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.

References

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://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/egypt/11119275/Abdullah-Elshamy-Freedom-cant-be-compromised.html

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://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/celebrity/kim-kardashian-tackled-by-ukranian-prankster-at-paris-fashion-week-20140926-10masb.html

The Power of Anonymity

 

Sourced from http://www.yalelawtech.org/wp-content/uploads/anonymous-online.jpg
Sourced from http://www.yalelawtech.org/wp-content/uploads/anonymous-online.jpg

Every one has a unique identity in the real world. But why is it that when we hit cyberspace, our ‘identity’ can change so much, that we morph into a completely different person? The power of anonymity is a strong one. It can promote freedom of expression, exchange of ideas and intrigue. However it can also contribute to online fraud, scams, violation of privacy and abuse online. (Himma & Tavani, 2008) And why? Because our computer screen act as a mask, where we aren’t confronted by the consequences of our actions, where we gain a false sense of freedom and confidence to attack someone and something we can hide behind.

Some like Randi Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerber’s siter) believe that “anonymity on the Internet has to go away… People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors.” Cyber bullying allows the perpetrator to disregard the consequences for their actions and vilify their victims anonymously. Victims invite the bully into their home through their laptops and phones leading to constant harassment where this has lead to depression, anxiety, isolation and every suicides. 

There is also a big advantage to being anonymous online. Because you don’t need to deal with the consequences of your words, it automatically grants the writer power, because they are seen as unbiased. They can not be judged or ridiculed due to their gender, sexuality, race, religion or physical appearance, which occurs especially to women, transgender or homosexuals. The anonymous, have the ultimate power to express themselves free of judgement. Brooke Magnanti (writer for the London Daily Telegraph) says “the loss of a right to anonymity far outweighs whatever potential harm abusers may cause.” (Rooney, 2013) We all value the freedom of speech and I believe the power of people’s words should not be defined because of who they are. 

[If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression/anxiety/bullying, visit http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/ or seek professional help]

Further Readings/Videos

http://www.sbs.com.au/insight/episode/watchonline/610/Free-Speech

References

Himma, K.E. & Tavani, H.T 2008 “Online Anonymity” in John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ, USA, pp. 165-18, accessed 15/05/2014, http://ey9ff7jb6l.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info:sid/summon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:book&rft.genre=book%20item&rft.title=The+Handbook+of+Information+and+Computer+Ethics&rft.au=Himma%2C+Kenneth+Einar&rft.au=Tavani%2C+Herman+T&rft.atitle=Online+Anonymity&rft.pub=John+Wiley+%26+Sons%2C+Inc&rft.isbn=9780471799597&rft.spage=165&rft.epage=189&rft_id=info:doi/10.1002%2F9780470281819.ch7&rft.externalDocID=10.1002%2F9780470281819.ch7&paramdict=en-US

Ben Rooney 2013, The Debate Over Online Anonymity, Dow Jones & Company Inc, New York, N.Y. accessed http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1269762840

Penny, L 2014, Online bullying isn’t freedom of speech, Al Jazeera, 22 February, accessed 15/05/2014, http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/2/online-bullying-harassmentwomenfreedomspeech.html  

 

Bring Back Our Girls, Bring Forth Your Support

#Bringbackourgirls

Bring Back Our Girls has been a twitter phenomenon, capturing global attention on the 234 Nigerian school girls missing due to internal terrorist regimes. This horrendous incident occurred on the 15th April, taking a few weeks for awareness to capture the world. I became aware of this movement a week ago and have since actively followed, retweeted and researched the development of the #bringbackourgirls.

Sourced from http://rosearomas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mala.jpg?w=529
Malala Yousafzai showing her support. Sourced from http://rosearomas.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/mala.jpg?w=529

I personally support and participate in this online ‘clicktivism’ because being a young woman in the 21st century, I know and believe that education should be granted to all, regardless of race, religion, culture or gender. With the admiration of activist Malala Yousafzai and her powerful words “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons,” (Yousafzai, 2013)I hope to one day be an activist involved with human and especially women’s rights. 

Clicktivism is the online activity of sharing, liking, commenting, retweeting information about a concern or cause, whereas activism is the physical act of doing something such as protesting. (thetrashlab, 2013) Despite the criticisms of clictivism being ‘slacktivists’, activism would not be possible without the online support of the clicktivists.

However, here I am, sitting at my computer screen, here in Australia, and not in Nigeria protesting and pressuring the government on a physical level. But does that mean that my support is insignificant? Despite the fact I may just be involved in the ‘clictivism,’ creating awareness is the biggest and most difficult step in order to make a difference. That’s why the involvement of high profile celebrities (as pictured below) furthermore perpetuates awareness and involvement.

 High profile people showing their support and creating global awareness, such as Justin Timberlake, Drake and Bradley Cooper Sourced from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/gwss1005-2014/rmdbg.jpg
High profile people showing their support and creating global awareness, such as Justin Timberlake, Drake and Bradley Cooper
Sourced from http://blog.lib.umn.edu/isoke001/gwss1005-2014/rmdbg.jpg

 Whilst I might not be able to make a physical contribution to the issue in Nigeria and I am absolutely privileged to have the freedom, rights and opportunities to attend university (which is even financially supported and encouraged by the government), I am able to fully appreciate and maximise the chances I have here in Australia. The youth of the world are the future, (Strauss, 2011) we have power and we have the ability to make change, whether it be online or in the real world.

 

Further Related Readings/Videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsB2qtDaiRw

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-grant/are-you-a-slacktivist_b_4390258.html

 

References

Yousafzai, M 2013, ‘Our books and pens are the most powerful weapons’, transcript United Nations, The Guardian, 12 July, accessed 07/05/2014, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/12/malala-yousafzai-united-nations-education-speech-text

thetrashlab, 2013 Slactivists vs. Activists (online video), 15 April, viewed 07/05/2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EQFKKJBjwE

Strauss, J 2011, Youth movement in a culture of hoplessness, Aljazeera, 8 October, accessed 07/05/2014, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/occupywallstreet/2011/10/2011107172820297149.html

 

 

 

10 Reasons You Should Add Scotland To Your Itinerary Now

Isle Of Skye - Scotland
Isle Of Skye – Scotland

Scotland. A wild, rugged country. Where red heads roam free and it’s perfectly acceptable to say Aye and Wee. On my travels, many people told me about how I should go to Ireland, ‘it’s so green, the accent is so sexy, they know how to party, there’s so much history…’ and yes that is true… but how many people have you heard say ‘YOU MUST GO TO SCOTLAND!’ Well here I am telling you this! SCOTLAND IS WHERE IT’S AT!

These are the places I visited

-Edinburgh

-St. Andrews

-Inverness

-Isle of Skye

-Oban

-Aberdeen

-Dundee

1 – They have the sexiest accent! Seriously, any Scottish men out there give me a call. Whilst you might not always understand what they’re saying, it’s ok, you can just stare into their eyes and nod your head. The people are so so friendly. Unlike the snobbish Londoners, the Scots know how to make you feel welcome. When I first arrived off the train in Edinburgh, a gentleman helped me find my hostel and carry my bag without being creepy! Yay. You can approach almost anyone in the street and they’ll be more than happy to help you out with directions, translations or just to say hello.

Skyline of Edinburgh
Skyline of Edinburgh

2 – Edinburgh is the coolest capital city ever! The windy roads, cobblestone streets, open green spaces, clean crisp air, best and cheap nightlife, amazing pubs and a castle in the middle of the city… it has everything you could ever want out of a city! And it’s relatively small, so you can explore the city by foot. Be sure to make the climb up to Arthur’s Seat to get a breath of fresh air and a spectacular view over the city.

Conquering Arthur's Seat
Conquering Arthur’s Seat

3 – Scotland has so many castles! Like 3000 (most are complete ruins but still spectacular). So if you’re into your knights in shining armour, kingdoms and castle walls, look no further than Scotland. For the full list of castles visit http://www.scotland.com/castles/ A lot of the castles are free, so you can climb in and around them and capture some wicked photos.

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4- Harry Potter was written and filmed here! Enough said really.

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5 – The Isle of Skye is one of the most majestical places on Earth. Basically untouched by man, you can completely immerse yourself in the beautiful countryside!

Fairy Cirlces - Isle of Skye
Fairy Cirlces – Isle of Skye

6 – You can spend hours by Loch Ness, looking for Nessy! You can enjoy a beer or whisky by the lake and watch the sun set whilst having your camera by your side. If you’re game enough, you can jump into the nearly freezing water, unfortunately I wasn’t game enough, but what a great story to tell.

Looking for Nessy - Loch Ness
Looking for Nessy – Loch Ness

7 – The landscape is completely surreal. Moutains, rivers, valleys, lakes with small winding roads to take it all in.

Conquering a hike through a valley
Conquering a hike through a valley

8- It snows! For all of us Australians that have never seen snow before, it’s quite a remarkable experience. Scotland has ski fields and beautiful snow capped mountains, and in the midst of winter, snow will creep down to the lowlands into the bigger towns and cities where you can throw snowballs and make snowmen.

Enjoying the snow maybe a little too much
Enjoying the snow maybe a little too much

9 – It has beautiful beaches and coastal areas. Perhaps, not in winter, however when it starts to heat up, you can flock to the sandy beaches. My favourite was in St. Andrews where you can see the ruins of a cathederal, castle and run your feet through the sand.

Crystal clear waters, surrounded by mountains
Crystal clear waters, surrounded by mountains

10 – IT’S JUST DAMN BEAUTIFUL!

Wee cottage in the woods
Wee cottage in the woods

I hope this has inspired you to add Scotland to your itinerary for your next adventure!

Ciao Lads and Lass’

 

A Girl in Many Worlds

Sourced from http://images.toywizard.net/0001/barbie-R9912-basic-asst.jpg
Sourced from http://images.toywizard.net/0001/barbie-R9912-basic-asst.jpg

Transmedia Storytelling is the communication of a story across various platforms such as movies, social media, comics, video games and books, each of which explore a unique part of the story. When all different stories from all different platforms are combined, we have a more detailed and thorough understanding of the text as a whole. (, 2011).

Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2Zagr98fpzY/TEafyCW2ZVI/AAAAAAAAAlM/8TnqiMxWUqM/s1600/BB.JPG
Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2Zagr98fpzY/TEafyCW2ZVI/AAAAAAAAAlM/8TnqiMxWUqM/s1600/BB.JPG

Mattel’s Barbie Franchise, is an example of transmedia storytelling due to the many unique platforms, ideas and concepts generated. The original form was a doll, designed for children to dress and roleplay. Generated from the Barbie doll was a whole world. There are various characters (Ken, Skipper), which live in different worlds (Fairytopia, Under the Sea) which are developed by various technology platforms (website, movies). Where people are used to consuming multiple aspects on a daily basis. (Jenkins, 2003) They are all interconnected and tell different parts of a worldwide story, relying on collective intelligence to produce a world in which everyone can immerse themselves.

Sourced from http://img.wonderhowto.com/img/33/70/63493530208432
Sourced from http://img.wonderhowto.com/img/33/70/63493530208432

Because of the restricted nature and current hype of Tinder, it would be difficult to generate storytelling transmediality. However, using some imagination, there is definitely potential to create an encyclopaedic aspect of Tinder. Perhaps a movie of what occurs after someone is matched? Or a television series of different characters and their interaction with others because of Tinder? Perhaps the ‘swipe’ action could be adapted into other media technologies like Facebook or on television. There are already various Youtube videos which outline people’s unique interaction with others and many memes have been generated.

Sourced from http://smashmoose.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3tufz6.jpg
Sourced from http://smashmoose.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3tufz6.jpg

Transmedia storytelling “is a fantastic spine around which to build a more intensive interactive experience” (gauravonomics, 2013), in which it is expected more company’s and individuals will need to embrace in order to maximise audience engagement and participation. Personally, I am drawn to things which contain Transmedic Narratives because I feel apart of the action and accepted within a wider community with similar interests and values. It allows me to immerse myself in another world which I can access anyway I want, anywhere I want, which in today’s consumeristic society, is the expectations. 

References

Future of Engagement #7 : Transmedia Storytelling, People’s Insights Annual Report, MSL group, http://gauravonomics.com/transmedia-storytelling/,  written 11/03/2013, accessed 15/04/14

Henry Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling, MT Technology Review, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/401760/transmedia-storytelling/, written 15/01/03, accessed 18/04/14

The Power is in Your Hands

“One person can make a difference and every person should try.” – John F. Kennedy 

Sourced from xaxor.com
Sourced from xaxor.com

In the interconnected world of ‘collective intelligence,’ everyone has unique knowledge, ideas and concepts which they can use to develop an individual idea or improve another. “Once you start contributing and sharing and connecting with the work of those who connect with yours, you’re engaging in something called produsage (Stewart, 2012). Produsage is encompassed by a larger concept – Citizen Journalism.

Citizen Journalism is where any individual, regardless of training, knowledge, background or education can contribute towards the media. (Bruns, 2007) The positive aspect of this new wave of journalism, is that it allows individuals in the midst of the action to instantaneously document and broadcast crucial information from their mobile phones, tablets or cameras (Hogg, 2009). The role of  this participatory culture is exemplified through technology’s role in the Arab Spring, where Twitter and Facebook are acknowledged for their unparalleled advances in disseminating information” (Duffy, 2011). However, critics say that Citizen Journalism is biased and shows little understanding of the bigger picture. (Hogg, 2009)

Sourced from http://www.tamaleaver.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/produsage.jpg
Sourced from http://www.tamaleaver.net/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/produsage.jpg

Because Tinder is a closed source technology, there are limited opportunities for people to contribute to the collective intelligence and produsage. However, Tinder embraces the characteristics of produsage of ‘organisational shift’ and ‘unfinished’ (Bruns, 2007). The organisational shift encompasses the shift from technological professionals running the app, to a wider population able to make positive contributions. Users and critics are able to criticise, make suggestions and complaints, and although the user cannot amend it themselves, all feedback is taken into consideration. Because of this ‘organisational shift’ Tinder is in a way, ‘unfinished.’ Significant improvements to security have already been conducted as a result of people’s contribution and Tinder will continue to evolve, improve and modify its components to give its audience what they desire.

Produsage may not greatly affect Tinder, however, it has many effects on other components of our lives which influence our decisions and attitudes towards using apps like Tinder in the first place.

References

Bonnie Stewart, What Produsage is and why it Matters, http://theory.cribchronicles.com/2012/07/03/what-produsage-is-and-why-it-matters/,  July 2012, accessed 11/03/14

Matt J. Duffy, Smartphones in the Arab Spring, International Press Institute 2011 Report, http://www.academia.edu/1911044/Smartphones_in_the_Arab_Spring, 2011, accessed 13/04/14

Axel Bruns, Produsage: Towards a Broader Framework for User-Led Content Creation, page 4, http://eprints.qut.edu.au/6623/1/6623.pdf, 2007, accessed 11/04/14

Chris Hogg, Is There Creditability in Citizen Journalism? Digital Journal, http://digitaljournal.com/article/271657, May 2009, accessed 11/04/14

 

The Audience Takes To The Stage

Tinder’s life source is its audience. Without its active prosumerism and participatory culture, it would cease to exist. Participatory Culture is defined, “where members feel some degree of social connection with one another” (Jenkins, 2006). The audience feel apart of a larger community as well as deep connections to other users they interact with. “In terms of personal development, identity, expression and their social consequences– participation, social capital, civic culture- these are the activities that serve to network today’s younger generation” (Jenkins, 2006)

Sourced from http://webbusinessagenda.com
Sourced from http://webbusinessagenda.com

Relationships are formed with Tinder and through Tinder. The user exerts a sense of hope and faith within Tinder, they are optimistic, excited and Tinder delivers. The user then creates an interaction with another user, heightening their experience and creating a dependency/sense of community with the app for social reassurance, “We have become a culture of people that are almost completely dependant on technology. The technologies that started out as aides to our existence have become vital to our everyday lives” (Digital Trends Staff, 2003). 

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Tinder was designed a dating app, with Co-Founder, Sean Rad, describing it as a “digital extension of our instinct to connect on a deeper level with one another” (Shandrow, 2014).  However, audiences share the ideology of using it for casual hook ups. Tinder “opens up chances to meet guys that you wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise” (Declamatory, 2014). The target audience is for young adults who are mature enough to make sensible decisions, however, you only have to be 13 years old to register for the app (Tinder Terms of Use, 2013). Users interpret Tinder differently than anticipated and has been dubbed nothing more than a ‘shallow hook up app.’ “People don’t think of [Tinder] as online dating, they think of it as a game,” (Sandrow, 2014), never the less, did not alter the success of the app, due to audience engagement.

The success, ideologies and distribution of any technology is up to you, the audience, because without us, they would cease to exist.

References

Henry Jenkins, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture:Media Education for the 21st Century Part 1, http://henryjenkins.org/2006/10/confronting_the_challenges_of.html#sthash.gaqNUjWI.dpuf, 20/10/06, accessed 3/02/14

Declamatory, Reddit, http://www.reddit.com/r/AskWomen/comments/1xdbg9/why_do_you_use_tinder/, March 2014, accessed 1/04/14

Kim Lachance Shandrow, Entrepreneur.com. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232211, 17/03/14, accessed 2/04/14

Tinder, Terms of Use, http://www.gotinder.com/terms/, last updated 26/03/14, accessed 2/04/14

Digital Trends Staff, “Dependency on Technology,”  http://www.digitaltrends.com/opinion/dependency-on-technology/#ixzz2xiNyG3FQ, written 2003, accessed 2/04/14