Kim Kardashian and the Selfie Era

Here I'm in Havana adjusting the microphone before interviewing a rapper known as "Gladiator of Cuba."

Here I’m in Havana adjusting a microphone before interviewing a rapper known as “Gladiator of Cuba.”

Self-promotion and branding are big these days. I sometimes forget about that. I spent weeks in Cuba this summer and didn’t take a single selfie.
I was in Ecuador and didn’t take any selfies there, either, although I grabbed a GoPro and caught some footage of me riding in a canoe.

My GoPro captured this footage.

My GoPro captured this footage.

As a journalist, I keep the focus on the subjects of my stories. I try to keep my opinion out of it. After all, it’s not about me.
Times have changed, I know. We’re in the Selfie Era.
And one of the queens of selfies is Kim Kardashian. Her book, called Selfish, is due out in April. It will feature her selfies – “many never-before-seen personal images from one of the most recognizable and iconic celebrities in the world.”
The book promo states:

Widely regarded as a trailblazer of the “selfie movement” — a modern-day self-portrait of the digital age — Kim has mastered the art of taking flattering and highly personal photos of oneself.

Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington, isn’t convinced that Kardashian is the best role model for American youth. She wrote:

Kim K, like Paris Hilton, is just about as thin as their photographs. They want our love and money and they hope to achieve it by showing how much love and money they have already.
So wouldn’t it be great if Kim K’s selfie book sat moldering in book stores and on Amazon? That would reassure me about the soul of modern girls and young women. I wouldn’t blame anyone for paging through it. It’s a little like a car wreck — awful, but hard to totally avoid looking at. But buying the book is another thing altogether.
Instead of sending Kim K to the bank, let’s encourage her to go to a really good therapist. This kind of narcissism needs to be treated, not celebrated.

I don’t think Kardashian will be checking in for treatment anytime soon. She has managed to build an empire around her name. Endless self-promotion to fans – including more than 23 million followers on Twitter – is key to her success.

Revisiting Kony 2012

Today in Intro to Media we’re going to talk about Kony 2012, touted as the most watched human rights video of all time.

For discussion:

Naked meltdown: Jason Russell, the man behind Kony 2012, freaks out on a San Diego street corner. He later explained in this video:

My mind betrayed me and I was hospitalized. If you’re put in the position to give answers to every question a dozen times over, your mind starts to lose track of where you are, if you’ve slept, who’s for you, who’s against you.


Oprah’s interview with Russell:
Oprah Asked KONY 2012 Creator Jason Russell If He’s Gay Because He Was Running in the Streets Nude Continue reading

Journalists in peril

Anja Niedringhaus. Credit: PETER DEJONG, AP

Anja Niedringhaus. Credit: PETER DEJONG, AP

Today in Intro to Media we’re going to talk about press freedom and the dangers that journalists face while doing their jobs.
We’ll look at photos taken by Anja Niedringhaus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who was killed in Afghanistan on April 4. David Guttenfelder, who worked with Niedringhaus, said he was devastated by her death. He told National Geographic:

She covered every major conflict, every massive world-changing event of the past 25 years. She was unflinchingly brave. Not in a cavalier way, but more like “This is very dangerous. But it’s important. It has to be done. It has to be covered. Who else is going to do it? I’m going.”

See Anja Niedringhaus’ portfolio

Source: Freedom House

Source: Freedom House

Organizations that promote freedom of the press

Freedom House
Press freedom 2013 (download 2013 report)
Committee to Protect Journalists. Case of Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz
Number of journalists killed since 1982
Reporters without Borders
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