Media Moguls?

Modern society has become dependant on media forms for entertainment, news and work. It is identified with a modern lifestyle with widespread and informed information at peoples fingertips. Chances are this will not be news to any readers! The people that control the media and the apparent monopolisation of mainstream platforms is less known. This diagram gives a snapshot of the current media landscape in Australia:  

If the media is really owned by only a handful of individuals the opportunity for agendas to influence media becomes a serious risk and is no doubt exercised as a privilege of media ownership. Often watching the news from different channels the same stories will recirculate and be repeated through the same avenues with little room for alternative stories. With satirical programs like media watch and the rise of alternative media and news outlets, like reddit or the utilisation of twitter or youtube for news, there has been a shift away from the passive consumption of news by the audience. The media landscape today is moving towards the cognitive input of the people to lead the direction and content of media platforms, moving away from traditional confinements of audience interaction.

There is a huge issue for media audiences in jeopardising the objectivity of information by media outlets as highlighted by Rupert Murdoch’s disbelief in climate change which intern leaves his media outlets to disseminate misinformation.

“Inaccurate media coverage is in turn the primary reason why the public is so misinformed about global warming.” – The Guardian

Again, Rupert Murdoch was accused of using his media influence in disseminating political propaganda, As highlighted in a ‘GetUp Australia’ advertisement campaign:

New content and platforms are being created constantly handing the power into the consumers of media who are now the creators of media. Although significant power is given to individuals in controlling mass mainstream media there has been significant shift to alternative outlets, due to the rise of social media. There may be a few individuals at the helm of major social media platforms but they cannot control internet content due to the expansive and uncensored nature of being online. The way news is curated and shared no longer requires a news anchor, or well lit studios reporting on celebrity gossip (if your interested in that, great)! The point is that content that interests the INDIVIDUAL can be sought out, as opposed to what is prescribed by an individual in media power. 

Sarah

References 

*YouTube. (2013). Thanks Rupert Murdoch, But Australians Can Choose Their Own Government | Election | GetUp! Australia. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grqp-JQMFuM [Accessed 28 Mar. 2016].

*Nuccitelli, D. (2014). Rupert Murdoch doesn’t understand climate change basics, and that’s a problem | Dana Nuccitelli. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jul/14/rupert-murdoch-doesnt-understand-climate-basics [Accessed 28 Mar. 2016].

*Acma.gov.au. (2016). ‘Media Interests’ snapshot | ACMA. [online] Available at: http://acma.gov.au/theACMA/media-interests-snapshot#print [Accessed 29 Mar. 2016].

Flower Power

The phrase ‘Flower Power’ may insight images of free spirited hippies adorned in flower crowns whilst gesturing the peace sign…you would be right; but, the values and beliefs they embody are closely linked to the social progression we see today. The ‘hippie’ movement found flight in the 1960’s alongside ‘Flower Power’ amongst social and political protests, most notably against the war in Vietnam. 

Flower_Power_by_Bernie_Boston

The 1967 photograph taken by Bernie Boston (featured above), captures a moment at a large anti-Vietnam war protest march at the Pentagon. The activist was 18 year old actor George Harris whose life was documented in the 2002 film “The cockettes”. The image embodies the themes of the social movement at the time with it’s ideology of peace not war. This image is widely considered as inspiring the term “flower power” the link is drawn when the signifiers of a person placing flowers in the barrels of guns held by military personal. It is a confronting image as it distorts what people are predisposed too, that violence is met with violence. Although passive protest was used before this event the juxtaposition of a gun with a flower are conflicting due to their varying natures. That is violence and death opposed to what is beautiful and peaceful. This is a clear example of objects serving as a signifier to attain a message beyond itself, being what is signified. The image is not simply a man placing flowers in guns but rather the image symbolises a stance against violence and political submission and the decision to act in love and peace. It also demonstrates the bravery necessary to challenge authority, in this context the military (or what is represents being an answer to conflict with violence). 

Today the context of the time and protest lends its own connotations of social and political upheaval. As an audience we can associate the image with the protest culture of the 1960’s and be inspired by what it represents as evident in a contemporary context. This is evident in individuals in protests repeating the actions of George Harris decades later at a students protest Prishtina, Kosovo in February 2014.

 

A text does not need inspirational or moving connotations to have signified content alongside the signifier, any image or symbol will provoke ideas beyond the immediate content. The important thing is understanding visual texts for what they can mean and represent as opposed to simple face value.

Sarah

References

*The Famous Pictures Collection. (2013). Flower Power. [online] Available at: http://www.famouspictures.org/flower-power/

*reddit. (2014). Student puts a flower in the Police shield during the Student’s Protests in Prishtina, Kosovo. [online] Available at: https://www.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/1wz00x/student_puts_a_flower_in_the_police_shield_during/

*BBC News. (2014). Kosovo students clash with police in Pristina – BBC News. [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26094032

‘Generation Online’ Anxieties

Throughout history it is pretty clear society has ushered in new inventions and technologies with trepidation (often the more conservative or elderly demographics) from light bulbs in houses, and television sets in living rooms. This is a condolence shared today. A reoccurring theme in the social media debate is the anxiety directed towards societies youth, are teens impressionable victims or the forerunners for expanding the capabilities of online social media?

We are living in a world in which babies develop the ability to operate i-pads before walking (which is literally one of the most basic aspects of human development) which is crazy. There is suggestion that my generation ‘grew up online’, but when in comparison to some babies today I cannot fully agree. I suggest that our childhood was much more focused on afternoon TV programs then being online, we have developed alongside the rise of social media. We have grown up with social media enough to grasp a thorough understanding of online interactions whilst having somewhat of a grounding as children who lived without it. I have a younger sister and I observe a much higher dependency on online resources and social media at the age of 12 than in my own experience, will generations develop a dependancy to instant access to resources, unable to comprehend an alternative lifestyle? Perhaps any hesitancy I may convey is simply revealing an internalised fear of the unknown, as apart of human nature. Instead of succumbing to dystopian illustrations of the future society should clutch to the positive outcomes. That future generations will be so well informed of current affairs that change and reform will be brought about much faster; or, consider the innovative forms of education that will be available. An initiative in UNHCR camps for Somali refugees offers education through online means allowing students to see the world in pictures and video’s in an interactive space,

“We are grateful for this e-learning project as it has opened a window to the world for refugee students”- Leonard Zulu, UNHCR’s senior protection coordinator in Dadaab.

This is the future society should focus on.     

Today the phenomenon of social media is used for all sorts of purposes some positive, some negative and some just controversial. There are existing societal issues that have been only been made more controversial and complicated with the development of social media and online content including drugs, pornography and violence. Issues specific to the development of social media draw parallels with existing societal issues (especially regarding youth) which can include sexting, cyberbullying and more recently the radicalisation recruitment amongst teens. Evidently there are major issues surrounding the negative capabilities of social media. However, as history would suggest this will not inhibit usage but rather motivate progress and innovation for societal and social media platforms. 

Thank you for stopping by,

Sarah

*1. Ostermann, S. (2015). Innovation: Instant Network Schools open up a new world for Somali refugees. [online] UNHCR. Available at: http://www.unhcr.org/54d21aa26.html [Accessed 14 Mar. 2016].

*2. H2bsafetycentre.com. (2016). How we can tackle radicalisation?. [online] Available at: http://h2bsafetycentre.com/how-we-can-tackle-radicalisation/ [Accessed 14 Mar. 2016].

Why am I here?

Day 1 of semester 1 subject BCM110 is down and I am in the process of sharing my blog with the world! I have been tasked with answering the question “Why am I here?” The most difficult aspect of this question is how unsure I am of an absolute answer. University seems as daunting as it is exciting, and the potential for a career afterwards even more so! When considering what degree to choose my decision changed full circle. Then I came to the conclusion Communications and Media Studies/International Studies was the one for me and University of Wollongong (UOW) was my ticket!

I had the opportunity to travel to India in 2014 and volunteered (with IJM) with survivors of sex-trafficking and other abusive situations, it opened a world to me of which I had been entirely ignorant! The thing is not everyone can see these scenario’s first hand… I think I chose to study Communication and Media Studies because of the opportunity to share the stories of people the world would otherwise be unaware of! I just really want to do my bit and help make change. Essentially, being a mouthpiece for those who cannot be heard.

What all of this looks like in a practical way I couldn’t say but I’m sure a clear picture will form as I conduct research and weekly blog submissions helping shape my interests and my public persona. My lecturer shared her nerves about starting a new year of University (feelings shared by all of us first years) assuring her support has given me the motivation to attempt the uncomfortable (blogging). Thus far BCM110 has offered the opportunity to experiment with my own creativity while stretching my intellect all within the realm of what I’m passionate about. I’m not just reciting textbooks anymore… yay!

Essentially, I’m here to learn what I can about the rapidly evolving world we live in, do my bit for the world and make some friends along the way!

Sarah 

*Check out this link to IJM! http://www.ijm.org.au/ *