Journalistic Ethics

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Today I, Irving the giant lizard, shall write about ethics in journalism when it comes to coverage of the film industry. I will examine two recent stories that are questionable in their ethics when it comes to their reporting.


 

Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino

The above article is written by Lacey Donohue for Gawker. To quickly summarize what happened, Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay got leaked by an actor’s agent on accident. Nobody is a hundred percent sure what agent did it, but an agent did it. This, as you could imagine, upset Tarantino and he told the media that he would no longer be making the film.

About two weeks after the script was leaked, a lawsuit was filed by Tarantino against Gawker for copyright reasons. Gawker had provided a download link to the leaked script and encouraged readers to enjoy it. While the outcome of the lawsuit is still up in the air, we can still analyze the ethics of Gawker’s reporting.

Here are Gawker’s offenses in the Journalist Code of Ethics.


 

1) Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.

Gawker did not give this a second thought. They gave the script to as many people who wanted it without thinking of the impact that would have on Tarantino or anybody that would have worked on that film.

2)Never plagiarize.

I think this is a clear violation of copyright law. Gawker is profiting by distributing this script on the internet and that is the only reason they’re doing it. If there was no money to be made by distributing this script then why put it up for download with a write up that barely qualifies as news.

That is all for Quentin Tarantino.


 

 

Bryan Singer

This next story is pretty dark. Bryan Singer has directed many movies we all know: X men, X2, They Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, etc. His upcoming film, “X men – Days of Future Past”, is going to come out this summer. A little under a week ago, a man by the name of Michael Egan sued Bryan Singer for sexual assault and many other things for which he seeks damages.

Let’s analyze the ethics.


1) Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.

The Variety article, written by Ted Johnson, allows people to amuse their lurid curiosity. Johnson himself writes, in his own words, many lurid instances and also puts in a sizable excerpt from Egan’s story.

2) Show Compassion for those who may be affected adversely by the news coverage.

This is something Johnson does very well. He neither condemns nor praises either the plaintiff or defendant. He shows compassion realizing that these men’s lives are in the balance at the moment.


That’s it for now.

-Irving the Giant Lizard

 

 

Advertising in Cinema – The Movie Trailer

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The movie trailer is one of two key pieces of movie advertising. The other is the movie poster. Trailers are played before other movies at the theater, online, and on TV. They’re fairly influential when it comes to people deciding what movie their going to see.

The trailer above is for the movie “Knights of Badassdom”. This movie is obviously a comedy. It looks like something that is a mix between “Revenge of the Nerds” and creature horror film. The film features some pretty popular actors like Peter Dinklage from “Game of Thrones”, Danny Pudi from “Community”, and the great character actor Jimmi Simpson. The film revolves around a LARP, which stands for live action role playing. Two friends have kidnapped their other friend and force him to partake in the game. He agrees and they begin to make friends and enemies. In the trailer one of the friends draws a pentagram on the floor and recites a spell. A demon gets summoned by complete accident and the rest of the movie, as described by the trailer, looks like the gang of friends fighting the demon in hilarious ways. 

Watching the trailer I see two repeated elements. One is the grand battle. The movie is obviously going to involve a giant battle and probably towards the end. The trailer is trying to get the audience to come to see what looks like ridiculously fun action. The second thing I see are plenty of attractive women. Not that this is a bad thing, but this would not actually happen at a real LARP. There’s obviously a little bit of sex being sold in the trailer as well. Even the demon seems to be the corpse of an attractive women. This wouldn’t be to irritating, but a women spoke once in the entire trailer. Just once, so why were there so many attractive women featured in the trailer? The trailer uses these patterns because it knows it will work. This trailer will more than likely get people in seats watching their movie. The horror elements are there as well, but it’s hard for me to tell if the movie will actually be horrifying at times or just comedic.

The whole trailer is selling an escape from your boring life. It’s an adventure. It promises to delight. The company that made this film, Entertainmentone, has made this trailer so that you’ll spend money on the movie.

I believe that this trailer is actually pretty good. After analyzing it, I have my issues, but overall I really want to see the movie now. This means it worked and I imagine it worked on others as well. Probably men ages 16-30 from the content and concept of the trailer. The trailer gets across exactly what the movie is and that’s helpful in deciding if you want to see it.

As stated above, the trailer wants me to spend money on the movie and I’m willing to do that. This is because I think it looks like a fun movie.

-Irving the giant lizard

Print Media in Cinema

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Print media plays a strong role in the world of film journalism. Recently because of the digital revolution there have been a number of websites that have dominated the online world of film journalism. These are Deadline, Indiewire, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

Two of these sites are the top trade magazines of the business and have been for some time. They are Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. They’ve been nicknamed the “trades”. These magazines are widely read by the people working in the industry and cover the vast majority of news that there is. The subscription is quite substantial, $199 for a year of print and digital or $99 for a year of only digital for a subscription to Variety. The Hollywood Reporter has the same prices except there is a third option of $120 a year to be able to access your digital copies on you laptop instead of just on your iPad. This makes is quite expensive for some one that is just curious or interested in the field, but for professional in the industry one or both of these trade magazines is almost a necessity.

These trade magazines have changed substantially over the years. For example it used to be printed and delivered like a small newspaper. Now a days there are digital versions and the websites. Granted the websites don’t have near the amount of content as the subscribers are privy to in the print and digital versions. Because the trade magazines are so specialized it might take a long time, but sooner or later the print versions will probably die off and be replaced by the digital versions of the trade magazines.

Books play a minor role in film journalism, but there are many that tell the stories of cinema history from a relatively long time ago to a short time ago.

This book tells the story of a transitioning Hollywood during the 1960’s and 1970’s. There are many books like this. Some people even take a single year in cinematic history and write a book about it. These books have a very small market, but a dedicated reading base. The books have not changed that much, but I expect they will end up transitioning with the rest of the publishing industry to the e-book format whenever that happens. It could be a good thing for this type of book considering the small audience.

-Irving the giant lizard