Reflection

Over the course of six weeks in our introduction to communication and media studies we have covered four key topics; what are the media being blamed for today and why?, connotation and denotation of controversial texts, who controls the media?, and the mediated public sphere. Each topic has help to broaden my knowledge of the media and the effects the media has on respective audiences. The theories and readings around who controls our media and the mediated public sphere actively engaged my thoughts and forced me to delve deeper than the surface, therefore changing my views on bias and my views on the media on the whole.

The four key topics covered relate to the final critical topic, children and the media. I decided to look at Canadian pop superstar Justin Bieber. He first gained attention as a YouTube phenomenon. After signing a record deal with Usher’s label, Bieber turned a generation of teen girls into “Beliebers.” (Biography.com, 2014)

After tasting success and earning considerable wealth after his record releases, Bieber ‘went off the rails’ so to speak. The teenage pop star was all over the media with stories about sex, drugs and speeding.

Justin Bieber

“In an older media model, Bieber enthusiasm would have directed itself to tried and true celebrity outlets. They would then have benefited from Bieber interest the way CNN benefits from hurricanes and sudden mayhem. But now, with a free-floating digital audience without much brand interest or even awareness, every news site, content collection or traffic aggregator can participate in the Bieber bonanza” (Wolff, 2014). To put it simply Bieber sells. The more illegal or morally unjust actions the more press the teenage pop sensation receives. He is a media magnet and newspapers, television and radio thrive on the teenagers every move.

The questions remain would Bieber be acting this way if he didn’t receive so much publicity? or has the media corrupted another teenage celebrity?. The ongoing debate about how young children are affected by the media, especially in a rapidly increasing technological society will remain a topic of debate. As the audience we have to be critical of the source of the information and decipher whether or not Bieber is really what the media portrays him as.

Reference List:

Justin Drew Bieber, The Biography.com website, http://www.biography.com/people/justin-bieber-522504, Accessed 13 Apr 2014.

Justin Bieber reportedly spending $US1 million ($1.3 million) a month on drugs, entourage and lavish lifestyle, News.com.au website, http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/justin-bieber-reportedly-spending-us1-million-a-week-on-drugs-entourage-and-lavish-lifestyle/story-e6frfmq9-1226814478498, Accessed 13 Apr 2014

Wolff, theguardian.com, Justin Bieber’s not newsworthy, but who cares? He’s online traffic gold, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/27/justin-bieber-media-fever-tabloid-journalism, Accessed 13 Apr 2014

Images sourced from:

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/justin-bieber-reportedly-spending-us1-million-a-week-on-drugs-entourage-and-lavish-lifestyle/story-e6frfmq9-1226814478498

Youtube.com

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Men’s Fitness

Body image is a multidimensional concept that includes the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes related to one’s own body.

Men’s health is regarded as one of the largest men’s magazines, predominantly fitness which is read by men and teenagers all around the world. Headings including; ‘Build a beach body’, ‘Bigger arms now!’ and ‘Gain muscle, lose pounds’ are encouraging men to change their current body weight or size and adapt to the current ‘norm’ of a muscled up model chosen for their minimal body fat percentage.

Build a beach body - mens health

Bigger arms now - mens health

Gain muscle lose pounds - mens health

The lean, fit men portrayed on the magazine covers raise the issue that all men should be fit and toned. If you’re carrying excess bodyweight then you’re outside the ‘norm’ and therefore not included in the current fitness driven society.

Scholars have begun to examine the increased emphasis on muscularity for men. The current supposition is that a drive to be muscular may be as dangerous for adolescent boys as a drive to be thin is for adolescent girls. Sports, health, and fitness magazines may be a meaningful training ground for adolescents to learn the importance of muscularity and the methods to obtain these perfect sports bodies. Such magazines also reinforce the rewards that accompany the attainment of “perfect” bodies. Nearly 400 high school and college students from an urban area in the Midwest were surveyed to test the extent to which reading fashion, sports, and health/fitness magazines is related to body image and eating disturbances, including the added dimension of muscularity. Results indicate that magazine reading, social comparisons, and critical body image processing are important predictors of body image and eating disturbances for adolescent boys and girls“. (Botta, 2003)

Body image is quite a large epidemic amongst women, especially girls in their teenage years whereas men’s issues about body image are not voiced in the media on an equal scale. The popularity of Men’s Health magazine which promotes fitness also raises awareness in the public mediated sphere of male body image and the importance of accepting a person for their inner beliefs as opposed to their physical appearance. “Public sphere culture is too spectacular. Audiences have short attention spans. They only want flashy visuals and superficial distractions“. (McKee, 2005)

References:

McKee, A, 2005, ‘Introduction: the public sphere: an introduction’ in Public Sphere: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1-31

Botta, A, 2003, ‘For Your Health? The Relationship Between Magazine Reading and Adolescents’ Body Image and Eating Disturbances, Sex Roles, Vol 48, pp389-398 http://web.psych.utoronto.ca/psy329/Botta_2003.pdf

Rodale Inc, 2014, Men’s Health http://www.menshealth.com/

Image Sources:

http://www.healthforthewholeself.com/2011/05/distressing-news-about-male-models/mens-health-magazine/

http://blog.poweroftwomarriage.com/category/in-the-press/as-seen-in-mens-health/

http://www.lavenhamjackets.com/blog/?attachment_id=95

Why does it matter who controls the media?

After logging out of Hotmail, a well known widely used internet mailing system the page is then automatically reverted to NineMSN news.

NineMSN was established in 1997 by Nine entertainment company and Microsoft. Just last year Nine entertainment company bought out Microsoft’s 50% share of the company and therefore owned the entire company. Nine entertainment company is owned by James Packer, the son of Kerry Packer a media mogul. He’s a billionaire business man who owns Crown casino’s in Australia and Asia. Packer’s ownership of the media is vital in his business career. He can place a spin on articles which suits the way his business grows and the public opinion of himself. “James Packer, has recently joined the Liberal Party to support his friend, businessman Malcolm Turnbull, in his bid to win preselection for a federal seat” Andrew West from the Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2003.

Political bias is present in every media source. A specific example of Packer’s Liberal influence is represented in these three NineMSN articles which highlight the need for Kevin Rudd to retire from politics.

Get out of Parliment

Rudd needs to go

Rudd needs to go

These three newspaper articles were taken from NineMSN during the months of September and October 2013. A clear bias is present in all three. The headings of these articles are primarily important. After signing out of Hotmail, the audience is diverted to NineMSN. A viewer may only read the title before closing the browser but that time in between is crucial; “Rudd needs to go: Nicole Roxon” “Rudd needs to go: O’Conner” and “Get out of parliament, Newman tells Rudd”, as it places a clear message inside the viewers head. These short but very conclusive headings highly impact the viewer and their political thought.

The control of this media allows Packer to place a negative connotation upon the Labor party and subconsciously highlight the importance of voting for the Liberal party to his audience.

References:

Renai LeMay, Delimiter, After 16 years, Microsoft finally exits ninemsn, http://delimiter.com.au/2013/10/14/16-years-microsoft-finally-exits-ninemsn, October 14th 2013

Jessica Gardner, The Sydney Morning Herald, James Packer: ‘My personal life is a disaster’, http://www.smh.com.au/business/james-packer-my-personal-life-is-a-disaster-20140304-341fp.html, March 4th 2014

Andrew West, The Sydney Morning Herald, A Packer joins the Libs, http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/10/04/1064988455177.html?from=storyrhs, October 5th 2003

Images sourced from:

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/10/16/20/19/rudd-needs-to-go-roxon

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/09/10/09/38/rudd-needs-to-go-o-connor

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/09/08/07/55/get-out-of-parliament-newman-tells-rudd

The Offside Rule

The+offside+rule+now+for+women_4fb04f_3843668

(Author: oggynoggen)

The following image is very simple. The signifiers include; The heading: The “offside” rule explained to women, the box on the right with a open door and the words kitchen written inside of it, the stick figure drawing of a woman outside of the box with an arrow pointing towards her with the word offside written underneath. The content of this image is today considered sexist and offensive and clearly targeted at a male audience.

The offside rule is a common rule in sport which relates to player positioning. Rugby Union, Rugby League, Soccer and American Football are all examples of sports which enforce the offside rule. These sports are traditionally male dominated therefore the picture draws upon the prior knowledge of its intended male audience.

The picture takes the offside rule and instead of using opposing players the woman is considered ‘offside’ because she has left the kitchen. The underlining meaning of the message is that women belong in the kitchen and anywhere else is not acceptable.

Despite this atrocity of an image, the ideas portrayed would have been acceptable during the 1950’s where the social norm included the suppression of women and one of their main duties was to tend to every need of her husband. “This was also the era of the “happy homemaker.” For young mothers in the 1950s, domesticity was idealized in the media, and women were encouraged to stay at home if the family could afford it. Women who chose to work when they didn’t need the pay check were often considered selfish, putting themselves before the needs of their family.” (PBS.org, 1999)

In the 21st Century the portrayal of women is extremely different. If this image were idealized in the media today the repercussions would be contradictory to those sixty years ago.

Reference List:

PBS.org, People & Events: Mrs. America: Women’s Roles in the 1950s, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/p_mrs.html, 1999-2001

Image Sourced from:

http://www.funnyjunk.com/funny_pictures/3844112/The+offside+rule+now+for+women/

What are the media being blamed for today and why?

The media, specifically video games are constantly under scrutiny for the violent nature of their content. The link between violent video game content and acts of violence in the real world poses a serious question to members of society. Does the interaction of violence in a virtual world parallel in the real world?

Australia’s MA15+ games rating was the highest available until recently when domestic legislation was enacted that allowed a R18+ classification to be used. (ABC News, 2012) The censorship restricts the game to a particular age level; G, PG, M, MA15+ or R18+. After the change Grand Theft Auto 5, a R18+ restricted game was released in Australia. The game contains strong impact themes, violence, language, nudity and sexual reference as well as high impact drug use. Although, the average eighteen year old male or female would have had exposure to one if not all the previous themes either through the news, social media or word of mouth.

As an audience we need to consider the way in which the media affects us. Movies can reduce us to tears, television shows can provide comic relief and video games can create an alternate reality. After psychological researcher, Dr Mario Vance conducted a project at the Rapture Institute he came to the conclusion that “the media’s main concern appears to be that enthusiastic gamers can’t differentiate between games and the real world, so violent games will result in violent behaviour. But anyone who has the cognitive faculties to purchase, set up and operate modern games consoles won’t have trouble differentiating between a cartoonish fantasy world and reality.” (Burnett, 2013)

Video games have received a negative stigma culturally compared to other mediums. Violent video games are generally not accepted as a healthy pastime for teenagers or young adults. However a contact sport like rugby union or rugby league is often considered a national pastime. Both contain violent elements but its ultimately the way in which the media presents it to the public.

“After over sixty years of a considerable amount of research effort, direct effects of media upon behaviour have not been clearly identified, then we should conclude that they are simply not there to be found.” – (Gauntlett, 1998)

Reference List:

Australian Broadcasting Commission, R18+ video game rating passes Senate, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-19/r18-video-game-rating-passes-senate/4078460, 19th June 2012

Dean Burnett, The Guardian, Claims that ‘video games lead to violence’ lead to violence, http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/sep/20/video-games-cause-violence-claims-cause-violence, 20th September 2013

David Gauntlett, Ten things wrong with the media effects model, http://www.theory.org.uk/david/effects.htm, 1998

Felicitations

Andrew Wurf, 19 years old, Wagga Wagga, 1st time blogger and tweeter.

I always thought that Twitter was best described by the comedian David O’Doherty “Twitter, I have no idea of the point of Twitter. It’s like an idiot megaphone shouting out banalities of your own life”. On that note I have jumped on the bandwagon and have officially sent my first ‘tweet’.

I’m studying a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies hopefully majoring in Advertising and Marketing. Fully obsessed with ‘The Chasers War on Everything’ or anything that the five guys produce! and ‘The Gruen Transfer’ which is where my passion for Advertising and Marketing most likely stemmed from. I had a gap year last year working and saving before travelling around Europe for a couple of months. Keep tabs on my blog as I’m sure it will improve after more lectures and tutorials (hopefully).

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