Why are there so few women critics?

why are there so few female critics?

Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar (2-R) and executive producers Paolo Vasile (R), Fernando Bovaira (2-L) and Axel Kuschevatzky (L) attend the press conference for ‘Regression’ at the 63rd annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, in San Sebastian, Spain, 18 September 2015. The movie presented in the Official Selection opens the festival running from 18 to 26 September. EPA/JAVIER ETXEZARRETA

When you go to the movies, do you first read the film reviews? Do you ever think about who is writing them?

It’s a question raised periodically by film critics and researchers alike, usually when citing studies such as “Gender at the Movies: Online Film Critics and Criticism” (2013) that show reviewers are predominantly male and, according to “Australian film critics, then and now” (2011), usually over 40 too. (more…)

What to say to clients who want to write their own copy

What to say to clients who want to write their own copy

I recently had an international nonprofit contact me about a brochure to attract more sponsors. “We’ll provide the content,” they said.

Clients who want to write their own copy can pose a problem. Obviously, any designer can design with copy that’s provided by a client. (more…)

The key to writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning story? Get emotional

Key to writingA bust of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer looks on as reporters look through a box containing the announcements of the 1996 Pulitzer Prizes at Columbia University.AP Photo/Wally Santana

The 2017 Pulitzer Prizes have just been announced, and this year’s winners of the prestigious award include Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Eric Eyre for his investigative report on the drug companies that flooded West Virginia with opioids and New York Times Magazine writer C.J. Chivers for his article about a veteran of the war in Afghanistan suffering from PTSD. The Conversation (more…)

Science deconstructs humor: What makes some things funny?

Think of the most hilarious video you’ve ever seen on the internet. Why is it so funny?

As a researcher who investigates some of the potential side effects of humor, I spend a fair bit of time verifying the funniness of the jokes, photos and videos we present to participants in our studies. Quantifying the perception of humor is paramount in ensuring our findings are valid and reliable. We often rely on pretesting – that is, trying out jokes and other potential stimuli on different samples of people – to give us a sense of whether they might work in our studies. (more…)

No, Bob Dylan isn’t the first lyricist to win the Nobel

Bob Dylan isn't first Nobel Price lyricist

Bob Dylan

Alex Lubet, University of Minnesota

There’s been a great deal of excitement over Bob Dylan winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s rare for artists who have achieved widespread, mainstream popularity to win. And although Nobels often go to Americans, the last literature prize to go to one was Toni Morrison in 1993. Furthermore, according to The New York Times, “It is the first time the honor has gone to a musician.”

But as Bob Dylan might croon, “the Times they are mistaken.” (more…)

What makes someone a good writer?

Robin Macauley, Arthur Koestler, and Flannery O'Connor, 9 October 1947 (courtesy Robie MacCauley)

Robin Macauley, Arthur Koestler, and Flannery O’Connor, 9 October 1947 (courtesy Robie MacCauley)

What makes someone a good writer or what makes writing good?

To begin to understand what makes writing, and writers, “good,” we need to ask the larger question “What is writing?”

It’s easy to agree on the definition of writing if we limit it to something like “putting pen to paper” or “typing ideas into a computer.”

But if we look more closely at the elements of the act of writing, the definition comes to life. (more…)

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