Oh Trump

So in “the olden days” a public sphere was of a very simplified explanation, people talking (often turning to debate) about anything relevant at the time, positive or negative, even controversial. Back then there wasn’t ease in input, mostly due to stereotypical boundaries e.g. social class, but also because of the way in which they interacted (predominately verbally), but oh how times have changed! With the introduction of the new and improved mediated public sphere, thanks to the  internet, anyone is free to say anything no matter where on earth they come from. A really relevant and rather recent instance, would be the fact that Donald Trump was running for president (spoiler alert: he won).

Boy were those hard times, not only because of the fact that DONALD TRUMP was RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT?!,  but the amount of “input” which was exerted everywhere online, when I say everywhere I mean EVERYWHERE. You couldn’t miss it, and aside from the endless memes (examples below), parodies and comedic interpretations, there was serious talk, interaction and debate on the issue and outcome.

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During the election, everything Trump ate, wore, said and most importantly TWEETED was highly scrutinised and for good reason too. Lets just say the public sphere was going absolutely crazy for Donald Trump and for the majority, not in a good way. Many debates like the one below were broadcast on what you would call a mediated public sphere provided by a public service broadcaster. Q&A are a very organised example of freedom of expression, who usually provide a fair balance of opinions, but from the captions at the bottom of the screen which reveal the audiences majority answers to a question (based on the topic), it was not balanced in this case.

The Q&A known for its professional more tamed version of freedom of expression was nothing compared to social medias such as Twitter, where there was no holding back on opinion. Twitter is a much more widespread instance in which people can literally say whatever is on their mind, no matter where they are in the world, compared to the very localised, Q&A. In my opinion Twitter is the best depiction of the mediated public sphere in relation to the Donald Trump’s election saga, and the best part is, it still hasn’t stopped, take a look below:

 

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Who owns what we view?

Topic of this week: Who is it that runs the media we intake on a daily basis? Is there many players or just a single higher power? To be honest the “who owns the media” topic has never really been one of interest, perhaps relating to my age? So I have basically taken this weeks post as a kind of “research task”  to benefit my personal understanding, I will be focusing on my local media and who their stories are influenced by.

Starting with print media, the most personally familiar written media outlet in the Illawarra is the Illawarra Mercury. Originating as a newspaper the Illawarra Mercury now reaches approximately 70,000 residents daily, through their website, mobile app, Facebook and of course its original printed format. I have also come to find that it is owned by one of the two major players in newspaper media, this being Fairfax Media.  *As seen in the below Youtube clip, the media has a way of swaying its viewers to believe that THEY are the ones who control what they watch, however is the timeline of news updates on devices, in the clip above evidence which portrays almost “brainwashing” ideals of the media? Thats a thought?!*

 

During this weeks tutorial we uncovered a web of information directing us to levels of media ownership, looking something like this:

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Evident, is a large concentration of activity directed towards the Murdoch name, aka Rupert and his son Lachlan. However from what I could gather on this chart their influence didn’t necessarily affect the localised information I was receiving, but rather media players such as Kerry Stokes, Bruce Gordon and the Fairfax Media Limited were. Upon further investigation I found that Bruce Gordon, owner of the WIN Television Network, a network founded in Wollongong had actually “gained control” of the network from Rupert Murdoch. This led me to wonder, did the “2 out of 3” law have anything to do with Rupert Murdoch’s withdrawal from our network and will the possible abolishment of this law lead to regained control of our media by the Murdoch name?

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I believe, if there is a change to this law there is a risk of bias opinion on all forms of media, especially if this power is in the hands of Rupert Murdoch, who is well known for “abusing his media power” and incorporating personal political opinion. Will the following stats need adjusting?

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Interpretation and Perspective

You know that feeling when you see an image and for a second you see one thing and then after a double take, you acquire a completely different perspective and it takes on this whole new meaning? Well this my friends is a complex image. These complex images are constructed with a combination of semiotics, interpretations, and an ideology. All very elaborate terms, but when broken down and applied reveal how their relationship can have an affect our perspective compared to others who see the same image.

Take this image for example:

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The obvious first impression or signifier component of semiotics in this image, would be supposedly a woman standing or hiding behind a black book. Upon further inspection or thought the signified component or connotation is developed.

For instance my connotation on this image is as follows, women in particular those from Middle Eastern backgrounds (gathered by her dark eyes and skin tone) hold masses of knowledge (symbolised by the book) but are perhaps restricted from expressing or contributing this by religious ideals. The fact that the book is black and covers her face up to her eyes can also be a symbol for a burqa, further emphasising the suspicion that the subject is of a middle eastern ethnicity. Also noted is the fact that like black masking tape, the book/burqa is acting as a physical barrier for her expression. However, another individuals semiotics may lead to varied connotations influenced by ideology, in their opinion the person may not be of middle eastern appearance or even a woman for that matter, their idea may have a larger focus on either one component or the other rather than a combination. The addition of minute details such as the word “UNICEF” in the bottom corner may highly sway their perspective also . My connotation  also has an overshadowing of negativity, mainly influenced by the dark colours in the extract, whereas there is a possibility that someone can shed a positive light on the same extract. The varying perspectives on components of the image are those which contribute to the complexity of the image.

Upon further research into this extract and the creator, I have gathered that the image was a UNICEF campaign which had the slogan “more education for girls in islamic countries”. I feel that the reason the creator presented this slogan in such fine print is to initially give the audience a chance to establish their own connotation and really consider all aspects of the image to deliver his eventual message.

Isn’t it intriguing how the mind can have such varied interpretations of the same image, while still communicating a meaningful message?

 

People and Media

 “What are the current issue involving people and their use of the media?”

“How does (if it does) the history of media audience research help us make sense of this?”

As of late, issues, if you will,  have emerged  with the involvement of individuals and the ways in which they behave and interact on varying forms of media. It is no surprise that the introduction of advanced technologies such as the internet and constantly evolving mediums such as mobile phones (more smart phones), televisions, laptops etc. have introduced an overwhelming number of both legal and non-legal predicaments for users. One predicament which should be noted is one which involves Privacy.

Whether it be the overarching concept of the internet in general which is relatively new, or singular devices such as television which have been around for decades, users are aware that their media contribution is being monitored, the underlying question is however, to what extent?

Historically, media audience research did in fact outline to users that “big brother is watching”, however this research was purely for the purpose of gathering data to better the viewers experience, on mediums such as televisions and radios, rather than invade their privacy. It s known that when something evolves there is no guarantee of only a positive outcome! In relation to electronic media (the internet), this is an inclusion of all social media platforms or any online communications, historical media audience research is not of much use, but research conducted recently specifically for the purpose of this new form of media may clarify some issues. Users are very well aware that social media platforms in particular make it their duty to inform and protect users in relation to privacy of their information, it is all controlled by you! Unfortunately, media audience research has expressed overwhelming discrepancies which obviously caught the eyes of many users. Options which protect our privacy have been found to not only better our experience, but partner it with breaches to personal privacy, which are then collected and collaborated for use by the mysterious “higher power”, for example by businesses for marketing purposes as shown in the below clip:

With the extreme variation in use of media audience research from singular media (televsions etc) to the now electronic media, there has been an obvious recession in the users focus on the area of privacy, but is this likely to alter the ways in which they choose to undertake their online dealings?

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