Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Oscars and Who Views Them

            The question of the week was “How do media industries shape media audiences?” and in my opinion the Oscars are a great example of how the industry can shape who watches movies. The Oscars are annual awards given out within the movie industry to honor the best of the best of various aspects of the movie industry. Every year, awards are given out for all levels of production, makeup, wardrobe, directing, sound, acting, and various other awards. These awards are voted on by the Academy, a group of roughly six thousand people who vote for the various fields related to themselves. Everyone within the Academy votes for the highly coveted Best Picture award. The people who watch the Oscars each year are usually those who know a lot about movies, or who might want more information about movies in general.
            Throughout the years, the Oscars have changed a great deal. They have gotten immensely longer, with many more awards given out each year. The Academy Awards have become much more inclusive in who they give awards too, though this could be contested by the 2016 Academy Awards where there was a controversy because no people of color were nominated. Many winners also use the Oscars as a platform for things they are passionate about, such as environmental rights, human rights, women’s education, HIV/AIDs awareness, and various other issues over the years. In many cases, those films who win big are those ones who have a great audience opinion rating, and not always those who have a lot of critic approval.
            In conclusion, my opinion is that those who watch the Oscars are those who want to know more about movies, and who use the Academy Awards as a placeholder for what films they might want to watch in the future. The audience opinion shapes who wins just as much as the industry shaping who watches the Awards and the movies they promote.

* Delbyck, Cole. (27 February 2017). Craziest Oscars in History Watched by Smallest Audience in 9 Years. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-craziest-oscars-in-history-watched-by-smallest-audience-in-9-years_us_58b44409e4b0780bac2b9438.
* Fahey, Mark. (25 February 2017). Oscar Nominees Please Audiences More Than Critics, Data Shows. CNBC. Retrieved from: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/24/oscars-please-the-audience-more-than-critics.html.  
* McCann, Universal. (23 March 2000). PR Newswire: News Distribution, Targeting, and Monitoring. PR Newswire. Retrieved from: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/who-watches-the-oscars-and-why-73219567.html.
* Nguyen, Hanh.  (26 February 2017). Oscar Potiical Moments: A Timeline of Memorable Sacrifices, Protests, and Speeches Throughout the Telecast’s History. IndieWire. Retrieved from: http://www.indiewire.com/2017/02/oscar-political-moments-timeline-1201787227/.
 Rosenberg, Jennifer. (15 December 2014). Academy Awards Interesting Facts. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from: https://www.thoughtco.com/academy-awards-interesting-facts-1779239.
 Roxborough, Georg SzalaiScott. (February 23, 2016). Oscars: How Many People Watch the Ceremony Worldwide?. Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved from: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-worldwide-tv-audience-867554.
 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Academy Story. Oscars.org Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved from: http://www.oscars.org/academy-story

MPAA Ratings and the Audience's Response

The question of the week was “how do media industries shape media audiences?” I discussed the MPAA ratings system in my case study to answer this question. Pertaining to my case study, film studios (media industries) set the standard for the content of films by creating a rating system for the media audiences. The studios influence the audiences by rating the subject of the films and receive reception from critics as well as parents. I also discussed how parents push for a harsher rating for sexual content and profanity as opposed to violence in films. Critics of the rating system believe that the system limits the creativity of filmmakers. Filmmakers can appeal for a less severe rating since their main goal is for a wider audience to view their film.
                I received a lot of thoughtful answers from the discussion section of my case study’s presentation. I asked the class if the rating system is effective or ineffective and got a diverse set of responses I also asked them if films should be censored or rated by the government and most of the class said that it’s unnecessary for the government to step in and I completely agree with that because the government has other important affairs to handle.
                In conclusion, the media industry continues to impose and regulate media content, however, the audience does have right to respond or alter the regulation of the content. The rating system has influenced the kind of films audiences choose to watch. While government censorship of films isn’t necessary, it is essential for films to let the audiences know which film is suitable for them and children.

Askar, J. G. (2012, November 15). Why ‘Breaking Dawn – Part 2’ was almost rated R. Retrieved March  06, 2017, from http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865566807/Why-6Breaking-Dawn-1-Part- 27-was-almost-rated-R.html

Austin, B. (1980). The influence of the mpaa's film-rating system on motion picture attendance: a pilot study. Journal Of Psychology: Interdisciplinary And Applied, 106(1), 91-99.          doi:10.1080/00223980.1980.9915174

Corcoran, P. (2016). Respecting the Audience. Boxoffice, 152(2), 18-19.

Indiewire (2014, October 07). 15 Times the MPAA Got it Wrong. Retrieved March 06, 2017, from   http://www.indiewire.com/2014/10/15-times-the-mpaa-got-it-wrong-69310/

Rottenberg, J., & Sperling, N. (2013). Will the MPAA Ever Get the Ratings Right?. Entertainment Weekly, (1287), 18

Straubhaar, J., LaRose, R., & Davenport, L. (2016). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and   Technology (9th ed.). Boston , MA: Cengage Learning.

Friday, March 10, 2017

James Cameron and Avatar

The question I had for this week was “How do media industries shape media audiences?” I answered this question by talking about the famous filmmaker James Cameron and I focused specifically on his movie Avatar for my research. I introduced to the class all of the CGI and 3D technologies Cameron used in making this movie such as the PACE Fusion 3D Camera, Facial Performance Recognition technique, and the Swing Camera. Cameron co-designed the Fusion Camera that changed the way 3D movies were filmed, this allowed for better quality of footage from the multiple stereoscopic cameras within the set up and it helped producers cut down editing time. The FPR has been used before but Cameron changed it by inventing the “head rig” which was able to record their emotions and facial expressions. This allowed for real human emotion to be to be displayed in the avatar characters, which made it more realistic and emotional for the movie viewers. The Swing Camera was a technology Cameron used for directing that allowed him to see the actors in “Pandora” through an LCD screen device that displayed and detected the movements of the actors’ performance suits as they acted out a scene. This used virtual reality technology and helped Cameron visualize whatever scene he was trying to film better, this allowed him to critique the actors in the moment and fix mistakes. 
I believe these technologies have impacted the way audiences view 3D movies now, we want to be able to get lost in the movie and feel like we are actually there. Cameron has changed not only the way we watch 3D movies but also how 3D movies are filmed with the Fusion camera, the swing camera, and the FPR. I think these technologies blur the lines between computer animation and reality. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what is isn’t. I think that’s what an audience looks for when searching for a good movie.


Directing a Virtual World. (2010). Popular Mechanics187(1), 62.

Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2017, from http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/60657/3d-visualization

Johnson, B. (2009, August 19). The secrets of James Cameron's new film Avatar. Retrieved March 02, 2017, from

Ng, J. (2012). Seeing movement: On motion capture animation and James Cameron's Avatar. Animation7(3), 273-286. doi:10.1177/1746847712456262

Robertson, B. (2009). CG In Another World. Computer Graphics World32(12), 12-20

Society, N. G. (n.d.). James Cameron, Filmmaker/Inventor Information, Facts, News, Photos. Retrieved March 02, 2017, from

Straubhaar, J., LaRose, R., & Davenport, L. (2016). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology (9th ed.). Boston , MA: Cengage Learning.

Monday, February 27, 2017

J.K. Rowling v Daily Mail

To answer this week’s question, “what are the constraints on free speech and First Amendment for the news industry?” I provided an example of a libel lawsuit brought by JK Rowling against Daily Mail in which case Daily Mail is found guilty (Hare, 2014). While studies have shown that the media is usually protected in the court against libel laws so that they may expose corruption and incompetence of public figures, the first amendment constrains them from publishing libelous articles with malicious intent or reckless disregard for the truth (Smith, 1983). In this example, Daily Mail was found guilty for publishing a libelous article with reckless disregard for the truth.

After my presentation I spoke with the class about whether I thought public figures needed more protection and whether they thought libel laws would change over time. We talked about the difficulties between some media, especially tabloids, taking advantage of having more lenient rules when it comes to public figures vs the public’s right to know and the media’s role as a watchdog, especially now with President Trump. We concluded that libel laws will not change in the foreseeable future and that reporters should just write ethically and follow the social responsibility model.

Hare, K. (2014, January 31). Daily Mail removes story after J.K. Rowling sues for libel. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://www.poynter.org/2014/daily-mail-removes-story-after-j-k-rowling-sues-for-libel/237883/

Naylor, B. (2016, March 24). Donald Trump Wants To 'Open Up' Libel Laws So He Can Sue News Outlets. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/2016/03/24/471762310/donald-trump-wants-to-open-up-libel-laws-so-he-can-sue-news-outlets

New York Times Company v. Sullivan. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from https://www.oyez.org/cases/1963/39

Riley, S. G. (1982). Fighting Back: What Redress Media have against Frivolous Libel Suits. Journalism Quarterly, 59(4), 566-72.

Smith, B. F. (1983). Montana Law Review [Review of The Rising Tide of Libel Litigation: Implications of the Gertz Negligence Rule]. 44(1), 3rd ser. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://scholarship.law.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1548&context=mlr

Straubhaar, J. D., LaRose, R., & Davenport, L. (2016). Media now: understanding media, culture, and technology (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Eramo v. Rolling Stone

"A Rape on Campus," published by the Rolling Stone magazine in November of 2014 and written by Sabrina Erdely, centered around an alleged rape survivor’s account of a horrific gang rape at the University of Virginia. In an effort to encapsulate the “pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture,” Erdely, and the Rolling Stone staff, failed to ethically compose a news article (Coronel, Coll, Kravitz 2015). The story ended up being false, and instead, they were successfully sued for libel with malice for knowingly posting a potentially false article in which they depicted and named an administrator, Nicole Eramo, as discouraging the survivor to contact the police.

This story portrayed an instance in which the news industry was sued for defamation of a public official, something not covered by the First Amendment. Though the press has the authority to publish freely, they are not able to publish falsely. They are also not able to publish words inciting violence or obscenity. In the class discussion, I received a response regarding other potential outcomes resulting from such a large news magazine posting a false story. We concluded that this type of story could potentially spread the misconception that most rape allegations are false.

Helpful Sources:

Bhagwat, A. (2016). THE DEMOCRATIC FIRST AMENDMENT. Northwestern University Law Review, 110(5), 1097-1124
Coronel, S., Coll, S., & Kravitz, D. (April 05, 2015). Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report. Retrieved from http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-what-went-wrong-20150405
Nikolaidis, I. (2004). The Impact of Magazine Articles. Academic Search Complete. IEEE Network, 18(5), 4-5.
Straibhaar J., LaRose, R. & Davenport, L. (2014). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture and Techonology (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Tribune News Services. (November 04, 2016). Jury finds against Rolling Stone in lawsuit over rape story. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-rolling-stone-loses-lawsuit-20161104-story,amp.html?client=safari

Volokh, E. (September 16, 2016). First Amendment. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/First-Amendment/Permissible-restrictions-on-expression

Saturday, February 25, 2017

WikiLeaks and the Question of the Week

The question of the week was "What are the constraints on Free Speech and the 1st Amendment for the News Industry?", and I chose to bring that question to the international 'news organization', WikiLeaks. 

The focus of my research was on the background of WikiLeaks, and it's involvements with the media and implications regarding 1st Amendment protections on classified/confidential materials. I went on to elaborate on the precedents set for leaking classified materials from The Pentagon Papers case, as well as legislation in the Espionage Act of 1917.

The biggest point I wanted to get across was that the future is very uncertain when it comes to the digital age and protections for the press, especially when it comes to agencies illegally obtaining government classified information for the sake of 'transparency' when it damages and heavily impacts the national security of a country, especially when it is the United States. 

I really enjoyed the classes' questions regarding my topic; for one because it was interesting to see what the average civilian-minded student thinks about the importance of national security and whether these breaches of secret materials are 'hero whistle-blowers' or 'traitors', and two because there were certainly some incorrect assumptions and misconceptions about the US intelligence community and strategy that I had the opportunity to clear up.
In today's society, it is more important than ever that American citizens take the time to learn what is really going on in the name of national defense, not just the biased and skewed views and representations one can find in the media.

Below are my sources for my case study presentations and outline. If anyone wanted to learn more about what actually goes on with the NSA and Armed Forces Intelligence, check out this link:

And if you never plan on applying for a security clearance with the US government, you could always look at https://wikileaks.org to see what actually happens on the website.

-Bobby Ramirez '18

Stone, G. R. (2011, January 04). WikiLeaks and the First Amendment. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/wikileaks-and-the-first-a_b_804381.html

Bravin, N. (2010, December 02). Why the First Amendment won't necessarily protect WikiLeaks. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2010/12/see_you_in_court_mr_assange.html

Roberts, A. (2012, March 22). WikiLeaks: the illusion of transparency. SAGE journals, . Retrieved February 15, 2017 , from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0020852311429428

Fenster, M. (2012). Disclosure's Effects: WikiLeaks and Transparency. Iowa Law Review 97(3), 753-808. Retrieved February 21, 2017 from http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1259&context=facultypub

Stone, G. (2012). WikiLeaks and the First Amendment. Federal Communications Law Journal 64(3), 477-492. Retrieved February 21, 2017 from http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/journal_articles/1960/

McAlister-Holland, D. (2012, February 6). 7 Things the First Amendment Doesn’t Protect. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from http://www.business2community.com/social-media/7-things-the-first-amendment-doesnt-protect-0129234#33OgqJdui5uBxEkA.97

Friday, February 24, 2017

Edward Snowden Controversy

My question this week was “What are the constraints on free speech and the First Amendment for the news industry?”. The way I’d answer this question based on my presentation is that there are actually a lot of constraints that contradict the part of the First Amendment that mentions “freedom of the press”. My specific example is the Edward Snowden controversy, even though he was not a journalist he passed on the classified documents to journalists to publish and if the journalists had not made a deal with the government, they would probably be imprisoned right now (Edward Snowden (NSA Leaker)).  Their deal included silence for freedom, basically if they didn’t publish anymore information on the documents they wouldn’t be charged for publishing them in the first place. I believe that this should be covered by the First Amendment, especially in this case because the government should be exposed for doing illegal things. How are we expected to follow the law if the people who created them won’t?  If you want to find more in depth information about what the journalists published you could find it here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance (Greenwald, G., MacAskill, E., & Poitras, L., 2013).
A few of my classmates answered my first discussion question, which was if he was a traitor or patriot, saying that they thought he was neither for the most part. Many disagreed with him and his actions, one even saying that deep down we all knew our government was spying on us.  When I asked my second question which was whether the U.S. government had a right to persecute him for his crimes or not, two of my classmates and I got into a very well pointed discussion from both sides. They thought he should be punished because the information was classified for a reason, while I thought since it didn’t do much damage in my opinion. I told them I believed that if he was going to get charged so should the government because they as well were participating in illegal acts as well.
My topic was very similar to Bobby’s and he made see this topic in a more unbiased manner, because the fact that this time it didn’t affect any relations with other countries or damage national security to a large extent doesn’t mean next time it won’t have worse consequences. I also want to address how it was different from Bobby’s, he focused solely on WikiLeaks which is an international corporation and would be harder to try in court, while I focused on one man, which is easier to try and to extradite.
            Below is the list of the sources I used for all my research:

      Board, T. E. (2014, January 01). Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower. Retrieved February 21, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/opinion/edward-snowden-whistle-blower.html?r=0
      Chadwick, A., & Collister, S. (2014). Boundary-Drawing Power and the Renewal of Professional News Organizations: The Case of The Guardian and the Edward Snowden National Security Agency Leak. Boundary-Drawing Power and the Renewal of Professional News Organizations: The Case of The Guardian and the Edward Snowden National Security Agency Leak, 2420-2441. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
                  Greenwald, G., MacAskill, E., & Poitras, L. (2013, June 11). Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance
      Straubhaar, J., LaRose, R., & Davenport, L. (n.d.). Media Now: Understanding Media Culture and Technology (9th ed.). Cenage Learning.
      Unknown. (2013). Edward Snowden (NSA Leaker). Biographies for International Security. 1-2. doi: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.library.tamu.edu/eds/detail/detail?sid=9301648a-2414-475e-b6e182456aac0412%40sessionmgr104&vid=2&hid=122&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=89669162&db=tsh 
      Wong, K. (2014, March 19). What did Snowden tell them? The Hill. Retrieved February 20, 2017