Tag Archives: Features

Should the media focus less on celebrity news?

Over the past decade, celebrity news has become more widespread. With the rise of TikTok, Instagram, and other social media, more little-known stars and some formerly unknown individuals have become overnight sensations and household names. News stations such as CNN, Fox News, and others are using a lot of their time and resources to update their viewers on the lives of these celebrities.

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While some may say that this is good for younger people looking to achieve their dreams of becoming “stars,” that celebrity news is overtaking traditional news in importance is concerning. A study done by the Pew Research Center shows that 40% of the public believes celebrity news is given too much attention. This is because while celebrity news can be entertaining, amusing, and even somewhat relevant, most of what is distributed is plain gossip.

There are quite a few differences between gossip and actual news. According to the Dictionary, “News is newly received and noteworthy information, especially about recent and important information.” Journalists, whose job is to provide news, use seven elements to determine newsworthiness: “impact, timeliness, proximity, human interest, conflict, bizarreness, and celebrity.” Thus, news events cover various topics and events meant to inform viewers of the ongoings of the world and help them live their daily lives.

Why is a celebrity considered newsworthy? It all began with gossip columns, which were first introduced when the printing press and mass printing came around. During the 18th century, the first actual spread of gossip was seen widely throughout Europe. As demonstrated in the series Bridgerton, gossip within newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets was a common way to update regular individuals on the lives of politicians and other “famous” individuals. Since then, gossip has evolved into what it is today: a way for ordinary people to update themselves on the lives of people they look up to or view as famous.

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Everyone has their own belief about what they think should be on the news. While some say that important political topics, global issues, and updates on America’s status are very newsworthy, others believe that more attention should be placed on information that helps them live their daily lives.

No matter what you think should be covered on the news, it can be universally agreed upon that the news should inform its viewers and educate them on current events. Even though an argument can be made that focusing on celebrities can bring new topics and information to light, it is safe to say that celebrity news should not be the primary focus of mainstream and more prominent news channels.

Elan Amienyi is a sophomore member of The Quill. This is his first published piece.

Why A.I. generated art won’t replace human artistry

The art world was forever changed when programs like Dalle-2 and Midjourney came to the public’s attention. These programs use A.I. generation to create images based on text prompts that you input. This allows anyone to make almost anything they can think of with only a sentence or two. While this is incredible in its own right, it has also caused some concern in the art world. That is, whether or not A.I. image generation will advance to the point where it could replace human artwork.

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Some of you might not know what A.I. image generation is or how it works, so allow me to explain it. A.I. Image generators are programs that use algorithms based on pre-existing images to create whole new images from scratch. This could assist with sketching out artistic works, mass production of marketing applications, and helping artists develop new ideas for artwork.

However, despite the impressive technology displayed, there are a few aspects of A.I. image generation that make it unlikely that A.I. artwork will replace human artwork anytime soon.

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One fact is how the images are created. An A.I. uses existing images to develop the generated images’ look, layout, and style. So the end results are only based on the already existing images, giving the user less control of the end results of the generation. Art created by humans has the benefit of designing. Artists can draw the picture how they want, where everything is placed, and use their own personal style.

Another reason A.I. art will most likely not overtake human art is that A.I. generators use existing images, and the images used could potentially contain copyrighted material. This causes images and artwork created by A.I. programs to be unsettled regarding copyright laws. Making it difficult for these types of images to find mainstream success.

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Such as the case of what is happening with Getty Images. Getty images chose to put a ban on all A.I.-generated art and pictures. The reason for this ban stems from the uncertain copyright laws and complications that seem to plague A.I.-generated art.

A final reason A.I.-generated art won’t replace human art is that artists aren’t receptive to A.I. generation as an art form. An example was when a person used A.I. generation to create an image that won an art contest. Art community members were quick to criticize this, saying the man didn’t technically make an art piece.

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So what is the future of A.I.-generated art? If it won’t replace human art now, will it later? Well, it is safe to say that the issues that revolve around A.I. generated art are slowly being fixed up. As time passes, copyright issues will be cleared up, and more control will be accessible over how the image is laid out. In the future, A.I. generation programs might serve as tools to assist more artists in the creative process. But when it comes to the actual creation of art, humans succeed in some areas that machines simply can’t.

Aidan Bajadek is a Junior member of the MultiMedia Journalism class.

Is Marvel getting worse?

Captain Marvel, Thor the Dark World, and The Eternals. That’s a list of just a few of the low-quality Marvel movies. In my opinion, Marvel has only worsened since the release of Avenger’s Endgame. However, there’s still hope. If you’re a lifelong Marvel fan like myself, chances are you are caught up with all the movies, or have read enough about them, whether in the comics, or online. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was recently released to rave reviews and big sales. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, and Guardians of the Galaxy 3, are all some of the new upcoming movies that Marvel is releasing. That doesn’t include all of the movies or TV shows.

Photo Credit: Igor Bumba on Unsplash

Whether you agree or not, Marvel hasn’t been the same since 2020. After a disappointing phase 4, Marvel should be looking to bounce back. Blame Covid all you want, but there is more that we as fans fail to see. I still will go to the theaters and see Marvel movies in action, but I have not gotten the same nostalgia as I did in Marvel’s “peak.” Spider-Man: No Way Home and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings showed promise, but I think Marvel has much work left.

I have found the recent Marvel production to be underwhelming. They were given a large budget to create these films and TV shows, but none gave me the great experience of watching the Marvel universe unfold in front of my eyes. I want to tell you all now I think Thor: Love and Thunder was a bottom 10 Marvel movie, and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness was average. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard to lose some of the beloved characters and cast, such as Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), and Tom Hiddleston (Loki), but the show must go on.

Photo Credit: FORMAT arw on Unsplash

However, with the release of new DC movies, such as The Batman and Black Adam, a question remains: Is Marvel getting worse? Marvel seems to be going in that direction. Looking at the reviews or having an opinion is one thing, but the numbers show the reality. Avengers: Endgame, Black Panther, and Spider-Man: No Way Home have made the most money at the box office. Other than that, not much production.

In my eyes, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be one of the greatest movie franchises of all time, which is why I have been disappointed with the newest releases of movies and shows. They seem to be becoming more satirical, and the fight scenes are getting worse. For example, She-Hulk and Thor Love and Thunder are written to make the audience laugh, but they take things too far. Thor Love and Thunder only had 3 notable fight scenes, which is not the pacing I was expecting compared to Thor Ragnarok or Captain America Civil War.

Photo Credit: Marcin Lukasik on Unsplash

Marvel is great, but they could be in serious trouble if they don’t keep up the high production while maintaining good reviews on their films. From one fan to the next, let’s hope Marvel doesn’t lose a fan for the wrong reasons.

David Cohn is a Senior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

Remember Travis Scotts’ Astroworld event? Here’s how it changed live music forever.

On November 5th, 2021, rapper and artist Travis Scott held his 3rd annual Astroworld Festival featuring some of the biggest names in music, such as SZA, Tame Impala, Earth Wind and Fire, Bad Bunny, and many more. In addition to being the festival organizer, Travis Scott was also the main headliner of the festival, who would be performing last to close out the 2-day festival held at NRG Park in Houston, Texas.

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As soon as the rapper hit the stage, festival officials say there was a massive push towards the front barricade, causing a giant crushing event. People started to pass out due to the lack of room in the area, which caused patrons to fall over. Patrons kept pushing forward, leaving the victims on the ground to be trampled. Ten innocent concert attendees lost their lives that night due to the incident and other problems during the festival.

Violent fans breaking gates to gain entry into the festival contributed to the crushing incident.

Obviously, there had to be a significant change in how venues and festivals operate to ensure patron safety when attending a show or festival. Coming from someone who works in this environment, I think there was a huge change in both the venues and the artists.

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I recently attended a concert at Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore City, and the artist, Steve Lacy, took matters into his own hands. Off the bat, when I walked into the venue, I immediately noticed that the temperature was very cold in the room. I believe it was set up this way to keep everybody cool and ensure nobody would overheat.

Photo by: Quinn Wells

Another initiative Lacy took to ensure the safety and well-being of his fans was a dedicated segment in the show to pass out cases of water to all of the fans. The tour had planted cases of water throughout the venue that workers would pass out about midway through the show to make sure everyone was staying hydrated throughout his set. Steve Lacy and the tour did a very good job ensuring everyone was safe and well cared for.

The bottom line is that there needed to be a significant change in concert safety and security from the minute people walk into the venue until the moment people exit the property. Venues worldwide and artists stopping at these venues have taken action to fight more events like the one seen at Astroworld.

Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

What does it mean when we say ‘Mount Man?’

Mount St. Joseph students enjoy the camaraderie of attending a game at Plevyak Field. Photo credit: Mount St. Joseph High School

A lot of pride comes with being a “Mount Man.” While wearing my uniform, I have heard adults tell children I deserve acknowledgment because I am a Mount Man. But what does that mean? Why does being a “Mount Man” deserve so much respect?

Senior Braylon Sims

“Being a Mount Man is really about doing everything you can for the Mount St. Joseph community,” Braylon Sims said. Sims, a senior at MSJ, is a part of the track team and is a former Fresh/Soph Basketball player. “Just being present in the community and really giving back to what it’s giving you.”

At the same time, Sims said that people at the Mount live by the ‘classmates for four years, brothers for life’ motto that is so commonly used at the Mount. “And that’s really giving back to what people have created here before and what you’re going to leave behind after you graduate.”

Mr. Michael Stromberg

MSJ teacher and alum, Mr. Stromberg, shares a similar view to Sims. Being a Mount Man is “realizing that you are part of such a larger thing than yourself and thinking about all the guys who have graduated here in the past, all the guys that are going to graduate with you, and all those that are going to graduate after you,” Mr. Stromberg said.

Both Sims and Mr. Stromberg indicate that the true meaning of being a Mount Man is taking in what alumni have left behind at the Mount and leaving something behind for future Gaels to take in. But what about the MSJ students who don’t participate much at the Mount? Is everyone who goes to the Mount a ‘Mount Man,’ or is it exclusive to those who leave their names behind on banners and boards?

“The thing is, you take part in this community even when you don’t realize it,” Sims said. He says that just by going to MSJ, you participate in this community and that everyone that goes to the Mount is a Mount Man.

“I think you have to buy into the experience at St. Joe. But I do. I think if you are walking across that stage as a graduate, I think you are a Mount Man,” Mr. Stromberg said. He says it isn’t about being the ‘perfect person’ or being dedicated to the Xaverian values, but about striving to be the best, we can be.

Classmates gather for a reunion here at The Mount. Photo Credit: Mount St. Joseph High School

However, this still doesn’t answer why Mount Men draw so much respect. “We get to take our experience at St. Joe out into society and hopefully instill that little bit that we were able to receive here as a gift,” Mr. Stromberg said. Mr. Stromberg suggests that we deserve respect because we are contributing to the world through our experiences at St. Joe.

A Mount Man takes part in the MSJ community, strives to be the best person they can be, and takes their experience at MSJ into society. It’s not about being involved in the most clubs and activities at the Mount. It’s not about just knowing the Xaverian Values. It’s about taking all the lessons, striving to follow them, and sending them out into the world.

Jimmy Thomas is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

New faces lead to a new tune in MSJ’s music department

After a solid 2021-2022 school year of school-wide masses, football games, and other events, the Mount Saint Joseph Band Program will see some changes this year.

The Mount Saint Joseph Music Program is currently renovating as we are seeing some new faces pop up in the basement of the Knott Fine Arts Center. Mr. Nathan Royer has stepped in for Mr. Michael Alfieri, who has moved into the city to help teach band and other musical activities to younger kids.

Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph
Mr. Nathan Royer ’98

Returning to the Mount this year as a graduate of the class of 1998 is Mr. Nathan Royer. Mr. Royer is no stranger to the Knott Fine Arts Center as he has returned to his alma mater to fulfill the job of MSJ’s new Music Teacher and Band Director. Not expecting to come back to the Mount, Mr. Royer says, “I happened to come across the listing for the job on accident as I moved back down the street.” His goal is to return to the school to help new and existing musicians work on their craft and teach what he has learned to everyone who steps into the band room. Mr. Royer also tells me that the adjustment back to a school setting has been pretty easy except for some long days, but nothing he can’t overcome.

Mr. Royer has been on the road for the past 12 years as a freelance musician. In addition to being on the road, Mr. Royer is a private music teacher who gives lessons in the studio right in his home. In addition to teaching from his home, Mr. Royer does have past teaching experience as he was a teacher at a smaller private school just after finishing grad school. To say the least, Mr. Royer is looking forward to the new music played at sporting events, school masses, and other school-wide events.

Mr. Slattery sings during his time as a student at St. Joe. Photo Credit: The Tower.

In addition to welcoming Mr. Royer to The Mount, Mr. Ryan Slattery of the MSJ Spanish Department has stepped in to replace Mrs. Susan Esserwein as the Choir Band director. Mr. Slattery has extensive experience in the music department. As a 2015 graduate of MSJ, Mr. Slattery has participated in multiple school-wide events and other musical events as an experienced vocalist and musician. Mr. Slattery tells me that he is excited about the new opportunities coming his way and believes that he will bring a new kind of energy and expertise to the program that the band hasn’t seen before.

“I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.”

– Mr. Michael Stromberg

In addition to directing the choir band and teaching Spanish, Mr. Slattery has prior experience teaching musicians and vocalists as he teaches at a theatre organization called Cockpin in Court, which has been run out of CCBC in Essex, Maryland, in the summer for the past 3 years. A graduate of the Catholic University of America, Mr. Slattery studied Music Performance during his time there. I asked Mr. Slattery if it has been an easy adjustment taking over, and he told me, “it’s funny how you have an idea of things on the outside, but once you’re in it, the true colors sort of come to light. In some aspects, it has been easy, but the actual implication and practice time is definitely very difficult.” Mr. Slattery looks forward to planning more of the music that we could be hearing during the Campus Ministry events throughout the remainder of the year, and has enjoyed taking over the Choir Band so far this year.

Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph
Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph

Speaking as an instrumentalist in the Choir Band, the addition of Mr. Slattery has been very good. He definitely had an idea of what he wanted to do with the music and the changes he wanted to make to the setlist for the events that we have here. Campus Ministry also plays a significant role in how the band plans for the masses, and with new faces comes different feels to how the music is played during the masses. I took the time to ask the Campus Ministry department for their thoughts.

Mr. Michael Stromberg is one of the Campus Ministers at the Mount. As I said earlier, with new faces comes different feels to the music we hear. Mr. Stromberg told me, “I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.” Mr. Stromburg tells me he’s looking forward to seeing what Mr. Slattery brings to the Campus Ministry events throughout the year and can’t wait for what’s to come with the program.

Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph

For all returning students and staff, the next time you attend a Campus Ministry event, see if you notice a change in the feel of the music compared to previous years. For all you new students and staff, do you like what the band is doing during the mass? Make sure to check out the band during upcoming events, and make sure to greet Mr. Royer in the basement of Knott Fine Arts Center soon.

Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.