Monday, October 22, 2007

Chapter 15: The media is the message

We are all aware of the power technologiy has on the face of journalism. We know how much it is changing traditional news values and production. This chapter of the book goes on to explore the prominent impact that the newer technological advances like the internet and citizen or online journalism will have on our more traditional ones like broadcast:radio/television reporting and print:newspaper/magazine, and what effect it will have in deciding the outcome of traditonal journalism in the digital and converged media environment of the future.
Its a difficult thing to determine. We all want to progress and be up to date with the world, but I think there should be a barrier placed up against taking out all forms of traditional journalism. Yes things like the internet and digital enhancements may help in publishing a story, but report wise, I think we should stick to the more original news values to acess to information and public understanding does not become distorted.
It may then again just be a beneficial tool used to assist in what we already have. But in reagrds to the internet, I dont think online journalism really cuts the cake on a community level, and isnt that one of the main goals for a local paper or journalist. If everything becomes internet or digital based, how will the public feel on an intimate or personal level when they dont have the trust or respect for the reporter there reading is based from.

Chapter 14: Journalism and the global village

Technology is something which is never going to stop and will continue to be a burden on the journalism world. In trying to initiate laws into journalism and monitor content and censorship, growing technological changes are placing a threshold upon the production and flow of the regulatory legal regimes.
In contrast though, most of these technological advancements within the journalism worldpool are making it possible for the emergence of the transnational corporations, which have eventually led to something which has been labelled: The Global Villige. This term was first used in the 1960's to descibe "the linking of humanity in all parts of the world" (Breitt:214)
With the ten super corporations basically dominating the globe, things like profit, legality, owenbership and truth come into play as their may be a mixed reaction to the success of one super power. Particularly something like Rupert Murdochs Mews corporation, which owns and pre promotes in cross sections, their magazines, with television stations, with newspapers and so on. According to McChesney " The dconcentration ofg global media ownership in the ten transitional corporations (TNCs) is disastrous for two reasons:

* The diversity of intresets held by transnational corporatios;
* The alliances and joint ventures formed within this group creating an oligopoly of mainly US media corporations, which is supported by a second tier od multi-million dollar corporations that dominate the miche markets within specific areas. " (McChesney and Herman:1997:95-103)

Ans this is very true, even News Corporation is based around the whole americanised 21st centruy global media firm. But does of this lead news being placed in society as a commodity? Something which can be either brought or sold, packaged or traded?

I think to some level it does, but there is not much we can do about it if we want all the technological advancements that are presented before us.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Question of Legality

Journalism Law: the legal implications that arose from the act of new reporting and publishing. These laws relate to defamation, court reporting, contempt of coutr, and parliament, obscentity, media regulation, freedom of information legislations, intellectual property, trespassm and breach of confidence. (Pearson:199)

"Where there is no publicity there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the very spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity". Said by the famous 18th century Utilitarianist and philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. This quote has been revisitied in recent times to figure our the inextricable binding of these two disiplinaries.

Throughout the world we live in, both of these disiplinaries exist alongside each other but in a differing degree of balance. Our most present, common situation being where our law stifles comments often with strong brutality. Its very much the traditional 'pen versus sword' battle. In Australia we might not suffer from a dictatorial oppression, but instead we are subjected to an almost 'three's a crowd' situation where there is the always competing rewsponsibilty of the media/press our courts, the parliament, and our different levels of government

Moral Minefields, Legal Landmarks:12 & 13

Just when is it that the personal becomes political? This section of the book focus's heavily on the real concerns in journalism. That is, what is public intrest and exactly how is it that journalists prevent themselves in regards to the legal and moral responsibilities and rights. What is the right when it comes to a journalists right to publish in the "publics intrest" but protect when its classified as the individuals right to privacy. Sounds confusing! But I think its a very serious issue, and needs to be handled efficiently. What happens when an accident occurs within the "school hour" and two little children are killed as a result of a young hoon sppeding through the 40 zone and not looking where he was going. Should it be in the publics intrest for the journalist to go speak to the familys of the children killed and get the information on how they are feeling to be published in the next mornings paper, or is that an intrusion of privacy and an insensitive act to take on. Its very dfficult to bridge the gap between these two. Because ethics and morals come severely into play. Also the notion of privacy-which is the right to be left alone, the right to control unwanted publicity about ones affairs and the right to withhold any and all information that one does not want made public- can be sought after in any circumstance where the news story is more important than the individuals rights. However autonomy is valid tool when wanting to question if a story shoudl be published or not. If you know how much impact your story could have on ones own life then you should be able to figure out whether it is all worth it in the end.

Chapter 10: True stories the power and pitfalls of literary journalism

Some of the key characteristics of literary journalism are defined in the text book as:
- documentable subject chosen from the real world as opposed to invented;
- exhaustive research;
- novelistic techniques;
- voice, allowed to be ironic, self conscious etc;
- literary prose;
- underlying meaning

The things that I am concerned about with Literary journalism is when news reporting stops and literature begins in a story? Do most literary journalists look into a story in a different manner and do the notions of basic journalism like objectivity still come into play when the fictional writing devices run into news values like facts and the truth?

To me literary Journalism is a style of writing that combines fictional based writing tools with traditionalised facts to produce a lot more than your everyday or basic news story.
In a way, it might be alot easier to recognise and relate with literary journalism thanwhat it is to try and define it. The front-page story on the newspaper each day that announces, that Andrew Johns has been busted for the possession of ecstacy is Journalism but not Literary journalism. Some of Australia's more well known examples of literary journalism would be John Bryson’s ‘Evil Angels’,and his own account of the Azaria Chamberlain murder case; What I mean by own is that the person who writes a literary article needs to become very close to the subject of thier piece. They need to maintain an objective opinion at bay but still need to live and breathe the story in order to give it its true potential and meaning. Literary journalist Helen Garner’s role in this particular area has provoked some controversy over the years. Although, whatever you might believe or think about the controversies, she is always engaged within this sort of an area, and brings a lot to it in order to produce some of her best works like 'The First Stone’ and ‘Joe Cinque’s Consolation’.
Personally I do believe that the portents for either reading or doing literary journalism are both good and bad. The bad to me is based on my belief that like stated earlier on in my blogs, most Australian newspapers now, are dedicating more of their space to entertainment and lifestryle based articles and theri is less spacebeing given to investigative journalism pieces or to the longer narrative-motivated piece about the issues present within society.

The goods points of Literary journalism is that alot more research is given to it than in daily journalism; literary journalism can also create an emotional depth within its concept which is also something that daily journalism has to avoid due to objectivity and the concept of news values. Literary journalism can allow itself to make a deep connection between readers. "A good piece of literary journalism stays with readers, like a good novel stays with a reader." To paraphrase the American critic, Ezra Pound, "Literary journalism is news that stays news".

But apart from this my great concern is the problems that can be created for the reader, and the numerous amounts of questions that come up after reading a piece like the: how do you know what you’re reading is true, when it reads like a piece of fiction question? For the creater and writer of the piece how doyou prevent yourself from improvising on what reality is and trying to make it sound better? Real life is unpleasent sometimes, boring and not all that interesting , it doesn’t always fit neatly into a three-act drama, not everybody has a character arc built in, and so on. So how is it that you mould these differnet areas? In one sense you may be working to deliver a piece about someones life but on the other you are trying to engage the reader in something which breaks the barriers of fact or fiction. The Readers intrest is always at bay.

In The Eye of The Beholder: 8 & 9

This weeks chapters were my focus for my presentation. Cultural competence and representation are very hard things to cover in the media. Audiences are positioned through the language and images that are used in news reports and the way that issues are characterised or contextualised everyday. This leads us to be exemplified to various racist views in the media which can create moral panic within society, leaving us with the thought of whether or not it is entirely necessary to subdivide groups or “others” within our society.

Firstly, Identity is formed within our society through: ‘The recognition and confirmation of relative “sameness”, the negotiation of multiple and often contradictory positions on a range of issues , and from time to time, the external imposition of undesired or unacceptable norms.’ (Ferguson 1998, p.82)

So if the media are consistenly pumping through our heads what the norm is or what the accepted is, how are we supposed to be objective when we are always being subjected to negative opinions of the "others". Take a look at these two videos both based on the Cronulla Riots and see how both portray a negative connotation towards the muslim race. The first one is more of a satire but still it is being publised on national television. The second is a news reprt on a current affairs and the news reporter in this story should have been pulled up for the way she went about reporting the issues involved within the story. She noticably places force upon the Muslin/Arab race and dissmisses the claims placed again the "white" Australian.


The The Walkley Magazine: Raising a Riot story also asked a very valuable question?

The surfies, the Lebs, the Bra Boys, the white supremacists, Alan Jones… there was a cacophony of opinion before and after Cronulla cracked. Should the media wear some of the blame?

I do think that within this particular case the media amped up the story for more than it was worth. Both "races" if thats how it should be put were to blame for the event. Not the initial story but with the angst that was created more people became involved andf more media attention drove audiences to participate.

The media plays a huge role in assisting society on what is common sense or socially acceptable through repetition and a preference for a certain event or framing. Through omission, neglect, or ridicule other ideas lifestyles or behaviours can either be marginalised or become part of the spectacle or bizarre. Boreland and Smith (1996) found that “although engaging in best practice in the approach to most stories, some journalists appear to fail to consider the impact and consequences of their reportage.”

All in all I think its up to the Journalist. Journalists should question themselves on why they are doing a story and evaluate the fairness in what they are going to write. A good journalists should know their own morals and ethics especially when it comes to writing a story on race issues. Balance and Accuracy should also be produced when weighing up actions or decisions on stories.
More importantly its about equal representation of points of view that require a high degree of empathy.

Truth or Dare

Chapter 6: The Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but…

The chapter elaborates on the various notions of truth, especially in regards to the practice of journalism and the wider impact the truth in journalism can have on a society.
Exactly how important is truth in journalism. Obviously it is a crucial element in preventing an honest readership but I think in following on with the theme of public interest sometimes the truth can be damaging to an audience. Take for instance this article: which explains how the newspapers deleted or minimised the effects of a severed bloody limb after bomb attacks in spain. If the paper were to show the "true" photo it could have a lasting or damaging effect on the publications audience which initially is not in the publics intrest. In saying this though, I dont think it is ever easy to give the true representation of a specific event of issue. Journalists need to take it into their own account on whether the truth is best for the situation. Im not saying that they should lie, but merely minimize the effects if it its not valued but society.

I also think universal truth is a task on its own. Firstly, Plato, truths for all people everywhere and for all time, is a nice thought and would be a wonderful achievement, but in our diverse universe I dont think we can make something like that work efficiently. I think journalists should tell the story in the best, objective way, detailing the exact details but without damaging consequences. Censorship should come into play here. Tell the truth about the incedent but dont allow images of indecent acts to corrupt our sponge like brains or younger more innocent counterparts emotive and personlised feelings.

Chapter 7: The importance of enquiry

The text examines and describes to us the three types of enquiry. All three of these are said to be connected to the other with the journalist being caught unable to move on to another level without adequate enquiry at level one. These 3 steps are described as:

1. Reactive reporting: observation, and an account of what happened which is most often brief

2. Analytic reporting: The answers, and the who what when?

3. Reflective reporting: The deeper seated social trends, approached in a way which may have set the scene.

All good journalism requires a continual and ongoing enquiry. Take a look at my blog on Kisschasy. It goes on to explain my enquiry and ongoing research into the band. I used this three step process for a change and to my own disbelief, actually found it to be useful. Journalists need to become envolved within the story so they can potray the best outcome to the society they are representing. Enquiry is the only way this can become successful without the apparition of the story becoming confused. A journalist must as stated above discover the truths of the story and justify them through their own body of special knowledge. Ivestigation is the key here and nothing can appose this as its a tradition and efficient way of researching news stories. All the commercialisation and political governing couldnt change it, even if they wanted to.

Chapters 4 and 5: Hard Yakka versus the Business

Chapter 4 mainly deals with the capitalist structure that exists within todays news organisations. The media seems to look very different to its past conterparts. According to Bob Franklin we are an ear where the news focus's heavily on the
1. Shifting balance to entertainment
2. Disappearance of foreign and political news in some media
3. Trend towards infotainment.

He belives that most of this is due to the "softer or lighter" stories that media companies are covering as apposed to the more traditional harder breaking news storys. It is not so much in the publics intrest anymore but what the public "would" be interested in. He calls this "newszak" and belives we have all moved into the infotainment era. Everything is based on entertaining the public.

Yes I do agree with what Franklin is saying, as most news coverages these days heavily rely on ratings and survey results to keep the stations or papers runnning and most believe that entertaining the audience is the best way at keeping this at bay. But I d feel that if we still maintain the traditional role of producing a news story to an audience and giving accurate and valuable news issues audiences will stay attached because most of us don't know whether or not to belive what we are hearing anymore anyways. I think if I ever put myself infront of the Today Tonight television timeslot I would have to get up and leave.

I think it was on the Hamish and Andy show on the Austereo drive show where they interviewed Anna Coren of the Today tonight (TT) show and had a quiz to guess which story they covered or which one was made up. I remember one of the questions being: did TT cover a story where a dog swam from Tasmania to Melbourne in one day and she actually said yes they covered it when they really didnt. After she got it wrong, she admitted in an embrarressed cover up that the program is based on entertaining and covering ludicrious news stories in order to keep the public interested. But really do we want to see another story where neighbours are at war with each other.

This leads me on to chapter 5.

Basically if you have read the chapter you will see how it bridges the gap between the commercial, economic and political hold on journalism to date. After reading the previous chapter I agree with most this chapter has to say. News agencies are based on commercial success. If they wern't then what good would they be in the commercial world we live in. There only following suit tot he other norms that surround us..

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In my attempt at trying to become a journalist of some sort, I have been lucky enough to already work in an industry where gaining contacts is easier than if I were on my own. I was very fortunate to have interviewed Kisschasy last night when they played a special RSVP show at the Metro in George Street Sydney.
I usually conduct my interviews with little or no preparation at all. Research on the artists is usually as far as I will go. Im like one of the jocks that doesnt like to wash their undies or jock strap before a big match? strage yeah..But, Im the kind of person that works better on the spur of the moment and improvises my behind off unitl their is some kind of potenital journalistic gold produced.

This time, after all Christina's words of wisdom and after listening to various presentations, I decided to conduct my interview similar to the one, conducted in class. I prepared. shock...I had questions lined up, back up questions, follow up questions and a broader knowledge than, "whats the craziest thing a fan has ever done for you?" I had my pen, paper and kinda tried to imagine myself as one of those amazing 1960-70'sRolling Stones journalists that basically criticised every single Led Zeppelin Album that was ever released, even though they were all amazing pieces of work haha (my subjectivity). My goal was to be the enemy....and a real intimidating one i'm sure. ha

I cancelled out all subjectivity or personal feelings towards the band. I was asking questions from an audience and public perspective not from my own. And I tired to target the question and direct them from a particular niche market I had created. So basically my audience demographic that I was aiming for was both male and female aged 20-30. And it was categorized towards more of a rock magazine. Ranging questions for both male and female is harder than you think, when it comes to rock music.

So overall, I took a little knowledge from each weeks readings, mixed them up and interviewed a bunch of really cool guys, who were a great interview. I can go as far as saying I prepared well and thats why it turned out so good, but they had great personalitites and were open to all of my questions. So cheers to all!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Interview with James Bracey

James Bracey is a young, smart and talented journalist. Some would think at the age of 22 and being a Sports journalist on Sky News one would have no idea about the true meaning of journalism in society. Interestingly enough, James provided myself and the group with some detailed information on what he belives a good journalist is, through his own expereinces and through some he has witnessed at Sky News in particular. A student of the University of Newcastle and a Central Coast local, James has had an amazing break inot the journalism world. I will be putting up some, voice clips of the interview as soon as Ben a member of Team Bracey recovers from his illness. Ben may the force be with you!

Blogs Missing in Action: anyone seen them?

All my blogs have been deleted...Yes, I really am not made for this blogging experience... But stay tuned I shall re-write and critique some more....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Citizen journalism

For me citizen journalism is not technically true journalism. Well, its rather a personal perception not a socially validated comment. I'm mean, yes, everyone is allowed to freedom of speech and opionion but does that officially mean anyone can promote their feelings and have it classified as being valid in the "public spere". Or even for it to potentially have an effect on society. I just think citizen journalism allows for two much opinion. Im not saying subjectivity and opionion arne bad but most of the Blogs on citizen journalist websites I have come across don't socially construct an image on what they are trying to say. Things like censorship and defamation cannot be monitored as efficiently as everyday journalism. And once it does become a problem one can simply state they are a blogger not journalist, even though they previously got their nickers in a twist when someone said they wernt a journalist. Ironic!

A return to practice: reclaiming journalism as public conversation

What is the role of journalism in society? Alot of this reading brought up the often contradictory issues surrounding exactly what a journalists role is and what purpose it serves in our culture. The chapter moves into explaining the origanal role journalism played in society. Basically journalism was a " cultural practice" (Tapsall and Varley:40:2001) which survived primarily in the "public sphere" and it's main function was to represent and communicate within society. So what's modern journalism's role and has it differed from what it orginally stood for?
In my eyes, journalism still communicates with its public. It somewhat even allows us as a public sphere to communicate back with new additions to the would-be-journalist:citizen journalism and so on.

It states in the chapter that modern journalism is "independent". This branching from the theory that media institutions were seen as "the fourth estate" (Tapsall and Varley:41:2001) and were independent of the other three estates of the judiciary, executive goevernments and parliament. But it is often argued that the public is left out of this conception, and the media stands primarily in the role as adversary.

I do agree with Gramsci, who noted that " the media take their place alongside other cultural institutions which influence public opinion. The media and journalism are part of thr array of institutions that form culture" (Gramsci:380-1:88). I also think that his concept of "integral journalism" is valid today because most of the news we indulge in allows us to think beyond the basic common sense of readership. Most of us take on an article and pursue it that tiny bit further to give it more substance than whats simplified on paper. Citizen and Public journalism support this notion but can sometimes go beyond the point of being critical.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Comfort or Curse?

There are many assumptions as to what a journalist succumbs to. Are journalists players of the marketing, entertaining business's or are they just workers for the higher players: their employers and the pressures they put on them. Or are journalists players of their own game, individuals who do what they feel best to do in regards to public intrest?

According to Tapsall & Varley (2006:35) , a journalist may be the composities of "a fearless seeker of truth and justice or a powerless purveyor of products"?

Underwood (1993:144) cited in Tapsall and Varley (2006:31) found that in regards to marketing and the journalist, "commodification fundamentally changes the role of the journalists, so that they are less likely to delve into and behind stories, and more likely to follow routines and proformas."

In regards to entertainment, most journalists concentrate on public intrest, but the question is, wheteher or not public intrest is valued as entertainment or the truth. As cited in Tapsall and Varley, (2006: 28) "give the people what they want, they will support you and you will be profitable and better able to give them more of what they want."

Or in contrast to this:

".....public intrest is better served by telling people things they would rather not know; for example, things that make them feel uncomfortable or guilty."(Tapsall and Varley 2006:29)

In my opinion, both of these views are valued and not always in confrontation. A journalists job is both to provide entertainment, thus leading to the audience reading and buying the paper for example, thus creating profit for the paper in order to survice and exist in the competitive mass media marketed world we all live in. The journalists job though, is also to tell the truth and potray the story in its best intrest, even if that does mean allowing the audience to read gory or uncomfortable articles. A journalists job, in my view, is not to market a criminal or murderer in the best possible way so the audience feels comfortable about living in todays society. That on its own accord would be lying to the public and dis-respecting public intrest.

But as Derryn Hinch stated to a cadet journalist in the 1970's," You want to know if a papers's first priorty is to inform, educate or entertain? Its none of these. Its first priority is to continue to exist." (Tapsall and Varley 2006:23)

And in saying that I can only imagine what his perspective would be on today's competitive media world.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Just what is a Journalist??

Trying to figure out what the "typical" journalist is in todays society is a daunting task. Long gone are the days a journalist was describe as someone who wrote for either print or broadcast and if you wanted to find out the news you just picked up a newspaper or turned on the radio. These days a journalist could be described as something a little more complex. According to the new code of ethics,

"Journalists describe society to itself. They convey information, ideas and opinions. They search, disclose, record, question, entertain, comment and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They give a practical form to freedom of expression. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be responisble and accountable. (MEAA 1999)

So in taking what this says, a journalist is really a multi-tasking messanger to society. With technology invading our ever changing work places a journalists job becomes a multi-branching effort to move from broadcast throught to digital to the recent phenomenon of Internet Journalists or the preffered name of "citizen journalist".

Internet Journalism is an interesting concept but is this really the new wave in media forms? Do most people source out there news through traditional mediums or the newer ones. All in all, and apart from this a Journalists task is to deliver news, enetertainment and so forth. But do they really potray what society should know or wants to hear? I found this quote whilst looking over different people perceptions of a journalist and found it quite humourous and somewhat truthful.

``Good journalists pursue truth; great journalists communicate it with grace. Legends do it every week.''

I s it a journalists job to make sure society knows the truth or knows part of the truth? Richardson (Tapsal & Varley: 10) suggests that "good journalists also have a hungerto get information, a hunger to find out the always get more."

In my opinion a journalist is the key to the information we know. If you think about it, most world known media cases are only potrayed to us through journalists eyes. The Iraq War, for example, is only perceived to us through the media, and most of us know no other than what we have been told.

What do u percieve a journalist to be?