All posts by Caroline Creidenberg

Futuristic Future

Media is a large part of my everyday life. And until this year, when I took two media courses at school, I hadn’t noticed how big a part of my life it is. Anywhere I go with friends I see technology being used. There are times when six of my friends will all be in the same room and not a single one of us are talking because we are all consumed with some type of technology and media.

Media, especially social media, has taken over America by storm. Just within my life span, technology has changed immensely and in a very short amount of time. What does this mean for the future of media from now on? This past fall I read an article in the New York Times that talked about the future of media and where the modern world is going with it. It started off in a jokingly manner saying we will be driving our driverless cars to work watching the big football game from last night, talking about things that sound ridiculous to us now, but honestly could be in our future. At the pace that TV’s, phones, and computers have transformed, it almost feels like the future is limitless.

One thing that scares me the most for the future is raising kids in a world that will most likely be filled and focused on media. Already today, I see middle school kids struggle with so many more issues because social media is a part of their middle school experience. Social media was only just surfacing when I was an awkward middle schooler, but seeing what parents have to deal with this day and age scares me.

The future of the media also brings endless possibilities for the schooling of our future children, which is exciting. The future of media also gets me really excited for the future of journalism. People wonder why I’m going into a field that could be potentially dying, but I see it as an adventure. The opportunities and future of journalism are exciting because no one knows what it’s going to be like ten years from now and to be a part of that change is exciting. If John Stewart is a peak into future news, I’m pumped.

All in all, I think technology, especially media, will be transforming drastically within the next ten, twenty years and to be entering the work field during this drastic change is going to be exciting. I could see the Internet truly taking over our country, just like the NY Times article says. And while it may be scary and negative in some aspects, it creates a world that will be connected in more ways than we can even imagine.

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Women of Wall Street?

Recently on Upworthy.com I saw a fake movie trailer for a female version of the new hit film “Wolf of Wall Street”, named “Women of Wall Street”. The movie was very well made and I thought nothing of it being offensive or anything like that. Yes, I knew it had lots of inappropriate scenes and some were even degrading, but I just let it go because after all it’s a movie.

Watch the clip here

It wasn’t until after I watched the spoof “Women of Wall Street” that I started critically analyzing it and slowly seeing how many underlying stereotypes it reinforced and the ideologies that were presented. It all starts with the character- they were literally all men, except for the prostitutes and sex figures, those were women of course. By representing the entire corporate world as men in the movie, they were reinforcing the gender stereotype that men make the money and women stay at home. Not only were they saying women stay at home, they also hinted that IF women work at all, it isn’t work that required their brain, but their looks.

This movie has the underlying ideology that looks are what matter in our world and that possessions and appearance are what’s important in life. He flaunts his possessions throughout the entire movie and that is his main focus, money and women. It also reinforces the ideology that partying is a way of life and a goal-worthy thing in life. Another big faux pas of the movie is the representation of ethnicities in the business world; the movie reinforces the idea that only older, Caucasian men make it in the corporate world.

I realize this movie is based off of a true story and that’s the argument for why they have only white males as main characters, but by reinforcing these norms and saying that they are acceptable is a down side of the media. Obviously we want to try and make movies and such as real as possible, but we only choose to represent a fraction of the world’s happenings and that fraction tends to be only the one percent of the world. Having a movie like this reinforces bad stereotypes and ideologies and makes it seem as if they are okay. What kind of message does that send to our kids?

While watching the spoof trailer, I couldn’t take it seriously, not just because it was a spoof, but also because I’m not used to women playing the “big” guy. It was weird to see her flashing her money, drinking lots and being unsatisfied with your income (even though it’s a lot). Why is it okay for a guy to act like this and the film to be nominated for an academy award, but when a girl does such things, it seen as ridiculous. Gender stereotype comes into play here big time and I would argue it’s a bad thing.

Upworthy Enough?

Upworthy is an up and coming web community full of citizen journalists posting new and “upworthy” stories. Their slogan is “Things that matter. Pass ‘em on.” So, it would appear that their goal is to have citizen become the gatekeepers in deciding what matters in our world today. They are the deciding factor in what should be passed on and what is really noteworthy and important.

Upworthy is the definition of a modern news source in so many ways. It implements citizens as gatekeepers and also gatecrashing is occurring. Non-traditional methods are being used to produce their content. They avoid mainstream media such as CNN and New York Times, but yet they are wildly popular and other non-main stream media such as Twitter and Facebook re-post Upworthy content constantly.

The website is set up so that the feature story is one selected by the authors, an example of traditional gatekeeping, the hired people selecting stories to show. Below is a section that says, “Recently Shared”. Here are stories that have been shared the most aka posted on facebook, retweeted, sent via email. This section is a great example of gatecrashing or gatewatching. The audience shares stories that they think are relevant, therefore making the more popular ones, stories that citizen journalists think are relevant and important.

These two ways, traditional and modern gatekeeping, work together in this situation to enhance the website. Having a traditional gatekeeping aspect creates a path for the citizen journalists to follow. They are most likely to click on the feature article and if they find it relevant they will repost. This is a good example of gatewatching too. The citizen journalists “watch” what the traditional gatekeepers post and if they agree they will repost and it will eventually end up in the “recently shared” category.

The challenge with Upworthy is the content itself. It ignores all traditional news values and is trying to produce a new type of news: positive news. For now it seems to be working. I see Upworthy posts constantly filling my Facebook. Whether or not it will continue to be popular is unknown, but it’s a start to new modern news and it’s a move in the right way. Having solely citizen run news and media loses credibility, but traditional gatekeeping alone is too old fashion. Upworthy is attempting to mix both and I think it’s a move in the right direction.

TV Regulations– more needed?

As we learned last week in our blog, conglomerates are taking over the media, especially television. There are approximately ten companies that own majority of the television stations, broadcast and cable. One may ask why doesn’t the government step in and help diversify TV? They do have regulations in place that limit ownership of a single company from owning television stations that would reach more than 39 percent of U.S., but with loopholes and sweet talk, many companies haven’t gotten around that. And 39 percent is a large percent already.

Through years of debate and lobbying, this number has been slowly increased and many are still arguing for it to increase. The debate that occurs is a confusing one because many want to diversify what the audience receives, but they also believe the media should be a complete democracy and have no government regulations. The problem with that is when you remove government regulations, diversity goes out the window. Big corporations come in and buy out the entire spectrum of waves and only produce what they think viewers want. Having the same people decide what is good for everyone creates a TV world that lacks in diversity.

This regulation benefits big corporations. Like a lot of other regulations that the FCC has implemented, they side with the big corporations because that’s where the money lies. If the government played more of a governmental role and made the regulations stricter, there would be more diversity on TV. But then it’s argued that it wouldn’t be a free media. I agree, it doesn’t limit TV ownership, but in a way it would also allow for more expansive TV ownership. The goal would obviously be to prevent monopolies or oligopolies within the media ownership. I would even go a step farther and say ownership shouldn’t be mixed within different forms of media. Right now it’s allowed, to a certain extent, for a corporation to own a TV network and a newspaper, I think that should also be regulated more. All in all I am not a fan of media conglomerates and I think the FCC could do a better job implementing regulations to prevent this.

Facebook and the Social Media World

FACEBOOK

Owned by:

Mark Zuckerburg and other individuals

Microsoft owns 1.3%

Digital Sky Technologies owns 10%

Owns:

Instagram

Although the Facebook ownership map may not look big, in fact it only consists of one other company, but they dominate the social media sphere. After researching big conglomerate companies such as Disney and GE, I realize it is in no way on the “big 6” level, but I think it has potential to reach that level. Facebook bought out the rising photo editing and sharing application Instagram while it was booming and most recently attempted to buy out the ever so popular Snapchat, signs that Facebook is entering into the business side of social media.

The “big 6” may be huge conglomerates that own consumer products, media outlets, theme parks, film productions, and so much more, but what they lack that Facebook has invested in is the future generation. Apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat have a potentially huge future awaiting them. Facebook does not have a concentration of ownership on the social media world yet, but they have and are clearly trying to attempt to monopolize the revenue of social media. Theories on why they bought Instagram consist of Facebook wanting to get rid of the leading competitor and to eventually create a revenue model for Instagram.

Facebook buying Instagram and attempting to buy out Snapchat shows an attempt at horizontal integration. If FB were to end up owning Snapchat and Twitter on top Instagram, they would have ownership across the social media sphere. The challenge with getting a monopoly on social media or of integration within the social media world is that new social media apps pop up daily and whether or not they will be successful is solely up to the users. So realistically a monopoly of this world would be impossible.

Just like with other media, especially newspaper as we discussed in class, Facebook’s main revenue comes from advertisers. If FB were to dominate the social media world, companies would only want to advertise with Facebook, which would result in synergy. No other company would be able to compete in the social media world unless they had many strong investors which would be unlikely because smart investors would invest in Facebook and the companies they own because they would be the successful ones.

What’s different about social media compared to news media is that the public creates the content so the fact that profit is the main goal for investors and owners has yet to cause a problem. News media only focusing on the business side results in poor content or infotainment. News media has a presence in social media, but it is completely up to the public what they post. Therefore I don’t see harm in concentration of ownership, but I also don’t think it is as realistic in the digital age. New application will be forever popping up and who knows which one will make it big.