The Free Press is a media reform organization established in 2002 by media scholar Robert W. McChesney, that aims toward providing diverse and independent media ownership, quality journalism, and strong public media. The Free Press has several campaigns such as ” Save the Internet”, which aims to pressure the FCC for net neutrality; and the “Save the News” campaign that advocates public policies to promote serious journalism in the United States. In Chapter 3, net neutrality is explained, and it is uncovered that the government protected against monopolies at first by regulating ownership and control of some technologies, however, the federal laws were revised because of the merging of different media forms. Dial-up via telephone modem operated as open-access so that all users and content providers were treated the same; Now, such regulations do not exist for cable, giving cable companies freedom to structure access so that users visiting company-owned sites are able to download material at top speed, while other sites load more slowly or are blocked entirely, thus prompting organizations like Free Press to begin promoting net neutrality: preserving open access to the Internet and a level playing field for all websites, whereby all content would be treated equally. I would like to ask the Free Press director why is it that other countries, such as Japan, have faster internet speeds offered at almost half of the price at what you will pay for half of the speed in the United States?
The most compelling theory to me discussed in chapters 2&4 is media economics. I had an idea that we were living in a mass media monopoly era, but I had no idea how bad it was. Almost anyone who watches television in the United States knows about Warner Bros., which was the bulk of the Time Warner company at one point in time, however, Time Warner has now reached the status of multimedia conglomerate with ownership of majority of popular radio, newspapers across the country, the magazine industry with ownership under Time Inc., and popular television networks, movies, and even books. It’s no wonder that we as an audience see the same products advertised in 15 different commercials on 7 different television networks. What’s even scarier is that the Walt Disney Company, another media conglomerate in the U.S. is also becoming a worldwide conglomerate with popular shows produced in the U.S. being shown in over 10 different countries. The United States prides itself on being a place of freedom, where one can express themselves through an array of venues, but to find out that almost everything that is broadcast and produced nation wide is all controlled by the same circle of wealthy men. Even as a child, I wondered why I was seeing characters from my favorite movie or television show on my McDonald’s happy meal box, or why was I able to purchase not only a doll from the popular show or movie, but also a Barbie doll which was themed off of the latter. As an adult, I am more aware, especially after taking this course, of the effects that media economics has on all avenues of media production. It saddens me that I cannot even turn on my car radio on a road trip traveling through 4 states without hearing the same 10 songs playing in the same rotation; It’s a little disturbing that even the news is controlled by these multimedia tyrants. How can someone living over a thousand miles away possibly know what is going on in my town or city to the point where they have the authority to control what is printed or announced during a live television broadcast? How does that help to inform the people who are living there about what is going on right outside of their own doors? The conclusion that I have come up with from the readings is that it is all about money and power. These corporations have no emotions or feelings at all towards the consumers. All they care about are statistics that show them how to make more money so that they can have more power and more control. It is said that we live in a democracy, but the more that time progresses it is starting to feel as though we live in a communist society where not even the government has input because they are being paid off by all of these giant corporations. I live for the day that my mind is not brainwashed with crap music to the point that I subconsciously begin singing the songs that I hate the most! God bless the creation of mp3 players and auxiliary ports.
The story that is the most compelling to me in this book is the history of the janitors union. It was fascinating for me to learn about the unions that exist today and how they were established. What was even more illuminating was that the janitorial services were eventually over turned by the Latinos that immigrated to the U.S. The fact that 70 percent of janitors were employed by the owners of the buildings in 1956 was no surprise to me, as it seems more cost-effective to hire the janitors directly versus hiring them through a third-party like an independent cleaning company, but finding out that by the 1980’s most janitors did work for independent companies that were hired by the building owners as a means to override the unions by producing contracts that could be terminated with just 30 days notice to keep the companies from paying the higher wages the workers usually won was a bit diabolical. Also to learn that by 1985, the janitor’s union had so many fewer members that lower wages were distributed causing more African-Americans and whites who had been janitors to find other work, thus resulting in the vast majority of janitors by the late 1980s to be Latino immigrants from central America was interesting, especially when I thought that many of the janitors we had in the U.S during that time were under privileged white persons or poverty-stricken African-Americans. I think that in a book that boasts stories of conservation, conglomerate dominance, and government deception, a story as simple as a janitor’s union has a great impact on the depth of what this book is about. The book’s overall depiction of how the media effects several different aspects of our society and cultural advancement as a whole was most intriguing to me. I would like to ask Esha what impact he thinks that media coverage has on our countries economic advancements in terms of unions and fair rights?
In the chapter 3 reading, “Project Classroom Makeover” by Cathy Davidson, the main focus is on technology in the classroom. In the reading, Duke University is chosen to participate in “Apple Digital Campus”, where each school chosen is to pick a product from apple to use across campus. Duke chose the ipod, which at the time in the reading, in 2003,has no scholastic value. Ipods were first made just for listening to music. It is and will always officially be the first mp3 player. The students at Duke begin a quest to find what is educational about the ipod. The focus, however was not on the ipod’s learning potential itself, but the young users of the ipod. It then goes on to elaborate on the new generation of students who have grown up in the information age and how teachers were still trained on text-based information. The first year students at Duke were all given ipods and challenged to come up with learning applications for the device. It is then discussed how the students who challenge themselves already, were given the opportunity to break the rules they have always followed and discover completely outside of the box with this ipod assignment. In the ipod experiment, the researchers were crowdsourcing educational innovation for a digital age to their incoming students. The students found many ways to use the ipod in an educational setting, from archiving famous dissertations from noble prize winners, physicists and poets, to recording lectures from their classes so that they could listen at their leisure. Language classes were also improved since you could listen to the assignments anywhere you went as long as you had an ipod. Sound had a new educational role and visuals dominated classroom culture. By the end of the first year of the experiment, Duke became apart of a new movement to transform the ipod from a listening device to an interactive broadcasting device and hosted the world’s first ever academic podcasting conference in 2005. The reading goes on to say that after the Duke ipod experiment, other schools, including a school in North Carolina, Culbreth Middle School, also did an ipod experiment to discover more innovative ways to use the ipod in an educational setting. The effect the digital age has on modern society and learning still hasn’t quite caught up to the digital age, in my opinion. Learning is beginning to include focus on technologies and digital media, but I believe the world won’t be caught up for a few more years.
When you grow up, you never picture the way your life will actually turn out. For some, dreams come true. For others, the hard knocks of life come to your door, and you have no choice but to answer. Joining the military is not something that I would have ever pictured myself doing, but with certain circumstances, there are obstacles you face that are almost impossible to avoid. The Army was most definitely a challenge for me. It was not just the adjustment to that way of living or the physical demands that one should expect, but it was the way you have to reprogram your mind and your way of thinking. I have always thought of myself as a logical thinker, but in the Army, there is no such thing as logic. I developed my critical thinking ability in high school by always challenging myself with classes that focus on development of certain thinking abilities. Rarely does the Army require critical thinking skills, but I was at an advantage when the time arose for such skills. The way that most things make sense in the “real” world, also known as the “civilian” world, plays no part in how the Army operates. I was taken completely out of my element, and everything I thought I knew, certain things that simply just made sense, had no value or definition in the Army. My experience was eye opening in that it showed to me what society neglects to show. The way people are portrayed in the media and in society is a highly distorted view from the perspective of the average “American” with no real knowledge about the specific thing they are generally discussing. Quality of anything done in the Army is not of the best, and I was more prepared than others and more equipped to judge certain qualities of bodies of work and other things that require critique in the Army. Technology and communication had little to no effect on this learning experience, but media did. Media played a huge part, because there was always a standard to be held to in the public eye, and how we were portrayed in the smallest sense, was how we were.
Teen parenthood has and will always be a sensitive topic for discussion. Nowadays, teen pregnancy is more common than it was twenty years ago, and is even somewhat acceptable in today’s society so much so that MTV decided to do a reality show about it. In the days of reality television, it is very rare that even TruTV has any real life situations that aren’t exaggerated, so for MTV to produce a show much like the popular show of the 90’s,”True Life”, that is based upon pregnant 16 year olds, puts a new perspective on the realism of reality television. The highly publicized “16 and pregnant” show, which also spawned the spin-off “Teen Mom”, on MTV takes one of the things America values, which is the innocence of children, and exploits the façade that has been painted over the years that children have no flaws, that children are perfect. The show proves that there is no “perfection” in any individuals, especially children. There are many critiques about the show both positive and negative. The NYTimes called it “a documentary-style series about real-life Junos who are not scoring in the 99th percentile on the verbal portion of their SATs. Each week revolves around a different girl struggling with the challenges of teenage pregnancy, and if the first three episodes are any indication, no one opts for abortion or giving the baby up to a pair of well-established 35-year olds.” http://tv.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/arts/television/11sixteen.html The shows also mainly features ill educated young girls from the south, which could be interpreted as falling into the stereotype that all young girls from the south are uneducated, promiscuous, country “bumpkins”.
Although the show provides a more in depth look into parenthood and the struggles of being a young parent that would hopefully deter other teens from carelessness that could put them in similar situations, one could also argue that the show glamourizes being a pregnant teen, in that many of the cast members on the show have gained mild success and celebrity from being on the show. It provides a bias view in the American society and shows how we as a society have evolved. Many viewers are intrigued by the taboo stories of pregnant 15 and 16 year olds, but it also shows the split in society’s view. Do we as an American society that places values based off of religion and simplistic unrealistic realities accept young people have unprotected sex or sex in general?