All posts by allacrosstheboard

The Importance of Communication in the Media

Over the past ten weeks, we have seen how technology, especially the Internet, has evolved into becoming one of the most beneficial sources for spreading ideas and accessing information, but technology and freedom of expression have become contingent on both social and external factors. At the beginning of the course, we saw how media conglomerates affected the relationship between media and society by limiting the amount of resources citizens have to access the media, and how companies are able to dictate what to think through priming and agenda-setting effects. At the same time, we have also learned how media technologies are socially constructed through social norms, legal regulations and market pressures. Each of these factors determines how and what role media technology will play in our lives and in the future but it is necessary to educate ourselves and hold companies accountable to maintain freedom and transparency.

One of my biggest concerns for the future of technology and the media is that while we have become so “connected” in this virtual sphere, we have also become extremely disconnected with those people around us and it will affect how we communicate, and the values of communication, in the future. When I was growing up, if I wanted to get information I had to rent a book from the library. Now, we have immediate access to a plethora of information but one concern I have for the future is that we access information more quickly and know a lot more about specific things, rather than taking the time to learn about something on a larger scale.

Another concern I have is that our society is focused so much on ourselves and making a profit so we allow advertisements and corporations to dictate what we want to consume.

An example of this is Facebook, which serves as one of the most important forms of social media in the 21st century around the world. Facebook provides an outlet for people looking to spread their ideas, to form various social and supportive communities and to show off their everyday lives through pictures, status updates and wall posts, thus perpetuating an identity and shared practices. Facebook has also facilitated political activism, historic uprisings and has helped spread information both locally and globally. At the same time that Facebook is creating this network, our newsfeeds are now clogged with targeted advertisements, only reinforcing the commercial and for-profit business model of the media.

Douglas Rushkoff, an American media theorist believes that computers and networks are not just tools which people use, but it is the people that create them who are ultimately controlling and shaping the way we live and work. He believes that citizens will either be the creators of the programs, or they will be the consequence of consumerism and control in the future. Like the recent movie Her, we can either allow technology and our devices to control us and get in the way of our personal lives, or we can educate ourselves about the rules, norms and regulations of the media and technology and avoid some of the negative consequences that come with the relationship between media and society.

Sources: http://books.google.com/books/about/Program_Or_Be_Programmed.html?id=SB474JCHewcC

 

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“Girls” takes a new spin on life as a twenty-something but doesn’t have enough diversity

One of the shows that received a lot of media attention within the last few years is HBO’s Girls. The show, which takes a “realistic” look (without being a reality show) at life as a twenty-something in New York has been praised for its avant-garde script and filming style, but it has also been widely criticized for its principles which highlight various social inequalities in the media through race, gender and class.

The show helps reinforce the ideology that when you are young and living in New York, you can’t always make everything work and that times can be tough, in comparison to a show like Gossip Girl where the cast consists of the elite members of New York Society. The social norms in Girls focus on unemployment, breakups and trying to have fun while figuring yourself out. Girls is relatable to its audience because it taps into these emotional uncertainties that most twenty-something’s are feeling.

While the plot takes its own unique and creative spin on these social norms, it still reinforces various social inequalities in the media. For one, the lack of diversity in the cast, the four main actresses are all white females and while not all of them stick to the stereotypes of blonde, thin women, they are all upper-middle class college graduates and are privileged enough to be able to afford to live in Brooklyn (though some are unemployed). The show does incorporate various people of color and a “gay best friend” character, but their roles are less significant than the female protagonists.

In one way, the show does challenge the stereotype of having a white male protagonist and instead features Hannah Horvach a feminist, but while Hannah claims to be a feminist, she also heavily relies on her boyfriend and is not independent; therefore reinforcing the gender roles in the media that men are stronger and more dominant in a relationship.

Overall, Girls is a very entertaining show and tries to portray life as a twenty-something in New York as realistically as possible, but its ideologies are contradictory and continue to support social inequalities in the media.

 

Sources: 

http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/imr/2013/01/11/price-privilege-hbos-girls-and-logic-post

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/04/lena-dunham-girls-race.html

http://thehairpin.com/2012/04/where-my-girls-at

Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and Gatekeeping

Traditionally, Journalists have been the main (and only) source of information, but recently, journalism has been re-defined by who can filter and spread information. One of the most controversial cases of citizen participation within the media is of Bradley Manning who partook in the largest data security breach in the nation’s history when he sent classified documents to Wikileaks, the international, non-profit journalistic organization.

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The controversy surrounding Manning’s case stems from the idea that he was being a whistleblower in order to inform the public of the truth. As Jeff Jarvis wrote in his article, journalism is no longer a profession, but rather a service and if this is the case, who can we trust to inform us?

Despite a shift in traditional media practices, the leaked files were still published in mainstream papers, therefore; reinforcing the traditional gatekeeping practices. It was the organizations like the Guardian and New York Times that continued to use the institutional norms. They did not have to publish the information that Bradley Manning had given to Wikileaks and these networks, but they chose to in order to inform the public; therefore, highlighting that despite new forms of participatory journalism, the networks and institutions still play a key role in gatekeeping. At the same time, what becomes controversial is that journalists do not have as much anonymity if they publish articles containing classified information and the government can punish them, as well as the news organizations.

While Wikileaks’ main purpose aims at bringing justice and truth to the world by publishing secret information, it has caused tension between various institutions and continues to create global controversies. Wikileaks motto is to enforce anonymity and wants journalists to be whistleblowers without being punished; however, the incident with Bradley Manning proved that anonymity is not always possible, and that publishing these documents may not be the best idea in spreading the truth.   

Overall, the controversy with Wikileaks is still ongoing and continues to reinforce the contrast between traditional and new media influences of gatekeeping and gatewatching. The underlying issues surrounding Wikileaks involve anonymity and trust because it raises the questions of whether the whistleblowers like Bradley Manning want to be praised for telling the truth or whether they want to be punished, and whether or not the governments will limit these freedoms of speech. Journalism is no longer defined by journalists and journalistic organizations informing the public, but by people like Bradley Manning or other citizen journalists who want to have a voice. Despite the transformation between traditional and new media influences and institutions, Jarvis argues that, “There is a role for the witness, the whistleblower, and the advocate in the ‘network fourth-estate.”

Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/global/2013/jul/11/who-is-journalist-bradley-manning-trial?utm_source=&utm_medium=&utm_campaign

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/21/us-usa-wikileaks-manning-idUSBRE97J0JI20130821

https://blackboard.du.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-505575-dt-content-rid-1677276_1/courses/4538.201410/Bruns%202011%2C%20The%20Active%20Audience%20–%20from%20MakingOnlineNews%20Ch%2011.pdf

The FCC and Radio Ownership

Have you ever been driving in your car listening to your favorite radio station and noticed that the frequency was probably something like 97.3 or 104.7 and that when you go down to the lower channels like 89.1 they are static?

That’s because the more popular stations pay more to broadcast at higher frequencies with less static. While government regulation of media ownership and control has become more dominant in the scope of the Internet, radio regulation is still being heavily enforced.

As a result of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a single entity could only own up to 20 FM and AM stations. Today though, there is no limit to radio station ownership, thus the concentration and distribution of media is limited.

Like the pirate radio renegades from the 1960s in Europe, the United States has their own set of pirates, but instead of advocating for political freedom and more Beatles music, these pirates are mostly broadcasting about their niche networks, hobbies and favorite tunes.

It is people like Doug Brewer from Chapter 3 (a.k.a. Craven Moorehead), a Florida resident who was illegally broadcasting his “Tampa’s Party Pirate” station to everyone, that is an advocate for the “pirate radio” system.

The FCC came into Brewer’s home and confiscated his material that he was using to broadcast on. The FCC, government and the media network’s main argument for shutting down these pirate radio stations is that the unlicensed signals will interfere or drown out their other broadcasting channels, as well as other forms of communication like cell phones and TV signals.

On the other hand, people like Brewer argue that low frequency stations do not pose any threat to the higher powered stations and instead, it is the corporations that want to keep the smaller stations out.

One key point of this discussion is that, “if Brewer had produced a magazine or a website, he would have been protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment,” (Croteau, Hoynes p 79).

This is one of the main reasons why I think the FCC should improve their stance on “pirate radio” by giving out licensing to smaller micro stations because it will ensure that they are still being “regulated” in everyone’s best interest, but it will also allow the smaller stations to have airwaves.

The FCC and the other commercial broadcasters need to come to an agreement but the hardest part about ensuring equal opportunity of the airwaves, is that companies and corporations have control due to lobbying power to make executive decisions to keep smaller radio stations from getting licenses.

If pirate radio operators are forced into radio retirement, how are the little guys supposed to succeed?

Gannett Company- Blog Post 1 Kameryn Tanita

Gannett Company Inc., is a media corporation that owns publishing, broadcasting and digital mediums all across the U.S. and a few in the United Kingdom. Gannett has the largest circulation of newspapers per day and distributes one of the best-selling newspapers, USA Today. Based out of Tysons Corner, VA, near Washington D.C., Gannett Company is the nation’s fourth-largest owner of major network affiliates.

Gannett Ownership Map

This map shows the various companies owned by Gannett Company Inc. across the U.S.

Publishing: USA Today, The Montgomery Gazette, The Arizona Republic, The Baxter Bulletin, The Desert Sun, The Salinas Californian, Tulare Advance-Register, Visalia Times-Delta, The Fort Collins Coloradoan, The News Journal, Florida Today, The News-Press, Pensacola News Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, The Indianapolis Star, Journal and Courier, The Star Press, Palladium-Item, The Des Moines Register, Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Courier-Journal, The Kentucky Enquirer, The Town Talk, The Daily Advertiser, The News-Star, Daily World, The Times, The Daily Times, Battle Creek Enquirer, Detroit Free Press, Lansing State Journal, Daily Press & Argus, Times Herald, St. Cloud Times, Hattiesburg American, The Clarion-Ledger, Springfield News-Leader, Great Falls Tribune, Reno Gazette-Journal, Asbury Park Press, Courier News, Courier-Post, Home News Tribune, Daily Record, The Daily Journal, Press & Sun Bulletin, Star-Gazette, The Ithaca Journal, Poughkeepsie Journal, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, The Journal News, Asheville Citizen-Times, Telegraph-Forum, Chillicothe Gazette, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Coshocton Tribune, The News-Messenger, Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, News Journal, The Marion Star, The Advocate, News Herald, Times Recorder, Statesman Journal, The Greenville News, Argus Leader, The Leaf-Chronicle, The Jackson Sun, The Daily News Journal, The Tennessean, The Spectrum, The Burlington Free Press, The Daily News Leader, The Post-Crescent, The Reporter, Green Bay Press-Gazette, Herald-Times Reporter, Marshfield News-Herald, Oshkosh Northwestern, The Sheboygan Press, Stevens Point Journal, Wausau Daily Herald, The Daily Tribune.

Broadcasting: 37 different local TV stations as well as 7 shared services to various stations across Kentucky, Arizona, Oregon and Arizona.

Digital: Gannett Digital Media Network, Clipper Magazine, G/O Digital, Gannett Healthcare Group, Pearls Review, Planet Discover, PointRoll, Gannett Government Media Corp., CareerBuilder.com, Gannett Media Technologies International.

Other: Gannett Publishing Services

Investments: Apartments.com, Captivate Network, Cars.com, Classified Venues, 4info.net, Homefinder.com, Homegain.com, Imaginova, Livestream, Ongo, QuadrantOne, ShermansTravel, Topix.net

Media Concentration

Like other major media conglomerates, Gannett has worked to expand their concentration of media by integrating with other companies. In 2013, Gannett bought out Belo Corporation, a Dallas-based media company that owned 20 network affiliates. Although the Free Press tried to stop the acquisition, it was unsuccessful.

In total, Gannet Company’s affiliates own broadcasting stations and publishing stations in 37 states and reach almost a third of all U.S. households.

One thing I found really interesting was that not only is Gannett Company a media corporation, but they also own their own publishing service, Gannett Publishing Services, which owns and operates 43 commercial printing and packaging facilities across the nation. This allows Gannett to have control over distribution. Many of Gannett’s publications are named after their specific locations, The Arizona Republic or The Fort Collins Coloradoan; therefore, consumers are unaware that their media is being produced and distributed by one media company and it only re-enforces the idea that large conglomerates control our media.

All information found here:

http://www.gannett.com/section/WHOWEARE06

http://www.gannettpublishingservices.com

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zacks/2013/07/08/gannett-acquires-belo-corporation-to-bolster-its-broadcast-portfolio/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gannett_Company

http://www.freepress.net/blog/2013/06/13/gannett-gobbles-belo-gains-serious-consolidated-weight