Tuesday, March 30, 2010


On Tuesday, March 23, I presented on Pixar and its role in today's film industry. Pixar is a computer animation studio with the ideas and capability to create a new generation and new projects that deal with animated feature films. It was started in 1979 when George Lucas hired Ed Catmull, who worked at the New York Institute of Technology. In 1995, Pixar released Toy Story, which was the first ever feature length animated movie created only using computer generated graphics.
Pixar used the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio, whose corporate partner would later become a major partner. In 1991, Pixar made a $26 million deal with Disney which would lead to the creation of three computer animated films. The first was Toy Story, which ended up being a huge profit. On January 24, 2006, Disney put up an offer to buy Pixar for $7.4 billion in an all stock deal.
For Pixar's animation process, they use a process called rendering. Rendering is "the process of generating an image from a model, by means of computer programs. The model is a description of three-dimensional objects in a strictly defined language or data structure." They use "RenderMan" which is a fast, and very efficient program.
In Pixar movies, they usually target a younger audience but in many cases, adults enjoy the movies. In fact, Pixar rarely uses children as characters in their movies because they want kids to remember the character after they watch the movie. They want to leave a lasting impression on the viewer.

One website you may like to check out is: www.pixar.com

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hollywood vs. Bollywood

This past Tuesday, I presented a case study to the class on Hollywood versus Bollywood. I chose this topic to answer the week’s question of whether media industries shape media audience because I believed that it would give good insight into two powerful film industries and just what they do to people and the world. Hollywood is the major film industry here in the U.S. and Bollywood is the major film industry from India, but both have great reaches throughout the world and therefore affect a lot of people. I first presented a brief history and some stats about both places, then went into a little bit about how they affect audiences, in what ways, and then finally ended with a little part about some conflict going on between the two competing industries.

Through my research I was surprised to find out how successful and popular Bollywood actually was around the world. Personally I have never seen a Bollywood movie, nor have any real desire to which is why I think I found it so interesting that it had such a huge following and made so many movies a year. It was also interesting to see what conflicts were happening between the two industries and also how they affect their audiences. Moulin Rouge is a great musical and a great movie, and was taken aback when I realized it was based off of Bollywood type of films. In response to the question of the week, “How do media industries shape media audiences”, I can say that, through some research, it is by providing views of fantasy lives and other cultures and in so doing, let people adapt themselves and their attitudes to match what they see on the screen. Also I like to think that this can go both ways. In my opinion, I think that not only do media industries shape media audiences, but that media audiences determine what media industries actually provide to said audiences.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Motion Picture Association of America in Today's Culture

On Tuesday March 23rd, I presented a case study about the rating system of films in the US (and worldwide). The ratings system was implemented by the Motion Picture Association of America, which is an organization that has legal right to rate films and also, an organization that is fighting against piracy and protecting copyrights.

At the beginning, the MPAA’s function was to stem criticism of American films nationwide and later on, worldwide. The MPAA was doing this because it was created by the major important film studios of Hollywood, which were the ones with the most influence of all. With this, these film studios knew that by promoting their films worldwide, people were going to demand more films to watch. Later on as the years passed by, the MPAA saw the need to restrict certain type of (explicit) material in films that young people couldn’t watch or that many people found inappropriate and in 1968, the MPAA created the ratings system. The ratings system was created to let people know of what they might encounter in a movie (by the type of rating)

Today, many people like the types of ratings the MPAA gives to many films, such as like parents, but the MPAA rates from 100% only 30-40% movies; Parents are satisfied with their ratings, but are not dependable with the MPAA’s rating system because ratings are not consistent from movie to movie. Also, many kids are now watching many TV shows or movies that contain certain material that are inappropriate for them. For this reason, as the years go by the ratings system is also changing, they are rating movies with some explicit content that kids are now used to watching on TV or movies.

In the future, I think the MPAA ratings system will allow many movies to contain more and more explicit content and which the MPAA will rate these movies at a lower ratings, such as PG 13 or even PG. Kids are experiencing many adult content on movies and films, such as NC-17 or rated R’s without their parents’ permission.

For more information about the MPAA and its ratings system, you can see how the system works at: http://www.mpaa.org/index.asp

Also, these are helpful links about the MPAA:



Vanessa Denys

Monday, March 8, 2010

Internet Radio - Pandora

On March 4, 2010 I presented a case study over the somewhat new technology of internet radio and how digital radio with become the new way of consuming music and news. I specifically looked at the internet radio called Pandora and the benefits of this technology. Pandora is digital music service that can be accessed through the internet were users create a profile and personalized channels. The user types in an artists, song title, or genre in the search bar which allows the automated music recommendation program, Music Genome Project, to choose similar songs. The Music Genome Project uses almost 400 attributes to describe songs and a simple mathematical algorithm to organize songs looking at related characteristics. The user can then “Like” or “Dislike” songs to specialize the play list even further. This allows for the “radio station” to become more personalized and more tuned to the type of music the listener wants to hear. There is also significantly less advertisements on Pandora in relation to analog radio. This allows for less interruption in music content as well as advertisements that are more characteristic to the genre of music being played.

The question of the week was “How do older media serve as a template for a Wireless Culture?” In class, we discussed how companies such as AT&T, RCA, and GE were the basically the founders of radio and are still around today. However, these corporations are no longer concentrated in radio. Digital radio still carries the same content as analog radio, just better with better quality and more personalized. Another question was also asked in the class discussion, “Who owns controls the airwaves?” The FCC uses a “public interest” standard to renew broadcasting licenses. However, I would go on to say that the public controls the airwaves. Radio stations must play what the audience wants to hear so prosper and stay on the air. With the advancement of radio and technology, internet radio puts the audience in more control. With portable and personalized internet radio stations becoming more abundant and easier to access, radio consumers are gaining more and more control. I encourage my classmates to take advantage of this new technology.

Some digital radio station can be found at:



Additional information on digital and internet radio can be found at:


NPR: Showing How Radio Has Created a Wireless Template

This past Thursday, March 4, I presented a presentation about how National Public Radio (NPR) has developed. It has influenced the changing technological and wireless world and has also been shaped and influenced by the other media forms.

Starting in 1980, NPR faced the challenge of getting an audience with televisions becoming more common. They really focused on the working class hoping people would listen at work and on their commute to and from work. Their material really focused on the working class with programs done by the working class. Their audience quickly grew, as did the radio. They began to create different formats and programs that were more personal to certain people. There was a wider variety of programs for the listeners to choose from.

Today National Public Radio has changed tremendously from the one program broadcast, to a narrowcasted, multi-medium format. They currently have programs available through their webpage, mobile phones, iPods, radio, text and podcasts. They also give access to art, music and entertainment. All these changes are focused toward a digital age of technology while still holding true to their original
“everyday person” content. Almost anyone in the United States has access to these public broadcasts and narrowcast anytime they desire.

Radio and National Public Radio has set a template for the developing wireless media world. Specifically, they were the first to offer a message transmission to multiple audiences across a broad area of people. This paved the way for broadcast television and soon an internet signal. Radio also was the first wireless media to reshape and focus on specific audiences through the creation of formats and individual genres. The internet, radio and television today still focus on individuals and individual groups of people. So although radio may be considered an old media, it is still in the game and has just reshaped the face of their programs to adapt to the changing digital age.

For more information I am posting a link below to the NPR website. This gives access to their programs, downloads, streaming videos, art, music and more. I really encourage you to look at what they offer.

NPR Website

I am also posting the link to the YouTube video I presented in class that gives a tour and a look at the redesign structure of the NPR.org webpage.

The New NPR.org Design

Monday, March 1, 2010

First Amendment & The News Industry


On Thursday, February 25th, I answered the question of the week which was “What are the constraints on free speech & the First Amendment for the news industry?” To help me, I focused on the safety of journalists who follow the rules of the First Amendment, but were not protected outside of the country. Additionally, I discussed the ethics involved with being a credible journalist.

I first discussed the benefits of freedom of speech for journalists. With fewer restrictions, journalists are able to take a less popular stance on a topic without feeling pressured to avoid the subject altogether. In many cases, however, there is still an unspoken rule from top editors to avoid controversial stories. In other countries, harsh actions are taken on offenders, like censoring, termination from job, threatening of family and friends, and possibly death.

On the topic of death, both The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) keep track of the number of journalists killed on the job all over the world. The goal of these organizations is to protect journalists from harm while they seek information for a story.

Finally, I discussed the topic of Ethical Reporting. Even with freedom of speech, the news industry must still follow strict rules for what they report. The main “rules” for reporting are to have an objective stance, have credibility by using reliable sources, be willing to admit error, and to avoid plagiarism and fabrication.

After finishing my presentation and opening the floor for discussion, I was asked where the most dangerous countries were. Iraq was the deadliest country, but the following countries were surprising. The Philippines, for example, has many murders, but they are mostly from political tensions and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I posed the question, “Do you think reporters are going too far for a story?” My initial response was that I feel reporters often do go too far to tell their story. I know that I would not risk my life to tell a story about anything. One classmate brought to my attention that many reporters have a passion to broadcast their stories because spreading awareness could save the lives of others down the road. Another student added that many reporters give their lives to serve a greater good.

My presentation showed how journalists and other reporters face harsh conditions to spread awareness of issues around the world. With the help from the IFJ and the CPJ, journalists are fighting back to spread their word in a safe way. Finally, the news industry must report accurate information to comply with ethical codes.

For further information, please visit:

-Sean Cuevas-

SUmmary of Blogging Case Study

Last Thursday, February 25, 2010, I presented a case study on bloggers and their First Amendment rights. Since we had spent the week talking about how the First Amendment and freedom of speech affects the news industry, I thought it would be interesting to look further in to the world of blogging.

In my presentation I provided the class with a brief reminder of what the First Amendment and freedom of speech laws state and then I went in to the history of blogging. The main focus of my presentation was on what rights bloggers do and do not have. While doing research I found that there are multiple groups out there to help bloggers become more aware of their rights. The EFF: Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that has been around since the 1990’s, has now expanded their reach to helping bloggers, and they have many great things to offer the blogging community. They are a non-profit organization, anyone can join, and they help educate people of the whole online community about what their rights truly are. I told the class about a court case between Apple and a few online bloggers that the EFF was involved in and then I went on to tell everyone about the Blue Ribbon campaign that is put on by the EFF.

The EFF was not the only outlet I found for bloggers to turn to. There are also websites like the Chilling Effects, FEN: Free Expression Network, and the Center for Democracy and Technology. All of these websites provide helpful information for online bloggers. There are blog guideline checklists that can help a blogger make sure they are not breaking any rules, and there are even databases of court cases regarding bloggers.

While most of my presentation was centered on online groups to help bloggers, I did talk about the Free Flow of Information Act of 2009. This act is the newest thing that I presented in my case study because all of the groups have been around for a while now. The Act basically acts as a shield to protect bloggers from being forced to testify or provide any information about the things they post or any information they found while doing research. It is a huge stride for the rights of everyone in the online news community.

One of the biggest debates I came across during my research was whether or not bloggers should be considered journalists. I thought this was a very interesting question and at the end of my presentation I posed it to the class. I am in agreement with the responses I got from my classmates. We think there is a difference between blogging and news blogging. When a blog is legitimately about news related topics, and the bloggers main goal is to notify the public of news related information, yes they are journalists, and yes their work should be considered news and worthy of First Amendment protection.

In conclusion, blogging is a new part of the news industry. Because blogging can make news readily available to the public with just a click of a button it has suffered major hits from the mainstream news industry. There are many bloggers out there posting things without ever learning about their online rights, so to try and keep that from happening there are many groups trying to spread awareness amongst the online community of blogging rights. Blogging is very new and there are still multiple kinks to be worked out, but they are continuing to become more and more prominent in the news world, and I believe that they will continue to do so.