Lecture One – Week One

Kony 2012

Reflection on Lecture:
In today’s lecture Friday 7th October 2016, we watch a video focusing on Kony 2012. The video was directed by Jason Russell. Russell uses emotional blackmail to make the audience watch the video. He uses shots of the ‘Invisible Children’ sleeping in the same place all together to create emotion for the audience as they will be drawn into wanting to help these children. Russell also uses his son to be apart of the video which helps create vulnerability as no parent wants their children abducted, so using his own son allows parents to become protective of their own children which makes them donate to his charity.
Watching this video for the first time in the lecture made me remember the up roar of getting Kony famous so people will hear about what he is doing to the children. However with further research I noticed that Russell didn’t really even help the poor children, with the money that was donated he used it towards the video that I watched instead of helping the people who really need to be help. He did build a couple of schools but no enough to save the thousands and thousands of children effected.
Kony is apparently still alive and still abducting children so the fact they got him famous and got everyone talking about him and wanting to catch him. Russell and his team could not even catch him. It just shows that his video was only used to be a social experience to see how many people around the world will stand together to fight for something that is right.

Lecture Two – Week Two

Notes from Readings:

  • Audiences expect to see specific plot situations in particular genres.
  • Audiences become familiar with the structor and plot and can anticipate events and situations which occur in the overall narrative.
  • In fictional texts specific genre they have their own predictable narrative.
    • Police Drama – confrontation with criminal
    • Soap Opera – family argument
  • Audiences have a sense of satisfaction when these events occur, as they confirm its understanding of the genre and expectations of what will happen.
  • For example: Broadcast newspaper – domestic events, world events, editorials
  • The genre convention is related to objects costumes and props associated with particular genres and to raise audience expectations.
  • Iconography can establish realism of another time – cars,clothing.
  • A further generic convention closely related to narrative events and can be genre and text specific.
  • How a text is filmed – Tense thriller: close up shot to emphasize tension.
  • Sound Effects – action films = explosions
  • Non – Diegetic – documentary = voice over
  • Diegetic – dialogue in movies gives us an indication to the genre.
  • Music – through the repetition music can be an indicator of genre.

Genre and Narrative

Reflection on Lecture:
Narrative and Genre are two topics that I find the most interesting to talk about as you get to unfold on your own ideas of how you think the director/writer/producer wanted us to see their work. You cannot be wrong really.

The fact that this module follows on from 105 shows that as a student I haven’t learnt all that I need to know about these two types of media platforms. 205 goes more into depth about the way narrative works and the way genre works whereas 105 just was sort of a recap from A Levels.

In today’s lecture the main themes that occurred where;

  • Narrative
  • Structuralism
  • Genre
  • Subverting genre construction

One of the very first questions asked in the lecture was – Why do we tell stories? To me telling a story is to evolve your emotion to someone, or to let someone feel involved in what you have done as most stories told are about past experiences.

Story telling is a natural part of human existence – “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving” – Madeleine L’Engle.

Narrative = the telling of a story. It exists across all over the media.

“Narrative is not limited to film and television as it can be found in any text that contains language, images, gestures or aspects of these” (Fourie, p. 140)

Throughout the lecture I thought I learned a deeper meaning to what Narrative and Genre really is and why we use it in pretty much everyday life. I enjoyed this lecture and enjoyed gaining more information in how to develop with Narrative and Genre.

In the seminar we focused on the term Otherness, which refers to and identifies the characteristics of who and what of the other, which characteristics are distinct and separate from the symbolic order of things from the real, aesthetic, political philosophy, social norms/identity and the self. (Bullock and Trombley 1999). The other refers to a person or thing that is different or distinct from one already mentioned or known about.

During our seminar we created a artefact which represented The Other in a film – my group decided to talked about District Nine. We had to create an artefact in which we spoke about it – we decided to do a film. We had a set of questions to answer in which we linked back to the film.

Lecture Three – Week Three

Fact and Fiction

Notes on Readings:

  • (Schlesinger, 1978). Television news is not a reflection of reality so much as ‘the putting together of reality’
  • News is not an unmediated ‘window-on-the-world’ but a selected and constructed representation constitutive of ‘reality’
  • Hartley ( 1982) identifies news into these criteria’s: politics; the economy; foreign affairs; domestic affairs; sport; ‘occasional’ stories.
  • The manipulative model: The media pick and choose the stories they chose to cover based on the quasi-independence granted to operational controllers and journalists; the legal constraints placed on news organizations; the sophistication of audiences. The pluralist model: Audiences choose what news they want to hear about which is why the news covers certain stories.
  • The increasing reliance on advertising in television systems leads to a stress on immediacy, entertainment and the omission of certain types of news programmes, such as documentaries (Blumler, 1986; Dahlgren, 1995).
  • The hegemonic model: The news follows an ideological format in which the journalists, police, politicians etc. follow the same rules to portray stories in similar ways. It suggests that journalists look for primary definers (politicians, police, judges) and uses them for accounts of news.
  • Dahlgren (1995) argues that growing commercial competition has tilted televisiontowards popular formats. He cites increased use of faster editing tempos and ‘flashier’presentational styles. These include the use of logos, sound-bites, rapid visual cuts and the “star quality” of news readers.
  • Flew (2008) three elements have contributed to the rise of new forms of specific ‘citizen media’ that are geared towards participation outside of’orthodox’ channels: open publishing, which allows the production process to be transparent; collaborative editing, which constructs a continuum of openness by enabling userparticipation in a variety of ways, from contributing stories to commenting onthose stories already reported; distributed content, RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds which collect and distributenews stories and information based on individual preferences so that the news process becomes decentralized and diversified. Social media is a new popular source of news reporting, especially Twitter and YouTube. Its argues they are quicker to report on the mainstream and on stories. Soap Opera as a genre: Open ended narratives with an endless timeline and no closure. Core locations. The tension between realism and melodrama. The themes of impersonal relationships.
  • It has been argued (Ang, 1985; Geraghty, 1991; Hobson, 1982) that the central themes of soap opera- interpersonal relationships, marriages, divorces, children, and so forth- chime with the traditionally domestic concerns of women. Thus, soap opera is held to be a space in which women’s concerns and points of view are validated and from which women take pleasure.
  • Halls encoding and decoding theory focus’ on the idea that texts are encoded with meaning and then decoded by the audience and are then developed into 3 different readings. Preferred, negotiated and oppositional. This theory accompanies the idea that we are all prosumers.
  • (Barker, 1999) Watching television is constitutive of, and constituted by, forms of cultural identity. Television is a resource for the construction of cultural identity, just as audiences deploy their cultural identities and cultural competencies to decode programmes in their own specific ways. As television has become globalized, so the place of television in the constitution of ethnic and national identities has taken on a particular significance
  • As an audience we will decode meanings from texts depending on our cultural background and “Habitus” in terms of Bourdeiu
  • In the age of electronic reproduction, culture is able to come to us via the screen, video, radio, etc. We are no longer required to explore it in the context of ritualized spaces.
  • Schiller (1969, 1985) makes the case that the media fit into the world capitalist system by providing ideological support for capitalism, and for transnational corporations in particular. The media are seen as vehicles for corporate marketing, manipulating audiences to deliver them to advertisers.
  • Fiske ( 1987) argues that popular culture is constituted by the meanings that people make with it rather than those identifiable within the texts.
  • Paul Willis ( 1990) argues that while processes of commodification underpin a ‘common culture’, meaning is not inherent in the commodity but is constructed in actual usage.
  • Science in the news is not accounted for as “science in the news”. In fact, its just journalists dumbing down ideas so the consumers can understand the information. Which is odd seen as the audience who wouldn’t care about science are the ones that are now being targeted. But the paper adds in lots of jargon around sports and finance which makes no sense to anyone who doesn’t care about it. So why dumb down science?
  • Journalists will use terms such as “Scientists say…” and “Science has proved…” without providing any science. The lack of evidence represents how the media conjure a misunderstanding with science and can basically say whatever they want to manipulate consumers into thinking what they’re consuming is scientific data; it could actually be anything.

Reflection on Lecture:
In today’s lecture we learnt that most of the news that we get told is Fiction. The reason they use fiction is to gain the audience’s attention as it will be used for entertainment. During the lecture we got shown many clips from BBC Oxford. They used a range of different text’s in their radio news however these text’s submerged into one to create a bulletin of interesting news.
Radio’s use bulletin’s instead of giving a formal news report because it helps gain a wider audience, not just an audience ranging in the A,B they get the audience of C,D and E. The audience ranging from C to E believes that the bulletin they heard is all fact and that is the only bit of news they really need to here, as it gives them enough information to think they have heard it all. However for the audience ranging from A to B they want to get a more in depth story so a bulletin wouldn’t be useful to them.
Overall the lecture showed that news uses more fiction then fact which causes problems as many people believe what is told due to the audience thinking its all facts. The lecture was interesting but also it didn’t really link for us media and communication students as it was more for the journalist students so for me it was very strange and it didn’t help there wasn’t alot to write up about so in the end I only understood what was being talked about due to the readings.

Presentation for Seminar: killer-clown

Lecture Four – Week Four

Representation and Visibility

Notes on Readings:

Representation;

  • The media as gate-keepers; select, frame
  • What is seen and what isn’t seen – we dictate what goes into the media
  • First, representation suggests re-presentation presenting reality over again to us
  • Representation insists that there is a real world, but that our perception of it is always mediated by television’s media’s selection, emphasis and use of technical/aesthetic means to render that world to us.
  • Mediated world
  • Representation suggests the function of being representative of. In other words, it raises the question of typicality.
  • Media is often viewed as being representative of society
  • Political, social and economical
  • Representation in the sense implied in the representation of the people act, that is, in the sense of speaking for and on behalf of.
  • Not allowing them to speak to themselves.
  • Representation should also consider the audience
  • What does masculinity actually mean in 2016?
  • History of television, it is often perceived as tending towards realism
  • Reality television – keeping up with the kardashians, great British bake off
  • Mis-represented
  • Directors and producers strive for realism – or do they?
  • Some programmes choose people for the most entertainment and make good television
  • Representation is mediated, controlled and contrived
  • TV’s realism is unrealistic
  • Representations in texts can reflect, challenge or shape prevailing beliefs, values and attitudes in society
  • However, we can see aspects of ourselves reflected in TV shows
  • We related to characters, situations or events
  • We learn about our position and role in society
  • We learn about what’s “normal” and what’s not

The media defines us through concepts like family, man, women, etc through representation of these concepts.

Gender Representation

  • Confession – women feel the need to confess
  • Relationships as the key to identity
  • Commodity fetishism
  • Bignell 2004: 216
  • Defines the concerns of a women’s world

Signs – not a representation of the natural reality of being a women, but instead a structure of meanings that provide significance and social identity to women who buy into it

Buy into the pleasures attributed to feminine identity:

  • Self-adornment
  • Self- improvement
  • Sharing a collective identity like the Cosmo Girl

Representation is not only about showing a particular group in a media text; it is also about not showing certain groups

The media decide what the audience has access to “masculine”?

The result is that certain groups; certain voices are privileged over others (ones we do not see)

Visibility – example – Caitlyn Jenner is transparent to trans as she is apart of the group but also not apart of the group due to the privilege she gets from her fame before – she came out almost over night and wanted to take charge and talk about the trans community

Changing media landscape; social media etc

  • User as second gatekeeper
  • Re-dissemination
  • User decisions to upgrade or downgrade the visibility of that item for a secondary audience
  • What does it mean to post, share or retweet something?

Heteronormativity –

  • Works on the basis of fixed, binary gender positions
  • Fixed ‘roles’ – masculinity and feminity
  • Therefore assumes that heterosexuality is the “norm”
  • Heterosexuality – like masculinity and femininity – is taken for granted as a natural occurrence derived from biological sex.
  • Ways in which we see Heteronormativity in society.

Othering:

“Heterosexuality generally remains unquestioned and under-critiqued as something that is “just the way it is” and that through it “all will be right in this world” (Ingraham 2002:77)

Reflection on Lecture:
In today’s lecture we focused on representation and how the media can become gate-keepers in which they can dictate on what we see and don’t see. This lecture made us answer many questions as Bianca would question most of the slides that was on the board which helped us media students understand why we use representation and why we use Visibility.
In all honestly I think we should of focused more on the visibility instead of representation as I don’t 100% understand what visibility is. Whereas representation you get taught that in GCSE Media Studies.
Overall I thought today’s lecture was very interesting however it could of gone into more depth with visibility.

Lecture Five – Week Five

Audience and Interpretation

Notes on Readings:

Audience as Mass: Frankfurt School

  • Neo – Marxism – Marxist thinking
  • Hypodermic syringe
  • Influence on society
  • Dominate ideologies
  • How did the ideological structure become an ideological industry – culture industry. Mass production industry.

Horkheimer and Adorno – Man of Dark Times

  • Mass production
  • Attack on western society and ‘mass’ media
  • “Enlightenment” has turned into “mass deception” through the machinations of “cultural industry” (McGuigan 1996, p. 76)
  • Mass culture is passive listeners
  • “Culture was linked with art, and the belief that it should – ideally act as form of critique of the rest of life and could provide with a utopian version of how a better life could be possible” Mills and Barlow, 2009

Audience as decoders

Roland Barthes – ‘the author of the media text is irrelevant, it’s about you’

  • How could it be interpreted?
  • Context of text –
  • Finding the structure of the text to mapping structures of meaning
  • From structuralism to post – structuralism

“A book has neither object nor subject; it is made of variously formed matters, and very different dates and speeds…all this, lines and measurable speeds, continues as an assemblage. A book is an assemblage of this kind, and as such is attributable’ (Deleuze and Guattari 2013)

Stuart Hall wrote that the cultural studies approach is opposed to the base-superstructure way of formulating the relationship between ideal and material forces…it defines ‘culture’ as both the means and the values which arise amongst distinctive social groups and classes, on the basis of their given historical conditions and relationship, through which they handle and respond to the condition of existence.

Move from an audience to audiences

Stuart hall: Coding and Decoding

Resistance and counter hegemonic reading

From audience as market to audience as public. We need to map the social role media plays in our everyday lives. Ang (1991)

3 out of the 10 things wrong with the effect model (Gauntlett)

  • The effect model makes no attempt to understand meanings of the media
  • The effect model assumes superiority to the masses
  • The effect model tackles social problems backwards.

Audience and Affect

  • From critical and detached reading (enlightenment)
  • “Reading need not to imply, as detached and disinterested perspective; instead I a m suggesting that reading is affective” Ferreday 2009, p. 52

Reflection on Lecture:
In today’s lecture I really enjoyed it as I was being reminded on things I already new but in much more depth so I could understand it much deeper. In the seminar we recreated the story line of Lilo and Stitch. We had to do this task to enlarge the feelings used in the film which can develop over time. We decided to focus on Lilo and Stitches friendship and how it grew to become a relationship.