The Issue with Global Issues in a Global World.

Global Crises!

This term it sounds pretty heavy right? It isn’t until recently that this term has become a regular term used by the world media. It isn’t because things within this day age are starting to go wrong, as Cottle (2011 pp78) states that;

Although crises and catastrophes with world-wide impacts are not of course historically unprecedented (consider, for example, the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, World Wars I and II, the post-war nuclear arms race and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962), proliferating crises across recent decades are increasingly recognized as ‘global’ in origins and outcomes – and variously reported in such terms within the news media.

Cottle 2011 goes on further to define what a Global crises is. He states that it can be classed as a crises whose origins and outcomes cannot be confined to the nation’s borders in which a de-territorializing world that has become largely interconnected, interdependent and in a flux.

With the way in which we generate and consume news and media is has allowed us to share and interact with crises that would have normally been confined behind oceans which I feel is a good thing. Today’s media is helping us become more aware of issues relating to the world in which we live in.

But can to much debate or reporting become a bad thing. Can it start having a detrimental affect on the debated topic at hand. I would have to answer yes. Take for example one of the most heavily reported and debated global issues in the last few years and that is the Climate change debate. Whether you believe in climate change or you don’t, you have got to admit that the whole scenario has become a bit of a farce.

As parodied in the video above, our experience of this global issue is highly mediated. It seems as though the wrong people are the ones in the media, putting forward their own beliefs/opinions.

Where are all the Climate Scientists?

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Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children!

In today’s society are we becoming to obsessed with sex? Are we becoming to obsessed with trying to make ourselves desirable to the opposite sex? And in turn are we robbing the children of today their innocence with bombarding them with all these highly sexualised images ranging from movies and TV shows to music and fashion? Well…. If I were answering those questions purely from viewing the above video I would have to answer, YES!

Wait a minute though… Is this threat on the innocence of children just society experiencing moral panic or is there legitimacy for this concern? Lumby & Funnell (2011) states that ‘moral panics constitute an intense site of debate about ideas that are grounded in belief systems and that are connected to embodied and visceral ways of knowing and to ideological systems of meaning.’ So this fear of pop culture sexualizing our children, could it be around societies ideal that a childhood is pure or a state of innocence? And is this ideal purely a fantasy that us adults like to convince ourselves to be reality.

The daily telegraph recently reported (http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/raunchy-popstars-a-bad-influence-on-little-kids/story-e6freuzr-1226349392364) on a research study conducted by an academic from the University of South Australia who found that raunch culture is rampant among children, who are learning to pout and thrust by watching music videos. It was also found that there are direct links between what children watch on television and how they dress and behave. Wooaaahh….

Now I’m somewhat cynical of this moral panic around the sexualisation of children, I personally think that it is to easy to blame pop culture for the shortcomings of children today. Why aren’t we using this as a means of educating as apposed to not acknowledging the big elephant in the room? As Gilbert Herdt states:

Moral panics, can provoke authoritarian policies and heated debate in the short term, but over the longer term they are also capable of providing an opportunity to take the heat out of taboo subjects and of offering progressive social and political groups a window for lobbying for change. 

Ownership of Media within Australia

As Simone Murray details in her journal article titled ‘Think Global, Act Global: Corporate Content Streaming and Australian Media Policy’, the debate around media policy within Australia has been dominated around two major issues. They are media ownership reform and the local content provisions of the Australian-United States Free Trade Agreement. In this blog post I want to primarily focus on the debate around Media ownership within Australia.

Media ownership within Australia has become an evolving hot topic for governments over time. This is due to the blurring of the traditional boundaries. (Lee n.d.)
This thought is evident in which Murray quotes a Senator Helen Coonan who states that;

“It used to be that you could quarantine content you got through television or newspapers but now it’s being streamed in all sorts of ways.”

Why is there restrictions in place for media ownership within Australia? Especially when the major media players within this country is made up of just two corporations, Fairfax and News Corp. Considering that these policies had been developed prior to media becoming digitised the media categories included print media, radio and television it was restricted to just those that could afford to produce media for the traditional media categories. Now because of the technological developments around digital media, the barriers have been lowered around entry and productions costs to the point that almost anyone can become a media producer.

So can content now be considered so intertwined between newspapers, television, magazines, the Internet, radio that no one group dominates – or can hope to dominate? Murray states in which I feel has credence and that is media ownership convergence is currently to embryonic to demonstrate conclusively to governments that multi-purposing of digital content benefits the media sector as a whole, or even individual firms.


References

Lee, L n.d., New Ways to Explore Australian Media Ownership Opportunities and Threats, http://www.optimice.com.au/upload/Media_Ownership_Analysis1.pdf

Murray, S 2005, Think Global, Act Global: Corporate Content Streaming and Australian Media Policy, Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, no.116, pp.100-116

The Big Bad Scary Internet

Because the internet has evolved into becoming a powerful tool for the creation and sharing of information and content such as texts, videos, music, images and software or applications.

Because of this ability to easily share information between you and I from basically anywhere in the world, the biggest issue that is constantly debated is copyright and the piracy of content.

My early teenage years was based around the time of when online file sharing began to become extremely popular through online tools such as Napster and limewire. One of my earliest memories of using the world wide web was for purely downloading music through Napster. Ever since file sharing online has exploded with popularity policy developers, politicians/governments and major corporations have all attempted in some way or another to control the flow of content online. As how both Zittrain and Doctorow discuss, the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) on various digital products but more commonly on music. Many attempts at utilising DRM on things such as music have failed largely due to the fact that savvy users have cracked the DRM code or the market simply rejecting the product due to the restrictions that were put in place.

What both Zittrain and Doctorow both explore in their writings on this issue and it is something that I myself agree with, is the fact that the current rules and regulations that we have in place to enforce copyright and non-piracy of non-digital content has been molded to be used within the digital realm unsuccessfully. Basically they trying to shove a square peg into a round hole, when in reality they should be using a round peg.

Doctorow puts forward a relevant point in which I find it hard to disagree with. He states that:

“The reality is that copyright legislation gets as far as it does precisely because it’s not taken seriously. It’s why the World Intellectual Property Organisation is gulled time and time again into enacting crazed, pig-ignorant copyright proposals, because copyright is just not as important.”

It is far easier to rely on the archaic legislation than it is to create new legislation. Far scarier to embrace technology and its freedoms than to try and outlaw it.

Is journalism as we know it lost?

Since the advent of web 2.0 and the rise of the phenomenon called participatory journalism mean that the role of the journalist that we know today becoming non-existent? A species becoming extinct if we do not step in.

As pointed out by Stephen Tanner during this weeks lecture that, due to the very nature of the Internet and how it is used, it is obvious that the relationship between the journalist and the reader has changed. No longer are journalists the ones in control of the flow of information being made available. Traditional journalism online has steered away from being just a one-way form of communication between the individual and the journalist. Journalist are no longer the gatekeepers of information, we are!

As with any form of change that takes place, there always individuals that embrace or resist. Quandt outlines in his 2011 journal article title: ‘Understanding a new phenomenon: the significance of participatory journalism’ that while most of the print journalists that he interview believed that there is an added benefit to including user-generated content for online journalism, many feared that in doing so undermines the very basis of journalism.

Those that are against participatory journalism stress that there is a danger to the profession, to professional norms such as accuracy and to the jobs of journalist. On the other hand though those that are in support of participatory journalism state that it allows for a widening of opinions and a larger range of ideas and beliefs as well as generating public discussion.

A great quote that is found in Quandt’s article, which states that

Anyone can do journalism, but not everything that is being done is journalism. Doing journalism requires following some rules, applying rigor. You have to fact- check and try to keep a more or less neutral standpoint. I f any person is acting this way, you can surely say they are doing journalism. Which is not the same as saying that whatever people send or whatever a news medium publishes is journalism.

In saying this, I truly feel that journalism as we know it may evolve slightly as with all things in life, but it will never be lost.

Accessibility: Online vs Offline

Having a physical disability all my life, I often come across various physical accessibility issues when performing day-to-day activities in which able-bodied individuals may take for granted with giving it much thought. These include:

  • using ATMs, they are usually to high and out of reach for someone in a wheelchair, or the way in which you insert and remove the card can also be an issue.
  • Purchasing an item at a shop when the counter is to high to hand over the money
  • The most frustrating issue of all is the lack of disabled accessible bathrooms especially when you are at a club or a music festival. (I have even come across a disabled bathroom at Sydney Airport where the door opened inward which in turn made it practically impossible to close and be inside at the same time…..)

Anyway, as much as I could ramble on forever talking about my personal experiences of access, I would like to touch on digital accessibility. In Goggin and Newell’s (2007) journal article ‘the business of digital disability’ posses the question. If we are now possessed of greater knowledge about disability and design, why is accessible and inclusive technology so difficult to bring about? Is it because inclusive technology is not profitable, and so unattractive for businesses and unsustainable as an industry? Or is the answer more education and awareness?

Personally I believe that it is mostly down to the need for more education and awareness. In my role of web content officer at UOW I am often communicating with our contributors for the UOW website and informing them of accessibility requirements for websites. I am often referring to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) when dealing with owners of information found on the various faculties and business units websites.

WCAG is made up of 12 guidelines in which they are categorized into four principles. They are;

Perceivable

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways,
    including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.

Operable

  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures.
  • Help users navigate and find content.

Understandable

  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

Robust

The main premise for following the WCAG guidelines is to make the web accessible for all, not just those people that have the ability to move a mouse with their hand, read the text that appears on their screen or hear sound that is played with video. Unlike myself in which I turn to technology to make my life easier such as typing vs writing, technology for a lot of people that have disabilities can make their lives a lot harder.

Learning the old way….

Do you know the old saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Well image if you will that the old dog in this scenario is the education system (or the educators) and image that the new tricks are the new methods and pedagogies in which education systems and educators could employ to better engage with the current generation.

In Richard E. Miller’s journal article ‘The Coming Apocalypse’ he questions the way in which knowledge and information is being taught within education institutions but also how it is being consumed by the general student. He states that;

Far from evolving in relation to the globalization of experience, our teachers, our curricula, and our expectations of education remain frozen in time, preserved like some prehistoric insect in a golden drop of amber.

Miller goes on to state that the way in which we consume information has changed. We are predominately reading in 140 character blasts on palm-sized screens. No longer are we heavily relying on going to printed books or journals when we are in need of information to support our own crazy ideas. Why would we… when are able to easily access this information via a thing called the Internet.

Since the advent of the Internet the debate of piracy, plagiarism and copyrighting of ideas has been front and centre. What Miller Contends is that higher education is somewhat struggling with this paradigm shift as the online world is embracing and cultivating collaboration, interaction and sharing of information with one another. This idea isn’t just shared by one person it is also shared by thousands of other educators, such as hollyclarksd who uploaded a short video (see below) looking at how education and technology can be used to enhance the learning experience for the student but also the teacher.

Week 4 – Locative Media

Locative media… What is it?

To truly make sense of what locative media is all about lets look at the platform in which locative media is most commonly used on, mobile phones.

Dean Chan in his article Convergence, Connectivity, and the Case of Japanese Mobile Gaming (2008) discusses the convergence of cross-media that mobile phones have become.

old mobile phone

No longer are mobile phones just a way in which individuals communicate with one another through calling or sending SMS messages, mobile phones have become tools for individuals to listen to mp3, send emails, access the internet and the use of a camera to shoot videos and take pictures.

With the inclusion of location based tools such as GPS into mobiles and smart phones (Bilandzic & Foth 2012), the ability to track the movements of an individual in the real world to the digital world. This has given rise to two main forms of communication and interaction of individuals. They are ‘Location-based gaming’ and ‘Location-based social networking.

Chan (2008 p19) describes the premise of location-based gaming as:

The use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) so that the physical location of the player becomes integrated into the game play.

Check out the video below for a further explanation of location-based gaming.

Location-based social networking also utilises the mobile phones GPS, by allowing the individual to tag, rate, and recommend various public places such as cafes and restaurants (Bilandzic & Foth 2012). Organisations are now also looking to utilise location-based social networking as a way to market to individuals. See video below.

You can see a full list of both current and obsolete location-based social networking applications at http://bdnooz.com/lbsn-location-based-social-networking-links/#axzz1qAUMg7hc

The use of locative media has a form communication and interaction has given rise to a number of issues non-more so than privacy. As Bilandzic & Foth explained that as our perceived physical boundaries and notions of space change, so do our social interactions and practices within these boundaries. This has brought on the notion of can you stalk or be stalked via location-based social networking and the first recorded cyber-stalking case in the UK through location-based social networking ‘Foursqure’.

References:

Chan, D (2008) ‘Convergence, Connectivity, and the Case of Japanese Mobile Gaming,’
Games and Culture, 3.1 (2008, January): 13-25.

Bilandzic, A and M Foth (2012) ‘A review of locative media, mobile and embodied spatial
interaction’, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 70 (2012) 66–7

 

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