All posts by Kari.Liz

20 y/o spending a year in South America

Save the World, with just one click!

Technology is made to make our lives easier. Never before has it been easier to wash our clothes or heat up our leftovers. Media and the internet has made receiving news, creating news and keeping in touch with far away (or not that far away) friends and family a simple and mindless task. If everything has become so easy, have we become so lazy that we have forgotten fight for things we believe in?

Remember the days when women grouped together to fight for their rights? Or when Martin Luther King made an amazing inspiring speech to 250,000 supporters?  Okay, I don’t remember this because I wasn’t alive but I sure do remember learning about all these protests in history classes throughout the years! These protests are inspiring! People came together and changed the world, changed laws, and they did this with out huge amounts of money (which is the only way that people seem to change things today and usually not for the good of the people).

And how do we change the world today?

We sign online petitions or share videos on Facebook and Twitter. With just a click we feel like we have done something to help. And I’m not going to say that more people knowing about a cause is not helping it but it doesn’t seem to be enough. We share it and then forget about it! I think the future of media is taking away our drive to get off the couch and make a change in the world!

I saw a video on Upworthy and think it had  the opposite effect on me than it was supposed to. I was inspired by this guys drive and and child like ability to believe he could make a change. Obviously he wasn’t successful and like the video showed it is not really realistic to quit work and just leave to change the world! But that feeling that he wasn’t doing enough is definitely a feeling that I have experienced, and one that I often ignore.

We fill this feeling by sharing that inspiring video or signing the online petition. But unless we go further and take real life action like all those people before us, I’m scared we will loose our ability to make changes and will continue to use the internet as an easy way to be a part of the “change”.  How do we find that child like belief in a better world that we can create?

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Have you kept up with the Kardashians

I would hate to admit that I am Kardashian obsessed, but I have watched all the episodes and I follow Kim, Kourtney and Klohé on Instagram.  So… maybe just a little addicted.

Kim Kardashian rose to fame through a leaked sex tape with her then boyfriend Ray J(not going to link that video).  Later that year E! network signed the whole Kardashian family on to a reality TV show following their day to day life.  Keeping Up With The Kardashians is currently in their ninth season and Kim was reported to be the highest paid reality star in 2010; this show has obviously been popular. 

I want to look at two things in regard to The Kardashians: (1) the idea that anyone could rise to such fame by doing very little and (2) and the forced reality that is obviously not real. 

The best way to become famous is to leak a sex tape! And who doesn’t want to be famous?  Reality TV portrays this idea that anyone can have fame; all you need is a amazing talent (thinking of American Idol), an interesting story (thinking of Emily Maynard from The Bachelor) or  a crazy family (thinking of Honey Boo Boo). The Kardashians have figured this out, through Kim they have all become very famous and made a very nice living through exploiting their life on TV.  While they do sometimes talk about the difficulties that go along with being famous, they portray an exciting a luxurious life, that most anyone would want to have.

Should we be supporting this? By watching their show and following them on Instagram I am encouraging this kind of entertainment and the idea that everyone could have a life like the Kardashians and should want to have their life.

But is their life, the one we see at least, real? It seems real! We are there with them with they get engaged and married, and even when they get separated! We see their drama and fights with each other and we see them maturely apologize and make up. Actually every episode seems to run in that exact pattern! Someone is being mean or annoying and they get in a fight about something obviously very important (sarcasm). Then by the end of the show they realize that family is all they have and they make up and living happily ever after (or at least till the next show).

I know that life is not like this, but I’m not sure if it always sends a bad message. I think that a large part of the ideology behind The Kardashians is the idea of family sticking together. I respect that idea and while a lot of the other stuff going around may be completely fake and spread bad ideas, The Kardashians do show some great family love.

So… Whats happening in Sochi?

I spent the weekend at my aunt and uncles house who live in Lakewood. It’s always nice to get away from campus and relax. My uncle, who is very tech-savvy, is always on his computer and TV finding new information and reporting it back to my aunt and I. When ever I come over I love to have news to share with him, hoping that he will not have heard about it yet! This time my news was about Sochi: “Did you hear that the man who was in charge of the malfunctioning Olympic Rings in the opening ceremonies was stabbed to death?!”

I had seen this on Facebook (and to tell you the truth I didn’t even read the article) and everyone was talking about it! It seemed crazy but with all the other bad things I’ve been hearing about Sochi, such as not being ready at the start of the olympics and journalist’s tweeting complaints, I believed it.  

Well it was all a hoax… But this wasn’t realized until after it was shared over 30,000 times on Facebook and Twitter.

Where does satirical reporting come in to play in our new world of journalism and mass distribution of information? And who is there to differentiate between the truth, the lies and the jokes?

I would put satirical reporting under the category of entertainment news. And entertainment news is really a form of Gate Watching. Satirical newspapers take information and stories and turn them around some how to make a point, and they usually end up very amusing. They are, in a sense, evaluating the news and putting that information into a new context. I would argue that this opens up a conversation and force people to think critically about the bigger issues surrounding that news. This is the same kind of thing that The Daily Show with Jon Stewart tries to do; takes the happening of the worlds and put a satirical and hilarious spin on them. People are more likely to watch and read this new, because it entertaining, and hopefully in turn take that information but with a grain a salt!

But where we run into a problem is when people don’t take the information with a grain of salt. Like when people took The Daily Currant’s article as truth and spread it on social media sites. And when this happens we need another form of Gate Watching to check the information that is shared and spread across the internet and other forms of media. Who or what for media is going to be the one that we can trust and rely on to tell us the truth? Who is going to take the time to double check the information and hold journalism accountable? This is the most important role of Gate Watching in our world of media today. We need someone their to prove us wrong when we believe a large hoax!

Cumulus Media: The difference of a State

Cumulus Media Inc.  is one of the largest radio broadcasting owner and operator of AM and FM radio stations, second only to Clear Channel Communications. Cumulus operates 570 radio stations in 110 cities and 34 states. They claim to serve over 65 million listeners. Cumulus, founded in 1997, is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.  In 2011 Cumulus bought Citadel Broadcasting after it filed for bankruptcy.  With this purchase Cumulus gained 225 radio stations.

Unlike its biggest competitor, Clear Channel Communications, Cumulus only owns terrestrial radio stations. Clear Channel has branched out to satellite radio stations on Sirius XM Radio. Many other broadcast corporations own an array of television stations and other forms of media.   Cumulus has chosen to integrate horizontally in the media market by focusing on operating  radio stations. (info & research)

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My map is simply showing the size and reach of Cumulus Media Inc. I was amazed at the amount of cities that Cumulus had radio stations in. All those cities and states are inhabited by a ton of different types of people.  From my perspective,  people who live in Flint, Michigan (Cumulus owns three stations there) have beliefs and values that are not similar to people in Eugene, Oregon (Cumulus owns six stations there).  (all stations owned by Cumulus Media Inc.) I realized this difference while I was in Sri Lanka over winter break. When people would ask me where I was from, I would always respond by saying “Colorado”.  In response to this I would get blank stares or polite (confused) smiles. I soon learned to say “America” (or Canada if I didn’t want to be ripped off!) because Colorado meant nothing to anyone outside of the US. To me “America” didn’t describe me at all! Telling people I’m from Colorado, or my home town of Snowmass Village immediately shows that I am a mountain girl, and that I’m ‘down to earth’ My home town says something about who I am, that “America” doesn’t. 

So how can this huge corporation cover all these different cities across our huge country of America? They must have different needs and wants from their radio stations and other media. Or has media become homogenous reel of information that is fead to everyone?  And is this a bad thing? Maybe with radio stations it doesn’t have that much of an effect. It is possible for a song that is popular in Flint to also be popular in Eugene. While politics change from place to place, entertainment can be universal.

The Internet: the last form of “free” speech?

When discussing free speech most people focus on the idea of the freedom to have and share your own opinion about the world around us.   While this is an very important part of free speech, how does the average person share their opinion?  In the era of printing presses, the average person could print their views at a low cost.  Today, for many people it is enough to tell their family and friends while sitting at the dinner table, maybe in the hope of having an influence on their opinions but no strong motive.  Some might take it a step further and send a letter to the editor in the hopes of it being printed in the local paper.  But for the most part people turn to the internet. Information and opinions, from the average person, are shared faster than ever and all for free! Whether it is a shared link on Facebook to your closest 1,000 “friends”,  a comment on an article in The New York Times or a weekly blog. 

The internet and net neutrality is the newest and most important unresolved issues debate concerning regulating media ownership. If companies were allowed to slow down speed of some internet sites or even block some websites, the idea of a “free” and open access  internet would be lost. Costumers would have to pay more when using data-heavy sites and companies would have to pay to keep their sites running fast and available.  Media would continue to be controlled by who can afford to speak their mind.

This would obviously be very good for  companies providing internet. Not only would they be making tons of money from the internet users and companies paying for their sites to be “promoted”, they would also have the ability to promote their websites.  These big companies can share the information they want and their opinions very easily and for a small cost. But this leaves the average person with limited resources to share their opinion to anyone more than their family and maybe their town.

Internet is the last form of media available to the average person and for that reason I believe internet must stay free and open access to all.