For my final paper, I will be researching the Youtube user, “sxephil”, and the news source, the New York Times. Both follow up on recent events occuring around the world, but one takes a more humorous perspective when broadcasting the stories. I believe the best method of media research to use will be Media Ecology. It is the study of “media environments and how those environments may affect people and society”, so not only will I be looking into how the news sources compare and contrast, but the particular audience each source it attempting to target and how that plays into news information in modern society.
Youtube, the video sharing website, is an extremely large media environment with an immense amount of public information (usually in the form of user uploaded videos). So anyone can access it at any given time which gives user the ability to show people around the world different forms of information. What the user “sxephil” does, are small 2-4 minute videos highlighting the daily news in a very entertaining manner. Most users who would not usually watch the news, might rely on information they get from users such as “sxephil”, because some may find other news sources to be dry and boring. This gives the Youtube media environment a lot of power, because most of their users are young users.
The New York Times is also a large media environment, consisting of reports and stories done by certified reporters. A lot of the stories nowadays come in the form of articles, podcasts, and even video as well. The difference with Youtube is, is that this news source is aiming at a much older and educated generation (which is seen through advertisements on their webpage). It is also not as entertaining as some of the other Youtube news sources, but it provides stories with a lot of detail and many times provide more objective, than subjective statements. This makes it more credible than the Youtube sources (hypothetically speaking), but the way each individual interprets varies constantly from person to person. This is why I am using this method to study the media environments as well as how they affect each story being told.
I decided to watch the Colbert Report that aired on February 14. At the beginning of the episode, Colbert begins the show by saying that “Hosni Mubarak has stepped down… onto a pillowy mound of money”. He adds humor to entertain the viewers as he is introducing the topics for the show, but it doesn’t seem like he covers a whole lot on the issue. As the show goes on, he talks about how Hosni was having a “rough Valentine’s day”. He explains that citizens in Egypt have been cheering in the streets after his resignation and Mubarak has been “suffering from severe psychological problems”. He makes a couple of more jokes here and there but as for the story on Mubarak, it seems to be all that he covers. Although Colbert is still regarded as a news source, even through his humor, he doesn’t seem to balanced in the topic he is covering. What I mean by this is that even though he talks about the issue, he doesn’t really cover much else about what the topic is still dealing with (such as what will happen now that Mubarak stepped down, or if the violence will still continue on the streets of Egypt).
VOA News on the other hand, seems to be a lot more balanced in terms of how they cover the same story. As they go into the issue, they present the story from several viewpoints. They show that the protestors on the street were happy to hear the news, but it still isn’t clear what Egypt’s future is. The journalists also go into explaining that Thursday, Mubarak was planning to stay in power until September, but the vice president announced his resignation. They also bring in Obama and his importance in the current matter. As they expand on this, they decide to expand on Mubarak’s history before the resignation as well. I think that this story did an exceptional job presenting the story while the Colbert Report obviously did not. There were more ideas and arguments presented in the news article while the Colbert Report seemed to focus on small topics surrounding the big issue, so it clearly wasn’t as balanced as the article from VOA News.
Colbert Report: http://www.colbertnation.com/full-episodes/mon-february-14-2011-lcd-soundsystem
VOA News: http://www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home/world/Egyptians-Celebrate-as-Mubarak-Resigns-Military-in-Control-of-Country-115987634.html
I watched the morning and evening news on Channel 7. The first news show was the regular morning news at 11 in the morning and the other news show was at 10 at night. While examining what sort of audience the morning news geared its advertisements at, it seemed to be aimed at middle aged people (people in their 40’s-60’s). It came with commercials such as retirements, insurance, credit loans, and more. These weren’t all the commercials that came on, though the majority of them seemed to have the same idea. There were also commercials for Valentine’s Day consumers, which seemed to be aimed not only at the older audience, but younger people mostly in their 20’s and 30’s. The commercials consisted of Valentine’s Day discounts and specials at local stores and of course, the diamond industry had its fair share of commercials on air. This didn’t surprise me because Valentine’s Day was coming up soon, but the commercials seem to heavily rely on their product to attract customers (such as their product would be the defining gift for Valentine’s Day).
The nightly news seemed to bring about a little bit more “liveliness” in their advertisements. What I mean by this is that the advertisers made the commercials geared towards a younger audience than the morning news did. They advertised food, cars, new clothes, quite a bit of cologne and perfume commercials (my guess is that it was due to Valentine’s Day) and much more of the sort that would appeal to younger audiences. I think it is smart for advertisers to do this sequence in the morning and afternoon, because most of the younger audience in the morning are usually at school or not awake watching the news, while the older generation usually tends to do so. The older generation in turn at night may be sleeping early or doing other activities that aren’t related to watching the news, while more of the younger generation is watching late night shows and news on occasion.
I read an article on the Best and Worst of this year’s Superbowl ad’s. This year, some commercial spots hit the spot with humor, but others failed to reach that level. It is always entertaining to see what marketing techniques are sent towards the way of the commercial viewers and this year it was interesting to see different aspects and ideas in each ad spot. The worst of the commercials in the article came from Hyundai, because the commercials seemed to try and be more “hypnotizing” rather than convincing you to buy the actual product for specific reasons. But it seemed as if a lot of commercials this year did the same thing, only in cuter ways. The way the article framed the story was by looking at only the quality of the advertisements rather than the actual product being presented. Instead of focusing on what each new product or company had to offer, the author focused only on the manner in which the product was presented (which is important for advertising companies), but presented a bias towards the reader (thought the commercials with a “fun, family-oriented” idea did much better than the other ads.
The winners in the category of best commercials, were the ones that sent out a message of sweetness and innocence as stated in the article. One of those commercials was the “Darth Vader Volkswagen” commercial. It has a little boy who is trying to “harness the force” on objects around the house but isn’t able to do so, but when his dad’s car appears, he attempts to try some of his “powers” on it. The father turns on the car by the press of the button and the boy is left astonished. By explaining the story like this, the author gives the reader a sense that a “good” commercial has to have certain qualities to it (for example being cute and innovative through culture). Another commercial that garnered attention with the same qualities was the “Bridgestone Beaver” advertisement. A man is driving down a road and hits the brakes to avoid hitting a beaver. The next time he is driving down the road and a tree falls down in front of him. A bridge that he was about to drive over collapses, and out of the side of the road comes the beaver with a thumbs up and a wink. I think the author focuses more on the idea that a commercial that captures a “feel-good” emotion, rather than slapstick humor gives the advertisement a much higher level of appreciation for the commercial, but maybe not for the product itself. The writer says that even though some of the commercials were cute, they didn’t make her want to buy the product (which in a way makes sense). The framing of the story though, seems to show that although there are good and bad commercials, the ones that truly hit the heart are the most popular ones, even if the viewer wasn’t interested in the product.
I decided to research Time Warner Cable as one of the top 10 MSO’s. I have Comcast but wanted to find out more about a different company. Time Warner Cable was formed in 1989 which is a division of Warner Communication’s. It is centered in New York currently and provides service for more than 14.6 million customers. The company provides all three communication services: Telephone, Internet, and Cable. It seems to be doing well in the market so far, but after reading online I have found many complaints about the service in general. On My3cents.com, most of the reviews were pretty negative. One user commented that Time Warner Cable’s service was “frustratingly slow and will cut out altogether at least several times a day, every single day” (slims). Another user commented, “every day I can’t watch a certain channel because of temporary difficulties” (Crista8366).
It is interesting to note that despite these negative setbacks in the company, they seem to be still making a decent amount of revenue. Statistics from the company say that Time Warner Cable makes as much as $17.9 million annually. The biggest problem they are facing currently is their competitor, Comcast, which makes more than 1.37 billion dollars annually. So clearly Comcast is the winner right now, but Time Warner Cable is planning on providing better service for consumers. They are trying to offer better internet service from their current 15 Mbps (Comcast provides more than 100 Mbps). One positive review from consumers is that the customer service is really good. A member said that “The customer service is the only thing they have going for them. At Least when I call I’m speaking to a human being within minutes” (Crista8366). So if there was a way for Time Warner Cable to improve their services dramatically and market themselves in a much better way than Comcast, they would be able to rise themselves higher in the market but it would take some time for them to reach the status that Comcast has. In conclusion, Time Warner Cable isn’t a bad company to go to, but still needs more improvement than its current competitors.
In this assignment, I feel that the MySpace group did a great job with their presentation and their online layout. The group explained the history of the company as well as who owns it and general website statistics. The group also did something unique, which was by showing the reader how the website and its competitors appeal to different users. The way they explained the way MySpace works with allowing you to be creative and “free” with your page seemed a lot more appealing that Facebook’s traditional page (which is pretty much the same for every user). One thing I liked about the wiki page was that they placed a picture that allowed the reader to compare and contrast the differences in the Facebook and MySpace pages. They also tell the reader how the music community on MySpace is bigger and better than Facebook’s due to MySpace’s creative page layouts. Every time I find about a new artist I almost always go to MySpace to see if they have a page.
These pages usually contain a variety of information that gives the user a brief background on the band and allows for the user to listen to some of the band’s music. I believe that music is extremely important for everyone nowadays, especially now that new music is revealed through online sources. This is one advantage that the wiki presented to me as a reader that showed they had a strong argument, even if they are currently behind in the market against other competitors. Another thing I really liked about the MySpace wiki was their ideas for improvement. One thing I really hate about going onto a website is being spammed with ads, and I feel that MySpace especially has gotten a little better about this, but improvement can be made as the group states. On the technical side of things, I remembered going onto friend’s pages could be a slow process when they had tons of items on their page. By getting rid of this lagging process, the online experience for each individual would be much more enjoyable. Overall, the group did an excellent job presenting their ideas in an organized and detailed manner.
Ever since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I believe that the U.S. Government should have the right to block the publication of material that is deemed to be harmful towards national security interests. This is not only for the safety of the country, but it also helps prevent any sort of negative response from the American people. If any sort of negative material about the U.S. leaks out through a media source, many people would tend to believe the source even if the publicized information would be correct or not. This could potentially cause many problems not only outside of the country, but in its own borders as well. I do believe as well though, that some stories that are not published (mainly stories that have to deal with the “enemy”) should be published no matter what. What I am talking about is how sometimes media sources do not publish positive material about whatever the government deems as “bad”, because they do not want American citizens getting other ideas about whatever it is they are fighting against. This does not only have to deal with people we are at war with, but even things inside our own country like for example, marijuana.
The difficulties in blocking some of this information though, is that the right to public information would be violated in a way, but it would be in the best interest of the people. It is also hard for information to be kept behind closed doors due to the amount of connections that revolve around the U.S. Government, but in some serious cases that information remains hidden in order to avoid problems in the future. The positive effects of the government taking this sort of position is not only does it keep itself safe from any outside or inside danger, but allows them to deal with the current situation before a story on the event is released. They would also continue to keep the nation up to date with information that would give them the opportunity to see what are the true problems the world is currently facing.