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Saturday, January 29, 2011

NBC News and Sports draw full COMCAST Support

Prior to the COMCAST take over of NBC Universal, it was anticipated that NBC would shore up it's news and sports operations to compete with Time Warner/HBO/CNN, FOX and ABC/ESPN. Now it appears that that is the direction COMCAST plans to take NBC.

Variety reports:
Brian Roberts has called it "the single most awesome asset" of NBC Universal. Comcast has vowed to protect and grow its operations.

Throughout the yearlong quest to secure regulatory approval for the Comcast-NBC U merger, Comcast execs cited their commitment to supporting the journalistic mission of NBC News as a key reason why the public interest would be served by the union of the Peacock and the nation's largest cable operator.
As such, NBC News has now been put on a pedestal in the enlarged NBC U operation. The division is expected to undergo something of a renaissance as the company's new corporate stewards try to live up to the high-minded promises made in the halls of Congress and the FCC. That dynamic puts NBC News in a unique position among its TV counterparts, almost all of which have been under pressure to rein in costs for years. Certainly the news wings of the Big Three networks have faced the challenge of becoming profit centers -- or at least not money losers -- since the late 1980s.
But NBC News, unlike CBS and ABC, is in hiring mode and is on top of the ratings.
For the rest of the story and complete coverage, clock here to go to Vareity,com.

Mark Zuckerberg's Surprise Visit on 'SNL' (Video) | TheWrap.com

Mark Zuckerberg's Surprise Visit on 'SNL' (Video) | TheWrap.com

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The Marketplace of Ideas, an introduction to Communication Studies


Public speaking is a deceivingly complex activity. At the heart of public speaking is communication, which we’ve all been doing since we were small. It would seem, then, public speaking is something that comes natural and is very easy to do. This, however, is not the case. Public speaking is not everyday conversation. Public speaking is much more formal and there is much more social importance of what we are speaking about. For example, Al Gore’s presentations on global warming are highly organized and highly important to the world. We do not expect that he would talk in a similar manner to his family at home. The topic or content is not the only formal aspect of public speaking; the delivery is also highly formal. We do not see any President deliver the State of the Union of Inaugural address informally. The President has practiced considerably and has the exact wording of the speech polished.
How Politiics gave birth to the study of Communication.
These examples are from the political sphere and that is not surprising given that the study of public speaking arose in the wake of some very messy politics. Around 476 B.C.E., a tyrant named Thrasybulus took the land and property of those in Syracuse who disagreed with him and gave it to the people who supported him. Naturally, the citizens quickly ousted Thrasybulus and wanted their property back, which they did by presenting their case in court. Those who appeared before the court found that the ability to speak and argue well made them successful in regaining what was rightfully theirs. On the other hand, those who could present a better argument than the original land-owner kept what Thrasybulus had given them. In contemporary society, we have lawyers who are specifically trained in the content of the law as well as the ability to present arguments in court.
Why study communications today?
Now that we know why public speaking was important in the Classical world, what is the reason for studying public speaking today? Odds are you will never have to argue your own position in court. But, like the citizens of Syracuse, you might want to address something that is worthwhile to you. You may believe strongly in fighting for social justice or that large corporations would destroy your small town community. You may believe that your school’s raising of tuition is detrimental or you may believe just the opposite. Presenting your thoughts and opinions in a clear and coherent fashion will only add to the value of your speech. This is one of the main reasons why we study public speaking today.
Typically, we speak publicly about issues that are not clear cut. Like the citizens of Syracuse, both parties had claims to the property. If you decide to speak out about the social injustices of your community; what you may legitimately believe in and speak to, someone else may legitimately believe and speak to just the opposite. By studying public speaking we are learning the means by which we can have our positions—our thoughts and opinions—accepted.
The mislabeled metaphor as a marketplace.
One way to understand this purpose of public speaking is to turn to the metaphor of the Marketplace of Ideas. The Marketplace of Ideas claims that if everyone puts out their ideas the best ideas will win out and the weak ideas will not survive. But there are problems with this idea. The Marketplace of Ideas theory assumes that some ideas are inherently better than others. But there is nothing inherent about any idea that makes it better or worse than any other idea. There are numerous examples from our national history that demonstrate this. For example, at one point, racial inequality was considered the “best idea.” However, people soon recognized that there is nothing inherent about anyone that makes them better or worse than anyone else and consequently took a stand against what they saw as an injustice and fought to overcome it.
A flaw in the marketplace model.
What this flaw of the Marketplace of Ideas tells us is that no position or evidence is self-evident. To have our position accepted we have to not only find evidence but interpret it. For example, according to the United States Department of Justice there were 60 executions in 2005, 53 in 2006, and 42 in 2007. What does this data alone tell us? Does it tell us that capital punishment is, for example, effective at deterring crime? Or does it tell us the opposite? I think the case can be made either way. We can see that there are less and less executions by year, so perhaps capital punishment is a deterrent. On the other hand, there are still executions occurring, so capital punishment may not be a complete deterrent. What this example hopefully demonstrates is that when we speak publicly about an issue and want our position accepted, we must offer a clear and convincing interpretation of our thoughts and opinions in a understandable and, hopefully, eloquent manner.

Comcast-NBCU Deal Done: $30B Later, Comcast Is Proud Owner of the Peacock


From The Wrap, a Hollywood entertainment industry on-line newspaper and service. 

Comcast has completed its $30 billion acquisition of NBC Universal, ending a long corporate odyssey that gives the country's largest cable provider control of an entertainment behemoth.

Comcast announced Saturday that the merger was completed Friday. It has 51 percent control of NBCU, with General Electric keeping 49 percent.

Also read: It's Got NBCU -- Now Comcast Has a Fight for Reinvention

Both the Department of Justice and Federal Commuications Commission approved the merger last week.

The regulators included several conditions designed to ensure that Comcast doesn't discriminate against NBCU's rivals on its Internet and cable lines, and that it doesn't restrict rival cable and Internet providers' access to NBCU content.

Critics have worried about one company holding so much power over what Americans watch -- and how they watch. But federal regulators who took more than a year to approve the deal believe they have conditions in place that will protect consumers -- and the combined companies' rivals.

Click here from the rest of the story from The Wrap. Also see Hollywood Reporter, Variety and New York Times.


"Mermaid Man" and "Marty", "McHale" and the man who killed Frank Sinatra: NPR retrospect of SAG Award Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ernest Borgnine


Tomorrow night Ernest Borgnine earns a lifetime achievement award for his work, his charity and his life.


Click here for the release and blog story when the SAG Nominating Committee (on which I serve) selected Borgnine...We are always proud of those who are so much as considered for this hard to select award. At 94 and representing my parent's generation, Borgnine has a special place for me. His tough guys and common men, schemers and dreamers have been a part of the  life of four generations. He is still acting, working for charity and loving life!


Here is the story from NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday....

Click on "read more" below to continue.

Great Films February 9-12 in nearby Boulder City



Highest Ticket Prices in Movie History lead to misleading boxoffice numbers


If you thought it was getting more expensive to go the movies, your hunch was right. The average ticket price at theaters in the U.S. last year rose to an all-time annual high of $7.89,  up 5% from $7.50 in 2009, according to the National Assn. of Theatre Owners. In the fourth quarter, the average price was $8.01, up 5% from the year-ago period.
La-fi-ct-movie-tickets-gThat may seem unusually low to people in L.A., where ticket prices are typically much higher, but the figure represents a national average of theaters in big cities and small towns alike, and includes lower-priced matinees and children's prices.
NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran attributed the increase primarily to the increase in 3-D screenings, which can add $2.50 to $4 to the ticket price. Hollywood is expected to release about 35 3-D films this year, and theater owners are rushing to add 3-D screens to handle the growth. Just this week, Regal Entertainment, the nation's largest theater operator, announced that it woulddouble its number of RealD 3-D screens.
All of which means ticket prices are likely to continue to rise. One AMC Theatres location in New York last summer raised eyebrows when it was selling $20 tickets for Imax 3-D screenings of the DreamWorks Animation movie "Shrek Forever After."
The rise in ticket prices came in a year when box office was virtually flat with the prior year, reaching $10.6 billion in revenue, while attendance dropped 5.3% compared with 2009.
Still, Corcoran downplayed the effect of ticket inflation on attendance, noting that the 2010 increase is “not way out of line” with those of the last five years and that prices are still below what they were in 1970 when inflation is factored in. Then, the average ticket price was $1.55, or $8.71 when adjusted for inflation.

Corcoran attributed the drop in attendance to fewer movies being released and to fewer hits in the latter part of the year. 
"People aren't staying away because of ticket prices,'' Corcoran said, "they are staying away because of the movies."
Post Script by Art Lynch: The true blockbusters were film such as "Wizard of Oz", "Gone with the Wind" and other "classics" released when movie prices came to an overall lower percentage of household incomes, therefore even in adjusted income modern films are showing higher per film revenue. Simply put, prices have gone up in dollars, and in percentage of an audience's ability to pay.

Letting Go and Listening

I think part of the learning process involves letting go of assumptions and to listen to other viewpoints. Sometimes this is easier said than done, both on the instructors part and the students, myself included. It's hard when you feel your opinions are set in stone and someone with a different viewpoint will get you to look at it from a different angle. It's possible that this exchange of ideas will help you see things from their perspective and although you may not still agree you will have a better understanding of their viewpoints.


-Student who does not wish their name published.


Do you agree? Or if not what are your views.


Please post using comments below...