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Posts Tagged ‘political communication’

Blog 4: Why do people own a gun (or not)?

  1. This study surveyed people about why they own guns (or do not own guns). They also asked people if they think the existing gun laws are effective. I chose this article because communication about gun laws in the U.S. is a very popular topic of conversation.
  2. This information comes from the Pew Research Center. They used national surveys and a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center to come up with their data.
  3. Does the percentage of people who say they own guns because it makes them feel safer or the percentage of people who think stricter laws are necessary to prevent mass shootings change drastically after there is a recent mass shooting in the U.S.?

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BLOG 12: The End is Nigh

As I was sitting at my laptop last night, refreshing Twitter and watching CNN, awaiting Obama’s announcement with breathless anticipation (okay maybe not so dramatically), it occurred to me how relevant the paper I researched for this class really was/is to my daily life. We talked about social networking technologies so many times throughout the semester and its implications for the news media and political communication. It was ironic, or maybe satisfying in its own way, when Twitter leaked the news of Obama’s big announcement a good 15 minutes before CNN even did.

That, I think, was the best part of this class–how extremely relevant the material and discussions were. The dissemination of political news, the evolution of satire, the effects of social media, and the changing structure of the political regime–these were all political and communication theories, in a sense, but they were also tangible theories; theories we could find real life examples to just by opening Twitter or turning on the news.

Materials-wise, I have to say that my favorite readings and lectures came from the Kennedy/Nixon discussions early on in the semester. Granted, I’m a bit of a history nerd and, as a Poli Sci major, a huge political science nerd as well. Still, seeing the differences between Kennedy’s campaign strategies and Nixon’s campaign strategies and then tracing the evolution of political campaigns and communications through today was not only rewarding for a nerd, but rewarding for someone who likes to think that politics has some relevance to her life. The information was new, to me, and the reading material was interesting and fresh, but I liked that it gave me a tangible timeline to draw from–background information on how political campaigns came to be the way they are today.

Relevance, relevance, relevance. I think in any good class, that is key, and even in discussing the history of political campaigns, the material we read and discussed was extremely relevant. I loved this!

On the other hand, there were differences I would have liked to have seen too, of course. The Sustein book wasn’t my favorite, clearly. But mostly, I wish we could have had more in-class discussions on some of the blog topics. I enjoyed writing and reading blog posts, but I feel like they could have really added perspective and good discussion to a class that almost encourages a Socratic-style seminar. I would have liked to have spent more time talking about current events, relating our discussions back to what we’re seeing in the world today (especially given that the Egyptian Revolution happened during the course of this class), and probing more into really interesting and unique theories like the Al-Jazeera Effect.

I won’t say necessarily that any topics were boring or irrelevant, because I think everything very naturally related to one another, and I greatly appreciated that. But perhaps next time, more discussion-based topics, rather than a discussion of the reading material, will make this class even more interactive, relevant, and fulfilling than it already is!

Thanks for letting me use this space to sarcastically remark about politics all semester! In return, have yet ANOTHER Obama manip. Thank god for Tumblr, really.

Nuz, out! xoxo!

Blog 12: The take away blog

May 2, 2011 1 comment

Before I begin, I think I would be amiss not to mention the recent developments in the Osama bin Laden news cycle. As we know, The Navy SEALs managed to kill him by all accounts, and I spent a good six hours watching the real news getting updates on the whole ordeal. I feel it necessary to share a small portion of my mindset on the issue, since it does play a pretty large role in the political communication realm. When talking to my hippy-dippy ex-girlfriend, she texted me, “I like how Osama is a reason to start a fucking worldwide frat party.” While I am glad that the world is rid of a terrorist threat, a man willing to kill civilians to advance his hateful intolerance, my response to her was thus: “I was glad that they managed to kill a guy who spread hate, but singing ‘Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)’ in the streets was worthy of a douchechill.”

Whether the death of Osama bin Laden was the outcome of a carefully planned mission that was carried out on May 1st, or whether bin Laden’s been dead for a few days and President Obama decided to make the announcement coinciding with the 8 year anniversary of George W. Bush’s “Mission accomplished” proclamation for the sake of political vote pandering will be interesting to discuss. But as of yesterday, I think it’s less appropriate to celebrate bin Laden’s death as it is to celebrate, soberly, the elimination of a hateful man who sought to spread hate. If nothing else, let’s celebrate how hard President Obama got laid when he found out he managed to eliminate the number one face of terror during his presidency, something that hadn’t been done over 10 years. If he isn’t getting some, none of us should be either.

Perhaps the most interesting discussion I took away from this class was that of how soft news, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert managed to affect the news media and the citizens in our fine democracy. That their satire, be it of the news media itself or of the blowhard pundits that pontificate like Pharisees from their pulpits, can have such a profound affect on the voting public, how news stations cover the news and what journalists cover is fascinating. From the cancellation of Crossfire to Stephen Colbert’s ability to be adopted by college liberals and staunch conservatives alike shows the power of their pulpit.

Further, I think it’s important that I mention that from this class, I was able to determine precisely what the difference between what Stewart/Colbert do in terms of their comedy (satire) and what other comedians, such at Leno and Letterman do (pseudosatire) is. More importantly, the importance of understanding the difference between these two are, i.e. satire calls for change through comedy whereas pseudosatire fans the flames of apathy by giving up on the the tenants of democracy became paramount to me. Since I tend to consume my politics with the sugar of comedy coating its bitter political pill, to know what each’s goal is allows me to understand the political atmosphere and what the goals of comedy and democracy are. Rather than giving up on politics, this class has actually instilled a hopefulness that democracy can work, primarily because most of the comedians I respect actually believe in the tenants of democracy (save for late Carlin, who was as cynical as the come toward the end).

The paper that I wrote, on how comedy affects democracy, did precisely the opposite of what I expected it to do. Rather than further removing me from a democracy that I already haven’t been participating in (I think I’m the only person in class who didn’t vote in ’08), it made me proud to be part of a democracy. While it may have its flaws, it isn’t entirely hopeless, and researching and writing this paper, coupled with the discussions we’ve had about political comedy and its affect on democracy re instilled a pride in this nation that I had lost in the past few years. So thanks for assigning it!

Blog 12: Last Thoughts

This class definitely beat the expectations I had when first signing up. I’ve been on the brink of being interested in politics and not for some time. I always felt that it was important to vote (probably the only 5 year old who couldn’t wait to vote), but after the 2008 presidential election and before it I really didn’t pay much attention to politics.  This class has definitely opened my eyes to more political news and how to access it, and of course pushed me to my addiction of Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. There were many aspects I liked about this class. I loved when learning about the presidential campaign and elections of JFK and Richard Nixon.

It was so interesting learning about Nixon’s fight to the presidency and made me want to find out why after all that work he would ruin it with the Watergate Scandal. I always think it’s important to know what past presidents have done to make sure that we can learn from their mistakes. I love how television was such a big factor and now we have so many different networking systems that can effect a presidential campaign. I also enjoyed the days where we would watch news clips from old reporters and from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I also loved how we watched that video on the Egyptian revolution. I just like how everything was tied into our everyday lives and what was actually going on currently.

What I didn’t enjoy was the Sunstein book. I found it really really boring and repetitive. I probably picked this book because we just recently reviewed it and it’s still fresh in my memory. I’m sure the information was very important, but I think it could of easily been a article instead of a book. After reading the first chapter I could have stopped reading and gotten the gist of it. All in all I really enjoyed this class and it definitely was one of my more interesting classes at Mizzou. 

BLOG12. Last Blog (Already?)

Time does fly QUICK! I can’t believe we’re already wrapping up a semester and writing the last blog post.

This class has provided so much information and knowledge about US politics and the relationship between media and politics.

As being a korean lived most of my life in Canada, I had little or shallow knowledge about politics at all. Taking this class was definitely helpful understanding what i was lagged behind of the areas as well as increased interests toward what i was not so much interested about. Political satire/comedy shows are the first example. Prior to this class, i thought these shows are just political junkies, which all they do is acting as an opponent of government and creating the hostility amongst citizens. However as i was watching these shows to understand them in order to write blogs about, i realized that i had wrong ideas. I found that these political satire are not only helpful to keep up with current political issues but also to increases the sense of critical views of issues our society has.

I found it extremely interesting that changes and patterns in trends of political participation through the decades have closely related to the changes of technologies. Invent of printing press and broadcasting once assembled the citizens to politics and in turn, media and journalism was well respected in 1970s and 1980s. However beginning of 1990s journalism became the least respected institution in the society and until now. And as its interests dropped people’s participation to politics dropped as well. Then the new medium, the internet has appeared. while it may or may not recovered people’s respects toward journalism it definitely played a crucial role in increasing the political participation. Through working on my research paper, despite my agreement on Sunsein’s arguments on Republic.com 2.0, i realized that the internet have played a big role helping building democratic.

Over all, i have had a great experience in this class. I have learned and developed knowledge about political communication a lot  that i will need and will help me as a student and an educated constituent.

BLOG 12: Communication 4473 Review

May 2, 2011 Leave a comment

The most interesting things we covered in the course included watching and discussing the Buying a War documentary, reading The Selling of the President, and all the discussions involving how the internet/social media affect politics/democracy.

Bill Moyer's "Buying a War" Documentary

Buying the War was very interesting for several reasons: not only did it provide an unconventional perspective on the Bush Administration, but it also provided important information about how administrations can effectively (even deceptively) get their message to the media and the public.

It was interesting to learn about the media-control techniques used by the Nixon campaign in the Selling of the President.  For those interested in campaigns it offered great insights into the modernization of campaigning.

"The Selling of the President"

The topics I most enjoyed reading and learning about were those that related to how citizens can use the internet and social media to consume political information, be actively engaged in politics, and even start political movements.  Since the internet and social media are still relatively new political tools, and since the full potential of these tools has yet to be realized, it is very interesting to learn how these tools will affect politics and democracy.  I really enjoyed learning about media usage patterns, how different types of people use technology to gather news/be politically involved, and the potential of these tools to increase political involvement.  The video about Gigi and the Egyptian revolution was especially great.

The most boring/irrelevant assignments were the group presentations on The Making of the President 1960 and reading Sunstein’s Republic.com 2.0.

Book on the Kennedy Election

Although the book on the Kennedy election was very interesting, I would have preferred to read the entire book rather than depend on group presentations to convey the information.   Group presentations are time consuming and the result of groups having to put a presentation together is usually that each member only has knowledge of the very specific pages/chapters/slides they are presenting.  Also, they are very boring to watch.  I would have enjoyed that portion of the class much more had we devoted time to reading the entire book (rather than putting together mediocre group presentations) and then blogged about the book and discussed the book in class.

Sunstein's "Republic.com 2.0"

The Sunstein book was very boring to read.  Although he made some good points I would have much preferred to read an article or summary on his theories.  The class discussion on Republic.com 2.o was good, but reading the book was painful.

For the most part, I really enjoyed this class and feel that I learned a great deal.

How can social media lead to increased political involvement among citizens?

I think I enjoyed learning about the potential for the internet and social media to affect politics, increase citizen involvement, bring about change, and promote democracy because it is such a new concept, and one that can have serious implications for our society.  It is exciting to think these new tools may forever change citizens’ role in politics, government, and social change.

One thing that I would have liked to learn more about is what specific social media tactics can be used by political candidates, groups, or movements to get their followers to act in an effective way. None of my journalism, communication, or political science classes have addressed this issue even though I believe it is one that will be very important to communications professionals as new technologies continue to emerge.

How will social media affect social change in the future?

BLOG 10: Sunstein’s Republic.com 2.0

April 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Cover of Cass Sunstien's Book: Republic.com 2.0

REVIEW

In my opinion, Cass Sunstein’s Republic.com 2.0 is much too repetitive for any average (or even scholarly) person to enjoy reading.  Sunstein draws some meaningful conclusions from his theories about the implications of new and emerging technologies and information communication and what this means for free speech and democracy, but by the end of the book (if the reader can make it to the end of the book) the same theories and conclusions have been re-stated so many times that upon finishing the book  the reader may never want to hear of Sunstein or his theories again.  Perhaps the reason for all the repetition though is to clearly state how new technologies are changing the way people and communicate information and the consequences of these changes for our democratic system.  After all, that is in extremely important, relevant, and (usually) interesting topic.

 

KEY POINTS & Quotes

The main points Sunstein makes in Republic.com 2.0 (which become apparent within the first few chapters of the book) are:

1.  Citizens should be exposed to info that they would not seek out themselves.

I do contend that in a democracy deserving the name, lives should be structured so that people often come across views and topics that they have not specifically selected.

2.  Citizens need range of common, shared experiences so they can understand each other.

I will emphasize the risks posed by any situation in which thousands or perhaps millions or even tens of millions of people are mainly listening to louder echoes of their own voices.  A situation of this kind is likely to produce far worse than mere fragmentation.

Highs and Lows

The best part of the Sunstien book was the end.  Just kidding.  The actual best part of Republic.com 2.0 was learning about the important and major implications our new technologies and communication methods have for our society and our democracy.  I don’t think many people think about how increased dependence on sharing and getting information through social media and other personalized, on-line sources can make a difference in the democratic values held by our society.  In reverse, I don’t think many people often think of a democratic society’s responsibility to create a media/information environment that is healthy for democracy.  Sunstein certainly provides many points that should be considered as our society moves toward increased reliance on technology and ‘personalized’ information.  The worst part of the book was definitely the repetition.  If Sunstein would have written Republic.com 2.0 in a more succinct fashion the book, full of all his theories, conclusions, and recommendations for society, would be both important and interesting. 

More reviews on Sunstein’s Republic.com 2.0 HERE