A new kind of TV

By Zachary Gray and Will Henry

New TV is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the Newton community with a base to communicate news, opinions, and information through a local platform. Located on 23 Needham St., in Newton, MA, New TV also provides the community training with the latest media technologies.

New TV was established in 1991 to provide Newton with independent public access television. With the station’s growth in size, popularity, and demand, New TV expanded its channels to its current lineup of community, education, and government. In 2006, the station moved from its original location on Lincoln Street to its current, modern facility on Needham Street.

The general purpose of New TV is to provide the town of Newton with news taking place inside and surrounding the town. Another purpose of New TV is to provide entertainment to the station’s viewers via station programming. New TV also films various sporting events taking place in Newton schools and colleges. Both paid staff and interns film the games and provide play-by-play. Other filmed events include Newton school plays and town hall meetings.

Robert Kelly is the executive director of New TV. He handles a majority of the business movements of the company and over sees the staff members that work under him. Andrew Eldridge has been the media specialist for New TV since August of 2007. Whether it’s behind the scenes on set, updating the website, or anything having to do with technology, Andrew is the guy. He’s also involved with some of the marketing for New TV.

Shelly Kamanitz is the marketing director for the Newton-based non-profit. She has been part of New TV for a little over a year. Shelly’s responsibilities include writing press releases, marketing the New TV brand, sending emails to those who subscribe, and putting together newsletters. She was also in charge of redesigning the logo for the company.

Andrew and Shelly work together on nearly every project, thus they share an office. A large amount of their work deals with the website, which was launched on August 3 of 2011. New TV’s previous website wasn’t very functional and was only accessible by one person. Andrew took a majority of the work in creating and updating the current website.

With a new and updated website, New TV looks to expand on its number of online viewers. “We are actually in the process of doing a ‘phase 2’ of our website, which will involve a mobile site,” said Shelly. “The server that currently supplies our video is going from Flash to HTML 5, which will allow us to put it on a mobile site. This would allow viewers to watch video content on their iPhones.”

New TV not only shares videos through its channels and website, but also through Vimeo. The organization’s Vimeo channel has 163 videos, ranging from pilot episodes of its new series “The Folklorist” to town meeting and interviews. New TV currently does not have a YouTube channel, but there are talks about creating one for the organization’s education channel.

The main forms of social media New TV uses are Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook page was created on April 28, 2010. The page has 270 likes, and features stories and videos related to the Newton community. Andrew’s strategy to gain more viewers is to tag businesses and places that are mentioned in different stories. Furthermore, New TV’s Facebook likes many local businesses and pages to keep up to date with current events. New TV’s Facebook is directly linked to its Twitter handle, which has 183 followers. Whatever is posted on the Facebook page is also tweeted. Andrew and Shelly try to limit the number of posts to one a day, so followers don’t feel spammed whenever they log on to their respective social media sites.

Although most of the focus for New TV is on the programming and website, Shelly and Andrew both agree that social media is a necessary tool when it comes to promotion and marketing. “Last year was kind of like a rebirth of New TV with the new equipment, new classes, and new shows,” said Shelly. “As we add all of these features to our organization, we’ll be using social media a lot more to broadcast it. I definitely think it’s important and its something we need to expand upon.” As for expanding New TV’s social media, Shelly and Andrew agree that branding can only go so far; there has to be interesting material to grab people’s attention.

One of New TV’s main goals is to increase viewers. Social media is a fantastic tool to gain the attention of potential followers, and Shelly wants the most possible for the organization. “I don’t want 100, 200 likes,” said Shelly. “I want hundreds of likes, maybe even thousands.”

If there were any suggestions concerning social media and promotion for Andrew, Shelly, and New TV, it would be a couple things. First, the Facebook and Twitter pages could be promoted within programming. For example, the credits after a program could feature the web-address for New TV’s pages with the phrase “Like us on Facebook” after it. This could bring more viewers to the social media pages, thus receiving more likes, followers, shares, etc. Secondly, the Twitter page could feature posts separate from those on Facebook. A person who uses both Facebook and Twitter may only follow one outlet because they both generate the same information. Furthermore, the use of hash-tags would make New TV appear in searches on Twitter, thus gaining more followers.

The suggestions are minor, but would be key in gaining more interest both online and on-air. For the past 20-plus years, New TV has provided a platform to the Newton community for opinions, news, and information. Perhaps in these next 20 years, it can gain many more viewers and followers who can enjoy the benefits of New TV.


Text and Its “Emotions”

ROTFL = a quiet smirk

By Zachary Gray

At lunch the other day, a group of friends sitting behind me were discussing interpretations of text messages. The debate was over the meaning of a girl sending “hey,” but with multiple “y”s. It may seem far-fetched to determine a person’s motives or emotions via text, but in a day and age where asking someone on a date via text message is common, it may not be that crazy.

My personal experiences with conversation via text start back in 7th grade, when I created my AOL Instant Messenger account. This was a time before I had a cellphone, so AIM was the place to keep in touch with a majority of my friends in school. I had to decipher the lol’s, omg’s, and lmfao’s and translate them to real-life human emotions. The longer the lmaooooooooo or the capitalization of HAHAHAHH, the stronger the emotion.

I would come to the realization that the hours spent on AIM would simply be a waste. “Friends” I’d talk to online or via SMS text message in the following years lacked the desire to speak in person. It was as if they were a completely different person online as opposed to the real world. In some cases, they were just bored at home and felt like wasting time typing on a keyboard.

After several years of meaningless conversation, I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to interpet text is simply illogal. The younger generations have lost their ability to communicate in person like normal human beings. Even when a person types “lol,” he or she is typically staring emotionless at the screen. They’re incapable of communicating in person and lack personality via text.

So the next time you or some friends are debating what “heyyyyyyy” means chick’s message, she probably really enjoys the letter Y.

Steve Buttry’s Case for Digital Journalism

By Zachary Gray

For over forty years, Steve Buttry has been in the news business as a journalist, writer, editor, and reporter. Buttry learned the old-school techniques and styles of journalism, but makes a case for digital journalism in a recent post on The Buttry Diary. Titled “Dear Newsroom Curmudgeon,” Buttry lists seven reasons for why journalist resist digital journalism. With each reason, Buttry breaks down the flaws in every excuse to not leap into the digital world.

The seven reasons journalists resist are: quality, you love writing, confidence, you don’t have the time, you don’t like Twitter, ethics, and age. Buttry explains that the old-school journalists believe print journalism is of high quality, and digital journalism has flaws. But history has shown that not all print journalism is perfect.

Many journalists resist digital journalism because they love to write, feel they don’t have the time, or even feel as if they are too old. Buttry’s response is to simply suck it up. The Director of Community Engagement & Social Media for Digital First Media and Journal Register Co. explains that digital journalism has improved his editing skills, in essence made him a better writer. Time wise, it’s exactly the same; there’s no difference from taking notes at an event to live blogging. As for age, Buttry’s response is simple: “bullshit.” At 57-years-old, Buttry says using digital journalism actually energizes him.

Buttry’s letter, in my opinion, is spot on. Too many “old-school” journalists complain about digital journalism and its “flaws.” yet many of them have yet to use digital journalism. The fact is simple: digital journalism is the future. The experience in standard journalism is highly valued and will always be, but adaptation a necessity.

A Wall of Quotes

By Zachary Gray

We’ve all had those days, the days where we simply don’t want to do work. We sit at the desk, stare at the Facebook news feed, and wonder if the essay will write itself. Whether it’s a bad day or simply a case of being lazy, sometimes it takes some inspiration to be productive. Whenever I sit at my desk, over 30 yellow sticky notes stare at me, each containing an inspirational quote.

My wall and its 35 quotes

Each quote has different meaning, but all have strong messages. “Before you can win, you have to believe you are worthy.” This quote  is from legendary Chicago Bears football coach Mike Ditka. All of us want to succeed, we want to be the best. But we must believe we deserve the success. If we don’t believe we belong, how can we expect to be the best?

“Never give up. Failure and rejection are only the first steps to succeeding.” This is from Jimmy Valvano, former college coach. During the 1980s and 1990s, Jimmy V was a rather successful coach. In 1993, Valvano was diagnosed with cancer. His speech at the ESPYs that year would become one of the most inspirational speeches in sports:

“Think like you’re the best, but work like you have everything to prove.” This is from yours truly. I can’t recall when exactly when I came up with this, but I believe it’s a great way to approach work, sports, or any task in life. You have to be confident in your ability, or else you’ll never accomplish your goals. But while thinking so, work ethic has to be as high as possible. If you work like you’re starting at the bottom, it’ll push you to greater heights.

These are only a few of the quotes featured on my wall. They’re little reminders of how to work, think, and simply live life. They might just be little yellow pieces of paper, but each 3×5 inch note holds endless possibilities.

Third Justin Timberlake album overdue

By Zachary Gray

This week, Justin Bieber’s new single “Boyfriend” was released on iTunes. Although it is number one on the singles charts, there has been much criticism to the song. Many fans and critics have said the song sounds similar to another Justin in the music industry. The mention of the former ‘N SYNC star got me thinking: why hasn’t Justin Timberlake recorded a new album?

Born in Memphis, Tenneesee, Timberlake has been part of the music industry since ‘N SYNC’s early beginnings in 1995. The boy-band’s first and self-titled album dropped in 1998, selling over 11 million copies. ‘N SYNC’s second album, No Strings Attached, was released in March of 2000. It became the fastest-selling album of all-time, with 2.4 million copies sold in its first week. In 2011, the band released its third album, Celebrity. ‘N SYNC dissolved in 2002.

But Timberlake would continue his musical career, as he released his first solo album, Justified, in 2002. The album features hits such as “Rock Your Body” and “Cry Me A River.” The album was a successful solo debut, as it sold over seven million copies.

Justified, Timberlake's debut solo album

Timberlake’s second album is arguably his best work. FutureSex/LoveSounds, released in 2006, turns away from the boy-band beginings to an adult feel. The album is simply about sexiness, as funky bass lines and smooth vocals make this album irresistible. Some of the hits include “Sexyback,” “My Love,” and “What Goes Around…Comes Around.”

After his second album, Timberlake went on to make appearances in several songs, including Madonna’s “4 Minutes” and 50 Cent’s “Ayo Technology.” Yet JT hasn’t released his own material since his 2006 album. Instead of releasing new music, Timberlake is focusing on his acting career, which isn’t exactly as successful as his singing.

What JT needs to do is get back in the studio instead of acting. Music needs him more than ever, as auto-tune and “artists” like Justin Bieber are taking over the airwaves. As much as I love listening to his two albums, I’m still craving for a third.

Simply Drawsome

By Zachary Gray

Move aside Words With Friends, Scramble With Friends, and whatever else is done with friends. The newest sensation in smartphone gaming is here, and it’s arguably the most creative. “Draw Something” is taking over iPhones and Androids at a fast pace. In the first five weeks after its launching, the game was downloaded over 20 million times.

Developed by OMGPOP, Draw Something is the game that combines Pictionary and Hangman. One player is given a choice of three words to select from, each differentiating in difficulty. After making a selection, the player draws the word for the other player to guess. The second player attempts to guess the word using 12 scrambled letters. The goal of the game is to guess as many pictures correctly in a row. For every correctly guessed word, players are rewarded with “coins,” which can be used to obtain more colors for drawing. Players can engage in multiple games with different individuals, both friends and strangers. Draw Something uses Facebook and/or usernames for individuals to play.


Draw Something provides people the opportunity to not only play an interactive game, but also to express their creativity. With games such as scrabble, hangman, and boggle, skill is the only highlight. Draw Something allows crafty individuals to become artists, both creative and humorous. Furthermore, because players are working with each other, there is no winner or loser. Draw Something allows friends to have fun without the pressure of achieving victory.

Just recently, the social-network game development company Zynga (owners of Words with Friends) purchased OMGPOP for a staggering $200 million dollars. With Zynga’s already established success in the social gaming world, Draw Something is bound to only get better. But hopefully major changes are not made to a game that’s nearly perfect.

Draw Something can be purchased for $0.99 on the iTunes Store and Android Market. The free version is also available.

Cooking show of epic proportions

By Zachary Gray

Cooking shows have always been about creating dishes that’ll taste delicious, look appealing, and impress friends & family. Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Anthony Bourdain are a few of the celebrity chefs who strive to create impressive culinary creations. There’s a group of “celebrity chefs” who also strive to create impressive meals, but their creations would probably make Julia Child roll in her grave. Take a group of bacon-loving Canadians, mix in some a lot of alcohol, add the internet, and you get Epic Meal Time.

Making dreams come true, then eating them

Since 2010, Epic Meal Time has posted videos every Tuesday on their YouTube Channel. Each video is an abomination of a cooking show, as massive amounts of meat are used to create giant burgers, pizzas, or lasagnas. In some cases, it’s unknown what exactly has been created from the array of meats. Regardless if the meal is dessert, cake, barbecue, or chili, everything must have bacon. Many of the meals contain large amounts of Jack Daniels, various cuts of meat including lamb heads, and absolutely no vegetables (as EMT creator Harley Morenstein puts it, “carrots are for ugly people”). The video that lifted EMT above other YouTube channels was their 2010 Thanksgiving special. The EMT crew created their own version of a turducken with the TurBaconEpic:

Epic Meal Time is hosted by Harley Morenstein, a former high school substitute teacher from Montreal, Canada. Along with Morenstein, Epic Meal Time feautres Alex Perrault (aka Muscles Glasses), David Heuff, Tyler Lemco, Josh Elkin, and Ameer Atari.

Morenstein (top) with, from left to right, Perrault, Lemco, Heuff, and Elkin.

Along with the YouTube channel, Epic Meal Time has its own website, online store, and Twitter handle. Each cast member also has their own Twitter handle as well. High definition podcasts of the meals are also available on iTunes.