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

jessking@ufl.edu

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

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