There are several issues facing the media industry right now – some positive, some negative. Here are six all worth following.
The New York Legislature Wants Writers and Directors to Get Work
Why are people in the television industry closely watching what happens with a state bill? Because a new bill NY State Senate Bill S4999D, which passed in 2019, allocates funds to hire underrepresented groups as writers and directors.
The legislation provides production tax incentive to companies that hire women and people of color for writing and directing jobs.
The bill, which has been championed by The Writers Guild of America, East and the Directors Guild of America, calls for incentives of up to 30% of an individual’s salary. The credit is to be capped at $150,000 in salaries and fees per person, and $50,000 per episode. The state has set aside $5 million for the program.
However, there are restrictions to the bill – candidates for the incentive must live in New York and the production must shoot in the state for a required number of days.
Exactly how this incentive will be implemented – meaning how much government paperwork it will require and how results will be tracked – has yet to be revealed.
Writers and Agents Are Still At Odds
While New York’s new bill may help some people get into a writers room, the majority of writers are still locked in a heated battle with their agents.
In May, approximately 7000 members of the Writers Guild of America fired their agents due to a dispute regarding packaging fees, a practice that writers feel keeps the agents from negotiating properly on their behalf, while also citing agencies having their own production entities as another conflict of interest.
The fight continues amid a breakdown in negotiations between the writers and agents while several lawsuits on both sides have been filed. The SEC has even become involved as one of the agencies has tried to offer an IPO, with the WGA contending that facts about the number of writers represented by the company are inaccurate.
Amid all of this, writers are still writing and content is still being created. Networks and showrunners have gotten creative in their hiring methods.
With all of the legal wrangling and television moving forward currently without the writer/agent connection, it appears this fight will drag on for some time.
For the latest information about this topic, please visit this site.
TIME’S UP Makes a Critical Move
A study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative revealed that some 83 percent of professional critics are white and 79 percent are men, while women of color, in particular, are written off as critics by a ratio of 31 to 1.
In an effort to increase representation among critics and entertainment reporters, the TIME’S UP movement has formed an initiative to address the need for representation within this area.
Partnering with Annenberg, and with support from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, TIME’S UP has launched CRITICAL, an opt-in database that allows media outlets, studios, and networks to locate and contact entertainment journalists and critics from underrepresented groups.
With a goal of bridging the gap between diverse audiences and critics who cover media, CRITICAL is also committed to increasing opportunities in journalism for people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and gender non-binary individuals.
For more information about TIME”S UP CRITICAL, please visit this site.
New California Legislation May Cost Many Writers Their Jobs
While the CRITICAL movement is working to create new jobs for journalists, new legislation in California could severely limit the opportunities for freelance work.
California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), popularly known as the “gig worker bill,” is a piece of legislation signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2019. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, it will require companies that hire independent contractors to reclassify them as employees, with a few exceptions.
This new law directly affects several industries, including the rideshare business and the trucking industry. In comes into play in the media industry because the law limits the number of submissions a freelance writer can produce for a single outlet to 35 per year.
Many entertainment reporters work in a freelance capacity, as such AB5 could potentially limit the amount of coverage networks, studios, and talent receive.
Several national outlets have already said they will no longer hire or work with journalists based in California.
The American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association have launched lawsuits against the law, as have two freelancer groups, alleging that AB5 unconstitutionally restricts free speech and the media.
For more information about AB5, please visit this site.
#PayUpHollywood Is Actually Getting Some People Pay Up
Fed up with low pay, long hours, and tyrannical bosses, the #PayUpHollywood movement may have begun as a Twitter hashtag for entertainment industry assistants to share horror stories, but it has evolved into a very real call for those in charge to make amendments to working conditions and pay a living wage.
When #PayUpHollywood movement conducted its own survey of over 1,500 assistants in the industry, they found, among other things, that assistants’ annual salaries versus the cost of living in Los Angeles were not in line..The survey found that many assistants needed extra employment just to be able to afford rent.
It appears that #PayUpHollywood has already initiated some change – talent agency Verve announced in early December that it will be increasing the pay of mailroom employees and assistants by 25 to 40 percent.The agency additionally announced that it will be offering a free dry cleaning program for all employees and that it will institute a “business casual” day on Fridays. All changes will be instituted January 1st.
Will other entertainment entities fall in line? This remains to be seen, but at least the problem has been acknowledged due to the issue getting some serious publicity.
For more about the #PayUpHollywood survey, please visit this site.
Set Your Phasers to Employment Mode, A Job On ‘Star Trek’ Could Be In Your Future
If you’ve ever wanted to work on a Star Trek series, the Television Academy Foundation has partnered with CBS Television Studios in launching an internship specifically designed for fans of the franchise.
Entitled The Star Trek Command Training Program, the 2020 summer program will place two interns on a Star Trek series with the intent of immersing the students in 360-degree production process within the ST Universe by rotating them through departments including but not limited to the writers room, wardrobe design, on-set production, animation and post-production.
The program is open to undergraduate and graduate college students nationwide. Upon selection, interns will be Los Angeles based and will earn up to $4800.
The application can be found here. The deadline to apply is 5pm PST on January 21, 2020.
‘Think Before You Link’: app launched to help social media users detect fake profiles – The Guardian
These middle school students have a warning about teens and social media – knkx.org
The town of Rockwall, Texas, has a few claims to fame: Bonafide Betties Pie Company, where “thick pies save lives”; the mega-sized Lakepointe Church; and Lake Ray Hubbard, which is lovely until the wet, Texas heat makes a shoreline stroll feel like a plod through hot butter.
Now add to that list: Rockwall is home to the middle-school winners of NPR’s fourth-annual Student Podcast Challenge.
Their entry, The Worlds We Create, is a funny and sneakily thoughtful exploration of what it means that so many teens today are “talking digitally,” instead of face-to-face. It was one of two winning entries (the high school winner is here) chosen by our judges from among more than 2,000 student podcasts from around the country.
The team behind the pod
Rockwall hugs the eastern shore of the lake and got its name from a wall-like thread of sandstone that unspools beneath the town. “Every street name sounds the same: Lakeshore, Club Lake, Lakeview, Lakeside, and so on…” says the podcast’s narrator, 8th-grader Harrison McDonald. “If it sounds like our town is boring, that’s because it is. But let’s zoom into the center of one of those neighborhoods, on Williams Middle School.”
That’s where Harrison, fellow 8th-grader Blake Turley and 7th-graders Kit Atteberry and Wesley Helmer made the podcast, as part of librarian Misti Knight’s broadcasting class. Knight began teaching Harrison and Blake last year, when they would make videos for the school’s morning announcements. “But then I realized how good [the boys] were, and so I would say this year, I’m honestly more their manager,” she laughs.
Meaning, often Ms. Knight just gives the boys the roughest of ideas and encourages them to get creative. Which is why, when Harrison came to her with an idea for NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge, she said, “Why not?”
Harrison’s interest in the contest surprised no one. He wears chunky headphones around his neck every day, like a uniform, and says he was raised on public radio. “[My family] have a system. On long road trips, we listen to This American Life. On shorter road trips, we listen to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”
Kit also brought a love of podcasting to the effort: “My dad got me into listening to podcasts, and we would just listen to them in the car and listen to them in the house. You know, he never really got into music. He was mostly into podcasts,” Kit says, especially The Moth.
For their entry, Harrison, Kit and the team wanted to explore how students at Williams Middle School, and likely every other middle and high school in the country, interact on social media. Specifically, when they go on a platform like TikTok or Instagram and create anonymous accounts to share things about school and their classmates.
“People feel anonymous, so they feel like they can do whatever they want”
For example: An account dedicated to pics of students considered “hot.”
“My friend was on there,” Blake says, “and I texted him, ‘Hey, do you know that you’re on this Instagram account?’ And he’s like, ‘What?!’ ”
Most of these accounts “aren’t even gossip,” Blake adds, “they’re just pictures of people sleeping, eating, acting surprised, acting sad.”
One account was dedicated entirely to pictures of students sleeping in class. On some accounts, students are in on the joke, but often they’re not, Harrison says.
“Through the internet … people feel anonymous, so they feel like they can do whatever they want — and get likes for it without any punishment.”
The boys found at least 81 of these accounts at Williams alone. Then they got a bold idea.
Fake it till you make it
“After seeing all of these social media pages, we decided it would be fun if we just made our own profile and posted fake gossip to see the impact it has and how it spreads through a middle school,” they explain in the podcast.
Fake gossip is putting it mildly.
“We knocked on our school police officer’s door and asked if he would pretend to arrest one of our A-V club members for the camera. Surprisingly, he actually agreed,” Harrison says.
It was the first video to go up on their new gossip account. “We didn’t think it would actually get anywhere, but less than 15 minutes later, we heard people starting to talk about it.”
Next up: The boys staged a fight in the band room, hoping a shaky camera and sound effects added in post-production would convince their classmates it was bigger and very real.
“Some of us would have kids walking up to us daily to tell us how we got absolutely destroyed in that fight or how they didn’t know we were in band. We were having fun with it now,” Harrison says in the podcast. “It didn’t take long for our fake account to start getting more followers than any other gossip account we could find.”
“Our generation prefers talking digitally”
As a social experiment, these four middle-schoolers went from quiet observers of social media to the school’s master muckrakers – even though everything they posted was utterly fake. In that way, the podcast works as a warning about the importance of media literacy — at a time when Americans half-a-century their senior are being suckered by social media every day.
But the podcast isn’t just a scold about fake news. It’s also about how, for kids their age, this is communication.
“We don’t pass notes, we send texts with our phones hidden under our desks,” Harrison says. “We don’t tell people about incidents that happened in class, we post it on TikTok. Our generation prefers talking digitally with each other from a distance, [rather] than communicating with each other in the real world.”
The boys named their podcast, The Worlds We Create.
Ms. Knight, a veteran teacher, says she’s seen these changes in students over the years.
“I just think there’s a lot less talking and a lot more, you know, swiping through their phone instead of saying, ‘Hey, guess what I saw today?’ ”
Knight has even seen it in her own family. “I would talk to my husband about, ‘Oh, did you see our eldest daughter?’ She lives in California. ‘She did this or whatever.’ And he would say, ‘How do you know this?’ ”
Her answer: “‘Because I’m following her social media and her friends’ social media.’ Because if you don’t do that, she’s probably not going to pick up the phone and call us and tell us.”
Is that inherently bad? Knight says, no, not necessarily. She does get to see more of what her daughters and her friends, far and wide, are doing.
The boys’ views are similarly complicated. All this “talking digitally” can be a real “curse” for teens, they say, especially when it hurts or excludes others. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
After all, the boys say, the whole purpose of technologies from radio to the telephone, TV to the internet, has always been to help us feel less alone and more connected – by helping us create worlds – and build communities – bigger than the ones we’re born into.
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Media Evolution iPad winners announced – Energeticcity.ca
Thank you for participating in the Media Evolution Project survey. The survey closed at the end of April and we are currently reviewing the results.
Our goal is to take the feedback we’ve received from the survey and create changes and update policy so that Energeticcity.ca can improve its local news coverage.
The goal of the Media Evolution Project is to know and understand the local audience to become a better curator of local news, through thoughtfully and strategically connected stories that the community might find valuable, that will resonate with them, and that will have a meaningful impact on them. Moorsaic Strategic Services, on behalf of Energeticcity.ca and Moose FM, is exploring how to serve the community better with news and stories that are relevant and to understand better how to increase reader trust and engagement.
We hope to share the results of the survey and some of the changes you’ll see on Energeticcity.ca this Spring.
With the survey, we held a draw for three iPad’s. Anyone that participated in the survey and agreed to enter the draw had a chance to win. The winners were picked at random using a random number generator.
Congratulations to John Boyer, Vera Walter and Karen Mason-Bennett who have each won a new iPad.
Watch for more updates on the Media Evolution: Striving to Serve project at www.energeticcity.ca/evolution or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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