Globalization & News #2MED633

glocalization with walmart

Globalization is generally accepted as the unprecedented flow of news, Technology, Ideas and Images.

Graham Miekle used the short time we had this week (due to a look at essay writing – Semi colons for two closely linked but separate sentences and paraphrasing is ok!) to discuss what quite possibly opened the world up to globalisation first, the invention of the telegraph.

The electronic telegraph, engineered by Samuel Morse (the Morse of Morse code) “Permitted for the first time effective separation of communication from physical transportation” REF. It meant messages could travel faster than people, and this revolutionised the concept of information making time and speed of when it gets to you important for the first time. This is where news wires can be traced back to. The London papers would be printed and sent up on trains to the north, but the local northern papers would get a digest of them by telegraph and would print it in their papers. this would then be read first by locals before the London papers reached them.

The launch of CNN in the 80s was the next major jump forward. Its taken for granted now, but their major innovation was the introduction of continuous unedited news. Its appeal was based around the idea, it was live and therefore unscripted and unchecked, so people would stay tuned in just incase the information was updated. This was characterized as the ‘Uncertainty Principle’

We finished by looking quickly ahead at books by  Mckenzie Wark, in pariclar the word he created for his most recent book ‘Telethesia’. This of course combines Tele- meaning combing two from a far and anesthesia which is generally regarded as the loss of feeling of sorts. It of course considers that in with a ever growing Global instead of Local dorstep, are we paying less attention to the world we live in.

The Changing Business of News #2MED633

convergencve

With the world becoming ever more networked and brought closer together we looked at how different media companies have tried to enter the world of mobile apps and converged media.

We started by looking into ‘The Daily’ probably the biggest media #fail know to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. It was essentially the ‘1950s’ old style newspaper with moving images and videos. It was updated once a day and was a weekly paid service. It failed because it was an unnessacaery aggrorgater with limited sharing, only to Facebook, Twitter and emails. As it was only updated once a day, everyone was able to get more up to date information from all the other apps on their phone. It was mentioned that people go to specific apps for specfic type of news too, Sports fans will go to sports apps, not to a general newspaper app.

The other ‘convergence’ examples we looked at were what the BBC has done, News Corp and Google.

  • BBC – Has done well in the convergence sector, because as Public Service Media with a secure income, and therefore is able to experiment and spend money on things without worrying about a return. Things like the iPlayer, Democracy Live website and the wider BBC News & Sports apps are examples of this.
  • News Corp – Has really struggled. we discussed it was interesting how they had such a massive catalouge of companies doing all sorts of different media, but how they have yet to successfully converge and link them up.
  • Google – This may seem like an odd to comapny to name because they arent a traditional media company, But google News has brought a tottally new concept to news consumption. It uses algorithms to put the most recent News published to the tags of news you want to read. It starts you of with the standard UK, World, Politics ect but allows you to add your own subjects, From Donkey Kong to Slugs. What’s interesting about this is it puts recent over reputable first. Itg also allows you to pick your content first and provider second, completly flipping the old model.

The 3 C’s of Convergence (Content, Computing and Convergence) create a tension between these ideas of Journalism:

Monolouge          News As a Package       Distribution
<>                                   <>                            <>
Conversation       News as a Database         Sharing

And what i thought was most interesting was at the end we finished by thinking, could convergence lead to an end to ‘Media’ Gate Keeping, by people doing “Random acts of Journalism” (Lasica 2003)

NAPO – News & Narratives #2MED633

In a recap from last week Habermas/Lippman’s Public Sphere theories we began with the idea of ‘Defining our Realities’. Looking at this with respect to the media Castells idea the media is ‘the social space where power is decided? (2007: 238) is particularly interesting especially after last weeks focus on the Ideal Public Sphere and whether its possible indeed in a deliberative model of democracy or at all in the Elite model which we seem to be ran under – or certainly lean more towards. This lead us to look at the ‘Symbolic Power’ or as Thompson puts it the Power “to influence the actions of others” (Thompson 1995: 17).

With this in mind we began our look at narratives, to which I particularly enjoyed the new (to me) concept of Communication, or News, as Ritual rather than simply Transmission. Transmission communication, is perhaps as simple as a dictionary definition of communication, is that of transmitting, sending, receiving information. However the other view is that communication is a Ritual an “Extension of Messages in space toward the maintenance of society in time.” (Carey 1989: 18).  In other words not finding out what has happened, like in the transmission model, but rather communicating to find out or re-affirm who we are.

News are little spoke of as stories, it is largely seen as fact, this is important because of the Symbolic power, the power to influence, News has. We looked at the idea of Enigmas, or in a Journalists mind the W’s – What, When, Who, Where, Why + How. Novels use enigmas to tease the reader in and rather than answering all of these questions straight away they give little by little away to keep you reading. Think about a Spy or Detective story you never know the full story until the last chapter. Whereas in News stories you are encouraged, or perhaps, expected to use the inverted pyramid model. This generally leads to the 6 Ws to be answered in the first sentence and in sharp contrast to Gabriel Garcia Mårquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude opener:

‘Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendi?a was to remember that distant a Dernoon when his father took him to discover ice’

After Graham pointed out that this style of news stories may seem like a good thing as we get the important facts quick, we can easily edit them as journalists – by just chopping the bottom off – it largely creates a superficial view of our Public Sphere. This was explored with Postmans comment: News consumers are: ‘the best entertained and quite likely the least well-informed people in the Western world’ (Postman 1985: 108).

What I found interesting by all of this was the trade-off between Story and Plot or as Torodov Puts it “The story is what has happened, the Plot is the way the author presents it” (Todorov 1977: 45). If this is the nub of it that means even the most objective journalist can never really tell the story only the plot.

With this in mind we had a brief insight into data journalism – which I hope we will re-explore – it seems the idea of this was to try to do what Torodov seems to suggest is impossible. By creating databases of information it is no longer up to the journalist to write the plot but simply present the story. Obviously there are limitations to this, the journalist could still withhold data and indeed the consumer then weaves their own plot with this data. And this is perhaps the most interesting idea, as it links back to communication being all about Identity, not facts, but finding our place in the world so we can be at peace with it. Or so we can jump back into Habbermas’ sphere and try to reason with it until we do understand.

With the world ever increasingly leaving its Industrial state and moving to a Networked state; Herbert Gans idea that the inverted pyramid is becoming outdated seems particularly important. Which essentially says Journalists need to get better at presenting the story, or indeed the Plot.

(Journalists) ‘will have to learn how complicated events can be described and explained in a more easily understandable fashion; and how connections between events and their contexts can be made intelligibly’ Gans (2009: 23).

With Thanks to Lecturer Professor Graham Meikle Email: g.meikle@westminster.ac.uk Twitter: @graham_meikle

News & Public Opinion – Public Sphere #NAPO

Today’s lecture focused on the opinion Democracy, or indeed more specifically Public opinion.

At first we explored the two widely accepted forms of representative democracy Elite and Deliberative.

Elite is where citizens vote for the Elite, who then make decisions based on un elected officials and experts opinions because they are thought based to make decisions on their field, as they are ‘Experts’.

The other, Deliberative, is where citizens still vote for representatives but they are instead much more involved in the decision making processes as the citizens and their ‘public opinions’ influence and inform the representatives.

At first look deliberative seems to make more sense or it seems to be more democratic. But what shocked me was how i felt like our ‘Democracy’ was more elitist than deliberative. I did settle on the concept of democracy as a sliding scale as our government and system of MPs is not entirely elitist but the Upper House of Lords, the use of aides and experts are. Its fairer to say ours sits somewhere between the two. That said, it is defiantly closer to the Elite format.]

There are two main Theorists to back these concepts of democracy and as a branch off the public sphere. First is Walter Lippman who believed the best way forward was the Elite structure. He argued this because he didn’t think people were clever enough or have the time to assess the complete info to make decisions on governance. He also argued that because everyone’s perception of reality was different how could the Public in general be expected to come to make important decisions. The most interesting thing about Lippman was he was the man behind the modern-day form of stereotypes; he said ‘We perceive reality to fit our stereotypes’ As to the media doing anything about helping the ‘Public’ understand he dismisses this as impossible because of the concept of journalists being ‘professionals’ (The idea Newspapers and Journalists are bound by the rules and advertising restrictions set by their organisation)

The counter theory supports the more deliberative theory and that is Jurgen Habermas’ theories. His speak of the Ideal Public sphere, potentially like the one in the 18th century Bourgeois public sphere during the rise of trading, capitalism and the middle class. He thinks that the Ideal Public Sphere has Universal access, free from state or economic pressure, that is dealt with in a rational way with critical discourse based on evidence. Habermas accepts we are handicapped by our perceptions as Lippman said but argues that if we talk and exchange on these perceptions, we are able to listen and alter them. However his theories also go on to explain that after the 18th century a ‘Re-Fuedalisation’ of media took place. By this he means there was and is now a return to where media is dependant on advertising and serves private interests, much in the way Lords ruled during the feudal age, now Media Moguls do now. He was also particularly critical of Public Relations, management and Manipulation of public opinion.

His theories have been criticized, especially by the feminism movement for talking of the Ideal public sphere in the 18th century, because that was made up of mainly (ironically largely like today) White, Middle Class, Men. However his ideas are much more palatable than Lippmans, as a show of hands at the end of the lecture saw very few Lippman fans over Habermas. As to those who say he is ‘utopian’ modern examples of his Ideal speech and public sphere concepts can be found in movements such as the Occupy movement who successfully found ways to re-engage with politics in his way in an attempt to make our democracy more deliberative. However the evictions of these camps see the Elite system winning over for now.