All posts by ModernMediaMix

UNI Digital Media Students at the NAB Radio Show!

Six students from the UNI Digital Media program traveled to Orlando, Florida for four days of intensive learning about the radio industry. The NAB Radio Show started off with some great speakers and live performances. Each of us were interested in taking away something specific from the Show, from the sales area, or management, or learning more about on-air personalities, and we picked sessions that fit our interests!

NAB Radio ShowNick went to the Radio Show to learn more about promotions and marketing: “I sat in on a few different sessions dealing with SEO marketing, growing databases, and strategies to increase revenue across all media platforms. A company called Boostability, talked about how radio ads prompt online searches, and how they can improve SEO ranking. Second Street Marketing shared that if you use integrated marketing you will find the best audience and push great results.”

Along with these great sessions and speakers, there were also booths in the exhibition area, and we were able to interact with businesses in the industry, especially on the technology side of things: from businesses focused on building better marketing and promotions, to companies that build soundboards. And we really enjoyed all the free stuff from each booth: T-shirts, water bottles, full size candy bars, and lots and lots of mints!

For Monica and Brandon, they went to the Radio Show for the networking. On the last day of the Show there was career fair, and they enjoyed the opportunity to network and pitch themselves for future careers in the industry.

While at the 2018 NAB Radio Show, we took pictures and shot video as a way of sharing our experience with everyone in UNI Digital Media. Check out our trip by clicking the links below!

Here are pictures from our NAB Radio Show trip that we posted on UNI Digital Media Facebook. And here is the short video we created about what we learned and experienced.

On behalf of the University of Northern Iowa’s Digital Media program, and the participants in this year’s Radio Show in Orlando, we want to give a big thank you to Professor Torre for taking us on this trip, and to the Iowa Broadcasters Association for this great opportunity to interact and gain experience in the industry! Last but not least, we want to offer our congratulations to the legendary John David for being recognized with the National Radio Award (as featured in the picture above). Well deserved, Mr. David!

-Monica Cruise

New Technology From Apple – Is the Price Tag Worth It?

On September 12, 2018, Apple held their annual new product release and it featured three new phones and an impressive new watch. There was much anticipation to see the new upgrades from the previous year when we got the iPhone X. This year we saw a bigger jump in the price for the new products but that has been a consistent factor every year. Some people were let down with the new releases while others have been thinking Apple is starting to stray away from some markets and they are putting more focus towards others.

Apple

Apple unveiled three new smartphones at the event, the iPhone Xr, Xs and the Xs Max. The Xr is the cheaper version but still offers the OLED edge to edge screen and offers up to 5 different color choices. The Xs and Xs Max didn’t obtain too many significant changes other than an upgraded camera and faster processor chip and the Max has an impressive larger 6.5 inch screen.

Also the new Apple Watch boasts some new interesting features like an EKG sensor that can detect heart rate and has new fall detection. A new release of a dual sim and esim could be in the future iPhones and they offer consumers multiple different benefits, a few would be two numbers on one phone, significantly increased battery life, and phones with stronger and better material.

With the new iPhones released, it left customers confused why they should upgrade to the new phone. For example, users with the previous year’s iPhone X have little to no reason to upgrade unless they want a bigger screen, but the price tag might be holding them back. For certain users who don’t have the iPhone X, they could be interested in upgrading to the new phone for the new edge to edge screen and face unlock feature. But the new software update, iOs12 is claiming that older phones are working better which makes older phone users an even stronger reason not to upgrade

Apple’s new focus is on their ‘wearables’ category which includes their watch and airpods or headphones. They shared that their wearables market has grown around 50% each year and now holds an impressive $9 billion dollar industry that is around the size of a Fortune 500 company. The reason Apple boasts they’re so successful in this market is because of no real competitors. Fitbit is their greatest threat which is only a $1.4 billion dollar company and has shown signs of depression in the last year. Apple has said they want to join the market for over the ear headphones because of the market that Dr. Dre Beats currently are holding. Some of the future features they want to add to their wearable products are making them be Siri-enabled and waterproof with wireless charging. They think these key features could drag even more consumers away from other brands who don’t offer those features.

Apple currently is manufacturing their processing chips with Intel but noted that they want to eventually part ways with the company. Their goal is to make their chips in-house which would save them money in the long run and could provide bigger opportunities for improving their products.

Another big problem Apple has run into, is their artificial intelligence or AI. Smartphones with AI that can understand and interact with the consumer are going to be the future of technology and Apple is falling behind in the race. Google and Amazon have taken a lead in the AI race with Google having its pixel 2 smartphone being able to translate in real time and Amazon improving their already impressive home Alexa.

Apple has some big decisions they need to make in the next coming years if they want to stay in some markets or drop and focus heavily on others. What would you like to see from Apple in the future if you are a customer, or how do you think they should invest in the coming years?

-Jordan Stevenson

Beta Backers – The New and Dangerous Way to Support a Video Game

Over the past few years, Video game companies have started a new approach to delivering their final product to their consumers, giving them an option to offer feedback towards the final product and playing early at the cost of a few dollars. While it might be fun to play the game early and feel like a part of the development process, there are risks involved in being in the Early Access phase of a game.

video gameBefore the introduction of the internet, video games were sold as a final product as either a cartridge or CD. Now with most consoles and PCs having access to the internet, companies can make changes quickly depending on consumer feedback.

video game

What makes a product in beta any better than a fully finished product? Early Access / Betas for video games can be a win-win for both the developers as well as those purchasing the product: developers now have funds to further develop their game to their liking and those that purchased the game can play it earlier than others as well as giving their helpful advice or criticism early into the development cycle allowing the developers time to change some of the problems to make the community happy.

video gameAs small and large development teams alike might take advantage of this strategy and have those that the game give feedback as well as submitting bug reports and crash reports to make their game more stable for the final release. Ben Kurchera of Polygon says it the best:

“…the process often feels like listening to the demos of your favorite band as they’re in the studio recording”

Sure there are problems…While a successful beta can lead to quality word of mouth from reputable sources and peers alike, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch, and by a few, there are quite a few bad apples. According to Steam Early Access in 2014, there was an increase in Early Access games by 123% from the previous year. While that might seem like there is a good quality of games in the Steam store, only about 25% of these Early Access games actually see a full release. Games like Cube World blew up in 2013 generating millions of views on Youtube, but despite the overall well received game, Cube World creator Wollay has gone silent since July 2017.

Today, using Valve Steam’s Application Programming Interface, Steamspy.com [https://steamspy.com/genre/Early+Access], can track various data within the Steam Store. About 2,800 titles with the “Early Access” tag generate an average user score of 70.3% as well as maintaining an average playtime of five hours. Five hours to play a game and never pick it up again? While the company already has your cash, that is still an unfortunate side effect of an Early Access game.

What makes a good beta? With no clear formula to create a quality video game early access experience, there are a few ways that game companies can up their overall performance to help create a better game:

Communication between parties

  • Every update should be accommodated with a short explanation on what and why items are changing for the most recent patch.
  • All forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc) should be active, whether that be responding to comments, suggestions, or criticism.

Updates

  • Keep the user base interested in the product. Release small updates every week or so to keep your user base around and talking about the game.
  • FREE UPDATES. While yes, video game developers require cash to keep it coming, the game is in BETA. If your game company is looking to monetize, then push for a full release to sell at full price. Small micro transactions can be a tipping point for most people since they might have already paid for the beta/ early access of the game.

Marketing

  • Even though the game is not close to finishing, you still want new people to come and try out your product. Beta and Early Access is a crucial time for the game, for if the game is not successful while in the early stages, how well will it be two years from now?
  • Attempt to use the user base as a form of marketing. Offer unique rewards for referring a friend or liking certain pages on social media. Any word for a starting game can be beneficial.

-Nate Weber

Is Biased News Clogging your Information Stream?

Are you drinking out of a sewer? Sometimes, readers get bogged down in hearing only one side of a news story. For a fresh approach, readers should take in both sides of media, both liberal and conservative.

The infographic below, shows where sources lie in their bias. An astute reader would be better served to read less biased, or a balance between both sides, to make a fresh original decision. When we side with one bias, we tend to only hear more from that side because we like to hear that particular side. The problem with this practice, is that is causes a bigger divide in our country. Being less biased and more objective, is a mature way to confront news stories. But it takes effort to wade through the biases and make an informed decision.

News There are so many ways that people can attain news. Whether it’s online, a newspaper, or from television, news is easily accessible to anyone with a viewing device. People have different preferences when it comes to their news source: liberal or conservative and even how the news is being shared, digital or traditional news.

As you can see from the scale, there is the far left, far right and the “sweet spot” or as it is called here, the “Goldilocks Zone.” At the farthest left, is BuzzFeed and The Huffington Post. In contrast, on the far right is DRUDGE REPORT and BreitBart, two news websites. One of the least biased news sources, BBC, (British Broadcasting Corporation) provides online news, as well as nature documentaries.

It is tricky for a company to not be biased, but sites like PolitiFact, Snopes, FACTCHECK, or others are right in the middle with little room for bias. This is impressive and obviously atypical for a media company, especially a news company. Everyone should make an effort to be as unbiased as possible, so they can see the whole picture. When they see the whole picture, not only do they understand the differences in both sides, but they can think for themselves. If they only look for biased news, they are limiting themselves and clogging what might be the truth in the story. Viewing the news from one side, is like using half of the brain. Why wouldn’t you want to use all of your brain? In other words, you only get half of the information that you need from a biased source, compared to all of the information you could get from an unbiased source.

But bias isn’t the only thing wrong with the news. Many news stations and websites lie to get more viewers. Many of them take words out of context, make fun of someone or even make up whatever they want and call it news. The graphic below shows that when news companies deceive people and they find out, it causes a lack of trust in the viewers.

News

The graphic mentions clickbait, which many of us have heard that term, as it is an everyday word used on YouTube. Clickbait, refers to the false presentation of information solely for the benefit of the one who created it. For example, a YouTube video could be clickbait and the same with a news article. The purpose of clickbait, is to get the reader or viewer engaged in whatever is being presented to them. It combines the fishing term of putting bait on a hook, while also using the technological term for interacting with your computer while using a mouse. Clickbait is one of the most deceptive and clever tactics used by those who want to attract attention to a particular thing, especially using the internet. We may have heard of most of these, but may not know what propaganda is exactly. Propaganda is similar to clickbait, but with a biased twist to it.

So if we have all of this bias and misinformation in our media, why hasn’t anyone done anything about it? Is there even a solution to this problem? Let me know your thoughts about this serious issue.

-Calvin Cook

Kneeling For What You Believe In: Controversy on Sports TV

By now, we are all familiar with the massive debacle that was the NFL kneeling controversy.

What most people still don’t know, however, is how it started, why it was started, and the effect it had on the NFL and all of its sponsors, fans, and players. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Leading up to the 2016 NFL regular season, former Seahawks player and Green Beret Nate Boyer had a talk with San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick about honoring the national anthem. Boyer was actually the one who suggested taking a knee alongside Kaepernick’s teammates during the anthem. Boyer stated that “Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect.”

kneeling

Kaepernick wasted no time and took his first knee during the 49ers’ final game of the 2016 NFL preseason.

What many people didn’t recognize was the purpose behind what he was doing. Kaepernick stated in a postgame press conference that he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” For Kaepernick, he was never trying to disrespect the flag, veterans or the national anthem, as many people accused him of doing. He was merely exercising his freedom of speech, something that all veterans and servicemen have fought and died to protect.

Before long, the movement had spread like wildfire across the NFL. Robert Quinn, a defensive end for the Dolphins, raised his fist during the anthem. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins raised his fist while teammate Chris Long “placed his arm around Jenkins’ shoulder”, cornerback De’Vante Bausby also raised his fist in protest. Just to list a few names.

Initially, the NFL couldn’t do anything to players who protested the anthem. The rules stated that while it is encouraged that all players stand and hold their hand over their heart during the anthem, it is not required.

Many fans who detested these demonstrations began protesting the protests by not going to games, refusing to even watch the games on television and, you guessed it, burning their NFL gear and posting the videos on the Internet. (That’ll show ‘em!)

Kaepernick eventually sued the NFL for conspiring against him, accusing NFL owners of collectively making the decision to no longer allow him to play in their league even though he would be overqualified for a backup role at the least.

The NFL finally caved to President Trump’s incessant whining about players protesting. The NFL decided that it will fine any individual who chooses to do anything other than stand and show respect for the anthem and flag. Players are not required to be present on the field during the anthem, however.

New York Jet’s chairman, Christopher Johnson, said anyone on his team who chooses to protest during the anthem will do so without incurring any fines. He stated that “If somebody (on the Jets) takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players. I never want to put restrictions on the speech of our players.

The NFL then changed the policy to suggest that players stand during the anthem, but wouldn’t fine them if they chose not to. Instead, “teams will be subject to a fine if a player disobeys”. Each club does have the freedom to fine its own player if it so chooses, however.

Today, Colin Kaepernick is a civil rights icon. He has donated over one million dollars of his own money to charities across the nation. And he took part in Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign of its Just Do It slogan which led to another wave of backlash against the former NFL star.

The best way we, as a nation, can move forward with this controversy is by asking ourselves how we could handle this situation differently were it to happen again. When a fellow citizen is willing to sacrifice his profession and reputation in order to point out injustice within our own borders, maybe we shouldn’t respond by sending him death threats and burning things to prove a point. Perhaps we could use it as an opportunity to take a look in the mirror and ask ourselves,

“Can we, as a people and as a nation, do better?”

-Michael Oasheim

The Success and Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel

For the past 10 years Marvel has been able to create success by producing twenty movies that fans have fallen in love over. How has Marvel managed to keep the attention of moviegoers through the span of movies, and how have they been more successful than other movie companies? According to the director of Captain America Civil War and Winter Soldier it is simple, “They don’t have Kevin Fiege.”

There is more that helps point us to how Marvel has been so successful. For starters, Marvel constantly puts out good movies. The consistent quality over the course of these past ten years has been impressive. There is no true standout “bad” movie in this series of movies. Kevin Fiege, who oversees the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe, does a very good job of planning most of the movies almost three years in advance of their release.

According to Paul Bettany, who voiced Jarvis and played the character of Vision in a handful of the Marvel movies, “The movies are made by fans…Their love for these stories is really infectious and you become really invested, and there’s a lot of invested people beyond the financials of it all.”

On top of that they have been able to connect every movie together in a 20-movie series! The interconnection of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is something that no other movie franchise has done successfully or even tried. In an article written by Peter Suderman over at Vox.com, he talks about how the connection is almost like the MCU is more like a serialized television show than a collection of marginally related movies. Each movie is just another piece of a television series except they are released 6 months apart and are two hours long.

Now all of this is great and all, but what happens when so many of the actors that play major roles in the movies leave the company. The MCU was originally built off the three characters of Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man and all three have contracts with Marvel ending in the next couple of years. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth all have talked about how Avengers 4 may be their last movies in the MCU. There have been rumors about Chris Hemsworth doing one last Thor movie and Chris Evans has stated he is open for a contract renegotiation with Marvel but nothing is set in stone. On top of that Mark Ruffalo (Hulk), Chris Pratt (Star Lord), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), and Samuel L. Jackson all have just one or two movies left on their contract.

Marvel

If all of these characters end up leaving what does that mean for the franchise? They have to try and get fans to fall in love with the new characters like they did with Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man. The new characters need to be memorable and Marvel already started to do this with the characters of Spiderman, Black Panther, and to some extent Ant-Man.

Moving forward with Avengers 4, the next movie that is supposed to explain everything from the tragic ending of Avengers Infinity War. (SPOILERS AHEAD THROUGH INFINITY WAR!) With characters like Spiderman and Black Panther turning to dust in the final scenes, fans are eager to see what will happen and how these characters might come back. We can assume all of the characters who died will return due to their future releases of sequels in the coming years. Many fans speculate that Captain Marvel, whose beacon is seen at the end of Avengers Infinity War is a huge key to what will happen.

Marvel

Also, a theory has been floating around about quantum realms and time travel thanks to the recent Ant-Man movie. However, with no trailer released yet, we will all just have to wait and see what crazy spin Marvel will throw at us next.

-Brandon Haraldson

A New Copyright Directive for the EU: What Does the New Law Mean for the Internet?

The European Parliament has voted for a new Copyright Directive, which will update new copyright laws for the Internet age. There are two articles that are deemed controversial to tech companies and the general public, and those articles are 11 & 13.

The new law would require tech companies to work with rights holders on proactively stopping copyrighted content from being uploaded to their platforms, as well as giving publishers rights to their works. The only way to do so would be to do so would be to scan all data being uploaded to these sites. There is massive pushback from tech companies like Facebook & YouTube due to the fact that it would require them to constantly monitor and filter content being uploaded to their sites. Nonetheless, this law would change the way the internet works in the EU if it gets the green light in January.

Article 11 will allow press publications copyright over their stories. Which in turn would allow them to tax sites, like Google news, for aggregating their stories and linking to them. The article states that Commercial platforms have to pay a fee to share aggregated news. So it protects individuals, but it leaves people wondering what exactly a commercial platform is? The article doesn’t define what that is, so would a Facebook page with a sizeable following be subject to paying the same fees as Google if they shared an article?

I found this to be interesting because the EU has tried going after Google over this before, and it ultimately failed because Google just shut down Google news and when local aggregators couldn’t afford the fees, it collapsed. While article 11 is very important, article 13 is the most troubling, and has been met with the most backlash.

copyright

Before talking about Article 13, it’s important to know that these laws are not being made without any justification. Tech companies like YouTube and Facebook do make money off the intellectual property of creators, and it has been a problem because the internet is such an unregulated place. I think it’s important to keep this in mind. Article 13 would require tech companies to ensure that copyright material is not uploaded to their sites. In the case of YouTube, rights holders have to file a copyright claim with YouTube if they would like a video taken down that has their music or IP on it. Article 13 no longer requires the rights holder to be responsible for doing such, they are putting the entire responsibility on Youtube.

Lawmakers say that this will force YouTube to sit down and renegotiate licenses with artists, since they are making lots of money off their content, and it will force them to be proactive with combating copyrighted material from being uploaded to their site.

Another important thing to note is that this doesn’t just apply to YouTube, it applies for every company. So this has Facebook and YouTube both worried about what they will do next. Their claim is that they would have to create an auto filtration system, in order to stop protected content from being uploaded. Not only would that take years to make, but it would cost a fortune to keep running, because a system like that would require constant maintenance as well.

The general response to these laws has been very critical. Which I think people have a right to be worried. The biggest question people are asking is, what about fair use? If an auto filtration system were to be put into place, a machine wouldn’t be able to decipher if something were to fall under fair use or not. An auto filtration system could effectively change the internet in the EU as we know it. With all that being said, we will not have a definitive answer until January, when the final vote is. Experts do believe though, that it will push through into law.

-Jared Frost

Extra! Extra! Newspapers are Making a Comeback! – Fighting for a Free Press under President Trump

Approximately three hundred and fifty newspapers, from the Boston Globe and Des Moines Register, to the Anchorage Daily News. All of them are asking, or should I say telling, President Trump to stop with the name calling and the constant insults that he makes about media.

Many are claiming that the words can be dangerous to the views of the people and that free speech is being shut down. They’re right. According to “The Economist” 70 percent of Republican believe Trump over any media outlet. They blame media outlets for being more liberal and going against any Republican.

“This editorial project is not against the Trump administration’s agenda. It’s a response to put us into the public discourse and defend the First Amendment.” Marjorie Pritchard (Boston Globe)

Newspapers have been in America since the late 1600s, and for years they were the only source of news outreach. Newspapers have recently been put on the back burner to social media, television, and even online newspapers, but these editorials are part of a comeback.

newspapersIn 2016 Donald Trump became President, and he started what many people are calling a ‘war on press’ soon after. “Fake news” comes out of Trump’s mouth more than any other statement, besides “you’re fired”, and many media representatives have a problem with him putting down their content so often. Any negative statement a media outlet makes against him gets categorized as “fake news” and he brands the free press as an “enemy to the American people”. Now, the oldest source of news has decided to speak out and fight back against the war Trump has declared.

At a Speech in Elkhart, Indiana Donald Trump called the media “the fake news media” and the crowd began to vigorously applaud https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjJQ8wF07tU.

This isn’t the first time that President Trump has made hostile comments towards the media. His tweets regularly show his disapproval towards them. In one attacking tweet, Trump seemingly contradicted himself saying “They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people. She correctly said no. It is the fake news, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!”

Trump is not a big fan of any source of media that goes against what he is saying. His beliefs, and what he is doing for this country, in his eyes, are correct and media sources that speak out against him are fake.

newspapers

Fox News is an exception, however. President Trump glorifies Fox news and commonly directs his “fans” to pay attention to “Fox and Friends.”

Freedom of speech is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the legal right to express one’s opinions freely”. Opinion is defined as “a generally held view”. If you do not see where I am headed with this, freedom of speech means a person can state any opinion, view or information, and it should be okay. Whether someone else decides to believe it or not, that is their choice. Trump tweets and makes claims that he perceives as correct, which is freedom of speech. Newspaper do the same, and that is still freedom of speech. On August 15th they took a stand and expressed their opinions as a group.

The Boston Globe started the project by stating that a corrupt leader would have a problem with the free press. The suspicious action taken on by any leader will be documented, and obviously no leader would want to be called out for doing something that goes against protocol. Trump has gone as far as talking about closing down news outlets, such as CNN, The Washington Post and the New York Times, which are all big time media outlets. This goes directly against the First Amendment; Freedom of speech and the press. It is nothing new that the media has been criticized for being biased, this dates back to when media for started printing, but the media shouldn’t be threatened.

newspapers

Even if he doesn’t take away the overall sources of media, Trump plans on discrediting media sites, so while they live on no one believes them. If the public doesn’t listen to an outside source of information about what Trump and his administration is doing, then the only source they will have is him and his word, which is more dangerous than any article written according to the Anchorage Daily Press. As our founder Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

-Kaylee Daniels