Category Archives: Media

Map: What Would Game of Thrones New York City Look Like?

This Game of Thrones New York City map originally appeared on the now defunct UpOut.com. It was inspired by the brilliant Game of Thrones – San Francisco map created by Emma Gantz (illustrator of the icons), Kelly Anne Bonner, and Natalie Kelly. This version of the map was designed by Tandra Nguyen using Gantz’s icons (Nguyen made the Castle Black icon). The New York City descriptions were written by Jesse Russell with assistance from UpOut intern Nora Kistler. Bonner and Kelly wrote the Game of Thrones descriptions for the San Francisco map which Russell edited slightly for this Game of Thrones New York City version.

Disagree? Of course you do (please be gentle). This was a tough map to make because New York City is such an amazingly diverse region with shifting personalities. I’d love to read your interpretation of the ideal Game of Thrones New York City map!

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30 Years Later: Revisiting the Pirate Max Headroom Incident

The date was November 22, 1987. WGN-TV was in the midst of broadcasting the Nine O’Clock News. Unexpectedly, the sports segment was interrupted by a pirate signal and a masked figure briefly appeared on television screens around the city. The interruption was over in less than 20 seconds. Sportscaster Dan Roan echoed the thoughts of viewers when he said: “well, if you’re wondering what’s happened, so am I.”

The figure appearing on the screen would have been familiar to consumers of the 80s. It was a rubberized version of the character Max Headroom. The computerized talk show host was originally developed for a British cyberpunk TV movie called Max Headroom: 20 Minutes Into The Future. He caught on in the United States as the spokesman for New Coke and as the star of a short-lived sci-fi show simply called Max Headroom (he was also the host a Cinemax talk show after the sci-fi show was canceled).

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Media Criticism: The birth of a thousand conspiracy theories

Maybe one good thing that could come out of the Boston Marathon bombing is a reevaluation of the Fourth Estate. I’m probably being overly optimistic, because it would require the national media to acknowledge they aren’t achieving their purpose of contributing to an informed populace. The amount of flubbed reporting over the last three days has been egregious.

When I finally made the fool decision to walk away from the Internet and turn on cable news Monday it was shortly after 1 p.m. PST. I spent a little bit of time on each of the three networks and was actually surprised to find MSNBC providing the best coverage. Karen Finney, filling in for Martin Bashir, was covering the situation as a straight anchor. She let the journalists on the ground provide the information. She was careful not to join any speculation being presented by guests. She let the terror experts explain and asked clarifying questions. That straight forward reporting is what I personally crave during a crisis and it wasn’t happening on Fox or CNN.

However, it all fell apart when Chris Matthews came on the air. Matthews had followed the Boston police briefing where the police commissioner was unhelpful when it came to answering questions about the JFK Library. He said it was being investigated as a potentially related incident. He never said outright that it was definitely related. His statement also came an hour after the Dorchester Reporter had talked to the library’s director who said it was only a small mechanical fire (highlighting the continued value of local newspapers). With so much ambiguity and conflicting reports Matthews never should have started on a tear about “the symbolism” of an attack on the library.

While I detest speculative reporting during a crisis I know there’s very little helping it. If a 24-hour news station is going to abandon planned reporting on anything else happening in the world and focus on one thing non-stop – pundits are going to speculate.  If Matthews couldn’t help himself and needed to rant about an unverified event he could have at least taken the time to make it clear to his viewers that there were conflicting reports about the cause of the fire. “The commissioner seemed to suggest the library was also bombed, but we’re still receiving conflicting reports, if it does turn out that the library was bombed what do you think that means regarding the symbolism of this attack?”

I turned the television off and went for a walk.

Moments like this have continued over the last three days. The Atlantic has an excellent round-up and The Onion published a mock New York Post editorial that sums up the current state of crisis reporting nicely.  The reporting has been so sloppy that the Federal Bureau of Investigations has issued a statement that could have come from the office of a Journalism 101 Professor: “Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.”

It’ll be interesting to see how many conspiracy theories are born from the false reports. Nothing fuels conspiracy nuts more than when they think the government is forcing the media to change facts.

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