On the sixth day of journalism..

In their text “Post-Industrial” Journalism as a Creative Industry”, Burns and Matthews focus mainly on the new developments in labor, but they also ask a more general, and very important question that I want to talk about. They say

“Content is, with growing frequency, created for delivery via the internet, publication on web-based ‘platforms’ and consumption on screen media. In this environment, the question is not ‘who is a journalist?’ but ‘what is journalism?’ today.”

According tot them, the new platform Dag6 might be a perfect example of the “viable post-industrial future for journalism”. Dag6 is an online collaboration of Volkskrant and the deep religious Nederlands Dagblad, targeted towards young adults.

Nederlands Dagblad is becoming less and less popular, in average selling 7% less every year since the beginning of this millenium. Of course they’d like to attract new, young readers and improve their image. Dag6 is a way to keep relevant.

But the collaboration is interesting. Why would Volkskrant be in for a collaboration with Nederlands Dagblad, other than for the money? And: how transparant is this new medium about the journalistic values? They don’t lie about their religious background, but they do pretend a bit that the articles are nót opiniated or one-sided, which they partly are. Taking more and more journalistic projects tot the web, the lines between what journalism is and is not, begin to fade. So what are the consequences then, in the long run, and fort he Volkskrant?

Burns and Matthews write about how journalists should be protected from the market, but what if new platforms are becoming slaves of the market already?

By Aybala Carlak, 269 words

Burns, L.S. and Matthews, B.J. Post-Industrial Journalism as a Creative Industry. International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering 11(6) (2017), 1543-1551.

How journalistic are fashion journalists?

‘What makes a journalist, a journalist?’ is one of the frequently asked questions in our work field. Legally, there’s not much rule to the name and no strict protection of the name. Everybody could call themselves a journalist and ‘get away with it’.

This is also the case in the “feminine” section of magazines, internationally and nationally. Glamour and Vogue, for example, prefer to hire experienced journalists who have a sharp pen and their own original, niche-like style and ideas. But is it justly to call yourself a journalist, as a fashion writer?

Let’s check it on the basis of the criteria, given by Deuze. In his text he sums up five ideal-typical traits or values of the journalistic practice (447).

1 – Public service: journalists provide a public service (as watchdogs or ‘news-hounds’, active collectors and disseminators of information.

Public service is of course a broad concept. Fashion journalists aren’t watchdogs, but they are selecting the information and visuals very carefully. Traditionally, they’re also very dependent on news and new happenings, trends et cetera.

2 – Objectivity: journalists are impartial, neutral, objective, fair and (thus) credible.

This is not applicable to fashion journalists. Fashion magazines are commercial and depend on ad revenue. The news they bring and the clothes they use in visual productions are for the biggest part PR. The productions are therefore mostly positive. They encourage you to consume, they have a certain goal.

3 – Autonomy: journalists must be autonomous, free and independent in their work.

This is not the case for fashion journalists. They are dependent and cannot be critical or autonomous. Fashion journalists cannot render impartial judgment.

4 – Immediacy: journalists have a sense of immediacy, actuality and speed (inherent in the concept of ‘news’).

Fashion journalists absolutely have speed, they very much like ‘live’ textual and visual productions. But with social debates in the public sphere, about diversity for example, they are often far behind.

5 – Ethics: journalists have a sense of ethics, validity and legitimacy.

You could discuss that fashion journalists are very ethical, because they maintain their relations very well. At the other hand, there are quite some women’s magazines wherein celebrity news and private subjects are the unique selling point.

The conclusion is that the term ‘fashion journalists’, that’s used by the magazines, is not fully legit. For readers, this is confusing, because it’s not always clear that an article is written out of goodwill for the PR. So how to bring journalism to these readers?…

by Aybala Carlak (I know I have more words than required, but what can I do :))

Deuze, Mark. “What is Journalism? Professional Identity and Ideology of Journalists Reconsidered.” Journalism, 6.4 (2005): 443-465. Print.

Are newspapers actual fans of web analytics?

Cherubini et al. state that journalists nowadays use web analytics fanatically, so that they can target their audience even better. But which journalists are we talking about? The young ones at the internet department?

It seems that most Dutch newspapers aren’t fully ready yet to make the transition to the web. The fact that those newspapers still publish boringly written articles, put vague headlines above them, use few (good) photos and don’t invest all too much in video productions and other forms of journalism, shows that they’re still not web-savvy enough (I know it’s not an existing word) to make efficient use of the analytics that they have.

And often the journalists who just write for the websites of the newspapers, have difficulty communicating about strategies with the rest of the editors. Because still a lot of journalists are stubborn or uncomfortable with the idea that the nostalgic paper will likely disappear, and with that their craft or the ambition. In that sense, web analytics and internet as a whole is still ‘het ondergeschoven kindje’ in Dutch journalism. Measuring is not enough (and of course, not the only important thing). You have to consider it as feedback, that you can then use to actually improve your core business.

208 words, by Aybala Carlak

Cherubini, Federica, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. Editorial Analytics: How News Media Are Developing and Using Audience Data and Metrics. Oxford, UK: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 2016. Web.

Are our newspapers for the mass?

Hallin and Mancini’s paragraph about the development of mass press is interesting to me. It made me think about the definition ánd the criteria of mass press.

Stated, for example, is that the newspapers of Southern Europe are addressed to a small, politically active elite, in contrary to “our” newspapers (page 3 from the pdf). That, the rate of male and female readers and the political parallelism that’s been scetched are true, but it may be true for “our” newspapers as well.

Dutch newspapers do indeed suggest that they’re for everyone, it’s also visible in the subject matters and design. But, isn’t it a subtle mask, and aren’t our newspapers in reality just as elite, targeted to a very specific niche and a bit ideological too?

The unique selling point of weekly paper De Groene Amsterdammer is clearly the leftist opinionated analyses, but the same could be said about the bigger newspapers: they choose the same subjects, often the same point of view and definitely the same audience.

Trump and Wilders’ criqitues are being criticized or structurally ignored, so in a way they’re right about “the media”. Minorities in the Netherlands feel neglected or misunderstood. The lack of diversity is a huge problem, which it wouldn’t if the papers actually would be “for the mass”.

And on the other hand are the big South European papers even more “massive” than ours. For example, they write more about entertainment news and “easy” subjects. So the difference may not be so big as we like to think.

225 words, by Aybala Carlak

Hallin, Daniel C., and Paolo Mancini. Comparing media systems: Three models of media and politics. Cambridge university press, 2004.

Who decides the meaning of a production?

Something that I noticed is that when people talk about media productions, they still unconsciously assume that they’re solid things, that a media production is something on it’s own which cannot be influenced. At the same time, audiences are still assumed to be passive: not engaging, not in dialogue or negotiation with what they see, hear or read. This is of course outdated , partly due to the theories and researches in cultural analysis. The “trend” now is to note that “audiences can also be producers!”

I agree with scholar Vicky Mayer, who states that media production studies and audiences have very much in common and should be more in conversation to be able to share knowledge more. Also, people outside this industry should, in my humble opinion, get more access to the theories about discourse and negotiation, for example of Stuart Hall. That way people could actually reflect on their own “media behavior”.

We see the different discourses now in the discussion about racism, white privilege, Black Lives Matter and diversity. Sunny Bergman’s documentary Wit is ook een kleur, for example, revealed people’s positions and discourses about the subject so well. You see here that a media production, is received very differently by different people, which means that meaing is created by the consumers, not by the producers (which could have another goal). In both fields, media production studies and audience studies, should not forget that their truth is somewhere in the middle.

Aybala Carlak
244 words

Mayer, Vicky. “The Places Where Audience Studies and Production Studies Meet.” Television & New Media 17.8 (2016): 706-718.

Can we even be creative without commerce?

The texts of this week were about the developments of new (and old) media. It gives me the impression that a lot of scholar nowadays seem to be either too optimistic (a revolution! People have the power, make their own content!) or too pessimistic (commerce commerce commerce). Either way, they seem a bit naïve.

Creating content as an individual is nothing new, the first movies ever were based on the same initiatives as YouTubers have now. But nothing is free. Thinking commercially is needed in order to survive as an artist: seeing commerce as something negative would be too idealistic. It’s better to admit that commerce is the fuel that makes our world turn. You might as well use this in your advantage as a YouTuber: survive on your own, learn to deal with it ánd learn how to run your own business.

The differences between old and new media, commercial media brands and ‘alternative’ media brands are way smaller than people like to admit. Your favourite indie band and the 13-year old kids on YouTube are maybe even less revolutionary than a passionate, simple soul that works for the pulic broadcast.

Aybala Carlak
190 words

Bantz, Charles R., McCorkle, Suzanne and Roberta C. Baade. “The News Factory.” Communication Research 7.1 (1980): 45-68.

Lampel, J., Lant, T. & Shamsie, J. (2011), ‘Balancing act: learning from organizing practices in cultural industries’, Organization Science (vol. 11.3): 263-269.

Mierzejewska, B. & Shaver, D. (2014). Key Changes Impacting Media Management Research. International Journal on Media Management, 16:2, pp. 47-54.

Should we write more positively about muslims? No!

Just when I was reading the articles of Shuck, Schuefele and Chong about agenda-setting and news frames, I got a call from an NRC journalist about exactly that: framing.

He published an article about a new research which stated that the framing of muslims is too negative and could lead to more prejudices and discrimination. The journalist asked if I agreed. I didn’t, not fully. And the final article made think about this.

I didn’t agree with Schuefele either, who explained only quantitive researches. It’s the same reason I don’t fully agree with the new research in the paper: yes, we talk about muslims a lot, but that’s not the problem. It’s not only about counting the news and the words.

The negativity about Islamic issues is also not the problem, because there ARE a lot of things happening in the Middle East, and unfortunately we HAVE to deal with terror attacks, by “muslims”. The researchers see writing more positively about muslims as a solution.

Either way, since a journalist published this, we can assume that framing news, apparently is a very conscious process. And if this is true, I don’t want it. In both cases will the news is too formed and too forced, and I believe that that has negative consequences: citizens are not fully informed either way.

Rather, we should publish more about the diversity in islam, so we generalize less and see the different aspects to it. Chong’s article in this way was more open and refreshing, since it doesn’t have so much assumptions about what “the media” strictly do (negative) and should do (positive).

by Aybala Carlak
269 words

Chong, Dennis, and James N. Druckman. “Framing Theory.” Annual Review of Political Science 10.1 (2007): 103–126. Print.

Scheufele, Dietram A. (2000). ‘Agenda-setting, priming, and framing revisited. Another look at cognitive effects of political communication.’ Mass Communication and Society 3 (2&3), 297-316.

Fenty for diversity: how Rihanna changes the world

Ultimate superstar Rihanna has launched a new beauty brand called Fenty Beauty last week. Now, a mogul expanding her imperium is nothing new under the sun. But especially sociologist Galtung’s article ‘The Structure of Foreign News’ and lecturer Harcup’s reactive article ‘What Is News?’ made me think of the interesting role of celebrities (and celebrity news) on the public debates in society.

Fenty Beauty became very big news and has received hundreds of positive reviews. Not only because of the quality of the products, but because it’s seen as a solution for the consistent lack of diversity in the beauty world. Magazines have written about the “beauty industry historically failing to represent people of colour in ads and with products”. Rihanna and other dark skinned artists have “taken matters into their own hands”. Rihanna brought out 40 shades of foundation, while older brands approximately have 10 to 20. This makes the products suitable for an audience as wide as possible.

All inclusive
We know from all the responses that dark skinned women finally feel included, heard and represented. Inclusivity, or being pro-black is sometimes confused for selective inclusivity. Fenty though, is not only and all about blackness: it’s so inclusive, it has even foundation shades for albino’s! Girl!

At the same time it’s embarrassing for existing Western beauty brands, who were proven wrong about dark shades “not selling”, muslim women not being able to model, and so forth. So is this celebrity news story, which seems so small and irrelevant, an expression of the need for positive identification, as Galtung would state it: Rihanna represents a unheard diverse group of fashionable and educated women, who can finally play confidently with makeup.

Rihanna, as an “elite”, doesn’t represent herself, she represents “coloured”, fashionable and educated women. That’s one of makeup’s powers.

Galtung, Johan and Mari Holmboe Ruge. “The Structure of Foreign News” Journal of Peace Research 2.1 (1965): 64-91. Print.