COMM1073 BLOGS 1, 2 and 3

Blog 1

Screening: The Bachelor

 

The Bachelor Australia is a reality television series originally adapted from the American version of The Bachelor. The show premiered in Australia in 2013, however it was the finale episode in the 2014 season that captivated the Australian audience. Only after the finale, it was announced that The Bachelor Blake Garvey had split up with the winner Sam Frost, to whom he engaged to on the finale. Attracting millions of viewers, it came a shock to viewers, as the ‘perfect’ engagement in the South African countryside was a hoax. Although the show had ended, for months after the episode, viewers were still talking about the finale. It was announced that the show was renewed for two editions, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette with a female lead. Following the hype of the 2014 finale, the new season was set to obtain a high viewership and media coverage. Due to the enormous social media exposure, The Bachelor has become a phenomenon initiating discussions online across different social media platforms.

 

Reality television is “commonly used to describe a range of popular factual programming”., (Hill, 2004) The ‘reality’ of the 2014 The Bachelor finale was questioned due to the following sequential events. As Blake Garvey and Sam Frost broke up only days after, it was a shock to the audience who just saw the couple happily become engaged. Whether it was to gain ratings and viewers or not, the proposal gained a lot of attention. However, “audiences place a great deal of trust in the ability of television cameras to capture real events as they happen” (Hill, 2004) when they watch reality television. They become heavily involved in reality television shows that it is assumed that they “cannot tell the difference between entertainment and information”. (Hill, 2004) The media coverage after the finale proved to the dedicated audience that the couple fell out of love due to Blake’s “change of heart”, and the engagement was actually real. Audiences are what drive reality television shows like The Bachelor; therefore the events following the finale became a point of interest for many of the viewers after the finale.

 

The audience plays an important role in the reception of reality television shows, as they become engulfed in the reality of the show. Following the hype from the 2014 series, The Bachelor Australia season 3 this year was eagerly anticipated by reality television enthusiasts of Australia. Due to social media, audiences are able to become more involved with television shows. The Bachelor had a hashtag which was shown on screen after an ad break of #BachelorAU with many viewers tweeting about the show. This hashtag usually a trend in Australia on twitter throughout the show and after the show has ended. As “reality programmes are part of the landscape of the evening schedule” (Murphy, 2006) in Australia, it has become popular to watch these shows with large groups of people. As well as people tweeting about the show, there are also drinking games made especially for The Bachelor about the stereotypical things shown on the show. As much as people like to make fun of the show, it ultimately captures viewers attention enough to be talking about it.

 

The media attention online for reality television shows is usually wide-spread due to the popular interest amongst Australians. Every episode, a contestant will go home which can sometimes cause a lot of frenzy and disappointment online. Media/News website ‘Mamamia’ publishes a recap of each ‘The Bachelor‘ episode shortly after the episode airs. ‘Rosie’s Recap’ after each episode is shared hundreds of times due to its humorous nature and satirical writing style. After watching the show, many viewers share the recap on different social media sites, therefore giving the show more and more attention online. Kerrie Murphy, in her article ‘Australia’s obsession with reality television’ states that “reality TV is a phenomenon” due to its “popularity amongst Australian audiences”. (Murphy, 2006) The phenomenon of The Bachelor is due to many reasons, however, the social media hype undeniably facilitates the shows popularity.

 

Due to social media interest, The Bachelor has become widely talked about across Australia. As the audience plays a major part in reality television, it is important that they trust what they see on television. Once this trust is obtained, it becomes more entertaining than ever to watch as they become involved in the show in many different ways. Social media increases the popularity of the show through trending hashtags, articles, and recaps across different platforms. The shows popularity continues to increase, obtaining great interest amongst viewers.

 

References

 

  • Hill, A, 2006, ‘Reality TV: Factual Entertainment and Television Audiences’
  • Murphy, K, 2006, ‘TV Land: Australia’s Obsession with Reality Television’, pp. xii + 260
  • ‘Who Magazine’, 2015, [online] Available at: https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/who/a/25846670/sam-frost-shares-new-details-about-nasty-split-from-blake-garvey/ [Accessed 22 Oct. 2015].

 

 

Blog 2

Audiences: Pretty Little Liars

 

Audiences play a major part in how television shows are viewed and received. The consumption of television shows depends on the audience and how they receive different texts. Audiences are said to be either active or passive consumers when consuming television shows, however the more ‘modern’ theory suggests that audiences are active consumers. Fans of television shows are said to be the ultimate active audience as they are able to bring in their own thoughts, feelings and beliefs of the television show. An example of this are the fans of the television show ‘Pretty Little Liars’. These fans are considered active audiences as they create their own meanings from what they view and receive on television.

 

An active audience is one that actively engages with a media text, making sense of a text using their own beliefs. An active audience often are open for interpretation and can think for themselves when it comes to a media text. There are many communication theories that argue how strongly an audience is influenced by media; and to what extent they are influenced. It is suggested that active audiences “experience a sense of freedom and control”, while passive audiences experience “a lack thereof”. (Hearn, 1989) Active audiences are able to continuously think ahead and discover things for themselves. Television show fans are able to do this when solving mysteries or predicting the future storylines. Fans of television shows are able to participate in fan cultures such as fan fiction, fan blogs, theories, YouTube videos, twitter accounts etc. These types of fan cultures ultimately affect how an audience view and receives a particular television show. A fan of a television show is able to actively involve themselves in the plot, storyline and mysteries the show presents. Television fandoms are now a “cultural and social network that spans the globe” which continues to develop across different television shows and genres. (Jenkins, 2012)

 

The television drama, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ on ABC Family started in 2011, involving the mystery of a teenage girl Alison that leads to the unknown character of ‘A’. Throughout the entire five seasons so far, the main idea of the program is to discover who A is. This unknown mystery engages the audience with the storyline as they actively seek to solve and connect the mysteries together. Rather than viewers simply waiting in anticipation for the big reveal, they work collaboratively to predict who it may be. As these fans are able to “promote their own meanings”, this ultimately means they are active consumers as they are reading into the television show beyond what is produced to them. (Jenkins, 2012) These fans of Pretty Little Liars have been trying to create storylines and plots since the first season as the mystery of ‘A’ continues to develop. Whilst many theories of ‘A’ have been created by fans, these types of fans also “manufacture their own fanzine stories and novels, art prints…etc.” (Jenkins, 2012) They continue to trend hashtags on twitter to get the attention of the directors and writers to alter the storyline to fit their desires; such as hopeful relationships, or theories they would like to see come true. While consuming this text, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ fans interpret their own meaning of certain events, actively involving themselves in the show and the outcome.

 

Active audiences are able to interpret their own thoughts and feelings into a text, similarly to those of the show ‘Pretty Little Liars’. As the fans of the show are actively seeking an answer, they are able to create their own understanding from what they are seeing on the television show and link it to the mysteries that are involved. These audiences actively involve themselves in the show in a way that generates a cohesive environment for fans to interpret the information displayed to them.

 

References

Jenkins, H, 2012 ‘Textual Poaches: Television Fans and Participatory Culture (2nd Edition)’, pp 83-120

Hearn, G, 1989, Active and Passive Conceptions of the Television Audience: Effects of a Change in Viewing Routine

 

 

 

 

Blog 3

Television viewing habits

 

There were three main platforms which I watched television over the last 6 weeks; on Netflix, on free-to-air television, and on websites where I streamed them such as Project Free TV. Whilst looking at my time-use diary, I found it very interesting that my viewing habits depended on which platform I was viewing from. It became clear that each television platform serves a different purpose to me in relation to my television habits. I mainly watched television shows on Netflix, free-to-air TV and via streamed episodes on website Project Free TV. I would use a different platform depending on what program I would watch, and with whom I would watch it with.

 

My first finding was that I stream a lot of television shows on a website ‘Project Free TV’. These shows that I stream are shows that I am unable to watch on free-to-air television, so they appear online hours after they are viewed in America. These types of shows are ones that I have been watching for a while so I only would watch a show once a week. As most of these shows I watch are directly from the U.S.A, I usually do not binge watch them as I am up to date with these shows. It was clear in the time-use-diary that I would only watch these shows, like Awkward and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, as I have kept up with each season every week a new episode comes out. On all occasions, I only watched streamed shows by myself, as I am the one that is up to date with the episodes.

 

However, there are also television shows that I solely watch on streaming platform Netflix. My findings were that I tended to binge watch most of the shows I watched on Netflix. This is because all of the episodes are in a row, and when paused, it is easy to come back and continue watching where you left off. Also, like the show I was watching, Orange is The New Black, Netflix releases their own original series’, where they release a whole season at once. Because of this, it is extremely tempting to watch the whole season at once. This is what I do when I find a television show for the first time, (or when a new season comes out on Netflix) as all of the episodes are in one place. I tended to watch Orange is The New Black in 3 or 4-hour blocks at a time, as I could watch many episodes at once. I also mainly watched Netflix by myself on my couch as I watch it at my own pace, with it returning to where I leave from every time I reopen it. If I watched Netflix with my sister, it was because we both were up to the same episode and it was possible to watch it together.

 

Apart from watching television shows on the Internet, I also watch television shows on free-to-air television. It was very interesting to find that I would mostly watch shows on free-to-air television with company; either my friends or family. It was also interesting to note that most of the shows I would watch on free-to-air were reality television shows. My family and I would watch The Bachelor together on the couch in the TV room, as it was a show that could be talked about together. The reason why I think I watch free-to-air TV shows with my family is that it it usually just after dinner where we would sit on the couch and watch TV. Another reality TV show like The X-Factor is also watched with my family as we have been watching together for the past 5 years. The reason for watching these shows on the actual television is because they are shows you only watch once, and it is not something to binge watch or download as it is live around Australia at a particular time each week.

 

These findings from my television diary that I kept proved to be very interesting showing the correlation between the platform I would watch a show on, who I would watch it with and what types of shows I would watch. Different platforms affected the types of shows I would watch and how. Each platform I view television shows off serves a different purpose to me according to when I started watching the show, if I am binge watching a show, or if the show airs in Australia. These factors all affect my television habits; including how, where and with whom I watch it.

 

 

 

 

 

COMM1073 Blog #2 – Scheduling & Gender roles

In week 2 of Television Cultures, the concepts we learnt about were television as cultural technology, imagined communities and the public sphere, television as flow and scheduling and segments. The concept of scheduling interested me the most during the lecture. Scheduling is very important in controlling audience behaviour, which affects the type of programs that run, and when they run.

 

Broadcasting plays a large role in television culture and the way audiences consume television. A mass audience can be very large and widely dispersed, therefore there is a centralised control to maximise audiences and regulate behaviour. There are many ways to regularise audience behaviour on television. One way is ‘scheduling’. John Ellis in Visible Fictions states “the means by which a day’s broadcasting is arranged so that particular programs coincide with particular supposed events in the life of the family”. For example, programs that are on at dinnertime are usually family friendly programs where everyone can watch together in a safe environment, as it’s suitable for children to watch. The traditional news on at dinnertime is also suitable for children as it is on at around 6pm, when the whole family is usually home together. This also affects marketing and advertising, as programs “rely on norms of production, financing, and viewer habits” (D. Lotz, 2010) to target specific types of viewers who will be watching a particular television program. The marketing and advertising around these programs are usually targeted at children or families, as the scheduling ensures that the target audience is suitable. For example, the marketing and advertising around dinnertime could be about healthy school lunches or trailers for family movies, or any other suitable advertisements.

 

Scheduling can also be associated with conventional gender stereotypes too. Daytime television originally broadcasted television shows targeted at housewives, with many cooking shows. David Morley argues that TV reflects dominant ideas about the family and how men and women relate to the home. It was said that men associated with factual/news programming and women associated with fictional programing in the daytime, i.e. soap operas. During the morning on weekdays, there are noticeable many infomercials about home and kitchen appliances, usually directed to ‘stay at home Mothers’ who will be likely to be watching at this time of the day and persuaded by this marketing. These gender stereotypes allow television programs to heavily control their scheduling. However, a lot has changed since the idea that all women are housewives, therefore scheduling has changed too.

 

While scheduling of television shows is arranged around the ‘life of the family’, some television shows are purposely on late to avoid viewing by children. For example, The AFL Footy Show is aired on Channel 9 late in Australia starting at 9.30pm. This is purposely done so because the content in the program is inappropriate for children. While it is just a sports show, the nature of the show is unsuitable for young viewers and is therefore aired when the children are asleep. This is a common example of schedule control and regularising audience behaviour on television.

 

References

  1. Lotz, 2010, ‘Beyond Prime Time’, pp 2, viewed Wednesday 12th August

Ellis, 1982, ‘Visible Fictions: cinema, television, video’, viewed Tuesday 11th August

 

Stephanie Augustes

 

COMM 1073 Blog #1 – Satirical News Programs

Traditional news programs have been around for a long time, however it is the satirical news programs that are becoming more popular these days. These programs are viewed instead of traditional news programs targeted at the general population. d

 

Satirical news programs present news in a way that parodies mainstream journalism because of its content. This vastly differs from traditional news programs, as they appear to be boring and dull. Traditional news programs report on the major headlines that have happened locally, nationally or internationally but mainly focusing on Australia. The stories are usually very fast and include the facts with no opinion. This may deter viewers from watching, as they may prefer to engage in a particular news story and hear different viewing points and evidence.

 

Satirical news programs usually go a lot more in depth in discussing particular stories, which allows viewers to get more involved in the content. The content on these types of shows is appealing due to the fast paced nature of the program enabling viewers to be entertained. It uses humor and irony, which also appeals to many viewers. The use of background clapping captivates the audience, as the humour is likely to entertain viewers. In addition to this, it is common for these programs to include hashtags, which are used to include audiences and prompt discussion.

 

The late-night talk and news satire television program ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ is aired on HBO in the U.S at 10pm. While it is primarily a news program, John Oliver inserts humour into his hosting, using hyperbolic/satirical analogies. While informing the audience, John Oliver attempts to entertain his audience through his humour, which can be inappropriate for younger viewers. Like many other satirical news programs, ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ is aired very late, unlike traditional news programs where it is around 6pm. The scheduling allows John Oliver to include satire and humour into his journalistic material, which therefore entertains his audience.

 

However, it is also the way John Oliver presents the material that differs from traditional news programs that is likely to appeal many people. While news stories on Channel 7 News for example, are very short and fast, Oliver spends a lot more time on a particular subject including a lot of evidence and many different viewpoints. As he posts these clips on YouTube, they attract millions of views and allow likes and comments on the videos. For example, his segment “Online Harassment” that was uploaded on June 21st has over 3,700,000 views and has mixed views. There are many likes and dislikes on the video, as well as comments from viewers projecting their thoughts and opinions on the topic.

 

This new approach of presenting news using a combined use of educated discussion and satire is likely to engage and entertain audiences. It will also appeal to many viewers who like to share their opinion on debatable topics and issues in the news.

 

 

References

Munio, N, 2015, ‘ Why we should all be watching HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” 303Magazine.com, viewed August 13th

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Online Harassment (HBO), via YouTube, viewed August 13th

 

Stephanie Augustes

FINAL POST

Links to 5 blog posts

http://www.mediafactory.org.au/stephanie-augustes/?p=10 

http://www.mediafactory.org.au/stephanie-augustes/?p=43

http://www.mediafactory.org.au/stephanie-augustes/?p=103 

http://www.mediafactory.org.au/stephanie-augustes/?p=149 

http://www.mediafactory.org.au/stephanie-augustes/?p=156

Final Reflection

Over the past 3 months, I have learnt a lot in the course; not only about the content, but about myself in a university environment. I learnt many technical things during the course, such as how to use the video cameras and recorders and I have taught myself new skills in Adobe Premiere Pro. There are many things that I have learnt that only come with experience. I have leant how to cooperate better in group environments, due to the many group tasks we do. I have had bad experiences in the past with groups and I really enjoyed all the group work I have done in the tutorials and lectorials,as everyone collaborates together to put in their equal share of ideas and effort.

After being forced for 13 years to learn in one particular way during school, I have discovered that I learn best while doing practical work. In this course there wasn’t much to read, write and remember which benefits me a lot. The most I learnt was when we actually got to do practical work and activities. For example, it’s impossible to be ‘taught’ that media is everywhere, so I found it really interesting in our lectorial in week 3 when we all got into groups and wrote down what media we saw in front of our eyes in a specific location. This practical way of learning was eye opening, as you don’t actually realise some things until you see it. I didn’t realise that media was literally everywhere until I saw it myself, which I found very intriguing.

The most challenging aspect of the course was definitely trying to think and come up with ideas for the different projects we had to do. For every new task, I had to think of a different idea each time in only a short amount of time that was both practical and creative at the same time. I found this very difficult, as I am not much of a creative person. While I feel comfortable editing videos all day, it’s the idea that I struggle coming up with for a certain task. I discovered a lot about my creative practice; mostly that I need to be more creative and not take the easy road. Most of the time, being creative comes after a lot of thinking, reading and immersing yourself in different environments, which I don’t seem to do much of. Usually the first idea that comes to my head is what I just go for, which sometimes doesn’t work out too well. I have definitely learnt that I need to make more effort in actually thinking about what I am going to do before I do it, and not get too caught up in the creative aspect, as it will come eventually. Overall I have enjoyed my first semester of university and I’m looking forward to do a studio next semester.

Learning Graph 

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Week 11 tute

We got into our groups again and worked on project brief 4. By this stage, all of us had pretty much finished all the work, now all we have to do is put it onto the newspaper template. I was working on the template for most of the tute and it looks really good! I am so happy with our progress and I can’t wait to see the finished product. There are a few more things to do, like the cartoons, some photos, but basically we are finished with the content, its now just putting everything together.

Celebs on twitter

Okay so the group presentation I’m doing in pop culture is about “celebrities with fans” and reading all these articles actually got me thinking about something that is totally unrelated to what we are discussing. I read an article about twitter and celebrities and how they use it etc. and it got me thinking about how people view celebrities based on how they tweet. So Beyonce NEVER tweets, like ever. She’s done 8 tweets in her life. I honestly think that people as a whole respect artists more who don’t share their lives everyday. I know Beyonce has instagram but like she isn’t always on twitter being all opinionated and whatnot (hint Iggy Azealia) and people seem to respect her as a singer. Same as Rihanna. She pretty much never tweets either and I feel like people think higher of her than others. It’s like they are so unreachable to their fans that they are actually considered to be more respected in the music industry. Obviously it’s awesome how some celebs tweet their fans and stuff but I find it really interesting how I view the ones that don’t differently!

Institutions..scary or not?

In this weeks lecture we learnt about institutions. Institutions are:
-“are enduring
-regulate and structure activities
-are ‘collectivist’
-develop working practices
-employees and people associated are expected to share values”

Okay but what really are they? How is google an institution? We got into groups and brainstormed the institutional characteristics of google. We came up with many things but what I really liked was how google is now a ‘way of life’, as it even has its own verb in the dictionary. Like it’s actually used in everyday conversation. “Oh, just google it”. Institutions such as google are very powerful, and it’s quite scary. Do they know what we do on the internet? Can they track our every move on here? It’s a weird thought to have but I know that living in Australia, there is no government trying to control our every move. Or are they?!? What I find even scarier is how google and Facebook work together. Our group discussed this and realised that Facebook and google are very much linked. When I was googling the other day nike and adidas shoes, the very next day there were 3 ads in a row linking to sites where I can buy the exact shoes I was looking at. It was actually freaky! It happens a lot though and I just wonder how it does that. Anyway, it was really interesting to hear what other groups had to say about institutions (not just google) like newscorp and community media. They all work in different ways but they have one thing in common; power.

After that, Paul Richard talked about our work attachment. We have to complete 80 hours by the end of our third year. It seems like ages away so I honestly haven’t had a single thought about it! He said that we can’t all be expecting to do our work attachment at amazing  companies because that’s pretty unlikely and we should maybe lower our expectations. My ex-teacher at my old school has spoken to me about a possible work attachment at Fox Footy as he is good friends with the guy who does the editing for segments and highlights during the AFL season. That would be such a cool experience so I’ll definitely get onto that soon.

Week 10 tute

So in our tute, we got into our groups again and for the last time figured out our plan. We decided to narrow everything down again and only focus on the transition from print to digital media. This was much easier and we also split up the tasks and workload between us. I am going to interview my grandpa and make that the headlining article about how he is surviving with a print media factory in the modern day. I think it will be a really good and informative article as it is very related to what we are doing and saying.

We also got our feedback and marks for the last project brief. I did okay, wasn’t expecting much considering I didn’t exactly go off the criteria for the whole thing and used way too much original footage. Anyway, hopefully this next project brief is better, and I’m excited to interview my grandpa and finish this newspaper.

 

 

The Happy Hippie Foundation

So the other day Miley Cyrus announced her next project which was not a new album as I would have hoped, but it was better. It’s known that Miley supports homeless youth but now her new foundation the ‘Happy Hippie foundation’ focuses on what Miley cares about helping the most; the LGBT community and homeless youth. I don’t understand why everyone seems to hate Miley because what she’s doing is amazing. She said “the position I’m in, I feel like I’ve got a lot of power” which is SO true. Everyone watches everything she does and now she is able to use her power to draw attention to important causes. Get around it everyone

http://www.happyhippies.org/

backyard sessions

 

 

Final project thoughts

Last Monday’s tute was really helpful. My group got a good idea of what we were going to create as an artifact. As we are doing mediums, we decided to do focus on the transition from print media to digital media. We decided to do it in a newspaper format in a PDF. I thought of this because my grandpa owns a newspaper printing factory where they print international newspapers and magazines such as Greek ones like the ‘Neos Cosmos’. 

Before we got talking, we all went around in our groups and discussed for about 5 minutes each what our plans were for the final project. After hearing everyones ideas, it was my group’s turn to discuss our vision for our project and recieve feedback from our peers and Brian. It was really helpful to get feedback from everyone before we had fully gotten into the project, as we came across some minor setbacks as we realised we were being way too broad with our idea. As we are focusing on the transformation between print media to digital media, we first started out with the idea that one of us would focus on the pre-digital stage, one of us would focus on the transition (past 10 years), and one of us will talk about the digital media side and focus on the future. We were also going to just put lots of information in it but just have it cleverly in a newspaper format, which would just look like a whole heap of information.

But, after hearing what people had to say, we decided that it was in fact too broad of an idea and we should just focus on one thing. So with that, we decided to focus on only the transition of print to digital media, (and obviously include things about the past and future), but mostly on the transition. After finalising the content, Brian gave us a very good idea that really changed the way we were going to go about the project. For some reason, all 3 of us in our group thought that the tone of the pieces would have to be serious and very scholarly. So after telling him that, he told us that we did not have to have a serious tone and just write down loads of information. This gave us a lot of help and sparked the start of our new idea. We decided to create a PDF in the format of a newspaper and include different sections of the newspaper that are in typical publication. We are including sections such as SMS answers to question of the day, hitting the streets, an editorial, opinion pieces, cartoons etc. I think that our idea is very strong and we can definitely do really well if we all put in different ideas and work together to do so.

All of this got me thinking about how his newspaper factory is still running. Because everything is now turning into digital media, I find it very surpising that it is still running but also not surprising as the target audience are the older generations. My grandpa came to Australia when he was 20 and everyone around his age in the Greek community did too, so they still read the greek newspapers and will probably not switch to online media anytime soon!