Reading the story about Wal-Mart disgusted me. While there were many issue right off the bat such as how rapidly they grew and their means of maximizing profit the first thing that really caught my attention was the difference between the Chinese factory worker and the CEO of Wal-Mart. How can someone in good conscience accept a salary of $32 million when the people who are making the products that person’s company sells only gets paid 40 cents and hour? As I turned the page it only grew worse.
While I knew about some of these issues, although not in great detail, this was the first time I had heard about the sexism occurring at Wal-Mart. Not only does it appear they discriminate against having female managers, but they also expected women to work there as extra means of support with another main source of income through a spouse.
When I reached the part about the news coverage of those standing up to Wal-Mart I was relieved to find that someone was doing something about this. It really shows how much impact something small can have even when they are standing up to the biggest corporation. My concern was however, that not all the local media was covering this issue and I don’t understand why not? Why wouldn’t a media source want to cover not only such a big issue but also an important local issue?
Through these past few weeks I have liked a number of the readings and felt a number of them compelling. However, one of the ones I found particularly compelling was the topic of media economics. This is due to the fact I found it the most practical as well as most relatable to my life now. At the moment I am studying to be a business major and in such I am taking economics as well as business calculus. The reason this section stuck out to me is discusses a lot of the issues we have discussed in those classes and allowed for an overlap in subjects. This is the practical side of things.
In relation to the other chapters we have read this chapter focuses on the business side of things and the economics of the media industry. The topic focuses on a number of subtopics including: changing patterns of ownership, consequences of conglomeration and integration, the effects of concentration, mass media for profit, the impact of advertising, the limits of economic and political constraints, decision making for profit, the organization of media work, the rise of user generated content, occupational roles and professional socialization, and norms on the internet, new media, and new organizations. These ideas all show how the media industry operates and the rational of why things work the way they do. Some of the other topics talk about issues and the feelings of the media industry whereas the economic media chapters focus on the reasoning behind those issues and where they stem from. These chapters are the foundation for the book and for the information covered within the other chapters.
Media economics is the practical informative topic in the book. It is something that not only can I relate to my major but something that can be related to across the board. This topic allows us to explore who owns different aspects of the media and why that can be a problem. By knowing about ownership we can discuss other topics that we have learned about more thoroughly like net neutrality and the issue of race in the media. Another way we can discuss these ideas more thoroughly is looking at how media companies look at how they will make the most money. This can be through TV, movies, newspapers, and music all in efforts to gain more viewers or readers. By looking at the economics behind the media we gain a better understanding of how the industry works and that lets us delve into different subtopics like the different ones we have read in the book. It gives us the foundation to understand and also a look into the reasoning and how we need to see what needs to be changed and fixed in that foundation. Ultimately media economics is the basis for everything in the media: why it works the way it does, how its run, how they make money, the decisions they make and much more.
Free Press is an organization that works at developing and improving the media. They make media a political issue and bring up the problems that the media industry faces and tries to resolve them. Free Press believes media should be in the public’s interest and that the general population has a say. One of the issues Free Press tackles is ownership. Part of the problem with ownership is the issue of who has control and what they do with it. As the book Media Society states, “control of media information by a few companies may well be detrimental to the free flow of ideas” (84). Monopolies in media ownership are becoming more of a concern, as now there are few and fewer companies who have ownership, while big companies buy up smaller ones and take control. To fix this the government is trying to regulate the amount of control one company can have, but this is becoming less and less regulated. For example a single entity couldn’t own more than twelve national television stations or stations reaching up to 25% of U.S. TV households but now there is now limit of stations and it has been increased to 39%(85). Ownership is also a problem with the internet and something now known as “Net neutrality.” This is the issue of some companies want to allow those who pay to have faster Internet while those who don’t have their internet run much more slowly or have sites blocked (89). What I want to know is how is Free Press currently working to see that this problem doesn’t escalate or how are they working to minimize the problem?
When we are little often we are told to be unique, that our differences are what makes us special. Media for so long has contradicted this idea by telling the public or showing them how they should act, what they should like, essentially who they should be. By doing this, the media influences what we a society deem as the norm. This causes the general public to hide their differences in order to make an attempt to fit these ideals. Televisions shows, movies, and advertisements all give the public someone to emulate, look up to, or try to become. This however, strips people of their individuality and convinces them that they need to be someone else or conform to a specific type of person. For example most of the actors and actresses we see are fit, thin, toned to an extent that is almost unachievable to the average person. This people are paid to make themselves look this way and when they aren’t filming focus their energy on making sure they have the right body by working out, having chefs cook them special low calorie meals etc… People tried to be what those in charge of all these programs wanted them to be. Finally we are starting to see a change.
On the television show Glee the point of the show is that individuals are cool and should be celebrated. They cast people who are unique and aren’t the typical actor or actress. While the show doesn’t always have the best acting or plot it has become so popular due to the message it portrays: individuality should be encouraged and celebrated not discouraged or put down. In the spin off show The Glee Project the producers took this idea one step further by finding regular people to be on the show. This meant kids who weren’t already actors and actresses who were different, kids who are just like all the kids who watch these shows get to be stars and set and example. These two shows emphasized that not doing what everyone else chooses to do is a good thing it makes you special. This is a huge step forward for the media as we start to see different types of people appearing on show, movies, and in other forms of media as well who are representative of the masses.
I find hard to pin down the most fun or most memorable learning experience I have ever had. It is easy however, to know what type of learning experiences has impacted me the most in the way I think and make judgments. Travel has had the most influence on my life and the way I think and make decisions. When I first started to read this article and how it relates to my learning experience the part about “transforming the iPod into an academic device,” what first came to mind was all the schools where this isn’t the case. While the article is describing universities I can’t help but think of how we have more and more new technology and I have visited schools in Africa where there is no technology available to these kids for their education. When I visited a secondary school in Tanzania we brought them school supplies like pencils, pens, paper, and so much more because they didn’t even have the basics. Now that is an extreme case so I thought about the Ipods and how they were involved in my other travel experiences.
When I went on my People to People trip through Italy, France, and Spain the way I bonded with one girl was through the music we had on our Ipods. We had similar interests in music and she gave me a list of songs to get when I came home. On the bus as well as on the plane our iPods played a crucial role in our entertainment and our bonding as a group. When we listened to songs together we grew closer and learned more about the other people we were traveling with. Now this isn’t exactly an academic experience with iPods but they were involved in the academic experience of the trip. We learned about our similarities and differences and our iPods played a key role in this process.
The article talks about in both chapter three and chapter four about different learning styles and how people think differently. This is one of the things I love most about travel: learning about different types of people and diverse ways of thinking. Chapter four discusses the way kids are assessed in school all in the same way. “Americans take over 600 million standardized tests annually,” but a standardized test in only assessing in one way, which isn’t a fair assessment due to the fact we all think differently. Throughout my many travels I have traveled with around one hundred people not including the people I have met in all these countries. If I have learned anything it is that we are all unique and all have something different to bring to the table so there is no reason why we should have to be assessed constantly in the same way.