Time for the media to step up?

The western world was brought to a hault when the terrorist attack of 9/11 occured back in 2001 and the worlds media saw arguably it’s busiest day in history. Reading this week on race, ethnicity and the media, the media’s role in the aftermath of this event was explored particuarly the depiction of Muslims and Arabs. 

Evelyn Alsultany wrote an article, on project muse, which talked about the American media’s representation of Muslims and Arabs post 9/11 and to my surprise they were seen to show positive and sympathetic representations. She explains that the media attempted to create a balance and avoided enhancing negative stereotypes that were heightened post 9/11. I thought about why I was surprised and realised that while the media in America actively tries to promote a positive representation of the culture, western society as a whole may not share the same view.

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My question then became, what about the Australian media? Dr Shahram Akbarzadeh and Dr Bianca Smith asked the same question and found that “in Australia local and national representations of Muslims, are mutually reinforcing and predominately negative”. It should be mentioned that negativity towards Muslim or Arabic cultures existed pre 9/11 within Australia, however it was an event that saw an increase and a further deepening of distrust. 

It would appear that unlike the American media, the Australian media did not go out of it’s way to repair the damage that was caused. Akbarzadeh and Smith discuss the reasons why the language used in the media has come across negatively even if it was not the conscious intention of the journalists, “journalists are shaped by their social environment and are open to a range of political and ideological influences, some of which are openly hostile towards Islam”. 

This relates to the mirror versus shape argument about the media where the debate discuses whether the media shapes societal beliefs or whether it simply mirrors them. From the research I did it would appear that the Australian media could create a more positive representation of the Arabic cultures, and does have some responsibility in educating society on cultures that appear to be very misunderstood. 


Alsultany, E, 2013, ‘Arabs and Muslims in the Media after 9/11:Representational Strategies for a “Postrace” Era’, Project Muse, American Quarterly, vol. 65, no.1, last accessed 06/05/14, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/american_quarterly/v065/65.1.alsultany.html

♦Akbarzadeh, S, Smith, B, 2005, ‘The Representation of Islam and Muslims in the Media(The Age and Herald Sun Newspapers)’, Islam in the Media, school of Political and Social Inquiry Monash University, last accessed 06/05/14, http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2F14.139.43.151%3A8080%2Fget%2FPDF%2FShahram%2520Akbarzadeh%2520%2526%2520Bianca%2520Smith-The%2520Representation%2520of%2520Islam%2520and%2520Muslims%2520in%2520the%2520Media_%2520(The%2520Age%2520and%2520Herald%2520Sun%2520Newspapers)_1811.pdf&ei=AKZoU8WVOsGQkwX6xYCYDA&usg=AFQjCNHGZOr9jYueI3qnjmRjRmjirdPA2A&sig2=h9OQo14bxrAf-DRyCKNnrA&bvm=bv.66111022,d.dGI


I’ll have journalism infused with pop culture please….

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Dan Berkowitz poses the question, regarding pop culture and journalism, “How do these two media forms infuse each other?”. While considering my answer I realised there may not be one yet.

New technology has been giving audiences and professionals interactive ways of getting information out there and as a result is reshaping both journalism and pop culture spheres. While they both expand and change individually they are also crossing over and in turn assisting the expansion of the other. Many years ago it would have been easy to define journalism as professionally published  writing, produced by a trained and experienced individual, but how accurate is this definition today?

 Blogs, forums, Facebook, Twitter, nowadays journalism can be as short as a 42 character post or a citizens photograph. If this is the case the previous description  of journalism is inadequate but redefining the age old industry proves difficult. There is a constant debate over what characteristics make writing journalism and it often comes down to a matter of opinion. What is evident though is the power audiences have gained in the journalism arena since transitioning from a passive to an active position . The London Bombings of 2005 was mostly documented by commuters who were on their way to work and news networks and newspapers relied on these first hand experiences for their professional reports. 

 We can see that pop culture is directly affecting journalism and the ways in which it is now perceived and accepted by the general public. Pop culture reflects the masses, and social networking allows people with similar interests to connect and  select what they want to see, read and listen to. It has in turn allowed journalism to expand due to the niche markets the internet allows us to access and has produced a new area of pop culture.

As they infuse each other in todays society would pop culture and journalism suffer without the other? 


♦Berkowitz, D, 2009, ‘Journalism in the broader cultural mediascape’, Journalism, 10:290, last accessed 25/03/14, http://jou.sagepub.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/content/10/3/290.full.pdf

♦Till, F, 205, ‘Citizen journalists’ move to centre stage after London bombings’, The National Business Review’, last accessed 25/03/14, http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/citizen-journalists-move-centre-stage-after-london-bombings