Reflect.

Man-Mirror

Before I was asked to write this reflection, I didn’t really look back and see what I’ve written for the past 6 week. But WOW! I’m actually very impressed with myself! The name of my blog ‘Where’s the Seasoning’ represents my ideology of what lacked when I wrote prior to this degree, I just thought it needed some extra OOMF. I have noticed that my earlier posts are a little more bland then my more recent ones, but that’s what I wanted to achieve,  I wanted to grow as a creative writer. I’ve not only recognised this but I’ve also been intrigued, shocked and enlightened by how much of a role the media plays in society. It influences, controls and assists many facets of society. I never really recognised the media that much in everyday life. For example, I never really realised that most advertisements use semiotics to psychologically sway the viewer to buy their product. I mean who would have known that a pair of breasts would make you want to buy a watch? NEVER would have guessed that..

Also, reading some of my fellow classmates blogs have definitely helped me further understand the media’s role. This blog post especially really emphasised the fact that representation definitely shapes meaning. I love her own personal expression and opinion on her examples which makes it quite personal in a sense which makes the reader want to dive deeper into the mind of the blogger. Even the constructive comments on my posts lately have really shown that I’m understanding the concepts well.

The one topic that I had a bit of trouble writing was ‘Who controls the media?’ I just did not really know WHO owns the media and couldn’t really relate to it. I thought many companies had ownership such as all the television stations, all the different sort of magazines etc, and was quite shocked to find out that only a very few major, very rich and powerful people (eg. Murdoch) in fact do own the media. After grasping that concept and then explaining to my audience of how detrimental it is to society to put so much control into the hands of very few companies instead of spreading the control can really hurt us. That’s why I used the popularly known historical event (holocaust) to link history to media control.

My favorite blog I wrote was ‘The tribe has spoken’ because not only I’m obsessed with this TV show but learning about the ‘Mediated public sphere’ really made the show make sense. You don’t realise you are watching societal issues unfold when you are watching it in such a mockable and trivialised context. I also learnt that we all constantly participate in the public sphere which can be as simple as discussing those issues on forums.

All in all, I have learnt that due to limited media ownership you cannot believe everything the media tells you plus the media can greatly effect peoples ideologies. I strongly beleive this is why in this day and age there is so much emphasis on the importance of materialism. I have seen myself grow as a writer/blogger over the past 6 weeks and definitely now have more depth of knowledge about how the media plays so many different roles in society.

The Tribe has Spoken.

survivor-logo

18 castaways, 39 days, one sole Survivor! This is just one of the well known catchphrase spoken from the charismatic mouth of the one and only Jeff Probst season after season. He is the host of the hit reality show Survivor and must be doing an exquisite job if the show has been running and still is since the year 2000 and is in its 26th season. This has to be one of my favourite shows not only just from the challenges, drama and conflicting personalities that all add to the entertainment factor, but also brings up social issues to the notion of the ‘Public Sphere’. This concept might seem a little confusing but is the complete opposite as we are constantly being exposed to issues within it. Mr Jurgen Habermas is the man behind the concept and defines it as “the space in which citizens debate about common concerns”. It is also an open forum where anyone can put forth their voice. The media now plays a role in the concept of public sphere which is otherwise known as the ‘Mediated public sphere’. This is where survivor currently lay’s as well as most reality TV shows. Even though these reality shows are a form of the mediated public sphere, it is in a much more trivialised and is much more mockable *cough* A Current Affair *cough*.

So what has survivor been doing that has prolonged its existence for 26 seasons? It entertaining because it causes a stir with key social issue that are very much prevalent in today’s society. It implies to the audience through a game show type setting, issue’s such as the formation of relationships, lying, deceit, body image and strict contrasts in beliefs, personalities, sexualities, races, age etc.

This is the 13th season: Survivor Cook Islands. Even though this is just the intro to the show, do you see the issues brought to the public sphere? The four tribes are divided by their race, into Latinos, Asians, African American and Caucasian. This might imply current divides in American culture due to race. Even as I was scrolling down the comments I came across one ignorant viewer that stated “It’s ironic that the top 5 best characters this season are Adam, Jonathan, Flicka, Parvati and Candice” who are all from the caucasian tribe. This season caused up roar and reinforced race issues within American culture to this day, plus did I mention its portrayed through a game show with fake torches and sexy bikini bodies? Surely that can’t be true, but that’s what a ‘mediated’ public sphere is.

Furthermore, this tribal council when I watched it snuggled up on my couch wearing my survivor buff (just kidding) I thought it was the most hilarious/entertaining/fiery tribal council I’ve ever seen.


But now after learning the notion of the ‘mediated public sphere’, so many issues have come rushing to me out of nowhere. There is obviously strong contrasting personalities on this tribe. The loudmouth southern white man, the chilled out surfer dude, the stereotypical black woman conveniently called ‘Na onka’, the disabled woman and the ‘supposed’ gay guy. These are just the ingrediants for a total explosion. The producers want to make it challenging for the castaways to form healthy relationships. The castaways lying and cheating makes it even harder for this to happen. The loudmouth southern man (Shannon) is also an obvious homophobe by out of nowhere questioning and attacking Sash’s sexuality and using where he lives against him stating “there are a lot of gay people in New York”. Aside from the controversial personalities, look at the cast. How many of them are ugly? Virtually none. Who doesn’t like watching hot women and men frolicking around in tattered rags? Does this still indicate pretentiousness towards image? As you can tell, I’TS ABSOLUTELY BONKERS!

These are just many underlying social issues that are addressed in a seemingly trivial television show. But who cares, I just want to know who wins the million!!

Control, Control, Control!

Does the media really control us? Who controls the media? But the big questions are does it really matter who owns it and can we trust the media?

Now from my very limited pre-existing knowledge on who owns what media companies I was shocked to find out that Australia has a very small media landscape. The two major media owners are Fairfax and News corp. I was astonished to discover how much Fairfax actually owned being the largest diversified media company. They own so much of what we consume which include newspapers, radio and magazines . This being said, If just one single company can own so many media outlets, how much control do they have? You do the math.

This form of mass media control was very much prevalent through propaganda in the WWII era. How did the Nazi’s gain people’s trust, only to eventually cause extreme chaos? Through multiple media portals such as radio and video. Hitlers radio announcements made it very personal and intimate to the viewer which led to people gaining his trust. This propaganda video of the Terezin concentration camp shows what the Nazi’s wanted the Jews to think the camp would be like, but I actually went there when I travelled Europe and it is not what they want you to think. Watch this video from a Jewish persons perspective and understand the amount of influence/control it would have on them.


These examples show how easily just one person controlling multiple media outlets can control the viewers ideological state. Control, control, control.

Furthermore, think to yourselves, whats the difference between owning and controlling a Newspaper, TV news channel, Magazine or owning and controlling a media platform such as Facebook? There are very stark differences. Firstly, a newspaper or television is solely for consumption. This means that the creator can control what the users watch, read etc. It allows no personal opinion and is not open to the public for input. Whereas, the media platforms such as Facebook allow the public to freely express their opinion. They are essentially prosumers (consuming and producing). Owning either of these outlets have a type of control but I personally believe that owning a mass media outlet has more control because of the sheer influence it can have on people by purely just consuming.

To conclude, I personally think we can’t truly trust the media. They constantly cross the line which involves negative propaganda and poor ethics (which is shown in the phone hacking scandal). I do believe though however saying this, that the media does shape everyone to an extent, and that it does matter who controls the media. If the control is used negatively like we have seen many times in the past, who knows where the world of media is going to end up? As I stated before it’s all about control, control, control!

Oh thats a nice car. Wait, hold on why is there boobs in my face?!

What is this that you see? do you see an attractive woman, or do you see the car? Are you now more interested in the car? The answer for most of us men out there is *drumroll* yes for everything! No, not because we are sex-crazy cavemen but because of what is represented before us, which is part of the art of semiotics. Oh Semiotics, you sly sucker, you. Semiotics is now a major part of advertising media these days, if not all of it. Advertisers and marketers are figuring out the psychology of people and what attracts them to buy their product. Representation is key for a successful advert because it’s what creates the meaning for the consumer.

The advertisement presented cleverly uses colour, words and images to catch attention for their product using other attraction mechanisms. This controversial ‘sex sells’ approach to this advertisement of the car is quite witty. The Denotation of this image is obviously the sports car with a half-naked woman leaning quite seductively on the bonnet, with the words “Fuel Efficiency never looked so good” across the front. Now, their main product is obviously the woma..car, so whats the point of having all these extra distractions? The answer is because these distractions are connotations to create meaning. The target audience is obviously males as generally more men are interested in sports cars, therefore the woman bending over, exposed and in a very provocative and sexual manner will engage the viewer to the product. The colour of the writing which is white matches the womans skin colour, therefore linking/implying the message towards the woman. The striking red colour of the car strictly contrasts it against the other fairly pale colours to make the main product really stand out. Now the words “Fuel Efficiency never looked so good” possibly connotes that good-looking women are attracted to people who drive this car. But what meaning does these distractions create to the consumer? Do we think that buying this car will cause incredibly sexy women to chase after us? Realistically not to most us sadly, but that’s the ideology and myths that advertisers want to implant in us. Their representation of this product is aiming to create a meaning inside the consumers mind that is not necessarily realistic, this is semiotics. I’m not generalizing that all men have this ideology about women and cars, but im just trying to explain how controversial adverts like this can create unrealistic ideals.  Kate Bowles quote “Representation exists in a relationship to something else we call ‘reality'” from the reading ‘Representation and Textual Analysis’ effectively communicates the notion that Representations aren’t the real thing.

Its not me, Its the Media!

Why does the media always get the blame? Why do we seem to make excuses for certain situations in our society by simply putting the media at fault? Time for some Media Mythbusting!

Firstly, it is quite obvious and prevalent in society that the media definitely influences people’s fears and effects their behaviours. Media has caused anxiety in society for a very long time, since the 19th century even. This is mainly due to the introduction of ‘mass media’, it allows the media to be released to the mass (the audience). The first gateway of mass media dates back to when the very first steam printing press was created. Media anxiety comes from many strands of media such as Literature, film etc. For example the Slasher flick ’Wolf Creek’ created great anxiety for young travellers to hitchhike in remote and isolated areas. It also added to the international concern of travelling in the “already dangerous” Australian Outback. These examples of media effects don’t only cause anxiety for young travellers but also for many societal groups such as children, uneducated people and women. The media(sender) may not intend to send a negative message, but the audience(receiver) may decode the message in a different way and absorb it negatively, thus creating negative media effect. This is where the ‘Cultivation theory’ by George Gerbner comes into discussion. It’s basically “the theory that television can cultivate our perception of reality“.

Furthermore, the question ’What’s wrong with the media effects model’? is explained throughly by David Gauntlett in the reading this week ‘Ten things wrong with the effects model’. Gauntlett strongly puts forward his belief that the effects model is somewhat manufactured, artificial and inadequate. An example of this is the ’bobo doll experiment’ in 1961 by Albert Bandura. Sure the children committed violent acts on a doll after watching a person on the television hitting the doll senselessly, but does this explain why the children copied the act? All Bandura wants to convey is the simple saying ‘Monkey see, monkey do’ in an attempt to get the mass audience to believe that letting children watch violent acts will make them commit the same. The experiment does not explain the child’s upbringing or personality and just brashly concludes that just one viewing of violence can create little psychopaths! This is where Gauntlett shows how artificial the effects model is, and how researchers essentially blame the media before societal factors, plus treat children as an inadequate breed.

But more importantly, ask yourself these questions. Why do we think the media never affects ourselves? Why do we make other people’s decisions on their behalf? Why are they allowed to not watch violent programs but we are? Why do we always start the blame with the media? Why don’t we look into the society where the problem lives and address that primarily?

This definitely needs more salt.

Hey there fellow students and tutors, this first blog entry of my first blog ever is to introduce myself to you all! My full name is Nicholas Mclennan but just refer to me as Nick. I’m 19 years old and currently live in the Sutherland Shire in South Sydney. I’m Brazilian/Australian, birthplace in England and have a passion for travelling, which is quite fitting for the incredible opportunities ive had in my short life.

I have just finished a solo Europe ‘Gap Year’ in 2012 which was the most amazing 7 months of my life. Not just for the fact that I saw incredible places, but pushed myself mentally and physically, such as finding a job in England with no experience and navigating my way all across Europe for 3 and a half months on a shoe-string budget. I could not recommend a Gap year enough, this is coming from an average teenage boy who had no idea what direction I wanted to go in. I grew as a person so incredibly much and surprised myself on how many things I could achieve on my own merit. A definite highlight of my trip (not one my mother was quite happy about) was bungee jumping over a random Bulgarian river for only 30 Euros. It must not have been that dangerous if im here talking on my excellent blog here today! These experiences have definitely inspired me for when I came back to Australia such as learning more languages which resulted in taking up Spanish here at UOW!

I chose to study at UOW not only because my mother, father and older brother have all studied here in recent years, but because I just think UOW offers everything I need, such as world-class facilities, an enticing Media degree, and an incredible exchange program. *cough* High Distinction please *cough*. I chose to study media and communications because not only im avoiding science and maths at all cost but because I believe the world of Media has so much variety and gives its pupils so much to work with. Travel, food, sport and social media have always been more interesting to me then finding Pythagoras’ theorem to name a few. Of course as probably 99% of the people reading my blog today, I have a Facebook. I regularly update and check it which shows that I either have a serious stalking problem or im quite interested in everyday social life, it’s also a good way to keep up with trends and relevant current affairs. I would love to see myself in the future having a self-satisfying media career that will somehow incorporate my passions, whether it will be Restaurant reviewing or Travel blogging. I’m really not sure and that is what I find most beautiful about this degree, it gives people with the same confused teen mindset a chance to try multiple facets of the Media industry. I know this very first blog of mine has as much personality as a sloth doing stand up, and in fact is quite rich of me to name my blog ‘Wheres the Seasoning’ because lets face it, I’ll need to hijack India to get some spice up in here, Boom! But in all honesty I named my blog like so because it not only reflects my current lack of experience in the Media world and am eager to add more substance to my work to make my future endeavours as fulfilling as I make it!

Muchos Gracias my readers, you’ll be hearing from me shortly!