: Amy Johnson

Everyone remembers the Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl a few years back. CBS was heavily fined for airing the incident. This led to a major debate as to the decency, or lack thereof, in television broadcasting.

Another recent incident makes Walt Disney, co-owner of ABC, rethink the idea of live shows. During the 2009 American Music Awards, singer Adam Lambert gave a controversial performance that leaves ABC in the same place as CBS. His performance included giving the middle finger to the audience, kissed a man, and simulated oral sex.

Disney/ABC Television Group President Anne Sweeney told said that in response to Lambert's risque performance, Disney was reviewing the steps it takes when dealing with live performances by getting assurances from artists that their actual aired show will not include anything too different than their rehearsals and will use contractual obligations to hold them to their word.

ABC went as far to cancel Lambert's scheduled performance during “Good Morning America,” saying that many children watch the show and that they did not want to risk another mishap. The people in public relations for these singers have to be rethinking their jobs.

How can television stations be held responsible for the decisions singers make? It is not that television broadcasting is indecent, it is the lack of morals that artists decide to show. If the contracts that Disney is making its artists sign does not work, perhaps television will have to go to say goodbye to live performances and will have to go to a performance with a short delay.

(Photo Credit: - kindofadraag)


Newspapers Up the Cost on Day of Thanks

By Taylor Finch

Everyone is familiar with black Friday, but the newspaper industry created what is now known as "Black Thursday" this past Thanksgiving Day.

What many of the nation's newspaper publishers were thankful for on Thanksgiving was the "bountiful harvest of holiday advertising," for which they all hoped to make more than a few extra bucks off of by increasing the price of the overall newspaper.

The Californian was one of many newspapers that went with the price increase trend on Thanksgiving, raising its price from the usual 75 cents to $1.50. But, as the paper's vice president of content, Olivia Garcia, said: "We feel that the bargain you'll get from the specials inside is definitely worth the extra charge. Happy Thanksgiving."

Many readers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kansas City Star more than likely also felt some shock when learning that their newspapers were priced at $2 on Thanksgiving, and even more so in Dallas where newspapers were peaking at $3.

Some may have felt that newspapers were being over zealous in their efforts to make extra money on their advertising, especially on Thanksgiving, but over charging for advertising is more than likely not the answer to the recent downfall of the newspaper industry.
(Photo Credit:


Yahoo vs. Google Round One Ding Ding...

By: Meghan Vosberg

What? Google has fallen into second place to Yahoo? Is there a new factor in what people look for in a search engine in today's society?

Actually Yahoo has taken a step up due to it's international affairs. Yahoo Japan dominates the websearch market with 56.5 percent of use compared to Google's 33.7 percent.
Since Google can't take this lying down, it wasted no time in updating its splashpage for Japan giving it links to gmail, youtube, and other services found on the internet in attempt to win back their patrons.
Google has also stepped into trying for the first time adding publicity stunts to attempt to win over customers. One stunt in particular allowed passersby to sail and float around Mountainview, Calif. with the help of 2,500 balloons.
Photo Credit: National Chiao Tung University College of Management


Monday, November 30, 2009

By: Chris Mars

I've been reading a book titled "Never Eat Alone" by
Keith Ferrazzi. Its a guide to building quality relationships in the corporate world and focuses on setting and achieving goals.

In one portion of the book it talks about the "networking jerk", we all know the guy who talks to everyone and pretends he/she is your best friend. This person never really makes any connections or offer any valuable information to help others. Ferrazzi gives a few tips to ensure your not the networking jerk, one of which is "don't come to the party empty-handed."

In this section he refers to bloggers as "stars of the internet world." He talks of how the world of a blogger is a loop, offering and receiving information. This has really changed my outlook on how blogging works and how to handle yourself in social network settings.

It's all about connecting to others because your only as good as what you give away. My advice for the day is to go buy Ferrazzi's book and see how building real connections will put you ahead in the future. You won't be disappointed.

Photo credit:


Magazines following the Internet trend?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

By Michelle Zimmerman

Magazines have been one of the last to find interest in publishing material over the Internet but it seems as though the time might have come.

It is not official that magazines will go online but it is rumored that soon the magazine industry will makes its mark on the Internet. The plan seems similar to the newspaper industry only all magazines would be available for purchase from a website. It has been compared to an "Itunes for magazines".

Magazine publishers will group together and create Web sites available for consumers to purchase different magazines.

People will be able to purchase the magazines on the Web site and get them in different forms. The prints would be viewable on the Internet or cell phones.

Magazines are not the only group from media interested in this type of partnership. Many television shows partner with online television shows as well as music labels and online music Web sites.



By: Mallory Tandy

Two western journalists who were kidnapped in August 2008 were set free in Somalia, Sudan on Wednesday after fifteen months of being held captive.

The captives were Nigel Brennan, who is an Australian photographer, and Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian freelance reporter. Lindhout talked about her memories of being beaten and tortured, setting a horrific and terrifying scene.

Usually captives do not get held for so long, but they think greed was behind it, the kidnappers asked for $1 million since the kidnapping. It is still a mystery who the kidnappers are, they have not been able to find them.

The kidnappers would let Lindhout call her family and ask for ransom but her family did not hav that kind of money, but the kidnappers thought everyone from Canada were rich. Lindhout was beaten on a regular basis.

Mr. Brennan said they were kept in chains and pistol-whipped for ten months after they had tried to escape.

The two journalists were handed over to government soldiers on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

This is crazy, I feel so horrible that this happens all the time around the world and sometimes not much light is shed on these kinds of stories, people would rather know what Britney Spears is doing, and it's sad.


Wal-Mart Was Black Friday's Hot Spot

By Keri Waterhouse

Many shoppers went to Wal-Mart, which is the nation's greatest retailer, on Black Friday in hopes of securing some of the early deals of the holiday shopping season. Items such as the large plasma and HDTV's, $3 slow cookers, and the laptops that were under $200 were the highly wanted items this year.

Unlike past years when shoppers got ready the night before in order to be the first ones in the store, Wal-Mart said it would offer extended hours at their non-24 hour locations to accommodate the post-Thanksgiving shoppers.

The move was also viewed as a response to the tragedy that happened last year at the Wal-Mart in Valley Stream New York. When an employee was trampled to death by thousands of eager shoppers that went rushing in the doors when they opened.


Obama's Job Summit-Google & Disney

By Keri Waterhouse

The executives from Google and Walt Disney are going to join other company chiefs, academics, labor leaders and mayors at President Obama's jobs summit this week.

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt and Disney chief Bob Iger are going to be among about 130 people that will be attending the meeting that is this Thursday.

The 130 experts from unions, government, academia and other companies will be seeking ways to jumpstart job creation.


By Tessa Leone

The media was ruled by adds publicizing the Black Friday sales this weed. You couldn't escape them. The radio started playing the Christmas melodies and the Christmas commercials, the network channels were bombarded by Christmas deals and door buster sale notifications, mailboxes were stuffed full of coupons and sale adds.

Merchants were ecstatic when they saw more shoppers than previous years combined push through their doors at 12:01 on Friday morning, but their relief was short lived.

Shoppers were in for deals, and thats all. Reports showed an increase in headcount and a disturbing drop in spending per person.

Many stores lost money with all of the advertisments they created compared to how much merchandise was actuall purchased.

This appears to be one side effect of the recession; a bargain hunter. Is America becoming smarter or just poorer? And what will this mean for the advertising industry and their relations with print and televised media?

Photo Credited to


LA Times transsexual sportswriter found dead

By Zach Jevne

Los Angeles Times sportswriter Mike Penner, also known as Christine Daniels, was found dead last week. While cause of death remains unknown, suicide is suspected.

In an essay published in the Times sports section in April 2007, Penner announced that he was a transsexual sportswriter. The long-time columnist made headlines when he shocked colleagues and readers that he would be transitioning to become Christine Daniels.

He wrote in the essay how difficult his decision was to reveal this to the public. In a very personal account, he explained what being a transsexual is and how it affects one's life. Also, about the perception in society and how difficult a transition it would be.

His essay was one of the most-viewed stories of the year and featured over 1,000 responses online the day it was published. The LA Times ran a story about Penner recently after his essay about the beginning of his transition.

After the essay, Penner began writing for the Times Web site as Christine Daniels. He also wrote about his transformation in a blog entitled "Woman in Transition." In October 2008, LAT announced that Mike Penner would be returning to the paper and return to using Mike Penner in the byline.

Penner began working at the Times Orange County edition in 1983, covering high school sports. Over 25 years he's covered the Olympics, tennis, soccer, the Angels and sports media. He also spent time writing an NFL column.


Criticizes Towards CBS

By Brianna Carlson

Adam Lambert kissed another man at the American Music Awards last Sunday. This has caused an outburst of opinions.
CBS blurred the scene in which Lambert kissed the man, but on a previous show they did not blur a scene of Madonna and Brittany Spears kissing at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003.

Some people don't think this is fair because gay and lesbians are not being treated the same as other people.
(Photo Credit: Picasa Web Albums)


Shows Online, Brought to You by ...

Friday, November 27, 2009

By Laura Reid

Advertising companies are starting to find their way around the Web, and so are shows that are now seen online. Webisodes, what these shows are called as part of branded entertainment, are becoming more and more popular with media corporations as they find new places to capture viewers' eyes as they focus more on the internet. Companies like Clorox are financing webisodes for sites like and

Even smaller companies can compete in this market. American Family sponsors "In Gayle We Trust," a ten-episode Web series that is apparently getting great viewership, although prime-time Webisodes are far in the future.

I think for advertisers this is a great way to start earning money. Advertisers need to be aware that it will probably be impossible to reach some of their greatest heights of profit margins that they hit many years ago, but a method like this can surely lay out a way to recover from losing money. Advertisers are beginning to understand that they need to follow the viewers.

(Photo Credit: Fernando Johann)


Magazine Rivals Lay Down Their Arms and Join Forces

Thursday, November 26, 2009

By: Chris Mars

Rival publishers have been planning to open an on-line store similar to the itunes store to generate new digital media. This new store would make up one of the biggest alliances among rival publishers ever and would include magazines like The New Yourker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Sports Illustrated.

John Squires, an executive vice president at Time Inc., has been heading up the new project and would leave his current position to get the new store up and running. Each different publisher would be responsible for creating a digital version of their content but would hopefully benefit from producing larger revenue.

This is a step towards saving the magazine industry and adapting to new media. Squires says its very important to remind readers that the magazine experience is worth the cost.


Dangers of Facebook

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

by: Amy Johnson

Social networking sites – a source for good or evil?

Sites like Facebook and Twitter have quickly become the new way of keeping up with family members and friends all over the world. Especially with Facebook, people can keep up in many different ways; writing on walls, composing a private message, and being able to create events to let people know what's occurring are a few of the options.

A current event called “Kick A Ginger” day, referring to redheads, was held on Nov. 30 of this year. Many jokes have been told about gingers thanks to an episode of “South Park,” and the event was more than likely meant to be the same – a joke.

A few kids from a California middle school took it literal. A 12-year-old boy was beaten up by a group of classmates in two separate incidents; the Facebook event is linked to the case. The annual “Kick A Ginger” day caused the same kind of results last year.

People need to be able to distinguish between the difference between a joke or a real event. Perhaps Facebook should take a precautionary measure for events that have more than 500 guests; if Facebook sees an event such as “Kick A Ginger” day, they would be able to delete it before more and more people get involved.

(Photo Credit:


No more Oprah

Sunday, November 22, 2009

By: Mallory Tandy

Oprah has decided to leave "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and focus all her time and energy on her cable network "Oprah Winfrey Network". Her show will sadly end on Sept. 9, 2011. This means a great loss for CBS, they will lose millions.

Larry Gerbrandt, who is an analyst for the firm Media Valuation Partners says that any new show they are going to replace it with will not draw as many viewers as Oprah did. It is a huge blow to the fortunes of broadcast television.

Will Oprah's new show do as well as her hit show she has now?

I think Oprah's viewers are so dedicated to her and love her they will watch anything she is on.


Media luck is starting to change but jobs are still at loss

By Michelle Zimmerman

Although it has been seen in the past few months that the media has begun to take a new, bright direction in their industry, people all around are still losing jobs.

AOL announced last Thursday that they would again be cutting another 2500 jobs. The industry explains job cuts similar to AOL's are because most jobs are no longer needed.

Over the year there have been multiple job cuts all over the media industry which at first did not effect much of the production of companies. As the year continued along with more job cuts, it is expected that many companies are now cutting to a save costs but can possibly suffer from the lack of employees.

The media industry is thought to have an increase earnings because of the precautions companies are now taking to consider lower costs. Sadly it is not because of an increase of revenue.


Making Driving Safer One Less Cellphone at a Time

By Meghan Vosberg

We have all been told; wear your seatbelt, look both ways before you cross the street, and don't talk on your cell phone while driving. But since most people insist that they and their cellular devices are attached at the hip, they look to hands free voice technology.

Ford and Microsoft are selling devices that are powered by voice commands to dial phones, but studies have shown that even this way of trying to keep drivers safe still can prove dangerous. Therefore more technology is made to solve the problem cause by technology that was created to solve the problem of a different set of technology.

Zoomsafer is the new handsfree technology. It's a free service that uses your phone's GPS sensors and determines if the speed you're driving is safe. If it deems your speed dangerous it will turn off your cell phone until the car is stopped.

Photo Credit: wikipedia


Oprah Says Goodbye in 2011

Thursday, November 19, 2009

By Keri Waterhouse

"TheOprah Winfrey Show" began as a local Chicago talk show and grew over two decades into the foundation of a media empire worth billions, is going to end its run in 2011after 25 seasons on the air, Winfrey's production company said Thursday night.

Winfrey became a billionaire and one of the most powerful women in entertainment, plans to announce the final date for her show during a live broadcast on Friday, said Harpo Productions Inc.

Winfrey's 24th season opened earlier this year with a bang, as she drew more than 20,000 fans.

A lot of loyal fans and viewers will be devistated to see her go. She has touched so many lives and has a lot of followers.


Advertisers Biggest Night

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By: Amy Johnson

On Feb. 7, 2010, the annual Super Bowl will be held. Many people tune into the Super Bowl for a very different reason than watching the game – the commercials.

Advertisers pay dearly for mere seconds of ad spots for this big event. According to the network's head of sports sales, CBS is only 10% from having all of its ad space completely sold out. It is likely that there are only six to 12 30-second ad spots left out of the 62 that are typically sold for the event. CBS says that there are a few spots left to sell in the first half of the game, but that most of the remaining time slots are in the forth quarter of the game.

With the economy in as battered of a state that it is, will advertisers be less likely to pay millions of dollars for an ad slot during the Super Bowl? If last years numbers hold true, the answer is yes. No American automaker, nor did FedEx Corp., buy ad space for the game last year.

With 30-second ads going at a rate of $2.5 million and $3 million, is it worth it for advertisers? Yes. The Super Bowl is one of the few times that people actually turn the television on with the intentions of watching the commercials.

(Photo Credit: Flickr RMTip21)


Sullivan Denies Spreading Palin Rumors

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

By Zach Jevne

Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue, continues to make news.

This time Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan is the target, but he's firing back. In her book, Palin writes, "formerly reputable outlets like the Atlantic ran with the loony conspiracy that I was not Trig's mother."
During the McCain campaign, Sullivan expressed skepticism in Palin's pregnency and wondered if one of Palin's daughters, Bristol or Willow, were the mother.

Sullivan responded by saying, "My blog never ran a story that Bristol or Willow was the mother of Trig. And I never aired any conspiracy stories."

During this point in the campaign, around the end of August in 2008, Sullivan began to inquire about the pregnancy and birth of Trig. He asked the campaign to prove that she was the biological mother of the 4-month old. He says now, in response to the book, that she "failed to produce any such evidence. If she hadn't used the baby as a central political argument in favor of voting for her, I would not have cared."

It's no surprise that Sullivan jumped at the chance to defend himself against her statements in the book. Clearly there is no love lost between the two.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)


By Taylor Finch

This week's cover of Newsweek displays a photo of Sarah Palin showing a little leg in running shorts, which has many people questioning whether or not this is a sexist depection of Palin.

Meghan McCain is one who believes it is sexist and offensive to women.

From one of her numerous blogs, McCain writes: "[The photo] is the most sexist thing I have ever seen...[Palin] has broad national appeal for a whole slew of reasons, very few of which having to do with how she looks in running shorts."

There may be an ample amount of coverage on Palin that could come off as sexist, but to most of the people reading her book and idolizing her, the Newsweek cover is not one of these sexist pieces.

This particular photo of Palin was not even intended for Newsweek, but was an extra photo left over from a recent Runner's World shoot that Palin, as a marathon enthusiast herself, willingly posed for.

For Palin to not only endorse herself as a politian, but a runner and mother who is, believe it or not, human, is actually rather empowering to all women.

This merely takes her political self and enhances it with the fact that yes, Palin is a feminine, female politician.

(Photo credit:


A Bleak Outlook

By Tessa Leone has just released a list of 10 major newspapers that are predicted to either fold or move to a strictly Web based publication within the near future.

On this list is: The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Philadelphis Daily News, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Miami Herald, The Detroit News, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Chicago Sun Times, The Daily News, and The Fort Worth Star Telegram.

" It is hard to imagine that when I am old I will have to explain to my children what a newspaper was," said consumer Gina Telaroli.

It looks like the economy and news industry are taking some hits, although with the forecasted discontinuation of all of these newspapers the environment is at least benefiting.

Photo Credit:


Paying for Online News

By Ryan Franker

A survey was taken to 5,000 people in America and nine other countries, on whether they would pay for online news.

About half of Americans, 48%, said they would pay for online news and even news that is on their mobile phone, but said they would only pay about $3 a month for news on the Internet. The people in Great Britain tied with the same percentage of Americans willing to pay for online news, while Australians tied with the amount willing to pay for news with Americans.

Italians are willing to pay an average of $7 a month for the online news.

There is a large difference in how many news outlets the Europeans get their news and how Americans get their news.

In Europe there is a generally dominated by a couple large news outlets, where in America it is all over the place. Europeans are more willing to pay for news, just because they cannot go to a free news outlet like Americans do.

The people that are more willing to pay the money to read the news online, are the readers that have avid newspaper readers.

(Photo Credited:


YouTube Direct

By: Chris Mars

In recent news we have seen the steady decline of old media. Following the same trend we have seen a decrease in students declaring Journalism as their major of choice. The news industry is changing but the opportunities to become a self-made journalist seem to be limitless.

With the capabilities of new media and new technology it's becoming apparent that anyone can report the news. You Tube Direct is a new platform that capitalizes on the abilities of You Tube by giving you the same features on your site.

This new feature allows news organizations to solicit and verify news footage on their web site, giving video makers the ability to participate in your news gathering process.

See the benefits and how You Tube Direct works here.

Photo Credit: You Tube Direct


CBS Attempts New Project

Monday, November 16, 2009

By Brianna Carlson

"CBS Reports: Where America Stands" is the new series CBS plans to launch. Sampling of the series will take place within the first couple weeks of January.

This series will report topics concerning health care, the military, the economy and crime. It will not only discuss current events, but the show will also give reports as to what happened 10 years ago on the issue and what is predicted in the next 10 years.

One example of the show will be discussing military issues. How has the military changed in the past 10 years, and will it be strong enough in the next 10 years after the war we're currently in.

Diane Sawyer will be taking Charles Gibson's anchor position for ABC's "World News" during the same hour that the new CBS series will show. CBS is hoping the different audiences won't like Sawyer taking over at ABC and possibly look for other options to watch.
Photo Credit: (horizonspeakers)


Online Media Proved to be a Success through Fort Hood Happenings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

By Michelle Zimmerman

I first heard of the tragedies of Fort Hood through a text message from the Des Moines Register stating there had been a shooting killing at least 11 people, none of which were from Iowa. This text message was only one of the thousands of different ways the information of Fort Hood spread Nov. 5.

Internet media
streams were filled with updates about the shooting and Twitter was a top Web site notifying the public of occurrences as they were happening. A few users of Twitter were actual soldiers on site of the attack that were tweeting information they knew. Many of the soldiers were unsure of what was happening but knew of some type of shooting.

As Web sites continued coverage over the tragic event, many topics covered the shooter, his affiliation with his Muslim religion, and possible motives. As the information was being spread over the Internet it is unsure where exactly the news became incorrect.

The Internet media was suddenly stating that there had been multiple shooters at the scene, and 1 shooter had been killed during the 7 minute killing spree. Although this is obviously a lie, it took some time for journalists to recover the truth and marks a weakness in the process of Online media. Sometimes it is possible for incorrect news to be stated and it isn't long before those lies are spread as truth.

On the positive side, the Internet medias all showed a strong connection. Many companies and journalists were streaming information as quickly as they received it and this was pleasing for the audiences they were reaching out to. People of the U.S. as I am sure around the world wanted accurate information immediately.

Working together these journalists were recognizing other journalists in the industry that were providing similar information that audience members might find useful as well. Together the Internet media proved why it is considered so efficient. People were given information in a timely matter, most of which was very accurate.

I believe the media on the Internet covered this tragic occurrence very well. As soon as I received the text message I was able to get to a Web site that was posting news feeds momentarily with the newest updates.


Prescription Drug Prices Are On The Rise

By Keri Waterhouse

Drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by taking off $8 billion a year after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years.

The industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. This is going to add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.

The drug makers are saying that they have valid business reasons for the price increases. While some of the critics are saying that the industry is trying to establish a higher price base before Congress passes legislation that tries to curb drug spending in the next coming years.

Having prescription drug prices raised it’s going to make it difficult for people to afford them. Bad things could start happening because of this rise in prices.


Is AOL in trouble?

By: Mallory Tandy

AOL recently cut 100 jobs and is making a drastic move by deciding to leave Time Warner Inc. Time Warner has said that AOL has had charges for restructuiring for as much as $200 million possibly due to work force.

Tim Armstrong, a former executive of Google Inc, took over AOL in March, has been trying to keep the optimism up for the workers, updating them regularly of what is going on with the company and what the future holds for them.

Time Warner approved the plans for AOL to spin off in May. This will make AOL an entirely separate company, which hopefully should lead to success after the failed merger between the two companies that occured in 2001.

I am not an AOL user, it never interested me. I am no sure if being it's own separated company will help them at all, it may continue to go down hill.


Dell Tests Their Version of the Smartphone

By Meghan Vosberg

Powered by Google's Android operating system, this new piece of technology will not be launching into the United States unlike Samsung, HTC, and Motorola. China Mobile, the largest phone company in the world, will be the first stop for Dell with its distributing of its new Android handset. The launch date has not yet been confirmed.

Rumors circulated earlier this year that the smartphone project had been postponed. There is still not much known yet about the Mini 3 as Dell has not released information other than the phones are thin touch screens with no visible keyboard.

Will the phone ever reach the United States? The answer is still unknown but Dell was sure to point out that the company currently sells 3G notebooks through AT&T and Verizon.


Publisher in Portugal Picks a Fine Time to Start a Newspaper

Friday, November 13, 2009

By Laura Reid

A Portuguese publisher has decided to start up a newspaper during a time when newspapers are beginning to call it quits to print. João Palmeiro, the president of the Portuguese Publishers Association, has started up a newspaper called "i", which stands for "informação", or information in portuguese.

This newspaper is set up like a magazine, with it stapled in the middle. It also places op-ed pieces before business and political news, since many people already receive their main news over the Web. This allows for a fresher take on the news.

The paper has started in a good position, with their sales higher than expected with over 11,000 subscribers. Just like other papers, however, advertising sales are below expectations.

I find this very interesting that a publisher had the courage to start this when the entire industry is failing. There is also a Web version, which would be expected, but the hard copy is fairing well in this economy. Maybe this will prove that print newspapers will survive just a little longer than expected.

(Photo Credit: Alex Barth)


"Modern Warfare 2" Craze

By:Chris Mars

Nov. 10 was just like any other day for everyone except the gaming world. The release of "Modern Warfare 2" had 4.7 million people happy after the first day of sales. My roommate was one of the dedicated 4.7 million who purchased the $59.99 video game the first day. His had been reserved but he still had to stand in line for two hours.

After seeing and playing the game for a very brief time I was shocked at how realistic the graphics are, its really does look like real life. After leaving the next morning and coming home late at night to find him in the same spot I realized why we are the most uninformed generation. Instead of paying attention to the news or keeping tabs on our political leaders, many youth spend hours or even days playing video games. After these long sessions of battling online or completing missions there is little time left to dedicate to news.

This is on top of the months of searching and researching the game prior to its release. It's amazing the time and energy our generation spends with video games and and what I like to call "zombie media." These mediums require little physical effort and no educational benefit either. Sure, games like "Modern Warfare" have so historical appeal to them but it's nothing significant and goes unnoticed a majority of the time.

I'll stay away from "Zombie Media" as much as possible.

Photo Credit:


Facebook Precident

Thursday, November 12, 2009

By Tessa Leone

Rodney Bradford, a nineteen year old from New York City has won the first court case by using Facebook, a social networking unit as evidence.

Rodney was accused of robbing two people on October 17th in the Brooklyn housing unit where he lives. He was held for twelve days and was expected to be convicted.

Bradford had eye witnesses claiming his innocence but no hard evidence to prove his wear abouts, except a Facebook message posted on his girlfriends wall asking her where his pancakes were.

At 11:47 on October 17th the phrase "Where my IHOP?" was posted from Bradford's computer using his Facebook account.

This news was presented before the judge and Bradford won his case.

"This is the first case that I am aware of in which a Facebook comment has been used as alibi evidence. We are going to see more of that because of how prevalent social networking has become." said Dallas lawyer John G. Browning.

Picture credit:


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