News Comment 11/23

The biggest death this weekend (and mind you there seemed to be a lot including AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young and former Partridge David Cassidy) was Charles Manson. Many news cites decided to cover this news. The first place I saw it was on the TMZ Facebook page Sunday night where the headline was “Charles Manson has died. We will refrain from RIP.”  Since I don’t really consider TMZ as “reliable news” I waited until today (Monday) to check “real” news cites.

The NY Times has 24 stories about Manson in the last 24 hours in a number of their “genres” of stories. I have decided to focus on the Arts section story about how he was an “Unhinged Pop Culture Figure.” I think this is a perfect framing of Manson. He has been a big figure in pop culture for my entire life and the biggest thing I know about him is that he was crazy and he could manipulate people in to killing for him.

I found this story in particular interesting because instead of retelling the stories that most people are familiar with they decided to take a look at his impact on Pop Culture. I find this very appropriate and timely as the newest season of American Horror Story which just ended had a VERY strong Manson Family influence, going so far as to reference the family and the Tate murders directly. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of the videos to supplement the text.

This is news worthy because of the celebrity status of Charles Manson. He has been a figure that, as this story puts it, “loomed large over America.” I mean, I was born in 1996, 30 years after the Tate murders, and I still know the exact story of the murders as well as all about Manson and the Manson Family because they have had a lasting influence. I can’t even count how many movies/TV shows I have watched (yes I have kind of odd taste in movies and TV shows I choose to watch) that haven’t in some way referenced the Manson legacy.

What I thought could have been done better in this article is they could have used the same length of article and had more varied examples. They have some very good examples here such as the multitude of books, the tie in with the Beach Boys, and the addition of the Opera (which I will be looking up later) as a more our of left field entry but I think they could have expanded into film and TV choices especially since American Horror Story, which I mentioned earlier, just ended.

News Comment (11/16)

This week I decided to do a news comment about the feature I found on a celebrity since we talked about it in class. This feature talks about Patti LuPone (shocker I know). It focuses on her current run in War Paint, her rise to fame, and her “famous” feud with Andrew Lloyd Weber.

This story frames her as having a “painful” life. It talks about all her onstage injuries, her career slump after Evita, how she couldn’t be type cast but also played a lot of *gasp* “secondary characters.” It was a very odd angle to take with her career. She is legendary for what she does and this kind of makes her sound whiney.

It also definitely takes the “she is just like the rest of us” angle as well. It talks early on about how she attended the interview in pajamas, how she doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, and how she is “vanity-free.” She didn’t want to play herself on TV because she is just a working actor. She has a kid and a husband and isn’t that so relatable, guys!

Overall I think the frame of this is a little confused. Maybe the writer was trying to take a chance and be creative with the framing to dispute the “diva bitch” image but to me it just made LuPone sound whiney.

“Watch for Gesture”

As an actor I always pay attention to a person’s gestures, body language, etc. because some day maybe I can use them as inspiration for a character. The place that I do a lot of this people watching is at work. This is because I get to watch a lot of people with whom I don’t usually interact. Also because I work in an office here on campus, I get to see how students deal with “professional” situations and questions. During my most recent shift at work I encountered three very different types of these personalities.

The first student I encountered came up to the window very calmly. She sat her bag down and proceeded to ask her question. The first thing I noticed was that she folded her hands and laid them on the counter while she spoke and stood up very straight. This made her come off very controlled and like she knew why she was there but it was also a little off-putting as the person trying to help her.

The second student I assisted was the type of student I encounter most often at work. This student was a very tall, football player type of guy who came to the window and immediately leaned over on the counter resting his chest on his arms. He was a little perturbed and threw his paperwork down on the counter rather harshly. He kept looking around away from the office as if he was waiting for anyone to come save him from this interaction. He obviously wanted to be anywhere else at this time.

Finally, I encountered the very nervous student type. This person who came to the window talked very fast and gestured wildly. When I went to help her I noticed she was constantly tapping her fingers on the counter and when she wasn’t doing that I could see her wildly bouncing her heels. He posture was very tense and once the situation was resolved I immediately saw her relax.


Story #3 (Broadcast Story) Script

Good evening, I’m Joey Volquartsen and here are this week’s top stories.


The Morningside College Department or Performing Arts presents The Princess and the Pea. The Department of Performing Arts has a long tradition of presenting a show aimed at a young audience. Their offering this year was The Princess and the Pea written by Stan Gill. The group of actors performed 7 sold-out matinees for local schools as well as 2 public performances. Khiana Hume, a freshman student who played Princess Hannah is making her Morningside Theatre debut in this show. “It’s a fun atmosphere, different from high school. Everybody is so welcoming.” This children’s show is always a hit with local schools usually selling out the performances a year in advance.


Fans of the Disney Classic “The Lion King” were treated to some exciting casting news about the upcoming live action remake. On November 1st, The New York Times reported the full cast of the Lion King. The cast will be lead by box office favorites Donald Glover and James Earl Jones along with Beyonce, John Oliver, and Seth Rogan. Fans of the original movie are confused about how this movie will turn out. Morningside junior Amy Carothers says that she doesn’t know how the movie will turn out. “I’m a little confused about how they’re going to do it ‘live action’ because, you know, lions.” This movie comes in a long line of Disney live-action remakes that have relied on visual effects, such as The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast.


Twitter reported on Thursday that the person responsible for deactivating the Presidents Twitter account was a contractor. On November 2nd, President Donald Trumps Twitter account was deactivated by the company for 11 minutes. It was original reported that the stunt was pulled by a rogue customer support employee on his last day on the job but the New York Times reported on Friday that a contractor was actually responsible for the deactivation. The schemer was hailed as a hero on social media by everyone from everyday people to celebrities like Kathy Griffin who offered the one responsible a job via her own Twitter. Many people, like Morningside sophomore Grant Turner, agree that though this was a great protest it is a fireable offense. “I’m sure that whomever deleted Trump’s account had intentions of helping in some way, but that was most certainly a fireable offense.” A representative for Twitter has said that a full investigation into this stunt is under way.

News Comment (November 9)

A really interesting story has been developing over the last weekend about the deactivation of Donald Trump’s Twitter account for 11 minutes on Thursday (November 2nd). I saw this story right after I posted last weeks news comment and I wished I had covered it then but I didn’t so now I am doing it for this week causing me to post my news comment early.

The story I have linked to is more of an overall reporting of the situation from the NY Times the day after they originally reported it. In just the 24 hours they had reported that it was deactivated, that an employee on his final day was responsible, and that it was actually a contractor who was responsible. I am now glad that I did put off using this story as a news comment because I think its an interesting look in to how major news companies report things.

This was a developing story that many people were interested in because the President was involved. The news value of celebrity was obviously the driving factor here. Because of this the media reported every single update. This article, though it is a NY Times length article gives a good overview of what happened, what was reported/what is most likely true at this stage, and some reasons why this will affect Twitter as well as other companies that use contractors. I found some of the new information on Twitters previous scrutiny because it gives a whole new dynamic to the reaction to this particular incident. Honestly I didn’t care about Trump’s Twitter being deleted, especially since it was only down for 11 minutes, but I did care about the fact that someone could decide to delete an account. Finding out more about Twitters situation was a more interesting story for me and they needed the celebrity angle to make this newsworthy because I found the prank’s general conceit troubling but not interesting enough to read about but I found it funny that someone did it to Trump therefore I clicked on the story.

News Comment (November 2nd)

This week in pop culture news The New York Times reports that the Lion King live action remake has a full cast!

What I find interesting about how this is being reported though is that all the headlines have been a variation on “BEYONCE IS STARRING IN THIS MOVIE!!!! (and also these people are here).” This falls in line with the news values we have learned. This is news worthy because Beyonce is involved.

But what I find really interesting is that the story isn’t even really about Beyonce. That is a part of the news here but the story is that they announced the full cast. There are also a number of celebrities in this cast that could call for as much attention. I would have had just as much interest had the headline focused on James Earl Jones returning to the movie. I would have been even more interested had it focused on John Oliver or Billy Eichner (but thats just me). I have some friends who went nuts when I told them Donald Glover was in the movie. I assume this headline is trying to attract a younger audience but I don’t know if that is really in line with the people who read the New York times. Most millennials probably got this news from Buzzfeed before it even hit the Times.

News Comment 10? (October 26)

This week someone was caught pulling a “Producers.

Roland Scahill was sentenced to six months in prison for taking money from investors to back a fake play. This occurred between October 2014 and August 2015.

This story is probably one of the most interesting pieces of news I have read in the NY Times theatre section recently. It definitely falls under the “unusual” news value. Something like this doesn’t happen everyday and I found it very unique because it does follow (vaguely) the plot of The Producers.

I feel like this story could have benefited from being longer. The one time I would be interested to read a NY Times length story, its a short article. I want to know more about this. I want to know how, exactly, he got caught. From what I have gleaned about investing in a Broadway show you don’t speak to the stars or the organization that owns the theatre, you just talk to the person you give the money. I want to know what he did wrong in his planning.

Broadcast Story 2



Broadcast Story




The amount of time you spend on social media may be affecting your psychological state.


According to Psychology Today, studies are finding links between a person’s social media presence and the presence of the traits that make up the Dark Triad. These studies are gaining traction after two men from Ohio threated to open fire on their neighborhood if they received a 100 views on their Periscope live stream.


Social media is conducive for these dark traits because it allows users to control how they present themselves. They are able to communicate with others in selective and deliberate ways. It can drive every decision a person makes in life because they want to get attention and “likes” from their friends.


The studies show that there are specific psychological traits that are present with each social media platform. Users with a higher social media presence are said to have “grandiose exhibitionism.” This can predict how many posts selfies, statuses, and personal information they share; but can also predict how many “friends” they have and how often they accept friend requests from strangers.

Article #2 – Final

A group of students came together to present Morningside’s first ever student produced theatrical production. They hope that this will become a tradition after they and the theatre department are gone.

Earlier this year it was announced that Morningside would be phasing out the Theatre major and minors due to budget cuts. Despite this fact, the Morningside College Department of Performing Arts wants to present at least one student produced production a year.

The department has paired with Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre honor society on campus, to create the office of Student Produced Liaison. This position is dedicated to teaching new students how to put together a production team and present a show to the department. This position is currently held by Amy Carothers. “My plan is to answer any questions that students could have about proposing a student produced and putting together a production team.” She is working with Professor Taylor Clemens to put together a manual about how to put a proposal together.

The first of these student produced productions was presented October 12th-15th. The production team consisted five Theatre students and a student from the Biology department. They have worked since last year to put this production together.

When Professor Taylor Clemens’ first Applied Theatre class met in the fall of 2016 he asked the class of six students to decide the focus of the class that semester. “There was not a set syllabus for this class so I figured I could ask the students what they wanted to do,” Clemens said. They decided learning how to work on a production team which would result in the presentation of a completely student produced play the following fall.

After the first day of class the group worked together to assign the responsibilities of a production team, choose a play, and put together a proposal to present to the department. Once that was all ready they made a presentation to members of the theatre department in the hopes to present the show during the fall 2017 semester. The department accepted their proposal and work began on the show.

The production they decided to present was Love, Sex and the I.R.S. by Bill Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. The show centers around a pair of male roommates, Jon and Leslie, who run into trouble when the I.R.S. notices that Jon has been claiming that he and Leslie are married. Hilarity ensues when Leslie is forced to dress like a woman to throw Mr. Spinner off of their tracks.

The production was directed by Brock Bourek. Brock said that “directing was something I never thought I would enjoy but I really do.” He was able to try his hand at directing during the spring semester of 2017 when he directed a one-act.

Next Page »