Fresh Start!

Hello and Welcome!

Buckle up and get ready boys and girls, you’re about to read your stock standard, cheesy introduction post!

What is this Blog?

Here I am, sat in the uni library, freshly out of my first tutorial and for the first time in a long, long, long time, full of motivation. Am I nervous? Yes. Scared to make eye contact with the other students around me? Yes. But motivated and ready to start my first ever University assignment? Big yes.

Before I get too ahead of myself I should probably break down who I am and why I’m starting this blog. So, Hi, My name is Ella Scott, I’m an 18-year-old girl from Sydney, Australia. I’ve just embarked on the supposedly most exciting, yet tiring years of my life: University, and I’m lucky enough to say I’ve started at the wonderful campus that is the University of Wollongong. Here I will dedicate the next 4.5 years of my time to a double degree in Journalism and Ancient History and Archaeology, I know, Its a lot. Throughout the next semester and hopefully the rest of my time here (we’ll see how that motivation goes), this blog will be a virtual monitor of my progression through my Journalism and Media and Communication courses – so keep your eyes on this space! I hereby present to you my blog and with love and maybe the slightest bit of fear, my perspective and opinion on all things media and communications.

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Me on my 18th Birthday!

How did I get to this point?

Honestly, I am asking myself the same question. Though I was quite studious throughout high school, there is no doubt in my mind I could’ve done better. While hindsight is always 20/20, I’m still left shell shocked that I made it into my dream course and my dream Uni. Despite the stress I’m already feeling, Uni life so far has treated me well (she says on day 1 of week 2). I’m currently feeling like a badass, hardworking, independent woman and I can’t wait to see what this blog and my uni experience becomes!

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History only became a passion in my last few years of high school. I was fortunate enough to have access to ancient societies from a young age as between the ages 8-16 I lived in Abu Dhabi, which in comparison to Australia is pretty darn close to the rest of the world. My parents insisted we travelled as much and as often as possible, meaning I caught the travel bug at the ripe old age of 8 after my first trip to Egypt. Studying the subject really only come to be after Ancient History in the HSC became my favourite subject.

Journalism, however, has been my goal forever. Cheesy, I know. I can’t remember what made me want a career in writing and documenting but I’m here now and I don’t see myself straying too far – even if HSC advanced English really tested me and my patience. The best part is that I get to have people follow my passion now too! I solemnly swear that this blog will be maintained and groomed to the best of my abilities. I’m going to strive for this to become an outlet for my ever working creative mind that will allow me not only to get my Uni work done but also to love and have fun with it. Yes, I’m setting up this space for an assignment but I really do think I’m going to keep this up! Friends and family, I beg you to please stop rolling your eyes, I’m serious this time! So, without further ado, cheers to a new beginning and chapter of my life!

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Convergent Journalism: JUNKEE. Media

We live in a world where clickbait is considered a form of “journalism,” when the press used to be of huge importance a century ago. Society is making it harder for journalists to remain credible. The world needs journalists because they are committed to finding truth and protecting citizens.

Sydney Duest
https://www.theodysseyonline.com/the-role-journalism-plays-in-society

JUNKEE. media, formerly known as Sound Alliance was formed in 2000, however, with the change of name and ownership came a change of pace and media expansion for the outlet. Before formally changing the publication’s name, it was used to trial native advertising for Sound Alliance and its partners, all of which no use the style of advertising and are often referred to as sponsored or branded content, regularly seem on social media platforms. This change in advertising led to a younger demographic being the majority of users on the site. JUNKEE’s main audience come from facebook, with nearly 70 percent of the news outlets traffic coming from mobile phones.

The site is fitted well for both laptop/computer and mobile viewing, the
aesthetic of the site being bright, eye catching colours and images. The site
is kept modern and engaging with the use of GIFs and pop culture references in the headlines.

A look at the desktop view of the front page from 02.11.19. With references to current reality shows such as the Bachelorette and Love Island.

With the increase influx of younger viewers, JUNKEE has branched out, creating PUNKEE and AWOL. PUNKEE is an entertainment site aimed at 16-24 year olds and AWOL is a youth travel site backed by Qantas.

The sites navigation is simple, with a drop down box from the main menu showing the categories of their articles. These include music, culture, film, TV, gaming, news, politics, future, uni and travel. As well as this, they have the links to their publications, AWOL and PUNKEE, and the links to their social media sites.

The drop down links in the mobile viewing format

The site as a whole is aimed at Generation Z, with a more left political stance. They advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and share coverage of political events in align with a leftist view. They have recently covered everything to do with the climate strikes and post continuous articles about why climate change is something we should all be aware of.

We create highly shareable content about the things that matter (and sometimes the things that don’t) and we continually strive to add to the conversation, not just the noise. We also help brands to tell and share their stories. We believe that to resonate with young Australians, brands need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.

JUNKEE. Media on who they are.
http://junkeemedia.com/

As a whole the site is one of Australia’s most commonly viewed online news outlets, with a strong focus on educating the youth of Australia on just about everything and anything.

Fax Me Your Feelings

In a day and age where music icons cowrite or have no part in the writing of their lyrics and music, song writing as a talent is extremely valuable and impressive. The hidden talent behind poetic lyrics and music theory knowledge is one not found in many, which is why interviewing the boys from local Sydney band Fax Me Your Feelings was incredibly insightful.

Sam and Aidan formed the band in 2017 during a year 11 music class at their high school. The two shared a passion for music and while conducting their HSC decided they wanted to be doing more. They drew inspiration from just about everywhere, Sam going as far to say he learnt drums from listening to Queens of the stone age on repeat.

For them song writing is something that comes naturally. Aidan, the lead guitarist and bassist, has been playing and writing music for as long as he remembers. He describes his playing as ‘mostly indie or something’ but regularly posts ‘lo-fi beats’ on his private Instagram. Sam on the other hand writes all the lyrics and melodies for the band, drawing on real life inspiration for his ‘depressing lyrics’.

The band itself can be categorised as indie but it’s the slow and sad lyrics and sound that really identify the band. The pair will be the first to describe their music as depressing, it being a regular running joke amongst their mates. One of their songs even describes Sam’s inability to write positive and uplifting songs, “my girlfriend hates it, I told her I’d only write a song about her if we break up”.

The hidden talent of song writing is a difficult one for them to describe. For the two boys its nothing but a pastime and some simple fun, not a difficult task. The process begins during a ‘jam sesh’, where they play whatever they feel. If they play something they like, they record it. Then they go on to write drum parts, lyrics, harmonies and as off recently even strings. Over the past two years the boys have collectively learnt and bought instruments such as drums, double bass, violin and flute. Both of the boys are mainly self-taught with their instruments, both starting out by learning guitar in primary school.

Related Tweets:

Journalism and Trauma: The Link

Much like the police and military personnel, journalists are first responders to crisis, yet are among the last thought to have suffered the long-term psychological effects of reporting and witnessing trauma. The public’s interest in tragic situations and journalist’s need to provide a first-hand account of all the graphic details can lead to symptoms of trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). As a profession, journalism requires structure and rules to be followed regardless of mental state and sensitivity of subject.

Rules?

MEAA’s Journalist code of ethics has strict outlines of what boxes a journalist must tick and be respectful of when reporting. For a journalist reporting on a dark event or a touchy subject, these guidelines can be difficult on their mental health. Point numbers 1, 4 and 9 force the reporter to focus specifically on the gritty details and do not allow for emotions to play a role in the writing, leading to possible symptoms of mental stress.

1.     ‘Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.’
4.   ‘Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.’
9. ‘Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.’

Wait, but what is trauma and mental stress?

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of trauma is ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience’. Trauma affects everyone differently and can come in many shapes and forms, such as PTSD, a common outcome of trauma today. Traumatic experiences often feature a threat to safety and life, however any situation that leaves one feeling overwhelmed and isolated can be traumatising. Examples of trauma are:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Domestic Violence
  • War Related Trauma
  • Medical Trauma
  • Traumatic Loss
  • Natural Disasters

The Journalism of Trauma? What’s that?

Journalist’s are tasked with the job of reporting everything, even the bad and gruesome. Not only are some witnesses of the horrific events but those reading, editing and writing the stories from miles away in a newsroom are also forced to give the topic a large amount of thought. Viewing horrific UGC (user-generated content) that is riddled with unexpected distressing material all day every day is now a common task for those working within the newsroom. Journalists subjected to these images, whether in person or in writing, can experience emotions and personal responses on the traumatic event they’ve seen so vividly. The impact of vicarious trauma can lead directly to PTSD and ASD (acute stress disorder).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association claims that PTSD can be experienced due to viewing horrific images that are work-related. An example of second-hand viewing causing a mental health issue among journalists is Aidan Sullivan’s story. On his first day as the director of photography for the Sunday Times, April 5, 1989, he ‘remembers making two piles of pictures: one of [people] whole were dead or dying, and another of those who were distressed but more likely to survive’.

‘I can still vividly recall the images. That never goes away.’

Sullivan reflecting on the awful events of the Hillsborough disaster in Sheffield, England.

Surely Journalists witnessing events first hand have it the worst?

Of course, those at the scene are exposed to some grim events however those in the newsroom actually suffer more based on recent statistics. Anthony Feinstein’s Witnessing images of extreme violence: a psychological study of journalists in the newsroom shows the results of studies undergone on 100 journalists working in the newsroom that were often required to view graphic material. What Feinstein found was that those often viewing the graphic photographs but only for brief periods of time were more likely to foster symptoms of mental distress than those who viewed the material for a prolonged period. Those who witness constant horrific events in person are able to grow desensitised to the situation in a way those who only do so for a few hours a day do not.

‘individuals who are looking at the war in Iraq… all the time tend to block it out – you become a bit numb to it,’

Feinstein said when explaining the phenomenon.

What are some signs of Journalists dealing with these stresses?

Whether it is you or a fellow journalist, it can be easy to assume you are capable of moving on from trauma and discount the symptoms as only temporary. However, if you are regularly involved in work that has the potential to cause reoccurring trauma or evoke symptoms of PTSD or ASD, it is vital you check your responses and acknowledge the impact it has on your mental state and quality of work. Sam Dubberly and Michele Grant cover the signs over trauma in great detail in Journalism and Vicarious Trauma.

Psychological signs:

  • Intrusive thoughts and images coming to mind against your will and in dreams
  • Placing unrealistic expectations on oneself
  • Hopelessness & helplessness
  • Guilt about your own survival/pleasure
  • Disgust
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Distracted
  • Easily startled
  • Unable to tolerate strong emotions
  • Increased sensitivity to violence

Relationships and behaviour:

  • Difficulty differentiating between work and social life
  • Feeling disconnected from people even when you’re communicating with them
  • Withdrawal from hobbies, socialising and pleasurable activities
  • Irritable, intolerant, agitated, needy
  • Addictions involving nicotine, alcohol, food, drugs, shopping.

Physical Signs:

  • Tired
  • Headaches
  • Change in diet and appetite
  • Gastrointestinal trouble

What can a journalist do to help their mental state or prevent it from getting disastrous?

While hard to find online, each news outlet has its own codes of conduct and reasonable reporting. The daily telegraph’s code of ethics outlines that all employees must ‘respect the confidences and sensitivities of your colleagues at all times’ (24.2). Though a small detail, it is clear that each outlet has its own way of dealing with their reporters’ mindsets on their work.

On top of this, it is encouraged that anyone feeling any type of mental stress or psychological trauma should approach help and find someone to talk to about their emotions. As research on journalists and trauma has progressed, so have treatment options. Matthew Friedman, a professor at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine claims that the treatment for journalists experiencing PTSD is no different from that used to treat victims of sexual assault or war veterans. Options range from medication and therapy to self-assessment.

References;

Arana, G. (2015). A Mental-Health Epidemic In The Newsroom. [online] HuffPost Australia. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/05/18/mental-health-journalism-trauma_n_7305460.html [Accessed 25 May 2019].

Dailytelegraph.com.au. (2017). Code of Conduct | Daily Telegraph. [online] Available at: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/help/code-of-conduct [Accessed 25 May 2019].

Dubberley, S. and Grant, M. (2017). Journalism and Vicarious Trauma A Guide for JournAlists, editors And news orGAnisAtions. [online] Available at: https://firstdraftnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/vicarioustrauma.pdf [Accessed 25 May 2019].

Ellingsen, S (2012). Explainer: the impact of trauma reporting upon journalists | upstart. [online] Available at: https://www.upstart.net.au/explainer-the-impact-of-trauma-reporting-upon-journalists/.

Feinstein, A., Audet, B. and Waknine, E. (2014). Witnessing images of extreme violence: a psychological study of journalists in the newsroom. JRSM Open, 5(8), p.205427041453332.

Maxson, J. (2000). Training Journalism Students to Deal with Trauma: Observing Reporters Behave like ‘Creeps.’ Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 55(1), pp.79–86.

Taibi, C. (2015). It’s Not Just War Reporters: How Viewing Graphic Content Secondhand Can Lead To Mental Health Issues In Journalists. [online] HuffPost Australia. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/05/19/secondhand-trauma-journalists_n_7305992.html?guccounter=1 [Accessed 25 May 2019].

Wake, A. and Ricketson, M. (2019). Media companies on notice over traumatised journalists after landmark court decision. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/media-companies-on-notice-over-traumatised-journalists-after-landmark-court-decision-112766 [Accessed 25 May 2019].

Sutherland Shire participates in the festivities of National Youth Week

National Youth Week begins with a bang as the Sutherland Shire’s council reveals an action-packed timetable of events with many local organisations participating in youth orientated activities.

Throughout the first week of school’s Easter break, the week of April 10th, Shire known groups such as Skate Boarding NSW, Project Youth and Cronulla Surfing Academy have announced free workshops for the community’s youth. The goal being to provide a platform for young people to share their ideas, host events, have their voices heard on issues important to them and celebrate their contribution to the community.

The timetable of epic events was advertised widely throughout the area with the council’s twitter often posting updates and linking to their website that holds the full list of events,

https://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Community/Youth-Week-2019-Sutherland-Shire.

The event advocates for positive mental health within the younger generation of our community, with invaluable sponsorships from headspace Miranda and Engadine District Youth Services this goal is in clear sights.

Cara Thompson, a Youth Access Clinician from headspace Miranda, said that “experiences shared amongst like-minded, youthful individuals introduces them, especially in the case of this festival, to a positive social situation. That’s really the aim here; we want them to learn important social skills while also encouraging getting outside, having fun and supporting your peers within such a brilliant community”.

Recent findings from Mission Australia’s latest Youth Survey, conducted between 2014-2016, reveal that one in four young people are at risk of severe mental illness. The Black Dog Institute, an Australian research institute aiming to reduce the incidence of mental illness, said in their report on the survey that “these findings confirm that mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century and one that has to be tackled by the community”.

https://blackdoginstitute.org.au/docs/default-source/research/evidence-and-policy-section/2017-youth-mental-health-report_mission-australia-and-black-dog-institute.pdf?sfvrsn=6

When asked about the sense of community within the Shire’s youth and how the festival positively impacts this Lauren Johnston, from Cronulla Surfing Academy, said “with such a diverse range of events on offer I think there is something for everyone. Street Art Workshops, Music Festivals, our Surfing Lessons – such a great mix and such fun to be had outdoors. Getting kids outdoors and active. Creative juices flowing. You really can’t go wrong”.

Events continue through to April 18th, and kids big or small are encouraged to join in on the free festivities!

Murdoch owns everything. Simple.

The journalism student inside me is screaming, but, when I flip the channel on the TV to catch a glimpse of the news, my last thought is who censors or owns watch I’m watching. Some research into the topic, however, has taught me just how controversial Australia’s media concentration is as the few people in control of what is portrayed and interpreted through Australia’s news platforms is displayed with little variation.

In 2016, having undergone recent changes in Media ownership, the Australian Communications and Media Authority released the image shown below to draw attention to the power held by the 12 people controlling our major media companies. Foxtel, Ten Corp, 9, etc. are just a few of the large media outlets where people Australia wide get their news fix daily. The money behind such powerful companies and their shareholders highlights how one-sided communication can be. Rupert Murdoch is an exemplary example as he overpowers both the newspaper industry and Foxtel.

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/01/infographic-who-owns-what-media-in-australia/
Who owns what in Australian Media

The Murdoch empire has ownership of a whopping 57% of daily newspaper ownership Australia wide. Thus, over half of our news via newspaper harbours a one-sided, possibly biased opinion coming from one man’s vision and ideas. Yes, in this day and age we are moving further and further away from newspapers as our primary source of news, but this is still an example of how our news is indeed owned. Media is made up of three key components; censorships, trust and ethics. Together the three are challenged by individuals when the story presented to us is interpreted as coming from such a small scope and one-sided perspective. There remains some truth to our news, but to what extent do we trust and move forward with the angle assigned to it?

I suppose if you enjoy watching the news to gain a basic understanding of current affairs and the happenings of the world, then media ownership doesn’t inherently affect you or does it? Do we harbour the opinions of those presenting us with the facts unknowingly or are we as a population wise enough as individuals to perceive the facts with our take? I suppose it depends from person to person. As someone who would like to think they’re knowledgeable and worldly enough to place my lens over a fact despite how it’s delivered, I’m not inherently bothered by these facts. They do however shock me and leave me wondering who and what to trust.

References

https://www.prdaily.com/infographic-the-vast-expanses-of-rupert-murdochs-global-empire/ – Rupert Murdoch’s empire

https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2016/01/infographic-who-owns-what-media-in-australia/ – Who owns what in Australia

Infrared Inauguration

An unseen force was arguably the drive that propelled Donald Trump through 2016 and the controversial, tumultuous election, that landed him in office to lead the entire country of America as its 45th President.

The aggressive force swept the nation into a populist ardour that occurred on January 20th, 2017, Inauguration Day. There to capture the happenings was Johnny Milano, in and with a similarly restrained force, infrared wavelengths.

https://mashable.com/2017/01/26/ir-inauguration/

The difficultly tied to media coverage of such high publicity events, such as inauguration day, is the fight against other photographers for best and most used image. It was this that inspired Milano to challenge the concept and think outside of the box; to use an old DLSR that he had altered to photograph infrared light.

When justifying the decision on Mashable.com Milano said,

I knew that to represent the weekend in a way I felt accurately represented 2016 as a whole, I needed to go further. I needed to visualise that invisible force and look beyond the reach of a traditional lens.

https://mashable.com/2017/01/26/ir-inauguration/

I chose to research and discuss Milano’s controversial images and take on such an event for this post as I feel it accurately enraptures how media coverage and events are represented and interpreted differently. Milano’s take on inauguration day can be understood through his photographs as infrared light is invisible to the human eye. Thus, the use of the filter on the pictures unites both protesters and supporters through something unseen to them both, similarly to the force of Trump’s reign.

It is possible to read Milano’s images in several ways as they are so incredibly different from any other pictures taken on this day. His innovative use of lighting reflects a change in American identity, to some this being positive, to others negative. The orange, cool undertones isolate such events took place in Washington during the day in 2017. A favourite image to demonstrate this is Milano’s photograph of a limo ablaze. The fire is highlighted by the intense orange tone, reflecting the passion and anger of protesters.

https://mashable.com/2017/01/26/ir-inauguration/

Richard Müller-Freienfels captures the essence of Milano’s vision, ‘Pictures are created to make visible what is not visible’. In conclusion and to add to Müller-Freienfels ideology and Milano’s vision, images and photographs can be interpreted in many ways depending on the individual’s context. Milano’s use of infrared light allows one to focus on something inherently different while still viewing a still of the event, allowing them to interpret it in their way, whether a supporter or a protester.

References

https://mashable.com/2017/01/26/ir-inauguration/?utm_cid=hp-n-1#lXKGFMEl.sq8Milano’s interview

https://www.jstor.org/stable/425807?seq=2#metadata_info_tab_contentsMüller-Freienfels’s journal article: On Visual Representation: The Meaning of Pictures and Symbols

Boarding House Bachelorette

Year 10; hormones are raging; everyone seems to be maturing at different rates and academics are no longer the priority to most.  Now try living with your cohort for the ever-confusing year. Boarding School.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved it for the most part and can safely say I’m part of the 70% who believe boarding schools prepare students for independence, as studies show on http://www.boardingschools.com.  My after-school activities used to consist of SingStar karaoke, pranks on the younger girls and homework but our favourite was always Wednesday TV nights. 2016 brought with it the second season of the Bachelorette, a show in which we all grew very very fond of. With $2 Aldi ice blocks and fluffy pyjama bottoms, we would crowd around the TV and argue for the duration of the program. Yep, 45 minutes of arguing.

‘No, he’s the best looking!’ and ‘Why him?’

This is what I assume we must have looked life a good half of the time.
https://giphy.com/explore/gogglebox-australia

It was anarchy. Between the arm raising in anger and aggressive points the screen you’d be lucky to come out unscathed. Between the ten of us boarding that year, clear ‘sides’, if you will, were established. I don’t remember the names of the contestants that year but it’s safe to say it was a Jacob or Edward style debate.

Screen Australia has since released the statistics of viewership in recent years and suffice to say, a lot of our age group wasn’t avidly keeping up with the broadcast TV program like we were. Had I been living at home and being the only 15-year-old in my household that year I doubt such a show would even cross my radar – besides 7pm onwards is dad’s TV time. Considering this information with the types of audiences discussed in this week’s lecture I am able to reflect upon the experience in a different light. Our interaction with the trashy, free to air show was active, similar to that of Gogglebox. Had we of not been grouped together and interacting with both the show and each other, sharing a similar experience, we likely would have lost interest, like other 14-17-year olds across Australia.

Sure, the experience teared us apart for a solid two months but despite all the arguments and injuries, sharing that time on a Wednesday night brought us closer together as a family. A very dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless. We still laugh about that year to this day and I will never forget any of those girls, as cheesy as it is.

Mess with one boarder, you mess with all the boarders.
https://giphy.com/gifs/family-uTx9fxhQWKHg4

References

https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/sa/media-centre/news/2018/02-27-report-australian-trends-online-on-demand – Screen Australia Statistics of 2018

http://www.boardingschools.com/discover/bigpicture.aspx – Boarding School Statistics