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Watching TV on a laptop

OTTAWA—LAPTOPS, TABLETS, AND smart phones are radically overtaking television. A new wave of computer products have changed the way we view the small screen.

Viewing exactly what you want, when you want, was unfathomable in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but the rise of online and on-demand viewing has given individuals more control over their programming choices.

Computers are now a one-stop shop solution, witnessing the death of broadcast television and family TV nights.

“I have a 19-year-old son. He doesn’t watch broadcast TV that much. He goes to his iPad and watches an episode of The Office over the Internet … He’s a digital native,” said Brook Spectorsky, general manager of WKYC-TV in Cleveland, in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen.

Commercials are now only watched if they are part of the main attraction, such as the ones shown during the Super Bowl or Academy Awards. The recent Seinfeld for Acura and Broderick for Honda commercials were both watched over eight million times before the first kickoff.

Traditionally, commercials and DVD sales were what brought in the profits, whereas the current trend toward streaming videos online is far less profitable for the entertainment industry and threatening the survival of TV programming.

 —Nadia Helal

Studying Beyoncé

TORONTO—NEW MOTHER, FASHION mogul, multi-platinum recording artist, and actress Beyoncé Knowles can now add a university course to her list of accomplishments. The 16-time Grammy winner is now the subject for a course offered at Rutgers University in the
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

The course, entitled “Politicizing Beyoncé”, aims to examine Knowles’ music, career, lyrics, and cultural impact alongside the works of other famous African-American feminists, such as bell hooks and Alice Walker.

Taught by Kevin Allred, Knowles’ dual roles as sex kitten and strong female role model will also be studied through the lens of gender and race in America.

“It’s important to shift students away from simply being consumers of media toward thinking more critically about what they’re engaging [in] a regular basis,” said Allred in an interview with Rutgers Focus, the campus newspaper. “When students don’t respond to theory or dense readings, it’s often easier to see things play out in the world around them.”

This isn’t the first time a big name celebrity has transformed into a university course. Knowles’ husband, Jay-Z, is currently studied at Georgetown University as a sociology course, while Lady Gaga gets students learning at the University of South Carolina.

—Sofia Hashi

More Gaga for everyone

CALGARY—LADY GAGA IS currently one of the biggest musical and social phenomenon in the world, with millions of Twitter followers and billions of views on YouTube. She is now pioneering a social media site, taking her presence on the Internet to a whole new level. The website,, was created so Gaga fans could discuss and share information about the singer and common interests.

Little Monsters is the nickname Lady Gaga has given her fans, but they do not yet have access to the social media site as it is still in the beta stage. Membership is offered on an invitation-only basis at the moment.

Backplane, a company using the Internet to bring people together, designed the website The CEO and co-founder of the company, Matt Michelson, spoke about the Lady Gaga project as their way of learning about functionality.

“We think we can really change the world,” said Michelson in an interview with the Calgary Herald .

Lady Gaga also announced a world tour, which has been named the Born This Way Ball. It will begin April 27 in South Korea and will continue into 2013.

—Emily Glass