Inspired to Inform

By: Kerry Loughran

This class has really showed me the importance of staying well-informed, not just informed. To actively look for all sides of a story and to actively look for both new and old stories. We have a responsibility to our nation to stay informed to the best of our ability and to also inform those who may not be aware of the importance in staying informed. In addition to all that, it’s important to just be aware of everything: news, stories, advertisements, filter bubbles, bias (personal and otherwise), our surroundings, and how our actions (or lack thereof) affect things outside of our personal world.

I don’t think my consumption or production will change drastically. However, I definitely think I will put more effort into staying informed of all sides and biases. After learning about gatekeeping, I also think I’ll make a more conscious effort to share educated thoughts and opinions. I’m not super active in posting and sharing on my medias, but I do browse a lot and will be more conscious of the things that come up in my feed.

I have become much more interested in social and political issues and have enjoyed “translating” them for my family and friends. A lot of these issues don’t seem interesting and/or can take a lot to hold someone’s attention, but if they are explained in a different way (like John Oliver explaining net neutrality for example) people are much more inclined to pay attention and, thus, understand things happening to and around them. I’ve already found myself doing this whenever people ask how the class is going. As time has passed, I’ve noticed I do it more and more. I find it self-rewarding helping others to understand what is going on and how it pertains to them. After all, sharing is caring; so sharing the knowledge I have is done with caring intentions and hopes to educate those around me.

I really enjoyed this course and greatly appreciate everything I’ve learned and all the interactions I’ve had. ( : Thank you all for making this course interesting and enjoyable. I hope you are able to relax and enjoy the rest of your summer!

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Pushing Boundaries

By: Kerry Loughran

Music, just like any other media, has an important role in our democracy. It is a channel in which artists can express their feelings, views, opinions and then consumers connect with their music. It is used to share ideas, and for people to use those ideas to create and encourage change. The freedom we have to express our opinions is incredibly important, and music is an effective way to harness that expression and share it with others. Especially for more well-known artists, it is a great platform to promote issues that need to be addressed and to promote the good things happening around us. It’s also a great way for people to connect to one another on a human level; it’s a powerful media because it doesn’t need words in order to get a message across.

I don’t think music has “abandoned” the role it played in social change. I think there are a lot of artists addressing important issues and trying to promote ways we can attempt to fix or just acknowledge the issues. However, I think many of the popular music today is very surface level in meaning and has gotten very caught-up in music as sales, rather than music as art. As mentioned earlier, I think music is one of the most powerful mediums because it doesn’t require words for the audience to understand or relate with the music. However, there can be some issues with this. There’s a YouTube parody called “Dramatic Song” and the entire song is about the lyrics being lackluster and boring, having no correlation to the instrumental mood of the song at all. The lyrics create this very odd, in-depth story of someone’s foreign grandmother thinking it is a great, emotional song when the reality one of the verses is written as this: “You’d probably think I’m singing / ‘bout some pretty serious stuff. / But in reality, I’m singing ’bout / the lack of stuff I’m singing ’bout.” I think this, unfortunately, is how a lot of songs today really are; they give off a certain vibe in sound, but the lyrics have no depth and/or no correlation.

Listening to music not usually found on the radio, you come across a lot of songs and artists that are very obviously addressing important issues and ways we can productively approach them. Macklemore and twenty one pilots are two artists that have a variety of songs addressing issues important to them, yet very few of their songs are played on the radio. Macklemore has used his music to address issues like drug addiction to equality and a number of other things. But one of his most popular songs, the song played most on the radio, is about thrift shops. Twenty one pilots addresses the issues of mental health: acknowledging it, understanding it, helping others struggling, and helping yourself. Just like Macklemore, a majority of their songs address this issue in one way or another; yet their most popular song is about being stressed out and only brushes the surface of mental illness in the context of the rest of the album Blurryface. Meanwhile, a song on their recent album Trench directly addresses the stigma around suicide and mental illness.

I think many artists do try to address issues important to them and important in our society, but it’s the public as a general whole that doesn’t acknowledge their attempt to address the important things. I think this also may have to do with censorship on the radio. So maybe it comes down to us requesting the songs on that push boundaries to be played on radio stations that refuse to let boundaries be pushed.

“the same in the movies”

By: Kerry Loughran

Ironically, searching empowerment on Google images comes up with a white male and a superhero shadow.

Movies have a heavy influence on our socialization. There are efforts to appeal to audience members, and that’s usually accomplished by giving the audience something to relate with. Regardless of genre, you could probably find one main theme to relate with in your favorite movie. (I’m curious as to what that main theme may be to you; so comment on this post if you can identify one and are willing to share.☺️) Children -and even adults- often find inspiration in movie characters, or even the actors themselves. More recently, there has been an increase in minorities as lead superheroes with movies like Captain Marvel and Black Panther. I’ve heard comments from friends and strangers that a lot of minority people feel inspired and empowered seeing individuals like themselves in these popular, heroic roles. Movies have also created physical and digital places where people can meet one another and connect through commonalities and interests.

There are also bias representations of certain races, genders, age groups, etc. in movies that have influenced how we view those groups outside of movie settings. The same goes for physical places as well. For example, the physical place of Hollywood and the city of Los Angeles are glorified in movies and other media. Yet, the “city of Los Angeles” is usually used in reference to Los Angeles County; and if you have ever been to Hollywood, you know that it isn’t as beautiful and clean as it’s usually portrayed to be. I hosted a German exchange student for a semester in high school and I cannot put into words how excited she was to get the chance to visit LA. Myself and my friends kept telling her that some areas were beautiful but other areas weren’t very nice. As much as we didn’t want to take her excitement away, we also didn’t want her to be completely let down or disappointed. She ended up loving the county as a whole, but said she preferred other Southern California areas more and didn’t exactly want to visit LA again.

Los Angeles skyline, typical expectation
Los Angeles skyline, typical reality

That trip to LA made me realize that proper representation does matter: not just for people but places as well. We also took her to Las Vegas and she told us that Vegas “is the same in the movies.” Vegas is glamorized in many movies, don’t get me wrong. However, there are also well-known movies like The Hangover that show the less glamorous, and dramatized, version of Vegas.

As artists, filmmakers have freedom to portray things how they would like. But as many filmmakers also take after journalists, I think there is an underlying responsibility to portray things accurately… or maybe at least accurately to their personal views and disclosed as such.

Memo: Verizon vs. FCC, Ongoing

TO: Verizon Communications

FROM: Kerry Loughran

DATE: 19 June 2019

SUBJECT: Verizon vs. FCC, Net Neutrality and First Amendment Violations  – No First Amendment Violations

ISSUE

Verizon Communications (Verizon) believes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is violating the company’s First Amendment rights by establishing net neutrality rules. Due to Verizon being an internet service provider (ISP) and a telecommunications company, it is unclear as to where they fall under the FCC’s laws and regulations and how the First Amendment applies to Verizon as a company. The internet is argued to be a public good, so is Verizon arguing the First Amendment rights are violated on their behalf or the greater public’s behalf? Does Verizon have valid First Amendment rights with net neutrality rules?

ANSWER

Verizon does not have a valid First Amendment case. Verizon is an ISP and publicly traded company, and thus has the responsibility to serve the public’s best interest, convenience, or necessity because the internet is a public good and method of communication. Altering access and speed to websites conflicts with the public’s Fifth Amendment, not Verizon’s. As a service provider, the companies should provide a service to the public. Additionally, Verizon’s argument is not valid because it is illegal for companies to tamper with competition, which would be probable without net neutrality. In previous court rulings, Verizon still did not have valid First Amendment violation arguments.

FACTS

The First Amendment protects freedom to religion, petition, assemble, and the freedom of speech and the press; Verizon still has all these rights under net neutrality rules. The Sherman Antitrust Act clarifies that a company cannot control the market for a product or service; Verizon should not be allowed to control speed and access to websites because it limits who can access the services the websites have to offer. The internet is not owned and not governed by any central group; so Verizon has no right to alter what areas of the internet their users have access to because it is intended to be freely used across the globe.

Statistics Show

By: Kerry Loughran

I don’t think media products are all that different from other kinds of products. While there are definitely differences, I think the similarities are more prominent. Media products still have target audiences, and many of those target audiences are directed specifically towards men or women but usually men. In Miss Representation, it is repeated time and time again that women are more likely to consume media, TV shows, movies; yet men would not watch or consume media that women typically consume. Companies were asked to create content target towards men so they could reach a wider audience and advertise towards men, thus making more money.

Men, statistically, dominate executive roles in media companies. Miss Representation was released in 2011 and showed 4 of 13 women served the board of The Walt Disney Company (TWDC), 4 of 17 women served the board for General Electric and NBC, 2 of 11 served the Viacom board, 2 of 13 for TimeWarner’s board, 2 of 14 for CBS’ board, 1 of 16 for Fox’s board. Now in 2019, TWDC has 7 women of 23 leadership positions; General Electric has 1 woman out of 11 leadership positions and 4 women in 21 executive positions; NBCUniversal has 2 women of 7 board members, and the parent company –Comcast– has 13 women of 27 corporate leadership roles; Viacom has 5 women of 9 positions in the board; WarnerMedia, parent to TimeWarner, has 1 woman of 9 leadership roles, and AT&T -parent company of WarnerMedia- has 3 women out of 12 board positions; CBS has 6 women of 11 board positions, and Viacom owns CBS; and Fox has 1 woman of 7 board positions, and TWDC owns Fox’s Entertainment sector. The statistics of women in board and leadership positions may have slightly risen since 2011, but the majority of the positions are still held by men. With men dominating the leadership roles, they have a larger say in the media produced and released. They have the majority of the control and the power. This means that the economics behind these companies is dominated by men over women, taking away a lot of say from the women.

Message from your Boise Co-op

By: Kerry Loughran

We, the Boise Co-op, would like to send sincere apologies to you, our members, our customers, our community members, our employees, and all others affected by the recent Salmonella outbreak. We care very deeply about our customers, members, and community. Boise Co-op has no toleration for anything that may harm our customers, members, or community.

Our officials have diligently removed all food suspected to contain Salmonella bacteria and all food within close proximity to the contaminated foods. Each location is being thoroughly sanitized and reinspected. Furthermore, we will be in communication with our partners to identify the source of the harmful bacteria, as to ensure we prevent another outbreak which would harm our customers or community. Our foods, and their foods, will be examined for any other potentially harmful bacteria, as well as product mistreatment.

Salmonella bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is known to generally cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps. The symptoms typically last 4 to 7 days. Should you experience some or more of the symptoms for more than 3 days with no improvement, we urge you to please contact your doctor or an urgent care in your area. If you have other questions or concerns regarding Salmonella bacteria, call your doctor or a local health care professional.

We, at the Boise Co-op, take responsibility for not providing our members, customers and community with quality, healthy, fresh foods and products. This is a situation we are taking very seriously, all comments and concerns we receive are reviewed by us and our vendors to ensure we are allowing all voices to be heard and taken into account. We are deeply sorry for any negative effects this outbreak has caused for you and are actively working to prevent anything like it from happening again.

Sending our deepest apologies.

Your local neighbors,

The Boise Co-op

the village location

Phone: 208-809-2200

2350 N. Eagle Road, Meridian, ID 83646

North End Location

Phone: 208-472-4500

888 W Fort Street, Boise, ID 83703

Coffee Controls Chaos

By: Kerry Loughran

Super Carlin Brothers is a YouTube channel I watch frequently and back in November they announced the creation their own coffee brand, Carlin Brothers Coffee. The story behind it is they would meet up to research, plan, and film their videos or just hang out; and they would always get coffee. It was something they enjoyed together and it brought them together. In support of them and their YouTube channel, I bought some and loved the unique flavor. So I took pictures (and videos) for the fun of it and it ended up coming in handy! I chose this image in particular because the colors on the coffee bag contrast well to the neutral colors around it. I think it portrays a calm, simple, content vibe while the coffee can be seen brewing into the cup. Also the shadow from the coffee bag makes the final statement stand out even more.

The image communicates that the coffee has a bright flavor. It can help you relax and regain control of everything going on, and it’s empowering the user that they took control. I used the technique plain-folks pitch because the product is associated with simplicity, and with simplicity comes relaxation.

I’m trying to reach a target audience of young adults. These are usually the people that feel like their lives are overwhelming, stressful, out of control, messy. This age group frequently expresses things in their life feel chaotic. The ad suggests that the product could help attain the need for control. It also conveys valuing simple moments, relaxation, environmental friendliness (see the bottom of the bag), uniqueness, control, and empowerment.

While having a life of excitement can be great, sometimes simple is better. Advertisements have a large role in shaping us and our culture. There are times, more often than not, where ads are overwhelming. Ads that express serenity and control (and don’t take over the entire screen) could help take away the tension people get when they’re overwhelmed with life and/or ads. A little bit can go a long way.