‘A Town Wrapped in Secrets’

You don’t know chills and thrills until you’ve sat and listened to the theme song of ITV’s hit mini series ‘Broadchurch‘. Set in the small English sea-side town of Broadchurch, the murder of 11 year old Danny Latimer takes place; sending the town into chaos confusion and suspicion, with a host of characters being framed as the murderer at some point. The series sets up reasons for guilt, questioning the role of the media in the investigation and the position of children in our society.

But who dunit?

A challenging issue that has arisen with the growth of technology’s power in our world is role reversal; to challenge our beliefs on who is to blame for negative impacts in society. In the mini series, the misuse of twitter by a reporter leads the media to the identity of the murdered boy before the police have a chance to release the information formally, creating a mistrust and back step in the investigation. From this I learnt it is imperative for the greater world to challenge the popular but mis-informed idea that the media is to blame, especially when dealing with such sensitive issues as minors in the spotlight. It also pinpointed the power one holds when they are both involved in and in control of different media platforms.

As mentioned, the mini series manages to squeeze most minor characters into the forefront of guilt through different circumstances, with the local newspaper, ‘The Herald’, latching on to one particular suspect, Jack Marshall, a 60-something man running the local Scout group. One reporter discovers Jack’s incriminating past, writing a story that turns the whole town against him in a hate campaign, creating an intense and violent moral panic. It is through this episode in particular that I began to realise the strength of public opinion when a common thought, encouraged by the media, drives them to action. This also enhances the internal mediated public sphere within the town. Through the science of semiotics what is denoted in the newspaper (and the evidence as seen by us, the audience) frames Jack and through connotations from the public sphere (and Jack’s apparent guilt) suspicions are strengthened. However, after Jack’s suicide it is revealed that he was in fact innocent, raising the question, can the image be trusted?

 

Oh, and I won’t tell you who the murderer is, you’ll just have to watch to find out!

 

Broadchurch Cast

 

 

References:

IMDb 2014, ‘Broadchurch’, (episode overview and character description), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2249364/?ref_=tt_ov_inf (Accessed 14th of April 2014)

Youtube 2014, ‘Broadchurch finale – clips and review’,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvc2YWMQGSs (Accessed 14th of April 2014)

Youtube 2014, ‘Broadchurch Episode Two Trailer with David Tennant and Olivia Colman’, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npxigkP3WkE (Accessed 14th of April 2014)

Images:

The Independent 2013,Wyatt D,  ‘Review of Broadchurch – Series 1, Episode 3’,  http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/03/18/review-of-broadchurch-%E2%80%93-series-1-episode-3/ (Accessed 14th of April 2014)

It’s not easy being green; green with envy.

“Suddenly, the problems were obvious everywhere you looked: our food was chemically treated and genetically modified, our water was contaminated with toxic chemicals, our resources were running out … but a few key issues that have spurred millions to “go green”.”

Environmentalism is not a dirty word. Instead think of it as more of a spectrum: from those that choose to bring their own ‘green’ shopping bags to those who build extreme eco-friendly homes and then those who are activists, vocalising their way of life.

But what is environmentalism in our fast paced, ‘more is better’, ‘newer is greater’ society? Through campaigns such as Earth Hour, Clean Up Australia Day and World Environment Day, the public sphere is annually reminded of this fragile planet we live on. It is through these events that the concept of fragility is encouraged and the idea of moral panic is produced.

There are two media driven and consumer supported sides to this issue. The first being supported by Al Gore and his 2006 film ‘An Inconvenient Truth”. In this documentary Gore sets out to educate the public, via a ‘slideshow’ presentation, about the severity of the climate crisis. Even though the film and findings are potentially outdated, it is still used to spur on the cause and motivate others to continue spreading the message.

an_inconvenient_truth_by_al_gore

This then leads to the second media, reality lifestyle show ‘Grand Designs‘ (UK) and ‘The Block‘ (AU). Both shows promote environmentally friendly products, processes and design. In particular, Grand Designs highlights the efforts of wealthier couples across Britain who wish to create ‘eco-homes’; self-sufficient living spaces that are entirely ‘green’.

Eco-Arch-Kent

But to what degree does this British television show create and enhance moral panic? It makes an issue that is seen to be a private and personal decision, very public. These families use the show as a billboard for promoting both their wealth (because, let’s be honest, being green also means dishing out the big bucks) and their social awareness of the environment. In our show all, judge all, want all media driven society, this kind of self promotion is the fuel that drives on the fashion-like-trend.

 

References:

Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia 2014, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Inconvenient_Truth (Accessed 12th of April 2014)

Web Ecoist 2014, ‘A brief history of the modern green movement in America’, http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2008/08/17/a-brief-history-of-the-modern-green-movement/ (Accessed 11th of April 2014)

Youtube 2014, Grand Designs Eco House, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZWLv-CzT2c (Accessed 11th of April 2014)

Images:

My Blog 2008, Al Ameri K, ‘Summary of An Inconvienient Truth’, http://khalud.blogspot.com.au/2008/04/summary-of-inconvenient-truth.html (Accessed 13th of April 2014)

Greener Ideal 2014, Helliwell J, ‘3 Amazing Eco Homes in the United Kingdom, http://www.greenerideal.com/building/0610-3-amazing-eco-homes/ (accessed 13th of April 2014)

“The Murdoch Era is all but over.”

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Rupert Murdoch, “Australian born, American made”. His media empire has stretched over many continents, “his liberal conservatism has changed the way we think” and with over 50 years in the industry, the Murdoch name is not going to disappear from the headlines anytime soon. Or will it?

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According to the Guardian, the time of newspapers and sensationalist journalism could be at an end:

“… look at the media we have … and something very big has happened … it is in the heartland of Britain’s oldest medium – the press – that this epoch-shifting change has occurred. The Murdoch era is all but over.”

When looking at Murdoch’s professional biography, it is clear to see how far his name, and with it his power, has reached. However, there is a flaw in this system as stated by Congressman Bernie Sanders, “what we see, what we hear, and what we read is being controlled by fewer and fewer, large multinational corporations.” So why is this a negative thing and what kind of effect will this have on the public? “Monopolistic power allows for owners to control the masses,”. In the case of Rupert Murdoch and in particular the phone hacking scandals of 2011, it can be seen that oligopolistic media ownership hinders the awareness and knowledge the public have access to.

Color-Murdoch-blame-game

According to Robert McChesney founder of FreePress.net this concentration of media ownership will lead to lowered diversity of viewpoints and programs on offer, greater strength in biased journalism that do not challenge authoritative institutions and far less coverage on common local issues. However with the rise of social media, ie. Facebook and Twitter, users and audiences that are affected by the changing media trends are in fact able to become their own sources of news, unhindered by the reign of the kings and queens of the media world.

 

References:

Perception is Reality 2008, Bhimani T, ‘Public Service Media vs. Private and Commercial Media’, weblog, http://destogate.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/public-service-media-vs-private-and-commercial-media/ (Accessed 7th of April 2014)

Free Press 2014, ‘FCC takes a stand against media consolodation’, http://www.freepress.net/blog/2014/03/31/fcc-takes-stand-against-media-consolidation (Accessed 7th of April 2014)

The Technology Information Front 2009, Thierer A, ‘Free Press, Robert McChesney & the “Struggle of Media’, http://techliberation.com/2009/08/10/free-press-robert-mcchesney-the-struggle-for-media-marxism/ (Accessed 7th of April 2014)

The Guardian 2014, ‘The Rupert Murdoch era is all but over’, Media Blog, http://www.theguardian.com/media/media-blog/2014/jan/05/rupert-murdoch-era-over (Accessed 8th of April 2014)

Images:

Dave Granlund – editorial cartoons and illustations 2014, ‘Rupert Murdcoh blame game’,  http://www.davegranlund.com/cartoons/2011/07/22/rupert-murdoch-blame-game/ (Accessed 11th of April 2014)

Ain’t no god 2012, Rupert Murdoch cartoon number 3,  http://aintnogod.com/ipb/gallery/image/1952-murdoch-cartoon-3/  (Accessed 11th of April 2014)

What’s the real cost?

Every day we, as consumers, are exposed to between 3,000 and 20,000 marketing messages. However, after research David Lamourex surmised that approximately 5% of these messages actually enter our consciousness. So what happens when one of those messages happens to be a very blunt Anti Teen-Pregnancy campaign? People definitely stop and take notice, especially when almost 4000 posters are situated all over New York City!

ncy teen   nyc te   nyc tee    nyc t

The campaign focuses on four main images, all denoting children from different cultures but appearing to be in the same distressed state. These pictures are then juxtaposed next to the text that, due to the font and message itself, looks to be ‘from the mouths of babes’ or a poster in a kindergarten room.

The campaign’s developer, the New York City’s Human Resource Administration (HRA), have been both condemned and praised for the advertisements with 3 main perspectives arising based on the individuals own experiences or awareness of teen pregnancy.

The dominant reading: This view is agreeing with the message presented and understanding the necessity of the campaign. As one interviewee from NYC Today said: “It’s brutally honest and that’s what we need. It’s a wake up call.”

The alternate reading: Questions have arisen to whether teens will actually take notice of these ads or even if this ‘scaring’ tactic will work. As blogger Panama Jackson states:

“… kids are not reading those ads thinking about how being a teenage mother is going to ruin their life …  I’d wager that any teenager who cared about those ads, cared before the ads showed up and they’re just reinforcing what they already know”.

The resistant reading: However, the flip side is that these ads are stereotyping teen mothers and their partners. In particular, Geneva Farrow young mother and founder of ‘A Young Mother’s Dream’ mentoring program stated “(the ad) perpetuates a stereotype that teen mums are not successful … there are many teen mums who defy the odds.”

But while this advertisement blatantly describes the perils of teen pregnancy, TV shows such as ’16 and Pregnant’ seem to glorify the situation, making celebrities out of the young mums. So does the Western world have a skewed or distorted view of the topic, and if so, will these ads be effective for their intended audience?

Time will tell.

 

References:

Creative Blog, 10 Controversial Ad Campaigns, http://www.creativebloq.com/advertising/10-controversial-ad-campaigns-2013-12135346 Future publishing Ltd, (Accessed 22nd March 2014)

Youtube, Do NYC anti-pregnancy ads go too far?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RttLggUn_8, (accessed 24th March 2014)

Skirwk.com.au Interactive Schooling, Readings, http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-54_u-245_t-637_c-2365/readings-alternative-dominant-resistant/nsw/readings-alternative-dominant-resistant/skills-by-mode-reading-and-writing/required-skills-and-knowledge-concept (Accessed 24th of March 2014)

Very Smart Brothas, The Kerfuffle with the New York City’s Anti Teen Pregnancy Ad, WordPress, http://verysmartbrothas.com/the-kerfluffle-with-new-york-citys-anti-teen-pregnancy-ads/ (Accessed 24th of March 2014)

We are what the Media tells Us.

I’d like to admit something.

I’ve finally come to terms with the brutal honest fact that I am unattractive. It’s true! But thanks to the latest app I can finally Photoshop myself to perfection and then feel totally comfortable uploading it. But we all know, if I want to feel any kind of self-worth then I’ll need that 11th like on Instagram otherwise clearly that ‘selfie’ is not as hot as I thought!

The media, in all its forms and depending on how we use it, shape our world whether we like it or not.

Image

In a study conducted at Arizona State University 157 “female undergrads were randomly exposed to pictures from magazines containing images (of ultra skinny to average sized women)” resulting in the female students feeling immense body dissatisfaction. Think about that for a second. One minute you may be feeling rather happy with yourself and then you catch a glimpse of the newest Top Shop model and ‘BAM’ you’d rather stay inside in the dark, than face the world.

Let’s also take a look at Kim Kardashian, a name we either love or love to hate. After posing for a photo shoot at Complex Magazine and then the un-photo shopped image being used, the uproar from readers was in mass; their complaint: “You can see her cellulite!”

Kim’s response: “You know what, who cares! So what I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t!? How many people do you think are photo shopped? It happens all the time!”

kim kardashian blog pic

It is like we have been programmed to do two things: 1. compare ourselves senselessly with others and 2. skinny is better, full stop. How is it that the media is able to shape our perception of worth? Well maybe flip that around; why do we allow it to affect us? I don’t believe it is fair to blame the media for highlighting and representing a larger world, a world where, heck yes my legs suck in comparison to the girl on Instagram whose account is ‘immahotbabe23’*. But you know what? I’m realistic and I think that’s the thing. We can blame the media for showing us our inadequacies, but we shouldn’t allow it to have the power to shape our self worth.

*Please note: No actual research was conducted into whether this is a real account, or if the owner has hot legs!

References:

Lexie Kite & Lindsay Kite, “Photoshop: Altering Images and our Minds”, Beauty Redefined, Kite Media, 2013, http://www.beautyredefined.net/photoshopping-altering-images-and-our-minds/ (Accessed 16th March 2014)

Guilford Press, “Adverse effects of the Media portrayed thin ideal on women and linkages to bulimic symptomology”, Guilford Press, New York, 1997-2014, http://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/jscp.1994.13.3.288 (Accessed 16th March 2014)

Blog Spot, Laura Christianson, “Media’s Effect of a Woman’s Body Image”, http://mediaseffectonbodyimage.blogspot.com.au/ (Accessed 17th March 2014)

Images:

Fandom Obsessed, “Stop Blaming Disney! It’s all Tolkein’s fault”,  http://fandomobsessed.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DisneyHair.jpg (Accessed 16th March 2014)

 

Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat?

Uni is all so very new. So very new indeed!!

“There’s lectures and readings a-plenty. There’s new faces and class rooms galore. But who cares, it’s all new, I’ll explore!!!!!!”

Now go back and re-read that last segment to the tune of Little Mermaid. Because you know, that’s where my mind is headed while preparing for my first lot of tutorials!

Not only do I have to think about this blog (careful and consistent maintenance is a must!), but tweeting of my thoughts and opinions must occur (Oh, and they should be insightful and on topic) AND reading of the actually awesome books for English (because I’m a nerd and chose the subject for fun!).

Did I say “Bring on Uni” before? Hmm, guess I should stick with that …

 

Sweet niblets of joy, I’m out!

Alyss x

Enigma?

What do you say to a room, or social media system, full of complete strangers? Do you sway with the common interests? Do you slide in a little humour (let’s be honest, smart, quick wit is the best!)? Do you provide obnoxious and obvious details that will be sure to both inform and bore?

Me? Still very much undecided! I’m a 21 year old, vertically challenged, fashion critiquing girl. I grew up in a country town used as the posh Sydney siders weekend getaway town of choice. My favourite colour is orange, I want to visit the Pyramids one day, I love exercise and I’m the oldest of four kids (cue the bossy antics). Since leaving my 13 year sentence at my local rural school, I have travelled all over England, studied at a business college and been manager of a retail store (just refer to me as your very own Just Jean denim expert!).

I’m super keen to see what this course will hold, nervous to see how the work load will kick me in the butt, but prepared to say BRING IT ON!!

Alyss x