Over the last 6 weeks of studying the Introduction to Communication and Media Studies subject I have come away with so much more knowledge and understanding. I began this degree with a general idea about the term ‘media’ and its effects on the audience. Fast forward 6 weeks and I am now a walking encyclopedia book filled with media knowledge. But how was I to know the amount of information I was yet to discover. I strongly believe Oscar wilds wise words “You can never be overdressed or overeducated” perfectly describes my outlook on this degree. You can never know everything but you can always know something.
Attending lectures, tutorials and completing assigned readings made me more aware of the roles of the media in society. I would have never considered to question what was wrong with the ‘media effects’ model. In doing so I became more mindful that not entirely what is depicted on Television programs will motivate us to commit those types of behavior.
Before I began on this adventure, I usually would skip the pages of advertisements in magazines. But thanks to semiotics I will never look at an advertisement in the same way again. Now I’m constantly trying to find the signifier, signified and the connotations of the Ad.
It was also brought to my attention that it so important to know who controls the media and why it matters. Honestly, I don’t want one media mogul to control all media platforms. This would result in us only knowing one opinion and will negativity limit the amount of voices in our society.
Reading other students blogs and gathering my own research, I’ve come to realise that so many TV shows have raised various important issues in the mediated public sphere. From the sexualisation of young girls on “Toddlers and Tiaras” to the political protests on “Big Brother”. The mediated public sphere enables us to freely exchange ideas and information.
My interpretations on the topic of surveillance have been taken to a whole new level. I had never gave much thought that every move I made on campus is on surveillance by 450 different cameras. CCTV footage is used in society to influence the individual to believe it will reduce the public’s fear of crime. But with the increase in government installations of CCTV, will it succeed in preventing crimes?
Overall, Communication and Media Studies has largely influenced and altered my perceptions that the media plays a vital role in society. Yesterday was history, and tomorrow BCM110 studies will provide me new ways to unlock new mysteries.
The concept of the Public Sphere according to Jurgen Haberman is the ‘space’ in which citizens openly debate about common issues, without the State and official economy. The public sphere has enhanced the opinions of society and the illuminates the issues surrounding ‘popular’ media texts. Alan McKee views the ‘public sphere’ as “a metaphor that we use to think about the way that information and ideas circulate in large societies.” The mediated public sphere has enabled domestic, emotional and personal issues existing in the public culture to be brought to life.
Toddlers and Tiarasis a highly controversial American TV series that airs on TLC and is debated in the public sphere for all the wrong reasons. The show explores the crazy competitive world of child beauty pageants and the quest for perfection. But looking for perfection is asking for trouble. The young girls or should I say living Barbie dolls are paraded around wearing excessive amounts of makeup, false eye lashes, fake hair and how can we forget to mention Barbie will not be complete without her Malibu spray tan. This is evident in the below picture.
The young children are judged on their beauty, personality and costume. Even the pushy stage mums and Dad’s get involved to make sure there precious Barbie wins the ultimate supreme title and prize money. The main issue that is debated in the mediated public sphere is allowing the sexualisation of young girls.
The below image caused an uproar when the young pageant girl on the front cover of Peoples Magazine had striking similarities with the actress inside the cover page. The over-the-shoulder glance of the young pageant girl and the actress placed emphasis on the debated issue of sexualisation. Was it just a coincidence the photographs were taken in the same direction or were they encouraging the sexualisation of the young girl?
On other occasions, young pageant girls were sexualised by their provocative costumes and dance routines. Throughout the show, young girls were dressing up in skimpy cloths imitating Julia Roberts as a prostitute in ‘Pretty Woman’. Others went to the extreme by wearing stuffed bras in the aim to imitate Dolly Parton. The sexualisation of children should not be allowed, but “Toddlers and Tiaras” seems to be promoting and exploiting young children all in the name for ratings.
The father of beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey revealed to ABC News his thoughts on today’s controversial pageant “Toddlers and Tiaras” describing it as “very bizarre.” It made me think has the show gone past the level of being just fun and harmless? The issues raised in the mediated public sphere reveal young children are made to believe the prettiest girl will always win. As a result this may lead to a lack of self-esteem and may become an issue in their teenage years. Ultimately, we should just let the child act like a child and not force it to grow up so quickly.
The concentration of media ownership has been the topic of intense public debate around the world. It is important to understand who controls the media and why it matters. Allowing large media corporations to have infinite power over the mass media will result in majority of the world having the same ideologies, opinions and beliefs. Clearly, we don’t want to have the identical opinion as the person standing next to us. Permitting extreme concentrated patterns of media ownership is bound to suppress innovation and eventually lead to the death of individuality and democracy. Nevertheless, do you know how controlled the media industry has become?
Rupert Murdoch is a media corporation Tycoon, he has superior ownership over various Newspaper and Television Networks worldwide. The below image emphasises the power of Rupert Murdoch’s empire to influence and persuade the audience. In Australia alone he owns 150 titles, which includes The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Advertiser. Due to the information coming from a one sided perspective, Murdoch has the ability to limit the diversity of information on offer to the audience. Clearly, the audience is being forced to only know selected information that is offered from a biased one sided perspective. Have we given to much power and control to one individual?
If we take a look at the Australian Media ownership landscape, there are three influential and significant players. Australia’s television network is dominated by Kerry Stokes who has full control over Channel 7 and Bruce Gordon controls regional television network WIN TV. By far, mining billionaire Gina Rinehart is the one to watch, she owns 10% of the Ten Network and owns a large share in Fairfax which she desires to increase her influence into an editorial role. Ricardo Goncalves from SBS states that, “…there are concerns that she may use her influence to sway editorial policy at publications like the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, various online business and radio stations like 2UE and 3AW which the company owns.” Therefore, there is a need to control media ownership because it limits the amount of voices.
We may lead to believe the diversity of media ownership is declining and there is a need for regulation. The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) is a government agency responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, the internet, radio, and telecommunication. The ACMA attempts to ensure diversity of ownership and control. But to what extent will the government’s power impact on the owners of the large media corporations?
The media plays an important role in society in shaping and influencing our personal choices. Allowing a particular individual to have excessive amount of control over the mass media will eventually lead to a world believing there is no other opinions. However, there are always two sides to a story!
WWF advertisments are usually well respected within society, they successfully promote conservation of Earth’s natural resources and the importance of preserving the environment. The non-profit organisation recognised by its Panda logo aims “to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, preserving biodiversity so that we all benefit and enjoy our most precious gift,” (WWF, 2013). However, WWF reputation was about to hit rock bottom with its agency revealing its most controversial 9/11 advertisement in 2009.
Semiotics is the science of the signs and its aim is to convey the meaning of the signs. A sign contains a signifier (things that give meaning word/image) and a signified (what is evoked in the mind). In this case, the signifier in the WWF advertisement is the abundance of planes, New York City and the World Trade Centres. The image signified one of the worst tragedies in the history of humanity, the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The denotations of the image clearly are on par with the connotations. The connotation of the capitalised words located in the top right hand corner, “The Tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11.” I believe reveals WWF intentions were to accentuate the amount of innocent lives lost on 9/11 and juxtapose it to the 280,000 lives lost from the 2005 Asian Tsunami. We may assume the purpose of the controversial advertisement was to emphasise the power of the planet which we inhabit and WWF goals for a living planet. What is the purpose of living if we continue to intentionally destroy our environment?
The focal point of the animated aerial image of New York City is located in the centre of the advertisement. Due to the positioning of the image, the viewer may feel depicted as a victem looking out from one of the hijacked planes. The use of grey scale colours reveals the dystopian future we may have to endure if we don’t respect our planet. These signs place emphasis on the contentious advertisement.
The controversial advertisement resulted with the entire world being left in a state of shock. Due to society’s ideologies and negative attitudes towards 9/11, people were offended by the insensitivity of the advertisement. Should WWF be ashamed for disrespecting the victems of 9/11 and their families?
With the expansion of mass media, every day we are more influenced and inspired by what we watch. Majority of individuals believe mass media will commonly have a direct effect upon our behaviour. The ‘media effects’ model takes on the approach that human behaviour, in particular ‘violence’ is entirely influenced on what type of mass media the individual engages with. Reality hit MTV show The Jersey Shore is well known for promoting erratic drunken behaviour and violence. But is it ok to blame the media for our violent behavior because we viewed a fight scene on the Jersey Shore?
Not entirely what is depicted on Television programs will motivate us to commit those types of behavior. Therefore, we may presume there is something wrong with the ‘media effects’ model. In ‘Ten things wrong with the effects model’ by David Gauntlett, he states that “The effects model tackles social problems backwards.” Instead of connecting all acts of violence to mass media, we should question what is wrong with the individual for carrying out his or her actions. It is important to look at the individual’s identity and background factors before we blame the mass media.
The ‘media effects’ model is wrong in various ways, it is highly based on unreliable findings, artificial studies and misapplied methodologies. Clearly, Alfred Bandura’s famous Bobo doll experiment is invalid. However, it was taken as proof that watching violence promotes violence. As seen in the below video, children witnessing an adult role model behaving in an overly aggressive manner were highly likely to replicate similar behaviour themselves, even if the adult was not present. Causality played an important role in the experiment, because monkey see monkey do. Evidently, it reveals the ‘Media effects’ model will accept dishonest ‘findings’.
The ‘media effects’ model is incorrect again! The model views only acts of violence shown on TV shows and films as having an effect on the behaviour of the viewer. Acts of violence which appears on news reports and factual programs are seen as exempt (David Gauntlett, 1998). It strongly indicates the ‘media effects’ model fails to accept all mass media.
George Gerbner undertook a content analysis to emphasise violent television programs ‘cultivate’ violence in society. I believe his cultivation theory appeared more to be aimed at incriminating the media for promoting violence.
Ultimately, will the ‘media effects’ model give a honest reflection on the relationship between the mass media and the audience or will it continue to give false assumptions?
My name is Bianca Tasevski and I am a local girl from the Illawarra. Im currently in my first year at Wollongong University, studying Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies. Right from the very start, I have had a desire to pursue a future career in the Media industry. So here I am. With excitement and curiosity I launch my BCM blog!
Life as we know it can throw us various challenges and I am ready for what ever comes my way. Let the BCM adventure begin!