Month: April 2015

Interview

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What is your Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies major?
Journalism and professional writing.

Do you live in a regional, rural or metropolitan area?
Probably metropolitan or regional?

How often do you access news?
Every morning, bits and pieces throughout the day and sometimes in the evening.

What way to do you prefer to access news?
I prefer print, but mostly online.

Why is that?
Call me old fashioned, but I like the feeling of having something in my hands. On the other hand, I do love how versatile journalism is becoming online. You get to talk back.

Why do you think more university students are using social media as their preferred way to access the news?
Because there isn’t an emphasis on news any more. we don’t get the morning paper, news is fluid now. They get news through social media as a happy accident.

Above is an excerpt of the interview I had with another student, who also does a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, but is in a higher year level. It definitely worked having the first few questions being close ended, as it helped to familiarise myself with the interviewee, and the interviewee with the nature of the interview.

One thing that did not work is that I tihnk I cut the interview too short. I probably took the blog instructions of adding two open ended questions too seriously, and I should have asked her to expand on the notion of news being “a happy accident”, as that is an interesting take on accessing news media that I had not considered before in my group research.

I also probably should have picked the close ended questions better, and gotten more of a feel for the participant, rather than just asking where they live, as I am not sure if that gave any more substance to my interview than if I had left it out. As well as this, the fact that she answered with two answers in an unsure tone suggests that perhaps we needed to clarify exactly what rural, regional and metropolitan mean. As I asked that question in the interview, I got a sense that perhaps it was not a necessary question to be asking, and it did not add to the interview, as it is not a question that is being considered to add to the focus group. Although reflecting on it now, I feel that her responses about preferring to “have something physical” in her hands, and how we “don’t get the morning paper” any more do have something to do with her location, as a lot of people who commute still do buy physical papers.

For the focus group, I think I will need to narrow down exactly which questions, open and closed, to use in the focus group, as well as adding more professional wording and overtones to the questions. Furthermore, we will need to assess the focus group questions to make sure that no questions in there are too confusing, as with the living area question.

What grade do I want? Pick a number, I guess.

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What grade would I like? A HD, of course. I have never had one before, and I was two points off getting one last semester, plus I am really enjoying this subject. But given my workload this semester being what it is, I am more likely to get lower than that, whether I like it or not. Which is not a very nice feeling, but anyway, continuing on.

During week 6, I mainly worked on the prezi and preparing the game pitch for our board game Retail Despair, a game based on the life of a retail worker. Along with that has been trying to troubleshoot parts of the game, and make sure the gameplay will be engaging, as well as trying to come up with content for the game. It has been very difficult to come up with content cards that are both entertaining and specific to our game, and this has been one of my main challenges. As well as that, trying to make it a game that will be more engaging than just rolling and moving, but without being too complicated has been a problem.

For the final presentation of the game I am hoping to get Olivia to draw us up a board that we can use, as well as finding some time to get down to the library and 3D print the game tokens. Hopefully we can get some game testing done which will help us to find where the issues in the game are and what we need to fix, especially when it comes to rules and gameplay.

Regarding the project dossier I would like to look at what could have been done with the game if it was not for time constraints. I feel like we have a good basis for a game that – given some more time and energy –  could be a really relevant game.

DIGC310 Week 2: Witty Title Missing

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I was absolutely terrified about the idea of making games. I am not an inventive person. When I was a child, my favourite teddy was a horse called Horse. I can’t even name my own teddys, let alone come up with an idea for a game!

So I did the safe thing, the thing I know, and assigned myself to the media team. I made an instagram account for the DIGC310 subject, where I can regram other’s posts. The issues I ran into with that is that instagram is only accessible on mobiles, and the University internet for mobiles is sketchy, at best. Also regramming can be tricky, considering that not many DIGC310 students post to the DIGC310 instagram hashtag.

As I’m sure everyone else in the class is as well, my skills are pretty simple. Avid Facebooker, Tweeter, Tumblrer, Redditor and Instagrammer, my knowledge of social media and its uses are pretty broad. I am an occasional Twitcher, when my internet decides it wants to let me stream. But my main hobby is photography, so that is why I started with the DIGC310 instagram. I also added all the student’s blogs to the DIGC310 WordPress blogroll, which – while it doesn’t sound like much – took quite a long time.

We were also asked to look at a game archaeology which we believe is underexplored. I want to look at TellTale Games. I was rather late to the TellTale Games table, preferring to sit in the proverbial, virtual corner, playing the games I was used to and wondering how a game can have “episodes”. I finally caved and bought the first episode of Game of Thrones. The difference between the game and the show is enormous. Instead of being a traditional game, it is more like an interactive episode of a tv show. Where you choose what the characters say or do. This is important, as you are instantly immersed, where you think “what should I do”, rather than “what should they do?”. These games have been recently hugely successful, and a Twitch stream I did of Game of Thrones amassed the most viewers I have ever had. There are message boards and forums full of posts asking what options other people went for. It is the “Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure” of video games. But all paths lead to the same ending.

It is amazing how such a slow paced, story based game can be so stressful and intense. Being put on the spot, saying something silly and being told “xxx will remember that” caused me actual anxiety. It is like watching a tv show, that you are a character in. This is an aspect of video games I have never encountered before, and I find myself drawn more and more towards it.

Vulgar humour – only for plebs and uneducated swine.

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The journal article  ‘Using digitally distributed vulgar comedy to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development’ by McKee, Walsh and Watson attempts to prove that comedy – and in particular, vulgar comedy – is part of the reason that adolescent boys do not have the same sexual health learning resources available to them as girls. The study was commissioned by the Queensland Government, and funded by the  NIRAP grant, ‘Improved Surveillance, Treatment and Control of Chlamydial Infections’. The audience is most likely high school teachers, youth workers, parents, and other adults that would need to know about what knowledge adolescent boys have on sex and sexual health.

From the very start, the article has little credibility to me, with the completely subjective statement in its abstract of “comedy is….by definition not serious or worthy”. While I have never conducted research on this myself – however perhaps I should, if just to prove this statement wrong – I believe that comedy is an undervalued tool of learning, which allows people to engage on topics they usually would not talk about in a casual and non threatening way. While they acknowledge throughout the article that vulgar comedy is an effective way of communicating sexual health issues to these adolescents, uses of quotes such as “‘vulgar’ language is – literally – the language of ordinary people” and “many educators it would be simply revolting” is, in my opinion, alienating. According to the New York Post, the average age of South Park and Family Guy viewers are 25 and 30, respectively. (Shain 2010) As a fan of vulgar humour, I read this article with the (correct) assumption that vulgar humour is a good way of communicating some issues. However the implications throughout this article that the only people who engage in vulgar humour are uneducated plebians really undermined the research by insulting the reader.

Secondly, I believe that the way in which they conducted their focus group interviews could be improved to yield more accurate results. Their 20 focus groups were made up of “89 young people between the ages of 14 and 16 from five Brisbane schools. (McKee, Walsh and Watson 2014) An issue with this is that young boys are very much influenced by what others think about them. In the context of these focus groups, despite being from other schools, it is very probable that some of the participants would know each other, or have mutual friends. This stigma of not wanting to look stupid, or look like a prude or any other anxiety that a young boy would have speaking about sex in a focus group would have impacted the responses they got. The quote “Yeah, you wouldn’t talk about it with your friends or anything really.”  (McKee, Walsh and Watson 2014) I think supports this.

Overall, while the journal article fulfils its commissioned purpose of finding out an effective way of communicating with adolescent boys, I believe that both their research practices, and their way of communicating their findings, was simplistic and generalised.


References

McKee, Alan, Walsh, Anthony & Watson, Anne-Frances 2014, ‘Using digitally distributed vulgar comedy to reach young men with information about healthy sexual development’, Media international Australia, vol. 153, no. November, pp. 128-137

Shain, Michael 2010, ‘Age Difference’ New York Post, August 2, viewed 13 April <http://nypost.com/2010/08/02/age-difference/&gt;

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Lets not lie to ourselves, the only reason people do this subject is because it is a core subject in order to graduate. I cannot think of too many people who get overly excited when they hear the words “Research Practices in Media and Communication.” I have to agree with Berger when he states that the phrase is met with “eyes glaze[d] over, and they take on an pained expression”. (Berger 2014) But the truth is, we are doing research daily. The other day I spent nearly an hour looking at different websites to decide whether to buy a Canon Speedlite 430 EX II or a Canon Speedlite 580 EX II. That’s research. And for the record, I decided on the 430, and found one cheap on eBay. But that was personal research, which has flaws of being casual, selective and based on intuition. (McCutcheon 2015)

Scholarly research is much different. It is systematic, objective and focussed on delivering a truthful and correct verdict to the research question. (McCutcheon 2015) It can be made up of qualitative or quantitative research, however it makes more sense to use both in order to get a full scope of what you are studying, as each of these two methodologies have their downfalls. (Berger 2014)

In Berger’s 2014 text he shows both the positives and negatives of qualitative and quantitative research. I found this interesting because in the context of my degree I have only been told the positives of each methodology, and not the negatives. He states that quantitative research runs into the issue of being too precise, only gathering information on things that can be counted or measured. Whereas qualitative research runs the risk of reading too much into the information received, to the point of making observations that may not be accurate. (Berger 2014)

I would like to study social media, and the impact that social media has on people’s worldviews. Especially looking at Twitter, a platform I use daily, it is interesting to see people getting their information solely from 140 characters. Living in a society where less is more, it is strange to me to see how people can form such strong opinions based on such a small amount of information. A lot of people also get their information on Facebook, meaning that the news sources and opinion pieces most likely to show up on their Facebook feed is influencing solely by the preconceived ideas that their friends on Facebook have. Meaning that if you had family and extended family that were staunch Liberal voters, and you got your news from Facebook, a lot of it would be likely to be anti-Labor or pro-Liberal.

This is the aspect of the media that I would be interested in researching, trying to get an idea of how individual’s social networks influence the type of opinions and news that they see.


References

Berger, A A 2014, ‘What is research?’, in AA Berger (ed.), Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32.

McCutcheon, M 2015, ‘Lecture 2: What is media research?’, PowerPoint slides, BCM210, University of Wollongong, delivered 11 March