Savannah Landerholm and Apple TV

By Malory Green

Last year, Savannah Landerholm began writing a paper, she had no idea it would expose her to a completely new technology, one that would affect her everyday life.

Savannah’s paper was on Apple TV. Now, for anyone who has no idea what Apple TV is, (I didn’t before Savannah’s presentation) I’ll break it down a little bit. Apple TV connects all the user’s devices in one wireless box that will come together to show up on the user’s television. There are no wires or USB cords involved, and people who do not have other apple products can still sync their phones and computers with a simple app download.

An example of an Apple TV box and remote

An example of an Apple TV box and remote

Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, “that sounds cool but not worth $100.” Well, if that was all Apple TV did, you’d be right. It also allows you the opportunity to access Netflix and other apps to download virtually any show you want to watch. If you allow two weeks, you can watch these shows for free or you can pay a small fee to see them the night they air.

If you’re a news junkie, you might be wondering how the news would be relevant two weeks after it aired. Apple TV has thought of this as well and provides apps that the user can download to see that day’s reports. Many people use this type of feature for sports as well.

Thanks to Apps, Apple TV can access news as well

Savannah used a focus group as part of her content analysis and the consensus was that Apple TV was worth it. All of them said they would use it again and many of them use it as a substitute for cable. People are constantly looking to Apple to come out with the newest products and they are not alone in the alternative TV market at this point but they are certainly ahead of their competition. Apple believers are among those who flock to use Apple TV as a viable alternative for cable but they are not alone.

Representing the Cable vs. Apple TV debate

Students tend to use it as a substitute for cable, so that they don’t have to pay the monthly fee and the cost is much cheaper in the long run. People with more stable income generally supplement their existing cable with it in the same manner one might use a DVR except it also syncs to their devices.

One of Savannah’s focus group participants said that she lives alone and doesn’t like quiet so she uses it to constantly have a background of noise at her apartment and to play music for dinner parties. Others also noted that it made sharing videos easier than crowding around a computer as the devices are synced.
The only downsides seem to be if one regularly has shows that they would not want to hear the outcome of before they watched. If someone doesn’t have two weeks to wait for the show to post, they might fear spoilers. Another downside is that Netflix doesn’t have every show, however it seemed that the user could find whatever they wanted through the TV.

How can this be legal? Well, I had the same question. It seems too good to be true but it is 100% legal. The only legality issues are with ones that are “jail-broken” meaning they have access to shows immediately and virtually everything available, unhindered by traditional restrictions. Those will be made illegal beginning in 2015, though so it remains to be seen how that will affect those who already have them.

Overall, Apple TV sounds like a wonderful idea for the person who has cable but really can’t afford it, or the person who routinely watches multiple episodes of a show and prefers the bigger screen of the television. The upfront cost hardly seems daunting in the face of a year-long cable contract.
Savannah now utilizes Apple TV as a replacement for cable and had nothing but glowing reviews.

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Research: A Graduate Student’s Perspective

By Tonya B. Lewis

In this week’s Theory of Mass Communication class, international journalism graduate student, Savanah Landerholm spoke about the research project she conducted in the Research Methods in Mass Communication class last year.

The Research
Apple TVAfter receiving  an Apple TV device with the purchase of a laptop and seeing a gap in the scholarly literature on the topic, Savanah decided to conduct her research on the device.  Savanah’s project focused on the emerging use of Apple TV, which allows users to stream photos, music, movies and TV  seamlessly on their television using their mobile device, laptop or tablet. For the basis of her project, Savanah combined lens of uses and gratification theory in an effort to gauge users satisfaction and various uses of Apple TV. She employed a six-person focus group who were rewarded with food for their participation.

Savanah Landerholm, Michelle Rava, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Liz Cohen, Claire Fournon and Danielle Brown presented their research at the 2013 AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Norman, Okla.

Savanah Landerholm, Michelle Rava, Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Liz Cohen, Claire Fournon and Danielle Brown presented their research at the 2013 AEJMC Midwinter Conference in Norman, Okla.

From her study, she was able to deduce that Apple TV owners used their devices for five specific reasons such as for entertainment, convenience, cost-effectiveness, brand loyalty and because it was cutting edge. Savanah also noted that most people used their device for two to three hours a day. She was able to present her findings at the 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s  Midwinter Conference.

My Thoughts

As I sat listening to Savanah recount her research, methods and findings, I gained more clarity on how to conduct legitimate research.  It was great to hear about research from a current graduate student’s perspective. Hearing her recall how she recruited participants and how she brainstormed to develop her research idea, I believe will prove useful as I gear up for my research. Her topic opened my mind up to other research possibilities and interests, and it inspired and encouraged me  to submit my own research article to a journal once it is completed. It’s one thing to read an ambiguous textbook or journal article on theories and research and then to hear firsthand from someone who completed their  project well. It makes a lasting impression.

I found Savanah’s presentation very interesting, and I loved the discourse it stimulated in the classroom. (By the way, I am debating on buying an Apple TV device this weekend.) As someone who enjoys learning about new technology and its uses, her topic had me engaged. I hope to engender the same types of reactions to my research one day.

Team Work: Studying the Steubenville High School Rape Case

A photo montage of various TV interviews where the subjects express sympathy for the Steubenville rapists and not for their 16-year-old victim.

A photo montage of various TV interviews where the subjects express sympathy for the Steubenville rapists and not for their 16-year-old victim.

By Tonya B. Lewis

This semester, my Theory of Mass Communication class will work together and explore framing of the Steubenville rape case by analyzing print, broadcast and online publications.

The team paper is a collaboration between Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Sara Stone, Ph.D. and this year’s journalism graduate student cohort.

The Project
The preliminary framework for the paper has been outlined. Although, it is early in the process, I believe a solid, analytical paper has been created that will further scholarship and add to the existing body of work in the area of framing, especially dealing with rape, gender issues and race.

Tweet of CNN Coverage

The public used social media to openly chastise media outlets for coverage of the Steubenville rape case.

Personally, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to such a paper on a topic that I feel personally connected. With the increase of rape cases, most notably, a similar case at Vanderbilt University, there is a need to examine the media’s coverage of the issue. For instance, in the case, of an 11-year-old rape victim in Cleveland, Texas, the media’s coverage, specifically The New York Times framing of the case, ignited furor leading to the media becoming part of the story. This example underscores the need for more research on the media’s coverage of rape cases. As part of the research, I will be responsible for reviewing print media, and I am curious to see what trends, patterns and frames emerge. Currently, the research focuses on three frames associated with rape and violence towards women-“victim blaming, mob mentality (hypermasculinity) and race.” We need to incorporate additional research studies in the three areas to discover what has been the consistently evident in media coverage.

Footage from the night of the Steubenville rape that was shared on social media that ultimately alerted the victim of the assault that occurred. These images and video where later used by police as evidence.

Footage from the night of the Steubenville rape that was shared on social media that ultimately alerted the victim of the assault that occurred. These images and video where later used by police as evidence.

Thoughts of the Victim
In reading all of the literature and coverage of the Steubenville rape case, I cannot help but wonder about the 16-year-old victim. She has been criticized by the public, has seen images of her rape casually shared via text message and email like a friendly emoticon and has been mostly marginalized and omitted in most media coverage.  I wonder if she knew about our study, what would she think? What sort of emotions would it conjure for her? Would she hope that our findings would change how rape and rape victims are covered in the news?  Does she even care? Or,  has she just simply tried to move forward and focus on her future?

As for me, I hope this research is celebrated for its scholarly contribution to academia, but more importantly, I hope it causes members of the media to be conscious of what and how they report on rape cases.

Thoughts on Our Team Paper

By Malory Green

After reading the abstract of our team paper, I have a greater understanding of where our research will be heading. I am actually looking forward to searching broadcast news archives in order to provide the future readers with a greater understanding of the media slants that unfortunately circled this event.

cable-news-logos

The abstract also raises some exceptional points about framing and the media agenda. The example about Hurricane Katrina is an excellent examples of this. One media outlet covers it as a faux pas on the part of the people who lived in New Orleans who were more horrendously affected than they should have been based on their refusal to leave the city during a natural disaster that they knew would be catastrophic while another paints the governement as a seperated entity that hid behind their desks in Washington while thousands of people suffered from lack of assistance. My heart breaks at both of these representations of the event because I don’t believe it was an either/or situation. I believe that journalists have a responsibility to present both sides, particularly in a case such as this where both sides have merit.

katrina 1 katrina 2

The picture on the left communicates people who were seemingly left out to dry (literally and figuratively) and the utter devastation that surrounded the situation while the right shows military personnel taking a very active role and makes one wonder why the people were still there in the first place while some people (perhaps the elderly person above) simply could not leave.

There are many other examples within the abstract that would also be great examples of the different ways that media frame events, particularly in regard to race and gender stereotypes but I thought this to be one of the most powerful.

Dr. Moody instructed me to voice how I was feeling about the project in regard to the paper and I feel that in the interest of integrity I must voice a few concerns. The abstract is well written and certainly conveys the point but possesses a clear feminist slant. This could possibly be unavoiable in an article with this type of objective but I thought it was worth mentioning. Furthermore, the discussion about Bennett and Edelman might need futher elaboration when the actual article is written. Absolutely, their point is true about most American news outlets but there are world news organizations that are so unbiased at times that it is impossible to discern their personal feelings on the matter. Another spot that sparked concern was the citation of Byerly’s study in 1999 about feminist presence in newsrooms sparking the shift in rape coverage. It’s an excellent point but I think it is definitely in need of elaboration in the actual article as it seems to suggest that one must be a feminist in order to be compassionate in rape cases. This is not necessarily true. The last was the mob mentality section’s highlighting of fraternities and athletes. Absolutely, it is a prevalent part of news today and an excellent point but I think that other groups of men should be highlighted as well (i.e. gangs).

All in all, I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to work on a paper that is going to be submitted for publication, particularly one that is such a touchy subject that needs to be brought out into the open. I think the research for this study will be instrumental in practicing for future research.

Dr. Marlene Neill’s Presentation on Research

By Ben Murray

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Last Tuesday, Dr. Marlene Neill, an assistant professor of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University, visited our Mass Communication Theory class to share her ideas on scholarly research.  Dr. Neill studies Public Relations and its influence on the ethics and functionality of the workplace.  She highlighted papers she wrote titled, “Beyond the C Suite” and “PR Professionals as Organizational Conscience,” which were published last year.

Dr. Neill also provided the class with useful and interesting information regarding the research and writing of an academic research article.  She addressed one of the most difficult parts of writing a paper: choosing a topic.   Her first piece of advice was to read journal articles that interest you. Most importantly, focus on the conclusion of the articles.  It is in the conclusion section, that authors will offer suggestions for future research and list other areas within the subject matter that need further study.

“If anything, reading other journal articles could spark a new idea and take your research in a completely different direction,” Neill said.

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Steubenville Rape Case-Justice

By Malory Green

Dr. Sara Stone, chair of the Department of Journalism, PR & New Media at Baylor University, visited our communication theory class Tuesday to discuss media ethics and the Steubenville Ohio rape case that we’ll be doing our team paper on this semester. Stone emphasized the fine line between journalists being compassionate to the victim and presenting all sides of the news story while being objective. Deciding whether a story is worth it is one of the primary questions of a journalist.

One of the handouts Dr. Stone gave us highlighed the fact that talking to a journalist could even be cathartic to some victims. As per the Society of Professional Journalsts (SPJ) code of ethics, news often serves to give a voice to the voiceless. Our societal norms and even specific laws of victim confidentiality are done with the best of intentions and are probably the best way to handle a situation devoid of a perfect solution. In an effort to protect victims, journalists often take their voice away and leave them feeling helpless and damaged. Victims, particularly young ones, often don’t know they have the choice to do something more.

As a journalist, I believe one should never allow a story to become more important than an individual. It is similar to the oath to “do no harm” that medical professionals ascribe to.

do no harm

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Privacy, Rape and the Media

By: Tonya B. Lewis

Sara Stone, Ph.D., interim chair of the journalism, public relations and new media department spoke to my Theory of Mass Communication class today and delved into privacy issues, ethics and the media using examples of various rape cases in the United States and India.

The Media’s Responsibility in Covering Rape Cases
As part of Dr. Stone’s facilitated discussion, she provided several articles for us to review. A quote from one editorial said:

Unlike in India, [U.S.] media is not talking about the ‘why.’ Why are there systems in place that allow rape to be committed over and over again in this country? Why are boys raised to think that rape with an unconscious woman can possibly be considered sex?”

Dr. Stone poised a provocative question: Is it true that American boys are raised this way?

To which (each in our own way), we vehemently replied, “No!” But, the class admitted that a mob mentality coupled with alcohol and immaturity can create a volatile mix.

Protestors create signs advocating for the end of violence against women in New Delhi, India.

Protestors create signs advocating for the end of violence against women in New Delhi, India.

One article we read provided several tips to journalists covering rape cases that I found very poignant. Senior faculty member at Poynter Al Tompkins quoted Poytner’s Kelly McBride who advised journalists to “use clear language when reporting on a rape” as to avoid “sanitizing the language” by treating victims as “actors.” Tompkins writes, “We say, for instance, that a young girl ‘performed an oral sex act,’ rather than: ‘He forced his genitals into her mouth.'” In Tompkins example, the first description makes it sound as if the victim is a willing participant who chose to act or perform versus being forced into an act against her will.

I found this nugget of information from McBride to be one of the most important factors for journalists to consider when reporting on rape cases. We tend to prefer euphemism to harsh truths, and I think that unintentionally it helps to foster and cultivate a rape culture that send the message that rape isn’t that bad, especially if it wasn’t a “violent” rape. It’s not that I want the horrid details of a rape laid out in black-and-white on the front page of the news. I just want rape to be referred to properly and not with some watered down language such as assault, “digital penetration,” sex without consent, or sexual intercourse.

McBride also warns journalists against victim blaming, providing “salacious details about sexual assaults” and describing non-consensual sex as rape.

Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.  About 20 other demonstrators stood outside the justice center with signs and masks protesting the rape trial of Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, accused of of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August of 2012. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Lisa DeJong)

Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. About 20 other demonstrators stood outside the justice center with signs and masks protesting the rape trial of Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, accused of of raping a 16-year-old West Virginia girl in August of 2012. (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Lisa DeJong)

Ethics and Privacy
In this day in age with power of social media, Dr. Stone contends that there is no such thing as privacy anymore, and I tend to agree. On a whim, people can take information and pictures and share it quickly and publicly. After all, it was videos and images shared on social media that alerted the Steubenville victim and her parents of her rape, which helped them have evidence to present to police.

New Delhi vs. Steubenville
In a Poynter article titled, “Why journalists are covering rapes differently in New Delhi & Steubenville,” Mallary Jean Tenore examines our outrage over the vicious attack against a young woman in New Delhi juxtaposed against our sympathizing with the attackers of the 16-year-old girl in Steubenville. Tenore also examines the portrayal of the victims. The woman in New Delhi was humanized and her narrative included “what her hopes and aspirations were, what she had accomplished at a young age, and how hard she worked to pay for her education.” The media coverage of the Ohio teen focused on what happened to her and “less on who she is as a person.”

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