Title of Article: Television Network
This article describes network television and the major players in both the United States and elsewhere. August 3rd, 2003 was when this article was first written and over 1000 individuals have revised and made edits to the article since then. The article mentions companies that control most of the television in the U.S. such as CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX, who all have programming that includes news, major prime time shows, daytime, and sports programming. Not only does this Wikipedia article talk about the “Big Four” in network television, but they also talk about regulation by the FCC restricting the number of television stations that could be owned by any one network. The article often touches on a bit about network television in Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as South America. Almost all of these places vary a great deal in the power the major networks have in a given country, which is pretty interesting to me.
Within the article, I did not feel that much bias existed at all. Most of the facts in the article only talked subjectively about companies and the impact that they have in the given country in which they exist. The connection of this subject to the class is the fact that we talked early in the class about the potential problem of having only a few firms own most of the channels that people rely on. This could have huge impacts on our society as a whole because of the fact that only these companies decide what information is worthy of an audience and what is not.
Lastly, when looking at Wikipedia as technically-organized, collaboratively-produced knowledge, it serves as a great starting point to retrieve information. I personally look up people and places on Wikipedia because often many of the stats that I want about a subject is laid out in a form that is easy to understand and process. Of course, Wikipedia is not to be used as the only source when doing research in academia and such, but it often serves as a good starting point that proves to be reliable in most situations. Sometimes self governing sites such as Wikipedia allow tons of information to be accessed by all that is reliable and helpful!
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The question of being more well informed now then people in my position say 10 years ago is very difficult for me to answer. There is no doubt that over the past decade or so, the way journalism is done, and how people get their information everyday has changed drastically over time. No longer are there two or three channels on tv that “control” all the information relayed to the public, no are the number of publications as small as they were in the past, today people have choices , which can be seen as either a good or bad thing.
I personally feel that people 10 years ago had to look harder for information, which today is much more readily available due to the internet. I feel like the amount and variety of information have stayed pretty much stagnant overtime but it was harder to access that information a decade ago, and instead individuals had to settle for information that was filtered and delivered through the “conglomerates” of the media industry (the NBC’s, CBS’S, and Time magazines of the world!). Today’s students can question journalism much more frequently because sources of research are available to the masses.
With all this being said, I would say that students now are more informed then ever before. The power of choices and to challenge authority is what makes people more informed today than a decade ago.
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The first thing that I thought about when asked to write about a time when a social networking site had removed something that they felt was obscene was when Facebook removed photos of women who were breast feeding their children. I remembered this story because when I first heard about it I was on the fence on whether or not Facebook made the right decision in this case. On the one hand, the photo could be seen as nudity, and on the basis of that could see why Facebook would take the picture down. On the other hand though, I felt like there should be some kind of exception for mother’s who are proud to show off their new baby, and should be allowed to do that in any form.
Apparently, Facebook responded after some backlash that all breast-feeding photos are not removed from the site, but that removal is only warranted if the mother’s nipple is exposed. In that case, it is seen as pornographic or sexually explicit material.
There were many mothers out there, as expected, who rallied against Facebook because of the removal of breast-feeding pictures. A petition entitled “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene” was created and attracted more than 80,000 names and over 10,000 comments. Along with that, there was a small demonstration outside of Facebook’s offices in Palo Alto, California (ABC News).Obviously, a number of people had problems with the power of Facebook to decide what is obscene and what isn’t. Especially due to the fact that many people with profiles often post pics that could be considered as obscene in nature due to excessive showing of body parts online and the such.
This brings up the issue of freedom of speech or freedom of expression in this case. The fact that Facebook allows for its members to post pictures but regulates the pictures that members are allowed to show raises the question of whether the “freedom of expression” on their site is for real!
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So for this blog, I decided to visit the Democrat website, www.democrats.org, and I tried to really look at it purely from a new media perspective. What I noticed was how clear and concise the site was overall. This site is very visually appealing with a picture of Barack Obama and other advocates of the health care bill on the home page of the site, highlighting the “triumph” of the Democrats just recently passing that bill along with the new education bill a couple days later. This signaled to me the fact that it was trying to really portray either the power/influence of the party, or simply that the Democrats get done what they promise. This can be a pretty powerful message to encourage citizens to possibly join the party in the future.
Signing up to become a democrat is made extremely easy on the site. The site also has a blog entitled “Kicking Ass: The Democratic Party’s Blog,” which highlights current events within the party. The title of the blog really took me by surprise a bit. My guess is that the Democratic Party wants to portray confidence, but I kind of felt like it went a little overboard.
On the margins of the site, there were a number of items that visitors could take action in, everything from ordering merchandise, to building the party by joining a group to be apart of to help the party, being a member of “Team Obama,” or contributing the party. This gives ample opportunity for visitors to be “active.”
Lastly, I did not see much balance between managing their message and making space for the voices of the site’s users. The site is not very interactive when it comes to the content, its more informative than anything else. There are opportunities for people to build networks and allegiances, but not much else. Developing personal blogs are also an option as well.
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When considering the idea of produsage as defined by Bruns, there lies clear implications to what the impact of this term has on media in general, as well as public discourse as a whole. Individuals rely on the media in numerous ways everyday. Everything from communicating on the internet, receiving news from a particular news provider you trust, or even using specific products like Wikipedia online are all impacted in someway by produsage. The definition of what information is reliable and which ones are not is becoming more blurry than ever before. There was a time decades ago where news only came from one or two places, the media that people were exposed to were relatively the same, and that media was created by “reliable” individuals (i.e. reporters, journalists, professional photographers, filmmakers, etc.). Now, the entertainment and informational media acquired online are done sometimes by individuals without a professional title of some sort. This fact alone could potentially cause problems in itself.
The problem that arises is the fact that people have different perceptions on what they consider reliable information. If everyone has different ways that they receive information, whether it be through a particular source on the web, or what they perceive to be entertaining, than regular media establishments have a problem because no one then knows how to get the attention of the consumer. Professional filmmakers, TV production companies, and ”reliable” search engines are now competing with amateur video production on sites like YouTube, and information sources online like Wikipedia, which allows individuals to manage the site and to regulate information on each page. This type of mixing of producers and consumers leaves questions about who should be paid, whether the media is dependant on consumers or the other way around, and what value do those acts deserve in society.
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Delegates spanning across 175 countries gathered in Geneva and Tunis to establish a “Declaration of Principles” ending in 2005, outlining their stance on the establishment of an information society. This summit was sponsored by the United Nations. Parts of the declaration that were most important to attain to me were the following:
Equitable and affordable access to Information and Communication Technologies and services.
This goal of the declaration is extremely important due to the fact that ICT if not accessible to all could potentially create problems having to do with socio-economic status and unequal access to information. If ICT is accessible to all, then everyone could benefit from its usage, creating a stable environment in the long run.
Giving individuals the necessary skills and knowledge in order to utilize ICT effectively.
Essentially, if individuals lack the ability to utilize the technology, then the benefits of ICT can only be realized by the few, minimizing its impact over time.
Stimulating respect for cultural identity, diversity, traditions, and religions (fostering dialogue among cultures and civilizations).
Having individuals feel comfortable with the notion of free speech (one of the goals of establishing an information society), everyone has to in some ways feel at ease with transferring and communicating data through this medium. If this is not the case, the impact of ICT will be minimal at best.
The biggest obstacle in achieving this global information technology is building equity. It is clear that everyone in the world does not have the same access to information or resources, and since that is the case, the impact of ICT will always be controlled by a few individuals who are fortunate enough to have the technology.
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One of the most famous lines form George Orwell’s book 1984, was the first thing that crossed my mind as I contemplated ways in which to compare the techniques that marketers use to target individual customers. As Turow stated in his article, Audience Construction and Culture Production: Marketing Surveillance in the Digital Age,marketers are essentially “constructing” consumers through their actions and techniques. He describes contemporary U.S. audiences as frenetic, self-concerned, and attention challenged. If this is the case, the ways in which marketers see their data mining strategy, is that it is only supplying consumers with what they really want ‘individualized attention’ through data mining.
Marketers see the consumer as individuals who enjoy and appreciate individualized service. Marketers think that customers don’t want to feel as if they are apart of some generalized group, and by tracking individual consumption, they could instead offer deals targeted to a specific audience. The problem with this is that sometimes the act of gathering info could go too far, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want ANY company tracking my every move. That to me is not good marketing, but is instead borderline stalking!
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Twitter has built a niche in new media never before seen, allowing you to connect with individuals that would normally be almost impossible!
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When observing the homepage of Twitter, I quickly realized that the popular keywords were like a microcosm of what is going on in the world at any particular time, specifically in the world of entertainment and sports (but, maybe that is just because of the Winter Olympics happening in Vancouver for the past two weeks or so). Terms like “Swiss” and “ice dancing” were some keywords associated with the Olympics that I particularly noticed. I personally feel as though most people tweet when something surprising or unexpected occurs, whether it be sports, entertainment, politics, or the like. Anytime something big in the news occurs, it often ends up as a topic of discussion on Twitter.
When looking for a topic that seemed to be political in some ways, the closest term I could come up with was “BRITs.” What I found when I read a couple entries was that apparently a show aired on television about people from Britain and their work ethic compared to nationalities. People who commented had a host of different opinions about whether they felt that the British were depicted fairly or not in the documentary.
What this tells me is that Twitter serves as a sounding board for people to comment on anything and everything that they want in a straightforward way. The type of political discourse that Twitter gravitates toward is one that is opinionated but that also allows freedom to individuals who just want to have a say in what is going on around them. All in all, I think that this can serve as a positive thing for the future.
As far as the character limit is concerned, it serves as a distinguishing factor between itself and other social sites like a Facebook or Myspace. It constrains people to be short and sweet with their entries, but at the same time people often would rather read a couple sentences rather than pages…to me the limit is both a creative and smart move for the site!
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After carefully going back and forth in my head about the effects of “user generated” technology, and whether it is right or wrong in different contexts, here is what I think:
Many of the new media outlets (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc.) were created solely for enjoyment and for the consumption of people who want to either connect with friends, have their voice be heard, or something of the like. This I feel connects with Caterina Fake’s point that people’s participation on social networking cites for instance never have the intention to make money or anything of the like, it is instead often designed to entertain a particular audience whether it be friends, families, or curious listeners if it happens to be music posted on Myspace for instance. Assuming that everyone even wants to be paid monetarily is an assumption that is a flaw in Jason Lanier’s Wall Street Journal piece.
As far as Brun’s view is concerned, which talks about users vs. consumers and the blurred line that is developing overtime, I feel as if there still exists a distinction to some degree especially when it comes to the internet. People consume content online that might fill a certain need. At the same time though, most consumers understand the differences between the integrity of a blog post in comparison to a news cite or journal article that cites data and facts that has been researched heavily.
I truly feel as if people are conscious of what they consume and why they consume it, but many people look over that fact.
Till next week….
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