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Friday, September 3, 2010

B is for Broadcasting

New Newscasting.

Comedy central is currently the main news source for teenagers. Some are appalled. I applaud it. John Stewart and The Colbert Report give us 20somethings the things we crave: comedy and news combined. Example from Auto Tune the News:

Compared to a ethnocentric conglomerate news source, I find comedy central to be a great option.

For example. Conglomerate news reporting lacks the ability to question what is being presented; it relates one point of view. Putting Democrats and Republicans on TV to battle it out is not critical thinking. Even with two viewpoints there is no supporting evidence or questioning on the part of the viewer. John Stewart provides critical thinking by asking viewers to question their sources. Watch the Parent Company Trap clip here.

Some say that social media are degrading our cultures' knowledge base. First, social media has become news in and of itself. Don't have time to cruise the vast content of YouTube? Tosh.0 on comedy central provides his take on the daily uploads. Social media presenting social media!

Second: blogs. Bloggers aren't professionals; most of us have never taken a journalism class, and yet we can be journalists! This can lead to a lot of speculation and incorrect statements (Steve Jobs' heart attack, for example) masquerading as news. In an age where CNN is the fourth most followed on Twitter, trumped by Katy Perry and Brit Spears, I can see where this thought comes from. However, consider the competition (and the cultural facts).

The news can't tell us what to think, but they can tell us what to think about. The majority of persons who get their news from TV think that crises like Darfur are over, simply because the news has stopped mentioning them. This can cause Americans to have an ethnocentric view of the world, limiting their ability to be global citizens.

Currently, mainstream news is limited by a few large conglomerates. A few sources means a few stories; they cannot possibly show the world as individuals with a thirty minute window. Besides, news is still a business: if it's not flashy, it doesn't air. Thus we get Paris Hilton's latest fashions as news. Are the lives of starving children flashy?

Enter the Blogger. We question the status quo. We pick up the small town voices and stories.

Local bloggers found this young man, who built a windmill from scrap to irrigate his famine struck community.

I also enjoy this video because it speaks to the power of iconographics as learning devices for second language students. Pictures as teaching tools: media literacy and now general literacy, too. But I've written on this before, so I won't rehash it now. However...visit me on Tumblr!

It used to be the media's job to watch the government. Now it is the Blogger's job to watch the media.

Has the media overstepped its bounds? Some wonder if questioning radical movements, such as the questioned Koran burning, grant these individuals the coverage they want or the press they need to further their movement. On the other side, some claimed they would not cover the burning because of the danger posed to American troops and the prospect of providing air time to hate.

Here we see a clash: it's the media's job to cover the news, but media airwaves serve as cultural messages about who we are and what we stand for. I think we will see the role of the media (as entertainment, as cultural message) debated much more in the future.

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