Intrigue in the Big League

A uni student's intrigue in marketing and media


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Reflecting and Inspecting

So, what topics have I covered throughout my blogging assignment that have been of most interest to me?

1. Transforming Traditional Journalism – A New Model

I was actually quite excited to tackle this topic. Since I am studying a double degree that includes journalism, looking into how traditional journalism is transforming in the age of citizen journalism sounded very interesting to me. The question was what angle I should adopt? I decided to give hope to traditional journalists in my post, encouraging them to accept that citizen journalism would become a huge part of their roles as journalists, and to use it to their advantage in some way. I got quite a few of my ideas for my post from my tutorial, and this was one of the easier posts for me to write because I already had some knowledge on the topic.

2.  A Halo Transmedia Experience

This topic confused me a lot at first. I struggled to understand the difference between multimedia and transmedia, so when I finally understood the concept myself, I decided to include the definition in my post to avoid confusion for readers. Although this post took a lot of effort and research to write and publish, I am very happy with how it turned out. When I was researching this topic, I decided to try and link it to a technology/media platform that I am researching for my final assessment (Xbox). I found Halo on an Xbox forum referenced as transmedia, and after much research I compiled this post and it helped me to understand how and why a company/organisation might use transmedia.

3. I knew you were trouble – Remixing and Reproduction

When I started thinking about writing my post on this topic, I knew I could take it in several different directions. Remixing applies to so much more than reproducing music now, that I had quite a few ideas of what I should use as an example. I settled on the Taylor Swift parody because I thought it would appeal most to readers because it was current, and because it was short and got my message across. The main struggle I had with the post was trying to keep it short and informative, because there was so much information I could write about it. I ended up talking about parodies, culture jamming and sharing/piracy issues online. I think the only issue with the post is that I might have tried to include too much content.

Overall, I have really learned and benefited from blogging.


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Trolling: Anonymity and Freedom online

Will trolls be the fall of participatory culture online? While participation should be and often is encouraged in the online community, some participatory content is insulting and hateful.

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Trolling has already had an effect on the participatory nature of the online community. Knowing that trolling is an issue, many sites have moderators, who monitor comments and content before they are allowed onto the website. A lot of other sites however are using a different and cheaper system which allows the comment to be uploaded and is only removed if it is “reported” by other uses or certain words in the comment are flagged within technology filter moderation tools. Sites such as Facebook and Youtube use this method.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding trolling. People have committed suicide in direct relation to trolling and abuse over social networks. After much debate about whether trolls should be named and blamed, there have been cases where trolls have been identified and even jailed.

Although people are now aware that trolls can be prosecuted, there still seems to be a vast amount of people who continue to troll online, some even stating that the jail time is nothing and they have the right to freedom of speech.

While it is possible to identify some trolls, a lot of people that are trolling feel safe because they are anonymous online.

So the question is: is there too much freedom online and should anonymity online stay an option?

The issue here is that freedom online allows discussions to broaden and different views and opinions to be expressed. Taking this away would be like taking a step back rather than moving forward. Participatory culture relies on the freedom that the online community provides and it has started some amazing revolutions such as ‘The Occupy Movement‘.

Stafford (2012) feels debate is an important part of online community. He fears that insulting comments might eventually shut down the online debate, therefore preventing the expansion of information and awareness of the issues.

Anonymity on the other hand involves privacy. A lot of people don’t wish to have their details available to others online. While forcing everyone online to provide their details would address the trolling issue, there is a high probability that it will result in other issue. These might include; identity theft, fraud and forms of stalking.

Due to the issues that might come with the solution to stopping trolls, if people wish to keep the current participatory culture they have online, trolling will be inevitable until a better solution is found.


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Teachers slam Education Minister

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TEACHERS wanted to go on strike and picket outside the Education Minister’s office after he said they had a lot of “down time” and could afford to look after more students.

Education Minister Peter Chandler made the comments after his Government decided to increase student-teacher ratios in senior and middle schools.

The ratios determine how many teachers are sent to a school, not the number of students in each class.

He said on Friday: “There’s quite a bit of down time for teachers.” >> read more at ntnews

This article by ntnews (Northern Territory News) outlines the comments Education Minster Peter Chandler made about teachers and the student-teacher ratio increases.

The article mainly shines a negative light on the Minister. It’s quite a short article, and although it has quotes from the Chandler himself, it still seems to portray him as the “bad guy”. That might sound childish, but somehow the article manages to shape the quotes from the Minister to make him sound arrogant.

“If there’s 27 students in a class with one teacher, but you’ve got a teacher-student ratio of 14:1, what are all the other teachers doing?” Minister Chandler said.

The article includes quotes from Australian Education Union NT president Matthew Cranitch. He explains the amount of work teachers have to do and that their “time off” isn’t actually hours they spend relaxing at school, those hours are spent marking, preparing and writing reports.

“It demonstrated to me, and many others, that he doesn’t quite understand education and what teachers actually do,” he said of the Minister’s comments.

The article appeals to teachers. If a teacher were to read this news story, they would definitely finish reading it feeling happy that the article had addressed the issues with the comments made by the minister, and also happy that they made the Minister seem uneducated about the amount of work teachers do.

The article also includes one of the comments that was written by a reader in the body of the text, labelled YOUR SAY. This is becoming a common method on news websites to allow the readers to interact with the story and give a response.


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Youth and Participatory Politics

The digital age has brought about more political participation for youth. With such a large number of young people using social networks online, a new approach to raising awareness of issues has been found. ‘Sharing’ over social networks is a way for youth to engage and become involved in certain political movements, this is “participatory politics”.

In the following clip, Henry Jenkins explains how participatory politics has become a way for youth to involve themselves in issues they feel strongly about.

There are many pages online that are looking for awareness across social platforms. There are pages on Facebook that are created purely to attract attention from youth and find awareness through the ‘sharing, liking and commenting’ that is the participatory nature of youth today.

Youth are also creating their own pages for people to get involved with across social networks. These pages range from raising awareness and donations for diseases like cancer to making a stand against a government choice like preventing a new car park to be built on a nature park. This just shows how much easier it is now for youth to show their support for a cause they feel strongly about or even start a protest themselves.

Think about the KONY 2012 campaign. It was a cause that used Facebook to find millions of people, a huge amount of them youth, that came together to show their support for the children under Kony’s rule. Since then, organisations have been trying to replicate the response the KONY 2012 campaign received from the social networking world.

There have been many attempts to expand awareness over more platforms. In 2012, to try and raise awareness for Cancer and in relation to World Cancer Day, Microsoft teamed up with SU2C. Microsoft made content space over several popular Xbox LIVE games for SU2C’s music video. The video was available on Xbox LIVE for a month.

These examples show participatory politics is becoming increasingly powerful. It’s as accessible to a 19 year old uni student as it is to big companies like the Cancer Council and Microsoft, which means that youth are able to raise awareness and follow a cause they feel strongly about with being controlled by some large company. Becoming involved with politics is now a lot easier for youth because of the online community and participatory politics.


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I knew you were trouble – Remixing and Reproduction

In the dictionary, the definition of remixing is to: Produce a different version of (a musical recording) by altering the balance of the separate tracks. However, these days remixing is much more than the reproduction of music.

Remixing occurs when the audience uses content in a way that they’re ‘not supposed to’ or isn’t expected of them. This change in the content can cause a different meaning to be exposed, so the content will be received and understood differently. According to Breitz, (cited in Lessig, 2008) once content is released, it is unpredictable how it might get absorbed into the lives and very being of the audience.

Remixing involves the audience interacting with content. One of the first examples of this was when people started to scratch records. Scratch was a new way for people to understand a music record and created a completely new music genre.

These days, while scratch is still among us, it is not alone in the world of reproduction. The audience is no longer an inactive party, they are producing new content based on another piece of content. Parodies are a form of remixing. The following clip has over 3 million views, and shows how the creative reproduction of content can completely change the intended message of the original text.

Bruns (2010) states that when an artist or author produces content, it is not the end of production. Users reproduce this content (he calls them produsers), and the development of content is continuous, always unfinished.

Culture jamming is a form of remixing. Culture jamming in the simplest terms is when a text is altered to give it a new meaning. A common form of culture jamming is the altering of advertisements and logos to change the proposed message of the original text. The following image alters the Pepsi logo and sends a new message about the effects Pepsi has on health. pepsi_jam To assist with remixing, there has been an explosion of file-sharing and downloading. The internet allows great distribution of copyrighted material and it is very hard for authorities to monitor. There has been a lot of controversy over piracy when it comes to downloading copyrighted material. However, Bruns questions ‘piracy’ when it comes to downloading copyrighted materials such as music and movies. Industries claim that ‘piracy’ reduces profits, but there appears to be little evidence to link file-sharing and revenue decline. (2010)

Remixing is growing, with such easy access to content online it isn’t a hard task to reproduce an original text.

The audience are no longer absorbers, and should be recognised to have the potential to reflect culture creatively. (Breitz, 2008)


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Global village of students, teachers and families

“Some ‘‘really amazing’’ blogging is being done in Victorian schools, and often the best work is being done by younger students, says James Farmer, the former Deakin University education technology lecturer who left academic life in 2005 to establish Edublogs, his blog-hosting website, as a global operation.blog_pic_scooledu

Mr Farmer now has 20 staff in a dozen countries, and his site hosts the blogs of a million school teachers and their students, along with just as many academics and thousands of universities, government departments and school districts on almost every continent. For all that, he says, ‘‘Around the world, the Victorian Education Department is our biggest client and has created its Global2 webpage as a free Edublogs campus site, with thousands of teachers and their students as bloggers.’’

Mr Farmer says blogging appeals to teachers and children from prep to year 12 for much the same reason he originally started blogging.” >> read more

This article by ‘The Age‘ is a story about blogs becoming part of education at Primary Schools. It focuses on one primary school teacher in particular (Mrs Morris) who realised how blogging could be a tool for teaching “reading, writing, speaking and listening.”

The article is very positive. It portrays the relationship between blogging and education as one with only good results. The people interviewed for the article had only nice things to say about blogs as a part of education, or were only quoted on the good things. A lot of different information was given about blogs and how they were being incorporated into learning, however the information mainly outlined how easy the process was, and the good things that have come from blogging in the classroom.

“Blogging changes how you learn, [it] motivates children to improve their reading and writing literacy skills [and] gives them the chance to express their own thoughts and opinions,” Mr Farmer said.

While the relationship between blogs and education might only have positive results, the article has no professional opinion to prove this. It also doesn’t have a wide enough range of sources to show the opinion of the public. While the article didn’t bluntly say that “blogging + education = good”, and did use the opinions of relevant sources and not their own, it didn’t include other sources that might have different opinions.

If they had asked parents what their opinions of blogging in schools were, they may have responded that it was confusing for both them and their child and they thought only the basic practical education should be taught to children at primary school.

If they had asked students what their opinions of blogging at school was, they may have responded that they found blogging boring and difficult, and didn’t understand what the purpose of blogging was.

To write a balanced version of this news story, ‘The Age’ would need to interview further relevant sources, such as people who are effected by blogging in schools, and include their opinion in the story. If they had interviewed a professional who had studied that nature of blogging in primary schools and had found statistics that proved students benefited from the relationship, the article would aslo have more credibility.


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Education Department takes taxi service from autistic boy

A MOTHER of an autistic child was told by the Education Department he couldn’t use a taxigovernment-provided taxi service for his 300km round trip to school because of allegations the child was aggressive.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, said she was given just two days notice at the start of the school year that her son, 13, would be transported by a different taxi driver.

As a result of the change in driver, she said her son’s behaviour worsened and the Education Department withdrew the service this month.” >> read more at adelaidenow

This is an article by adelaidenow, and tells the story of an autistic boy and his mother having problems finding transport to Murray Bridge Special School from their regional home. The mother claims this is because the Education Department withdrew taxi services which they previously used for transport.

The article starts off with just one opinion, that the mother and boy have been poorly treated by the Education Department. The article first gives the mother’s opinion, then touches on a similar story which again points out a flaw in the Education Department’s system, and the next source is an opposition education spokesman.

Usually, when journalists need to find conflict in a story, they can rely on the opposition of a department to supply a good argument. Opposition leaders and spokesman often take these opportunities to point out flaws in current government’s system, hopefully encouraging voters that the next election should bring change and therefore a new party might be voted into leadership.

“It is an entirely unacceptable set of circumstances for a child with autism to be left unable to attend school as a result of this appalling mismanage,” Opposition education spokesman, David Pisoni said.

“Another parent has had to come to the Opposition and the media to tell her story about the lack of process and the mismanagement of this system within the Education Department.”

While the article was quite biased against the Education Department up until this point, the next source helped to balance out the news story.

“Education Minister Jennifer Rankine denied transport assistance had been withdrawn by the department.”

Although Minister Rankine’s involvement in the article was left to the very end (hinting that it is not as important as the information at the beginning of the story), it is included. Without her quotes, the article would have been completely one-sided and the readers would have no idea what the Education Department was doing to fix the problem and what their reasons were for the actions they took.