Topics in Emerging Media and Communications

Archive for November 2010

Clear Journalism

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Did I tell you I wanted to be a journalist in a previous life? Well, I did. I wanted to uncover scandal in the lunch room, fight for more books in the library, and tell the story of the awkward girl who defied all odds to make the junior varsity volleyball team (I might have been that girl).

Unfortunately, the middle school and high school I attended didn’t have newspaper programs where I could hone my skills. In college I took a few creative non-fiction and media writing workshops, but opted for creative writing instead after becoming disillusioned with the restricted role of modern journalists.

My misgivings regarding journalistic ethics and transparency have not changed over the years, if anything they’ve intensified,but I’m not alone.

In “Digital Media and Democracy”, Meghan Boler explores the relationship between politics and new media, giving attention to the the argument of whether transparency of media outlets are possible with so much government and corporate control.

News media are utilizing social media outlets to an extreme degree, trying to reach audiences across multiple platforms simultaneously, but with that level of exposure there are bound to be corrupted messages, inconsistent reporting, and a drive for dollars over straight-forward reporting. Personally, I felt so inundated by news information that I limit my sources, but I am still weary to trust any source, especially when the message is coming from the White House.

I am not alone in my skepticism. Boler gives solid examples of underreporting or changing stances by news providers, and with events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, the inconsistency of reportage was played out on a much larger stage. As a country we demanded transparency: truth. The response we received was disappointing at best. Boler stresses the need to redefine our perception of truth, to see truth with a point of view.

But how does the public perception to incorporate point-of-view as part of the equation of truth? How do we expose the level government control over the media’s message? How do we change the way fundamental structure of media business?

Boler suggests that the structure of internet should be addressed:

“We will have to work hard either to establish nonproprietary, noncommercial Internets and/or ensure that the existing Internet is not legislated into a two-tiered system that severely curtails access, thereby limiting the kinds of production and distribution we are seeing through a variety of social networking and video-streaming sites.”

I suppose that protecting the internet from the threat of a two-tiered system is important. It makes sense that by protecting net neutrality, the message being delivered has more opportunities for checks, criticism and debate. It also makes sense that s change is needed in how we perceive and respond to “truth”, but I have a difficult time envisioning a democratized, open, collaborative country of free communication. My fear is that those in power will grip tighter to their control over the message, as they see that power threatened by the people.

The future of new media is unknown and my skepticism concerning neutrality has not been abated. I’m glad I stuck with creative writing, where the truth is not so important when telling the story.


Written by HiuHiMedia

November 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

Posted in Politics

Tagged with , , ,


with 4 comments

I wrote this post a few weeks back but had internet difficulties. In an attempt to cover my proverbial ass, I posted a list of nonsense notes I had made while watching the film Remix!

Later, I tried to repost my original work, but my computer crashed and managed to lose all my brilliance. As an act of frustration and defiance against the system, I left my notes up and called it art. But is it art? It could be considered a stream of consciousness, a river of ideas that, if one looks closely, reveal a hidden truth about the world.


So here is my original posting:

How random is random?
Ideas are most lucrative
Manifesto: Culture is always built on the past
The established powers of the past will always try to control the future
Our future is becoming less free
To build free societies you must limit the control of the past
Digital rights management
In rainbows Radiohead
$4200000 for16 songs
fair use allows for free speech
Copyright was meant to foster creativity
A balance between the rights of the artist and the public
Peer to peer network
Creative commons sets art free
No one creates in a vacuum
Largest free library of information ever in 18 months
Our extremism should no t be forced on developing nations
Viva Brazil!!

Meaningless as it may seem, I think there are some important points made regarding the price of ideas. Ideas, stored information, creativity is powerful. Our society still deals in oil and corn, but the commodity of technology is a serious threat. This is especially apparent in the push for patents and copyrights on intellectual property.

No one is allowed to own anything, manipulate anything or distribute anything without a team of lawyers and a pile of cash. Progress is halted while dealers make deals and the average people fear the consequences of downloading Happy Birthday off a torrent site. Copyrights were put in play to protect the artist and foster creativity, but when companies saw the dollar signs behind copyrights, the creative process died.

But art is not dead. Creative expression, scientific exploration, innovation will happen, regardless of law or penalty. The people, humanity, that is where creativity lies, not in policy. Countries like Brazil are providing an education system that is structured around collaboration and connection. Watching Remix reminded me that there is a need for the individual is still important. GirlTalk will still make music, whether he gets paid or not. That to me is an inspiration.

Written by HiuHiMedia

November 10, 2010 at 6:15 am

Media Overloaded

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Confession: I didn’t own a cell phone two years ago. You heard me, I had no cell phone. Instead, I had a home phone with an answering machine. If people needed to get in contact with me, they could leave a message. I was in control of my own time and personal space. I spent my free time painting, writing short stories, cooking, meditating, practicing yoga and studying.

My friends and family thought I was crazy for not having a cell. What if I got lost? What if I was in danger or my car broke down? Why couldn’t they get a-hold of me whenever they wanted? My argument was always “leave me a message and I’ll get back to you.” If something bad or inconvenient happened, I would figure it out, I didn’t mind tempting the fates.

I appreciated my disconnected lifestyle, in fact I took pride in it, until I was required to have a cell phone for work. My sacred space was thus infiltrated by media. The cell phone started a spiral into email groups, blogging, Facebook, message boards, Tumblr, Twitter etc. etc. etc. I was texting all the time, my phone super-glued to my palm, readily available for everyone and anyone to contact me. I couldn’t go an hour without checking on the status of my media outlets.

With time and my chosen graduate field of study, I’ve become completely engrossed by the sharing of information and technology.  It’s exhilarating to be part of a movement, and to learn discover the inner workings of media, but it often feels overwhelming. More and more I find myself stressed, on the verge of obsessed with excess connectivity. There is so much information out there and not enough time  to absorb it all. I feel left behind the pack, like I’m watching the wave of knowledge pass me by.

Is my brain quick enough, my ability to multi-task, multi-conceptualize fast enough? Am I handicapped because I didn’t play video games or watch TV as a kid?  These and so many other questions plague my dreams of becoming a social media expert. I fear that I will forever feel like a fraud.

What I’ve realized recently is that I have been so busy playing catch-up and thinking about all the information I need to absorb that I’ve lost sight of my priorities. I haven’t spent enough time away from the computer screen. I haven’t put my phone down and picked up a paint brush. As much as I’m in love with the possibilities of social media, I’m more in love with being creative and innovative within my own life sphere.  I miss taking time for quiet contemplation, I miss practicing yoga, I miss the sound of my own thoughts.

Now I’m faced with a dilemma. How do I find balance now that social media has taken over my time?  My personal goal is to make my use of media in a meaningful, safe and effective way so that I can stay connected but still have time for the practices and people that bring fulfillment.

I don’t want to be the girl with the cell phone in her hand, I want to be the girl with her hands in the air, dancing to her own personal soundtrack.

Written by HiuHiMedia

November 2, 2010 at 9:19 pm

Posted in Social Media

Tagged with , ,