Tag Archives: democracy

Analyze This 8

Can we equate the coffee shop discussions of 18th-century England that Habermas says was the ground for a public sphere to the virtual discussion platforms on the internet?

I definitely think so, as the principle is the same: to share ideas and trade them amongst those individuals involved. Habermas’ “public sphere” is the notion that a group of private people can band together to form a “public.” Politically, this sphere inspires critical debate to take place among the particular society it is present in.

Since dawn of the digital age and the advent of the internet, communications has been revolutionized, as people aren’t just limited to coffee shops, salons, the Tree of Cracow or town squares–debate and rational exchange can take place online. Discourse communities are formed online where people who have a certain interest, ideology, outlook, opinion, hobby, etc. can form sub-cultures and exchange ideas via the internet. Social media sites have been paramount in creating a place and a space for these conversations to take place online, in addition to accelerating this discourse. When discussing the power of social media for social activism, Malcolm Gladwell introduces Granovetter’s theory of weak and strong ties, which says that people can influence each other and both strong and weak ties hold society together. It’s these interpersonal ties that foster valuable discourse and exchange of ideas, especially online. According to Granovetter, there is strength in weak ties – they are our source of information and new ideas. Granovetter’s research has shown that a bunch of very strong ties isn’t always the best for inspiring new communication. According to him, “‘sociability is a routinized gathering of a relatively unchanging peer group of family members and friends that takes place several times a week.'”

“Granovetter then goes on to imagine how such a density of strong ties (but relative paucity of weak ones) might inhibit social activism” (Lehrer, 2010). On the internet, availability of both strong and weak ties is more pronounced. On social media sites, you have your close friends and your acquaintances. In the coffee shop, these weak ties may not be as available, because you might just be meeting with your “usual” group of friends or associates.

It’s important to note that in 18th century England, elite members of society went to coffee shops. Today, anyone who has an internet connection can have an online presence.

(great article on Wired talks more about this)

Advertisements

Blog Essay Class 10

Re: “Black PR” in China refers to the underground Internet agency, which help client companies virtually erase any bad publicity. I was really fascinated by this, as I had never heard of such a thing. I wondered if there was an American equivalent to this company. I have heard of sites deleting posts/comments, but not outright erasing bad publicity. The only thing I could think of that is similar here in the U.S. is Reputation.com, where you can manage your online reputation and they will monitor web content about you (if you’re their client). They can’t and don’t promise to remove everything, according to CEO Michael Fertik. Do you think an American counterpart to China’s black PR companies be popular here in the U.S.? I think it could be, but it wouldn’t be for companies, it would be for celebrities or people in the limelight. Think about how many unflattering photos, rumors/gossip/lies, scandals happen in print, broadcast and online involving celebrities or well-known figures—much like in China as discussed in the article. I think this type of service could be popular in theory but like Yage, it would first have to be unknown to the public and perhaps done through methods like hacking. But due to the fact that the First Amendment exists, I don’t think it could be possible.

I used to be active on review sites like Yelp and similar counterparts, and I have heard rumors—albeit from users—about Yelp deleting negative posts (or perhaps the business establishment demands or pays them to). So these are two similar forms of content management though not nearly as extreme as China’s black PR.

But this topic just brings to the forefront the idea of a whole industry that now exists—reputation management. This article in Forbes discusses the “dark side” to this industry here in the U.S. She refers to “mugshot extortionists” who can expunge your unflattering and embarrassing mugshot and posting from the Internet. But this comes at a price– $400 to be exact. But as nice as it may be to have your mugshot removed, it can start a spiral of similar situations in which businesses/groups repost the photo to an identical site and then ask you to pay again to remove it, creating a snowball effect of sorts.

This sort of thing also created another issue that resulted in a class action lawsuit: “Hundreds of people who have been exonerated of all charges and had their records sealed are suing the websites for not only keeping their mugshots up and using them in banner ads, but refusing to take them down and “scrub” them off the Internet unless the victims pay a hefty fee. It just goes to show to what lengths people will go to have their personal information removed (when most of us are so eager to post/publicize ourselves on personal social media sites, which is ironic).

Re: Ch. 13 – Zhao’s piece was extremely dense, just as Dr. Rodgers warned us about. I found it largely grounded in historical and theoretical foundations that I honestly was not familiar with – for example, discussion of the Mao regime and the structural makeup of Chinese society (especially class relations). Despite that, I tried my best to make sense of the reading. I approached this with a dominant/hegemonic reading in mind because I had no other contexts to compare or contrast it with. I had more questions than I have had this semester with the readings thus far. She talked about the “online activism by Chinese citizens” (p. 254) but I was left wondering about what we have discussed in class about there being a total lack of options for the same social networking sites as we have here in the states, like Facebook and Twitter– instead there are Chinese equivalents (but they aren’t really equivalent). How can Chinese citizens exhibit this “online activism” when there are not any venues for them to do so, i.e. social media, and their government engages in widespread censorship? I don’t know the answer to such a question but it came to mind anyway.

I was also intrigued by confused by the discussion of “knowledge capitalists” (p. 257). What are some of the characteristics of a knowledge capitalist? Does this mean private ownership of knowledge, which to me sounds like another form of censorship? I wasn’t sure. Connected to this concept was that of class struggles and division (or as she referred to it, economic “cleavages”). I found Zhao’s discussion of class differences in China to be the easiest concept to understand. Basically, the differences dictate consumption. What kind of media do you think members of each class described by Zhao most heavily consume? i.e. the rural and urban populations? Later in the chapter she goes on to say that the ‘middle class’ is more concerned with consumerism and acquisition of material wealth. This is similar to the middle class of the U.S. who want upward mobility and social fluidity. Has the Western influence permeated Chinese class society and changed the type of media they consume? I know that Western brands and foods have permeated Chinese culture, but what about our attitudes about media consumption? I think our reliance and obsession with social media has influenced China. Even though they can’t have the same SNS as we do, they create counterparts that aren’t banned in their country. It just illustrates the fact that the desire for human expression cannot easily be silenced.

DQs:

– Has the Western influence permeated Chinese class society and changed the type of media they consume? I know that Western brands and foods have permeated Chinese culture, but what about our attitudes about media consumption?

Nicki Karimipour; nickik1989@ufl.edu

Blog Essay Class 8

Re: Congjun’s article “Toward a New World Order Media” – This article discussed how international communications is shifting over time. Comparing the change to his favorite game, bridge, the author establishes 4 principles to change the value system: fairness, all-win, inclusion and responsibility. Which one do you feel is the most important? Of the four, I think that responsibility is the most important. I think one of the biggest mass communication-related global problems is censorship. In many countries, including Iran, censorship is ubiquitous (http://cpj.org/reports/2012/05/10-most-censored-countries.php#runners-up). This prevents helpful and rich discourse from occurring, because every piece of information featured on mass media sources has been vetted for accuracy—but not just any accuracy—the accuracy that fits and meets the needs of the current regime.

Congjun concludes his article by saying this – “With diversified expression and information flow, we can mend the broken bridge of cross-cultural communication and build an information link to the future.” This sounds great in theory, but I don’t know how it would work in practice, and he doesn’t offer very many sound solutions, only abstract ones heavily rooted in idealism. How do you think we can mend the ‘broken bridge of cross-cultural communication’ in real, practical terms? I think the 4 principles he outlines are necessary to the process, but the issue is deeper than that. Unless or until the governments that propagate these unethical and unfair media practices change, the state of the global media will largely remain the same. This is why social media can be such a powerful tool, if used for the right purposes. Going back to the readings for last class: although I tend to share Gladwell’s purist idea regarding technologically inspired social activism, I also understand that for some countries, this is the only platform they have. They walk in the streets and they can’t be seen holding hands with someone they are dating for fear of being approached by the “morality police” (Iran). Alcohol is illegal (but bootleg alcohol is present at almost every party nonetheless). They can’t have a Facebook account and post their thoughts freely, even if they are dissident thoughts against the government (China). That’s just pathetic to me, but I’m also extremely lucky to have grown up in a fairly free country when compared to other nations around the world. As a result, social media can be a viable tool to help these oppressed people get their thoughts out on the page and in the blogosphere.

 

Re: the book chapter 6 – The content of this chapter fits nicely with Congjun’s article, because it also discusses the different purposes of the press in various countries. The table on p. 107 was particularly helpful in breaking down and understanding the way in which different countries operationalize their media system. It might have been interesting to see how “third world” countries handle their media systems too, though I think of all the categories, these countries would fit best with Mediterranean or Polarized Pluralist nations (though there are still some differences). Looking at journalism as a career that developed over time can provide insight into the comparative perspective. American “professionalism” inspired media influence and political power on the corporate level (Lord Beaverbrook, William Randolph Hearst, etc). This fits into our readings and class discussions about corporate ownership influencing content.

 

Re: Stuart Hall’s excerpt about encoding and decoding – He provides a theoretical approach to understanding how messages are created and disseminated. The first step, production, is meant to “construct the message” (p. 92). According to Hall, it can be influenced by a multitude of things. It “is framed throughout by meanings and ideas: knowledge-in-use concerning the routines of production, historically defined technical skills, professional ideologies, institutional knowledge, definitions and assumptions, assumptions about the audience and so on frame the constitution of the programme through this production structure” (p. 92). For me, it’s interesting to evaluate how biases may (and do) permeate newsrooms. We talked in class about how there’s no such thing as being unbiased and I believe that is true. Framing is a huge determinant for the way in which media is packaged and delivered. Though Hall’s essay focused on TV broadcast, it might be interesting to think about his message in the context of different types of media formats. How can Hall’s message be applied to interactive-based mass media technology? Such as social media or online articles? He says, “the televisual sign is a complex one. It is itself constituted by the combination of two types of discourse, visual and aural” (p. 95). Given the fact that the Internet has far more interactive capabilities than TV, it might be interesting to consider what “codes” we absorb and understand via this technology. He goes on to talk about naturalized and arbitrary codes that exist in our cultures and societies. What about learned behaviors? I think they definitely constitute codes. For example, we look favorably and almost jealously at people who possess the latest technology—like the newest model iPhone. They use it to do everything—schedule appointments, view videos, email, type Word documents, swipe credit cards, oh… and to make calls, of course. Seeing them with that coveted item means something to us—thus, admiring the newest technology holds large meaning in American culture. It goes back to the discussion we were having in class about consumerism and the required readings. For Americans, the word “iPhone” or even the Apple brand/logo represents something to us. (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apple).

 

Re: Chandler’s Semiotics for Beginners – This article fit very nicely with the Hall article. “Communication (particularly mass communication) is a primary process of reality construction and maintenance whereby positions of inequality, dominance and subservience are produced and reproduced in society and at the same time made to appear ‘natural’.” I thought again of the iPhone comparison. This company has established itself without huge marketing campaigns and advertisements (mostly ads have been word of mouth or seeing others with Apple products). Yet, the brand has become such an integral part of our society. Why is that? I think it is because the brand has a great deal of power—dominance over other brands that sells similar products (phones, computers, laptops, mp3 devices, headphones, etc). Not only that, but we have constructed an entire reality around the brand and those who possess items from that brand. We view others who don’t have items from that brand as unequal and not part of the dominant hegemony. If I had to apply Jakobson’s model to this situation, I would say it is part of the conative type because we try to directly or indirectly influence the behavior of others to buy the Apple product or perhaps, without us even saying anything at all, they feel inferior and want to fit in with the status quo which inspires them to buy the product.

 

DQ:

– How do you think we can mend the ‘broken bridge of cross-cultural communication’ (Congjun article) in real, practical terms?

Analyze This 4

  1. What is the Gladwell dispute? Agree/disagree and why?

– The point that Malcolm Gladwell was trying to make with his article in the New Yorker about social media activism is that we give too much credit to SNS for promoting societal/cultural change. This is exemplified by the quote included in the article that said Twitter should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I disagree with this sentiment, because people make revolutions happen, technology just serves as an impetus or promotional tool to aid their fight. He argues that social change can and WILL happen irrespective of these new technological advances. I agree with this point. I believe that in some ways he establishes himself as a technological purist in this article, but not to the extent he is made out to be by those who oppose him, especially Cheyfitz.

I can’t agree with the phrase “the revolution will not be tweeted.” Because it will be tweeted and Facebooked and Instagrammed and otherwise documented forever. SNS can be great tools for community organization and logistical setting up of protests, events, marches, etc. However, they do not replace real-life community involvement. Clicking “Like” on an anti-abortion Facebook page or retweeting something that supports the current Turkish protest movement, for example, is not the same as physically being there. It does bring awareness to this issue, though. Increased awareness is always a good thing, because it keeps people up to date on the latest global happenings

  1. What early media systems helped establish democracy/government system in the U.S.?

– Penny presses helped support governmental endeavors because they would promote the ideologies and views of a certain group in their newspaper. This gave a platform and a voice for certain factions and served as a literary “meeting place” for people who shared that view to gather and read some literature relating to their political stance. It showcased a cornerstone of our Constitution, the First Amendment. It gave a tangible voice (in the form of a physical newspaper) to various political groups.

Blog Essay Class 7

Re: the Rampton article – This article discussed propaganda and how it has changed over time, especially since Chomsky and Herman’s book. When talking about the Iraq War, it’s important to note something Rampton and Stauber pointed out—that discussing the deaths and the fallen soldiers was treated in a “sanitized, minimal way.” The photo of the emaciated POW was very moving. The author was right—you really don’t see those kinds of photos widely published anymore. In fact, I would argue you almost NEVER see them, especially not in mainstream media such as CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc. The only time I have ever seen anything like that is on Al-Jazeera, which my parents get via satellite to their home. Regardless, that news platform is not easily accessible to me—I can only view it when I go home. Thus, my choices are very limited if I want to obtain a less “sanitized view” of the war. Why do you think we want to turn a blind eye to the Iraqi death toll? I think it’s a deep-rooted cultural designation—Americans are uncomfortable with facing reality. Whenever I watch the Al-Jazeera channel via satellite, they show more truthful and realistic portrayals of global happenings and especially war/death. The Arab version of Al-Jazeera is rawer than its English counterpart.

It’s a well-known colloquialism that the Vietnam War was widely referred to as “the first televised war.” (This article discusses it in more depth, FYI). President Johnson was quoted as saying, “…I thought of the many times each week when television brings the war into the American home. No one can say exactly what effect those vivid scenes have on American opinion.” I think this sentiment is very much true, if not truer, today. But it has gone beyond traditional mass media formats, such as television and radio—and spilled over into social media. It goes back to the idea from last week’s readings, that everyone can be a maker of the news due to wide accessibilities to various platforms such as blogs and social media that encourage citizen journalism and direct participation. People are free and able to state their opinions about the war or government on their personal websites or Facebook pages, and many do (much to the chagrin of others, especially those on the opposite side of the political spectrum as the person posting the message).

Re: Gladwell’s piece in The New Yorker – I am already very familiar with Malcolm Gladwell and I have read all of his books. I think the way he blends social science research, journalistic techniques and phenomenology is very unique. I think we can all agree with his most basic point, that “new tools of social media have reinvented social activism.” It’s great that social media can help revolutionize the world, but it isn’t always successful. He brings up Iran’s “Green Revolution,” but the problem is that it failed. (“Without Twitter the people of Iran would not have felt empowered and confident to stand up for freedom and democracy,” Mark Pfeifle, a former national-security adviser, later wrote, calling for Twitter to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.) The truth is, social media doesn’t make the impact, WE do. It is simply an impetus or vehicle for inspiring change. I am very glad Gladwell included the quote from Esfandiari, because she’s right. I think it would be interesting to interview people in the Middle East who participated in the “Arab Spring” movement to see how they were feeling when they were tweeting and how they think things have changed or not changed since that time. I am not arguing that Twitter can’t be an amazing piece of technology, but I am arguing that we give it too much credit. If people are truly unsatisfied with something, they’ll find some mode of publicizing that, whether it is simply to stand on a street corner and shout. Gladwell echoes this sentiment, as he employs an introductory discussion/mention of Granovetter’s weak vs. strong ties argument. He’s essentially arguing that social media activism is the lazy man’s activism, and markedly different from “real life” activism of the 1960s which required people to get up and get involved. We can see this in our everyday life—every year, I participate in the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer walk. I fundraise. The preferred (read: easiest) mode of fundraising is to send emails to friends, family, associates, etc. This past October I raised more than $800 with little effort because people are more apt to type their credit card number into a website than to reach into their pocket for some cash. Literally. It’s the same concept that drives our laziness to opt for pizza delivery than to save the extra cash by picking it up at the store. It’s the feeling that websites like Amazon bank from.

There were two articles that responded to Gladwell’s piece. The article by Cheyfritz asks the question: does media matter? Yes, of course it does. But as much as Cheyfritz says Gladwell is missing the point, I think Cheyfritz himself is too. The article by Melber on NPR’s site includes a quote from Gladwell’s follow-up piece that reads: “People with a grievance will always find ways to communicate with each other. How they choose to do it is less interesting, in the end, than why they were driven to do it in the first place.” I agree with this, as I previously stated and provided an example. Social media is good, as it provides just another platform or outlet for people’s thoughts, feelings, opinions. I don’t fully agree with any of these articles, whether it be Gladwell’s, Cheyfritz or Melber’s. I think they are all in essential agreement with each other by are tearing each other down in a really snarky way (especially Cheyfritz) on small points. Media does matter. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool. But social media is overrated and is being viewed as the end all be all of activism. It’s not.

Re: Shirky’s article – The opening anecdote illustrates how text messages can be useful in inciting an actual revolution, and I think these arguments can be made for both sides (citing the usefulness and then citing the uselessness of social media for activism). But Shirky makes a great qualifying point: “The use of social media tools-text messaging, e-mail, photo sharing, social networking, and the like-does not have a single preordained outcome. Therefore, attempts to outline their effects on political action are too often reduced to dueling anecdotes,” and this is exactly what I was thinking before I even read that part. When the article discussed Hillary Clinton and how participatory new media can increase freedoms, for some reason the first thing I thought of was the meme website Texts from Hillary Clinton.

The bulk of the readings focused on social media such as email, texts, photos, tweets, messages, etc. but what about memes? Can online memes be an impetus for social change?

DQs:

–       How do you think social media has impacted (or not impacted) the citizens’ response to the Iraq War? Do you think we are more or less apathetic than ever?

–       Why do you think we want to turn a blind eye to the Iraqi death toll?

–       What do you think of Mark Pfeifle’s comment in the New Yorker article by Gladwell (“Twitter should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize”)?

–       Do you think social media activism is motivated by laziness? If not, what do you think it is motivated by?

–       Can online memes be an impetus for social change?

Nicki Karimipour, nickik1989@ufl.edu

Blog Essay Class 6

Re: Shoemaker & Reese’s piece about hierarchy of influences says that “Routines in which starting times and deadlines are followed also tend to create gaps in what news is covered, according to research. It would be interesting to see how 24-7 online news has affected this.” How do you think the constant interconnectivity and need to stay apprised on the latest happenings coupled with our American desire for instant gratification fuels 24/7 news sources? It’s a common journalism anecdote—the one the author described about being in a meeting and copying/adhering to (or at the very least, following) the NYT agenda. This happens a lot. But I worry that the pitfall with this is that news just becomes recycled and monotonous, and there’s nothing beyond the tiny scope of our locale, region, city, state, town, community, state, and nation. That is why “global” news sources are important—like Al Jazeera and BBC. No news source is perfect, but we should definitely be aware of what goes on beyond the limits and confines of our own immediate community. How can we get people to be more interested in “global” news outlets like BBC and Al Jazeera? What do you think are the pros and cons associated with “global” news sources like those?

Re: Keith’s “Shifting Circles” article – It says, “among online news media outlets, for example, there is no standard staffing or process for preparing news for the Web. Even within individual newsrooms, routines have changed so often that dozens of routines for producing, editing, posting, and overseeing Web content may have been used and abandoned since the mid-1990s. That very tumult around online content production, however, suggests that a topic that has received some scrutiny deserves more.” What difference do you think it would make if online media outlets developed a standardized way of creating, editing, disseminating and updating their sites? Do you think this is desirable, feasible, etc.? If so, how do you imagine it would work? It might be a good idea because it would give us some sense of security as readers that our news sources follow some sort of protocol at least.

The anecdote about “Mr. Gates” to illustrate gatekeeping theory is still so true today. Editors have their own inherent experiences, opinions, views and biases – and even though they try to conceal or put aside those things, that doesn’t always work. After all, we saw that fact exemplified by something we read last class which said that despite NYT editor Jill Abramson being a female, men are still quoted a vast majority of the time in articles, especially about “female” issues like reproductive rights, pregnancy, contraception, abortion, etc. So she obviously has some biases and corporate influence that prevents her from publishing some things, and encourages her to publish some other things. Which leads me to my next question…. What is another way around the editor bias? Or is there even a solution to this? Wanting to know more about her as an editor (admittedly I didn’t know much), I began researching. Edward Bernays doesn’t begin any project without researching and so do I! J I found this pretty recent piece on her which I enjoyed reading – http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/new-york-times-turbulence-90544_Page3.html. The article indicates that Abramson is uncaring and cold. On other days, Abramson seems disengaged from the newsroom. “When Jill is engaged, no one was better. She’s an incredible journalist,” one former staffer said. “But as often as not, she can be totally absent. There are days when she acts like she just doesn’t care.” I wonder how her attitude and lack of support and morale for her employees influences the content of the articles? I wonder what it would be like to work in such an environment. I am no stranger to having both good and bad editors, and it definitely makes a world of difference in terms of content, speed, accuracy, ethics, turnaround rate, and overall happiness or dissatisfaction level in the newsroom. It can influence your growth and training as a writer, too—especially if you’re relatively inexperienced. For many writers, journalism isn’t formalized in its protocol and process—it’s an exercise in heuristics. Learning habits from a good or bad editor can set up your outlook and opinions for many years to come, that’s why it’s so important to have a quality editor in your newsroom organization. What qualities do you think make up a “good” editor?

Re: Ch. 9 from the book – I found the crux of Schudson’s discussion about “who makes the news?” to be very interesting. Dr. Rodgers loves a good metaphor, and I thought the author’s metaphor about Michelangelo, David and marble to be a great analogy for expressing the power and influence journalists have—and differentiating between *real* and *perceived* influence. “It is common for social scientists who study news to speak of how journalists ‘construct the news’, ‘make news’ or ‘socially construct reality’ (p. 165). This point was a good counter to the claims made in the previous articles, especially the one by Shoemaker & Reese. Yes, there is a gatekeeper, but he (or she) is not as powerful and omniscient as we think. Referring to journalism as a tangible thing was a new concept for me, and I am sure it was for some of my classmates too. We are almost indoctrinated to view journalism as an abstract result of a particular situation—i.e., there was an earthquake and now this is a video clip/documentary/article/radio piece about that incident. It seems purely episodic to me. Schudson and Tuchman introduced a foreign concept to me in this chapter—that news can be a ‘depletable consumer product that must be made fresh daily’ (p. 165). Viewing it from that perspective made me more sympathetic toward news organizations and media outlets. They are competing like the rest of us—individually and as a group. Individual journalists are trying to get ahead, make a name for him/herself and establish social capital in the workplace. On a larger scale, the organization for which they work is also trying to do the same thing, while also competing with other rivals and corporate interests. It’s a delicate balance, and I honestly don’t think we give enough credit (or any, for that matter) to news organizations. Instead, we are so quick to villanize and blame them. Indeed, it’s also important to note the facts, that “there is no consistent support for the belief that independent news outlets offer more diverse content than those run by corporate conglomerates or that locally owned media are better for diversity than national chains” (p. 166). However, I really believe that piece of information would come as a huge shock to many people. It’s easy to criticize the media, and not so easy to think of ways to reform it. In that way, it is very similar to politics. According to the author, “it is the absence of commercial organizations, or their total domination by the state, that is the worst case scenario” (p. 166). In other words, censorship or total absence of autonomy is worse than corporate control of the media. I would agree with that. Many countries don’t enjoy the same level of “freedom” as we do (I put freedom in quotes because that’s a loaded term that means very different things to different people). But we have the First Amendment in this country—like it or not. It’s better to have a variety of news (level of quality is up for debate), but be awarded the choice to sift through information that is readily available and draw your own conclusions. Dr. Rodgers has a link on his blog to the most censored countries in the world, which is appropriate given the aforementioned topic: http://cpj.org/reports/2012/05/10-most-censored-countries.php. The country where my parents were born, Iran, ranks number four on this list. I already knew this, as I had the opportunity to interview Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. In her speech, she discussed censorship and the need for democracy in Iran (picture below).

IMG_2893

Re: the YouTube video interview with Dr. Schiller was interesting. His original background is in economics, but he shifted to communications after finding economics to be “too restrictive” in practice, teaching and how it is written. How do you think communications and economics are related? Different? I think that the corporate nature of both fields is important to be aware of. Schiller discusses this about 13 minutes into the video clip, calling it a “media monopoly.” Thus, it can be said that capitalism is not just the basis of our country’s economic system, but also infiltrates other fields such as communications and media. The interconnectivity cannot be overlooked.

DQs:

–       How do you think the constant interconnectivity and need to stay apprised on the latest happenings coupled with our American desire for instant gratification fuels 24/7 news sources?

–       How can we get people to be more interested in “global” news outlets like BBC and Al Jazeera? What do you think are the pros and cons associated with “global” news sources like those?

–       What difference do you think it would make if online media outlets developed a standardized way of creating, editing, disseminating and updating their sites? Do you think this is desirable, feasible, etc.? If so, how do you imagine it would work?

–       What is another way around the editor bias? Or is there even a solution to this?

–       What qualities do you think make up a “good” editor?

–       How do you think communications and economics are related? Different?

Nicki Karimipour; nickik1989@ufl.edu

Blog Essay Class 4

Re: He said/he said – I definitely found it interesting but disheartening that men are quoted more in newspaper articles even if the topic is what’s typically considered “women’s issues” such as abortion, contraception, etc. It reminded me of two pieces of art I saw at the MoMa (below). Such gender gap inequalities exist in many other fields/professions, not just the media, though the media seems like a particularly bad place to be for women, as the vast majority of high ranking positions in these companies and organizations are filled by white males. It’s important to note that inequality transcends gender and also encompasses other things like ethnicity, sexual orientation, disabilities and motherhood. Women with those issues can easily be excluded from many positions they’d like to have.100_4027100_4026

Re: the counterframing article by John Wihbey talked about “framing effects” that make us think certain issues are more salient for a particular group. Tying back in to the “He said/he said” article made me think about how some issues are inherently framed as gender-specific no matter what. For example: contraception, abortion, birth control, pregnancy. That’s always portrayed as a women’s issue and responsibility. Yet it’s ironic that “… eighty-one percent of the sources quoted in print articles about abortion were men. Seventy-five percent of those quoted in articles about birth control were men. Sixty-seven percent of those quoted in articles about Planned Parenthood were men.” Really? Mindblowing.

Re: Popova’s article about Betty Friedan and the feminine mystique – I started thinking about the sentiment described in the article…. “a kind of quiet but intense unhappiness described by women in the golden age of the housewife, which Friedan termed ‘the problem that has no name.'” I think that problem still plagues us as females today. Thinking back to last class’ readings about entertainment media, I remember something I saw on a Real Housewives of Orange County episode. One of the characters, Alexis, had always *seemed* content with staying at home and not really having a career or life of her own. She even said this about women who do. Later in the season, she was struggling with her desire to branch out and have her own career instead of what she has been doing, which is staying home and focusing on child-raising. Her marriage with Jim is what she describes as very “traditional” (personally, I’d call it controlling but that’s just my opinion) and he got mad at her for even thinking about having her own career–saying that when they got married, they had an agreement that she’d always be home with the kids and he’d work. The only problem with that is things change. People’s desires change. Women yearn for an identity irrespective of their motherly skills, husband, cooking, children. They want to be their own person–which I argue, they should be before they get married.

The Betsy West article about the new documentary goes on to discuss sexual harassment in the workplace, which many women just accepted as a common occurrence and part of life (which reminds me of Mad Men in some ways, going back to entertainment media from last class). What about journalists like Gloria Steinem, who went undercover as a Playboy bunny for an assignment: “In 1963, working on an article for Huntington Hartford’s Show magazine, Steinem was employed as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club. The article featured a photo of Steinem in Bunny uniform and detailed how women were treated at those clubs. She has maintained that she is proud of the work she did publicizing the exploitative working conditions of the bunnies and especially the sexual demands made of them, which skirted the edge of the law. However, for a brief period after the article was published, Steinem was unable to land other assignments. In her words, this was “because I had now become a Bunny — and it didn’t matter why.” Steinem eventually landed a job at Felker’s newly founded New York magazine in 1968. Her experience as a Playboy Bunny was later made into the 1985 movie A Bunny’s Tale.” (from Wikipedia)

You can read her story here. This kind of thing hearkens back to the earlier traditions in journalism where female writers like Nelly Bly went incognito in order to get the “real” story. But why do women have to go undercover to get *any* story, to be respected or given the time of day by people they want to interview? Do you think things have changed or stayed the same since the time of women like Bly and Steinem?

I enjoyed reading the quotes by Noam Chomsky about American media. I went ahead and researched more of his quotes. They are so powerful and really pack a punch. They are critical but truthful and akin to those “comebacks” you wish you’d thought of in the heat of an argument, but which you think of after the fact and lament. I found this one to be particularly fitting–tying in with the article about the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, which was largely being ignored by the media. “Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.” – Noam Chomsky

My cousin, who is a graduate student at MIT, had the opportunity to meet him last year. Noam Chomsky is a professor emeritus at MIT. Photo below, sorry for the bad quality!

Image

DQs:

-Do you think the “problem that has no name” still exists for women today? If so, what it is? How has it changed over time?

-Not to solely concentrate on women, but let’s talk about men too. What do you think is “the problem that has no name” for males?

-Why do women have to go undercover to get *any* story, to be respected or given the time of day by people they want to interview? Do you think things have changed or stayed the same since the time of women like Bly and Steinem?

Nicki Karimipour; nickik1989@ufl.edu