Monthly Archives: April 2009

Republicans Lose Another One

By Andrea F. Pagliai

Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque  Sen. Arlen Specter at a Capitol Hill press conference earlier this month.

(Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) Sen. Arlen Specter at a Capitol Hill press conference earlier this month.

WASHINGTON-Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter announced today at the US Senate that he will defect from the GOP and run for re-election with the Democratic Party in 2010.

Specter declared that he, “did not want to have his 29 year record decided upon by the Pennsylvania Republican Primary selection.”

Calling the move away from the Republican Party a “painful decision,” both for himself, his friends and colleagues, Specter contends that his personal beliefs will not waver when it comes to individual issues, assuring that he will not be an automatic 60th vote.

Evoking John F. Kennedy, Specter agrees that sometimes the party asks too much.
He plans to act in the interest of the State.

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Shadowing Greg Boustead

By Andrea F. Pagliai

According to his job description, Greg Boustead is in charge of the online stuff. However—that is a lot to be said. As the Digital Senior Editor for Seed Magazine, Boustead, in addition to writing his own pieces, oversees the writers who create the content that will appear online. Seed Magazine is a bi-monthly science and culture magazine that appears both in print and online. Boustead’s charge includes finding graphics and images to accompany the stories that appear on the website, SeedMagazine.com, and making the website accessible and user friendly. The magazine prints 180,000 copies every two months, but the online website gets about 1.5 million hits a month, including ScienceBlogs.com.

Seed Magazine is best described as a science and culture magazine that strives to report on science for scientists – and regular people. It combines the scientific with the artistic to create a compatible magazine for the researcher and the general consumer. The magazine uses dynamic graphics, graphs, drawings, photos, and illustrations that prevent the content from coming off dry and boring. It’s science made user friendly by art.

Seed Magazine Cover, August 2007 (vol. 11)

Seed Magazine Cover, August 2007 (vol. 11)

The magazine’s aesthetic is reminiscent of a notebook that discusses ideas, emerging research, and a league of articles in the form of essays, bios, and more traditional scientific synopsis. The goal of both the online and print magazine is to make and put out content that appeals to readers and keeps them coming back for more: having a sustainable readership is the main goal.

The writing style of the magazine is reminiscent of The New Yorker meets Technology Review meets Nature News. It is academic and hinted with a liberal leaning. The magazine knows who its readers are and is in the business of giving them what they want. Articles range from 400 to 6,000 words, so they are not get-in, get-out type of stories.

The online magazine includes most of the articles from the print version, but also contains some pieces that are more lax and straightforward. There are 12-14 people working in the digital department and they all interact with each other and work together to make the magazine work.

Boustead describes the team as a collaborative unit, regardless of rank or seniority. Boustead didn’t start out as a Journalist. He went to school for psychology and theory, with a strong science background. For this reason, he was always attracted to Seed Magazine.

The Seed Media Group also links to one of the biggest collections of science blogs out there. In between ScienceBlogs.com and SeedMagazine.com, the company brings in about 1.5 million hits a month.

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Fair Attribution and the Obama Hope Poster

Mannie Garcia's photo of Barack Obama, taken for the Associated Press.

Mannie Garcia's photo of Barack Obama, taken for the Associated Press.

By Andrea Fiona Pagliai

Inauguration day, 2009. Mannie Garcia, a freelance photojournalist, is on the nation’s Capitol, hoping to capture an iconic image of President Barack Obama. He fails to realize he already has.

That day, Jan. 20, Garcia received an e-mail from Tom Gralish, an award-winning photojournalist from The Philadelphia Inquirer, informing him that guerrilla street artist Shepard Fairey’s “Hope Poster,” was derived from a photograph Garcia took as a temp-hire for The Associated Press in April 2006.

The original photo showed Obama and actor George Clooney at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Fairey said he took the photo from Google Images and used it to create what became the iconic image of Obama’s presidential campaign. The poster shows a stylized stencil portrait of Obama in colors red, white, and blue with “HOPE” emblazoned underneath the image. The image became one of the most recognized images of the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.

Fairey distributed posters, stickers, and pins of the image in a grass-roots style during the election campaign. Neither Garcia, nor the AP- who both claim ownership of the image- were ever asked for permission, paid royalties, or credited by Fairey for the use of their image.

Shepard Fairey's Hope Poster of Barack Obama.

Shepard Fairey's Hope Poster of Barack Obama.

Artists have long borrowed art from others, repurposing them to create images. They say it’s about skewing views to force the public to think differently about issues. Andy Warhol did it; so did Keith Herring. But now Fairey finds himself embroiled in a controversy over whether he violated copyright law.

According to a New York Times article by Randy Kennedy, the AP contacted Fairey’s studio to obtain monetary compensation for the commercial gain made in the distribution of the Hope image. In response, Fairey filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge for protection against copyright infringement. The AP countersued. The cases are making their way to federal court, but specialists believe there will be a settlement.

In an age when technologies are evolving the way we find and share information, the importance of properly attributing borrowed works, an essential element in the fair and democratic exchange of ideas, is no longer an automatic act among younger generations.

Zeshan Arif Malik, an artist and special projects director at a Manhattan guerrilla ad agency, contends that Fairey’s work is transformative enough to merit its own copyright. Malik says, “the image was much more powerful after Fairey did what he did. It changed the idea and meaning completely and is a distinct image (from Garcia’s).”

Garcia contends, “From my perspective, putting all the legal things away, I am extremely proud. (The image) helped elect the first black president. How cool is that?” But he added, “just because it is on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s free. You can’t just take it.”

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