Week 16: Discussion Questions

This post may be done for extra credit and is not required. Your original post is due by Thursday on your class blog.

What role does the American media, especially television, play in political campaigns and how might these campaigns use media to try to influence voters? Use a specific example from the 2008 presidential campaign- it may come from your readings or a personal experience.

American media plays a huge roll in political campaigns. Campaigning uses the media to get their message out. Most of the money that is spent in these campaigns is used for political campaigning, especially television. The 2008 campaign would not be a very good example for me to use since I have nothing to compare it too (My first voting experience). But I do remember seeing a lot of ads for the campaigns. I remember receiving a ton of emails relating to the campaigns too. It seemed like every couple hours I would receive a email from David Ploufe or David Axelrod. They also use the media in ways in which they do not need to spend money. The campaign just needs to send one of their media relations people out in front of some cable news camera. Since that was my first election, I was very in-tuned with the 24-hour news cycle. And every time I changed the channel I saw Robert Gibbs speaking to some reporter. This is a very good tool to use.

And I do not know if this relates to this topic or not but I remember something specifically in the Obama campaign and Fox News. The Obama campaign, and still to this day for that matter, does not treat Fox News the same as they would to other news related organization. They did this early in the campaign saying that they are not a legitimate news organization. Which is true, that network openly wanted him to lose and McCain to win. Maybe they thought if people saw that Obama would not appear on the network than  the network’s might be distorted or untrue. Which in return would allow the viewer know real facts about the candidate, instead of hearing about his “terrorist fist jabs” with his wife. But I do not think they did that for that specific reason. They know that Fox is a niche audience of a niche audience. It is for those who want to watch their right wing talk radio on television. Basically the people who were going to watch Fox are going to watch Fox anyways.

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Media Journal, Part 5

I cannot really pick out an actual show that does not provide stereotyping. 30 Rock on NBC over stereotypes to mock stereotyping. The writers for 30 Rock know that their that audience is intelligent and they use this for an underlying satire for the show. Which for me makes the show even funnier. Liz Lemmon is a writer for a struggling TGS show on NBC. They make it seem like writers do not have lives outside of work or that they are so pathetically comfortable at where their life is they do not want to be better. Jack Donaghey is the head of NBC programming . His character is ultra big business, obsessed with rising to the top, and completely self loathing and narccistic. Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney are actors on TGS that are obsessed with their own stardom. Tracy portrays the dumb comedian that does whatever he wants with no reproccusions but for some reason is always beloved. Viewers and the media believe he can do no wrong. Jenna will do whatever she can to be noticed. She does not care how be people percieve her, just as long people percieve her in the first place. She wants the attention Tracy gets, but has to work so much harder for it because Tracy gets attention naturally. She, like Jack, is completely narccistic. 30 Rock portrays these characters in extreme versions of what their character would be like in real life. And I believe that they do this because they know that their audience can see through the stereotypes and understand it to a way in which it is not offensive to anyone.

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Week 15: Discussion Questions

List and explain three ways the Internet has changed consumers’ news habits. Will these trends continue, and how do they fit in with how you view news and information on the Internet?

Internet has made people want news faster than ever. Before, we thought television gave instantaneous information, but the Internet has television beat in regards of speed. Internet has also shortened the attention span of news readers/listeners. They no longer have the time or the will to read or listen to everything. On the Internet people search for specific news and that is what they read. On a program or a newspaper a person has weed out the stuff they do not care about. This have essentially given newspapers and radio a backseat to the Internet. Also some people do not even get their news from news corporations anymore. Some people read them off Twitter feeds, Facebook posts or blogs. This includes myself. I read blogs and Twitter feeds all the time. I still go to major news organization’s websites too.

I believe this trend will continue. Once people have it easier, they do not want to change back to the old ways. I do not think this is the end of news corporations. I believe they will evolve with the times. News corporations has transitioned from print, to radio, then to television. It survived those three obstacles, so I undoubtedly think they will be capable of making the transition to the Internet just fine.

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Week 14: Discussion Questions

The digital divide refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital information and those with very limited or no access at all. It includes the imbalance both in physical access to technology and the resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen.

Why does the digital divide exist? Give one example of an action by government, corporations or individuals that would help eliminate this divide, either nationally or globally.

This divide exists because either people do not have access to computers and other new technologies or people who do have the means or the access to these technologies like to remain ignorant so that they can stay in their stone age. I believe one issue is schools. There is a huge amount of inner city schools in poor neighborhoods that are neglected in funding and in some areas this is getting worse. Part of the funding goes is for up to date technology which correlates into new computers and awareness on how to get digital information. I know that Bill Gates is involved with helping poor schools with money and new equipment. Other corporations can get involved too and I believe that it is important that they do so. The government can intervene in this process by an increase in spending towards education. There are also less and less local public libraries. Libraries provide access to computers and internet service. Libraries also carry books, who would of thought, that specialize in technologies. The local government needs to increase their funding in libraries. Once there is an access to these technologies, then there can be a knowledge of them. If there is no equipment, then there is no need for knowledge or skills for it.

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Week 13: Discussion Questions

As times and technologies have changed, TV news journalists are now facing the same challenges as Murrow did – coping with a new medium, the Internet. Can today’s journalists (both TV and Internet) make the same kind of impact as Edward R. Murrow did in radio (and later, television)? What specific challenges does the Internet bring to news journalists? Is there an Internet news organization that you find to have more impact than any of the traditional mediums? If so, detail why; if not, detail why not.

I have no doubt that TV journalists and commentators can make this transition. In fact one could say that the transition has already been made. Many television commentators have their shows posted online, and have been able to for quite some time now. Many have been blogging and tweeting as well. Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow are two examples that come to mind of whom have made this transition. Grant it, neither one really had to make a hard transition since neither are old-timers or something, but both have their cable shows posted on the web. They both have blogs in which they constantly update and both tweet daily from their twitter accounts. Demographics show that both of these journalist/commentators are very very popular with younger viewers, and I believe they are because of how they use the internet. I believe the biggest challenge for television journalists is to more or less understand these new mediums for themselves. There are plenty that would like to remain ignorant with the power of the internet, like they believe it is some kind of fad. They need to understand that making the jump will most likely prolong their career. I think that the Huffington Post is the Beatles of Internet News. The Huffington Post is huge. I believe they are just as big and have as much of an impact as any news paper or news organization in the country. They have many writers, columnists and commentators that contribute. They also post news stories from the AP and Reuters. AOL acquired the Huffington Post back in February for $315 million just to merge with them. A recent estimation shows that Huffington Post has a base of 270 million people around the world.

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Week 11: Discussion Questions

What is the influence of ratings on television economics, and what influence do they have on television programming? What was the purpose of expanding the tracking service in 2007 and its impact on programming and audience development?

Ratings has all influence television. Ratings decide whether a television show stays or goes. If people do not watch the program, then what purpose does it serve? Ratings dictate revenue from advertising. Advertisers see what is highly rated when it comes to viewers, and then they approach the network that is showing that program to purchase advertisement time during that program’s block. The advertisers pay for the program. If a show is has poor ratings or is controversial, they advertisers will pull away from the program too. I believe that the purpose for Nielsen’s expansion was to get a truer rating. They were missing out on a lot of restaurants, bars, gyms and airports where people watched television for a significant period of time. This would mostly help sporting events because that is what usually dominates the restaurants and bars. Gyms and airports mostly have cable news or ESPN on. I believe this expansion has risen the asking price for advertisement time during sporting events. This system shows that more people are watching, which means more people are witnessing the different commercial. The advertisers would obviously notice this and so do the programmers. The addition of the voice recognition cellphone tracking device Nielsen came up with was brilliant. It is unrecognizable since it is on a cell phone. That helps with the validity of the system and its portability because it is on a cell phone is also great. The voice recognition is the best part. The phone recognizes the program by the audio of it. Now that can cause a problem for a lot of places because they do not put the audio on, but when they do it’s great. The person in possession of the phone does not have to press any buttons, call it in, or do anything to make them look suspicious.

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[In-Class] Public Television

What role does public television play in the U.S.?

Public television offers Americans with unbiased commercial free programming.  Public television has a variety of programs like Frontline, Nova and Antiques Roadshow.  P.B.S. says that they are “America’s largest classroom, the nation’s largest stage for the arts and a trusted window to the world.”

How are the methods of reporting/discussion different from network or local TV news? How do the hosts and topics compare? What was your overall impression of the show?

The methods of reporting are not as politically bias as they would be on stations such as Fox and CNN.  The coverage and stories are typically more in depth than segments you would find on corporate news stations.  Unless it was a special investigation of some sort, the major news stories on large corporate stations are typically a couple of minutes long as opposed the twenty minute segment we saw in class.  The topics on stations like CNN and Fox are typically political were on public television if the topics are political they try to present the information from both sides of the spectrum.  Fox would tell you that they are “fair and balanced” but the vast majority of their coverage is conservatively biased.  Public television is much more fair and balanced than Fox or CNN will ever be and public television is the only media outlet in which you will find such coverage of the news.    The overall impression I got from the show we watch in class was good.  I really enjoyed how in depth and informative the story was.  You never get that on any news station and if that same story was on Fox or CNN then they would turn it into a political debate.  Prior to watching the story I had no idea the building discussed existed and would not have imagined what was going on there.  It was a very interesting story and I was influenced by the story to at least record a couple episodes of Frontline to give it a shot.

What are the economic challenges facing public broadcasting? What various sources of funding do public broadcast stations, such as CPB and PBS, rely on? How has public broadcasting responded to these economic struggles?

One of the economic challenges is the economy and the national debt.  The government spends a great deal of money on public broadcasting and with shortfalls of money public broadcasting is going to suffer.  Corporations that donate money to the stations do not have the funds they had in previous year so the economy is taking its toll.  There is even debate about whether the government should be funding these stations.  Public broadcasting is fighting back by commercializing to a minor extent.  They will have to continue to do so and one day we may no longer have a true public broadcasting station.

What are the pros and cons of having more corporate donors, who make corporate announcements before and after programs? ]

When I watch PBS and listen to NPR, they both feature advertisers before each segment. The pros are that the corporate donors provide a lot of the funding for them and allow both entities to stay afloat. Though both highly rely on public funding by private donations from the public; the corporate donors pump in most of the funding since they are advertised within the respective programs. The cons can be that there would be a perception that the corporate companies are running the news since they are advertised on them and if there is some kind of negative news that is tied in with the advertiser, PBS or NPR would not report it. In reality they would, and would drop them as a sponsor. Neither wants any part in controversy. I personally do not have a problem with it because I trust PBS and NPR, but I can see how the conspiracy theorists can have issues with it.

Does  “commercialization” dilute the quality or credibility of public television? Is there a future for publicly-funded television programs?

I do not believe it does. People still have a job to do and they cannot feasibly do it for free. I would hope that publicly funded television programs would have a future. It would be nice to not have as much commercialization in public television for “peace of mind”, but that is as far as I would take it. I know that NPR has been very successful. They have opened more NPR radio stations in the last year than any other type of radio station. It would be nice if it was publicly funded by regular citizens, but there currently is not enough support. Hopefully the success of NPR can correlate to television.

Matthew Herring

Anthony Cantu

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