Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

Thoughts on Preliminary Findings

Kids in Steubenville are in some serious need of social technology education. First, the boys film and post the video to all realm of social media. Second, kids comment and tweet about it, some even threatening the victim. Third, the victim allegedly sends a text message to the perpetrator and says that she knows he didn’t rape her.

What are they thinking?

You would think that they would get the message (due to the thousands of cases in which this type of technological ignorance has landed teens like themselves in tons of trouble) by now to keep it off the internet and off their phones. If the United States possesses the ability to detonate a bomb 7,000 miles away with the push of a button, do we not think they have the ability to read our text messages? Come on, our parents have the ability to do that.

This is what has been on my mind since Tuesday, and it’s something that came up over and over again in the blogs I was coding. There’s a growing movement in schools to impose some sort of technological education program and I am all for it. Kids need to know that they are digging their own graves (so to speak) when they post this type of thing. If we can just get them to think before they post, this type of thing wouldn’t happen.

 

But I digress. After all, this case isn’t about technological ignorance. The victim would still be a victim regardless of whether or not one word had ever been posted online. They are two different issues but one cannot separate. We wouldn’t know about this case if it were not for the indiscretions of a few teenagers. The boys probably wouldn’t be in jail. The victim would be just that, a victim, not a household idea (I say idea because we do not know her name, no thanks to FOX). In fact, she wouldn’t even know what exactly happened if it had not been posted.

After discussing our findings, I am grateful for a few things. One, it doesn’t seem as though the victim was framed too harshly or even at all. In all the blogs I coded, she was addressed as a 16 year old girl, a victim, etc. None every made her out to be anything but what she is, despite the mistakes she made that night that put her in the situation from the beginning. The boys carried it out and they are the ones who should and are being punished but this is another education issue that can and should be addressed. Have a plan, girls. Don’t rely on boys to be gentlemen because if Steubenville is any indication, they won’t be.

I’m also grateful that they named it rape, though her text message certainly poses some question to that effect. When I was coding, one of the scenes that continued to be described over and over again was the verdict coming down and Richmond collapsing into the arms of his attorney. He understood, in that moment, that he was going to be held responsible for his actions.

steubenville 3This picture is clear justice and heartbreaking at the same time. This 17 year old kid has been informed that his crime is recognized for what it is and he is going to be punished. He will be forever placed on the National Sex Offender Registry. He will be ostracized, placed in juvenile detention, and forever defined by his actions. The technology in this case is something to be thankful for, as the verdict could be delivered with little question. However, in the days before all of the technology, I do wonder how this case would have gone differently given all the same facts and evidence.

After receiving the information for our coding, reading the blogs and trying to piece together what actually happened, one thing is clear. There is much that we don’t know about this case; and I believe we will continue to learn things that will surprise us. The boys are on the National Sex Offender Registry for life, the victim is trying to heal from a traumatic event that she doesn’t remember (probably making it even worse), adults are being charged for acting like children and “not telling,” and the poor investigators on this case are trying to get through it all.

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Thoughts on Team Paper

By Malory Green

The team paper on the Steubenville rape case has been the cause of a good deal of controversy in our classroom and in my own mind. The questions we’ve been dealing with range from the actions of the girl, to the actions of the media, to whether or not it should even be termed rape. The question of rape vs. molestation has perhaps been the biggest source of questioning and I’ll paraphrase how Tonya put it so well in an effort to communicate my feelings on the matter.

Essentially, Tonya’s view is that these boys have a better understanding of rape than I did at their age, perhaps even as I do now. They called it rape on all sorts of social media and therefore had full and conscious knowledge of what they were doing.

Another idea that comes into my mind, particularly as I read the blogs that have been written on the matter, is whether or not the media did more harm than good in this situation. As someone who wants to one day join the ranks of mass media, to be a watchdog for the wrong and celebrate the right in the world, what is my role? Where do I need to stand on issues like this? NBC and CNN seemed to be making an attempt (albeit misguided) at unbiased journalism but the public was outraged. Where is the line between things that are absolutely wrongs against humanity and things that have more than one side?

steubenville steubenville 2

The above pictures represent the different ideas people have. Granted, the one on the left is not victim blaming but it represents the idea that these boys are all around good boys. They’re dressed well, they look remorseful. The look like young boys who are simply terrified about what’s going to happen in their lives. It plays to everyone’s (including my) sympathy. The other picture represents the outrage surrounding such shots.

What makes this paradox so disturbing is the fact that it doesn’t only represent the media’s point of view. Everyone is baffled by this case as our sympathies are torn by the fact that we believe something was taken from that girl (whether you believe it’s rape or not, her dignity was certainly taken) but at the same time, compassion surfaces for the fact that those boys’ lives are ruined.

What they did was wrong. That’s it. Wrong. They should be punished, and I am so happy they are receiving sentences for their crime. So, while part of me is outraged at the act they committed for the sake of that girl and the principle of human kindness but a small part of me also wonders how much of that the boys realized they were doing, particularly in their inebriated state. It’s not an excuse for them, it’s not a request for a lighter sentence-it is simply a sadness all around for the situation.

As far as our research goes, I’ve found a good many blog articles on the topic. Over half seem to be regular bloggers whose opinions on legal matters are well respected, while about 30% are professionals. The theme and tone of these blogs tends to be outrage-outrage at the boys, outrage at the adults who should have been there, outrage at the adults who covered it up, outrage at the media for how they handled it. In my case, its outrage and heartbreak at the situation as a whole.

It’s baffling that the broadcast outlets don’t have anything regarding the case on their sites, it makes one wonder what they’re attempting to hide. The only thing I was able to uncover with broadcast was the fact that Serena Williams made a good many people angry. Of course, then there’s Maria Sharapova who had to chime in on the issue.

serena

I’m sure I should have talked more about the actual research involved, but this case isn’t statistics. It isn’t hard data that I can just analyze and project my theories on to. It’s a human being, it’s three human beings. My research is going well, the blogs posted on the subject range in relevance but are so numerous that it hardly matters. The only difficulty in the project for me at this moment (other than the difficulty finding broadcast media outlets) is reconciling the case itself. That’s what I’m struggling with, and I know we’re all equally disturbed.

Struggle well, friends.

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.

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.

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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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Dr. Neill: PR, Marketing, and Research

Research being carried out at the Microscopy l...

Quantitative Research being carried out at the Idaho National Microscopy Lab: http://www.facebook.com/idahonationallaboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. Marlene Neill, an assistant professor of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media at Baylor University, spoke to our Mass Communication Theory class Tuesday about trends in scholarly research.

Dr. Neill is a Public Relations specialist who has worked in the field as well as academia in the capacity of professor and researcher. She discussed two papers that she either authored or co-authored. In addition to discussing the specific papers she wrote, she also discussed the process of getting a paper published and presenting it at a conference, as academia is becoming increasingly research oriented.

One of the major distinctions Dr. Neill discussed within research is whether or not the project is quantitative or qualitative research. Quantitative research is utilized most heavily in the sciences but is often seen in the arts (journalism included). For instance, one may do a survey, an experiment, or any number of research tactics that would be more definitive and cover a much larger group (therefore allowing generalizations) than qualitative research. The latter method of research employs in-depth interviews with a specific person or a focus group that only covers a small group of people. Neill prefers qualitative research and conducted both of the papers she discussed with us in this fashion.

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