WINOL: Features Archive

At the age of just 15, Paul Blackburn was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Presented, edited and produced by Tom Morgan.

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

A collection of posts looking at media law, including tips for journalists, case examples and information on the various codes of conduct. Click here for more.

American Election 2012 - US Embassy Report

Myself, Lee Jarvis, Sam Sheard and Kirsty McDonagh spent the evening at the US Embassy as part of WINOL's coverage of the 2012 American election.

Work Experience: The One Show

This blog post serves as a summary of what I got up to during my time at the BBC and also provides some information on how the One Show is run.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London.

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette.

HCJ Notes Archive: Year One and Year Two

A collection of lecture notes, seminar papers and seminar summaries from Year One and Year Two on the HCJ course at the University of Winchester

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Media Revision Notes

Key thinkers:

1) Fiske - Quiz shows
2) Bordieu - Cultural capital, education system
3) Saussure - Semiotics, language as a system (sign, signifier, signified) langue, parole
4) Pierce - Iconic and indexical
5) Barthes - Myth, culture as a system, denotation / connotation, myth in wrestling
6) Propp - Narrative in westerns
7) Wright - Narrative in Westerns
8) Eco - Narrative in Bond novels
9) Herman and Chomsky - The ruling class control the media and its effects
10) McCombs and Shaw - Agenda setting

Agenda Setting:
* A version of the media effects theory
* The media define the "issues" and their level of importance
* The way in which the news is framed helps construct the preferred meaning

Mass culture:
* Standardised and formulaic, "tends to simplify the real world and gloss over its problem" Mass culture is popular culture produced by mass production. Marketed for a profit to a mass public of consumers.
* "Standardised, formulaic and repetitive products of mass culture are then sold to a passive audience, prone to manipulation by mass media"

What was the 'Golden Age'? It was a time in which authentic folk culture and a truly great high culture knew their places in an ordered world. The 'Golden Age' is very difficult to pinpoint geographically and historically.

Uses and gratifications - This theory holds that audiences are responsible for choosing media to meet their needs. The approach suggests people use the media to fulfill specific gratifications. e.g. Surveillance of environment, correlation of parts of society, entertainment.

Encoding / Decoding - Encoding is the process of constructing a sequence, decoding is the process of converting an encoded sequence back into its original form.

The media encode, audiences decode.

Fiske capitalist / class specific ideologies are embedded in quiz shows. He recognises distinction:

Games - Start equal, finish differential
Rituals - Start differential, finish equal

Bordieu:
* Cultural capital, not money underwrites stratification
* Pretence of the role of the education system - promoting natural talent of individuals
* Education system promotes middle class values, particularly through myth

Semiotics - "The study of signs and symbols, especially as means of language or communication"

Saussure saw language as a system:
Sign = Results from the association of the signifier with the signified
Signifier = The form of which the sign takes
Signified = The concept it represents

Langue and parole are Saussure's descriptions of language as a system:
* Langue is the whole system of language that makes speech possible
* Parole is the concrete use of the language, the actual utterances. It is the usage of the system, not the system itself.

Iconic and Indexical signs - Pierce:

Iconic - The signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified
Indexical - Signifier directly connected in some way to the signified e.g. smoke and fire

Paradigm - The list of possible signs from which particular signs are selected and connected together to make syntagms. Coke adverts - Paradigms for age, nationality, gender etc.

According to Barthes, myth is a second-order semiological system. Myths are created when codes are naturalised. (Codes which are taken for granted and seen as not codes but as 'natural') Myths are also forms of popular culture.

Culture as a system - Barthes - Dennotation and connotation - According to Barthes, wrestling creates myth.

Below are a list of some of the key terms that we've looked at since beginning the media course:

* Dennotation - An object / image / sign
* Connotation - Shows what the dennotation means / shows / implys
* Diachronic - Change over time. The way in which something can change or shift
* Synchronic - A snapshot in time
* Iconic - Instantly recognisable and automatically associated with something else
* Syntagm / syntagmatic - A list of possible signs, which generate meaning
* Paradigm / paradigmatic - The way in which structure can be altered and give a different meaning
* Fabula - The fabula is the pattern that film spectators create through assumptions and inferences
* Syuzhet - This is the actual arrangement and presentation of the fabula in the film

What is narrative?
* A communicative act
* "Teller and listener"
* Involves sequence of events
* All narratives are constructed

Propp studied narrative in folk tales. Suggested that, although folk tales might have differences in plot, character and setting, they would share common structural features.

Wright looked at the narrative structure in Westerns

Eco focused on the work of a single authir - deriving a basic narrative scheme in relation to the James Bond novels

Stability - Disruption - Enigma - Resolution  /  Equalibrium - Disequalibrium - Equalibrium

Genre was orignally developed in relation to film. Means 'type' or 'kind'. A system of classification. Widely understood and used form of analysis. It's a signifying system, a paradigm.

[Polysemic = Multiple meanings]

Herman and Chompsky says that there is a ruling class that controls the media and its effects.

Hegemony - The dominance or leadership of one social group or nation over others. The media, for example, is a hegemonic force.

In terms of power, it's divided into 'hard' and 'soft':
Hard power = Control of capital, militancy, legal systems

Soft power = Symbols, discourses, etc.

Case example of media power - Murdoch's hegemonic prescence.

McCombs and Shaw - Agenda setting, "An audience member exposed to a given media agenda adjusts his or her perception of the importance of issues in the direction corresponsing to the amount of attention devoted to those issues in the medium used"

New media and regulation: OFCOM regulates the BBC.

The internet saved us! This new media challenged the corporate ownership of the press. Government censorship does not work with the net. What are the changes from old media?

* Ability to produce content
* Ability to communicate

Chicago School model consists of: Law, markets, architecture

Law - Regulates us, punishes us if we don't obey
Markets - Through avaliability and price a product is made avaliable to produce or consume. Independant of laws / social norms but dependant on them for its ability to function.
Architecture - Forms of constraints that prevent us from doing something. There are preventive measures, constraints pre action.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Codes of Conduct

In our latest law lecture we discussed the various codes of conduct journalists are required to abide by. The following codes were discussed:

OFCOM - This code of conduct deals mainly with commerical TV (e.g. Sky, ITV) and also discusses the 'watershed', which starts at 9PM in the UK. The watershed continues until the early morning, and programmes shown within this time are rated 15+. A document of OFCOM's website, located HERE, discusses the watershed and the 'protection of under 18s' in more depth

 PCC - The PCC (Press Complaints Commission) code of conduct regulates British newspapers and magazines. Among the topics it discusses in its code are: Accuracy, opportunity to reply, privacy, harassment, intrusion into grief or shock, children, children in sex cases, hospitals, reporting of crime, misrepresentation, victims of sexual assault, discrimination, financial journalism, confidential sources, witness payments in criminal trials and payment to criminals.

NUJ - The code of the NUJ (which stands for the National Union of Journalists) seems to be made up of rules that have both the safety of journalists and those being reported on at heart.

Rule 1 sets a precedent for what follows, stating that "a journalist has a duty to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards".

Rule 2 discusses the importance of avoiding 'distortion', essentially highlighting the need to avoid misrepresenting stories and facts which would lead to confusion amongst the public. It states: " A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the Press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship."

Rule 3 says that any information released must be true and accurate, which basically repeats the idea behind the rule before it. It also says that it's important a Journalist does not pass off comment as fact. Clearly, this would go against the 'professional' and 'ethical' standards discussed at the start of the code. Rule 3 says: "A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate, avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion, selection or misrepresentation."

Rule 4 explains the need to rectify any harmful inaccuracies. It states: "A journalist shall rectify promptly any harmful inaccuracies, ensure that correction and apologies receive due prominence and afford the right of reply to persons criticised when the issue is of sufficient importance." If you explore the web, it's fairly easy to find a story about how a newspaper has been forced to apologise following a blunder. This one HERE describes how the Sunday World (an Irish paper) had to apologise to Christy Burke, Dublin City councillor following a story they published which stated he knew convicted rapist Christy Griffin.

Rule 5 says that a journalist must only obtain information by straightforward means. For example, don't steal pictures from the family of the individual you are writing about. If you wish to publish a photograph identifying the individual that you are discussing, you must get permission. The code states: "A journalist shall obtain information, photographs and illustrations only by straightforward means. The use of other means can be justified only by over-riding considerations of the public interest. The journalist is entitled to exercise a personal conscientious objection to the use of such means."

Rule 6 tells Journalists to steer away from intruding on a story that may cause grief to family. You must be particularly weary of taking pictures at a funeral, for example. Again, this requires permission. The code states: "Subject to the justification by over-riding considerations of the public interest, a journalist shall do nothing which entails intrusion into private grief and distress."

Rule 7 emphasises the importance of protecting confidential sources of information.

Rule 8 discusses the danger of accepting bribes. Doing such a thing would lower a Journalists reputation, and would certainly go against the 'ethical standards' mentioned in the first rule. Rule 8 states: " A journalist shall not accept bribes nor shall he/she allow other inducements to influence the performance of his/her professional duties."

Rule 9 says that a Journalist must not distort the truth because of advertising considerations. For example, reviewing a product particularly well because it was somehow related to one of your sponsors would be considered bias, and therefore a distortion of truth. The code states: " A journalist shall not lend himself/herself to the distortion or suppression of the truth because of advertising or other considerations."

Rule 10 says that personal information, such as gender / age / race must only be discussed if it is relevant to the story. In some instances, mentioning an individuals race or religious background when it's clearly not needed could be considered gratuitous, which would look bad for both the paper and the writer. The code states: "A journalist shall only mention a person's age, race, colour, creed, illegitimacy, marital status (or lack of it), gender or sexual orientation if this information is strictly relevant. A journalist shall neither originate nor process material which encourages discrimination, ridicule, prejudice or hatred on any of the above-mentioned grounds."

Rule 11 warns of the dangers of photographing children without consent from the parents. " A journalist shall not interview or photograph children in connection with stories concerning their welfare without the permission of a parent or other adult responsible for their welfare."

Rule 12 describes that editing a picture to frame it in a particular way can often be deceptive to audiences. However, if the paper states that the picture has been edited it may be placed within the paper. The code states: "No journalist shall knowingly cause or allow the publication or broadcast of a photograph that has been manipulated unless that photograph is clearly labelled as such. Manipulation does not include normal dodging, burning, colour balancing, spotting, contrast adjustment, cropping and obvious masking for legal or safety reasons."

Rule 13 says that information a Journalist gathers privately through their work must not be abused. It states: "A journalist shall not take private advantage of information gained in the course of his/her duties, before the information is public knowledge."

Rule 14 is concerned with advertising. It essentially says that a writer can't 'plug' a product unless it's particularly relevant to what it is they are writing about. The code states: " A journalist shall not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial produce or service save for the promotion of his/her own work or of the medium by which he/she is employed."

Lecture 6 Summary

Our latest HCJ seminar involved alot of discussing how to eat babies, which was a refreshing change of scenery. We looked at two passages in detail this week. The first, 'Of The Different Progress Of Opulence In Different Nations' by Adam Smith (1723-1790) studies the relationship of commerce between towns and countries.

Smith begins by highlighting the fact that towns are heavily reliant. Countries supply the town with food and material for manufacture, but Smith identifies this as only a minor issue. He writes, "We must not, however [...] imagine that the gain of the town is the loss of the country" The towns are able to produce and sell on materials issued from the country, which is advantageous to both parties. The writer also goes on to add: "The inhabitants of the town and those of the country are mutually the servants of one another". Smith repeatedly highlights this relationship, also picking up on the importance of labourers. He states that the loss of  "assistance of some artificers" would result in "inconvenience" and "interruption". Labourers are in need of assistance to one another, meaning they naturally settle together to form small towns and villages.

Commerce is a key theme to the passage and Smith goes into some detail as to the state of North America's economy. At the time of writing, North America was still developing and was not as heavily involved with trading as other nations. In other words, there was more of a focus on personal production than selling produce to others. According to Smith, a growing society is first directed towards agriculture, then to 'manufacturs' and finally to foreign trade. Egypt and China in particular are identified as nations that attained 'high degrees of opulence'. Smith explores the relationship between war and economical growth, writing that conflict leads to a significant drop in the quality of cultivation. For example, the German and Scythian nations overran Western provinces of the Roman Empire, which left towns deserted and the country uncultivated. Inevitably, this led to poverty.

Smith discusses how the increase of manufacturing towns led to improvement and cultivation of countries to which they belonged in. He starts by stating that the wealth acquired meant poor land could be purchased, cultivated and improved. Obviously, regenerating land to give it money-making potential was useful to both the towns and the country in an economical sense.

The second piece, 'A Modest Proposal' by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is a satirical essay that was actually published anonymously in 1729. The fact that Swift calls his proposal 'modest' (when it's clearly not!) summaries the tone of the passage well. At the time of writing, Ireland was stuck in heavy poverty, which had a massive impact on the quality of life of the lower classes. Swift's use of 'we' and 'our' makes the audience feel involved with the proposal.

Swift begins by stating that the sight of poverty actually upsets him, leading readers into thinking his proposal will have the poverty-stricken families at heart. He writes: " It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads, and cabin doors, crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for an alms" Swift goes on to propose that the children be eaten, which comes as a surprise as Swift sounds genuinely concerned over their welfare at the beginning of the passage.
Swift highlights the advantages to his proposal:

 1) "It would greatly lessen the numbers of papists (catholics) with whom we are yearly overrun" - Swift targets the Catholics due the fact they tended to have large families. He also goes on to refer to them as 'our most dangerous enemies'. At the time, there was significant social hatred for Catholics.

 2) "The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own"

 3) "The money will circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth and manufacture"

4) "The constant breeders, beside the gain of 8 shillings sterling per annum by the sale of their childrens, will be rid of the charge of maintaining them after the 1st year"

 5) "This food would likewise bring great custom to taverns"

6) "It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to the poor babies, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual profit instead of expense"

If anybody can find a good use for the beggars children, Swift states, then they should be respected and worshipped. Swift goes into detail over the figures concerned with his proposal. He says that of the 120,000 Irish children born every year, 20,000 should be kept for breeding (1/4 of these are male) and the remaining 100,000 should be fattened and sold on.

Lecture 6 - Raw Notes

Adam Smith

Subject of economics, about rationing scarce resources, empiricist activity

An objective way of measuring human behaviour e.g. money is a clear, objective measure of people. Adam Smith - often said to be the founder of economics

Smith knew Hume, published Hume's book after he died.

James Watt - Inventor of the steam engine, without it no urbanisation. Smith was Scottish. Prior to Adam Smith, dominant economic theory was mercantilism. - Medieval thinkers, state control of the economy, they would says it's Gods will to make some countries rather than others.

Smith was a liberal - Thinks the point of economic activity is to enrich yourself, to further your own wealth.

British Isles was economically undeveloped until trading took full effect. English Civil War - 1641 to 1651

Before the war, every merchant had to pay a 'ship tax'. Furthermore, every merchant involved in the slave trade had to use the King's ships. State manufactured ships - Merchants hated this! Preferred Dutch ships. The war was fought from free trade.

Free trade - Each person set free to enrich themselves as best they could.

1651 - The Navigation Acts (war with the Dutch merchants) lasts almost 100 years. Locke - Life, liberty, property. Liberty also relates to religious freedom.

Battle of the Boyne - Last Catholic uprising on British soil. 1698 - Royal Africa Company chartered (Slave/penal labour trade "privatised")

The theme of economy can be related to the Royal Exchange.

Darien Scheme (Mercantile Scottish colony - bankruptcy)

1729 - Irish famine - Swift, a Modest Proposal
1745 - Battle of Culloden (failed Jacobite revolt - end of tribal society in Great Britain)

'The Wealth of Nations'

'The Zong Case' - 1783 - English law holds that slaves are not people, but livestock. Judge ruled it wasn't murder after slaves were thrown overboard.

1815 - Waterloo - Defeat of Napoleon. After this, England becomes a dominant world power.

Parliamentary Reform Bill - Political power shifts to the manufacturing towns, the North. Votes given to the middle class. Vote is also extended to merchants as well as landlords.

1846 - The end of the mercantile system. Repeal of the corn laws. Cheap bread, complete ruin of British agriculture

Smith's 1st book was on morality - He's a pure empiricist - There's no good, no evil, only desire.

Nations are wealthy when government doesn't prevent people selling to one another. Smith thinks that if people are left to trade, the hidden hand of the market will force them to sell what they specialise in. Everybody left to their own devices will do something to fend for themselves

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