Media

Freedom of the press in Minecraft

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has created the Minecraft world, "Uncensored Library", to make censored journalism available to all. The library contains hundreds of articles by journalists around the world that have been banned in their own countries.

According to RSF, nearly half the world still has no access to a free press. In many countries, journalists are imprisoned for speaking critically of the government. In other places, just a few media organizations control the publication of information. Under these conditions, propaganda easily takes the place of news. But for democracy to work, people must know the truth.

Learning English with "Friends"

Many successful English language learners use television shows to learn.

Sitcoms (situation comedies) are especially popular. And, without a doubt, Friends is the most popular one. It has easy-to-understand English, familiar situations, and lovable characters. The show ended in 2004, but it's still one of the most-watched shows on streaming channels. 

Elif Konus, from Turkey, used the show (among other things) to learn English. Now, she is an English teacher and has written English lessons based on "Friends" episodes. She even used the learning technique for her Master's thesis.

Celebrities such as Kim Nam-joon, the leader of the South Korean pop group BTS, have used Friends to learn English. 

Kim Hook-San is a Korean YouTuber who posts videos about teaching herself English. Friends helped her understand American culture, like what holidays are celebrated and how to resolve conflict. 

The Golden Age of Television

Over the past 20 years, American television entered a Golden Age. Before the turn of the millennium, most TV shows followed familiar patterns: crime shows and situational comedies—also known as sitcoms—consisted of self-contained episodes with little plot development through a season or the run of the show.

Then, in 1999, a network called HBO took a huge risk by investing $2 million per episode in The Sopranos, a show that broke with the familiar pattern of television productions. The Sopranos invested in character development and took its time to tell a compelling story. It was a massive success that showed that audiences were willing to sit through drawn-out shows as long as they were good. HBO reproduced that early success with Six Feet Under and The Wire.

The world tidies with Marie Kondo

In 2016, two years after the English translation of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” became a best-seller, Marie Kondo moved to Los Angeles to establish her home organization consultancy in America. Amidst her culture shock, the Japanese native soon realized her new country also provided something that her homeland did not: unprecedented levels of clutter on which to practice her art.

Billionaires to consolidate media

Critics of media consolidation are decrying an announcement that the media company Meredith Corp., with a $650 million boost from conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch, will buy Time Inc.—which owns TimeFortunePeople, and Sports Illustrated magazines—for an estimated $2.8 billion.

In a statement announcing the all-cash deal, Meredith Corp. insisted that Koch Equity Development—a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the billionaire brothers' company that's largely been built through investments in oil, natural gas, and chemicals—"will not have a seat on the Meredith Board and will have no influence on Meredith's editorial or managerial operations."

Movie titles lost in translation

David O. Russell’s crime drama “American Hustle” could be a big winner at the Academy Awards. But for the movie’s many international fans, it may take a little longer to realize it. In their country, there is simply no word that captures the true essence of “Hustle.”

So in Israel the film is known in Hebrew as “American Dream.” In France, it’s translated as “American Bluff.” In Argentina, it’s “American Scandal.” In Portugal, it’s “American Sting.” In Quebec, it’s “American Scam.” In Spain, it’s the “Great American Scam.” And in Turkey, it’s merely known as “Trickster.”

Arie Barak, whose public relations company represents the studios of Fox, Disney and Sony in Israel, said that in this era of globalization the trend is to try to stick as much as possible to the original title, particularly with blockbusters and well-branded superheroes like Batman and Superman. Other times, a literal translation does the trick just fine.