There are dozens of locations taking part of First Friday, a monthly arts festival in downtown Albany. With only one evening, it’s impossible to make them all – so here are some more contemporary locations for the younger crowd. Enjoy!


Who is the Capital Region press favoring this election season?

Times Union

The Times Union’s editorial board has endorsed both Andrew Cuomo for governor and Harry Wilson for comptroller.

Side-by-side comparison of candidates at

Their news section includes a “voters’ guide” that gives candidates the opportunity to lay out their platforms and plans. You can also compare candidates side-by-side, as shown left.


“CNN has a Democratic slant. Their liberal agenda is shown through the
wording they used. When referring to President Obama they called him the
‘leader of the free world’,” says my classmate Suzy.

Their website involves an Election Center – The polls, the races, the
basics, the issues. This covers nationwide issues and is straightforward.a

When CNN refers to the Rally to Restore Sanity, they mock conservative Glenn Beck’s Rally to Restore Honor, making Beck look dumb while supporting Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert’s version.


Alternative newsweekly magazine Metroland has quite a bit of opinion articles on the election, but puts a comedic twist on it. They have an entire feature comparing the Tea Party to zombies, called “Of Teabaggers and Zombies – A Metroland guide to protecting yourself from the brain-dead Tea Party zombie apocalypse.”

Their description of Carl Paladino reads:

“Carl Paladino—Republican Candidate for governor of New York state. Mr. Paladino has clearly been infected by the “Rage” virus a la 28 Days Later. Zombies of this type are initially fast and vicious, but their anger burns out after a while. If they find their prey, they will simply eat themselves to death in a rage-fueled gorgefest. They are also known for their hate speech. Zombie defenders will tell you that zombies are just politically correct. But their obsession with bestiality videos, racial jokes and porn in general is well-documented. Zombies of this strain also have a particular hatred for the media. “Me take you out!” they scream at journalists. Don’t identify yourself as a member of the press or you will quickly be dismembered. But there is a very easy way to pacify these poor wretches: Rage zombies are revolted and frightened to death by alternative lifestyles. Gay-pride parades will always be safe from this sort of zombie.”

CNN loves Twitter. With a (canceled) show practically devoted to it (Rick‘s List), frequent updates and constant “let’s see what people are Tweeting,” their affair with the social media sharing site is nothing new.

CNN especially loves Twitter in the midst of a crisis, and if there is a significant crisis anywhere in the world, you can expect CNN’s Anderson Cooper to be there,  giving updates every 4 seconds.

In the past 24 hours, @cnnbrk has been blowing up my phone via Twitter, giving me the play-by-play at the scene of the mine in Chile that collapsed in August, trapping 33 miners inside.

Yesterday, the miners began to come out of the mine, one by one… and CNN and Cooper let me know, via Twitter, which miner was about to come out, in the process of coming out, was officially out, what they said when they got out, ect. This amounted to 35 Tweets while I was sleeping, from the hours of 1 a.m. to 10 a.m.

All day long, I’ve been ignoring the ridiculous amount of Tweets CNN has been generously throwing my way, with breaking news that, to be honest, I don’t see as all that necessary.

This is a great story, and most definitely deserves attention in the Twitterverse, but I think CNN is getting a little too Twitter happy.

This weekend, I had the chance to interview the master of interviewing herself – Barbara Walters. I asked this legendary journalist about social media, Twitter, my generation’s news habits, and how to be successful in any profession.


Barbara Walters spoke at the third World Within Reach Speaker Series. The legendary journalist talked about the people she's interviewed throughout her career. Photo by Leon Ferri.


Albany Student Press: What advice do you have for today’s college students hoping to be successful?

Barbara Walters: Well the first thing, and it’s cliché but it’s true, is follow your bliss. What do you want to do? What do you really love? That’s the hardest decision, especially when everybody else seems to know exactly what they want to do, and you’re the only one that doesn’t. I didn’t. My career didn’t start until I was in my 30’s. The second thng is get your foot in the door. Don’t be too proud. If you want to get into television or radio or newspapers, take any kind of a job. Get there before everybody, stay there later than everybody, and do what you love.

ASP: What attracted you to journalism?

BW: I’m not sure I was attracted, per say, to journalism. I went to work for the local station – this has been a long time, I have to go back a few years. I loved television. I started in the publicity department. My father was very well known in show business and so I knew a lot of the people and I started in the publicity department at was what was then NBC’s local station. Then I was made a producer, and then I was made a network producer. I had no thought of being on the air, it wasn’t going to happen with me. And part of it was that I was in the right place at the right time on the Today show and they knew me because I had been writing for everyone else. So in a way, it was accidental. I never set out and said, “I’m going to be a journalist.” I had a knack for writing and that was helpful. I wrote the way I talked and in television, that’s very helpful. Unless you don’t like the way I talk, and then it’s no help at all. Read the rest of this entry »

In 2003, a Harvard undergrad student created The Facebook, which would eventually attract over 500 million users. The new film “The Social Network,” filled with drama, sex, drinking and greed, tells some version of the Facebook creation myth with phenomenal acting performances.

The real Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, did not contribute in any way to the creation of the new film

Jesse Eisenberg portrays Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg as an introverted, awkward, genius who may or may not have stolen the idea for the site from his wealthy classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The film simultaneously shows Zuckerberg in the middle of two lawsuits, one with the Winklevosses and one with his best friend and Facebook co-founder and CFO Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), while telling the story of how he got there.

Director David Fincher uses a technique of playing with time, jumping from the present to the past frequently, while viewers try to piece together why Zuckerberg is being sued and if he is in the right or wrong. Fans of Fincher’s previous works “Fight Club” or “Se7en” might be disappointed by the lack of imaginative and abstract scenes in “The Social Network,” but the more realistic techniques are fitting for this real-world (and somewhat true) story.

Finch creates aesthetically sequences, cutting back and forth between two different scenes set to intense music, intensifying dramatic situations. Throughout the film, the use of the camera’s shallow depth-of-field puts one object in focus while blurring everything around it. This technique works for some scenes, but on the big screen is rough on viewers’ eyes and is overused.

Most of the scenes take place on the campus of Harvard University, as the idea for a Harvard exclusive social network is born. After hacking into the University’s network, using the information to create the site, and crashing the school’s server, The Facebook rapidly gains popularity. Eventually the site expands to Ivy League schools before opening up to all colleges and universities, high schools, and eventually anyone.

The Social Network promotional image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

Garfield delivers an incredible performance as Saverin, a young man who has been cheated out of a fortune and lost a friendship, after Saverin is betrayed by Zuckerberg.

Justin Timberlake plays the role of Napster Founder Sean Parker, who guides Zuckerberg and Saverin in the expansion of Facebook. Timberlake gives a phenomenal performance as the confident, wild young entrepaneur, filled with excitement and enthusiasm towards the success of Facebook.

The Winklevoss twins were both portrayed by Armie Hammer, with Josh Pence acting as Tyler Winklevoss with Armie Hammer’s face superimposed using CGI effects.

Based on the book “Accidental Billionares” by Ben Mezrich, the accuracy of the film is under debate. The real Mark Zuckerberg has insisted the film is almost completely fictional, while screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has assured viewers of its accuracy.

“Nothing was invented for sensationalizing, for the sake of making it sexy, for the sake of advancing a personal agenda,” Sorkin said at a promotional event at Standford University. “If you saw it in the movie, it’s because someone very credible or more than one someone said it was credible.”

Accurate or not, the film brings Facebook users to ponder the creation of the internet superpower. The Social Network provides explanations and stories of how Facebook became what it is – from the concept of making an exclusive website, to the idea for “relationship status” and “interested in” options.

Facebook has been wary of the movie and its portrayal of Zuckerberg but they need not fear. While Zuckerberg isn’t framed as an honorable hero, the audience remains more or less on his side throughout the film. He’s not seen as a villain or thief, but as an intelligent young man whose incredible invention changed the internet’s role in the lives of 500 million people

The other day I stumbled upon Binghamton University’s school newspaper site, and while checking out their Top 5 news stories, I noticed they all had something in common.

The Pipe Dream is a pretty solid paper, so it surprises me that the top-read articles are all about sex – not about the anti-fracking debate consuming the area, or about outrageous student loans.

This is not a slam at the Pipe Dream or at school newspapers, but proof that young people are not following the news.

It’s not surprising that these stories catch people’s attention – especially people in their early 20’s. “Sex” is interesting – this is no secret.

But why are these the only stories that seem to catch students’ attention? Is it that student newspapers are failing to report news stories of interest, or do young people just not care?

The website that changed social networking just changed it’s appearance.

New Twitter features a split-screen layout for more convenient navigation. With the news feed on the left, the right side is used for showing information relevant to the Tweets you click on – other Tweets from that user, retweets, replies, or Tweets containing the same hashtag.

The split screen feature means you can see Tweets in context without navigating away from the feed.

Here’s a game: try to scroll to the bottom on your feed, and see how long it takes you to realize that you can’t. Your Twitter need is now endless, no more clicking “see more.”

Twitter's new look and features include a convenient split-screen layout.

My only complaint is the organization of the right side of the screen. If it’s not currently showing you the expansion of a Tweet, you see your own information: your followers, followees, favorites, lists, and trends. I personally feel that favorites don’t need to be displayed here, and they way that part of the screen is set up looks rather messy.

Also, a feature I’ve been waiting for: when you tag someone in a Tweet, Twitter now suggests usernames as you type – no more mistweets due to spelling or poor memorization of your friends’ usernames.

Along with Google Instant, Twitter apparently feels people waste too much time clicking and has saved us this labor by creating keyboard commands. To view commands, just type a “?” and a menu will appear.

Twitter's new keyboard commands

The one feature I’m waiting for Twitter to add is to localize trending topics. They’re halfway there – when you search a phrase or hashtag, there is now a “Tweets near you” option.

With all these changes, Twitter lovers don’t need to worry. They are not becoming much more similar to Facebook, and that adorable little blue bird isn’t going anywhere.

Here is Twitter’s super-indie video preview for New Twitter!