Journalism, Democracy, and the Truth

MEDIA IN AN AGE OF DISTRUST

The results of the recent Trump versus Clinton Presidential election in the United States has left a multitude of people stumped. While there are a variety of reasons why people believe Trump won over Clinton, an interesting voice of opinion links back to people distrusting career politicians, and the way in which career politicians campaign. I will be particularly focusing on the media as an outlet for both candidates campaigns and why we may have seen the results that transpired.

It has become a commonly accepted idea that the media has a direct link to influencing the opinion of the masses. After all, it’s one of the main sources of information on current events for the general public. It would be understandable to think that it had such a crucial role in forming a general opinion. However, there are so many more news outlets available these days all offering varying opinions and information.

Social media platforms have soared in recent years as an information medium- particularly attractive because the content may be user generated and shared. People feel more in control of what they see and what they choose to share with their friends and followers. The internet has changed the way in which we process and communicate news and current affairs.

“We became each other’s databases and servers, leaning on each other’s memories, multiplying, amplifying and anchoring the things we could imagine by sharing our dreams, our speculations and our curiosities.”

When we look at this generally conceived idea in contrast to the recent Trump/Clinton election we see a very clear disparity between perception and reality.

Sensational journalism and bias in newspapers can be seen as being  . However so, despite this bias, are we really that convinced by what we see in mainstream media?

 

  • people trusting trump over clinton despite his obvious racist and sexist views
  • people distrusting legacy media and career politicians

 

CAOS202 Project Report

UNLEASHED- Unethical Clothing Brands

Project Concept

The tagline for our campaign is “Air Out Your Dirty Laundry”- meaning, exposing the “dirty” side of the fashion industry; the animal abuse, corporations not exercising a concern for human rights or the environment. Originally we had planned to create an interactive installation however we then shifted this idea to instead creating an online, multimedia campaign. The campaign fitted the nature of the concept better, creating a permanent platform to gain awareness and for people to interact with.

The main components of our online, multimedia campaign are:

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness for ethical fashion choices and outline why ethical and sustainable fashion choices are important. We were very conscious of portraying a brand that makes consumers feel guilty for their past choices. It is crucial to the campaign to provide thorough information to empower consumers to make better, more considerate choices in the future. Along with outlining the negatives of companies we also wanted to give merit where it’s deserved, if they were making any ethical and sustainable choices in their business models we made sure to note it.

We also workshopped the idea of creating our own ethical clothing pieces to sell through our website under the shop tab. Due to technical difficulties close to the due date we were only able to create prototypes, no final products. The prototype can be seen in the below photo entitled Clothes Minded Own Graphic Tees. The website also provides links to ethically, sustainably approved clothing and accessory pieces.

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Target Audience

Young consumers, the main demographic of people that have purchasing power at the trendy clothing brands we are aiming at exposing. The age bracket for this demographic would be 14-28. Our campaign is gender neutral in order to appeal to both males and females and this is reflected in our logo. We avoided colour and went with black and white for the logo to remain gender neutral and to create an easily recognisable brand image. 14826325_10205661831784748_177497359_n

To engage this audience social media was important as a media and informational outlet. A modern aesthetic with easily accessible resources, not overloaded with reading, was key to creating engaging content for our targeted audience.

 

Group Roles

Amy Thompson (me) | Discipline- Journalism and International Studies

As a journalism student, the skills I had to offer the group were a background in photography, video and audio editing/producing, writing and strong research skills, interviewing skills and social media awareness.

My role in the group was to produce and manage our facebook page. Setting up the page involved writing an about blurb, both a short and long description of what clothes minded is all about. The photos below show this information. Furthermore, running the facebook page involved finding content to share that aligned with the Clothes Minded values and image and creating my own content.

The content I created for the Facebook page (which is also displayed on our website), involved producing two short video clips. The first displayed is a vox pop. The purpose of this video was to get the opinions and perspectives of people from our target audience. We had a variety of interesting responses which was encouraging but unfortunately my microphone isn’t the best quality, thus the audio wasn’t to the standard I would’ve liked it to be. Even after adjusting the levels, there’s quite a bit of background noise. The visuals, however, I’m happy with. We all took turns to approach and ask questions to the interviewees. The overall message of the video is to show that there is a disconnect between us as consumers and the background goings on of big businesses. It highlights how much major brands are going under the radar with unethical and harmful practices.

The second video I produced was in an advertisement format. It’s more emotive and confrontational. The aim was to provoke audience empathy and to bring them on board with the aims of Clothes Minded. The photos used aren’t my own but I have edited them myself and put them all together to create this video. I based the structure and the overall feeling of the video from other advertisements I’ve seen on television that have been created to promote an ethical company; its aim is to be gently persuasive, simple but also informative.

 

And as I mentioned above, both videos are used on the website to describe what Clothes Minded is about and as an alternative information source to chunks of text. Videos appeal to the target audience, entertaining and engaging. Below is evidence of this.

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videos produced by me as seen on the Clothes Minded website

 

 

Liz Perusco | Discipline- Marketing, Interior Design, Design

Building the website – Editing the word doc – AutoCAD drawing of installation

Jessica Payne | Discipline- Marketing, Creative Arts, Advertising

Drawings/ Sketches- Craft- Instagram- Clothes Line Prototype

Olivia Fisher | Discipline- Creative Writing

Research – Writing- Twitter

 

Evaluation of Team Dynamics

Everyone was cooperative and helpful. Ideas were pitched by all members and there was no single person that unfairly took on more work than the rest. We each had a clear idea on what our roles were and how each of these roles fitted in with the final product of lifting off our campaign. The quality of work across all our platforms is of a high standard and I’m proud of every member’s effort and work ethic.

Important Links

The Website: lizperusco.wixsite.com/clothesminded

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_clothes__minded_/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clothesminded5/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/clothesminded5

Group Presentation number 1: https://prezi.com/8fhldhhpompi/unleashed-project-concept-unethical-fashion-brands/

Group Presentation number 2: https://prezi.com/uiouy0n7eild/clothesminded/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

What’s Hidden- Fears

Everyone has them but not everyone knows about them. They can be severe, crippling a person and affecting their everyday life. Fears are diverse and perverse. An approximate 19.2 million people live every day with a phobia.

A phobia sufferer may not always be obvious to detect, symptoms may be hidden, covered up or confused with something else altogether. For the sufferers themselves, they may find it hard to fit into social situations because of their underlying fears; rendering them paralysed, unable to speak or function “normally” among their peers.

Nathaniel Smith, aged 20, describes his fear as an inner disturbance, an unsettling unnatural feeling brought on at the very thought of a clown. For some a clown may conjure up memories of childhood and carnivals, children’s parties as well. Nathaniel, however, has nothing but unnerving memories of encounters with clowns, a feeling that carries all the way back to before he can remember- “it’s just always been there”.

A tall slippery dip, climbing a tree, jumping from great heights into the ocean all are exhilarating and common past times; all of which 19-year-old Eliza Tame will never experience with her fear of heights. Described as having suffered since she was born, Eliza has always struggled with the prospect of heights both small and large. She hopes to one day push past her fear and participate in activities that involve heights, but for now, she’ll stick to a strict ground-level-only approach.

Bees and other flying insects are common throughout the world. With multiple species and sizes, you will find these creatures in most climates; much to the misfortune of Rebecca Martin, a 19-year-old with a debilitating fear of flying insects. The minuscule creepy crawlies haunt her everyday routine. Her balcony is fiercely avoided and neglected due to the inhabitance of a hornet’s nest, right outside the door. The mere sound of flapping little wings sends Rebecca into a dizzying panic attack. Having suffered all her life with this phobia, she’s doubtful she’ll ever be able to overcome it.

Phobias haunt the everyday mundane lives of their sufferers and many people will experience a phobia at one point in their life. Sufferers may be able to overcome their fears but ultimately, successfully learning to overcome these phobias is on a case-by-case basis.

 

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Easter Weekend Home

FOMO- the struggle is real, people!

FOMO- Fear of missing out; we’re all guilty of it, we all may deny it but why does this feeling seem to be evolving at such a rapid pace! Why do we, as individuals, feel the need to “out socialise” one another?  Everybody has, at one stage in their life, experienced the feeling of being left out socially. Whether it’s not being friends with the coolest kids on the block, missing out on the sickest party of the year or simply not being invited to an outing with who your close circle of friends (Ouch!). All people have felt excluded from a social event at one point or another.

These days, the media gets a pretty bad wrap. It’s deemed an easy target for taking the blame for modern, and often serious, social issues. In my opinion, this blame is not always warranted. However, when we look at the effect of social media on how we socialise and perceive other people in relation to ourselves, there is no denying its effects. According to some rough statistics, one in four Gen-Yers will experience FOMO weekly. That’s 25% of younger generation Aussies.  As though there wasn’t enough on a kid’s plate as it is!

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My point is- humans have been experiencing FOMO in a sense for generations. As I mentioned before, we all get left out of things sometimes! It’s a fact of life. We can’t be everywhere all the time.  Social Media though, exacerbates these ideas by giving people the ability to create a public persona. You can engineer your personality in a sense. It is through this engineering of a personality that individuals may emphasise an idea of how socially adept they are. You know the type. They’re the person who always posts the funniest status updates, group photos with new people every other week and how could you not notice how many likes they get on their instagram selfies. It feels like some people’s live role to the beat of “But First Let Me Take a Selfie”. The problem that arises is this: when their friends logon to their social media of choice, they may compare themselves to these people. Near 5 million Australians admit to experiencing FOMO after using Facebook. With the Australian population of Facebook amounting to around the 9 million mark, it’s clear to see just how common FOMO really is.

Some more quick stats on the FOMO situation:

  • The most common sufferers of FOMO are women and members of Generation Y (study by viagogo)
  • 70% of Aussies have owned up to having suffered FOMO
  • Most often, FOMO is caused by lucking out on music/sports tickets

Just remember it’s within human nature to feel a sense of being wanted and included. Don’t let the FOMO bring you down.

Now I’m going to introduce a new term to you; JOMO- Joy of missing out. Take some time for yourself to enjoy your own company! How can you fully appreciate your life without taking the time to fully appreciate yourself? #word

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Kenyan Street Kids

I chose for my audio a friend of mine who’s from another country. I at first thought the fact he had an accent might be a hindrance with the piece (Born in Kenya but both parents are from India) but it added a bit of comedy to have a voice that you might not always be used to listening to everyday. The story is a small anecdote, one of many, Brij has told me about life back home in Kenya. Brij has a tendency to talk fast, making it hard to find gaps to allow editing and cutting the audio. There were spots where I would have liked to add something extra in but it made the piece very choppy. I do think, however the pace of his talking fitted the emotion depicted in this audio piece- surprise.

 

I had repeated technical difficulty with equipment. I was constantly making small mistakes with using the H2 zoom recorder during my interview. I set the interview up in a poorly chosen location that meant a great deal of unnecessary background noise was present on the initial recording. Due to this we had to change location. The second location was perfect, no unwanted background audio, just interview. I had to ask Brij to start again a couple of times. Knowing he was being recorded made him a little bit nervous and he started to speak quite formally. I simply explained that he should try explaining the story to me as opposed to the recorder and that helped his story markedly.

 

Unfortunately, when I sat down to edit the audio, I realized I had made a mistake when transferring the files from the SD card in the H2. I had lost the majority of my interview. Luckily, I had an anecdote that I had found quite funny and wanted to use anyway. To round out this audio I added intro and closing music to fill in more of the story and to place the listener in the heart of the location the story took place. Upbeat drum tones create the busy city atmosphere of a third world city. I added actualities like the children laughing to place the listener in the environment of the interviewee and to keep with the light-hearted mood of the piece (McHugh 141-156).

 

The overall nature of the piece is spontaneous and unrehearsed, characteristics that underpin the “niche area of podcasting-the crafted or narrative audio storytelling genre” (McHugh 65-82). Sound effects have been used throughout the piece to add to the effect of the anecdotal tale. I particularly think the splash adds to the humorous tone of the piece. The effectiveness of audio, of listening to the spoken word is unquestionable. A person’s voice can communicate emotion and personality into stories, something that isn’t achieved as effectively with written word and is detracted from with video footage (Kern). Harnessing audio editing capabilities is crucial for journalists in a climate of uncertainty and transformation within the profession.

 

Bibliography

  • McHugh, Siobhán. “How Podcasting Is Changing the Audio Storytelling Genre”. radio journal: international studies in1 (2016): 65-82. Web.
  • Kern, Jonathan. Sound Reporting. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008. Print.
  • McHugh, S. “Audio Storytelling: Unlocking The Power of Audio to Inform, Empower and Connect”. Asia Pacific Media Educator2 (2014): 141-156. Web.
  • Intro music used in audio piece: http://www.bensound.com/

 

A Fair Future

Face down, on the edge of its life, a turtle awaits discovery on the beach. Before it is found, it will grow barnacles all over its face, beak and body, resembling a deadly outbreak of smallpox. It is unsure how long it has been stranded on the beach, alone, starving and scared. On his ritual morning run, Paul found this turtle and endeavoured to save its rapidly thinning life. “It just had no energy at all so I carried it all the way home… about 3kms” said Paul. At about 40cm long carrying the turtle “got heavy” but Paul persevered and brought it home, where it was then taken under the care of Taronga Zoo. The turtle eventually passed away due to ingesting cling wrap. “When they have plastic in their stomach it can form air bubbles and puts off their equilibrium” a turtle is then stuck on the surface unable to dive for food, “slowly dying from exhaustion”.  It was this scene, among many other events witnessed in his 15 years of morning runs, which triggered Paul Hellier to begin the Fair Food Forager, an upstarting business that stands for the pursuit of ethics and environmental awareness- starting with the food we eat.

Paul’s love for the environment began at an early age. He fondly remembers gazing at glassy rock pools with his grandfather, admiring the creatures below, thriving in their natural habitat. He remembers a starfish in particular, maybe for the way the sun made its colours shine through the water. The trip down to the rock pools Paul notes as his earliest memory of his love for the earth and the creatures within it and has shaped his life and sense of purpose throughout high school and into adulthood.  Throughout high school Paul volunteered for national parks and currently spends his Saturday mornings, a time when many of us would enjoy hitting the snooze button and staying in bed, planting trees throughout the Wollongong area.

 

Even from his young years in school, Paul had a strong mind on where he saw his future career. He had a certainty towards a future working with the environment. Paul works in natural area management and has completed both a TAFE certificate in environmental monitoring and technology; and an Environmental Science Degree through the University of Wollongong.  When Paul first left high school, however, he felt no great urge to commit to further study and instead became a lifeguard, a job which suited his lifestyle and allowed him to work in a department closely related to nature. “Being a lifeguard was unreal you know you want to be a hero… it was a dream” said Paul. On the downside of this dream job, however, he notes that it’s a position where he found himself consistently looking for the “lowest common denominator”, the misfits, those that exemplified bad behaviour.

Following a spell overseas travelling and after his job as a customs officer, Paul came back home and picked up work as a lifeguard once again. However, round two was a different experience. Being exposed to the world beyond home, along with time, had changed his motivations and what was once the dream job had now become mentally exhausting. He had found that as with lifeguard duties, his customs officer job had him constantly looking for, and focusing on, the wrong-doers. “I didn’t want to rescue people anymore, ” said Paul quickly adding “not that I wanted people to die” whilst laughing light-heartedly. It is at this point in his life, returning from travel in Europe, the UK, and America, where Paul commits to first his TAFE certificate, the year after which he commenced his degree in Environmental Science; feeling a greater drive to study than his 15 year old self, a boy with aspirations of becoming a ranger but having no desires for further study.

During this period, Paul kept permanent lifeguard work and volunteered in bush regeneration for Bushcare, immersing himself within a community of like-minded people with a shared mission of preservation. Bushcare offered for Paul a gateway into the life he had imagined since his 15-year-old self sat in a classroom dreaming of the outdoors. In the offseason, lifeguards would “carry out various tasks for council” which, for Paul, included work in the environmental department, a role in which he educated others on sustainability; mainly in schools and amongst young people.  He was also in charge of what plants they would use in bush regeneration plans and he says that he “got a kick out of that”. One year, Paul was called on for help with Bushcare and through this, he gained the title and position of the Bushcare Officer for Wollongong. He held this position for 3-4 years. His new role gave him a different perspective and he appreciated “working with people trying to make a difference”.  It also allowed him to find work in a field where he could focus on the bigger picture and initiate small changes that have a domino effect in creating bigger, more positive impacts on the environment.  His cooperation with Bushcare placed him in the midst of change and visions of hope for the future. He proudly said of his time in Bushcare that “volunteers would plant 20,000 plants a year across the entirety of Wollongong”, an achievement that exemplified his philosophy of small steps pathing a long journey towards reconnecting with earth and understanding how best to use and nurture its resources. This sentiment which he strives to share sparked a nerve within him to forge his company the Fair Food Forager.

 

The dying turtle among other sad tales of animals suffering the harms of litter began Paul contemplating a way to enact greater, more effective change in the habits and attitudes held towards our environment. “It’s great that I’m planting trees and I’m picking up rubbish on my own beach but how can I make a bigger impact, Instagram” said Paul explaining his mentality going into his project for Fair Food Forager. An aim of Fair Food Forager is to reach a wide audience and make caring for the environment a simple task and even more importantly an enjoyable one. Through being easily accessible and enjoyable, FFF (for short) hopes to reach a wide audience including people who may not have already had a passion for the environment like Paul. “It’s funny, you go to a farmer’s market or a sustainable workshop or a bush walk… and it’s always the same…you see the same faces over and over again” said Paul, an observation that he felt needed to be rectified in the way he created FFF and to avoid “preaching to the converted all the time”. He felt technology was surely the way to go.

Paul found himself once again as a student, enrolling in the School for Social Entrepreneurs offered in Wollongong. His study involved starting a business that has a positive impact on people or the environment. “There were 13 of us; 12 girls and me… For some reason I was the only [interested] male in Wollongong” said Paul noting how strange it was being the only male in the course. He gained many valuable skills and learnt from people with experience, gearing himself for the start of the FFF journey. It has been met with enthusiasm and Paul hopes FFF will spread even more following the launch of its Apple and Android apps, a commitment setting Paul back $40,000. If that doesn’t show his passion then there’s not much else that would.  FFF has a social aspect and incorporates trends to make it effective in capturing the attention of the wider audience Paul has sought after. The FFF Instagram and blog is flooded with beautiful photos of sustainable food outlets and breathtaking landscapes and nature photos; photography proving to be another strong point among many in Paul’s possession.

 

Perhaps it is his keen eye for the world around him that has highlighted his interest in the natural world, or maybe conversely, his keen eye for the world around him comes from his interest in the environment in all its fine and greater detail. Without a doubt his drive to put into action his beliefs has served him well and brought him far. He is someone who looks beyond the mundane and focuses on what he sees as the bigger picture, ticking off goal after goal on his list to achieve making this bigger picture a reality. In the words of Paul “we need to change” and he will always be on the search for any way in which he can make this change our shared reality.

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Paul with his shadow and beloved friend Moose “If you care about the environment, you care about everything”- Paul

 

If you are interested in the Fair Food Forager and wish to find out more go to:

 

Photo credit: The Fair Food Forager website