Since the dawn of the Personal Computer there’s been a great deal of discussion within media circles about how to best exploit the proliferation of computer-based technologies. In more recent history, web 2.0 (and now 3) and social media have been incredibly disruptive to media organisations by fragmenting audiences and eroding revenue streams through the creation of a more competitive media environment.
Despite John Maynard Keynes’ musings in ‘Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren’ (1930) that technology would eventually liberate men from work and free housewives to become bored like those of the well-to-do classes, people are working longer and harder than ever and women likewise have found little relief from the tyranny of housework.
While there’s certainly a lot of cynicism regarding the media and politics (Conboy & Eldridge, 2014. Wayne & Murray, 2009), the sharing of political articles, memes (Bronwyn Bishop, for example) and heated discussions, as well as online political protest like e-petitions and mass-emails – or even real-world protests organized through social media like ‘March in March’ – shows us that people want to be more engaged and involved in media and political processes.
Surely one of the most sensitive things for any journalist to report on is death, yet whether it be a disaster zone or a murder victim, journalists are tasked with navigating the ethical minefield of reporting these stories on a seemingly routine basis. There is no doubt there’s an inherent ‘newsworthiness’ and inevitable public interest in many of these cases, but finding the right balance between properly covering a story while being respectful, sympathetic and compassionate is a difficult one to find.
In ‘The Waldo Moment’, an episode from the ‘Black Mirror’ television series, writer Charlie Brooker joins in critique of the democratic system, particularly regarding ‘professional politicians’ and their tightly-managed media presence. As citizens have become aware of these phenomena, cynicism of political processes has become widespread, but while Brooker certainly understands the failings that have led to this distrust, at the heart of the episode is a clear warning that anti-politics and populism could lead to dystopia.
As the saying goes, ‘you are what you eat’, and in the post-Fordist era food is not merely an object of necessary consumption, but a product that shapes identity. Deborah Viviani (2013, p. 166) argues that “food lifestyle today is the result of individual choices dictated by tastes and trends. As it is no longer only rooted in the biological sphere, but involves the subject completely, it has a strong impact on the processes of identity building, belonging and identification”.
Following the phone hacking scandal that engulfed News International’s News of the World, politicians around the world were spurred by public outrage to act on a perceived lack of regulation in the media. In Australia, this led the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, to announce the Independent Media Inquiry that, in contrast to the previously announced Convergence Review, had a greater focus on newspapers and websites.