In the essay Visual Literacy, Peter Goin argues on the necessity of education and widespread enlightenment of deeper photography analysis. Throughout his essay, he criticizes the ubiquitous misconception of consuming photography as facts. What a lot of people do not understand is the underlying intention of the artists hidden under the rectangular frame, and that it only reveals what the artists intend to show. One of the historical photography of fraud would be the notorious Iwo Jima flag photo. The photo of U.S army hanging the American flag was allegedly taken right after the conquer of the Japanese island, Iwo Jima. In the recent years, it has been revealed that the photography was staged. To embellish the aesthetic qualities of the photo, the photo of flag raising was retaken, on the next day, it was originally taken. With the purpose of dramatizing, therefore generating sympathy out of American patriotism, photography had been manipulated and was used as a mechanism for manipulation. In that notion, it is necessary that we do not take the photography as it is, as Goin accentuates in his essay. Originating from my strong belief that history is distorted, and documents can be fabricated and manipulated, I wholeheartedly agree with Goin’s stressing point. I also believe that every production of work or any action that anyone does contains purpose and agenda, either consciously or subconsciously. There must be a factor and a reason that revolves the camera operator to capture the certain moment in the certain angle and at the certain place. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” Today, what is there that is better than the media to promote politics? It is critical that each individual comprehend the innate nature of photographic agenda, and develop an insight to corroborate and evaluate photographs they see. Notwithstanding how strongly I believe the need, it is overwhelming and time-consuming for modern civilians to ask for deeper analysis and evaluation of photos they see. In this world, it is safe to say that we are surrounded by images and videos. It is just not very economical and pragmatic to overanalyze every one of it. Alternatively, it would be best to have scholars and specialists to criticize and evaluate photographs in diverse perspectives, along with people’s interests and general understanding of the photographic error.
Soong Joo Park
March 28, 2016
“Journalism at stake?”
AMANPOUR: Welcome to “Journalists talk,” I’m Christiane Amanpour, the Chief International Correspondent for CNN. Our theme and the title of today’s discussion is “Journalism at stake?” Once I have said in an interview that “I strongly believe that journalism is one of the most noble professions, because without an informed world, and without an informed society, we are weak, we are weak.” (“Origin” 64) I abide by this belief to this day, and I have a great appreciation for my profession as a journalist who has experienced through modernization of journalism. Nonetheless, we have come to touch on some of the delicate subjects in journalism and the media. I feel that this opportunity to lead such discussion would be personally insightful and interesting; being a journalist would certainly have put some biases and shortsightedness in me, but also would have input certain expertise and experience in it too. I greatly look forward in discovering different aspects pertaining to different positions. To unravel into fruitful discussions, today we have Ian Hargreaves, a professor, journalism critic, and the author of Journalism, A Very Short Introduction, Alain de Botton, a philosopher and an author of many great books including The News: A User’s Manual, and last but not least, Dr. Carl Jenson, the founder of Project Censored. Welcome, and thank you all for joining us today.
AMANPOUR: To dive into the essence of modern media and journalism criticism in general lets first talk about censorship in media. What is your standpoint in the existence of censorship in the press? Would you say it has always been inevitably present, or it is an outcome of modernization?
JENSON: Well, Ms. Amanpour, to reference your recent censorship scandal with the Russian ambassador, I have a reason to believe that any and all media corporations are inevitably prone to conveying censorship to the public. Not to attack you in any way, but to stretch the point that democracy is undermined by the censorship (Project Censored, About) and that the need for the people or the organizations that could investigate and expose it to the public is imperative. Censorship is a demolition of democracy and is ironically the world’s biggest democracy.
AMANPOUR: In what way could the public understanding of the new and the media be improved?
JENSON: Project Censored educates media literacy to the public in a way that they would attain capability to evaluate media.
BOTTON: I wholeheartedly agree with Jenson on the significance of the public media literacy. Every one of us needs to be able to corroborate and filter out what we hear and read to maintain the democracy. They say do not believe everything you see from the news. The problem is that modern media has changed grossly over the short period, a great number of the people hadn’t had a chance to see truly what is in the pond. We haven’t had time to analyze deeply the effects and changes brought to the media. (Botton 74)
HARGREAVES: Without a doubt, the news is monitored and restrained to some level like anything is. That depends on the country, too. Like the way how deceitful propaganda had been inescapable from the “information regimes.” (Hargreaves 35) American journalism, on the other hand, had generally been reputed as independent and truthful by the freedom of the press, until it has been “hijacked in pursuit of commercial interest by the likes of the Disney Corporation and AOL-Time Warner.” (Hargreaves 40) This is what concerns American journalists as a “fundamental and epic change with enormous implications for democratic society.” (Hargreaves 40) Still, every cloud has a silver lining, and we have the public journalism or the civic journalism that fights for the objectivity in journalism. In the convergent media, where all the news sources are out there with easy access to the public, censorship is not the biggest problem. It will always be a problem in progress to alleviate, but there are bigger issues in modern media.
AMANPOUR: I see. You have really a good point. Now, let me alter the question little bit; what do you all project is the best way for journalists to report objectively, or closer to the truth? Would you consider bias as a bad thing?
JENSON: A journalist’s job is to report the facts. It is the public who should input judgements and beliefs with their media literacy. When journalists start to speak for themselves, our beliefs get controlled.
BOTTON: I stand by opposite to Dr. Jenson. I believe that “we should be more generous towards bias. In its pure form, a bias simply indicates a method of evaluating events that is guided by a coherent underlying thesis about human functioning and flourishing. It is a pair of lenses that slide over reality and aim to bring it more clearly into focus. Bias strives to explain what events mean and introduces a scale of values by which to judge ideas and events.” (Botton 29) “Boredom is a new challenge and a new responsibility.” (Botton 24) An article that lists facts without an opinion or an emotion will dry out the readers. Also, with different opinions and perspectives, the readers would be able to expand their views.
AMANPOUR: Well, it seems like both of you have stressed two very good points. Due to time constraint, we will now move on to final comments or remarks. If you would like to each comment on additional issues in modern journalism, it would be great if you include your concerns briefly.
HARGREAVES: Thank you, Ms.Amanpour, for inviting us and leading on such fruitful discussion. I would wish the public has taken a note on the importance of media education, and for the additional concern, I would like to say: we should not forget that journalism costs money because of its accessibility. Forgetting that money is needed to investigate and report the news leads to media degradation, and we obviously do not want that. (Hargreaves 2)
JENSON: I as well had an insightful time with you all today. My greatest concern is aforementioned need for media education. We live a life surrounded by the media, and to be not controlled, we need to be able to realize when we are controlled.
BOTTON: Agreeing with Hargreaves and Dr.Jenson, the discussion we had today is priceless, and I agree both concerns mentioned by them are relevant. Modern media and the effect of technology is still very new idea to the public, so the public and the experts like us need more time to make conclusive analysis of it.
AMANPOUR: Well, thank you all for coming all the way down to New York to educate, enlighten, and entertain us. Thank you for watching, and good night!
Problems of modern journalism, or the modernization of journalism.
Hargreaves: Yellow journalism, junk journalism, lack of public understanding, forgetting that journalism cost money.
Now that the news is everywhere, shared and produced by virtually anyone, the issue of validity in source arises.
In a different perspective, it could be seen as more perspectives brought in media, but it could also mean lack of time and effort validating the sources. The change is rapid in media, and this could be dangerous.
Botton, Alain De. The News: A User’s Manual. Londen: Pinguin, 2014. Print.
Hargreaves, Ian. Journalism: A Very Short Introduction. S.I : Oxford UP – Distribution Services, 2014. Print.
“More About Project Censored -.” Project Censored. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.
“ORIGIN Magazine Issue #23.” Issuu. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.
The one thing that I have noticed from this class was that it consists a lot of diversity. Coming from a relatively monoculture environment/country, VCU itself was a great change for me. This class especially felt diverse and different from other classes because of the intimacy in regards to the class size and the topics discussed, and the fact that we do not share a lot in common. We all have different majors, come from different high schools, and have contrasting perspectives in life. Personally, I believe the difference is better than homogeneity. Although a group of difference would take more time creating harmony, each would benefit more in the long-term. There are so much more to learn from differences, and it is quite interesting to see how the heterogeneous individuals transform into a somewhat like-minded group (Or at least learn how to compromise, and communicate). Therefore, I tried to observe and listen different voices in UNIV 111. I tried to enlarge my empathy to see in multi-perspective, and I believe the class has coped with it. As another carrier of a distinctive voice, I also tried to engage in sharing my perspectives, beliefs, and ideas in class. Frankly, it is true that I could have engaged more actively if I felt less shy and comfortable. This could be one thing that I could improve on individually next semester. Extended from this great semester of observation and sharing, I would like to branch out into creating harmony and common interests with other people. Probably because of the great differences in the group members, it feels like it takes longer to get to know people. There seems to have a thin ice in our group, and I hope it would melt down next semester. I would wish we would all be able to mature as a group that can communicate, understand, and share.
In chapter 23, “As Lovely as Aphrodite” of The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Lepore talks about Marston hiring Harry G. Peter to draw the first Wonder Woman. She explains how Charles Gibson’s Gibson girls and Fulton came to influence Peter’s drawings. She includes how Marston wanted the Wonder Woman to wear Olive’s bracelets, which represents her independence and strength. Wonder Woman was also ordered to be unusually beautiful who wears a tiara. Marston liked Peter’s first draft of Wonder Woman except for her fuzzy sandals. Lepore then mentions how Marston ordered Peter to draw Wonder Woman to have invincible powers stronger than the wrestlers, beauty like Aphrodite, and wisdom as Athena. Wonder Woman’s story started with Hippolyte and Diana who lived in Amazonia according to Lepore. Hercules stole the magic griddle and forced the Amazons to move to the Isle of Woman, and the plane that Captain Steve Trevor rode crashed on the Amazon Isle. Princess Diana, Wonder Woman, fly to America to take Trevor home. It is also included that Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics number 8.
In chapter 18, “Venus With Us” of The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Lepore delves into the polynomial marriage condition of Marston, Holloway, and Byrne. Lepore first briefly describes Byrne’s background. Then she stretches out the mutual benefits that Holloway and Byrne got from this extraordinary marriage. Lepore states, ““Her staying home with Holloway’s baby allowed Holloway to lead the life of a professional woman, unencumbered by the duties of motherhood. And Holloway’s income supported Olive’s children when they came. Marston had never been able to hold a job for more than a year. He needed Holloway’s income, too.” (page 379, Excerpt From: Jill Lepore. “The Secret History of Wonder Woman.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/6Nol1.l) Oddly, according to Lepore, Byrne lied to her children about Marston being their father. Then the story moves on to noting active accomplishments Sanger made as a birth control activist, and how Marston took odd jobs at different schools meanwhile. The chapter ends by Lepore introducing the book Marston wrote, Venus With Us, which dealt with submission and dominance.
Chapter 8 of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore begins with a description of an actor that Marston hired to observe students’ observational skills. The officer in disguise entered Marston’s class quietly, informing the class that he has a message to deliver. He had a conversation with Marston, handed him an envelope and left. The students noticed only 34 points on average out of 147 possible observable details. Lepore then relates the experiment to Marston’s study of testimony, which he asked Wigmore, Dr.Charles C.Tansill, and Emily Davis to serve as judge to determine “whether women were competent as jurors.” Lepore states that Marston concluded from the experiment that women are more careful, conscientious, and much more impartial. That Lepore builds up to the James Alphonso Frye murder charges on March 10, 1922. Lepore includes that Marston wanted to try lie detector on Frye, who argues that he accidentally shot Washington physician Robert Wade Brown. Unfortunately, as Lepore states, the judge did not allow Marston to lie detect Frye, as it was jury’s job to decide whether or not Frye is lying.
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