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.