erik lundegaard

Media posts

Monday July 29, 2013

Reading the Newspaper with George W.S. Trow - III

“If you have a personal reason to take an interest in a Baby Bell reaching out to form yet another media conglomerate, sure, read it; but be aware that the deal will ravel, unravel, happen, not happen, be consummated or not consummated, be important or not important, and you will have read ten thousand words. Also notice that the news is written in such a way that all of these 'dramatic' ravelings and unravelings are reported in detail (because they have human interest), but should the thing finally come together, the news will stop. Just when you want to know what's going to happen (the president has won the election; what's he going to do?) the news stops.”

-- George W.S. Trow, “My Pilgrim's Progress: Media Studies 1950-1998,” pg. 43

Posted at 03:50 PM on Jul 29, 2013 in category Media
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Reading the Newspaper with George W.S. Trow - II

“I read every word in the paper about Algeria, Ukraine, and Belarus; these are the Underreported Zones. You should get a feel in the paper for what is underreported and what is overreported. Overreported is Newt Gingrich. One-tenth of one percent  of what has been written about Newt will do you just fine. About Algeria, Ukraine, Belarus, you need to read every word; also Shanghai, Chinese billionaires, and the Russian mafia. Also currency trading.”

-- George W.S. Trow, “My Pilgrim's Progress: Media Studies 1950-1998,” pg. 43

Posted at 03:44 PM on Jul 29, 2013 in category Media
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Reading the Newspaper with George W.S. Trow - I

“There isn't much real news, you know.

”Most news is in relation to what a government (or a unit of government) is willing to let you know about what it is saying or doing in relation to another government or unit of government. You could spend your whole life reading abou the Middle East. You don't want to do that.“

-- George W.S. Trow, ”My Pilgrim's Progress: Media Studies 1950-1998," pg. 42

Posted at 03:40 PM on Jul 29, 2013 in category Media
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Tuesday May 28, 2013

Latest New Yorker Cover by Marcellus Hall Celebrates NYC's New Bike-Sharing Program

Marcellus Hall was immensely talented even during high school. We both went to Washburn in south Minneapolis (he the class of '82, me '81) and ran cross-country together (he generally ahead). We also shared a love of the Beatles in the face of classmates who preferred bands like REO Speedwagon.

This is his latest New Yorker cover:

New Yorker cover: June 3, 2013, by Marcellus Hall

It celebrates New York's new bike-sharing program.

Monday’s riders were, by definition, an eager and forgiving cross section: founding members who registered for a yearly pass for $95, allowing them to ride between stations for as long as 45 minutes with no added charge.

Marc, pronounced with a soft-c, and the author of the new childrens' book, “Everyone Sleeps,” about a dog prowling at night, has been biking in New York for 15 years. The NYer profiles him here. Don't miss the slideshow. 

Posted at 03:24 PM on May 28, 2013 in category Media
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Thursday April 18, 2013

The True Vice of Vice: Advertisers with Editorial Input

From Lizzie Widdicombe's recent New Yorker piece on the growing Vice magazine empire:

Besides selling banner displays and short ads that play before its videos, Vice offers its advertisers the option of funding an entire project in exchange for being listed as co-creator and having editorial input. Advertisers can pay for a single video, or, for a higher price—one to five million dollars for twelve episodes, according to Vice—they can pay for an entire series, on a topic that dovetails with the company’s image. (The North Face, the outdoors company, recently sponsored a series called “Far Out,” in which Vice staffers visit people living in “the most remote places on Earth.”)

At the highest end of the sponsorship spectrum are verticals, in which companies can sponsor entire Web sites. If you go to Vice’s main site,, you’ll see the weird, ribald material that defines its brand (“New York Fashion Week . . . On Acid!,” “India’s Street Doctors Will Bleed the Sickness Right Out of You”). Tabs at the top connect to Web sites on single subjects: Motherboard, which focusses on technology; Fightland (ultimate fighting); and Noisey (music). The content on these sites is sponsored by companies such as Garnier, Toshiba, and Scion. Vice’s sponsored verticals tend to be in softer areas, like music and art. As Smith said, “Crest doesn’t want to be next to severed heads.”

Smith describes sponsored content as a return to the soap-opera model of early television: “It’s ‘As the World Turns,’ sponsored by Procter & Gamble. And you’re going to do that show anyway. And Procter & Gamble just sort of fits in.” But when I spoke to Spencer Baim, Vice’s chief strategic officer and the head of Virtue, its in-house advertising agency, he pointed out that mere sponsorship has become “a dirty word” among advertisers. “Being a sponsor is just slapping your logo on something and not being strategic about it,” he said. Instead, he added, sponsored content should represent something “fresh”—a true creative collaboration between Vice and its advertiser.

Almost nothing about Vice appeals to me. I'm not their demographic (male: 18-34), but even when I was their demographic I wasn't, because I hated this kind of shit. Widdicombe accurately calls the sensibility “adolescent, male and proudly boorish.” It's actually worse. It's part of the downfall.

Covers of Vice Magazine, an enterprise in which advertisers have editorial input

It's not hip. It's sponsored.

Posted at 10:27 AM on Apr 18, 2013 in category Media
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