Blog Essay Class 12

With increasing modes of media, we are in a culture of media abundance. Hernes in Hjarvard was cited for the notion that we went from information scarcity to information abundance and now media must compete for our attention.  Picard mentions it is no longer supply driven but demand driven.  Picard also discusses the abundance as one of the factors contributing to the changing environment and infrastructure of media.  Throughout the course we have discussed the cons of fragmented news such as it may lead to news consumption that reaffirms beliefs rather than encouraging thought or discussion.  Picard presented the perspective of how this is impacting the business model of advertising.  While I do feel compassion for the media producers and the financial/job stability struggles they face, I think a decrease in advertising is a good thing.  We are bombarded with advertisements, a majority of which are leading to unhealthy beauty ideals that lead to feelings of insecurity and low self-worth.

I really like Valiverronen’s definition of mediatization as an ambiguous term that “refers to increasing cultural and social significance of mass media and other forms of technically mediated communication”.  Media is playing an increasing role in not only knowledge and interpretations of science (as Hjarvard points out) but every facet of society.  Hjarvard discusses the idea how mediatization has led to confusion regarding actual reality and the media representation of such.  I completely agree with this.  Television facilitates cultural norms and in the absence of other facilitators, is teaching kids how to act and behave.  A study of the Fijian culture before and after the introduction of television illustrates this well.  Prior to regional television exposure there were few cases of eating disorders among adolescent girls.  After, the number of negative eating behaviors significantly increased.  Television brought western ideals of beauty to a culture that had never been exposed to such and the result was negative.  We discussed last week the possibility of dominant cultures with increasing globalization.  This is very real and may have unintended consequences.

While the modes are new and have led to greater opportunity for access, we read last week that a majority of tweets and facebook links and blogs do refer back to traditional media sources such as newspapers.  To me this means that television and newspapers, while perhaps not major advertising revenues, are still largely influential.  I think this is good news for journalists.  While Picard begins with a distinction between journalism and media, emphasizing the future of the field, he ends several pages of financial constraints facing traditional news and with an unclear outlook for news organizations and journalists. I was a little concerned for the field there as the bottom line appears to tell those in the field to be flexible.

We discussed a few weeks ago the impact of social media on political change and at the point I felt as though social media was great in helping to unite people for a common cause.  It was also interesting then that the news sources I read seemed to portray social media in a positive light.  In today’s news I came across a news piece that discusses the current social media climate in Turkey and states Turkey’s prime minister refers to social media as a troublemaker and refers to people using Twitter to spread lies.  This negative portrayal of social media is in contrast to those we read about previously.  Of course, this is from the perspective of the government, but I think that it goes to show that there are multiple viewpoints.

Jessie King

DQ: Discuss your experience with how mediatization has (or has not) blurred the distinction between reality and the media representation of reality.


Analyze This Class 11

Can we equate the coffee shop discussions of 18th-century England that Habermas says was the ground for a public sphere to the virtual discussion platforms of the Internet?


I think the two are quite similar.  Coffee shops used to be the center of social interaction.  Today we have social media which is essential the center of our social interactions. People used to go to pass the time at their local shop – get some coffee and catch up on gossip and news.  Today people pass the time by pulling out their cell phones and getting on the internet to check out Facebook, their preferred news site or whichever other


Today if you want the latest most current information you get online.  Back then, you went to the coffee shop.  Additionally, you can find an assortment of information via each – not just serious political news, but also gossip and entertainment.  Just as different coffee shops were known for different information types, different websites or types of media are known for different quality or type of information. You may check out Perez Hilton for the latest celebrity news but head towards NYT when you want something a bit more intellectually stimulating. 

Blog Essay Class 11

In “Journalism in the Global Age”, Josephi provided an overview of different theories regarding journalism.  With increasing access to technology and information, the current practice of journalism no longer fits into the theories of previous times.  In this piece, Josephi initially presents Carey’s thoughts on journalism and democracy.  According to Carey, non-democratic societies have information providers, not journalists.  This presumes that journalism is characterized by objective reporting which cannot be possible in places such as China where the state is presumed to control the news.  Merrill’s theories supported this, stating that while there is journalism in western countries, the rest of the world is information with little interpretation.  Furthermore, this is what global journalism is – facts without discussion or interpretation.  I think this makes sense as it can be difficult to interpret news or events from a global perspective as a journalist may not be aware of various cultural norms and ideologies.  An American journalist presenting news on political events in Nigeria or Russia will bring along his or her own biases and may misinterpret/misreport information or events.  Cultural competency will need to be addressed in moving forward with global journalism.

Hallin and Mancini in Josephi addressed the media systems patterns that we read about previously.  Again, it is noted that the Liberal model (which is the model the US fits into) is becoming the global norm.  Information-oriented journalism with commercial broadcasting appears to be what even some of the more traditional European media are shifting towards. The focus is no longer on providing information to elicit discussion to lead to social consensus, but is now on entertainment and consumerism.  Josephi then went on to discuss the Internet and its role in changing journalism.  With bloggers undermining the professionalism and the internet’s contribution to higher participation, we are left to wonder what will become of journalists.

Josephi concluded stating that a theory needs to be developed for parts of the world other than the US and Western Europe.  However, if we go back to the idea of no journalism without democracy, would it even be possible to develop such a theory for non-democratic societies?  Along those same lines, the “Media Ethics Beyond Borders” review provided an example of the immediacy of information spread via the internet as a way to show that the local model of journalism no longer applies and a focus needs to be placed on global media ethics.  However, could there be such a thing as global media ethics?  Are our societies similar enough to create something standardized?  Tom Patterson might suggest the internet has played a role in this.

Tom Patterson’s The Internet, Globalization and Media Future YouTube video reiterated much of what we have discussed throughout this course.  He provided pros (increased access) and cons (need to filter) of the internet.  He also introduced this idea of changing realities, which I found to be interesting and may support the possibility of global media ethics.  With the increase of citizen journalism across the world, we are more able to get the perspectives of say citizens on the ground in Egypt or Russia.  Instead of simply the controlled media we previously were exposed to, there is the possibility of greater cultural encounters which will serve to expand our individual beliefs and likely make us more understanding to other cultures.   With the internet’s ability to connect people across cultures, there will be an increase in commonality and values.  Rhee’s “The rise of internet news media and the emergence of discursive publics in South Korea” provides South Korea as an example of how the internet contributed to the democratic society.  The internet emerged as a new and major news provider.  Not only did it lead to increased expression of opinions and information gathering, but also discursive interactions even offline.

Jessie King

DQ: Who is best fit to create a global media ethics?  If it were up to you, of what would it consist?

Analyze This Class 10

You are the head of Google and a country you operate in insists you obey its propaganda ministry and filter out certain terms and topics.  What do you do and why?


I think it is largely dependent on the country and specific circumstances, but I would first try to understand the rationale behind the demands.  For example, is it pornography that is filtered?  If this is the case, or if it’s something that falls in line with our company mission and values, I think we may be able to work out something. 

As the head of Google, I would have a team of decision makers to assist me and would discuss the issue with them to reach a final consensus.  While we would like to be in every country and grow our market, I don’t think it would be detrimental if we were unable to.  As Roberts discussed in “Banned in China”, the NYT and Bloomberg News are actually seen as respected in China for not submitting to the censorship demands of the state.  

While I mentioned values, a lot of times it comes down to the bottom line.   Will this hurt our companies image? How much of an impact are we having there?  Will we lose support from other sources of revenue by staying within the country?

Again, there are several factors to consider, and I am thankful to have a team of great decision makers to assist me!

Blog Essay Class 10

Prior to this week’s readings, I was largely unfamiliar with the media censorship practices within China.  I have heard mention of the Great Firewall of China and keyword blocking, but was unaware of specifics regarding any of this.  The piece by King, Pan and Roberts (2013) provided theories regarding China’s goal in censoring as well as examples of ways media is censored.   

While the stated purpose by the Chinese government is to limit horizontal transmission, the theories the authors proposed were state critique and collective action potential.  State critique posits Chinese leadership suppresses negative information regarding the state, policies or leaders.  Collective action potential states the goal is to prohibit people from joining together to express themselves. 

Based on their findings, it appears that the goal is more so to decrease collective action.  And for control purposes, this makes sense.  There are a lot of people in China and if they were to unite, this could certainly lead to uproar and chaos.  Additionally, with the Black PR, it’s almost not necessary to censor negative information about the state.  Custer (2013) writes about the underground industry that is dedicated to deleting posts and articles for pay.  Despite being illegal to receive funds for such, this has turned into a highly profitable industry. 

Of course, part of the reason this is necessary is because of how fractured the media system is in China.  The graph provided by King, Pan and Roberts (p. 4) illustrates the numerous different individual sites.  Compared to the US which has the majority of social media interaction concentrated to a handful of sites, China’s system seems to be much more complex in terms of censorship.  With this in mind, it’s no wonder it is up to the individual sites to self-censor. 

What this boils down to is the control of information.  As Roberts writes, in China the government owns the information.  And based on Zhao’s article, citizens are aware of this.  The censorship of collective action allows the government to retain control over ideology, at least to an extent.  While China may be a bit more extreme in their tactics (or at least more overt), I think the US does this to an extent as well.  We’ve discussed previously the government funding movies that portray the military in a positive light.  And, of course, with the recent news of the National Security Agency’s increased surveillance, I have to wonder how much monitoring or even censorship occurs here in the US.  And as for the surveillance, I personally have nothing to hide and on an individual level am not overly concerned.  However, with the increased findings of racial/political profiling here in the US, I wonder if these practices will lead to problems. 


DQ: With the fractured nature of China’s media as well as ways around the censorship bans, do you foresee the netizens gaining more control or the government circumventing this?


Jessie King

Analyze This Class 9

Connect 18th Century Media to 21st Century Media

I found it particularly interesting that a few of our readings this week highlighted the use of music to ignite political change both in the 18th century in Paris and the 21st century in Tunisia.  Robert Darnton writes about the songs that were spread through the community, with topics such as what was going on with the King (as newspapers were banned, conversation and songs were a way to spread information).  Similarly, a young rapper shared songs about the political climate in Tunisia which reinvigorated the country. 

Another connection is between the obsession with gossip.  We have discussed that Americans are interested more in entertainment media rather than political or more formalized topics.  I found it interesting that the Tree of Cracow was essentially a gossip post.  Even in a completely different time, in a completely different culture, the public was inclined to participate in idle conversation. 

While we may have new technology and ways of delivering information, I wonder if the underlying mission is not more similar than I initially thought. 

Blog Essay Class 9

This week’s readings were centered on regime change and media; whether how the media has influenced regime change or as in the case of the text by Williams and Carpini, proposed media regime change.  And not just media, but communication.

As Darnton details in his historical account of the media in 18th century Paris, “communication systems have always shaped events”.  Whereas in Paris people used scandalous books, songs and gossip to communicate and spread messages about the King, flash forward and today we have social media.  In his closing lines Darnton wrote “media knit themselves together in a communication system so powerful it proved decisive in collapse of regime”.  Is this not similar to what happened in Tunisia and Egypt?

In the research roundup regarding the Arab Spring and the Internet, one source noted that 60% of the social media active in Egypt and Tunisia share views about politics online.  A majority of the research accounts proclaimed social media as an influential piece of the regime changes that occurred.  However, not all agree, as one referred to the internet as a “rusty bullet” and claimed that traditional media sources were equally if not more important, noting that the Iranian regime used the very social network people were using to recruit and unite, against those individuals.  While Facebook was often a primary source for updates, according to a source within the Twitter, politics and the public research roundup, Twitter is increasingly being used to shape political debates. Interestingly, the conversations on Twitter usually result from larger trends.  It appears to be a source for more opinionated feedback than other social media venues.  Either way, Facebook and Twitter are major news sources for youth, as nearly as many get information from friends and family through those sources as from newspapers or magazines.   Considering this, it’s really no surprise that social media is able to unite people.  There’s a sense of irony in all of this – increased social media use (which often occurs in isolation) is leading to people wanting to work together.  Perhaps because we spend so much time tuned into our gadgets, we are looking for a way to connect.

Darnton noted that when gossip or songs were spread throughout Paris, it wasn’t simply a transmission of information.  People sat and talked and discussed the information.  They grew the culture.  They created what Darnton called collective consciousness.  I don’t know that social media quite does this.  While Twitter and Facebook are designed for two way communication streams, dialogue and discussion doesn’t often occur, and when it does, it’s usually not equivalent to a face-to-face conversation.

Williams and Carpini suggest four qualities moving forward into a new media regime: transparency, pluralism, verisimilitude, and practice.  Transparency is knowing the source.  Who owns the company producing the message?  Are there alterior motives?  Sites like Churnalism are certainly helpful in this aspect.  Pluralism refers to diverse media.  It is important for the media to offer diverse points of view in order to provide a more accurate perspective.  I was unfamiliar with Blogrunner – great site for various news sources! Something that has been a bit of a new challenge for journalists (though it has led to more jobs, apparently!) is following up on accuracy of messages.  This is related to the quality of verisimilitude, the idea that sources take responsibility for the truth claims they make.  While viewers find audience videos to be more intimate and authentic, journalists can’t simply grab something from YouTube and air it.  They have to confirm the accuracy and then get permission to use the sources, two things that take time and manpower.  The final quality for a new media regime is practice.  Not only in the preparation sense, but also in actually doing.

Jessie King

DQ: How do you foresee a new media regime taking over?  Would you propose additional qualities to those suggested by Williams and Carpini?