Convergent Journalism

Convergent journalism is referred to as the  ‘sound, image, text, and interactivity’ also known as ‘multimedia journalism’. This contemporary journalistic practice is ever increasing in accessibility for the public sphere and ‘gives media practitioners a new way to tell stories, using the strengths of each medium to produce a more compelling package’.

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A successful example of a contemporary convergent media source is ‘Vox’an American news and opinion website owned by Vox Media.  The website was founded by Ezra Klein and Melissa Bell in 2014, and aimed to make journalism more understandable for a wider audience by improving the “technology of news“, as an effort to adhere with the rapid technological growth within our contemporary context.

Vox received significant media attention a result of it’s unique form of ‘explanatory journalism’ and ‘card stacks’. The website was said to act as a way for a wider audience to understand and engage in journalism as it takes on the form as a “Wikipedia for ongoing news stories“. 

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This easily digestible content is reflective of new trends in journalistic production, as it appeals to a wider audience due to its engaging format that is compatible with a fast paced contemporary context.

Vox was said to gain popularity as a result of it’s often humorous but informative content and “Upworthy” style headlines used to ‘enhance shareability’ , and as of June 2015 the site had accumulated 54.1 million visits.

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The website also gained a significant following on it’s corresponding YouTube channel, as of October 2017 it had just over 3 million subscribers and over 651 million views. The videos are produced in coherence with a corresponding article on the Vox website and act as a highly effective means of furthering the information presented through it’s engaging, succinct and informative content.

The channel contains a number of playlists ranging from current events to interesting historical facts, some of these include: ‘culture’, ‘politics and policy‘, ‘health’, ‘economics‘ and ‘science’ and many more. (see below)

This new means of multi-media formatting is representative of new trends in journalistic production as it provides a new engaging way of viewing news and information content, while maintaining academic rigor and accurate fact checking in it’s sources.

Vox also maintains an engaging social media presence on multiple networking platforms such as Facebook, and Twitter. This reflects theories of how social media is being used to further engagement in journalism in our cultural context as “it has become influential as a communication and news-breaking tool”.

Vox also reflects convergent journalism trends through employing the medium of audio production in the form of ‘podcasts’ . These podcasts cover everything from ‘policy to pop culture’ and can be accessed on their website. Vox reflects current trends in journalism, including the contemporary need for easily accessible forms of information and news.

Vox stated in relevance to it’s podcasts that:

It’s mission is to explain the news, but there’s no reason that has to be done through writing alone. On our podcasts, we do what you love about our site — tackle big, complex, important topics — only on a different platform”. 

This represents current trends and theories in journalism, as it reflects how convergent journalism has become a necessity in best presenting the news and therefore a necessary skill in contemporary media production.

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Thank God for Liberal Democracies

Throughout the past decade, Australia has hosted a clash of ideologies, between old tradition and the progressively liberal values that have shaped the country’s current political climate. As Australia is in the midst of one of the most controversial socio-political debates within our contemporary context, I have gathered the stories of young individuals who have grown up and had their lives shaped by the framework of values and beliefs set out by the Church.

Georgina McDonnell, 20, shares her experiences as a member of the LGBT community and her influences from growing up in the church. Georgina shares what it’s like living in the midst of constant political debate, such as the current issues surrounding marriage equality and the conflict of traditional values within the church. Georgina stated that growing up she was “raised to think there’s a certain way to be good, and a certain way to be bad. In the church being gay is rarely ever good”.

The nation-wide debate on marriage equality has created a seemingly irreparable division within the country, from her own individual experience Georgina shared that she feels as though her life “is being pulled from two completely different directions”, and that there is constant tension between the traditional Christian family values she “was raised to believe” and what she feels “is actually fair and accommodating to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender… and even other religions”.

Wes Grant, 20, echoes these sentiments as a young person active in his church community, he expresses that there is a pressure to pertain to the rigid set of values that “seem to be commonly understood among the church community”. Wes comments on current issues such as the marriage equality debate, and feels as though he is “torn between what I’ve been told to be true… and what I actually believe”.  Wes expresses his hidden personal conflicts between having “gay friends and wanting desperately for them to be happy and have the same rights as everyone else” and the ingrained “political pressures within the church” to disagree with topics such as same-sex marriage.

Wes states that, “no religion should be inherently hateful” and that to know that the church is representative of the dissenting side of such an intense, ongoing political debate” makes one question “the entirety of the beliefs I’ve been raised with”.

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Video: 

Audio: https://youtu.be/Unz9gWteR1s

Emotional History

FLAG

ASSESSMENT TASK 1: AUDIO STORY – EMOTIONAL HISTORY’

STUDENT NAME: Louise Osborne

STUDENT NUMBER: 5438354

EMOTION: SADNESS (With some hope at in the conclusion to end the narrative)

INTRO SCRIPT:

The nation-wide debate on Marriage equality in Australia has created a seemingly irreparable division within the country. The interviewee shares a brief but insightful part of her story and experiences as a member of the LGBT community. Amongst the heated political climate and social divide, she hopes that for herself and those in similar situations, that one day all love might be seen as equal.

IN: “I had my first relationship…”

OUT: “all love is seen as equal”
DUR: 1.58

As Australia is in the midst of one of the most controversial socio-political debates within our contemporary context, I decided to Interview a friend of mine who has struggled to find acceptance within her social surroundings since her early teens. The interviewee shares her experience as a young member of the LGBT community and addresses the impact of ‘marriage equality’ on herself and those experiencing similar situations. I chose to do this as my ‘emotional history’ piece as I think she acts as a face for the ‘LGBT’ community and represents the reality of isolation, marginalisation and fear of rejection from her family and society as a whole. I am quite close to the interviewee and I have witnessed the hardships she has endured, particularly in terms of her family’s traditional values that completely oppose the concept of ‘same-sex marriage’.

As this is a truly emotional piece, I attempted to include her small moments of silent reflection and when she had to pause to compose herself within the interview. I purposefully left some of her sighs and breaths as they created an emotional and intimate quality that I wanted the audience to experience. I decided to do this as Alan Hall expressed that “No sound is innocent” (Hall 2010, p.98 in McHugh 2014)[1] and I wanted her pauses to express how difficult this topic is for her to talk about. From a technical perspective, despite having a completely silent room, there was some distortion within the recordings as she varied in loudness and softness when she spoke which was somewhat difficult to control and moderate manually. I decided the best way to counteract some of the recording errors and also further the reflective/emotional tone of the piece was to add music. Furthermore, to set the tone and add context, I began the piece with a clip from a Melbourne protest for marriage equality, I used a “staged event” for actuality as I think it most accurately represented the political adversity surrounding the topic. (Week 5 lecture)

I elected to use an instrumental piano piece for two reasons, the first being that the original version (‘I found’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj6V_a1-EUA), is a particularly special piece that the interviewee found most reflective of her experience in finding love ‘where it wasn’t supposed to be’. I used this to further reinforce the internalised emotions of the interviewee to further allow the audience to empathise with her experiences. The second reason was to allow for moments to ‘breathe’ and fill the silence so the narrative flowed smoothly. I elected a piano cover over the original version with lyrics as it was ‘easier to manipulate’ and didn’t compete with the voice, a point that was addressed in the week 5 topic ‘Music and Mixing’. To ensure that the music maintained its impact throughout the piece, I adopted an approach outlined by the ‘Kitchen Sisters’ to “add a little pause, or take a bit away to have the voice nestle onto an instrument or a beat”. To create flow and emphasis within my piece, I cut and added different parts of the song in varying places, as well as adjust the volume in different sections that required more emotional emphasis or to ‘create more drama’. [2]

I intended for this piece to reveal some of the sadness of those within the LGBT community and I think that through experiencing a small part of my interviewees story, hopefully, a wider audience is able to empathise and experience what it’s like to be living as a minority in such a heated and somewhat hateful political context.

 

EMOTIONAL HISTORY AUDIO:  https://soundcloud.com/mim-mcdonnell/emotional-history –> EH

Audio Links:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyXnU-EBmAM  – Protest in Melbourne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLwCnZzRLYA – ‘I found’- Instrumental/pianol version

References:

Hall, A (2010). “Cigarettes and Dance Steps” in Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, ed. J. Biewen and A. Dilworth, Chapel Hill, UNC Press 2017.

Nelson, D. and Silva, N, “Talking to Strangers,” in Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, ed. J. Biewen and A. Dilworth, Chapel Hill, UNC Press.

McHugh, S (2014). Lecture, Week 4, “Using Actuality to enhance story impact”, August 2017.

Lecture, week 5, “Adding music to your mix”, August 2017.

 

What Makes a Good Social Research Question?

Social research is defined as ‘the systematic study of society, the patterns in it and the processes that shape what people do’ (Walter, 2013, pg. 4) and is said to be the fundamental basis of understanding varying contexts, cultures and social spheres. An understanding of these sociological theories reinforces that such socially based concepts are rapidly evolving and express a wide range of differences dependent on contexts and subject matters at hand.

Therefore, a ‘good research question’ is one that addresses the normal structures that dictate and shape society, investigates the social issues and ‘phenomena’ that change and become present in a continuously evolving social world. It would also address the complex interaction between the experience of the subjective individual and the extrapolation of this onto the wider shared experience of those within a global context. (Walter, 2013, pg. 14)

In regards to formulating and sustaining a quality investigation into the chosen research question, Natalier (2013, pg. 26) examines the importance of choosing social issues/questions and having a strong personal interest and individual understanding in regards to the subject and research that is being conducted. This will ensure that quality and consistent research will go into the chosen question, allowing for conceptually valid conclusions throughout the research project.

Walter adds that the ‘core levels’ of any social research question should be: Exploratory research, descriptive research and explanatory research (Walter, 2013, pg. 8-9)

References:

Natalier, K 2013, ‘Research Design’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 25-49.

Walter, M 2013, ‘The Foundations of Good Social Science Research’, in M Walter (ed.), Social Research Methods: An Australian Perspective Melbourne: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-24.

#S234UOW17 #Lab1 #Wed330

WHO OWNS THE MEDIA

Your blog topic for this week is all about media ownership and why it matters.

  • Who ‘owns’ and/or ‘controls’ the media you use to access your ‘news’? Why does this matter?
  • What trust do you have in your news sources? OR
  • Does Beyonce Matter?

In Australia, there is an increasing amount of media consolidation, meaning that the mass media is progressively becoming owned by a decreasing amount of individuals and firms. According to the 2012 Finkelstein inquiry into media and media regulation, Australia’s level of media ownership is one of the highest in the world. In a fact- check provided by ‘The Conversation’ , the infographic below shows how only ‘a handful of corporations and interconnected family interests control much of Australia’s media’, these include the likes of Bruce Gordon, Gina Rinehart, Rupert Murdoch, Lachlan Murdoch, John Singleton and Kerry Stokes.

infographic

Why does this matter?

The progressive consolidation of media ownership runs the risk of completely undermining democratic processes, the ability to serve the public interest and making the media resilient to institutional corruption within the media system. This is known as Media Integrity, which more specifically refers to media’s ability to: ‘provide accurate and reliable information to citizens without being dependent upon, having clientelistic relations with, or serving particular/special private or governmental sources, and ensure that citizens have access to and are able to express a wide range of views and opinions without being exposed to bias and propaganda.’ As a result of the concentration of mass media being owned by a small group of individuals, current journalism is shaped by subjectivity, as there is lack of diversity in opinion, values, intention and influences of those controlling the media. A dictionary definition of journalism includes “writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.”  As media influences the masses it is important that it remains as ‘objective’ as possible, not dominated by the values of those that control it.

What trust do you have in your news sources?

“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” – Malcolm X

From a personal view point, I have very little trust in the media and national/international news sources as Individual subjectivity is impacted by a wide array of influences such as: context, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs etcetera. As a result, the mass media is also dictated by the same factors, consequently there is an inherent bias and a detrimental lack of perspective within all media sources.

SIGNS IN THE MEDIA

WEEKLY BLOG POST:

Locate an example of a complex image.

  • Discuss the signifiers/denotations (what is represented)
  • And the signified/connotations (what the image might mean).
  • Is it possible to read this image in more than one way?

 article-2064946-0EE71AC500000578-27_634x344Semiotics

PLURAL NOUN

  • The study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

In semiotics, signs and symbols are elements of communicative behaviour. Often where the ‘sign’ will consist of both a “signifier/denotation”, things that give meaning (word/ image) and an element that is “signified/connotation”, what is evoked in the mind (mental concept).

In this advertisement the ‘literal’ meaning of the sign or what can be denoted, is a new deodorant promoted by the brand ‘LYNX’.

In order to identify what is being ‘connoted’, one must analyse the deeper meaning or further significance of the chosen images within the advertisement. This image portrays a scantily clad woman performing a domestic duty. This is paired with the advertising slogan “can she make you lose control”. This is teeming with sexual connotations, a form of second-order signification that is frequently used in advertising.

How one interprets an image may be impacted by factors such as: context, race, religion gender etc. If we use this image as an example, we can presume that the target audience for this advertisement is a heterosexual male. This segues a very important point of construction within the advertisement, satisfying the ‘male gaze’. From this we can see the impact of ‘gender roles’, and the conventional roles of masculinity and femininity within society.

In many aspects of the media as portrayed in this image, women are objectified, over-sexualised, subjects of standardised beauty, confined within traditional gender roles and subordinated.

As discussed in my previous blog post, the media can often shape attitudes of individuals within society. A recent study found that ‘advertising and media images that encourage girls to focus on looks and sexuality are harmful to their emotional and physical health’. As society evolves there is an increasing awareness of the impact that these over-sexualised connotations in advertising have on young women and the wider community.

The Australian Psychological Society has commented on the impacts of increased objectification and over sexualisation of females, stating that ‘research has shown that the exploitation of children, particularly girls, as sexual objects has a detrimental effect on adolescent development, increasing the risk of depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem.’

This discussion allows one to see the vast spectrum of connotations that one image can hold. What are the impacts of the over-sexualisation of women? Does this impact the attitudes of others in society?

Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEDIA AUDIENCE

HEY and welcome back!

This weeks blog post topic is about:

What are the current issue involving people and their use of the media?

How does (if it does) the history of media audience research help us make sense of this?

In order to understand the history and current issues relating to the media, one needs to understand what the media is.

The oxford definition of the ‘media’ is: “The main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the Internet) regarded collectively”.

The biggest development in regards to the media would be the ever-evolving, rapidly developing spectrum of online and social media platforms. Social Media being, ‘Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking’.

Developments within social media and online communities enables the publication of ‘large-scale user-generated content and also enables one-to-one communication, as opposed to the one-to many communication structure of the conventional media.

Media Audience: rather than focusing on one screen, contemporary media audiences have access to multiple devices that present various forms of media. In ‘audience evolution‘, Napoli explores how ‘The development and overlap of television, the internet, and other media technologies is fragmenting and empowering media audiences more than ever. He examines the redefinition of the industry-audience relationship by technologies that have moved the audience marketplace beyond traditional metrics’.

With these developments within the new media landscape, the internet has extended the possibilities for a plethora of unique creative content to be published, professional, amateurish or otherwise. Whether someone has a journalism degree or not, everyone can post, like and share whatever they desire, leading to an enormous shift in information power, as the new and information online is not necessarily dictated by the media industry giants.

Media critic, Jay Rosen, ‘defines the citizen journalist as the former audience member who is no longer stuck in the pattern of one-way communication, but now contributes to the discussion’. There are many discussions surrounding the internet as a converged medium of communication, and the negative/positive impacts of allowing any person share unfiltered content on a wide public platform.

In Sue Turnbull’s ‘Imagining the audience’, it suggests that, ‘it is the messy proliferation of the ‘postmodern’ public spheres which circulate around such popular media as the tabloid newspaper or the television talk show that majority of people form their moral judgments about how to participate in society’. If this concept is to be extended to apply to social media and other internet platforms, it can be assumed that there is now an increasing amount of perspectives and opinions from ‘citizen journalists’ that saturate the media landscape. So the question is, will these in turn impact how others participate in society?

How so?

Leave a comment if you’d like! See you all next week.

Louise

Why am I here?

HI AND WELCOME!

This is my very first inner turmoil provoking blog post. Through poorly stringed sentences and clumsily articulated paragraphs, I have been asked to accurately depict to you, who I am and why I am here.

A little bit about me:

My name is Louise Osborne, I am 19 years old and my life is a constant struggle of pushing ‘pull’ doors, tripping on air in crowded public places and yelling “GOOD THANKS” in response to every baristas polite obligatory murmur of “good morning” or “have a nice day”, and the internal screaming that follows shortly after.

I am studying a Bachelor or Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts, hopefully majoring in International relations. This is my second year of University, last year I completed my first year of  Law. (Let’s laugh about that together). So on that note, ‘why i’m here’ very much has to do with why I dropped a Law degree.

To most people I would say, that the elitist propaganda that pervades every contract law classroom was slowly eating away at my soul and the very essence of my being, which is not one word of a lie.

To you, I will say this, and quite frankly on a much more honest and somber note. I am here, studying this degree, because I am very scared of the world we live. I am scared as a student, a young person and a woman. It scares me that we live in a time of extreme moral panic and that beyond the political debates and general social upheaval, there is a very real underlying fear that dictates the lives of so many.

I am here because I believe the media plays a very big role in all of this.

I am here to acquire the skills and knowledge I need to educate others, (hopefully) provide insightful opinions and engage in objective research. I am here to stimulate discussion, challenge stagnancy and everything conventional and hopefully pick apart the natural way of things.

Also here for the banter. S0 feel free to comment in future posts

BYE NOW