Friday, November 7, 2014

CLI FI RISING -- From the New York Times to the Associated Press Wire Service

[by our webstaff writer]

Climate change inspires rise of 'cli-fi' flicks
This 2012 file photo released by National Geographic shows filmmaker James Cameron emerging from the Deepsea Challenger after his successful solo dive to the Mariana Trench, during the filming of Cameron's "Deepsea Challenge 3D," a 3-D film …more

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In a recent wire story from the Associated Press, reported by Tamara
Lush in Florida and headlined ''Climate change inspires rise of
'cli-fi' flicks," the mushrooming cli fi genre got a nice media boost
worldwide, at least in the English-language media. The AP story was
about 800 words, just 13 compact paragraphs, accompanied by four color
photographs of people like director James Cameron and actress Ann
Hathaway, but the story packed a lot into the text.


AP news content is seen by half the world's population on any given
day. AP covers news on global, national and local levels, and then
makes this content available to its members and customers for
publication, broadcast and distribution.

AP content is also available on AP Mobile, the company's award-winning
news app that has been downloaded millions of times since its launch
in 2008.

Of course, AP stories have different levels of prominence and
interest, depending on their subject matter, and will therefore have
widely different readerships.

NOTE: An AP story that runs on a U.S. ''state wire'' will only be
available to newspaper and broadcast members in that state, giving AP
members exclusivity on stories of importance to their customers. But
the CLI FI STORY ran on the national wire and went international as

[An AP story that moves on the national wire will be available to all
1,400 of AP's U.S. daily newspaper members.] A story that appears on
the international wire reaches international subscribers as well.

What is a wire story? A ''wire'' story goes out today not on a
telegraph wire but via the ethersphere of the Internet and it reaches
readers in over 5,000 newspapers and web sites worldwide -- but in
English only.

The AP story began with this lede: "The giant, inflatable whale in
this Florida Gulf Coast city signals not only the arrival of one of
the world's biggest documentary festivals [The BLUE Ocean Film
Festival], but also the emergence of film as a way to tell the story
of climate change.''


''Once perhaps relegated to National Geographic and PBS features,
environmentally conscious narratives have gone Hollywood. Director
James Cameron and deep-sea explorer Fabien Cousteau have made their
own real-life sagas, the types of documentaries that are the focus of
the Blue Ocean Film Festival here. But the issues they bring to life
are also finding their place on the big screen."


"Cli-fi movies have emerged as a niche genre, taking the pomp of
doomsday science-fiction flicks and mixing it with the underlying
message of environmental awareness. The latest example being released
Friday, "Interstellar," is a $165 million space-time saga about a
last-ditch effort to find humans a new home in another galaxy. The
film takes place in the near future after Earth has been ravaged by a
blight that's left many food sources extinct."

The Blue Ocean event is one of several eco-festivals that have sprung
up in recent years, including the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival
in Wyoming and the Environmental Film Festival in Washington.

"This is a call to action," said Debbie Kinder, the organizer of Blue
Ocean. "It's not just about whales and fish in the sea and beautiful
beaches. It's about humanity, it's about generations. It's about our


Opening night led with James Cameron's "Deepsea Challenge 3D," about
the filmmaker's quest to dive seven miles beneath the ocean's surface
into the Mariana Trench.

Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau
and a filmmaker himself, said that so-called cli-fi movies allow
people to view a changing part of the world through the prism of an

"It's relating the scientific part of the story in a way that people
are entranced by it," he said.


Earlier in the summer, Cousteau and a team of filmmakers and
scientists dove 63 feet below the ocean's surface in the Florida Keys
to study what effects climate change and pollution are having on a
coral reef. He documented the 31-day underwater living experiment in a
film, which was shown at the festival.

"The film invites people to be part of the experiment," he said. "It's
an adventure."


Documentaries are powerful, but feature movies with film stars and
vivid storytelling are also pieces of the equation, said Dan Bloom,
the 65 year old Taiwan-based climate activist credited with coining
the "cli-fi" term.

Bloom, a literature major at Tufts University in the 1960s,  cites
"Soylent Green," the 1973 science-fiction film depicting a dystopian
Earth coping with the ravages of overpopulation, as an early example
of "cli-fi." Now, he hosts an online festival called the Cliffies that
recognizes movies focused on climate change. Among the winners this
year: Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" and the South Korean film
"Snowpiercer," which centers around a perpetual-motion train smashing
through ice and snow in a futuristic, Ice Age-landscape.

"We need to go beyond abstract, scientific predictions and government
statistics and try to show the cinematic or literary reality of a
painful, possible future of the world climate changed," Bloom said.


You may have heard of the Associated Press, but what is this
organization, really? They are examples of a news wire, or news
organization. The term came into being in the days of the telegraph,
when suddenly, newspapers across the USA could communicate news to
each other at heretofore unknown speeds. It refers to the telegraph
wires, and is still a part of newspaper lingo today.

Today, most newspapers are equipped with either satellite or internet
access, and this is how a news ''wire'' moves its stories. The
''wire'' reporter covers the event and writes about it, then the story
is ''filed'' and ''edited''. After that, it is submitted
electronically to member newspapers, who can choose to print the story
or not online or in print newspapers.

A news wire agency is an organization of journalists established to
supply news reports to news organizations: newspapers, magazines, and
radio and television broadcasters. Such an agency may also be referred
to as a wire service, newswire, or news service. News wires are
generally known as a "News agency."

A news wire is composed of editors and journalists who cover stories
for that particular company. Unlike a newspaper, a wire organization
does not have its own product. NOTE: There is not an Associated Press
newspaper, for example.

However, almost every newspaper all over the world is a member of the
Associated Press. The AP, like Reuters and other wire services,
supplies stories, photographs and graphics to newspapers. So their
stories are called wire stories and they appear in many many
newspapers over the course of a few days after publication, anywhere
from the same day to a few days or a week later, maybe even a few
weeks later, but not much more than that. However, the story is
archived and indexed online by Google and other services and remain
online forever. Or until the world ends. [Gallows humor.]

One great benefit of organizations like the AP is that they have
reporters who cover events that local reporters cannot. Most
newspapers could not afford to send a reporter overseas to cover a war
or economic summit, but the AP has employees all over who do just
that. For most newspapers, the news wire is the "official" source.
Nothing is "official" until AP or another wire picks up the story.

Today, most newspapers are equipped with either satellite or Internet
access, and this is how a news ''wire'' moves its stories. The
''wire'' reporter covers the event and writes about it, then the story
is ''filed'' and ''edited''. After that, it is submitted
electronically to member newspapers, who can choose to print the story
or not online or in print newspapers.

The process also works in reverse. A reporter for a local newspaper
covers an interesting event and sends it to AP, where the story is
picked up and possibly sent to the national wire. Local television
stations work their news in much the same way. [Because a wire
reporter works for his organization and not for a particular
newspaper, his coverage is considered more unbiased than a local
reporter's coverage.]

Other public relations firms that release stories for a sector of the
population, such as business, may set up a consortium of reporters to
write business stories about a particular industry and will send them
to newspapers and television stations. This is another example of a
news wire.

Newspapers and television stations pay a subscription fee to have the
news wire send them articles and photographs. These stories cover
every spectrum: news, economics, lifestyle features, cooking, and so
on. Editors rely heavily on these sources to fill holes on a slow day
for local news, as well as for national stories they could not
otherwise access


The oldest news agency is Agence France-Presse (AFP). It was founded
in 1835 by a Parisian translator and advertising agent, Charles-Louis
Havas as Agence Havas. Two of his employees, Paul Julius Reuter and
Bernhard Wolff, later set up rival news agencies in London and Berlin
respectively. In 1853, in Turin, Guglielmo Stefani founded the Agenzia
Stefani that became the most important agency in the Kingdom of Italy,
and took international relevance with Manlio Morgagni.

News agencies can be corporations that sell news (Reuters and United
Press International). Other agencies work cooperatively with large
media companies, generating their news centrally and sharing local
news stories the major news agencies may chose to pick up and
redistribute (AP, Agence France-Presse (AFP) or American Press Agency
(APA). Commercial Newswire services charge businesses to distribute
their news (e.g. Business Wire, the Hugin Group, GlobeNewswire,
Marketwire, PR Newswire, PR NewsChannel, CisionWire, and ABN
Newswire). Governments may also control news agencies: China (Xinhua),
Russia (ITAR-TASS) and other countries also have government-funded
news agencies which also use information from other agencies as well.

The major news agencies generally prepare hard news stories and
feature articles that can be used by other news organizations with
little or no modification, and then sell them to other news
organizations. They provide these articles in bulk electronically
through wire services (originally they used telegraphy; today they
frequently use the Internet). Corporations, individuals, analysts, and
intelligence agencies may also subscribe.

Climate change inspires rise of 'cli-fi' flicks

This photo released by Paramount Pictures shows, Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in a scene from the film, '"Interstellar," from Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers Pictures, in association with Legendary Pictures. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Melinda Sue Gordon)

Climate change inspires rise of 'cli-fi' flicks
- In this June 24, 2014 file photo, Thomas Potts, director of Florida International University's Aquarius Reef Base, dives down to Aquarius. A team of filmmakers and researchers dove with Fabien Cousteau on June 1 to Aquarius, a laboratory 63 …more

Climate change inspires rise of 'cli-fi' flicks
This 2012 file photo released by National Geographic shows filmmaker James Cameron emerging from the Deepsea Challenger after his successful solo dive to the Mariana Trench, during the filming of Cameron's "Deepsea Challenge 3D," a 3-D film …more

Climate change inspires rise of 'cli-fi' flicks
-In this July 2, 2014 file photo, Fabien Cousteau reacts as he returns to the dock after 31 days undersea in the Aquarius Reef Base, in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. Cousteau and his team of filmmakers and scientists dove June 1 to study …more

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