Monday, 29 October 2012

How the media constructs reality - Agenda Setting Week 11 Lecture Review

Agenda setting in the media plays a large role in constructing and mediating the social world and how we understand it. Agenda setting can be explained as a social construction of reality by the media. when looking at agenda setting there are four sub-categories:
1. Public Agenda - or what the public sees as being important
2. Policy Agenda - or the issues that the decision maker's face
3.Corporate Agenda - only the big business and corporations
4. Media Agenda - what is discussed in the media

Two assumptions of media agenda setting are that the mass media do not merely reflect and report reality but they shape and filter it and secondly, media concentrate on a few issues and subjects which lead the public to perceive those issues as more important than others.

The history of agenda setting first originated in the 1920's from Lasswell who suggested that the mass media 'injects' direct influence into the audience and this created limitations as the news was all one way and non-thinking. Also in the 1920's, Lippman suggested that the mass media creates images of events in our minds

From this, two types of agenda setting theory developed. The first level is studied by researchers which emphasises the major issues and the transfer of the salience of those issues. The media suggest what the public should focus on through coverage.

Second level agenda setting theory is how the media focuses on the attributes of the issues. The media suggest how people should think about an issue rather than what.

Along with these theories comes the Agenda Setting 'Family', its members and definitions include:
1.Media Gatekeeping : How (and what) the media chooses to expose and reveal to the public
2. Media Advocacy : The purposive promotion of a message through the media
3. Agenda Cutting : Most of the truth or reality that is going on in the world isn't represented.
4. Agenda Surfing : or the 'Bandwagon' effect, the media surfs on topics originally mentioned in opinion-leading media
5. The diffusion on News : The process through which an important event is communicated to the public
6. Portrayal of and issue : The way an issue is portrayed will often influence how it is perceived by the public
7. Media Dependence  : The more dependent a person is on the media for information, the more susceptible that person is to media agenda setting.

With social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, I think the agenda setting family, in particular media dependence, is a very accurate description on how the media filters its news.

Some strengths of Agenda Setting theory include how it has explanatory powers as it explains why most people consider the same issues important. It has predictive power as it predicts that if people are exposed to the same media they will consider the same issues important. It has organising power because it helps organise existing knowledge of media effects. Agenda setting can also be proven false and involves meta-theoretical assumptions  that are balanced scientifically and it leaves a lot of room for further research. However, along with strengths it also possess many weaknesses, as not all media users will conform to this theory.

To gain a better understanding of Agenda Setting, I have found the following video to be quite helpful, while still remaining entertaining.

Did you know...November is Triple J's AUSMUSIC MONTH? Well, now you do.
And to celebrate Australian artists and all that is great about Australian music, Triple J is putting together a cluster of free gigs with some pretty amazing bands participating. Kicking off in my own city, Brisvegas on November 1st, for Brissy locals, your location is the Southbank Piazza with the likes of Something for Kate and Ball Park Music lining up to serenade your ears, just to name a few. So, what are you waiting for? Its fun, loud and fantastic Aussie music and best of all its FREE!

In case my little spiel wasn't enough, here's the official flyer!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Annotated Bibliography

 ‘The surge in celebrity interest - more than 2 million copies of celebrity magazines are now sold in the UK each week. "I cannot think of time when we've been more celebrity-obsessed," says Jacqueline Young, a lawyer at Russell Jones & Walker.’ ( Tait, N., 2002) It is not uncommon for journalist of today to breach both an individual’s or a whole corporation’s privacy for the sakes of a sake. This annotated bibliography will explore three various news reports surround Prince Harry’s nude scandal. It will discuss how the incident was reported differently throughout the media, how it was seen as a privacy violation to the Royal family and the minority of the public and ultimately, how the majority of the public felt they deserved to see the images.  The mediums analysed include reports from newspapers Mail Online, The Sun, a video interview from The Telegraph and an Article from journalist, Nikki Tait.

Tait, N. (2002). Celebrity versus public interest,, pp 1-1. Retrieved from:

The author of this article, Nikki Tait, is journalist for the Financial Times (UK). Because of her extensive prior experience in the field of journalism this is a credible source. The article focuses on the media using public interest over human’s rights when reporting a story on a celebrity.  She also covers that when most celebrities have taken legal action against the media, they have lost due to ‘loop holes’ in the privacy laws. The article does present figures and scenarios that support the view that breaching this privacy is acceptable for news. Some judges claimed that photographs accompanying a story are legitimate and even an essential part of the journalistic package (Tait, N,. 2002). The article also presents the notion that because of public interest in celebrity life is so high, it is the public’s right to be thoroughly informed of what is happening to celebrities, even if it is invasive and does break human right acts.  

Sun Says (Personal Communicator) (2012) The Sun Publishes Photos of Naked Prince Harry The Sun. Retrieved from:

The Sun personnel speaks on behalf of the whole newspaper when they claim that they have published naked images of Prince Harry despite warnings from the Royal Family’s lawyers. This source seems less creditable due to the unknown author or authors and the experience they have in the field of Journalism. However, the article does present in depth research such as statistics such as 77% of British house holds with internet access could see these images before they published them and quotes. The Murdoch – owned paper said ‘Harry has compromised his own privacy’ due to his royal status and scandalous behavior when the image was taken. In an attempt to suit the desires of the public, as these images were previously posted online, the article claims ‘we are posting the article because we think Sun readers have a right to seem them” and to those who don’t have internet access ‘Taking full part in the national conversation’. However they also affirm they are not making any moral judgments about Harry, suggesting that it is less invasive of the Prince’s privacy. Because of the push for the public to know, audiences will be much more willing to read The Sun over other newspapers, as they feel they ‘deserve and have a personal right to’. In conclusion, this can be seen as invasive reporting as Harry was on private property and the Royal family had warned the newspaper prior to publishing.

Unknown author, (2012) Max Clifford: The Sun publishing photos of Prince Harry naked is 'clearly an invasion of privacy' The Telegraph. Retrieved from:

A short interview with Max Clifford conducted by The Telegraph, is a very credible source as it is presented in a video, filming Clifford’s responses. Clifford claims that because of what he contributes to society, an event like this would not affect his popularity. He also claims that to him, it is an invasion of privacy and he was in a private suite attending a private party. However, he did say that it is unfair that the British public was banned from seeing it, again putting forth the public interest notion and that Britain should have access to the photos.  This article differs from The Sun as it does recognize that those images are of Prince Harry’s privacy, but again like the previous article, enforce the view the public still deserve to see the images therefore making the breach is considered ethical, for the good of the public. This approach could be suited to some as it is from a company not owned by Murdoch and presents a different medium and point of view.

Robinson, M (2012) Wall of Silence From the Palace: Despite threats to stop the British press printing naked Harry photos it has not complained over Sun front page, Mail Online. Retrieved from:

Like the previous article, the author of this piece, Martin Robinson is an experienced journalist. This report presents another side to the public, which thinks the images of harry were an invasion of privacy as more than 850 people had officially complained about The Sun putting naked images of Harry on the front page.  The image also explains how The Sun went against the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) guidelines and how the Royals emphasized their views on the pictures going public. However, despite supporting that it was an invasion of privacy, the article still finds a way to get the reader to view the images. Without showing the images, the writer describes the images of Harry in such detail; it makes the reader curious to see the images, which are conveniently hyperlinked below. This angle of the story appears to be in Harry’s favour as it is acknowledging that his privacy was breached, but when looking deeper, the undertones of the story are no different to other views due to hyperlinks attached to the text. The reporting of the incident is different as they were not the original newspaper to release the images.

Unquestionably, it is clear that a celebrity’s privacy is sacrificed for Journalism and the desire of public interest, even if it breaches human right acts and the PPC . The Prince Harry nude scandal is a great example of this as he was on private property, attending a private party, yet the public felt they had a right to see the images. This desire can be seen across of number of newspaper articles, outlining that their readers feel that have a right to see images of a Naked Prince Harry, especially because it was available on the net first.

Monday, 15 October 2012

If it Bleeds, it Leads - News Values Week 9

News Values was theme of this week's lecture and can be defined by a general definition:
The degree of prominence a media outlet gives to a story, and the attention that is paid by an audience'

News journalism has a broadly agreed set of values, often referred to as newsworthiness.

so, what are these values?
1. Impact or how the audience responds (gee whiz!)
2. Audience Identification or the areas of culture involved in the news
3. Pragmatics or the ethics, facticity, practice, everyday and current affairs
4. Source Influence or journalists going against public relations (e.g spinning the truth at clients expense)

News values vary across different news services and between different countries and culture but, the two main news values, especially in Australia are: IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS and IF IT'S LOCAL IT LEADS.

focusing now on the concept of newsworthiness, a general definition provided by Harold Evans who was the editor of The Sunday Times from 1967-1981 states: A sense of news values is the first quality of editors – they are the human sieves of the torrent of news, even more important even than an ability to write or a command of language  

 Stemming from this initial set of building blocks for newsworthiness came other alternatives  from many different journalists. Galtung & Ruge set of characteristics included: (in order) Negativity, closeness to home, recency, currency, continuity, uniqueness, simplicity, personality, expectedness, elite nations or people, exclusivity and size.

Several theories also were develop from their set of values. The additivity hypothesis suggests that the more factors that are in the story, the higher the probability that it becomes news and the exclusion theory which states that if the story contains none of very few it will not make news

Another set of values much later on in 2002 were developed by Judy McGregor, hers in order were: visualness, conflict, emotion and celebrification of the journalist

Finally, one last example of another set of values put together by this course's lecturer Dr. Bruce Redman in 2011 include: New news values, terrorism, GFC, health/fitness and environment.

Newsworthiness faces three tensions between journalism and its ideals and commercialisation of the social life, public relations and journalism's reality. As a result, we can see lazy, incompetent journalism emerge along with public relation influence, hyper-commercialisation and a rapid news cycle which is untrustworthy and irresponsible.


Ethics in Communication - Week 8 Lecture Review

This week's lecture was presented by guest lecturer, Donna Meiklejohn who covered the topic of Ethics in Communication.

Firstly, how do you know what it ethical and what isn't? When answering this question, one must consider their own moral compass and what, to them, is considered right and wrong, good and bad, ethical and unethical. An individual's moral compass is made up of their own values, morals, instincts and of course their parent's influence on their upbringing. In journalism in particular, there is a very fine line between what should and shouldn't be published. 

Journalists aim to use the Ethics Theory when deciding whether or not to publish a story. Ethics theory has many subcategories such as: Deontology, Consequentialism and Virtue Ethics

Deontology is the process of following rules, codes, principles and duties as a professional. All ethic code are deontology

Consequentialism essentially, is the greatest good for the greatest number or is getting a 'good' or 'right' outcome is the only thing that matters. A journalist must put aside how they got to this story originally as the end product will justify all the means. 

Virtue Ethics
This is when a journalist has to think to themselves - 'is this the type of person I want to be?'
If one has morally good habits or dispositions of character normally they will make the right decision.  

Journalist also have many codes they should follow by before publishing anything. Some of these codes include: Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA). Sometimes these codes fail as they are only as powerful as the sanctions behind it and the willingness of the code keepers to enforce those sanctions

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lil's Gig Guide for the Remainder of 12' and early 13'

So my Gig Guide is looking pretty booked out!

Last weekend I attended the beautiful and serene set of Clare Bowditch at a little old vintage Hall in Bangalow - so beautiful that I've decided I want to get married there, despite my lack of groom (Northern Rivers, NSW).
Her performance was so exquisite and moving that it may have led me to tears (on more than one song!) After that amazing concert it got me thinking of all the other gigs I am yet to visit...

First up is the whimsical Mumford & Sons who will serenading me on WEDNESDAY night at the beautiful River Stage

Second is the legendary Black Keys, who are playing at the convention centre on October 26th (so close, I can hardly bear it!)

After an action packed October, comes a rather quiet November... but December does not fail it disappoint 

On December 1st I am off to the Brisbane Convention Centre to see the wonderful Missy Higgins with special guests Gurrumul and Emma Louise!

After Christmas with the Family at home, we then quickly head off to Woodford Folk Festival! This will be my first Woodford ever, so I'm pretty excited. With the line up yet to be announced I am itching to find out - and fast!

With Woodford coming to a close on the first of January, a mere 6 days later its off to one of my favourite Brissy venues the Tivoli to see some Irish lads that make up Two Door Cinema Club with special guests The Vaccines and The Jungle Giants

If that's not enough to tucker me out, my final gig is The Big Day Out which is on at The Gold Coast Parklands later in January. I am wetting my pants with excitement due to its amazing line up, consisting of The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, The Killers, Alabama Shakes and Band of Horses just to name a few.

So that's it - the rest of my year is looking pretty damn good :) 

‘The difference between commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting is the difference between consumers and citizens’ Week 7 Review - Public Media

‘The difference between commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting is the difference between consumers and citizens’ – Nigel Milan (former Managing Director of SBS)

The topic that was discussed this week was public media. In general, public media’s main purpose is ultimately, to serve the public. Public media is an umbrella term which includes all traditional publicly-funded broadcasters and networks as well as public users of new platforms and distribution mechanisms, such as the internet (via podcasts and blogging).  It can turn a profit as long as it’s main purpose is to serve the public and not turn a profit.  Some example of public media include: ABC, SBS, 4ZZZ, etc.

Public media’s role in a democratic society is to provide media that is in support of public and democratic processes. It should have public value, which includes characteristics such as: embedding a ‘public service ethos’, value for license fee money or taxpayer’s money, weighing public value against market impact and public consultation (as according to BBC).

According to Broadcasting Research Unit public media should be: available to the whole population, should cater to all interests, have special provision for minorities, especially for disadvantaged minorities, recognize their special relationship to the sense of the national identity and community, should be distanced from all vested interests and in particular from those of the government of the day (ABC very specific in terms of bias and particular companies, as well as SBS), Competition in good programming rather then competition for numbers and finally have public guidelines for broadcasting should liberate rather than restrict broadcasters

There are many beneficial functions of public media such as nation building, by linking Australia via the interweb, showing national heritage by broadcasting the ANZAC day parade and historical documentaries, emphaising the national identity and national conversations by broadcasting the AFL and other sports.  Public media also has a commercial element with businesses such as the ABC, SBS and BBC shops which generate massive incomes which are put back into the organisations – making them not for profit.

Focusing now on how public media presents News, it is clear that it is very different than commercial media. Public media is less bias than anywhere else and the only source which provides lengthy in depth interviews with politicians and the nations leaders rather than talkback and ‘tabloid’ style stories.  It shows that this news styles pays off as 41% of Australian’s watch ABC news. The News style in particular is presented in a serious manner using a broadsheet style rather than tabloid. The news presented is based of importance rather than interest and is thoroughly considered and checked before being aired. However, this style has been criticized by some, saying that the ABC’s news style is boring, elitist, of limited interest, poorly presented and out of touch.  on the subject of criticism, public media also faces several challenges, hindering their popularity. Many viewers think ABC is liberial due to the majority of their programs leaning that way and public media in general is always under threat of going commercial due to limited funding.

For public media to continue being successful it has to continue to produce quality, despite tight budgets. Public media also need to make themselves relevant by producing programs that mass audiences want to watch. They have to engage with the democratic process and provide programs that give voice and access to the political processes. They have to continue to inform the public and remain independent.