Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Television vs Real Life

I love watching TV shows. I think they are so much fun to watch because, like movies, they take you away from your current situation. But recently some shows have been using some real events and applying it to the show’s storylines. Grey’s Anatomy’s storyline right now has to let people go and merge two hospitals because of the recession. In Ugly Betty, Mode Magazine had to get some help because they were not making enough money.

And so I though it would be interesting to see what people have to say about television shows and if they really show what people go through in real life. Shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and Ugly Betty are trying to show what goes on in everyday life and how people handle the situations.

Today, I received help from a group of girls from a high school in Oakland (look above picture on the left): Claudia Alvarez (L); Gabriela Pena (C); and Yasmin Briceno (R).
It was my responsibility to show them around campus and give them a few tips on how to interview people. They were a little shy to talk to people, but I think they did a nice job in the 15-20 minutes we had to get quotes.

Here is the question we asked and the responses the girls got.

Do television shows portray what real people go through and do people tend to go for looks over talent?

Rachel Buddeberg, a grad student and philosophy major:
“In television they care more about the beauty. I would say that in the movies they don’t really care because to make a good movie they go for talent.”

Anteo Quiroz, a postback (meaning he is getting another undergraduate degree) in biology
"Some shows like HBO and Showtime are more realistic than ABC and Fox... And they do choose beauty over talent to a certain extent.”

Bussola Oluwole, 23, postback biology

“ The real world is all scripted and that I think that the doctors in Grey’s Anatomy don’t act like the doctors would in the real world.”

Alejandro Pulido, 18, freshman, philosophy major

“Character conflicts might be real and other stuff are exaggerated. People are more attracted to appearance, that’s the difference between books and television."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good magazine gone...gone

What makes a good magazine? Better yet, what makes a good magazine to continue? Let’s see…

Rolling Stone: Music, politics, popular cultures, and of course, it’s a legendary magazine. It’s a popular magazine since a lot of contemporary artists and actors appear on the cover.

Entertainment Weekly: Behind the scene look of upcoming films. A magazine that gives readers sneak peaks about anticipated films…yeah its not going anywhere.

Vogue: Articles on current fashions. It’s a very popular magazine as it gives fashion tips and keeps readers up to date on what is new in fashion.

Playboy: Naked pictures of women--- Enough said.

Ramparts Magazine was one of those magazines that were considered one of its best during its time. Yet it wasn’t good enough to continue, but I wonder why. It was what people called a “radical magazine,” because, from everything I read, it changed the way of how reporting should be done and it was quite popular with Bay Area readers.

Ramparts also did stories on the Vietnam War and, as it was a left-wing magazine, they did stories that were against it. Oh and the magazine apparently also made the Black Panthers famous.

We don’t have lot of left-wing magazines in the Bay Area, I wonder why… We are a liberal area, in some way.

But at the time, it was important to Bay Area residents because it was the political magazine for the Bay Area. It was “the magazine to read” in the Bay Area as far as politic news was concerned. I don’t think the Bay Area has a lot of political magazines, not like the New Republic or the Time.

So why is the magazine not here today? I never did find out why it folded. Not enough money, probably. Or perhaps all the good writers went on to something different. In fact, a few of them went on to create Rolling Stone Magazine. Not bad…

But I just noticed something, the magazines I listed above, for the most part they are all entertainment magazines. So entertainment triumphs politics?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Using The Word "I"

“No Story is ever finished”

So what the about the phrase “happily ever after?

That was my first remark when freelance writer Mark Follman said about how stories are never finished. I guess fairy tales don’t count, but now that I think about it, Mark may have a point. After all, they don’t call them sequels for nothing. But, in news terms, a story is quite simply never done. There are always follow-up stories or other angles to a story. Stories, whether in news or in films, go on and on either in continuation or different ways. Like the “Rocky” and “James Bond” films.

Some other things Mark said when he visited my journalism class this past week included:

“Best stories I’ve read don’t have to use the word ‘I.’”

When I read opinion stories, it amazes me how a writer can write so well, without having to use the word “I.” It is a challenge, but it works. I remember writing for the [X]press last semester, and when I wrote for the opinion section, it would usually take me about an hour or so to write something. This is of course, with little research and reporting. Now at the [X]press, writers can no longer use the word “I,” and a lot of amount of research and reporting is required.

“You have a big choice to make when you put your own voice.”

You think it would be the easiest thing to write an opinion piece, as noted in the above paragraph. Just simply writing your opinion about something and occasionally saying “I believe…” or “I think…,” isn’t really good enough. Come to think of it, it does get kind of repetitive. When I was thinking about it, I think that by using “I,” it makes it more personal to the readers. It’s like writing in a diary, but everyone gets to read it. Whereas, when you don’t use “I” and instead you use the scene settings and other dialogues, it makes it more realistic and convincing. And quite frankly, it makes it more professional.

FYI: I used the word "I" 7 times.