Monday, November 10, 2008

What's In a Hologram? Response to TIME magazine article "Whiteboards Out. Holograms In"

In TIME magazine article, "Whiteboards Out, Hollograms In," writer James Poniewozik addresses the re-illumination of election-night news and its anchors through their use of some rather off-the-wall, new technologies. The everyday news-viewing experience is often littered with plenty of techie gadgets, but the 2008 election saw some remarkable, occasionally overwhelming methods of providing (or, sort of providing) the news.

Poniewozik's thesis is driven in the line, "On the other hand, the election night also showcased how T.V. has successfully used technology to explain complicated subjects." Before this particular statement, he discusses "the special effects" of election night, such as "3-D graphics sprouted out of studio floors," and holograms, and seems to be asking, is all of this really necessary? In the aforementioned statement, he captures his thesis by taking in all of the information, and asking why it works or why it's a waste of time. His suggestion that the technology helps to explain complicated subjects is certainly true--at least, it is in my opinion. Though I took AP Government in high school, I am still shaky on the calculations that go in to the electoral college, and the issue of House/Senate seats and percentages confuses me beyond explanation. With the assistance of certain technologies, though, I am more easily able to comprehend this information. On CNN, for example, I was able to watch the anchor touch and color the Senate/House seats as the results came in. A 3-D image of the seats appeared on my T.V. screen and it was as easy as counting colored boxes in a line. Technology also allowed me to see the breakdown of city/county votes of every state in the United States. (After learning that my home state Virginia had gone blue-- I was able to see, within seconds, that my hometown had gone blue as well. This gave all the more reason to celebrate.)

As Poniewozik draws his article to a close, he acknowledges that we lived in a different world than the Tim Russerts, and Walter Cronkites did. Chalk boards and whiteboards have been phased out, and been replaced by newer, cleaner technology that offers three times the convenience and no hassle of markers that run out of ink. All that said, the election is now over, we have a new president-elect, but it's no easy time. We cannot pack up the holograms, shut off the computer screens, and tune out, but instead, must stay focused on the task at hand. This country needs healing in many ways: economically, socially, environmentally, and it's time that we turn our attention, energy and all of this amazing technology to get some real answers, and get to work.

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