Melbourne flooded by AFL fans for the Annual Grand Final Parade

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View of the Parade taken from Bourke Street. (Source: James Keogh)

Melbourne CBD was inundated with thousands of AFL fans come to watch tomorrow’s Grandfinal

From La Trobe to Flinders Street Railway Station and all the way along Swanston, the streets were covered in a sea of purple and gold as parading AFL fans marched their colours. The parade is an annual event celebrated by Grand Final competitors, this year the Fremantle ‘Freo’ Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks. Despite have the home-ground advantage, the Docker’s purple most definitely outweighed the Hawk’s gold amongst the crowd.

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Trevor, the loyal ‘Freo’ fan waving a Dockers flag. (Source: James Keogh).

Demonstrating his passionate loyalty, Trevor Phelan stood on the corner of Bourke and Swanston heroically waving his Dockers flag. Trevor flew in with his three buddies on a routed flight from Perth to Sydney to Melbourne late last night and this morning.

“In Sydney it’s like any other day”, Trevor said, “We all got odd looks coming through the airport wearing our dockers [apparel].”

“But here, now in Melbourne, I look normal, I can walk up to anyone and have a laugh and a drink”.

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The Capitol Theatre on Swanston Street celebrating the Grand Final. (Source: James Keogh).

The Capitol Theatre, located in the heart of the parade, showcased beautiful gardens dedicated to the team’s colours, whilst many shops welcomed Docker fans by selling Fremantle jerseys, flags, scarfs and more.

The whole CBD was in lockdown, with all the trams running through the city on hold as the parade ensued through to the afternoon. The game which kicks off tomorrow at 2:30 is expected to reach a record high in attendance, with many more enjoying the game from the comfort of their pubs.

Michelle Carli, behind the bar at the New Quay Hotel during game tomorrow awaits what she called “The busiest day of the year”.

“It’ll be crazy!” she claimed, “with such a turn out at the parade today there will be many drinks for fans celebrating and in sorrow after the game.”

False Balance: Where ‘presenting’ a ‘balanced argument’ is not in fact balanced

Photo courtesy of theorstrahyun.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of theorstrahyun.blogspot.com

It is often perpetuated, and in most part blatantly obvious, that the media often presents unbalanced representations, arguments and agendas. This was evident with the News Corp coverage of the 2013 Australian election. Throughout the election run-up, News Corp effectively ran their own campaign to discourage the Rudd-led ALP government (as depicted to the left).

The Media Watch video below further demonstrates this obvious unbalanced media coverage by the Murdoch Press.

http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3844761.htm

This bias effectively defeats the purpose of journalism, so why bother reporting on an issue that doesn’t inform but in fact attempts to persuade the responder?

As Ward states,

One of the common ethical principles in news reporting is that journalists cannot be both observers and participants in an event on which they are reporting… in other words, ‘avoid entangling alliances’.” (pp.14, 2009)

Ward addresses this with a simple example. If a Catholic reports about the Vatican, are they ‘entangling alliances’? and what if it was reported by an atheist? (pp.14, 2009).

Therefore it was seem vital that a journalist, or other form of informative media, should present a fair and balanced argument on an issue, addressing both sides equally. This is identified by Ward, as he claims,

…the SPJ Code of Ethics urges reporters to ‘give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid’ (pp.14, 2009)

This is logical, as it requires the reporter to not just provide a one-sided agenda, as that could jeopardise democracy (like the 2013 Australian election for example). However, has it ever occurred to you that presenting what appears to be a ‘balanced’ argument can in fact be unbalanced? Consider this with the current argument on Climate Change.

cc-infographic-final_-1250

Past and current views on Climate Change

As depicted in the info graph to the left, climate change isn’t a modern ‘invention’. Nevertheless reporters are currently balancing the debate on climate change by offering equal or disproportionate space to climate change skeptics or opinions on climate change, rather than reporting actual scientific evidence. This concept, known as false balance, is where the media presents an issue as being balanced between the two (or multiple) viewpoints, despite contradicting evidence. This is evident as Lyytimäki claims, “media publicity can highlight both true warnings and false alarms, and there is no easy way of separating these from each other.” (pp.29, 2009).

Ultimately one key problem that Lyytimäki addresses is how climate science can be a temperamental news story (pp.30, 2009). Findings have the potential of  “information overload, which also contains exaggerations, oversimplifications and misunderstandings” (pp.30, 2009). So it is understandable why a journalist may not report on scientific evidence, as it may not serve as a reliable story.

Record breakers in this year’s January.

The issue of climate change, although controversial, is fairly conclusive around the globe (The info graph to the right distinguishes this for Australia). Therefore, as Lyytimäki states, “In addition to better ecological literacy, better media literacy is also needed” (pp.32, 2009). Rather than present a ‘balanced’ argument between opinions on climate change and scientific evidence, the media should in fact educate audiences.

False balance is a very contentious concept; it not only misrepresents very important issues but journalists who are ‘entangling alliances’ are defended by their SPJ Code of Ethics to voice arguments ‘fairly’. So how do we counteract this problem? Do we, as Lyytimäki claims, enforce journalists to educate rather than ‘report fairly’? Or should we have a council that regulates false balance reporting?

Either way, perhaps now is a better time than any to question what you’re told by the media (if you haven’t already).

Sources:

Lyytimäki, J 2009, “Mulling over the climate debate: Media education on climate change”, Journal of Sustainable Development, vol. 2, no. 3.

Ward, B 2009, “Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty”, Ethics Sci Environ Polit, vol. 9, pp.13-15

Media:

Murdoch Press: http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/breaking-news-newscorp-reveals-newscorp.html

Media Watch – ‘Final Tele Tally’: http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/breaking-news-newscorp-reveals-newscorp.html

CC is happening now: http://www.greenhomeandgarden.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/climate-change-now-tile.jpg

Record in Aus: http://staging.climatecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/The-Angry-Summer-Map1.jpg

 

Global News Media… is it actually global?

What is Global News Media? Is it media with a global reach? or is it media that reports on events and issues globally?

In fact, Global News media could be identified as transnational media, where “creators, objects, and consumers of news are less likely to share the same nation-state frame of reference” (Reese, 2010). This is evident as more consumers are flocking to international or non-western forms of media for their news. This is demonstrated by Lee-Wright, who argues that Foreign News, although offering a distraction from “discomforts at home, but also exposes stresses and strains within news organisations” (2012, pp. 1).  Furthermore Lee-Wright claims “Arab media had already begun to challenge the unipolar tendencies of Western media” (2012). This is evident with the rise of news organisations, such as the reputable Al Jazeera network.

Screenshot of the Al Jazeera website

Screenshot of the Al Jazeera’s website’s Home Page

As depicted in the picture the left, the Al Jazeera home page displays key news stories from around the globe. Surprisingly, there is a strong focus on African news, which is often underplayed in Western media.

So why does some news seem more important or more ‘newsworthy’ than others? For instance, why does the death of a music star, or the birth of a British Royal, or a massacre in the West deserve a whole day of coverage compared to other significant stories globally?

Martin Turner, Head of BBC Newsgathering Operations, describes the strong focus on Western news as “mainly a matter of funding” (Lee-Wright, 2012, pp.1). This is similarly described by ABC Middle East Bureau Chief Simon McGregor-Wood as “principally by budgetary constraint”(Lee-Wright, 2012, pp.1).

However, Anna McKane (2006, pp.1-5) argues that the following define what is newsworthy:

  • Frequency
  • Threshold or impact
  • Unexpectedness
  • Elite Persons/Nations
  • Negativity
  • Continuity
  • Unambiguity
  • Meaningfulness
  • Consonance
  • Human Interest
  • Conflict

Consider the death of Michael Jackson in reference to these points. Jackson’s death definitely falls under several of these categories. Firstly, as a world-renown music icon, Jackson can be considered an ‘Elite Person’. Furthermore the death itself was extremely unexpected, but also negative. Lastly, the death caused a lot of conflict with an inquiry and subsequent trial into his overdose.

Lost in Translation: Is Comedy a Universal Language?

Inbetweeners: A worldwide success - so why have an American version?

Inbetweeners: A worldwide success – so why have an American version?

Is comedy truly translated? Is what one culture finds humorous have the same effect on another culture?

Susan Purdie in Comedy: The Mastery of Discourse argues that comedy is about breaking the rules of language and behavior, but first we have to know what the rules are and while all cultures may laugh at the same kind of rules being broke, the rules may be different in different contexts.

Considering Purdie’s argument, it would be presumed that Australia, UK and the US (being Western countries) would be able to translate comedy easily. However, with notable exceptions (such as The Office remake) comedy has proved to translate with much difficulty.

One example on Britain’s E4 channel, which is well-known for its television successes such as The Inbetweeners, Skins, and Misfits. The Inbetweeners has so far spawned 3 seasons and a very successful movie and is very popular for its dark and awkward humor.

The TV series was then remade on US’ MTV, but was an immense failure and cancelled following its first season due to a lack of ratings, despite the massive popularity of the original. Critics of the American version argue that the actors in the US version lacked the authenticity that the UK perfected. Sue Turnbull addresses this in her article, claiming performance plays a large part into the success of comedy. So, similar to how a joke being repeated eventually loses its humour, perhaps this can be applied to television comedy as well.

As depicted in the video below, the joke isn’t anymore original or more funny (does anyone even use ‘turd’ anymore?).

So how can one predict whether a comedic television show will translate effectively? well as Turnbull states

“The successful translation of a comedy depends not only on the translation of the cultural context from one locale to another, but also on the kinds of production deals which are made and the expectations about audiences which are the inferred.”

With so many factors depending on the success of the show, it can be a large gamble to translate a show from one culture to another. Or perhaps, in the case of The Big Bang Theory, its the laughing track that makes it successful.

Transnational Film: Where Movies Cross Borders

Whilst continuing with the Globalisation theme of the BCM 111 course we arrive at what is known as the Transnational Film Industry. Quite simply, it is a film industry like no other and unlike the international film industry, which focuses on movies produced outside Western nations, transnational films are films that “reach beyond national boundaries”. They are essentially a form of hybrid film that combines elements of different nations and cultures all into one singular media.

This concept is explored by Schaefer et al. claiming that “Scholars are increasingly predicting that Asian film industries, particularly those of India and China will wrestle control of global flows from Western dominance”. Schaefer et al. continues using the hybrid phrase ‘Chindia’ which refers to the “high level of cooperation between China and India as an economic challenge to the West”. Notice the negative connotation Schaefer et al. uses describing ‘Chindias’ soon takeover? If one thing is clear Transnational film is a pressing challenge to the West, and Hollywood apparently isn’t going down without a fight!

Some would argue that Hollywood is as strong as ever with massive hits like James Cameron’s Avatar that grossed $2.7 billion.

But hold on…

w0t?

huh?

Yes, as the DVD-launch spokesperson Rakeysh Omprakash confirmed, “Avatar borrowed from the Indian mythology”. A large part of the Avatar storyline, as Schaefer et al. describes, borrowed elements from the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Schaefer et al. provides explicit examples, such as:

  1. The blue skin of the Na’vi characters is the same traditional colours of the religious avatars Rama and Krishna
  2.  The plot focusing on the avatar-led offensive against foreign invaders
  3. The verbal description of the Na’vi as ‘blue monkeys’, referring to monkey army that supports Rama
  4. The Na’vi use weaponry like bows and arrows in the film Avatar, similar to Rama and his followers.

The increasing incorporation of Indian influence in Western film demonstrates the effect transnational film is having on the film industry, even in America.

Another example is Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Moulin Rouge’ released in 2001. The Australian-American film was very successful, being nominated for 8 Oscars. Try an take a guess of how many different nations/cultures are depicted within this scene of the film.

  1. The first dance scene is obviously Bollywood-esque… so that’s Indian/Hindi
  2. The leads, Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor are Australian and Scottish repectively
  3. Baz Lurhmann is also Australian
  4. ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Bestfriend’ originated from the Broadway musical ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’ and popularised by Marilyn Monroe – so that’s American
  5. And lastly, if you hadn’t forgotten, Moulin Rouge is a french cabaret in Paris.

That’s a whopping 5 different cultures/nation influences all in one scene!

In an interview on Moulin Rouge, Lurhmann stated:

“Catherine Martin (production designer and Luhrmann’s wife) and I went to India to work on “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” We went out one night and there was a big poster up for a Bollywood movie. I said, “Let’s go see that.” We did – 2,000 audience members, high comedy, high tragedy, brother kills brother, [they] break out in some musical numbers, all jumbled up together in 4 hours of Hindi. We thought that was amazing. So our question was, “Could we create a cinematic form like that? Could a musical work?” A musical must be able to work in western culture again, and could it be comic-tragic? So then began this commitment of moving toward “Moulin Rouge.” I decided I’d do “Romeo + Juliet” and then a musical film.”

So it is quite evident that Transnational films are impacting quite heavily on the film industry, and in fact without the “wrestle” or “challenge” that Schaefer et al. claims.

JOUR101: Interview Commentary on Sir David Frost

Sir David Frost, who passed away last week at 74, is most well-known for his original and daring interview style. His infamy catalysed following his interview with US President Nixon in 1977 where Frost pressured Nixon into a confession on the Watergate Scandal. The interview, which was televised to over 45 million people made David Frost a household name.

However, Frost is heavily criticised for skipping over a very controversial point in his 2007 interview with former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

 

 

Bhutto claimed that Osama Bin Laden had been dead since 2001, and was killed by Omar Sheikh. The revelation, as clearly depicted in the interview, went unchallenged by the legendary interviewer. Was it that he just wasn’t paying attention? Perhaps a senior moment? Or maybe Frost decided not to open the ‘Pandora Box’ that Bhutto presented.

Unfortunately Bhutto was assassinated two months later and further follow-up is impossible. Many assume that Bhutto simply mis-spoke. Nevertheless Sir David Frost missed out on what could have been one of the most pivotal interview revelations in history.