If you think newspapers are losing their credibility, take a look at fashion magazines

By Josephine Collins, University of the Arts London

Peter Oborne’s dramatic exit from his role as chief political commentator of The Telegraph has sharpened the focus on editorial credibility. While his resignation and the reasons for it have caused a storm of shocked comment from across the media, the issue is not a new one for the consumer fashion media sector.

As London Fashion Week reaches its climax, it’s a good moment to think about the insidious shift in power from editorial teams to advertising brands. Today, those brands appear to call the shots on a significant part of the product-based editorial offer in all kinds of consumer magazines.

Responding to the Oborne controversy, veteran newsman and editor Harold Evans was exercised by two aspects of the problem. First he talked about the editorial credibility of the media outlet. His view was that the very credibility of editorial content was what sold ads. He was also concerned about the development of native advertising – what we used to call advertising features or advertorials.

What Evans highlighted was the trust that exists between an editorial team and its readers. Readers have loyalty to publications and websites because they are trusted to select relevant information and edit in the interests of the readers and users. While the loyalty is perhaps now diminishing, it is part of the ethical behaviour of trained journalists to behave in a trustworthy manner.

You wonder what fashion magazine readers would think about the credibility of their trusted editorial teams if they knew that front covers were sometimes paid for – that is, the cost of the shoot, not as an advertising rate – by an advertising brand. That same brand would have input into the location, the model, the grooming and the garments. Inside the fashion magazines, stylists now have to make up creative ideas for the storytelling of an editorial shoot – the garments used are frequently dictated by the PRs of the advertisers, often head-to-toe outfits.



Do advertisers call the shots when it comes to fashion mags?.
urbansheep, CC BY-SA

I recently flicked through a fashion mag where the exact same garment combination was used in an ad for a brand and in the so-called editorial shoot. Even in a media world where there is an unwritten deal that advertisers are always covered editorially this seems a step too far.

It is virtually a badge of honour for newspaper fashion writers to be banned from catwalk shows after a bad review for a designer, but the situation of those writing for fashion magazines is different.

Fashion and lifestyle brand advertising revenue is the lifeblood of commercial success for fashion magazines, particularly in an environment of falling circulations. Never able to be critical, consumer fashion mags used to show their disapproval of collections by not including them in their catwalk reports, but now advertisers demand inclusion as part of the “deal”. The threat to withdraw advertising is a strong incentive to make editorial decisions, and readers might find this disconcerting if they knew about the backroom negotiations.

The internet has not helped matters. The number of bloggers who declare their relationship with brands via sponsored posts is increasing. But there are still many who effectively hoodwink their readers into thinking they are giving an objective judgement on product when they have either been gifted product or even been paid for coverage. You’d think the web would improve transparency, but this is far from the case.

Advertisers have always been cherished and “looked after”, so it was perhaps predictable that their power would increase as audiences fragment and readers get used to getting information for free.

Evans’s view may now be considered an old-fashioned one. News UK has, for example, recently set up a division solely to facilitate native advertising across its titles and websites. And guess what? Rather than being lead by someone from the ad team, former Sunday Times Style editor, Tiffanie Darke, takes the helm.

So while commentators continue to chew the cud on the Oborne resignation, fashion writers covering London Fashion Week will be contemplating how critical, if at all, they can be about a collection they hate while anticipating the negotiations ahead on which garments they will be allowed to feature.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

We’re obsessed with zombies – which says a lot about today

By Joseph Gillings, University of Bath

The zombie invasion is here. Our bookshops, cinemas and TVs are dripping with the pustulating debris of their relentless shuffle to cultural domination.

A search for “zombie fiction” on Amazon currently provides you with more than 25,000 options. Barely a week goes by without another onslaught from the living dead on our screens. We’ve just seen the return of one of the most successful of these, The Walking Dead, starring Andrew Lincoln as small-town sheriff, Rick Grimes. The show follows the adventures of Rick and fellow survivors as they kill lots of zombies and increasingly, other survivors, as they desperately seek safety.

Generational monsters

Since at least the late 19th century each generation has created fictional enemies that reflect a broader unease with cultural or scientific developments. The “Yellow Peril” villains such as Fu Manchu were a response to the massive increase in Chinese migration to the US and Europe from the 1870s, for example.

As the industrial revolution steamed ahead, speculative fiction of authors such as H G Wells began to consider where scientific innovation would take mankind. This trend reached its height in the Cold War during the 1950s and 1960s. Radiation-mutated monsters and invasions from space seen through the paranoid lens of communism all postulated the imminent demise of mankind.

By the 1970s, in films such as The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor, the enemy evolved into government institutions and powerful corporations. This reflected public disenchantment following years of increasing social conflict, Vietnam and the Watergate scandal.

In the 1980s and 1990s it was the threat of AIDS that was embodied in the monsters of the era, such as “bunny boiling” stalker Alex in Fatal Attraction. Alex’s obsessive pursuit of the man with whom she shared a one night stand, Susanne Leonard argues, represented “the new cultural alignment between risk and sexual contact”, a theme continued with Anne Rices’s vampire Lestat in her series The Vampire Chronicles.

Risk and anxiety



There’s a monster to suit every period.


Zombies, the flesh eating undead, have been mentioned in stories for more than 4,000 years. But the genre really developed with the work of H G Wells, Poe and particularly H P Lovecraft in the early 20th century. Yet these ponderous adversaries, descendants of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, have little in common with the vast hordes that threaten mankind’s existence in the modern versions.

M Keith Booker argued that in the 1950s, “the golden age of nuclear fear”, radiation and its fictional consequences were the flip side to a growing faith that science would solve the world’s problems. In many respects we are now living with the collapse of this faith. Today we live in societies dominated by an overarching anxiety reflecting the risk associated with each unpredictable scientific development.

Now we know that we are part of the problem, not necessarily the solution.
The “breakthroughs” that were welcomed in the last century now represent some of our most pressing concerns. People have lost faith in assumptions of social and scientific “progress”.

Globalisation

Central to this is globalisation. While generating enormous benefits, globalisation is also tearing communities apart. The political landscape is rapidly changing as established political institutions seem unable to meet the challenges presented by the social and economic dislocation.

However, although destructive, globalisation is also forging new links between people, through what Anthony Giddens calls the “emptying of time and space”. Modern digital media has built new transnational alliances, and, particularly in the West, confronted people with stark moral questions about the consequences of their own lifestyles.

As the faith in inexorable scientific “progress” recedes, politics is transformed. The groups emerging from outside the political mainstream engage in much older battles of faith and identity. Whether right-wing nationalists or Islamic fundamentalists, they seek to build “imagined communities” through race, religion or culture and “fear” is their currency.

Evolving zombies

Modern zombies are the product of this globalised, risk conscious world. No longer the work of a single “mad” scientist re-animating the dead, they now appear as the result of secret government programmes creating untreatable viruses. The zombies indiscriminately overwhelm states irrespective of wealth, technology and military strength, turning all order to chaos.

Meanwhile, the zombies themselves are evolving into much more tenacious adversaries. In Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later it takes only 20 days for society to be devastated. Charlie Higson’s Enemy series of novels have the zombies getting leadership and using tools. In the film of Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z, the seemingly superhuman athleticism of the zombies reflects the devastating springboard that vast urban populations would provide for such a disease. The film, starring Brad Pitt, had a reported budget of US$190m, demonstrating what a big business zombies have become.

Why zombies, why now?

This is a relentless enemy, seeking to cause death and destruction with little or no regard to their own safety. They may be your neighbour, a friend or teacher – but now they want you dead. Sound familiar?

Today, at home and abroad the primary weapon is terror, aimed at local populations but also, thanks to globalisation, world audiences. The terrorists ramp up the atrocities to provoke violent overreactions or attacks on civil liberties. These acts slowly turn the people against the established authority.

In these conflicts, the strategic target is no longer the opposing army but the hearts and minds of the people, both at home and abroad. It is in this context that the popularity of the zombie genre has grown. A cursory look through zombie entertainment reveals that the vast majority of it has been produced in the last ten years.

Like those of previous generations, our fictional nemesis reflects deep-seated concerns. The shock of the Paris Charlie Hebdo attack, the Copenhagen shootings and the Sydney siege are still fresh in our memory.

As the survivors in the Walking Dead have found, such relentless enemies may force even the most upright citizen to confront their moral codes. Rick’s struggle to hold onto his old values is one of the most fascinating aspects of the programme. In the battle for TV ratings, survival, no matter what it takes, may be enough, but, in the real world, holding on to our moral compass may be the greatest weapon we possess.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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2014 Upcoming Horror Movies You Must See

There is a special night that you should be excited about in October. Indeed! It’s Halloween! Do you know what that means? It means there are a lot of horror movies are back in the game! Here is the check-out list for you about the upcoming horror movies you must see. Fasten your seat belt and be ready to scream!

List-1. Ouija (Click here to see the trailer and read more about Ouija)

Ouija is about a group of friends are trying to find out who or what kills their friend, Debbie. Her death looks like … (Read More)

List-2. The Babadook (Click here to see the trailer and read more about The Babadook)

The story starts with a broken family and a mysterious bedtime story about a fictional monster called the Babadook…(Read More)

List-3. Annabelle (Click here to see the trailer and read more about Annabelle)

A young husband John surprises his pregnant wife Mia with a beautiful vintage doll for their upcoming baby …(Read More)

List-4. Jessabelle (Click here to see the trailer and read more about Annabelle)

A tragic car accident took Jessabelle’s legs and her boyfriend’s life. She returns home to Lousiana with her father to grieve and recover…(Read More)

List-5. The Pyramid (Click here to see the trailer and read more about The Pyramid)

When a group of archaeologists found a mysterious pyramid is buried underneath the sands of the Egyptian desert, they seize the opportunity to be famous in the history…(Read More)

List-6. The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Click here to see the trailer and read more about The Town That Dreaded Sundown)

The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a remake from 1976. 65 years ago, there is a masked serial killer threatened a small town of Texarkana…(Read More)

List-7. Horns (Click here to see the trailer and read more about Horns)

Daniel Radcliffe stars as Ig Perrish, who wakes one day to find that he has grown horns…(Read More)

American Horror Story Season 4 – Freak Show

American Horror Story, one of my favorite TV shows, has been through three seasons of the haunted house (Season 1: Murder House (2011)), asylum (Season 2: Asylum (2012–13)), and witch stories (Season 3: Coven (2013–14)). Fans are so curious about what can they bring for the 4th season this time. The answer is: Circus!

Ryan Murphy who is the writer for Season 4 said that the background setting will be 1950s. And he also mentioned that the shooting will be either New Orleans or Santa Fe (New Mexico). According to the news, Jessica Lange, one of the main characters who I like very much, this season will be her last filming for the show. In order to make the character more convincing, Jessica Lange is even trying to speak with a German accent for her character. Her character may base on Marlene Dietrich who was a German actress and singer during the World War 2.

▼ Taissa Farmiga, Ryan Murphy, Peter Evens (from the left to the right)
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▼ Jessica Lange
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The official posters and trailers are not releasing yet. There are many enthusiastic fans had already spreading out their fan-made versions all through the Internet. I know we have to wait until October, 2014 to see the first episode of Season 4. But why not take a peek of these amazing fan-made images below first?

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Are you ready for the show?

Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway Reveals Cast and Creative

Broadway and Disney fans alike rejoice! The highly anticipated Broadway version of Disney’s Aladdin, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw, will run in Toronto this fall before coming to Broadway for previews in February. The show will finally open at the New Amsterdam Theater March 20.

Yesterday The New York Times released a list of those incorporating their talents for the stage musical. Among 34 cast members are Adam Jacobs (Aladdin), James Monroe Iglehart (the Genie), Courtney Reed (Jasmine), and Tony Award nominee and voice actor for his character in the animated film, Jonathan Freeman (Jafar).

The score includes the legendary classic Disney hit and Academy Award Winner “Whole New World” as well as brand new songs written special for the production. Oscar and Tony Award winner Alan Menken (music), Howard Ashman and Tim Rice (lyrics), and Chad Beguelin (book and additional lyrics) also grace this musical with their skills.

Aladdin marks the most recent of the Disney film family brought to the Broadway stage after its predecessors The Beauty and the Beast (1994-2007), The Lion King (1997-present), Mary Poppins (2006-2013), Tarzan (2006-2007), The Little Mermaid (2008-2009), and Newsies (2012-present).

Maleficent

Directed by Robert Stromberg. The well-known fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” is going to be released in theaters in 2014.

“Maleficent” told from the different perspective of the villainous Maleficent who are also be familiar with the evil witch from the Disney film “Sleeping Beauty” in 1959. “Maleficent” tells the story of the cold villain Maleficent and describes the events that led up to her cursing baby Princess Aurora.

Maleficent

Starring Angelina Jolie in the title role and Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora. Other cast members include Sharlto Copley, Juno Temple, Sam Riley, and Imelda Staunton.

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In the interview of Maleficent, Jolie said that this version is going to show a different side of Maleficent. She talked about her character: “Just because she protects herself and is aggressive, it doesn’t mean she can’t have other warmer qualities. Maleficent is actually a great person. But she’s not perfect. She’s FAR from perfect.”

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▼ 4-year-old Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, daughter of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, makes her on-screen debut as young Princess Aurora. So adorable isn’t it?

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▼ Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora

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▼ Susan Sarandon plays Maleficent in “Enchanted” in 2007.

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Dr. Dre To Create $70 million Academy for Aspiring Music Moguls

When I read that Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine were creating a music academy at USC, I immediately thought about how drastically different it would be in comparison to traditional music schools. Of course, Dre’s school is going to be geared towards the music business (or “innovation in business” as they put it), but it will also have an arts program, and the first thing that comes to mind is “hip hop is not going to die anytime soon.” But music is not all that will be taught there.

According to the announcement in the LATimes,

Instruction will involve engineering, computer science, fine arts, graphic design, business and leadership training.

and as Dean of Fine Arts at USC Erica Muhl said in an interview,

“Academy students will have the freedom to move easily from classroom to lab, from studio to workshop individually or in groups, and blow past any academic or structural barriers to spontaneous creativity.”

While the NYTimes hopes the school will produce the next Steve Jobs, the question right now remains who will be one of the lucky 25 who manage to get in to the school on its first opening, and what should we really expect of them? Pop music has been forever cursed with echoes of regurgitated, and sometimes even stolen art, and while the donation is a beautiful contribution to the world of music education, it also carries a certain standard that could possibly alter the course of the students’ professional careers, and not necessarily in a good way. After all, half the donation is coming from a man who got that money from gloating on his records about selling drugs, treating women poorly, employing prostitutes, and killing people with guns, and while rapper Eminem said in the past that what is said on a record is much different than what is usually said in real life, that doesn’t necessarily mean that none of what has been said on a Dre record is true.

It’s also possible that this move by Dr. Dre could help to shift the discourse on rap records from violence and drugs to a more peaceful and educational movement, something we’ve recently seen from Snoop Lion (the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg), which is undoubtedly a natural progression in both the arts and in life. Violence, after all, has the power to ultimately hinder record and concert sales, especially if the listeners are in jail.

2013 The Walking Dead Bikini Zombies Calender

At the beginning of 2013, have you found your perfect calendar yet?

No matter you found it or not, if you are a fan of zombies, you must not miss this bikini zombies calendar of “The Walking Dead”.

The calendar is part of a South African promotion for AMC’s “The Walking Dead” by Ireland Davenport Development. Fans of zombies can download this calendar for free!

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Check out the bikini zombie babes shooting behind the scene: