Friday, October 12, 2012

Remix Mix

I found that this topic interested me the most. When I first got into broadcasting, I was a news videographer who also had to edit my own video. Prior to this, I knew absolutely nothing about copyright, editing or music rights. So when I learned to edit, the way I did it at the tv station was how I thought it was everywhere. I edited any musical clip or song into video without having to worry about getting in trouble. This was, of course, because of the BMI and ASCAP fees the station paid, allowing news organizations to use parts of songs for their use. And I'm not quite sure of the law, so don't quote me, but there was also some law that allowed us to use video of anyone, as long as we were not on private property, without having to get a consent form signed. So basically, I had it in my head that I could edit and use whatever I wanted.

 It wasn't until I worked for a tv station without a newscast that I found out this wasn't true. My manager and I got into quite a debate about having to get consent forms signed for anyone I videotaped, and got our lawyer to go over our musical/editing license and contract with a fine toothed comb. Being that at this station I also edited my own video, I would edit different pieces that convert different emotions, sometimes in the same video story. So I would use up to four songs in one video, most likely from different artists.

 These videos would then air on the channel over the air, and also online. But a digital copy would be made and stored somewhere. A database existed that contained keywords from the story and video, i.e., a certain location was shot, a certain person was used and a certain piece of music was used. So in the future, if there were another person who was working on a story that needed footage of other things, all they had to do was access the database and retrieve whatever piece of video or music they wanted to. Even if they didn't shoot that piece of video, it doesn't matter. It's free game. And this is all ok and how the business works and nobody cares, because we are nothing more than employees of a station that owns the rights to the videos themselves. Once I shot video of Hurricane Floyd and it was picked up and aired by CNN. Do you think I got the money paid? Do you think I was credited by CNN in their airing? No, the station go the money and the credit. And again, this is fine by all. But take that principle to the private market and it doesn't work that way at all. Videographers are very, very (rightfully so) territorial about their video.

 I say all of that to say this. Lessig's point in the book we read was that the current copyright law for new media is outdated. Somebody makes a song, someone else takes and and makes changes, who know owns that material? I mean, the second person technically did make something new. I know that if I turn on the television and see even a ten second shot of my footage without me knowing, I would be quite upset. I can't even imagine how I would feel were I an artist who made music. And here is irony in it's finest. Lessig appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss the book. After the interview, Colbert took Lessig's book, signed it with his name, and then said that The Daily Show was going to start selling copies of it by calling it "The Colbert Edition." I went to YouTube to try and find a link to post here, but, and here it is, all I could find were remixed versions of the interview. Dozens and dozens of clips from people who took the interview, remixed it with some audio beat, and renamed it. I couldn't find it!! I had to go to the archives on the Colbert website to find it. Below is a portion. Enjoy, and don't take my video...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Media Managers

Had I made this post at the beginning of the semester it would have had a different tone, for multiple reasons, but the main being the information I learned through my research. My original topic for my research paper was something of extreme importance to me, media management. I myself was a manager at a traditional television station. However, when I was in that roll (it was prior to me returning to school for my undergrad degree) there was no Facebook, or Twitter or any other social media tool. There was the Internet, obviously, but there wasn't a great emphasis in making it interactive. We had a website, but when I first started it was merely to say that we had a website, and to use it for informational 2D information. 

We did use interactive media, but it was to interact with the "viewer" instead of us interacting with them. How we did this was, we partnered with a radio station that had the same demographic as our programming. We would then tape the on air personality for the radio station, asking our viewers to watch a certain show that evening, look for a special word or phrase, and then call in to their show the next morning and repeat that word or phrase for a prize. It was amazing the power this technique had. We used this technique for quite a while, while also slowly adopting a web technique. We would put a phrase or word on the screen (pre-edited of course) and then ask the viewer to log onto our website, click on the corresponding logo and type in that phrase or word. The entire thing was interactive, yes, but again, this was before the social media tools. I remember when they first came out, media managers and employees in general couldn't figure out exactly how that would fit into their business model. No one could figure out a) how to engage the public, and b) how to profit from it. 

It is through my research this semester that I am realizing that they are slowly starting to figure it out. Data and research are also starting to emerge, and a clearer picture is starting to form about what the future of the media organizations will look like. Not so much from a production viewpoint, but from a mangers viewpoint, and that makes me happy. It is here where I will place my Abstract.

Traditional organizational theory deals with efficiency in the workplace, involving both human resources and traditional organizational behavior. For the most part, this is a sustainable model. For most industries this model can sustain as long as the industry itself. But according both academic and industry articles on media, not only is the media content starting to change, so is the way it is managed, thus introducing a new model for media management.  A new model for managers who still value the traditional world of media, but also want to manage from a point of knowledge and empathy, is feasible.
            What has been heard from those that actually produce new media is that the current managers hire people like themselves to make the media, and they literally stay out of the process. Meaning, the manager merely dictates what he/she wants done and isn’t involved in the process for the shear reason that they don’t know what they are doing. And from what is presented as research, are also unwilling to learn. This is a dangerous model, and one that needs to be explored further before it comes to fruition.

I look forward to taking my newly acquired information and applying it to media organizations...