Category Archives: COM 201 Media & Culture

Movies with Impact

By Terri Reddout
Which movies had an impact on our culture or society?

By impact, I mean, did the movie change how we look at the world?  Did it change the way we speak?  Did it change the way we see how others view the world?

So, which movies had an impact on our culture and society?  It depends on who you ask.

  • Ask a film buff and they might say Citizen Kane or Casablanca
  • Ask a war veteran and you might get answers as diverse as Bridge over the River Kwai, Born on the 4th of July, Coming Home, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now or Finding Private Ryan.
  • Ask a woman and you might get Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich or Thelma & Louise.
  • Ask a kid (or a grown-up kid) and they might say anything with Marvel Comics in the title.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

In my day, a movie with impact had to be Star Wars. The story, the characters, the computer generated images took us to a new place and time.

When Ronald Reagan proposed the Strategic Defensive Initiative, a network of missiles to protect the U.S. from nuclear attack from Russia, the White House dubbed it “Star Wars.”  (BTW- In the wake of talks with North Korea, it’s weird to think Russia as our greatest threat of nuclear attack.) Continue reading Movies with Impact

Living in a Post-Gutenberg era

Question: What impact did the Gutenberg press have on society?
Answer: A lot. A whole bunch of a lot.

When Gutenberg invented the press in the mid-1400s, it made information accessible to the masses.  The technology made sharing      uncensored ideas with your neighbors, the village down the road, or even the world, possible.

Before the Gutenberg press, only the rich could afford books and manuscripts. In fact, books were so rare that your church probably did NOT have a copy of the Bible under its roof.

According to a web article posted by the University of Texas, it’s estimated you could only find around 30,000 books in all of Europe before the Gutenberg press.  Fifty years later, 10 to 12 million books circulated throughout Europe.

Yeah, I’d say the Gutenberg press had an impact.

Watch the following Xerox ad that first aired during the 1976 Super Bowl. It humorously represents the communication opportunities before the Gutenberg press and after.

Continue reading Living in a Post-Gutenberg era

I’ll be there for you… when the media black is over

Remember the TV series Friends? Monica and Chandler, Joey and Phoebe and Ross and Rachel all getting into situations and then gathering at Central Perk to talk. We’ll here’s The Nerdist’s take on how Friends would look like if it were set in today’s time.

I wonder if they would use Instagram or Snap Chat to take pictures of the ugly naked guy who lived in the apartment across the street?
Continue reading I’ll be there for you… when the media black is over

Gaming – Pass me the controller

 Written by Terri Reddout

 Gaming.  What do I know about gaming?  Nothing. Nada. Ziltch.

games & cultureOkay, that’s not true.  I did a little research and now I know gaming is a $60 billion dollar a year industry.  It is so big, so incorporated into society that even the academic world takes it seriously.

Games and Culture: A Journal of Interactive Media has been in publication since January 2006.  Each journal asks psychologists, sociologists, communication specialists and more to share what they learned about gamers communicate, how they associate with each other and what they can accomplish working collaboratively.

In one issue they look at how propaganda is being used in EVE Online.  Another article looks at the differences of culture between American and Russian players.  Apparently, there’s a perception that Russians approach the game in a more criminal manner.  The study shows it’s just part of their culture.

Thanks to my work with the students at CentralNewsWatch, I’m also aware of the growth of ESports.  In fact, the NCAA is talking about considering make ESport gamers NCAA athletes.

What else do I know about gaming? Continue reading Gaming – Pass me the controller

You won’t need 3D glasses to see the impact of 3D printing

By Terri Reddout

I’ll admit it. The concept of 3D printing confused me. How on Earth does the printer that kicks out letters and photos possibly print something in 3D?

Turns out it’s easy. Once you get the right printer and the right type of “ink.”

cubex_angleWhen I first wrote this blog in 2015 you could but a pretty good 3D printer, like this CubeX, for your home for $999 – $2000. Sounds expensive. Especially if you’re only going to use it to print multicolored rocket ships.

old-microwave-ad1I reminded my readers that the first microwaves cost thousands of dollars. (One source said that would be like spending over $10000 in today’s dollars.)

Now, you can pick one up at the local mega mart for under $100.

And, as I predicted, the same has happened with 3D printers.  I just spotted this Flash Forge 3D printer on Amazon for $349 with free shipping!

 So how does a 3D printer work? Well, let’s ask a scientist.

Continue reading You won’t need 3D glasses to see the impact of 3D printing

The future of television? Is it in your face?

004_0002Some of the earliest pictures my parents took of me have a television in the background.

So, television has been around as long as I have.

Well, in truth, the mechanics of TV has been around a lot longer than I have.  I’m really a child of early television programming.

Philo sketch
Sketch drawn by Philo T. Farnsworth for his chemistry teacher in 1922. You can learn more about Farnsworth and his battles with RCA at http://philointhehall.com/

The TV mechanism was actually invented by an Utah boy named Philo T. Farnsworth.  He first sketched the idea of the vacuum tube in his high school chemistry class.  He went on to develop the first electric television set in the 1920s.

The Great Depression and World War II supply shortages stalled the spread of television.  The research continued but at a slower rate because materials and man-power were needed for the war effort.

Continue reading The future of television? Is it in your face?

A premature eulogy for the music business

I grew up in a house in the middle of a 10 acre cherry orchard.  My parents were around 17 when they gave birth to me.  So, when I turned 10, they were 27.  They were my parents, but they were young people too.

slumber party
That’s my sister in the center swinging her head to the Beatles. I’m the redhead to the right, behind my sister.

I tell you all this to explain why at all my slumber parties we were allowed to turn the stereo up to 10 and dance into the wee small hours in the morning.  At my 40th high school reunion, they were still talking about those slumber parties.

Like you, music has played an important role in my life.  I remember when we got the Beatles’ Hard Days Night album.  In high school every dance had a Credence Clearwater Revival cover band playing.  In college, I listened to Chicago, Peter Frampton and Boston.

When my son came along we couldn’t start the day without dancing to Heart of Rock-n-Roll by Hughie Lewis and the News, Every breath you take by The Police or Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. Continue reading A premature eulogy for the music business

Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true

Written by Terri Reddout

Where were you on 9-11?

Chances are you were toddlers or younger.
I was in my Weber State University office working. My friend called and wanted to know if I started recording the news.  When I asked why she told me to get in front of a television set, now!  I did. That’s when I saw the replay of the second plane crashing into the second tower.

The next 36 hours were filled with my news students gathering stories and putting together a newscast focused on how the terrorist attack impacted the community and its people.

At the end of the day on 9-12, a student called me over to the computer and said, “Terri, you’ve got to look at this.”  Here’s what the email he opened looked like.

Screen shot 2015-03-04 at 1.08.36 AM

Continue reading Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true

Social Media Godzilla

Written by Terri Reddout

Like Godzilla, there’s no way we can stop social media growth
Godzilla in a scene from the film 'Godzilla VS. The Smog Monster', 1971. Toho/Getty Images
Godzilla in a scene from the film ‘Godzilla VS. The Smog Monster’, 1971. Toho/Getty Images

As a child, I used to spend my Saturday afternoons watching Godzilla movies.  Nothing could stop this monster.  Not tanks.  Not machine guns.  Not weird green gas.  Nothing.     As I recall, the people of Earth never defeated Godzilla.  He’d just get tired of all the destruction and mayhem and would quietly sink back into the ocean.

While pulling information for this blog I was overwhelmed with the growth of social media and how it’s infiltrated all aspects of our lives.  It made me think of those old Godzilla movies.  Like Godzilla, there’s nothing out there that can stop the growth of social media.

As a broadcaster I immediately became aware of how social media democratized the spread of information.  Now anybody can spread information about anything they want.  Like this guy and his video on the scientific problems with the 2014 movie version of Godzilla.


Continue reading Social Media Godzilla

Put a diamond ring on it… why not an emerald or a ruby?

Single-Ladies-Put-A-Ring-On-It-Music-Video-beyonce-17782615-854-480In the Single Ladies music video, Beyonce sings to her ex-boyfriend that he had three years to “put a ring on it” but didn’t.

My guess is Beyonce’s ex- in the song probably wished he had got down on one knee and offered her a diamond.  Too late!

the ring

When Jay-Z slipped some bling to onto Beyonce’s engagement finger it came in the form of a 20 carat, $5 million rock of a diamond.

A diamond.  It’s tradition to give the woman you love a diamond engagement ring.  We’ve been doing it for centuries, right?

Wrong! Continue reading Put a diamond ring on it… why not an emerald or a ruby?