DIGC302 Critique – The Regent’s Resistance

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The Regents Resistance is an interesting digital artefact I have been following the course of throughout this semester. One of my classmates, Emma, has created a series of podcasts that tell a fictional story of a girl named Isla who was bred for militaristic purposes. Set in a post-apocalyptic world Isla with a group of allies have escaped from the controlling government and created a resistance. Emma narrates the podcasts or ‘broadcasts,’ as they are called on her website, herself and I must say she does an excellent job of sounding clear and using pitch variation when she narrates, which keeps the listener engaged.

From my understanding Emma’s aims were to differentiate her creation of a fictional world through the medium of podcasts, which would enable her to target a younger audience and give them an entertaining experience. She has the entertainment factor down pat but the number of listeners needs some work. I understand a lot of time has gone into content creation and perfecting the website design, leaving a gap in promotion of the podcasts. There is a twitter account that keeps in character for this fictional world that currently has 3 followers, this being said the first post was only made on the 19th of October hopefully with time and more promoting Emma can start to attract more of an audience. I would suggest that looking into ways to increase a following through twitter should be researched and implemented, there are plenty of resources online to assist with this.

The trajectory of The Regents Resistance has essentially remained on track since the initial idea at the start of the semester. There was a change in the original idea of having 30 minute long episodes; the current episodes are 3 -5 minutes. Personally I think this change is for the better, the shorter podcasts allow the listeners to be fully engaged with the content for the time it is playing and breaks up the content. Although an idea could be for every 10 podcasts or so to merge all the episodes into one downloadable package allowing someone to listen to 40 minutes of content all at once. Generally I listen to podcasts or audio books by putting the content onto my phone and playing it in my car when I go for longer drives, so this idea would be favourable for someone who wants to listen for longer periods.

The concept this post-apocalyptic world explores is one of a controlling government who censors reality to citizens. This is a really interesting concept to cover; it reminds me of what is happening in North Korea at the moment with the strict censorship laws. So extreme that it is a criminal offence to receive broadcasts from outside of North Korea, sort of similar to what is happening in The Regents Resistance. Another concept the broadcasts touch on is genetic modification of humans, Isla is created to be a solider, once again another interesting concept to cover as this is something that will probably be big in the future. Similar to the sci-fi film Gattaca where your DNA determines your social class and genetic discrimination is an issue. As the full story is not posted available yet it will be fascinating to see how Emma further explores these concepts and how the resistance’s world develops with the characters trying to break free of both their government and genetic controls.

In terms of methodology Emma did her research before creating the narrative, she mentioned she read books in this area during the story creation process and she already has an interest in this topic as well, and you can tell as her passion comes through in her work. The editing process was tedious and the website design was timely, which is why the first podcast was released on the 30th of September. The three broadcasts released after this one have been posted a little bit unevenly, for example a 2 day gap to a 2 week gap. It would be beneficial if podcasts were released more consistently, perhaps on a weekly or biweekly basis. This will require more planning and structure but will pay off as a regular schedule is what helps listeners to stay engaged with content.

In Emma’s beta presentation she showed us around her website and twitter page. Her website looks impressive with its own domain name and personally customised logo, it really sets the tone for the story. One thing I thought could have been done in the presentation was for Emma to play us one or even just a part of her broadcast, just so we could see the work she has achieved. I do understand it can be a bit daunting to present work like that in front of a classroom though but it would have been good to hear.

Overall The Regents Resistance is a well thought out and enjoyable project that has a great potential to go far. It shows the creativity Emma possesses and is a project she should be proud of; I hope to see more podcasts out soon so I can listen along!

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Diaspora

Diaspora is the dispersion of a population from their original homeland. Diaspora occurs for a number of reasons and has several qualities. These qualities include diaspora communities having thoughts of returning to the home country, never fitting in the host country and having strong ties to the homeland.Image

This week’s topic of diaspora reminds me of a text we did in high school related to belonging. This text was Romulus My Father which is a biographical memoir by Raimond Gaita. He writes about his father leaving Germany for Australia but the father never fully assimilated to in Australia. In reference to his father’s view on Australia Gaita states “to a European or English eye it seems desolate, and even after forty years, my father could not become reconciled to it.” Romulus finds friendship with Hora who also migrated from Europe to Australia. His father and his friends display characteristics of diaspora communities.

Diaspora doesn’t only occur when people leave one country for another, it can occur from movement within a country. Garlin Glichrist does a TED talk where he discusses “Detroit diaspora,” his parents had been born and raised in Detroit but later decided to move when he was still young. His TED talk is very interesting and he raises thought provoking questions about diaspora such as: what does it mean when people change their relationship with a place? What does it do to the person who moves? What does it do to the place you are going to as well as the place you are moving from?

 

There are implications. Looking at it from Detroit’s perspective they don’t want people to leave. Detroit has invested time and resources into its people creating quality citizens who can pay taxes, contribute to more revenue and better quality services.
Glichrist also discusses how when he moved to Seattle for university somehow he naturally gravitated towards a group of people who had also come from Detroit and he felt comfortable and at ease with them.  Today’s technology and media makes life a lot easier for diaspora communities.

The world has figuratively shrunk as communication has become instant with people halfway across the world. There are countless movies, websites and other pieces of media that represent diaspora and allow people to connect culturally no matter where they physically are.

Globalisation in the Media

Globalisation is driven by communication technologies, it allows for information and communication to speedily flow over borders and global distances. Globalisation is seen as the unification of different cultures and societies into one ‘global village’. The globalisation of media can be seen through the example of the ‘Americanization’ of the media in the world. Six out of the top ten global media firms are American, they control and regulate the majority of media content.

While this is the obvious choice of an example of a larger country taking over with globalisation, Sinclair and Harrison discuss two major cultures in Asia; China and India. They talk about how China and India have a large number of diaspora communities around the globe because of the huge population they both consist off.  Therefore both India and China have relevant markets all over the world to create globalisation in. Television has been used as a tool for globalisation in both India and China, it has opened communication in ways for new cultures to come in as well as a way for them to cross boundaries and speak to the world.

Cable TV has been one way globalisation has manifested in this medium. A number of American channels like MTV, HBO, Cartoon Network, Disney and many more have sold their channels in different countries and have translated them. You can also see the globalisation of TV through all the language specific channels that have a regional target. Globalisation through the TV medium is melding two cultures together and creating new identities; there is no escaping globalisation in the present day.

Race in the Media

Race and stereotyping in the media can be dangerous as it can exclude people from their culture and identity. Michael Reich developed the Segmentation Theory, where he describes racism in an economic viewpoint. Basically this theory states that racism is used to weaken the bargaining power of the working class, encourage bias, segregate certain groups and ultimately to make sure that the elite benefit from these racial stereotypes.

It can be seen how the media divides racial groups through the roles people of a certain ethnicity are cast. African-American males are always depicted gangstas or drug dealers, by focusing on the negative parts of the African American community it keeps them in poverty and keeps the elites on top. This type of racial discrimination ties in with what Chimamanda Adichie was saying in her TED talk ‘The danger of a single story’. If this is the only story we see and hear of African-Americans we assume this is what it means to be African-American, because it shows them as one thing so in the viewer’s mind this is what they become.

Asians are usually never in lead roles of Hollywood movies and much like the concept blackface, if there is an Asian part to be played typically white people are cast and their eyes could be altered so they are made to look Asian. Movies such The Last Airbender and Cloud Atlas have created a lot of controversy over this longstanding Hollywood practice that has been used to discriminate against racial groups.  Asian males are portrayed as nerdy, sexless (they are never seen as something to be desired) or they know martial arts, they are sidekicks or co-stars but never the leading man. This representation is a problem as many talented Asian actors are never treated as full-time actors and are stuck to race-specific roles just because of what race they are, this is unfair and discriminatory. 

Gender representation in advertising

Media representations are the way the media re-construct the world; it is not actually mirroring how the world is. The media does however have a big influence on the world, and by representing certain aspects, like gender and its roles, of life it can contribute to our understanding of our place in society.

Gender representation in the media is no new thing, but why is it a topic that keeps coming up? I’d like to think that stereotypical roles of gender such as the woman confined to domestic roles are gone, but by taking one look at how the media represents women in advertising you can tell this is not the case.

Almost every advertisement that is trying to sell cooking, cleaning or products to do with homemaking is targeted towards women reinforcing that this is still the role a woman should take on. The difference between advertisements from the 1950’s and today in a ‘homemaking’ regard is not much.

In advertising women are shown as something of beauty, submissiveness, support and nurture, whereas a men depict power, strength and competitiveness. Interestingly when looking at the role of masculinity in advertising it is portrayed as the males being alert, controlled and serious, whereas femineity in advertising is playful, seductive and vulnerable. Advertising reinforces the idea of a social norm when it comes to gender.

Even when the roles are reversed in advertising and a man is depicted as doing something that is meant to be a ‘woman’s’ job, it is supposed to have a comedic value because it is abnormal and ‘silly’ for a man to be doing these things. It makes fun of males showing them as completely clueless and stupid when it comes to domestic duties, reiterating that this is not their place. 

Advertising needs to decrease its use of stereotypes when it comes to gender roles. It’s 2014, men and women are in the both in the workforce and it is not up to only one gender to do certain tasks. 

The Future of Journalism

The future of journalism is not as bleak as it is made out to be. If you focus on newspaper revenues, newspaper advertising and their audience participation, sure it has all dropped and it looks like it this is the be all and end all of journalism, although as Tom Rosenstiel states in his TED talk this is because of the new ways the audience can now consume the news. With this change journalists and news organisations need to rethink their business model as the old one is not working as well as it used to (TED 2013).

The audience today does not have to adapt their behaviour to consume the news, no more having to be home in the evening to watch the news on the television, now the news media has to adapt to the audiences behaviour (TED 2013). It must be more convenient and transparent, as a better version of that story is now just a click away. Journalists need to provide evidence and quality as most people go to a second source for their news, and this source will be by a name they trust (TED 2013).

Consumers have a role in journalism like never before. They have a role in providing information for journalists; like taking pictures of natural disasters, contributing videos of crimes that happened and could be used as evidence as well as using social media to find the consumers.

Journalism has been spread across many mediums, and in David Carr’s video with Bloomberg Media he mentions that all these different platforms might mean the golden age of journalism. There is still much that is needed to figure of a new business model for the changes of journalism, but I feel that this is an exciting time for journalists and new media will create better journalism overall.

 

References:

Rosenstiel, T 2013, The Future of Journalism, online video, 28 May, TEDxAtlanta, viewed 17 April 2014, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuBE_dP900Y&gt>

Fiedler, T 2014, NYT’s David Carr on the Future of Journalism, online video 6 March, Boston University, viewed 17 April 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPlazqH0TdA&gt>

Creative Cities was a concept created by Charles Landry, its basis is that every human being harnesses creativity, and by utilising this creativity great things for our economy and other aspects of society will arise. Creativity is becoming more and more essential in professions in the current day. I had never heard of this concept before the lecture, and I find it to be a very different and interesting idea. I feel as though this is a concept that makes sense when you really think about it, creativity is everything that pushes our society forward with change and innovation, otherwise we would be stuck in one place never progressing.

Aesthetic Journalism is art that has been created via journalistic methods. It is the blurring of the lines between journalism and art. Cramerotti explores this in his book What is Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing. He explains that art is not about giving answers or delivering information, it is about creating questions, whereas journalism wants to give answers (Cramerotti 2009). Art could never replace a journalistic perspective but it adds value to understanding it.

Documenta is an exhibition which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany. Cramerotti mentions it in his book as an event which has assisted in making art as a form of practice investigation in social and political issues via aesthetics (Cramerotti 2009). In the lecture Marcus used an exhibition from Documenta “In search of vanished blood” by Nalini Malani as an example of aesthetic journalism. This immersive piece of art explores the idea of displacement as a refugee from her experiences of the partition of India. It demonstrates how art can create what could be a journalistic topic from aesthetics, and creates conversations of history, culture and identity.

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References:

Cramerotti, A 2009, “What is Aesthetic Journalism: How to Inform Without Informing, London.

Pratt, Andy C., 2011, “The cultural contradictions of the creative city,” City, Culture and Society 2 pp. 123–130

Journalism a dying profession?

In the lecture Marcus describes journalism as a rough draft of history that has a political role as well as an entertainment element. We all know that without a doubt journalism has changed and is changing, but what is the future of journalism? Most people will instantly think of the business model of journalism. How the interest in newspapers has declined and journalists are getting laid off, journalism is dying right? There is more to it than that, it’s not that journalism is dying it’s that news consumption has shifted. In the lecture it was said that 7 in 10 adults aged under 30 will get there news from social networks.
When I reflect on how I obtain the news it is true to this shift of news consumption. I mainly get my news of Reddit, and sometimes even google news if I am trying to find a certain topic / get a general gist of what is going on in the world. Only if I am ever eating and watching TV and the news will be on is how I would get news from TV.  

So journalism has remained the same for so long, playing the role as the ‘gatekeeper’ informing the public in an institutional way and one that promises quality. We now see the convergence of media and the effects this has had on journalism. As the Domingo et al reading states “the borderline that seperates professional journalists and their audience seems to be blurring” (2008, p. 326). Now that some user generated content is deemed journalism quality of stories have diminished along with trust. To keep people interested journalists need to make reading news desirable while maintaining quality but also becoming more that just the content producers they used to be. They have to embrace innovation and the community, as now they are involved in all this more than ever.

References: 

David Domingo , Thorsten Quandt , Ari Heinonen , Steve Paulussen , Jane B. Singer & Marina Vujnovic, 2008, “Participatory Journalism Practices In The Media And Beyond,” Journalism Practice, 2:3, 326-342,

Public Sphere of Imagination

The public sphere is a place where discussions about information, events and people’s thoughts can take place. Jürgen Habermas first coined the term in his book “The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere,” and he has been criticised for idealizing the bourgeois conception which brackets out inequalities of gender and class. He discovered the first emergence of the public sphere took place in  18th century coffee houses, where everyone present partook in discussion (McGuigan, 2005).

From then until now the public sphere has changed dramatically with the introduction of the internet, we don’t need to be physically present to engage in the public sphere anymore. You just need to look at your facebook feed, or twitter or any blog site to see how people are participating in the public sphere. I find it exciting that the public sphere is a lot more equal now that anyone who has access to the internet can join in by gaining information and sharing news and opinions so easily and on a global scale.

Journalism is now blending into this public sphere. In the Berkowitz reading for this week he writes about how what defines journalism is now unclear, because now media audiences are the ones making the decision of what they interpret journalism as. Someone could think this blog is journalism, or the comments discussing a news story is journalism. This causes audiences to shrink in regards to the intake of conventional journalism as they have substituted it with other means.

 

References:
McGuigan, Jim, 2005, The cultural public sphere, Cultural Studies, 8:4, pp. 427–443
Berkowitz, Dan, 2009, “Journalism in the broader cultural Mediascape,”Journalism, Vol. 10(3): 290–292

 

Wikileaks – A stateless News Organisation

Wikileaks is a controversial website that publishes secret information from anonymous sources. Its ‘leaks’ have frequently become front page news and have even gone so far as to change results of elections.
Jay Rosen mentions that Wikileaks is a place that allows whistle-blowers to present their information. Wikileaks allows a whistle-blower to show corruption while remaining anonymous, unlike other media organisations that want to reveal the whistle-blowers identity. I have always thought it was unfair that whistle-blowers receive so much flack for bringing the truth out, and now with new media anonymity is allowed and the truth can come out in more of a just way. This is just one way Wikileaks differs from other media companies.
Wikileaks is different from other media organisations, it is a stateless organisation. This gives Wikileaks the freedom to publish information that other journalists cannot. They can show confrontational videos that determine the true state of war; one shows American soldiers killing journalists then firing on people trying to help wounded and afterwards having a laugh about it.
Wikileaks can get away with doing this, because unlike other journalists they don’t have to answer to bosses, advertisers, governments and other stakeholders that don’t agree with the information being published. Therefore the real horrors of war or other news is able to be shown to the public, with no filters applied.