Duff’d Out

Posted in Arieanna & Ianiv, Blogging

I have never experienced anything in my blogging career quite like this past month on HilaryNews.com.

Hilary Duff is in the middle of launching her new album, ‘Dignity’, and for about a month and a half has been ramping up her promotions. Going around Europe for their earlier launch, doing up to 8 photoshoots a day (!!), doing radio shows, launching new websites all over the world, running contests, and this week, going on tv at least twice a day. The album comes out on Tuesday, so sadly, I know this is just the start.

Seriously, I have never seen such marketing prowess in the world of entertainment.

But I am Duff’d out. With about 200 posts in March so far, and one post shy of 30 today alone, I am hitting my Duff max. That’s just a lot of frickin’ posts to push out. And most of them have at minimum half a dozen photos. Oy.

Thankfully I finished up two blogs for the week this morning. Tonight I will tackle three more. Wish me luck.

Can’t wait for the weekend. Just a leeettle burnt out. ;)

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An abstract on journalism vs. blogging

Posted in Blogging, Business, Social networking

Today I went on visit to the set of The 4400 and interviewed one of the cast, Chad Faust. I drew a lot from the interview, and ironically little had to do with the interview itself (although superb).

Sometimes moments in time stand out for you where you have the opportunity to assess where you are and where you want to be. This was one of those moments.

The moment had as much to do with my view of myself as well as my goals in the industry. I have stepped aside from calling myself a journalist or a writer in the past. This has been purposeful in some ways, but also perhaps a mistake.

b5media is still recognized more as a ‘blog’ network than a ‘new media’ network. That is one part of the perception issue. The other part has to do with purposeful grassroots strategy. We put the community first. Understanding that the community is best served by not just information, but dialogue, immediately strips away much of the formality in journalism today. We take on the role of the blogger, which is much more approachable. We talk as if in conversation. We gossip. We go for niche posts with depth instead of sparser, more comprehensive posts. It is a different style, which has its merits.

However, I wonder if by doing so, do we in some ways underestimate our audience, as well as ourselves? Does removing the formality of language necessarily mean removing the formality of topic?

I think this is more applicable to our tv sites than our celebrity ones. In the case of The 4400, I think Alexandra (my co-writer) and I have taken to task the analysis portion far more than on any other site. We dig down into the nuances of episodes as well as the overarching themes and the social commentary therein. But it’s more the exception than the rule, and due credit goes to the writers of the show for making this key.

This struck me today as an odd balance. On the one hand, I think our decision to strip away formality has been a great one, even if it can mean "dumbing down" sometimes. On the other hand, it might be something we want to consider as the network grows. As we try to get more professional recognition as journalists by "old media" standards there will need to be some give. With communities of scale, there is the expectation that we will have the inside information privy to journalists, and we have a responsibility to meet these expectations.

I have some very exciting ideas in this area to add to the big pile of ideas that I’ve been sitting on for a while now. The spotlight is shifting our way and I feel the pressure to innovate. To pull things together, create a brand that sells not just to advertisers but to media, and give our hard working writers the due credit – and opportunities – they deserve. 

I feel the urgency to grow our network not just in size, but also in reputation. To use our skills as writers, with the aid of technology and innovative ideas, to be recognized by communities and industry alike.

We are all the experts in our topics, far more than old media yet recognizes. And, as a network, I think we have much more to offer as well as prove.

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Caricatures by Vizcarra

Posted in Art

Vizcarra creates some amazing charicatures of famous people and characters from tv, music, politics and history. From CSI to Elijah Wood and many more. The gallery is well worth a look.

Via neatorama ; Tags: , ,

Studio 60 to return

Posted in TV

Studio 60. What a rollercoaster.

Got a shaky start, but had us hooked right off. Was picked up for a full season. Then, before the season finale could air, was taken off and reportedly cancelled. The season finale – finished and ready to air – was reportedly never going to be shown. Over and over again it was reported, even very recently, that the show would not be picked up.

But things have shifted. I follow Gilmore Girls and their lot is right next to the Studio 60 lot. Two separate tour accounts have now reported that Studio 60 is filming – and coming back.

Here is one such report:

While my brother and I were walking around the lot I spotted Timothy Busfield. I told him I was a fan of the show and I hated The Black Donnellys. He assured me that Studio 60 would air again and invited me in to see the set.

But the doubts still exist. Reported today on TV Guide:

The Monday time slot may not have been ideal — if you recall, NBC’s initial plan was to air Studio 60 on Thursdays as the lead-in to ER, until ABC surprised everyone with the Grey’s Anatomy move. But NBC did the show a favor by not jerking it around (until the recent hiatus, of course), letting it stay where people knew to find it… With this show, it’s not just a ratings problem. It’s pretty widely perceived (although not by its fans) that the show has some insurmountable creative problems, which a new time period isn’t likely to help.

So, I think the people at TV Guide are completely clueless about the return of Studio 60. They just don’t know yet. But word is out, and we’ll see it come back.

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A weekly menu

Posted in Food

I spent some time today working out a menu for our food this week. More often than not, we end up cooking last minute and it’s not overly creative. We have lots of food on hand, but very little time to think up and prepare it, especially if we are missing an ingredient.

So, today I scoured my cookbooks for some new things to try. Mostly not recipes we already know. A whole week of new things to spice things up a bit. We also plan to cook more at once, and just reheat, to deal with the expected busy times of our week.

Here are the items I’ve dug up for our week:

  • jerk chicken
  • cornbread (low fat)
  • three-mushroom soup (low fat)
  • baked risotto (low fat)
  • roasted peppers
  • baked cauliflower
  • salmon with tequila cream

That should get us through Sunday to Thursday. Tuesday we have dinner at Ianiv’s mother and Friday we go away for our anniversary. Should be a yummy week. I might also toss in a banana lime bread I found a recipe for. It sounds very tasty.

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Finding a balance

Posted in Business

I have been swamped these past few weeks with so much to do. Life seems to hand over a lot at once to test our sanity, it would seem. I will rant now on all that I’ve been doing.

I can’t complain over much about my work. I do love what I do and enjoy it every day. But I admit I’ve been doing too much of it, too many hours, and extending it into my weekend. Bad me.

Very rarely do my particular entertainment sites overlap in their waves of information flow. This month they have all been spiking up, requiring a significant increase in my post frequency. Hilary Duff, for example, takes about 10 posts per day right now. That’s a fair amount. I get very frustrated, but also have immense respect for her amazing marketing skills. The payback is worth it – a community that thrives and appreciates the work is satisfying.

My health is a rollercoaster. There are ups – like a reduction in my medication for my arm as a result of successful Nucca chiropractic treatments – and the downs. I suffer more from neck weakness and back pain and a significant increase in migraines. I have lost a lot of muscle tone in this past year of my health problems. It will be a slow road to recovery. It’s been quite frustrating to be on so many ups and downs, which are for the most part out of my control.

We have been planning a good deal for our home. We are settling in quite nicely – though still have no couch – and are happy here. We also just planned our anniversary – can you believe we’ve been married a year already? We plan to go for a romantic weekend away to the Sunshine Coast. Getting "off the grid" will be a welcome treat.

With our dedication to our work, our attempts to spend time together, the work on our home, and my ongoing health care, there seems very little time to relax and enjoy things – like our blogs – and create interesting projects of our own. You might be thinking, why do we want to do more work? Well, it’s not work. Things that bubble in your head are exciting and enticing and fun to work on. But we come last in our list of things to do.

Oh and taxes. I hate taxes. And I’m sure Ianiv will concur with that, since he’s the one with the accounting software ;)

Now, I think I have "checked my email" for long enough now and should call it a night.

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Baby Beluga

Posted in Music

This video is for Ianiv’s benefit. Every time he calls me baby I get the Baby Beluga song by Raffi in my head. So, pretty much every day. And, given Ianiv did not grow up in Canada, he has no idea how annoying the song is. Still, it’s worth it :)

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