Gitmo: A New Form of Reporting?

Rather than entirely closing themselves off to new technologies which is often seen as a major factor as to why quality journalism is being eradicated (Van der Haak et. al 2925). There are examples where new technologies are being used to create a new form of information dissemination, an example being Gone Gitmo.

It is an “An immersive docu-game based on the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, originally designed for Second Life and now available in Unity, based on actual reporting and facts.” It attempts to create a docu game version, akin to an MMORPG, where the player gets to experience what it would happen if they were a prisoner in Gitmo. The purpose of this is to make them realize what it would like to have their civil rights and liberties stripped away.

While for many this may feel controversial, it is a way of converging the medium of reporting with gaming to create an immersive experience, that could work advantageously to give the player a tiny insight into how it could be for a person to lose their basic human rights.

Word Count: 180

 

Van der Haak, Bregtje, Parks, Michael, and Manuel Castells. “The Future of Journalism: Networked Journalism.” International Journal of Communication 6 (2012): 2923–2938. Print.

A New Form of Gatekeeper

There is an idea that is carried throughout McQuail’s text of that of ‘the journalist’. The pursuit of the journalist “refers to the activities and outcomes of those professionally engaged in collecting, analysing and publishing ‘news’” (McQuail 2).

This projection that McQuail creates of the occupation of journalism seems to be redundant in certain respects not because there is not still quality writing and news produced and available. But that there are so many platforms and ways of dispersing news that it becomes utopian for the spread of information to be controlled entirely by a select group of professionals and experts.

This is emphasised best by the proliferation of the agendas of alt-right groups by sharing “‘ideas’ “on blogs and Facebook, through Twitter bots, through YouTube channels, and even to the Twitter account of Trump himself—and were propagated by a far-right hyper-partisan press rooted in conspiracy theories and disinformation” (Lewis and Marwick 2). The idea of news and it being effectively controlled by someone seems almost redundant. This is best represented by major changes to try and stop the spread of fake news and proliferation of alt-right agendas coming not from journalists but from platforms themselves. Best represented by the recent choice by Reddit to moderate what alt-right, neo-Nazi groups can post in subreddits (Robertson). No longer is journalist, the most important neither only evangelist of news! 

 

Marwick, Alice, & Lewis, Rebecca. “Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online.” Data & Society. 15 May 2018. Web.

McQuail, Denis. “What is Journalism? How is it Linked to Society?” Journalism and Society. London: Sage, 2005. 1-26. Print.

Robertson, Adi. “Reddit Bans Nazi Boards in Crackdown on ‘Violent’ Content.” The Verge, The Verge, 25 Oct. 2017, www.theverge.com/2017/10/25/16548958/reddit-ban-nazi subreddit-violence-policy-change.

Where Game Developers Get It Right!

In the sphere of game production, developers are highly critical of their own and other developers work. This is no where expressed better than the renowned critical website, Gamasutra. It aims to bring together all the different elements of game design and explain and critique them, ultimately a safe space for developers to discuss and critique.

However, blogs such as Gamasutra do aim to explore gaming from the often highly technical perspective of the developer it often fails to take into account of closing the gap between audience and production (with developers being production in this scenario). This means that the people critiquing the game and given the most respect are not necessarily indicative of the audience playing the game. It has long been critiqued that the gaming industry is made up of white, straight, middle-class males (Ramanan).

As gaming is now a mass form of production being a $90billion a year industry, it could be helpful for developers to consider that “human subjects of audience studies and production studies might be studied together to reveal the power relations involved in mass media production processes” (Mayer 706). Researching the audience could help to remove some of the biases that may have naturally formulated when a non diverse group does insular research on their own sphere and help to connect with to perform higher levels of audience research.

 

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

Ramanan, Chella. “The Video Game Industry Has a Diversity Problem – but It Can Be Fixed.” The Guardian, 15 Mar. 2017, www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/15/video-game-industry-diversity-problem-women-non-white-people.

Twitch

Live streaming giant, Twitch.tv is an important example of how the gaming industry is adapting to changes in the landscape of how people want to consume games. The platform that was developed in 2011, can seem confusing to non gamers; the entire concept of Twitch revolves around streaming other people playing video games.

It provides in the most clear way to the demands of consumers, giving them access to content they would only been privy too on a much smaller scale at LAN (local area network) parties, “Everything is available on-demand by the content consumer. The balance of power in consumption patterns has shifted from content creators to content consumers” (Mierzejewska and Shaver 49). This has undoubtably galvanised the success of the platform as it now can be seen as a giant in the media sphere. It now allows for the mass creation of content, constantly. It also provides something that seemed near impossible before, technical knowledge, “is regarded today as the foundation of competitive advantage” (Lampel et. al 264). In an exceptional way it gave the ability for a mass network where people could create media content for entertainment purposes. Perfectly exemplifying how media organizations have shifted their focus from using old forms of media, to consumer driven content.

Lampel, Joseph, Lant, Theresa, Shamsie, Jamal. Balancing act: learning from organizing practices in cultural industries. Organization Science 11.3 (2011): 263-269. Print.

Bozena Mierzejewska & Dan Shaver. “Key Changes Impacting Media Management Research.” International Journal of Media Management 16 (2014). Print.

 

Misinformation and Emergencies: The Negative Side of Convergence

In his work ‘The Tension Between Professional Control and Open Participation’, Seth Lewis says that a movement towards convergence, whereby professionals are not the only ones handling information has presented “a challenge to an industry model built on scarcity. It also strikes at the heart of a model that was built on an implicit bargain between journalists and the public – an assumption about how society should handle the collection, filtering, and distribution of news information” (838).

Nowhere is this seen more than with how information now spreads during crisis, for example events such as the Paris attacks in 2015 led to non-professionals producing false information about events:

“This shift is more than a challenge to an industry model built on scarcity. It also strikes at the heart of a model that was built on an implicit bargain between journalists and the public – an assumption about how society should handle the collection, filtering, and distribution of news information” (Schumaker).

So it is becoming increasingly difficult to stop the spread of potentially harmful information in the wake of digital media, with professionals and non-professionals now being able to weigh in, During states of emergency this can be detrimental.

Lewis, Seth. “The tension between professional control and open participation.” Information, Communication & Society 15.6 (2012). Print.

Schumaker, Erin. “Why Misinformation Travels In The Wake Of Tragedies Like Las Vegas.” The Huffington Post, 5 Oct. 2017.

The Maybe Baby: Kylie Jenner and Framing

A headline from The Daily Mail this week declared “Kylie Jenner ‘is expecting a GIRL and is FIVE months pregnant’… as fans believe they’ve uncovered the EXACT moment her beau Travis Scott learned he was set to become a dad” (Waheed). While, it has to be acknowledged this is a long headline, the way it has been framed makes it appear to be announcing news. This has been a consistent problem with the story of Kylie Jenner’s potential pregnancy that has taken the media landscape by storm.

The Daily Mail, unravels the declaration it made in the headline later in the article revealing, “who is yet to publicly state herself that she is pregnant, is said to be welcoming a daughter with her 25-year-old rapper beau Travis Scott” (Waheed). The media telling of this news story, has worked with framing to reinforce certain ideas for the individual. In their work on Framing Chong and Druckman’s see framing as working on three levels, “by making new beliefs available about an issue, making certain available beliefs accessible, or making beliefs applicable or ‘strong’ in people’s evaluations” (111). Articles about this news story have often been conforming to these three levels, Waheed’s article provides new belief about her pregnancy, with the speculation about Travis Scott discovering the pregnancy. On the next level it makes the story the belief that Jenner is pregnant once again available. They also frame it as confirmed by taking news stories from other media outlets, “Sources directly connected with Kylie and Travis told TMZ the latest news about the sex of their purported baby” (Waheed).

This leads readers to believe it is a news story grounded in fact and reality, as news outlets continue to push the story forward. So whether you care for the Kardashian family or not, the constant reiteration of a story that is mainly speculation, helps to represent how news frame stories about the family as important and valuable.

 

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

Waheed, Jabeen. “Kylie Jenner ‘Is Expecting a GIRL and Is FIVE Months Pregnant’… as Fans Believe They’ve Uncovered the EXACT Moment Her Beau Travis Scott Learned He Was Set to Become a Dad.” Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers, 26 Sept. 2017.

The Disgraced Lama

A news story that has been building for a long time, but that has often failed to become a headline in Western media is the accusations surrounding Sogyal Rinpoche. Rinpoche is a Tibetan Lama he has sold over three million copies of  his book, ‘The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying’ and is often seen as a maverick teacher of Tibetan buddhism. However, accusations have been surrounding Rinpoche for a while now and are beginning to make headlines in Western news (including in France, the Netherlands and the UK) about possible sexual and violent conduct towards followers.

This headline about Rinpoche is an example of the theory of news put forward by Galtung and Ruge, as it conforms to the four factors deemed important by them to turning an event into news in Western media. Firstly, the event actually concerns elite nations and elite people (Galtung and Ruge 68), as he was a teacher to celebrities such as Joan Halifax and Richard Gere. Also often having contact with high profile figures such as Carla Bruni Sarkozy, this means the events directly concern the elite. The event can also be seen as the direct result of one individual’s actions, this is best epitomized by how descriptions of allegations against Rinpoche. The problems of sexual misconduct and the problems within his organization Rigpa can be directly attributed to his behavior: “Rigpa known as Lama Care, set up specifically to make sure that women were available for sex with him wherever he travelled, and that ‘dakinis’ had been pressurised against their will to take part in orgies” (Brown).

While the accusations against Rinpoche are not new, the way they are making Western headlines is, which is why they are important to helping to understand what leads to an event being classified as news.

Brown, Mick. “Sexual Assaults and Violent Rages… Inside the Dark World of Buddhist Teacher Sogyal Rinpoche.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 21 Sept. 2017.

Galtung, Johan, and Mari Holmboe Ruge. “The Structure of Foreign News.” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 2, no. 1, 1965, pp. 64–91.

 

The Best Gaydar Around is an Algorithm

It is arguably reductive for humans to attempt to guess one’s sexual orientation simply from looking at a person. However, an algorithm designed by researchers at Stanford University has found that a neural network (a form of algorithm) can more accurately predict a person’s sexual orientation, with it being able “distinguish between gay and heterosexual men in 81% of cases, and in 74% of cases for women” (Kosinski and Wang).

This poses a great risk to the safety of LGBT members of society if it is given wider or further usage. The Guardian reported that it is an alarming creation as it could allow for the identification of people’s sexual orientation from public records, meaning their consent had not been given, making it a huge and potentially harmful breach of privacy. As sexuality can become something is quantified, theorists have become increasingly concerned: “These concerns stem from a broader anxiety about how algorithms can be used to shift and shape public opinion as more parts of society are quantified” (Caplan and Boyd 4). As a shift in the way algorithms are used and as they become more accurate and effective, they can also have harmful consequences as is shown with the idea that sexuality can be judged by an algorithm. If manipulated by the wrong people it could be absolutely detrimental, and used as a tool for discrimination.

 

Caplan, Robin, and boyd, danah. Who Controls the Public Sphere in an Era of Algorithms? Data&Society (2016). Web.

Kosinski, Michal, and Yilun Wang. “Deep Neural Networks Are More Accurate than Humans at Detecting Sexual Orientation from Facial Images.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 15 Feb. 2017. Web.

Levin, Sam. “New AI Can Work out Whether You’re Gay or Straight from a Photograph.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 7 Sept. 2017.