The Development of the Newspaper – 640

By: Eric Hickman

Newspapers have been the principal mass medium for the American people dating back to the American Revolution, and other societies across the globe. In its early days in the British North American colonies much of the newspapers were censored and subject to governmental restrictions. However, with the American victory for independence and separation from England, the newspaper changed drastically allowing the public to distribute opinionated articles to surrounding communities, lending itself to the First Amendment in the US Constitution.


Beginning in the early 1800’s technological advances around the world helped spark a growth in the number of papers available to larger audiences. Steam engines, the telegraph, and the Linotype were developed to increase the availability and production of newsprint and to destroy distance barriers all at a lower cost (textbook 319).

In America, newspapers developed from more opinionated editorials to informative ones about political and social issues. Nonetheless, the industry produced newspaper chains that took much control over the information exposed to the public. Newspaper conglomerates began to rule the communication world up until the second half of he 20th century, where newspaper readership saw a decline facing competition from technological advancements in the mass medium world.

Radio and the television imposed constraints on the newspaper and forced many paper companies to close. Radio and television methods of broadcasting information came at a much cheaper cost. These new mediums also allowed for easier circulation and ease for the viewer of actually consuming the information instead of carrying around large pieces of paper. Furthermore, the electronic Web was created that manifested more efficient and effective ways to spread societal information to the public. For example, Web-based publications eliminated large staffs and relied on independent bloggers. All in all, the newspaper saw its end in the mid-twentieth century unless they were to devise new business strategies to make newspapers more practical.

With the rise of the Internet, the world of communications witnessed so-called convergence. This is the interconnection of old media with the new. The digital world now permits media professionals to tell stories and disseminate information and entertainment through a variety of media. It also allows users to interact and choose what it wants to view.


The convergence factor became the slow death of the print industry. The demand for content has become increased, which new media can do with instantly updating news. Newspaper information cannot be updated at will or be reversed if new developing stories appear. In addition, newspapers come at a price, whereas people want free information from convenient sources.There is not much the print industry can do to compete against the technological advancements, and eventually the newspaper audience will die out. Nonetheless, it is up to these companies on whether or not they want to go online to reach viewers, like The Baltimore Sun has engaged in.

The Baltimore Sun is a prime example of successfully utilizing the electronic web to publish information in adapting to convergence society. All businesses should look to innovate, because it is very rare that company strategies last forever. If you look at The Baltimore Sun website it contains the information that it would in a print version. The perks of the online articles are that viewers can post comments on articles and interact with other people and their opinions. You can even views videos that heighten the suspense and interest in a story. The Baltimore Sun even has its own app so followers can get instant updates on news breaking stories or view articles on the go. Since moving to Baltimore I have started following The Baltimore Sun’s twitter account, and learn much about what is going on in the city. They tweet only important information, which is what I really want to hear. In today’s world the people have the power, and it’s the media industries goal to match their expectations and demands.


My Story – A Trip to Scotland

By Eric Hickman

I chose to create a narrative story on my weekend trip to Scotland because it was a short and slightly unplanned trip, yet turned out to be thrilling and unimaginable, including some winter storms. My father visited me while I was abroad in England for about four days and we made the most of it. We woke up early one morning and drove a rented car all throughout Scotland to visit historic cities and to golf. Since I was little I’ve been a member at a golf course where my father taught me the fundamentals. I’ve now grown up to be a pretty good player and enjoy every aspect of the game of golf. Scotland is the home of golf and embodies the rich heritage the game has to offer. My dad and I are also huge fans of the movie Braveheart and idolize everything William Wallace stands for. It was a pleasure visiting the Wallace Monument dedicated to him. Ultimately, it was great to enjoy ourselves together in a place so far away from home.

I conveyed my story as a travel experience and narrated it in the order the events took place. I had a somewhat difficult time at first learning how to create this video because I am unfamiliar with iMovie and other software lending itself to video making. The hardest parts were learning how to create a video that flows. There were many abrupt beginnings and endings to my clips and I had to learn how to adjust volume and length to be visually and audio pleasing to a viewer. In my video I shot everything myself, except three images of Edinburgh, because I did not take any while there.

Celebrity Web Blog Post – Tiger Woods

By Eric Hickman

U.S. Open - Final Round

Tiger Wood’s Twitter account tweets information about Tiger’s professional life as a golfer and as a company icon for Nike. Most of the tweets from Tiger’s account are about his performances at golf tournaments and his positive outlook on his play and the future. His social media account looks to publicize him in a wonderful way, while it also looks to advertise some of his Nike products and the company itself.

Here is a recent tweet from Tiger Woods: “Lots of you have been asking about the shoes I wore at The Players. Yes they’re new, more info to follow. #TW14

There seem to never be negative tweets that make Woods look like a complainer or someone who has many regrets.Woods doesn’t post anything about what he’s doing at a particular point in time or his every minute thoughts like many celebrities. I find Tiger’s tweeting approach to be a more conservative one and it seems he has more important things to be accomplishing then giving out too much information everyday. This account is more about his professional life than his personal one.

Today in our social mediated world, the public can see much into peoples’ lives from status updates to photos, and things being said about someone online. Social media allows us to connect and share our lives to friends and family, but it can also be disturbing how our social identity can be tarnished from information publicized that is inappropriate and viewed different by outsiders.

Tiger Woods overall I believe has been neutrally affected by new media technology. From his younger days on the PGA Tour he earned so much money and fame from being televised winning many tournaments. He is also one of the most popular people to buzz about on social media. In addition he was Nike’s highlighted celebrity advertiser publicized through media. However, with the recent scandal of Tiger’s affairs, his life has been devastated through many different forms of media. Today, his personal problems are gradually becoming the past and he is starting to once again resemble his “glory days” with his great golfing and stable relationship with U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.

Anyone today can be recognized and become a celebrity through the use of social media. Unlike the past when only a limited number of people could be idolized through the limited forms of media, today everyone can access and interact online. It only takes an interesting video or act to become a hit.


By: Eric Hickman

Red Bull is an energy drink sold by the private Austrian company Red Bull GmbH, founded in 1987. It is currently the most popular energy drink in the world, selling 5.2 billion cans in 2012. Today, after twenty-five years of service, Red Bull is available in more than 165 countries and more than 35 billion cans have been consumed thus far. People recognize the company Red Bull for their determination to sponsor events and people around the world, including subsidiaries such as the professional soccer team New York Red Bulls. The company’s motto “Red Bull Gives You Wings” captures the image of how the drink can change one’s life. Because of Red Bull’s outstanding résumé, I decided to choose Red Bull’s highly viewed 2013 World of Red Bull Commercial to seek out the secrets behind the business’s global success. Below is a link to the ad.

This epic and inspiring commercial for Red Bull shows various people doing extreme sports and activities. The ad begins with the scenes where these activities take place – an ocean wave, the Grand Canyon, a snowy mountaintop, a rocky mountain. Then we see the athletes – a squirrel suit wing glider jumping off a cliff, a racecar driver, a motor cross biker doing flips off a ramp, a whitewater kayaker going over a waterfall, a surfer jumping and spinning over a wave, a skier flying through the air, and finally Felix Baumgartner’s jump from the stratosphere. The commercial is accompanied by motivational music and a voiceover that reads, “I think it’s human nature to want to explore. To find your line and go beyond it. The only limit is the one you set yourself.” Lastly, the advertisement ends with a can of Red Bull displayed alone, which lends itself to the idea that drinking a can will give you the energy and motivation to take part in the remarkable activities shown.


Red Bull did a great job of putting this commercial together by adequately propagating the company’s vision of its drink, which is Red Bull “gives wings” to talented and creative individuals in sports and culture, and enables these individuals to challenge their limits and to test the impossible. The commercial makes it hard not to feel powerful emotions. The song alone is very inspiring, thought provoking, and stimulates one’s curiosity. Red Bull also illustrates aesthetically pleasing images shot with high-tech cameras by experienced cameramen. The visuals of the world’s different landscapes, followed by men looking as if they are conquering these sites, produces a feeling of hope in the viewer that they too can explore the world and can accomplish their goals. The commercial slows down the different video clips of the skilled athletes, really letting the powerful images soak into the audience’s mind and soul. With the music and narrator’s soft, but moving tone, the viewer is left speechless and touched by this powerful audio-visual advertisement. From there, the commercial ends with the illuminated can of Red Bull contrasted against a dark blue background, expressing that this energy drink can give people the strength and concentration to go out and take on unimaginably exciting tasks on this beautiful Earth.

It can also be understood from this commercial that Red Bull’s target audience is young males from any country. This commercial only shows men exercising their specific talents. Women and men both drink energy drinks, but it is clear that men do consume more of these types of drinks. In this case, Red Bull is smart in getting the attention of its desired viewers, which is men between the ages of 18 and 35. The commercial possesses a masculine feel to it, with the actors taking on extreme sports on extreme levels. Men want the task of testing their limits and getting this type of attention, so it is Red Bull’s plan to create an energy drink that will permit males to do sports and activities of this personality.

Although Red Bull has been criticized for negative health effects on consumers in the past and currently, the company believes their product contains high quality ingredients necessary to vitalize the body and mind. Red Bull GmbH stresses the drink increases alertness, contributes to normal mental performance, as well as contributes to the reduction of fatigue. Ultimately, Red Bull’s 2012 World of Red Bull Commercial was crafted similar to this year’s 2013 ad, and I’m sure future advertisements will consistently convey the same message and technical aspects to benefit this successful company.

20 Questions About Youth and the Media (Book Review)

By Eric Hickman

From the review written by Molly Swiger, it is understood that in the book 20 Questions About Youth and the Media, editor Sharon Mazzarella divides the book into twenty chapters, addressing different topics in each chapter on issues within the field of youth and media. The twenty chapters are split into three different sections, with Part I considering the factions that have dictated the debate about youth and the media. Part II deals with studies on youth and the media within the empirical tradition and part III focuses on culture research. The author of the review gives a brief summary of all twenty chapters and in the end gives a personal opinion on her experience of the book.


The chapters within Part I touch on issues as to what entities have dominated discussions about youth and the media, and how the youth have become to be defined as a special group of people that are viewed as innocent and in need of protection from what some media have to offer. Most of the chapters in Part I seem to touch on historical context, and briefly focus on the threats of media on children. Furthermore, Part I focuses on how theories of developmental psychology can inform us about the effects of media on children, and how the youth process the information. Moving forward into Part II, the book concerns with research on media and the youth based off observations and experiences. It once again touches on the negative affects of media and children, with examples of the media’s use of violence and media desensitizing children. However, a few chapters in Part II are optimistic in tone, covering educational television and the positives of media literacy. Lastly, in Part III, the book explores the various roles media has in the lives of young people instead of the effects it has on the youth. It discusses how communication technologies are important to family life, consumerism, self-identities, and more.

Overall, I find that this book covers many important questions that are asked today about youth and the media. The books seems very broad and does not dive into specifics, but is good for an overall picture of issues on communication technology and young people. If there is a specific issue that the reader finds interesting, then this is a good starting point for further research. I believe this book can serve a wide audience, but is particularly more appealing to the youthful. I also got a sense that this book pertains mainly to our American culture, which is not a bad thing, but it would be helpful to include a global perspective. Ultimately, 20 Questions About Youth and the Media seems like a book I would read, which would be relevant to my life. It would be a good starting point for my communication studies, and if I was intrigued by a particular topic I could use other sources to learn more.

Here is a link to the review written by Molly Swiger. Also here is a great link provided on the web which looks at the opportunity and risks the media presents to children and youth. Click here.

My Media Bio – Spike Lee

By Eric Hickman

Spike Lee is a pioneering African-American film director, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1957. His movies reflect his personal vision and a compelling look at American society. Throughout his career, Lee has fought to open doors for black filmmakers, saying the film industry still does not respect the achievements of African-American directors. Lee also had a clear vision for what he wants to achieve as a filmmaker. “Growing up in this country, the rich culture I saw in my neighborhood, in my family— I didn’t see that on television or on the movie screen. It was always my ambition that if I was successful, I would try to portray a truthful portrait of African Americans in this country, negative and positive.”

Lee has a production company named 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, which has produced over 35 films since 1983. More information on his company can be found here. Also to find more out on Spike Lee’s life story, take a look at this video which conveys a great information. Click here.