BCM 110, Media Blog

The News goes round and round

A public sphere, as said by Jurgen Habermas, is an area where individuals can discuss various information, ranging from political and social and using the discussion to influence politics, with opposing and alternate viewpoints in these discussions. It can be “a virtual or imaginary community which does not necessarily exist in any identifiable space”.


My own public sphere is an online mass media site called Reddit, which has 543 million monthly users, definitely enough to have a good debate. Reddit can be used by anyone, and they can post whatever they want to the site. Users can post in r/all, where everything is allowed, or post in individual ‘subreddits’ such as r/movies, r/gaming etc. The best analogy is as if each subreddit was a club at uni and it was a discussion group for that particular topic. They post anything related to that subject there, and its visibility is determined on how many ‘upvotes’ a post or comment has, making it a popular opinion. People can also post their own comments below, and there are also ‘downvotes’ and being excessively downvoted for an opinion basically guarantees hostility towards your comment. 


With all this information in mind, the debates that come up regularly on the site lean more towards a left leaning bias, promoting more forward-thinking and liberal people. There are many discussion topics, the more serious ones being around issues of mental health, rising cost of living and gender issues. There are some non-serious topics about dogs and memes that are also posted on the site, providing a small respite for the heavy debating seen on other posts.

Mental Health

The people who are included are ones that go along with mainstream opinions such as advocating for gay rights, supporting certain political figures and parties. Since there’s no way to view a person and what they look like on the site, their opinions matter the most.

The media allows for thousands of people to voice their own opinions, whether or not it is sane or controversial. As a result, too many people in one space can allow others to have a very extreme opinion to be heard, which then circulates around other mainstream channels as a ‘discussion’ to cherry pick a few bad comments over the majority of calmer comments. The media itself has to yell over other media channels to get attention, and so shocking titles work better. The media plays the role of amplifying the discussion.




Jurgen Habermas and Public Sphere –

Jürgen Habermas and the Public Sphere. (2019). Retrieved from http://www.media-studies.ca/articles/habermas.html

Reddit User Numbers –

Website Traffic, Statistics and Analytics – Alexa. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/reddit.comhttps://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/reddit.com


BCM 110, Media Blog

The State of the News

Tim Worner, Advance Publications and Mark Zuckerberg.

These are all the names of the people who own or control the news services I watch or read, which are 7 News, Reddit and Facebook respectively.

Tim Worner is the CEO of Seven West Media, and is responsible for sister channels 7TWO, 7Flix and others. They have an audience share of 30.3% in Australia that shows their capacity to have a monopoly over Australia. This matters to me because there is no knowing what goes on behind the scenes. Media companies are all profit driven and rely on hitting monetary goals to make a profit. This makes the news a race to post as many controversial articles and clicks to get revenue.

Reddit’s CEO is Steve Huffman and Reddit is a social media site that relies on people using it and commenting. It ranks #3 most visited website in the US and #6 in the world with around half of it’s userbase in the US. This matters because in my own personal experiences, there have been instances of Reddit accounts being used to advertise a product, so-called ‘social media marketing’ but in a more insidious manner of being a ‘normal commenter’ and then recommending the advertised product with no prompting. I can bet that everyone that has been on Reddit has seen at least one post where the poster thanks a company for a product that helped their dog/sister/great-uncle/pet snail or whatever.

Reddit CEO
Reddit CEO- Steve Huffman

Facebook is owned by Mark Zuckerberg and is a popular subject matter for news and privacy. Facebook has around 2.2 billion active users as of January 2018. The ‘news’ all come from third-party companies that put articles in Facebook’s website, and can put in any information they wish (same with Reddit). The information doesn’t have to be verified, but Facebook occasionally removes some of these ‘fake news’ and propaganda sites from the site. It is impossible to take down all the information. There are verified sources to look at on Facebook, such as established media groups, but generally information is a free for all for people to reinforce establishing biases they have simply by clicking ‘like’.

Do I trust News Sources?

News Sources Montage.png
A montage of news sources- The deluge is unstoppable!

No. Long Answer is that I believe some news sources are too unpredictable and are susceptible to making stories overblown to get their revenue or are intended to ‘outrage’ people and creates a mob mentality. I take the news with a grain of salt and critical thinking with all articles. Do you, reader, trust news sources? And why?


7 News Stats –

TV Tonight. (2019). Seven wins 2018 ratings year. [online] Available at: https://tvtonight.com.au/2018/12/seven-wins-2018-ratings-year.html [Accessed 30 Mar. 2019].

Reddit Usage –

Alexa.com. (2019). Reddit.com Traffic, Demographics and Competitors – Alexa. [online] Available at: https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/reddit.com [Accessed 31 Mar. 2019].

How media companies make money-

Finance.yahoo.com. (2019). Yahoo is now part of Oath. [online] Available at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/media-networks-money-180605757.html [Accessed 31 Mar. 2019].

FB stats –

Newsroom.fb.com. (2019). Company Info | Facebook Newsroom. [online] Available at: https://newsroom.fb.com/company-info/ [Accessed 31 Mar. 2019].

BCM 110

The power of subtext in an image

The ad, depicting a person punching the other, with representations of cars on their body. From Terremoto Ad Agency.

Images can be both thought provoking and powerful. Often enough they don’t even need to be filled to the brim with visual information to be a ‘complex’ image. Such is the paradox of layers of subtext. This advertisement was done by Terremoto Propaganda in Curitba, Brazil as a campaign to stop drink driving. You, the reader, should look at this image for yourself and see what you think this image means, and if it’s like what I see! In this image, what I see is a denotation of a man’s hand painted with a green car, who is punching a man who has the signifier of a red car along his cheek. The person being punched is in pain as seen by the contorted facial features. The text underneath reads “Stop the Violence: Don’t Drink and Drive”. At first glance, the contrast of the background and the punching is great way to draw attention, and the saturation draws eyes to the dramatic theme this ad has. This forces the audience to register this as a serious ad and look for message.

Another example of the same ad series from Terremoto

The first layer of signs are physical- The hand and face connecting and the face communicating pain is a representation of a person being punched. Semiotics has led us to associate these objects together in this context. The person is not just placing the hand in front of the mouth for the photo, but the image connotates that kinetic movement is happening and is a signifier.

On the second layer of signs, there are the cars painted on the hand and face and have ‘connected’ because of they have punched each other. This second layer is metaphorical- about representing a car crash within a punch, and letting the audience know via denotations that driving drunk isn’t safe at all. The reaction we have to someone being punched is a good signifier for a car crash. The slogan itself can also have multiple meanings to different people in different ideological positions- the text in white, “Stop the Violence” can reference the punching aspect, and “Don’t Drink and Drive” is relevant to the cars painted on and can be taken as separate statements. By combining all the layered meanings together and the slogan, the likely signified way of interpreting it is that getting drunk can lead to violence and inebriated emotions, to the extent where they will start a fight with someone or get in the car, drive home and get into a car crash. What different conclusion did you draw from this image? Let me know your thoughts below!



Photo of Ads –

Adsoftheworld.com. (2019). Ecovia Print Advert By Terremoto: Stop the Violence, Don’t drink and drive | Ads of the World™. [online] Available at: https://www.adsoftheworld.com/media/print/ecovia_stop_the_violence_dont_drink_and_drive [Accessed 26 Mar. 2019].


BCM 110, Media Blog

Stray Kids In Sydney!

I was a part of a wonderful audience of 3,000 a mere 3 weeks ago, on February 25th. I went to the Stray Kids Unveil Tour Concert at Big Top, in Luna Park. It was significant to me because it was the first concert I had ever been to, so I had no idea of what to expect. I saw Stray Kids because it would be a new experience, and I enjoy their songs. However, I was extra-excited because it was a K-pop act. K-pop groups also have choreographed dances for most songs, which was exciting to see live, especially with 9 members!

Video Footage of the Sydney Stray Kids Concert! Song is titled My Pace

One negative was that the music was very loud, and I had a mild headache all the way through the concert from it, but I hardly noticed because I was so engaged with the performances. I also saw a girl in the pit at the barrier to the stage get pulled out by security, presumably because she was very hot and exhausted, which was a minor upsetting moment in an otherwise excellent show. If you’re ever at a concert, bring water and snacks if you can, it’s not worth being in the pit if you faint halfway through it. It was still an awesome time for the audience though and the concert ended up being a blast!

The nine Stray Kids members from left to right- Woojin, Minho, Hyunjin, Bang Chan, Felix, Seungmin, I.N., Changbin and Han.

One of the things that hit me hard after the whole experience was that I wouldn’t have been there seeing Stray Kids on stage if it wasn’t for social media and our current digital age. Stray Kids is a Korean group, so this means all their songs and content is in Korean. If it weren’t for subtitles on nearly every video they had, or a thriving international fanbase that follows them, they wouldn’t have been popular outside Korea. The fanbase helps spread Stray Kids content and music on social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter by trending hashtags, memes or talking about what the members have done recently. Stray Kids also have two Australian members that have grown up here and speak fluent English (Bang Chan and Felix), which help connect them to English speakers across the globe and relate to others despite cultural differences.

An Ad for the Hallyu Wave and how it has spread throughout the years

As a niche in the music industry, K-pop relies heavily on Korea exporting the product overseas via social media connections of content and music (called the Hallyu Wave) to make earnings as artists. This is a relatively new way of distributing music and people that could not have worked even 15 years ago.

In the end, it was a great experience to see them and well worth my time!


Group Photohttps://twitter.com/straykids_hp/status/987113029060870144Twitter.com. (2019). Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/straykids_hp/status/987113029060870144 [Accessed 18 Mar. 2019].

Tour Poster

Park, J. (2019). Stray Kids. [online] Straykids.jype.com. Available at: http://straykids.jype.com/ [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019].

Video of Stray Kids-

YouTube. (2019). 190224 스트레이 키즈 Stray Kids – My Pace FANCAM (UNVEIL Tour “I am…” in Sydney). [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gezvWcL38Iw [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019].