And Now, To Reflect


Upon  reflecting on the last six weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that BCM110 is the best class I’ve had to take, like ever. Who would have thought learning could be this much fun? Tuesdays just wouldn’t be the same without that hour of #BCM110 (ahem, most supportive twitter feed ever?)

We’ve covered quite a lot of content in the short time of six weeks, but many of the concepts and theories we have discussed, and had explained to us by The Chasers, have caught my interest. I think the Media Effects Model, and the content covered in our second lecture, was the topic that interested me the most. Even after doing a media journalism course all of last year, it’s still crazy to me that the media can plant such a clear ideas in someone’s mind about a particular topic. Although the media effects model is outdated, but slowly changing to fit into todays society, it is very persistent in getting its ideas across.

The topics covered have definitely challenged and changed the way I look at the media today. I feel that I now have the knowledge to recognise that articles are always going to contain bias and that both sides of a story will rarely be published, unless it benefits the company/ network. When looking at advertisements, I also have the ability to recognise and understand the denotations and connotations before me.

The one topic that I continue to struggle with is the idea of the mediated public sphere. Reading other BCM110 student’s blog posts has definitely helped me immensely, especially when I was trying to write my own post. I’m still unsure what it actually is that confuses me so much about the public sphere, but I struggle to wrap my head around it. I’m sure after a lot more research and acquiring of background information it will start to make a little bit more sense to me.

Now onto this weeks topic of Children and the Media… I thought I’d take it away from the sexualisation of children, and focus more on the exploitation of children in the media. Whenever this topic is bought up, my mind immediately jumps to TV shows such as Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms. I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t religiously watched these shows, but because they are so ridiculous, they are so highly addictive.  Below is two youtube videos, created by TheFineBros, whose content is focused on you’re ‘average’ child/ teen reacting to viral, of the now, things. These two videos are exactly that, kids and teens reacting to the worldwide phenomenon of young girls and the media.

I think these videos show the juxtaposition between the ‘average/ normal’ kids and the ‘media exposed’ kids. As discussed in the ‘Teens React’ video, exposure to the media at such a young age can cause many problems later in life, like an extreme awareness of how they should dress, what they should look like and how they should present themselves. At such a young age of 3-6 years, that should be the least of these girls worries.

A lot of these shows are based on parental manipulation and parental ideologies. They make their children believe that they really want to be in these pageants, because that’s all they really know. They were exposed to this type of lifestyle at such a young age, and that’s what they were raised into believing they loved.




S.Turnbull, (Week 1-6), Lecture Slides





“How does this example of popular media text contribute to debate in a mediated public sphere?”

“A domain of our social life where such a thing as public opinion can be formed (where) citizens… deal with matters of general interest” -Jurgen Habermas

I’m sure there are many, many television shows I could talk about when it comes to discussing the mediated public sphere, but I decided to keep it close to home and talk about social media. More in particular, twitter and the ability to hashtag as a way of communicating. The use of hash tagging allows a forum for public debate #totallyawesomeright?

As always, some people are excluded from this style of public sphere, for reasons such as no internet connection, no twitter account or lack of knowledge of the topic/ how to access it in the first place. But isn’t this the case for everything? There’s always one thing that prevents someone from accessing and participating in something. According to blogger Expanded Ramblings, twitter has approximately 1 billion registered users (as of 16/9/2013), allowing for mass communication.

The public sphere is a place for discussion between groups of people/ users to debate on current issues without needing to be previously connected through follower networks. Twitter allows it’s users to view current trends of discussion through their ‘discover’ page. Trends can be tailored from worldwide, to country and even to specific cities. This allows relevant topics to be discussed with people from the same area or people with the same interests.

Australian Trends 14/4/14

Australian Trends 14/4/14

The ‘art’ of hash tagging comes in handy for a lot of television shows lately, allowing the networks to post viewers tweets on the screen, whilst the show is live. This allows viewers to interact with each other, share opinions on the show and gives producers ideas on how to improve. Shows such as Q and A, The Block and My Kitchen Rules, just to name a few, use this for viewers to get involved with the show. A lot of sporting teams also use this, for fans to keep up with games and current, relevant information regarding the team they support.

Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 7.11.16 pm

Just a little example

The News Is Definitely Limited



 “Why does it matter who ‘controls’ the media?”

Why does it matter to us so much who controls the media? We care so much because, whoever owns the media we immerse ourself in, influences what we get told in the first place. A lot of companies are bias in what they publish. Are we actually getting the full story, or just the parts that benefit the companies who produce said news?

In Australia, we have two major companies that control our newspapers and magazines; News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media. News Corp Australia, founded by Keith Murdoch and currently run by Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, is one of Australia’s largest media based companies, with more than 8,000 staff members and approximately 3,000 journalists. News Corp Australia publish around 142 Australian newspapers in total. They also have an interest in magazine publication, internet based media, pay TV and the national rugby league. Fairfax Media, run by Greg Hywood and Roger Corbett, is also one of Australia’s leading media companies. They currently operate newspapers, magazines, radio stations and digital media throughout Australia and New Zealand. Gina Rinehart currently owns 14.99% of Fairfax Media and is actually involved in the editorial process of their publications.

With all this media ownership, trends occur and diversity of topics and opinions do not really differ. As newspapers are owned by the same few companies, particularly those stated above, the ideologies discussed do not vary that much. Each article tends to stem from another, to prove a point and to try and sway the readers opinion about certain topics. These media companies also use their hold over their Australian readers to, almost, force propaganda onto them. The owners of these companies find certain ways to weave their opinions and beliefs into articles written for their newspapers, magazines and online sites.

We’re Lovin’ All…?


 Swedish McDonalds Advertisement

Discuss how your example of a controversial text operates as a sign in terms of its denotation and connotation.

For controversial texts, this image is on point (controversial text game strong? no? okay…). A Swedish McDonald’s ad campaign causes confusion and controversy over the web as it alludes to extreme notions of racial discrimination.

When speaking of semiotics, the denotations and connotations differentiate with how you personally view the text. If you’re anything like me you will skip the fine print, which actually explains the meaning behind the McDonald’s advert. The denotation (explicit or direct meaning of a word or expression) is hidden in the fine print of the ad; “We hire individuals”. All written text, printed in yellow, is displayed on a red background, which symbolises/ represents McDonald’s as a company. The denotations of this advert juxtaposes with the connotations (ideas and feelings). The main signifier is the ‘negative;’ exclusive words (We don’t hire Turks, Greeks, Poles, Indians, Ethiopians, Vietnamese, Chinese or Peruvians), written to be the main focus for audiences. The connotations evoked become somewhat confused and possibly even disgusted.

Upon first glance of this text, individuals wouldn’t know that this was promoting equality in the workplace. From afar, individuals wouldn’t be able to read the fine print, leading them to believe McDonald’s was promoting racism/ racial discrimination. This controversial text could either be seen as extremely clever, as the shock factor draws you in, or it could be seen as extremely stupid. Unfortunately for McDonald’s this ad can be destructive, as consumers may start to reject the company and what they assume the company now stands for.

Do you think this style of advertising is clever, or just plain silly? Is there a limit to what can be used to shock consumers into going for their products?



MEDIAtor or Instigator?

What are the media being blamed for today and is this justified?”

The media is a highly influential medium in today’s society but I sometimes wonder if it’s doing more harm than good. Is the media acting as something that initiates and highlights problems with the world today or is it acting in a way that will resolve disputes? The media has every power possible to sway the populations opinions on issues and act as a basis for change. Newspapers and other forms of media act as the diary of society, so shouldn’t these issues being discussed by journalists reflect what society needs to hear?

The media is blamed for a lot that is said and done but I also believe that the media is blamed for issues just because they can be. Readers and viewers don’t have any one to take their anger out on, so the media and those whose jobs it is to inform, are blamed for issues they have no control over.

The age old ‘Television makes you fat’ is still one issue that is heavily debated over. Hundreds of articles have been written by journalists and bloggers alike, who are adament that sitting around watching television contributes to an individuals weight. In the past two weeks alone My Kitchen Rules has been placed in the top 5 highest rated shows on Australian television. This, in comparison to The Biggest Loser’s struggle to find viewers, aids the medias beliefs that TV in fact, is a high contributor to Australia’s ever growing waist line. From this we can see that TV is obviously a high contributor to the issue, but there are other reasons, left out to the medias discretion, that contribute to the issues of high weight gain. Contributing factors are often ignored by the media if they cannot find a way to fit it into their arguments. Yes, TV is very influential in this issue, but so is the high levels of inactivity in individuals lives.

Thanks to a fellow BCM110 student’s post on the twitter feed, I feel like this photo really sums up the media and everything they report on.



Welcome to My Blog!

HI! I’m Jess Muscat, a student currently studying Journalism and International Studies at UOW and a self-diagnosed twitter addict. I seriously can’t get enough of it.

I grew up in a little place called Currans Hill but have recently moved further south to the even smaller town of Wilton. Hello town of 4 shops! It’s exciting, I know!

I spent a good part of last year studying Media Journalism at TAFE for my HSC and absolutely loved it! We even had the opportunity to sit in the Channel 9 studios and watch Peter Overton present the news live one night.

I enjoy all things that require minimal effort; listening to music, watching too many TV shows and spending countless hours scrolling through my twitter and tumblr feeds. I told you, addicted! I’m also a big NRL fan; go the bunnies!

Deciding on university has been the biggest and best decision I’ve had to make yet. It’s only been a week, and I’m enjoying it so much. Oh that independent life… I cannot wait to see what the next four and a half years bring me.