Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Delayed and Flayed

By: Regina Spurlock

Frustrated and upset, students demand a refund after waiting for over two hours in CCNY’s Aronow Theatre for WCCR’s DJ/ B-boy battle to start.

“I am so disappointed,” Niesha, a paying patron, said after waiting in vain for the event to start.

After an hour, the show still hadn’t started and very few tickets had been sold. Around 9:00, the show still hadn’t begun and the ticket master stated disgustedly, “The number of free admissions outnumbers the number of paying guests!”

The DJ/B-boy battle was supposed pay homage to old-school Hip-Hop but instead, it quickly became much more of a disgrace than a tribute. WCCR’s staff of students’ lack of professionalism and promotion led to an insignificant amount of tickets being sold. And consequently, the event, which was supposed to be a competition commencing at 7:00 PM, turned into a showcase of performances that started well after 9:00 PM.

At approximately 8:00, I counted seven people waiting in the seats of Aronow Theater. These seven had the pleasure of listening to the obnoxiously loud music being spun by the four or five DJ’s who had been on stage since 7:00 PM. Even though the audience was extremely small, it was quite diverse. The paying audience consisted of Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and Whites. However, the performers and the crowd of WCCR personnel were black, with the exception of a few Latinos.

Most of those who were present at the event were students, interested in Hip-Hop, and had learned of the DJ/ B-boy Battle via their friends who are members of the WCCR student radio station at CCNY. And although the even started and ended late, many students indicated that they would come to this event again. As for the two students who asked for a refund, I doubt that their enthusiasm would be as high. Both of students were reporting for CCNY campus papers.

By 8:30, some of the audience opted to sit on the floor outside of the theatre; and at 8:45, most of the performers were just arriving. And these performers were not DJs or B-boys, which the event specified, but rappers – tons of rappers. According to WCCR’s Mikhael, the group of B-boys who actually arrived on time was having some internal conflicts typical of boy bands. And another group of B-boys refused to show after learning that the event would be a showcase rather than an actual competition with a prize.

The rappers seemed to be more in sync than the dancers. One of the rappers, Your Highness from Jamaica, Queens, was cool, calm and looking forward to a good show and a solid performance. To the delight of the audience waiting in the hallway, he even gave a preview of his lyrical prowess. On the other hand, another rapper shared that he was not excited and feared that he would screw up. In fact, he bought a ticket after deciding not to perform.

It is evident that this event failed in many aspects. But in determining whether effort should be exerted toward hosting another DJ/ B-boy battle next year, more factors should be examined.

Iolani, president of WCCR, hoped that 500 people would attend the event. “To be real with you, I don’t know how many people are going to show up [since] no tickets have been sold yet. Things are feeling a little shaky...but we're hoping that things turn around for the better by [the Monday before the event],” Iolani stated. No, the DJ/ B-boy Battle did not draw a substantial crowd. This was due in part to the other events competing for student support on the same day and time; potential customers were attending the play at Aaron Davis Hall and Africa Live. Also, the event was scheduled for a Thursday at 7:00 PM, which is not the most convenient or attractive time for students.

But the biggest failure and the most detrimental setback was the promotion of the event. WCCR advertised by posting flyers throughout the campus’s buildings, sending messages and comments on facebook and myspace which were sent late, and via word of mouth, which seemed to be the most effective method. The event was also advertised through announcements at other student events as well as on WCCR’s AM radio waves. But since the radio station is only broadcasted on the AM radio in Harlem and in the lobby of the North Academic Center at CCNY, the announcements probably did not reach many listeners.

Tear Drop, a DJ at WCCR who is also the in house DJ at club La Pregunta, admitted that he did not promote to his full potential. “I know for a lot of people, outside of school, WCCR is not the top priority. We are busy doing other stuff. So I know that I didn’t promote as much as I could have.” When asked if he thought this event would happen again next year, he responded, “Maybe – if promotion was better. But really, once students have spent all day at school, are they going to want to stay at school for an event?” Tear Drop affirmed his love and support for CCNY and CCNY student events, not only through words, but also by his actions; Almost every Thursday, he plays reggae, hip-hop, merengue and bachata music and encourages students to dance and have a fun time in the NAC Rotunda or on the NAC patio. But he was still not sure how to draw a crowd to the DJ/ B-boy Battle.

WCCR’s failed promotion of the show was not entirely to blame. For one, this was the first DJ/ B-boy battle, meaning that this event was sort of a “trial and error” or “learn from your mistakes” situation.

Also, the Finley Student Center contributed much of the confusion. The event was to originally take place on December 7, 2008. But Finley mandated that the event be rescheduled, resulting in the loss of a performance by hip-hop legend, Mos Def. The DJ/ B-boy battle was rescheduled for April 24, 2009. But again, Finley required that the event be rescheduled, resulting in the loss of a performance by Status Quo, B-boys who became famous after being finalists on America’s Next Best Dance Crew.

Since WCCR lost performers that would have drawn in a huge crowd, the DJ/ B-boy battle experienced minimal success. But this event has the potential to be drastically better and largely successful if WCCR learns from its mistakes and solves the problems in the areas of promotion, event scheduling, and event planning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Drill 9: Apr. 28

This twitter assignment was a very interesting one indeed. When Professor Anderson first mentioned Twitter in class on Thursday, I thought back to the first time I heard about it (only a month or so before). I remember thinking, "What nonsense. Such a waste of time. Who is so self absorbed or desperate for attention that they need to constantly broadcast their status?!" I did not intend to get involved in the Twitter craze. So when I was required to create an account and follow people on the website, I was not the least bit excited. However, I was a little curious to see how Twitter works and how it is different from similar status related websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and AOL Instant Messenger.
I found that this application is different in that it has the sole purpose of sending and receiving status updates. Whereas these other websites include user profiles, instant messenging, emailing, and built in applications, such as games and music. When I added the journalism professors and other people that I was assigned to follow, I was immediately intimidated. For one, these people are professional. And primarily, I would not interact with these people (within the world wide web community) of my own desire.
I created the account on Thursday. Initially, I did not read any posts that sparked my interest. Upon my return to Twitter the following day, I was still unable to connect with the posters. I just could not figure out what to comment about. And I was nervous (as I always am) about addressing someone who knows nothing of me. After visiting Twitter on Friday, I totally forgot about it until early Tuesday morning.I was asleep and having my daily early morning subconscious thoughts. And all of a sudden it occured to me that I had been assigned a blog post about my experience with Twitter.
Sadly, I went to class before posting this blog. But in class, I gained some helpful insight from one of my classmates. He found this assignment to be interesting, even enjoyable. He was really interested in what the people he was following had to say. So I figured, maybe if I was following people who talked about things that I am deeply interested in or curious about, I would have a better experience with Twitter. But for this particular assignment, I felt a little lost, confused, and disinterested.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Related Links-Final Project

These are NOT blogs. I could not find blogs relating to this topic.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Drill 8: Apr. 7

All alone in Shepard Hall's Lincoln Corridor, a young male with sharp object in hand kneeled over as he stared intently into the distance.
Presumably an architecture student, Tom used a ruler to draw straight lines on a large sheet of white paper with his sharpened pencil. He seemed to be doing a linear perspective drawing for an architecture class. Perhaps this student did not get much sleep the night before; Tom murmured a few words to himself and even started to hum. Trying to keep himself awake and focused, Tom actually started to sing - badly. Maybe he didn't notice the people walking past, because he did not lower his voice or cease to sing. However, he did continue to adjust his ruler, draw long, straight lines, erase, and repeat. To be the only architecture student present in the corridor at 8:45 a.m., Tom appeared to be especially enthusiastic and animated. Abruptly, Tom tossed his utensils into a box, placed his drawing into a portfolio, hastily but carefully packed his items into a backpack, and coolly walked toward the nearest exit of Shepard Hall.
As Tom left, two female students, Julia and Maria, walked over to a vacant bench. With crossed legs, the two ladies face each other and lean toward the center of the bench. The long dark brown hair and light skin isn't all the two share in common; both girls had a newspaper in front of them. While Julia tried to read her paper, Maria fished her cell phone out of her purse, drank some coffee and encouraged Julia to converse. Finally, after taking a another sip of coffee, Maria joined Julia in reading the paper. Both ladies read articles, circle, highlight and take notes on the newspaper while continuing to engage in chatter. However, Maria quickly lost focus and handed her phone to Julia. Maria posed for the camera and smiled sweetly as Julia snapped the pictures. Julia resumed her work and Maria did so after playing with her phone and meddling in her hair.
Soon, other student started to occupy the corridors dark wooden benches. A guy tapped his thumb and feet to a song playing in his head. A girl read a book while sniffling occasionally. Each student in the Lincoln Corridor was in his or her own little world.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drill 7: Mar. 26

People to Interview:
- b-boys
- dj's
Event Planners
-WCCR staff members
Actual Audience
-people who are attending the event
Potential Audience

Things I Want to Observe:
-Quality of sound and lighting
-Is there a considerable crowd?
-What ethnicities/age groups/genders are represented?
-How excited is the audience?
-Is the audience paying attention to the performances?
-Are the performers good?
-Do the performers seem to be enjoying themselves?
-How many performers are present?
-Does the event seem to be well organized?
-Does the event start on time?
-What is the general mood of the WCCR staff?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


In Harlem on 8th Avenue and 155th Street, Sabrina finds her residence to be quite convenient.  "I'm close to everything," she says smiling, including CCNY where she studies, subway stations, and the rest of Manhattan.  Even though Sabrina loves the proximity of her block to the rest of New York City, she does not always feel safe.  Even though on her block she is a Bangladeshi among a majority of Blacks and Latinos, she doesn't really feel uncomfortable because of the difference in race.  The guns, violence, and perverts, along with the dirty sidewalks and building are what really irk Sabrina about living in this area.  Even though Sabrina has gone to many parties around her block, she mostly hangs out with friends in Queens and Midtown.  Before living in Harlem, Sabrina, her mom, and her little brother lived on Manhattan's Lower East Side.  And now, her mom is looking for another apartment, in either Queens or the Bronx, to move her two children into.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Drill 6: March 24

On April 30, 2009, CCNY's student radio station is hosting its first DJ/B-Boy Battle. Some of the station's DJs as well as b-boys and dance crews with ties to CCNY will be featured in the event.

This story has a great amount of impact on the student community at CCNY. Most students enjoy dance and music. On any given day, one can walk around the campus of the City College of New York and find that a large number of students have iPods and mp3 players plugged into their ears. And there are a number of student dance clubs at CCNY as well - salsa and mambo, belly dancing, hip-hop, and breakdancing are some.

Also, this story is current; dance competitions are in vogue. A number of television shows, including "So You Think You Can Dance," "Randy Jackson Presents: America's Next Dance Crew," and "Dancing With the Stars," testify to the currency of dance competitions.

This particular story also has potential conflicts. The most obvious is the conflict between the B-Boys and DJs that will battling. Also, there could be conflict in questioning the sustainability of this event. Will enough people come to support the DJ/B-boy battle? Will the student radio station raise enough money to cover the expenses of this event? Will the people who come to this event actually want to attend another event like this next year?

It is quite obvious that I could write commentary on this event. However, I am also capable of critical analysis and interviewing performers, hosts, and the crowd in order to write an objective report of the DJ/B-Boy Battle. Coverage of this event is vital both in measuring its success and in determing whether the battle should become an annual event. Also, dance and music resonate well with a considerable portion of the student population at CCNY; and popular interests deserve to be reported on.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Drill 5: Mar. 10

On April 30, 2009, CCNY's student radio station is hosting its first DJ/B-Boy Battle. Some of the station's DJs as well as b-boys and dance crews with ties to CCNY will be featured in the event. And so far, the station has secured a performance from Status Quo, the last dance crew left to compete against the JabbaWockeez on America's Best Dance Crew. It is quite obvious that I could write commentary on this event. However, I am also capable of critical analysis and interviewing performers, hosts, and the crowd in order to write an objective report of the DJ/B-Boy Battle. Coverage of this event is vital both in measuring its success and in determing whether the battle should become an annual event. Also, the event resonates with a considerable portion of the student population at CCNY; and popular interests deserve to be reported on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Drill 4: Mar. 5

Barricading the doors of NYU's Kimmel Center from Wednesday night until Friday morning, student protesters from NYU, The New School, Columbia, and Hunter stand baffled and uncertain of their reasons for protest.

I chose this particular lede because it tells who, what, when, where, how, and alludes to why. The most important information is presented.

How to write a lede
Video of protests' final moments
NYTimes journal of protest events

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Drill 3: Feb. 26

Revenue Drops 31% at DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation’s fourth-quarter profit fell.
Revenue sank 31 percent.
The company is based in Glendale California.
DreamWorks Animation earned $51.6 million (58 cents a share) in last year’s fourth-quarter.
This figure is down 45 percent compared to the previous year’s fourth-quarter earnings of $94.1 million (98 cents a share).
DreamWorks Animation’s revenue in the current fourth-quarter was $199.8 million.
This figure is compared to $290.2 million in the previous fourth-quarter.
Analysts expected 60 cents per share and $232.5 million in revenue.
Thomas Reuters polled analysts.
In 2008, DreamWorks released “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “Kung Fu Panda.”
Mostly in DVD sales, “Kung Fu Panda” added $101.8 million to fourth-quarter revenue.
Mainly from consumer product sales, “Madagascar added $24 million.
Both movies accounted for $1.2 billion collectively in box-office revenue in 2008.
DreamWorks earned $142.5 million ($1.57 a share) for the full year of 2008.
This figure is down 35 percent compared to the previous year.

Last year, DreamWorks Animations fourth-quarter earnings were 98 cents a share. Analysts estimated that the current fourth-quarter earnings would be 60 cents a share. Together, the most recent “Madagascar” and “Kung Fu Panda” released in 2008 contributed $125.8 million to the fourth-quarter revenue and $1.2 billion in box office revenue for the year of 2008. For the year, DreamWorks earned $1.57 a share. Fouth-quarter revenue is down 31 percent, fourth-quarter earnings are down 45 percent, and Full year earnings are down 35 percent.

Japan’s Exports Plunge 46% in a Year

Compared to last year, Japan’s earnings plunged 45,7 percent in January.
This is a record trade deficit; it is the biggest since 1980.
This is a result of recessions in the United States and Europe.
These two smothered demand for the country’s cars and electronics.
The Finance Ministry in Tokyo announced on Wednesday that the shortfall is 952.6 billion yen ($9.9 million).
Shipments dropped abroad.
This eclipsed a record 35 percent decline in December.
Compared to a year earlier, exports to the United States shrunk 52.9 percent.
Exports to Europe also tumbled considerably.
As a result of this decline in trade, Japanese companies will likely be forced to continue firing workers and closing factories, which will worsen the economy.
The economy has shrunk more in the last quarter more than it has in 34 years.
Japan’s exports to China and Asia dropped 45.1 percent and 46.7 percent, respectively.

The United States and Europe have experienced recessions in their economies recently. Their demand for Japanese cars and electronics has decreased significantly. Exports to these countries as well as China and Asia have shrunk. The result is a record trade deficit; the largest fall in 34 years occurred last quarter. The Finance Ministry in Tokyo announced on Wednesday that the shortfall is 952.6 billion yen ($9.9 million). Due to this trade deficit, it is likely that more workers will be fired and more factories will be closed in Japan.

Former Broker Is Sentenced to 5 Years for Insider Trading

David Tavdy, who worked for a broker-dealer named Assent, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud.
This happened a year after he admitted to buying tips from and receiving private information about UBS’s stock recommendations from a UBS executive.
The judge in this case was Manhattan Federal District Court’s Judge Deborah A. Batts.
The judge sentenced Tavdy to 63 months.
13 people, including Tavdy and former UBS executive, Guttenberg, were charged with insider trading in 2007.
This illegal activity was likened in pervasiveness to rings in the 1980s.
Former Wall Street business employees from businesses such as the Bank of America Corporation, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns comprised the 13 people, all of who plead guilty.
The judge stated that Tavdy made “millions of dollars….by abusing insider information.”
His informer, Guttenberg, was an institutional client manager in the equity research department at UBS.
Last November, Guttenberg was sentenced to 6.5 years for informing Tavdy and another about such shares as those of Caterpillar and the Goldman Sachs Group.
Tavdy made $10.3 million in illegal profits, which he forfeited at sentencing.
Using the information given him, he executed hundreds of securities transactions.
The judge ordered Tavdy to serve time at a minimum-security federal prison in Miami beginning no later than April 21, 2009.

Guttenberg, and executive at UBS, provided unpublicized information, tips, and stock recommendations to David Tavdy. Tavdy used this information to accumulate $10.3 million in illegal profits. Tavdy admitted to his activities and regarded them as unwise decisions. He and 13 others were charged with insider trading in Manhattan’s Federal District Court. Guttenberg was sentenced to 6.5 years for his crimes. As Judge Batts sentenced him to 63 months in prison, Tavdy forfeited his illegal profits.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Drill 2: Feb. 17

Before watching All The President's Men, I really was not looking forward to spending a couple of hours watching a thirty year old movie. And I especially did not expect a movie about journalism to be entertaining. However, by the end of the movie, I was able to understand why All The President's Men received four Academy Awards.
While watching this movie, the viewer gains an exclusive vantage point - that of the journalist. Since the viewers are consumers of newspapers such as the on one portrayed in the movie, The Washington Post, it is a completely different and fascinating experience to watch Woodward and Bernstein put the pieces of this gigantic puzzle of a story together. Also, I appreciate being able to see exactly how the news office is run. Every aspect of getting the story - being assigned to a story, gathering information, finding, manipulating, coercing, and extracting vital information from sources, taking notes, typing the story, and having it edited, criticized, and doubted - allows the viewer to gain more knowledge of and, in my case, more respect for news journalists and their duties.
Not only do we see the workings of the office, but we see how the story is constructed. The editors of The Washington Post along with Woodward emphasize the value and necessity of facts, confirmed and creditable sources, and substantial information in regard to writing a publishing a good story. Undoubtedly, with technological advancements such as computers and the internet, cell phones, and navigational systems, the job of a journalist in the twentieth century and his counterpart in the twenty-first century are quite different. And because things such as the typewriters and payphones were used during those times, it is amazing that Woodward and Bernstein were eager and willing to put so much time and effort in to finding and exposing the truth.
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman do an exceptional job portraying the energy and enthusiasm of their respective characters, Woodward and Bernstein. Because the two actors are so excited, the viewer becomes excited as well. From the break in at the Watergate building at the beginning of the movie until the news headlines at the end, my curiosity is captured and my attention is under arrest. Parallel to the two main characters, I want to know exactly what the inside story is. I want to figure out precisely why most of the sources are so afraid to talk and share information. When they have knocked on numerous doors and have had them along with hope closed to them, I feel Woodward and Bernstein's frustration and disappointment. When they are able to convince sources to give them the information that they need and desire so badly, I feel the joy and feelings of accomplishment of the two reporters. When Woodward is meeting with Deep Throat in the dark and secluded parking garage, his fear, anxiety, bewilderment, and paranoia become my own.
Essentially I fully experience the plight of these two hard working journalists. I become a part of the frenzy. I delight in the thrill of the chase. I want to know exactly what activities are taking place, of what magnitude these activities are, and which persons are involved in them. This movie affords the audience a rare and intriguing glance into the world of a news journalist. And All The President's Men succeeds in not highlighting the Watergate scandal, but instead, emphasizing how the Watergate scandal was exposed to the American public.

Check out these websites for more info:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Drill 1: Feb. 5

American citizens, politicians, and especially the media are interested in the proposed Stimulus Package to alleviate the nation in this time of financial crisis. In the New York Times article, "Time to Steer 'Forceful Course' for Stimulus," David Leonhardt expresses his doubt of the economic stimulus package's potential for aiding the nation in regard to the current, worsening crisis. The author's tone is definitely inquisitive, largely critical, and at times, confrontational. Twice, Leonhardt mentions that Obama and his team are negligent in responding to the criticsms that their package has accrued. Also, Leonhardt challenges the package's supporters with lots of questions and even a few quotes. Leonhardt advises the package's crafters and deciding members to approach the economic problem with more "force and prudence", and he warns that the Obama administration will be held responsible if the proposed plan does not succeed. I am unquestioningly led to believe that Leonhardt is not a supporter of this particular package endorsed by Obama and his team.
The article, "Girls on Film: Ditzy and Dumb," written by Maureen Callahan for the New York Post, suggests that Hollywood's movies "depict women as just stupid." She uses the women starring in the current and upcoming movies, "Shopaholic," "Bride Wars," "New In Town," and "He's Just Not That Into You", to substantiate her claim. Callahan makes a valid point in complaining that the women in these movies portray women in a somewhat negative and insensitive light, especially considering the social and economic climates of the day. And Callahan's failure to differentiate the dense women in these films from the strong women in the recent "The Secret Life of Bees," "The Spirit," "Not Easily Broken," and the upcoming "Madea Goes to Jail," proves that her views on this issue are biased. Maureen Callahan argues that movies like "Shopaholic" are the only kind of movies that are attractive to female viewers. But in reality, this is not entirely the case as I made evident in the previous example. Callahan attributes this lack of wholesome viewing to the lack of female directors, screenwriters, film critics, and suprisingly, superstars! Clearly, the writer has allowed her biases to blur her perception of stardom for actresses such as Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie.
A political cartoon by Mike Ramirez in the New York Post has many elements of sensationalism in journalism. The cartoon is an illustration of the White House. In front of the entrance sits an H&R Block representative. This cartoon is a funny and direct allusion to the recent withdrawal of Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer as nominees for positions in Obama's administration. Both of the previously mentioned nominees have been criticized for their failure to abide by the law in paying due taxes. What makes this cartoon sensational? Well most noticeably, it is a cartoon illustration. Secondly, it appeals to the readers' sense of humor. Also, as I found out in the assigned reading, subject matter in sensationalism is usually news of crime and scandal and high society. Ramirez's cartoon adresses the crime of unpaid taxes, the scandal surrounding Obama's support of such criminals, and the high society of the involved members. One other element of sensationalism is self-advertisement. This illustration must qualify as self-advertisement of the New York Post. Indeed, readers, especially Americans, are intrigued by drawings that poke fun at people that hold high positions.

Friday, January 30, 2009

About the Blogger

Allow me to introduce myself - my name is Regina M. Spurlock. But to my friends, I'm Gina. When I am not completing coursework, I am most likely spending quality time with my T-Mobile Sidekick. Yes, I happen to be an avid texter and aspiring master at instant messenging. And I am probably plugged into my zune or iPod listening to the soulful sounds of Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, MJB, Lauryn Hill, Common, Nas and many more alike. When watching television, you can bet that I am tuned into BET, Food Network, TLC, or VH1 Soul. I am not sure if I have any Italian ancestry; though it is quite possible, because I love Italian cuisine.
This is my second semester as a freshman at City College. Songwriting and producing music are two things that I really enjoy doing. And thankfully, I am talented in those areas which has afforded me the opportunity of being one of a select group of students in the Sonic Arts Program at CCNY. I have enthusiastically studied all areas of the arts, including theatre arts, dance, and especially music and visual arts. Although I am an intellectual as well, I consider myself to be a creative and imaginative free spirit. I have big dreams, and so far, the journey to realizing them has been challenging, yet rewarding. More than anything, I am thankful for each breath, sight, sound, person, place, thing, moment, and blessing that God enables me to experience in life.