media industry

Into the Future 2014

On Friday 9th May, Birmingham City University’s second year media students conducted their Into the Future event.

On the same day as the Birmingham Made Me Job Fair, over 200 students (including myself) presented themselves and their media skills to the public and professionals at Millennium Point. The media careers and networking event also included talks from industry professionals who discussed the future of the media landscape. 

After taking a selfie of herself with all of the students, Beverley Nielsen, Director of employer engagement at Birmingham City University and the lady behind Idea Birmingham and Birmingham Made Me, opened the event by talking about the history of the city, its industrial roots and the concepts behind the first ever Birmingham Made Me Jobs Fair.

Her speech focused upon encouraging the knowledge of Birmingham and its business assets and helping to find ways that people in Birmingham can showcase the different sectors across the city.

Beverley then excitingly introduced the first of four guest speakers, Phil Riley from Orion Media. Orion Media are the company behind Gem Radio and Free Radio across the midlands.

Phil riley

Phil Riley – Orion Media

Phil talked about three things, the things that he believes to be of huge importance, the wider issues facing radio and the future of radio:

1. Platforms

2. Regulations

3. Talent and content

“The need to be a multi media professional is there, you can’t just sit behind a mic now, you’ve got to do more than just be a presenter”

The main message that I took from Phil’s speech was that the rate of change in the industry is very high, that adaptation is vital to the success of the media.

The next guest speaker was Selena Brown from Little Miss Creative. As a former media (BA and MA) student at Birmingham City University, Selina spoke on a level that all people in the audience would understand and presenter the highlights of her wonderful journey to where she is today, Founder and CEO of Little Miss Creative, a company that  provides creative workshops and events to young women in Birmingham. 

Selina Brown

Selina Brown – LMC

Selina was inspiring, full of energy and really captured the minds of the people in the room – creativity and being yourself being at the heart of her messages.

“Aim for excellence”

Throughout the day there were slots for students to showcase themselves through the presentation of their individually designed portfolio poster. This gave them a chance to talk to people about their theoretical ideas for their third year dissertation, and also to discuss their skills and work experience.

Sophie Drake and professional portfolio

Sophie Drake – Professional portfolio poster

Download my poster here: My professional portfolio poster

Another feature of the event saw 9 student speakers, including myself, and we were all tasked with discussing ourselves and our personal development, as well as touching upon topics. My topics were social media, consultancy and public relations.

Speaking at the event

Myself and fellow speakers Emily Brammeier and Jodie Neville

Download my presentation for my speech here: Sophie Drake presentation for speaking

Guest speakers for the afternoon included: Jason MacKenzie from We Are Liquid, Richard Battye from River Studio, and Annette Naudin and Caroline Thorley from Birmingham City University.

Jason MacKenzie, from public relations company We Are Liquid, outlined the confusion surrounding the definition of public relations and tried to make some sense of it.

Jason MacKenzie, We Are Liquid

Jason MacKenzie, We Are Liquid

“PR professionals, we want to be respected professionally” – Jason believes that as public relations professionals, we are insecure about our field and this is one of the main problems facing the industry.

He captured the audience, even those who are not focused on public relations, with his enthusiasm and interesting insights on the public relations field.

His main prediction and suggestion for the future of the field would be the increased leading from the industry bodies, giving them more of an influence on the practices and the changes set to happen.

Richard Battye, the photographer behind River Studio, “shoots people for a living”. His presentation highlighted some key developments in the industry of photography and as he has been a photographer for 24 years he has been there throughout each one of them and emerged out of the other side.

“If I could hear myself talking about photography now, my old self would have no idea what I was talking about, it’s another language”

– Move from dark room/film to digital

– Improvements in post processing software

– Freelance photographers – demands on certain equipment and restraints on the practice that can be a huge task during shoots.

Annette Naudin talked about the Future of Media Entrepreneurship, developments in the approaches to the media industry and opportunities available to students to do so. Followed by Caroline Thorley, who discussed the Job Prospects and Careers Events that occur at Birmingham City University for students to get involved in.

Into the Future closed with a final slot for the remaining students to showcase their poster presentations.

 

The event was a great success, a thriving environment at which all of the students had the opportunity to present themselves in a professional way. If the skills and professionalism is anything to go by, the future of the media world looks hugely promising, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.

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Conceptualising the Audience

New media and photography theory – Week 6 2013

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Week six consisted of critiquing the common-sense approach to the audience. The audience is defined by Long and Wall as “an anonymous and variable collective of individuals addressed (as a group of individuals) by the organs of ‘mass’ media communication” (Long and Wall 2012:488). This week moved beyond the original ideas of audience and into the ideas of the audience being a product of the media (Long and Wall 2012:275).

A realisation that became apparent during the lecture was that without the audience, there would be no media and without the media there would be no profit. The more there is of media, in a variety of outlets and forms, the more competition. This adds pressure to the producers to attract more audiences using a variety of methods to continue to make the profit that they need.

Long describes how we are not always aware of being part of an audience, no matter how many millions of consumers are also sharing the same experience at the same time. (Long and Wall, 2012:279) Whilst Mattelart describes it from the perspective of producers “each media institution has its own specific way of positioning the viewer, regulating certain aspects of the production of meaning and production of emotional responses, and so forth”.(Mattelart, A 1992:82) Audience unawareness and power or manipulation by the producer implies in this case the vulnerability and passivity of consumers. I wonder how many people notice the ‘how are you feeling today John?’ question that appears in the box before you write a status on Facebook. Again this first person text positions its audience into feeling unique and influences them in some cases to carry out the producer’s desired response of a status and therefore, more time spent on Facebook.

That however, is not comparable to the possible media effects and influence from propaganda. It is an active manipulation of ideas, information and aims to inject its desired effects into its audience by restricting and misinforming them of other options. (Long and Wall 2012:286) Mattelart discusses the role of active minorities in manipulation of inert societies and discusses The Frankfurt School in their belief in the omnipotence of the mass media (Mattelart, A 1992:73). Nazi Germany used it to achieve large influence in world war two. However, the same concepts –if not slightly subtler- are still being used today in the likes of President Obama’s political campaign.

My two readings have altered my view on possible media power. I want to research further into modern day examples of moral panics created by new media. Fast paced and immediacy of the new media industry can create news before it has even been officially reported by the press and therefore the effects on the audience can be elevated.

References:

Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (2nd Edition), London:Pearson.

Mattelart, A and Mattelart, M. (1992). New paradigms: The procedures of consumption. In: Translation by Cohen, J and Urquidi, M. Series editor: Bolton, R Rethinking media theory: Signposts and new directions. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p72-86.

Media production in a global age: regulation and production practices

New media and photography theory – week 3 2013

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Globalization was the topic of this weeks lecture and is defined by Anthony Giddens as “the intensification of world-wide social relations, which link distinct localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice-versa” (Giddens, 1990 in Long and Wall 2004:245)

The first point which was outlined was that there is high media usage in the western countries and much less in other countries such as Africa and the Middle East. Factors which could be contributing to this are gender, income, race and location. (Couldry in Long and Wall 2004:190)

In my further reading the same view is explored “we were committed from the start to an exploration of ‘the complex and dominative relationships of Western media systems to those of developing countries. That problem – ‘the West and the Rest’ – remains with us to this day”  (Editorial, 1979: 2 in Punathambekar, A 2013:5 ) supporting the conclusion that there is a digital divide in the media behavior in the west, and then the rest.

The link between political economy and globalisation is argued by Punathambekar “Globalization has been articulated in the trajectory traced by Sparks within a political economy frame” (Punathambekar, A 2013:5) “Since the start of this century the focus has again shifted – this time to the internet and its potentialities as a public sphere in light of globalization and accelerating mass access to the internet, cell-phone and social media all over the world” (Punathambekar, A 2013:6).

The media forms, listed here are what make globalisation of new media products/ideas so simple. For example, a member of the public will witness a disaster and is able to take a picture on their phone, uses Twitter and Facebook to document and comment about the issues which are then available on cyber space for the world to view.

The further developments and adaptations of media organisations and their products can help them to become globalised.  Actions like becoming active on social media, providing their audience with applications for their phones, having YouTube channel and many more lead them on the path to reaching people around the world.

For further investigation on this topic I would use the methodology of an organisation study to determine the growth and development of a media company to a global level. To do this, I would have to visit their website and any texts that they have produced. To go into strong academic depth, I would contact the company for any contributing factors and analyse the adaptation in their products over a period of time.

References:

Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (2nd Edition), London:Pearson.

Punathambekar, A. (2013). Back to the future: media and communication studies in the 21st century. Media Culture and Society . 35 (1), p3-8.

Industry & Institution: Political Economy

New media and photography theory 2013

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Week one concentrated on the concept of political economy, which has been described as “The study of social relations and power relations that mutually constitute the production, distribution and consumption of resources” (Long and Wall 2012:490). This approach is one way of justifying and explaining the formalities carried out within the media and the influences that they have over media products. Political economy has been challenged by other concepts such as cultural studies.

Larger companies are said to create products suitable for a mass audience to achieve profit maximisation (Long and Wall 2012:176). As a result, they become potential power figures and could hold large influence over the factors of production, distribution and consumption. Long and Wall cover this, explaining how the smaller firms are regularly disadvantaged by the domination of larger companies (Long and Wall 2012:179). Natalie Fenton supports this by saying that power figures within the media have the ability to sustain or extend that power successfully, and by any means, through their high position and wealth (Fenton, N:13). Once they have positioned themselves close the market’s geographic core they can then be readily available to a larger audience. (Hotelling in Long and Wall 2012:176)

It can be said that Google is a prime example of this as it has monopoly over the search engine industry and other industries. It has few competitors in Yahoo and Bing and controls a large percentage of its media sector. Size is said to give advantage, through domination (Long and Wall 2012:179), and conglomerates such as Google will most likely out-compete other smaller firms. Janet Lowe agrees “Google appears to be an unstoppable online giant, capable of growing as fast as the internet grows. On a corporate level, Google challenges everyone remotely near it.”(Lowe, J 2009:262)

To research political economy in more detail, I would conduct an organisational study on Google. My primary focus would be the head office team, mapping out their roles and delegation of company plans. I would aim to analyse how they are tackling competitors and keeping their company strategy at its peak and make a report on my findings.

References:

Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies: Texts, Production, Context (2nd Edition), London:Pearson.

Bridging the Mythical Divide: Political Economy and Cultural Studies Approaches to the Analysis of the Media. Fenton.N

Lowe, J (2009). Google Speaks: Secrets of the world’s greatest billionaire entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. New Jersery: John Wiley & Sons Inc. p262.