MJC.

Audio Report Reflection: A New Beginning

Leah Rose

New mum and mum to be – Leah Rose

I went into this task with a fairly good idea of how I wanted my project to sound. However, after the first half of my interview I knew that I would have to change these plans in order to deliver a quality piece of work. 

My initial plan was for the audio report to direct itself through the talent telling her story. However after listening to a playback of the interview I knew that my material wouldn’t allow me to successfully pull off my initial plan. My talent answered the questions in a different style to what I had originally expected; a style that when put together had very little direction.

This was a challenge because, although I had great content, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. 

I then decided to include questions from the interview to try and direct the story and keep the audience informed. However, this too made the project sound stilted.

In order to overcome these challenges, I decided to do something that I had originally not wanted to do, and that was to structure the project with a narration-type voiceover.

As we learnt in our lecture with journalist, Geoff Thompson, a key thing to remember when being involved in the interview is that you don’t overshadow the talent and their story. To make sure that I didn’t do this, I carefully crafted a few lines that I could add into the audio report to ensure that the audience could follow the story succinctly and make sense of it without too much distraction from the story being told.

Once I had recorded my voice-over I put a rough copy together and was happy with the sound, composition and the ultimate story that was conveyed.

I then began my editing process, which I expected to take a day at the most. I soon found out was this was an unrealistic timeframe. My editing process not only included cutting, snipping and organizing the interview material, but I also had to do the same to the voiceover. While working on both sections, I found many spots where the voiceover was too loud or just didn’t quite sound right. This then began the recording process again so that I could correctly fit the voiceovers with the composition of the story. Going back and forth between recording and editing was a step in the process that I had not comprehended.

The next step that was tricky was finding background sounds that would fit in with the narrative, and more so, enhance the narrative. My project was more of an experience than a story; therefore it was hard for me to find things that I could put in the background to add to the atmosphere boost the narrative. I settled for a few recordings of Leah’s 17-month-old daughter, Mahani. I found that these recordings enhanced the emotion Leah was conveying and enriched the picture that the story created in people’s mind without adding unnecessary sound that overwhelmed the audience.

Once I had my talent’s story, narrative voice over and simple, yet effective, background sounds complete and in order, I then went on search for some music that would complement all three components. With my music selected, the final step was to put it all together.

I was really happy with the outcome. I think that I have successfully (and graciously) conveyed Leah’s struggles, and ultimate happiness, through the growth of her family. I was intensely happy with the ending of my audio report as I thought it was not only unique, but also a special moment conveyed between a mother and her daughter that an audience would be able to connect with.

I have learnt many skills throughout this experience that I believe will help me in my future career as a journalist, however I am most grateful for uncovering a passion I did not know that I had for audio reporting. I had never really considered radio journalism or the likes of it, but I am happy that I have had my eyes opened to this new opportunity.

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el fin.

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I’ll confess that when I started this subject I had only blogged once before and, if I’m honest, I was still dreading my first post. I was unaware of what was expected, or how to stand out from the sea of BCM111 bloggers.

However, within this course I really enjoyed being able to sit back and reflect on the readings and lecture content each week. This enabled me to work through the more challenging concepts in my own time and allowed me to research real life situations and examples of the content. Blogging was extremely helpful, as it not only allowed me to get a better grasp on the topics, but also gave my readers and classmates something to relate the topics to and gave them a different angle to view them from.

I found it quite difficult to remain unique and interesting throughout my blog, especially on topics that I didn’t engage as well with. However, I learned that by adding relevant links and visual content, such as images and videos, I was able to keep my readers engaged.

My goal for my BCM111 blog was to try and continually increase my readership and blog traffic in order for my posts and opinions to reach a wider audience. By frequently linking significant keywords from my discussion topics as hash tags on my blog posts I was able to optimise the search engine capabilities and furthered my readership, as they were able to search for my posts through the hash tags.

My favourite blog post for this semester would have to be my ‘Blurred Lines post on the week six topic, ‘Transnational film industries: Hollywood and beyond’. This post covered the Tofo Tofo dance group and their introduction into the world of Hollywood. However, the underlying question I wanted to pose to my readers was, why do artists always need the American/ European stamp of approval in order to be recognised and valued? Within this post I hoped to resonate that while our media industry in indeed changing and evolving, we need to remember the values and traditions behind all of the glitter and glamour of our new media world.

My favourite reading throughout the semester was by O’Shaughnessy & Stadler (2010), called ‘Globalisation’. I think his notion that the world has been ‘commodified, commercialized, decontextualized and stripped of tradition and cultural meaning’ is a very important concept, and one that we must be aware of. While I do not believe that all traditional and cultural meaning has been stripped, I think that this notion has truth to it; especially in relevance to the future direction we are heading with the growth of technology’s role in our lives.

Another reading I found while researching on the Internet that made an impact to my writing was by Kuldip R. Rampal, called ‘Cultural Imperialism or Economic Necessity?: The Hollywood Factor in the Reshaping of the Asian Film Industry’. Rampal demonstrates how transnational films are combining traditional film techniques with modern styles to appeal to a wider audience. In relation to the many tutorial discussions that we had surrounding cultural imperialism, this reading gave me a greater insight into the topic, and made me wonder whether countries were truly being imposed upon, or simply embracing the popular culture. A question I’m yet to find the answer to.

This task has taught me that meeting a deadline involves dedication and organization, and has significantly improved my writing and referencing skills, and my ability to critically analyse a text. The main thing I hope to take from this task is the notion that within this new phenomenon of globalisation, we must learn that a balance of old and new culture is essential in order to retain our traditional values

O’Shaughnessy,M, Standler, J, 1999, ‘Globalisation’, Michael O’Shaughnessy (eds.), Media and Society, OUP, Australia & New Zealand, 2012, pp.458-470

Balancing on Our Axis.

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“Thanks to satellite networks … we are now closer to distant suffering than ever before, thereby bearing the moral responsibility of witnessing and, with it, the burden of complicity: in the age of mediated abundance, we cannot, any longer, say we did not know” (Ellis, 2000: 1).

 What do you remember about the 16th of April?

 In Australia, the Boston Bombings mainly dominated the news.

April 15th (American time), two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2.48pm at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The detonation, which took a infinitesimal thirteen seconds, killed three people and injured over 260 people.

While the bombings were a tragedy, and cannot be treated as ‘insignificant event’, what made they so special over other events in the world? Why were they such a prominent news story?

On April 16th another momentous tragedy occurred – the Iran earthquake.

The earthquake struck on April 16th in Iran near the border of Pakistan. The earthquake measured to be 7.8 in magnitude, the largest earthquake in Iran for 40 years. The tremors were felt as far away as India and the Gulf states. In the bordering town of Mashkeel, Pakistan, the earthquake killed 35 people and injured 150. One person was always confirmed to be dead and at least 20 injured in Iran. While many were cautious of the damage the earthquake could have done to the Bushehr nuclear power facility in Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that the quake had caused no harm to the plant, or any other nuclear faculties.

The bombings in Boston and the earthquake in Pakistan occurred within 24 hours of each other, causing great destruction and suffering. However, why did the Boston Bombings receive such significant attention?

As Moeller indicates,

“The ways in which the media portray and narrate the suffering of far away others… has raised critical questions about the power relations between the West and the ‘rest’,” (Moeller, 1999; Tester, 2001).

Due to America’s undeniable influence on the rest of the world, the attention that the Boston bombings receives cannot simply be put down to as interest. Not only would the United States’ actions regarding this case would have reflected and set the tone for Obama’s second term’s national strategies, but whatever they proposed, could have also impacted Australian and other international forces.

However, a major thought to consider is that what happened at the Boston Marathon is what people in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan are surrounded by daily. Just because these events happen on a regular basis in Iraq and Iran, it doesn’t justify why they weren’t given much news time. The end result for all three of these events was the same. Innocent citizens became victims.

All life is precious and equal, but as far as our media is concerned, it seems some is more precious than others.

That’s a Bust!

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In the modern society, where everything is public, there is a camera at every corner. For producers, this means that when a show fails, it doesn’t matter, there is always a camera there, and it will eventually be seen. With this in mind, it is no miracle that YouTube has become the new home of bombed pilots. Among the misfits and old broken videos, is the critically condemned American remake, The IT Crowd.

When NBC decided to remake Graham Linehan’s sitcom, The IT Crowd (U.S), many were anticipating how the remake would be received. Much like Coupling (which bombed) and The Office (which, after a rough start, is highly popular), The IT Crowd remake was copied shot-for-shot and joke-for-joke from the British pilot.

As Turnball suggests, “Sizeable and often crucial amounts of comedic meaning resides in infliction, timing, nuance, gesture, the balance of sound and silence, the unexpected or wilful pronunciation of key words…” (Turnbull 2008, p. 112)

Like many of the U.K-U.S adaptations, the American IT Crowd pilot script makes for an odd viewing experience. For me personally, it brings back nightmares of watching the first episodes of the American remake, The Office. The rhythm and atmosphere match up so closely that I cringe watching it, it feels fake, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure if the American actors get the jokes they are relaying to their audience.

Even worse, the characters have exactly the same name, and the producer’s decision to bring over Richard Ayoade (who played Moss in the British version) as the eccentric, Moss, makes the pilot feel even more off.

According to Linehan, “The IT Crowd is a very British show in the sense that it comes from a tradition of surreal sitcom that doesn’t really have an equivalent in America” (similar to shows like Black Books). Perhaps if the U.S network has reinvented The IT Crowd (U.S) from the ground up, merely taking the concept and reinventing it for U.S audiences, they would have been more successful? However, the series creator Graham Linehan failed to translate the series for a U.S context. Given this lack of appeal for U.S, the pilot bombed even before it’s release.

The IT Crowd (U.S) originally had a full series ordered, and had even been advertised by NBC but it never made it to air. Audiences aren’t looking to watch a show they have already seen with difference actors playing the same characters, saying the same jokes and only changing words like ‘Manchester’ to ‘Milwaukee’.

For audiences all over the world, not just American audiences, there is simply no appeal there!

Linehan G 2007, “Notes on The U.S. IT Crowd”, <http://whythatsdelightful.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/notes-on-the-us-it-crowd/&gt;.

Blurred Lines.

When I first heard of the Tofo Tofo dance group on MTV, I mistakenly thought they were talking about Asian Tofu. In reality, that was as far away from the truth I could get! ‘Tofo Tofo’ is actually the name of a dance group from Mozambique who are experts at the Kwaito dance.

Beyoncé Knowles and her choreographer, Frank Gatson Jr, first spotted the dance group on YouTube in 2011. They were intrigued by the Tofo Tofo’s dance steps and tracked them down in Africa to learn more. This was the beginning of what would be a life changing experience for the three men. The group was flown to California to teach Beyoncé and her dancers their native dance moves, which were then incorporated into her music video ‘Run The World (Girls)’.

By combining the local and the global, we have created a subverted ‘glocal’ culture (Schaefer and Karan, 2010). This subversion has blurred the borders between modern and traditional culture, and national and global culture. Hence, nowadays, it is hard to determine whether nation can claim a culture as ‘theirs’.

In the case of Beyoncé’s film clip, she merged both the tradition Kwaito dance style with modern dance moves to create a new style of dance. Similar to what Schaefer and Karan suggest, this new style features both a Western music video for Eastern audiences and an Eastern video for Western audiences (2010). While Beyoncé credited the Tofo Tofo dance group for inspiring her video and featured the group in the clip, I still question whether she created a hybrid dance style, or whether the video exploited the traditional Kwaito dance style to reinvent Beyoncé as an artist?

The steps to the Kwaito dance are said to offer a ‘window into the everyday life of South Africans by building on traditional dance styles from the region’. By incorporating the dance steps into her clip, has Beyoncé retained respect for the traditional style, or has she co-opted the steps for her benefit?

While researching the Tofo Tofo dancers I stumbled upon an African blogger who questioned, ‘I wish the genre was as appreciated and respected here. Why do our artists always need the American/ European stamp of approval for us to value them?’

While I believe Beyoncé credited the artists appropriately, I think that among all of the Hollywood glam and glitter, the cultural meaning behind the Kwaito dance style was forgotten and outshone. Beyoncé may have made the African youths to value the dance style, however will they ever really understand the culture? Or will they always associate it to Beyoncé and her glamorous American music video?

Although I wish I didn’t, I think I believe the latter.

Move Over Hollywood.

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It seems, like many before it, Hollywood may soon to tumble to its’ end as the mass media producer. As conditions have shifted, superior cities such as Hollywood now face growing competition from now growing film and television industries across the world, such as in India, Nigeria and Asia.

Not only are there national media industries on the rise, there are also media capitals commanding the attention of their audiences left, right and center. Media capitals are “locations where complex forces and flows interact, they are neither bounded nor self-government entities” (Curtin 2003). They direct our attentions to complex exchanges and migrations of cultural, economic and technology, that operate at different levels, such as local, global and regional.

Just like the creation of Hollywood’s film industry, new media capitals are ‘borrowing’ elements and artists from afar to market genres and technologies across cultural divides, such as in Hong Kong. Hong Kong benefits from a lack of censorship and open trade policies and has many economic and cultural flows with China mainland, ensuring a market for the material they create.

In 1993, Huntington coined the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ theory, which he suggests would be informed by ‘cultural essentialism’, reified an Orientalist opposition between East and west and focus our attention on boundaries and containers rather than complex patterns of flow. However, as these media capitals have arisen, it has become clear that not only are our similarities greater than our differences, but cultural spheres are now seen as influenced and not coherent, and constrained entities. They are sights where new patterns of flows are no longer only shared between sovereign states; instead information and influences are spread over cities. Media capitals are Media capitals are “places where things come together and consequently where the generation and circulation of new mass culture forms become possible” (Curtin 2003).

An example of these flows includes the different TV shows that have migrated around the world. One TV show that has been intergraded into various media cities culture is Big Brother, in which 15-20 are constantly watched by the viewers. This show started in the Netherlands and is now shown in seventy different countries. Since then the show has become a worldwide TV favourite, airing in various countries in a number of versions.

Due to media capitals constant influence from other cities it has been possible to even make regional versions of Big Brother. The contestants in these versions must come from each of the countries in the region where it airs. An example would be the African Big Brother shows, which air in Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Media capitals are cultural spheres of influences rather than contained boundaries. They have allowed material to flow from city to city, allowing for cultures to form inside their national traditions.

A Tribute to the Glocal.

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Although today hip-hop is commonly associated with the likes of Snoop-dog and all of his ‘bitches’ and Nicki Minja and all of her ‘booty’, the once unnamed culture was characterised as a result of structural inequality and ghetto conditions, and became a chance for young teenagers in the Bronx of America to steer away from of street violence and gang culture.

Formed in New York City’s ghettos in the 1970’s, this genre  of dance, today known as ‘hip-hop’, drew on its’ influences from African-American and African cultures and cultural dance.

Throughout history, hip-hop has commonly been used to comment on political and social problems. It has always been more than a genre of dance; rather it is a form of connection and a chance for others to have a say.

Hip-hop includes many genres and distinctions, such as commercial, gangsta, conscious, grime and booty, however hip-hop is most commonly related to four genres, MCing, DJing, graffiti and breaking.

The spread of hip-hop is evidence of the hybridity and ‘glocalisation’ of todays’ culture. In her reading, April K Henderson highlights Samoan’s as being amongst the first breakers who understood the importance of performing and embodying their local languages and culture through the genre of hip-hop. Henderson acknowledges that, “young Samoans in multi-ethnic neighborhoods earned status and respect through mastering the physical vocabularies of dance or sport”.

Hip-hop was first influenced to the Samoans by hip hop artists and dancers whom travelled back and forth between Samoa and their other homes, creating a global corridor for the development and reformation of Samoan hip hop.

Samoan hip-hop combines traditional forms of Samoan dance and hip-hop and “enables the children of migrants to have the confidence to learn and perform dance”. They not only embraced this form of dance, but glocalised the form of dance by merging hip-hop into the Samoan culture. It empowered the youth to become affiliated with their history and appreciate their traditions.

Samoan hip-hop dancers, such as Petelo Petelo, King Kapisi, Scribe, Dei Hamo, and Savage have become an inspiration for many other Maori and Pacific Islander dancers. They have revolutionized a new national identity and respect for their culture, old and new.

Hip-hop is an important part of our worldwide culture. It is a tribute to the glocalisation of culture, and proof that globalisation has the ability to affect countries all over the world, from the West Coast to the East Coast of America, from New York to the Samoan Island.

A Missed Opportunity.

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I am Australian, this is my home, but I am also an international student. I have friends from Dubai, Egypt, England, America and Canada. Alike many, both of my parents were born overseas and I am lucky enough to have family all over the world. I also hope to go on exchange in my third year of Uni and in the near future I hope to travel the world as a freelance journalist.

Nowadays, the distinction of an international student isn’t as simple as where you come from. It incorporates what language you speak, what you study, where you want to live, where you want to travel, who you’re friends with; the list is endless.

Globalisation has ‘increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information’ (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 458). As ‘global citizens’, national borders no longer bind us. We have adopted, adapted and hybridized with our near and far neighbours, enabling the globalisation of industries, an international workforce and a further understanding of global issues. It has also opened up opportunities for student to travel and study abroad.

However, social, cultural and communication barriers have made exchange a difficult experience for many international students.

For international students language has become a massive hurdle to concur. While many have learnt ‘English’ in school, the Australian vernacular is a lot different from any English you can be taught in a classroom. Drawing on qualities such as informality, abbreviations and slang, Australian English has drawn a clear distinction from the language of our British ancestors.

These communication barriers commonly cause a lack of confidence and a sense of alienation for many international students, in turn, partitioning them off from the rest of the Australian society.

Other cultural barriers, such as religious commitments, can also be hard to overcome. Social affairs in Australia are commonly based around a pub/club and drinking, which for many religious students can go against what the beliefs of their religion.

According to a studying on the potential of international education, it was discovered that ‘most international students want closer interaction with local students, and are prepared to take risks to achieve this. … most local students are not interested’ (Marginson 2012: 1, see also Vogl and Kell 2011). Whether this is due to international students short timespan spent studying in Australia, or whether we truly are a parochial society; this finding highlights a missed opportunity for many local students.

Cultural awareness and intercultural relationships are something to be treasured. We need to learn to welcome different cultures and ethnicities, and learn how to bridge this gap that has grown overtime. As a ‘global citizen’ it is part of our responsibility to accept and value the difference and diversity of other cultures.

McWorld.

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In short, globalisation – the spread of economic, social and cultural ideas across the world, and our seamless global connectedness – has produced a world of ‘instantaneity, interconnectedness and interdependence’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2001). The old saying, ‘the world is at your fingertips’, has become a modern reality as smartphones, Skype, Facebook and other interactive technology have created an interpersonal community that crosses geographic, racial, religious and cultural barriers.

Amid free sharing and entry into the public domain, citizens of the world have transcended the ‘nation-state’ to become part of a larger online community. With globalisation eradicating boundaries of time, space and knowledge, we can now draw on our intelligence and interconnectedness in a global response to changing realities, such as natural disasters and climate change.

However, while new media and communication have the ability to educate, empower and democratise, they have also formulated a world in which some cultures have been ‘commodified, commercialized, decontextualized and stripped of tradition and cultural meaning’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, 2010). With the aid of globalisation and it’s technological advancements, we now have the ability to increase our awareness of foreign cultures, however we must recognise that in exercising Western choice and values, we may deny others cultural desires and limit their individual choice.

This ‘Westernisation’, or ‘Americanisation’, could unfortunately result in a new form of dependency on Western values and traditions, creating a world that is nomadic, alienated and filled with no real connections. As Appadurai claims, “The world we live in now seems rhizomic even schizophrenic, calling for theories of rootlessness, alienation and psychological distance between individuals and groups on the one hand and fantasies (or nightmares) of electronic propinquity on the other”. I’ll be the first to confess that I love my iPhone, my iMac, my TV and my unrestricted and unlimited access to the World Wide Web. However, as we transition into this modern, fast-paced, commercially driven world, global discourses concerned with late capitalist culture, such as dislocation and alienation of the individual, reveal the need to maintain greater connections within our evolving society.

In this modern age, links to television, telecommunications, the Internet, international trade and air travel, have all combined to create what Marshall McLuhan called the ‘global village’. However, we must tackle this new phenomenon head-on to protect our diversity and individuality. Technological advances and widespread communication could be the greatest achievement mankind has made; conversely it could also be our downfall. I have travelled from the beaches of Bali, to the mountains in Switzerland, to the shops in London and the monuments in Paris and I have no doubt that it is the world’s variety and array of cultures that make it so incredible. And so I, like the wise Dr Seuss, pose a question –

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” 

O’Shaughnessy,M, Standler, J, 1999, ‘Globalisation’, Michael O’Shaughnessy (eds.), Media and Society, OUP, Australia & New Zealand, 2012, pp.458-470

Where The Road Ends (or begins).

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(Image: ‘cocobanks’)

Confession time: I always believed the media industry to be quite one-dimensional. You research an issue, you publish a story, and your outlook gets delivered to an audience. However, throughout the past eight weeks I have been exposed numerous issues relating to convergent media practices which have revealed a range of dynamic concepts within the media industry, in turn, compelling me alter my original judgment.

One of my favourite posts would have to be ‘This Revolution Will Be Tweeted’ (April 10). This post uncovered the implications for traditional news media outlets due to new forms of information collecting and distributing, such as citizen journalism. It explored the demise traditional media outlets due to a rise in user generated content. This post made me grasp the changing dynamic of the journalism industry, an important topic for me, as this is a world I hope to become a part of in the near future.

Another post of great interest to me was, Big Things Come From Small Beginnings’ (April 17). This post explored the new ‘Transmedia’ world that the media has embraced in an attempt to reconnect with our society, dominated by electronic media. Like my post on Citizen Journalism, (‘This Revolution Will Be Tweeted’), I was able to recognize the importance of user participation and our growing necessity to be able to contribute to the media world.

My most recent post, ‘By Anonymous’ (May 14), was possibly the most influential post as it explored the darker side of the media world. In this post I was able to explore the dangers of open online content, including the absence of gatekeepers and zero cost of entry, through the important issue of online sexism. Within this post I hoped to resonate that while the power is now in the prosumers hands, an issue explored in all of my previous posts, amid this great power also comes great responsibility. I believe this is something that all prosumers should be aware of.

I think the most significant thing I have learnt from this incredible experience is that users are no longer merely consumers; we now have the power and means to contribute and generate media on various platforms. However this new era of participatory media has also revealed that while it is hard to determine a set of rules or laws that are universal to all prosumers on the Internet, the need for user responsibility is exceedingly important. Blogging has taught me that meeting a deadline involves dedication and organization, and has significantly improved my writing and referencing skills, and my ability to critically analyze a text.

I hope to take from this experience the knowledge that ‘prosumers’ now have the ability to make a difference; we need to make the most of it.