Week of April 9: Guest Speaker and TV

We were fortunate this week to have as our Skype guest Jason Samuels of CNN and NYU. He spoke to us about his work on the documentary “Black in America: The New Promised Land – Silicon Valley.” Here’s one clip from a CNN blog that explores some of the issues addressed in the documentary:

Jason mentioned during his talk with us that there was some controversy following the documentary about comments made by Michael Arrington. Here’s Soledad O’Brien’s blog post about Arrington’s response, and you can read his own blog post as well.

We so appreciate that Jason took the time to talk with our class. You can keep up with him on Twitter.

We also finished up our discussion of radio this week, and the remaining materials for that topic are in the previous post.

Some of you were curious about the technical details of Arbitron’s Personal People Meter encoding and reception. I found this site that explains how it all works:

It is based on the science of “psychoacoustic masking,” which, simply explained, makes it possible to “hide” tiny bits of sound energy in the normal audio output of electronic media signals. This added sound energy creates a “fingerprint” which corresponds to a specific series of digits—this is the “code” in audio encoding—which in turn identify the specific source of the encoded signal. While present in the audio stream, the embedded code cannot be heard.

The encoding technology is paired with decoding technology that searches out and recognizes the inaudible code in the audio output. This decoding system was developed by Arbitron with the assistance of Lockheed Martin, a major U.S. defense contractor having extensive experience in antisubmarine warfare systems. The decoder uses a computerized DSP (digital signal processor) to search out and identify the specific numeric code—and thus the signal source—of audio programs encoded using the Arbitron encoder.

Pretty cool!

This week, we also began our discussion of TV and movies. Here’s the infographic I shared with you about “The Digital Living Room.”

INFOGRAPHIC: Welcome to the Digital Living Room: How is the TV Landscape Changing?

Next week, we’ll finish talking about TV and also examine the movie industry…and have an exam! I’ll post the study guide soon.

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