Is this really news?

We see it in newspapers, magazines, Facebook, Twitter… News. It’s everywhere. According to the free dictionary, news is defined as, Information about noteworthy recent events or happenings, especially as reported by newspapers, periodicals, radio, or television’ (the free dictionary). Whilst this definition is widely accepted, there are flaws which should be addressed. News is not justified purely by the media, because the media have the ability to skew perspectives, filter information and have biased (especially towards politics). What is important to the media is not necessarily important to us. Secondly, what defines what the general public should and shouldn’t know? This can also be skewed by biased and personal views from the reporter or company which can heavily influence the audiences view. It also fails to recognise the importance of social media in the role of delivering news. News and it’s definition is constantly changing and the following video explains the difficulty in defining and with news. 

This video taken from HBO’s the Newsroom, identifies the change from NEEDING to know information to WANTING to know such as celebrity idolisation. For example, Facebook and news companies like the Sydney Morning Herald ‘reported’ on Kim Kardashian being tackled at Paris Fashion Week. Is this a type of ‘pseudo event?’ Sukhmani Khorana explains that this is where there is no visible news but audiences still expect news to be full (Khorana, 2014). I argue that it is. Whilst the video stresses how Kim Kardashian could’ve been harmed, it’s really just a practical joke.

News has different values which contribute to its newsworthiness.

  • Proximity
  • Relevance
  • Rarity or Continuity
  • Elite References
  • Negativity
  • Composition
  • Personalisation

The Kim Kardashian story plays on Elite References, Negativity and Composition yet hardly makes it newsworthy. It is obvious that this story is satisfying the audiences want and desire to relate and live the life on the one and only Kim Kardashian.

Whilst this story was being run, there are more important events unfolding in the world which can be lost in the pages of a newspaper or newsfeed. At the end of September, a young Al-Jazeera journalist, Abdullah Elshamy, was released from a prison in Egypt for apparently broadcasting false news of Egypt. A problem with these kinds of stories is the lack of follow ups, ‘it’s important that journalists who are serious about covering (stories), need to follow up, they can’t just cover the big moments. It’s important not to take a snapshot but to take a long video of what’s going on’ (Lee-Wright, pp. 1, 2012). Whilst this story did make the news, there are no follow up stories of Mr. Elshamy and his bid to fight for press freedom, where I’m sure we’ll continue to hear from the adventures of the Kardashians.

I believe it is important to question news and its newsworthiness. Also to look elsewhere from our morning paper or Facebook newsfeed and to actively engage in consuming the news to ensure we are finding out about events around the world that don’t necessarily involve Kim Kardashian.


Khorana, S. 2014, BCM111, ‘Who Counts in Global Media News Values’, lecture notes, accessed 24/09/2014, University of Wollongong.

Lee-Wright, P 2012, ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’, JOMEC Journal, University of London

Loveluck, L 2014, The Telegraph, ‘Abdullah Elshamy: ‘Freedom can’t be comprimised’, accessed 03/10/14, http://Http://

The Sydney Morning Herald, 2014, The Sydney Morning Herald, ‘Kim Kardashian tackled by Ukranian prankster at Paris Fashion Week’, accessed 02/10/2014, http://Http://

Media Keeps on Flowing

What are the differences between dominant flows and contra-flows? Why are contra-flows important? How do they affect us here in Australia?

Media has traditionally been dominated by America and Europe due to economic, technological and political power, and rapid advancements in communications. When my parents grew up, they would watch television shows like the Brady Bunch and Happy Days, listen to music like the Beach Boys and Bay City Rollers, and want to be like Sandy from Grease and fall in love with Danny. Whilst I still enjoy the occasional Grease song, growing up and consuming media in the 21st Century was drastically different because of the endless options the Internet provides. I can read Japanese anime, listen to Korean Pop, watch strange Norwegian films, extravagant Bollywood films as well as enjoy a classic Hollywood film like the Notebook.
Beach Boys
K-POP group Jewelry
K-POP group Jewelry

This change over time not only represents how globalisation has dramatically altered our media consumption but also the differences between Dominant Media Flows and Contra-Media Flows. Dominant media flows are generally associated with worldwide popularity like Disney, MTV and Google (Thussu, Table 1.1, pp. 12, 2006). However the ‘one-way flow of US programming to the periphery of the world system are being reassessed in light of increasing multi-directional flows of media imagery’ (Curtin, pp. 131, 2003). This change has led to the emergence of contra-media flows which are associated with ‘national corporations, governments and national audiences’ (Thussu, pp. 30, 2006).

Contra-media flows such as Al-Jazeera (Middle Eastern and North African news) and (a Chinese version of Google) have had significant effects on dominant media because consumers want to be able to relate and understand media from a cultural and personal perspective. The emergence of contra-flows are important in today’s interconnected society as they ‘can shape cultural identities, energise dis-empowered groups and help create political coalitions and new transnational private and public spheres (Thussu, pp. 20, 2006).

TNT magazine - Best of Australia and the UK
TNT magazine – Best of Australia and the UK

For example, I lived in London last year and found that I was losing track of Australian politics, events and most importantly… sport. A century ago, it would be practically impossible to keep updated, however, there is the wonderful TNT magazine, specifically made for Australians living in London. They include topics like current trends in Australian politics, who’s favoured to win the State of Origin AND relevant information about events in London such as housing prices, cheap travel options and pub crawls (that’s all Aussies do in London). This contra-flow allowed me to feel engaged in both Australia and the UK and by combining them with dominant media flows (with a little help from my friend the Internet) allows me to stay up to date with current events across the globe.

We are all aware of dominant media flows such as Disney, however, we are not all aware of the little guys (contra-flows) that are making a big impact in our lives and across the globe. I believe that contra-flows will become more important and prominent as the forces of globalisation threaten cultural diversity. It’s a nice feeling knowing wherever we go in the world, we’ll be able to know what’s happening in Home and Away.


Further Information


Curtin, M. 2003, “Media capital: towards the study of spatial flows”, International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 202-228

Thussu, D.K. 2006, Media on the move: global flow and contra-flow, Routledge, New York

Globalisation of Media and its effects on the world

‘Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism’ (Khorana, 2014)

This statement delivered to us in our second lecture of BCM111 expresses the benefits, disadvantages, concerns and welcoming of globalisation. And the media plays a big part in this global change. Khorana defines globalisation as  ‘an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information’ (Khorana, 2014). This is illustrated through multi national companies like McDonalds, Dior, HSBC and Barbie.

There are 5 cultural flows which contribute towards globalisation and some argue, towards cultural homogenisation, where cultures become increasingly similar or ‘Americanised.’

  1. Ethnoscapes – the movement of people/politics
  2. Mediascapes – the movement of images/news
  3. Technoscapes – the movement of technology
  4. Financescapes – the movement of capital (currency/stock)
  5. Ideoscapes – the movement of content/ideas
Could cultural homogenization let this occur?
Could cultural homogenization let this occur?

Globalisation is usually viewed as a one way movement, from America to the rest of the world, which is known as cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism is ‘how one culture spreads its values and ideas culturally, (for example) the global reach of Hollywood films’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2012). O’Shaughnessy and Stadler reference a media theorist, John Thompson, who explains how it can be detrimental and play a homogenising force within the world by ‘the globalisation of communication being driven by the pursuit of commercial interests of large US-based transnational corporations, often acting in collaboration with Western political and military interests; and this process has resulted in a new form of dependency in which the traditional cultures are destroyed through the intrusion of Western values’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2012). In this regard, it is believed that globalisation of media leads to homogenisation.

However, this view disregards multidirectional media flows, such as those coming from Asia, which influence American and the rest of the worlds cultures. For example, Japanese anime is becoming increasingly popular as well as K-Pop (Korean Popular Music) and Hong Kong films. The view of cultural hybridisation refers to the fact that different cultures will adapt certain aspects from other cultures that will benefit them. People will also hold on to cultural traditions like religion, dress, rituals, food, etc because it is so embedded in their everyday life, a few Hollywood movies won’t affect that.

Globalisation is often associated with the domination of McDonalds and Coca Cola, however, think about the types of media you consume and the products you use. Yes you might use a Mac computer, but where was it made? Globalisation from all cultures is all around us if you look closely enough.


Khorana, S 2014 International Media and Communication, BCM111, University of Wollongong, Delivered 6 August 2014

O’Shaughnessy, M. & Stadler, J.M. 2012, Media and society,Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic