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

Naylor, B. (2016, March 24). Donald Trump Wants To 'Open Up' Libel Laws So He Can Sue News Outlets. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

New York Times Company v. Sullivan. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved February 19, 2017, from

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

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
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,amp.html?client=safari

Volokh, E. (September 16, 2016). First Amendment. Retrieved from

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 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

Bravin, N. (2010, December 02). Why the First Amendment won't necessarily protect WikiLeaks. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from

Roberts, A. (2012, March 22). WikiLeaks: the illusion of transparency. SAGE journals, . Retrieved February 15, 2017 , from

Fenster, M. (2012). Disclosure's Effects: WikiLeaks and Transparency. Iowa Law Review 97(3), 753-808. Retrieved February 21, 2017 from

Stone, G. (2012). WikiLeaks and the First Amendment. Federal Communications Law Journal 64(3), 477-492. Retrieved February 21, 2017 from

McAlister-Holland, D. (2012, February 6). 7 Things the First Amendment Doesn’t Protect. Retrieved February 20, 2017, from

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: (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
      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
      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: 
      Wong, K. (2014, March 19). What did Snowden tell them? The Hill. Retrieved February 20, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017

Localization of Ugly Betty and Ugly Wudi

            My case study focused on the localization of the TV show Ugly Betty’s US and Chinese, Ugly Wudi, adaptations.  It focused on globalization, localization, and cultural proximity.  People prefer shows with their own language and culture, so Ugly Wudi “was modified in order to fit the Chinese cultural context and the state’s ideological requirements” (Fung, A., & Zhang, X. (n.d)).
            Globalization reduces differences between nations by showing the similarity of different nations interests through selling TV show formats.  These shows are localized so that viewers can still identify with the characters.  One example is how the movie “Inside Out” had the girl hating broccoli in the US version, but hating green peppers in the Japanese version (Translate Media, 2015).
            To answer the week’s question, “How does globalization shape media products and industries?”, globalization created a new way of business and connection by having companies buy and sell TV show formats to and from each other.  This became a “recognized [business] in [the] 1990s” (Robertson, 2014).  When discussing products, it is very possible that we may not have gotten the same show formats in our nation if we were unable to buy formats from others.  American Idol was a hugely popular show in the US, but the format came from Eurovision in the UK.  We may have eventually come up with something similar, but with this form of business we are able to gain and share ideas all over the world.
            In class, we discussed some reasons localization is necessary.  We decided it was needed so that people could relate to the slang, celebrities mentioned, and other cultural references expressed.  One example was the US and UK versions of Shameless.  Our cultures are similar, but not enough for the UK version to be popular in the US since their expression of a poor family was vastly different from what ours would be.

Here are some useful links:


The question of the week for my presentation was "how does globalization shape media products and industries?" I chose to focus my presentation on how globalization has helped Netflix expand and reach out to a global audience, which, in the end, has encouraged cultural proximity. Currently, it is used across the world and has expanded into 130 international with 16 million international subscribers (Barrett, 2016).  As Netflix keeps developing new global expansion strategies and changing as a global media company, their international audience keeps growing every year.

One of the main key factors that has allowed for the global success of Netflix to reach to a point of cultural proximity is streaming. As they have grown tremendously, Netflix has created a stepping stone in the evolution of television on a global scale due to the technological shift from DVD rental service to the streaming of movies and television shows (Cook, 2014). First, it is immediate, accessible and can be used at anyone's convenience. This is seen through the Netflix apps that can now be used on any smart phone. Second, it is also attracted by many subscribers due to its affordability of $7.99/month that allows for unlimited access of media content. Third, due to the fact that it is an asynchronous form of media, the consumer has the ability to control when they want to watch Netflix without having to deal with advertisements and commercials. With the use of streaming, Netflix has allowed people from many countries to connect together on a global scale.

Another main key factor that plays a huge role in cultural proximity is narrowcasting. Netflix uses a more personalized and individualized strategy to provide content targeted to customers and what they want to view. As a result, Netflix has very detailed genres that are catered to subscribers. This is especially useful for international subscribers who are able to find movies and television shows, specifically for them, that are either in their native language and culture or something similar to that. The example I used for my presentation was the Narcos Netflix original series, which is based in Columbia and is about the war on drugs. This is an especially interesting example as the show is both in English and Spanish and targets both Spanish and English speakers in the U.S. and abroad. It includes jokes, slang, and cultural references that reach out to both audiences.

In conclusion, globalization has helped Netflix grow successfully on a global scale with the aim of creating a personalized experience for the international audience through narrowcasting and streaming. It is a great example of how Netflix has embraced such language and cultural barriers, creating a bridge through cultural proximity as a global media company.


Barrett, B. (2016, January 13). Netflix Isn’t Made for the US Anymore—It’s for the Whole World. Retrieved from

Cook, C. I. (2014). Netflix: A stepping stone in the evolution of television.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Globalization and The Simpsons

My case study was a response to the question: How does globalization shape media products and industries?

The globalization of media helps connect countries all over the world by reducing the differences between nations. The Simpsons, first produced in the United States, is an animated show that satirizes the life of an American family and is produced mainly for the adult demographic. The show is an example of a media product that has become so widely popular around the globe that it has not only been translated but re-made by multiple countries using their own culture and beliefs within the episodes. For example, in Pakistan’s version of the show, they removed anything relating to sex, drugs, or alcohol by either photo shopping or deleting scenes all together. That information was gathered from the article "The Globalization of The Simpsons: A Study of Satire in International Media" written by Domingo. The Simpsons is also an example of successful cultural imperialism as it has reached the lives of so many various cultures and dominated the industry worldwide. Europe was the first country to re-make the show, which is an example of cultural proximity, because they also speak English and closely share cultural ideas. It has been translated into over 15 languages and airs in over 17 countries. The show has been accused of tyrannical cultural imperialism for trying to spread ”American values” across cultures.
When I asked if the class thought globalization could be another word for Americanization, there was an excellent point raised about how the media created here in the United States incorporates characters and features from other parts of the world which brings great diversity and causes popularity worldwide. We could essentially thank other countries as they are indirectly contributing to the overall success of the show. Without globalization, we could not share shows with one another and be mutually entertained by well-produced media products.
The second question I asked was: "do you think there will come a point where globalization in media will have gone too far, and if so, what do you think will be the tipping point?" There was a great discussion following the addressing of this question about the fact that media is shared and enjoyed among countries today that we do not need to be worried about it going too far any time soon. There are so many shows produced in other countries that are enjoyed all around the globe and it is so interesting to think about how we are all connected based on media products and that we all enjoy products from all over that no one would want to see that go away any time soon.
Here is a video about how The Simpsons is portrayed and made in Arabic:

If you would like to take a look at the sources I used to produce my research to further the detail I provided, please look at my list of sources below.

Domingo, Sasquatch. "The Globalization of The Simpsons: A Study of Satire in International Media." Medium. N.p., 28 Aug. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.
Ferrani, Kristen Brooke and Jessica Ruggiero. "Kristen Brooke Ferrani." PennState. N.p., 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.
"Leaving Springfield." Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.
Smith, Matt and Logan Lott. "Matt Smith." PennState. N.p., 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2017.
Straubhaar, Joseph D., Robert LaRose, and Lucinda Davenport. Media now: understanding media, culture, and technology. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2016, pp. 537-569. Print.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Who Controls the Media? The FCC by Samantha Nobles

The Federal Communications Commission is one of the many government agencies that controls and monitors certain areas of the media. In 1934, the Communications Act was passed, which established the FCC. To this day, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 remains the primary law governing the media, in which the Act shifted away from direct regulation of the telecommunications service rates and towards oversight of competition in the industry (Straubhaar, 2014). The FCC regulates broadcasting, satellite/cable TV, and telecommunications. The government agency is overseen by Congress and its primary authority is for communication laws, regulation, and technological innovation (FCC, n.d.). In recent legislation, the Open Internet Order of 2015 protects free expression and innovation and promotes investment in the nation’s broadband networks, in other words, net neutrality is available to everyone. However, contingencies have arisen since the implementation of the legislation. The Open Internet Order concluded that the Internet is a functional equivalent to the printing press, telephone, and others because it has evolved into a popular communication tool, and is now subject to common carrier regulations under the Communications Act of 1934. Such classification is considered by many to be unconstitutional because broadband Internet is a part of the press, in which the First Amendment protects from common carrier regulations (Campbell, 2015). In addition, the net neutrality that the Order promotes, is considered to violate the Fifth Amendment, which states “Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Since it has been two years since the Open Internet Order has been implemented, I believe that possible lawsuits may arise in the near future.



Campbell, F. (2015, May 21). FCC's Open Internet Order Won't Stand Up To The First Amendment. Retrieved January 31, 2017, from -to-the-first-amendment/#5ffe2e042ad5

Straubhaar, J., Larose, R., and Davenport, L. (2014). Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology. Belmont, CA.: Wadsworth Company.

What We Do . (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2017, from

Friday, February 3, 2017

Who Controls the Media: The Supreme Court

     In response to this week’s question “Who controls the Media?,” I made the case in my presentation that the federal court system, and the Supreme Court in particular, has played a massive role in controlling and regulating the various media industries.  I examined two particular Supreme Court cases and their rulings in an attempt to demonstrate this fact.  I showed how the Roth v. United States and Miller v. California rulings had a massive impact on First Amendment interpretation by determining that obscenity is not protected as free speech.  Then, I showed how the following criteria for classifying obscenity, which the Roth decision created and the Miller decision re-affirmed, is still affecting media censorship procedure to this day: “The standard for judging obscenity, adequate to withstand the charge of constitutional infirmity, is whether, to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest.”  The FCC still uses this standard as its measurement for determining whether or not broadcast content will be classified as obscene.  These two cases have had a major impact on several policies and laws concerning media publications and broadcasts, and these are only two of many such cases that have passed before the Supreme Court.

     Some good sources for if you are interested in looking deeper into this material:

·         The FCC’s FAQ page about its obscenity and indecency policies and procedures:

·         Summary and excerpts from the Roth v. United States majority ruling:

·         An article about current Supreme Court cases which would have an impact on media:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Who Controls the Media?

Who controls/monitors the media?

At first glance of the weekly question, I immediately began brainstorming ways that I could make media policy and laws interesting to the class. Then I broke down the questions, and it was simple how I would construct my presentation. Yes of course, there are the 6 leading companies that own 90% of all media that we read, watch, and hear. And without these 6 companies and the laws and policies determined by the FCC that standardize the quality of media we receive we would not have guidelines to what is appropriate to be publicized to the masses. However, the media that circulates widely from one user to another is not controlled by those 6 companies. It is controlled by the consumers. In such a competitive world where there is constantly new media fighting through the airwaves for attention, the consumer has the ultimate ability to choose what is important and viewed. This is emphasized especially in the most recent presidential campaign. According to Nicholas Confessore, a writer for New York Times, Trump was able to generate more funds through earned media in his campaign than any other candidate. He successfully created a campaign that over and over again took consumers by surprise, leading to his viral success.

After presenting my case study, I was pleasantly surprised at how the class was making the connection between Trump's original success as a Business owner and how his exposure was built upon that in a way that enhanced his virality.