Swinging the blame for Immaculate Connotations regarding Moral Panic over the concentration of Media Ownership throughout the Mediated Public Sphere, and hopefully hitting the Undiluted Cordial itself. Do you even title?

I never would have thought that six lectures and six tutorials would have such an effect.

Before Uni was a staunch believer that Rupert Murdoch was all powerful and had influenced Australia’s last federal election to the point of automatic victory for the Liberal-National Coalition.

But then, we were taught about the Media Effects model – And asked to think about whether the media was being blamed for something and whether it was justified. Easy, I’ll talk about the media’s control of elections and blame NewsCorp for it.

Somehow my views were changed by that lecture, and I managed to deflect blame away from Murdoch. I actually came to the conclusion that he just recognized a swing in the electorate, and ran with it. I couldn’t believe that one lecture could open my eyes to such a possibility, but it did. Sometimes, the media aren’t to blame for EVERYTHING! *SHOCK HORROR*

Week Two. Semiotics. What the hell are semiotics? Connotations? Denotations? Well, I can tell you now. Just read this!

You know the chorus of that brilliant Hunters and Collectors song, Do You See What I See? (LiberationMusicAus 2010) – Never has it been more relevant!

Asking somebody to look at text and take something from it, before comparing it to your own ideas. People will always see things differently. The Antonio Federici campaign piece I discussed in that blog post was controversial, and the comments proved the theory correct.

 

antonio-federici-immaculately-conceived

 

Everyone had their immaculate connotations and looked at the text differently. The way the point was made was striking, and it illustrated a power in the way we present images. A power the media holds. But I question this – If the media has a lot of control, but people take its messages in a different way – does that mean it’s power is diluted?

Speaking of dilution. . .
Undiluted Cordial. This week’s topic threw us headlong into Australia’s media ownership web. After untangling myself, I decided to press into the issue. What is wrong with undiluted ownership? I settled on the idea that too much of one thing is bad – And drew a line from drinking undiluted cordial to consuming slightly unhealthy news and opinion made by the undiluted ownership of Australian media.

I learnt through writing this that Australia’s media ownership web left it weaker as a democracy – In a true democracy the thoughts and opinions of a small group of people wouldn’t influence the thoughts and opinion of others so heavily.

The negatives of concentrated media ownership lead nicely into the next section of the BCM110 program – The Mediated Public Sphere. The place where we all come together to discuss issues within our society – Mediated by somebody so that things don’t get out of control. Right? Maybe not.

A gatekeeper’s job is to withhold information from a piece so that it is ready for publication. Editing. We were asked to look for texts which generate debate, and I decided to go with the Letters to the Editor section of a typical Newspaper as that text – A debate provoking mediated public sphere.

Two birds, one stone.

I thought about this medium, and it became clear to me that despite this being one of the most pure forms of collective expression in our society, it couldn’t be the best. It still had a gatekeeper.

84yab

And then we got to Moral Panic.
Holy Moly.
Everyone was in stitches. But don’t let that fool you, this is a very serious issue. Moral Panic. The idea that society is freaked out by something if it’s talked about as a problem for long enough.

Surely if something was worth panicking about, the entire public would have discussed it through a Mediated Public Sphere and decided on a course of action together through elected representatives?

No, sorry, I confused my concepts. That’s democracy.

This lecture taught us the true power of mass media – It can send us into panic. Coverage is the most important ingredient. Reach. If people can hear you, they’ll inevitably listen to you, eventually.

The media are to blame. But at the same time, they aren’t.

References:

Comic Book Resources, 2011, jk-simmons-jameson, image, Comic Book Resources, viewed 14 April 2014, <http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/jk-simmons-jameson.jpg>.Liberation Music Aus, 2010, Hunters and Collectors – Do You See What I See?, online video, 30 March 2010, Youtube, viewed 20 April 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp-ZGFd5o5A>.Antonio Federici 2010, Immaculately Conceived Advertisement, image, The Inspiration Room, viewed 23 March 2014, <http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/print/2010/9/antonio-federici-immaculately-conceived.jpg>
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Dear Editor…

Every day, letters roll into the offices of Fairfax Media intended for publication in the Sydney Morning Herald’s Letters to the Editor. And every week, a controller of some sort, decides what will make the cut into one of Australia’s most recognised Mediated Public Spheres (MPSs). The SMH’s Letters to the Editor is a great example not only of a mediated public sphere, but of a contemporary text which has the capacity to cause debate within itself.

The SMH is supposedly one of Australia’s last remaining publications attempting to present truly unbiased, balanced and fair coverage of news and opinion to it’s readership. Based on that, one would assume that as MPSs go, this would be one of the best. It should be published the way the rest of the SMH is meant to be – balanced, fair, unbiased and “Independent. Always”.

 

SMH Masthead

 

But, can something which is guarded by a gatekeeper ever be truly balanced? That’s the debate this text, as a MPS, provokes.
Letters to the Editor are meant to reflect the varied and differing opinions of the public, who are the readers of the SMH. But, gate keepers are meant to withhold certain information and make things fit the way they want, or need them to.

Further, MPSs like the SMH’s Letters to the Editor a merely a product of the readership. If the readership slants left or right, would it be unreasonable to expect that the Letter’s also lean left or right?

I trust Fairfax to present the balanced thoughts of their readership. The point is merely to recognise that this is still not the cleanest version of a MPS we can get. Even when it is from the organisation widely regarded to be one of the most balanced publishers in Australia, I think we still need to look for better.

 

References:

Fairfax Media, 2014, SMH Masthead, image, Screenshot, viewed 8 April 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/>.

 

Give them a voice. Give them Convergence.

Project Ara and Nokia X are both dialogic technologies. And, considering their intentions, they are about to contribute to the conversation immensely.

For non-followers of the BCM112 category of this blog, the two media platforms followed on doyouevenbcm.wordpress.com are both intended for use in the emerging markets of China, India, et al.

Two dialogic technologies, entering markets where the potential for conversation is varied.
An interesting situation to observe.

China may present issues for these devices, as demonstrated by Gordon (2007), through it’s Golden Shield. The huge Chinese censorship effort largely limits the ability of dialogic technologies to exercise the participatory elements they encourage.

On the flipside is India. While there have been instances of Internet Censorship in India, the nation does not hold the same philosophy as China or engage in any large scale censoring similar to the Great Firewall of China or Golden Shield. Which makes the society ripe for the introduction of dialogic technology for the purpose of prosuming, and participatory culture.

The power of this tech is unbelievable, and for the citizens of third world nations, is revolutionary, and that is plain to see just from observing the achievements dialogic technology has already attained.

An entire revolution occurred in Egypt. Not solely because of the use of social networks – But they certainly helped. Ali (2011) describes Facebook as an “accelerant” to the revolution while Twitter and Youtube are deemed as “amplifiers”.

Giving the power and abilities of convergent technologies to people right around the world through economical devices aimed at emerging markets is only going enhance the conversation. Participatory culture is huge in the Western World, despite the attempts of Copyright owners to diminish it’s spread. Dialogic technology is spreading, fast. And that will only add to the conversation.

References:

Project Ara 2014, Project Ara, projectara.com, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://www.projectara.com/#project-ara&gt;.

Nokia 2014, Nokia X Products, nokia.com, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://www.nokia.com/global/products/nokia-x/&gt;.

Sam Gustin 2014, Social Media Sparked, Accelerated Egypt’s Revolutionary Fire, wired.com, viewed 3 April 2014, <http://www.wired.com/2011/02/egypts-revolutionary-fire/&gt;.

Open takes the lead.

Does the unanimous decision of Nokia and Google to fight the Emerging market war using open weaponry spell the end of the closed ideology?

Nokia X and Project Ara. Two completely separate products which will, when released, compete for the same market share.

In an interesting PLOT TWIST, both devices will be open. . . .

Google’s Project Ara is the most open of the two. The entire product is brimming with the ideology of Openness. The idea of a modular smartphone has been taken by Google, and put through their intense ideological pressing machine.

Google have invited a wide variety of developers and hardware companies on board to help them build this product, and the modules which it’ll use. This won’t be a closed product, like any purported Apple modular smartphone – Or even Nokia X.

Nokia X, is a product which is confusing at first. A (soon to be) Microsoft company, using the OS of it’s main competitor to sell phones in the emerging markets? Hmmm. Make no mistake though, Nokia have totally embraced Android through X, despite their new overlords pushing the closed message through Windows Phone – Yes, that’s right. FROM THE COMPANY THAT BROUGHT YOU THE OPEN PC, HERE’S OUR NEW CLOSED SMARTPHONE! *EXCITED* xD

Seriously though, X is entirely open. Here and here, are examples of the phone operating in just the way Android should. Side loaded alternative app launchers, shown by Phone Arena (2014) and even talk of loading custom ROM’s, courtesy of Android Guys (2014) – This is android as it should be. Open.

So what does this mean for closed?

Wouldn’t the thinking be, that when introducing a technology to a new market, taking a closed approach would be far safer? Then your customers get a secure, enhanced and consistent experience. Maybe. But perhaps that thinking is out-dated. People want to customize things, and they want to learn by doing. Not by being told what to do.

Emerging Markets Scoreboard

Open 1-0 Closed

References:

Dan Bartram 2014, Nokia X gets rooted bringing custom ROM and Google Services, androidguys.com, viewed 1 April 2014, <http://www.androidguys.com/2014/03/01/nokia-x-gets-rooted-bringing-custom-rom-google-services/&gt;.

Victor H 2014, Can the Nokia X run a custom Android launcher? Yes, and here is a video proof, phonearena.com, viewed 1 April 2014, <http://www.phonearena.com/news/Can-the-Nokia-X-run-a-custom-Android-launcher-Yes-and-here-is-a-video-proof_id53227&gt;.

Phone Arena, 2014, Apex Launcher running on the Android powered Nokia XL, (online video), 26 February, Youtube, viewed 1 April 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHIae6ZxviA&gt;.

Undiluted Cordial.

Has anyone ever been faced with this situation?

You’re thirsty. VERY THIRSTY. And you’ll drink whatever is available. The plumbing is shot, so there’s no chance of water. 

You go to the fridge, there’s no water. No juice. Nothing. Hmmm. The pantry? Nothing. Oh, wait. Well, there’s some cordial. Undiluted though. You could drink it. You probably shouldn’t. But, you really need something to drink! Ugh. You take a look at it. On the bottle it says “Highly Concentrated”. It’s supposed to be diluted, but THE PLUMBING IS SHOT! ARGH. 

Dilemma. 

Do you drink it? No. 

Is there any other option? No. 

Do you drink it? Yes.

Well, Australia’s plumbing isn’t quite shot. And there’s some water, chilled in the fridge in two bottles – One labelled ABC, and the other labelled SBS. There’s cordial. Lot’s of cordial. 7 bottles of it! Various colours, all appetising to look at! These are labelled Seven West Media, Fairfax Media, News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment Co., Southern Cross Media Group, Win Corporation and Network Ten. 

So, two basic options. Water and Cordial. 

We know the water is better for us. Preservative free. Additive free. All nat-u-raleeeeeee. And we know the cordial isn’t great for us. But man, those colours. . . . 

Most Australian’s end up drinking too much cordial, and with that, they ingest lots of additives. These take the form of ideas, values & opinion. All valuable nutrients, when part of a balanced diet, WHICH INCLUDES BORING, PLAIN, UN-FLAVOURED WATER. 

Okay, enough of the symbolism and metaphorical language. 

Most of Australia’s media is controlled by just 7 corporations! Highly Concentrated (just like undiluted cordial (; LAST ONE FOR A WHILE I PROMISE)

Now, that is an interesting situation. But what does it mean?

Well, the Media is trusted to be a reliable source of information – It serves a specific purpose within a democratic society, which is to facilitate the decision making of the constituency through information communication which is efficient, accurate and reliable – Most importantly, it must do all of this free of bias.

When Media ownership is concentrated like it is in Australia, interests begin to compete against each other. So much to the point that journalistic standards drop, and bias is apparent and perceived by the audience – Evident through the 2013 Election Bias Scandal. As a result of this some publications can leverage the poor journalistic standards and perceived bias of their opposition as a competitive advantage. A prime example is The Sydney Morning Herald through it’s masthead statement “Independent. Always.”

SMH Masthead

A clear strike at The Daily Telegraph and it’s 2013 Election coverage. Hmmmm.

I think this means I’m getting close to an answer. Who owns The Tele? News Corp Australia. Who owns News Corp Australia? News Corp. Who/What is News Corp? Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch. (James Bond reference, anyone?)
If you were to only read The Tele for your daily news digestion, you’d be exposed to only the school of thought that Murdoch’s company chooses to press through that particular publication. Many are of the opinion that if this were the case, you’d vote, 1. Liberal.

Of course our own political standpoint and opinions come into the equation, but the media is certainly powerful. When we let the media get too concentrated, we lose diversity of ideas. When a convergence of ideas saturates the society, it isn’t difficult to envisage the end result – A lack of personalisation in the way we think. A set ideology. Australia is a multicultural, diverse nation – One set of ideas is not supposed to define us. We are by definition, diverse.

So, we have Seven. Seven commercial broadcasters pushing their values. Is that healthy? Yes and No. Australia’s public broadcasters – the ABC and SBS – have tremendous engagement. But do they balance out the equation? To some extent.

There are positives to the current setup – Production values can be quite high, and we certainly get some quality entertainment from our seven media corporations.

But, news is the important thing here. The delivery of information. In a democratic society, the delivery of factual, accurate and unbiased news is a must. But competing commercial interests brought about through cross media ownership as concentrated as undiluted cordial doesn’t allow this to always eventuate. Defeating the purpose of a democracy. 

Cordial is great. As part of a balanced diet. 

So it’s probably time to get some of that chilled water out of the fridge.

Oh, and to save ourselves from having to drink undiluted cordial in the future, let’s dilute it while we still can.

 

References:

Fairfax Media, 2014, SMH Masthead, image, Screenshot, viewed 28 March 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/>.

 

 

Third World Convergence

CopyrightAccessibility

 

 

 

                        vs.

 

Project Ara and Nokia X will bring the third world into widespread mass media convergence.

Leading to prosumption. Lots of presumption.

So what are the effects of western copyright laws and third world convergence, on each other?

Let’s answer the first one. Has copyright law managed to stop “the flow of content across multiple media platforms”? (Jenkins 2006) No. It has made it more difficult through DRM and other technologies, but it has not stopped convergence.

Based on that, I can’t say the third world would be stopped from experiencing the power of convergence, either.

Globalisation, and new technologies through platform convergence have brought down the barriers to the flow of content from person to person, device to device – right around the world.

Convergence will only continue as we knock down those last barriers and bring the third world into the present state. But what does this mean for Western copyright law?

It might be beneficial for everyone. Can anybody imagine trying to continually fight the fight for copyright owners while the entire world is now enabled and willing to use copyrighted works in the same way their western counterparts do? Just try and take in the job that we’d be asking people to do here – It’d be almost impossible.

Will there be a relaxation of the legislation straight away? I doubt it. Will the laws be more likely to be relaxed in the future if it’s too difficult to actually control this flow of copyrighted content as tightly as the copyright owners would like? I believe so.

The more that people prosume copyrighted works, the harder it’ll be to stop – And with the introduction of a large portion of the world to the Western media landscape through accessibility advancements like Project Ara and Nokia X, these works will be used increasingly – and the legislation will have to change to accommodate that – Otherwise, we’re all living against the law (Lessig 2007).

References:

Commonwealth Government of Australia, Unknown year, Accessibility, image, design.gov.au, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://design.gov.au/files/2013/04/Accessibility.jpg.> 

Unknown, 2012, Copyright, image, Wikipedia, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright.svg>

Jenkins, 2006, Welcome to Convergence Culture, Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The official weblog of Henry Jenkins, weblog post, 19 June, viewed 26 March 2014, <http://henryjenkins.org/2006/06/welcome_to_convergence_culture.html&gt;

Lessig, 2007, Larry Lessig: Laws that choke creativity, online video, 15 November 2007, Youtube, viewed 26 March 2014, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q25-S7jzgs&gt;.

Immaculate Connotations

In 2010, this advertising piece (Antonio Federici) was banned in the United Kingdom.

antonio-federici-immaculately-conceived

Reason?

The United Kingdom’s Advertising custodian, the “Advertising Standards Authority” deemed the image “was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics” (Advertising Standards Agency 2010). Based on that, the ad was banned. “The ad must not appear again in its current form.” (Advertising Standards Agency 2010) – Clearly, some thought it was offensive.

This blog isn’t here to discuss the appropriateness or political (in)correctness of this image.
This blog is here to discuss the different denotations & connotations associated with the image and images in general.

It’s denotations are a heavily pregnant nun centrally placed, within a church surrounding, with a spoon in one hand and the Antonio Federici Ice Cream product in the other. In addition to this, the text “Immaculately Conceived” & “Ice Cream Is Our Religion” feature.

What are the connotations of this image? What do we feel or think when we view it? Well. . . .

The BCM110 Lecture in Week 3 exposed to myself the idea that people interpret messages differently based on their ideological position.

Based on that, I would say the connotations for myself (non-religious) are that this is a fairly humorous image. It clearly satirises the Catholic faith, however it does so playfully. The tagline “Immaculately Conceived” can be deemed in poor taste, however I believe it is offset by the name of the campaign “Ice Cream Is Our Religion”.

My immediate reading is that the intention is for the image to be taken light heartedly – the Ice Cream is supposedly “Immaculately Conceived”, and that is communicated to the responder through the use of the text and a link to the Catholic dogma of Immaculate Conception by the portrayal of a nun heavily pregnant within a church – although this seems to be a misunderstanding on the behalf of the ad agency, or Antonio Federici themselves, as Immaculate Conception has nothing to do with Celibacy or the virginal conception of Jesus Christ. Either that, or it is a clever play on words to describe the ice cream as immaculate – presumably it would be a word the company is happy for their product to be associated with – Ice Cream so good, it’s: IMMACULATE! . . . That’s the kind of Ice Cream I want to eat!

It would be fairly safe to assume with regards to this image, that those ten who complained were Catholics. Placing myself in their shoes I would presume they read the image as offensive because they believed their religion was being unfairly tormented and ridiculed – This advertisement could be to them just as much about damaging the Catholic religion as it is about creating buzz around the Ice Cream brand for the purpose of higher sales and optimum brand recall. It clearly could be read as offensive if you view the image from the point of view of a person who practices Catholicism, because it portrays a Nun (who is supposed to be Celibate) as pregnant, within the confines of a place of significance to her religion – a Catholic Church.

It’s true, images do have Immaculate Connotations.


Thanks for taking the time to read this one guys! 

What do you think? Is this ad offensive? How does it make you feel? WHAT ARE YOUR IMMACULATE CONNOTATIONS REGARDING THIS IMAGE?!
Leave some comments down below, my fellow BCMers!

References:

Antonio Federici 2010, Immaculately Conceived Advertisement, image, The Inspiration Room, viewed 23 March 2014, <http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/print/2010/9/antonio-federici-immaculately-conceived.jpg>

Advertising Standards Agency 2010, 
ASA Adjudication on Antonio Federici, Advertising Standards Agency, viewed 23 March 2014, <http://www.asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2010/9/Antonio-Federici/TF_ADJ_49041.aspx>