Saturday, November 8, 2008


I really enjoyed this assignment, I found it easy and enjoyable to be able to express my opinion freely on many news issues and to educate myself on aspects of new media and design which affect us in the use of blogs.

I felt it was wise to keep a simple, clean looking design with a pretty standard format for each blog in regards to how I would set it out. I used a simple white background with black text with a blue heading with black text. It was important to me that my blog was easily read because if you can't read it or if it hard/ tiring for people to read then the whole purpose is lost.

I tried to keep the blogs interesting by using humour and sometimes sarcasm particularly in my opening blog and some of my media issues. I do feel however, that I kept the writing professional but more personal than an essay or newspaper article, something that I think is importnant for a blog to be able to connect moreso with the reader.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Warney beats CNN to hologram history

This week Crikey's Wankley award went to CNN and thier space age holograms during the election coverage. "Following in the tradition of Princess Leia" Jessica Yelling was reporting from Chicago on election day surrounded by thousands of Obama supporters but her single image was "beamed in" to the New York studio.
Even weirder than the Star Wars and Star Trek references was the next guest, Black Eyed Peas rapper Wil-i-am who was also beamed in from a pro Obama rally to speak with host Anderson Cooper who seemed to realise the obsurd nature of the program at this stage as he welcomes the second hologram to the studio

COOPER: "Will.I.Am, live from Grant Park, let’s, ah, beam him in now..."

WILL.I.AM: "'s just like Star Wars or something..."

COOPERR: "...yes, it looks exactly like Star Trek, when they would beam people down."

Little did CNN know that they had already been pipped at the post by our very own middle aged, over weight, bleach blonde, txt savvy, ex cricketing star Shane Warne! Yes good old Warney had just one week before been immortalised in a permanent exhibit at the National Sports Museum. this display is a life size hologram of Warne which tells audiences about some of his most memorable experiences during his career including admitting that he was a "bit of a fat bastard" when he made his Test debut, and explaining that his epic delivery that bowled Mike Gatting in 1993 was "complete arse".
Hows that CNN?

"Google and Yahoo say deal would have survived a suit" - NY Times

In a bid to remain independant Yahoo the number 2 search engine in the world (second to Google) had tried to seal and advertising deal with Google in which they would offer advertising for Yahoo. this deal was met with apprehension from the justice department who threatened an antitrust suit against the advertising venture.

Just before the deal was to close Google pulled out, believing that this was in the best interest for the company not to expose itself to a lengthy and costly court proceeding even though they fundamentally believed that if the two companys had gone to court they would have won Mr Schmidt cheif executive of Google was quoted saying

"We cancelled the deal with about one hour to go before a lawsuit was going to be filed against our deal. We concluded after a lot of soul-searching that it was not in our best interest to go through a lengthy and costly trial which we believe we ultimately would have won.”

The deal was to be of great financial benefit to Yahoo generating anywhere from $250 to $450 million in extra revenue in the first year.


What new Kath and Kim?

What I'm not quite getting here is why people are insisting that "Aussie Humour" is what is making the US version of the hit TV show "Kath and Kim" so unpopular. One of the main reasons I think the show is so funny is because these are completely stereotypical bogans. They are funny without trying to be funny, they look hilarious and speak practically their own form of English. The dynamics between Kath and her daughter Kim, her husband Kell, Kim’s husband and Kim’s best friend are what make the show. There is an element of everyday life thrown into a mix of complete hilarity. What the US show is missing is the image and most importantly one of the key characters to the show.
Original Kath and Kim pictured left are exactly the image suited to the characters, however, this image is not carried over to the US market. You think that the fattest country in the world wouldn't mind seeing a bit of muffin top on their screens but apparently they do. Creators of the US show seem to think Selma Blair showing a bit of her G string over her flat, toned stomach is the equivalent, I think not. The US Kim is lacking the extreme and sometimes offensive wardrobe that Aussie Gina Riley pulls off so well. The Kath character is missing a lot of 80s charm, not a shoulder pad or spiral perm in sight.
The saddest part of this show is that Magda Szubanski's character Sharon, Kim’s extremely overweight, desperate and dateless best friend has been cut out of the show. For me this is the hardest part to swallow. She is a main character in the show, she is funny and sets up a large part of Kim’s character as an awful best friend, it really shows that it is not the Aussie comedy that America is not getting, it’s the whole concept of the show. The main reasons why the show is so funny have been removed, air brushed if you will for the American market. This clean cut and sterile version of the show predictably is flopping.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Chasing the Source" Media Watch Hilarity

After a tip off from my good college Lano I found myself on the Media Watch website and then later that night watching Media Watch on ABC2. To my intense enjoyment there was a story about a "credible news source" who had been reporting on the U.S republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

It seems the Sydney Morning Herlad had some revealing insider quotes from a direct source in the republican party, however, as one would expect this was not the case and the real source turned out to be ABC and Triple J's The Chaser! Chris Taylor of The Chaser(pictured left) was "delighted to see The Chaser finally being recognised as a serious news source." In the chaser's feature section they had the weekend before they had said "Palin spends $230,000 on emperor's new clothes... It doesn't matter that Palin's costing us a fortune for her wardrobe," one campaign insider said. "What matters is that she's costing us the election." The next day in it's world section the SMH quoted the mock source from the Chaser's feature the day before.
It seems that this is not uncommon amoungst some of australia's top news papers. Not long ago that Melbourne Age ran a front page stroy on James Hird making a come back to AFL football, even producing a fake front page so that "their competitors wouldn't get wind of the scoop" (N Walker, Crikey). Hird quickly denied the story saying that the claims he would return to AFL after one season of retirement was "totally ludicrous" and was quoted saying "I was totally shocked to see the story. I can't believe the story ran the way it did. Making an AFL comeback is definitely not in my plans I'm now 36 and my footy days are well and truly over."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Print versus online designs

It’s easy to think that designing for print and online is similar; they both use grids and tables and can display both written and visual elements to the space. However, there are key aspects to each medium that must be considered in order to create effective and aesthetically pleasing designs.

One of the main and most important differences is that online you have virtually unlimited space, you can use hyperlinks and different levels to lead readers to more information on the topic or other topics/sites of interest. When considering print designs you have a very limited space, it is important to be informative but effectively use white space as to not crowd the page and scare the reader off with large blocks of text.

Another element of online design is backend functionality coding such as HTML. It is essential for all web designs to be functional so therefore you must have at least basic knowledge to ensure your page will actually work when people try to access it. Functionality of the web design can also be affected by the file size of pictures. It is important to get the smallest sized file with the highest resolution available. This means that the page will download quickly, however can sometimes affect the quality of images online unlike print where you are able to use the highest quality photos to achieve the best looking design.

Print designs are final, after press there is no going back this, unlike online means that there can be no further contribution by readers or the designer after production.Online design also encompasses audio and video elements which create an interactive and engaging environment for the reader rather than simply relying on text and pictures as seen in print

New world order

Media as an industry is growing in size, in effectivity and competitivness everyday. From newspapers, to radio, to television, the internet, now online newspapers, blogging, digital television and mobile phone technology, it seems that the media industry is not and should not stop innovating the way we receive news and information on the world anytime soon.

As I discussed in a previous blog journalism and particulary newspapers have been affected immensly by the conception of internet news and advertising. Most papers now have corresponding websites featuring news blogs, interactive surveys, picture galleries, video and audio. It seems that the old image of people reading the paper at breakfast before work is now people checking their iphones for news bulletins.

Something that i think is important when considering how personalised we can make our online news reading is that if we continue to only receive news that interests us, we will end up with a population with limited knowledge of issues outside their niche market of interests. This is why i think that broader news options like the newspaper and television news to some extent will always be popular. The main reason being that we can generally rely on them as a credible news source which covers a large range of issues. It is a responsibility i think of the media to keep people informed and to keep big business and politics in check, although we may not always be able to rely on some press to do so it is important to me that we can use the media as a tool for democracy and that in the future we will have mastered the art of all new forms of media to create a much more effective and respectable way of reporting the news and to provide advertising.

Something like a phenomenon...

Blogging has come to be one of the major expressions of our lives, opinions, news and interests online. However, blogs have revolutionised one profession in particular. Journalism has never been more interactive than it has become over the last few years. With the introduction of online news bulletins and news blogs, the average journo whether on TV or writing for a paper will have a corresponding blog.
Almost all major newspapers now have an online version of themselves and “from 2004 to 2005, the number of online newspapers that hosted blogs nearly doubled (Lowrey & Mackay, 2006). Many journalists have their own blogs, which emphasize local issues. Some journalist blogs are more opinionated that others, but regardless of how they are worded, they often provide readers a more personal account of the news (Singer 2005).” (Mackay, Wilson 2008)
From professional blogs has come citizen journalism where anyone who had access to the internet donned a press hat and people were reporting on the political situation in their country where they could not rely on the media to do so. Citizen journalists form Uganda and Afghanistan have been some of the most radical and revealing communicating with the world from war zones. “Uganda has had blogs for some years now (over 200) on various topics raging from day-to-day life to sports, political commentary, religion and technology. During the Mabira Forest give-away chaos, a young Ugandan with offices in the city centre was posting updates every hour of what he saw from his window” (New Vision 2008) and during the post election violence in Nairobi, the conventional media focussed on the fighting in the streets and villages, bloggers told us about the silent homes, supermarkets, kiosks and bars.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Censorship gone mad I say!

I find myself reiterating my sentiments on the sedition laws set down by John Howard’s 2005 Anti-terrorism Act. These feelings however, are now towards my beloved K-Train and his new internet filtering scheme.After receiving my daily Crikey update last Friday I was shocked by the idea that now our government is planning to take control of one of, if not the biggest tool of free speech and democracy which we have. The government is now going to censor the internet. But as Duncan Riley of the Inquisitor said,
“Won’t someone think of the adults?”

I am glad of the prime minister’s Mandarin tongue and seemingly blossoming relationship with the Chinese Government however, this all seems a little too familiar to me, and no doubt to the Chinese government who have strict policies restricting various internet content to their country.

The issue really at hand is how censorship of this nature will affect our rights as citizens of a democratic country to participate in democracy and most importantly free speech. The line is yet to drawn as to what exactly will be censored but the Government has included Adult websites or porn on their 'to be blocked' list. It seems silly that this material, being X and R rated pornography, is readily available at the local newsagent or petrol station but it is now being deemed inappropriate for adults to access online.There are two options for Online Aussies, one being a children's version of the internet and the other censoring illegal materials. So if this legislation is to go through, the government will have control over all viewing on the internet and neither option will offer any of the aforementioned "inappropriate material."

I personally don't have a huge issue with the removal of porn from the internet, what i do have an issue with however, is the infringements on free speech and our ability to access to materials. I think that as adults we have the right to view whatever material we like wether on line, on TV or in magazines as long as it does not involve children. As a media student, the idea that we are able to be censored so easily by the government worries me, how can we be sure that this same sort of censorship won’t follow through to our newspapers, our televisions, our radios, art galleries and theatres? Where are our rights as contributors to the internet and other media forms, to produce quality, realistic and at times shocking art?
A letter from owner of Adult to the minister for communication voices concerns about jobs moving overseas and the possibility of many online businesses being shut down due to the posting of unsavoury material by visitors to the site. This is not the only concern for online business; the filtering scheme is predicted to slow all internet connections from 30 up to 80 percent. This will no doubt have an affect on all businesses, especially in concerns to email usage.
All in all i think that the proposed taming of our online world is not only going to call to question the government’s ideas of the Freedom of Information Act and free speech but will also create a divide between net users who wish to be excluded from the filtered internet option and the state. Not only does this present moral issues, the cost of running such a scheme is high, already 40 million dollars has been budgeted for this project. In a time where economic crisis is causing a huge strain on government funds, can we really afford to police our internet as heavily as the government would like? On more than just a financial level, I think not.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The First Instalment

Why Blog?

Today blogging can be considered as the ultimate realization of publishing democracy, or, a place for everyone to air their very own 'professional opinions'. Blogging is fast becoming an integral part of modern media and is bringing forth new ways of communicating news, opinions and events to the masses found on line all day, all night all year round. With this in mind it seems natural for an opinionated and soon to be educated young member of society such as myself to write a blog voicing my opinions on our wonderful world. And yet it is only now since I have been asked to do so for an assignment that I had thought to blog on anything other than my break up with my ex boyfriend , bitching about my heavy workload or the guy I met at Rocket Bar last weekend.
So now I have found myself searching the bubbling mass inside my skull for some worthy material, and yes, it is all around us. But before I delve too deeply into my lefty views on the media and the manipulation of the masses through our daily newspapers, news readers and newly, online news bulletins. I'd like to talk about who blogs and who we should take seriously.

Who Blogs?

Yes, believe it or not, the paranoid white guy is no longer the main demographic of the blogging world. In all seriousness though, it is important to think about whose blog you're reading.Credibility is something that should play a part in our consumption of news. When considering material to be credible we have to look at the two main components which define credibility; trustworthiness and expertise (Rubin, VL & Liddy, ED, n.d.).This is where blogging as a form of reporting comes under fire. As a lone blogger, you have no ties to any organisation or corporation; you are able to say whatever you like. There is no need for fact checking, unbiased reporting or even political correctness. As a blogger you are free to publish an account of news and current affairs with relatively no consequence. It is with this uncensored ability that blogs can both gain and lose credibility in the eyes of the reader. There are some blogs however, with which this doesn't matter. We have our News blogs or Special Interest blogs like blogs on gardening or cooking, which demand a certain level of credibility and accuracy form the writer, blogs like Holiday blogs and Dear Diary blogs are a recount of personal experience and therefore require little to no demand for research or credibility to be happily read by other bloggers.

Some Examples of Blogs

EMO LAMENT BLOG: This is much like a dear diary blog except there is much more eyeliner and complaining.

WIND SURFING BLOG: this is a blog by Lano which details his keen interest in and experience with wind surfing.

JOURNALIST BLOG: Mark Day is a senior journalist at The Australian this is his blog which features stories he’s written for The Australian and ones he’s written strictly for his blog. It also features reader comments and feedback and can sometimes get a bit catty... reow.

Rubin, VL & Liddy, ED (n.d.) ‘Assessing Credibility of Weblogs’ Syracuse University, accessed online