Tag Archives: media

The Future of the Media

I believe that the media will still be a very strong driving force behind how people get their information in the future.  I think that the new media culture and technology will still have a similar effect, if not a stronger one, on my peers and myself in the future.  Being a Strategic Communications major at DU, I have realized that many of my classes have taught me how to correctly operate social media sites to promote businesses.  Also, as an intern this past fall term, I was in charge of doing majority of the Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts that promoted the festival I was interning for.  A while ago, a major teaching you this line of work was unheard of.  Now, it seems to be a norm throughout many schools (however, they usually call it just Media Studies or Communications). This new major opportunity in colleges leads me to predict that the media will be a very important tool used by all companies in the future, as many are hopping on that bandwagon now.  I think that my peers and I will be using more types of social media outlets and seeing the news on mainly a computer screen in the future.

I think that the future of media and the lives of the future children will be a brighter outlook.  Though I spent most of my time outdoors as a kid and occasionally a computer/video game or two, I feel that the future generation of children will be spending much more time on the newer kid-friendly tablets that they are creating for children.  I will definitely still make my kids play outside, because that is the fun of being a kid, but I think that the new children will be very accustomed to the new technologies since it seems to be a trend that kids 8 years and older have tablets (once saw a 3 year old with an iPad; don’t know the logic behind that one).  The new program that is all over commercials, ABC Mouse, is a testament to how young children are using technology to further their education.  I feel that the new generation of kids will be extremely technologically savvy.

I also predict that many of the social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, will be slowly filtered out to make way for newer and more efficient social media sites.  I also feel that there will be more social media sites in the future, which has the potential to complicate things.

What began as a futuristic way to send and spread information has now seemed to engulf many people’s lives in a swirl of different social media sites. I for see this trend continuing in the future.  I predict that different forms of media (typically technological media) expanding and the print media slowly dissipating. I hope print media does not die out entirely, but I see it fading into the background by the time our generation has passed on.

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.

The Internet for things other then facebook and cat meme’s

After studying the affects of media in our society throughout this quarter I am left with this question, how can individual people use powerful forms of media to make a better world?

Technologies develop over time to allow media forms to spread information to mass amounts of people at an ever-increasing rate.  Only in recent years have people been able to communicate across the globe instantaneously through the Internet.  This new form of media changes the previous mindless consumer to an active consumer/producer of information.  It provides anyone, with access to the these technologies, the ability to comment and interact with each other online.  Through the internet people truly have the power to come together and voice their opinions and concerns.

Currently, it is true that people are overwhelmed with these new capabilities and we still haven’t learned how to use them to our utmost advantage.  There is freedom with this form of media, which allows anyone to post and comment whether their being truthful or not.  Also, it allows for anyone to view what he or she pleases at their own discretion.  This is what makes the internet a profound and useful form of media.

There are many well known websites that people use habitually to keep up to date with social life and entertainment.   What if people took some of that time to find information on things that can actually help to change the world?  When I asked Google I easily found sites that provoke people to converse about important societal issues, like these two “Standford Social Innovation Review” and “World Future Society.” The usefulness of these websites is that they not only bring scholars from around the world to the same place to discuss similar concerns, but they also allow any ordinary person to comment and interact.  There are other websites like “The Zeitgeist Movement” that actually help people to create events at specified meeting places around the world in order to bring people together and discuss the future of our planet.

It is apparent that there are plenty of well established websites like these where people with similar views are able to get together and attempt to make a difference in the World.  All it seems to take is the initiative of the individual.  I can only hope that these sites become more entertaining and promoted in a way that everyone will want to look at them and become involved, rather than wasting time with cat meme’s and facebook.

If people are able to learn how to use these forms of media in a better way we will be able to create an overall better functioning World.  We are able to solve many societal issues by becoming active participants and even producers of media if it is done in a truthful and meaningful way.  It would be incredible if someone created a technology that ensured the validity of online posts, or better yet any form of media.

If there is enough similar actions of the individuals in agency, then it will influence change in society and its structure.  Change is certain, I simply hope people choose to come together through these forms of media to rise up and create a better world. I expect a purer form of democracy in the future, due to the proficiency of communication between anyone and everyone worldwide.

http://www.wfs.org/

http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com/

http://www.ssireview.org/blog

The Integration of Technology and Our Lives

Media and society are forever growing. As media evolves, we as a society move with it. I was lucky enough to attend a keynote during fall quarter that was about the growing media technologies we will soon see in households. The speech was giving by one of the high-up professionals that work at NBC Universal. Although I don’t remember his name or exact position, I do remember a little bit he had to say about the future of media.

He talked a lot about the new technologies arising, including Google Glass, which has recently been introduced the public. I agreed with a lot he was saying which ranged from the amazing technology it took to make Google Glass and the ridiculousness of wearing computer glasses. Technologies have grown to a point where instead of using them outside of your day-to-day actives, they have actually been integrated into our social life.

This integration isn’t stopping just yet. At the keynote, they revealed some of the tech being created right now that show this tech and life integration even more. The one that stood out to me was these contacts that act in a similar manner to Google Glass. This stood out to me because all I could think about is putting a tiny computer that close to my eye can’t be safe, but this is a prime example of the integration taking place. I’m constantly baffled by the tech that is being created and it blows my mind that we could even attempt to make contacts that will let us see and search the Internet.

We’re breaking the barrier between life and technology and combining them into this new technological phenomenon that is taking over the world in a sense. This constant integration between our life and the technologies that arise in it, I feel, can be both negative and positive.

We are being consumed. Obsessed with the idea that technology is required to live. Honestly though, in this day and time I couldn’t imagine anyone being completely stable, financially and socially, without technology. Of course you can take an Into the Wild ideal and live alone in the woods but to call that stable is a little foolish. These new media technologies give more immediate and interesting information and are very helpful in that sense. I just wonder if we will ever go to far when it comes to integrating technology in our lives.

Is it Possible to Predict the Future of the Media?

As we have learned throughout this class, the relationship between the media and society has always been complex and multi-faceted. With technological advancements, these complexities have grown exponentially. “News” is seen much differently today than it was seen 100 years ago. Today, journalists aim to “break” the news more so than to “explain” the news. Additionally, media outlets are now look and act like traditional businesses while they used to be considered as their own category: news corporations. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the term “journalist” is expanding. Widespread and accessible technological advances allow for almost anyone to act as journalists and spread information instantly (citizen journalism).

Considering how much the media has developed in 100 years, it is very difficult to predict the future of the media. It is very apparent that technology will play a primary role; what role, exactly, is hard to determine. Media experts are also unaware of the future of the media. In an article published by The New York Times, Eric Pfanner even stated, “Predicting the outcome of a revolution is a fool’s game” when discussing technology’s future impact on the media. Despite this statement, he outlines a few inevitable facts about the evolving nature of the media.

Firstly, media will continue to digitalize making almost all media digital. Next, the globalization of media will increase and new markets will emerge. The article also mentioned the difficulty of predicting the future of particular media channels. For example, newspapers and the recording industry have been struggling lately. Is television next? According to Pfinner, probably not due to its increasing similarities to the Internet.

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Hopefully the upcoming and inevitable changes will result in more civic participation from members of the society. While the changes in media could also result in isolating and dividing people, ideally, it would work to inform the masses accurately and efficiently. Overall, like Pfinner said, it is almost to impossible to predict what the media will look like when our children are grown, let alone what it will look like five years from now. 

Sexism in the Media: The Exception Proves the Rule

As discussed in class, the media enforces or reinforces any and every stereotype. There are obviously very sexist ads and products on the market, but there are others that seemingly try to promote the equality of the sexes. While these products are admirable, they are the ones that concern me the most. In my opinion, when companies try and promote “feminist” ads, they often just reinforce what they are trying to overcome. In other words, the exception proves the rule. The fact that a very few number of advertisers and companies try to “fight” these stereotypes proves that there is still a major problem with discrimination and sexism. Additionally, the fact that these products and ads that support equal rights are praised so much further proves the exception. These products should be expected not exceptional.  

An example of this exception would be when JC Penny was pestered enough to stop selling a tshirt that said, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” Almost immediately after being posted online, people began protesting the shirt for obvious reasons: it suggests that girls should value beauty over brains and that boys are the ones that are supposed to be intellectual. It is great that consumers were so against this sexist tshirt, but again, this objection is an exception. Sexist products, even if they are more subtly sexist, can be seen virtually everywhere and usually people do not protest them. The consequence of the promotion of such products is the indirect reinforcement of what they are trying to prevent: sexism.

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Perhaps our society is at the stage where the protest of sexist products should be celebrated, however hopefully we’ll get to the point where ads and products that support equal rights are not seen as exceptional.

 

Sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2011/08/jcpenneys-too-pretty-to-do-homework-shirt-pulled/

http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-jcpenney-to-stop-promoting-sexist-messaging-to-girls

 

 

 

“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

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.

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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.

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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/

Regulating for Morality

The content displayed in the media has been a controversial issue for a number of years.  The content portrayed in the media has influence over everyone who observes it, and as a society, we need to be aware of what we are being exposed to.  Do we want young children having access to inappropriate music, movies, or other forms of media? What will be the affects if they are exposed?  We also have to look at the other side of this, which is freedom of speech and censorship.  I personally don’t like censorship; I think it takes away from the ultimate goal of what the content is supposed to portray.  But then I think about the music industry, and the clean versus explicit version of songs.  For a long time, my mother would only let me purchase the clean version of songs.  Which is fine, but then parts of the music are beeped out, or substituted with milder language.  Is this considered censorship?  Does using profanity really add to the goal of a song?  There are a number of different perspectives to take from this.

Our text discusses how once presidential candidate Bob Dole gave a speech on the evil of pop culture. He stated, “One of the greatest threats to American family values is the way our popular culture ridicules them.  Our music, movies, television and advertising regularly push the limits of decency, bombarding our children with destructive messages of casual violence and even more casual sex.”  The first issue with this is that government shouldn’t regulate what a family views in terms of the media.  That decision should be up to the parents.  Another issue is that not all families are the same, and they have different values.  Dole appears to be narrow minded while generalizing typical “American values”.  Also, not every song, movie, show or piece of media ridicules family values.  I do think that adverting rides the line of indecency, sexism, and a number of other issues, in order to make money.  Dole also argues that, “we must hold Hollywood and the entire entertainment industry accountable for putting profit ahead of common decency.”  If the entertainment industry were held accountable for their actions, society would view things differently and act accordingly.  Top executives benefit from the profits, while society is constrained because they are exposed to a poor influence.  However, there is an argument that censorship constrains the artist and freedom of speech, which is something America, prides itself on.  In this case, one could argue that families benefit from censorship.  Ultimately, I don’t think there should be censorship and regulation by the government.  Nowadays, everyone has access to everything because of social media and the Internet, so attempting to regulate the media is almost impossible.  I think if parents don’t want their children to view certain things, then it’s their decision and responsibility to regulate what they view.  However, I also think that advertisers need to stop objectifying women in their ads.  Women shouldn’t be portrayed like that if men aren’t.  It’s disrespectful and widens the gender barrier, which is a problem to our society.

 

 

The MPAA and NCTA Ratings System

One of the regulations of the American media that we experience frequently in our day-to-day lives is the rating system placed on the content we view.   The system of ratings that we know today first came into play in 1968 when the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) collaborated with movie studios and theaters (Croteau-Hoynes 95).  As a collaborative, they decided to voluntarily draft a system of ratings so that it would be kept from government control and thus be friendlier to the operations of the industry.  The privatization of the ratings system cuts the government out of a power role when it comes to deciding what is appropriate for American audiences.  There is a lot of controversy these days over the inappropriate and immoral material that the media is injecting into our culture and society.  The media that the public has access to has changed leaps and bounds since 1968, yet the rating system has stayed constant.  This brings us to the question of whether or not the system really protects our nation’s children from the corruption of inappropriate information spewing our of media outlets. 

 

The current ratings system is as follows:

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            In 1995, a presidential candidate by the name of Bob Doyle gave a speech pertaining to this issue of children and the American media system.  He claimed that the media industry was “bombarding” our youth with evil and destructive messages through music, television, and the motion pictures.  The entire speech by Doyle may be reviewed here for further consideration.  Essentially, the issue is whether or not it is the government’s duty, or possibly even their right, to curb the content of the popular media in the 21st century.  There are two sides to the argument, one is that our freedom to speech and freedom to information deems it unconstitutional for the government to take any action against our right to subscribe to, and consume, and media information that we deem fit.  The second part of the argument, the message of Bob Doyle, is that the media is doing irreparable damage to our young people through the propagation of sex, drug use, and pervasive violence in our media. 

            The main issue with keeping these vulgar themes out of the view of children is that most ratings are simply suggestions for parents to consider and not hard rules.  When it comes to the MPAA ratings, the only rating that does not allow children is the NC-17 rating, wherein no one under the age of 17 may be admitted.  That leaves 4/5 ratings that allow children of any age to admission as long as they are in the company of an adult.  This is the first, and strongest line of defense, yet it is so easily surmountable.  The issue here is that the system is based on the idea that children should be controlled by their parents as it is their right and duty to choose what is right for their children (Croteau-Hoynes 96).  Even so, children are often brought to these features by their parents, and when the films are released on DVD and on the Web, the children are granted even more access to them.  Call is a flaw in the system or a flaw in our nations parents, but kids are getting access to these harmful materials at an early age. 

            Even easier to access than motion pictures are television programs.  These have their own ratings, which were imposed by the Telecommunication act of 1996.  Coincidentally shortly after the speech made by Doyle, the National Cable Television Association drafted a series of ratings not too dissimilar from those of the MPAA.  The accessibility to these programs by children is so much higher to children than motion pictures even though the content is often very similar.  The way that parents can control this is by emplacing parental controls on their cable in order to have a better handle on what their kids are able to watch. 

 

The Television ratings under the NCTA are as follows:

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            In conclusion, I feel that there are certain steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of inappropriate content on our nation’s youth.  I do however, believe that as Americans we are entitled to any media outlet we see fit and any content.  But this issue is about the kids and it is a parental responsibility to protect them from certain things until they are ready to handle them.  One way to tackle this when it comes to television is that I would like to emplace a system wherein, when a family first sets up their cable there are explicit warnings and an automatic transfer to a page where the family sets parental controls right from the get-go.  Although I feel that it may impede on our freedoms, I would urge the MPAA to emplace a new restriction that prohibits children under 13 admission to R-rated movies in theaters.  If a parent is so determined for that child to see the film they will be able to see it when it is released on DVD.  I feel that these two new restrictions will do just enough to make a difference in the dissemination of our media but not impede too much upon our rights and privileges.  

Sources

Croteau, D. & Hoynes, W. (2014). Media/Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences. Thousand Oaks, California. SAGE Publications.

 

“Robert Dole: Remarks in Los Angeles: “Hollywood Speech”” Robert Dole: Remarks in Los Angeles: “Hollywood Speech” N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. <http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=85193&gt;.

 

TV Ratings. N.d. Photograph. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. <http://www.armstrongarmor.com/television.htm&gt;.

 

MPAA Ratings Guide. N.d. Photograph. MPAA. Web. 31 Jan. 2014. <http://www.mpaa.org/ratings/what-each-rating-means&gt;.