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Active Audience…The Rap

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

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Strikes and Medias Effects

November 10, 2011 1 comment

Was it the thousands of workers that went on strike or was it the media’s coverage of the 2006 Houston Janitor strike that won the workers higher wages and better working hours? Of course a lot if the effort can be attributed to the workers who risked their jobs to strike for a wage increase from $5.15 and hour to $7.75 as well as an increase from 4 hours to 6 nightly, but a big influence to the success of the strike came from the media’s coverage of the whole event.
Media isn’t always fair; often certain media outlets are owned by the same company and thus express the same views. Williams show this by bringing up the multiple newspapers that covered the 2006 Houston strike. A few of the media outlets that covered the strike were; The Houston Chronicle, The Houston Press, Rumbo, and KPFT. Williams makes it apparent that the Houston Press “did not publish any articles about the strike, according to its online archives. The press was owned by a national media conglomerate” (116). Where as both Rumbo and KPFT were owned by Local Latinos that supported the cause. This draws a focus to the fact that media can be very biased toward whatever cause they support. You have the contrast between The Houston Press and Houston Chronicles who do not support and don’t even report the strike (Houston Press) with the local newspaper Rumbo and the local radio station KPFT who both support the strikers and help to get the struggles of the workers out into the public to draw attention to the cause. “Robert Ramos was the primary reporter who covered the strike for Rumbo. In a 2007 interview he said, ‘I believe that the media must show the realities of our world that usually go unnoticed” (116). For Ramos and the newspaper, this meant reporting the strikers and their fight for fair wages and longer hours, which is a very serious problem in our world.
For Williams, I’d like to ask is it really realistic to report the on goings of a strike in major newspapers? Are there not other causes just as worthy as the strikers cause that go unnoticed and don’t get publicity? I agree that media has a large impact on people, and how they view events, but how would you go about changing this so that newspapers are not one sided? It seems that although the Houston Chronicle was against the strike and Rumbo was very for it—there was no real middle ground. I’m curious to how you would go about creating a media source that just reported the facts, with no opinions attached. Is it even possible to create such a media source—cover issues from all angles? Or do you think viewers, listeners, and readers need to be told what to think about certain issues?

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Media Globalization

November 8, 2011 1 comment

Media travels in a number of ways, through social networking sites, television, radio, e-mail, and cell phone. The way in which people around the world use and receive media has been revolutionized in the last 100 years. Instead of writing a letter to someone living across the country, which could take weeks—we are able to Skype face to face with them at any given moment. There is no longer a barrier of physical distance but an interconnectedness that has spread around the world, this is known as globalization. This expanding use of media can be seen everyday, even on our trip to South High School.
Not only did our trip to South get us to look at how they used different types of media to spread the word around their campus—it also gave us a good look at cultural imperialism. South is a very diverse campus with kids that represent every part of the world and they all use some sort of media. Even though they are from different backgrounds and culture there is an increasing mix of western media influence on other arts of the world. “There is no denying the overwhelming presence the U.S. culture has in other countries. American television, films, and music are common in most societies across the globe” (333). This influence can also be seen at the kids that attend South High, they are increasingly being influenced and molded to like popular Western culture instead of the culture they were brought up in. A lot of this can be due to the fact that smaller cultures just do not have the means to create a multi billion-dollar industry like the one in America. This in effect causes people to view a very narrow view of the world (through ‘western’ eyes). One of the main fears of this is “that the globalization of media is resulting in the homogenization of culture” (335). There are multiple pros and cons to the globalization of media, another being its effects on politics.
Politics have been around since the dawn of time, however there wasn’t always a way to get politicians messages out to everyone—until now. With media a politician’s views can be read about wherever and whenever. It allows the public to connect with their congress representative whenever they feel the need to. But as a result of this spread of such available media comes the very narrow views that often are shown on the news. Rarely do we see what is going on around the world other than through the 5 big new conglomerates. American news is shadowed and monitored by these conglomerates so that they only show certain views. This is an obviously down fall of media. But like the vast spread of communication between countries also comes the flow of information involving politics. An upside to media comes from the vast available knowledge from sources outside the U.S. like BBC and other various countries news stations. There are both positive and negative effects that come out of the mass globalization of media.

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Active Audiences

October 20, 2011 1 comment

We see a variety of media everyday, ranging from what is on the news, what we hear on the radio, or what we read about on the Internet.  After coming in contact with any type of media, we immediately have some type of opinion about the content.  We may agree, disagree, or be unaffected by it—this is know as active audience.  “The notion of an active audience appeals to our belief in the intelligence and autonomy of people.  The term is both a critique of cynicism about the power of media and an expression of faith in the power of people” (256).   The belief used to be the mass media was communicated to society and that the audience was being dominated and told what to think according to what the media said.  This idea has completely changed due to three factors; individual interpretation, collective interpretation, and through collective action.

Individual interpretation refers to when a viewer sees some type of media, like an ad and reflects on the ad.  This can be as simple as someone seeing a movie trailer and thus from the trailer deciding to go see the movie.  It is completely up to the individual to decide how they feel about what the media shows.  The thing that is so compelling about individual interpretation is that the makers of advertisements want the viewers to feel a specific way about their ad, however they don’t have 100% control over an individuals feelings.  A viewer could easily see an ad they are supposed to like, and instantly hate it.  This is the basic notion of individual interpretation—the viewer is in control of what they see.

The second notion that goes along with active audience is collective interpretation of media.  This notion is almost the same as the first with one distinct difference, almost anything you witness you are sharing with the people around you.  “Audiences are active in the sense that they interpret media messages socially” (258).   This means that not only does the individual see media but it also becomes transmitted around to multiple other people.  If something is amusing it spreads like wildfire especially with websites like YouTube and Facebook where everything is seen and shared with hundreds of other people.  Viewers construct certain meaning and the ways audiences engage with others as they interpret media show that the producers of media don’t have that much control on what people think.

The third notion that active audiences cover is collective action.  Collective action is the build up from first individual interpretation or seeing something that gives you opinion, then sharing it with the people around you, which ends with collective action or doing something to change a situation.  This is a common occurrence when something offensive is played on TV or the radio; it results in public outrage and thus collective action.  Collection action really shows how the media cannot control its viewers.  It is vital for the audience to show their on opinions about a variety of topics.  Active audience is very important because it allows society to express what they think about the media they see whether it is individually or collectively.

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Free Press and Version Restrictions

October 16, 2011 2 comments

Technology is constantly advancing and changing, and so are the regulation big businesses put on those technologies.  Cell phones no longer only call people, they are so advanced that they can take pictures, videos, play games, connect to the internet, tether other devices, and do tons of other tricks that weren’t possible 10 years ago.  As discussed by Free Press, with these advancements in technology also come restrictions that hurt the consumer.  One such restriction comes from Verizon Wireless and their constraint on their users tethering options. According to Free Press, “by limiting access to tethering applications is not just a bad business practice and bad policy choice; it also deliberately flouts the openness conditions imposed on Verizon’s LTE spectrum.”  By doing this, Verizon is limiting its customer’s access to other applications.  They are charging an extra $20-30 to have access to this tethering option.  Originally Verizon promised it would not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of its customers to use the devices and applications of their choice—however they restrict users from one of the most useful applications that a smart phone offers.  With the restriction of applications like tethering, it opens doors for Verizon to start restricting a variety of other tools.

Verizon has opened up a very interesting topic for debate among Internet users.  This restriction of tethering could very well bring about the equal restriction of other websites.  Although according to the FCC, companies are not allowed to restrict certain websites to users otherwise known as net neutrality, (preserving open access to the Internet and a level playing field for all websites, whereby all content would be treated equally), Verizon is coming extremely close to breaking this agreement. Very easily Version could “block access to Google Maps or Map Quest and force its users to rely on their own Verizon Navigator mapping service” (89).  Just like with the restriction of the tethering option, this would create a two –tier Internet where access is limited by a user’s ability to pay and would allow wireless service providers to discriminate against any site it chooses.  So with this very real problem beginning to occur in the Internet realm, the FCC needs to take control and make sure Net neutrality stays a priority.

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Precious and Ideology

September 28, 2011 1 comment

Probably one of the hardest movies to watch for a person of any race or culture is the film ‘Precious’.  It was released in 2009 and really capture the public’s attention with the harsh realities of one poor African American’s life.  However what is the film really saying about the life of Claireece P. “Precious” Jones?  Upon closer examination, ‘Precious,’ although a heart wrenching film–only takes the view of a poor black family in the ghetto of Harlem and thus this is our view of African American families despite our knowledge of successful and middle/upper class families.  Precious’ life calls extreme attention to no income families, abuse physically, mentally, and sexually, as well as the struggle for a 16 year old that is illiterate and pregnant with her second child.

This film probably appeals to the American public because it isn’t our life.  What I mean is, the majority of the public that is going to the movie theater to see films like ‘Precious’ are the ones that can afford it and thus are mostly likely not in the extreme situation that Claireece faces in her life.  The public goes into the theater wanting to be educated and to feel sorry about the life that isn’t theirs.  When they leave the theater, yes there is remorse for the people who have life’s like Caireeces’ but at the same time there is a sense of relief, because that is not the majority of middle class societies life.  Middle class doesn’t have to face being raped by their father, beaten by their mother, being illiterate and pregnant at 16.
The ideology presented in Precious is first a poor black family, which gives the notion that, that is the only way of life for African Americans, as well as that no white family has ever gone through the same struggle.

The next part that adds to a more white as superior view is the fact that Claireece wants to be a star and be on covers of magazines.  But as a culture we reject the idea of a poor obese African American on the cover of say Cosmopolitan or Vogue, because the only girls to get on the cover of those are skinny, middle to upper class women.  And very rarely is it of someone of a different race.  the next idea presented in the video is that Precious can’t really help herself, he needs a catalyst.  Now she finds that catalyst in her well educated lighter skinned teacher.  There is underlined idea that only the well educated can help the uneducated.  Although Claireece does decide to get out of her bad home situation she still need the help of her pretty (Mariah Carey) teacher and the white welfare worker.  I think all the things that go into this movie; Claireece’s situation, her dreams, and the people that help her find a way out, all suggest a ‘white ideal.’

The idea that with education, the help of the pretty and well educated you can get out of the ghettos of New York and thrive.  the ideology presented in ‘Precious’ gives the public the idea that all African American families are poor, uneducated, live an abusive life, and need the help of the educated to get out of the situation.  However this is not the life of all black families.

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September 15, 2011 4 comments

There have been plenty of events that have occurred throughout my life that have taught me so much and really have shaped me as a person.  The one event that stands out the most for me was during one of the hardest lacrosse tryout I’ve ever gone to.  It was the U-19 national team try-out and I wanted to come home after the first hour of a three-day try-out.  When I called home to basically complain and beg to come home my dad stopped me right away and told me, “Ali, the only way to be the best is to play against the best.”  I think the reason this stuck out as such a memorable learning experience is because it changed my mentality is because it made me understand even when you’re not the best, playing against the best is only gonna make you better.  This really affected how i thought and thus how i played.

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