Week 9: Who counts in Global Media? News Values

What is the news?

The news is not transparent but rather a product of journalistic routines and standardised procedures and so by the time it reaches audiences, the news it the result of a series of selections. Choices are made from new organisation conventions rather than by applying objective standards (Lee-Wright 2012)

News contains 4 main features;

Being transient: The news is transient as it is more than common sense but less than formal knowledge

Pseudo-events: are various occurrences that are arranged for the convenience of the mass media

Narrativisation: items are from the start called ‘stories’ and they are shaped into narrative form as soon as possible

Visual imperatives: especially prevalent in television news and drive toward stories that have ‘strong’ pictures

There are also 8 news values, cultural proximity (culturally similar will get particular attention over the distant), relevance (event may be culturally distant but still have meaning for the audience), rarity (the more unexpected the event, the higher its chances of being included as news), continuity (a big event will continue to be news even if the amplitude is reduced), elite references (elite can be both nations and people – the larger and more well -known), negativity (negative news is more hard-hitting), composition (the story will be selected and edited according to the editor’s sense of the balance) and finally personalisation (events are seen as the actions of individuals e.g. politicians).

These features and values shape the news in which audiences receive.

 

 

Lee-Wright, P (2012) ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’ JOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, available online at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/jomec/jomecjournal/1-june2012/leewright_newsvalues.pdf

Week 8: Television in translation: Drama Focus

Like comedy (outlined in Week 7 blog), drama too can be appropriated for different audiences and like everything, it will please some whilst displeasing others. A story that has continual success and transcended throughout the ages is that of Sherlock Holmes. It has been adapted through many different mediums such as print, cinema and TV and I think that this has what has aided its success. Different interpretations and portrayals keep audiences interested. This is emphasised through the comparison of the US TV show Elementary and the British TV show Sherlock.

Elementary: Is set in New York where Holmes lives after suffering a breakdown and meets his ‘sober companion’, Dr Joan Watson (a classically male role played by female actress Lucy Liu). Their relationship progresses and she becomes his apprentice and their detective adventures begin. A huge change to the original text is having Natalie Dormer play both Irene Adler (lover who broke Sherlock’s heart and caused his breakdown when she died) and Moriarty (a criminal mastermind) (Asher-Perrin 2014).

Sherlock: Set in modern Britain where Holmes lives with Watson and Holmes’ and a local inspector often asks Holmes for help with his more challenging cases. Elements from the original narratives are preserved as much as possible.

Despite both having different settings, actors and varied plot lines and diving audience opinions about which is the better version, it is the overarching story line of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures that keeps audiences interested. (Penny 2014) Through the accumulation of production quality further intrigue and entertainment value is added.

 

 

Asher-Perrin, E (2014) ‘Battling Super Sleuths: The Awkward Case of Elementary, Sherlock, and Building the Better Adaptation’ Tor.com, available online at http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/02/battling-super-sleuths-the-awkward-case-of-elementary-sherlock-and-building-the-better-adaptation

Penny, L (2014) ‘Sherlock and the Adventure of the Overzealous Fanbase’ New Statesman, available online at http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/01/sherlock-and-adventure-overzealous-fanbase

Week 7: Television in translation: Kath and Kim

To produce something that everyone will enjoy is impossible due to different personal tastes and also national culture e.g. different senses of humour, dark, witty, dry, slapstick.

Susan Purdie’s Comedy Theory 1states that comedy depends on the breaking of the rules of language and behaviour and our laughter signals that we have recognised the break. In order to know what the rules are, we must have some form of background knowledge as what the subject matter is. While all cultures may laugh at the same kind of rules being broken, rules may be different in different contexts.

Humour, jokes, satirical comments and references may not always translate across cultures and so the effect on different geographical audiences will vary. This is evident in the classic Australian TV show, Kath and Kim. Due to it being a smashing hit in Aus. with 4 series’ and 2 Logie Awards, in 2008 they aired a US version. This however was a flop in both the US and Australia. The US version did not resonate with audiences as well at the Australian version because the stereotypical Australian group ‘bogans’ are common in everyday Australian life and the mockery and dramatization of them is relatable for Aussies and the US audiences, the foreignness in this group is humorous. There is no equivalent US stereotypical group and so audiences could not relate it to home soil and online comments called the show ‘cringe worthy’ (Turnbull 2008).

 

 

Turnbull, S (2008) ‘It’s Like They Threw a Panther in the Air and Caught It in Embroidery’: Television Comedy in Translation’ Metro Magazine Issue 159 Dec

Week 6: Television and the emergence of new ‘media capitals’

A media capital is a place where things come together and new mass culture emerges, is a site of mediation where complex forces and flows interact, a place that produces media universally and becomes the centre for the financing, production and distribution for television programs.

 

Knowing this, you would automatically think of Hollywood and indeed that is the largest media capital in the Western world but this wasn’t always the case. The US city of Chicago was once leading the media industry in the early 20th century as it offered many advantages from being a major regional centre for manufacturing (transport), transportation (rail), communication (telegraph) and it also had a substantial immigration population. Chicago helped facilitate relationships between rural and urban, local and regional, domestic and international contexts and it was where they all came together as a mass American market. During the early TV era of the late 1950’s, attention turned to Hollywood as Hollywood film producers supposedly helped contain costs and retain control of the industry, there was an existing pool of cinema stars residing there, it possessed more vivid scenery and more stable weather which was better for production back drops and quickened the shooting process and overall the city grew economically and population increased (Curtin 2003).

 

Curtin (2003) attributes changing patterns in TV to the growth of transnational media conglomerates, the proliferation of new media vehicles (cable, satellite, and the internet), the re-regulation of electronic media and the emergence of new production arrangements. Along with these changes in management and advances in technology, the subject matter and target audience for media also changed with programs now being organised according to niche demographics and consumption patterns. Hollywood has increasing competitors who produce pieces for more specific markets using localised labour, materials and perspectives e.g. Nollywood which is quite self-contained in production, distribution and audience. Hollywood status as a global media capital remains but the conditions of its dominance now have changed, especially with Hong Kong, an emerging media capital which has so far proven to be viable.

 

Hong Kong was the trading point of goods and services between Europe and Guangdong Province as World War II, the Chinese Civil War and periods of economic reversal brought people to Hong Kong (Khorana 2012). These events forced people to remain and begin working, starting businesses and raising families and it began to prosper as a place of international trade, investment, and banking. “The city’s emergence as a media capital must, furthermore, take into account the influences exerted by migrations of cultural institutions and creative talent” (Curtin 2003).

 

Curtin, M (2003) ‘Media Capital: Towards the Study of Spatial Flows’ International Journal of Cultural Studies Vol 6: 2, pp. 202 – 228

 

Khorana, S (2012) ‘Orientalising the new media capitals: The Age of Indian TV’s Hysteria’ Media International Australia Vol 145, pp. 39 – 49

Week 5: Global Film: Towards Crossovers

Khorana (2013) describes ‘crossover cinema’ as an emerging form of cinema that crosses cultural borders at the stage of conceptualization and production and manifests a form of hybridisation and also crosses cultural borders in terms of its distribution and reception. She iterates the importance of distinguishing between crossover cinema and transnational cinema.

Crossover cinema is cross-culturally conceived but not yet not relegated by mainstream public culture. Unlike transnational cinema, there is no argument to be made about the inclusion of crossover cinema in mainstream cinema culture. “It must be emphasized that unlike the South Asian or Hong Kong use of the term, crossover cinema in does not derive its primary point of difference from other kinds of cinemas through its crossover in audience terms alone. Instead, it is the site of cross-cultural conceptualization and production that is taken as the principal foundation and that then leads to textual hybridity and wide-ranging audience appeal.” (Khorana 2013)

 

  • Khorana, S (2013) ‘Crossover Cinema: A Conceptual and Genealogical Overview’ Crossover Cinema: Cross-cultural Film from Production to Reception, New York: Routledge, pp 3-13.

Week 4: Global Film: Beyond Hollywood – Industry Focus

When you think of the entertainment industry, celebrities, the glitz and glamour, tabloid magazines, you automatically think of Hollywood and whilst it is the most well-known entertainment production centre in the Western world, it does not necessarily deem it the largest in terms of audience and production rate. It is in fact the third largest film industry in the world, following Bollywood (India) as the first and Nollywood (Nigeria) as the second.

 

Bollywood is the Mumbai-based Indian movie industry and despite producing over 1000 films annually and being “… about twice the size of Hollywood and has a global following of millions, being watched by around 3.2 billion people world-wide” (Bandyopadhyay 2008), Western audiences aren’t fully aware of vast audience base and just how successful this film industry is. The same can be said for the Nigerian industry in which Nollywood produced 1,687 feature films in 2007 (Okome 2007). Thirty new titles are delivered to Nigerian shops weekly and on average a film sells 50,000 copies. It takes on a somewhat grassroots approach by having low production quality (in the name of cost), adopting melodramatic storylines and often having magical culture and corruption as the motif and not adhering to Western influences; this is what makes it relatable to Nigerian audiences and the major reason behind its success.

 

These are separate entities to Hollywood and in no way do they consciously interact but with the rise of globalisation and the ease of cultural influence, there are many foreign influences on both and most especially within Hollywood. The inclusion and representation of other cultures by Hollywood can be considered a form of co-opting and or hybridity. Co-optation is the process by which one group gains converts from another group by attempting to replicate the aspects that they find appealing without adopting the full program or ideals. This differs to hybridity in that a hybrid is a cross between two separate races or cultures and is something that is mixed.

 

The blockbuster 2009 film Avatar contains references to Indian mythology through the blue coloured skin of the na’vi people being reference to the colour traditionally used for depicting the religious avatars Rama and Krishna and having a plot focusing on an avatar-led offensive against foreign invaders which mimics the centuries-old Indian political tradition of using the Ramayana storyline and the 2008 film, Slumdog Millionaire giving the game show Who Wants to be a Millionaire a twist and showing the west’s interpretation of India (Karan & Schaefer 2010).

 

 

 

Bandyopadhyay, R 2008, ‘Nostalgia, identity and tourism: Bollywood in the Indian diaspora,’ Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, San Jose State University, California, United States, vol. 6, no. 2

 

Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ (2010) ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’ Global Media and Communication Vol 6: 3, pp. 309-316

 

Okome, O (2007). ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial text 3.2

 

Week 3: Internationalising education: cosmopolitanism and cultural competence

For students receiving and education in a foreign country, it is a daunting experience with things such as culture, language, customs and norms and social slang often hindering their ability to interact socially. The ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds is called cultural competence and it comprises of four components: (a) Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) Cross-cultural skills.

Marginson (2012) explains that overall, international students possess high levels of motivation and determination, are expert cultural negotiators and cannot be categorised into the deficit model: a stereotype that assumes international student are weak, lacking or helpless. Students often adhere to different conditions to successfully fulfil these roles and fit in to the foreign society. These conditions include;

  • Cultural plurality

A condition in which minority groups participate fully in the dominant society yet maintain their cultural differences to form a new identity – assimilating into society.

  • Multiplicity

Whereby they have multiple identities to connect to different cultures and settings – changing behaviour to match environment.

  • Cultural relativism

A more conscious and deliberate approach to personal choices and identity formation – choosing to adopt a certain personality

Despite most international students’ attempts to adapt and fit in with society, many are targeted for attacks due to their vulnerability. In 2009-2010, there was a string of high profile violent attacks on Indian students in Australia with the Australian police initially denying that these attacks were racially motivated. Consequently, protests were held in Melbourne and there was extensive coverage in Indian media. These events as a whole greatly impacted education, tourism and trade between Australia and India by damaging Australia’s standing in India, straining relations between Delhi and Canberra and plunging Australia’s education system into turmoil.

 

 

Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’ Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012, available online at http://focusonteaching.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@cedir/documents/doc/uow119828.pdf