Category Archives: Media

And now for something completely different. . .

We’re always willing to sit back and given a listen when older British actors sit down to reminisce.

British actors traditionally flowed easily between film, television, and, of course, the stage, unlike in the United States [until recently], where agents typically kept film stars off the tube, and where the capitals of stage and film are a continent apart.

Today’s video treat comes from this year’s Mill Valley Film Festival, across the Bay from Casa esnl, where one of Britain’s finest actors, Sir. Ian McKellen, sat down, microphone in hand, to pay tribute to the women of film — both in front of the camera and behind it — who have graced his life.

From the Mill Valley Film Festival:

Ian McKellen Remembers. . . Women I’ve Filmed with

Program notes:

From Ava Gardner and Meryl Streep to Mrs. Harold Pinter and Laura Linney, McKellen has worked with the best on screen. This one-hour talk was a unique event devised exclusively for MVFF. A great companion piece to his Tribute at the Festival, his presentation highlighted his work with some of cinema’s most legendary actresses, including Gardner, Streep, Pinter, and Linney as well as Grace Kelly, Flora Robson, Sandy Dennis, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Annette Bening, Lynn Redgrave, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates, Stockard Channing, Halle Berry, Natasha Richardson, Audrey Tatou, and Cate Blanchett.

Chris Hedges hosts a new show on Telesur

Telesur English is getting very interesting. In addition to weekly episodes of shows by esnl favorites Abby Martin and Laura Flanders, the Venezuelan broadcaster has added the inimitable Chris Hedges, former Mideast bureau chief for the New York Times.

In this latest episode of Days of Revolt, Hedges discusses the insidious nature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] with attorney Kevin Zeese, co-director of and It’s Our Economy, an organization that advocates for democratizing the economy. Zeese is a political activist and former press spokesperson for Ralph Nader, and in an unsuccessful 2006 Senate run, he was the only candidate ever nominated simultaneously by the Green, Libertarian, and Populist parties.

From Telesur English:

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

An excerpt from the transcript, discussing the TPP’s provision for overturning the power of the American judiciary in the interests of the corporation:

HEDGES: And they’re not allowed to make any amendments, no changes, nothing.

ZEESE: No amendments. Up or down vote. That’s it. And in the Senate, there’s no filibuster, so it’s only 50 percent. You can’t force them to 60 votes. It’s only 51 they need. And so it’s a very restricted Congress.

And all these agreements, by the way, as Ralph mentions in that quote, greatly restrict each branch of government, and Congress [crosstalk]

HEDGES: Well, let’s talk a little bit about how they do that, this kind of–part of this kind of creeping coup d’état, corporate coup d’état that’s taking place.

ZEESE: And I just want to say one more thing about this coup d’état. This is just one aspect of it. We’re seeing the corporate power grow in the United States with Citizens United and the buying of elections and all that corruption. But we’re also–out of places like the World Economic Forum, they’ve come out with a working group called the–that’s redesigning, the Global Redesign Initiative that’s redesigning the way governance works to minimize the nationstate and maximize transnational–. They want the UN to become a hybrid government and corporate body. So that’s what the World Economic Forum is working on as this is all going on, too. So this is a big, big fight about where we go. This is the epic struggle of our times, corporate power versus people power.

Now, the way that they–what Ralph was talking about in that quote was one aspect of this, which is the trade tribunal system, which already exists, but this is expanded. For the first time, for example, financial services can use the trade tribunals to overrule legislation to regulate the big banks.

HEDGES: Now, these trade tribunals, they’re three-person tribunals. They’re made up of corporate lawyers. One of the things I think I was speaking with you that you told me is that if you’re a citizen or advocacy group, you’re excluded from even going to these.

ZEESE: Yeah. You know, in our federal court system, which is the third branch of government that–Ralph’s favorite branch, I think. He just opened the museum in his —

HEDGES: Right, a tort museum.

ZEESE: — in his hometown, a tort museum, which is a great museum. People should go to Winsted to see it, by the way.

But, anyway, in our federal court system, an individual can sue a corporation. They can find a lawyer who takes it on retainer, only get paid if they win. You get a jury of your peers to decide it. That’s a real court system. It has lots of weaknesses that need to be improved on. They’ve been cutting back on it is much as they could with so-called tort reform–as Ralph calls tort deform. And so it’s getting weaker. But it’s still an important branch of government.

This overrules that. Our courts cannot review what a trade tribunal does. The trade tribunal judges are three corporate lawyers who can also represent corporations in other cases. So there’s a real conflict of interest here, because if you’re a lawyer who’s filing suits on behalf of corporations at these trade tribunals, you want to broaden the power of the trade tribunal and the corporation. So as a judge, you can decide things that, say, corporations have this power, corporations have that power, no, that the security issue doesn’t matter, the corporation still wins. They can create legal fictions.

Headline of the day II: A new rival to the NSA?

From Pacific Standard:

Your Television May Be Watching You More Than You Watch It

Vizio, one of the most popular brands on the market, is offering advertisers “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale.”

High Facebook ‘likes’ stress out recipients

Last week we noted that researchers in Denmark found that folks who ditch Facebook are happier after they do.

And now research from Sonia Lupien, professor at the University of Montreal’s Department of Psychiatry and Scientific Director of the university’s affiliated Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal Research Center, gives us an idea why that’s so.

From Newswise:

Facebook can have positive and negative effects on teens levels of a stress hormone, say researchers at the University of Montreal and the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal. Led by Professor Sonia Lupien, the team found that having more than 300 Facebook friends increased teens’ levels of cortisol. On the other hand, teens who act in ways that support their Facebook friends – for example, by liking what they posted or sending them words of encouragement – decreased their levels of cortisol. Their findings were published in Psychoneuroendocrinology.

Lupien and her colleagues recruited 88 participants aged 12-17 years who were asked about their frequency of use of Facebook, their number of friends on the social media site, their self-promoting behaviour, and finally, the supporting behaviour they displayed toward their friends. Along with these four measures, the team collected cortisol samples of the participating adolescents. The samples were taken four times a day for three days.

Stress levels measured in adolescents from cortisol samples are obviously not entirely due to the popular social media site. “While other important external factors are also responsible, we estimated that the isolated effect of Facebook on cortisol was around eight percent,” Lupien said. “We were able to show that beyond 300 Facebook friends, adolescents showed higher cortisol levels; we can therefore imagine that those who have 1,000 or 2,000 friends on Facebook may be subjected to even greater stress.”

Other studies have shown that high morning cortisol levels at 13 years increase the risk of suffering from depression at 16 years by 37%. While none of the adolescents suffered from depression at the time of the study, Lupien could not conclude that they were free from an increased risk of developing it. “We did not observe depression in our participants. However, adolescents who present high stress hormone levels do not become depressed immediately; it can occur later on,” Lupien said. “Some studies have shown that it may take 11 years before the onset of severe depression in children who consistently had high cortisol levels.”

The study is one of the first in the emerging field of cyberpsychology to focus on the effects of Facebook on well-being. “The preliminary nature of our findings will require refined measurement of Facebook behaviors in relation to physiological functioning and we will need to undertake future studies to determine whether these effects exist in younger children and adults,” Lupien said. “Developmental analysis could also reveal whether virtual stress is indeed ‘getting over the screen and under the skin’ to modulate neurobiological processes related to adaptation.”

The study, “Facebook behaviors associated with diurnal cortisol in adolescents: Is befriending stressful?,” was published in Psychoneuroendocrinology and would cost a nonsubscriber $35.95, with the proceeds going to the rapacious Elsevier.

Chart of the day: Press freedom limits defined

From that same Pew Research Center Report, Global Support for Principle of Free Expression, but Opposition to Some Forms of Speech [PDF], that gave us our Map of the day:

Microsoft Word - Pew Research Center Democracy Report FINAL Nove

Headline of the day: A bloody silver lining

From The Intercept:

Stock Prices of Weapons Manufacturers Soaring Since Paris Attack

The private-sector industrial prong of the Military and Surveillance State always wins, but especially when the media’s war juices start flowing

Blood on the newsroom floor. . .

And a whole lot of it.

It’s been a while since we posted a roundup of layoffs and closings in the Fourth Estate, and there’s plenty of the first and some of the second to cover.

First, one of America’s largest newspaper companies just dropped a turkey into the laps of its workers, and just in time for Thanksgiving.

From the Los Angeles Times, one of the papers affected:

Tribune Publishing has approved buyouts for about 7% of its eligible 7,000 employees across its media portfolio, according to a Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC filing did not include the specific number of buyouts at each newspaper or the job functions. The Chicago-based company owns 11 major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and San Diego Union-Tribune, which it acquired in May for $85 million.

The separation plan, which will be funded through salary continuation extending through the first half of 2018, will result in a total charge of approximately $55 million for all related severance, benefits and taxes, the company said. Tribune Publishing will record a charge estimated at $47 million during the fourth quarter related to the buyouts.

Last day for workers who opt out? It’s 25 November, the day before Thanksgiving.

Newspapers & Technology reported 21 October on an earlier downsizing effort by Tribune Media:

The Casey Brown Company acquired The San Diego Union-Tribune’s headquarters in Mission Valley, California for $52 million from former U-T Publisher Doug Manchester.

When Tribune Media Company acquired The Union-Tribune from Manchester, the paper’s printing operations were moved to Los Angeles. The property in Mission Valley was not part of the sale and the paper announced it would be looking for office space downtown.

CBRE will be leasing the 13-acre property, which includes a 170,000-square-foot, five-story office building and a 190,000-square-foot, three-story industrial building, which was the newspaper’s printing plant.

Lots of bad news for the Fourth Estate in Pennsylvania.

First up, this from a 4 November announcement by the Newspaper Guild of Greater Philadelphia:

In an astonishing display of misdirected management, the Company today announced layoffs that decimate what just days ago the new publisher identified as the key to our future – digital reach and our unique print brand

Of the staff of 29, 17 Guild members will be gone as of Dec. 4.

At the Daily News, 10 reporters, including one as senior as 16 years, will be let go. Joining them in unemployment will be six copy editors, leaving one person to copy edit news (other than sports) and features. An editorial assistant that has served this company for 25 years is also among the casualties.

The Inquirer will lose five reporters, six copy editors and desk assistants, including an assigning editor, and one news artist.

More bad Pennsylvania news reported Tuesday by Poynter MediaWire:

Trib Total Media, which owns the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the Valley News Dispatch, announced consolidation and layoffs on Tuesday in a memo.

As part of a strategic growth plan developed by our Board of Directors, we have decided to sharpen our focus through the sale and consolidation of several newspapers. We are consolidating the Tribune-Review, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and the Valley News Dispatch into one paper – the Tribune-Review.

That consolidation includes 153 layoffs, “this is in addition to 68 long-term employees who accepted the buyout offer we made in August.” In addition, the company indicated that if it doesn’t find “suitable buyers in the next 60 days” for two other papers, it will eliminate an additional 91 people. A press release notes that TTM will roll out several digital platforms next year, and that the company has a total of 1,100 full-and-part-time employees.

More bad news from Boston by way of the Daily Free Press, Boston University’s student paper:

When Sarah Roberts started working as a metro correspondent for The Boston Globe in July, she overheard her higher-ups discussing recent buyouts and upcoming layoffs. More recently, Roberts and her colleagues have noticed something different. Desks were cleared of yellowing newspapers, computer monitors were removed and picture frames were pulled from the walls of the copy editing department’s workspace.

In the past month, the Globe laid off nearly two dozen staff members in addition to the 17 who accepted a recent buyout. A majority of the layoffs came from the copy desk, which raises concern over the future of careers in traditional journalism in the landscape of changing media.

Lou Ureneck, a journalism professor in the College of Communication and former deputy managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, said the driving force behind the layoffs was business, not journalism.

If you’re wondering who was going to be filling the space left by those fallen journalists, the answer is corporate public relations spinners.

From a 9 November post by Newspapers & Technology:

The Boston Globe inked its first sponsored content deal with the Rockland Trust Company.

The campaign will run for 18-months and will feature Rockland Trust-sponsored content designed to educate business on how to successfully run, grow and overcome the challenges that arise as they expand. Rockland Trust will also sponsor the Globe’s Talking Points column. The written content will be authored by Boston Globe Media’s new content services business unit.

The sponsorship initiative also includes six business networking events, branded delivery truck wraps, poly bags and honor boxes. New Globe readers who sign up for a digital subscription service will receive a two-week free trial of courtesy of Rockland Trust.

Wednesday brought bad news for Connecticut print journalists. Covered by the New Haven Independent:

Another wave of layoffs has hit the New Haven Register, this time affecting copyeditors and sports staffers, among others.

Unlike in past layoffs, management refused to confirm details of the latest moves. Nor did management hold a newsroom meeting or distribute a companywide memo (another departure from past practice). So no firm numbers of layoffs were available. Register employees were left to sharing rumors and firsthand reports from laid-off coworkers all day Tuesday to gauge how hard their paper was hit this time.

According to people familiar with the layoffs, as many as 30 employees—certainly more than 20—are believed to have lost their jobs in New Haven and at the company’s Torrington daily paper and monthly Connecticut magazine.

There’s a whole lot more after the jump, with imminent newspaper closings in Minnesota, two newspapers folding in Ohio, layoffs in Atlanta and South Carolina, layoffs at a national newspaper, bad news for National Geographic, porn magazine layoffs, Canadian television journalists axed and a Canadian paper outsources, plus some collateral damage. . .all after the jump: Continue reading