The ‘public sphere’ and the digital age

Haberman imagined the public sphere as a place that was like an 18th century coffee house. This was because it was a place to get the news and debate about ideas and common concerns. He defined the ‘ideal’ public sphere as a ‘space’ that was seperate from the state as well as seperate from the official economy. It was egalitarian and open, which I found strange as it was a space that mainly consisted of the middle class, excluding women and other minorities.

Read this article about how the public sphere is being affected by the digital age

The article states how computer-mediated discussion has taken the place of coffee house discourse.  This makes a lot of sense because as our lives are becoming increasingly more enveloped by technology, and with more people having access to the web to participate in discussion on blogs for example, it is even more open than Haberman’s imagined public sphere. One would only be excluded if they did not have access to the internet.


The public sphere can control what your discourse is, such as in nazi Germany, where in public one would not dare discuss any negative attitudes towards the Nazi party. This was not Haberman’s ideal public sphere, but quite the opposite, as it was not egalitarian and open.

Under democracy the public is supposed to engage in discussion about societal problems, and issues from the environment to the president, and the government is supposed to listen and take concerns of the people into consideration.

The basic ideal belief in public sphere theory is that the government’s laws and policies should be steered by the public sphere and that the only legitimate governments are those that listen to the public sphere. “Democratic governance rests on the capacity of and opportunity for citizens to engage in enlightened debate.”wiki


It is very easy to feel that our opinions do not matter, but discussion and communication of these opinions are very important things in our lives. It often feels as if the powers that be are not listening to us, this is because they are not in the same public sphere as the common person. How could these politicians in power ever relate to us? They live totally different lives in every aspect.

Even so, the public sphere is an important tool for relating to people and finding comfort in knowing your opinion is shared.


Fake news and journalism

Firstly I related to this topic in BCM112 because a long time ago I stopped watching the news because I felt that I could not trust the information I was being fed. The example that struck me was the ‘white helmets’ staged rescue of a Syrian man from the rubble. This is footage which is easily believable if we watch it at face value and do not analyse it.


White Helmets exposed (YT)

Another example which I found quite funny was a news channel using an image from assassins creed to show the skyline of Damascus.

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Technology, more so the availability of technology to everyone, has allowed anyone to be able to broadcast any message. This has created sources that are much more ‘real’ and ‘authentic’ because the internet has allowed us to share information that legacy media would never want to reveal.

This ties into the quote, “The people formerly known as the audience” – Jay Rosenberg. We have become displaced from passivity with weak or no ‘gatekeepers’ controlling what we post or share.

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Drone footage of a police attack at Gazi Park by a citizen is a great example of something that news stations would not report accurately, and raw, unedited footage that we as individuals can access to analyse at length. It is likely that news stations would edit the footage down, perhaps reorder the clips to re-contextualise the story, hence FAKE NEWS.

The need for a professional to deliver information has been eradicated, as we have to tools to become self taught. Axel Bruns puts this as:

“A shift from dedicated individuals and teams and producers to a broader-based distributed generation of content by a wide community of participants.”

But with the availability to post on the internet with no gatekeepers, there is a bigger opportunity to create propaganda that reaches a large audience instantly, i.e IS propaganda war videos.

But the question is, can a report be journalism if it is done by a common citizen and then uploaded on a platform?

I think that the answer is yes. This is because it is still a report or documentation of an event, it does not have to be done in the traditional sense i.e a qualified professional with a degree in journalism. The BBC uses amateur footage of events such as natural disasters to use for their reports. Therefore I could, by simply owning a phone and a laptop, can go out and make report style videos on local events, ipso facto:

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Control of the media

Who ‘owns’ and/or ‘controls the media you use to access your ‘news’?

Australian media, in its entirety is owned by two corporations and eight individuals.

– Bruce Gordan
– Macquarie Group LTD
– Kerry Stokes
– John Singleton
– Fairfax Media LTD
– Janet Cameron
– Bill Caralis
– Rupert Murdoch
– Lachlan Murdoch
– James Packer
– Gina Rhinehart
– Bruce Gordan

These individuals generally only partially own a percentage of company.

Why does this matter?

Having diverse media ownership matters because we live in a democracy. Since media is a very powerful tool to sway the mind, diversity indicates the existence of a democracy.

“The democratic ideal of a media which is impartial, and designed to inform citizens, is inevitably compromised as media ownership becomes more concentrated.” (

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.


This right becomes subverted when possession becomes more concentrated.

What trust do you have in your news sources?

The trust which I have in my news sources is very little, seeing as that I don’t watch or read the news anymore. Personally watching the new just makes me feel depressed about the world due to the negative spin Australian news tends to use.

I don’t really trust the news in general because how do we know what’s fed to us is even real? it is told through the perspective of the journalist, and when that journalist interviews someone it is told from the interviewees perspective. Then the journalist or news room may choose to omit certain information. Then after all of that, the audience has their own perspective, and relay the news story from their point of view.


Remoscope – MEDA101


Project statement:

This Remoscope is based on a poem by myself, written with inspiration from gorge Ella Lyon’s, ‘where I’m from.’ My poem is about where I’m from, but not in a literal sense i.e ‘I’m from Australia’ instead it focuses on the the things that made me who I am today. The video is left open to interpretation, am I really on the beach? or is it all in my head? The lighthouse shots in my film were inspired by the lighthouse shots in an Ozu film that was shown in class in order to explain film techniques.


Hatsune Miku – Remediation


This is Hatsune Miku, she is the character of vocaloid software developed by crypto future media, she is also a digital pop star.

She is software designed for the public to interact with.

Unlike a real pop star incredible volumes of songs by her can be produced within a year. This is because the process of making the songs is open to the public for customisation. Her songs are freely available and not kept from prying hands by record companies.

Hatsune Miku even has a dedicated fan base, A full concert was performed by the digital pop star.


In 2008 the Japanese company that owns the software expanded into the western market by creating an English speaking version of Hatsune Miku.

The key factor in the success of this product is that it was open to the public to create its content, therefore the fans were directly involved in every aspect of the songs that where performed for them.

Hatsune Miku represents a paradigm shift in the way music was performed and distributed. Since she was a digital pop star, this blurred the boundaries between production and conception. It was unpredictable what would happen, the software was non-linear as anyone could intervene in the production process, this meant modification could be done to the character leading to unexpected outcomes.

This is similar to the way YouTube is used, user created, non-linear content. When a vine is made for example (I realise they are irrelevant today) clips are taken from other videos to create the vines context. Then the original vine can be taken and re-contextualised in a different video. See link:

‘Example of a complex image, signifiers’

Sign = Anything that conveys meaning, e.g:

Signifier = Things that give meaning e.g a the word ‘chair’

signified = What is evoked in the mind, our mental concept e.g picturing what we know as chair.

Here is a complex image:


What are the signifiers?

– We see two women, presumably models.
– We realise that they appear to be drugged out
– The top part of the dress looks like lines of cocaine
– There is a clever use of wordplay, “fashion junkie.”

What is signified?

– The image is trying to say that we should become addicted to their fashion line
– Life in front of flashing cameras and the rich life is addictive
– Money is a drug

There are many possible ways that this image could be interpreted:

They are clearly using their brand as a metaphor for cocaine. They seem to be trying to say that their brand is so good that once you buy it you will only want to buy that specific brand.


That the fashion lifestyle is highly addictive due to the money and the fame.

It is indeed possible to read this image in different ways, many more then I can come up with, they would consist of western cultural ideas about drugs, Backgrounds, demographics, upbringings, a whole philosophy could possibly be behind this.

I think that this image is based on the ideas of consumerism, and plays subconsciously on the pleasure we get from a purchase, hence the cocaine metaphor. It is similar to the strategy depicted in this image:


It plays subconsciously on our desire to feel good about ourselves and our lives. One must ask, why do we take drugs? the answer is that we take them to feel good, to have a rush, to escape reality. This ties back into what I said about the fashion industry being addictive, fashion runways and lifestyle is not a reality, it is a creation that is sold to us and we buy in, just like drugs.

In my opinion this gives a very negative impression of the fashion industry and I would never want any part of it based on the picture shown. I think that it preys on the gullible. It is a pointless fabrication, showing a fake lifestyle.

#BCM110 My 2nd blog post

‘Current issues involving people and their use of the media.’  

‘Spiral of scilence’ – BY  AND 

This is a term that refers to people on social media who, when they believe that their views are not shared, do not speak up.

One would think that with the power of being able to have a voice, right at our fingertips (Quite literally) we would avidly express our points of view, but recent surveys focused on the topic of Edward Snowden NSA revelations, show that this is not the case.

The surveys showed that platforms, such as Facebook where not being used as an alternative place for discussion and people where less willing to engage in face to face conversations.

The people surveyed said the they would be more willing to have a face to face discussion if  their views were shared.

These results are interesting because ‘social’ media seems not so social if there is an inherent unwillingness to share what is going on in our minds. Peoples use of social media did little to increase their access to information about the Edward Snowden case.

This information shows that peoples use of the media when on the internet is governed or constrained by our desire to be agreed with. We want to feel appreciated for our input when we offer an opinion but if we stand alone with that opinion then we can feel isolated from our friends or people in general. As this factor has always been part of the human condition, it is only logical that our fear of standing alone will extend itself onto social media, after all humans are the ones producing the content.

Potentially hundreds of thousands of people can observe your content, this means that it is easier then ever for an individual to receive backlash and negativity or vice versa. Our lives are becoming ever more associated with the internet. It is the main medium of communication. When we are behind a screen, we can be anyone we want to be, yet we are still reluctant to be ourselves.

I suppose then, with the greatest disappointment that the internet usage for the average user is indeed reserved for the use of cat videos and blogs about celebrity activity. I think that it is a real shame that the majority of people are unwilling to express themselves because we are in a time when we are able to, information is not just available to the wealthy and the educated, we the commoner can become just as educated if not smarter than the wealthy (e.g Kim Kardashian, she has double digit IQ).



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What is a medium?

A medium is an agency or means of doing something.

According to McLuhan:

“A medium is any extention of ourselves.”

Since this is indeed the case, we as consumers have gone from passive to active. This means that instead of being observers, such as watching TV, we are makers and users of a medium. The smart phone has given the individual immense creative power such that the most average person can get heard.

When you post a meme

Before the radio people could only read the paper. This demanded attention, literacy and rational thinking. No comments on the news could be made in real time. No one in public would disscuss the paper in large groups.

The radio created masses, it opened conversations in real time. Importantly it made it harder to be a non-conformist.

There is one key fact:

These mediums where not avalible to the individual to use. They had no choice but to listen to the provided content.

When the internet was developed it placed content creation into the hands of the individual and suddenly there was a paradigm shift in the way media was consumed i.e. passive to active.

Through this new technology, the CIA has a meme warfare center. The CIA is also using different mediums to collect data on us.

When you find out the CIA is listening to you

I mention the CIA because it is part of the paradigm shift. The CIA used to have the monopoly of making memes, now anyone can make a meme.

I think the power we have as individuals in relation to technology is simply incredible. Simply by owning an smartphone and a laptop I can go out and film somthing, return home put it on a computer and manipulate the film with editing software. Following that I can then upload it to a platform such as youtube. I really find it amazing that this ability is at my fingertips when in the past people had to rely on specialists and it would have been a service paied for by the consumer.


This video is a perfect example of media and its influence on the world. It shows how “Cash me ousside” girl has used all the memes to gain fame and money for herself. She got featured in another video by Kodak Black.

This video explains how she has used the media to her benefit. DAX puts a spin on the Cash Me Outside meme turning it into a full on song.

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