Peace Journalism vs War Journalism

Audiences today due to the advancement in technology are able to access and received the latest news and information 24 hours a day with constant news channels. These 24 hour news stations however are more often than not trivialised, sensationalised and focused on providing entertainment rather than facts. In today’s society news that differs from main stream broadcast is difficult due to the journalist expectation and the CNN effect which focuses on the pressure for ‘live’ reporting of all stories. This is particularly relevant when discussing international conflict and politics.

Popular news channels when focusing on infotainment leave out key details which affect the severity and rashness of the story. Civilian deaths, actual human faces in war and on the ground impacts are never aired during a story. In addition to this the background information around the country or affect area is also not delivered to audiences.

Al- Jazeera English promotes a South to North contra flow of news as opposed to the traditional North to South broadcast of news which revolves around big names including CNN, BBC and ABC. This provides a new outlook on conflict and a more real approach to war zones as opposed to an infotainment approach.

Traditional media uses War Journalism which generally focuses on two parties with one goal; to win. It is based around an ‘us vs them’ attitude and the opposition are commonly dehumanized. The focus is to uncover the opposition’s untold truths while also focusing on our victims. The only solution to peace is a victory and ceasefire.

Contrary to this Peace Journalism does focuses on the conflict, however it takes a different angle to mainstream journalism. Peace journalism has four main aims, to report on peace and be conflict orientates, truth orientates, people orientated and solutions orientated. They often interview multiple parties and always allow them a voice. They seek to expose untruths on all sides whilst also focusing on the victims. Their solution to peace is non-violence and creative.

Al Jazeera English is trying to promote a Peace Journalist approach to conflicts so that audiences can be aware of the two sides to every story that is aired on mainstream media. This approach whilst also educating audiences will help to reduce the bias in the media.

Reference List:

Figenschou, T.U. (2010) ‘A voice for the voiceless?: A quantitative content analysis of Al-Jazeera English’s flagship news’. Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 85-107. Joye, S. (2010) ‘Reflections on Inter Press Service: Evaluating the importance of an alternative news voice’. Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 121-125. Cottle, S. & Rai, M. (2008) ‘Global 24/7 news providers: Emissaries of global dominance or global public sphere?’. Global Media and Communication, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 157-181.

Global Crisis: Climate Change

The media is regarded as a main source of information and we rely on them to bring current news about what happens to the Earth. The majority of the population is aware about the Climate change issue due to media reporting across a vast majority of mediums. Within this reporting through we must make a balanced opinion on where the news is sourcing their information from and whether or not it is based on scientific facts or opinionated.

Climate change is widely considered a major global issues that impacts on the everyday life on all people. The issue has divided people on their views points there is the majority of people who accept climate change for what it is and regard it as a growing threat then there are others who are skeptical of climate change and believe it to be false. Journalists have a responsibility to address the public truthfully and report their stories with honesty. However there are a number of professional journalists who choose not to report the scientific evidence on climate change due to their political viewpoint. This is concerning as professional journalists must report on major issues regarding the scientific evidence not their personal standpoint or political views.

Ward addresses this issues in his journal article, he states that one element of the SPJ Code of Ethics urges that reporters should give a voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid (Ward, 2009). This means that despite some of the media being government controlled it is essential for a democracy that the media report on all stories in a non-bias nature and accept a wide dispersion of scientific theories which are based on evidence not ideologies.

The media today is a major influencing factor especially with the advancement of the web and online news stories therefore it is vital that the media provide the public with the proper information on climate change so that it does not become an increased threat the world.

Reference List:

Jari Lyytimäki (2009) ‘Mulling over the climate debate: Media education on climate change’. Journal of Sustainable Development, vol. 2, no. 3. Gavin, N. (2009) ‘Addressing climate change: a media perspective’, Environmental Politics, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 765-780.

Ward, B 2009, ‘Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty’, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, vol. 9, pp. 13-15.

Who Counts in Global Media

According to Golding and Elliot, the media selects its available stories and rates them from important to less important, creating the news that they choose to report based on their opinion. It derived from unstated or implicit assumptions or judgment about the audience, accessibility and fit (Golding & Elliot, 2000). When selecting a news, the press will consider news that will appeal according to the audience’s preferences rather than applying objective standard

There are four features which news can be classified under. The first is Transient, in this feature news increases in importance compared to history, the essence of news is more than general knowledge, but less than formal knowledge of an event and news is characterised by its brief and short-lived quality.

The second feature is Pseudo-events where various occurrences are arranged for the convenience of the mass media. It also relies on the success of the public relations campaign that accompanies the events and can then be assessed by how widely the event is reported. Lastly it focuses on the public’s expectation that newspapers, television and radio have to be full of news and if there is no news visible, the successful reporters of news organisations are still expected to provide a story.

Feature three is Narrativisation. In this feature items are from the start called “stories”, and they are shaped into narrative form as soon as possible. For example, war and terrorism coverage draws on an existing repertoire from Second World War narratives, the last virtuous modern war.

The final feature is Visual Imperatives. This features is important in television news. It drives towards stories that have “strong” pictures, whether it be celebrities, famines or scenes which resemble films.

In relation to the Arab Spring most of the western media failed to highlight the historical evolution of the Arab world due to lack of coverage of the event. Ben Wedeman, CNN’s Cairo-based senior international correspondent stated that the role of journalists is crucial and constant news coverage must be available in addressing the event. He stated “‘Arab Spring’ is a story of huge historical importance that will reverberate for years afterwards, a bit like World War I and its impact on the Middle East that we feel to this very day,” (Lee0 Wright, 2012).

The western media has been criticized numerous times for their news coverage and for selecting what elements to include and exclude in their newsroom. When covering the Egyptian Revolution, the press tend to increase the controversy reporting it as violent and drama rather than the underlying injustice facing by the Egypt nation. The Boston bombing which occurred on April 15th, dominated cover pages of newspapers and was highlighted in newsroom in many countries including Malaysia. Within 24 hours of the Boston bombing another bombing happened in Iraq. However, unlike the significant attention received by the Boston bombing, how many of us actually noticed about the tragedy that is happening in Iraq at almost the same period of time?

Reference List:

Lee- Wright, P 2012, ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’

Golding, P & Elliot, P. 2000, ‘News Values & News Production’, New York University Press, P. 632- 644

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes has seen numerous amounts of adaptations over the last century. The two current adaptations which I will focus on are the popular British TV show ‘Sherlock’ and the American adaptation ‘Elementary’. Both shows bring their own adaptation to the character of Sherlock Holmes, however the true nature of ‘Englishness’ in both shows is not forgotten.

In the BBC’s Sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes, and Martin Freeman portrays Watson. Sherlock is a modernised show that follows closely to Conan Doyle’s books on the well-loved detective. The modern interpretation of the show finds Holmes in the 21st century with his companion Watson.

The US adaptation named Elementary differs from the BBC production because Holmes and other characters are portrayed very differently. The adaptation of the show challenges the discourse of Conan Doyle’s stories which therefore Americanised the show. The show is set in New York, with Holmes portrayed as a consultant and recovering addict with Joan Watson as his sober companion and an ex surgeon. Together they help Captain Gregson solve crimes. The main plot twist to the American version is that Moriarty, Sherlock’s enemy is a female as well.

The representation of ‘Englishness’ in the American series is definitely stronger than the BBC version because the American version creates a more unconventional Sherlock in New York, where he is the only characters that speaks in a British accent.

There is a general difference between American detective shows and British detective shows. American detectives are often hard characters who are no strangers to violence, attracts women and is often portrayed as damaged or broken usually by drugs and/or alcohol. They work alone the majority of the time and are separated from their criminals by a moral code. In contrary the British detectives are more civilized and often are quirky. They are generally non-violent with little to none sexual activity.

Reference List:

Asher-Perrin, E (2014) ‘Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation’ Tor.com, available online at http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/02/battling-super-sleuths-the-awkward-case-of-elementary-sherlock-and-building-the-better-adaptation Penny, L (2014) ‘Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase’ New Statesman, available online at http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/01/sherlock-and-adventure-overzealous-fanbase

Television in Translation: Kath and Kim

Different cultures have different history, social contexts and norms. These help to shape our perspective on life and humour. In order to understand another culture you must be able to translate the traditional ideas and notions in reference to their everyday life and behaviour specific to that culture.

In order for comedy to be successful it largely depends on the breaking of rules in a language and behavioural context. Generally laughter signals that the audience have recognised the break. This notion however relies on first knowing what the rules are so while all cultures may laugh at the same kind of rules being broken the rules may be different in different contexts

The translation of comedy described by Turnbull outlines that “a comedy depends not only on the translation of the cultural context from one locale to another, but also on the kinds of production deals which are made and the expectations about audiences which are then inferred. Even more significant may be the choices that are made about casting and the character of the ensuing embodied performances” (Turnbull, 2008).

An example of crossing the cultural barrier but failing to do so was the American rendition of Kath and Kim. The original Kath and Kim was a popular Australian sitcom which aired in Australia from 2002 to 2007. It portrayed a suburban mother and daughter with a dysfunctional relationship. The typical Australian cultural references portrayed in the television series were largely not understood by American audiences therefore it was remade into an American version. The American version was largely criticized and failed to appeal to American or Australian audiences. Karen Brooks writing in the Brisbane Courier Mail commented that the American Kath and Kim are “not monstrous enough to be clichés, stereotypes, and parodies or brave enough to be abhorrent or funny. The American actresses were too glamorous and clean they lacked the vulgar dirty behaviour of the original Kath and Kim”.

Using Andy Medhurst’s description of comedy; “comedy plays an absolutely pivotal role in the construction of national identity’ because it invites us to belong by sharing the joke, then comedy may be particularly revealing in terms of how that national identity is imagined, especially if we turn our attention to what the joke implies in terms of sharing and belonging”. We can identify what went wrong with the remake. The American Kath and Kim was too similar to the Australian version therefore it didn’t connect with the American national identity. The remaking and redistributing of cultural media into other countries must be relevant to their cultural norms and individualism for the transition to be successful.

Reference List:

Turnbull, S (2004) ‘Look at Moiye, Kimmie, look at moiye’: Kath and Kim and the Australian comedy of taste’. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, no. 113, pp. 98 – 109

Turnbull, S (2010) ‘The long tail of mother and son: the transnational career of an Australian situation comedy’. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, no. 134, pp. 96.

Crossover Cinema

With the rapid advancement of new technologies global markets and borders are becoming blurred. Cultural borders that previously separated predominately western and eastern cinema in production and distribution are becoming crossed over. A more ‘crossover cinema’ is being created through different nations adopting other cultures, art forms and styles of cinematic productions. ‘Crossover cinema’ is a word created to define the emerging forms of cinema that crosses cultural borders which therefore creates a hybrid cinematic experience’ (Khorana, 2014).

With this crossover eastern cinema is becoming more popular and there is therefore room for exploitation by western companies who are producing eastern made movie for western audiences. These movies often portray stereotypical cultural landmarks or views. “The concept of national cinema is often used prescriptively rather than descriptively, citing what ought to be the national cinema, rather than describing the actual cinematic experience of popular audiences” (Higbee & Lim, 2010)

The growing medium of crossover has sparked debate which argues that too much foreign influence will change the national culture. Audiences are now branching out from traditional cinema which is paving the way for eastern films produced by Bollywood and Nollywood. The rising popularity among western audiences is due to the large scale output, smaller budgets, quicker release times and exotic storylines.

The introduction of eastern cinema into a western market has the potential to take the cinematic experience to a whole new level but the crossover cinema must not be exploited by western companies looking to market eastern influenced movies. The exotic cinematic experience that Nollywood and Bollywood provide is generating a growing amount of western fans who hope the market stays true to the nationally produced films and avoids hybrid copies.

Reference List:
Khorana, S., 2014, ‘Crossover Cinema: A Genealogical and Conceptual Overview’

Higbee, W and Lim, S. H. (2010) ‘Concepts of transnational cinema: Towards a critical transnationalism in film studies’. Transnational Cinemas, 1(1), pp. 7-21.

Bolly, Nolly and Hollywood

The new millennium saw the rise of the internet, satellite networks, cable television, and DVD distribution. With this new technology scholars are increasingly predicting that Asian and Indian film industries, particularly with the rise of Bollywood and Nollywood, will wrestle control of global film flows from Western dominance. (Schaefer and Karan, 2010)

Nollywood is Nigeria’s film industry which in 2007 produced 1,687 feature films, making it the third largest film industry in the world. ‘The cinematic phenomenon that was inaugurated in Lagos, has known an unprecedented measure of success in its homeland and is beginning to make its mark outside this home turf’. (Okome, 2007) Nollywood films are filmed and edited quickly so that they are readily made direct to video therefore eliminating movie screenings. The films draw on traditional characters and situations as well as television serials with a mix of melodrama and magical culture.

In both Bollywood and Nollywood film makers are mixing both global and local elements to appeal to audience tastes and trends. The East Asian film industries of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan along with famous martial arts stars including Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan have helped to generated millions of dollars through the Hollywood film industry.

The rising success of Bollywood and Nollywood is creating contra flow, which is resulting in a shift of cultural influences to the global south. This cultural shift is merging western and eastern cultures through the emergence of hybrid films. ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’, ‘Slumdog Billionaire’ and ‘Monsoon Wedding’ are all examples of hybridized films resulting in an Eastern movie for Western audiences. ‘Slumdog Billionaire’ despite being Bollywood influenced, was produced and funded by an American company. ‘Monsoon Wedding’ was the only Hindi-oriented film produced. At the box office it generated $13.5 million but it was produced not by an Indian company, but by IFC Films of New York, a subsidiary of the American cable channel programmer Rainbow Media. (Schaefer and Karen, 2010)

While some East Asian movies have generated huge theatrical profits in North America, the majority have failed to enter the market. Hollywood have seen the mass audience and distribution of films produced by Bollywood and Nollywood and have hybridized into the market. Schaefer and Karen state that American film industry has taken the Bollywood theme and developed it to the western market to generate profit. “Bollywoodization appears to have been absorbed into the conglomerate multicultural marketing toolkit, prompting us to question whose economic interest actually is being served by the soft power potential of the Indian film industry and its cinematic contra-flows”. (Schafer and Karen, 2010)

Reference List:

Okome, O. 2007, Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption, Accessed: 24th August, 2014

Schaefer, D. & Karen, K. 2010, Global Media and Communication, Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows, Accessed: 24th August, 2014