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?


Blog Essay Class 2

Jessie King

I found the readings this week to be an interesting introduction to the world of mass communication.  My experience with mass communication, particularly journalism is limited to participation in a school journalism program over 16 years ago, so I found the basic background information provided by Rashomon, Adam, and Carey to be helpful. Additionally, the readings on the media effects provided information on the change in media influence over time.

I found the basic message behind Rashomon – that truth is difficult to verify due to conflicting accounts of witnesses – to be a common state of news and media today.  I was, in general, quite defeated after viewing the film.  Several of the comments made by the characters (“it is human to lie”, “men are weak and want entertainment”, “everyone is selfish and dishonest in order to survive”, etc.) really made me question our society, and if we truly are these selfish, egotistical individuals.

G. Stuart Adam’s “Preface to the Ethics of Journalism” identified some differences between journalism and media.  According to Adam, journalism is a form of expression marked by news, facts, narratives and analysis, usually in the form of writing.  Compared to media which encompasses a multitude of outlets that may primarily be for entertainment, journalists are writers, reporters and critics and are morally bound to deliver a message that promotes understanding as well as delivery of facts.  I found Adam’s sacred rule that “none of this was made up” inspiring, but it led me to wonder how many journalists truly follow this.  (Perhaps starting with Rashomon made me a bit of a skeptic throughout the readings!)

Carey further explained some of the basics behind mass communication in seeking to define and compare the transmission and ritual views of communication.  I was very surprised to find that both were rooted in religion, though our society has moved away from this.   Whereas transmission is sending and sharing information, the ritual view of communication is more focused on the maintenance of society over time.  A line that stood out in Carey’s article was “there is reality and then our accounts of it”.  From a communication standpoint, even when transmitting information, we are bringing in our own perspectives and understanding of an event.  Going back to Rashomon, perhaps each person did alter the story to make themselves look better, but there’s also a possibility that they truly interpreted the acts differently.

The Curran text as well as the historical summary explored the change in media influence over time.  Iyengar (in Curran, 2010) pointed to the increased availability of channels as a reason for a less informed and more polarized electorate.  People are able to choose which channels they watch, perhaps limiting the scope of information received.  With the recent news of Senator McCain’s ‘a la carte’ cable tv bill, this could increase even more.  While it makes sense to pay for what you watch, this could greater limit the amount of non-biased information to which people are exposed.

Each of these go back to the idea of providing factual, unbiased information.  I am yet unsure whether this is truly possible, but I think adhering to ethical principles as those provided by G. Stuart Adam are a positive place to start.

One of the critiques provided in David Gauntlett’s “Ten things wrong with the media ‘effects’ model” is “2. The effects model treats children as inadequate”.  It goes on to state in general psychology views children in a negative light – focused on what they cannot do.  Discussion Question: What long term effects could this view have on child development?