Group Presentation – Another Reflection… [BCM110]

As a mature age student the task of a group assignment was extremely daunting, yet highly exciting. Having worked in both team and individual environments for the last four years, I knew that I would have the confidence to work productively with my team members. For our topic, we collectively decided to address the issue of Bikie gangs and their perception in the media. We thought that due to the current climate surrounding their activity that we would have endless amounts of information for our case studies to support our ideology. When exploring their perception we concentrated on both mainstream and citizen journalism. Using references from news and current affairs programs, fictitious and real life crime dramas and interviews with the general public. Our goal was to cast a “wide net” over the topic to reflect on their perception as a whole.
Through the power of convergent media (Facebook, Twitter) the task of collating and organizing individual ideas was dramatically simplified. A Facebook group was established and everyone contributed his or her thoughts on the direction the presentation should take. Being able to instantly notify the group members of news reports, YouTube clips and on-going construction of the Prezi presentation was an excellent advantage. Not only was it cost effective, it proved a stroke of genius when organizing face-to-face consultation times also.
As a group I thought we worked tremendously well. After having my reservations at the start of the assignment (based on nightmare high school group activities) I warmed to the task of working together with my group. Each member showed maturity well above their age and everyone’s opinions were treated with respect and were given great attention. As we were a group of five, we decided to split the tasks equally. Each team member was given three minutes and either the introduction, a case study or the conclusion. I nominated myself for one of the television case studies focusing primarily on fictitious crime dramas (Sons of Anarchy, Bikie Wars: Brothers In Arms) and also documentary style programs. Having a graphic design background, I also nominated myself to create the Prezi presentation for the group. I found the construction of the Prezi the most exciting aspect of the assignment, as it was a new medium that allowed us to create a presentation that was concise and still engaging for our audience. Having the ability to use videos and moving images and sound were great ideas put forward by the group and I believe they worked really well in delivering our presentation.
If we were given the opportunity to present our presentation again, I would like to have made the conclusion considerably briefer. I thought that we covered our position very well through the introduction case studies and just added far too much information for a conclusion. Perhaps we could have rehearsed our presentation a few more times to keep the summary of points and include our statement and opinion without going into extra details at the end.
Because of my strong interest in the content that my case study focused on I found understanding the task to be considerably easier and too my advantage. When watching the content I always try to keep a critical opinion on what issues and tasks are being discussed throughout the shows. Issues of racial tension, drugs and street violence are intertwined with heart-felt emotions of love, trust and honour.

I would like to congratulate my group on our level of communication throughout the project. The most influential aspect to the preparation of our presentation was our use of social networking. Without a cheap and social platform to express our ideas on, this project wouldn’t have run as smoothly. Due to our different geographical locations, having a ‘meeting spot’ online was a great advantage. As daunting as group work may seem, once you have your communication structure in place, the task becomes far less concerning. Each team member knew their role, formulated their ideas and then brought their content to the presentation. I look forward to numerous group work assignments throughout my university studies and have a new found respect for those team members involved in presenting, Bikies and their perception in the media.

Cross Section Reflection [BCM110]

Over the last 12 weeks I have tried to introduce you all to the issue of Media Ownership in Australia. To be honest, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it could have been. Since the start of the semester we have covered various techniques and sources that have looked at the numerous ways in which the hot button issue of Media ownership is represented in the media. Throughout the semester both traditional media and citizen journalism have been a ‘buzz’ with articles in relation to the introduction of Australia’s first News Media Council. A brand new or rebadged regulatory body proposed to set journalistic standards for print, television, film and online news content. This review also sparked another enquiry (The Convergence Report) looking at the framework that is applied to converged media and the ever-growing popularity of citizen journalism.
It has to be said that this issue of monitoring journalistic standards would possibly never have come into discussion in the mediated public sphere without the scandal of Rupert Murdoch’s now defunct, News of the World newspaper. After the washout and scandal had subsided, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard believed that current traditional media in Australia had “questions to answer” The Australian (17th March 2012). Since the collapse, the Australian government has been proactive in discussing the future of media in Australia and the impact that the technological age has had across all mediums.
With the advent of digital technology into the media spectrum the ownership of media becomes even murkier. Companies buy out companies and merge their media whilst other companies diverge into new areas. So how can we possibly control all of this? As we all continue to shift into a participatory culture do we all need a regulatory body to keep us accountable for our actions? The answer remains unclear.
It is no secret that the role of convergence has dramatically changed the game of journalism. We now have an abundance of user generated content that continues to promote the vacancy in opinion that traditional media has simply forgotten. When researching and collecting articles based on the issue, it was extremely challenging to decide which information was a valued opinion piece, or a slab of text ‘towing the company line’. The question we are left facing is. Does a high concentration of media ownership limit our ability to formulate our own ideologies? Given that the two battling gatekeepers in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation & John Fairfax’s Fairfax Holdings lay claim to owning 11 of the 12 newspapers in Australia’s capital cities, how can the news we read remain objective when each corporation continues to push their own ideologies upon us? The report also outlined a proposal to implement a ‘minimum number of owners’ rule, which would ensure that monopolies of media ownership could not be formed to prevent news from being falsely balanced and remain objective.
Throughout the twelve weeks articles from both media giants have been formulating a sense of moral panic, highlighting the cost of censorship and the intrusive impact and threat to free speech that will emerge if the proposed legislation is to be introduced. It is clear that neither party wants these recommendations instituted and have been voicing their opinions strongly, advising the government that an Industry controlled body would be far more beneficial in regulating news content rather than a government controlled association such as ACMA (Australian Communication & Media Authority).
In my last blog, I proposed the question “do we really care” about media ownership and the possibility of an industry lead media council? At first I wasn’t convinced that the issue was a prominent fixture in the public sphere, however I have since been assured. Just do a quick search for ‘convergence review’ in any civic media or social networking platform and you will be pleasingly surprised. The issue is being discussed and has provided me with a new level of insight surrounding the issue. What remains unclear about the role of citizen journalism is the level of censorship. The recommendations by the Convergence report disregard the regulation of bloggers, tweeters, etc. that receives a small amount of Internet traffic with the onus on the individual to self regulate their content and maintain acceptable journalistic standards.

Twelve weeks later and the issue and debate still drags on. What is clear though is how the media uses its power to promote their ideologies to the general public. We live in an exciting and empowering period in time. As prosumers we must continue to evaluate and remain objective when consuming or producing content. The dark clouds are lifting on the horizon of Australia’s media landscape; it is now time to put away the umbrellas and embrace convergence and the role of new media.

Couldn’t finish the post without adding my favourite clip from all the BCM110 lectures.


  Three Little Pigs – The Guardian

So You Want to Own Everything? [BCM110]

Since the release of the governments Convergence Review in the later part of April, News networks have been a buzz with their own opinions on the report and what impact they think it will have on Australia’s media landscape.
An article by The Australian “Analysts say no merger frenzy is expected as a result of freer media ownership” (7th May 2012) by Michael Bodey & Simon Canning highlights the positive impact of the new legislation and the benefits of this revolutionary change. “It doesn’t matter like it would have five to 10 years ago, the media barons aren’t active like they once were.” This is the opinion of one of analysts interviewed for this article. I tend to agree with him. In a society where content is now considered global, social, ubiquitous and cheap, why is there a moral panic that greater media expansion will lead to a loss of our rights to free speech?
The article concludes on the topic of censorship with “Glen Boreham, the chair of the Convergence Review, strongly attacked suggestions that the CR proposal for a single-platform neutral news regulator would harm free speech”. The question I am beginning to ask is do we really care? In an interesting piece of civic journalism one citizen Bob Bobbings (an alias? Perhaps?) Claims “No-one reads them anyway. What’s worth preserving? (As an aside: this isn’t truly the fault of Murdoch or any other media owner. The real issue is Australia’s lazy, anti-thought, consumerist, ‘she’ll be right’ culture, one in which informed debate about anything other than shopping has no place. Blame the populace, not media proprietors)”. I whole-heartedly agree. We have lost an abundance of trust and therefore interest in media that we now just don’t see any importance in discussing the issue.

Do you care about the Convergence Review? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below. 🙂

Let’s Be Friends [BCM112]

So your sitting at your desk, quietly going about your own business when, Pop! You get a friend request notification. You more than likely know that it isn’t going to be a one of your real friends and that chances are your contact with this person/s was brief. It does sound extreme, but isn’t it the truth? All to often we are faced with this notification and the decision to allow this person we barely know to view our private information about our location, photos and lifestyle and a whole heap more.

I would have to admit; nine times out of ten I would be quick to accept this person as my ‘friend’. Up until this post, I haven’t really thought about any of the implications surrounding my Facebook privacy settings. Sure there are certain people that have limited access to my information but could my ignorance in overlooking privacy settings lead to dramatic consequences in my social or work life in the future? Well if you believe Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg this experience is becoming quite common. “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.” The statistics don’t lie. It seems that more people are sharing the most intimate details with those they consider ‘friends’ more and more everyday. Photos, locations and even private phone numbers.
For example, up until last week, I was blissfully unaware that my mobile number had been public for over five years!
Social networking is the way of the future. It is the undisputed king of communication and we must all learn to value our role in this revolution. It is up the users to protect their content and it is up to the social networking companies to protect the rights of its users. With a greater understanding and cooperation from both parties, the possibilities for the future are infinite. 🙂
Is your Facebook privacy secure? Does your curiosity and boredom over-ride your safety barrier on Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg: Inside Facebook [ABC iView]

If I Could Turn Back Time [BCM112]

If there was one statement that sums up the new age of convergent media technology it would be this one by Clay Shirky. “In a landscape where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap.
After 10 weeks of lectures, countless readings of articles, journals and scouring the Internet for the latest information on current & emerging media platforms, I can finally say that I understand the power of convergence.
It is probably no surprise to any of you that my favourite three blogs explore the ideals of copyright, ‘nerdism’ and the art and progression of the remix culture. Having been an avid user of SoundCloud previous to this assignment, I knew the potential of the platform in trying to develop my understanding of convergence. The two main values that I tried to encompass and stress to the readers of my blog were the dramatic shift in the way that society now values communication and the power of infinite creativity.
“By enforcing these backwards pieces of legislation, you strangle creativity and our inherent right to learn and participate in a society where possibilities are only restricted by our imagination”. This was a statement that I wrote in Copy This [BCM112] and it still rings true to me all these weeks later.
We have been given an opportunity by convergence to make a difference. To reach a global audience and share content for the greater good. It is exciting, it is fascinating and it also remains a daunting experience for some. In a forever-changing media landscape it is now up to both industry and users alike to work together to help shape the direction of digital communication for the present and for future generations to come. I am excited to continue my research and involvement surrounding convergent media. I hope you all look forward to reading about it too. 🙂

Here are a couple of my favourite YouTube clips from the materials. What were favourites?

A Fair(y) use tale – creative introduction to the Fair use copyright clause

Everything is a Remix (Part 4)