Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Catherine Cross' Research Paper

2008 Wireless Broadband Spectrum Auction

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") reshaped the telecommunications landscape and upheld the public interest in favor of the consumers by providing valuable public safety communications, advancing wireless services, and promoting competition when it held a non-discriminating auction selling off a large portion of wireless broadband lines. This portion was made available as a result of Congress mandating that over-the-air broadcasters change to digital broadcasting. Digital transmissions of telephone broadcasts require much less spectrum than the analog broadcasts, and thus, by requiring over-the-air broadcasters to change to digital broadcast, Congress was to make available a large portion of unused spectrum which was auctioned off at the beginning of this year (FCC, 2008, p. 1) The available spectrum, in the 700 MHz band, made it possible for new nationwide broadband internet providers to compete in the auction with the existing incumbent telephone and cable companies, AT&T and Verizon (Korzeniowski, 2008, p. 1). The spectrum auction provided an excellent opportunity to advocate competition, diversity, and public access. In the following pages, I will provide the benefits of the wireless broadband, present broadband history, and the requisite rules and regulations that were followed during the spectrum auction.
The benefits of digital broadcast television are very apparent. Today, our world reflects more of a “global village” because communication technology allows for a fast and efficient spread of information to occur instantaneously from one country to another. As quoted from Al Gore, the internet is an “information superhighway” comparing federal network of interstate roads with the enormous amount of information easily attainable for consumers (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 43). Wireless broadband is a rather new technology providing high speed wireless internet and data network access over a wide area. Wireless broadband is portable, with no fixed location (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 266). Its mobile capability is accessed through a personal computer ("PC") card, lap card or USB equipment that connects to a PC or laptop with internet capability via cell phone towers (FCC, 2008, p. 1). Hence, this connection is stable in almost any area that could receive a strong cell phone connection. Most broadband wireless services are estimated to have a range of 30 miles from a tower (FCC, 2008, p. 2). Providers of this service are known as WISP’s (wireless internet service providers), who conventionally only supplied wireless broadband to underserved rural areas. (FCC, 2008, p. 1)
Broadband can carry all kinds of services, from video to voice to data, benefiting consumers in a multitude ways (Fitchard, 2004, p. 1). The 700 MHz spectrum band signals travel about four times faster than those bands used by other wireless and electronic industries today. It is used by new carriers to promote up and coming technologies like 4G wireless networks, WiMax, and advance the already existing 3G wireless services of today (Reardon, 2007, p. 2). The band supports newer technology and inspires technology yet to be imagined (Fitchard, 2004, p. 1). As mentioned above, wireless broadband provides an easy and accessible alternate mode of communication by challenging its wired counterparts, DSL and cable companies (Aufderheide,1999, p. 266). To operate, DSL (local telephone provider) and cable companies require a wire connection between the outlet and the computer for internet access. This wired access to the internet is limited to one spot, impeding one's mobility (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 266). The 700 MHz range enables faster deployment of internet connection speed as compared to cable modems, and at a less cost because there is no need to have a fixed wire in every home (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 266). This extends internet availability to Americans even in the rural sections of the country, who at best receive internet through dialup (Lance, 2007, p. 2).
During an interview Less-State, a noted economist, continually remarks about the benefits wireless technology promotes. “Wireless technologies use spectrum. A lot of people believe that this is an extremely important distinction. Is there any reason to treat this spectrum differently than the thousands of other inputs used to produce communication services, or indeed other goods and services?” (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 267) “Absolutely not. Spectrum may be scarce, but with the possible exception of bad ideas, all inputs are scarce” (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 267)
Within the 700 MHz band the 60 MHz spectrum is of immense importance (Meyers, 2009, p. 1). This 60 MHz spectrum can transmit signals between transmitter and receiver without a clear, direct line of sight. This is beneficial in urban areas because signals can pass through walls and city buildings (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 266). Likewise, there would not be a problem in sending or receiving long distant messages in isolated rural areas (FCC, 2008, p. 2). Another benefit is that the installation of a device, like a dish, in each individual home would be unnecessary. The technology is user friendly and has no constricting boundaries, allowing access for all (Labaton, 2008, p. 2). As stated by the Chairman of the FCC, “The spectrum we are offering is going to be the building blocks for the next generation of broadband services ... it will allow a wireless platform to be another competitor in the broadband space” (Labaton, 2008, p. 2).
The characteristics of the 700 MHz band are interesting. Within the 700 MHz spectrum, there are two sections known as the “lower 700 MHz band” and the “upper 700 MHz band” (Lance, 2007, p. 2). The lower band refers to channels 52-59, and the upper band refers to channels 60-69. The upper band is reserved for public safety frequencies and new, upcoming technologies (Lance, 2007, p. 2). The frequencies were divided into small and large regional sections. Smaller geographic sections, areas where population is not dense, would want smaller blocks of spectrum. The larger geographic regions, like a conglomerate of cities, would want and require larger sections of the spectrum to support a large audience (Lance, 2007, p. 2).
Historically, the FCC has been the government agency responsible for regulating the wireless broadband spectrum. Initially, the government agency listened to the various interested parties, and then handed out bandwidth to those companies it determined would deliver the best results in the long run (Korzeniowski, 2008, p. 1). It was also typical at this time for the government to mandate certain frequencies only to be used for certain technologies. In 1994, the prior process of regulating it changed, and wireless carriers were allowed to bid on the items that they desired (Korzeniowski, 2008, p. 2). In 1996 the United States Congress authorized the distribution of an additional broadcast channel to each broadcast television station in order to enable them to start a digital broadcast channel while simultaneously continuing their analog broadcast channel (Korzeniowski, 2008, p. 2). In the transition to digital television, the FCC contemplated the auction in 1997, by loaning broadcasters the spectrum that would become part of the 700 MHz auction (Labaton, 2008, p. 2). Realizing that the incumbent companies, AT&T and Verizon, would be dominant in such an auction, special interest groups spoke up in view of the fact that the large portion of vacated spectrum to be auctioned could make it ideal for a new, third nationwide broadband internet provider. The government wanted to ensure that customers would benefit no matter who won the auction for the vacated spectrum (Labaton, 2008, p. 2).
On August of 2006, the FCC requested comments on changes to their 700 MHZ policy. The new spectrum became available in 2006, when the government set the date for the transition from analog to digital TV that would occur in February of 2009. The switch created much unused valuable spectrum desperately sought after by companies (Public Knowledge, 2008, p. 1).
It was obvious that wireless broadband was seen as an alternative service to DSL (local telephone provider via a direct service connected line) and cable, as well as initiating the rise of competing companies wanting to sell broadband service challenging the current duopoly of broadband providers in the market, i.e., AT&T and Verizon (Reardon, 2007, p. 2). Even today, most Americans access broadband through either the local telephone provider or the local cable provider. Both providers had been able to charge customers high rates, and maintain them due to a lack of competition (Fitchard, 2004, p. 3). For instance, “AT&T was charged with the upstarts of cream skimming - taking the high dollar clients” and only providing service to high-dollar or low-cost customers to service (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 22).
In April of 2007, the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition, a group of public interests groups who advocated for the creation of a third competitor for the upcoming auction, requested the FCC to adopt open rules, emphasized the need for a wireless wholesaler, and voiced changes to the bidding process to encourage diverse bids (Fitchard, 2004, p. 3). FCC agreed to entertain comments on the upcoming auction. In May of 2007, Presidential Candidate John Edwards urged the FCC to create non-discriminatory wholesalers. In June of 2007, 250,000 people called the FCC demanding access to the 700 MHz auction; the FCC held a hearing that same month. (FCC, 2007, p. 2) Multiple events occurred in July of 2007. Initially, Google sent a letter to FCC supporting open access to the auction. Google became a significant overseer in the process of determining the rules for the auction (Labaton, 2008, p. 3). Google campaigned for four specific rules they thought should be included: open applications, open devices, open services and open networks. In order to convince the FCC to adopt the rules, Google promised to place a bid on a spectrum at the minimum cost required by the FCC (Labaton, 2008, p. 3). Google’s actions spoke louder than their words. They realized that the spectrum they placed the minimal bid on would probably be outbid by another company. Nevertheless, it would still promote diversity and competition in a market dominated by AT&T and Verizon (Labaton, 2008, p. 3). Going up against these two powerhouses, Google earned respect and a positive repertoire trying to gear the market towards the consumers' benefit and public interest.
Thereafter, the FCC chairman, Mr. Kevin Martin ("Martin"), began a plan for open access to the auction. Not surprisingly, AT&T filed warnings with FCC that open access rules would "turn the clock back" on the incumbent telephone and cable companies, i.e., AT&T and Verizon (FCC, 2007, p. 2).
Public interests groups requested FCC to integrate "four principles" which they felt would successfully allow open access to participants other than AT&T and Verizon. Google informed the FCC that it would enter the auction with a guaranteed bid of $4.6 billion if the auction was structured to encourage open access (Labaton, 2007, p. 3). The FCC discussed and considered the "four open access principles." And, lastly, the FCC voted to keep two of the suggested four access principles. In August of 2007, the FCC sought comments on the rules for the 700 MHz auction, and set the date for the auction to be in March of 2008 (Labaton, 2007, p. 3).
Because two of the biggest bidders/players in the 2008 auction were Verizon and AT&T, and both had nearly complete control of their market, the FCC created rules for the 2008 auction challenging the incumbents' overpowering existence (Reardon, 2007). Aware of the current duopoly controlled by AT&T and Verizon, the FCC incorporated and encouraged competition by implementing two of the above four suggested rules to determine a third, open alternative to the cable and telephone internet duopoly (Labaton, 2008, p. 3). Previously, companies like Verizon and AT&T had paid a “blocking premium” allowing themselves to rule a market without newcomers intruding in their territory. The FCC foresaw this happening once again, and came prepared to the auction with preventive measures (Fitchard, 2004, p. 2). The FCC mandated the auction of all bidders would remain anonymous; presuming that if the bidders could not identify one another the prior signaling blocking behavior FCC had previously experienced would become more difficult (Public Knowledge, 2008). In addition, the names of the leading bidders would not be divulged. At the end of the day when the commission posted the leading bids, only in the amount bid would be posted, without the names of the leading bidders (Labaton, 2008, p. 3).
The government raised close to 20 billion dollars by selling off wireless bandwidth (FCC, 2008., p. 1). Without this auction, chaos would have ensured if devices had selected their own spectrum. These regulations imposed on the auction demonstrated the importance of the political process and its guiding role in establishing new market conditions for communications, media, and information services (Aufderheide, 1999, p. 103).
Catherine M. Cross
Works Cited

Aufderheide, Patricia (1999). Communication Policy and the Public Interest. New York, New York: The Guilford Press.
Fitchard, Kevin (May 31, 2004). The License Game - Telephony's Complete Guide to WiMax. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from Business Magazine and Media Web site: http://businessmagazineandmediathelicensegame.html
Korzeniowski, Paul (May 5, 2008). E-Commerce Times. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from The FCC Wireless Spectrum Auction: Looking Back Web site: http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/62814.html
Labaton, Stephen (January 22, 2008). The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from nytimes.com Web site: http://nytimes.com/2008/01/22/business/22spectrum.html
Lance, Timothy (November 2007). Policy@edu. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from Spectrum Reallocation for Public Safety and Broadband: The 700 MHz Auction Web site: http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/spectrumReallocationforPu/4
Meyers, Jason (July 19, 1999). News Now - The Daily Scoop. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from www.internettelephony.com Web site: http://telephonyonline.com/mag/telecom_one_one_lmds/index.html
Reardon, Margaret (April 25, 2007). CNET News. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from FCC to reveal spectrum auction plan Web site: http://news.cnet.com/FCC-to-reveal-spectrum-auction-plan/2100-1039_3-6178977.html
(April 2008). Public Knowledge. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from 700 MHz Spectrum Auction Web site: http://www.publicknowledge.org/issues/spectrum-reform
(2008). Broadband Opportunities for Rural America. Retrieved December 9, 2008, from Federal Communications Commission Web site: http://wireless.fcc.gov/outreach/index.htm?job=broadband_home
(2008). Britannica Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from Wireless Broadband Web site: http://britannicaonline.com/wirelessbroad.html
(2007). The Digital TV Transition. Retrieved November 26, 2008, from Federal Communications Commission Web site: http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html

Monday, November 24, 2008

International Influence of Media Rhetoric

With obtainable, fast paced technology, the media is able to cross international boundaries connecting countries with other countries information. My case study attempts to demonstrate how the media persuades its audience and predisposes feelings among its audience with war rhetoric. The case study I chose compared specific words, repeatedly used by four newspapers, two from the U.S. and two from the U.K. The study used computerized content analysis to obtain their results.

The results found that rhetoric from the U.S. newspapers concerning the War on Terrorism tended to have emotional appeal, influencing its readers to support military action, government policy and promote national unity. U.K. rhetoric concerning the War on Terrorism had different results and was not infiltrated with agenda setting. Due to the location of the U.K. in relation to many other countries, (who also have a pronounced interest in the current terrorist situation at hand) and its cultural proximity to the values encouraged by the U.S., rhetoric used by U.K. newspapers took on an international perspective and collected information from many possible sources, such as internationally acclaimed professors, military officials and council members from multiple different countries. Rather than promoting immediate military action it took on multiple points of view in regard to the actions the U.S. should take and situational/international factors that underlie the intentions of the terrorists. For example, the following words were found to be repeatedly used by U.S. newspapers: Bin Laden, terrorism, national security, bombing suicide, plot, all found to facilitate intense feelings of dislike towards Muslims.

Even still, all evidence from my case study seems to tend more to the idea that the media shapes our messages, it is not impossible to rule out that we have no influence upon shaping our media. As pointed out in the discussion, many believe that we do. For example, consider how important polling or headlines are to advertising and keeping readers. Both take into account what will sell and what news to endorse and/or sell. Public opinion cannot be ruled out and should remain as a prominent factor in media news reporting. Concluding, that although mass media does shape our thinking and messages, there is an equal role that the public plays in creating and shaping what the mass media displays.



Polls and the American Voter

With history being made in the very recent presidential election, I wanted to present a topic that affects us, the American voter. My case study revolved around polling. I presented different research methods in polling, theories that have been apparent in political elections, and the accuracy of polling in past and present elections.

Before I reflect and discuss my case study, I will provide a brief summary of the research, theories, and accuracy of polling. Polling falls under the group of survey research which makes generalizations about a population of people by addressing questions to a sample of that population. A type of survey research, opinion polls, better inform the public about opinions taking place in that culture. Opinion polls have been the most popular and successful method of determining how the American voter feels about a particular election. There are 2 main sets of opinion polls in an election; that of pre-election polls and exit polls. Over the years, polls have become more accurate in representing the American public. In a time span of 60 years, we have moved from the 1948 election of Dewey vs. Truman, where the Chicago Tribune Herald mistakenly claimed the wrong president won the election from bad polling results to this past 2008 election where the polls showed the correct results in all states except North Carolina. From the research conducted about polling, two major theories have arisen. One is the Bradley Effect which is a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some US government elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. The second is the Spiral of Silence which asserts that a person is less likely to voice an opinion on a topic if one feels that one is in the minority for fear of reprisal or isolation from the majority.

Following my presentation, the class felt that polling can both encourage and discourage the American voter. Depending on the location of the voter and the popular beliefs held in their proximity determines how polls will affect a particular individual. It is a case-by-case situation. The discussion also followed the question of whether the Bradley Effect or the Spiral of Silence was present in this past 2008 Presidential Election. Surprisingly enough, the class felt like the Bradley Effect did not present a problem in the election even though there was a black candidate running against a white candidate. Yet, there was a belief that the Spiral of Silence did take place in this election. Many students talked about how their family members or friends were nervous in proclaiming who they would vote for if it went against the popular candidate of that area.

This course theme was extremely interesting to study. It showed how much time and effort is put into researching media effects and how to carefully examine the data that is presented. Although I feel that media research is helpful in many aspects, there is also the problem of stereotypes arising in determining a particular phenomenon about a certain culture. A particular website a found very interesting that I did not present in my case study is the following:


Monday, November 17, 2008

DTV: Into The Future

In my presentation last week, I gave a smorgasbord of information concerning the government's involvement in forcing the broadcast industry to adopt a digital format. I alluded to and mentioned that the United States Congress has been interested in changing the broadcast system since the late 1980s. All of these documents, which are available due to public disclosure requirements, can be found through the Texas A&M Library website. Feel free to reference these documents, as you will find them both informative and easy to read.

Of even greater interest to you will more than likely be some of the more interactive ways that you can learn about the digital transition and be able to inform others. At the beginning of my presentation, I learned that many of you had heard about the digital transition, but post-presentation conversations revealed that this knowledge was limited to simply knowing that it will happen. The government and the broadcast industry are working together in order to better inform the public of what they must do in order to continue to receive television signals. This is all part of the FCC/Congress working together in order to enact the law that they have established. Now comes the interactive part. You can become a DTV Deputy!!! The FCC, in order to draw in people to understand the DTV switchover better, has created a 10 question Flash quiz. Score a 70 or better, and you too can become a DTV Deputy!

If reading documents or being deputized isn't your thing, check out these YouTube videos on the history of television. Each decade is only about three minutes long and covers some of the information we learned in class. It can be a great way to see where we have been, and where we are headed with the transition next February. As finals approach, I would recommend these videos to help review parts of television history. They're made by the Consumer Electronics Association, so you know that the information within is quite accurate. I've posted a link to the channel as well as an example below. I have also posted a video that they made concerning the digital switch. It's more animated than I could be in class, and may help you understand more of what will happen next February.
YouTube Channel: DTV Transition

Digital television will revolutionize some of the ways that we communicate. As we continue to merge technology into technology, we can only ask more questions of what the next generation of devices will bring. Could television, with the advent of digital broadcasts, begin to replace the computer as a primary form of personalized information? Will your TV more intimately interface into your home network without a third-party device? As TV goes digital, we can only expect that the industry will find more ways to stun us. Because of government action, we can expect that our technology will continue to evolve to higher speeds, and more content. So tune in on February 17, 2009 and see what's new in your neighborhood.


Last week I presented my case study on smartphones and how they have come to affect society. Smartphones have come to be a crucial part of our day-to-day business. The first smartphone was started out in 1992 by IBM. IBM named the phone that they produced “Simon.” Simon was able to have a calendar, games, send and receive fax, a notepad, and a calculator. Since then telecommunications companies have developed more intellectual phones and have added cameras, wireless internet, and countless other applications that make our day-to-day business easily accessible, fast, and efficient. These new applications have enables us to be mobile while still communicating with each other. While most of our cell phones are of the 2G or 2.5G generation, phones are now coming out in the 3G generation. 3G is giving us the opportunity to have faster internet, download documents faster, and better reception on our phones worldwide. Multitasking with our phone, e.g. talking on the phone while looking at a map is also another function that the new 3G is letting us do.
Even further I focused on how smartphones have had an impact on our society. We looked at a book by Jarice Hanson titled “24/7: How cell phones and the internet are affecting the way we live, work, and play.” In the book the author talks about the age differences and how they use their phones differently. People at younger ages such as 18-27 personalize their phones much more and use them for more tasks than do people who are ages 45+. The author also makes a point that because we rely so much on our phones we have become less communicative in that we abbreviate everything into letters or shortened words. What used to be a relationship between people has become letters on a screen no bigger than the palm of your hand. We also looked at a lawsuit from citizens of Berkley, CA who are suing Verizon Corp., Nextel, the City of Berkley, and Patrick Kennedy, who is the owner of a storage unit business where the telecoms want to place 18 new antennas. The citizens are worried for their safety saying that it is unfair to place those antennas in only their part of the town. They aren’t opposed to them they just want the spread throughout the city where the radio frequency radiation would be evenly distributed and not going directly into their homes. Smartphones have a smaller service area and thus need more antennas to get the reception that we are used to. Technology is a must have in today’s society however, are we actually communicating less because we are able to communicate in such a fast and efficient manner? Has society lost its ability to have personalized relationships and communication?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Net Neutrality and It's Effect on Society

Last week, I presented a topic that was fairly new ( to the public at least), network neutrality. I explained the definition of network neutrality, the concept of content discrimination, who is for network neutrality, who would want to get rid of network neutrality and what is being done in the government about it. Just to recap, network neutrality is the principle that keeps us in charge of what content we have access to on the Internet. Now, major telephone and cable companies want to take that right away from us by charging us to access certain content.

The threat of a tiered Internet should come of no surprise to us. This has already happened to television, why not the Internet? We already have a system in which the price increases for how many channels we want access to, why not do the same with web content? You may be wondering why it took this long for this threat to come to the Internet. Well, until 2005, the network was protected from such restrictions. In my presentation I talked about two Supreme Court decisions that effected regulations on network neutrality. Basically what these two decisions did was declare wireless broadband Internet and such as Title 1 "information services" from Title 2 "common carriers" in the Communications Act of 1934. Title 1 covers FCC regulations that are “reasonably ancillary to the effective performance of the Commission’s various responsibilities” outlined elsewhere in the act. Now I figured to better explain the difference of 1 and 2, I would quote an excerpt from the Congress Report I used in my presentation:

"In contrast to Title I, Title II of the Communications Act, imposes certain specific requirements on common carriers in their provision of telecommunications services. Generally, Title II requires common carriers to provide service “upon reasonable request therefor,” and at a “just and reasonable” rate. Under Title II, common carriers are also required to provide services without “unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.” In addition, the act requires certain carriers to provide potential competitors with access to their network."

(Defining Cable Broadband Internet Access
Service: Background and Analysis of the
Supreme Court’s Brand X Decision 2005)

I wanted to bring up this part of my presentation specifically, because I remember all the confusion it caused. After thinking about it after class, I'm almost positive I made a big mistake verbally when talking about this. I believe I told the class that broadband went from Title 1 to Title 2, which wouldn't make any sense because clearly, Title 1 regulations are not as specific as Title 2. This is the technicality that is allowing cable companies to bring up the discrimination of content.

Not only would losing net neutrality cause problems for many different things such as small businesses, bloggers, iPod listeners, telecommuters and online shoppers, but it also creates another big problem. A topic Jason brought up was whether or not it was the governments responsibility to provide everyone with Internet, since those who don't own a computer or don't have Internet are at more and more of a disadvantage everyday. On that same note, if we create that same "tiered system" television has, people in a higher class could afford the highest level of Internet access, middle class will be able to afford an "OK" amount of access to the bare minimum, leaving the low class with little or no access at all. This would severely widen the digital divide. This would happen not only because Internet access will cost more, but there will be different amounts of access everywhere, making things very confusing. This is one of many network neutrality really needs to stay.

In our ending discussion we did talk about how it would be difficult to write specific laws on keeping network neutrality, but there is an online coalition that is getting attention from congress on their attempt to save the Internet. This site helps show people how to get involved and inform them of what is going on with network neutrality. I mentioned them in class, but here is their link with more information. I hope you guys enjoyed my presentation on this new topic and now better understand what is going on with your Internet!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Change is Coming

At first the topic of internet governance was intimidating. It is a subject that I previously did not know much about, and seemed like a complex concept to explore. What I know now is that it truly is not a black and white issue.

Looking at the topic superficially, I learned that the distribution of domain names and IP addresses is handled by a predominantly American led institution. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ) is ideally set up as an internationally influenced body, but just like many things, does not function true to the manner in which it was created. It is mainly a self governing body, but does function under the oversight of the U.S. Congress. Additional consulting groups and institutions also play a role in internet governance, but hardly give a substantial voice to the international community.

There are several concerns held relating to the internet and its future direction. Some fear that industry giants will use the internet to create monopolies. Others feel that corporations will seek control of the internet, limiting freedoms of access to its users. Still others see an evident gap in the digital divide, that only promises to rise as a new 'broadband divide' rises up. Lastly, the age old fear of too much government control comes in place, sadly with instances already present in our country (US Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act). Are these legitimate fears? Yes. The question is, will they be realized?

That is why I wanted to take a closer look into the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). This United Nations hosted event was a leap towards determining the future of the internet and the role it is now playing, and will play, in our world. At this conference, the new face of the internet gave birth. Nations of the world came together and established a declaration of principles, stating our need for a people centered, development oriented information society, accessible to all people, and based on a shared wealth of knowledge.They focused on the universality of human rights and how that related to the uses and benefits of a world connected by the internet. Bridging the digital divide was a pressing matter voiced by many nations. And coming to the topic of internet governance, it was made clear that the international body wanted a piece of the pie. The world is no longer satisfied with America taking claim to the internet. It is viewed as a global facility, a public good that should be available to all. "A democratic, international, multilateral effort managed by governments, the private sector, and civil society/international organizations.

So when I say "change is coming", it is clear that I take this from the voice of the nations of this world. Universal and affordable internet access is desired. The prosecution of malicious cyber crimes is being pursued. A Digital Solidarity Fund has been established to fund the closing of the Digital Divide. I really enjoyed the fact that so many came together with the desire to make the internet a positive tool for social change. I know that there are many that wish to exploit its uses and take advantage of others for personal gain, but thankfully that has not been my focus in this project.

During the Q&A and discussion question time, I felt that the heart and purpose of my presentation really came out. What started out as a simple time for questions and clarification turned into something greater. Individuals didn't just fire questions at me, but engaged the rest of the class and I in a true discussion. I posed the class with the question, "Do you see the internet as a public service, and therefore should be provided for free by the government?" It was really interesting to see people's perspectives on this issue come out. Subsequently, a new interpretation of the purpose of the internet came forth that I really took to. One student posed that no, the internet should not be a free commodity provided to citizens by the government, but that access to the internet should be available to all who may choose to use it. This would mean that every nation would provide its citizens the opportunity to take advantage of the internet if they chose to do so. This is currently available in public libraries and internet cafe's, but mainly in more developed, prosperous nations. It is the struggling, up and coming countries that this would have a larger effect on. On the contrary, the class also made it clear that there were definitely more pressing global issues, such as the simple need for clean water, that take more importance than having online access. Although I agree, I also feel that the internet is becoming an increasingly necessary tool to keep up with developed nations. As we incorporate the internet into our government, health systems, school systems, business and personal lives, we shouldn't leave other behind if we can do something about it. Again, I know that these hopes are lofty, and quite idealistic. But the Digital Divide is real, and it's effects are too. It is promising that the nations that assembled at the WSIS agreed that those of us who are blessed with certain benefits (from basic human needs to comfort items and internet access) should try to bring those benefits to those who do not have them.

Below are just a few links to websites that I felt would be helpful if you wish to find out more about internet governance, and more specifically, the WSIS. You can take a look at the conference summary and several other helpful documents. And no, Wikipedia isn't a 'primary source', but if you want a quick look at the issues, it's quite handy. Good luck, and thank you for your input and insight into my presentation.


Monday, November 3, 2008

My discussion began with a better explanation of the aforementioned core programs. Core programs are defined as programming specifically designed to serve the educational and informational needs of children ages 16 and under; it must be at least 30 minutes in length, aired between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., and part of regularly scheduled weekly programs. Core programs were mandated through the Children’s Television Act of 1990. I then explained this concept more thoroughly by including the facts that they provide parents and consumers with advance information about core programs being aired, define the type of programs that qualify as core programs, and air at least three hours per week of core programs. I think this provided better understanding for the reason and intent of core programming. Later I was asked about who seemed to control Children’s Television and have a greater influence on what was aired. I responded with the fact that it is parents who are complaining and asking legislation to be greater enforcers when it comes to regulating television. But then it is ultimately the government that gives the policy. So parents instigate the reforms in policy and government implements them.
I learned more about the weekly theme of TV: How do older forms of media inform new media markets? The children’s television industry has been formed and molded for the past 50+ years. With the more recent development of the internet as well as the merging of computer technology, children’s television has becomes more interactive. The education aspect has become a greater part of this industry and combining all the forms of media to educate children has become quite popular. Television broadcasters are realizing the possible impact they have on a child’s development. The number of hours a child sits in front of a TV has grown as this industry has grown. And due to the high demand of parents and the policies of the government, children’s television is being used more as an educational tool rather than simply entertainment.

Television Ratings

In the discussion raised by my presentation we talked about privacy and a little about how advertisers were going to need to change. Privacy is not an issue because all participating Nielsen families know that they are participating. There is no involuntary participation and Nielsen doesn’t plan on that in the future. We also discussed how it was interesting that we are moving away from the current multiple sponsor model and back towards the single sponsorship model and product placement. I discussed how I hardly ever watch commercials anymore and I know a lot of people who do the same thing. As DVR and TiVo become more popular, advertisers will need to think of ways to advertise during your favorite show, not in between segments with commercial spots. I didn’t bring this up in class but thought about it later, the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition has embraced product placement like no other, while still having your typical commercial spots. I wonder if they will eventually move completely away from commercials and be the first show to do so. What role will ratings play then? It think the same role it plays now but the ratings will be used to calculate the cost of X amount of product placement spots within a program instead of used to calculate CPM. This will be very interesting to see.

Television is one of the most important of today’s media. It is porthole for the world to see news, entertainment, human-interest stories, movies and anything else they want. Today, TV has become a personalized vessel where you can record what you want and watch it when you want. Ratings have played an important role in the progress TV has made. Ratings define which shows stay and which ones go. It is because of ratings that we see a trend towards reality TV today and it is also the reason comedies and game shows were popular in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Film and Morality

My discussion on film morality had two motives behind it, 1.) a brief survey of controversial films from 4 different time periods and 2) the possible societal implications that may be derived from them.  Flowing from a basic definition of morality, I believe that unless a society has a distinct and well-defined moral foundation, the society will not be unified in its legislation or its ideals.  Flowing from a quote generally attributed (although unverified) to Alexander Tytler, all successful societies progress in a path that leads to an abundance of resources, and from that abundance comes a selfish complacency.  C.S. Lewis penned the philosophical and theological term "Moral Law," which drew on the assumption that every society from the beginning of time has had a concept of right and wrong, even if what is right and wrong shows disparity between societies.  When this disparity is prevalent among individuals of a singular culture many problems relating to purpose and goal may arise (one could look at Civil War, or any war for that matter).  

The film industry, unlike any art form before it, allows for the mass production and distribution of singular ideals to a culture that may have many variable ideals.  With only a relatively weak system of self-regulation and no consistent framework of what may or may not be shown, movies allow a strong opportunity for a sliding morality.  While things like rape, adultery, torture, and murder seem like negative contraptions for the society at large, they are sill fair game to the movie-going crowd.  In the name of artistic expression virtually all content is acceptable given the public is paying to go out and see it.  Murders have actually been successive to Natural Born Killers, a movie that came out in 1994.  As a society, what we are allowed to see has only been increased since the production of film; the Hays code is almost laughable when put in today's standards.  In many ways, artistic expression can be viable and poignant, but the envelope is often pushed just to see how far it can go.  While I enjoy movies (quite as much as anyone else), questions about the ethical climate in America must be raised.  

Monday, October 13, 2008


My discussion started with an in depth history of the race to invent radio. This race culminated in a victory for Guglielmo Marconi. He was the first to patent his ideas, followed soon after by Nikola Tesla. From there we discussed the recent history of satellite radio. Sirius had an early lead in the race to be the first fully operating satellite radio company. They got the first satellite into orbit on Friday, June 30, 2000. Unfortunately due to some unforeseen complications the company did not complete it’s satellite network first. That title goes to XM satellite radio on Tuesday, September 25, 2001.

From here we went on to discuss in brief the two different kinds of orbital satellite paths being used by the two different companies. The first of which is a geosynchronous highly elliptical orbit, what that means is that each of three satellites spends approximately 16 hours of air time pre day over the continental US. This allows for a higher orbit, and points the signal mostly down, keeping it from being easily blocked by tall buildings in cities and other forms of interference. It also allows Sirius to have a much smaller terrestrial repeater network than XM. XM uses to geostationary satellites instead, because of this the satellites are always over the US, but can be blocked and so need a larger repeater network.

Next we discussed the pros and cons of the 16 month long $3.6 billion merger of Sirius and XM. The vote from the FCC took the longest and it was split down the party lines. The basis for allowing the merger to happen was that there was sufficient competition from other forms of media, meaning that the media was not big enough to warrant having multiple providers. They set strict rules on price, allocated 8% of the current channels to public broadcasting, and forced both companies to pay fines for previous monopolistic tendencies.

Finally we discussed our opinions of where satellite radio is going, and if it can be a viable business in the future. Most of the class agreed that unless some major re-working occurred that the company would succumb to the other forms of media that are currently available.

out with the old...

Our discussion began with a brief history of public radio. With the onset of war in 1917, the US Navy put a freeze on civilian broadcasting. However, several universities were able to continue experimentation that resulted in unsophisticated programming and a mentality to just see “what worked.” Educational missions carved a path for noncommercial broadcasting during the commercial grab for radio licenses in the late 1920s. Educational broadcasters won a significant victory in 1941 when the FCC reserved a portion of the FM band for noncommercial use. The fifties brought a new technology – television. Radio had a difficulty competing with the visual media, but noncommercial had a particularly difficult time protecting its frequencies.

The Public Broadcasting Act of 1927 provided for ways to build a national financial and distribution infrastructure that noncommercial radio had lacked. Radio was so eclipsed by the 1960s that it was nearly left out of the legislation. The Act created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to serve as a financial center. Its mission is to “facilitate the development of, and ensure universal access to, noncommercial high-quality programming and telecommunication services.”

The Corporation established National Public Radio (NPR) in 1970. It responded to questions of interconnection, production of programs, and the operation of satellite systems. It is funded in part by the CPB, member station dues, foundation grants, and corporate underwriting.

Continued competition from new media and a continued struggle for funding is the future of public radio. Clay Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma in which he “describes companies whose successes and capabilities can actually become obstacles in the face of changing markets and technologies” can help understand the future. In order for public radio to survive, it needs to be able to “identify, develop and successfully market emerging technologies.” In short, public radio, and public broadcasting for that matter, needs to evaluate market demands and be timely and unique in its endeavors. Many will seek to answer questions regarding the influence of the CPB on programming content as well as the purpose of public radio with new technological advances.

\\// peace

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Old School Radio and its Modern Counterpart

Since its debut in the early 1900s, radio has flourished as a common medium in mass communication, broadcasting music to the homes and ears of even the most impoverished of individuals. In modern society it has been integrated into new media mediums such as satellite or the internet, allowing for its transmission to have an even broader reach than before. This presentation concerned the advent of internet radio webcasts and how it has since affected both users and the terrestrial radio while still adhering to its original principles of a common means of communication and a source of ad revenue.

Pandora radio is a great example of how internet radio has drawn upon the influences of terrestrial radio and improved upon them in the attempt to get more listeners, and in turn more ad revenue. Rather than forcing people to listen to a predetermined play list, the actual "music-genome" project is to be influenced by users and their choices. Pandora has adopted narrow casting, catering to the tastes of listeners, allowing for a much more enjoyable personal experience. Another example of this methodology of allowing users to choose what they want to listen to is Seeqpod.com. This website scours the internet for embedded audio or other media files and streams them for the listener to listen. With subtle ads on the flash interface, Seeqpod offers the options of buying media related to the content the user is currently consuming.

Enticed by internet radio's large following and the promise of an entirely new ad market, terrestrial radio has taken steps to adapt, and potentially share internet radio's success. Examples of this such as Kanm radio and 94.5 the Buzz have integrated live online streams, allowing users to tune into the radio from places such as their office computer, enabling a greater sense of accesibility. Coupled with online-only features such as online requests and last-played songs, terrestrial radio has effectively wedged itself into the internet.

All of these new forms of radio have been effectively influenced by the original terrestrial radio's principles of spreading radio to the masses and in turn, generating revenue through advertisements and sponsored programming.

Pandora.com <----Use It! Really cool.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Freedom of Speech in News

There cannot be much doubt that freedom of speech is one of the most important rights set by the framers of the constitution. The majority of my presentation focused on the case of the New York Times v. United States; which was an issue of censorship and whether the United States had the right to prior restrain New York Times of secret government documents. Personally, I sided with the New York Times, which ultimately won the case, after my research I believe the government was deceiving and misleading the American people on how the Vietnam situation was being handled. This comes to the argument over the right to know versus the need to know. Should information be leaked based on the public’s need to know?

I say no, it should be leaked based on the public’s right to know. For example, if a reporter has information that he deeply believes the public should know, it is his duty to present this information. Regarding the Columbine presentation and argument over the issue of right to know versus need to know, the information presented to the public should be left up to the source. There should be a “code of ethics” when dealing with sensitive issues, and the information should not put the citizens or the case being dealt with in immediate or irreparable danger. For example, information leaked should not help an unfound criminal know of the police’s whereabouts, further complicating it for the police. Regardless, the regulation should be in the hands of the citizens and not the government, for the most part. The fact is information is legal as long as it does not put the citizens of America in immediate and irreparable danger.

I want my news to let me know many things, I want to be told the facts, but at the same time I want to be told if I am being mislead. If a reporter publishes and opinion article I don’t agree with, they do have the right to publish that article, and for that I am glad. Perhaps their article will broaden my horizons on a topic and force me to think differently on an issue. In this country we have the right to display our thoughts, in many cases, no matter how diverse they are, and for that we should be proud to be citizens of this great country.

Freedom of Speech and the Columbine High School Massacre

After doing research on the Columbine High School Tragedy, I was shocked about certain information that is open to the public. I am fully for having freedom of speech, don’t get me wrong, but I believe that there is some information that should not be make public when it is such a sensitive subject for family members. It seems like in today’s world the newspapers are more relaxed in the fact that people can say what they want, but they do have a code of ethics. In the 17th century, they had a very strict format of what they could say in their newspapers. Through many years of observing the newspapers, I have noticed that people want to know every detail about something they are interested in. In Columbine’s case, people wanted to know everything about the shooting. The police were wishy-washy about letting some of the information out because of the hurt it would cause to many people. I can’t help but think of the family members of Harris and Klebold, and if they went to youtube, they could see some graphic pictures of their children.

I am not saying that the government should regulate what information goes in the news, but it almost seems like the last resort at times. I would want to believe that people had ethics and would understand about some information getting released or out in the cyber world. In the case of Klebold’s autopsy being released, I believe that the public wanted to know and yes they had the right. I think about the Dylan’s family and if they had to open up the newspaper and see their child’s history is all over the paper.

With this tragedy, there are many touchy places because this is one of the first terrible school shootings. Many people believe the information should be out, but there are others that believe that the information should be kept a secret. Here is the link of the video of the Littleton Police releasing all of the evidence for the family members to view.


Kacee Richards

Monday, September 29, 2008

The American Cultural Empire

Globalization is a growing reality in this world and, as the other presenters and I noted last week, holds both promise and danger for society. As someone who has traveled abroad and seen the enormous amount of American culture present in other societies, I can say that I found it fairly fascinating, but also scary. I feel as though we don't always realize just how much influence we exert in the world at times, and just how much exposure other nations and peoples get to our lives here. Cultural imperialism exists, and it is up to us to be responsible about how our culture gets represented to others.
I spoke about the dangers of our cultural empire on Wednesday, especially in regards to television. So much of what's on TV here in the U.S. portrays Americans so poorly (take any show done by Paris Hilton, for example), and to a certain extent, as Celeste noted, we are responsible for this- we are the consumers, demanding this type of content. The United States is the largest, wealthiest, and most influential country in the world at this point, and with the rise of globalization, cultural imperialism is bound to happen. What we must do, however, is accept John Louis Stevenson's challenge, pick up the 'white man's burden,' and be more responsible consumers. Only then can we make sure that, as long as we are exporting so much culture, that it is wielding a positive influence.
On the other hand, listening to Calli's presentation on Wednesday, I realized that I had been looking at globalization from a very one-sided position. Globalization is a truly remarkable thing, and the sharing of cultures and ideas so easily is an amazing facet of our society. We do live in a very small bubble, and I believe America must open itself to other cultural influences. In order to be good members of a globalized world, we must all be more willing to listen to foreign music, watch shows from abroad, and experiment with film and other media from countries that may be completely different from us. We are a nation of immigrants, and should embrace that legacy of diversity.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Globalization in the Media

Regionalization is an aspect of globalization where countries or regions tailor the media according to their culture, values, and/or language. Because of the prominence and spread of American media, countries often use regionalization with media coming from the United States. An example of this is Disney’s Disney Channel. It is an American-based media outlet and is shown in many countries worldwide. Some countries have used regionalization and translated Disney shows into their language and/or created shows tailored to their culture to broadcast on the Disney Channel in their country. An excellent example of this is Disney Channel India. They have created a TV series that reflects their religious values and created a movie in their own language.

Matthew Hess, the first presenter, addressed a reason why countries use regionalization: the perceived assault of American media. He spoke specifically of the American cultural imperialism that is evident in Spain. I found his personal experience in Spain to be extremely interesting and helpful as he provided specific examples. He said that American media was everywhere from imported TV sitcoms to the music young Spanish people enjoyed. An important aspect of television and film media that Matthew pointed out was that what does go abroad is controlled by only a few companies.

Kallie Dee Wesson also pointed out that the music industry is controlled by only a few companies. She asked the interesting question, “are too many audiences being spoon-fed as a result?” On the other hand, Kallie said that many individual artists are learning to diversify their music in order to appeal to the broader world audience. She said that this diversification is important because music is the most globalized media. However, Kallie pointed out that music is also the most localized of media. All countries have their own unique form of media. Kallie said that her concern was that the American audience is not diversified enough and should take advantage of the globalization of other cultures’ music.

All of us as presenters spoke about different aspects of the globalization of media and especially the globalization of American media. While each presentation was important, I feel that the end discussion was the most helpful as we discussed the common issues facing us in this period of globalization and connectedness. First, we agreed that international media was controlled by only a few companies and should somehow be subject to more regulation. Also we saw that, as result of this oligopoly, American audiences were not being exposed to as diverse a culture as they should be experiencing. The conclusion we came to as an answer to this problem was the most interesting. We need to cease thinking of ourselves as passive actors in a medium controlled by uncontrollable entities. We must remember that the media industry is consumer driven and we are the consumers! Our actions, ideas, and desires will shape media’s future.

Celeste Cox

Music is Global: Where is your beat from?

In presenting a case study on the globalization of music, I learned many things about what is happening around the world in the music industry. I was amazed to see the affect this is having on artists, producers, and even listeners around the world. In the class discussion and after listening to the two other presenters, I think it is a just assumption to say that globalization is affecting every single person in the world in one way or another. As we were discussing whether globalization of media is good or bad, I saw some different viewpoints that I had never really thought about. Ever since I went to Spain to study abroad I’ve thought that globalization is a great but potentially dangerous issue if we are not aware of it, but after listening and participating in the class discussions I feel that maybe it actually has more of a negative effect than I realized. It was very interesting to hear the opinions of the class on whether or not America should try and control the export of our media and/or the import of other media. Looking into these topics made me realize just how much we as Americans are missing by not opening up to the ideas of the world. MTV International, as I discussed in my presentation, is an excellent example of how useful and beneficial globalization can be for everyone should we choose to use it. Well put by one of the other presenters was the presumption that we are “living in our own little bubble here.” I completely agree with that statement and would strongly encourage anyone and everyone to broaden their horizons and see what else is out there instead of just sitting and accepting the media fed to us daily. Matthew’s presentation on cultural imperialism really sparked my interest because I too have seen that first hand in Spain and Africa. Having been there really enhanced my learning on the subject of globalization of media because I can think of a personal example for almost every concept. I think this is an exceptional topic of controversy and discussion and I am glad to have had the opportunity to look a little deeper into the global aspects of music and see how it is actively changing due to this process of globalization. Below are a few great links to check out if you’re interested! Thank you for reading!

[Kalli D. Wesson]

http://www.mtv.com/mtvinternational/ MTV International

http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue5_5/dolfsma/ Great article on the globalization of the music industry.

http://yaleglobal.yale.edu/display.article?id=8640 Yet another great article discussing the changes in music due to globalization.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHwFzOBnXao Really amazing glimpse of globalization! Please watch!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the United States was considered to be an industrial society. At this point in time regulatory issues involving false advertising and unfair methods of competition began to arise within the United States. The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 created the Federal Trade Commission as well as prohibited the unfair practices, acts, and methods of competition in interstate commerce. Areas in which the act covers pertaining to fair and free trade competition include Deceptive Practices, Price Fixing, Merger Prohibition, and unfair competition. The FTC was put in place to monitor and enforce the laws put in place by the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 in order to regulate the behavior of businesses.

In class I discussed the role that the Federal Trade Commission has in Advertising for profit or business purposes. The idea that commercial speech is not considered to be a part of the political marketplace of ideas prohibits the protection and freedoms that are entitled to noncommercial speech in the First Amendment of the Constitution. When referring to commercial advertising, the laws require that objective claims must be truthful and substantiated. For example if a business advertises “We have the number one product on the market” then by law the statement is required to be truthful as well as have sufficient information in order to prove so. However the laws regarding deceptive advertising consider “puffery” or subjective claims to be fair game and are not monitored by the FTC.

The question brought forward in class was how free speech and commercial speech differ in advertising. After further research I have found how controversial this subject is and that many lawsuits throughout history have helped to define and decipher between free speech and commercial speech. In the history of legal matters regarding business corporations right to free speech, many lawsuits have helped decipher exactly what can be determined as legal when pertaining to businesses. For the most part courts have agreed upon the fact that businesses are allowed the right of political speech (free speech), but there is a very fine line between political speech and commercial speech that is some cases can be very unclear and problematic. It wasn’t until the creation of the Central Hudson four part test that courts were capable of identifying whether the government regulations violated the first amendment rights of free speech. Furthermore, courts continued to make decisions narrowing down what would fall under free speech in advertising.

This case study has opened my eyes to how the regulation of communication in the media has affected the laws and policies of our society. I have been amazed at how much the government plays a role in controlling the media, as well as how much effort is put into the protection consumers. Thank you for your time

-Farron McCauley Carmichael

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The USA Patriot Act

Soon after I began researching the USA Patriot Act I realized that is quite a controversial subject. The debate and discussion following my presentation further proved this point.

The USA Patriot Act was passed approximately six weeks after the attacks of September 11, 2001. It made its way through Congress promptly and did not seem to be analyzed very closely by those who voted on it. One of my classmates brought up the fact that many of the bills and acts that are voted on by the U.S. Congress are probably not read as closely as American citizens would hope. While this is very relevant, it does not lessen the impact that impulse had on the Patriot Act. When the Bush Administration first introduced the act to Congress, they asked that there be no hearings held on it.

A thought provoking question pertaining to whether or not the intelligence agencies used certain avenues of the internet to track terrorists before the USA Patriot Act was also asked. This student stated that the act simply made these actions “admissible in court.”

One student expressed that the USA Patriot act did not bring up many concerns in their mind. If I am not doing anything wrong, why should I be worried? This is the opinion of many Americans. However the Fourth Amendment pertains to every American citizen and it is a sad reality that many Americans, especially immigrants, have had their personal privacy invaded since the Patriot Act has been enforced.

While the USA Patriot Act does bring up many questions of its own it also aids us in answering the question, “Who controls/monitors the media?” In many aspects the government can control and monitor our uses of the media. We as Americans have the opportunity to choose our government officials, therefore, we do have some say in how the government manages mass media. My fellow presenters further demonstrated how corporations and citizens influence the media. It was made evident that there is no “one” group or person that has complete control over the media.

The USA Patriot Act was initially passed to provide law enforcement agencies with up to date, technological tools to help protect America. However, it is obvious that many personal privacy concerns have been derived from this act.

If you are interested in learning more there is a series of interesting videos at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6jD_jySiwg.

Britnee Brotherton

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The FCC Won't Let Me Be.

Since its establishment in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission has been a prominent figure in the field of telecommunications’ policy. But what exactly is it and what it’s authority. Several misconceptions may arise when discussing this entity. My intent is to shed some light on the topic at hand. By understanding what is the FCC, what it does, and its effect on the media, we can further clarify the issue.

The presenter before me spoke about the Patriot Act and mainly touched on the privacy vs. security debate. Her emphasis on the government’s observation of our telecommunication activities was great reminder of the questionable policies in place. The final presentation about the Federal Trade Commission was quite an eye opener as well. The speaker general thesis reflected on our nation’s role in determining the legality of advertising. All of the topics helped further answer the question: Who controls the media?

Ultimately, there is no exact answer. It would be impossible to delegate the percentages of the media influenced by the government, corporations, and ordinary citizens. Despite some of the “Draconian” elements of policy conveyed this week, the government merely edits the final product to a certain degree. To avoid the defeatist stance of believing “Big Brother” tells us what to think; I strongly believe it is the people who control the media the most. We are the ones with the power to determine the government officials or to consume certain types of media.

We have the power to affect the world around us. What exactly is the future of the FCC? I believe that Americans will become even more socially liberal thus resulting in less of a need for the entities like this. Also media outlets will begin to self-monitor more. Ultimately, this committee will drift further into the role of spectator and gradually lose its authority.

Thank you for your time.

(Corey Green)

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Media Markets: Xbox Live marketplace

The Xbox live Arcade has opened new ways to purchase games. No longer do you have to go to the store to buy a game, it can be downloaded in your own home.

This all began with online gaming in the 1990's. Although this was the emergence of online gaming, online gaming did not reach the gaming consoles until the turn of the century. Four years after Xbox live had released, the idea of an online marketplace was put into action. For the first time, people could download old arcade games strait to their xbox console. This idea was perfected on the release of the second generation of Xbox consoles with the Xbox 360 online. By the time they released this console they had a much more in depth interface of the Xbox live market with tons more games, apps and patches and downloads. These games were all priced between $4.99 to $14.99. As recent at 2007 there have been over 25 million downloads of these types of games.

In an article by Rolling Stone, they claimed that most of these arcade games targeted older audiences with the "Retro Gaming". This included games like Mrs. Pac-Man, Geometry Wars, and Robotron 2084. All of which are advertised for on the Xbox live dashboard.

So in conclusion, this simple idea of connection your Xbox to the internet led to the emergence of a new, sucessful marketplace for all kinds of small-file games.
Trey Binford