All posts by hbcochran

The Evolution of Newspaper – Hilary Cochran – 549 words

Everywhere we look, we are flooded with media – radio, television, newspapers, magazines, online content. The buzz first started with newspapers, though. News now circulates in print, on television, and through online news websites. Newspapers were introduced in America at the closing of the 17th century after inspiration sparked from the British Empire who had been publishing news since 1665. However, they didn’t gain traction until the colonies started debating whether or not they should separate from England. At this time, newspapers became widespread with larger cities even producing multiple forms of print. People wanted to be informed and up to date with the latest intelligence. They really took off when the Revolutionary War broke out, however. People hungered for the latest updates about what was going on in the world around them. As evidence, “By the time the war ended in 1783, an estimated forty-three newspapers were operating” (Currents in Communications, 12). These companies only continued to grow in reach with the growing advancement of technology. New technology made it so both production and distribution became quicker and more efficient. Nonetheless, this new technology started to have an opposite effect. As technology progressed into the second half of the 20th century, newspapers saw a drop in readership. Many were forced to close because of the competition with expanding outlets for news. Newspaper businesses took the biggest hit in 2008 when the recession struck. The crashes in both the real-estate and auto industries took a toll on the advertisements newspapers profit off of. Though companies have struggled over the years there are still newspapers in print today, despite the online versions gaining more eyes.

Something news outlets see a lot of is convergence. Convergence is when several people, companies, or things come together from different angles to eventually meet. News does not always come from just one source. News is shared and viewed from different perspectives. It is everywhere. With convergence, news has seen the sharing of ideas and outlets. Many of the same reports are shown from differing angles on various websites and prints. Magazines are reporting, televised news stations are reporting, online websites are reporting, and newspapers are reporting. Each outlet has different audiences because each outlet reports differently and prioritizes different types of stories. However, all these sources converge to ensure viewers are informed on what’s out there. It is just the viewer’s decision on which channel or resource to tune to.

tumblr_lk9n6cThGy1qgtzilWith the readers getting more involved, companies have risen the participation with us in what they publish. On the Baltimore Sun website, readers have the ability to comment and share articles. One can share it on Facebook and voice their opinion tweet about it, email it to someone specific, or comment right on the article’s page. The website is very user friendly, pleasing to the eye, and has tabs such as “Breaking News” and “Freddie Gray.” Therefore, showing the reader, “we have what you want to hear about, the big hitting stories, all easily accessible.” The Baltimore Sun also provides video content in the case one doesn’t want to read, rather listen. It is all about what is pleasing, fun, and gets the viewer interesting. These companies are thinking about the viewer more than they ever have before because they want our attention along with so many other competitors.

Memes – Hilary Cochran and Cameron Smith

Memes are very humorous pieces of media, in the form of an image, video, or piece of text, that often go viral. Memes have been around for longer that you’d expect. They are the new way we tell jokes, stories, or spread ideas. However, instead of being passed on by word of mouth, they are shared across the worldwide web. They are spread mainly on platforms such as Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. There are also websites exclusively for meme sharing and creating such as “Can I Have a Cheezburger.”

The success of memes is largely due to its connection with Web 2.0. Web 2.0 “refers to tools that make it very easy to create and post content to the Web” and since social media platforms “are all driven by user-generated content,” the meme can thrive and be easily created and distributed (Currents in Communication).wins-a-raffletumblr_nbjpaoB0WO1sxwoyuo4_400

Some famous memes that I know of are the “Bad Luck Brian” meme, Kermit’s “But that’s none of my business,” the kid in the Spongebob PJs during picture day, and the “Hey girl” memes featuring Ryan Gosling. These memes became popular as they have the ability to fit as reactions to many different scenarios in life. They put a smile on everyone’s face and lighten up the mood. Believe it or not, memes actually can create profit. The creator just has to place an ad next to or in a video clip or picture and when it gets buzz they get pay.

In my own experience, creating a meme took creativity. You had to think about what is popular and being talked about in media today. To get views you need to share a widely accepted opinion. So for my meme I did a play on the “Hey girl” memes (similar to the one below). However, I don’t think I went about sharing it in the right way. I put mine on Tumblr. On Tumblr, you can only see how many likes and reblogs it got. Mine got a few, but I’ll never know how many eyes saw it.

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Book Review – Hilary Cochran

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The book Connected: How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think and Do by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler closely examines how the smallest things we come in contact with, whether we know it or not, affect us. Our relationships, emotions, health, economy and personal prosperity, our views are all influenced by our interactions with others. Complete strangers impact us. We are influenced by what other people do because they give us permission to perform that activity.  It makes us feel like we aren’t alone.  We strive to fit in with society so we observe it, take what we’ve learned, and reenact behaviors.

The ever-growing ways to interact with people online only increase the influence we feel. Online connection opens up new avenues for social contagion. We are exposed to hundreds of lives we’d never see without the Internet. On Facebook, we are friends with our good friends, family, not so good friends, and maybe people we’ve only met once. Seeing all their posts, we are exposed to their life and their own friends. Therefore, the links we have are endless.

The book discusses a variety of topics and examples.

  1. Being surrounded by happy people has a positive effect on our feelings of well-being.
  2. Loneliness is a cause and a consequence of becoming disconnected.
  3. If someone distantly connected to you gains weight, you have a tendency to gain weight. As weird as it sounds, it does not matter if you don’t know them to be affected by them.
  4. Etc.

The New York Times reviewed Christakis and Fowler’s book “In a category of works of brilliant originality that can stimulate and enlighten and can sometimes even change the way we understand the world.” It really opens your eyes up to how much we unconsciously pick up on and then go on to mimic.

The Guardian noted that this book is “extraordinarily rich in insights.” They rise the point that government can look at the way we are influence and with that knowledge, change our society. Crime could be combatted, drug use could be reduced, there are endless possibilities.

A big point communicated throughout this book, however, is that we are most influenced by in person contact rather than contact across social media. The spread of emotions especially needs face-to-face communication. Overall, the author’s evidence suggests that even though online networks create influence on one from another, real life relationships are the most impactful.

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Personally, I would recommend any of my friends to go pick up this book. It was published in January of 2011, but is still very relevant today. I would say it’s aimed for teens and up. It’s only $16.00 and will keep you enthralled. The 368 pages will fly by faster than you know it. It’s chalk full of very relatable examples that help us understand our nature. I found myself noticing thing that I hadn’t done before that my friends do. I started to notice the examples given in the book out in the real world. It’s crazy how many things affect us. If you’re interested in why you do some of the things you do, it’s a must read.

My Story – Europe 2014 – Hilary Cochran

For my project I decided to do a video on my trip to Europe. It was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. We visited seven different cities and three different countries in ten days over our February vacation.  It was amazing to see all the incredible sights one could only dream of.  I’m a very picky eater, but the food over there was probably the best part. It was so good. One of the most difficult parts of this project was condensing the whole trip. Pictures can’t ever tell the whole story. There are so many memories behind the still photographs that it was hard to make this video because I could never capture the whole experience. The best part of this project was going though all the pictures and remembering how much fun I had.

Celebrity Project: Taylor Swift and Ellen DeGeneres by Hilary Cochran and Cam Smith

Celebrities are famous, they’re known, they’re successful, and they’re looked up to. They are a lot of the things we wish to be. Humans are inherently driven by success. We are competitive. We all want to be the best. Celebrity is seen to be one of the highest levels of success in this world. Why else would they be famous if they weren’t good at what they do.

It is only natural for us to grow up and follow celebrities. We acquire most of the knowledge we have today by coping others. We look to the examples of others and learn from their mistakes. It’s less painful than getting injured in our own mistakes. It’s only fitting that we look up to the celebrity instead of an ordinary person because their success is obvious and flaunted, their mistakes and problems are hidden. Easily they are seen as more successful and we therefore copy the successful traits that gained them power and status.

Celebrities communicate with us though a variety of platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and even Snapchat now. Taylor Swift, for example, uses all of those forms of social media besides Snapchat to connect with her fans. This much exposure tightens the bond felt by the fan to her. With the exposure Taylor has, she still manages to remain private. Her posts are a combination of both personal and promotional. However, fans are easily able to tell when her posts are from her and when they are from her managers. She shares her likes and thoughts. She also gives us a peak into her personal life, both family and friends, with the Instagram pictures she posts. Another active celebrity on social media is Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen uses all of the social media platforms listed. Similar to Taylor, Ellen is promotional and personal, but more promotional. She is more present and posts multiple times a day, unlike Taylor who posts only a couple times a week. She does hilarious Throwback Thursdays on Instagram, Classic Joke Fridays, You’re Welcome Wednesdays (life hacks), and posts clips from her shows. Her Snapchat gets fans even closer by self-shot videos from onstage her set and of her guests.

After observing both Ellen and Taylor on social media, we interviewed a couple students around campus to see what effects celebrities have on them. All students agreed that they had a stronger connection to Taylor because she is closer to our age and she’s more relatable. Following Ellen was mainly for humor. The most popular source to connect with celebrities was Instagram and Twitter. Only a few people kept up with celebrities on Instagram and Facebook.

Children’s Television and the 3 Hour Rule – Hilary Cochran and Cam Smith

The media impacts us all; however, the most vulnerable, without a doubt, is children. They are fascinated by TV, so it really captures their attention. A recent study shows that kids in the United States spend on average more than three hours a day being influenced by television. Children’s brains are constantly growing and developing during their early years. They are like vacuums picking up information. The material that they come in contact with shapes their behavior. Therefore, in 1990, Congress enacted the Children’s Television Act, or the CTA, which mandates that more informational programming be available on television for children. This also enforced commercial time restrictions: “The FCC’s rules limit the amount of commercial matter that can be aired in certain children’s television programming to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.” Previous to this act, children could have been exposed to any sort of racy television. Now channels air shows specifically directed towards younger kids. Cartoons flood the time slots on TV. Also,Teen Kids News is an 1/2 hour weekly program that is informative, educational and entertaining for children. It airs on Saturday or Sunday mornings and acts as a substitute for the real news, which could be too much for children to handle. Another example is Sesame Street which teaching kids the alphabet and how to count secretly within the storyline of the show. In today’s world children have so much more accessibility to technology then they ever did before. With this act by Congress we’ve progressed so that’s an okay thing for children to have this much exposure without it being harmful.

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Ad Analysis – Budweiser “Friends are Waiting”

By Hilary Cochran

In 1875 Budweiser began brewing and Budweiser Lager Beer soon after became America’s first national brand beer. Budweiser’s icon, Clydesdales, made their first appearance in April of 1933. Clydesdales have since been the symbol of Budweiser beer: “the Clydesdales are more than the symbol of Budweiser beer; they are the living embodiment of America’s great industrial spirit.” However, recently a yellow Labrador puppy stole the Clydesdale’s spotlight. The duo now shares the screen in their most recent ads.

Budweiser has consistently created buzzed about commercials over the past couple years. The commercials pull at the heartstrings of their viewers with the use of Budweiser’s Clydesdales and yellow Labradors. In the ad they released this past September, “Friends are Waiting,” they are promoting the message to drink responsibly and not drive under the influence. Following their enormous success in the Super Bowl 2014 ad, “Puppy Love,” Budweiser echoed similar sentiments by bringing back the use of yellow labs as they looked to capture the same amount of eyes they had previously.

In the commercial, we are shown the relationship between a man and his dog: how they have grown together and how they became best friends. They do everything together. But, one night, the owner leaves for a party with his friends and his dog is left behind waiting for his owner’s return. The dog waits and waits. It’s all he can do. We see him looking out the window worried, playing alone with his chew toy, lonely and longing. Car lights scan across the house and he looks up hoping it’s his owner. It’s not. Dogs only understand presence. They cannot comprehend where their owner goes and if they’ll be back or not. All they can do is wait and hope that the person that their whole life depends on will walk through that front door again. The ad takes us viewers through that emotional rollercoaster of not knowing. We understand the suspense and helplessness felt as the clock ticks forward and there’s still no sight of your best friend. As the words, “For some, the waiting never ended,” roll across the screen in our anxious anticipation, a chill runs down your spine. Our eyes digest the words, “But we can change that.” We need to. This is a feeling you’d wish upon nobody else. Suddenly, the door swings open and the sun is shining the next morning. The dog perks up and greets his owner lovingly as he explains, “Hey, I’m sorry. I decided I shouldn’t drive home last night. I stayed at Dave’s.” The joy is overwhelming. The relief is flooding. He’s so happy and so are we.

The marketing approach Budweiser uses masterfully appeals to both genders, male and female. At first glance, one might believe that this ad is targeted towards men as it depicts the classic “man’s best friend” situation, but there are actually female undertones incorporated with the highly emotional storyline. It keeps everyone on the edge of his or her seat and emotionally invested. Everyone is an emotional buyer. We buy things cause they make us feel a certain way or they’ll help us get to where or who we want to be and later see it as a logical decision. Budweiser’s commercial was purely about stimulating an emotional response from its viewers for that reason. The psychological appeal is clear – it’s an emotional rollercoaster that anyone can connect to, especially people with pets. In the decision to drive home or stay overnight one would rarely think of their pet. They are often forgotten, but they rely on you the most. An interested customer would also view the “Friends are Waiting” commercial to have a positive emotional action and will in turn view Budweiser as the better beer company because it is a responsible brand that cares for their customers. Therefore, this increases their appeal and leads people to spread the word. This ad has reached over 22 million views on YouTube alone.