The world of media and communication

May 20, 2013

Inclusive dialogue online

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 9:40 am


The inception of the Internet and the web 2.0 has changed the traditional roles of news producers and news consumers to become intrinsically blurred (Lewis, S., 2010) which has resulted in individuals moving from a private realm to a public realm (Murthy, D. 2010). This shift in the digital economy has indicated the online environment is a space with a greater expectation for user engagement (Lewis, S., 2010). The integration of online forums, blogging platforms and twitter the conversation no longer finishes at the authors last point, however, readers are active who voice their opinions online, adding to the diversity of the media. This aspect of online dialogue was addressed in the lecture for week 11, which has emerged as a common practice/ trend amongst many online news sites.

Large media organisations envisioned a platform that enabled the media to be more democratic in contemporary society. The practice of inclusive online dialogue allowed individuals to frequently comment on news articles, providing rude comments or offensive comments, in which it was not long before media companies started to delete comments, threats and posts from users who tried to joint the conversation. In this perspective as discussed in the lecture, the anonymity given to people online, disinhibits people and allows someone to be more bold and brave in their commentary which would not happen in the offline environment.

According to Martin (2011) online exchanges between online users and broadcasters have become potent symbols of public service broadcastings increased relevance” (Martin 2011). When BBC released an online article titled “Boy scouts of America votes to ease ban on gay members” (BBC 2013), was the article released to stir the public or to promote acceptance for homosexuality, as it is a topic that is highly relevant to contemporary society in the US. As a controversial topic in society the article received 476 comments on the first day published. In this instance, they’re as a lot of criticism and derogative comments made on the threads, which indicates a negative aspect to online dialogue in allowing individuals to “join in the conversation”. Should BBC delete the negative comments to promote a better public service for users?

Online dialogue promotes public service and a greater connection with the community on an international level. According to Couldry (2009) it is suggested that ‘only by listening is a comment heard’ (Couldry, N 2009) in which online there is always two sides to story; one side will be more dominant than the other. The Internet allows for freedom of speech online (Murthy D 2010) however the extent to which this should be promoted is very much a grey area. I believe there should be moderation on open forums and comment threads similar to the strategies adopted by large media organisations. The posting of negative comments should be monitored online as words can be powerful and detrimental to an individuals emotional stability.


BBC 2013, ‘Boy scouts of America votes to ease ban on gay members’, BBC News US & Canada, accessed 20/5/13

Couldry, N 2009 ‘Rethinking the politics of voice, continuum’ Journal of media& cultural studies, vol 23, no. 4 pp 579- 582

Lewis, S., Kaufhold, K., Lasorsa, D. 2010., ‘Thinking about citizen journalism’, Journalism Practice, vol 4, no 2, pp 163-179

Martin, F 2012, ‘Voc Populi, Vox Dei: ABC Online and the risks of dialogic interaction’, in Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the web, editors, N. Brugger and M. Burns, New York: Peter Lang pp 177-192

Murthy, D 2011, ‘”Twitter: Microphone for the masses?”, Media, Culture and Society, vol.33, no.3, pp 779-789


May 13, 2013

Is Australia lagging behind in digital disability?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 12:56 pm

Business on a laptop

Blog Post 10: Disability on the Internet

The lecture in week 10 discussed the emergence of digital disability in modern technologies. In the article ‘The business of digital disability’ by Newell and Goggin (2007) it is evident information technology and communication technologies have become powerful themes in contemporary society (Newell, C., Goggin, G 2007). According to Newell et al 2007, ‘IT and digital networks form the nervous system of the economy and society at large’ (Newell, C., Goggin, G 2007 p 131).

In society, individuals are increasingly using smart phones, tablets and switching to digital TV, in which these applications are central to disability in how it is conceived and experienced in new and dynamic ways (Newell, C., Goggin, G 2007). There are a wide range of technologies that are available to persons’ with disabilities, however what happens when products do not cater for individual needs? Do they simply miss out?

In the seminar it was mentioned Australia has proven that change is ‘frustratingly slow’ (Newell, C et al 2007 p161) in which vision impaired individuals do not have equal accessibility to digital television programs like other countries; thus they miss out. To provide a mental image of the inequality imagine you are watching neighbours at 6.30pm with your family. They are all laughing loudly to something that Toadie said to Sonia. You are sitting there quietly as you are unable to see what happened. This social exclusion in Australia is one that is recognized and addressed by many other countries.

This concept is explored in the article ‘Australia still a prison for vision impaired TV Viewers’ by Scott Nixon (2013) which was a key article discussed in the seminar. In the UK the same episode of neighbours is accompanied with audio description, which is aired up to three times in the same day. This example indicates there is no social exclusion for the vision impaired, as they are able to hear the background to a scene creating a greater user experience.

New Zealand and the United States have followed a similar lead with audio description capabilities, in which Nixon (2013) suggests these countries “produce more audio visual television in a week than Australia has had in our history” (Nixon, S 2013). This presents social exclusion is a key concern in modern technologies within Australia, and needs to be addressed by the Government as a main priority.

Another example of the new digital network is the emergence of smart phones which are rapidly becoming the central computing and communication device in society. Smart phone emerging capabilities are fuelling in a rise in the use of mobile phones as input devices, which primarily gives smart phones the potential to be the default physical interface for ubquitious computing applications (Ballagas, R; Borchers, J; Rohs, M; Sheridan, J. 2006).

Apple currently provides vision impaired users options for voice recognition to write messages or emails; however, they key pad makes it hard for users to type messages. Nokia is a leading example that has the unique keypad for vision impaired, however Apple does not cater this need.

The above examples indicated the “introduction of new technologies sees people with disabilities overlooked, omitted, neglected or not considered” (Newell, C et al 2012 p160), which needs to be considered by the Australian Government to create a standardized approach in all technologies that is available throughout the world.


Ballagas, R.; Borchers, J.; Rohs, M.; Sheridan, J.G 2006, ‘IEEE Pervasive Computing’, The smartphone: A ubiquitous input device, vol. 5, no.1, pp 70-77

Newell, C., Goggin, G 2007, ‘The business of digital disability’ The information society: An international journal, vol 23, no 3 pp 159- 168

Nixon, S 2013, ‘ Australia still a prison for vision impaired TV viewers’ accessed 22/5/13,

May 6, 2013

Is Australian TV racist?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 7:20 am


In contemporary society considerable attention has been placed on media performance in respect to multiculturalism in Australia. The social, cultural and political role the media plays in society has often been criticised in recent years, in which academics suggest performance is a key indicator to determining the significance of the media for our understandings and experiences of diversity and difference within Australian society (Dreher, T 2013). Multiculturalism was the central focus for week 9 which predominately focused on the key concept of a white bread media (Dreher, T 2013), which reflects the representations of ‘a stereotypical, mainstream potentially racist portrayal of ethnic minorities (Dreher, T 2013) in the Australian media.

The 2011 Australian Census of Population and Housing presented statistics to show an insight into how prominent multiculturalism is in Australia (ABS 2012). The statistics suggested that over a quarter of the Australian population was born overseas accounting for 26%; in which a further 20% of families have one overseas- born parent (ABS 2012). These statistics indicate migrant’s account for a large component of the Australian population, which emphasizes multiculturalism, is an important factor when considering what content is produced in the Australian media. Does the Australian media produce a white bread media, ignoring the inclusion of ethnic groups?

In reviewing current Australian television shows, I believe to a large extent Australian media promotes white bread media. Neighbours is a show that typically has ‘white people’, in which the inclusion of an Indian family is only a recent occurrence. With the integration of cultural diversity through this television show, the producers received much criticism from fans, in which the actors received many racial remarks. Big Brother Australia is typically white Australians, in which there has not been a series with the inclusion of indigenous Australians, Indians or black individuals. With these examples in mind, I find it hard to provide examples where there is great cultural diversity in which a majority of the television shows will include one or two individuals from ethnic backgrounds just to say they are not racist.

In the seminar it was mentioned the website “Aussie Bums” which has received great criticism on social networking platforms for the exclusion of ethicnicity in their models, claiming there “all white”. One individual claims “would it be such a stretch to reflect Australia’s racial diversity in their ad campaigns” which generated a lot of attention online. Thus, this is promoting a white bread media on the foundation that it provides stereotypes within Australia.

In my opinion ethnic representation in Australian media is under-valued and under-represented. As a country that thrives on multiculturalism it is not widely conveyed in the media, which presents a significant issue. Australia has a far way to go developing strategies to incorporate diversity in the media.


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012,  ‘Reflecting a nation: stories from the 2011 census, 2012-2013’, accessed 6/5/13,

Dreher, T (forthcoming 2014) ‘White Bread Media’ in The Media and Communications in Australia eds. S Cunningham and S Turnbull, Allen and Unwin

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