On the media covered the 75th anniversary of War of the Worlds by Orson Welles. I first learned about War of the Worlds in my Intro to Comm class my freshman year. Ever since then, I have found it to be extremely interesting! I then took History of Radio & TV last year where we went even more in depth. I was not surprised that people were listening to something else and just happened to tune in. In this class, we learned that Welles was in competition with other radio stations and intended to time this “broadcast” for when his competitor broadcasted an unpopular segment. This mass panic was a perfect example of how influential radio was, even as a very young form of media. In the beginning of the podcast there is a clip from a press conference and Welles states,”I simply don’t know, I can’t imagine an invasion from Mars would find ready acceptance” It seems like our generation looks down upon these people who believed this was a real event. However, I think that we are more dependent on technology than ever and it is even easier now to cause mass panic!
1) The Political Economy of U.S. Broadcast Ownership Regulation and Free Speech after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 – Jeffrey Layne Blevins
2) Popular Media, Education, and Resistance – Michelle Stack & Deidre M. Kelly
3) Facilitating Communication across Lines of Political Difference: The Role of Mass Media – Diana C. Mutz, Paul S. Martin
4) Conglomeration, New Media, and the Cultural Production of the “War On Terror” – James Castonguat
5) Elites, Masses, and Media Blacklists: The Dixie Chicks Controversy – Gabriel Rossman
This week’s On the Media spoke about a few different things. The first was about a major security breach and invasion of personal information within a major credit card company. The next thing that was spoken about was how the media treats people who are experiencing tragic events. I found this part of the podcast to be a lot more interesting because I am currently doing a social problem portfolio on school shootings, which are obviously tragedies. Through my research for my sociology class, I have learned that the media loves to try and get the victims to talk about the events. I feel like this is completely wrong, no one wants speak about losing a loved one to a complete stranger. I do not think that telling news reporters, who are complete strangers, your emotions is going to help a person cope.
They then go into the story of woman Jamie Lee Jones who claimed to be gang raped in Iraq, but there was no evidence. Clearly, her story was heavily sought after by the media because she was a victim. When the story first came out the media jumped on it because this is something that would receive a lot of attention. However, It is sad because this never even occurred and the red flags were there the whole time. The media attempts to just sweep this whole thing under the rug, never admitting what really happened.
The media is such a powerful entity and I think these two different things show that very well. Journalists love to prey on those who are going through some type of tragedy because it leads to “good” news. This then leads to the idea of Jamie Lee Jones because she is a prime example of this. She was supposedly raped and speaking out about it creating a lot of media attention.
I decided to listen to “The Fifth Estate” from On the Media. Although I have heard the term Wikileaks a countless amount of times, I never knew exactly what it meant. This segment was really interesting because it allowed the listeners to hear from someone on the inside. They mentioned the documentary a number of times. I think it is important to note that there was a documentary before the movie came out. I never heard of either one of these films before this Podcast and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that this is not something in the mainstream media. Maybe this is because exposing Wikileaks and those involved may be a controversial subject? Another really interesting part of this segment was hearing about how James Ball got involved in Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Assange does not like the idea of this movie one bit which seems to make sense. However it is even crazier to hear something like this confirmed by someone who personally knows him. I am sure that whenever a movie is made about someone or something a person is passionate about it is uncomfortable. Assange seems to be unhappy with the idea of Wikileaks going public through a film, but he is contradicting himself. He did the same thing with very important information.
After today’s discussion in class I wanted to look into different types of flash mobs. I feel like I have seen flash mobs all over the internet. I have seen a few on YouTube in Grand Central Station as well as marriage proposals. Although these are very interesting and romantic I wanted to see if people were utilizing this opportunity for more important causes. I came across this website : http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living-pictures/8-inspiring-flash-mobs-for-charity.aspx#/slide-1.
This site explains a few different flash mobs and provides videos of them. I think this is an amazing use of technology. The internet allows everyone the opportunity to be heard by many which is why this is so important to raising awareness for special causes.
Internet memes are incredibly popular in more recent years than ever because of social media sites. In class we spoke about cat memes and how they seem to have taken over the internet. I first realized how many types of cat memes there are when I started to use Pinterest. I find it hilarious that people spend time manipulating these pictures and changing the text in order to make it become funny. This meme shows how easy it is to create memes with new technology!
I decided to listen to “Fake Online Reviews By Real Fans” and I am completely shocked! I use Yelp all the time, especially for occasions. I have been fortunate enough to be happy with every place I found through Yelp. I think that this is something that interferes with the idea of commons knowledge – or just knowledge that should be available for all people. It seems as thought people are being cheated when something like this happens. A $350,000 fine is definitely not worth getting a few more customers. “Out of a 1,000 customers, 15 write a review, and 1 person will be writing a fake review.”
On the other hand, I think that this is a consequence of relying on public information. It is always hard to differentiate between something that is completely reliable from something that seems a little shady – especially on the internet. It is clear that these establishments have taken advantage of this.
I chose to listen to “Hacking the New York Times, Tweeting Revolutions, and More” from On the Media. I have only heard people mention this instance briefly in conversation, but I was never completely aware of what exactly happened. It is crazy that such well-known companies such as the New York Times have been hacked. Personally, I am not very good with computers, so this seemed almost impossible. However, they then go on to say that hackers from China were accessing g-mail accounts (which is what I use). We have recently been discussing which sources can be trusted on the internet. This makes me even more uneasy with having a lot of my personal information on the internet.
The woman from the NYT who was being interviewed basically said they came forward with the fact they were hacked in order to educate people. She then goes on to say that this is always going to happen. “If you lock the window, they’ll come through the door..” This was one example that left me feeling uneasy about the internet, but I think that whoever uses the internet puts their privacy at risk no matter what.
In the essay, “Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted”, Gladwell makes a few different arguments about the changes protests have undergone. He starts the essay with the example of four black college students at a North Carolina diner in 1960. The policy of segregation was still in place during this time preventing blacks from eating at the counter of the diner. However, these college students decided they were going to come back the next day with more people. Although it grew slowly, the news of this protest spread causing hundreds of students to come together. Today, with the help of social media, the news of an uprising can be spread throughout the world in a matter of minutes. People do not have to meet in one place because the internet allows this interaction to happen.
I think that Gladwell makes a very good point with this argument because a protest in the 1960s required a great deal of courage. At that time, people heard of these protests through word of mouth and were putting themselves in danger. Today, I could be part of an online protest concerning the war in Iraq or the controversy in Syria, but I never even have to show my face. Therefore I think the idea of a protest is almost weakened because it does not require as much effort.
After our discussion about participatory journalism in class, I realized that this type of journalism is very common. Something else that I found to be interesting was that almost everything open to the public is considered to be this type of journalism. We briefly spoke about AMC and how it has transitioned into something completely different in recent years. As we stated, much of this is due to shows such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Although I have never watched either of these shows I am a fan of the Walking Dead. I watch it every week and even watch the Talking Dead which comes on after each new episode to discuss the show.
After we discussed this new type of journalism, I automatically thought of my boyfriend who reads blogs, spoilers, and forums about the Walking Dead. I find it really interesting that these websites I tease him about reading are actually considered participatory journalism.
One of the websites he consistently follows is called “Spoil the Dead.” Up until now, I have never read any of these websites, but I decided to look into this one and was surprised. Not only does this website have spoilers, but it also has blog discussions, and forums concerning the show and the characters.
On the home page, there are categories including: Speculation, Spoiler Discussion, Cast and Crew, General Show Discussion, Character and Relationships, and Episode Discussions.
This website is a great example of how something can be tailored to a person’s interests in more recent years of media. This one website holds such a variety of different things for someone who is interested in The Walking Dead. The spoilers are usually given by people who go to the sets to observe and then discuss what they saw. This then allows people to come together and discuss something they are passionate about and interested in with great ease.
I think this type of journalism is incredibly unique even though it may not be completely reliable all the time.