bcm 110, bcm 112

Today’s Media Spread

Found this cute advertising video for Guardian, about how they are getting the “whole picture”. Also relates well to my degree.

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Better Late Than Never

I have always been the last person to read, watch or listen to popular media – I still have never watched Lord of the Rings or Star Wars (shoot me later).  Game of Thrones was no exception. However, I have been the first to delve into the deep, dark hole of obsession over the HBO series and engage in what is notably called transmedia storytelling.

Transmedia storytelling is essentially, “storytelling across multiple forms of media, with each element making distinctive contributions to a user’s understanding… including where user actions affect the experience of content across multiple platforms.”

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, forums, games, cartoons, video games, GIFs and every imaginable medium has been drowned by Game of Thrones fans which encourages an “encyclopaedic impulse in both readers and writers” (Jenkins, 2007). This means that we as the audience no longer act as consumers but again, as prosumers. The latest transmedia campaign for Game of Thrones was this;

But is transmedia as innocent as it portrays? With the “blurring [of] the line between marketing and entertainment” being the most prominent issue regarding the integrity of transmedia – are they revenue raising or engaging with audiences? Personally, I believe that it is in some ways revenue raising. Who has not wanted the new game, book, toy that has been branded as a “must have for your collection!”? My obsession was over the Saddle Club. I owned everything that there was to own – books, toys, posters, bed covers, CDs, bags, jewellery – EVERYTHING. When I think back to that, I begin to imagine how much money was actually spent on pointless items.

By contrast, today’s modern society are turning to the internet to feed their obsession – as there are no costs, multiple entry points and a whole fandom waiting. Jenkins states, “Transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form for an era of collective intelligence” as die-hard fans working collaboratively to solve problems, write reviews and make the most hilarious GIFs. He also notes the most popular form of collaboration as fan fictions being an “unauthorised expansion of these media franchises” which enable the fan to “fill in the gaps” that they believe are missing from the original content.

If there was ever a louder cry for transmedia narratives, it would be from the fans of Avatar. Fans of the movie were reported to have been “plagued by depression and suicidal thoughts” as they realised that the utopian world of Pandora is not accessible. Wow.

So in a society where we are constantly connected and searching for ways to experience our passions, transmedia storytelling will stay.

Video sourced from: http://marclougee.com/2012/02/03/game-thrones-transmedia/

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Is Traditional Journalism a Thing of the Past?

Jay Rosen believes, “A journalist is just a heightened case of an informed citizen, not a special class“. I could not disagree more. While it is an obvious fact that the way in which we receive our daily news today, is extremely different from 30 years ago, the reliable source in which we get it, remains the same – a journalist.

Yes, I understand that more and more social networking sites are incorporating news, they do not however, replace a journalist. Mark Luckie discusses in the video (below) about how Twitter is simply a source of information as they “have no editorial staff and therefore no filters” whereas a journalist’s role is “to be that filter“. Furthermore, the information that we receive from such sites as Twitter cannot always be considered reliable as it is instantaneous and not researched. I simply see it as a resource not a news piece. However, the global uprising of the citizen journalist has made me slightly unsure about the security of a journalist’s role and begin to question the future role that a highly educated journalist could have if Twitter and other online medias have when it comes to presenting news.

This is where my argument sways. I like to agree with Andrew Marr when he says that citizen journalism is “fantastic at times but it is not going to replace journalism“. But realistically, “acts of journalism can be performed by anyone” and that we must consider journalism to be an “ecosystem” (Jeff Jarvis – video) Most people have a smart phone of some sort and are connected to one or more social medias. From this significant increase in the ubiquitous connectivity, it is somewhat effortless to begin producing your own news content and put a journalist out of a job. The classic example of traditional media being slower than social media was when an earthquake hit America in 2011.

My main concern with the rise of citizen journalism is the lack of authority, experience and prestige. When a major newspaper reports on Global Warming, more people are accepting of the news and believe what the journalists have written because of the assumed prestige of the paper and the level of authority that they give is similar to parental authority – if they say that it is true, then it must be. Conversely, a citizen journalist with their smartphone, on the street, reporting that Global Warming is true, can be pushed aside as they have not yet established authority.

I have come to be a fence-sitter again and believe that citizen journalists and traditional journalists should collaborate so as to “add to what traditional…[journalists] are doing and not take away”.[1]  It also has the potential  to add to the authenticity of a particular news story as “the passion of ordinary men and women to tell the kinds of extraordinary stories”[1] can finally be heard on a global level.

Sources: [1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jun/11/rise-of-citizen-journalism

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Not So Pretty Anymore

What can make you feel shocked, angry, violated, disgusted and amused in 7 weeks? – why, the media of course! After engaging in the debates over the last 7 weeks, I have felt all these things  as we are asked to not just skim the surface anymore, but delve into the deep, dark, somewhat hidden crevices of the media.

I walked into my first lecture – and most lectures after that – thinking that I had a rough idea of what the media entailed and the scandals and consequences that go with being in media – oh how wrong I was!  I realised that I was digesting media  and believing what I heard and saw because they were journalists reporting for a respected news program or in a prestigious newspaper. I was not watching/reading the news questioning the authenticity or bias of the story – I was not giving it an in-depth look. I now however, question everything.

Whilst I tend to be a fence-sitter on most issues, this topic of  ‘Media Mythbusting’ has made me take a stance and enter into the scary side of choosing a side in which to defend. The one issue that enabled me to finally jump down, was the problem with the media effects model (read post here). I refuse to see the point that it is the media’s fault for turning humans into hideous, barbaric monsters – the media is simply a scapegoat. As the weeks and lectures went by, I suddenly gained a voice and again ranted and raved at the issue of why does it matter who controls the media and was quite shocked at just how many people Rupert Murdoch’s media reaches – 3/4 of the world’s population to be exact.

Through the in-depth study of the media, I have come to realise that one must look past the glossy, shiny covers to reveal the ugly inner workings of the media to fully understand what true media is.

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The Never Ending Debate

Alan Mckee says that the public sphere is for “human beings [to] come together to exchange ideas and information and feelings about what matters to them“. While the metaphorical sphere has taken many forms over the years, the integral idea remains the same – building and encouraging discussion and debate over current issues. The ongoing debate of media and body image is one that is unlikely to disappear. However, when the Dove Self-Esteem Campaign disseminated, it sparked global attention and infiltrated many social spheres.

This campaign ticks all the right boxes regarding the concerns that popular media has – emotional, relationships and personal problems just to name a few. However, it does leave a few unchecked – including:

  • the only power we have is in the realm of our own lives
  • the only issues that are presented in popular media are those closely related to people/businesses in power.

I say that these are left unchecked as print media wanted to silence this particular debate as it was intentionally directed at them and they rightfully felt threatened by the growing popularity of citizens wanting realistic figures in media and less sexualised women in ads. This shows that public spheres are somewhat powerful when it comes to  propagating current issues. Furthermore, this campaign highlights the fact that we do not only  have power in our own lives but we have a voice that can potentially gain strength in other individual’s lives. This notion of touching other’s lives was because of public spheres and the discussions that continued outside these circles.

However, there was quite a lot of criticism when it was first released. Chicago CBS news reporter, Bill Zwecker said,”we are facing a huge obesity problem in this country, we don’t need to encourage anyone — women or men– to think it’s okay to be out of shape.” I think he missed the point or was not attending his local public sphere.


Note: This is another amazing Dove Ad written and directed again by the wonderful Tim Piper:-


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An Apple a Day Does Not Keep the Controversy at Bay

When the technological world first began, industries built content that allowed them complete and utter control. However, as technology has advanced, it has been increasingly more difficult for them to control. But not when it comes to Apple vs. Android.

When deciding which smartphone I wanted, I orignally thought iPhone as it was the ‘on-trend’ device to have and they were simple and shiny and user friendly. But after doing further research – yes I do this for nearly every product I buy (nerdy I know) – I realised that the iPhone is just an over priced piece of glass.


I have always disliked Apple for various reasons and this distaste was heightened in my lecture as we discussed open/generative and closed/locked systems.

Apple is the perfect example of a closed or locked system; as Steve Jobs stated, “we define everything that is on the phone“. Apple’s closed system means:

  • Everything is thethered to Apple
  • All apps are from the App Store
  • Apps available have been approved by Apple and may be removed at their discretion
  • They have complete control over content, user’s interaction and the platform

Scary when you think of it in those terms, isn’t it? Apple seems to like the ideology that they can have complete control over us as they are locking our options for our “own good“. Conversely, Android is the opposite believing in an open and free operating system. These are the few features that an open system has:

  • Anyone can access and modify the system
  • Open ‘garden’ of apps – Google has received criticism over this point as consumers believe they should ‘spring clean’ their app store
  • No control over users, content or platform
  • As part of the Open Handset Alliance, there are 84 companies who have joined allowing consumers  greater competition and a better outcome when buying phones.

However, after my very “convincing” one-sided argument, I do believe that iPhones do have a purpose as a phone for my parents or those new to smartphone technology as Peter Yared says in his amusing and articulate article “What phone would I recommend for my mum? An iPhone. It’s safe, predictable, and uniform. What would I recommend for anyone under 40? Definitely one of the new breeds of Andorid phones” and I whole-heartedly agree.

We- the younger generations – are changing the way industries and producers design their products. Evan William, co-founder of Twitter said that he originally “designed [it] as a broadcast medium” and that “sharing was invented by users” further emphasising the pre-historic way that Apple works as a locked system. Twitter is a generative system allowing users to individualize their interaction and experiences with that particular product and/or system.

This is the way of the future – but brings to light the problem with the future of the internet and social media. Thus being the paradox of convergence – as consumers now have more freedom of choice, industries are aiming to reign in their control of ownership.  Is anything simple?!

I will leave you with this funny commercial that was re-done on an ABC program called ‘The Checkout‘ which is fantastically hilarious and supports my view on iPhones just being expensive glass…

Sources: iBroke cartoon: http://capitalogix.typepad.com/public/2010/04/ipad.html

Android: http://ranpict.com/android-vs-apple-wallpaper.html