Saturday, March 29, 2008

Monster Interview: Gwen On Fandoms

Studies of fandoms have always interested me so, a while back, I asked Gwen of Jericho-Kansas if she would be willing to be interviewed about fandoms. Gwen, being the gracious lady she is, agreed. It's my fault I haven't published this sooner. The waiting to learn Jericho's fate zapped all my energy.

I present this interview in two parts so look for Part II tomorrow. Also, be sure to visit the Jericho-Kansas forum.

Thank you, Gwen.

1. Fandoms are usually thought of in terms of movies or television shows but you would include historical groups in a definition of fandoms. Why is that?

One of the definitions of fandom is “all the fans of a sport, an activity, or a famous person”. This takes into account fans of TV shows, fans of literature and fans of historical eras.

Science Fiction fandom and my historical group, Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), are alike for a few reasons:

There is a lot of crossover between the Science Fiction fandom and the SCA. The SCA grew and spread in it’s first ten years, due to holding demonstrations at Science Fiction conventions.

A lot of science fiction and fantasy authors have been active in the SCA and influenced the organization. Robert Asprin, Raymond Feist, DC Fontana, Katherine Kurtz, Diana Paxson (who held the first SCA event), Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Paul Edwin Zimmer to name a few.

The crossover between the groups has contributed to a common culture. For example: filking, putting new words to a common song, is an activity common at both the Sci Fi Conventions and SCA events.

The fandom elements that have incorporated as non-profits are primarily public benefit non-profits run mostly by volunteers, as is the SCA. These types of non-profits are unique in the non-profit sector.

2. The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an "international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts, skills, and traditions of pre-17th-century Europe." You've been a member for 30 years. What led you to become involved?

I saw a local theater production of “Camelot” and began to read lots of books on King Arthur and the legends from that era. A few years later, I saw a demonstration from the local SCA members, so I went to their next meeting and got involved with the SCA. After my first event, I was hooked for life. It turned out that the gentleman who took me to my first SCA event, was in the production of “Camelot” that I had seen a few years earlier!

3. Are the activities you engage in with the SCA helpful to you in real life? In what ways?

Yes, I’ve learned many different skills in the SCA that are applicable to everyday life.

Having to interact with any large group of people will teach social skills. I was extremely shy before I joined the SCA, and being active in the organization has helped me overcome my introvert tendencies.

I know a lot more about sewing, since I’ve sewed both costumes and pavilions (cloth tents). I learned to make cordials and mead, I’m more proficient at archery, and I’m still learning about the medicinal uses of herbs and essential oils. Any kind of daily skill that was used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, you will find in the SCA and you can usually find teachers for those skills.

During my battlefield tenure (I helped found the guild responsible for bringing water out to the warriors on the field), I learned what worked to hydrate and cool overheated people, the signs of heat prostration and heat stroke, a little bit about tactics since I had to predict where the warriors would go, how to coordinate a workforce, and that water is very heavy when you have to haul it ½ mile. I’m proud to say that that the Waterbearer’s Guild is now over twenty years old and spread from my local SCA region to being present in a majority of the SCA regions world-wide.

About one-half of the software I use on a regular basis, I learned from working on SCA related projects. The map of the Allied States on the Jericho-Kansas website is done via a mapping program that I use for an SCA related project.

I learned about non-profits, from being the Secretary to the non-profit that was trying to buy land to hold SCA events on. I worked with the lawyer on the incorporation, and I worked with the real estate lawyer about the various properties we looked at. The non-profit knowledge I can use elsewhere, but I’m not sure I’ll ever find a use for the California water rights education.

Part II tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Monster Exclusive: Jennie and April

Since the Save Jericho campaign started last year, the JerichoMonster has had the great privilege to get to know a number of wonderful people. Two of those people who have become special friends to me are Jennie Sword ("Townsperson Jennie") and April Parker ("Darcy Hawkins). I was recently sent this exclusive picture and the accompanying note from Jennie, and I am honored to post this on JerichoMonster.


I want to thank you for your endless support of Jericho and your kindness and generosity you've shown all of us on your awesome blog! It means the world to us all. I know April and I really enjoyed doing the interviews we did with you! Here's a photo of us at the party we had Tuesday for the finale. I do hope that we find a new way to go on with new stories we haven't told yet. Jericho and this incredible experience will always live on in the hearts of us all. I do know that much. The spirit of the fans and their voices truly mattered - each and every one. They showed the world something special. If you join and work together in solidarity with dignity, respect and perseverance people can achieve amazing things. I'm glad I could be a small part of this amazing experience with you all.

Jane, I wish you the best of luck in your pursuits and dreams!

~ Jennie


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Jericho: New Media

So much information and only one blog so I will condense some of these for you.

The Hollywood Reporter says ratings for the NCAA men's basketball tournament
weren't great for CBS but the hours of video and audio streamed were up. Just like we saw with Jericho. Hot online does not necessarily mean great TV ratings.

Amy of RemoteAccess has written a very moving post about Jericho. Her comments on Nielsen ratings are on target and we all know they aren't worth anything these days as more people watch online.

"Look, I’m in newspapers, says Amy. "The same “new media” that’s affecting television is affecting papers. We’re adapting, changing and trying to figure it all out. Sometimes, frankly, it’s scary. It’s a whole new way of doing business. But it’s necessary, because the consumers are changing their habits and if we don’t follow, we’re going to get left behind.

CBS could have become an industry leader in figuring out how to capitalize on the new media."

USA Today reports that advertisers and marketers will be making large investments in out-of-home media platforms. Why is this?

Maybe somebody is realizing what Jericho fans have said all along: we don't just watch TV anymore. Busy people with busy lives watch TV when and where they want and not where networks tell us.
Jericho photos from the Finale.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Television Viewer Union

What kind of fools does CBS take us for? I am disgusted by CBS, Nielsen, and Les Moonves. If that statement applies to you please keep reading.

Banding together to get our voices heard.

"The game plan is this:
The simplified formula for television is that you have Networks that produce the shows we watch and who pay millions and millions of dollars to make the shows we watch. You have the advertisers or sponsors who pay millions and millions of dollars to the networks so that they can advertise on the shows that we watch to entice us to buy their goods and then there is us, the television viewers who watch the shows that the networks put out and who the advertisers pay big bucks too.

So we have the networks, the advertisers or sponsors and we the television viewers. It takes all three things for the whole formula to work and if you take one away it doesn't work.

Then you factor in Nielsen Ratings that rate our shows and their ratings determine the advertising dollars that the networks can demand for the shows they produce and even though it's a flawed system and good shows have been cancelled it's the only rating system out there and they are powerful enough to fend off Networks and the United States Government alike but are they powerful enough to fend off the fans?

The problem is that the television viewers aren't represented, so the networks don't have to listen to us. And until the Internet came along the technology wasn't available to unite the fans.

So this site was created to try to unite the television viewers and get us some representation with the networks. When we get enough members we will start to Rock The Ratings by doing roving boycotts of pre-selected shows and let the advertisers of those shows know about the boycotts after they happen. With a little time they will then start complaining to the networks about paying too much money for shows that are being boycotted. If that doesn't get them to work with us then we will stop roving and pick a network to boycott and that network can feel the power of the fans.

Now, if I understand Nielsen Media correctly then there are only 25,000 boxes in the United States that rates the shows and a million diaries that viewers fill out during sweeps. If that's the case, a boycott may not show up that much in the Nielsen Ratings but with enough people putting pressure on the advertisers, they will in turn put pressure on the networks who will have to change how they do things and work with us.

We realize that all the shows can't be saved and in some cases shouldn't be saved but we can try to get some concessions from the networks to get wrap up episodes for shows and possibly a season that goes to DVD and even things like fewer commercials in each televised episode."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jericho: The Finale

No television show has ever impacted me the way Jericho has. Therefore, on this Finale night, I'd like to list the top 10 things Jericho has done for me:

1) Jericho has brought people into my life that I probably wouldn't have met otherwise.Some of these friends will remain long after Jericho is gone. You all know who you are and how grateful I am for all you've done for me (and Boo).

2) Jericho has taught me that the networks do not value me. I don't have a Nielsen box so they refuse to count me although they want me to buy from their sponsors.

3) Jericho has taught me about community. I've learned that a passionate group of people really can join together and change things.

4) Jericho has shown me that there are wingnuts in every campaign. Wingnuts work towards their own glory and crave recognition. The big picture, to them, is always one of themselves.

5) I've learned that every idea and opinion deserves consideration. No one idea or person is more important than another.

6) Jericho has taught me that WHO you know is not as important as what you do.

7) Jericho has taught me that CBS plays dirty pool. They are not the network that cares about their audience; they care about our money.

8) Jericho has shown me that Nielsen ratings are horribly wrong and that multi-platform viewers need to be counted.

9) Jericho has taught me that perseverance and strength can be found in the weakest moments.

10) Finally, Jericho has taught me that the world is still full of good people.

" Love knows no limit to its endurance,no end to its trust,no fading of hope,it can outlast anything.

Love still stands when all else has fallen."
Unknown author

I love Jericho and my Jericho family. Some things can never be canceled.


Jericho: The Last Ordinary Day

Rich of Copywrite Ink has tackled the tough Jericho issues in his most recent post.He discusses one issue which has made me angry and that is all the articles that continue to appear which blame the fans for Jericho's cancellation.

"If Jericho the fan base was inept,says Rich, "it was only because their indecision was nurtured by the network with mixed messages and a few fans who grossly misinterpreted them."

Rich goes on to discuss where fans erred;insisting everyone stay on the CBS board, attacking dissenters, and more. He also points out where CBS was lacking and something they did right.

I'd like to add a thought to Rich's comments. I believe CBS could have done a better job communicating with the fans. Besides using the message board, they could have used Jericho bloggers who were here and willing to work with them. CBS could have developed social media relations programs such as those used by Ford and others.

CBS wanted the fans to do the marketing and find new viewers. Their marketing efforts seemed mainly focused on those who were already fans. CBS set us up to fail and I do not believe they ever intended to give us more than 7 episodes.

How does Rich close the Jericho case study? Find out for yourself by reading his entire post. No Jericho fan should miss it.

Jericho will never die.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monster Changes

JerichoMonster will now be a blog which documents the wildfire spread of new media.

It will cover a variety of shows, fan blogs, networking, forums, media companies, and viral marketing. JerichoMonster at heart started out as a blog about one television show, but it has evolved over time and will now focus on such vital issues as the nature of fandoms, fan campaigns, the phenomenon of canceled (and resurrected) TV shows, and so much more.

Jericho news and information will continue to be dispensed here although not on a daily basis.

The JerichoMonster is a perfect metaphor because Jericho helped both to create and then let this monster loose. I am not just doing a TV blog, I am doing a future of TV blog. NOW.

Jericho was cancelled due to poor Nielsen ratings. Which show will be next? If you don't have a Nielsen box then you don't count as a viewer. It's time to force changes with the networks and Nielsen Media.

We can all work together to be more focused on disrupting the ratings. No campaign is safe and may not have any effect on the networks unless the current situation is changed.

If you're interested in helping your campaign, please go here.