Teachers, parents and union leaders gathered in front of Time magazine headquarters on Thursday to protest the publication’s latest cover. According to a press release from the American Federation of Teachers, the cover (pictured below) depicts teachers as “‘rotten apples’ needing to be smashed by Silicon Valley millionaires with no experience in education.”
The activists delivered boxes of petitions to the magazine’s editors, asking them to apologize to teachers for the cover. The petitions –- initiated by the American Federation of Teachers — had over 100,000 signatures, according to AFT President Randi Weingarten, who spoke at the event.
“A cover that suggests that teachers need to be smashed is dead wrong, and that’s why over 100,000 people have signed petitions in less than a week, saying and asking Time to apologize for its cover,” said Weingarten at the event. “Frankly, of those 102,000, over 11,000 are Time subscribers and over 64,000 are people that use Time magazine in schools.”
She continued, “And why is that important? Because in schools we’re trying to help teach kids how to have a respectful, civil discourse with others. So when they see a magazine with a cover that smashes teachers, what is that teaching kids?”
Randi Weingarten speaking in front of the Time magazine headquarters.
The AFT petition says the actual article associated with Time’s cover is less offensive. The article follows the efforts of California tech moguls who have successfully worked to derail the state’s teacher tenure process.
“The cover was unmistakable: teachers need to be smashed, and that tech millionaires had a way to do that, and that’s just dead wrong,” said Weingarten when speaking with reporters. “We said the article was by and large balanced; in fact the article suggests that what the Silicon Valley techies were doing wasn’t supported by evidence.”
In recent days, activists also worked to protest the cover through a #TIMEfail hashtag on Twitter and Facebook, and some have called on teachers to boycott the magazine.
Time has responded to the controversy in several ways, although these responses have fallen short of an apology. On Monday, Time.com published some of the varied responses to the cover online, including a response by Weingarten. They also made the article free for all readers on Wednesday, while it was previously behind a pay wall.
On Thursday afternoon –- just prior to the protest –- the magazine’s website published a letter from Nancy Gibbs, Time’s managing editor. In the letter, Gibbs says that the article has been mischaracterized.
“Union leaders … are charging that by writing about legal efforts to remove bad teachers from classrooms, with the cover line ‘Rotten Apples,’ TIME has insulted all teachers; some of them have launched protests and petition drives,” says the letter. “In fact, TIME has nothing but admiration for America’s dedicated teachers and their commitment to excellence.”
The letter continues, “Our mission is to spur discussion of important issues, and in the interest of an informed debate, I am making the story free for all readers on TIME.com … so everyone can judge for themselves.”
Time did not officially respond to the protest, however.
New York parent Natasha Capers told The Huffington Post that she thought the article failed to address the actual issues that plague education. Capers is a coordinator for the parent-led Coalition For Educational Justice, an organization that seeks to alleviate educational inequalities.
“I just feel like the story does not get to the heart of the real issue, like of what are the things that create educational inequity and the lack of resources in classrooms,” said Capers.
She continued, “No one would ever publish anything showing a fire fighter engulfed in flames or being smashed by a hammer, because it does not do anything to elevate the profession, and it’s just disrespectful.”
Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday.
In just 30 seconds, a new video powerfully states its case for changing the controversial nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins — and banning it from television and radio. The video produced by Red Circle Agency in association with the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media takes aim at the different treatment that “redskin” receives relative to other racial and ethnic slurs. It begins with several people using various racial epithets to refer to themselves. Those offensive words are obscured by bleeps, whereas the final mention of “redskin” is heard clearly, just as it is during broadcasts of Washington’s games.
“I was tired of people avoiding what I think is the real issue. There is no word in the American lexicon that is more hurtful to the Native American,” said Chad Germann, owner of Red Circle Ad Agency and member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, in a statement obtained by USA Today Sports.
Entitled “No Honor In Racism,” the video uploaded to YouTube is just the latest salvo in the ongoing battle between opponents of the team’s name and its defenders. Prominent among those defenders is Washington owner Daniel Snyder, who seems to comprehend the dictionary-defined offensive term only in the context of his football team.
“A Redskin is a football player. A Redskin is our fans,” Snyder told ESPN in August when asked to define the term. “The Washington Redskins fan base represents honor, represents respect, represents pride. Hopefully winning. And, and, it, it’s a positive. Taken out of context, you can take things out of context all over the place. But in this particular case, it is what it is. It’s very obvious.”
I simultaneously desire you and feel betrayed by your limitations, like a vibrator whose batteries are dying.
The video above features all the characteristics of a good shampoo commercial: lustrous locks blowing in the wind, gorgeous people lucky enough to possess said locks. But this ad doesn’t want to just sell hair products, it wants to save marriages.
Created by Leo Burnett Hong Kong for Procter & Gamble’s Rejoice shampoo, the tearjerker spot — which the agency claims has been viewed more than 40 million times in the past month — follows a young couple on the brink of divorce. (Hey, at least they have great hair going for them.)
The wife agrees to sign the divorce docs her husband gives her, under one condition: He has to hug her every day for a month at a few carefully chosen spots. We see the couple embrace where the husband proposed, where he professed his love, where they shared their first kiss.
We won’t give away the ending, but we’re sure you can guess how things end up for these two follically blessed lovebirds.
Marked with the hash tag #BelieveInLoveAgain, the cinematic spot closes with a PSA: 3 million Chinese couples divorced last year (official statistics put the number around 3.5 million), but about 100,000 couples reconciled.
While we’re not sure the ad will increase the number of reconciliations, it’s definitely a visual treat for the romantics among us. Pass the tissues, please.
Are you the default parent? If you have to think about it, you’re not. You’d know. Trust me. The default parent is the one responsible for the emotional, physical and logistical needs of the children. Spoiler alert: It’s typically the one with the uterus.
Reading the Pictures: About Race and those Ebola Handheld Thermometer Pictures on Western News Sites
Have you noticed the pictures of African health officials using handheld thermometers suddenly springing up in US news stories and photo galleries? I found the picture above in the Charlotte Observer’s Daily Edit. Most assuredly, this airport official is applying her job with the utmost seriousness. Far from what we would imagine in our minds as a health worker operating in a compassionate and protective way, however, the scene more easily evokes extreme prejudice (in both meanings of the term) and is more consistent with a still from a criminal or gangster movie. (It’s no surprise, by the way, how the Obama haters latched on to a similarly unnerving photo if you saw our “Obola” post on Monday.)
Here are a few other examples I came across last night:
The expression of the health worker, surprisingly similar to the previous one, again feels tense, icy, “cold blooded” with the mother seeming to recoil.
This one, involving a Moroccan woman with a headscarf, her one eye blocked and the expression of the other woman looking steeled and resigned, has a more cinematic association to terrorism.
YahooNews, USA Today
Beyond the disembodied hand, the dispassionate guy in the yellow vest, and then the guy in the military uniform, the white woman turning her gaze away has the sense of “Any last words?”
Given the “loaded nature” of the objects and the situation, there are certainly ways to capture a scene like this that is not only more sensitive (and more mundane), but steers clear of exploitive associations to race and violence. But then, judging from these photographs selectively chosen to run on the major mainstream news sites, editors surely appreciate that these not-close-to-routine looking images — if easy to rationalize under the story of a health care emergency — are going to get a rise.
Playing on violent and dramatic stereotypes of Africa and African-Americans, what we’re seeing here qualifies as barely veiled racism.
(photo 1: Luc Gnago/Reuters caption: A health worker takes a passenger’s temperature with an infrared digital laser. photo 2: Sunday Alamba/AP. caption: Health port officials uses a thermometer to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Mohammed International airport in Lagos, Nigeria Monday, Oct. 20, 2014. Water laced with salt and sugar, and gallons of the nasty tasting stuff. ThatÕs what doctors who survived Ebola in Nigeria are crediting for their survival. On Monday, the World Health Organization announced a rare victory in the months-long battle against the killer disease, declaring Nigeria is Ebola-free. photo 3: Abdeljalil Bounhar/AP Photo/The Canadian Press caption: A Moroccan health worker uses a thermometer to screen a passenger at the arrivals hall of the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca, on Thursday, Oct 9, 2014. Airline passengers arriving in the U.S. from three West African countries will face temperature checks using no-touch thermometers and other screening measures at five American airports, starting with New York’s Kennedy on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2014. photo 4: VPC caption: Five of America’s biggest airports will begin to implement new steps to guard against Ebola, requiring travelers arriving from the West African nations to go through an additional layer of screening.)
I pulled an all-nighter last night, so when my boss got in this morning, he seemed quite pleased. This streak of pleasure wasn’t long-lived, though, and he soon started complaining again: I wasn’t doing what he wanted, I wasn’t getting things done fast enough.
How can media firms strategize, plan budgets, and decide where to allocate their resources effectively?
“All things considered, if the biggest opportunities for media company revenue and content strategies for 2014 could be summed up in a few words, they would be Big Data analytics, paid content, native advertising, programmatic advertising, product development, tablets, e-commerce and smartphones,” say the authors of an annual survey that examines such elements.
“Big data” in the industry has in recent years meant audience analytics, given its direct correlation to audience reader insights and monetization through advertising targeting, according to the World Digital Media Factbook 2014-15.
The book divides big data into the “Four Vs,” which it translates into volume of information, velocity (notably of news), variety of structured and unstructured formats, and value in terms of high quality journalism, business insights and revenue.
That’s just a snippet of the voluminous information in the 238-page compendium published by the World Newsmedia Network, a not-for-profit research firm, and FIPP, the 700-member worldwide magazine media association.
Another key component is advertising, which media organizations are embedding into their news content and for which they’re inventing all manner of creative permutations to financially sustain their operations.
In one of the book’s countless tables and graphs, the authors illustrate how spending on advertising is shrinking in legacy media and being overtaken by digital outlets over the 2013-2016 period.
Globally, TV takes a dip from 40.1% to 39.2%, considering it is still the medium of choice in developing countries with high illiteracy rates.
But desktop Internet adspend edges up from 18.1% to 19.5% and mobile Internet advertising takes a bigger leap from 2.7% to 7.6% for the same stretch of time.
Other slides are, predictably, in newspapers, magazines, radio and outdoor advertising while cinema is expected to see a slight nod upwards in adspend.
It’s no easy matter compiling a mass of statistics on digital media when the variables are constantly changing.
A particularly interesting trend the factbook covers is Internet usage.
“The most popular destinations globally are Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo!, all of which have between four-fifths and five-sixths of their audiences accessing their sites from outside the United States,” it said.
These sites apparently also command the majority of adspend, it added.
The factbook’s publishers have since 2006 devised a digital hot spots map to show which countries had the highest-to-lowest Internet and mobile user penetration.
Red indicates the highest Internet and mobile users; purple shows the highest mobile but not Internet; green illustrates high Internet penetration but not mobile; and blue points to underperformers in both Internet and mobile.
“Digital media usage trends drive publishers and broadcasters to develop new products, change news judgment, revamp user interfaces, change strategies and earn more revenues,” the book noted.
The fastest growing device from which to access the Internet is the mobile phone, according to figures measuring the 2011-2013 period, followed by the tablet, whereas desktop computers showed a marked disfavor.
A good portion of that access is devoted to social media, but that, too, depends on the country or region of the world, in-country accessibility via government or private ISPs, freedom of expression, age, gender and income.
The world average for social media user penetration is about one-fourth (26 percent); however, many regions of the world have social media penetrations that are much higher, and others that are just a fraction of the world average, according to GlobalWebIndex‘s 2013 “We Are Social” study.
Social media can be divided into publishing, sharing, discussing and networking, all of which require some form of engagement, the factbook reports.
Publishers and advertising stakeholders seek to define and leverage engagement in a bid to secure higher advertising revenues, higher dwell times on content (including editorial and advertising) and more efficient targeting to consumers interested in engaging in the content, it said.
It cited the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s definition of it as,
Ad engagement: Is the creative compelling? Are the viewers interacting with it in some way?
Content engagement: Which content is the most captivating on the site?
Audience engagement: Which viewers are paying the most attention? Who contributes to the conversation?
Engagement is then measured by time spent on smartphones, tablets and desktops – one of several methods – thereby enabling publishers and advertisers to cash in on the interaction.
Two major Kentucky newspapers have endorsed Alison Lundergan Grimes for Senate over incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R).
In its endorsement, the Courier-Journal’s editorial board praised Grimes’ stance on issues like the minimum wage and early childhood education, while accusing McConnell of “lacking a vision for Kentucky.”
“[McConnell] lost his way to the point where he now is identified largely as the master of obstruction and gridlock in Washington,” reads the endorsement. “Kentucky needs a U.S. senator who sees a higher calling than personal ambition and a greater goal than self-aggrandizement.”
The endorsement also addressed Grimes’ recent interview with the editorial board, during which she repeatedly refused to say whether or not she voted for President Barack Obama in 2012.
“Ms. Grimes, to her credit, was willing to appear before this newspaper’s editorial board,” reads the editorial. “She did this fully aware that Mr. McConnell’s campaign could — and did — seize on snippets to use in political attacks.”
McConnell, the editorial board says, did not accept their invitation for a similar interview.
The Lexington Herald-Leader‘s endorsement strongly rebukes McConnell, who the editorial board says has “repeatedly hurt the country to advance his political strategy.”
“The Senate may never recover from the bitter paralysis McConnell has inflicted through record filibusters that allow his minority to rule by obstruction,” reads the editorial. “He poses as a champion of the right to criticize the government, but it’s really his rich buddies’ right to buy the government that he champions.”
“If McConnell had a better record, he would not have to argue for six more years by obsessively linking Grimes to Obama, who will be gone in two years no matter what,” the editorial continues.
A Bluegrass Poll released last week shows McConnell and Grimes in a dead heat. The survey appeared to embolden national Democrats, who decided to recommit to funding ads for Grimes ahead of Election Day.
HuffPost Pollster’s model, which combines all publicly available polls, shows McConnell ahead by several points:
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