April 27, 2008

Can the thought occur?

Marshall McLuhan's media theories are buzzing around my head these days. One of my last assignments of my first year at NYU is to rethink the online journalism medium and present it to my Media: Past, Present and Future class.

My professor, Mitch Stephens, urges us to be as progressive as possible. This is really fun, but when it comes to doing it with the available technology, I'm having some issues.

I want to integrate video from my recent news stories and Dreamweaver offers little more than Flash additions. I can export my files as Quicktime formats, but it means an extra step and asking for IT assistance to turning them into Flash files.

My idea is to include the entire news piece -- not just my packaged news. The reasoning is that the audience is capable of digesting much more than we think possible. "They" can understand the news by searching through our collected material, rather than us always putting everything together for them.

I've never been your "average" news consumer. I read the news every day, but I read with different eyes. I think that's why it's so important to get other people's opinions on what they like and dislike about news. Often, it is the prepackaged an inauthentic way that the news is distributed. I have to agree.

Therefore, in my proposed mock-up of my site, I will include all kinds of "b-roll" footage, in addition to the entire, uncut interview for the audience to watch if they want to see the pieces I cut for my news piece in their original context.

I have a lot of ideas, it seems, but putting them into practice by Tuesday is going to be quite a challenge.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 2:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Opening a Pandora

A canyon yawned ahead. Radioblogclub.com was down. They promised to come back soon, but two months, three days and I suppose 15 hours and 45 minutes and 6 seconds later, they were still showing the same lame message about making music more "equitable" to the creators.

So no more free music on my computer. What to do?

Well, I discovered iTunes radio. But I wanted more variety without changing radio stations constantly and waiting for them to "buffer".

I'd given up the struggle until last week when a friend of mine's friend (who is now my friend), mentioned Pandora Radio. I could be grossly behind on not knowing about this site, but I thought I'd share it with you.

You can listen for a while, but eventually you have to create a free account. Then, you just type in a song or artist and work that is "typical" of the artist or the sound comes up. You can't get the exact song you want, because it works by the sound of the work, not by the name. Then you get to specify what you like by a thumbs up and thumbs down and the program gauges what you like based on those choices. You can even get the program's rationale behind the decision to play a certain song. For example, I'm listening to The Dave Matthews Band and their reasoning for the choice is "Based on what you've told us so far, we're playing this track because it features mellow rock instrumentation, folk influences, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, a vocal-centric aesthetic and major key tonality."

Pretty cool, eh? I didn't know I was so emo. :-)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 5, 2008

A Didion gem unearthed

Joan Didion's name is one that I'd heard in conversation time and time again. She became one of those authors that I'd always intended to read and would be considered "well-read" if I did. So, as I was flipping through a book the other day, I stumbled upon one of her essays. And I think it changed my life.

It's called "Goodbye to All That." The essay is about her journey as a young out-of-towner to New York City and the challenges she faced in coming to terms with life in another place, and eventually leaving it. I especially liked her introduction.

I want to explain to you, and in the process perhaps to myself, why I no longer live in New York. It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city only for the very young.

I got chills reading those lines because I've seen older ladies heaving briefcases up dirty stairwells and mothers and fathers straining across an avenue with their children bawling to high heaven in a stroller.

That's when I realize that I'm not going to belong here forever. And that's I'm wishing for most in my life right now. A place to call my own. You can't really make New York your own. It's always just a little bit out of reach; like your little corner of the street belongs to at least 15 other people, or that pretty place on the promenade is someone else's favorite.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack