10-2 Blog: The Power of the Media Revisited

 

Module One, week one, the class discussed Kovach and Rosenstiel’s (2010) Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload and the concept how the media shapes beliefs and individuals have few opportunities to avoid this influence.

My original view on media as an agent of change in society and direct source of living in 2015, has not changed now in Module 10. On September 24th, I wrote, “The power of media has changed completely, beginning with the written word moving towards cable television, to the consumer information we have now, accessible to anyone anytime. The information revolution has changed the way we receive information, “each advance in communications technology has made it easier to learn about the world around us,” (p.24).

This course, Knowledge and New Media, and the module resources utilized through the ten modules proved how powerful the media is in terms of its impact on culture, relationships, and in day to day activities. Through the in-depth analysis of credibility with source information, best writing practices and the new media that is incorporated today, we as a class have been able to discern writers and their power to influence beliefs, and the importance for them to act in ethical ways.

According to Maria Popova, writer of the article, E.B. White on the Responsibility and Role of the Writer (2012), states that as new media has advanced drastically, the notion of “baked-in accountability” has decreased. The lack of authenticity within media has brought journalism back into the light within the past decade. The danger when writers do not act ethically the mass audiences the written content reaches is detrimental.

Popova (2012) discusses the frame of accuracy is an important piece of “authorship” for the reader. Writers play a large role in the production of information and conveying a purpose- as I have found throughout class discussions and scholarly research this directly affects the power of the media and its ability to shape beliefs in not always a positive way.

Becoming a “media literate” individual reduces, but does not always eliminate the potential for content consumer. By possessing the skills that are essential when deciphering if content being consumed is authentic and ethically responsible, will increase the potential of information and accuracy while practicing best practices for identifying fraudulent writing.

Module one discusses how media shapes beliefs, ideas, knowledge and society through the power of technology and tactful writing strategies. In Module ten, these ideas are no different, rather the skills of the media literate individual I have become has. In turn, the effect the Internet has on individuals today will be no different than the effect a new form of information revolution will have on individual’s centuries from now.

 

References

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). How to Know What to Believe Anymore. In Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

Popova, M. (2012). E.B. White on the Responsibility and Role of the Writer. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/04/eb-white-on-the-responsibility-and-role-of-the-writer/256005/

8-2 Blog: Multimedia Tools

 

Multimedia is the multiple channels used to transmit a message or concept that supports or solidifies a concept/idea (Sundar, 2000). These multiple channels, for example, speech, video, music, text, graphic and website url are all forms of media that create, modify and enhance our messaging of such concepts and ideas.

According to Sundar (2000), “information is considered more memorable when presented in certain modalities than in others” (482). These modalities are multimedia messages that have connect with our subconscious much quicker than just plain text may. Sundar (2000) expands on this subject by reiterating that although an enhancement to one’s concept or idea, multimedia tools also provide stimulating aspect about a concept where the tool is being used. Although it may not be as cognitive, the tool is an enhancement all the same.

When multimedia is presented as information, one can find how multimedia techniques prove to be more effective than others. “Learning Sciences” at the University of Texas at Austin provided a layout of multimedia tools, their functions, and the types within each tool that individuals are recommended to utilize as media enhancements. From video editing to presentation tools, the numerous multimedia enhancements are provided as resources to “help you streamline your content and avoid setbacks during production” (Learning Sciences, 2015).h.png

One tool, Prezi, is a new multimedia enhancement that grasps the concept of a PowerPoint and stylizes the presentation into a media tool one can use when presenting a topic. Providing interactive color schemes, animations and attention grabbing details, Prezi is a multimedia tool that takes a concept like PowerPoint to create that positive brand that Sundar (2000) discusses in their research.

Another tool, Photoshop, also proves to be a multimedia tool that proves to be more effective than its alternative, a phot

o editor. Photoshop, an in-depth photo-editing software, allows for users to enhance normal graphics beyond a generic editing standpoint. By having graphics that emulate a concept or idea being enhanced, one can easily connect with the individual(s) the content is being shared with.

 

Concepts like Prezi and Photoshop are valuable examples of how multimedia tools connect with audiences beyond the plain text, creating a strong intended message while maintaining informational messages that can be transmitted numerous ways.

 

References

Sundar, S. (2000). Multimedia Effects on Processing and Perception of Online News: A Study of Picture, Audio, and Video Downloads. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, 77(3). Retrieved from http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/~dshah/blog-club/site/Sundar.pdf

Multimedia tools. (2015). Retrieved November 18, 2015, from https://learningsciences.utexas.edu/teaching/technology-enhanced-learning/multimedia-tools

7-2 Blog: Best Practices

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When it comes to blogging, there is much more that goes into the actual creation, launch, writing and publishing pieces than one may think. Understanding and implementing the “best practices” in order to ensure appropriate form, function and substance is key to any successful blog. Those practices, in my opinion begin even before one sits down and begins writing. First establishing a “brand” for one’s blog is the primary purpose for establishing a blog in the first place. Using proper content and reaching target audiences is what enhances a blog’s longevity. The brand, according to DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web, is “your dialog with your customers” in which the content being displayed is “on-demand” (3).

The second best practice is described by DM Best Practices as the “who, what, where, when, why and how” (5). This simple concept, taught to students from Elementary School on, is often overlooked by writers when trying to convey particular ideas through new media. By not straying topics and remaining on the goal of the blog one can truly reach mass audiences with content that “sticks.”

The third best practice I deem significant for any successful blog is making it personal, yet informational. Having the personal aspect provides room for a connection with the audiences the blogger is aiming to reach while the informational piece narrows in on that connection and reminds readers why this blogger is credible to discuss the content and how one should then interpret that information after processing the blog. Ultimately, a blog should be personal and informational with an educational component mixed in between. According to Ilias Chelidonis (2014) a “successful blog is to create great content that teaches people something, optimize the content for search engines and distribute it via social media.”

The blog I chose meets the criteria for “best practices” I believe are essential for the determination of a successful blog. Kenzie Travers, “Editor of Business Monadnock, ELF (Enjoy Life to the Fullest) Magazine and special sections at The Keene Sentinel, food blogger” (Travers, 2015) of the New England region, blog “Yondering Foodie: A blog on food, adventure, and everything in between,” meets the three “best practices” chosen for this blog entry. Travers (2015) developed a brand through her passion for cooking, experiences abroad, and current profession. With this, the reader will already know the content they will be reading and the information they can then interpret for their own benefit. There is one concept per blog entry and Travers (2015) addresses each idea through a solid writing style, humor, and experience.

Travers (2015) meets the “who, what, where, when, why and how” aspect by taking her readers step by step through each cooking lesson, event she visited and people she met along the way. The organization from introduction to ending allows for easy following of the content and reader’s comparability.

Lastly, Travers (2015) addresses the personal and informational pieces by stating her credentials in the “about” section of her blog. Travers (2015) states she is a writer for her town’s newspaper and magazine, giving the reader an idea of why she can discuss the content she does through her published works, which she also includes on her home page.

My own blog, “wynotk,” does require more usage of the “best practices” outlined in this post. Although the informational aspect of each entry is consistent with the concepts being discussed, the lack of organization and “who, what, when, where, how” concept is lacking. By utilizing DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web, learning from Kenzie Travers, “Yondering Foodie,” I am able to seek how the best practices are used and what can be done to ensure I stay on track within each entry for my reader’s convenience.

With that, I do believe that as a blogger, a “Blogger’s Code of Conduct,” would be useful. There are numerous sites that aide individuals in the creating, launching and processing of their blogs, however the concept of a “Code of Conduct” for a blogging atmosphere creates guidelines that allows for readers to abide by the guidelines previously set in a blogging atmosphere. Blogs are personal and informational, with a “Code of Conduct” one can find it useful to avoid bias, inaccurate and misleading information. Although opinions are accepted in a blog, the “Code of Conduct” would allow for credible sources to write information that they want mass audiences to interpret.

The discussion on blogging this week brings to light the age of information overload in a new media world. With websites, applications, widgets and technology advancing every day, it is important one can intercept writing on the web and how to utilize the information being read responsibly and ethically.

References

Chelidonis, I. (2014). 12 Steps to Launch a Successful Blog. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/steps-to-successful-blog/

DM Best Practices: Writing for the Web. (1996). Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.uakron.edu/webteam/docs/dm_webwriting.pdf

Travers, K. (2015). Yondering Foodie. A blog on food, adventure, and everything in between. Retrieved from http://yonderingfoodie com/

6-2 Blog: Using Social Media Tools

New media tools are a great way to send and retrieve information, save favorite reads, entertain yourself and friends, stay connected with your close circles and educate yourself on various topics.

Within the “new media tools” website published by the U.S Department of Health & Human Services, numerous new media tools are shown with descriptions of the tools and their functions. While I consider myself to be a tech savvy person, I admit I had not used many of the tools listed on the website.

I was familiar with social bookmarking, “a way to store, organize, and search websites so you can keep information in one place for future access, and share links of interest around a specific topic” (www.aids.gov). Bookmarks create a quick and accessible way to retrieve my most commonly used applications and websites such as the reading list I utilize to save articles, websites and videos I use and enjoy.word press 2

I was interested in the Mash Ups new media tool. Again familiar with this topic I considered what a tool that “combines data from more than one source into a single tool or interface. This combination, or “mashup,” allows you to see a connection between two or more sources” (aids.gov) could aid me as a technologic student and individual living in 2015.

The U.S Department of Health & Human Services claim using Mash Ups involves extensive knowledge of technology and it’s uses in terms of information accessibility. According to Nathan Chandler (2011) tools like Mash Ups relates to knowledge today and much like Kovach and Rosentiel (2010) discuss in our class readings, helps how to find clarity in an age of information overload.  By using Mash ups, one can interpret information into one single source rather than multiple ones, “allowing you to quickly and efficiently browse your many options” (Chandler, 2011).wordpress

I considered this accessibility of information like social bookmarking and tried the new media tool of Mash Ups by engaging in Pinterest, the ultimate Mash Up. Here, one can bookmark individually and save items to a virtual board/map. Providing pictures, ideas, projects, tips, videos and more, Pinterest provides direct links on how to access the content you want to access by one click on a picture/video you would like to explore further. Having multiple sources located on one website is convenient and entertaining for individuals that enjoy information at their fingertips.

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Pinterest as a Mash Up relates to all audiences that access the internet for information without having to click on separate tabs because all the information needed is in one place.

Mashups reaches audiences most effectively because it acts as a sifter through a multitude of sites and sources and combines it into one. Chandler (2011) expands on this tool by elaborating that there “are an awful lot of sites to explore at random, there are tons of mashups scattered across the Web, and it can be hard to figure out which ones might be useful.” Having Mash Ups as a new media tool does this and in an “age of information overload” (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2010) minimizing our time behind a screen and maximizing our quality of life.

References

Chandler, Nathan.  “Top 5 Web Mashups”  03 March 2011.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/repurposed-inventions/5-web-mashups.htm&gt;  04 November 2015.

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). How to Know What to Believe Anymore. In Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

New Media Tools. (2015). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from https://www.aids.gov/using-new-media/tools/index.html#tool-bookmarkingNew

Pinterest. (2015). Retrieved November 5, 2015, from https://www.pinterest.com/

5-1 Blog: Oconee County Observations

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The website, published by Oconee County Observations, does not adhere to ethical standards because the credibility of this site is indeed a blog, which is not a valid source of information. Although a blog can contain valid information, because a blog can be written by anyone, the information cannot be considered scholarly and therefore not a credible source (refer to blog post 3-1 Blog Sources, Credibility and Social Media).

The writer of this blog is Lee Becker, a resident of Oconee County, Georgia. There is no scholarly background behind Becker within this blog because it discusses the weekly updates within the county with sources from county officials and town news. There is no professional journalism here because there is no specific form of news station, paper, or agency this site is written for, therefore no valid editor and board of directors are present to oversee that this blog is not bias or accurate.

According to “professional blogger,” Ashley Robinson (2013), professional blogging, like the Oconee County Observations blog post, “is a state of mind more than anything else.” A “state of mind” is not journalism. As mentioned, scholarly information may be presented but the author needs to have a scholarly background with valid resources to make their work credible.

In my opinion, it does matter if someone reporting news is labeled as a “professional” or not. Stephen J.A Ward, media ethicist, discusses the form of new media seen on blog sites and on news stations. According to Ward (2010), there has been a mix of new media ethics with guidelines that apply to bloggers, both professional and not. Ward (2010) believes these guidelines are necessary when defining what a journalist is and what a blogger is. “Media ethics needs to be rethought and reinvented for the media of today, not of yesteryear” (Ward, 2010).

The desire for “need to know” information quickly as created a blurred line between the two professions: journalists and bloggers. According to Ward (2010), “citizens without journalistic training and who do not work for mainstream media calls themselves journalists, or write in ways that fall under the general description of a journalists as someone who regularly writes on public issues for a public or audience.” Again, there must be some form of scholar background or source behind the reporter/writer’s work. For this reason, not everyone should be held to the same ethical standards, regardless of professional classification.

Robinson (2013) includes receiving compensation for endorsing a product or service within a blog such as a cupcake or bracelet is an incentive to be a professional blogger. This form of incentive creates bias that is seen in the article read in this week’s class discussion, Oconee County Observations. Being able to speak your mind freely and endorse any product or service one likes creates a dissonance between journalists and bloggers, therefore allowing each professional classification to be separated.

Becker (2015), adheres to SPJ’s Code of Ethics in most aspects. According to SPJ’s Code of Ethics, “Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.” Does take some steps to verify information and report accurate information, however there are parts of the blog that Becker (2015) fails  to provide full information or links to the past news story. Becker (2015) writes in his October 24th, 2015 post, “County Attorney Daniel Hay good told the Board of Commissioners last year it could reallocate funds in SPLOST if it produces less money than projected. The county did just that in 2014.” Here, no follow up with updated information on what exactly was done in the year prior backs up this statement about reallocated funds.

The rise of citizen journalists and bloggers has changed the way we receive knowledge and what we know. Adapting the skills and acquiring the education necessary to be a successful journalist is critical when producing scholar news stories. Although “non-professionals” can show good judgement and assemble solid news stories with credible information, the lack of journalistic approach is still present. According to Ward (2010), these “non-professionals” should not be called journalists unless they have the necessary developed through education and years of training to honor SPJ’s Code of Ethics.

References

Becker, L. (2015). Oconee County Development Authority Contemplating How to Spend Future Sales Tax Money. Retrieved October 25, 2015, from http://www.oconeecountyobservations.org/

Robinson, A. (2013, April, 15). 7 Signs You Might be a Professional Blogger [Independent Fashion Bloggers]. Retrieved from http://heartifb.com/2013/04/15/7-signs-might-be-professional-blogger/

Society of Professional Journalists (2014). Code of ethics. Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

Ward, S. (2010). Digital Media Ethics. Retrieved October 25, 2015, from http://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/resources/digital-media-ethics/http://ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/resources/digital-media-ethics/

4-2 Blog: Mistakes, False News, and Errors

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The modern trend of “report now, apologize later” by news agencies is in written standards a violation of SPJ’s Code of Ethics.

However, I question, if every news agency abided by SPJ’s Code of Ethics, would their even be news?

We should expect more evidence to be verified before it is reported. This allows for accuracy and validity of sources so individuals can view the content and not jump to conclusions. In addition, as citizens we should demand the news immediate coverage of an event. Our desire for immediate information and gathering of knowledge proceeds the Code of Ethics that SPJ inspired long ago. Unverified reporting as Carter (2013) discusses has indeed dangerous consequences when it comes to breaking news such as the Boston Marathon bombings.

As the F.B.I said in their statement to the press, all journalists should “exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting” (Carter, 2013). This statement alone abides by SPJ’s Code of Ethics: to take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.

I find this issue a Catch-22. Although agencies and journalists should gather all facts before coming on national television or writing in a national newspaper a story, I agree with Steve Buttry (2010) blog post on SPJ’s Code of Ethics as in need of an update. Buttry (2010) writes that “the code should reflect the challenges, realities and values of good digital journalism.” SPJ’s Code of Ethics has not been revised since 1996, prior to the rapid development of the internet and social media platform communications.

Again, this increase in technology and desire for information quickly has provided the blame for the current trend viewers see, read and hear. As Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) elaborate on in Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload, when both authors discuss the “we media,” seen today (7). If everyone has access to news stories and details by browsing the internet, then how can one determine what is factual and what is inaccurate?

The ability to become one’s own “self-corrects- a kind of pure information democracy” (7), it is difficult abide by SPJ’s Code of Ethics that was last validated 20 years ago. Buttry’s (2010) view on SPJ’s Code of Ethic agrees much with Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) research. The lack of guidance for social media is present in the set of ethics.

Therefore, although the concept of “report now, apologize later” by news agencies is a violation of the SPJ’s Code of Ethics, it is still a part of the new content individuals see, read and hear today. How can SPJ’s Code of Ethics still be considered a code to be followed if it does not take into the account the age of information overload (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2010) we find ourselves living in today.

References

Buttry, S. (2010, November, 7). Journalists’ Code of Ethics: Time for an update? [The Buttry Diary]. Retrieved from https://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/journalists-code-of-ethics-time-for-an-update/

Carter, B. (2013, April 17). The F.B.I. Criticizes the News Media After Several Mistaken Reports of an Arrest. The New York Times, p. A18. Retrieved October 1, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/business/media/fbi-criticizes-false-reports-of-a-bombing-arrest.html?_r=0

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). How to Know What to Believe Anymore. In Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

Society of Professional Journalists (2014). Code of ethics. Society of Professional Journalists. Retrieved from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

3-1 Blog: Sources, Credibility, and Social Media

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“We know that something strange is going on out there” (Andersen, 2015).

Using the Criteria to Evaluate the Credibility of WWW Resources website to analyze the accuracy of a news article source, I have found that the credibility of an article lies within the text’s leading sources, the news publication’s network goals and most importantly, the journalist’s motives. The article used this week to partake in the class discussion this week on blog sources, credibility and social media is utilized through the Huffington Post, a known “electronic version of a credible print publication” (Helpful Hints, 1988) journalistic news site, is one many individuals chose as a “go-to” when receiving their daily breaking news.

The Most Mysterious Star In Our Galaxy article, written by Ross Andersen, on the front page of the Huffington Post new site, writes about extraterrestrial civilizations that scientists and astronomers believe exist on a distant star in our solar system. Andersen (2015) uses three sources in his article about a distant star. Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale, Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University and Andrew Siemion, the Director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ross Andersen, author of the article, writes about the three scientists coming up with their own published scholarly work about the mystery star. Together, “they want to point a massive radio dish at the unusual star, to see if it emits radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity” (Andersen, 2015).

The criteria to identifying credible sources in this week’s blog post suggests that “though many search engines rank material according to their idea of what is relevant, that doesn’t mean the material is relevant to want you want or is reliable” (Helpful Hints, 1988).

I consider this as I begin validifying the sources used in this article by Andersen (2015), I plugged in each source’s name into a search engine. Wishing to yield the most professional results first, I accessed Google Scholar as a way to dictate if the research being performed was indeed accurate. Tabetha Boyajian, was “verified email at yale.edu” with over 1322 cited articles with her name and scholarly work with astrophysics attached. In addition, Boyajian’s name appears on the department of astronomy at Yale University’s official educational site. Delving in deeper, I access the attached web page to Boyajian’s department page at Yale: http://www.astro.yale.edu/tabetha/Site/Welcome. This site shows me that this “Astronomer Royale” is in her postdoctoral fellow at Yale University. Boyajian’s research is discussed on her publications page that proves her scholarly work is credible and describes exactly what Andersen’s (2015) article on the “characterization of exoplanet host stars” (Bovajian, 2015) was about. By thoroughly checking into not just a search engine but going deeper into each site to eventually find the astronomer’s own personal page is as credible as it gets.

I followed the same routine for following the criteria to evaluate WWW sources to articulate the two other sources used in Andersen’s (2015) article. Jason Wright and Andrew Siemion are too apart of their University’s department of Astronomy pages. In addition, linked just like Bovajian’s, is each scholar’s education background and peer-reviewed literature by the astronomers which aims to solidify that these are in fact accurate sources that can make the claims made in Andersen’s article.

As mentioned, the sources accurately found credible to the article is important to the article’s background information and claims. However, just as significant is the journalist’s views and history within the content being written. The criteria to evaluate WWW sources articulates that a viewer must identify evidence that the author of the article has “some authority in the field about which she or he is providing information” (Helpful Hints, 1988).

Ross Andersen (2015), author of the article, has a blurb written about himself in the bottom right hand corner of the article itself. The “About the Author” section declares that “Ross Andersen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Science, Technology, and Health sections. He was previously deputy editor of Aeon Magazine” (Huffington Post, 2015). Seeing here that Andersen (2015) writes for a publication called The Atlantic gives me, as the reader, insight to his qualifications, credentials and connections to the subject being written about. To go further into validifying Andersen’s credentials, I found his publications on The Atlantic and his own personal website:http://www.rossandersen.com/. This website shows a solar system with the literature Andersen (2015) has written on a separate tab. Andersen’s (2015) title as a “senior editor” shows that he has experience, and the research he has done in his published publications prove that he has passion and reliable sources in each article written. Knowing this information validifies my own skepticism that Andersen (2015) writes about a topic he is familiar with, and uses credible sources to provide strength to the content in his articles.

After performing this criteria evaluation on the article ““The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy” and performing my own extensive research on credibility on the World Wide Web I have found that trusting information originating from “non-professionals” such as bloggers very difficult. As Kovach and Rosentiel (2010) mentioned, now that individuals have the access to information instantly, one can provide false answers. Having to then sift through more facts to access credible information is a skill I do not believe bloggers and other social media users utilize to their full potential to find accuracy. Kovach and Rosentiel (2010) agree that “if information is coming quickly and over abundantly, knowledge, paradoxically, is harder to come by” (p. 47). The spread of information through social media and other WWW sites allows for abundant knowledge. But if that knowledge is not being “backed up” by credible sources and journalists, what are we truly gaining?

Kovach and Rosentiel (2010) assert to viewers of all forms of news content to “look for journalism that has the humility to ask questions that cannot yet be answered, that acknowledges what it does not know, and that does not infer conclusions it cannot prove (p. 63). Andersen (2015) does this exact form of journalism by confirming that the news reporting he has done on this “mystery star” is not yet concluded. Andersen (2015) recognizes that the research being done is still ongoing- “we will have to content ourselves with longing looks at the sky, aimed between the swan and the lyre, where maybe, just maybe, someone is looking back, and seeing the sun dim ever so slightly, every 365 days” (Andersen, 2015).

References

Andersen, R. http://www.rossandersen.com/. Retrieved on October 14, 2015.

Andersen, R. (2015, October 13). “The most mysterious star in our galaxy.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved from  http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/10/the-most-interesting-star-in-our-galaxy/410023/ on October 14, 2015.

Bovajian, T. http://www.astro.yale.edu/tabetha/Site/Welcome.html. Retrieved on October 14, 2015.

Helpful Hints to Help You Evaluate the Credibility of Web Resources. (1988). Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin/web-eval-sites.htm

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). How to Know What to Believe Anymore. In Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.

1-3 Blog: Examining Media Use and Influence

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Welcome COMM-510! This will be the first blog post I will have ever written. I am excited to explore this form of new media as we discuss how it plays a role in our daily lives as students and as individuals.

The class text by Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload begins with the introductory chapters that argue how the media shapes beliefs and individuals have few opportunities to avoid this influence. In the age of information overload, one can find themselves adopting numerous forms of communication technology on a daily basis. As a consumer for new media, I am no exception.

My morning ritual begins with my smartphone, an alarm informs me the day has started. I begin by pouring myself a cup of coffee and then start mindlessly perusing emails that need to be answered, read news feeds on Facebook, my Yahoo account, CNN headlines, and the daily newspaper in my town. Once that is finished I am ready to head to work, but first I send a Snapchat to my sister who is away at school and send a quick text message to my parents informing them I am awake. Once at work, I am on the computer, accessing various healthcare data programs and filing information into an electronic system that is endless. In this time I am now checking my work email account and then my Supervisor’s email account, utilizing scheduling programs to allow access for her calendar. Lunch time arrives and I am eager to check Instagram, my online checking account if I can afford to make the shopping trip this weekend with friends and of course, a few more Snapchats and text messages must be sent. When evening arrives I arrive home to have my smartphone at my side, and homework begins, my laptop now serves as the new media I will utilize until the next day begins.

New media plays a very active role in my life. As a post graduate in the working world, going to school through an online program and aiming to pursue a career in the every changing techno-logic healthcare field, new media is not only a form of communications I adopt freely but  a necessary fundamental skill needed to achieve success in both personal and professional aspects.

I mentioned how new media reaches me directly, through the applications I utilize to the daily work requirements I perform. Yet, media reaches me indirectly as well. When I receive CNN updates, email notifications and text messages from friends, co-workers and family, I am partaking in that form of new media. However, when I sit down to watch a favorite show on cable television, my Netflix account and all other premium networks available, I am also partaking in indirect media. Every advertisement and closed captioning commercial viewed in between Ellen or Law and Order: SVU special, I am being utilized as a consumer apart of a target audience. When I am on a shopping site online, I am being targeted based upon previous purchases made. Indirectly and often subconsciously, I am interested and zoned in on what is being sold as content. Whether it is a product, service or brand, I now have the image and words in my mind that I would like to purchase this content. Hypercommercalism and brand entertainment (Baran, 2014) are two very common ways new media reaches any individual indirectly. Therefore, even if I am not personally typing that text message, sending that email or updating a status, I am still utilizing new media as a part of my daily life.

The media influences subconsciously derived from cable television, Internet and the written word do influence our perspective of world events. As an undergraduate, taking courses in journalism aided in my comprehension on why certain stories are headliners and how one should make the reader feel in regards to the headlines being placed in front of them. One professor informed the class of inspiring journalists to remember “If it bleeds, it leads.” I consider this phrase now and the power it has for the everyday consumer. When one turns on the television, opens the newspaper, or browses Internet news sources the question of validity is not often taken into question. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) discuss the power of media messages through such databases by stating “The problem these institutions face is that the Internet has decoupled advertising from the news” (p.7). Thus, if we read of only terrible events that are occurring in the world that is in fact how we will view the world. There is no question that top stories with tragic details do occur, however, with many bias news outlets and less factious stories being released, it is often difficult to decipher the truth from the falsities.

I do believe the media has the power to tell you what to think about but not what to think because we are individuals in a participatory culture in which we interact with numerous media influences both directly and indirectly. As media consumers, we must possess the fundamental skills necessary to become media-literate individuals who seek truth in what is being delivered in content. According to Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) these skills aide individuals on knowing how to evaluate information from various sources so that we can become those active participants in a new age of information overload (p.8).

The media has the power to shape beliefs, however the level of strength and direct the power has on individuals varies from the source used and the person the source is being influenced on. Media is often very persuasive and is nonetheless informative, even if the content being delivered is not completely accurate, it still has some effect on us as mentioned. It is human nature to conform to the most accepted beliefs of society in religious beliefs, politics, trends on the market and opinions of high power authority figures; we are easily influenced by what is being portrayed. These can either be positive or negative influences it depends on what content is being engaged by the consumer.

Beliefs can be cultivated over time through family history, educational backgrounds and the groups we find ourselves conforming to; however I believe the largest and most powerful influence is media. Continued exposure to specific content can result in small but measurable effects, but not as drastic as a newscaster informing an audience to perform a task and having the audience perform said task. Subconsciously, the consumers’ influenced have already a foundation of beliefs that have been taught over time, so one statement said by a media influence may not easily sway the individual completely, yet there is an effect there that the source has just impacted and it is our responsibility as media-literate active participants to decipher what that impact will be. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2010) discuss this influence in the last paragraph of Chapter 2 in Blur: How to Know What’s true in the Age of Information Overload by questioning the influence media has with one’s beliefs, “the reality of the change is not the end of one media and the rise of a new “we media” culture but a blending that is tending toward a new way of knowing” (p.7).

Information revolutions outlined in Chapter 2 of Blur: How to Know What’s true in the Age of Information Overload, have resulted in ways of knowledge changing. Beginning with the Printing Press to evolving to radio, television and resulting in the current digital technology and consumer choice we have now, one can see the evolution of the information revolution.

The power of media has changed completely, beginning with the written word moving towards cable television, to the consumer information we have now, accessible to anyone anytime. The information revolution has changed the way we receive information, “each advance in communications technology has made it easier to learn about the world around us,” (p.24). However, as Blur: How to Know What’s true in the Age of Information Overload states, the impact of the printing press was just as profound as the impact of the internet has on individuals today (Kovach and Rosenstiel, 2010). Therefore, although the amount of time information can be retrieved increased with the Internet, the impact the Printing Press had on individual’s centuries ago is no different. In turn, the effect the Internet has on individuals today will be no different than the effect a new form of information revolution will have on individual’s centuries from now.

References

Baran, S. (2014). Mass Communication, Culture, and Media Literacy. In Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2010). How to Know What to Believe Anymore. In Blur: How to Know What’s True in the Age of Information Overload. New York: Bloomsbury.