Stereotypes are found in almost every corner of the media. They are found in such shows like Glee, TV dramas, and even reality shows where producers hand-pick characters to fit their stereotypes. One could ask though, if it is the television networks that “design” these stereotypes or are the stereotypes what we, the consumer, demand? In a show like American Idol, contestants are chosen based on their ability to sing. The selection has some, albeit very little, to do with their appearance. The contestants are “real” people playing no one but themselves. As they progress in the show, novice singers blossom into “pros” right before our very eyes. They may have direction from producers but the direction is to primarily bring out the best in them and secondarily, to mold them into a “sellable good.” American Idol is not making any “anti-stereotype” statements but they are delivering a positive program to households, which aparently IS on demand.
Monthly Archives: April 2011
There is a digital divide that is closing fast. It will only be a matter of time when everyone in the U.S is “connected”. As our eldest generations of Americans pass on, the divide will close further as they are replaced by the younger computer savvy baby boomers. The babies being born today will never know a world before the Internet, Facebook, wikis, Google, blogs, and smart phones.
There are some in socioeconomic areas who are not “connected” in the way that most are accustomed to. As of now, the best way for those who are unable to afford laptops to check email, do online backing, and google, is to use the local library. State and local governments offer funding for school and library computers. One local government in the city of Long Beach, California offers free wireless Internet access in its downtown business district. Maybe, in addition to libraries, local governments could offer free Internet access and laptop usage in some of their mass transit, post offices, or any other public (and monitored) facility.
Edward R. Murrow has had more of an impact on the television and news industry than anyone will ever have. He influenced radio, television, and beyond his own future, the Internet. His peers describe a “’Murrow legend and tradition’ of courage, integrity, social responsibility, and journalistic excellence, emblematic of the highest ideals of both broadcast news and the television industry in general.”
Murrow pioneered the transition from radio to television. Who is leading the transition today from television to Internet? That is the problem. There is no leadership. There are many “forces” out there in the industry, all trying to figure out how to utilize the newer technology while making a profit. As one group “discovers” something new that “works” and makes money, another group is finding something else, while the third group implements both of the new ideas. There are no leaders so the Internet news industry is on a path of two steps forward, one step back.
This is the age of bloggers and Wikipedia. Whereas some are credible, others are not. Where do they get their information? Who is looking over their shoulder? Have these bloggers taken an unofficial journalistic “Hippocratic oath”? According to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the “Canons of Journalism” include:
- Responsibility (of newspaper and journalist)
- Freedom of the Press (“a vital right of mankind”)
- Independence (fidelity to the public interest)
- Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy (good faith with reader)
- Impartiality (news reports free from opinion or bias)
- Fair Play, Decency (recognition of private rights, prompt correction of errors)
Secondly, “The President’s Commission on Freedom of the Press,” arrived at a philosophical model of what the press should be and what it should do. It includes the following:
- The newsmedia should provide “a truthful, comprehensive and intelligent account of the day’s events in a context which gives them meaning;”
- The newsmedia should serve as a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism, as “common carriers” in the realm of public discussion;
- The newsmedia should give a representative picture of the various groups which make up society;
- The newsmedia should present and clarify the goals and values of society, and
- The newsmedia should provide “full access to the day’s intelligence.”
Ultimately, the biggest challenge with the dawn of Internet news is integrity and upholding a code of ethics. Maybe this is something that both bloggers and journalists should have to adhere to.