Maggie: Look familiar? These fourteen lifeguards did something hundreds of other teens have done worldwide: make their own version of the wildly popular Gangnam Style video. Posted on YouTube two months ago by the South Korean rapper known as PSY, this mega-hit video has been viewed more than 200 million times. But the video made by the lifeguards, who are all employed by the city of El Monte, California, got them all fired.
Lifeguard: I was in shock, because I didn’t really think that it would escalate to termination.
Maggie: Juliet Gilek is one of the 14 fired lifeguards. And she says their video never meant to cause problems.
Juliet Gilek: I loved what I did. I loved teaching the kids. I loved making sure everybody was safe. So I would have never wanted to hurt the pool in any way. This was just a fun thing to capture our memories with.
Maggie: Many of the lifeguards are college students who relied on their jobs for income.
Lifeguard: To be blunt, this was my only job and my only source of income in terms of paying for books and contributing to my schooling.
Maggie: The city of El Monte said it wasn’t the content of the video that was the problem. Instead it was “a clear unauthorized use of city resources and property.”
While Gangnam Style might be the YouTube video of the moment, it certainly isn’t the first to go viral. And making spoofs of these famous videos is just as popular. Remember all the “Call Me Maybe” spin-offs from earlier this year?
El Monte resident: I think maybe some of this is just a generational divide, that maybe there’s people on the El Monte City Council who don’t fully appreciate that this is just the way people communicate today.
Maggie: The fired lifeguards hoped to bridge that generational divide when they met with the El Monte City Council earlier this week.
Lifeguard: Never did I complain. Never did I ask for a raise. My boss knew that I was dedicated.
City Council member: Management practices, the nature and extent of the punishment, social media policy – there are quite a few things that we have to look into.
Maggie: The city may be standing firm, but much of the online community supports the lifeguards. A “Bring back the 14 El Monte Lifeguards” page on Facebook already has more than 15,000 likes.
And even PSY – the man behind the original Gangnam Style – has spoken out for the lifeguards.
PSY: I’m begging you, do not fire, please.
Maggie: With arguments lined up on both sides, some say the situation is a modern day generation gap.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
Steven: Having this kind of experience in college definitely gives you a leg up over other students. Of course, any experience should give you a leg up. But experience in playing video games? Seriously?
Well, these young people — believe it or not — are actually studying at the Replay Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. And the experience they gain here could help them get a job once they graduate.
“We actually created the rest of this all by ourselves — like all the models, all the characters, all the effects you see here, we did.
Steven: Using tools, like a motion capture studio and 3D modeling, Andrew Patras and his classmates are learning the art of video game development. And they are in the right place because it is a career and a business that is exploding.
In 2009, Americans bought more than $20 billion worth of video game systems and software. That is 3 billion more than the movie industry made. $18.7 billion in box office and DVD sales!
The entertainment part of the video game industry is huge. A modern title can make a couple hundred million dollars in one weekend.
Tom Bissell, who is the author of the new book Why Video Games Matter calls video games the artform of our time.
Tom Bissell: I think we are really on the verge of a wider acceptance that it’s not just nerds, it’s not just geeks that play these things. Some very intelligent, thoughtful, smart people are designing them and playing them.
Steven: People like you. Today more than 200 colleges offer gaming courses, training future workers in everything from art design to computer engineering who will one day work at video game giants like Electronic Arts, the company responsible for games like Madden Football and Tiger Woods Golf.
And check this out: EA says it is going to add more than 600 jobs this year. So, what is next for people that want to get started?
While many of the positions are for programmers and software enigneers, you could still be hired even if you have never taken a computer class. Making a game like Madden Football requires graphics artists, animators, writers, testers and even people with foreign language skills. Companies need people to translate games into and out of Japanese!
In this field, software engineers and programmers make the big bucks. They rake in an average of $80,000 and can make as much as six figures. Graphics artists earn an average of $42,000; animators $56,000; writers $53,000 and translators $39,000.
The average starting salary for video game developers? $40,000.
Philip Holt: There is a lot people, this is their first job — or one of their first jobs — right out of college
Steven: Philip Holt is EA’s Orlando studio general manager.
Philip: We love university students because they come in, they’re excited, they are a freshly-minted skill set, and you know they are looking to establish themselves and start a career and work hard and do great things.
Steven: And this game isn’t just for guys.
Philip: It’s a fun business but it’s a serious business as well. So, we actually have deadlines and goals that we have to accomplish. We just can’t sit around and play games all day. I wish we could.
Steven: Steven Fabian, Channel One News.
Can you really get fit by working out with your video game?
PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Fifteen policemen and one civilian were injured during a violent protest by the opposition Self-Determination Party (Vetevendosje!) after an opposition lawmaker was taken in for questioning, Kosovo police said Tuesday.
Police spokesman Baki Kelani says opposition leader Albin Kurti was taken to a police station Monday evening to be questioned on the use of tear gas to disrupt the parliament session last week. The opposition had been protesting against the government’s recent EU-sponsored deal with Serbia giving the Kosovo’s Serb-majority areas greater powers.
Video images of the session showed Kurti opening the first canister of tear gas.
“A small group” of protesters gathered in front of the police station where Kurti was being interviewed, hurling stones, other hard objects and putting two cars of the prosecutor’s office on fire, Kelani said, adding that half a dozen cars were also damaged.
“They did not respect police calls to disperse and police were obliged to intervene,” Kelani said by telephone, adding that Kurti was questioned based on a prosecutor’s warrant.
Kurti’s Vetevendosje! said police did not explain why Kurti was being questioned, adding that hundreds of citizens and supporters faced with “exaggerated violence from police” using tear gas and also iron and plastic batons injuring many of them.
Kurti, a member of parliament, was released after midnight while nine protesters have been arrested, Kelani said Tuesday.
The party called for more anti-government protests.
“Pristina, Kosovo … will topple down this government of mafia and collaborationists too,” said a statement from the Vetevendosje! party.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but Serbia has refused to recognize it.
Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, contributed to this report.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish authorities on Tuesday banned a protest rally and march by trade union and civic society activists who lost friends and colleagues in Turkey’s bloodiest terror attack, but hundreds of people defiantly gathered for the protest.
The two suicide bombings on Saturday came amid political uncertainty in the country — just weeks before Turkey’s Nov. 1 election which is in effect a re-run of an inconclusive June election. The bombings raised fears that the NATO country, a candidate for European Union membership, may be heading toward a period of instability.
The blasts have further polarized Turkey as it grapples with more than 2 million refugees and tries to avoid being drawn into the chaos in neighboring Syria and Iraq.
Dogan news agency video footage on Tuesday showed police pushing back a group of demonstrators trying to reach the rally to commemorate the 97 victims of the two blasts.
Plain-clothed police pushed at least two demonstrators to the ground and detained them.
“Our brothers were killed! What are you doing?” a woman demonstrator was heard shouting.
The Istanbul governor banned the protest citing “sensitivities at this time” and because the routes demonstrators planned to march along were heavily used by the public.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said the Islamic State group was the main focus of the investigation. Authorities said Saturday’s attacks bore similarities with a suicide bombing that killed 33 activists at a town near the border with Syria in July. No one has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s explosions that also wounded hundreds.
The bombers likely infiltrated Turkey from a neighboring country, according to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus. He said several arrests were made in connection to the attacks but did not elaborate.
As with previous terror probes, authorities imposed “partial secrecy” on the investigation which even restricts defense lawyers’ access to information. The government has also banned the publication of images of the aftermath of the attack.
In Ankara, some 200 students held a brief sit-in at Ankara University’s faculty of political science to commemorate the victims.
The youngest was 9-year-old Veysel Atilgan, who died in an explosion outside Ankara’s main train station, along with his father. He was buried on Monday following an emotional ceremony at his school.
The city is on edge following the blasts and on Tuesday, police detonated a suspicious bag found near the station’s VIP lounge, hours after Davutoglu visited the site to lay carnations in respect to the victims. The bag, however, contained food.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A convicted felon charged in the fatal shooting of an off-duty Memphis police officer is set to make his first court appearance in the case.
Court records show 36-year-old Lorenzo Clark is scheduled to appear before a judge by video arraignment Tuesday in Tennessee’s Shelby County. Clark is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in the death of 31-year-old officer Terence Olridge.
Police say Olridge was heading to work when he and a neighbor got into an argument Sunday in the Memphis suburb of Cordova. Police say the altercation escalated into a shootout and Olridge was shot multiple times. He died at a hospital.
Olridge is one of four Memphis officers fatally shot in just over four years and the second shot to death in months.