Posts filed under ‘Politics’

Inauguration Unites New And Old Media

Inauguration

This coming Tuesday, millions of Americans will come together to watch our nation swear in its first ever African-American President. Evidently, the spirit of unity is spreading beyond the crowds. Several interesting media partnerships have emerged to make the inauguration available to those eager to watch, but unable to attend.

The most newsworthy of the lot is MSNBC’s deal with Starbucks to simulcast the event in 650 coffeeshops in three cities. But the list goes on, with particular attention paid to making the ceremony available online. Fox News is expanding their existing partnership with Internet TV provider Hulu to provide free live coverage from noon to 2PM. Hulu’s competitor Joost, on the other hand, will stream CBS’s broadcast of the event. Other networks have opted to team up with popular social networking sites. User-produced CurrentTV will air viewers’ reactions in realtime via micro-blogging site Twitter. Elsewhere, powerhouses have united; CNN.com has integrated its site such that Facebook users can watch the Senator turn President along with their friends. Well, sort of.

While most people rushed home on election night to watch “regular” TV, the workday timing of this heavily anticipated inauguration seems to have led the big networks to rush online. I’m hopeful that the creative partnerships spurred by this historic day will encourage television networks to further embrace this type of cross-platform, deformated content. But on Tuesday, that’s not all I’ll be hopeful about!

— Johnny

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January 16, 2009 at 5:43 pm Leave a comment

The Amazing Year That Was

Obama crowd

2008 was an unforgettable year for us at People Are Amazing. Aside from Kat getting married, and me getting typhus, we launched this very blog and (despite our best efforts), it is still up and running! Since then, we’ve been privileged to interview a number of amazing people from Kalliopi Kohas, owner of Greek pine sap purveyor Mastiha to Tony Dusko, 5th grade teacher by day, whimsical web animator by night. A personal highpoint was hearing the wise words of 90 year-old Dave Crawford on growing up during the Great Depression and how best to navigate a crumbling economy.

But the recession didn’t keep us from visiting some intriguing places. John took a trip to Brooklyn’s own Fine and Raw for a taste of artisanal, dairy/sugar/preservative-free chocolate. He brought back some perishable, refrigerated samples and we made sure they never reached room temperature! Kat found herself in the Mid-West wandering the aisles of Cincinatti’s own supermarket/amusement park Jungle Jim’s. Food, it seems, is a minor obsession at P.A.A.. Kat’s post about local panini-makers S’Wich found its way onto foodie blog Eater in May. I wrote about an awful new bottled tap water I came across at a bodega; in turn, that company curiously linked to our post, “Tap’NY Must Think You’re Stupid,” in their press section.

Surprisingly, our most popular post ended up being about a miscolored canine. In early May, I was experimenting with ways to boost traffic and I noticed that the search term “green puppy” was “volcanic” in popularity on Google Trends. Apparently, a Labrador with a pea-colored coat had been born in New Orleans and really people wanted to see the pictures. I posted the two images available at the time, unaware that moments later the popular site Buzzfeed would link to our post. Within a matter of minutes, we had thousands of viewers visiting our humble little blog. Thus, the “Green Puppy Effect” was born.

Obviously, you never quite know where a year will take you. This time last year, People Are Amazing didn’t even exist. But between blogging about diabetic rappers and Colorado grease thieves, we were thrilled to ride the ups and downs of 2008. Luckily for us, amazing things are always on the horizon and 2009 is sure to provide hearty fodder for the blog. Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

— Johnny

January 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

This Election, I Haven’t The Foggiest Idea

While I may be a fiend for my daily campaign fix, we rarely touch upon politics here at People Are Amazing. But political journalist Adam Nagourney’s take on the “media fog” enveloping the election in yesterday’s Times raised certain apolitical implications worth discussing here. Concerning the Obama campaign’s repeated attempts to recapture the public’s attention following a week of headline-grabbing, less-than-honest shots from his opponent, Nagourney writes:

“That episode reflects what has emerged as one of the most frustrating challenges that Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama are facing going into the final weeks of this campaign: the ways in which the proliferation of communications channels, the fracturing of mass media and the relentless political competition to own each news cycle are combining to reorder the way voters follow campaigns and decide how to vote. It has reached a point where senior campaign aides say they are no longer sure what works, as they stumble through what has become a daily campaign fog, struggling to figure out what voters are paying attention to and, not incidentally, what they are even believing.”

Surely, campaign managers aren’t the only ones stumbling around. Far from isolated to politics, this disorienting fog of misinformation confounds us all, blanketing every piece of news spread via the major media, the Internet, our mobile devices, and even the kitchen table. (more…)

September 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm 2 comments

Radiohead Cares More Than You Realize

Remember when Radiohead’s glowing reputation was based purely on their music? In a year in which they made headlines for innovative digital distribution and open-source remix contests, the cerebral rockers from Oxford are pushing things forward once again. This time around the band has tackled a familiar, yet timeworn format: the music video. The single “All I Need” provides the soundtrack to a gut-wrenching piece on the exploitative labor lurking behind our everyday products. The video is a collaboration with MTV’s new Exit initiative and USAID to bring attention to human trafficking and child exploitation.

This is the first video I remember since Soul Asylum’s ’92 hit “Runaway Train” to successfully act as a billboard for a children’s cause. In both cases, the difficult topic was backed by appropriately haunting music to great effect. While, thankfully, most of the attention will be given to the MTV Exit’s work, it is important to credit Radiohead’s music as an intangible element opening first our ears, and then our eyes, to such voiceless victims. — Johnny

May 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment