All posts by pkbolting

Media and Technology Today

Throughout history there has been a silent understanding between the media and society, it has been a process of sharing information and knowledge.  When and why did this understanding change?  Today there is a disconnect between the media and society through what the media deems popular news and entertainment and what society wants or might expect to hear/see.  In this class we have learned some of the reasons for this disconnect.  From big media conglomerations and oligopolies, the realization that news can make money, journalist trying to maintain their position as gatekeepers and individuals taking on the responsibility of gatewatching and crashing in order to maintain some authority in an environment that is controlled by those with money vs. those with information.

In my opinion technology is the biggest advantage and disadvantage to the media and also to the individuals using it.  New forms of technology enable us to communicate our opinions and the ideals we believe in but it can also negatively influence those same beliefs.  A mass majority of our time whether in class, at work or at home is spent interacting with technology but how much of the content is informative and valuable?  The majority of media is a distraction from what is truly going on around us.  Yet, this new technology also gives individuals the ability to become their own journalist and share real-time, live information from around the world.  Creating the citizen journalist.

For me it is not about where the information comes from or how the story is uncovered, it is about finding a balance between news and entertainment along with objectivity and business interests.  I want to be an informed citizen but why does that mean searching multiple news outlets to find diverse accounts and reliable information that is not about celebrity gossip or political slander.

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Women in the Media: Empowerment or Objectification?

Each type of media, whether it is news, opinions, entertainment or advertising, is aimed at a target audience with a particular message that the company is trying to convey to their viewers.  Through the desire of the companies to connect or relate to their target audience many will play-up certain ideologies, stereotypes and other social influences that may be important at the time.  Media can divide individuals and our thoughts further through pointing out the divisions within society along with reminding us of the stereotypes that exist and make-up the biases that surround us today.  Gender and race are usually singled out in the media by focusing on gender inequality between men and women and the segregation of race, even through in today’s society we claim to no longer be fighting these discriminations.

There are numerous negative advertisements in the media today, but every now and then you find one that addresses social issues in a realistic and inspiring way.  In 2013 Pantene launched their Boss vs. Bossy commercial which puts the double standards between men and women into a relatable setting.  The commercial blatantly points out the differences between men and women within the workforce along with society and their personal lives.  Along with how particular actions will be viewed differently depending on the gender of the person committing them.  It confronts the ideologies and stereotypes that surround gender in an interesting and appealing way.  The commercial features Tears for Fears’ version of “Mad World” as images of men and women are contrasted. The men are called “boss,” “persuasive,” “dedicated,” “neat,” and “smooth.” The women, appearing in the same contexts, are labeled “bossy,” “pushy,” “selfish,” “vain,” and “show-off.”

Ideologies:

Women are seen as demanding and a nag whereas men are seen as demanding authority and giving insight.  Women are judged because of their beauty versus men who are judged on their intellectual knowledge. Society, no matter how much we may deny it, still places women at home while the men work.  Although there is nothing wrong with that type of lifestyle, it is also not for every women and should not be thrust upon as so.

Stereotypes:

The stereotypes that are presented only further support the ideologies.  The commercial plays on the common misconception of women being emotionally uncontrollable and men being physically in control and calm, which is a stereotype that is very prevalent in society today.

Also, if you noticed all the actresses and actors are of Asian background that is because the commercial was only aired in the Philippines, which may say something about the U.S media system.  Why was this commercial only aired in the Philippines?  After all it is just a hair commercial.  The problem may be the bluntness of it.  Discrimination is something that many believe we have risen above.  Which is true we have come a long way from where we once were but the truth of the matter is that gender issues, along with a number of others, still exist today.  We are still a long way from reaching the end goal of total equality.

I like this commercial but it is still a commercial with a larger goal than just fighting the labels that are placed upon women.  Pantene wants to sell their products, and they are doing so by saying they understand what women fight for each day but if you use our product it will help you be strong and shine.  “Pantene asks everyone to wipe away the double standards that hold women back. Because when you stand strong, you shine.”  Pantene is not the only company to use this empowerment approach, Dove and Cover Girl have also found success through giving women strength in who they are naturally.

Pantene

Dove

Cover Girl

My question is how natural is it? Are these commercials really helping promote the power of women or further restraining women through promoting an idea of power through beauty/wearing make-up?  Yet, at the end of the day I would much rather have my 12 year old niece watching these commercials rather than the commercial for Carls Jr.

How the Media Failed Women in 2013

The Phenomenon of Citizen Journalism

Journalism today is a profession that contains a number of different facets from the subject of your information, the way information is distributed, where it is distributed and even who does distributing.  Of course there are the major news media agencies like the New York Times, Fox, CNN, Huffington Post and so on but what about Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Instagram?  As a whole, society now has access to not only a wide variety of information, but we also have the ability to distribute our own news while also influencing the major news agencies.  Although it may still be the norm to receive a formal education in journalism it no longer excludes the everyday Joe from doing his own reporting that may become the most viewed link on Twitter or Facebook.

Capture

Welcome to the phenomenon of citizen journalism.  Citizen journalism is when we as the audience begin to employ our own press tools to inform one another of events in a more personal and sometimes immediate way.  For many it is no longer about where the information came from but whether it is relevant to your current situation and interests.  We have the ability to talk about and share (to a certain extent) whatever information we would like and we are able to so no matter where we are through the advancement of technology. Cell phones and apps have given us access to distributing information wherever and whenever we would like with 24/7 audiences coverage.  Allowing us to manipulate, uncover or cover any type of news we would like.

Although a lot has changed in journalism, gatekeeping still exists but not at the level it once did.  Journalists may still be able to filter what they discuss within their news outlet but they are no longer society’s only source of information.  If we are unable to get what we want through the news media then we now have the option of finding the information on a blog, Twitter or Facebook.  Many major news agencies have accepted and may even value the citizen journalist.  Today the majority of news agencies even provide citizen journalist with their own news sections: CNN iReport, Fox uReport, and Citizen Journalist on NBC.  During the Colorado Springs wildfire many locals were capturing videos, photos and information, then in return distributing the information to the major news medias.  For agencies like CNN, Fox and NBC the citizen journalist is an easy and free source.

Capture1

We may have the ability to report what we feel is news worthy but journalists have not lost control of the gate entirely.  What has now taken affect within society is gatewatching.  We are able to filter and curate the news and information that passes before us by identifying what is of most relevance to our own personal interests.  Through the use of social media we are able to like and follow the information that we find most interesting.  Through this process of picking and choosing we have created another gate in the search for newsworthy material.  The difference is we control this gate.  If during the Olympics I decide I want my Twitter account to be full of information covering partner ice-skating I have that power.  The interesting factor is that even though I am able to gather all this information elsewhere, once I become interested in a topic I still go to those major news agencies or turn on the T.V to get the full story.  These forces may be reinforcing each other through a type of compare and contrast between personal and corporate view but in the end there is still the question of credibility.  News agencies have professional training and immense resource that the average Twitter enthusiast probably does not have the same access to.  So yes, the citizen journalist is influencing and changing the ways we are able to obtain information but the professional journalist still maintain a larger amount of resources and therefore a higher degree of credibility.  

Extra Links:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/opinion/ireport-awards-hawkins-gaar/

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/02/the-facebook-effect-on-the-news/283746/

http://blog.ted.com/2013/08/14/since-the-ted-talk-the-guardians-paul-lewis-talks-citizen-journalism/

There’s nothing fair about it.

I want to be treated equally, I want my opinion to matter as much as the next person and I want to be informed in a knowledgeable and worldly way.  But I am not treated equally; I am a college student whose opinion is not taken seriously.  I am not wealthy and I do not know anyone of high statues therefor others opinions are more important then my own and the information I want to hear is pushed to the back burner for those who put profit over quality.

Today’s media has created the issue of content and distribution.  It is a problem of what is determined as information and now seen as relevant in today’s society, along with who get to view this information.  Is everyone well informed or only a select few?  “The media has tremendous potential to inform citizens about events and issues in their world, they also have unparalleled potential for abuse by political partisans and commercial interests” as our book states on page 92.  Is what’s being produced and distributed done in a fair way?  Does the media discuss different viewpoints to properly inform society?

Instead of having pluralistic media that promotes diversity within its content which is readily available to society we have a media that is neither vertically or horizontally diverse.  Although there may be different bias attached to news reports that seems to be the only evident difference.  CNN and FOX  may be known for their strong Democratic or Republican views but ultimately they will end up repeating each other’s stories with no real viable information, it becomes he said she said.  As our book discussed, “the Fairness Doctrine  was established to promote serious coverage of public issues and to ensure diversity by preventing any single viewpoint from dominating coverage”.  The doctrine was not meant to be restraining but instead was meant to balance the field through additional speech and different viewpoints by requiring stations to provide other programming.  Yet in the end growth became equivalent to diversity.  As the news industry began to make more money and as the number of TV and radio stations increased the Fairness Doctrine lost its support and by 1987 the FCC eliminated it.

So to follow the pattern that seems to be developing, high profiting large conglomerates benefited greatly from the FCC’s decision while the everyday person began to receive less and less relevant information presented in a one-sided manner.  I believe that if the people/society were able to maintain a strong input in the context of the media the Fairness Doctrine would still be around today along with a more diverse news outlet. However, as humans we are subjective to our surrounding by nature.  To be objective you must go through the process of removing your own opinion from the facts, which is not something that is easily done especially when profit comes into play.  Our book discusses the fact that by “allowing the marketplace to exclusively determine the content of media can mean that only popular – and thus profitable – ideas are regularly heard and seen in commercial media”.  By eliminating the Fairness Doctrine it allowed for those with single-minded agendas to take root allowing for further political division to take place.  The system has removed the individual thought process; you are now feed information that can make the most profit while maintaining a particular ideology.

News Corp.

News Corporation, whose headquarters is located in New York, NY is in the mass media industry. News Corp. not only has a strong footing in the United States newspaper industry with The Wall Street Journal but also influences international news through their ownership of the largest newspapers in the U.K. (The Sun) and Australia (The Australian).  The influence of News Corp. does not stop there.  They also own FOX Broadcasting Company, which includes not only the FOX news channel in America but also Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and don’t forget about every station that FOX Broadcasting owns that all fall under the authority of News Corp. The reach of News Corp., like the other big 5 corporations appears to be limitless, spanning across the television, film, and publishing industry while also infiltrating the entertainment and online sector.

Below is an ownership map of the majority of companies that fall under the umbrella of News Corp. For the full list visit Colombia Journalism Review.

TV: FOX Broadcasting Company, FOX Sports, FOX Sports Australia, FOX Television Stations, MyNetworkTVFOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FOX College Sports, FOX Deportes, FOX Movie Channel, FOX Pan American Sports (33%), FOX Regional Sports Networks, FOX Soccer Channel, FOX Sports Enterprises, FOX Sports Net, Big Ten Network (49%), FSN, FUEL TV, FX, SPEED, STAR, FOX Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America, FOX MOVIES Asia and Middle East, FOX SPORTS Europe, Africa, and Latin America, National Geographic International Channels (52%).

Print: HarperCollins Publishers (US, UK, New Zealand, India), HarperCollins Children’s Books, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun, 146 newspapers in Australia, Dow Jones,

Entertainment: Fox Filmed Entertainment; Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment; Twentieth Century Fox Television; Twentieth Television; Fox Television Studios, Hulu.com (32 percent minority share)

Other: Marketing/advertising: News America Marketing Group; News Outdoor; Fox Library; IGN Entertainment, Inc.; Making Fun, Inc.; Wireless Generation

News Corp. is a conglomerate media company that has tucked inside larger corporations that handle a multitude of different businesses.  Rupert Murdoch who is the founder of News Corp. still plays a major role within the company as CEO and Chairman, along with Chase Carey who is the companies President.  Both of these men are interlocking directorates who are also on the board for The Directv Group Inc. which is a TV Entertainment Broadcasting company.  On June 28, 2012, Rupert Murdoch announced that News Corporation’s assets would be split into two publicly traded companies, one oriented towards media, and the other towards publishing. The present News Corp. was renamed 21st Century Fox and consists primarily of media outlets, while a new News Corp. was formed to take on the publishing division of the company.  Since News Corps creation in 1979 it has and will continual to evolve and expand.

News Corp. is a horizontally integrated company through their diverse ownership across numerous types of media from news to entertainment.  While News Corp. may be horizontally integrated, many of the companies they own are vertically integrated through the ownership of a single type of media.  For example, News Corp. owns HarperCollins Publishers that then owns a number of smaller branches that are all related back to print/publishing media.  For News Corp. it is an endless cycle of ownership and profit.  It is amazing to me the network, or maybe more descriptive, the web, that News Corp. has created for themselves.  They are able to not only influence the news that we watch in America and a number of other counties but also sports converge, the books that are on the shelves and the movies that are created.  I am not surprised by the immense size of News Corp., but I am interested to see if the big 6 corporations will reshape our values and expectations in the future and how they will do it.