Internet – relationship between news providers and news consumers

December 6, 2010

“Today’s Internet is not the only way to build a network” (Zittrain, 7). Perhaps, Internet is also a way to maintain your competitiveness, especially in the news business. Internet changes everything, and the appearance of the Internet helps the news industry build a closer relationship with their audience.

In news industry, audience is so critical because the number of audience determines how many commercials the news organization can acquire, and thus, directly determines their income source. So Internet helps the news industry to build a closer relationship with their audience.

So why it is important to build a closer relationship with the audience is so important? Nowadays, Internet creates interactivity between the news providers and the news consumers. The role of the news consumers is not passive anymore. They are able to provide concrete news source to the journalists because of the Internet.

So how do they provide a news source? Let me take an example, when some people witness an incident, let say witnessing robbery. If the audience uses the cell phones to film the process of robbery, and send it to the news TV station, the video becomes an important news source, and even good evidence. If the witness provides this video to one TV station, it may also become an exclusive news source for the TV station. In the TV-news industry, the journalists always seek to broadcast exclusive news because it will attract more audience, and thus, attract more commercials. So it ends up creating a strong competitiveness.

Before the appearance of the Internet, the journalist still maintain a relationship with the audience as they provide news source to the journalists. But audience could only contact the journalists via phone or mail. Of course, it was not possible to send out the concrete news source (such as video and photos). So the news might not be so “hot” when it was delivered to the audience.

But now it is instantaneous. When you get something that’s “newsable”, you can send to any news organizations via mobile device. And the news organizations can reply immediately. That is why I say the relationship between news providers and news consumers is getting closer.


Control vs Freedom

November 30, 2010

How much control is enough? How much freedom is enough? It seems like these two questions always appear when lawmakers want to stipulate Internet law, and thus, creates argument.

Social network service enables everyone to be intermediaries and hosts to our communication, and enables everyone to have access to extremely sensitive information. (Opsahl)

Because of the easier availability of information access, people can get whatever information they want on Internet. Take me use China as an example. People in China are not able to get sensitive information on search engine. The China government filters all the sensitive political information on the Internet. The central government wants to control all sensitive information. In their perspective, this action is to protect the regime of the Communist Party. Therefore, people in China are not able to get information on the Tiananmen Square massacre.

When people want to search Tiananmen Square massacre on the search engine by typing 6.4 (the date of Tiananmen Square massacre), the search engine does not show anything about that historical event. But does it mean people in China are not able to get that information forever? Not really. Due to the advanced knowledge on information technology, the Internet users are able to unlock the system. But the China government still keeps inventing the censor system. Once again, this action is to protect their regime.

But is it still really controllable in this technology-boom era? Of course “No”.  The Internets users are so smart, they use another way to spread the information on Tiananmen Square massacre. So how do they spread it on Internet and make this information is searchable? They used to call this event by “June 4th”. Now they call this historical event by “May 35th”. I think the Internet users will have more methods to spread this kind of political message on Internet when the China government keeps blocking the sensitive information.

So in this information-technology age, is it possible to control all sensitive information? It might be possible 30 years ago. Today, it is impossible. And the China government needs to accept the fact that information must be open. This is an unavoidable trend with the growth of Internet.

So how much control is enough? It seems like Internet is the opposite answer of control.

Media Democracy

November 16, 2010

“Democracy….effectively argued, needs the media to report the news, without ‘fear or favor.’ Citizens need to know what the government is doing, the press needs the freedom to tell them… Only a news organization that bravely reports what it knows, rather than what it is told is acceptable to say, can act as a check on government” (Boler, 20).

It not only states what democracy is, but also why news media is so important in a democratic society. Democracy also means there is freedom for the people to choose, it not only lets us to choose what government cabinet we want, but also whatever we want. So in a sound news market, the appearance of multiple news media is necessary, and it also means there is a balance-and-check in news-media outlets. One news outlet can immediately correct other news outlet if there is any mistake or bias coming from one news outlet. Multiple media outlets can create inter-monitoring effect. So audiences will not get the distorted news. This is why we need multiple news outlets in this market. And perhaps, this is the central point-freedom- of what democracy is.

Democracy means “for the people, of the people, by the people”, so it also involves a sound justice system to protect people. And this system should also protect the journalists from reporting the truth. Otherwise, it is hard to encourage the press to monitor the government. Perhaps this is why the founders set the first amendment to protect the freedom of speech and freedom of the press. And perhaps why Thomas Jefferson said he would choose the newspaper rather than government.

In the US, the journalists have a relatively free environment to report the truth, and this is what they should treasure the most. In some countries, a lot of people need to burden accusations because of reporting the truth. They still bravely report the truth even though they know what political consequences they will acquire. So the journalists in the US, they have no excuse not to act as a “watchdog” on government.


November 9, 2010

Nowadays, the content of Internet is all about sharing. So what do we need to do to share? The answer is to participate. Everyone can be a content provider because of technology.

I remember I last month interviewed a senior reporter, Jason Whitely, from WFAA. I asked him about the increased audience participation in broadcast journalism. He told me that audience and professional journalists are now interactively connected. Just like what Henry Jenkins mentions “rather than talking about media producers and consumers as occupying separate roles, we might now see them as participants who interact with each other according to a new set of rules” (Jenkins, 3).

So how are they interactively connected? Whitely said that in 1990s, audiences had to call or mail a letter to the journalists. Today, due to the mobile-device technology, the audience can send email or send a Twitter tweet to the journalists anytime. They can provide a good story and update the latest situation to the journalists anytime. Simultaneously, broadcast journalists used to finish their featured news before 5pm, 6pm, and 10pm deadline. Today, as long as the broadcast journalists finish their feature story, it goes online. And the broadcast journalists will immediately upload it on their station webpage, Facebook, Twitter, and even Youtube. So the audiences no longer need to wait for the traditional 5pm, 6pm, and 10pm newscast.

Perhaps, the television has turned to a new leaf. That is what Jenkins mentions in Convergence Culture, “With the aid of the Internet, the loftiest dream for television is being realized: an odd brand of interactivity. Television began as a one-way street winding from producers to consumers, but that street is now becoming two-way” (Jenkins, 256). The participants (audiences) take as an active role now. And it means the media producers are going to involve in a challenging and fast-changing environment.

Attention, Please!

November 2, 2010

“How many hours do you spend on your digital-media device?” This question seems like always appearing around me in this several years. And it seems like my answer keeps increasing. It has increased from 2 hours to 3 hours, 3 hours to 4 hours, 4 hours to so many. Now I think my answer is: almost every moment.

“Networked and programmable media are part of a rapidly developing mediascape transforming how citizens of developed countries do business, conduct their social lives, communicate with one another, and-perhaps most significant—think.” (Hayles, 1)

Without a question, media are transforming our ways of communicating with each other. For example, we used to contact our teachers in person. After email was invented, we contacted out teachers via email. Nowadays, (I don’t know if it only happens in EMAC major) we contact our teachers via Twitter. Anyway, the way of communication has changed.

Media are changing the way of learning as well. Today, most children read electronic books. Readers even purchased books online, and just purchased mobile apps to read on their mobile devices.

So what else? Abundant examples can be provided.

Hayles’ passage also mentioned about “multitasking”. Younger generations are “alternating homework with listening to music, using computers, reading, and watching TV” (Hayles, 3). “Multitasking” also affects students and professors. Why? Let me take an example. During the lecture, how many students are alternating lecture with paying attention to their mobile devices? I think this question answers why Hayles indicates that “efficiency declines so significantly with multitasking” (Hayles, 3).

It makes me to remember that I watched one TV show, which talked about how social media harm the business corporations. This TV show indicated that some corporations need to pay more over-time salary due to the declined efficiency. So why did the efficiency declined? One of the reasons was that workers keep paying attention to Facebook during their office hours, and they were not able to complete their task during the regular office hours. What a funny TV show.

And so how do the media transform out social lives? Let me take one of my daily-life examples. Sometimes I hang out with my friends at one place, let say a restaurant. The first thing we usually do is not seeing what food is available on the menu. What we do is to take out an iPhone, and open the Facebook app, and then “check-in”, and tag the friends who are here.

So how many hours do you spend on your digital-media device?


October 23, 2010

I watched a video on Youtube. According to the information I found on Youtube, the video is one of the Merit Award winners in the School Digital Media Awards in Singapore. The video talks about how the cyber bullying influences the children’s social relationship. Unlike the formal TV show, the producers of this video use a farce to point out cyber bullying. Therefore, audience may not notice the serious problem of cyber bullying because the producers do not provide the statistics of cyber bullying and do not interview the victims, who get hurt from cyber bullying.

After I read Jaron Lanier’s Digital Maoism: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism and Pierre Levy’s Collective Intelligence, I have got inspiration to think about how the collective online activity harm the people relationship. Lanier says “the beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe that the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we’re devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.”

Levy is a utopian. He talks the positive side of the digital media, like how he mentions the digital collective can influence the politics positively. But is it true that utopian can only happen in a book but not in a real world?

Of course, in reality, “no mechanism is perfect’, and we have benefited from Internet a lot. At the beginning, I thought there are only small portion of Internet users have been hurt by cyber bullying. But when I searched more information on cyber bullying, I found out there are kids committed suicide because of cyber bullying. And I searched more, and I do not feel optimistic about the problem of cyber bullying. I just feel this problem will only be getting worse. So is it why Lanier says “what are we witnessing today is the alarming rise of the fallacy of the infallible collective”?

“This new dimension of communication should obviously enable us to share our knowledge and acknowledge it to others, which is the fundamental condition for collective intelligence” (Levy). The beauty of Internet is that it enables us to share, not to harm the others. As an intellectual, I think we should know how to use the Internet.

Like Lanier says, “It’s time to speak out against the collectivity fad that is upon us”.

Questions to consider:

1.       So what are those alarming rise of the fallacy?

2. “The hive mind is for the most part stupid and boring. Why pay attention to it?”

3. As one of the intelligent collective, how do we extend the beauty of the Internet?


October 19, 2010

After I read Information Feudalism, it reminds me that why I need to go to cinema to watch the movies and why I need to purchase the original DVD instead of copied-version DVD.

When I was still in high school, I sometimes bought the copied-version movie and downloaded movie on Internet. I bought the copied version because it was much cheaper, especially for the high-school students. I downloaded it because I did not need to pay and I could watch it for free. Not only did I download movies, but also music, video games, etc. So I saved a lot of money from downloading entertainment.

I remember I watched a TV show, which talked about piracy of CDs, movies, etc. It mentioned why we should not buy the pirate-version DVD or CD. One of the reasons the TV show mentioned was that we need to protect the copyright. Also, pirate version is not a legal copy. If we bought the pirate version, it means we directly encourage the pirate producers to produce more illegal copy.

I remember how I insisted on buying pirate version. For example, if one CD is $15, I could save at least $10 if I bought the pirate version, and this $10 did not make any difference. What difference am I talking about? The production companies still make a profit, so it does not make any difference. But I remember the TV-show host almost mentioned this. “This money you saved from buying pirate version makes a difference, and this amount involves many things.” The host said.

After I participated in video business, I know what things involved that the host was talking about. When I produce one video, I need to produce a story board, idea, sound track, video track, subtitles, etc. I did not know what involved in video production until I produced my own video. I just know it takes a lot of time to produce and understand how difficult to produce a short video.

After I produce my short video, I understand how much manpower involves in a 90-minute movie. It involves story planning, video filming, video editing, etc. The amount I pay for the movie feeds the directors, editors, photographers, actors, and anyone who is behind the scene. That is why I should not purchase the pirate version.

“One of the good things about increasing our investment in great universities is that most of our money does not go to making scientists richer. Rather it mainly goes into employing more scientists, doing more experiments, imparting more knowledge to the next generation of students as well as contributing to the existing stock of public knowledge for others to use.” (P. 214)

So this can be applied in motion-picture industry. Investing in motion-picture industry does not go to making movie makers richer. Rather it mainly goes into employing more movie makers, making more good movies.


Why does network matter?

October 12, 2010

The Exploit is not easy to read initially. Subtitled, a theory of networks, it draws upon themes already covered over and over again in cultural theory – those of power, sovereignty, control and the biological and political nature of networks. Perhaps the network has become the core organizational structure for today’s politics, culture and our life. Network has been almost invasively located in every aspect of our society, for example, peer-to-peer file sharing, multiplayer online games, and global affiliations of terrorist organizations.

Unlike the web-based material, which is promoting a more democratic system via decentralization, the “network” increases control through: by distributing power of autonomous local nodes, focusing control in rigidly defined hierarchies (p.19). “Network power is addictive, not exclusive. It propagates through ‘and,’ not ‘or’.” (Thacker, 19)

So why and how does network matter? It is because the existence of network makes no boundaries. (Castells, 222). It creates global village. Today, we can communicate to each other around the world at the same time. Simultaneously, it creates a new management system of different organizations because network keeps restructuring the form in every aspect of institutions. We need to understand the logic of the network, otherwise, we will be phased out by the competitors.

Without a question, The Exploit draws my attention to social-network transformation. “If humans are only a part of a network, then how can we assume that the ultimate aim of the network is a set of human-centered goals?” (p. 154) Thacker and Galloway end their The Exploit by using the concept of “multitude”. The purpose of  multitude is to change the system as a whole. This concept can extend across cultural boundaries, holding the potential for citizens of various races, ethnicities, and nationalities to participate in the invention of local and regional networks. Overall, The Exploit presents a robust and highly useful account of today’s networked society.

The Screen in New Media

October 5, 2010

Before I read Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media, I thought I would know more specific media language, like LOL (laugh out loud), tgt (together), 😉 (smiling face), etc. Of course, I felt I was so naïve after finished reading this book. And Manovich stimulates me to think about how the new media influence us culturally.

In the Language of New Media, Lev Manovich describes the general principles underlying new media: numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. He also reminds us “we will see that many of the principles are not unique to new media, but can be found in older media as well” (50).

Manovich mentions that “We clearly live in the society of the screen” (114). It reminds me what I read in Remediation last week. Every medium is remediated and screen should be one of the good examples of remediation, and thus, becomes a necessary tool for us. So how do the screens influence us? For example, I need to look at different screens every day. I need to make a call by touching my iPhone screen. I pay for my grocery stuff by using the self-service checkout. I withdraw cash by operating ATM machines. I need to be aware of my driving speed by looking at my car dashboards. I watch 3-D version movie in cinema. It is possible to give out more daily example with using different screens. Nowadays, more people can work at home because of the screen. So how can we live without a screen?

Sometimes we do not notice how the screens influence our daily lives because somehow we take it for granted. We have opportunity to use the advanced technology because of the appearance of the screen. It also reminds me what I read in Medium is a Massage. Perhaps, the screen is an extension of text, an extension of painting, an extension of movie, etc.

It is a good time to think what one of classmates, Mary, asked during her presentation: Can we live without this extension? After I read the Language of New Media, I think I can immediate say “No”.


September 28, 2010

Remediation: Understanding New media is an analysis of new technologies and their implications in today’s society. In this book, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin emphasize new media can be conceived in terms of literary and cultural theory.

“Remediation” is the way how Bolter and Grusin think of new media. They state “remediation” is “the formal logic by new media technologies refashions prior media forms” (273). In order to express their theories of new media, they contextualize the framework of modern technology with the terms “immediacy” and “hypermediacy.” The new media discussed are mostly visual: digital photography, film, computer games, television, World Wide Web, and so on.

Both old and new media experience the remediations, Bolter and Grusin demonstrate how “immediacy” and “hypermediacy” work. One of the examples they point out is the remediation that occurs in television. They state that “television needs to remediate digital media in order to survive” (185) with increasing information sources and audience. In order to appeal to audience, “TV news and information shows are increasingly willing to use digital technology in the service of hypermediacy without giving up their claim to be live” (189).

It’s even more obvious that audience can enjoy “hypermediacy” in sports broadcasts with multimediated look. Audiences seem to enjoy the live football game experience at home as they can watch the game by different angle, replay, and abundant statistics. The broadcasting stations simultaneously keep providing statistics, game scores, live background sound, etc.

Bolter and Grusin describe how the way technology functions in today’s society by using interesting theories and examples. It is a good beginning for us to consider what is implied in using the technological examples they point out. These implications will help us remediate our styles of technology interaction.

I remember I read an article last summer called “Media is changing, but Something Endure”. Who can predict how the news will be broadcasted in this upcoming decade?