“Seek Truth and Report It”

According to the US-based Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), “Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information”. ‘False Balance’ is considered to be a superficial balance that tells both sides of the story. It also can be a form of informational bias as journalists present a particular issue as being more balanced between opposing viewpoints than the evidence actually supports. Although balanced reporting provides audiences with information on all sides of an issue, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all sides of the story deserve equal weight. With that said, balanced coverage doesn’t always mean that the information being presented to audiences is accurate.

Journalists have profound ethical responsibilities when covering stories and issues both expansive and critical, much like climate change. These journalists are not only reporting these concerns during a time where their own line of work is changing, but also during a time of profound global economic and financial uncertainty (Ward 2009). This type of uncertainty is compounded by the ongoing threats of divisive wars and terrorist activities, which in hand confounds journalist’s approach to these expansive and critical issues (Ward 2009).

What has been considered as a major challenge to the free flow of information, the commercialisation of media has resulted in news becoming a commercial product. As the concentration of media ownership is increasing, the level of freedom and independence of news and differing views is reducing. In some nations, powerful corporations are becoming major influences on mainstream media. This in particular has caused a reduction in diversity and depth in content that is being presented to mass audiences.

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Who Counts in Global Media? News Values.

New values are considered to be general guidelines or criteria utilised by media outlets (newspapers or broadcast media) in order to determine how much attention to give to a particular story. They are in fact fundamental to understanding new production and the choices that editors and other journalists face when determining what is deemed to be newsworthy and what is not. News values act like the edges of a prism as they focus and direct information into the appropriate categories. The seven news values mentioned in the lecture include:

  • Composition
  • Continuity
  • Cultural Proximity
  • Elite References
  • Negativity
  • Personalisation
  • Rarity
  • Relevance

News values are in fact changing as media outlets thrive upon entertaining their audiences. It’s because of this that entertainment and celebrity news is now at the forefront of the media. Much of the criticism of news values today focuses on the inadequate coverage of real (‘hard’) news, as it is being replaced by entertaining celebrity-based news.

Whether you like it or not, celebrity news has become a fundamental aspect of the media. What has been described as a major shift in contemporary journalism, celebrity news has transformed from an array of print and television outlets, into a category of content found across various media channels. The demand for celebrity news and gossip is constantly increasing; therefore media outlets will do whatever it takes to acquire the latest and most sensational story.

Transnational Film Industries.

As our understanding of the world is constantly growing and expanding, so is the nature of film industries in terms of production and distribution. The shift in global film cultures has resulted in the emergence of transnational film industries, which break down the traditional geographical barriers. Both transnational and global film industries are hybrids of numerous cultures, nations and creative minds, therefore producing a melting pot of interpretations and representations.

As there are an increasing number of films attracting international markets, the films being produced can no longer be identified with a specific nation. Films are now being shot in a number of different countries, and are therefore mixing both global and local elements in order to appeal to audience tastes and trends (Schaefer & Kara 2010).  On top of this, film industries are also becoming more reliant on multinational cast and crew, and other resources available to them.

A clear example of a transnational film is the Academy Award winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Set and filmed in India, the film follows the story of a teenage boy who appears on the Indian adaptation of a Western game show ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’. Throughout the film, aspects of Western culture were referenced as a way of targeting Western audiences. Along with the Indian adaptation of the game show, the film’s tourist scene was set at the Taj Mahal, slumdogwhich is considered to be one of the most recognisable landmarks in India for Westerners. The cast and crew of the film also add transnationality as they were a mixture of both Indian and Western.

According to David Schaefer & Kavita Kara (2010), “Asian film industries, particularly those of India and China, will wrestle control of global film flows from Western dominance”. In order to achieve this, it is believed that Asian production centers will utilise mediums, such as the internet, satellite networks, cable television and DVD distribution, to exploit cinematic contraflows as a way of meeting the demands for glocalised content.

‘Media Capitals’

According to Michael Curtin (2003), media capitals are considered to be “sites of mediation, locations where complex forces and flows interact”. Curtin (2003) places emphasis on understanding media capitals as meeting places where local specificity arises out of migration, interaction and exchange. With that said, media capitals are places where things come together and, consequently, where the generation and circulation of new mass culture forms become possible. The study of media capitals directs our attention to complex interactions among of range of flows; including economic, demographic, technological, cultural and ideological, which therefore operate at local, national, regional and global levels.

As for the global context, Curtin (2003) highlights that Hollywood television embraced an international rather than a transnational logic. It is a well-known fact that Hollywood has dominated the film and entertainment industry since the early 19th century. Although the industry itself is always changing and evolving, Hollywood’s status as a global media capital remains, but the conditions of its dominance has been altered dramatically. As the culture logic of American television has remained the same, producers are still focusing on national audiences, therefore somewhat disregarding local and global audiences.

Hong Kong’s emergence as a ‘media capital’ is a result of the influences exerted by migrations of cultural institutions and creative talent. Instead of disregarding their ability to express local concerns, the influx of refugees enhanced and strengthened the creative resources of the Hong Kong film industry. Overall, Hong Kong’s rapid embrace of television was a result of its mediated relations between the East and West, between traditional and modernity, and between immigrant and indigenous populations. It’s because of this that Hong Kong has become one of the emerging media capitals competing against the dominating Hollywood industry.

Where The Local Meets The Global – Hip Hop

Hip-hop is defined as a culture and form of ground breaking music and self-expression. Along with the 4 original main elements of hip-hop (MCing, DJing, Graffiti and Breaking), hip-hop includes many genres and distinctions such as commercial, gangsta, conscious, grime and booty. For some hip-hop is much more than the art and entertainment, “Hip-hop is the constantly evolving spirit and consciousness of urban youth that keeps recreating itself in a never-ending cycle”.

What once originated in African and African-American culture, hip-hop has evolved into a global phenomenon as it has spread across national, cultural, ethnic and linguistic boundaries.  The globalisation of hip-hop not only highlights how quickly things can spread, but also how technological advances have created new circulation channels for music production.

According to April Henderson’s ‘Dancing Between Islands: Hip Hop and the Samoan Diaspora’, the Samoan involvement in street dance and music in California significantly impacted Samoan cultural production in other places where Samoans had settled such as New Zealand. For many hip-hop artists in New Zealand, the connections with America, particularly California, brought popping, locking, breaking and the music back home to them. These forms of California street dance were travelling quickly, as Samoans were popping and locking on the streets of California, their cousins back home began to mimic their moves and therefore learn the art.

Nowadays, rappers and hip-hop artists are portraying stereotypical and self-degrading images of themselves due to their song lyrics and music videos which highlight violence, sex, wealth, power and egos. It appears hip-hop has taken a step back from social, cultural and political messages which once helped voice opinions for those who felt they didn’t have a say.

The following video explores what the current hip-hop music scene has taught YouTube personality/comedian Jenna Marbles:

“Think Local, Act Global”.

Although I was born in the Philippines, I identify myself as being very much Australian. Australia is where I consider home to be, not only because I have been here more than  95% of my life but also because the Australian way of life is the only one I know.

Culture is best known to describe one’s way of life. Not only does culture justify the way we think and act, it is essentially a defining feature of one’s identity as it contributes to how we see our self and those around us. Shaped by traditions, celebrations, clothing, ways of living, cuisine, rituals, values, beliefs, education systems and arts, cultures are what make each country unique and different from one another.

Whilst being extremely westernised, Australia is considered to be one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse nations in the world. Due to the increase in international travel, migrant arrivals, cultural exchange and of course the medium of the internet, Australia has become a much more cosmopolitan and global society.

For some, globalisation is just another term used to define the ‘global economy’, but for others it’s an extensive international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. According to O’Shaughnessy & Stadler (2008), “Globalisation is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information”.

One of the many marvels of globalisation is the shaping and forming of online communities. This ability to communicate and share aspects of our personal lives and experiences with members from all over the world has become a social norm. This utopian view of globalisation suggests that being able to connect and bring individuals together essentially decreases the distance dispersed between them (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2008). Although this sense of globalisation offers endless amounts of information and is easily accessible, others may characterise globalisation as a loss of meaningful interpersonal communication, which also affects traditional communities, languages and value systems.

Reflection.

Over the past 10 weeks not only have I enjoyed convergent media as a whole, but I have also enjoyed learning about the different aspects of convergent media that I either wasn’t aware of or had little or no knowledge about. So here is what I believe are my best 3 blogs:

1. #1stWorldProblems
Week 4’s topic was not only extremely easy to understand, but also easy to relate to. As I am apart of Generation Y, I’m interested in everything technology related, so writing this post was rather enjoyable as I had the opportunity to insert some of my technology related experiences. Although this blog post wasn’t very original, it was the actual topic which made it one of my favourites as it made me reflect on how rapidly technology has evolved.

2. You Can’t Change The World By Clicking A Button
Week 9’s topic was really interesting because we learned about how social media has altered the way we participate in politics. With the rise of social media, clicktivism is becoming more apparent as more and more people are finding it as an easy and quick way to show their support. Although it took me a while to figure out what exactly to write, I found that once I started it become much easier to express my opinion on the concept.

3. The Dark Side Of The Internet..
Previously, we learnt about how great and useful the internet is, so week 10’s topic was a great way to end my blogging experience as I talked about ‘trolling’, anonymity, cyber bullying and the detrimental effect it may have on victims. Although I have never been cyber bullied, I find it frustrating to see when people just write abusive or demeaning comments online about someone based on their race, gender, appearance or their past. Writing this blog post was just a reminder of how much of an issue bullying is in today’s society.

Overall, having to blog each week has been a great experience. Not only have I been able to further research and understand each week’s topic, but I’ve also had the opportunity to improve my writing skills (at least I think I have).

The Dark Side Of The Internet..

The internet, particularly social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, has created new ways for its users to socialise, interact and stay connected with one another. With the popularity of the internet at an all-time high, an explosion of content is being published online for others to view, like, share and comment. Instead of respecting each others views, there are people out there who engage in hate crusades just for the fun of it without considering the potential effects it may have on the victim.

Believe it or not, trolls were once fairytale creatures known for dwelling under bridges and occasionally scared goats. Nowadays, trolls are defined as anti-social individuals who cause interpersonal conflict and shock-value controversy online. Trolling, a form of cyber bullying, spreads hatred, racist, misogynist and vulgar comments online, particularly on blog sites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, discussion forums and online chats.

Disturbingly, it seems that it’s women who are being targeted by these so called trolls. Sexual insults posted online often reflect attempts to “put women in their place”, the same way verbal and sexual abuse attempts to keep women fearful in the domestic sphere. If women aren’t afraid to leave their front door, why should online threats and abuse stop women from posting their opinion online?

In 2012, Amanda Todd posted a 9 minute video onto YouTube describing her experiences of bullying, depression, blackmail and assault. A month after posting the video, Amanda Todd had committed suicide which received widespread and international media coverage. Numerous Facebook pages were set up in her honor, but instead of posting sympathetic messages, the pages were targeted by nasty and hurtful messages from people who intended to bully her after her death. Anonymity online is one of the greatest problems with social media and the internet in general as it has become the key to cyber bullying. People are hiding behind their computers and saying whatever they want without any consequences.

You Can’t Change The World By Clicking A Button!

Online political activism has been described as superficial engagement as it essentially lacks the personal ties of a community that once drove social change (Henry Jenkins, 2012). The convergence of technology, particularly social media, has altered the way our generation participates in politics as we no longer rally and protest for something we believe in. Instead we utilise the internet to show our support by liking and sharing online campaigns with the hope of starting an online movement. Realistically, liking a page on Facebook isn’t going to achieve anything. Social movements require organisation, strong social bonds and ultimately sacrifice.

slacktivism1_0Clicktivism is all about utilising the power of digital media in order to bring social change and promote activism. Just like any other form of social change, online activism faces the challenge of individual mediation. Like me, a vast majority of people doubt the concept of online campaigns as they believe they cannot maintain interest and gain sufficient momentum to actually change anything. Whilst others may view social media as a quick and easy way to show their support, I view clicktivism as a cop-out as it doesn’t show true passion for a cause or movement.

The aftermath of the #Kony2012 campaign left many realising the true power of social media. Gen Y’s desire to fix social problems with little effort and as quickly as possible provided the momentum the campaign needed. After being shared across multiple different social platforms, the 30 minute video acquired more than 100 million views within the first week of being posted. The rise of digital media, particularly social media, has resulted in younger generations moving away from social activism and towards social clicktivism.

“Twerk Twerk, Bounce Bounce, Clap Clap” – Remix Culture

Whether it’s in the form of a text, sound or image, remixing is defined as rearranging, combining and editing existing material in order to create something completely new and unique. Although existing material is being used, it’s still considered as a creative process as the creator must develop and combine two or more forms of media into one. The concept of remixing has extended much further than just music; it has now become a part of everyday part of life and essentially a social norm.

In today’s society, we are more likely to utilise online sources to consume entertainment, rather than the traditional mediums. Due to the advancement of technology, there has been a clear increase in the availability of media content (whether it be music, text or video) online. As a social platform, YouTube has now become the medium in which remix culture is uploaded and viewed by audiences worldwide. For instance, if I wanted to view remixes, mash-ups, parodies or other forms of remix culture I would instantly search through YouTube because of the rise and availability of user-generated content (Bruns 2010).

girltalk-djGregg Gillis, also known by his stage name ‘Girl Talk’, is “one of the hottest new artists in an emerging genre of music called ‘mash-up’ or ‘remix’” (Lessig 2008). Gillis repositions popular music in order to create a “wild and edgy” dialogue between artists from a widespread of different genres and eras. One track in particular, titled ‘Let It Out’, is a clear example of a remix as Gillis takes samples from a total of 24 songs and combines them together to form an original and unique work of art. It’s artists like Gillis who believe in the idea of fair use, as he creates something completely new from existing material, which is transformative (Lessig, 2008).