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Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's how you pick 'm, "Best Picture" still a crap shoot

Yes, it's still a favorite - but even before its shocking loss at the Producers Guild Awards, 'Avatar' had a problem: the new system AMPAS uses for final best-pic voting isn't very hospitable to "love 'em or hate 'em" movies. [TheWrap] And here's the evidence: the PGA uses that system, too.  [TheWrap]

The "preferential" treatment, and expansion to ten nominees, could work against the box office and audience favorite Sci Fi epic.

The Producers Guild selected "The Hurt Locker" as best picture, the lowest budget but highest critically aclaimed of the ten nominees.  "Hurt Locker" is also a front runner for the Writers Guild of America awards to be held February 20th.

"Crazy Heart" also carries enormous emotional appeal to members of the Academy.
Of course Hollywood also respects box office above all else, and Avatar is now the highest grossing film of all time. In actual seats sold, 1938 holds the record with six films selling far more seats world wide than "Avatar" and "Batman Returns" combined. Tickets were much lower in price then and we were all coming out of a recession to beat all recessions....The Great Depression. "Gone with the Wind" holds the slot for most viewed in theaters.

Literary giant falls at 91

The intellectual community is mourning the death of JD Salinger at the age of 91.
I recall "Cather in the Rye" being mandatory reading in English class in high school.

To Pay or Not to Pay: for News

Thursday January 28, 2010

Within the past week the New York Times announced that in one year it will begin a pay per inquiry and subscription based on-line model. You will be able to sample a few stories each month, then after that you will need to subsrcibe or pay per inquiry to read New York Times content. A subscription based presence on the new iPad was announced yesterday. As the newspaper of record for the United States, and one of the key publications in setting the national news agenda, the move by the Times is a risky one as a good part of its appeal is the reach it has in readers and viewers. Also at risk may be the nature of our informed Democracy, When you require people pay, then there will be a large percentage who may be all the more uninformed or missinformed by their lack of access.

Publications such as the Hollywood Reporter and the Wall Street Journal already require paid subscriptions to access much more than headline feeds.

The need for new revenue means that needed fourth estate coverage of our society may go beyond the reach of our society and contribute to a decline of American democracy and society, as the elite who can afford to pay gain even more control of our lives and decision making.

If you are a student your school may (and CSN does) allow access through your student fees by searching through the college library or web site. If any links on this blog do not work, try copying the URL and pasteing it in your colege based search engines).

Posted Friday, August 7, 2009

In a Linked-In discussion a pro-business individual proposed that we need to find a way for the end user (reader, viewer) to pay for their access to news. To some extent that is already true, as we pay for internet service, we pay for the newspaper, and we pay for cable...but to have to pay for the news that should be a public service and is a key part to keeping our nation free...I have a real problem with that.
My students do not and will no pay for news.

It's a new generation out there, so pay models will only lead to an informed elite and uninformed malleable masses.

The fourth estate needs to be available and accessible for everyone for free or we could lose the core of our American Democracy, where every citizen has the right to an informed vote.

Interests in news in this iPod age are declining, at least among high school and college students. We see or are in contact with those who eat up news, as I do, but the reality is that most Americans are uninformed by choice.

Then too there is the recession. How can you ask people to pay for something they can live without? Those of us news junkies will pay, but only what we can afford and then we drop subscriptions more than we add.

The survey is very misleading as it limits choices to one (for example I seek our national and international news, particularly that which does not attract the masses in six minute increments).

I read the newspaper for its in depth coverage (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and finally our flimsy and very politically bias local paper the Review Journal).

I watch CNN and for a joke turn to see what Fox is covering.

I listen to public radio over the air and on line, the BBC, have my satellite radio on various international news channels (paid lifetime subscription when I had the funds). I also read journals, on-line news services and news magazines.

But I am a junkie.

Most Americans avoid news or simply watch the entertainment ratings based local newscast.

Again, if we charge for media access we could well lose the base of an informed electorate, of our very Democracy.

The elite will continue to have a lock on our nation.

Strengthen Our Union

I just finished delivering my first State of the Union address.

I set out an urgent plan for restoring economic security for struggling middle class families. This is my top priority, but I cannot do it alone -- and that's why I'm writing to you now.

Tonight, I called on Congress to enact reforms and new initiatives to defend the middle class -- to create millions of new jobs, support small businesses, and drive up wages; to invest in the education of our children and the clean energy technology that must power our future; and to protect the economy from reckless Wall Street abuses.

And I made my position on health reform clear: We must not walk away. We are too close, and the stakes are too high for too many. I called on legislators of both parties to find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.

I have no illusions -- there have been setbacks, and there will be more to come. The special interests who have shaped the status quo will keep fighting tooth and nail to preserve it.

So tonight, I'm asking you to join me in the work ahead. I need your voice. I need your passion. And I need your support.

We have just finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.

President Barack Obama