Consumer to producer: New media & convergence

This week for BCM110 we covered ‘New Media & Convergence’. This topic was very similar to what we covered in BCM112, so it was interesting to really focus on the topic of convergence and view it from multiple angles.

Media convergence explained in less than 2 minutes

As new media platforms emerge through the process of convergence, we see a shift in not only technology itself but also in the role that those who view and interact with technology play. The days of media audiences solely being consumers are long gone. In today’s society, almost every consumer can also be classified as a producer. We no longer just play the role of the audience, observing and viewing media. Now, we actively engage in and produce media ourselves, creating the class of citizen journalism.

Citizen journalism can be defined as “The collection, dissemination, and analysis of news and information by the general public, especially by means of the Internet.” 

In sum, we no longer solely rely on mass media platforms for information, as consumers who are active producers can also create media. I can even classify myself as a producer, via writing this blog and posting about it on Twitter.

As stated in the lecture, there are pro’s and con’s to this new convergence.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.32.52 pm.pngScreen Shot 2016-04-05 at 12.32.58 pm.png

This plays into last week’s topic of media ownership. Media convergence results in the same few plutocrats holding all ownership, which as mentioned in my ‘Media Industries’ blog can result in the information that is presented in media being skewed.

To me, media convergence means many things, however one of the key aspects I take from it is the extinction of media platforms such as the newspaper. I am ashamed to admit that in my 20 years on this earth I have probably read the newspaper fewer than 15 times. However, this is not to say that I do not keep up to date with current news, it is just that I access it via my smartphone. To me, this is the social norm, but on a Sunday morning I will still walk into the kitchen to see my parents reading the paper encouraging me and my siblings to read an article. Although I never engaged in the whole newspaper world, I still find it sad to know that in the near future they will cease to exist.

Ultimately, the process of media convergence will result in numerous media platforms being forgotten about. Although these technological advancements make life incredibly easy, I think it is important to not forget about where the multiple technologies integrated into our devices originally came from.

 

 

Media Industries

This week’s topic for BCM110 was ‘Media Industries’. We were asked “who owns/controls the media that you use on a daily basis, and does it matter?” Upon being asked this, I realised that in hindsight, I really don’t know all that much about who owns the media I use and how this affects me.

Considering how deeply integrated media is in my daily life, I realised that I not only wanted but needed to know more about who those in power are and how they can and do control me.

Every day I interact with multiple media outlets. I view things on T.V, hear things on the radio, and predominantly read things on the Internet. But who, I ask, is behind all of these platforms, deciding what content is shown and in what way?

I researched some statistics about who currently (in 2016) owns what in relation to media. The figures are as follows:

Kerry Stokes: Controls Channel 7 which is owned by Seven West Media (through his majority investment in Seven Group) “Apart from its main TV station 7, it also owns or has stakes in the West Australian, Pacific Magazines, Yahoo7 and Sky News.” (Goncalves, R 2013)

 Bruce Gordon: One of the predominant owners of the Channel 9 corporation, (however it is noted that Channel 9 isn’t owned by any one person.) Gordon owns regional television network WIN TV – which is family owned. Additionally, he owns nearly 15% of Channel 10.

Lachlan Murdoch: Holds 7.68% of shares in Channel 10. Murdoch owns 100% of NOVA and is co-chairman of News Corporation (US), which owns 100% of New Corp Australia. Additionally, Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman for News Corporation (US).

media snapshot - BCM110 blog
WHO OWNS WHAT?

I found that the more I researched and delved into the confusing world of media ownership, the more confused I became. It seemed to be that the same powerful plutocrats held sole or joint power in most if not all media platforms.

This ownership in the media is most evident in the influence that is cast over political issues.

“In this sense, the media have enormous power over national elections… those candidates who are placed on the media’s agenda have a chance to win; those that are ignored languish. Those issues – either policy or personal – which the media spotlight become the yardsticks for measuring candidates. When candidates receive heavy (and favourable) publicity, their campaigns flourish… (Lichter and Noyes 1995, p. 24)

Plutocrats such as Murdoch and Stokes have extreme power in the things we view, read and hear. However these people are not only good at holding the control, but are also great at hiding the fact that they do.

Semiotics – Media Texts

This week we explored the concept of semiotics, looking at denotation, connotation and myths. In short, semiotics is ‘the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.’ Looking at an image through these three concepts allows an individual to see a media text from multiple angles.  It allows people to open up their minds and perhaps experience an alternate train of thought than what is natural.

Media texts can be classified as any media product that we examine through analysis and deconstruction. Ultimately, almost every media product we engage in can be classified as a media text, ranging from current films to newspaper articles.

When viewing a media text, many people do not go further than to look at it from a denotative sense. Denotation is the way an image can be most literally taken, the most obvious meaning that comes to mind. However, if one is to look past this, they would be looking at the connotative aspects of the image.“The term ‘connotation’ is used to refer to the socio-cultural and ‘personal’ associations (ideological, emotional etc.) of the sign. These are typically related to the interpreter’s class, age, gender, ethnicity and so on.”(Chandler 2014) 

For this weeks blog we were asked to find an example of a complex image that can be read in more than one way. Although I found numerous advertising campaigns that fit perfectly, thinking in the way of semiotics, I ventured out to find an image that I may not usually give a second thought to. Below, is the image I have chosen, a picture of the iconic Uluru.

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Image of Uluru

When looking at this image, many things come to mind.

The signifier (linked to denotation) – Is that it is Uluru, a rock, a natural landmark.

The signified (linked to connotation) – Uluru’s meaning is entirely dependent on a person’s background and culture. To Aboriginals, Uluru is representative of the dreamtime as a sacred landmark where they interacted on a daily basis (as seen through ancient rock drawings). To foreigners, it is a tourist attraction/ representative of Australia’s core, and to Australians it is a key part of our nation that we are all familiar with representing a vital part of Australian history.

Only just briefly touching on the many different denotations and connotations linked with the above image of Uluru displays just how many alternate meanings can be drawn from a media text depending on who is looking at it and how.

It’s not you, it’s media

The anxieties that surround media have existed for as long as media itself, however whilst the relationship between the two has stayed relatively similar and peaceful over time, within the last few decades there has been a major shift in power dynamics and favour. People are now blaming the media for problems all over the world, creating numerous anxieties that did not exist before. As media outlets have exponentially grown within the 21st Century, the media we view, read and hear is now being targeted and blamed for political, personal and social problems. Although this may be the most popular view in today’s society, this does not necessarily mean it is the correct one.

David Gauntlett’s “Ten things wrong with the effects model” opposes this view, and instead focus’s on the flaws surrounding this popular theory. Gauntlett highlights the issue that the effects model is often based on studies with misapplied methodology, that is makes no attempt to understand meanings of the media and that fundamentally the effects model is not grounded in theory. Its continued survival is largely dependent on the idea that most people are not looking for a grounded well supported theory, just an easy one. The easiest option in regards to the media is to blame it for causing complications within our society. People see violent movies and create a link between them and the rise in violence in their community. They associate their child’s lack of social skills with increased screen time, and their obesity with the growth of the television world. Whilst media outlets may have some level of influence over these issues, ultimately, each individual is responsible for their own actions, regardless of what may or may not have assisted in their choices.

 

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Instagram – Twitter – Facebook

Some of the most common media anxieties are related to and focused on the media directly related to the Internet. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the main platforms where we see a high turnover of activity. These outlets are being labelled as the source of the issue, but is this really the case? Yes, bullies are online on these sites, but Facebook doesn’t create the words, it just provides the platform to post them. It is time to step back and stop blaming media for what people are doing. Whether they post it online, or say it aloud, they will say and do what that want, not because ‘Facebook made them’.

Here’s an interesting article i found relevant to the topic –
http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/internet-blaming-social-media-behavioral-problems-59538

References:

David Gauntlett 1998 ‘Ten things wrong with the effects model'<http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm&gt;

Google Images <https://www.google.com.au/search?q=facebook+twitter+instagram&espv=2&biw=1297&bih=634&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiF-rKslc7LAhUKn5QKHbXUClgQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=sTL1f82r8VZ5sM%3A&gt;

Jared Keller 2013 ‘The internet made me do it’ <http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/internet-blaming-social-media-behavioral-problems-59538&gt;

Google Images <https://www.google.com.au/search?q=media+influences&espv=2&biw=1297&bih=586&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjzo_qnl87LAhVLp5QKHULwBywQ_AUIBigB#imgrc=7j9fFBqUzPZmSM%3A&gt;

Why am I here…

Well, that is the million dollar question that i hope to know the answer to by the end of this semester. My name is Eden Fitzpatrick and i am currently in my third year at the wonderful University of Wollongong. For the past 2 years i have been an Arts student, majoring in sociology. The thought of finishing Uni at the end of this year didn’t feel right to me, I still feel like i have so much more to learn and discover, and lets be honest I’m not ready to say goodbye to the amazing lifestyle of a Uni student (that 4 month holiday is oh too good). Realising this, I went down the path of changing my degree. After a little bit of research and a meeting or two, I now find myself studying a Bachelor of Arts-Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies degree. BCM has always interested me throughout and after high school as I find myself so deeply immersed in the world of social media every day. This led me to develop a curiosity, wanting to know more about media and the role it plays in todays society. Hopefully throughout the course of BCM110, and my other BCM subjects, my queries will be answered (I’m sure they will be).