Exam Post Mortem

1/            A lot of students were confused between the concept of social values and media influence

  • Social values are society values at the time. Our values do change over time. For example, women do not squeeze themselves into corsets, bind their feet to make them smaller or remain at home as housewives. However, contemporary women do starve themselves to look thin, engage in plastic surgery and wear copious amounts of makeup.
  • On another level social values can include family, environmental, economic, personal and political.
  • The cigarette advertisements indicating changing social values are a good example.  Up until the late 1970’s it was acceptable to show smoking, it was even encouraged (doctors smoke camels) even though there was a lot of evidence that smoking caused cancer.
  •  Now smoking is unacceptable and advertising shows the damage smoking causes. This is a change in social values.

2/            Media Influence is how the media persuades audiences. This can be done through production techniques i.e. lighting, editing, sound, voice overs, leading questions, interrupting the interviewee and spouting personal opinion (Sydney
shock jocks). Media influence extends to all forms of media whether it be print media by misquoting or exaggerating what has been said, sensational headlines, obscure sources.

Advertising is a good example of media influence. We buy products we don’t need. Media Influence is also demonstrated through bias towards certain causes whether they be economic, political or social. Murdoch papers support conservative governments and are generally anti-labour. Look at the reportage on Carbon Tax, Boat People, Forestry (all examples of media bias).

  • There can also be left wing bias, refugee and detention camps, softer jail sentences etc…..Look at the recent slaughter in
    Norway. The perpetrator blames the left wing for multiculturalism, global warming, conspiracy theory that the UN wants to rule the world. Usually demonstrates a high level of paranoia and concerns about communism and Marxism.

2/    Many students did not give examples from the media to back up their claims.  Whilst you might argue that tabloids exploit their stories you must show where this happens and how they do it. Pick a story, for example the phone hacking scandal
and the death of Milly Dowler.  News of the World were engaged in payoffs to police, politicians and criminals. Compare
the behaviour of tabloid reporters to broadsheets like The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian that do not use underhand or illegal methods. Explain that tabloids are entertainment and not real news. They blur the boundaries
between fact and fantasy.

3/            Some students did not understand or were unable to explain the difference between traditional media vs new media.
New media is anything that is digital. Remember the exercise of taking a print newspaper and turning it into an online one. What are the differences.  You can access new media anytime, anywhere. Online news uses multimedia and reader comments. New media takes advantage of social media and uses blogs, facebook, twitter (all now part of media)

4/            Essays not structured like essays.
Hard to know what you some students are arguing about. It must have an introduction, supporting paragraphs and conclusion. There was way too much personal opinion, no-one cares whether you agree or disagree with something.  This is showing your own bias. Try and be impartial and state the facts and how you are going to argue one way or another.

5/            If the question asks you to examine advertising, stick to advertising. Don’t introduce sit coms or other forms of media. Make sure you understand what the question is asking.

6/            Make sure you mention Media Watch. This exposes bad journalism.

7/            Talk about Gruen Transfer and watch some of the shows. This is a great show that exposes the tricks of the advertising trade. Learn how they manipulate audiences. Often it is through an emotional connectional or playing on aspirational desires.

8/            Students are not connecting the practical work done in class to the theory. For example, advertisements, tabloid newspaper and online newspaper. We’ve created all of these and by doing this have had practical experience in manipulating stories and presenting a point of view. Remember the good and bad representation videos of Marist. How can footage be manipulated by the professional media. Remember media watch exposed how current affair exploited youth gangs by manipulating footage exactly how you have practised manipulating footage.

8/            Students with high absenteeism generally did not do well. It became obvious that they were not reading through
the Maristmedia blog or through their textbooks. They were not watching current affair shows or reading any newspapers. You can’t expect to do well in a media subject if you have no interest in the media!

Print vs Online Newspapers

There is a growing consensus amoungst media professionals that print journalism will be dead within 10 years. All content will be moved to online papers, blogs and magazines and journalists will be employed as freelancers. Certainly there is much greater access to online news and some of its key features are:

  • availability (download anytime anywhere)
  • accessability (download on any device whether portable or a desktop)
  • greater depth of news with links to blogs, facebook, twitter feeds, video etc….
  • broader news content including sections in online papers that you cannot get in print newspapers such as blogs, specific tv channels, podcasts
  • Interactivity
  • Comments section
  • Free content

The way content is displayed is another key difference to online and print papers. In an online paper there is more content on the home page of the site. These provide links to stories in greater depth which also often have video footage accompanying the stories.

Our task is to convert a print newspaper into an online newspaper and note the differences between the two.  Using Indesign we will mock up the following:

  • 8 column layout
  • navigation bar
  • Masthead with weather and interactive links
  • A main story image
  • 5 story links with images
  • 5 stories with headlines
  • images to the left hand side, one being an advertisement

Note the differences between the two layouts. How does print differ from online layouts. Upload the online newspaper you have created to your blog.

Journalism, Ethics and Murdoch

Further to our discussion of media ethics and the phone hack scandal of News of the World.  Here are two articles that delve further into the Journalists Code of Ethics (from a journalists point of view) and revelations that Murdoch is now closing the 138 year old News of the World.
News of the World scandal_ Murdoch’s UK reputation is trashed _ Crikey
News of the World to close after hacking scandal

The Gutter Press

Tabloid journalism is also referred to as ‘The Gutter Press’, meaning that they will stoop to very low levels in order to get a story. We’ve already seen this in the rise of ‘chequebook journalism’, phone hacking Murdered girl’s phone hacked (News of the World), paparazzi following celebrities and their offspring (Pink and baby daughter Willow) and selling pictures of celebrities for a varied price range.

In contrast, the broadsheet newspapers (distinctive by their A3 size as opposed to the A4 size of tabloids) are considered serious journalism. These newspapers are more factual, encourage professional standards in journalism and avoid celebrity gossip and scandals. However, even these serious newspapers have, over the past few years started looking more like tabloid papers. They now print sport stories on the front of the paper, rather than the back, have celebrity gossip and have been accused of ‘dumbing down’ their standards in order to make more profits.

However, there are still major differences between broadsheets and tabloids. Look at some online sites:

  • Compare the headlines of News of the World to The Guardian.
  • What is the focus of each of the newspapers stories?
  • What type of advertisements are on each site?
  • What sort of people does each newspaper profile?
  • Compare the size of the images in News of the World to those in The Guardian, what are the differences?
  • Pick a story from each newspaper and discuss the quality of the journalism. Are there any obvious examples where the Journalism Code of Ethics is broken?
  • Who owns News of the World?

Now look at the Australian newspapers and compare the sorts of stories and images appearing in The Age and The Herald Sun.

Write the answers in your blog.

Homework Task
Read Chapter 17 ‘Newspapers’ in your text book. We are going to do the production assignment on page 477 (read through the chapter first). Come to Friday’s class with the front page of a newspaper of your choice to redesign.

Tabloid Stories

The tabloids are full of sensational stories that have attention grabbing headlines, vague stories about celebrities and their bad behaviour and stories about alien abductions, criminal activities and dodgy tradesmen. We will replicate a tabloid newspaper by writting two senstational stories and a tacky advertisement.
Give your tabloid a name in the masthead and a subheading
Put in images to accompany your stories
Put an advertisement down the bottom.

See example here: tabloidexample