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On Night, Darkness & the Past

When we banish the dark, what do we lose? The stars, of course. But what else? Archaeologist Colleen Morgan reflects. In Turkey and Jordan I’d sleep on the roof, watching shooting stars and satellites, feeling the depth of space all around me. In cities, hell, in most places, all the artificial light flattens the sky, makes it a far-away, vaulted ceiling. In moonless nights in the desert the night sky consumes you,…


Boosting the Signal: Peaceful Protesters in Baltimore are the Norm

Video of people throwing rocks or burning cars appeals to our baser emotions (anger, fear, disgust), which leads to faster, more intense emotional responses that TV can use to make money (by packaging our eyeballs and selling them to advertisers). TV news is very good at capturing our attention. Images of hundreds of peaceful, determined faces appeal to our higher emotions, which are not as easy to monetize. I want…

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We are cruel. We always have been. The Internet did not make us so

We didn’t start the flame war. Scandalous satirical pamphlets were once cranked out by writers and sold at train stations, like so many primordial blog posts. Political cartoons have a long and vicious history. Incivility is our legacy, not our invention. It is part, but only part, of who we are. And have always been. –Tabatha Southey, The Globe and Mail.

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DCNF, TV Upfront Presenters Need to Understand That Content’s Kingdom is Changing

Today’s viewers don’t differentiate between "traditional" and "digital." Today’s viewers watch what they want, when they want. The average consumer is not thinking about whether it’s scripted or unscripted, user-generated or premium. They care that it’s funny, interesting, gripping or cool. Brands need to recognize the power of those four adjectives, and take risks alongside today’s leading content creators. If brands can meet this challenge, the aftershocks will reveal new…

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Don’t Text While Parenting — It Will Make You Cranky

The study summarized in Time Magazine looked at adults in a fast-food restaurant, who are using their smartphones while in a group with two or more children. One child reached over in an attempt to lift his mother’s face while she looked down at a tablet, but to no avail. Another mother kicked her child under the table in response to the child’s various attempts to get her attention while…


Local News in a Digital Age

Local TV news is the “most visible presence” in the news space, according to a Pew study, though most TV stories are routine traffic and weather reports and short, shallow “anchor reads” (in which the well-coiffed announcers read into the camera) rather than the result of thoughtful, original reporting. To paraphrase Into the Woods, “Visible is different than good.” Local TV is the single most visible presence in the news…