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6. Informing Media

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Joanne Farrall

on 13 October 2016

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Transcript of 6. Informing Media

6. Informing Media
What is Information?
Where do we get our information?
the 4th Estate
Professional standards for journalism that stress objectivity, accuracy, harm reduction, separate from corporate interests.

Role of fourth branch of government whose role is
speaking truth to power
ensuring government does not abuse of democratic principles
Yellow Journalism + Privacy
"The press is overstepping in every direction the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency...
In this, as in other branches of commerce, the supply creates the demand. Each crop of unseemly gossip, thus harvested, becomes the seed of more, and, in direct proportion to its circulation, results in a lowering of social standards and of morality."
-- Warren and Brandies (1890)
The Internet
Optimistic accounts of the 1990's: perfect public sphere

Discrimination imagined to be
the property of bodies

Ideas would now be free of

Discourse of kindness and civility would prevail and make all society a nicer place
Idealistic account of Public
Who counts as the public?
Which stories are included?
Which people are forgotten?
Which people are actively
European Imperialism and transatlantic slavery?
Why does this matter?
Manufacturing Consent
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum....”

Noam Chomsky (1998)
The Common Good.
Beat journalism
Specialized reporting coverage.

A reporter would cover a specific geographic area or subject matter such as: poverty, provincial or state legislature, local school boards.
Develop expertise. Help educate public and set public agenda.
Watchdog role
Coms 1000

Whom can we trust?

What happens to society when we no longer trust traditional sources of information? Ethical implications.
Critical Questions
How do we protect the
free flow of information?
How is information funded and distributed?
Administrative Questions
How is information produced?

What regulations do we need to ensure public interests in accurate and trustworthy news?
Assignment #2 Due October 20
Dr Woo is away + Introduction
The Public Sphere
The History of Journalism
Yellow journalism
Beat journalism
Mass Media: Manufacturing Consent?
Networked public sphere
News industry financial crisis
Click Bait + Advertorials
Internet, bloggers & lay journalists
Habermas, J. (1962)
The structural Transformation of the public sphere
. Trans: Thomas Burger. Cambridge: MIT Press
Warren, S. & Brandies, L. (1890) The Right to Privacy.
Harvard Law Review
Yellow Journalism
Public Sphere
"An idealized conversational forum in which people discuss and debate mutual interests and societal issues." Pavik & McIntosh pp. 416
Emergence of Public Sphere
Jurgen Habermas

17th-18th century
Early finance and trade capitalism creates conditions for new social order.
Traffic in news and commodities: expanded trade requires more exact information about far away markets
Cafes and Salons hubs of information.
Circulation of journals, pamphlets, letters, books, news
Enlightenment ideas and philosophy
Who is left out?
Sensationalist journalism "often partly or wholly fabricated for dramatic purposes." Pavik and McIntosh pp 233
Named for the "Yellow Kid" Cartoon
Begins in 1890's. Popularized by newspaper moguls Pulitzer and Hearst
The Five Filters of Editorial Bias/Propaganda: Herman and Chomsky
Concentrated ownership and Profit Orientation
Mass-media outlets are for profit companies, and so they must cater to the financial interests of the owners.
2 .
Advertising :
News requires money from advertisers. Must cater to their interests
Sourcing Bias:
Relying on experts and mainstream sources of information. Government and businesses have privileged access
Flack and Enforcers:
Negative reactions from general public, think-tanks, lobbyists. Expensive for newspapers = loss of money from advertisers or lawsuits.
External Threat:
Mobilizing the country around a common enemy or threat such as: Communism or Terrorism

Herman & Chomsky (1988)
Manufacturing Consent
Mass media "manufacture" pubic consent for policies that benefit elites.
Free, accessible information,
wealth human knowledge
at fingertips.

Networked Public Affordances
1. Persistence: online expressions are automatically recorded and archived.

2. Replicability: content made out of bits can be duplicated.

3. Scalability: the potential visibility of content in networked publics is great.

4. Searchability: content in networked publics can be accessed through search.
Propaganda model: Mass media used as tool
to serve interests of elites.
Operating assumptions of journalism often unquestioned.
danah boyd. (2010). "Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications." In Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (ed. Zizi Papacharissi), pp. 39-58.
Free sharing of
Mass-mediated public sphere
Networked Public Sphere
Benkler, Y (2006).
The Wealth of Networks.
How do ideas circulate?
Decentralized information = Democratizing force?

Avoid filters of mass media commercial interests.

Internet allows people"...to participate in creating information and knowledge, and [presents the possibility] for a new public sphere to emerge alongside the commercial, mass-media markets."
Decentralizing watchdog function. Web platforms allow more critical participation for more people.
Web 2.0
Centralized traffic onto
social media corporate web pages. Designed to keep you there.
Information and news filtered just for you based on your interests,
not public interests.
Google search engine is a corporation
New financial model: no one wants
to pay for news but everyone wants
How do we pay for free news?
1. "Advertorials or "Native Advertising" : "Display advertisement created to look like an article with the publication, although most have the words "advertisement" or "paid advertisement" in tiny print." (Pavik & McIntosh) Online can have the words "sponsored content"
Made to appear to be
objective journalism
but paid advertisement.
How do we pay for free news?
2. Clickbait: Using sensationalist headlines, or images, to generate web traffic and drive advertising revenue. Sometimes called "new yellow journalism"
How do we pay for free news?
3. Bloggers and lay journalists
Public forums of resistance by those who considered themselves to be excluded from dominant communication. (Pavik & Mcintosh, pp. 417)
Nancy Frazer: "parallel discursive arenas" circulate ideas based on community needs. Examples:
LGBTQI communities,
Black communities,
indigenous communities
Baby Hedgehog loves you!
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