Controversy for Controversy’s Sake?

I love the Oscars. I’m one of the people who turns on E! at 2 p.m. to watch the endless pre-show coverage for 5 hours. I thought this year’s show was better than it had been in a few years. I didn’t mind Seth MacFarlane as a host, but a few jokes made me cringe.

One in particular about nine-year-old Best Actress nominee Quevenzhattne Wallis being almost too old to date George Clooney seemed downright wrong. Here’s a link to that moment and some of MacFarlane’s other most hated jokes: hps://

A lot of these jokes left people wondering why? Why would he say that? Why have Seth MacFarlane as host when he’s known for being crude and controversial?

The answer is ratings. Specifically ratings among men. For years the show has been making changes to get more viewers. Ratings were significantly up among men this year, but many are asking at what cost? Is it worth women being humiliated?

Though much was written about these jokes and the Oscars in general across the blogosphere. I had a tough time tracking down people who had watched the show. I was really amazed when working on my story about this year’s Oscars how many people told me they didn’t watch.

Did you watch? If so what did you think? Comment and let me know!



You should watch this.

This slideshow featured on the New York Times website is an interesting mix of informative and entertainment journalism. The pictures and audio together create much stronger emotions in a reader/viewer than they would experience by reading a brief summary of the events depicted in the slideshow. The way that the voices of the soldiers’ featured echo the images we see is especially moving. We feel what they felt through hearing their voices and seeing their experiences. Added effects like the gun fire especially make us feel like we’re there with the men. These added effects are not “unethical” because they are not causing any harm or taking anything away from the story, they are only enhancing the reader/viewer’s experience.

Effects like those mentioned above really add to the narrative structure of the piece. The story of these soldiers is presented as more of a story rather than a news item. It starts out with an introduction to Pvt. Dewater via image, with the other soldiers describing their mission to us through the audio. They face tragedy in Pvt. Dewater’s death, which is also the climax of the story, including gunfire and frenzied yelling. The story ends on somewhat of a positive note though, with the remaining soldiers investigating Pvt. Dewater’s death and saying that “at the end of the day this is our job, and we love what we do.”

One image that was especially striking to me was shown after Pvt. Dewater had died. The soldier in the picture was covering his face, but clearly wearing a Milwaukee Brewers hat. He was also dressed in a plain white t-shirt and normal pants, making him look like a majority of the guys who walk around campus. To think of one of my friends, classmates, even a fellow Wisconsinite in this awful and terrifying situation really made the story hit home. To think of the difference in effect that image has on me in comparison to a write-up of a soldier’s death or of military action is especially interesting. I think especially in journalism today that a picture is worth much more than a thousand words.

I enjoyed the way this news item was presented. Though some might find it more of a human interest piece when presented this way, I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing. A slideshow like this is a more entertaining way of presenting this story than a simple write-up, and is just as informative. In today’s world, slideshows like this are also easy to view on various tablets and mobile devices, which is where most people now get their news first. As journalism continues to change with technology, “entertainment” in news shouldn’t always be considered a negative.