Information Is Beautiful // FMP

I’ve been looking at how best to display information, and remember seeing the ‘Information Is Beautiful’ book a few years ago.  I think displaying factual information in an interesting way is something I’d like to do with this project as a way of communicating a wider meaning would be something to try.  Particularly with respect to media and newsworthy information, I think displaying peoples’ distrust of the media would be really impactful.

I need to put a survey together to ask some proper questions so that I can get some proper answers. Things like “Do you trust the media?”

It’s an incredibly loaded question with so, so many shades of grey, but we’re often expected by the media to make binary choices like this in every day life.  For example during the pre-Brexit pantomime, forcing people to arbitrarily pick to stay or to leave, when it was just never that simple.  The real meat of the things that go on around us are impacted by our personal bias, our socio-economic background, and various other factors.

By getting people to be more aware of their personal bias and its influence and impact on their decision making process would be something I’d be really interested in looking at.

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Social Cognitive Theory of Mass Communications // FMP

“Communication technologies and global interconnectedness provide people with ready direct access to information worldwide independent of time and place and unfettered by institutional and moneyed gatekeepers.  The public is less dependent on a mediated filter-down system of persuasion and enlightenment.  These vastly expanded opportunities for self-directedness underscore the growing primacy of agentic initiative in human adaptation and change in the electronic era.  Ready access to communication technologies will not necessarily enlist active participation unless people believe they can achieve desired results by this means.  Perceived personal and collective efficacy partly determines the extent to which people use this resource and the purposes to which they put it.” – Albert Bandura, Stanford University.

“The media play an indispensable role in the proper functioning of a democracy. Without mass media, openness and accountability are very tough to reach in contemporary democracies. The media can inform the public of how effectively the current government or candidates have performed in the past and help to them to account. Nevertheless, mass media can also hinder political transparency as well as help it. Politicians and political operatives can simulate the political virtues of transparency through rhetorical and media manipulation. There are three major societal functions that mass media perform to the political decisions raised by the political scientist Harold Lasswell: surveillance of the world to report ongoing events, interpretation of the meaning of events, and socialization of individuals into their cultural settings. The mass media regularly present politically crucial information on huge audience and it also represents the reaction from the audience rapidly through the mass media. The government or the political decision makers have the chance to have a better understanding of the real reaction from the public of those decisions they have made.”

 

Hierarchy of Influences // FMP

In mass communication, the Hierarchy of Influences, formally known as the Hierarchical Influences Model, is an organized theoretical framework introduced by Pamela Shoemaker & Stephen D. Reese. This framework was introduced in their book Mediating the Message: Theories of Influences on Mass Media Content.

Social systems

The macro social systems level is the outer-most ring of the model that represent the influences from social systems as a whole. This level focus on how ideological forces shape and influence media content. For this reason, it is often employed in cross-national comparative media studies.

Social institutions

Social institutional level describes influences coming from larger trans-organizational media field. How media organizations combine into larger institutions that become part of larger structured relationships that compete or depend on each other as powerful social institutions.

Media organizations

Media organization level is distinguished from routines as this level describes larger organizational and occupational context such as organizational policy, occupational roles, and how the media enterprise itself is structured.

Routine practices

The routines level has three sources of routines, which constrain and enable communicators in their work process: audiences, organizations, and suppliers of content. Journalists have developed routines from endless pattern of norms in response to common situations. This level is where Mr. Gates or gate-keeping (communication) theory is also applied in journalists’ jobs.

Individuals

The micro individual level is located at the centre of the model. On this level, individual communicator’s characteristics, on both personal and professional, influence media content. Individual’s innate characteristics such as gender, race, religious and political background influence media content indirectly through shaping personal attitude and values (e.g. ethical values) as well as professional roles and education.

This theoretical way of organising the way in which mass communications are structured is interesting in that it shows us the position of different aspects of the media.  What we define as fact, opinion, or news, are on the outer rings of the framework, with an individual’s characteristics (gender, race, political background) form the central sphere.  This suggests that we can and are influenced strongly by outside communication, but ultimately our personal attitudes and values shape the outcome.  The outcome here meaning our opinions, or our political leanings, which sides we pick, and right down to our bias based on the influence of mass communication and media.

I thought it would be interesting to compare this to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which categorises the things we need as human beings.

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We’ve come to rely on the media for information or reassurance on most of the levels of Maslow’s pyramid.  The physiological basics are taken care of by information on healthy diets, widespread understanding of social healthcare, and how to take care of ourselves.  Moving up, the issue of shelter is dealt with by media bulletins whether that be on the weather of the day, or more serious issues like avoiding city centres due to terror alerts.  Belonging gets taken care of by social networks, a wealth of online communication and constant gratification through ‘likes’ and online groups.  Esteem could come again by way of online friends and social circles which deliver praise.

The upper most tier of the pyramid is the difficult one, because you could argue that the very one-dimensional bonds we form with others online do not substitute proper interaction and human behaviours.  Of course ultimately it comes down to the will of the individual on whether or not to rely on modern communication or media services.  Our personal preferences and upbringings shape the final tier of both systems – the top of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, or the system introduced by Shoemaker & Reese.

In terms of my project I think there could be a simple way of displaying the two scales in relation to each other, perhaps hinting that our needs have altered in some way.  Have our abilities to judge for ourselves been compromised?

Is the media framework at odds with the framework for essential human needs?

Pearson – Final Animation

Finally finally finished!  I’m so pleased with how it’s finally turned out.  I think it’s really powerful at suggesting the ways in which we need to improve things for the generations to come.  The submission required a two minute video, so there’s a lot of information to get across in that time but I think by including what’s important hopefully the judges will be able to see the merit in what I want to do.

It was a bit of a struggle putting the video together using AfterEffects as I’d barely used the software before, but I think for the time I had to put the animation together I’m really pleased!  I think overall I wish I’d had some more time to develop the visuals of the actual service itself, but with the pace of third year and the amount of work I’ve had to do I’m still really happy.