Statement of Research Issue
This research investigates media for social change may be used to create an environment where people can engage in the public realm, mediate disagreements, and encourage civil debate. For an informative analysis, I have included my personal view on media power and discussed communication as the main factor in creating hybrid public space, and encouraged the public to use media as an interactive tool in the field of social society.
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The research proposes for reconsideration of media role in creating imaginative and narrative communication avenues in achieving a highly informed society. Our deductive approach touches on audiences’ thoughts, the way they reinterpret the message, and sediment new knowledge into their daily lives.
It is evidenced that media for social change has enabled the creation of new avenues for grassroots activism and community building. I aim at learning the degree to which media for social change is used and the role of leadership in this industry. I will conduct a series of interviews with media professionals to find out their attitudes and beliefs in regard to a leadership role in social change. However, the best test, and yet difficult to comprehend, is: do media change how we function, how we communicate, and more likely become independent? And does it encourage social ties? It is evidenced that media for social change has enabled new avenues for grassroots activism and community building.
To do answer this question, we will follow the hypothesis approach of research using quantitative research tools. First, we will present Paul Ricoeur and Habermas’s theory behind the topic from previous literature. Then we will state our hypotheses on the different relationships. Next, we are going to use interviews to collect some data and analyze it, and finally, discuss whether the results support our hypotheses and state conclusions and recommendations.
Media plays an important role in creating and influencing the opinion of the public. It does this by linking the ideas of the producers with their audience whereby the producers pass down their themes to their audience hence changing the way they perceive certain issues. According to Alia (2004), there exists a direct relationship between the change in the society and what the media producers are giving the society.
In this relationship, the role of media producers is to generate information from a chain of relations and influences and the role of the audience is to infer and evaluate the information from the producers and generate other information external to the media perspectives. The impacts and implications of the media account not just the way interesting events are identified, as Ricoeur in the From text to Action, states, but also to a wide range of cultural influences that function via the media (Ricoeur,1990).
Recent research efforts suggest that the media have powerful social and cultural effects on society. This is a result of their capability to reach a broad range of audiences with a powerful and transforming message. Alia in work tells us that the media is the message when trying to how the circulation of a message is more significant than what is in the message itself (Alia 2004). The use of media elements such as films, radio, and printed media transmits the producer’s message to his or her targeted listeners.
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And as such the media have been very influential in shaping society’s everyday life and opinions. Particularly, the T.V has wide control over what the society watches and as such is capable of manipulating their opinions. Moreover, the internet provides room for more varied political ideas, social and cultural perspectives and as such it has increased the degree of audience participation.
It can be said that people will always be influenced by media in a number of ways but however, this hinges on what the target audience wants to get from reading an article or watching a film. The idea could be established that media elements such as new stories as seen in television plays a significant role in society as it offers its target audiences with understandings that make them aware of issues that producers feel their target audience ought to know (Habermas 1985).
For instance, a T.V program will at all times influence its target audiences in a number of ways since it is perceived as a trustworthy source of information that notifies them of what they do not know and as such shows the truths in their midst. For this reason, it can then be argued that programs like the T.V news programs assists their target audience in creating a picture and an opinion of specific ideas and issues which time and again reflect the news’ beliefs. In short, there will constantly be an aspect of the producer of a T.V program that he or she wants his or her target population to take from the program.
That is whether it is a program he or she wants to share with his or her target audience or it is information about particular issues that are not near to home to his or her target population, which the producer wants them to view so as to add their understanding on the subject matter presented by him or her (Ricoeur 1990).
Nothing can be further from the when it is argued that, the producer of what to watched or read by its targeted has the power to create and influence his or her audience. This is because the producers’ intent customarily is to change and influence members of his or her target audience in a certain way. Whether is to encourage social change or is to claim history, the producer will always generate his or her work purposely to pass his or her opinions with the aim of changing his or her audiences’ opinions (Alia 2004).
According to Habermas, regardless of the producer’s motives, the motives themselves ought to be purported in a way that is interesting to the targeted audience so as to draw their interest and employ their thinking (Habermas 1985). It is the role of the producer to manipulate his or her intended audience’s senses to get his or her needed effect. A few individuals may claim that a certain effect may not be desired, or that the producer may not even be aware of the manipulation.
Whether this is true or not the producer still has to anticipate, and acknowledge, the role of influencing the audience in a particular way. This is particularly fascinating because producers of literature and social changers more often than not produce their works with a specific audience in mind, and that why the producers of both literature and history accounts are exceptionally linked to postcolonial literature (Ricoeur 1991).
According to Alia (2004), it is through the media where the producers pass their ideas to their targeted population. In their work, producers aim at conceiving their target audience about how they think about some issues in the society they are living. For this reason, they generate their work with an idea of changing the society’s perception on particular issues they think they should make the population aware of. This in essence changes the opinion of the society on those issues and thereby acts as agent of societal change.
Alia (2004) observes that the media functions as a system of transmitting messages and representations to the society at large (Alia 2004). The media have the role of amusing, recreating, and of educating, and instilling members of the society with the opinions, perceptions, and norms of behavior that integrates them into the principles of the society at whole. In his opinion Ricoeur argues that, in the earth full of wealth and wars of class interest, it is the role of media to systematically manipulate people toward specific opinions.
This due to the fact that, in providing only a very thin range of ideas on main issues affecting our society, the media persuades the general public that, there is no option to the solutions it provides to problems (Habermas 1985). In this way the media change the opinion of society member on where to get solution to their problems.
A renowned scholar, Paul Ricoeur sees media as instruments for transmitting information, ideas, and opinions from the producer to the society at large and to specific audiences (Ricoeur 1991). Media are thus significant instruments for advancing producer goals to his or her target audience.
He however cautions that using media can be counterproductive if the means employed for communicating the message are not fitting the intended population, or if the information to be passed is emotional, can cause fear or contentious (Ricoeur 1991). He therefore advices that this adverse effect can be prevented through appropriate formative study, familiarity with the audience, experience in connecting media channels to the target population, and information content testing (Ricoeur 1991).
Complicated organizations rely on media in delivering their messages to the society. In this regard media can be seen as extensions of man due to its capability of extending what publishers want to tell, to communicate to individuals far away, to hear information, and to view images that can not be accessed without it. As result of the use of mass media in spreading news, the media has in essence made the world a global village.
It is worth to note that, the significance of media messages is directly linked to what is accounted and how it is reported. In this vein Alia (2004) observes that, the media are significant source of information on a number of issues that lead to profound effect on the society and as such there exist pervasive interest in the value of reporting (Alia, 2004). Media messages should thus be reported appropriately and if need be their sources should be revealed to their readers. This is very important as it help in authenticating them.
According to Ricoeur (1991), the media has the ability of facilitating short and lasting effects on their target audiences. Short-term goals can be effects such as revealing audiences health concepts as well creating attentiveness and knowledge among others. The lasting effects include such issues changes in positions, behaviors, and opinion on some social norms. The lasting effects integrate all of the above tasks that lead to a centered rebuilding of observed social values as well as preservation of behavioral transformations.
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In causing social change in the society the media informs, moulds public relations and acts as an advocate of promoting a number of specific points of view usually those of the producer (Habermas 1985). Being agents of educating the society as whole, the media spreads knowledge to vast population and as such it is part and parcel of wide range endeavors of promoting actions that are believed to have profound social transformations in that society. As public relations instruments, media help societies in attaining trustworthiness and respect among their opinion leaders and other stakeholders. As instruments of advocacy the media help political leaders in initiating policy issues, building consensus on contentious issues and achieving public support for certain perspectives.
Without question, the audience is very important to the producer of any form of media. Some studies consider a society as a group of isolated persons subjected to media messages. This school of thoughts envisions the media messages as a needle syringe that infusion the opinions of the media producers into the minds of the target audience, who accept these opinions and principles (Habermas 1985). This in turn changes their perceptions of different issues and beliefs. This in essence changes their social political understandings. That is why media can be attributed to the widespread sharing of information from different producers.
Alia (2004) observes that, the link between media and the modern popular culture is usually conceived in terms of spreading opinions from the privileged few to the general public. The permanent outcome of this is important with regards to the ongoing concentration of media control and ownership by the privileged few. This is the cause of cultural dictatorship that is seen in the contemporary world.
This is a situation whereby only the cultural attitudes and beliefs of the media elite are taken as standard attitudes and beliefs of the society. A case in the study is that HarperCollins’ press whereby the owner Murdoch refused to publish the work of Patten which was thought to be damaging to his interests in China media industry. In this case Patten work was believed to be against the china’s mode leadership. Here we see even the book was a constructive criticism of the China’s mode leadership it could not be published as the owner of the HarperCollins’ press thought this can adversely impact his business interests in China.
Without doubt, media has been utilized in a vast range by politicians to inform, plan and share cultural thoughts of their movements. A good example is the world trade center conference of ministers’ demonstrations that took place in 1999. This protest is believed to be a true portrayal of the utilization of media as an instrument for social transformations. In these demonstrations media messages were used to plan the action, inform and organize all those who participated in the protests.
Without question, the media has brought significant social transformations over time in behavior models and cultural attitudes and norms. For instance, the media has brought remarkable social changes having lasting impacts such the industrial revolution, the eradication of slavery as well as the feminist movement (Alia 2004). These social movements have in turn played a significant role in inspiring the marginalized members of the society to cause a social change.
Further more, it is within the media whereby the authors/directors of media create awareness of thorny issues in the society. When member of society understand such issues they change their attitudes and beliefs and the result is society’s social change. According to Ricoeur (1991), media function as an instrument for formulating and evaluating public opinions, linking the world with thinkers and rebuilding the self picture of society.
The mass media is also seen as a tool for control. Some studies suggest that most governments use media in controlling the public opinions of their citizens. It is through media where political leaders try to convince and manipulate the public toward the thinking that certain national undertakings are worth implementing for the good of the society at large. That is why in the contemporary world we see many world leaders advocating for the expansion of mass media in the third world countries. This is thought to inspire them to work hard in the daily roles and as such develop themselves.
It is important to assemble various iterative steps in building cohesive story in supporting the topic ‘media for social change’. The fundamental question we are asking is: does media build environment that supports human interaction and divergent perspectives, create structural changes, mediate disagreements and encourage civil debate? To answer this question, we delegate the power of the media in three contexts;
- the viewer
- the content.
It is argued that producer’s have great responsibilities in imaging the new future as they use their power to shape the social culture. Viewers on the other hand have the responsibility of discriminating information and shifting their understanding to new paradigms in creating social change. It’s quite evident that media can be creative and critical at the same time. Therefore, strong relationship between producers and viewers is important in passing information across is important in understanding fundamental ideas on how they relate to each other in the public sphere.
It should also be understood that media has the ability to influence our day to day activities and technologies and information it uses represent significant part of our lives. In this regard, we argue that no one can live in a society without consuming information as media serves as a social vehicle that enables us to engage in public realm.
Media provides hybrid public space that enables users to comment, create and share content, rate information. Political campaigns serve as a stunning demonstration of how consumer society depends on media for educational content. It is through this we learn different view points and cultures before making informative decisions. It is also argued that any information published for public viewing represents an element of our surrounding.
Our comprehensive review summarizes media as cultural practices, which develops and incorporates components of particular social orders, mentalities, and lived experiences of their producers and users. Since media has power to influence and pull massive crowds, producers need to have ethics and morals to drive and motivate the viewers in the right direction. Therefore 3 factors that relate to the ability to create a social change are mentioned as;
- Producer: creative, vision, horizon :the range of vision that includes everything that can be seen from a particular vantage point, often associated with one’s future, and the way they present image and message (transition).
- Content: Text- something that touch people mind and really into the most people interest.
- Viewer: interpret the message, transform new knowledge, fusion of horizons (Gadamer).
In this paper, I will present my leadership role model Mr.Suttipong Thamma, the producer one show in Thailand. The question of deploying social media for social change is not accessibility to technology but the knowledge of how to deploy it across multiple platforms.
In this sense, Mr.Suttipong Thamma language use, beliefs and narrative intelligence makes viewers questions who they really are, how they contribute to the society, their purpose in life and the reasons for their living. Mr.Suttipong Dhammawuit was once quoted stating…… “to address a good question is much more difficult than to find an answer because it can bring you to the better answer as well” (2010:1). This question re-emphasizes the reason why humans were born as he takes his producer’s role in using the media to help promote the change in society.
After this literature review of previous work done on media for social change, self understanding and competent communication and other variables used in this paper, we can now build a conceptual framework to focus on in our methodology and data analysis. It is clear from literature the positive relationship between competent communication and self understanding in our society. Moreover, communication is considered one of the key factors of organizational success and effectiveness. From this we can deduce the main research hypothesis of this paper:
- Hypothesis 1: Communication is positively related to self understanding.
In addition, we will examine communication in more detail by studying the effects of several variables of communication in social community. The variables that will be studied include creating and sharing content, rating and commenting, information exchange, and vision and goal communication. Again, literature suggests that all of these variables are positively related to self understanding and competent communication and therefore, we can add the following sub-hypotheses:
- Hypothesis 1a: Information exchange is positively related to competent communication.
- Hypothesis 1b: Creating and sharing content is positively related to competent communication.
- Hypothesis 1c: Commenting and rating is positively related to competent communication.
- Hypothesis 1d: vision and goals communication is positively related to competent communication.
With the idea of self understanding, competent communication and moral consciousness we are inevitably struck with the idea of understanding the ways and reasons for having these qualities. In delegating media responsibility in ensuring social change, producers have the primary responsibility for taking care of society and watching out for it. Paul Ricoeur once stated “we must simultaneously possess the idea of belonging to the self while belonging to another” (2010:1).
The idea that hypothesis that …. to truly care for yourself you must also care for others around you, unable to care for one without the other, producers must care for themselves in order to truly care for the world around them. One cannot ignore the fact that media was ‘created and is used in a capitalist way’ and in a capitalist society. This provides a clear connection between the media and the world happenings.
I however argue that producers who fail to view media in this spectrum may have short term careers. It is also evidenced that producer who anticipate long term careers must care for the world around them by realizing the connection they have with the media and the society. This article analyses the role of media and influence producers, viewers and content has on social, economical, and political processes in revolutionizing the landscape of our society.
A good producer knows where he stands in the world and his power to make and cause social change. Understanding their mortality and the limits of what they can do and communicate is also of paramount importance. Suttipong Dhammawuit, a successful producer from Thailand re-emphasizes this point by stating “the message I want to express is not fully dependent on my ability, but the power to create a change, that power is in everyone’s hands” (2010: 1). In summary, knowing the difference between your own ability and the ability for the viewers to understand as well should be considered.
As already discussed, producers need to connect with viewers in different ways in order to successfully get your ideas and thoughts across. In this case, the media must establish trust with viewers while attracting their attention at the same time. As Suttipong illustrates dropping occasional story lines might be the easiest way of gaining the viewers trust, connection and keep their attention to the information being communicated.
Suttipong provides in his analysis that telling stories enables a producer accomplish tasks in a beautiful and harmonic symphonic way. The same analysis also provides that telling ancient stories, human experience and inspirations have the ability of pulling viewers attention. It also adds, well documented fiction stories that involves human emotions have the ability to provide clear and purer understanding of information being passed across.
Ideally, communication is a living process in which a community of life is lived out and a growing and progressive process that is constantly evolving and changing over time. Learning and engaging ourselves in public realm of information exchange helps us understand how to use communication in positive ways through media content particularly internet media. Education is a continuous process and media should use this strategy in encouraging viewers’ comments and ratings so truly project current happening and provide what is considered as moral conscious. Printing information for viewers to read without provision of viewers’ ratings is important in understanding what the society really needs.
For example, encouraging viewers’ comments on particular programs on TV or online download videos on their perception is of paramount importance. This clearly reemphasizes the importance of communication when both sides (producer and viewer) exchange information.
Habermas (1985) defines media as a social network that has the ability to create and influence social change. In this case, viewers have the primary responsibility using information at their own discretion whether positive or negative to influence the social change they see fit. In his argument Habermas stated “for true understanding to occur, communicative competence is required” (1985:2). In affirming his statement Habermas mentions four validity claims dependent on satisfying competent communication to include;
Comprehension is depicted to mean media communication between a producer and a viewer should be easily understood. In other words, viewers should be able to comprehend and digest the content and pictures projected. Comprehension ensures content and knowledge intended be communicated is positively received.
Establishing trust between producers, viewers and content is a very important in enabling easy communication on all network avenues. This is to mean that when certain content is rated negatively, producers should meet with viewers to communicate their grievances. This builds trust on published information as viewers’ facts and opinions are given considerations and have the ability to support and offer suggestions on what is true, accurate, and real. It’s often argued that lack of trust disabled effective communication process during and after publication.
Shared knowledge and vales
Building an environment that encourages shared knowledge and values in engaging public realm stimulates a productive community. In essence, shared knowledge and values between producers and in relaying media content to viewers is relevant and helpful in encouraging shared knowledge and values. For example the people at news channels like Fox News and their conservative owner Rupert Murdoch share the conservative values with their viewers.
It’s also argued that encouraging shared knowledge and values can be damaging in certain ways. For example, Fox News strategy that allows viewers to rate their comments on certain topics and broadcasts at the end of the show is itself damaging since the network can easily bring out false information and downright lies as a strategy to pull many viewers to respond to the information.
Viewer self understanding
Media has in many ways affected human personality and directs our self understanding on most critical aspects of our societies. To this we argue that communication must involve certain amount of morals and self understanding by both viewers and producers. In order for viewers to fully understand and digest information being passed across, Gunter Dux states “communicative action requires a moral consciousness committed to the equal satisfaction of the interest of all parties concerned” (2010).
Personality identity on the viewers’ perception plays an important role in determining the way viewers react to certain media content. On a more moral objective, understanding people’s preference with regards to what they watch in the media and content they absorb is important in programming. Also concerns that relates to particular social injustice or cause should be incorporated in turning media content in new and interesting knowledge into programming. On a personal example, a friend of mine from Los Angeles watched a movie documentary on Darfur and was moved to donate $3000 for educational needs for the abused women in Darfur.
This is a perfect example of how media can be used for social change. After talking to a few people I later realized many people ha watched the news and many were inspired to extend help to the needy. Therefore viewers self understanding gives inspiration and extends intellectual media production. This is a perfect example of how powerful an informed and self conscious producer can influence massive and intense social change.
The same documentary aired a story of how a normal man had read a book and was inspired to a massive piece of legislation passed through congress. Content read inspired him deeply to do whatever he could to help in positive ways. Also, the viewer understanding of what other people undergo all over the world was reported to be same reason why he chose to venture into social work. Conclusively, viewers are delegated with the responsibility of making informed decisions and discriminating the content they view on the media.
Interview with Producer
The media sector more specifically TV networks offer variety of entertainment platforms ranging from game shows, talk show, advertising, series and so much more. Its ability to serve capitalism in our society provides no constraints and it’s our full responsibility control what he hear and watch. Evidently, media drive audience desires and offer a lot of information without screening for truth. In this regard, I am obligated to take full responsibility of ensuring true and trusted information is passed on to the society. As a producer or user of media, I will use influence to direct the way producers and directors pass on information to the society.
Proactive action starts right from producers and not theatre’s owners and investor as they have the ability to influence change in media industry. In another interview Gunter Dux concluded “we have many options in society, but it is all in the same direction. It serve capitalism, our desire without control” (2010:1). His findings realized that little power cannot influence change needed in the society. He also adds that change has to come from everyone and since his little power can’t make the needed change, his professional skills that drove him to air documentary shows will influence the needed change. He used documentary shows as a viable alternative gain media success and change he so desperately yearned.
Gunter Dux main strategy of the documentary show ‘KonKonKon’ is to reflect on conflicts in our societies. Therefore, I will use the same strategy in helping create informative society that will facilitate better understanding of one another. The question however remains: to whom do I owe this? And do I any reason of doing this? The answer however lies in the motivation behind the strategy. And in this case, peace is of paramount important in my country and I plan to strategies on that.
The ‘KonKonKon’ show for example has specialized in its niche by concentrating solely on people’s lives. It presents an in depth analysis of what really goes on in societies without fabricating narrators information. By really concentrating on the homeless, disabled people, prostitute, the disadvantaged, the how brings a voice to the often neglected in the society. Gunter Dux documentary show has bridged the gap between the media and the society, an area often ignored by the public media. In essence, it would be difficult to know the less privileged exist among us when the media doe not put them in the spotlight.
Gunter Dux documentary show also highlights important educational aspect often ignored by major public media. For example the use homophone word ‘human’ forgotten by our alphabets is re-emphasized in the media. Once redefined and projected, people start realizing and reading the name on his show, and implying the meaning. The show invites guests to share their personal stories and let others know that they are ‘human’ and have value in the society as a whole.
In my new plan, I will document a creative story that prioritizes human life, exudes goodness, and incorporates purity and honesty of human history that will leave everlasting memory in the present public media. By good life I mean human life less restrains, suppressions and sufficiently expressing what human life is all about. My belief of humanity will be the driving theme behind my research and in selecting guest speakers who have the ability to influence and inspire viewers.
Using people who have the ability to inspire and transform people into the next Bill Gates will be my primary objective. The strategy here is that turning the cameras to famous, successful, and people with trouble past in the hope of telling their story is in itself a strategy of pulling massive crowds to my network. I will choose my guest with regard to their troubled past and how they have successfully come out of it, as a strategy to create good image on my network. I will also impose no conditions for my invited guests and chose to eliminate images upon request. My ‘humanity’ theme will be the driving force behind my team members and guests can chose to tell their stories wherever they are even it means telling it in microphones when driving or home interviews.
In delivering quality news, I will search for qualify person and use the audience as my main source of information. In this case comments and ratings from telephone conversations, letter, email, and face to face communication will be highly prioritized. Selecting suitable interview candidates will be given adequate consideration and follow up sessions to confirm the authenticity of the information given will be conducted.
Our primary role with be ‘watchers’ and report the information as it is, however my judgment of whether to air the information or not lies on the community moral obligations with I intend to adhere at all times. The position of a watcher is always challenging as I may be tempted to lend a helping hand to better the situation although this would interfere with the reported information. It is also feared that interfering with given information might distort and misrepresent the truth to the viewer. I value moral and ethic more than the production, but with regard to the network’s theme, I choose to keep on watching and reporting the story as it is.
My second strategy will include use of ‘drama’ as it’s evidenced to grab audience attention. Use of language skills, and adhering to ethical guideline in conducting our interviews will ne of primary importance at the end of the interview, I plan to ask the question …what can you do give and help the others? What are their purposes? What have they have done to help the less privileged persons? These questions will make the les interesting stories enjoyable and inspire viewers to lend a helping hand to the needy in the society. The dynamicity of the show will come from real life stories which do not need directing and script reading.
The documentary film will have a strong content aimed at catching audiences’ attention wherever they are. The questions asked at the end of the show will also be aimed at capturing and analyzing viewers raw thoughts intended to better the in society.
The aim of the show is to create understanding among people which I will always strive to accomplish. Of course not everyone will reconsider and questioning at the end of the show which but my strategy of throwing the ball to win their emotions, sympathy, and compassion while gaining inspiration from the show will be my winning strategy. I believe that the more I try to influence viewer to questioning themselves about their life, the more education I pass across and the more sympathy I plant in their minds and the more change I influence. With this into consideration, I project the show to be very successful soon the first program is aired as many will be moved to give back to the society.
Conclusively, media has the power to educate the public which depends entirely on my ability to create a change which I plan to pass on to my audiences. In order to impact massive achievement and success, my position as producer will include creating positive society perceptions through media. It is evidenced that influencing people to learn and develop their thought, sediment new knowledge and turn it into an action required active media participation.
Gunter Dux inspirations came from his active involvement in social work. He once stated “When I enter media industry, I try to relate to what I have seen in my career and to relate to what I can do to inspire change “(2010:1). He bases his achievement on ‘KonKonKon’ documentary a strong concept that clearly stages his purpose toward social justification. I however conclude in another of Gunter Dux inspirations that states “before I can search for another, I find myself. Before I can understand the others, I know myself. When I found myself and know who I am, I do what I believe it is the best” (2010:1).
Interview with the viewer
To learn more about how media affect viewers, I interviewed Christopher Cismowski. I asked him several questions about how media affected him in his life as an American, how it has shaped the way he lives his life, and organizes the way the he thinks. During the interview, I attempted to peer into the way media has affected his everyday thoughts and actions. I was interested in learning from a consumers point of view about what should I pursue in the business of media organization and production. We discussed many topics related to media and organizational tasking and thought. This will be short summery of the things that we talked about and the avenues we explored.
The first thing that I asked him about was what type of visual media he watched and why. He responded that as an American he is cautious of what he watches and learns or absorbs as a consumer. I found it interesting that he was actually thoughtful about what he took from the media he watched. He told me that as a child he mainly watched television programs like the Discovery Channel and the History Channel but as an adult he enjoys more unique shows from other countries and American comedies, but still keeps to his roots. He told me that as an adult viewer, one of the most influential shows that he watches is The Daily Show with John Stewart shown on the Comedy Central network and documentaries on social issues. I asked him how he thought these shows affected his outlook and everyday life.
He began by informing me of the ways The Daily Show had affected the way he viewed American media and thought. He told me that he was actually introduced to The Daily Show through a sociology professor and it had educated him about the fallacies of American media. He told me that he once saw a Daily Show episode with a BBC who essentially said that the international media saw American media as a joke.
He told me that his professor had showed him statistics that basically stated that you can get more information from watching 30 minutes of The Daily Show than you can get from 2 hours of CNN. He also gave me an example of one of the problems in American media. He told me that this professor pointed out that when the events of 911 happened and the Twin Towers fell, CNN showed 92 minutes of uninterrupted television.
In contrast, when Anna Nicole Smith died they showed 97 minutes of uninterrupted television. We also talked about how the media reports what they want. I was able to relate to this point because during the riots in Thailand, we would see reports on CNN, then call our families in Thailand and hear completely different stories. He informed me that this educated him about how to actually interpret the media that he consumes and to watch out for false media communications. After that, we began to talk about the different documentaries that he watched and how they had affected his way of thinking and what actions he had taken after viewing these media.
We talked for quite some time about the different programs he had watched and how they affected him. For example, a documentary about animal rights made him become a vegan and communicate the importance of health and animal rights. It really began to show me the truth about how media can communicate to people and affect the way they live their lives. The documentary that we talked about the most and had caught my eye was on the war torn country of Darfur, Africa. He began to tell me how much it moved him in so many ways and how it had inspired him to change himself. The main part of the story that influenced him was the part of the movie where an average man had made a huge difference in people’s lives. This had changed his idea of what he could and could not do for the world around him.
He began to slowly change himself and his life to help people around him as much as he could by raising money for organizations and charities that help people in far away places. He told me that he wanted me to understand that it was not a religious vision or epiphany, but a simple spiritual shift as a result of communication from a one hour movie. This was the perfect example of how the media uses communicative competence responsibly to change people and the way they look at life so I asked him what was it exactly about these documentaries that change him so deeply and how producers could use these techniques in media to affect people in the same way.
We started with the animal rights video first, because I wanted to know if it was the narration, the information, or perhaps the visuals that had the most impact. Chris responded that is was combination of both, but in particular the variety of new information and the visuals of the media itself. He said a large part of its success was the educational value of new information presented. It had showed him factual information that he never knew, because typical media had left him less informed. He said that he had read a few books that had also made an impact by persuading him to eat less meat from time to time, but never really having a lasting effect.
He said the combination of valuable information and visual media is what made such a lasting effect. He said one of the first things he saw was the way the live pets are disposed at animal shelters by stuffing them into large containers so full of the people had to jump on the dogs just to fit them in and then they were gased for 20 minutes until they died. He told me about the way that they slaughtered animal livestock and how they died so horribly that he will never forget the look of pain and fear in their eyes as they bled to death. This film was also informative about leather and fur and how animals were skinned alive to preserve the flesh. Instead of killing them, they would simply allow them to die on the floor without releasing them from their pain.
The Darfur film had a similar affect on him. He told me that although he had heard reports and read about the genocide there, in the movie he was able to see the expressions on people’s faces and hear first-hand accounts of families being murdered and torn apart, and women that had been repeatedly raped by army soldiers when they would leave to get water. The film showed entire villages that had been wiped out by government forces and video of these villages with the bones of women, men and even children rotting and bleached in the African desert sun.
He told me he will never forget the tears that fell from one small boy’s eyes who said he had to watch as a soldier raped and murdered his mother. As I felt sadness listening to these and other stories, it occurred to me that one of the main things that had influenced such changes in his life among others was the way that it can pull and tug at one’s heart. The way that you did not think was possible. It not only communicated a problem to the viewer, but explained how you could actually do something about it.
The two essential ingredients of promoting social action was to show people the social change in which you wish to convey with great compassion and offer ways for the viewer to make those changes. He also told me that since he had seen these films he took the knowledge that was communicated to him and was inspired to find ways to pass it along to other people around him.
I really felt that this had truly captured the essence of what I was looking for as a perfect example to support the point I was attempting to make. It offers proof that if producers have self knowledge and a strong sense of moral values, they can use competent communication to convey a powerful message to viewers and cause effective and lasting social change locally and globally. I once heard the famous quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” (2010). While the journey of making social change may be long, it can begin by taking the first step of self-discovery.
Interview results supported our primary analysis that media is positively correlated with information exchange, visions and goal orientation, creating and sharing as well as commenting and rating. Viewers’ perception regarding their perception of the content they view and read which has helped as understand the importance of communication and how it leads to social change. This brought us to the conclusion that media practices must be carefully utilized to reach overall society’s success.
Studies described communication through media as a key success factor in well being of any society. It linked information exchange, vision and goal communication and highlighted rating and commenting as the most critical aspects of the society in ensuring communication effectiveness.
Data are presented in the context of developing social change. In particular, media for social change establishes the framework and rational of conceptual framework to the research. It discuses the unique characteristics media has on producers, viewers and content that makes it an important agent of social change. The article also analyses various social changes such as information exchange, creating and sharing, vision and goals communication as well as posting comments where appropriate. This analysis concludes with a discussion of social change as a network that encourages competent communication and argues audiences to engage in public realms. In essence consumers are active and vibrant user of the media and have the ability to change the negative aspects of the community.
As a consumer of media you need to and naturally relate your own life to the media you are consuming and make create an educated opinion on the meaning of this media and how to use and express your new knowledge in a positive and creative way. The fact that consumers use there life experience to relate to media is no secret to the creators of this art. They will use this knowledge to attract and influence the audience pulling and tugging on our most personal and deepest thoughts and feelings.
For instance advertisers understand that people have deep desires to be astrictive and beautiful so they will put astrictive and beautiful people in there adds to express the subliminal idea that by using there product you to can be beautiful. Major news corporations use there influence and power to change peoples points of view by reporting opinions as fact rather then just opinion. Movies and music can tell stories that pull and tug on our hearts creating social awareness to a greater problem in society.
Causing the audience to care and understand the problems of people that is they had not seen that movie or heard that song they may never known about. “The reader belongs to both the experiential horizon of the work imaginatively, and the horizon of his action concretely” (430-431). Meaning that the audience relates and interacts itself with the work or story thru imagination and thought but they will also use these new ideas and perspectives in there everyday lives in a permanent and concrete way.
Allowing the audience to consume the information and digest it there own individual way. The way that the audience interprets the information is unique to each person and what one may see as a positive and influential peace of art that they will carry with them another person may see as negative and false information that they need not reflect to much about. The best way for a audience to be influence in the most positive way is for the audience to be educated on the topics and ideas and be educated in there daily lives. This is how mass media is able to influence society in so many ways using it for a positive growth and sharing of knowledge. Stories are not just told but lived in the imaginary mode.
Constantly mixing imaginary and reality into a perfect balance using the insight of a story told fictional has a way of making us make informed decisions in life. Learning to allow aspects of the media influences us and using our imagination to make positive social change. Learning to understand yourself and the world around you thru others stories as well as your own. Being a creator or producer of art it is also good to have a complete understanding of the self having expressed your inmost thoughts and feeling to share with world can be therapeutic and very powerful.
Being conscious of the influence you may have on others thru your imagination and media is utmost importance and much more important that just making money. Of all the things in the history the one thing that seems to last, influence and inspire in timeless ways is the imagination of the past expressed thru art although ideas, beliefs and opinions my die and no longer be valid they can be seen, expressed and influenced thru the art of the time.
People look to art in media to develop opinions and ideas looking up to the artist the fallow and reflecting there influence in there own lives. Art and story telling art is that of the creator of the art but the meaning of this art is truly that of the audience of the art. The Author or producer of the media is responsible for the message that reaches the audience and creating clear and memorable moment for the audience should be considered. The ability to see your imagination and use in apply to reality and understanding the harmony between art and reality in people and society, not to sell or propagandize but use there creative influence in media to invite viewers to participate in social development together is an art and unique quality in itself. Seldom seen or found in today’s media but needed.
Media has allowed us to become closer to each using the universal communication of art to reduce the distance between us and giving us a better understanding of each other. When one may have believed that people of different background or beliefs are wrong or falsely guided in life can see a media expression of those people’s ideas and beliefs through art can see that they are just like them.
Allowing them to relate to the people in there lives and sees that they are just the same as them but in different situations and environments making them empathetic to the other life and situation. The effects of the interpretation the art by the audience affect both the consumer and the creator. If the art is interpreted the way that creator imagined it then the effect will be just as they had hoped further enforcing the idea that we can influence lives thru media. If it is interpreted in a different way then the intentions of the creator lost.
They say that “Knowledge is power” and knowledge is as important of imagination. Imagination influences knowledge in the most powerful way. In fact Einstien once stated “imagination is more important than knowledge”. I believe that the true meaning of this statement is as said. That although people may see things like architecture, technology, medicine and human development as science and not a product of art or imagination that in fact it is all a product of imagination.
One hundred years ago the idea that we could build building that touched the sky would have been ridiculous and would never happen was wrong. But thru the imagination of human kind engineers and architects took the chance and created such things. If you said fifty years ago that one day you would be able to view the whole world through a small glass window (Cell phone and computer) or that you could visually communicate with someone on the other side of the world you would have been ridiculed and seen as a liar and fool. But because of the imagination of others and the courage to take the chance to experiment and believe these things are now realities.
In a world that if you became sick meant that you would die and there was nothing that could be done. The human mind imagined a way to prevent and cure the most incurable conditions. All of these things witch are a fact of our everyday lives would never of been possible without the creative imagination of the artist that took the chance to explore the deepest dreams of the human mind. “Imagination is the foundationless foundation of our ‘knowledge of all things.
It is blind spot of truth which enables us to see things as identifiable objects without itself being seen. It is the invisible source of our vision: that makes the world possible” (1998: 53). Imagination is the therapeutic medicine that allows man kind to grow and develop making the world and its many painful realities a livable place. Making it possible for us to live and grow in a world of uncertainty.
One of the most powerful parts of our imagination is the ‘fusion of horizon’ the discovery of something within yourself and the mind that provide a pure and new understanding of reality. Some may call it the ‘aha moment’. This moment is essential to the progress of humanity it expressed imagination that is converted into reality and the key to the future. These moments are not recorded or defined but forever felt and integrated into the fabric of society.
We develop and grow on these moments and change the course of history by following these feeling to reality. Imagination is the driving influence in our lives. Our imagination allows us not to be confined by rules or opinions, laws or expectations but allows us to see the world and our future in an infinite realm of possibilities.
The idea that we can live and prosper a peaceful life and society is a dream and at that same time a reality essential to our existence. Imagination is the key to this dream forever influencing and defining the reality of the human condition. Allowing us to perceive and interpret life in the way it was meant to be seen. Imagination allows us to create the realty that we truly deserve. “It is the imaginative capacity to see unity-in-difference and difference-in-unity witch opens up the possibility of a genuine utopian horizon of shared aspirations mobilizing human beings to action”( 1998: 227). By using our imagination and creative qualities without restriction or radical we can begin to fully utilize the power and blessing of the human mind.
The idea of it cannot be done or cannot be possible is wiped away like the dust blown off a book that has not been read in ages. Thru media and art we will use our imagination to educate and fertilize the seeds of growth in our society. The responsibility of the audience to interpret is a great as the creator of the imaginative art and media. In summary, the creation, the final product, the interpretation, the reaction and the final outcome of the project are all equally important. As a race and people we have an opportunity to imagine a better world and a opportunity to turn that dream into a reality. Mankind has dreamed of a utopian world where all live in harmony and peace with one another. If man is ever to reach such a place it will be thru the power of imagination.
In the end the true point of this paper is to express the idea that is all of our responsibility whether we are the creator, the audience or the one in between to use our imagination and knowledge to make our world a better place and end the suffering in this world. Art is one of the few things that we can all understand and communicate with and imagination is the roots of this thing we call art.
The responsibility of the media to act as an avenue for social change has been ignored for several years when various TV shows have presented various programs to serve capitalism. In this way, information is conveyed to the audience without engaging the audience in the production of those shows and hence these shows normally serve the purpose of entertainment but ignore the important part of transforming the society. When the audiences are involved in the production of these programs, the content of these programs will affect the audience directly or indirectly and hence capable of changing their way of thinking or attitudes on certain issues that affect our society such as challenging racism (Alia, 2004).
The responsibility to transform the society socially therefore lies on the producers and the users of these shows and not the owners or the investors of these media avenues. The role of the users will be to influence the producers while the producers’ role is to produce and direct these shows for the society. The producer therefore should use his or her professional skills to produce for the society. However, he or she cannot make a great impact alone and therefore has to involve everyone in the society.
As stated by Bartkowiak (2009), the possibility of changing our society through TV shows depends on the involvement of the society just like in other media like the newspapers and magazines. One of the ways of ensuring that every one in the society is involved is to focus on documentary shows. Unlike other programs that mainly follow the commercial pattern, documentary shows are capable of transforming our society as well as achieving success in media entertainment business (Yadav, 2004).
A television show that promotes a better understanding of each other in the society is the one that is capable of transforming that society. Better understanding is vital for resolving social conflicts among different groups in the society. ‘’Konkonkon is a documentary of life of ‘’no body’’. This show presents different individuals in depth and reflects the conflicts in the society.
No body here means people who are homeless, disabled persons, prostitutes, and other disadvantaged people in the society who are often forgotten in the society and that’s the reason the show named them nobody. Most of the public media have no room for this people as they assume that they do not exist since there is no show that focuses mainly on them to show that they exist. This show involves presentation of someone’s everyday life and how the person goes on expressing personality, individual traits and character rather than suppressing them to adopt a role (Nichols, 2010).
The name of the show itself is very important as it tells from the first insight what the show entails and therefore one is able to reflect what probably is in the show. This show is important for the society since it gives these challenged people an opportunity to present their case over the media that has often ignored them. This takes place through their participation as guests in these shows. They have an opportunity to share their story in the society and to let others know that they are ‘’human’’ a value as a part of this society.
The search for these guests are very important since the guest that will appear in this kind of show has a greater impact on the audience. The guest should therefore be a role model to nobody person. They should also be people who are able to testify their stories freely without any condition or favoritism of any manner. This person has to be one who had transformed from nobody to somebody for him to be qualified as a guest and as a role model. In this way these people are able to use the media as a propaganda tool to represent themselves and from their stories they are able to inspire and transform the society.
Once a theme has been developed, the searches for the guests begin. This can be done through moving within the society informing people about the topic and the people come and that’s when the qualified person is chosen. The qualified people are also got from the audiences of this particular show through their comments about the show. The activities of these people are therefore watched and the project may take even a whole year. This is very important to ensure the content of that particular show is as accurate as possible. In this way the show presents a real life story telling by the guest without directing.
This kind of show has the effects of transforming the way of thinking of several audiences as most of them will be asking themselves questions that they answer themselves while others will be sympathizing with the quests hence they get inspired. It also highlights the notion of the public and how popular genres are connected in the society (Hill, 2007). This is very important for the social change.
It is also true that when the audiences are frequently subjected to questioning their lives, they learn and quickly fix the knowledge into their minds and therefore helps them change their mind after watching the show. This may be racism or even segregation that is affecting the society. Documentary TV shows has therefore moved from those days that they reflected the uncertainties and tensions of the modern world (Chapman, 2009).
This shows that the participation of the audiences, the guests and the quality of the quests are very important for the producer of this show and hence the participation of everyone in the process is the key to success of the show in transforming the society. What is important here for the producer is therefore to enable the society develop new thought, sediment new knowledge and put this particular knowledge into action. This then results to the change in the society thinking and attitudes concerning certain issues in the society.
The focus in the media therefore should be to transform the society and not mainly commercialize the shows just for self gaining. We should think about the society that we live in and ask ourselves who will clean our house for us or do we leave our own house dirty and proceed to clean others. It is important to note that even though we may be making a lot of profit the society may not be at peace and we should always do what we think is the best.
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