All Good Things Must Come To an End

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I remember sitting down at my very first BCM110 lecture just six weeks ago and being told that our first assignment would be to create and own a blog and also to write a series of blog posts. I was naturally very excited about this even though I’ve never really owned a blog or done any sort of blogging before (does Tumblr count?) So naturally all good things must come to an end, including this assignment. However as an aspiring journalist I feel like this isn’t the last time i’ll be posting my thoughts on this website.

There were a number of things that stood out over the past six weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed learning all the theories and issues associated with the Media. In week two we discussed the concept of the ‘Media Effects Model’ and what the media is continuously blamed for. I found this topic quite interesting, and was later intrigued with research I found on these theories for my blog post.

Week five was also a stand out for me when we discussed theories and issues in regard to ‘The Public Sphere.’ The overall theme of the lecture was, “Media Mythbusting: Big Brother is watching you,” and as soon as I saw this, I knew this topic was going to be good, being a huge fan of the reality TV program in all it’s glory. Sure enough I was not disappointed as we discussed how shows like ‘Q and A’ and ‘Big Brother’ contribute to debate in a mediated public sphere. I had a lot of fun with week five’s blog post, as I chose ‘Big Brother’ and the issues and political debates that have arisen from behavior on the show as the main focus.

All fun aside, I did face a little bit of writers block during week four. During this week we discussed ‘Who owns the media.’ I really struggled with my blog post that week, being stumped about what to write about and why it matters who controls the media. I discovered that after about ten attempts to edit my post, (literally it took me that long to be okay with what i’d written) I really don’t care who owns the media. As long as I have access to Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr 24 hours a day I will be content no matter what.

Last week was one of the most memorable weeks. It was probably the first time I’ve sat through a lecture and did not want it to end. We discussed sexulisation of children in the media and ‘moral panic’ with Miley Cyrus’ erotic behavior being one of the main topics. This lead me to do some research about parent’s fear of sexualised culture and videos and their children being exposed to “lewd viewing.” A discussion stated that most (75%) of parents with daughters said very sexual pop acts were teaching girls they would be “judged on their looks, not their achievements or personality,” alluding to Miley and Rihanna being some of the main offenders. So is this the case? Well according to young role model turned rebel, Miley Cyrus, people were “over-thinking” what she had done (during her performance at the VMAs) and that she had been trying to “make history.” She’s also stated,“My job isn’t to tell your kids how to act or how not to act because I’m still figuring that out for myself.”

In conclusion, I would say I’ve definitely learnt a lot during the first half of this semester at Uni. Exploring theories and concepts used in the media has definitely made me look at it in a new light. I’ve enjoyed learning and reflecting each week’s topics through my blog posts and sadly it has now come to an end.

Thank you to all who took the time to read and leave feedback on my posts, it certainly put a smile on my face knowing people were following along with my work.

 

Big Brother contributes to debate in ‘Public Sphere’

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So I will be one of the first to guiltily admit that I have watched EVERY single season of Big Brother since it first aired in Australia in 2001. I know, I know what is wrong with me right? Big Brother is nothing more than ‘TV trash,’ as some may say, but there is just something addicting about watching a bunch of strangers living in a house for up to three months and interacting with one another. The drama, the romance, the controversy, it’s all just so appealing to me, so it only makes sense that I would dedicate this blog post focusing on the ‘public sphere’ towards this very controversial reality TV show.

Firstly let us determine what the ‘public sphere’ actually is. The public sphere is an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action. Jürgen Habermas‘s concept of the public sphere is

A realm within social life in which public opinion can be formed and which is accessible to all. 

So how does Big Brother contribute debate in a mediated public sphere? Well it’s simple, over the many years that Big Brother has aired on TV an abundance of issues have been raised including debate about sexual identity and behavior, cultural differences and political protests. Big Brother has indeed sparked a number of controversies including what was seen as a major scandal resulting from last year’s contestant, Tully Smyth.

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Tully’s ‘cheating’ incident caused massive controversy and debate over many social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter when her and a male housemate, Anthony Drew started showing romantic connotations towards one another. Now for those who didn’t watch last year’s season I can imagine you are probably thinking, “what’s so wrong about that?” Well what was so ‘wrong’ about it was that Tully was a self confessed lesbian and was also in a relationship with another women at the time that the show was being aired. Topics such as ‘what really is cheating?’ and accusations that Tully was giving lesbians and homosexuals in general a bad name raised a hell of a lot of debate. Many magazines with Smyth and Drew on the front cover regarding their so called, ‘cheating scandal’ and not to mention Tully’s now ex-girlfriend Tahlia Farrant becoming an overnight celebrity when she dumped Tully publicly via Twitter whilst she was in the Big Brother house, were only some of the controversies that were circling the media at the time.

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Aside from this rather light controversy, there has been even larger debates that have resulted from behavior on the show, one of the biggest being, the ‘Turkey Slap Incident,’ which occurred in 2006. The incident resulted in the removal of the two offenders, however the show continued to run as normal. It sparked a high level of discussion on Internet forums where commentators were split over whether the incident was playful fun or actual assault. In many forums there was overwhelming censure of the Big Brother series itself, with many calling for the show to be cancelled.

Big Brother is a highly addictive reality program has obviously contributed to many debates in the public sphere as the issues regarding the show and the behavior of the housemates have caused many controversies and political disputes. So ‘TV trash’ or not, Big Brother does highlight real issues experienced by real people, which is generally a topic of interest regarding debates in a mediated public sphere

Why does it matter who controls the media?

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The media is essentially a part of our daily lives, well in my case it is. I find that after only just a couple of hours without media access I am itching to check my Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with what is happening in the technological world. It may seem like the media has a hold over most of our lives a lot of the time. A question we must consider however is, why does it matter who controls the media? I’m sure many of you haven’t even stopped to consider who has ownership over the media platforms that we are constantly using or where the information that we are presented with actually comes from. So who exactly owns the media?

Rupert Murdoch owns News Limited, which is Australia’s largest media company and has The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Australian as its main newspaper mastheads. It has been determined that News Corp Australia titles account for 59% of the sales of all daily newspapers, with sales of 17.3 million papers a week, making it Australia’s most influential newspaper publisher by a considerable margin.

There is also Bruce Gordon, who controls regional television network WIN TV, which reaches more than 5 million people across Australia. In fact WIN’s Bruce Gordon is the biggest shareholder followed by Gina Rinehart and Lauchlan Murdoch not to forget James Packer who also has a significant stake. John Singleton controls Macquarie Radio Network, which owns Sydney’s highest-rating radio station. This is only a brief insight however, into media ownership. There is quite a large tangled web of ‘who owns what’ and ‘who controls who’ but we won’t go that deeply into it, otherwise we’d be here for hours.

Regardless these people not only have control over the media but also seem to have some control over our lives. The Murdoch’s especially seem to have quite the upper hand in terms of influencing the media. Recently Rupert Murdoch was accused of bias when the front page of Sydney’s Daily Telegraph had a strong opinion on the coverage of the September 2o12 election. Murdoch also took to social media to express his opinion. This is an example of how easily the media can influence our opinions and present how certain media moguls will use bias and one-sided stories to do so.

So after comprehending all of this it is clear that the media is simply what influences us the most, hence it does matter who controls the media. The media generally helps to shape our understanding and opinions of current events and also influences how we live our day-to-day lives. Our opinions on current events are also influenced by the many media platforms we tend to use frequently.

So next time you’re reading the morning paper or scrolling through your Twitter feed, take the time to think about where the information that you’re reading is coming from and how it impacts your point of view regarding current events.

Are You Mom Enough?- Controversy in images

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In 2012, Time Magazine posted this extremely controversial cover, photographed by Martin Schoeller, related to ‘attachment parenting.’ What is ‘attachment parenting’ you may ask? In simple form, it is a style of parenting that works with the parent’s values. Basically it focuses on the nurturing connection that parents can develop with their children.

When I first saw this image my immediate reaction was that I found it amusing and thought it would be interesting to talk about. This image immediately made me think of the comedy movie, “Grown Ups,” in which a mother still allows her 4 year old son to breast feed as if it is completely normal. 

The signifiers in this image are quite clear, a woman and a young boy, who looks far too old to still be breastfeeding from his mother. The words “Are You Mom Enough?” are in a bold font and the use of the colour red, allow the words to still stand out when placed next to an image as controversial as this one. 

A controversy over this cover erupted over whether it was tasteful, appropriate, or even criminal, instead of focusing on the actual topic of ‘attachment parenting.’ According to L.A Times, the magazine image shows a women named Jamie Grumet and her 3-year-old son, Aram, standing on a chair so he can better suckle at his standing mother’s breast, with both mother and child looking intently into the camera, which are the obvious denotations that I observed earlier. Some advocates have said that this is brilliant for the promotion of ‘attachment parenting.’ Other advocates have said that this sensationalises the issue, and makes an antagonistic spectacle out of what should be seen as a normal, appropriate way to care for a child.

Now let us look at the connotations involved in this image. This image is obviously very controversial and Jamie Grumet, discusses that she was trying to make a point with the cover shot, “The statement that I wanted to make was this is a normal option for your child and it should not be stigmatized,” she told ABC News. “I’m never saying this is for everybody, but it should be something that’s accepted.”  In other words, the whole point of the image is to share a story about a woman’s relationship with her son and how ‘attachment parenting’ fits in with her lifestyle. In the Time article, Grumlet says she’s been confronted by strangers who see her son nursing and threaten “to call social services… or that it’s child molestation.”

Now i’m not saying I agree with this image or ‘attachment parenting’ in general but before accusing it of being ‘perverted,’ ‘sick’ and an ‘idea of child molestation’, it is important to look clearly at what the image is trying to represent to it’s audience. It is simply just a story about breastfeeding, yet it stops you and it does indeed shock you.

Is social media to blame for anti-social behaviour?

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A question continuously asked in today’s society is, are teenagers losing their social skills due to spending too much time online? Many parents seem to think this is the case but what if instead of blaming the media for being anti-social we instead shift the blame over to the parents as being the problem?

In today’s society, it seems as though sending a simple text message or an inbox via Facebook is a lot easier then arranging to meet in person or even calling someone and talking on the phone. Teenagers are spending most of their time on social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to interact and communicate with friends and family. But what if social media isn’t only to blame for teenagers acting anti-socially? So should we be focusing our blame elsewhere? Read on to find out.

This article poses the question that if kids aren’t able to socialise, parents should be blaming themselves. According to Dannah Boyd, teenagers would love to socialise face-to-face with their friends but adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.”

She then goes on to say that kids in this day and age, compared to a time period during the early eighties, do not have enough freedom due to, “the media delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories.”  Anti-loitering laws and curfews were also put in place to keep young people from congregating alone, crime rates plummeted and moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into university or college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids’ after-school lives.

As a result of a parent’s paranoia, teen’s no longer have the time or freedom to ‘hang out.’ This in turn forces children and teenagers to migrate towards social media as a means to communicate when they cannot talk to friends face to face.

Did we blame newspapers and magazines for people being considered “anti-social” years ago? Whatever the excuse, users need to take responsibility for their actions and lack of interactions. Technology sometimes reinforces the wrong behaviors, but it can also enhance and empower the right ones. Welcome to the evolution of social media!

-Ian Gertler

In another article I found online, it is also suggested that parents who fail to discipline their children are creating a generation of angry kids who lash out, as studies have found. According to this article research claims that, a range of studies has shown… that harsh parenting trains children to become anti-social. These children were at risk of under performing at school and even turning to crime and drug or alcohol abuse.

So is the media really to blame for the ‘Facebook’ generation becoming anti-social or should we be blaming ourselves and the way we raise our children in today’s society? Feel free to comment your thoughts below and thank you for taking the time to read this post.

References:

  • Wired, Don’t Blame Social Media if Your Teen is Unsocial. It’s Your Fault

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/12/ap_thompson-2/

  • Daily Mail- mail online, The angry generation: Lack of parental discipline is blamed for aggressive and anti-social children, By Laura Clark, education correspondent, 11:59 GMT, 27 February 2012

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2106948/The-angry-generation-Lack-parental-discipline-blamed-aggressive-anti-social-children.html

  • Ian Gertler, Look at all this technology making us anti-social, November 30, 2012 

http://www.symplegades.com/2013/11/30/look-at-all-this-technology-making-us-anti-social

  • David Gauntlett, 10 things wrong with the media effects model

http://www.theory.org.uk/david/effects.htm

Introductory Post

Hi everyone, my name is Courtney Berthaly, i’m 18 years old and I live in Wollongong. Currently, I am studying a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Wollongong. The reason I am studying journalism is because I love reading, writing and keeping up to date with current events. Even from a young age I always wanted to pursue a career where I could use writing and creativity to not only make a living but to continue to do something that I love. As for commerce, I’m not
sure where I want my studies to take me after I graduate. However I am certain that I want to major in marketing as it is one of the components of commerce that I enjoy. So far I am enjoying my time at university and hope it only gets better from here on. 

Apart from being passionate about reading and writing here is a list of other things that I love:
-I am absolutely obsessed and addicted to the tv show, The Walking Dead. If you don’t like the show then we probably can’t be friends, just saying.
-I spend a lot of my spare time playing the Sims 3, (I know I’m a nerd) and I spend more time on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube than anything else, that includes sleeping as I consider myself as a semi insomniac.
-I love shopping and fashion, I mean what girl doesn’t?
-I have a casual job at Big W Warrawong as a fitting room associate, so if you have ever called the store on Thursday nights or on weekends chances are you were probably talking to me.
Anyway that’s about all I can think of right now, so until next time.

Courtney x