The Economics of a Sitcom!

The implosion of Charlie Sheen and his career this week has gotten the tabloid treatment in most of the Media. The New York Times however took a more financial approach to the story. Bill Carter’s article “Sheen Tantrum Likely to Cost in the Millions” discusses the economical fallout of the suspension of production on Two and a Half Men–the numbers are mind numbing and clearly shows the big business of a television series.

With the loss of prime advertising revenue and syndication of the lost episodes, CBS and Warner Brothers may lose upward of a quarter of a billion dollars! Now that’s a meltdown!

The Art of the Spin.

This week, in a lecture I was doing for a public relations course, ‘truthfulness’ was raised by a student as something one wants when producing P.R. material. When I answered that the ‘truth’ in public relations is much like the ‘truth’ is to defense attorneys, unnessesary, I could see the students disbelief. This was a perfect opening to discuss the ‘spin.’ What is the ‘spin’? William Safire in a New York Times article, The Spinner Spun gives us an understanding of this tool of politicians and PR. firms alike.

Newsweek this week has a great example of the art of spin. Disclose No Evil by Daniel McGinn takes various corporations who experienced a less than stellar year, and shows how a spin can over come obstacles. It is an amusing,  but also eye opening view into corporate ‘happy speak’!

If only Paul Revere had Social Networking….

The political upheaval being experienced across North Africa and the Middle East has already found its iconic symbol. It is not an individual or a particular group–it is in fact Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. The youth of Tunisia and Egypt discovered that the tools they have used for social communication, can in fact be  a powerful weapon.

I highly recommend the 60 Minutes segment on “Wael Ghonium and Egypt’s New Age Revolution,” this young Google executive explains the importance of social networking in awakening the youth of Egypt to political advocacy and protest. The interview also shows the vulnerabilities  governments face in controlling their citizens due to the openness of social networking.

I also recommend a video on You Tube by a Tunisian Rapper called El General. His Rap, “Rais LeBled” has become the anthem of the various protests across the region. The 21 year old had his music banned in Tunisia yet though the internet was able to get his protest music  circulated globally. Now, his call against corruption has been used by the various ‘Jasmine Revolutions’ in the Region and he has become the Bob Dylan of his generation.

theGrio: An African-American voice on the web.

MSNBC has created an exciting website for the African -American community called the Grio. The Grio, which  translates to  “a storyteller in western Africa who maintains the oral tradition and history of a village or family,” gives an African -American voice and perspective to the Internet. Recent articles covered topics as diverse as  Black Actors and Drag, the enhanced ebook version of Roots, and racial issues in Alabama. Pages dedicated to Politics,  Opinions,  Entertainment, Health,  Money, Travel,  Black History and News supply a unique Afro-American centric approach.

For those who would wonder if a site specifically focused on one ethnic or racial group is necessary, I say one word: bias. I use this word,  minus any negative connotation, and suggest one scan the  MSNBC’s main page, and then the Grio’s page. The differences are considerable.

I commend MSNBC’s outreach to the African-American community, and look forward to other media outlets reaching diverse populations online.

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