Monday, 16 May 2011

Media outlook

I have decided that if I should have the audacity one day to write for a recognized publication, I should build up to it and prove myself capable of the job. To do so, among other tasks that I ask of myself everyday, I have decided that, instead of letting the articles of this blog write themselves whenever the feeling passes, I shall push myself to write... let's say one article a week to start with. It should be a worthy article of course, not a little paragraph stating that paradoxes are running amok and it is hard to handle them all at once. It could be just a long rambling on different thoughts intertwined sometimes.One theme is always preferable, so depth is worked on in it accordingly. The subject might be wide, and only one matter within that subject should be studied, and compared to similar processes. Well, in the chaotic manner that I process things. And if, in any case, I cannot come up with an idea worth writing about, I will take some piece of news that I want to explore.

News are not what they are. The “news” is one of the important
institutions building the groups within our society. News do not
represent information about a recent event concerning its audience.
If news were to such a thing, we would over-value our emotional exhibitionism in social networks. A facebook status represents recent news that could inform me of an event concerning me and my environment. The power disputes in Ivory Coast are sources of interest, but not information. They are useful if you know or meet someone from the region  but the media does not inform you of the ethnic conflict behind the election. Yet we watch it.
Well, I say we. We all watch different news, we watch the news which will be most useful for us in a group, and to build our identity.
If we want to play the cynic and say that politics are rotten, we do not have to read news. If we want to play the man of the world who is aware of the different games played on the world stage, you would read all the political and economic magazines but snob the sports or Hollywood star-system. Academics would read Science or Nature and consider them to be very influential, when a majority of the population has never turned a page of such magazines.   In the diversity of print media we find a diversity of social groups trying to accumulate knowledge-at-hand which can be used to have a better handle of a script in social interactions. It is a form of domination to have more information. Of course it is also a sign of stupidity and possible rejection to show pride in knowing things that we don't know to be false. News are a constant filter used and abused, unconsciously, by society to create a sense of in-group/out-group.
  So every newspaper will present a different discourse for their public. It will also frame the world of the audience to dictate who is good or bad. We don't understand yet to what extend our opinion is build by the information we get. What is obviously and undeniably important in the news that form our world is the selection of the news by the selected medium. Why is the front page the front page? We all have been scandalized sometimes to see on the first page some prince or singer when hundreds have been killed on page 6. Which shows maybe my bias: should it be more important to feel for the damned of the world rather than enjoy the beautiful mediatic theater of fake break-ups between beautiful people?
News, if transformed into a subjective process of acquiring knowledge of recent information (the irony of recent information are archeology news feeds), should probably not be a mass media. The defense for mass media
is, that it levels the field for everybody. Everybody knows as much, and
 it would be a tiny bit totalitarian to forbid any other source of knowledge so there can be no contention. Mass media does not, as stated before, change our opinion, but changes the themes of discussion. That is why changing completely an education system could not be news. It does not require novelty, it cannot bring novelty. It could only present in depth views on the different alternatives. It would be news for everybody, but always on one theme, which does not bring the novelty which sells so well. Of course it is important for democracy to have informed citizens. But the real foundation of society is the engagement of citizens. I am not sure how to resolve that problem. How can we bring political awareness to
everybody? It is impossible to be politically aware at all levels of
all the changes and the possibilities for change. People should perceive some moral duty to find a societal theme, find facts to build a good argumentation that they could then argue between themselves. Of course, facts can never be presented, whatever the medium, in a cold unbiased manner. Hence it is important to also have a multiplicity of point of views on every theme, however hard it would be for us to listen to (when was the last time you've heard the difficulties some harmless paedophiles find dealing with their deviancy?). Well, here is my first article of my now new weekly articles. I hope that it brought up more questions than answers and you enjoyed the reading.
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