Eyeing A1

A look at newspaper front pages from around the country

Archive for April 2010

Video Remix Essay #2: Why I did what I did

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From the very beginning of the video “Remix on Homosexual Relationships from 1950s to Now” I wanted to talk about homosexual relationship. I lead with a pair of hands because I want there to be a surprise first that there are two men touching hands as opposed to a heterosexual relationship. From that point, almost every image focused on same-sex couple of 1940-50s educational videos and contemporary Super Bowl ads.

The images that didn’t focus on same-sex couples reinforced homosexual stereotypes. Specially, the clip of the African-American saying “Ooooweeee,” after a gym teacher says, “Here’s the penis.” Homosexual African-American men have a stereotype of being flamboyant and that clip reinforces that idea as it was shown in a banned Super Bowl commercial ad from this year.

Jim Nantz’s clip of “How ‘bout not,” is used throughout the video as the true voice as what is being said in today’s society. Every free audio clip is used from marriage educational videos about freedom to choose who want to marry and love. However, in 2010, people are still fighting for their right to marry whom they want. Jim Nantz is the white male who is telling them this isn’t actually the case.

There were some difficulties in trying to find the right type of videos for women. Homosexual women are usually portrayed as masculine. Pretty women who have lesbian tendencies are usually just experimenting. There weren’t many videos that showed women together. In fact, the only contemporary clip I could find of two women was dressed in golf clothing in masculine looking outfits. Women don’t seem to be portrayed as just friends as they were in 1950s educational films. As much as we have changed in 60 years, it seems women had better relationships with each in the 1950s educational films than they do now.

At the every end, the quick clips with the different same-sex couples are just to show them as people. Fading cuts in-between each shot give them their own place even for a moment. Each couple deserves their own time just has heterosexual couples get the bulk of the attention.

But, of course, the white male gets in the last word.

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Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 29, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Video Remix Essay #1: On technology and relating to writing

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Creating my remix video “Remix on Homosexual Relationships from 1950s to Now” was fun but difficult because I had never used a video editing tool before. Complicate that with that fact that I was using Window 7 and there were a few bug issues with software.

The first thing I had to do was to find a video editor because Windows 7 comes with a watered down version of Microsoft Movie Maker – Windows Live Movie Maker, which wouldn’t do as much as I would need it to do. I had to download Windows Movie Maker 2.6, which worked, but there were will obstacles I had to get my video exactly the way I wanted it.

I couldn’t have three different audio files running at once. WMM allow the clip, the audio from the clip and a second audio file to play at the same time. I used audacity to mix an audio with the music and breakout quotes from the 1950s educational videos. First time I used Audacity as well. I had more problems with this program in Windows 7 than any other because I had to use Audacity 1.3 (beta) with Windows 7 and, too often, the audio from videos did not transfer into the program. I had to convert the video into audio files.

While it was time consuming, I found the process inspiring. I’m used to writing in one medium and that’s words to a piece of paper. Here I was creating a story where I never had to type of a single thing. I found images, quotes and music that told the story. I also found that I had to be very specific in what I wanted to “say” because each image, each quote would be viewed by itself and how it relates to the entire footage. There were no throwaway shots or extra words (as we often do in papers to get the required word count). Every piece of the video needed to have a meaning because if it didn’t, the image would feel out of place and the readers would notice that as well.

In this video, I found that alphabetic text didn’t need to be involved – except for the very beginning of the film as a set up to what the viewers were about to see –  which completely moves away from anything I have ever done before. One place I thought alphabetic text did work was in the very beginning of the film. It starts with a title card “Marriage for Moderns“ followed by “Choosing for Happiness.” Then it follows with same-sex couple throughout, which some people may not have expected (or did based on the title of the video).

I enjoyed creating the video especially because anyone can view it and can get the point. I feel there aren‘t barriers, even language, because every shot has a same-sex couple. There are no images or videos of heterosexual couples. Traditional writing contains a language barrier that video and music do not.

I had an issue with the audio on You Tube because of copyright reason. To view the video without audio, click here. The full version with audio can be found on Vimeo.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 29, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Is ‘I Live Here’ journalism?

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I don’t consider ‘I Live Here” journalism. It’s great non-fiction, but not journalism. There was research done and the telling of stories, but to be considered journalism there needs to be other sources than just the victims.

That doesn’t mean, however, journalists can’t learn from the presentation of ‘I Love Here’ and how to get similar emotional effects out of their readers.

Words and black and white pictures aren’t going to cut it anymore. There are reasons newspaper subscriptions are dwindling, which obvious reasons are the availability of news on the Internet and other mediums. Newspaper companies are using the Internet, but aren’t making money. Many of the pay-wall sites haven’t done well, which is well documented.

How can newspapers (and when I say newspaper, I don’t change mean the physical paper) change?

I found ‘I Live Here’ engaging and that’s what newspapers need to do to engage the readers.

I think too many newspapers don’t think of presentation enough. They are more concerned with just cramming as many words into ever-decreasing pages. Visually, to me, that’s unappealing. It’s proven by the fact that I rarely look at the newspaper that is delivered to my home. I still pay for it. I like knowing I have the option for the paper because I still prefer looking at the physical paper to a website.

However, if I knew a newspaper changed its presentation, I would be interested in looking at it to see what was different.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm

A bit of irony

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Fred Hill recently ‘resigned’ as the Rutgers head coach of men’s basketball, which ended weeks of speculation about his job status.

I read a fre article on the matter,  but the best picture I found belonged to The Star Ledger.

It’s straightforward with Hill standing on the sideline looking like he is barking out orders during a game. But look a the ad scrolling by next to him.

You could make out what the ad is going to say with a popular saying, “Safe and Secure.”

Hill’s job was anything, but that. The fact The Star Ledger used this photo witht their story on firing Hill made me laugh because it’s a great example of irony.

I think the photo works well to prove the point of the story, especially since last month Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti came out and said Hill’s job was safe.Pernetti is actually the man sitting above the sign in the photo with a scrutinizing eye on Hill.

Things didn’t change at the Piscataway school until Hill got into a shouting match at Rutgers baseball where his father coaches with as assistant from Pittsburgh.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 21, 2010 at 10:53 am

The Ugly of Old Spice

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After reading this blog post on “Why does Jack Bauer drive a Toyota?” I went to You Tube to look at more Old Spice commercials.

While there are certainly racial undertones to many of the Old Spice commercials, I think the sexist attitude is more prevalent. Everything the Old Spice commercials represent is about being a man. This commercial, for example, is all about being a man and how Old Spice will make you so manly, it will actually grow hair on your body.

Old Spice Commercial.

That is manly.

The video on linked blog post implies that women want manly men. Men who will lavish them with gifts and jewelry, men who are handsome and in great shape and men who are, as noted, “hung like a horse.”

But the commercial isn’t talking to women despite the beginning saying it is. The commercial is geared toward men and it wants men to look at themselves and see women aren’t allowing them to be the man that they want to be. The commercials are speaking for women by saying, “what we really is for you to be manly, which is actually my type and not what you are.”

Doesn’t this go into the whole ‘no’ means ‘yes’ problem?

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Looking at race on the front page

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After last week’s discussion in class, I wanted to find a newspaper front page that directly dealt with race.

I found the sub-headline aptly titled for the piece “Conflicting portrait.”

To give more meaning to that headline, The Star Ledger incorporates two photos of the black man. The first is a small headshot, but he looks angry and the photo itself actually looks darker. When looking at the newspaper it’s actually the first photo you see because many people tend to read top to bottom and left to right.

It’s interesting to note on the paper’s website, only the mug shot appears, which the reporter writes: “If a picture says a thousand words, the mug shot police released said “guilty” a thousand times.”

The man pictured in the newspaper is Lee Evans. He was arrested in March on five counts of murder in the disappearance of five teenagers 32 years ago. The article paints a portrait of Evans where is seen as a good person by his friends and family, but neighborhood folks have a much different view of him.

The lede of the story is nearly as important as the photos and the headline.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Two pictures, one man. One continuing mystery.

Lee Evans was one of two cousins charged in March with five counts of murder in the disappearance of five city teenagers 32 years ago. Police said he was a menacing 6-foot-4, 225-pound street thug known as “Big Man” who kept a dark secret for three decades through intimidation of accomplices and witnesses. If a picture says a thousand words, the mug shot police released said “guilty” a thousand times.

By this point, he already sounds guilty. In fact, the reporter is using the image to make an argument.  Not facts or stories, but an image of the man to make a quick case. By writing these things at the very beginning of an article, the reporter is telling the viewer how to see the photo. There is not much left to intepretation.

Our brains already begin to move in one direction once we learn the headshot is actually a mugshot. That, of course, has a negative connotation associated with it.

This is a tough story because you’re dealing with a case of where is being charged with murder. Obviously, something happened where five teens are missing, but instead of writing about the boys who went missing 32 years ago, this newspaper paints a portrait of a man where they are initially negative.

Only toward the bottom of the article does it state there is no physical evidence against him and that there is only person witness.

The article ends with this:

This is not to say Evans is innocent. In Hampton’s story, only eight people would know for certain what happened on Aug. 20, 1978, and six of them are dead. That leaves Hampton and Evans.

If the police have more on him, they’re not saying. And that leaves two pictures, one man, one continuing mystery.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Looking at roles given to women

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Last Thursday in class, I thought we had one of more the interesting discussions when we talked about the passage we read in Visual Culture on Gendering the Gaze.  Briefly, the chapters discussed that as viewers we need to get passed the voyeuristic tendencies when watching movies. Additionally, the only time women really care about films is when they can relate to the female lead.

Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” argued that men are usually the protagonist and woman are merely objectified by the male gaze.

We can look at every big action summer blockbuster type of film and this still seems true. In Transformers, you have an average-looking make protagonist who needs to save humanity with a ridiculous good-looking woman, who falls for the guy.

Here’s a screen cap from the movie:

What does that have to do with the plot? Absolutely nothing and that’s part of the problem many of these writers are saying.

One of the movies that was brought up in class was Tomb Raider. There you have a strong female lead in Angelina Jolie, but still the producers of the film padded Jolie’s chest to give her a D-size bra. According, to an interview done with Jolie, she is already a C and the video game character is a DD. So, this was a nice compromise.

Mulvey states in he essay – which is from 1975, by the way – “The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is styled accordingly. In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.”

Thirty years later, most movies have no moved beyond that attitude. Even when women have strong leading roles, for the most part they objectified for the male viewer.

Written by Susan Lulgjuraj

April 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm