Week in Review: Twitter and NBC, Chick-fil-A and black comic book characters

August 3, 2012

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Friday on Eight-Forty-Eight, we look back at the week in news with some of Chicago's most in-the-know journalists.

"My film column today highlights a few offerings at the Black Harvest Film Fest, one of which is a documentary about the problematic history of black superheroes in comic books," says the Chicago Tribune's Nina Metz. "It’s really interesting. The first black character to appear in a mainstream comic book was the Black Panther, who joined the Avengers—and nope, The Avengers movie does not include this character; for whatever reason, studios are not casting black men as superheroes. (Which is why that Donald Glover as Spider-Man meme probably didn’t go anywhere.) "

Metz has also been following the controversy surrounding reporter Guy Adams and Twitter. "NBC hasn’t been proactive at all about interacting with unhappy viewers," says Metz. "Yet weirdly, American Airlines is apparently all up in Twitter and responding to people ASAP.  Who woulda thought an airline?  People hate airlines!  I simply mentioned this on Twitter (linked to a story about them) and they responded. It was hilarious. Anyway, I think we’re growing accustomed to being 'heard' and wanting an instantaneous response from companies. I think that has to at least be a part of everyone’s frustration with NBC; the total lack of acknowledging that people are unhappy.  Maybe it doesn’t matter to their bottom line, but I do think it reflects our expectations as customers/viewers."

Metz also points out how Twitter needs to figure out how to make money, and corporate partnerships with companies like NBC "are likely to continue and probably change the nature of how 'open' it is at the moment, for real-time anytalk."

Others agree. "I thought the Twitter/NBC stuff was dying down but I just got out of a social media meeting where it was all we talked about," said Chicago magazine's Scott Smith on Thursday. "The real controversy seems to be about news organizations getting slammed for 'spoilers' because they are discussing the events as they happen but before they are broadcast in prime time. The idea is the entertainment value should be preserved and the news value ignored. And because it's sports then that's OK."

"As far as the Guy Adams thing goes, the part that makes me nuts is how easy it was for NBC to shut down the guy's account. It was only because NBC had a partnership with Twitter that they were even made aware of it," added Scott, who wrote about this a bit on his personal blog.

Smith is also puzzled by another story: the Drew Peterson saga, but not for the reasons you might think. "Why is this being covered at the level it is? Is it because it's a real-life Lifetime movie (almost literally)? I honestly don't see any news value in it. It's not like it even explores larger societal trends of any kind."

Plus, Tony Sarabia remembers Gore Vidal and brings up the latest in the ongoing Chick-fil-A broohaha.

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