Intrigue in the Big League

A uni student's intrigue in marketing and media


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Teachers warn early music education under threat

Teachers, academics and musicians are warning that shrinking budgets and standardised testing are taking the focus off teaching arts subjects such as music in early childhood.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO), which is treating primary schools to an annual series of concerts, says music is a “right” and children are being sold short.

“I don’t think children are getting enough exposure to music at a primary school level,” QSO conductor and Griffith University academic Peter Luff said.”

(ABC News Report – ABC News article)

This article by ABC News is very informative and tries to stay objective.

Starting with the title: Teachers warn early music education under threat – it explains that the teachers are warning about the threat. If it were: Early music education under threat – the audience could understand this to be the opinion of the news reporter or corporation. So the article has a good, objective title.

The article contains two videos, one of the news report and one an interview with two sources. These videos add to the content of the article and show how the internet allows journalists to incorporate different forms of media into one article.

The article also has quotes from at least three different sources. This gives the article diversity and shows that different parties are concerned about the issue. The quotes make up a large percentage of the article and this gives it more authority and professionalism. There are also links included in the article which provide referencing in a different form.

This article is a good example of objective journalism. It presents the news issue, introduces the people who will be affected and the people who are concerned and explains the proposed solution to the issue. It always shows the opinion of its sources but never becomes bias and stays objective. ABC News is generally a reliable traditional media outlet when it comes to staying objective.


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Opening the Door to Copyright Law

Copyright laws have been around since the eighteenth century, but as the digital world evolves the enforcement of copyright is becoming excessive and is preventing many creative reconstructions and interpretations of copyrighted material.

There is only one saviour if you want to create something of your own while still using someone else’s ‘intellectual property‘, and that is the doctrine of fair use (as codified in the United States Copyright Act 1976, section 107)

Anthony Falzone (retired executive director of the Fair Use Project) describes fair use:

“If you think about copyright as a series of restrictions, fair use is a set of exceptions.  It protects your right to use copyrighted material in certain ways… we preserve a whole variety of uses and things that people get to do with copyrighted content without permission.  And fair use is really, above all else, a set of factors and considerations that help us figure out which things we carve out of the copyright monopoly, and which things we let people do without permission.”

Youtube itself has many examples of fair use, although it has many examples of copyright infringement as well. It’s hard to draw the line, especially on Youtube. This is explained in great detail in The Complete Guide to Fair Use & Youtube.

The following clip shows a song called “4 chords” by The Axis of Awesome.

This song contains around 40 excerpts of copyrighted music by other artists. That would mean that the band either requested copyright permissions for every single excerpt, or their creative representation of those songs is part of fair use… fair use probably won that battle.

They have taken the same 4 chords and the same familiar lines from countless songs but used them with an original idea. Originality is a strong argument when claiming fair use.

While copyrighted music is a big issue on Youtube, gaming videos can also be a breach of copyright.

The difference here is that most gaming videos actually increase sales of that game or console. There are gaming videos posted that add comedy aspects to the game, and at the same time make it look social and fun. This is why gaming videos on Youtube might be seen as a bit of a grey area and although copyright might be breached, the owners will not make a claim.

Here is one example (I apologise for the message at the start, if you are offended by rude language, skip to 8 seconds before you start watching. If you don’t mind a bit of crude immaturity, feel free to watch his other posts on his channel KYR SP33DY).

KYR SP33DY ‘s channel has 1 million subscribers. His channel is one of the most popular for people who like Xbox Live as well as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and some other games.

Xbox Live Terms of Use states:

“We do not claim ownership of the content you provide on the Services. Your content remains your content. We do not control, verify, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the Services”

However the Activision (owner of Call of Duty) Software Licence Agreement states:

“You shall not:

Reverse engineer, derive source code, modify, decompile, disassemble, or create derivative works of this Program, in whole or in part

So Xbox Live claims the content you create (such as name, gamertag, motto, avatar, or other information) strictly on Xbox Live, to play online, is your own.

However when recording games of Call of Duty, Activision would be the one to make copyright claims on that content posted on Youtube. Currently though, while it’s making them money, it’s doubtful they will make any claims. This is why gaming videos on Youtube are not yet really known to be part of the doctrine of fair use or not.

Without fair use we would not be able to experience the creativity inspired by copyrighted works, and we would not be able to communicate, discuss and enjoy the way people interpret copyrighted works.


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Millions wasted training teachers

TENS of millions of dollars are being wasted training teachers who do not enter a classroom, with federal and state governments spending at least $16,500 on each student teacher every year despite up to 90 per cent in some states failing to find a job.

Universities graduate about 16,000 new teachers every year across the nation, half of whom are primary teachers, but an oversupply in the workforce means the vast majority of new teachers struggle to find work in schools.

Shortages exist in maths and science teaching, but across the rest of the profession universities are producing more teachers than required, particularly in primary teaching, with tens of thousands of teachers on waiting lists in the biggest states.”

(The Australian, 2013)

This is an article reviewing the amount of students studying to be teachers at universities and how the money spent on their training is a waste. The report explains the money is wasted because many of the students are unable to find jobs in teaching after they complete their course.

The article offers a lot of statistical information, including the following:

“90 per cent of teachers graduating university in NSW and Queensland fail to find a job, while about 40,000 teachers in NSW and 16,000 teachers in Queensland are on departmental waiting lists for a permanent job.”

Statistics to show evidence of unemployed people with university degrees for teaching are displayed throughout the article, however there are nearly never any sources to show where the information was gained.

Statistics are often used without providing a proper reference in news reporting. The following clip is part of a Today Tonight story, it uses statistics that are vague and without a reference to strengthen the argument. (Only the first 2 minutes are relevant to statistics)

In this clip, Today Tonight states that it costs the average family $1455 extra to cover shopkeeper losses. This statistic could mean anything to the audience. Is it per month? year? lifetime? And why the average family? Does that mean every family has youth that shoplift? The figure has no real meaning, it is just meant to be a large number that means families are losing money.

The article by The Australian and the report by Today Tonight both show how the use of statistics can be abused to have the desired effect on news stories.


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Parents to blame for unruly behaviour in the classroom

“Schools are being forced to deal with the fallout of parents failing to set rules for their children and a breakdown in family life, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

A new survey, conducted by the union ahead of their annual conference, also suggests that behavioural and emotional problems, attention seeking and a dearth of positive role models are contributing to bad behaviour in schools.

Teachers have been forced to deal with youngsters – in some cases preschoolers – pushing, scratching, punching, kicking and spitting, the poll suggests.

More than half (53pc) of the school staff questioned said that student behaviour has worsened in the last 10 years, with a similar proportion (53.2pc) indicating that it has got worse in the past five years.

Many of the school staff questioned laid blame for poor behaviour on parents.”

(The Telegraph, 2013)

This article by The Telegraph is based on a survey that suggests parents are the cause of poor student behaviour in schools. The article outlines teacher’s concerns of behavioural tendencies of students who don’t have strong boundaries set by their parents or caregivers at home.

The title of the article (Parents to blame for unruly behaviour in the classroom) sounds one sided, as if it had already been decided that parents are indeed to blame. This article is a very good example of how a traditional journalist manages to seem objective throughout, yet the piece does not show the perspectives of all the parties involved.

The article is well set out. It explains the topic and straight away introduces a survey that shows the amount of teachers who have had to deal with several different types of bad behaviour in class. There are statistics given throughout the article to reinforce the argument that a lack of boundaries in the students’ homes is what commonly causes the bad behaviour.

“Many of the school staff questioned laid blame for poor behaviour on parents. Over three quarters (78.7pc) said that a lack of boundaries at home was the reason for challenging, disruptive and abusive behaviour by pupils” (The Telegraph, 2013)

As well as the statistics, there are professional sources introduced who have the same opinion as the teachers. These sources (Association of Teachers and Lecturers general secretary Dr Mary Bousted and a Department for Education spokesman) added strong content to the article. Dr Mary Bousted explained how the bad behaviour of pupils affected teachers and how they have to deal with the behaviour by themselves a lot of the time. The spokesman from the Department of Education explained how the problem was being fixed.

“We have strengthened teachers’ powers to put them back in charge. Teachers can now issue no notice detentions, search a pupil without consent when they suspect they may be in possession of a prohibited item and changes to the system mean a school’s decision to exclude a pupil cannot be reversed by an appeals panel.” (Department of Education spokesman, The Telegraph, 2013)

What the article fails to include is the opinions of the students or parents. They didn’t ask the students why they were behaving badly, they merely assumed that slack boundaries at home was the cause. They didn’t ask the parents what kind of rules were set in place for their child at home and how the child behaved in their home. The article does not include any perspective from the parents or students involved with bad behaviour in class. This is where the article is proven to be quite biased.


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Solomons teachers strike again over wages

Teachers across the Solomon Islands are back on strike, saying the government has failed to honour a salary deal.

It was only six weeks ago that the last teachers’ strike in the Solomon Islands ended.

The teachers union says more than 6,000 teachers are still owed back pay despite government assurances on striketeachers would get their wages.

Solomon Islands National Teachers Association president Samson Faisi says Friday’s strike will continue indefinitely.

“We are only representing teachers and the welfare of teachers here,” he said.

“If the government is so worried about kids not going to school then it must address the issues that are affecting teachers at the moment.” (Australian Network News, 2013)

This article covers the second time in two months that teachers across the Solomon Islands have gone on strike.

It shows the conflict between the Solomon Islands National Teachers Association and the government. The teachers were apparently promised a better salary and the government has not kept their word.

This story concerns many people in the Solomon Islands. It effects the children who are not being educated during the strike, the parents of the children, the government and especially the teachers.

Education is always going to be very important to the public. While the reporters of this news story are using the angle that the teachers are being unfairly paid by the government, this could be false. If the story was further researched, would the truth be revealed that the teachers did indeed receive a pay rise after the first strike? Did they decide it still wasn’t enough and threaten the government with yet another strike to get a further pay rise? This protest could cause the public to pressure the government into giving the teachers more money, for the sake of the children’s education.

This is an example of how a reporter could be biased towards a certain party in the story, whether it was intentional or not. Although there is no proof to say that my theory is correct, that is no reason to believe that my theory could not be plausible at all.

The point is that journalists need to research every aspect of the story to find the truth. The public expects the truth from reporters and believe nearly everything they read to be the facts. When it comes to stories about education in the news, it is especially important to be accurate to give the public an honest vision of what exactly is happening.


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We Interact, We Converge

media_convergence

“Convergence involves both a change in the way media is produced and a change in the way media is consumed.”“Worship at the altar of Convergence” by Henry Jenkins

Henry Jenkins tries to help us to understand media change and convergence.

To me his major point is that the technological side and the social side of media convergence cannot work without each other. Obviously, there’s more than just entertainment content flowing across media platforms. “Our lives, relationships, memories, fantasies, desires also flow across media channels” (as stated by Jenkins, p17). So, without devices to interact socially through media platforms, and without the platforms alike, we as consumers would be lost. However if there was no social interactions across these platforms, media would not progress and media convergence would not be where it is today… or tomorrow… or the next day… because it is evolving at such a crazy speed.

In other words: Media convergence is not just a technological process bringing media functions together within the same devices. Convergence does not occur through media appliances, however advanced they are. Convergence occurs within the brains of the consumers and their social interactions. It is a cultural shift as consumers seek out new information and make connections among many media platforms and content.

Jenkins also introduces us to Pierre Lévy, a French cybertheorist. Lévy discusses collective intelligence and how it is essential to media convergence. When I think of collective intelligence I like to think of a trivia night. You’re split up into teams, then asked a bunch of general knowledge questions that you have to try and answer. The magic with this is that for each question there is usually at least one person who knows the answer, or one person will hold one part of the answer and one person the other. Many minds come together to discuss a topic. When it comes to collective intelligence and media convergence, the discussion topic is the media. Another way that a trivia night is related to the media? Well now there’s the fact that you can actually use your iPhone/Android to cheat! Yes your phone! It’s one of the most obvious examples of media convergence. Google is right there in your hands, along with many more platforms.

Together I think Jenkins and Lévy enforce the point that if you didn’t have the consumers interacting socially over platforms, you wouldn’t have media convergence.


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Asking the Wrong Questions – The Effects Model

Recently I read an article in which David Gauntlett discusses Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’. This post summarises just two of those points and adds my own reflection to why the effects model(1) is inconclusive.

Point 1: The effects model tackles social problems ‘backwards’

When trying to explain violence in society, the effects model asks the question; Did media cause the offender to react and behave differently? However the question that should first be asked is; What caused the offender to take those actions? The first question tries to make connections between the media and the crime the offender committed, whereas the second question first addresses any reasons that may have triggered the perpetrators behaviour and tries to make connections between the offender and the crime. Could their identity, background, character or so on give more reason to the cause of the crime?

Point 2: The effects model treats children as inadequate

Many studies that try to prove the truth of the effects model have been done using children. They are used because it is assumed that the true effect mass media can have will be displayed most obviously in children, and that the children won’t fully understand or are easily tricked by the media. Certain projects, however, have shown that in many cases children can understand and even intelligently review the media.

A man named Albert Bandura conducted a study with a media clip, a bobo doll and 36 boys and 36 girls aged 3-6.

Bobo_doll

The children were shown a clip of a woman beating a bobo doll, punching it, hitting it, picking it up and throwing it, jumping on it and even hitting it with a small hammer. The children were then placed in a room with a whole bunch of toys, including a bobo doll and a small hammer. Left alone, the children ignored most of the toys except for the bobo doll, and you can probably guess what they did to it. They beat it, jumped on it and hit it with a hammer. Bandura’s conclusion on this study was that behaviour can be affected by the media. I don’t find this conclusion accurate at all. Although Bandura argues that the children acted the way they did because of the clip they were shown, he did not ask the question; Why did the children act the way they did? He merely assumed it was because they were imitating the clip. You try watching the clip and honestly ask yourself if you were put in the same room with that bobo doll, wouldn’t you think it might be an entertaining idea to… well beat the living hell out of it?

These points might remind you of a human tendency that I believe the effects model uses and even perhaps abuses. Think about when you used to get in trouble at home. You would pretty much try to think of any excuse that might take some of the blame off you, right? I’m not suggesting that the effects model is childish. In the simplest terms; the effects model was first acknowledged because there was concern that violence and other content in the media could have a negative effect on society. However with such inconclusive studies and proof, people have started using the effects model as an excuse or scapegoat when it comes to explaining certain violent acts in society.

If they start asking the right questions in studies, will more conclusive results be found?

(1) The effects model can be described as the belief that media and in particular television can affect the beliefs and behaviour of the audience, usually for the worse.


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Introduction

Hi my name is Victoria.

I lived in Canberra but didn’t like any of the Media options at the Universities there so I moved to Wollongong to attend the University of Wollongong and I am currently living at Weerona (university specific accommodation). I am studying a double degree of Communications and Media Studies and Journalism. I chose these degrees because I have always been interested in writing and the media however I have no idea what I want to do later in life so I am hoping the course shines light on which aspect of media I might like to pursue.

I have thought about looking more into advertising and how certain charities and volunteer groups advertise their cause. I travelled to South Africa and Swaziland in December last year (2012) with a group called VESA. VESA stands for Volunteer Eco Students Abroad and takes groups of 30-50 people to South Africa, Fiji or the Amazon. The volunteers are mainly students or people younger than the age of 25, however the groups are not exclusive to this. The first week is comprised of only volunteer work that ranges from construction work, teaching at schools and helping out at animal conservation centres. The trip lasts two or three weeks; the second week travelling to Swaziland for adventure tours and the third is optional and continues to Mozambique. You learn a lot from the trip and the experience is unforgettable. The cost of the trip is very affordable even if you are a Uni student who only works two to three days a week. I strongly recommend anyone who wishes to travel and also volunteer to consider travelling with VESA.

You can visit their website at www.vesabroad.com.au

This is my first post and you’ll see many more from me.