November, 2017

News Comment (11/30)

My news feed this week has been dominated by the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle since it crosses over into entertainment news AND regular news. This is newsworthy because the royals attract a lot of attention and the fact that he is marrying a (and this quote comes from a different story than the one I am linking) “mixed race, American divorcee.”

This is not the norm for the royal family. “Important” royals are known to marry “commoners” (i.e. Princess Diana, Kate Middleton) but not usually Americans. Because of the oddity of the engagement, the high-profile position of Prince Harry, and the celebrity status of Markle makes this important to a wider audience that even that of the last royal engagement.

This news has been reported by all kinds of news outlets with them all taking different spins on the story. Many just reported that it happened like the Daily News article I linked to. The Washington Post took to reporting on the last time a British royal married an American divorcee.

My personal favorite was the Buzzfeed post that compiled all of the tweets about the engagement where my favorite quote of this story came from which was “Prince Harry is marrying a mixed race, American divorcee and you know that is just Diana’s way of giving the finger to the queen.” I really like when news sites show some reaction from the public in their pieces. Buzzed takes that to the extreme sometimes making that their entire story but when done well I really enjoy hearing snarky comments from Twitter, Facebook, etc.


Over Thanksgiving break, Dylan Ferguson and his mom were browsing the Walmart Black Friday ad. His mom expressed some interest in getting one of the 4K TVs that was on sale. In that moment Dylan decided what he was getting his mom for Christmas.

Black Friday is a shopping day that can strike fear in to the hearts of the most avid shoppers. Customers can brave extreme crowds to get the best deals on some of the hottest gifts for the holiday season. Dylan, who gets very anxious in crowds and always expects the worst to happen, took his chances against the multitude of bargain hunters to pick up the perfect gift for his mom.

At 5:30 on Thanksgiving Day, Dylan took advantage of his families lazy afternoon to sneak off to Walmart to obtain the television. When he arrived he had trouble finding a parking spot. “It was the busiest I have EVER seen Walmart.” The crowds made it difficult for him to get to the electronics section and pick up the gift. He was greeted by shouts from people he knew and even groped by strangers.

Once he finally had the TV in hand he proceeded to the checkout where he was faced with a 45 minute line. When it was finally his turn his card was declined. “Thankfully I just wasn’t paying attention and was trying to use an old gift card, so I was able to check out.” Once he arrived home he couldn’t wait to give the TV to his mom so he decided just to walk in and give it to her. She was very pleased with the gift.

Dylan had to return to Walmart on Friday to pick up some supplies for a recipe his family was making and to his dismay there were still TVs at the sale price available for purchase. He says that even though he could have avoided the holiday crowds he does not regret his decision to shop early. “Whatever I can do to make Mom happy!”

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.