Archive for December 2010

A Social Media Spoof

December 18, 2010

Taking time out from their serious news personas, a TV news team in Dallas-Fort Worth created a parody about our obsession with social media.

The video had its debut at the Lone Star Emmys a few weeks ago and now is on the TV station’s Facebook page and on YouTube.

Okay, maybe doing a parody of a hostage situation and shooting is a bit crass. But playing off something serious makes the absurdist nature of the parody more dramatic.

[This entry has been reposted because of its continuing popularity.]

ESPN Live

December 15, 2010

On the "NFL Live" set with Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth and Coach Herman Edwards

Elon is one of only two universities (RIT is the other) whose students produce a weekly show that airs regionally on ESPN, so it’s appropriate to visit the Mother Ship.

Our host at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., was Trey Wingo, anchor of “NFL Live.” We have a double school connection. We’re both Baylor graduates, and Wingo is an Elon parent. It was enjoyable to be on the set in the colorful, tech-intensive studio for Friday’s “NFL Live” show.

What an operation. From its genesis in 1979, ESPN has grown into an extraordinary cable channel that now has engulfed ABC Sports.

In the School of Communications lobby, we have an Emmy on display received by Elon graduate Scott Gustafson for ESPN’s production of Winter X Games.

The latest Elon/ESPN connection is Eryn Gradwell, who graduated a year ago and now works full time for ESPN after interning for the company.

It was good to see the place that produces so much sports content that absorbs so much of the attention of young people on so many college campuses.

Cellar door … Nevermore

December 14, 2010

Cellar door in Romania (Andrei Stroe)

The most beautiful-sounding word in the English language is “cellar door,” according to a recent dictionary.com survey. Do you agree?

Our communication colleagues at MyRagan certainly don’t. They point out that “cellar door” is a phrase, not a word, and therefore doesn’t qualify.

Here, then, are some of their offerings:

Aroma. Bungelow. Serenity. Debacle (the meaning isn’t so lovely, but the sound is). Friday afternoon (okay, a little joke there).

“Cellar door” is often used as an example of a word combination that is beautiful in terms of phonaesthetics (sound) with no regard for semantics (meaning). In fact, The New York Times devoted its “On Language” column to “cellar door” earlier this year. The column cites a 1903 novel as praising the beauty of the phrase, and later writers such as Tolkien and Mencken wrote about “cellar door.”

The most fascinating speculation is that Edgar Allan Poe’s refrain “Nevermore” in The Raven was chosen as the closest sound to “cellar door” he could think of. This derives from a 1914 essay by Alma Blount:

Poe, who studied sound effects carefully, says that he chose “Nevermore” as the refrain for The Raven largely because the word contains the most sonorous vowel, o, and the most “producible” consonant, r. An amusing story is told of an Italian lady who knew not a word of English, but who, when she heard the word cellar-door, was convinced that English must be a most musical language.

Into Every Cave in the World

December 5, 2010

While technology certainly is important, we in the School of Communications place special emphasis on the value of creating good content.

We want our students to become better writers, speakers, producers and thinkers — while also learning to innovatively harness the technologies that are transforming the way we communicate.

Michael Eisner (WSJ Magazine)

While in Albuquerque for a weekend meeting, I read a piece by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner in the December issue of WSJ Magazine (Wall Street Journal). Eisner has reinvented himself as a new-media entrepreneur, having just launched FameTown, a game based on social media.

Eisner writes: “The creation of content has never been more important. It’s wide open for all sorts of new creative ventures. The dissemination of content to every nook and cranny of the world has never been easier. It has gone from paintings on cavemen’s walls to the ability to digitally beam movies, television, news, information and music into every cave in the world. The need for entertaining, informative, provocative and important ideas has never been close to what it is today.”