Scavenger Hunt

James Dykstra (evens), and Read Gessner (evens)
1. Spoken by William Randolph Hearst, in response to the Spanish-American War. Known as the “king of yellow journalism”, he was renowned for using his media empire to further his own agenda. Therefore, he was also renowned for a lack of journalistic integrity. Ultimately, he’s painted a picture of what not to do if you’re a journalist.

2. Creel Committee on Public Info was more or less an American propaganda machine designed to sway public opinion of Americans in WWI, via films, newspaper, and “envoys”, in multiple countries. They were not always truthful, and were caught “embroidering” or embellishing the truth multiple times. During it’s tenure, it had over 20 bureaus in 9 different countries, usually tailoring its message specifically to that region.

4.Galvanic Skin Response: A method of measuring emotional reaction to stimuli by gauging sweat response. The sweat conducts electricity, and that electrical response varies depending on how much sweat there is. This may be seen in a study for effects of violent movies on children.
6. War of the Worlds was a live radio broadcast by Orson Welles on October 30th, 1938. Though it was merely an adaptation of H.G. Well’s novel, the effect it had on listeners was profound. Thousands were terrified, and some even took their lives over what they thought was an impending alien invasion. It was an indelible testament to the power of media, whether fictional or real.
8. A quote from Lowery and DeFleur, some of the earliest media effects researchers, in regards to their review of data from the Payne Fund Studies. This viewpoint sums up the sentiments of what ultimately led to the end of pre-code Hollywood, and brought rating systems to movies.
10. Klapper was the one of the original proponents of the idea that the media had “limited effects” on those who were receiving it, but rather reinforced what they already believed.
12. Liebert and Sprafkin were authors of the 1988 book “The Early Window”, in which they endorsed “prosocial” TV for youths. They felt that TV that reinforced positive behaviors and attitudes was very beneficial in a child’s developmental stages. They helped make Blue’s Clues possible, for better or for worse.
14. Micro level media effects are examinations of how/why individuals react to various media stimuli, via different mediums. For example, scientists may study the perspiration of a child in response to “American Psycho” with a GSR. Or they could check for pupil dilation in a moment of fear after realizing they will have to watch Blue’s Clues for the rest of their days.
15. Whereas micro studies individual reactions, macro level media effects studies focus on more sociocultural responses to media stimuli. For example, how Television influences an election, or how young children’s minds are warped by MTV and Disney.

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Legally Blonde (I AM)

I enjoyed the experiments, on an academic and personal level. Personally, I always enjoy the feeling of “being  tested”, and the challenge of attempting to understand what the true goal of the experiment is. Academically, I found the test fairly well designed, both the smokescreen section, and the true nature of what the experiment was for, and how it was performed. Bravo.

Experiments are the best, most thorough way to study media effects. They allow for more control. Whereas as a content analysis provides more of a one dimensional level of examination, an experiment allows the researcher to control every facet of study: the subjects, material, ind. and dependent variables, etc… Ultimately, this allows an unparalleled prism of scientific data on any given topic. Experiments are the Olive Garden to content analysis’s Waffle House.

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Blue’s Clues Assignment


1. What were your findings?
My group, which consisted of me and one other person, decided to focus on one character only, and do our best to accurately tally/analyze their signs and words. Lucky for me, my character was Blue, so I wasn’t nearly as overwhelmed by the volume of data. 
As far as I could tell, Blue used three different signs/words, a total of seven times. 
The first was “C’mon”, used three times. I believe this was accompanied by a sort of “come hither” arm gesture. 
Next was “Blue”, used twice. I don’t exactly remember the sign that went with it, but I’m pretty sure it involved Blue gesturing towards herself.
Last was “Clue”, which was used four times, and was accompanied by Blue raising her ears, whereas Steve signaled “clue” by raising his arms in a kind of “quote on quote” fashion. I found this interesting, as it seemed that this may cause confusion to a youngster.
I don’t think I tallied all of Blue’s signs, for I got distracted a couple times, and must admit I was bored by Blue’s Clues even as a child. Mainly Steve. I really dislike Steve’s pacing of the show. I’m not stupid Steve!…….
As far as I could tell, words were only not accompanied by a sign one time, though I may be incorrect here as well, as Blue cannot really speak, per se, only vocalize.
Signs were always accompanied by words.

2. Is content analysis the best way to study media effects?
Sometimes, but not always. In this case it was, due to the nature of the text we were analyzing. However, different studies require different methods. If we were studying the effect of Blue’s Clues on children’s cognitive abilities, for example, we would need a more hands on, traditional kind of study. That being said, whether to give better perspective and context to a study, or just because it is the most illuminating option, content analysis nearly always has a place in media effects, and research as a whole.

3. What did you learn about media effects?
The hands on nature of the activity we did really drove home how tedious and meticulous these studies can be. I don’t feel I was properly prepared to record the information at hand, therefore preparation is of extreme importance in such a study, as it should be in any. That being said, though I’m not a huge Blue’s Clues fan, seeing how much could be done with such a “simple” show really opened my eyes to how broad this field is, and the potential that it has to provide insightful and unique perspectives on human nature.

Goodbye, Steve.

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James Dykstra and Read Gessner

Open to modification
Empirically verifiable

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Hi Dr. Ryan!

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Will Digital Distribution Destroy Gamestop?

by Jim DykstraImage

The retail game corporation Gamestop owns and operates over 6,500 stores in North America and Europe, and competes directly with Best Buy and Wal-Mart for its share of video game sales in the United States.

Unlike the latter corporations, however, the majority of Gamestop’s sales come from used products, rather than new. In fact, 46.8% of their sales in 2010 were from used games alone, compared to 27.8% for new games and hardware. The rest of sales were listed as “other”, which includes used game accessories and movies.

The difference in new and used video game sales is the profit margin. According to Andy Withers, a Senior Game Advisor at Gamestop in Conyers, Georgia, Gamestop only makes “around eight to ten dollars for a new game sale,” while they make “anywhere from five to thirty dollars on a used game sale.” If Gamestop sells a new game, the majority of the profit goes to the video-game developers. However, if they’re used, all the profit goes to Gamestop. In the words of Chris Reincher, Senior Game Advisor at a Valdosta, GA Gamestop: “Have you ever heard of flipping a house? That’s how Gamestop makes its money.” (Warning: Language)

This has major implications for game developers, who are seeing their critical first-week sales cut into by used-game sales. “Flipping” games at Gamestop is as easy as buying a game the day it comes out, and returning it for store credit.

To compensate, they have steadily increased prices of new games, and have resorted to digital distribution methods as a way of regaining lost business.

These methods can generally be divided into two categories, additional downloadable content, or “DLC”, and direct sales of full games by way of the internet.

DLC has found a happy medium, being sold both digitally and in retail venues, including Gamestop. Direct digital sales, though, effectively eliminate the need for a retailer, and could place Gamestop at a precarious financial crossroads down the road.

It seems the corporation is prepared to adapt, however. “I don’t believe Gamestop is going to become another Blockbuster.” Withers said.  “They are already working on selling products outside of games; iPods, iPhones, tablets… some stores even have T.V.’s. I know they’re also working on a program for the computer like Steam, and we already sell DLC. We’ll be alright.”

This program, if successful, will blur the line between digital and retail distribution. “Steam has made me a believer of online distribution… Valve (creator of Steam) has made what iTunes is for the music industry possible for the gaming industry.” Reincher said.

With Gamestop’s place in the videogame industry seemingly stable, for now, the question becomes, ‘Digital or Physical?’

“I personally like digital downloads,” Withers said. “It’s convenient for the consumer, and also cheaper for the game developer to make.”

Adam Hall, an avid gamer and owner of all three current generation systems, has a more old school perspective: “I grew up buying a video game at a store. I expect a manual inside of a box. I like the artwork, and the ability to trade a game in at a later date. With digital, you get none of that, and are stuck with them forever.”

Where do you stand?

Gamestop Rant Pt. 2  (Warning: Language Continues)

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Atlanta businesses suffer when pro teams don’t play

  •                                                             Photo taken 3/6/2010

    Thrashers sale/Hawks shortened season reduce business around ATL
    Businesses scale back
    Some are unhappy with management of Thrashers deal

    A stunted professional basketball season and the loss of a pro-ice hockey team has left some Atlanta-area businesses out cold.

Bars, restaurants, and merchandise vendors around metro-Atlanta have had to adapt to survive a diminished clientele-base.
“We easily average a couple hundred sports fans a week.” said Shannon Wroe, a server at Big Tex Cantina on Ponce. “We were  OK when it was just the Thrashers, but when the Hawks also weren’t playing, a big chunk of customers weren’t showing up… My hours definitely went down.”
Other businesses, such as Taco Mac, have reported that they did up to three times their usual amount of business on Thrasher game nights.
Merchandise vendors fared even worse. Thuy-Tien Pham, a Georgia Tech student who helped her brother sell Atlanta pro-sports souvenirs after games, had to stop entirely. “Besides Braves games, there were no games for a while. No games meant no fans. It wasn’t worth it.”
Atlanta appears to have echoed that sentiment, regarding the Thrashers. Atlanta is the only city to lose a pro-sports franchise to Canada, and it has happened twice. Before the Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets on May 31, 2011, the Atlanta Flames became the Calgary Flames in 1980.
The Atlanta Spirit, Hawks owners and Thrashers hawkers, have been criticized for their handling of the team.
Whether the blame lies on the ownership or the fans is unclear. Thrasher attendance consistently ranked amongst the lowest in the league, and according to the Atlanta Spirit, lost around $130 million in its last six years. 2007, the only year the Thrashers made the playoffs, they lost $20 million.
Wroe does not regret the loss of the Thrashers.
“Honestly, most of our business came from the Hawks and Braves. This is the South.”
Pham has since returned to merch-vending on weekends. “As long as we have baseball, basketball, and football, we’ll be alright. Rise up!”
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