Wednesday, September 24, 2014

News and Commentary: Avajean Westland's Virtually News, and Doing Broadcast News About Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

About a week and a half ago on September 13th, AvaJean Westland showed off to a public audience at the LEA4 sim the debut episode of "Virtually News," a parody of TV news done in the style of "the Onion." The show was described as "an irreverent take on current events and pop culture, which pushes the boundaries while using animation as the filter."

The show was rated "for mature audiences" for not without good reason. The initial episode spoofed exercise infomercial products such as the "Thighmaster" and the "Shake Weight" as having been backed by the porn industry, and had an infomercial of it's own for "The Twerkinator" : a device that will supposedly allow a girl to safely and effectively shake her behind without risk of injury.

Those attending the premier included bloggers Mona Eberhardt and Inara Pey, and Second Life Enquirer editor Lanai Jarrico. Second Life Newser was also there after having gotten a tip by Lanai.

Avajean Westland in real life is Gameela Wright, an actress from New York with experience in TV shows such as "Blue Bloods" and all three series of "Law and Order," theater, and commercials. In Second Life, she is described as having worked with Chantal Harvey and part of the machinima series "The Blackened Mirror." She also created Second Life video for the Project Homeless campaigning "The Quiet Dark Wind."

(Click Here to see Avajean's "Vitrually News" - CAUTION, Not Safe For Work)

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Avajean's resume is an impressive one, and she does have a point about these funny exercise devices. How many men use a "Shake Weight," especially in public, after all? There's certainly lots of room for news parodies, others having been done such as those some years ago by Second Lie. But talking about the episode with my friend and teammate Nydia Tungsten, we wondered, couldn't someone make serious news videos of goings-on in Second Life?

Not *every* reporter can do news in front of a video camera as writing and public speaking are two different skills. I myself, well, to paraphrase the expression "he has a face for radio," I have a voice for newspapers. But still, one wonders. If someone did weekly or monthly news videos a few minutes long, how many of you the readers would watch them?

Probably a great deal many of you, we reasoned. So we're making a few enquiries about what we might be able to pull off. We'll let you know about any developments. And those who want to give giving their voice to journalism by all means feel free to contact us.

As for Avajean's "Twerkinator," I don't think we've seen the last of it. Jimmy Kimmel's firey prank showed one way it can go very wrong.

Sources:  SL Enquirer, Prim Perfect, Modem World, Mona Eberhardt,

Bixyl Shuftan

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