DIGC202- #BlackLivesMatter and Social Media

Since the invention of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there have been many protest movements that have been either formed or boosted through the use of social media. From the Arab Spring to the Black Lives Matter campaign, many recent protests have used social media as a tool to create and spread awareness. The question that remains, however, is whether its’ truly effective.

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The Black Lives Matter campaign began in the summer of 2013, with a simple hashtag #blacklivesmatter, posted by Alicia Garza, a labour organizer from Oakland, California. It says a lot about how we take social media for granted, that a simple use of a hashtag, can evolve in the space of 4 years, into a globally-recognized protest movement. The success of the movement is also an example of how globally interconnected we have become and the significance of social media.

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DIGC202- The Dark Side of Citizen Journalism

In a society where we have instant internet access and high-quality cameras on phones, the journalism industry was always going to struggle. Now, we live in an age where the line between everyday journalism and professional journalism has become increasingly blurred. Citizen journalism, for all the good it does do, does have a very dark side.

For those of you who haven’t seen the excellent 2014 thriller “Nightcrawler”, there is a very real industry of people who literally ‘chase crimes’ and film said crime scenes, which they then sell to local television networks. Now, these crime-chasers often push moral boundaries, like arriving to a crime scene before police and taking shots rather than helping victims. It’s a very dark area of journalism and worryingly anyone with a camera can participate and in this age that would be almost anyone. Everyday, we see videos of public racism, abuse and violence. The question we always ask when seeing these videos is: why are you filming when you can be helping?

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Is Freelance Work the future?

Everyone knows that desk jobs are incredibly boring and draining. Being stuck in an isolated work cubicle, for 6 hours, who really wants that? Luckily, there is an emerging market for Freelance work, which not only allows you to be your own boss, but it also allows you to work on-the-go (providing that you have internet access). So, why exactly is freelance work on the rise?

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With the increasing amount of technology available and access to internet from pretty much anywhere (except rural and country areas), it is incredibly easy for people to work outside of the office, which many would say is a great thing. I mean, who would choose working in a bland office over working outside in different areas (possibly even different countries!).

 

Freelance work, at the moment, is particularly significant in the journalism industry, which has gone through significant change in order to keep up with new technologies, bloggers and “citizen journalism”. Journalists are no longer obliged to work for one particular media outlets and can even just blog, which allows them to report things as they please.

 

Journalism, though, is just one of many industries that are associated with freelancers and you can bet that freelance work opportunities will only increase.

BCM332 Case Study Pt. 1-Gender Representation in the News Media

Organisation: The GMMP (Global Media Monitoring Project)

The issue of gender representation in News Media is well known and has been researched for many years, yet it still remains an issue to this day. So, for my case study, I have decided to research the Global Media Monitoring Project, which has focused on changing the way women are represented on the news.

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Since its inception in 1995, The GMMP have released reports every five years regarding the role of women amongst men and gender bias in the newsroom. (Who Makes the News, N/A). Participants range from different areas, age and status, weather it is university students, media practitioners or even women activists’. The project is the largest of its kind and is in fact working with Who Makes the News and the World Association for Christian Communication to end news media sexism by 2020.

The 2015 report, which marked the project’s 20th anniversary, featured an unprecedented 114 participating countries. In the foreword of the report, Margaret Gallagher states that “the media as both powerful institutions and power-defining mechanisms – are fundamental to the ways in which women’s status and gender inequalities are reflected, understood and potentially changed” (Gallagher 2015, pg.1). The media undoubtedly has a great amount of influence on the way we think and behave and so it is, much like Gallagher states, essential that we improve the way women are represented in the media, particularly when it comes to the news. However, the research presented in the GMMP report is worrying, with women only making up 24 % of the people heard about, read or seen in newspaper, television and radio news, exactly as they did in 2010. (GMMP 2015, pg.8). What is incredibly alarming with this result, is that there has been no progress in the 5 years since the last report.

 

In Chapter 6 of the report, the GMMP introduces five objectives which they hope will lead to their penultimate goal of ending news media sexism in 2020. The targets are as follows (GMMP 2015, pg.99):

 

  1. Newsrooms that support gender equality: 100% of national public media and 40% of private media in each country.

 

  1. Overall global presence of women in the news: 50%.

 

  1. 30% global average of news that clearly challenges gender stereotypes

 

  1. 30% global average of news that highlights issues of gender equality and inequality

 

  1. 30 % Global average of news reporting that is anchored in a critical (women’s and marginalized groups’) human rights perspective

Now, considering what I previously mentioned regarding one of the findings from the researched, it is fair to say that these targets are very ambitious.  Yet, these goals seem to indicate that the GMMP remain optimistic about change in the future and with an increasing amount of digital news platforms available, this may force traditional news platforms such as television to adapt and maybe then we might finally see some progress in representation of gender. But for now, we can only hope and imagine.

References

Gallagher, M 2015, ‘Foreword’, Global Media Monitoring Project 2015, World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), pps. 1-3

Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) 2015, Global Media Monitoring Project 2015, World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), pps.8-99

Who Makes the News N/A, GMMP, Who Makes the News, viewed 9th August 2016, http://whomakesthenews.org/gmmp

 

 

Dallas ‘Piracy’ Club

In case you haven’t heard, the producers of the film “Dallas Buyers Club” recently won a case against internet providers, iiNet and M2, who refused to identify the individuals who illegally downloaded the film. So, in light of this news, I intend on investigating the issue further by analysing the research conducted by W.D. Walls in his journal article ‘Cross- Country analysis of movie piracy’.

‘Cross country analysis of movie piracy’ is an article which is part of the 2008 ‘Applied Economics’ journal and was written by W.D. Walls, a professor at the University of Calgary. The fact that he teaches a subject concerning the economics of the movie business tells us that he is qualified to comment on this subject.  So, who exactly is this article intended for? The article is intended primarily for people interested in economics, the film industry and social behaviour, indicated by Walls (pg. 626) in the introduction section of his paper. The purpose of the paper is clearly stated in the introduction section, which is “to examine empirically movie piracy” and “increase our empirical knowledge of film piracy” Walls (pg.626, 2008). Walls uses a very formal style, evidently displayed in the reliance of quantitative data such as tables and graphs. The use of tables and graphs are used principally to interest the readers with interests in economics. The article is well organised, and is split into four labelled sections. One criticism I have for the article, is towards the research. Walls is too reliant on secondary data, and the article doesn’t appear to feature any form of primary data. Using primary data would have helped make the article more relatable for the reader. However, the neutral angle in which the article is written, is one of the better aspects of the articles. By not making a judgement on movie piracy, Walls manages to adhere to the fore mentioned purpose of the research paper.

In general, W.D Walls’ article is well-written, well-structured and informative, but is a little too reliant on the research of others, and this can isolate the reader from the topic.

References

Walls, W.D. 2008, ‘Cross- country analysis of movie piracy’, Applied Economics, vol.40, no. 5, pp. 625-632

 

 

The Importance of Research Ethics

If you look up the meaning of ‘Ethics’ on Google, you will find the following definition: “A set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct”.  So, by understanding this, we can assume that ‘research ethics’ refer to what should and shouldn’t be done whilst undertaking any form of research. So why are research ethics important? Well, simply because they prevent us from doing immoral things and possibly causing harm. The highly controversial “Stanford Experiment” in 1971 is an interesting example of the potential harm and consequences that follows unethical research.

The infamous Stanford Experiment, undertaken in 1971, revolved around a prison simulation where a group of paid students who were split into two groups: prisoners and prison wardens.  The idea of the experiment was to simply observe the changes in behaviour. Undertaken by Dr. Zimbardo, the experiment was highly criticized (and for good reason) for the sadistic behaviour and malnutrition which occurred as a result. Now, just by reading this brief summary of the experiment, we can already identify several questionable components:  What determines whether an individual is a prisoner or a warden,  how will the students’ health be affected due to living in a prison-like environment and is this experiment justified? These are concerns which didn’t appear to be thoroughly addressed prior to the start of the experiment, thus leading to hunger strikes, sadistic behaviour and numerous mental breakdowns. The experiment worked, in a way, but at what cost?

An important question we must ask ourselves before undertaking research is will the result be worth the cost? The Stanford experiment may have been successful through the eyes of Dr.  Zimbardo, but was it worth psychologically damaging numerous students in order to attain the results? In a BBC article, one of the traumatized participants Clay Ramsey states that “the best thing about it, is that it ended early” (Leithead, 2011). He believed that the experiment was not justified and that it should never have happened. If you look at some of the pictures taken from the experiment, it is hard to argue against Ramsey, yet Dr. Zimbardo claims that his work managed to show that “human nature is not totally under the control of what we like to think as free will” and hence the experiment being justified.  However, he doesn’t ever address the ethical issues at hand, thus leading us to believe that the students’ well-being was not one of his priorities in this experiment.

Ethics are vital in any type of research, as they help set boundaries as to what we can do and what we shouldn’t do. The Stanford experiment is a perfect example that demonstrates the consequences of crossing ethical boundaries.

References

Leithead, A 2011, ‘Stanford prison experiment continues to shock’, BBC News, 17th August, viewed 7th April 2015, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-14564182

 

The telegraph in the nineteenth-century

As I sit writing this post for my blog, I begin to imagine how I would have done this in a world without internet. Nothing comes to mind. A world without internet is unimaginable. Yet, there was a time, a century or two ago, where this was the case. This was a time where communication between countries was terribly slow and inefficient. This is why the invention of the telegraph, in the early 1800’s was so significant and revolutionary…

The telegraph was first used by both the French government, who wanted to keep a control of their provinces and the military, who used it to keep in touch with other commanders in the field. However, the telegraph eventually made its way to the public and as a result, there was an increase in uses of the telegraph. Standage (1999 pg. 136) states that due to the telegraph, “the general public became participants in a continually unfolding global drama” meaning that citizens were no longer left completely in the dark when it came to global news.  Journalism was one of the principal benefiters of the telegraph, as the telegraph meant that information could travel faster, hence allowing newspapers to report news sooner. In addition to the journalism industry, Tarr, Finholt and Goodman (1987, pg. 41) claim that the telegraph “revolutionized business communications” as it delivered immediate message transmissions and also significantly reduced costs for information and transactions. The telegraph was used, in the business industry, to inform businessmen on market quantities and prices, much like Wall Street does today. Fire and police departments were also part of those who benefited from the telegraph. Prior to the invention of the telegraph, fire and police departments struggled to cope with the various fires and riots (Tarr, Finholt and Goodman, 1987). The introduction of the telegraph was also significant as it eventually led to the invention of the fire alarm telegraph.

telegraph

 

In regards to socializing, the telegraph was sometimes used by telegraphers (individuals operating the telegraph) to communicate with one another. They often would play games with each other, chat, gossip and occasionally even fall in love (assuming one was male and the other female). In fact, this use of the telegraph even inspired a genre of literature commonly referred to as “telegraphic romance”.

To sum it all up, without the invention of the telegraph, we wouldn’t be able to be as technologically advanced as we are today and hence would not be able to communicate as easily as we can.

References

Standage, T 1999, The Victorian Internet, Walker & Company, London, Phoenix

Tarr, J A, Finholt, T & Goodman, D 1987, ‘The City and the Telegraph: Urban Telecommunications in the Pre-Telephone Era’, Journal of Urban History, vol.14, no.1, pp. 38-80

 

Netflix in Australia

In light of the recent addition of Netflix in Australia, I have decided, for this week’s blog post, to analyse an article from the Sydney Morning Herald which attempts to predict the effects of Netflix’s arrival towards Australian television. In the last few years, Netflix has dominated the internet streaming market in the U.S. and has provided both cable and free-to-air television networks serious competition.  Now, 8 years after its inception, Netflix has arrived to change the television market in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald article, written by Elizabeth Knight and Jared Lynch, takes a business-orientated perspective on Netflix and comments mostly on the possible economic effects that Netflix will have on cable and free-to-air networks. The authors, Elizabeth Knight and Jared Lynch are both specialists in the business domain, which indicates that they are qualified to comment and write on this subject. However, in an age where news is dominated by moguls, it is understandable to question the motive behind any article.  However, in reading the article, it seems that the Knight and Lynch have written from a neutral perspective, which is a great thing. In regards to the audience, I believe that the article is targeted towards people with an interest in business or media & technology.  In reading the article, I noticed that there seemed to be no evident viewpoint other than that 2015 will be “the tipping point in the fortunes of traditional free and pay television”.   Furthermore, the authors’ don’t seem to critique possible flaws in the viewpoints or statements expressed by others.

Now, to address the major issue of the article: the research.  The major issue in the article is the failure to address the source of the research and the methodology. Now, this may be because it’s only a newspaper article and not a scholarly, journal article, however, when placing statistics in any form of article, you should refer to both the source of the research and (if applicable) the methodology.  However, one of the best things about the article is the simplistic language used which allows, even non-technologically savvy individuals to understand. Because the article was written for a newspaper, there is no specific order and the article is not divided into sections.

Overall, the article is an informative but heavily flawed prediction of the way Netflix could effect both free-to-air and cable television.

References:

Knight,E & Lynch, J 2015, ‘Arrival of Netflix and SVOD set to change Australian TV’, Sydney Morning Herald, 28th March, viewed 29th March 2015, < http://www.smh.com.au/business/media-and-marketing/arrival-of-netflix-and-svod-set-to-change-australian-tv-20150327-1m8zlo.html>

What Exactly is Media Research?

Remember the days when you thought Wikipedia had all the answers you ever needed? And  were you ever told by a librarian or a teacher that Wikipedia was an unreliable source of information? I certainly was and I can say that I was disappointed that I could no longer find information the ‘easy’ way. Since then, I think it’s fair to assume that research is perceived by many as a long and frustrating process to obtain information. However, many of us unknowingly engage in research every day, whether it be online shopping or job hunting. These are examples of a casual form of research, which in simple terms, means ‘to search for, to find’ (Berger, 2014, pg.14). So, how is media research different to everyday research?

Media research, similar to scholarly research requires a much more systematic and objective approach and features a selective process based on truth and accuracy as opposed to everyday research which is less cautious in its selective process (Berger, 2014, pg. 14). The media research process features 7 steps:

Observation -> Initial data gathering ->Theory construction ->Hypothesis construction ->further data gathering -> Analysis of data and conclusion.

In regards to data, there are two forms that can be used, Qualitative and Quantitative.  Qualitative is principally focused on the analysis, assessment and judgement of a text and applying appropriate theoretical concepts , whereas Quantitative is focused on statistics, measurements and surveys and designing research and gathering data first-hand.

In regards to the content of media research, there is a broad range of topics which can be covered including comics, literature, art film, gangsta rap and reality TV, just to name a few. As a self-claimed cinema buff, I am very interested to utilise the fore-mentioned scholarly research methods to investigate the current state of art-house cinema and whether the increase in VOD (Video-on –Demand) services is contributing to the exposure of independent films. My initial observation of independent cinema and its relationship with VOD has shown that independent films are benefitting from VOD services such as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, amongst others. In an article published on USA Today, Paula Bernstein claims that “VOD provides a potential audience of 100 million in North America alone” (Bernstein, 2013). Although this isn’t a thorough piece of evidence and is rather vague in its estimation method, it is a good start and I look forward to exploring further into the subject, by delving deeper into the scholarly research process.

References:

Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32

Bernstein, P 2013, ‘Independent films are finding their audiences on VOD’, USA Today ,  October 28th 2013, viewed 17th March 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2013/10/26/independent-films-finding-vod-audience-indiewire/3151265/

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