Jobs Available: Female Sports Commentators [BCM310]

Have you noticed something different about your sports commentary over the last few years? Besides from the additions of the recently retired megastars of the game you may have spotted there are now prominent women on the panel of most sports shows. This week’s topic surrounds gender roles and media so I thought I would stay clear of the negative associations of female media roles and look at some of the more positive aspects of the female presence within the sports commentary environment.

For years programming such as Channel 9’s NRL Footy Show have been dominated by an all male cast with the exception of segments with cheerleaders, scantily clad women and very rarely, a female who actually is interested in the game of Rugby League. As of this year the panel has its first full time female host. The incredibly talented Erin Molan. Not only is she one of the sharpest thinkers of the game, she is the perfect representative for female Rugby League lovers nationally. Her keen eye for detail and her passion for the sport have rejuvenated what was fast becoming a ratings disaster for the Nine Network.

With the NRL having countless issue of sexism and violence against women it begin to ask the question, why wasn’t this considered much earlier? According the National Rugby League official website “41% of the game’s NRL club financial members are female, increasing to 88,150 in 2013 (82,250 in 2012)”. With female participation in Rugby League on the increase there should be no doubt that Erin will not be the only female on the panel for much longer.

Recently Channel Nine has just announced that Yvonne Sampson will be joining the heavily male dominated commentary team for the 2014/2015 Cricket season. According to Steve Crawley who is the head of Channel Nine’s sports coverage Yvonne has been bought in to “improve female representation within the sport as she “’knew her cricket” and was expected to be used in a hosting/presenting role”.

There is no doubting that media outlets are now beginning to see the importance of female roles within sports commentary. However, it would be extremely naïve to consider these two roles as reaching any form of equality. For too long women’s roles within the sporting environment have been downplayed and it times, heavily ostracised. Lenskyj argues that this struggle is due to “mass medias consensus of the power elite and the dominance of male media corporate/giants (pg.21, 1998).

Will there come a day when football coverage across Australia is dominated by female reporters? I hope so. After all, they would do a far better job than this moron.

Reference

Lenskyj, J 1998, INSIDE SPORT’ OR `ON THE MARGINS’?: Australian Women and the Sport Media. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 33 (13), 19-32, accessed 30/04/2014, Summons database.

Luke Macdonald
Media & Communications & Commerce Student
University of Wollongong 

 

 

 

Don’t Steal my Newspaper [BCM310]

Throughout this blog I have discussed at length how digital technologies have changed the many ways in how we consume media. In an age where consumer need for information is immediate, many of us are becoming more reliant on smart phones and tablets, and are ditching the daily paper for quick and more convenient form of information that is tailored to the needs of each individual. Last year, during a TED Talk Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the American Press Institute described the consumption of new media technologies as the “entering of a new enlightenment” and highlighting the benefits of “news on demand” (TED, 2013).

It is no secret that the sales of newspapers are in steep decline. According to online news (oh the irony) publisher Mumbrella print news papers have seen a double digit decline across all mastheads, with the biggest Among the biggest were weekday editions of News Corp’s Sydney paper The Daily Telegraph, which fell below 300,000 for the first time. The Herald Sun fell through the 400,000 levels for both its Monday to Friday and Saturday editions (Mumbrella, 2013). Although physical sales have dropped, the rate of digital subscriptions has almost made up for the difference between the two mediums. Both News Corp CEO Julian Clarke & the managing director for Fairfax Media Allen Williams both are ‘delighted’ with the increase in readership across the digital platforms. I am also encouraged by consumer decisions to maintain their interest in Australian newspapers, however there is still a big question around the future practice of professional journalism.

A comprehensive research study by the Pew Research Centre into current state of American journalism highlighted the changing nature of consumer habits and the impact of investment from philanthropists, venture capitalists and other individuals and non-media businesses. After all, the successful nature of professional journalism relies heavily on the advertising revenue that supports mainstream media industries. As a consumer of both print and digital media I believe that there is still a place for both mediums. Although consumer trending habits may disagree with my outlook, I have hope that I will still be able to sit at my desk and browse through the daily paper for many years to come.


 

2nd Life Causes Cancer [DIGC335]

meme SL Player done copy

Now that the headline has your attention 😉

Coming from someone that considers the Internet as a source of connectivity and communication, the notion that there is this wider, deeper and limitless version of the Internet (Cyberspace) really caught my attention. Some people would consider this ignorance; honestly I had no idea that the Internet was more than just something you can access through a web browser.

Until my recent class the words second and lives have never been connected. Lawrence Lessig a key advocate of technology and the limits of cyber culture describes Second Life as a section of cyberspace where “people create both things and communities” (2006). For those who you who were blissfully unaware of such a world, yes it does exist. Again, this may be naïve of me but I am still struggling to come to terms with how people consider this apart of their reality.

On the other side of the coin, from a creative perspective, to think that there are these alternate ‘worlds’ whereby users embellish their imaginations by creating their personal views of society and construct their own sets of values and laws is actually pretty inspiring. As you can tell I am very much sitting on the fence with this one.

Further more it was interesting to learn that Second Life isn’t the first time that humans have tried to ‘play God’ per say.

Again in the reading Lessig talks about the text based virtual world of MUD’S & MOO’s. He draws on the example of Martha & Dank and the scenario of the dog and the flower petals, which illustrates the endless boundaries that can be created when humans essentially become God. Religious preference aside, this example highlights the positive and negative effects in regards to power and mortality.

The issue of wrong or right is further questioned by society when confronted by the mysterious and horrific acts committed by Mr Bungle within the realm of LambdaMOO. This alternate space created an alternate world whereby there were essentially, no rules.

If ‘worlds’ like Second Life and LambdaMOO are in-fact spaces where people go to live their alternate life, who is in charge of regulating these spaces? What regulations are in place to prevent “cyber crimes”? Again this question is almost impossible to answer. As technologies have improved Lessig states “the architecture of the space (Cyberspace) has rendered life in this space less regulable” (2006). Ultimately Lessig states that he believes that regulation of the Internet is achievable and stipulates that this may only be achievable when governments learn “how the digital age works” (2006). I agree wholeheartedly. The Internet and in particularly Cyberspace does need regulation. Users must be accountable for their actions regardless of whether it is in a physical or digital space. The virtual faces behind the Mr Bungle character knew full well the heinous speech they were typing, yet due to the medium they chose, were completely free from any form of reprimand under the premise that nobody could verifying who was writing the text.

Again, many would argue that a world without such strict regulation might create a utopian society. Maybe we should all have a Second Life avatar and explore a world without restrictions of mortality and influence.

For me I am happy living my life without creating a second version of myself. Although if given the chance you could easily sign me up as a crime fighting superhero who runs around in a bat mask.

If anyone has played or is currently apart of this Second Life experience please feel free to comment or tweet me at @fluke_aus.

Luke Macdonald

3rd Year Media & Communications & Commerce Student
University of Wollongong


References

Dibbell, J. (2009). A Rape In Cyberspace. Available: http://www.juliandibbell.com/articles/a-rape-in-cyberspace/. Last accessed 28 March 2014.

Lessig L, 2006. Four Puzzles From Cyberspace. In: Lessig Code Version 2, accessed 7/08/13, UOW DIGC202 Moodle site.

White, M. (2014). Representations or People. Available: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/nissenbaum/ethics_whi_full.html. Last accessed 28 March 2014.

 

Music: The Forgotten Sphere [BCM310]

Over the past two and a half years you may have begun to recognise a trend into the concepts and main art form that captures my imagination throughout this blog. If you haven’t already guessed I’ll tell you. It’s music. Jimi Hendrix once said, “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music”.
For many, music is an art form that not only entertains us, it teaches us the ways of the world through deconstructing the hard truths of our generation.

Music has always, in one-way or another, been an integral part of the public sphere. However, during the 20th century music’s impact on the public sphere grew considerably. With new technology in the 20th century, music has been able to reach definitively larger audiences. Prior to these technologies, musicians and artists often had very minor influence outside of their own communities. Issues of limited exposure and high costs of transportation made it almost impossible for artists to voice their message to a global audience.

Throughout the 20th Century music has been the catalyst for shaping cultural values, inciting protest, demanding democratic change and most importantly, giving a voice to the once voiceless.

No longer is theoretical depiction of Jurgen Habermas’s coffee house scenario a true representation of the public sphere.

 

Good Game / Bad Game [DIGC335]

My history with video games and various consoles is a very short and brief story. As a child I engaged with classic video game heroes such as Crash Bandicoot and Sonic the Hedgehog, completely obsessed with the car racing simulation game Gran Tourismo and madly fanatical about the FIFA franchise. Any other type of gaming genre and my attention fell away faster than the career trajectory of Wesley Snipes.
Throughout high school my friends had always asked me to join their team in the latest first-person shooter game but to no avail. I simply had no interest.

Fast forward 12 years to the present day and my interest in gaming still remains the same, however my interest into the psychological control of gaming and the theories surrounding gaming culture still continue to be a mystery to me. Over the last ten years the connection to both physical and mental acts of violence and gaming culture have become the key points of discussion throughout the public sphere, with experts on both sides of the ledger arguing their agenda and creating new theories surrounding the horrific details of real-life tragic events.

With headlines and news content created in order to associate blame for the actions of these cold-hearted killers. As a society we like to place blame on elements of fiction that we don’t know, but are willing to consider as fact.

The result. Moral panic amongst the masses.

As an outsider looking in on this topic I feel that both sides of the argument have very fair and valid opinions. Video games are becoming graphic in nature but does this link to a direct correlation to physical and mental violence? Can playing violent video games change your perception of moral values and increase your chance of violent behaviours? One thing that is for certain is that this debate will continue to surface throughout the media landscape for decades to come. For the news wouldn’t be news without the help of technological scapegoats.

 

Story Board Reflection – Life of an Audio File – [BCM240]

Our digital story telling project explains the interesting life of an audio file. From its creation shaped by the knowledge and expertise of live musicians, to its continuous lifespan amongst mobile audiences, the life of an audio file remains infinite and its journey can’t be predicted. The aim of our project was to highlight the relevance of a digital audio file and the effects that digital technologies have had on participation amongst mobile audiences. Using footage that we captured in both public and private spaces, we aimed to share our interpretation of the life of an audio file.

The most engaging part of the project was shooting the footage we required. Having some experience with video recording from other media arts subjects throughout our degrees we knew the challenges involved. From setting up shots in densely populated traffic areas, to even the simplest of shots taken at the beach, the challenges of video production often threw us a ‘curve ball’.

A large part of our aspirations to complete the project grew from our combined love of music. As our project required us filming live musicians and recording their work we had to seek permission from their label to use the recorded content. Being given the chance to work along two of Sydney’s most talented musicians was a very rewarding experience.

As we were trying to conceptualise the digital story we struggled at times to really understand the task at hand. We had numerous ideas that we considered before “Life of an Audio File” none of which fell into the sub categories we have been studying for the last 13 weeks. After numerous group meetings we settled on the topic of ‘Mobile Audiences’ and set about creating a video that captured the power of convergent mobile devices and how these technologies have transcended both public and private spaces. At times our project felt that it lacked a sense of direction, which created tension within our group. However after many hours of finalising our quote lists, capturing our media content (both physically and digitally) the distance gap continued to shorten and our excitement to complete the project grew.

As a team, our motivations to produce a creative and compelling video were very strong. We each had our own ideas about the direction of the project and with the help of regular group meetings, those ideas become realities. By choosing layouts for each shot, typography and video effects the project felt like a seamless experience. Each group member’s area of expertise was invaluable to the project.

Ash with his technical wizardry skills to record live audio, Meaghan with her unique faculty to extract research material vital to the formation of the project and my own skills using Final Cut Pro to cut together the footage we all recorded throughout the semester, combined to create a project we are all very proud to put our names to. It would also be remiss of us not to mention the support from both Kate and Stephanie throughout the project. When we were conceptualising our idea, we knew we had to complete the project after a strong swell of support from both staff and students.

The most puzzling part of the project was coordinating ourselves as a group. Being mature age students with busy lives, finding time to collectively get together was terribly challenging. However we each were very dedicated to the project and made the time to finalise our decisions.

As with many media projects technology issues are forever trying to break your determination. Since we were using Final Cut Pro to edit the assignment we knew we would face some faults during the rendering process. At times the long waiting periods of the dreaded ‘pin wheel of death’ felt almost exhausting though we knew that the final product would be something we are all very proud of.

After thirteen weeks of deciphering topics, researching media and examining the role that media plays within my own life I have come up with this conclusion. No matter how much I think I may know about an issue or topic, I have barely scratched the surface. Media is such an intrinsic part of our lives that to try and define it in thirteen weeks seems almost laughable. As technologies advance and we continue through the information age the ways in which we develop, learn and interact with media are frequently changing. The need for greater understanding into the concepts and theories of media creation will always remain a constant and vital aspect to the future development of media practices.

Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

My Super Smart Toothbrush – [DIGC202]

Ever wondered if there would come a day when your toothbrush contained GPS and Wi-Fi? To those who grew up with just your standard Oral-B or Colgate toothbrush, the idea of such gadgetry in a day-to-day product sounds completely absurd. Well with thanks to some genius activity at the MIT Lab in 1999 and a descriptive definition and label by Kevin Ashton in 2009, the term ‘The Internet of Things’ was born.

In layman’s terms the definition of the ‘The Internet of Things’ is the connection of physical objects to the Internet. The way in which this technology becomes increasingly complex is by introducing a sociability aspect to the system.

In its early stages of development the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) was seen as prerequisite for all objects connected to the Internet. Zheng (2011, pg.30) describes these connections as “facilitators of fast-paced interactions among the objects themselves, as well as the objects and persons in any place and at any time.” These physical objects not only serve a material and practical purpose, they take on the roll of information portals. As mentioned above with the extreme toothbrush example, the use of GPS and Wi-Fi ultimately spells the end of lying to your dentist about your dental regime. He will now know be able to connect your toothbrush to his system and check your full dental routine since your last check-up.

Sounds a touch invasive doesn’t it? With the power of RFID not only does the object gain a networking address (allowing the object to be uniquely identifiable) it also gains a sensory capacity, allowing it to dynamically register change within its environment. To explain the complexities around the systems of IoT would require more than just a 500-word blog post. Already we are seeing the power of the IoT in use both privately (in our homes and businesses) monitoring our power usage through the use of RFID, and also publically by creating monitoring systems that allow for advanced warning in the event of a crisis.

Inevitably with any new technology the issue of privacy is always at the forefront of users minds. Atzori (2010, pg.2802) believes that these concerns about privacy are indeed well justified. In fact, the ways in which data collection, mining, and provisioning will be accomplished in the IoT are completely different from those that we now know and there will be an amazing number of occasions for personal data to be collected. Therefore, for human individuals it will be impossible to personally control the disclosure of their personal information.

Again society is faced with another social and ethical dilemma on its hands. Do the advantages of IoT far out way the negative aspects such as the demand of data and privacy issue? In a report issued by General Electric (one of the worlds largest publically listed companies) they estimated that with the aid of IoT and smarter technologies they could see a reduction of.

  •  $30 billion worth of jet fuel for the airline industry
  •  $63 billion in global health care savings with more optimised treatments, patient  flows, and equipment use in hospitals.
  •  $66 billion savings in fuel consumption for the global gas-fired power plant  fleet.

Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO himself stated “By connecting intelligent machines to each other and ultimately to people, and by combining software and big data analytics, we can push the boundaries of physical and material sciences to change the way the world works”.

And here I was thinking that the Internet was illegal downloads; funny cat memes and images of girls in bikinis that need to each a whole lot more.

The Internet is a truly amazing beast. As a society we are in the early stages in the creation of an Internet of Things and the above examples provide just a glimpse into what is possible when you combine sensors, actuators, and networked intelligence.

Luke Macdonald
2nd Year Media & Communication & Commerce Student @UOW
Majoring in Digital Communication & Marketing

References

Atzori L, Lera A, Morabito G (2010). The Internet of Things: A survey, Computer Networks, Vol 54, No 15, pp 2787-2805, accessed 23 October, Science Direct Database, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389128610001568

Zheng J, Simplot-Ryl, D.; Bisdikian, C.; Mouftah, H.T (2011). The internet of things [Guest Editorial],” Communications Magazine, Vol.49, No.11, pp.30,31, accessed 23 October 2013, Accessed Summons Database, http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6069706&isnumber=6069696