Brace yourself; there’s a weight on your shoulders

For so long we have lived in a society where the bad guy was everyone else but us. Who we trusted was no longer the ones that were ‘good’, but simply those who were ‘less bad’. Throughout popular culture there existed an innate mistrust of anyone more important, more affluent and ultimately more powerful than us. But how the times have changed…

Somewhere between Generation X and Z a shift began to occur. The increasing access to information and ideas has given birth to a new ideal; that of taking responsibility for our own morals and values. The youth of today have rebelled against the perception within society of naivety and vulnerability, instead rallying for independence and acceptance, and a power shift between producers and consumers is paving the way to these ideals as we move further away from the fear of trust and towards an education of it.

History has taught us that the media can be a double-edged sword. Propaganda in Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and even in British Wartime warned students all over the world of the perils that can be forced upon an otherwise unknowing society. Unlike our predecessors we are more aware of the bias which often lies in media reporting simply because of the awareness surrounding these issues.

New legislation has also protected us from the media moguls, particularly the ‘reach rule’ which limits access of producers to 75% of the population. The recognition of the strength of the media in its ability to persuade and perverse has created a society more aware of the use and abuse of power that can be exerted by those in charge. Bias is presumed, ideology expected and propaganda humoured (take Trump for example).

So while the monitoring and awareness around media is protecting society from a corruption of power, there seems to be a blatant exception to the rule- the internet. Argued to be the most powerful platform in our access to information it is particularly independent in comparison to traditional news mediums. There is no man in a suit rejecting ideas, crossing out facts or filtering his opinions- It is an unmonitored, unmitigated and most importantly un-owned fountain of knowledge.

And this knowledge is presented just the way modern society wants it; at the click of a finger, not through the flip of a page. As a society we are becoming less and less reliant on the traditional means of gathering information. Soon enough, newspapers may have more use in making paper mache than they will in delivering the headlines. Media moguls and their set agendas are now becoming less and less influential in our consumption of information as we become increasingly independent in sourcing it ourselves.

Recent statistics have shown that of those who have discovered news information on Facebook, 60% will open a new tab to find out more. 63% of the millennial generation use Facebook as a primary news source, and even more impressive is that about 5 million Australians will watch a video on Facebook every day. To throw that into perspective only 2.5 million Australians tuned into the 2015 Australia open final and thousands less for the nightly news.

The thing is, media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are not innately controlled in terms of what is presented. News from all different sources pop up on our feed daily, and we have the option to be prejudice in our own consumption.

“Contrary to the idea that social media creates a polarizing “filter bubble,” exposing people to only a narrow range of opinions, 70 percent of Millennials say that their social media feeds are comprised of diverse viewpoints evenly mixed between those similar to and different from their own. An additional 16 percent say their feeds contain mostly viewpoints different from their own.”  – The Media Insight Project 

The responsibility of media output is becoming less controlled by mainstream outlets and more by the individual. While big corporations such as Fairfax still exert control over what they produce, the bias of reporting is becoming increasingly irrelevant with the increase in access to information that the internet lends. The ownership of the media is becoming increasingly irrelevant as the new generation of tech-savvy individualists discern right from wrong on their own accord.

So when asked if it really matters who owns the media, we must recognize that it is not only the production, but consumption of media that must be addressed. In the 21st century individuals have control not only on their choice of media, but the means in which it is delivered and the effect that it has upon us. Traditional media is still owned and controlled by the big names their own ideas and agendas being flushed into news. But in a new era of communications, the ownership is beginning to fall on another set of shoulders, ones that are closer than ever before- yours. 

References:

Pusey, Michael and McCutcheon, Marion (2011), ‘From the Media Moguls to the Money Men? Media Concentration in Australia’, Media International Australia, No 140, pp. 22-31

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5 thoughts on “Brace yourself; there’s a weight on your shoulders

  1. This is such a brilliant post – the idea that the media now belongs to the people is one that I love. We are no longer simply processing and accepting what we see and hear, but are now challenging it. The legislation you spoke about (“reach rule” honestly couldn’t be a more fitting name) surprised me, but I’m glad there is such a rule in place because it had never occurred to me that the same organisation could reach me on three major news platforms. If laws like that didn’t exist, we could be heading towards the dystopian future of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (or V For Vendetta, which is a slightly cooler universe.) Before I finish, I just wanted to highlight this winning quote from your post “knowledge is presented just the way modern society wants it; at the click of a finger, not through the flip of a page.”

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  2. Firstly, I adore your writing style – with every point you made, there was a solid link to reinforce your ideas, which made your blog post a wonderful read and easy to follow. I completely agree that with new technology and media platforms, a more confident and self-aware community is formed and we have learned to consume information differently to convention. ‘Ordinary’ people are starting to control their own media, how it is presented to them and how they chose to use it. Your example between the 2015 Australian Open final compared to Australians watching news stories on Facebook was mind boggling to me, and solidified that normal people, like you and me, have finally been given the media platforms, and the chance, to dictate how we “deliver” and receive media. Overall, it’s fair to agree with your header image that “many small people…can alter the face of the world.” Keep up it!

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  3. Such a an insightful and well written post ! I enjoyed your take on how consumers of the media are equally in a position to create, share and interpret content. It strays away from the victim mentality that we are force fed propaganda which we are supposedly helpless to defend. You’ve opened up discussion for where we as the general public can take the next steps into directing what and where we consume information. Even the example of YouTube or blogs such as your own as a mass media platform for diverse individual voices, could be interpreted as such.

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  4. A very enjoyable, informative and intellectual read! I loved the view you took on the way social media is becoming an increasingly trusted news source and furthermore how this is an unfiltered source where anyone can voice their opinion. Not only this but also sites such as Facebook and other social media outlets are well on the way to causing the traditional newspaper to become virtually irrelevant. In a way I suppose this could be considered a scary, dangerous time in the face of media, as it is completely uncontrollable and unpredictable. However, these things also make this new era an extremely exciting one and I can’t wait to see where we take the media next!

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  5. Awesome post! The changing landscape of the media has allowed us to have all the sources of news and stories at our fingertips. Why would we go out and go buy a newspaper when there are hundreds of opinions and breaking news stories on our phone screens. The fact that 63% of people use facebook foe news just backs up the fact that news is more diverse and easy to obtain. Your view that the weight is now on our shoulders is spot on due to the new diversity in stories that the internet has provided us.

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