MCJ 101 Media Journals

Print Is Not Dead

My favorite book, or my most-read book, is Stephen Chobotsy’s Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I read it during the winter months when things get colder and when I’m not doing well. I read it sometimes when I am doing well, just for perspective.  I have read it more than I have read any other book, and for a person who hates watching re-runs and hearing the same story over and over, I feel this says a lot.  I have given this book to my closest friends to read, and although this does not help the author, I feel this is the same thing as a public library system – people aren’t possibly more likely to buy physical copies now-a-days, but the process of book lending will never cease to exist.  I have never seen someone around my age walking around with a Kindle or Nook or even reading a book on their phone.  There’s something different about having a physical copy of a book in your hands.  You can highlight things that stick out to you, you can make comments in the margins, and you can make reading the book a really profound experience.  Print literature will never be dead because people can’t have these experiences on an ebook.  You can see where tears have landed on the page from when words have deemed an emotional response.  You can see how worn and well-loved the book is, which is a standard of selecting a book, in my opinion.  Reading is a really emotional experience, especially for the young adult demographic who are trying to understand life and find relatable stories through literature.  Once when I was in high school, my sophomore English teacher required us all to purchase a copy of John Green’s Looking for Alaska to read and we had to mark pages, searching for symbolism and highlighting important lines or things that spoke to us.  Reading like that is really special and I don’t thing you can do that through an e-book and have the same experience.  On the same note, people can also have a signed copy of a book or even get multiple editions of the same book to collect, which is an unique experience only physical book lovers can experience.  Print’s not dead; people are always going to have a special connection to a book, like I have with Perks of Being a Wallflower.  And this is why I will always advocate for a physical book over an electronic one.

Representation in the Media Industry

In Aziz Ansari’s Netflix original, Masters of None, there is an episode dedicated to investigating the subtle racism in the television/movie industry.  Aziz Ansari is an Indian man who is on the pursuit of becoming an actor.  He goes on many casting calls and finds that casting directors are  less likely to hire a non-white person for no legitimate reason.  He speaks about how they always want him to speak in a stereotypical Indian accent, although that is not what his normal voice sounds like.  He refused to do it, and another man who was willing to do the accent was hired instead.  He then went on another casting call where they told him that they had too many people of color on the show already, and did not want to hire him because of that.  I think shows like these are doing a lot of help to shine the light on these problems, and I think a lot of people are more vocal nowadays about institutionalized racism in the media, which I view as a good thing.  Shows like Orange Is The New Black, Parks and Recreation, and The Office, that have a diverse case do very well to break down these barriers and they generally get a more positive response from audiences.  I think that the media needs to shine light on a more diverse group of people instead of focusing on the same white actors that they have been praising for years and years.  It’s better for the business and it’s better for the people all-around.

You Are What You Read

In Gillian Flynn’s novel Gone Girl, there is a paragraph about how all our personalities come from the people we admire, television, music, and movies.  All we are is a collection of personality traits we’ve borrowed from other people. It says, “It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.” I definitely agree with this, although I think it’s a bit more complicated than that.  We see people who we think have a cool style, or we get inspired by things and so we try and incorporate that into our lives.  I don’t think that’s copying anyone, I just think that we’re all trying to figure out who we are and so we’re trying out things to see what we like and what we don’t like.  It’s all very much trial-and-error.  I think people get inspired by what they see on movies, tv, or the media in general and they try to be like that, too.   However, the trouble with this is in body image, obviously, because people try and obtain unrealistic goals.  However, I personally don’t think it’s such a bad thing that models are photoshopped to death.  I think that the whole body positivity campaign is a good thing to combat this, but I don’t think it’s needed.  I think it’s up to parents to teach their kids that people in magazines aren’t real and that people don’t actually look like that.  As long as you can differentiate from the glamour world displayed in magazines and the real world, you’ll be fine.

Trial By Media? 

The case of whether Amanda Knox killed her roommate, Meredith, has grabbed media attention since the vey beginning.  The Netflix documentary about this crime, Amanda Knox, brings into question if the media influences court decisions.  Indirectly, I believe it did in this specific case.  There is a certain pressure the media puts on investigators to release new information as fast as possible.  However, as a credible forensic scientist, that obviously shouldn’t affect the quality of the investigation.  Realistically it does and did in this investigation.  There was a shokingly poor investigation – it was rushed, investigators went into the crime scene without any type of protective suit, gloves were not change frequently, and the crime scene was very much unsterile.  Amanda’s private writings were released into the media, and collectively everyone judged her character by that and did not like what they saw, so they wanted her to be sentenced to prison.  I really do think if the case had not gained national attention, Amanda would not have been sent to prison to begin with, because there would not have been pressure on the judge, the investigators would have taken their time, and it would not have been such an emotional case.  I think that the media ultimately isn’t the problem, but investigators need to learn how to balance their work and how it is affected by the media to lessen it.

The Change in Advertisements

Typically, advertisers have always used the same sort of standard in creating commercials. They would tell what the product is, what it does, and why people should buy it.  There was no real storyline to it.  Commercials were simple but maybe not as effective.  Today they have drawn away from that and led more to a story-telling way of doing things.  For example, in a Budweiser Super Bowl commercial, they showed a person playing with his dog, and how they had this amazing bond together.  The owner went out for a drink and told the dog he would be home.  Then you could hear police sirens, leading the viewer to believe that the owner died in some sort of drunk driving incident.  However, the owner came home and the dog was happy.  The commercial ended with a “drive responsibly” PSA tagline.  Budwiser was only mentioned at the end of the PSA with their logo, but the commercial was centered around the dangers that alcohol can bring to people.  That was a wildly successful commercial, and I think that sort of set off the explosion in trying to tell a story in commercials.  It’s my personal favorite way of commercials being made, and I can see why people like it.  People want to be entertained, and that’s precisely what they’re doing.  It’s smart, innovative, and enjoyable.

Native Advertising 

I like to think of myself as a somewhat smart person.  I can usually pick up on native advertising, especially within Buzzfeed articles where it is done quite a lot.  There’s a trend of the same company’s products being used, and at the end it even says “this article was sponsored by Clorox” or whichever company is being advertised.  What I have started to recently notice is native advertising within Television shows.  On Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, a show mimicking Saturday Night Live, the producer was informed of the need to integrate product placement in the show.  Fey says no, that doing that is annoying and she does not want any part of it.  Within the same episode, they mock product placement by talking about Welch’s fruit drinks (or another product; I don’t really remember) but this continues for the remainder of the season.  The whole thing is done in a jokingly manner, but it still is interesting to see how advertising plays a role into Television shows.  Likewise, in Netflix’s Fuller House, there is a more obvious promotion for projects and items.  Lori Laughlin was in a Hallmark movie, and on Fuller House, one of the characters says “Lori Laughlin’s Hallmark movie will be on Saturday, December 24 PST”.  This is acceptable to do, because Lori Laughlin is on Fuller House, and so it is done as a joke, but there is so much native advertisement in Fuller House. They mention companies by name, such as Uber, Elizabeth and James, and others.  It’s really interesting to see where native advertising will take us.

Politics and The Media

I think in this day and age, people need to take everything they read with a grain of salt and put it into perspective.  This is especially true with political articles from unrepeatable sources.  I know people who genuinely believe The Onion is a reputable source and they share it on Facebook like they’re preaching God’s word and they stand by everything said in the article.  The Onion is obviously a satirical website, but some people read it and they go by it and then they vote using information they’ve read on that website.  Similarly, people who only watch Fox News or NBC or any other singular news outlet are more likely to be swayed to vote for a particular candidate.  I think the solution to this is to watch news from different sources.  People need to read more broadly and see things from other people’s perspectives.  The problem isn’t the media per say.  They’re owned by huge corporations and obviously are biased because of this.  The problem is that people are so stuck to one single way of thinking because of the news that they read/watch and refuse to hear any other opinions. With something so important as politics, I think it’s vital that people try and be as well-informed as possible, along with getting their information from a wide variety of sources.

How Rock and Roll Changed the World

It always baffles me how people blame music for problems in the world.  Rock and Roll was blamed for teenagers acting out and being rebellious.  Rap is blamed for a multitude of problems.  Pop music isn’t taken seriously because of the demographic of listeners being teenage girls.  Focusing on Rock and Roll, the music has a history of people putting blame on it for being too influential.  Truth be told, it has been influential.  Joan Jett was tired of seeing no female rock and roll artists, so she herself became the first one with her formation of The Runaways and they influenced girls all over the world to take a stand and do whatever they want to do, regardless of if it’s a male-dominated field or not. David Bowie influenced people all over the world to do whatever they want, regardless of gender normalities.  Rock and Roll has told people that they can do and be whoever they want. I’m thankful every day for Rock and Roll music. It hasn’t caused problems; it’s fixed them.

iTunes, Spotify, and The Internet Today

I never bought music on iTunes unless someone gave me an iTunes card for Christmas.  I would always much rather get a physical CD or vinyl as opposed to digital music.  I also never really liked Pandora, because you could never go back and listen to only the songs you had favorited.  This all changed when I discovered Spotify.  I love Spotify.  I don’t pay for premium, but I don’t mind the commercials.  Spotify is my favorite because you can put together playlists, follow your friends, and search for artists and specific songs to listen to.  Best of all, you can do this without paying a price.  iTunes let you search for things, but if you tried to listen on the iTunes store it would only play for about ten seconds.  I just don’t think paying for digital music is a good idea.  I change a lot, as does my music taste.  What happens if I no longer listen to Christina Aguilera yet I still have her  songs on iTunes that I paid for?  I can’t give the album to my friends for them to enjoy like I can with a physical CD.  I’ve effectively wasted all of my money.  With Spotify, I can listen to whoever I want to without committing to listening to them for the rest of my life. It’s a win-win situation and is why I will always choose Spotify over any other steaming service.

Magazines and The Future of Print Media

I’m not really a magazine type of girl, but my mom is.  She buys a lot of Woman’s World magazines when she goes into Walmart and she hoards them in a little shoe box in our house.  I’ve always preferred books to magazines, but this year I actually spent money on two.  I had been reading a blog called The Messy Heads that’s all about finding yourself and being the best version of yourself possible.  The people who run it are around my age and so I really identify with them and the topics they discuss..  In addition to running their blog, they also have Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube accounts that are all very creatively cultivated.  My favorite thing that they have put out is their bi-annual magazine of the same name, The Messy Heads.  They are fifteen dollars a piece and I recently bought their two latest (and only) additions.  They’re a relatively new company, started in November of last year, but they have quite a large following.  Their twitter account has 6,000 followers, while their editor-in-chief and primary writer for both the blog and magazine has 10,000. I think a reason why it is so successful is because they integrate media from their followers.  Readers can submit digital art, poems, articles, or other writings to be featured in the blog or magazine.  It’s really nice to see that come together and be so cohesive with the theme of the blog and I think that’s why I like it so much.  It’s an amazing thing that they’re doing and I think companies should pay attention to them because they’re doing everything right.  They’re authentic, original, and inspiring.

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