Stopping the spread of infectious scepticism

Smallpox, Diphtheria, Polio. Diseases that have thankfully been somewhat kept under control with vaccinations. In fact, immunization can be credited with saving approximately 9 million lives a year worldwide (unicef 1996). But, with all this in mind, why then is there even a passing mention in the media of not vaccinating children?

Global-warming-second-opinion
Tandberg 2014

According to Ward (2009 p. 13), the best editors and reports adhere to a well-defined code of journalistic ethics, but this code can present some challenges in our present technological immersed world, where almost every person has the opportunity to voice their views on a particular issue. With this rise in available opinions for journalists to consider within their reports, how is a journalistic to stick to their code of ethics whilst ensuring that negative and harmful information is not leaking into their stories? Journalists are expected, in accordance with the SPJ code of ethics, to ‘give voice to the voiceless’ and to ‘support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant’ (Ward 2009, p. 14). But when taking these ethics into strict consideration when reporting on issues such as climate change and vaccinations, a form of ‘false balance’ may arise – “providing space disproportionate to its scientific credibility to perspectives running counter to what is now widely accepted as the ‘established’ scientific judgement” (Ward 2009, p. 14). Amongst the issue of vaccination, reporters who are attempting to stick to the code of ethics by supporting the open exchange of all views, may in fact be better off evaluating and reporting evidence based on the science, rather than balancing opinions of people who are ill-informed about the accepted science of the issue. 99% of experts support the view that childhood vaccinations are safe and effective, whilst 1% do not (Dunlop 2013); but, if the media is to give equal airtime to science deniers, then the audience begins to consider the sceptic’s point of view, and the fact that vaccinations are essential is lost amongst the false balance. This false balance actually has the potential to cause harm, as failure to vaccinate children endangers both the health of the children themselves as well as others who would not be exposed to preventable illness if the community as a whole were better protected (Daley & Glanz 2011). Parents have been persistently misled by information in the media that questions the effects of vaccinations, and in fact, the number of deliberately unvaccinated children has grown to such a large number that it may be fuelling more severe outbreaks. In a recent survey of more than 1500 parents, one quarter held the mistaken belief that vaccines can cause autism in healthy children, and more than one in ten had refused at least one recommended vaccine (Daley & Glanz 2011). This is purely the result of the media giving undeserving airtime to the sceptics, whose views are then spread and, like wildfire, are very hard to distinguish once it is amongst public belief that vaccinations are not only unessential, but harmful. With vaccination, there is no debate. The science and benefits far outweigh the risks. There is no balance required; accuracy is far more important. The scientific perspective should get 95% or above of the column inches, and 5% or none at all should be given to sceptical, opinion-based viewpoints. Thankfully, news outlets are beginning to understand the gravity of the situation, with one prime time magazine-style programme issuing this statement on their Facebook page following a viewer complaint about a vaccine story: “Anti-vaccination is a fringe opinion. For every 5 doctors who oppose vaccination there are 95 who support it. We are not obliged to provide equal time and space to unscientific and dangerous viewpoints” (Dunlop 2013).


An example of false balance in regards to vaccinations

So, in our increasingly consumers-turned-producers society, should the code of ethics remain as strict on journalists? Or should journalists and official news outlets have the ability to discount viewpoints that are so sceptical and opinion-based that they have the ability to cause harm? I sure think so. If these people want to go against science and risk their children’s lives as well as the lives of those around them, then I don’t believe they deserve to have their opinions publicly voiced. They are very welcome to speak out on social media, blogs and the like, where their views are always going to be met with questions and scepticism, but if official news outlets feature their opinions, then credibility and plausibility is instantly added. We need to immunise the media against stupidity.

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Reference:

CDC 2014, What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viewed 14 October 2014, <http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/whatifstop.htm>.

Daley, MF & Glanz, JM 2011, ‘Straight Talk about Vaccination’, Scientific American, 16 August, viewed 14 October 2014, <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/straight-talk-about-vaccination/>.

Dreher, T 2014, ‘Global Crises and Global News: Pacific Calling Partnership’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 8 October 2014.

Dunlop, R 2013, ‘Anti-vaccination activists should not be given a say in the media,’ Guardian, 16 October, viewed 14 October 2014,
<http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/16/anti-vaccination-activists-should-not-be-given-a-say-in-the-media>.

Tandberg 2014, The ‘False Balance’ Climate Change Cartoon, image, Before It’s News, viewed 14 October 2014, <http://beforeitsnews.com/environment/2014/07/the-false-balance-climate-change-cartoon-2506190.html>.

Unicef 1996, Vaccines bring 7 diseases under control, unicef, viewed 14 October 2014,
<http://www.unicef.org/pon96/hevaccin.htm>.

Ward, B 2009, Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty, Ethics and Environmental Politics, vol. 9, pp. 13-15.

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News is literally breaking

brk-news2
Kowch Media 2014

When you think of important news, what first comes to your mind? For me, issues that are powerfully influencing my life and the lives of those around me are what I consider most important. The Ebola outbreak, climate change and the Isis conflict – news stories that have a global element to the content, public space and the audiences they reach. But, over the past few decades, news has been in a state of constant change, both in the way that we are consuming it and moreover, what actually is classified as news. News is ultimately defined as newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events (The Free Dictionary 2014). But, does what we are being bombarded with really classify as ‘noteworthy’? Almost every news outlet is covered with stories about celebrities and their lives; information that really, no one except the celebrities themselves need to know. Whilst thankfully most news outlets (except the ones that primarily focus on ‘entertainment’ – although calling them ‘news’ outlets is debatable) do include what I consider to be important news within their collection of stories of the day, news values of today are generally pretty much ignored. We are seeing so much celebrity news in our daily media intake that ‘important’ news seems less relevant and more easily ignored amongst the huge amount of ‘news’ that we are presented with. This should be the complete opposite: we should watch the news or read a newspaper and get such a wide range of information about global and local important issues that when celebrity news does appear, it should seem out-of-place and inappropriate.

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Daily Mail Australia, 13 October 2014

Let’s look at The Daily Mail for example, also known as Hate Mail, Daily Fail, Daily Moan and so on, it is probably one of the most prime examples of bad news reporting. It’s the 13th of October right now and last night Australia was ‘rocked’ by the shocking news of the popular television show The Block achieving disappointing results at auctions. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love The Block, and of course I do know a fair bit about celebrities, whether that intake of knowledge is intentional or unintentional, I’m not too sure, but regardless, I know that there are more important news stories happening today than The Block. The homepage of the online Daily Mail is covered with stories about celebrities; in fact, there are about 140 celebrity-based articles featured. Perhaps one of the most important global issues today is the outbreak of Ebola, but does The Daily Mail seem concerned? Well, unless you consider a tiny article about half way down the homepage as a sign of concern, then no. Imagine if a celebrity was diagnosed with Ebola though, The Daily Mail would crash!

As audience members, we expect newspapers, television and radio to be full of important news; but, when there are not enough stories occurring that journalists see as ‘important’, news reporters are forced to synthesise ‘pseudo-events’ – staged stories that are convenient to the benefit of either the mass media or politicians. A perfect example is the ‘children overboard’ scandal that occurred in 2001. The representation of the event in the media negatively altered our perceptions of asylum seekers and deceptively concealed actual circumstances in order for the Howard government to receive political gain (Khorana 2014)

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Trioli 2012

Noteworthy news features many different values which contribute to it actually being noteworthy. I want you to think about The Block scandal and consider how many of these values this ‘news’ actually holds.

Cultural proximity: how culturally similar a story is
Relevance: what the story may imply for the audience
Rarity: the rarer the story, the better
Continuity: whether the story will be considered news some time after the event
Elite references: in terms of nations and people
Negativity: Negative news is more consensual as there is agreement that the news is negative
Composition: The story will be selected and arranged according to the editor
Personalisation: the events are seen as the actions of individuals

Now, consider these news values in terms of the Ebola outbreak. It fits every one, it is obviously entirely newsworthy, and does not deserve to be placed beneath celebrity (not-so) ‘shocking news’.

By our news being vandalized by celebrity stories, much needed global coverage of Australian and international issues, politics and states of war is being taken away and replaced by stories that will have little impact on the audience whatsoever, completely disregarding the definition of what news is in the first place.
Sort your self out Daily Mail.

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Reference:

Daily Mail Australia 2014, Daily Mail Australia online homepage, Daily Mail, viewed 13 October 2014, <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/auhome/index.html>.

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Who Counts in Global Media: News Values’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 24 September 2014.

Kowch Media 2014, Breaking News, image, Kowch Media, viewed 13 October 2014,
<http://kowchmedia.com/talent_consulting/breaking-news-coverage-tips/>.

Lee-Wright, P 2012, News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage, JOMEC Journal, University of London.

Trioli, V 2012, Tandberg in The Age, image, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 13 October 2014, <http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/reith-rewrites-history-to-hide-the-shame-of-children-overboard-lie-20120831-255u3.html>.

Translating television

Similar to comedy, drama television must also be adapted to culture and location in order for a remake to stand the test of translation from one culture to another (Frew 2014). One element of drama television that is particularly dominant within differing countries is crime; whilst crime itself is unchanging in popularity across television, the values and beliefs of differing cultures means that the processes and methods of dealing with the featured situations change from country to country. Different countries hold different expectations of what they watch on screen, and so, when a drama show is translated from one culture to another, this should be reflected within the choices of plot, structure and characters.

One example of drama television being translated is the two different versions of Sherlock Holmes: the British Sherlock, and the American Elementary. Upon the beginning of the American remake, the show faced much criticism both before and after airing, simply because the British version was already so greatly loved and appreciated. The question asked was simply, why? Nevertheless, Elementary beat the odd and earned millions of viewers as well as Emmy nominations. This is because the new version is not an exact replication of the successful British drama, but instead it has been adapted and changed in order to fit the desired audience’s wants and circumstances. In saying that, the creators of the American version have attempted to keep some of the original traits of Sherlock, injecting ‘Englishness’ into the series by using well-know UK actors who add a degree of class and sophistication; Sherlock Holmes has always been English and he will always be characterised as having his distinctive British accent. But, apart from these small features, the two versions feature some very distinct differences that allow the shows to be successful in their respective cultures. For example, Sherlock is set in contemporary Britain whilst Elementary on the other hand is set in modern day Manhattan. As well as this, Watson, Sherlock’s closest friend, is played by a woman (Lucy Liu) rather than a man in the American version, adding an Americanised element of political correctness. The British sleuth Sherlock Holmes follows the method of clues and murder in English country houses, whilst the American detective follows the hard-boiled, loner hero with a moral code – a muscular, ‘bad ass’ (Frew 2014). Elementary contains much more sexual tension and drug-use, something that American audiences desire from these drama-crime shows.

Whilst it may be a challenge, drama television is very much capable of having many successful translations across several different cultural audiences. America and Britain have definitely cracked the case of drama translation.

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Reference:

Frew, C 2014, ‘Representing Englishness in Television Drama’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 17 September 2014.

‘You had to be there’ – losing the punchline

Ah, those ‘had to be there’ moments, when your trying your hardest to tell a joke or story that you find completely hilarious but you’re just met with blank faces and questioning eyes. Funnily enough, these ‘had to be there’ moments occur across television shows, specifically comedies. For a television show to translate across another culture and still hold comedic value, the audience ‘has to be there’: ‘there’ implying part of the culture.

Turnbull (2008, p. 112) cites Andy Medhurst, who claims that ‘comedy plays an absolutely pivotal role in the construction of national identity.’ What classifies as ‘funny’ is therefore going to differ between cultures, as each nation has a different identity and social rules. According to Susan Purdie’s Comedy Theory 1, comedy depends on the breaking of social rules of language and behaviour. Once we recognise these breaks, we laugh. But, in order for us to recognise these breaks, we must first identity and understand what these rules are. This justifies the cultural specificity of comedy and explains why comedy is often lost in television translation. If a person had no idea of the social rules within a nation, then watching a comedy exported from that specific nation would be a very confusing and boring experience: the exact opposite of what comedy is supposed to be.

svKATHANDKIM
Ziffer 2008

A perfect example of comedy being lost in translation is none other than our very own Kath & Kim, and the American attempt at its remake. The US Kath & Kim was met with scepticism by Australian critics and audiences, and has been dubbed as a pale imitation of the original. The first episode of the US remake was pretty much a scene-for-scene copy of the original first episode in terms of plot and structure, with significant alterations in an attempt to please its American audience. But, by copying the first episode, it was inevitable that the show would ultimately fail, as the American culture simply just doesn’t get the joke. Turnbull (2008, p.115) quotes Variety magazine’s Brian Lowry, who states that ‘if this was major hit in Australia, then something has been seriously lost in translation.’ And that something, according to Turnbull, is irony – in this case, the gap between how a character imagines him/herself to be and how they actually appear to the audience. In the Australian version, the funniest aspect of the show is the staggering difference between the way Kath & Kim view themselves to how the audience views them. Something that is lost in the US version of Kath & Kim is this difference. The fundamental joke of the Australian series is that the actors were constantly trying to exaggerate their worse features. Kim imagines herself as a size 10 ‘horn-bag’, when in reality Gina Riley is a middle-aged, size sixteen, voluptuous woman. Whilst, in the American version, Kim is played by 36-year-old, size 8, Selma Blair, a beautiful, young, slim actress. This completely removes the irony from the character, as the ‘worst features’ that the American Kim is trying to exaggerate are non-existent. As Marieke Hardy noted, it is difficult to not dislike the way that “she juts out her tiny belly and plays at being a fat person” (Turnbull 2008, p. 112). This loss of irony is the cause for the loss of comedy; the audience is just left confused as to why she is behaving the way she is.

Perhaps successful remakes are those that have been inspired by different global comedic markets and culturally adapted, instead of those just copied scene-for-scene with no consideration as to how the culture will react. Keep that in mind NBC. Better luck next time.

The US version and it’s similarities and differences with the Australian Kath & Kim

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Reference:

Turnbull, S 2008, ‘It’s like they threw a panther in the air and caught it in embroidery’: TELEVISION COMEDY IN TRANSLATION, The Australian Teachers of Media Inc, St Kilda, pp. 111-115.

Turnbull, S 2014, ‘Local Television in Global Context’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 10 September 2014.

Ziffer, D 2008, US take on Kath & Kim fails to amuse TV critics, image, WA Today, viewed 12 September 2014.

Criss-cross

‘Crossover cinema’ is the term used to explain the emerging form of cinema that crosses cultural borders at the stage of conceptualisation and production and, as such, is formed with a hybrid cinematic grammar at the textual level, and also crosses over in terms of its distribution and reception (Khorana 2013 p. 2). Now, in English: cinema that crosses cultural borders at any stage of its conception, production or reception.

Globalisation has completely transformed the nature of global flows and the ways of associating with home and host cultures. In turn, it is important that the “new breed of transnational creative practitioners and their cinematic practices” (Khorana 2013, p. 3) are examined as crossover rather than being stuck to their simple classification based off ethnic origins or identities. This ability for cinema to crossover, as a result of globalisation, implies not just another passing cinematic fad, but rather a major structural shift in global media industries. But, for this crossover cinema to be successful, the site of conceptualisation and production is the most important factor; this is what then leads to textual hybridity and wide-ranging audience appeal. A crossover film does not just assume a Western audience from the outset, but rather, after multiple cultural affiliations, the film eventually appeals to a range of viewers among whom the Western audience is just one possibility.

So, from that definition, what demonstrates a crossover film?
If you haven’t heard of this example, then I’m sure you’ve been living under a rock. Danny Boyle’s 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire, has been successful in achieving the title of a crossover film in terms of production, content and appeal, literally crossing over into the main group of Academy Awards instead of being part of the foreign group. The fact that the film barely seems foreign at all is clear evidence of the film’s success in bridging between cultures. Khorana (2013, p. 6) cites Kavoori (2009), stating that Kavoori refers to the film as “a classic crossover text,” as it uses “the specifics of Indian locale to speak to wider (global) concerns of personal responsibility in a heartless world.” The movie provides a successful template for the type of content and talent that has the capacity to become a cross-cultural film.

But, of course, there is a downside: A film is considered a cultural hybrid when it references another culture, or attempts to adapt another country’s original film (Khorana 2013). Because of this fact, successful crossover films are relatively rare. The existence of assumptions and interpretations of other cultures, as well as countries concluding that they are knowledgeable of other culture’s characteristics, can mean that differing cultures may not perceive crossover films well, whether the crossover film originates in their own or a host country.

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Reference:

Khorana, S 2013, ‘Crossover Cinema: A Conceptual and Genealogical Overview’, Producing a Hybrid Grammar, pp. 1-18.

Stealing the Spotlight

New film industries, particularly those of India and Nigeria are beginning to wrestle control of global film flows from Western dominance. Films have always been powerful: conveying important messages, themes, social issues, morals and sparking debate over social, personal and political issues. Films seem to go where other mediums can’t, evoking deep emotions within viewers of empathy and entertainment, with very little restriction on what issues movies can tackle. This power is evident now more than ever, with films stepping off the path of ‘Hollywood-style’ and venturing into new film industries — Bollywood and Nollywood. Within these cinematic public spheres, filmmakers are mixing both global and local elements to appeal to audience tastes and trends, blurring the boundaries between the modern and the traditional, the high and low culture, and the national and global culture (Karan and Schaefer 2010 p. 309).

Hollywood is the film industry that I have been exposed to the most, watching countless movies all with similar film values and messages within them, even if the storylines are completely different from movie to movie. It is easy to recognise a Hollywood movie, and you would think that it would be just as simple to differentiate a Bollywood (India’s film industry) movie from Hollywood, but this is not always the case; there is a lack of understanding within opposing film spheres. For example, the common labeling of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ as a Bollywood film, despite the fact that it is a British film. Such mislabeling, according to Karan and Schaefer, “helped American audiences mistakenly associate ‘Indian cinema’ with the film’s Westernized production values, including the standard three-act narrative structure, 120-minute running time, and avoidance of interruptive song-and-dance sequences (which are typically part of Hindi films)” (2010 p. 313). However, that is not to say that Western audiences cannot enjoy Bollywood. In fact, it is clear that this is not the case by US figure skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White winning a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics after donning Indian-style costuming and dancing to Hindi songs with Bollywood and bharatnatyam-style choreography (Karan and Schaefer 2010 p. 311). Further appreciation of Indian influences are clearly evident within the highest-grossing film of all time — James Cameron’s Avatar — which mixed native-American themes with ancient Hindu concepts, borrowing from Indian mythology (Karan and Schaefer 2010 p. 312). Even though both Hollywood and Bollywood are very successful on their own as film industries, it is clear that both spheres are influenced by the other, which in my opinion, can only be seen as a positive thing as people from different cultures are able to experience each other without having to leave their own house.

Bollywood-Dancing
http://www.delawarelibrary.org/event/indian-dance-traditional-and-bollywood

In contrast, another film industry that is almost entirely separate from Hollywood and Bollywood but nevertheless has achieved success on it’s own, is Nollywood – Nigeria’s film industry. Nollywood is very different from its cousin film industries in several ways, such as: the films are made directly to video, never being screened in a movie theatre; the films draw on traditional characters and situations as well as TV series imported from other places such as Mexico and Korea; and the films are a mixture of melodrama and magical culture with corruption as a common motif (Khorana 2014). With 30 titles delivered to shops every week, made on low budgets with basic equipment used for only 10 days to produce the entire film, Nollywood films are entirely based off realism, reflecting, raising awareness and questioning current issues. Nollywood films are all viewed in the discomfort of either a street corner or a video palour (ranging from small rooms to disused school halls) (Okome, 2007, p. 7). This ‘street audience’ brings people together to engage with each other and the film, allowing Nollywood consumers to have a voice in the social and cultural debates of their time (Okome, 2007, pp. 17-18), justifying both the necessity for and success of Nollywood.

0614-NOLLYWOOD_full_600
http://jaguda.com/2013/06/14/top-8-nollywood-no-nos/

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Reference:

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, no. 3, pp. 309-316.

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Global Film Beyond Hollywood (Industry Focus), week 4′, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 20 August.

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

Broadening Your Identity Abroad

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European Platform, 2014

According to Marginson (2012), international education is Australia’s third or fourth largest export industry; but, more than its profit-making business, it is an educational and social experience, an experience with immense potential to enrich the lives of all involved. But this potential of international education is little realised and much improvement is needed in order for study abroad programs to continue to succeed.
Whilst there are huge benefits of studying overseas – employment opportunities, academic success and personal growth – these benefits are overshadowed by the issues confronting international students in Australia in both academic and social life. Kell & Vogl explain a number of common difficulties that international students face in terms of adjustment and wellbeing, some of which include homesickness, financial difficulties, language difficulties, loneliness, problems dealing with academic staff, isolation and anxiousness (2007 p. 3). International education, according to Marginson, is “not the rich intercultural experience it could be”, “international students want closer interaction with local students” (2012).

Unfortunately, research suggests that there is a very Australia-centred view amongst local students who expect international students to automatically ‘adjust’ or ‘acculturate’ to the requirements and habits of Australia. In this imagined expectation, according to Marginson (2012), “the international student makes an orderly progression from home identity to host country identity. The host country culture is normalized without question. The international student is routinely seen as in deficit in relation to host country requirements.” They are automatically expected to communicate more effectively, learn the local systems, and deal with the slights and frustrations. Marginson (2012) insists that it is important we think about international students in a different way; we need to give them dignity as persons with equal standing and rights as ourselves, we need to empathise with ‘them’ without forcing them to be the same as ‘us’. We need to understand that international students may come from very different backgrounds, with entirely different customs, beliefs, languages and linguistics to us so we must put ourselves in their shoes and consider how difficult studying abroad could be. However, in saying that, most international students have a clear end in sight: there is a kind of person they want to become; they have the ability to slightly change whom they are. And they do. Being shaped by cross-cultural encounters in the outside community and inside the classroom, the international student combines and synthesises different cultural and relational elements of their home and host country, blending them together, into a newly formed self. Upon the completion of their exchange experience, rather than just flipping back into their old home country identity, the international student often takes home a transformed self.

diploma globe
Schleicher 2013

With enormous language barriers, cultural and social differences as well as other difficulties that an international student faces, it is imperative that local students go out of their way to ensure that exchange students get the absolute most out of their study abroad experience. Whilst there is some responsibility on the international student to put in the effort to meet friends and experience the host country by adapting to the language and culture, if you consider yourself in the place of an international student, you would greatly appreciate and enjoy a local student approaching and talking to you, so it rests on the shoulders of local students to make an international student feel less foreign.

Reference:

European Platform 2014, Internationalising Education, image, LinkedIn, viewed 1 Septmember 2014, <https://www.linkedin.com/company/europees-platform&gt;.
Kell, P and Vogl, G 2007, ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’, Everyday Multiculturalism Conference Proceedings, Macquarie University, 28-29 September 2006.
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, <http://focusonteaching.uow.edu.au/content/groups/public/@web/@cedir/documents/doc/uow119828.pdf&gt;.

Schleicher, A 2013, Getting internationalisation right, image, OECD Education Today, viewed 1 September 2014, <http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/getting-internationalisation-right.html&gt;.

Understanding Globalisation

I’ve now entered a new dimension of my ever-expanding blogosphere, spreading my posts to an international level to find out how media connects – or disconnects – us all as one global community. So, to begin, I think it’s important to lay out some structure to form the basis of my own and my readers’ (if there is any) understanding of international media and communication. It’s undoubtedly clear that the world has, over time, become much closer connected with greater interdependence, interactivity and interconnectedness between members of the global community. Appadurai states, “we have entered into an altogether new condition of neighborliness, even with those most distant from ourselves” (1996 p. 29). But how has this hugely intensified togetherness come about? In one simple word – globalisation.

Globalization
Gots 2011

Globalisation, defined as “The process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale” (Oxford Dictionaries 2014), is ultimately the result of powerful advancements in technology: the nineteenth century saw the introduction of newspapers, the telegraph and cable systems that enabled the formation of global communication networks, the twentieth century saw the popularisation of radio and television, and the 1960s was when the development of the internet begun which, in turn, ultimately led to satellite, wireless and mobile communication. With each of these technological advancements comes the increase in global interrelatedness (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2008 p. 458). The globalisation of communication, according to O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, is characterised by a set of qualities: instantaneity, interconnectedness and interdependence (2008 p. 459); it is media saturated and offers an information overload as well as access to a virtual global community.
Appadurai (1996, pp. 33-36) explains globalisation and the international community skillfully by dividing the complex nature into five dimensions of global cultural flows: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes, and ideoscapes.

To sum them up neatly:
Ethnoscapes: the landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, guest-workers etc.
Technoscapes: global configuration of technology and the fact that it now moves at high speeds across various kinds of previously impervious boundaries
Financescapes: global flow of capital which includes currency, stock and commodity
Mediascapes: the distribution of the electronic capabilities to producer and disseminate information (newspapers, magazines, TV stations etc.) which are now available to a growing number of people, as well as the images of the world created by these media
Ideoscapes: concatenations of images, often directly political and frequently have to do with the ideologies of states (freedom, welfare, rights, democracy)

Appadurai (1996, p. 33) explains that these different dimensions are the building blocks of ‘imagined worlds’, that is,

“the multiple worlds that are constituted by the historically situated imaginations of persons and groups spread across the globe.”

This was just a brief outline of globalisation to hopefully bridge a slight understanding of what is really going on; there are so many other different aspects of globalisation that I’m sure will emerge as I get deeper into the weekly topics. Nevertheless, globalisation has obviously been hugely effected by the changing landscapes that we find ourselves immersed in, and similarly, it has had a huge effect on the global community that our lives are based around. The enormous power of globalisation and how it has changed so much in our world will form the basis of my study of international media and communication and I am looking forward to seeing just how important it has been and continues to be.

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Reference:

Appadurai, A 1996, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, pp. 27-47.

Gots, J 2011, Globalization: The Middleman Takes Center Stage, image, Big Think, viewed 14 August 2014, <http://bigthink.com/re-envision-toyota-blog/globalization-the-middleman-takes-center-stage&gt;.

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Globalisation, Media Flows and Saturation Coverage, week 2′, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 6 August. O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J 2008, ‘Globalisation’, Media and Society, 5th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 458-471.
Oxford Dictionaries 2014, ‘Globalization‘, Oxford Dictionaries, viewed 14 August 2014, <www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/globalization>.