My Pitch

I was faced with a pretty big dilemma tonight. My dreams of watching the newest episode of Game of Thrones came crashing down when my ‘Foxtel Friend,’ became my ‘Swamped in uni work that’s due at 8am tomorrow morning so an all nighter is necessary Foxtel Friend.’

She suggested we wait until next Monday night.
Next Monday night.
As in seven days away.
Seven. Days.

I didn’t even wait two minutes before I logged out of that conversation and logged onto a website that was going to give me much happier content. A glorious website full of viruses and an abundance of slightly creepy advertisements for ‘escorts.’ A small price to pay if it meant I could watch Game of Thrones online. Sure, the quality didn’t allow me the high definition shots of Jon Snow that the big screened Foxtel allowed, but its a small price to pay if it meant I could watch Game of Thrones instantly.

Unfortunately, like every time I watch something online illegally (shh), a little sprinkle of guilt flickered into life. I used to be pretty desensitised to the whole ‘piracy, its a crime‘ issue because it never became my problem and it never had a direct impact on me or anyone I knew. It wasn’t until a few years ago when a few too many of my favourite tv series began to stop making further seasons because they were getting too much online traffic and not enough live traffic, that I became more aware of this reoccurring problem.

 

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Picture found here.

This lead me to my research question of;

What is the biggest reason for individuals illegally downloading movies and tv series in 2017?

Within the Media, Audience and Place study, I will focus more on the Audience aspect. In particular the media audience engagement within the pirating sector of the world’s movies and television. I’ll be focusing on the WHY of the issue, not the how or when.
I will hopefully answer this question through various primary and secondary research.

My first method of primary research will be to conduct a survey asking questions such as:

  • What people watch their movies/tv series on (Television, Netflix, online or illegally).
  • If they’ve ever illegally downloaded movies/tv series
    If yes;
    > How many times a week/month.
    > What is the reason behind this? (Money, convenience, preference, date releases being later in Australia, etc).
    > Any feelings of guilt while downloading or watching?
    etc.

This survey will be posted onto my Twitter page and the BCM Facebook page with the hashtag #BCM241 to gain traffic. I’ll be on the lookout for particular trends within my results. I believe it will also be beneficial to conduct a focus group. This will allow me to delve deeper into the responses of participant’s perspectives, asking followup questions and for further detail. This is important because a survey cannot achieve this collaborative ethnography practice. I will have to guarantee that I organise my time well between both myself and my interviewees as this could potentially be a problem due to the larger amount of time I will have to spend conducting it. Both forms of primary research will allow me to gain valuable quantitative (focus group)  and qualitative (survey) data.  I will maintain moral and ethical responsibility through the practice of interviewing and surveying those that are 18+, allowing anonymity and avoiding sensitive subjects.

Throughout these processes I will be conducting further research through academic sources to help aid the facts I present. I look forward to finding out what is discovered.

Until next time,

  • Georgie.
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The Evolution of TV Watching

I’m not a very big TV watcher. It’s not an everyday thing for me; maybe once a week I’ll actually sit down on my couch and watch the tv with my family.  Obviously when televisions first started being introduced in Australia in the 1950’s there was a much better reaction towards them than the one I’m giving now.

To grasp how much the physicality of television and the practice itself of watching television has changed, I decided to interview an older woman named Carolyn (hi mum). When interviewing Carolyn it was revealed that one of the strongest memories of her childhood was the day her family welcomed home their first coloured television. How crazy to think that the fact that she swapped a black and white television for a coloured one became such a memorable moment for her! I can’t even remember the first (or the second or the third) television that my family had. It goes to show how much of a big deal this progression was for Australia.

One of the biggest differences regarding Carolyn’s experience with television and my own was noted when she was describing what this coloured television looked like: “A big wooden box.” She has a way with words doesn’t she? When coaxed into describing this “big wooden box,” she described it as timber and approximately 600m by 1.5m. Pretty different (smaller) to the ones we carry around in our pockets isn’t it?

 

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pic found here

Another contrasting concept was the difference in time spent watching the television. A reason for this can be given to the fact that Carolyn said that her family’s television only had four channels when she was around five years old. I actually laughed when she said that. FOUR channels? I can’t imagine my generation putting up with only four channels. We’ve gotten greedy with our hundreds of channels offering almost anything and everything we might desire to watch. We have sporting events, wildlife documentaries, professional cooking programs, reality shows, news broadcasting, all at the tip of our fingertips.

So with only four channels it isn’t any surprise that Carolyn’s family only watched it at night, before their dinner, (she specified about three times that they never watched while eating – one of the rules she joyfully enforced during my upbringing). When I asked Carolyn what programs she can remember watching as a child, her only response was the news programs.

Pretty different to our own childhood isn’t it?

I believe that one of the reasons the television became so important and such a hot commodity to begin with, was the fact that the television was the only source of live national and international source of information and news available to the public. It was a visual platform that could not be achieved through any other platform at that time

This highlights the change in purpose of the televisions from the initial startup of the television, to now. Now, more than anything else, televisions are there to entertain us. For us, we have access to so many different forms of news on so many different platforms that the importance of the television in regards to delivering news has decreased. Now, television companies have to come up with bigger and better programs that will keep us watching our televisions daily. Despite this, we can watch almost everything on our televisions at a later time on a different platform. I can think of countless tv programs that advertise the fact that you can watch all of their programs on their website at anytime.

It’s going to be interesting in the years to come to see what new direction the evolution of television is going to take.

Until next time,

  • Georgie.

(ME)dia Space

When I first began writing this weeks blog post about media space I didn’t really know how I was going to pick just one specific story of interest. I felt completely overwhelmed because I felt as though my experience in my own media space is just too broad.

I kept asking myself;
– Should I write about the good old MSN days where I first learnt what a wink was?
– Or about how competitive my brother and I would get playing Miniclip against strangers?
– Or my obsession with Club Penguin and making new friends with names like ‘Bieber5643,’ ‘Stud137,’ and ‘Princess24’?
– Or the time on Chatroulette where I thought my friends and I were were talking to the Jonas Brothers but then found out we’d been tricked and were talking to a 10 minute replayed video of them for a solid hour and a half?

These (somewhat cringeworthy) experiences make up the whole of my childhood media space and the huge old box of a computer where they came from. It’s crazy to think that I can now access these platforms (and thousands more) on my iPhone at anytime, anywhere. My phone is now the biggest gatekeeper to my media space. This gatekeeper became a lot more important to me when I travelled overseas for six months when I was eighteen. I’d never done an overseas trip without having my parents organise every minuscule detail, so to say I was anxious was a massive understatement. The thing that made me feel a whole lot more secure and safe was the fact that I had my phone with a workable sim card with me the whole time. I had all that I needed on this one device to stay connected with my family and friends constantly and to help me navigate the various unknown countries.

When I wanted to call my parents I used Skype.
When I wanted to make my friends jealous I used Instagram.
When I wanted to send videos (but mostly ugly selfies) I used Snapchat.
When I wanted to stay in contact with the countless people I met in Europe I used Facebook. All accessed through my iPhone.

Despite the fact that there was roughly 16,000kms distance between my family and friends in Australia and myself in Europe, physical barriers was a nonissue. My phone, holding the whole of my media space while I was travelling, involved all of the platforms that allowed me to have the safest, positive and most enjoyable trip possible as it allowed me to connect to everybody back home in Australia whenever I wished, no matter where I was (as long as I had wifi). My trip would not of been the same without it.

Until next time,

  • Georgie

My Project Reflection

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As some of you may know, I have been in the process of completing a research paper that questions, ‘Do university students at UOW have a balance between their social, work and university life?’  Throughout this research process I have learnt an incredible amount about research and its differing strategies. In particular I have learnt the importance of curiosity, flexibility and critical judgement.

Curiosity is the starting point for any research project. I think Zora Neale Hurston explains it accurately when she says, “Research is formalised curiosity.” Curiosity is what drove me to question the work/life balance of university students. This particular question interests me so much because I struggle continuously to keep a balance. I know I’m not alone in this struggle which has resulted in a curiosity in knowing how many other students at UOW are in a similar position and to what extent. This curiosity is what connected my learning of this issue to particular researching practices.

Flexibility is another important strategy for any research task that is dependent upon responses from particular individuals, especially for my own paper. Flexibility became relevant from the beginning when I received feedback for my first submission of this project. It was made clear that my first question was too broad. This actually made me feel relieved as I ended up hating the original topic and I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy researching it. Without the ability to have a flexible timeframe and option to change ideas within the third week, this change wouldn’t of been possible. Flexibility also became necessary when I wasn’t receiving responses for my survey quick enough, causing me to push back my focus group session. To be conscious of the need for flexibility you need to be aware of the problems that can arise that can impact your project and your timeframe.

My ability to critically judge sources definitely improved over the course of this semester. Initially in tasks one and two, I definitely did not have a thorough understanding of what critical judgment entailed. Despite this negative start, I believe that I made a vast improvement from task two to my final research paper. I achieved this by applying the CRAAP Test that was introduced to us in both our lecture and tutorial. This test gives you five things to look out for when determining the credibility of a source – Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose. This helped me determine the most appropriate and accurate sources to use, a skill I can use for years to come.

On reflection, I consider the results of my research project to be a success. I was able to answer my question as I discovered that a vast majority of students DO NOT have a consistent balance between their work, university and social life. Through the choice of my methodology I was able to discover that this imbalance is mostly due to the working hours that all students are averaging at 20 hours per week. This leads to mental health problems that many students addressed during my focus group session. I believe the choice of a survey and a focus group were the right methods to choose for the answers that were required for each.

Despite these successes, if I was able to compete this task over again I would definitely do particular things differently. After completion of the survey and focus group I would hold another session of singular interviews that delve deeper into particular questions. This would allow for more thorough and descriptive research, especially in the case of asking ‘why’ for the reasons behind my key findings. An example of this would be to ask WHY people work. Is it due to necessity or is a career move?

Throughout the duration and execution of my research paper I made a conscious effort to keep up to the ethical standards that are expected of any professional researcher. Tilley (1998) in particular talks about informed consent within schooling environments. For each individual’s participant in the survey (students aged 18+ only) I ensured consent of participation through a starter page that did not allow anyone to go any further before agreeing to the terms and stating that each person was happy for me to use their information anonymously. This too applied for my focus group.

This research task has become invaluable as it has taught me the values of what makes credible research and how to become a successful researcher. These skills are especially essential because they give me the communication skills necessary for a Communications and Media Studies Bachelor and will help with all future research
tasks.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the progress of my research paper.
Until next time,
Georgie.

Bibliography:

  • California State University (2010) Evaluating Information – Applying the CRAAP Test, viewed 22 May, < http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/eval_websites.pdf >.
  • K, Bowles 2017, ‘Research Practice in Media & Communication: Critical Judgment,’ PowerPoint slides, BCM212, University of Wollongong, viewed 27 May, 2017.
  • K, Bowles 2017, ‘Research Practice in Media & Communication: Curiosity,’ PowerPoint slides, BCM212, University of Wollongong, viewed 27 May, 2017.
  • K, Bowles 2017, ‘Research Practice in Media & Communication: Flexibility,’ PowerPoint slides, BCM212, University of Wollongong, viewed 29 May, 2017.
  • K, Bowles 2017, ‘Research Practice in Media & Communication: Respect,’ PowerPoint slides, BCM212, University of Wollongong, viewed 27 May, 2017.
  • M, Dugan, Tolerating Ambiguity, viewed 23 May, < http://knowinnovation.com/2013/04/tolerating-ambiguity/>.
  • S, A Tilley 1998 ‘Conducting Respectful Research: A Critique of Practice,’ Canadian Journal for Education, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 316 – 328.
  • Stokes, J 2003, How to do Media and Cultural Studies, 2nd edn, SAGE Publications Ltd, London.

My Project Update

I am very happy to announce that I have recently changed my topic for my BCM research project. My original question was much too broad which would definitely hinder the success of my project. I now have a much more interesting, narrow and relevant topic that relates to every single university student…

‘How are young university students at UOW balancing between their social, work and uni life?’ This particular question interests me so much because I know I struggle continuously with balancing between these difference aspects.

So what progress have I made?
I thought that the most convenient and beneficial way to go about getting the data needed for my new project topic would be to compose a survey. I’ve written all of the question and I’m just in the process of moving everything onto Survey Monkey. Keep an eye out because in a few days I’ll be posting the link to my survey and it would be great if anyone and everyone could please participate in it/ Alongside this I am also in the process of composing questions for a Focus Group Interview that will allow me to delve deeper into particular UOW student’s lives and the balance within.

The background research I have made has really helped me fine-tune each question I have included. It’s really amazing the findings I have come across and I can’t wait to share them all with you. I also cannot wait to see what the results are of each of the methods I plan on using to collect all of the necessary data. I’m looking forward to finding out if anyone else is in the same struggle boat as I am, alongside learning how/if students prioritise and deal with the balancing of work, university and their social life.

If anyone has any additional comments or relevant sources feel free to comment below.
Talk to you soon,
Georgie.

University and Gender stereotypes

I’m sure we’re all aware of the stereotypical belief (a very old belief), that men should be the ones to continue on with their education while a female should only worry about her family and the household duties that come with it.

I’m lucky enough to of been born into a generation where it is no longer a rarity for a female to go to university to further her education. Women are no longer categorised as a ‘Stay at Home Mum,’ but as powerful and intelligent entities that can continue on with their education if they so wish to. The same privilege given to men.

I’ve always been curious to find out the extent of how far we have come in regards to this change. I’ve also always been curious to know if there are any modern families that still hold onto the belief that it should only be a male that continues onto university? And if so, how many families? This leads me into the question of;

How have gender stereotypes changed over the years in regards to the difference in gender attendance at university? What I believe to be so beneficial and interesting about this question is due to the countless questions I can delve into it in relation. If there is a change, has this progressed into the workplace? If so, how? If not, why not?

For a majority of the statistics (regarding this change of gender attendance over the generations) I will be doing my own individual research and making my own judgements regarding information that has already been conducted by academics. This is mostly due to their greater access of willing participants on a much greater scale. Surveys will then be completed by a specific number of people from specific generations. Half will these participants will be female, half will be male. Through these surveys I hope to get opinions and answers regarding any social and family pressures over their choice of going to university or not, why they think these pressures existed or didn’t, etc. I will then move on to specific personal interviews (once again, with a specific number of people from specific generations), to get a more detailed understanding. A focus group created with these interviewees will be even more beneficial because the contrast between the difference in attendance at university of the two genders during specific generations will be made even clearer.

Any participation within any of my research methods will be completely voluntary (with the requirement of being eighteen or older) as I intend to be respective of all participants free will and opinions. I will also guarantee that all participants are happy with my research and conclusion that will only be able to be achieved because of their insights.

I am really excited to go into further research regarding my focus question because I believe that the results will showcase how far our society has come in terms of gender equality and the banishment of gender stereotypes. Alongside this, we will also be able to see the progress that still needs to be made.

If anyone is interested in being a part of my research, feel free to drop anything in the comments. A website you think might be relevant, your own experiences, or any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance,

Georgie.