Reflective Perspective 2C

Hi Digital Diary Followers

As I am coming to the final stages of the International Media and Communication Studies course it is interesting to look back and reflect upon the experience and the knowledge I have gained. Entering into the course I had a very narrow view of the role of international media. To an extent I believe I was an individual who fell into the cultural stereotypes surrounding the issues explored within the BCM 111 subject.

Blogging throughout the subject allowed me to gain a broader understanding of the topics discussed both in the lectures and readings. Blogging also encouraged me to undertake my own personal research to find where the information I had learnt applied within my own personal sphere.

This was particularly evident in my first blog post. Within the first week of the subject I felt particularly overwhelmed by the concepts, terms and definitions that were given in both the lectures and the readings. By being able to use the very familiar example of Pixar I was able to grasp a better understanding of the ideas because I was familiar with the example.

I was particularly surprised by my interest in the topic discussed in my second blog post.  Although I had been aware of some of the issues surrounding international students I was not aware of the extent to which this was. I found it especially alarming how easy it was to find countless other examples of where international students had been attacked.  I was also anxious about the role of the media and the adverse effect it was having on international students choosing to travel to Australia to study.

I did have some difficulties finding personal examples each week and being able to apply what I had learnt in my readings and lectures to my own personal research. I also found it difficult to have a leveled amount of interest in every topic discussed in the course. However this made blogging rewarding when I found a topic that I was particularly engaged with. Overall the blogging spectrum of the subject added an extra dimension of further, personal research, which many students do not undertake when studying at university. It is satisfying to know I can draw upon this material at a later time throughout my university journey.

“We Totally Over-Estimated the Adverse Reactions” (Wynne, 2013)

Hi Digital Diary Followers

In a recent article the Australian Medical Association stated parents who failed to vaccinate their children should face barriers when it comes to enrolment (news.com.au, 2013). President Steve Hambleton believes that parents have a responsibility to the community’s children and making enrolment difficult will allow for parents to think twice about their decision. Currently only New South Wales childcare centres are requiring proof of vaccination when they enrol (news.com.au, 2013).

Compulsory immunisation has been widely debated about with both sides of the issue been given equal value. This is seen within the video below which gives both the perspectives of Professor Robert Booy from the Westmead Children’s hospital in Sydney and Dr Viera Scheibner, a former principal research scientist and leading researcher in the anti-vaccination field.

Ward (2009) describes how media can provide a “voice for the voiceless”. It can allow for the voices of those who are affected by the issue to be amplified and the untold stories heard. This can be seen in the case of the Epapara family, who voiced their shattering story about how they lost their two-year-old daughter twelve hours after receiving a vaccination, in order to create awareness for the dangers of the compulsory vaccination debate (Hinde, 2010).  Infant Ashley had been described as being “perfectly fine” before passing away in her home in Brisbane.

However this can also be applicable to cases for the vaccination debate. This can be seen in the example of Alijah Williams, who ended up in intensive care with a tetanus infection because his parents believed they were making an informed choice not to vaccinate their son (Wynne, 2013).  Alijah’s father decided to speak publicly in order to warn other parents about the dangers of choosing not the immunise children. He stated:

“The mistake that we made was that we underestimated the diseases and we totally over-estimated the adverse reactions” (Wynne, 2013).

It is examples like these that journalists can use to show the real impacts of national and global issues. By having personal and individual stories broadcast by journalists it can deliver information, which readers can understand and empathize with on a humanitarian level.

“We Don’t All Wire Our Own Houses, So We Shouldn’t All Write Our Own News” (Hogg, 2009)

Hi Digital Diary Followers

There has been a rise in the idea of the active participatory audience. This participatory culture has branched into field of international journalism with consumers taking a more active role in the form of citizen journalism.

An example of this is the use of Twitter in providing “real time” coverage of violent crime in relation to Mexico’s Drug War (Julia Wetherell, 2013).  Anonymous individuals labelled “civic media curators” basically would post to twitter when they saw violence occurring in the local areas around them as seen in the example below.

As the violent events are occurring people are relaying information about it in a quick and efficient manner so it can be distributed to a mass audience who will use the information in individual ways i.e. they may stay away from the area. Although many different individuals are contributing to the reporting overall it is creating a more informed society. Andrés Monroy-Hernández, 2013 describes that during his time in Northern Mexico he was not able to learn about these violent events and he, like many others who resided in the city had to turn to social media and the citizen journalists to be able to receive the news.

This example of citizen journalism plays a very important role in the changing international news values because of the immediacy of the reporting. It prevents the idea of pre-prepared and prepackaged news stories. It is allowing news of cultural proximity and relevance to be distributed to the people in a real time atmosphere.

Ultimately this type of journalism is crowdsourcing traditional media form and the professional sphere is quick to criticize citizen journalism:

“It’s more efficient to have that (journalism) happening by a professional, by people who have had some knowledge on how to do it. We don’t all wire our own houses, so we shouldn’t all write our own news” (Chris Hogg, 2009). 

This has come as a result of the journalism industry feeling threatened by the grassroots movement of citizen journalism.

The Execution, The Look and The Feel of the Show is Superlative” (Leffler, 2012).

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Jersey Shore is an example of popular reality television which has successfully translated across international boarders and been received by a global audience. The show has been cast into 150 territories through MTV and has been exported to more than 60 international countries being particularly popular in Australia, Denmark, Ireland and Spain (Leffler, 2012)

The immense success of the show however has been pinpointed to the editing process:

“It’s not a coincidence that the show is so successful. The show resonates with international audiences because of the highly skilled production executives behind it. The execution, the look and the feel of the show is superlative” (Leffler, 2012). 

Another reason for the shows major success described by Leffler’s article (2012) is the characters within the show. They have been carefully selected and are very amplified versions of societal stereotypes. When comparing the example of The Office offered in the reading Television Comedy in Translation it can be seen that characterisation and editing also play a major role in what made the translation across boarders so successful. For example the reformatting of the entire Office cast and the subtle changes of allusions to American products, national holidays and businesses (Turnbull, 2008).

However not all adaptations of the show have been successful. The Australian reality “dramality” The Shire follows the lives of a group of young people living in the Sutherland Shire. The show, which is understood to be inspired by Jersey Shore, received scathing criticism being labelled “basically horrific” by the mayor of the Sutherland Shire region (Kent, 2012).  One of the underlying reasons for the downfall of the adapted series was that the show was sanitised and didn’t feature as much drunkenness, sexual activity and fighting as its predecessors (news.com.au, 2012).

This leads to speculation about whether certain shows would still be internationally successful if it were not for the producers ability to reframe the shows context to an extent which would satisfy the local and global audience and their desires.

“I Made A Movie For The Whole World” (Rust, 2013)

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Within the article Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of Popular Indian Film it exemplifies the popular film Avatar and how it was heavily influenced by Hindu culture.  One recent example that I drew upon and saw a similar connection with was the film Life of Pi.

Within Chris Higgins’s blog post Life of Pi – Globalisation in Action he writes of all the different cultures that were a part of the creation of the movie. The story originally comes from a Canadian author; the first and final screenplays were created by American writers, proposed and final director(s) originated from India, Mexico, France and Taiwan and the movie was filmed in India and Taiwan and was funded by an America studio.

The movie also makes a number of allusions and cultural references. Literacy references including Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Herman Meville’s Moby-Dick feature throughout the movie (Martel). There are also a number of Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Hindu citations. This gives the movie a far more global tone and creates a film that is accessible for a diverse range of cultures.

The film was described as:

“One of the most unexpected hits that took the world by storm — it was a global phenomenon” (Miller, 2013).

The movie was nominated for eleven Oscars and generated $570.9 million in worldwide ticket sales. However one of the chief factors that led to its success was its appeal to overseas audiences. The movie collected $461.6 million overseas, including $90.8 million in China. 80% of Life of Pi’s ticket sales came from outside America (Miller, 2013). 

Part of the movies international success however have also been accredited to the films many interpretations (Rust, 2013). Director Ang Lee, in an interview, explained how his films’ reception differed from culture to culture. He stated that people in the Asian demographic perceived Life of Pi as a “thinking movie” and particularly drew enjoyment from the third act in comparison to the European’s who used the movie as a springboard for the question of religion. Lee also noted the American audience were focused on the amazing journey that was undertaken by the lead character while within Latin American culture the movie centered on family nostalgia (Rust, 2013).

However to sum up the overall concept that the film encapsulated Lee stated:

“I think I made a movie for the whole world. There’s not a universal look at the film and I think the diversity of response based on the culture and personal life experience(Rust, 2013).

“If YouTube Were A Country, We’d Be The Third Largest In The World After China and India” (Bond, 2013).

Hi Digital Diary Followers

“Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube with our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly 10 Super Bowl audiences” (Bond, 2013).

Michael Curtain details growing anxieties about how the geography and environment of television is changing and the conditions of Hollywood’s dominance have been dramatically altered today. Curtain also describes how Hollywood is facing growing competition from media capitals with transnational aspirations.  An example of one of these new global capitals is YouTube and with the company reaching one billion unique monthly users early this year it is fairly obvious why it is generating anxiety in Hollywood.

After the announcement of the opening of a state of the art production facility in Los Angles the YouTube Space is just an example of where the company is beginning to branch into the professional content industry (Alvear, 2013).  The forty one thousand square foot facility features sound stages, recording studios, editing bays, screening rooms and green screens – all free of charge to use for leading YouTube producers. This has allowed local content producers to be more sophisticated and think bigger with their productions (Alvear, 2013).

This includes YouTubers like Freddie Wong who uses the space to shoot the popular web show series “Video Game High School”.  Wong describes how the space allows for content producers like him to create content at a much higher level, almost like a Hollywood production.

Even well known content producers who are famous for their works in Hollywood are drifting towards the popular media form. These include producers Simon Cowell, who announced the launch of his own channel and director Ridley Scott who has agreed to work for a network of YouTube channels creating short films (Bond, 2013).

YouTube is interesting as its headquarters are situated closely to that of Hollywood. However the platform is far more globalised and has been around for a much shorter period of time.

“I Feel Like We’re Losing It” (Scarface 2013)

Hi Digital Diary Followers

Hip-Hop artist Scarface recently publicised his irritation about how race and racism affect the music which is being released by record companies (Vasquez, 2013). In a recent interview, in which he tried to be as offensive as possible, he stated that hip-hop was becoming too white and too Jewish and that he believes there’s a conspiracy against African Americans in hip-hop to make them look dumb (Vasquez, 2013). Brad Terrance Jordan who uses the stage name Scarface originates from Houston, Texas has made a career both solo and with hip-hop group Getto Boys since the early 1990’s (Vasquez, 2013).

Female hip-hop artist Iggy Azalea, who comes from an Australian background growing up in Mullumbimby, respectfully disagreed with Jordan’s (Scarface) comments stating:

“I think this idea of ‘rap should be black’ or ‘rap should be this or that’ is worrying to me because it’s like—segregation” (Harling, 2013).

She also went on to applaud hip-hop; it’s diverse range and its ability to unify people from every cultural background (Hughes, 2013). 

However Azalea has also be slammed in recent articles after releasing a video clip that had a Bollywood inspired theme.  Although the clip entitled “Bounce” was met with a welcoming stride by some fans others have accused her of cultural appropriation (Northern Star, 2013).

One individual commented that:

“This went beyond cultural appropriation and entered the realm of religious insult” (Northern Star, 2013). 

It is not the first time that the rapper has come under attack. In February 2012 Azalea released the song entitled “DRUGS” in which she made references to herself as being a “runaway slave master” (Caton, 2012). Among the many African Americans who took offence to the statement hip-hop star Azealia Banks commented that the song “trivialized black culture” (Caton, 2012).

These cases are examples of the fine line that has been drawn in today’s contemporary world in regards to culture, gloabisation and hip-hop.