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.


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?

Media Interests

I am interested in media campaigns and the influence on health behavior change, as well as media influences specific to adolescent health behavior.

1. What aspects of health campaigns lead to positive health behavior change?  Can health changes be maintained?

2. From which media sources do adolescents receive and disseminate health information?  What are the most effective channels to reach this population?