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

April 29, 2013

Feudilisation on the Internet

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 7:00 am


Blog Post 8: Feudalisations on the Internet

The lecture for week 8 discussed the key concepts of feudalisation on the Internet and the emergence of tethered devices. In the lecture, Ted Mitew (2013) suggested the walled garden is a controversial topic, which almost reflects a manor in history context. In this era, individuals were unable to leave without permission, in which the feudallord decided how the peasants would use the land. So how is the metaphor relevant to individuals in society?

The walled garden plays a significant role in the emergence of new media information technologies and the Internet. In the seminar, the question was asked if you could describe the Internet as a whole. Conclusively, many students claimed the internet was a free and open public space, in which most websites allowed access to information instantaneously. Other students suggested the Internet was restrictive in some circumstances as you could not attain information unless you register, or pay a small fee. These different views provide small characteristics of the Internet; however, what users do not know when they are using search engines such as Yahoo, Bing or Google to find material, they are searching within a space that has been coined as a walled garden.

A walled garden is a software system where the carrier or provider has control over applications, content and media and restricts access to non-approved applicants or content (Rouse, M 2005). In the Internet, information that is relevant to the keywords in the search tool is filtered out to the user, in which less useful information is restricted. In a much broader sense, the walled garden is highly transferrable in commercial practices of businesses selling new media technologies such as smart phones and ipads. When analysing the operating systems on these technologies such as Apple iOS, the organisation act as the ‘Lords’ in a feudal society (Mitew, T 2013). Apple owns the rights to property and dictate how it is used and the cost charge to peasants [us as the users]. For example when using my Ipad i can only download apps from the Itunes App Store making it quite a closed system. The same role is played by Android in which users can only download content from the android store which is quite restrictive in terms of the product capabilities.

The Doctorow article “Lockdown: The Coming War on General Purpose Computing” (2013) suggested human rights activists “have raised alarms over U-EFI, the new PC bootloader, which restricts your computer so it only runs ‘signed’ operating systems” such as the Apple IOS. Most individuals in society do not realized they are connected to these tethered devices (Zittrain, J 2008). With these devices users are constantly monitored in which the material is regulated and censored (Zittrain, J 2008). This action occurs not only on technology but on the Internet such as e-commerce sites when purchasing clothing, in which the marketer watches your actions and tailors personalised messages to lure you in. These organisations dictate what is available to your and the price you pay in using that operating system.


Zittrain, J. ‘Thethered Appliances, Software as Service, and Perfect Enforcement’. In The Future of the Internet and How to Stop it, Yale University Press, New Haven, ppp.101-126; [URL:

Cory Doctorow(2011) ‘The coming war on general-purpose computing’ Session 2013 10

April 15, 2013

The impact of the digital age

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 10:23 am

Multi Media Internet Laptop with Objects

The lecture for week 7 discussed the difficulties facing universities in the digital age as it transforms traditional teaching methods. The widespread adoption of the Internet and the array of convergence capabilities created a shift in how individuals and society at large communicates and functions (Miller R 2010). In the reading by Miller (2010), it is considered ‘‘we are fortunate to be living through the greatest change in communication in history’ (Miller R 2010) in which digital networks have changed what it means to teach and engage with education (Miller R 2010).

The Internet has provided the chance to redefine the pedagogical function to encourage connective thinking and to allow individuals to communicate with the most powerful mediums of our time (Miller R 2010). The alternative learning model focuses on ‘creativity over critical analysis’ to enable collaborative learning (Miller R 2010). Education has the potential to create a more equitable and balanced world as discussed in the seminar, which it could bridge the gap between developed and developing nations in access to education (Friend A 2013). Two prominent examples that are aiming to bridge the gap of education in the newly emerging online education include: Khan Academy and MOOCS.

One of the earliest creators that aimed to bridge the gap of science/ physics education is the Khan Academy. The khan academy is a not-for profit organisation that has the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere (Khan Academy 2013).

A newly emerging platform that was discussed in the seminar is MOOCS which stands for: Massive, Open, Online, Courses which has started to gain interest across the world (Chronicle of Higher Education 2013). MOOC’s is a participatory online course in which any one across the world can connect, collaborate and engage in learning processes.

In my experience, all University Students have had to a degree of an online learning experience facilitated by E-Learning and Moodle. MOOC’s has an array of advantages such as no fees, interactive collaboration through video-conferencing, no time constraints and with such a dynamic range of participants could aid in research development through sharing ideas on an international scale (Chronicle of Higher Education 2013).

Moreover, the online learning can significantly bridge the gap for people who cannot afford University in developing countries such as the Philippines, which further reflect education could bring a more equitable and balanced world. With more people becoming educated it can advance economies and aid in significant advances for developing countries.


Chronicle of Higher Education timeline on Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) regularly updated (accessed 13 Feb. 2013)

Miller, R 2009, “The Coming Apocalypse”, Pedology. Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture, vol. 10, no. 1, accessed 16/3/13

The Khan Academy 2013, accessed 15/3/13

April 8, 2013

Everything in decline but digital

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 10:18 am


Traditional media has played a significant role in society for the past two centuries, in which it is facilitated exchanges with society on news content from across the world. The media industry is facing a rough period with bookstores going out of business and the rapid increase of online content (Heim A 2012) has resulted in significant changes for the traditional media industry.

The lecture stated the on-going decline in revenues by traditional media/print organisations. This view was concurred by Stirling that emphasises this has lead to repeated cost-cutting that has resulted in decrease of readership and audience loyalty (Sterling, G 2013). It appears everything print media based is in decline, but digital (Stirling G 2013).

The rise of convergent media supplemented by the web 2.0, has changed the face of journalism to create a participatory realm. This is the main concept addressed by Qandt (2011) in the article ‘Understanding a new phenomenon: the significance of participatory journalism’ (Qandt, T 2011). The web 2.0 has changed the 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).

The societal shift suggests the online environment is a place with a greater expectation for user engagement (Lewis, S., 2010).  Participatory journalism has emerged to reflect the increase of user engagement, in which non- professional visuals are the only user- generated content to achieve a status similar to professionally produced content (Qandt, T 2011). Becoming prod-users, it allows citizens to becoming active in producing content which is considered to be amateur footage as breaking news (Harcup T 2011).

This has been enabled due to the increase of accessibility to the Internet and technologies such as smart phones to engage in journalistic practices (Goode, L 2009). In Iran, social networking was used as a mechanism to upload the brutality of the Government imposing on young civilians, which the information was dispersed quickly. In this instance it highlights the user-generated content is highly situational and contextual as it brought people together to fight for political justice (Qandt, T 2011).


Goode, L. 2009, ‘Social news, citizen journalism and democracy’, New media and society, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. 1287- 1203\

Heim, A 2012 ‘ The decline of traditional media’, TNW Academy, accessed 8/4/13,

Harcup, T 2011 ‘Alternative journalism as active citizenship’ Sage journals, Vol 12 pp 15-31

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

Quandt, T. 2011, ‘Understanding a new phenomenon: the significance of participatory journalism’, online newspapers, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, West Sussex

Stirling, G 2013, ‘State of the news media: everything in decline but digital’, Marketing land, accessed 8/4/13

March 25, 2013

The call for tougher media regulation in Australia

Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 7:28 am

The amount of media content that has become available to Australians on a daily basis has grown exponentially due to the creation of the web 2.0. Technological convergence allows different types of content to be stored in the same or to be executed in different platforms (Olawuyi, J, Friday M 2012) allowing greater accessibility for all individuals to view media content.

In addition the media industry has faced a significant amount of criticism for misleading conduct and unethical practices evident in the phone hacking scandal in the UK (Flew T 2012). One sector of the media industry that is increasingly placed under scrutiny is the film industry, which authorities are questioning the role the media industry carries out in society. The media industry regulation is explored quite extensively in the article ‘Media Classification: content regulation in an age of convergent media’ (Flew, T 2012).

There is an abundance of films worldwide that do not have the appropriate classification for children such as the Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Dr Mark Kermode provided a comprehensive review of the Walt Disney Production. It is viewed the first scene is quite dark and heavy in which a conveyor belt of pirates to be passively harmed is viewed (Kermode, M 2007). More notably, one of the pirates is as young as 9 years old who was killed for no other reason than being a pirate. So why does this violent scene have a PG rating rather than the M rating?

The movie was highly targeted towards children, in which the success of the movie is due to the notion of corporate paedophilia (Lumby C et al 2010). As Kermode (2007) suggested the subsequent layering of the film insulted their intelligence, as they were not able to discern the difference between what was happening throughout the movie (Kermode, M 2007).

The movie in this perspective takes advantage of children, and promotes negative and violent images that children should be protected against in society. The community standard is to protect children from negative imagery, in order to allow children to grow up in a society where there is only exposure to positive imagery; thus, not rob them of their childhood. For this to occur stronger regulation on these types of movies needs to be addressed.

The reading by Flew (2012) identifies the need for the reform of the classification in Australian media to avoid the inconsistencies of classification under the current scheme. Seven key recommendations were provided however, in this case the one that I feel is important to protect children against violent imagery includes:

1/ Classification board benchmarking and community standards- is merely focused on decisions that reflect community standards and classification categories that reflect community standards (Flew T 2012).

In my opinion this would be appropriate to address large media productions that tailor movies to target children.  Pirates of the Carribbean had comparative ease with its classification, in which the children deserve better. This does not reflect community standards especially for Walt Disney who is for the children. In enforcing this recommendation and placing harsher restrictions on media industries is necessary for the reasons mentioned above.


Flew, T (2012) ‘Media Classification: Content regulation in an age of convergent media Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, 143 May : 5 – 15

Kermode, M 2007 ‘Mark Kermode reviews Pirates of the Caribbean 3’ accessed 25/3/13,

Lumby, C and Albury, K (2010) ‘Too Much?: Too Young?: The Sexualisation of Children Debate in Australia’ Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 135, May 2010: 141- 152

Olawuyi, J., Friday, M 2012, ‘Technological convergence’, Science journal publication, accessed 25/3/12

March 17, 2013


Filed under: Uncategorized — by ash91blog @ 12:50 am

The following blog is part of an assessment for BCM 310, which will provide in-depth reviews of readings surrounding emerging issues in media communication in contemporary society. The blog will be updated on a weekly basis providing new insights into different aspects and perspectives of cyber-cultures in contemporary society.

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