Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ekonomi dan Tata Kelola Media Massa

Denis McQuail dalam bukunya melihat bahwa perkembangan media massa modern menempatkan media tidak lagi dipahami dalam konteks sebagai institusi sosial dan politik belaka melainkan juga harus dilihat dalam konteks institusi ekonomi. Fakta menunjukkan bahwa media telah tumbuh bukan saja sebagai alat sosial, politik dan budaya tapi juga sebagai perusahaan yang menekankan keuntungan ekonomi. Inilah yang dimaksudkan bahwa media mempunyai dwi karakter yang tak terpisahkan: karakter sosial-budaya-politik dan karakter ekonomi.
Faktor ekonomi rupanya menjadi faktor penentu dalam mempengaruhi seluruh perilaku media massa modern. Faktor pasar bebas dalam seluruh proses komunikasi massa memberikan kontribusi yang tidak sedikit dalam membentuk faktor persaingan dan tuntutan ekonomi menjadi pertimbangan bagaimana media massa kontemporer dibentuk dan dikelola. Dalam bagian ini, McQuail membicarakan beberapa kata kunci utama dalam usaha memahami isu ekonomi dan tata kelola media massa modern. Beberapa kata kunci adalah sebagai berikut: ekonomi media dan tipe-tipe regulasi media.

PERSPEKTIF TEORETIS: alternatif teori ekonomisasi media
Sebelum masuk dalam diskusi tentang ekonomi media dan regulasi struktur media maka yang harus dilihat adalah perspektif teoretis yang bisa membantu kita memahami fenomena ekonomisasi media massa modern. Perspektif pertama adalah perspektif ekonomi dan industrial yang memahami keterpilahan dan ragam ciri perusahaan media berdasarkan ragam perbedaan media dan konteks. Kedua, lebih merupakan teori alternatif dari perspektif di atas, yaitu perspektif ekonomi politik media yang berkonsentrasi pada masalah kapitalisasi dan komersialisasi media. Ketiga adalah perspektif normatif dalam memahami media. Perspektif ini berfokus pada masalah struktur media dengan kepentingan publik. Keempat adalah perspektif institusi media dengan titik pandang media profesional.
Keempat perspektif ini bisa dipahami dengan meletakkan media massa sebagai pusat lingkaran dari tiga irisan yang saling berhubungan, yaitu politik, ekonomi dan teknologi. Irisan-irisan kekuatan yang melingkupi media menimbulkan pertanyaan: bagaimana media tertentu dibedakan dalam istilah ekonomis dan politis? Bagaimana dan mengapa sistem media nasional berbeda dalam struktur dan kontrol? Bagaimana dan mengapa ekonomi media berbeda dengan jenis industri lainnya? Apa yang menjadi sebab dan konsekuensi konsentrasi media? Apa yang menjadi sebab dan konsekuensi internalisasi media? Apakah bobot relatif teknologi berpengaruh pada perubahan media? Bagaimana kinerja media dipengaruhi sumber finansial?
Berkaitan dengan masalah di atas maka kita juga harus memahami apa yang disebut sebagai struktur media berikut level analisisnya. Struktur media berhubungan dengan sistem media. Sistem media merujuk pada seperangka set aktual dari sebuah media massa pada masyarakat tertentu. Media dalam konteks ini lebih bisa dipahami sebagai sebuah sistem. Sistem media merupakan jaring keterhubungan antar elemen yang ada dalam media massa apa pun bentuknya. Itulah sebagai pemahaman di atas membantu pengertian kita tentang level analisis yang diperlukan dalam memahami media sebagai sebuah sistem. Komponen sistem media terdiri dari ruang lingkup media, sistem media, perusahaan multimedia, sektor media, area distribusi, unit saluran media, unit produk media.

ISU-ISU EKONOMI MEDIA
A. Prinsip-Prinsip Ekonomi Dalam Struktur Media
Ada beberapa prinsip utama ekonomi yang perlu dilihat apabila kita mau melihat pertimbangan ekonomi dalam struktur media massa. Setidaknya ada 10 prinsip yang ada. Pertama, media berbeda atas dasar apakah media tersebut mempunyai struktur fixed dan variabel cost. Kedua, pasar media mempunyai karakter ganda: dibiayai oleh konsumen dan atau oleh para pengiklan. Ketiga, media yang dibiayai oleh pendapatan iklan lebih rentan atas pengaruh eksternal yang tidak diinginkan. Keempat, media yang didasarkan pada pendapatan konsumen rentan krisis keuangan jangka pendek. Kelima, perbedaan utama dalam penghasilan media akan meminta perbedaan ukuran kinerja media. Keenam, kinerja media dalam satu pasar akan berpengaruh pada kinerja di tempat lain (pasar lain). Ketujuh, ketergantungan pada iklan dalam media massa berpengaruh pada masalah homogenitas program media. Kedelapan, Iklan dalam media yang khusus akan mendorong keragaman program acara. Kesembilan, jenis iklan tertentu akan menguntungkan pada masalah konsentrasi pasar dan khalayak. Kesepuluh, persaingan dari sumber pendapatan yang sama akan mengarah pada keseragaman.

B. Masalah Kepemilikan dan Pengawasan
Dalam isu kepemilikan dan pengawasan terdapat tiga bentuk kepemilikan. Bentuk kepemilikan adalah sebagai berikut: perusahaan komersial, institusi nir-laba, lembaga yang dikontrol publik. Dalam bentuk-bentuk kepemilikan inilah yang nantinya akan mengarah pada masalah kebebasan. Kebebasan pers sendiri mendukung hak kepemilikan untuk memutuskan isi media itu sendiri. Dengan demikian, bentuk-bentuk kepemilikan mempunyai pengaruh pada pembentukan dan produksi isi media. Oleh sebab itu, penggandaan dan peragaman sistem kepemilikan dan persaingan bebas adalah cara atau hal yang perlu dipakai dalam pengembangan media modern. Hal itu tentunya didasarkan pada sistem cek dan keseimbangan informasi dalam sistem untuk membatasi pengaruh yang tidak diinginkan dari pemilik media.



C. Masalah Persaingan dan Konsentrasi Media
Proses ekonomi media menuntuk maksimalisasi keuntungan maka tidak mengherankan apabila media juga memerlukan sistem persaingan dan proses konsentrasi kapital. Konsentrasi dalam istilah ekonomi media adalah tingkat keterbedaan dan sama (identik) sebuah produk dalam sebuah pasar dan apakah ada atau tidak adanya halangan masuk dalam pasar tersebut. Permasalahan konsentrasi kapital oleh media dibedakan dalam beberapa hal yaitu: level konsentrasi, arah konsentrasi dan level pengamatan, derajat konsentrasi media. Konsentrasi media biasanya terjadi di antara situasi monopoli dan persaingan sempurna. Konsentrasi diperhitungkan secara eksesif ketika ada tiga atau empat perusahaan yang menguasai 50% jangkauan pasar. Konsentrasi media dipicu dengan adanya persaingan itu sendiri, untuk mendapatkan sinergi dan keuntungan maksimal. Beberapa hal atau derajad konsentrasi justru menguntungkan konsumen. Efek yang tidak diinginkan dengan masalah konsentrasi adalah hilangnya keragaman, harga yang lebih tidak ekonomis, dan keterbatasan akses kepada media. Dengan demikian penting juga untuk melakukan pengaturan tentang konsentrasi media dengan mendorong hadirnya pemain baru dalam pasar media.

D. Beberapa Hal Tambahan dalam Ekonomi Media
Beberapa hal yang sudah diulas di atas memberikan kita beberapa hal yang dipertimbangkan dalam memahami media massa modern secara lebih komprehensif. Media dipahami sebagai institusi kepentingan publik tapi juga dipahami sebagai entitas ekonomi. Media perlu dipahami sebagai hybrid yang menghargai pasar, produk dan teknologi. Bisnis media susah dimasuki karena padat kapital dan siklus ekonomi modal yang ketat. Pola tersebut yang pada akhirnya menempatkan media sebagai institusi industrial yang mempunyai biaya tetap tinggi. Ketika media mempunyai fixed cost yang tinggi maka diperlukan kreativitas dan penyesuaian terus menerus atas ketidakpastian. Tidak mengherankan apabila media cenderung melakukan konsentrasi. Produk media sendiri bisa digandakan pemakaiannya atau didaur ulang.

TATA KELOLA MEDIA MASSA
A. Prinsip Utama Tata Kelola Media
Kenyataan bahwa media massa mempunyai fungsi strategis dalam masyarakat maka perlu ada tata kelola (kepemerintahan) pada media massa. Kontrol dan pengawasan tetap diperlukan meski tidak menutup kemungkinan pada aplikasi kebebasan pada masalah kontrol regulatif. Dengan demikian, bentuk yang ragam dalam pengelolaan regulatif atas media juga bisa diterapkan pada masing-masing jenis media. Kontrol hanya bisa efektif dan bisa diterima dalam konteks media yang benar-benar massif. Kontrol lebih digunakan untuk mengawasi struktur media ketimbang isi media. Oleh sebab itu, pemahaman yang lebih positif atas kontrol media yang justru diperlukan.

B. Regulasi Media Massa
Setidaknya ada tiga model regulasi yang bisa dilihat. Pertama adalah model pers bebas. Model ini model regulasi di mana pemerintah minim mengatur pers. Jaminan sosial-ekonomi dan politik atas media dilegitimasikan secara positif oleh model ini. Model kedua adalah model penyiaran. Model kedua ini menjamin secara adil dan sosial sifat kebergunaan dan manfaat dari media penyiaran. Dalam model ini, regulasi infrastruktur dan konten cukup tinggi. Sementara itu akses pengirim terbatas, akses penerima pesan sangat terbuka. Model ketiga adalah model common carrier. Motif utama regulasi ini adalah pengembangan dan implementasi yang lebih efisien dan bagaimana konsumen bisa menggunakan common carrier ini secara maksimal. Permasalahan regulasi ini terjadi ketika terdapat teknologi konvergensi media.
Media massa bisa diatur diatur dalam cara secara tidak langsung. Hal itu sangat dipengaruhi oleh sistem politik yang ada. Bentuk tata kelola media bervariasi baik dari masalah internal sampai eksternal. Tentunya bentuk-bentuk regulasi ini berkaitan dengan riwayat sistem sosial dan politik media massa tersebut berada.

TINJAUAN KRITIS
Dua isu utama yang dikembangkan oleh McQuail dalam bukunya ini sangat relevan justru ketika situasi dan perkembangan media massa mengalami peningkatan yang dramatis. Pertimbangan strategik dalam konteks ekonomi dan politik yang juga menjadi fungsi media massa modern merupakan pertimbangan yang terus menerus menjadi wacana yang menarik dalam memahami media kontemporer.
Ada pertimbangan kritis yang perlu diajukan. Pertama berkaitan dengan masalah industri media massa. Kecenderungan tak terelakkan dari pertimbangan ekonomi ternyata bisa menggerus beberapa fungsi sosial dan kultural konstruktif dari media massa. Faktor pragmatisme ekonomis sering menjadi pertimbangan utama para pengelola media massa modern. Sikap pragmatis inilah yang kadang-kadang mereduksi peran konstruksi edukatif media massa. Meskipun bisa dipahami bahwa pengelola mengejar keuntungan dan meminimalisir kerugian tapi tidak serta merta mengurangi fungsi sosial kultural positif yang inheren melekat pada media massa. Pendekatan fungsional dan kritis untuk media massa tidak mencukupi atau setidaknya menggerakkan para pelaku media (industrialis media). Belum ada pendekatan holistik yang mempertimbangkan faktor ekonomi dan edukasi yang secara sinergis bisa dilakukan untuk memberikan pencerahan kepada para kapitalis media. Itu sangat meresahkan!
Kedua adalah masalah regulasi. Permasalahan sekarang adalah banyak regulasi yang ada tapi kurang dalam implementasi hukum positif. Regulasi belum sampai pada masalah penegakan yang tegas karena dihimpit oleh kepentingan pasar dan negara. Publik sering bahkan selalu dikorbankan untuk kepentingan regulasi kompromi antara pasar media dengan negara. Konspirasi ekonomi dan politik inilah yang sering menjadi ganjalan besar dalam membuat sistem regulasi yang baik dan seimbang, antara pasar, publik dan negara.

Komunikasi Massa Global

Komunikasi massa global merupakan hal yang nyata untuk sekarang. Dapat dikatakan bahwa komunikasi massa yang bersifat global merupakan fakta tak terbantahkan untuk melihat media massa sekarang ini. Tentunya hal tersebut tidak bisa dipisahkan dengan fenomena atau gejala globalisasi. Perkembangan media massa memicu istilah ”global village” seperti yang dilansir oleh McLuhan. Setidaknya ada beberapa aras utama, yaitu keberadaan pasar bebas dalam produk media, keberadaan dan penghargaan atas ”hak informatif”, gejala kebebasan arus informasi dan teknologi komunikasi yang semakin memicu perkembangan media massa.
Media massa sekarang bisa dilihat sebagai jejaring sosial yang menyebar dan berkembang secara horizontal maupun vertikal pada sistem sosial masyarakat. Pada bagian ini McQuail merinci fakta komunikasi massa global dalam beberapa hal pokok.

MEDIA GLOBAL: Faktor Pemicu dan Wacana yang Berkembang
Globalisasi media massa semakin tak terelakkan ketika teknologi komunikasi mendorong industri media. Teknologi transmisi media semakin kuat. Teknologi transmisi media memaksa para pelaku bisnis media membentuk media massa sebagai perusahaan komersial. Pada titik tertentu, globalisasi media mengikuti perdagangan dan hubungan internasional. Hal ini terjadi karena sifat dan cakupan media modern memungkinkan untuk melintasi batas-batas tradisional ruang dan waktu. Konstelasi media massa global juga semakin didukung dengan faktor ketergantungan ekonomis dari negara tertentu kepada negara yang lain. Tentunya ketergantungan ekonomi ini dipengaruhi juga dengan faktor ketidakseimbangan geopolitik yang selama ini melekat pada sistem politik global. Faktor lain yang mendorong globalisasi media adalah periklanan dan perkembangan infrastruktur telekomunikasi.
Fase lain yang mendorong media global adalah fenomena berkembangnya konsentrasi media baik secara transnasional dan multimedia. Hal ini menghantar pada masalah kepemilikan media oleh para taipun/perusahaan media global. Dengan demikian sistem media pun menyebar serba lintas secara teritorial maupun kategorial di seluruh dunia. Sistem media global secara simultan juga memberikan warna dan selera yang sama dalam proses komunikasi global dan pada umumnya sistem program acara berita dan hiburan merupakan andalan dalam proses tersebut. Kehadiran sistem media global memungkinkan khalayak bisa memilih program acara lintas benua, lintas sosial, lintas ekonomi dan lintas kebudayaan. Kecenderungan inilah yang memacu pada aspek homogenisasi dan westernisasi program media, karena kebanyakan program media baratlah yang menguasai pangsa khalayak global. Fase ini juga mereduksi kedaulatan komunikasi nasional dan lebih mengembangkan arus informasi yang bersifat global.
Faktor lain yang perlu dibicarakan adalah masalah ketergantungan media internasional yang dimulai dari asumsi bahwa terdapat ketergantungan secara sosial, ekonomi, politik dan kebudayaan dari negara periferi kepada negara pusat (asumsi teori ketergantungan). Ketergantungan atau otonomi komunikatif secara global yang pada akhirnya juga dibingkai dalam beberapa poros yaitu poros teknologi dan poros komunikasi yang nantinya akan berpengaruh pada proses produksi, distribusi dan konsumsi media massa. Pada isu ini juga terdapat isu konsekutif lainya yaitu imperialisme budaya. Media global pada tesis utamanya mempromosikan ketergantungan kontinual ketimbang pertumbuhan ekonomi masyarakat. Ketiadaseimbangan arus isi media semakin menghapus otonomi budaya dan mengendorkan makna pembangunan. Ketidakseimbangan hubungan dalam aliran berita meningkatkan kekuatan global dan menghalangi faktor-faktor yang diperlukan untuk meningkatkan identitas nasional. Media global semakin menguatkan homogenisasi dan sinkronisasi dengan mencabut hubungan antara media dengan pengalaman sehari-hari yang bersifat partikular dan lokal.
Hanya memang isu imperialisme dan globalisme media yang bersifat negatif harus dilihat juga secara imbang. Dalam arti bahwa globalisasi media juga berkontribusi untuk membuka kemungkinan-kemungkinan konstruktif. Point utamanya adalah mengembalikan kembali dimensi partisipatori dari khalayak sehingga khalayak harus aktif dan positif melihat media massa global. Tidak terbantah juga bahwa media menyumbang proses difusi, pendewasaan politik dan sosial. Kekuatan budaya tidak melulu destruktif, dalam arti ada juga proses transkulturasi, hybridisasi, deteritorialisasi, semiotika sosial yang didapatkan dalam pengembangan media global. Dengan demikian, globalisme media mempunyai efek sentripetal dan sentrifugal dalam sistem masyarakat.
Proses transnasionalisasi media merupakan wacana lain yang berkembang ketika kita membicarakan media global. Proses ini berhubungan dengan masalah struktur dalam sistem media dunia yang tentunya berhubungan juga dengan hubungan ekonomi global. Hal ini juga diperkuat dengan perkembangan teknologi komunikasi melalui internet yang mampu memampatkan dimensi ruang dan waktu dengan istilah real-time communication.

WACANA EKONOMI DAN BUDAYA DALAM ISU MEDIA GLOBAL
Dinamika media global telah menghubungkan beberapa konsep dalam ekonomi dan budaya sebagai isi media atau sistem yang masuk dalam keseluruhan proses media massa. Keterbukaan dalam sistem ekonomi global tidak serta membuat bahwa faktor-faktor ekonomi merupakan faktor konstitutif dalam media tersebut. Dilihat dalam keseluruhan aspek, dimensi budaya menjadi juga faktor krusial dalam media. Tesis ketergantungan total terhadap keseluruhan isi dan teknologi media tidak selama benar. Pada derajad tertentu terdapat seleksi dan pemilahan yang jelas di mana sebuah negara bisa memasukkan dimensi internasionalisasi media dan dimensi nasionalisasi media massa. Gabungan antara motif ekonomi dan kebudayaan sering mengaburkan masalah transnasionalisasi media. Tingkat persaingan dan kemampuan ekonomi serta kemauan untuk survive dalam konteks kebudayaan dan identitas lokal menjadi konsideran-konsideran utama dalam proses globalisasi media.
Wacana ini juga menyatakan beberapa efek kultur pada era globalisasi. Efek kultur ini semakin didorong dengan keberadaan media global. Isu pertama yang muncul adalah isu identitas budaya. Proses pembentukan identitas budaya dipengaruhi oleh media massa. Fungsi media sebagai media transmisi budaya mendapatkan peran maksimal baik secara lokal, nasional maupun internasional dengan tingkat analisisnya masing-masing. Komodifikasi simbol budaya disebarkan melalui media. Bukan tidak mungkin terjadi pengembangan sikap multikultural. Media juga membentuk deteritorialisasi kebudayaan, evolusi bentuk budaya dan kultur media global itu sendiri.

BAGAIMANA MENGONTROL MEDIA GLOBAL?
Tiadanya pemerintahan global tentunya membawa permasalahan sendiri ketika kita berhadapan dengan fenomena media global. Kekuatan pasar bebas dan kedaulatan nasional bisa bersinergi dalam menjalankan fungsi kontrol terhadap media global. Kekuatan normatif regulasi global memang ada tapi tidak sepenuhnya mengikat. Terdapat sejarah yang menyatakan perlunya kekuatan regulasi global yang mengelola fenomena komunikasi massa global ini.
Tidak bisa dipungkiri terdapat lembaga-lembaga lintas negara yang bekerja sama untuk mengelola media global meski terserak-serak kadang tidak mempunyai kekuatan sama sekali. Lembaga-lembaga itu misalnya ITU (mengatur masalah telekomunikasi global), WTO (yang mengurus masalah perdagangan dan tetek bengeknya), Unesco (sempat aktif dalam pengaturan tentang kebebasan berekspresi dan internet), WIPO (menselaraskan legislasi dan prosedur kekayaan intelektual, konsumen dan penulis) dan ICANN (banyak berkecimpung dengan komunitas internet). Permasalahan regulasi dan peraturan tentang media global banyak menyentuh isi ekonomi dan teknis kurang dapat menyentuh dan kritis dalam konteks sosial dan kebudayaan.

TINJAUAN KRITIS
Tidak bisa bilang tidak apabila ada adagium yang menyatakan bahwa media massa kontemporer adalah media massa global. Kekuatan kapitalisme global merupakan kekuatan besar yang juga masuk dalam dunia komunikasi massa. Faktor ekonomi dan mobilisasi massif yang menjadi karakter utama globalisasi merupakan faktor yang krusial dalam pembentukan media massa global.
Pertama, McQuail dengan imbang mau menjelaskan posisi media dalam era globalisasi berikut konsekuensi yang mengikutinya. Globalisasi memang harus dilihat dalam beberapa dimensi, termasuk dalam konteks negatif maupun positif. Tapi permasalahannya belum ada hasil menyakinkan bahwa globalisasi berkontribusi secara komprehensif pada sistem sosial masyarakat. Tetap saja globalisasi membuat jurang akses informasi antara kelompok sosial yang ”tidak beruntung” (baca: tidak punya akses besar terhadap informasi) dengan kelompok sosial yang berkelimpahan informasi. Jurang informasi yang dalam mengakibatkan jurang ekonomi yang semakin lebar. Disparitas ekonomi merupakan konsekuensi logis disparitas informasi.
Kedua, menempatkan komunikasi massa global dalam perkara kapitalisasi global dalam arti tertentu menyesatkan. Dalam arti bahwa kapitalisme global tidak lagi berbicara an sich sistem ekonomi saja tapi sistem sosial, budaya dan politik. Maka media global harus tidak dipahami dalam dimensi ekonomi tapi dalam dimensi non ekonomi lainnya.
Ketiga, siapa yang bisa melawan kekuatan pasar bebas dalam era globalisasi? Bentuk cair dan a-lokasi, a-historis dari kekuatan pasar bebas mustahil untuk diatur dalam bentuk yang lebih positif. Siapa yang menguasai ITU, WTO, Unesco dan sebagainya? Tetap saja negara-negara pusat yang mempunyai kepentingan sosial, politik, ekonomi, dan kebudayaan. Hilangnya kontrol pada derap progres media global merupakan sebuah keniscayaan kecil meskipun tidak menutup kemungkinan bahwa kontrol atas media global bisa dilakukan. Tapi masalahnya, siapa yang bisa mempunyai justifikasi legitim bahwa dirinya bisa mengontrol kekuatan media dan pasar global.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Big Media & Bad Criticism

by Ken Sanes

One of the more interesting publications on the Internet right now is Slate magazine, which has shown itself willing to take on the journalistic establishment, including the New York Times and the dominant television news networks. But last month, Slate took a wrong turn when its deputy editor, Jack Shafer, offered a column that reads like a work of propaganda for the giant companies that now dominate the media.
As the headline -- "Big is Beautiful" -- suggests, Shafer's purpose in the column is to convince us that the big media so many love to hate is actually good for America. In fact, he suggests, big media has helped make this a golden age of journalism because only it "possesses the means to consistently hold big business and big government accountable". Shafer also acknowledges that there are media abuses, but he believes the system is self-correcting because news organizations and other providers of information are exposing the wrongdoing in the media industry.
As he puts it, we now have a system in which: "Big media strives to be ethical for the same reason big government and big business do: New technology prevents it from controlling information the way it used to, and being exposed by others hurts too much."
According to Shafer, big media is also saving the day when local news organizations (whether owned independently or by larger chains) fail to expose wrongdoing in their own backyards, such as police brutality or contaminated groundwater. When that happens, he says, in a description that sounds like it is drawn more from Mighty Mouse than media reality, "the big media New York Times or 60 Minutes can parachute in and do the story without fear or favor. Hurrah for big media!"
But Shafer doesn't only offer this counter-intuitive insight on the benefits of big media. In addition, he serves up a dose of pretension-deflating mockery aimed at a handful of critics who oppose the big media he claims is so benign. He sets the tone for his assessment of these critics in the first paragraph, informing us that, after AOL and Time Warner announced their merger plans, "the nation's media reporters autodialed the usual critics of media conglomeration: Robert A. McChesney, Tom Rosenstiel, Ben Bagdikian, and Mark Crispin Miller. Their collective complaint, known to every reader of The Nation, was duly recorded: Media conglomeration is bad for journalism and society."
In opening this way, Shafer's message is unmistakable, if not openly stated: the critics' complaints are a product of the left, like The Nation magazine, he suggests, and the media's decision to air their ideas is an exercise in mindless journalism. Not being familiar with the work of all four of these critics, I can't vouch for the correctness of the first part of that innuendo (although I know a number are on the left). But I do know that Shafer leaves something else unacknowledged, which is that his counter-intuitive insight on the benefits of big media is itself shaped by the ideology of the other side. In place of a genuine discussion of the subject, it offers a sophisticated form of big media boosterism that makes just the arguments the media companies, and many other business interests, want us to believe.
A good example of how Shafer's column repeats the media line can be seen in his claim that today's open system undermines any effort by large companies -- or other powerful interests -- to control information. As he puts it, the critique of big media offered by writers such as McChesney, "misses the long-term trend that started with Gutenberg and is accelerating with the Internet: As information processing becomes cheaper, so does pluralism and decentralization, which comes at the expense of entrenched powers--government, the church, the guild, nobility, and the magazines and TV stations that Big Media God Henry Luce founded".
Like many of Shafer's claims, that is a half truth, even if it is a half truth that is now frequently repeated by others in the industry. What is really taking place is that we are seeing two contradictory trends that may well be on a collision course. On the one hand, as Shafer would argue, new technology, particularly the Internet, is making it possible for millions of people (me, for example) to become media, and it is giving smaller news organizations a larger voice. The result is an explosion of high end journalism and media criticism that will be discussed further down.
But, at the same time, a small group of giant companies that are masters at appealing to people's emotions and desires are grabbing most of the audience -- and they are in the midst of a worldwide expansion. What the rest of us do matters somewhat and sets limits on what the big companies can get away with. But, so far, most of the audience most of the time is inside the media bubble created by a few companies.
Shafer also suggests that this new, more open system is self-regulating (although he doesn't use that term) since, when media companies misuse their power, they tend to be exposed. As he puts it, ''Any sustained effort--conscious or unconscious--by a media conglomerate to slant the news in favor of its holdings will only damage the long-term value of its journalistic properties". He also notes that when the Los Angeles Times became involved in an unethical deal, it was a small alternative weekly that first exposed it and reporting by big media that ultimately damaged it, which is obviously intended as an example of how large and small media both help to control the system.
Shafer is correct in the sense that there is now some critical reporting by the media about the media, particularly when there are blatant violations. But 99 percent of the information on the media's abuse of power is still concealed because most news organizations still refuse to define most of what their industry does as news. Instead, they focus on what politicians and similar newsmakers say and do, which is a clever act of slight of hand that directs our attention where the media wants us to look and away from both its own actions and those of other large corporations.
What is it, specifically, that our attention is being directed away from? For starters, most of the media encourages us not to notice that much of the news is shaped by the needs of entertainment, politics, marketing and personal self interest. It clearly doesn't want us to see the way this has distorted contemporary journalism, giving us such corrupt media products as simplified and exaggerated news stories designed to hold an audience; news stories that are forms of propaganda for one position or another; news stories that are disguised advertisements; letters sections and ombudsmen columns that routinely pull their punches, and so on.
The news media has also failed to give adequate coverage to what may be the most massive invasion of privacy in history in which both media and non-media companies, (and other kinds of organizations), are tracking the American people with everything from video cameras to cookies. And it is distracting us from the pervasiveness of deceptive sales and marketing that has surrounded us with a con artist culture. Nor has it invited us to take a close look at the failure of many companies -- particularly in the computer industry -- to provide adequate customer service, which has turned this into another age of "Let the buyer beware."
The news media can't reveal much of this information for the obvious reason that it would be exposing itself. It does give us some news about all of this, of course, but, given the shaping influence these trends have on society and the ethical issues they raise, all of this deserves to be covered in detail and on a daily basis, the way the actions of politicians are covered.
Shafer, however, has another argument that presumably should reduce our concerns. The desire of the big media companies to be profitable, he tells us, needn't drive them to engage in bad journalism. On the contrary, he says, good journalism can be very good business. Here is how he puts it, again referring to the ideas of Robert McChesney : "As for McChesney's 'good journalism is bad business' formula, I can only offer a horse laugh. Only a fool would say that the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post haven't paired editorial quality with financial success. Nor does McChesney acknowledge that as USA Today has become a better paper, it has become more viable as a business."
The obvious response to this claim is that most of those news organizations are part of the upper strata of the market, intellectually -- and they are all newspapers. And even they are failing to reveal most of the abuses in their own industry. Below them is a much larger group of companies -- especially on television -- that produce a more degraded form of journalism because lowering standards is often good for business. These companies produce exaggerated news stories that play on our emotions and that take us on the equivalent of a theme park ride, with special effects and sci-fi style TV newsrooms, precisely because these techniques are known to generate excitement and hold an audience.
To a significant degree, these companies see news as another product to be sold, alongside toys, books, music, and so on. In essence, they treat audiences as consumers rather than citizens, while they "commodify" news and shape it according to the needs of marketing. Shafer, however, sees little danger in this. He tells us that "the McChesneyites" criticize big media for treating its audience "like consumers, not citizens", and responds, "Like WTO critics, the McChesneyites hate anything that doesn't conform to their idea of democracy". In other words, this system is okay for democracy, just not the kind of democracy anti-business critics approve of.
But, Shafer reassures us, we have still another protection from media abuse of power because the media has less of an ability to influence the public in its own favor than is generally believed. In essence, this is the same argument that has been made to convince us that depictions of sex and violence in the media don't influence people's behavior. There, too, we are told the media has little actual effect on what people do. The refutation of both of these claims is the same (and has been given before, in one form or another): if the media has so little ability to influence behavior, why do the rich and powerful spend billions of dollars placing advertisements, devising media marketing strategies, and inventing pseudo-events for reporters to cover? As critics of media manipulation have long told us, it is because media representations have a tremendous power to shape our actions and perceptions, so much so that they are the single most important force behind the sexual revolution that has changed the lifestyles of millions of people. The media's ability to influence the public is obviously limited in complex ways, but that shouldn't blind us to its true power.
And let's not forget, the media has used that power not merely to sell itself and its ideas, but also to ruin those it sees as opponents or appealing targets. While there has been a good deal of criticism of its actions, in this regard, the media continues to turn this into a culture of information savagery in which the pack migrates from one human target to another. In fact, this is a perfect example of how the needs of the system generate not only bad journalism but malevolent journalism. After all, the media's reputation predators turn humiliation into a spectacle because doing so allows them to hurt opponents; create exciting stories that will hold an audience; and elevate themselves to center stage.
Most of Shafer's other arguments are similarly flawed. His claim that "only big media possesses the means to consistently hold big business and big government accountable" is oddly off target, since there is no reason we need $350 billion media companies in order to investigate the way corporations and politicians use their power. That isn't an argument for stopping these companies from forming or for breaking them up, but it certainly isn't a reason to see them as beneficial.
Perhaps Shafer makes his most effective argument when he says: "As a reader, I care more about the newspaper I read than who owns it," meaning that we should be more concerned with the content and integrity of the news product than the pattern of ownership. Of course, he is correct in a limited sense since what matters is the integrity of the actual news product. And, of course, if we have a choice between big news companies run by journalists with integrity or small operations with little integrity, we should choose the former.
But what we are getting is ever-larger companies with ever more effective techniques of manipulation. What is even more disturbing is the fact that the same strategies of manipulation cross company boundaries so that virtually all media companies, large and small, act alike. They all know the formula for success in an age of high-technology manipulation; they all know what the system will allow, and they behave accordingly.
Given that Shafer misses so much, the obvious question is -- how should we read it and its author's intentions? The answer, I think, is that Shafer's column is a response to the larger and more diverse media landscape we have, today, in which there is not only more media and more kinds of media, but in which news organizations are escaping their local confines and becoming part of a national and global system. In this new system, we now have national editions of newspapers (as Shafer mentions); a proliferation of national cable channels that even cover the more exciting aspects of local crime, politics and catastrophes; and extensive talk radio commentators with national followings. In this new landscape, audiences have far more national media sources to choose from, although most of what they choose is held by a few owners.
Of all of these changes, the most significant recent development is obviously the emergence of the Internet as a second national and global stage for news and entertainment that can challenge the dominant media of television (even if it eventually merges with it). Among other things, it is giving us a growing industry of high end journalism and a new tradition of media criticism. This change is taking place because, odd as this may sound, the Internet is the television for print, in the sense that it is allowing writing from many sources to appear together in the same virtual "space", the way television lets video and movies appear in the same space of the television screen. That means all the journalism and media criticism that print makes possible is now available to anyone who can access a computer monitor, vastly expanding choice and creating all kinds of opportunities for role modeling, competition, dialogue, and mutual critique between writers and news organizations. Now, when journalistic organizations do something wrong, many of the offending stories and the subsequent critiques are immediately available to millions of readers, and not merely to a limited audience.
At the same time, of course, the Internet has a potentially limitless number of channels (unlike television), giving many voices a chance to be heard, as Shafer alludes to in his reference to the growing role of "pluralism and decentralization" in the media.
But we should remember that this period of enhanced media reporting and criticism on the Internet (and, to some degree, print), is a victory that had to be won. It happened because various critics had the courage to take on the media, which reviled many of them and, in some cases, tried to undo them. The critics who played this role are a diverse lot, from the Republicans and business interests that tried to get the press early on to abandon some of its liberal biases (as well as some of its independent reporting) to the work of the Columbia Journalism Review and Ben Bagdikian to the more recent decision by journalist, Steven Brill, to break away from the media code of silence and start the magazine of criticism, Brill's Content. Ultimately, the media became so powerful, and its abuses so egregious, the voices of criticism could no longer be ignored and others in the media began to do more reporting on the subject, as well.
But the dominant medium, television, which is controlled by the big companies, is worse then ever. It offers an ever-more extreme caricature of news and entertainment, because the limited number of channels makes it possible for it to be controlled by a few and because visual images encourage TV producers to increase immediacy at the expense of reflective ness. In addition, of course, the tyranny of the clicker has left much of television trying to hold an audience on a minute by minute basis, in an industry where costs -- and the stakes -- are often high. (The tyranny of the mouse hasn't yet had a comparable effect.)
Television now has a new tradition of media criticism, as well, but much of what it offers is a kind of faux criticism, full of commentary and reporting that is careful not to reveal too much in a way that might challenge those in power. And it frequently repeats the abuses of the industry, protecting allies, revving up the hype, unfairly attacking others, and covertly conveying various forms of propaganda. The fact that it devotes attention to some of the media scandals that have to be covered shouldn't divert us from its true nature.
Of course, we also see these problems in print and the Internet, offset at least by a growing collection of better web journalism.
Unfortunately, what we still aren't getting is a true debate and public education process on the role of the news business, because the big media companies won't allow it on television; because much of the mainstream print media is still timid in its coverage, and because Internet media coverage is still in an early stage of evolution. As a result, we are being prevented from taking collective action to correct our course. If the media had dealt with environmental issues this way, it would have failed to sensitize the public to the dangers and America might not have acted in time to avert some of the problems it was able to avoid.
But you would never be aware of this from Shafer's column. Instead, he tells us that, "Critics of big media suffer from the Fallacy of the Golden Era. They think things were better in the past...." and "The critique of big media invariably romanticizes small, independent newspapers." He then spends much of his column refuting these two ideas as he sings the praises of the system of big media as it is now.
But questions about whether the past or small newspapers are being idealized are irrelevant to most of the issues raised, here, none of which are based on a yearning for a time that never existed. It is true that these issues have to do with the behavior of media companies, whatever their size. However, the size of these companies is clearly bound up with their actions, since they use their enormous wealth and power to buy up alternative voices and silence criticism, and they produce a hyped up virtual journalism in an effort to dominate the marketplace.
And yet, it would not be accurate to say that Shafer is an apologist for big media. On the contrary, some of his other columns have offered blunt criticism of the misuse of media power. Since he posted the column defending the current media system, he has gone after pro-McCain bias in New York Times news coverage. And he has exposed the way some television news channels are making deceptive statements on primary days, to glide over the fact that they already know the voting results from exit polls but are participating in an embargo against revealing the information until the polls close.
So Shafer presents an interesting paradox -- he defends the dominance of big media companies, while he exposes their wrongdoing. The answer to the paradox turns out to be revealing since what Shafer is telling us is that we should leave the overall pattern of media ownership alone but aggressively expose the wrongdoing of media companies to force them to be good citizens. His column becomes, not a description of an existing golden age, even if that is the way it is phrased, but a statement on how we can bring one about. The column is also, of course, a justification for his own work and that of Slate magazine, which is owned by the big media company, Microsoft, and which is taking on the media in its writing in a way that could help change the way journalism is practiced.
Shafer thus offers us a particular "ideological" position when we look not merely at this one column but at all of his recent work. Although this is a simplification, one can say that, to the left of him are the critics of the big media system who challenge ownership. To the "right" are the media critics who challenge neither ownership nor unethical conduct, except in limited or distorted ways.
The good news is that we can expect to see more good criticism in coming years, now that demands for reform have momentum and a growing audience. The bad news is that the giant companies on the other side are using their control over communications to suppress the cause of reform so they can continue violating the public trust.

The Principles of Media Criticism

This was written some time around 1997. For a more recent (and more detailed) treatment of the current state of the media, see Big Media & Bad Criticism.
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Media criticism is in an undeveloped state, today, largely because the mainstream media allows virtually no open discussion of the subject. Some criticism that does get to the public, of course, but most of it is corrupted by the same forces that have turned the rest of the media into a source of manipulation.
The selections below attempt to correct this conspiracy of silence by offering readers an introduction to the field that will allow them to see the larger trends that define much of the media. The selections focus on the following characteristics of contemporary culture and society:
* The fact that all centers of power today rely on media and that all use sensory manipulations and simulations, along with story lines, rhetoric, and performances to sell audiences products, candidates and ideas.
* The fact that most media, today, from news to advertising, rely on spectacle, simplification and exaggeration to grab and hold audiences.
* The fact that the news media has become a part of the power and economic system that it is supposed to report on. Instead of standing at a distance from events and trying to provide an accurate account, all too often it is just another inside player manipulating information for its own ends. This not only means that media companies have a conflict of interest but also that journalists who would prefer to be honest end up subordinating themselves to those in power in their own organizations and shaping their coverage accordingly. It also means that media criticism that isn't afraid to report on what is taking place is now essential to the maintenance of democracy.
* The fact that much of media is beset by idealization and demonization in which media manipulators depict themselves and their allies as heroes and saints, and their opponents or targets as villains, fools and disturbed characters, both to create exciting stories and win battles.
* The fact that the media today is pervaded by missing information. What is missing is precisely the information above, which would discredit the system and result in reforms that would lock out many of those who now work the system for their own benefit.
* The fact that all media today is a form of action. Stories, rhetoric, sensory images and manipulated impressions are all efforts to influence people's perceptions and action, evoke fears and desires, and play to values. The omission of information from the media is a form of action, as well.
* Finally, the fact that the media today is also full of efforts to get at the truth, which are often disguised or limited in various ways. Many of these efforts to tell the public the truth can be found in the fictions of movies and television which openly depict the con artist culture we now live in and the corruption of the media.
These propositions have to form the core of any theory of media criticism and any theory that seeks to describe contemporary society. The following selections are intended to provide overviews that will introduce and expand on these ideas.

Media Massa dan Genre Iklan Politik

Iklan politik semakin banyak menghiasi media massa kita. Perang iklan pun sudah dan sedang terjadi. Umumnya iklan dimaksud diisi oleh partai-partai politik, kandidat bakal calon presiden, dan para calon legislatif. Model dan modusnya pun bervariasi. Tetapi kebanyakan bermuatan sebatas pencitraan diri agar dipilih dan didukung rakyat pada saat pemilu nanti.
Hal itu terlihat dari isi iklan. Partai pemerintah dengan gagah menyodorkan keberhasilan pemerintah sebagai wajah dari iklan politiknya. Sementara partai-partai oposisi tampil dengan cemohan atas serangkaian kebijakan pemerintah yang dinilai kurang pro rakyat. Di lain pihak, ada juga model iklan yang juga menampilkan sosok pahlawan yang kadar kepahlawanannya masih diperdebatkan oleh publik. Materi iklan pun menjadi pergunjingan politik. Iklan yang pada dasarnya ditujukan untuk menambahkan rasa simpatik dari masyarakat pemilih, justru menabur sinisme.
Memang iklan punya cara pandang dan pendekatan tersendiri. Dan cara pandang itu hanya dimiliki oleh sipembuatnya. Namun jangan lupa ketika iklan sudah ditawarkan ke publik, sejatinya sudah menjadi milik publik. Rakyat pun bebas menyampaikan pujian dan juga kritik kepadanya. Umpan balik berupa kecintaan serta kebencian bisa saja terjadi dalam ranah yang sama. Iklan yang baik terlihat dari apakah pesan yang disampaikan olehnya tersampaikan dengan lugas dan jelas.
Dalam kaca mata komunikasi politik, iklan adalah suatu cara untuk menyampaikan gagasan dan pemikiran kepada masyarakat. Maka iklan politik semestinya berisi visi dan program yang ditawarkan kepada masyarakat yang jika dipilih dan dipercaya untuk mengemban amanah dan kekuasaan, akan dijalankan dengan baik. Dari serangkaian iklan politik tersebut, satu hal yang kita catat bahwa muatannya belum memiliki substansi yang jelas, selain “memaksakan” kehendak. Padahal, iklan tersebut diharapkan sebagai wahana pendidikan politik dengan menyodorkan serangkai pedoman kebijakan. Bukan sekedar slogan dan pernyataan serampangan semata. Iklan semestinya mencerdaskan dan mengundang rasa simpatik.
Iklan tentu saja dibutuhkan sebagai media komunikasi antara partai dengan rakyat. Iklan merupakan bahagian dari kampanye. Namun iklan dimaksud hendaknya ditata dengan bijak, terkait dengan visi dan misi partai berikut kandidatnya. Sebab siapa yang memiliki visi yang jelas, serta dibarengi dengan program-program yang rasional akan mendapat dukungan dari masyarakat.
Berdasarkan data dari AC Nielsen yang diliris Media Indonesia (1/12/2008) tentang pengeluaran partai politik untuk iklan dapat disimpulkan, iklan menjadi salah satu faktor penting dalam meningkatkan dukungan terhadap partai politik. Sebagai catatan, iklan politik tidak selalu berhasil meningkatkan dukungan terhadap suatu partai. Contohnya, PAN, pada Mei dan Juni, gagal mendongkrak dukungan. Hasil survei LSI, April-Juni 2008 dukungan terhadap PAN hanya naik dari 4,0 persen menjadi 4.5 persen.
Yang menarik diperhatikan adalah pengeluaran iklan Gerindra dan PD. Pada Juni lalu, Gerindra mengeluarkan dana iklan di bawah Rp 1 miliar. Namun, sejak Juli hingga Oktober, biaya iklan Gerindra per bulan mencapai Rp 8 miliar. Peningkatan pengeluaran iklan ini ternyata diikuti peningkatan popularitas dan dukungan yang memuaskan.
Pada Juni dukungan terhadap Gerindra yang terekam survei LSI hanya pada tingkatan 1,0 persen. Namun, dukungan terhadap Gerindra meningkat menjadi 3,0 persen dan 4,0 persen pada September dan November. Hasil survei Cirus Surveyors Group pada November menunjukkan, dukungan terhadap Gerindra meningkat jika dibandingkan Juni lalu, menjadi sekitar 5,5 persen. Jadi, ada korelasi antara perolehan dukungan Gerindra dan pengeluaran iklan. Begitu juga dengan PD. Dari Mei hingga Juli 2008, pengeluaran iklan PD di bawah Rp 1 miliar per bulan. Namun, pengeluaran iklan secara konsisten meningkat dari Rp 8,29 miliar (Agustus); Rp 10,08 miliar (September).
Berdasarkan survei LSI, sejak Pemilu 2004, dukungan terhadap PD mencapai titik terendah pada April dan Juni 2008, yaitu di kisaran 9,0 persen. Namun, dari Juni hingga September 2008, dukungan terhadap PD meningkat menjadi 12 persen. Ini sejalan meningkatnya pengeluaran iklan PD pada Agustus dan September. Dukungan terhadap PD kembali meningkat dan berkorelasi positif dengan meningkatnya jumlah pengeluaran iklan PD pada bulan Oktober.
Data di atas adalah data kuantitatif belanja iklan di media yang berkorelasi dengan dukungan publik. Sementara dalam hal isi maka dapat dipaparkan sebagai berikut: Pada pandangan awam, audiens akan berpendapat bahwa visi calon presiden pada film iklan adalah realitas dasar dari apa yang berada di benak komunikator. Namun, di sisi yang lain fenomena komunikasi seperti ini menyisakan pertanyaan pada aspek pencitraan realitas yang tersimulasi. Sebab, ketika film iklan itu menjadi wacana dari keseharian publik di depan televisi dan ditayangkan berulang-ulang kali, maka ia membantu membentuk simulasi atas realitas substansinya. Penonton tidak pernah merasakan secara langsung apakah memang benar calon presiden tersebut melakukan seperti hal yang ditunjukkan tersebut. Dan ketika penonton tidak mampu menikmati itu sebagai objek langsung, maka film iklan dan televisi membuatnya bisa dinikmati oleh jutaan penonton pada saat yang bersamaan, sebab ia disimulasikan (Lee Kaid, 2004)
Apa yang terjadi adalah penciptaan ‘realitas’ atau agenda setting baru, di mana seolah-olah ia hadir sebagai realitas yang benar-benar real. Ada kesan ketergesaan atas eksistensi seseorang di antara orang lain yang hendak membawa perubahan yang benar-benar nyata.
Sebagian besar isi pesan dari tema iklan politik menyangkut aspek-aspek kemiskinan, pengangguran, daya beli rakyat, kebutuhan pokok rakyat luas, keadilan hukum, keamanan, dan kesatuan-persatuan bangsa. Sementara pada sisi program, tema utama iklan juga cenderung bervariasi. Ada yang berjanji untuk mengembangkan rasa cinta pada produk sendiri, membela petani, penyediaan lapangan kerja, harga bahan pokok yang murah (Cakram, edisi 2008).
Bagaimana dengan tampilan atau kemasan iklan? Berbeda dengan isi tema dan program yang sifatnya relatif masih umum dan penuh janji, tampilan atau kemasan iklan cukup beragam. Begitu pula frekuensinya. Ada yang menampilkan hampir setiap hari dan ada juga yang seminggu sekalipun tidak. Tetapi waktu tayangan hampir semuanya sama yakni ketika waktu prima dimana hampir semua segmen pemirsa menonton televisi. Terbanyak ditayangkan ketika momen laporan berita dan hiburan. Tampilannya, mulai dari yang penuh warna, eksotis, dan gegap gempita sampai ke yang sangat moderat dan warna yang pucat pasi. Ada yang tidak jelas isi pesannya, monoton, kurang greget, serta jauh dari eksotik apalagi estetika.
Yang jelas periklanan politik menjelang pemilu 2009 jauh lebih semarak daripada pemilu tahun 2004, jika ingin dibandingkan. Suasana kompetisi untuk merebut pemilih semakin tinggi intensitasnya. Semua penuh dengan janji warna-warni. Program-program ditawarkan untuk membangun bangsa ini. Namun pertanyaannya apakah sudah dipikirkan dan disiapkan strategi dan taktik pencapaiannya? Bagaimana menggalang dana pembangunan untuk itu? Bagaimana strategi kebijakan moneter dan fiskalnya? Bagaimana dalam waktu relatif singkat ini mereka menyiapkan pilihan konsep mengatasi akibat krisis finansial global terhadap perekonomian rakyat? Ternyata tak satu pun partai yang beriklan menawarkannya secara utuh.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Media Literacy Curriculum

Adapted from the McREL Standards Database

What students should know about different media:

1. That media messages have economic, political, social, and aesthetic purposes (e.g., to make money, to gain power or authority over others, to present ideas about how people should think or behave, to experiment with different kinds of symbolic forms or ideas)

2. How different media (e.g., documentaries, current affairs programs, web pages) are structured to present a particular subject or point of view

3. The elements involved in the construction of media messages and products (e.g., the significance of all parts of a visual text, such as how a title might tie in with main characters or themes)

4. The production elements (i.e., rhetorical elements) that contribute to the effectiveness of a specific medium (e.g., the way black-and-white footage implies documented truth; the way set design suggests aspects of a character's socio-cultural context; effectiveness of packaging for similar products and their appeal to purchasers)

5. The influence of media ownership and control (e.g., concentration of power and influence with a few companies; diversification of media corporations into other industries; the commercial nature of media; influence of origins on a media message or product)

6. The influence of different factors in the construction of different media (e.g., media owners, sponsors of specific programs, codes governing advertising aimed at children, copyright laws) on media production, distribution, and advertising (e.g., whether a program is scheduled late at night or at peak times, whether a film is released in theaters or only on video)

7. The different aspects of advertising in media (e.g., advertising intertwined with media content, such as advertising copy presented in the form of news stories or the close association of feature articles with surrounding advertisements; the influence of advertising on virtually every aspect of the media, such as the structure of newspapers; advertisers as a pressure group; sponsorship as a form of advertising; ambiance in media that is sympathetic to advertising, such as lifestyles portrayed on television)

8. The extent to which audience influences media production (e.g., selection of audiences on the basis of their importance to advertisers or media institutions; production of programs with high audience ratings and low production costs, such as game shows; how media producers determine or predict the nature of audiences)

9. The relationship between media and the production and marketing of related products (e.g., how and why books are reissued in conjunction with film releases; how the target audience for a film determines the range of products marketed and this marketing in turn helps shape the film)

10. The influence of media on society as a whole (e.g., influence in shaping various governmental, social, and cultural norms; influence on the democratic process; influence on beliefs, lifestyles, and understanding of relationships and culture; how it shapes viewer's perceptions of reality; the various consequences in society of ideas and images in media)

11. The legal and ethical responsibilities involved in media use (e.g., censorship; copyright laws; FCC regulations; protection of the rights of authors and media owners; standards for quality programming; regulations for broadcast repeats; forms of media self-control; governmental, social, and cultural agencies that regulate media content and products)

12. The role of the media in addressing social and cultural issues (e.g., creating or promoting causes: U.N. military action, election of political parties; use of media to achieve governmental, societal, and cultural goals)

What students should be able to do to demonstrate that they can effectively interpret different media:

1. Use a range of strategies to interpret visual media (e.g., draw conclusions, make generalizations, synthesize materials viewed, refer to images or information in visual media to support point of view, deconstruct media to determine the underlying biases and decode the subtext)

2. Use a variety of criteria (e.g., clarity, accuracy, effectiveness, bias, relevance of facts) to evaluate informational media (e.g., web sites, documentaries, advertisements, news programs)

3. Identify the conventions of visual media genres (e.g., a talk show contains an opening monologue, humorous discussion between host and a sidekick, guest interview, interaction with the audience, and special performances; news programs present the events of the day as stories with setting, character, conflict, and resolution)

4. Analyze and explain how the rules and expectations governing media genres can be manipulated for particular effects or purposes (e.g., combining or altering conventions of different genres, such as presenting news as entertainment; blurring of genres, such as drama-documentaries)

5. Use strategies to analyze stereotypes in visual media (e.g., recognize stereotypes that serve the interests of some groups in society at the expense of others; identify techniques used in visual media that perpetuate stereotypes)

6. Interpret and make connections between context and values projected by visual media (e.g., the implication in television science programs that science is progressive and helps solve problems; influence of changing societal values on media products; political context, such as conflicts between loyalty and betrayal in High Noon, made in American during the McCarthy period; cultural values suggested by omissions from visual media, such as soap operas featuring only materially advantaged people)

7. Explain how images and sound convey messages in visual media (e.g., special effects, camera angles, symbols, color, line, texture, shape, headlines, photographs, reaction shots, sequencing of images, sound effects, music, dialogue, narrative, lighting)

8. Interpret and evaluate effects of style and language choice in visual media (e.g., use of long-shots to signify both real and metaphoric isolation; rapid editing in a television commercial; juxtaposition of text and color in a billboard; words in headlines intended to attract attention)

9. Interpret how literary forms can be represented in visual narratives (e.g., allegory, parable, analogy, satire, narrative style, characterization, irony)

10. Identify, analyze, and critique a variety of techniques used in advertising (e.g., portrayals of happy families and exotic places; celebrity endorsement; use of humor; emphasis on value and reliability; sex appeal; science and statistics; appeal to fears and insecurities)

11. Demonstrate an understanding of how editing shapes meaning in visual media (e.g., omission of alternative perspectives; filtered or implied viewpoints; emphasis of specific ideas, images, or information in order to serve particular interests; the careful construction of seemingly straightforward texts)

12. Interpret and explain the effects of visual media on audiences with different backgrounds (e.g., age, nationality, gender, class, belief system)

Enduring Understandings in Media Literacy

1. Audiences actively interpret media

Meaning does not reside in the media text itself, but is a product of the interaction between text and audience. Audiences interpret meaning based on situational elements such as geography, culture, age, class, gender, time of day, and the context in which they interact with the medium. Various media forms resonate in different ways, depending upon the experiences, values and knowledge that audiences bring to it. Although audiences differ in their perceptions, understandings and reactions to media, the key to media literacy is to educate them to be aware of their own subjectivity as well as that of others.

2. All media are constructions

Media are neither reality nor windows to the world. Instead, they are carefully constructed products – from newspaper headlines to nature documentaries. A media literate person is aware that many decisions are made in the construction of each media product and that even the most realistic images represent someone’s interpretation of reality. By critiquing and constructing media, it becomes possible to analyze and produce different interpretations of reality.

3. All media are owned

All media are owned by individuals or institutions that have historical-social contexts that may be concealed from the general public. Institutional elements from production to distribution influence the content as well as audience perceptions of the content. It is important to call attention to the idea that commercial institutions are owned and ultimately operated according to principles that will generate the highest profit. Therefore, media representations are carefully constructed to achieve this goal.

4. All media express values

Media are carefully constructed products that represent a particular view of actual people, places, events, and ideas. These values are oftentimes hidden from the audience, and a critical consumer of media needs to be able to decode the media messages to uncover these values. Questions to ask of each medium are: "Whose story is told?" "Whose interests are served by this representation?" "Whose story is left out?" and "To what extent is this representative of reality?"

5. All media adhere to specific codes and conventions

Whether it be through editing, narration, sequencing, camera angles, soundtrack or timing – each media form has a language of its own and uses different conventions to achieve specific rhetorical effects. Magazine editors use different codes and convention as compared to video producers as compared to web designers. The languages used influence the constructed meaning of the media text and are intended to control the audience’s response.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Media and The Assault of Man's Body


In the movie Fight Club, the character Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) boards a bus and is confronted by an advertisement depicting a model's perfectly muscled fantasy male body, sculpted by pathological obsession and posed as if natural. "Is that what a real man is supposed to look like?" he asks.

It's a common question, though not always a conscious one. Modern life takes place amidst a never-ending barrage of flesh on screens, pages, and billboards. These images convey assumptions about what is desirable in our physical selves while dispensing with reality.

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Because the media have been objectifying women for so long, researchers have had time to create a body of literature on the effects of these images on women. (In short, they make women feel worse about themselves, and often cause unhealthy behaviors.)

But over the past two decades, the gender gap in media objectification has closed. Every bit as unattainable as Barbie-doll proportions and the heroin chic look are the broad-shouldered, narrow-waisted, fat-free, and muscle-sheathed male physiques littering today's media.

Researchers are beginning to pay attention to what these stimuli do to the male body image. Guys, it turns out, have body issues too.

When it comes to the media and male bodies, size and shape aren't the only issues. There's also the so-called "real body": hair, sweat, blemishes, smells—all the characteristics that are noticeably absent or can't be fully conveyed in a picture or on a screen.

Twentieth-century communications guru George Gerbner said that what we see on TV and in magazines eventually becomes our standard of reality and desire; failing to meet it is perceived as deficiency. Characteristics like sweat and hair can be controlled on screen but never escaped in reality, so some men come to see these essential parts of their body as they might a rounded belly or unfirm bicep: as a gross, unfortunate flaw.

"Hair is supposed to be ugly, so men in ads have their body hair shaved off, or disappeared with Photoshop," said Michael Rich, director of the Harvard Medical School's Center on Media and Child Health. "Sweat is replaced with glisten from a spray bottle, and you can't smell someone through a magazine."

This spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Deborah Schooler, who coined the term "real body" with her former advisor L. Monique Ward of the University of Michigan, published the first study to measure male real-body discomfort due to media consumption. They found not only that watching prime-time television and music videos appears to make men uncomfortable with themselves, but that such discomfort leads to sexual problems and risky behaviors.

"People see the same images over and over and start to believe it's a version of reality," said Schooler. "If those bodies are real and that's possible, but you can't attain it, how can you not feel bad about your own body?"

For their study, which appeared in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, Schooler and Ward interviewed 179 undergraduate males at the University of Michigan, first asking how often each watched prime-time television and music videos, as well as how frequently they read fitness or sports magazines. Ward and Schooler also questioned the men about their sexual experiences and how they felt about their own physiques and their "real bodies."

Twentieth-century communications guru George Gerbner said that what we see on TV and in magazines eventually becomes our standard of reality and desire; failing to meet it is perceived as deficiency.

Looking at "real bodies" in addition to muscularity is a new approach for researchers, who have traditionally focused on muscularity or thinness. Schooler and Ward used a measuring system co-developed by Ward just four years ago. It utilizes questions such as, "How comfortable are you with the quantity/thickness of your facial hair?" and "How comfortable are you with the smell of your own sweat?"

According to Schooler, she and Ward predicted that average guys would feel scrawny and inadequate in the face of pictures of sculpted, muscle-bound men. But this was, surprisingly, not the case.

The students' feelings about personal size and physique didn't seem to be affected by media.

However, students who consumed more media than average, particularly music videos and prime-time TV, were uncomfortable with one aspect of their physique—their 'real bodies'.

This discomfort correlated with the men being less likely to have healthy sexual relationships.

"If all of a sudden you're in an intimate situation and these aspects of your body are exposed, you have to deal with the fact that your body doesn't meet the ideal," said Schooler. "You're concerned with how your partner is evaluating you, how you look and smell."

This discomfort appeared to increase the chances of guys to take sexual risks, such as engaging in unprotected sex.

Schooler isn't sure exactly how being grossed out by your back hair translates into unprotected sex. She hypothesizes that men, when ashamed, detach emotionally and mentally from sexual situations—they aren't attentive to their partner's needs or open with their own. She adds that they are more likely to be careless. Such behaviors have been observed in women who are uncomfortable with their bodies.

Depression could also play a role.

According to University of North Dakota psychologist Ric Ferraro, a negative body image makes people unhappy, leading them to be alternatively less likely to speak up for themselves when pressured and more likely to take risks as a way of impressing others.

"They engage in behaviors in hopes of feeling better, and end up getting worse," said Ferraro.

Whether "real-body" discomfort in men is truly new or something that's only now being noticed is impossible to say, but sociologists and psychologists say that images of hairless, sweatless, pseudo-perfect men are more common than ever before.

Ideally, psychologists say, people should recognize that billboard bodies just aren't real, and learn to be happy with their own appearance. That, of course, is easier said than done.

Maybe an ad campaign would help.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Acara TV untuk anak yang masuk kategori BAHAYA


Minggu 1 dan 2 April 2008

No

Stasiun

Judul Acara

Senin

Selasa

Rabu

Kamis

Jumat

Sabtu

Minggu

1
2
3
4
5

6
7
8
9
10
11

12
13
14
15

RCTI
RCTI
TPI
TPI
AnTV

AnTV
AnTV
Indosiar
Indosiar
Indosiar
Trans7

TV G
TV G
TV G
TV G

Tom & Jerry
Crayon Sinchan
Si Entong
Tom & Jerry
Popaye & Son

Oggy&The Cockr
Mask Rider Blade
Detective Conan
Dragon Ball
Naruto 4
Tom & Jerry

Carita de Angel
Ultraman Cosmos
One Piece
Samurai X

10.30

13.00
16.00
08.00
12.00
13.30




05.00
14.00
16.00
15.00
17.30
18.30

10.30

13.00
16.00
08.00
12.00
13.30




05.00
14.00
16.00
15.00
17.30
18.30

10.30

13.00
16.00
08.00
12.00
13.30




05.00
14.00
16.00
15.00
17.30
18.30

10.30

13.00
16.00
08.00
12.00
13.30




05.00
14.00
16.00
15.00
17.30
18.30

10.30

13.00
16.00
08.00
12.00
13.30




05.00
14.00
16.00
15.00
17.30
18.30



17.30

08.00


07.00
08.30
09.30
10.00




17.30
18.30

07.00
08.30
09.00

08.00










17.30
18.30


(Redaksi Kidia)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Asumsi Penelitian Lanjutan dalam Komunikasi Politik

Tidak bisa dipungkiri, perkembangan media cetak dan pertelevisian di Indonesia telah memberikan ruang yang lebih luas bagi komunikasi politik antara partai atau kandidat pemimpin politik dengan publik. Ada beberapa point pokok penting yang perlu disimpulkan.

Pertama, di era informasi audio-visual yang serba digital seperti sekarang ini, kampanye politik melalui iklan televisi adalah sarana komunikasi politik yang sangat efektif. Efek pesan yang kemudian dikemas dalam komputerisasi gambar dan suara melalui iklan televisi menimbulkan kesan yang tidak bisa diberikan media kampanye konvensional yang lain. Para pekerja iklan bukan sekadar mencoba menyampaikan pesan politik kepada khalayak pembaca dan pemirsa televisi, tetapi juga menciptakan kesan dan pencitraan partai atau tokoh politik tertentu. Citra lebih berarti daripada isi. Maka yang terjadi kemudian adalah kampanye pencitraan, dan bukan penyampaian visi konkrit dari partai atau tokoh tokoh politik yang bersangkutan.

Kedua, ketersendatan peralihan budaya komunikasi oral munuju budaya komunikasi verbal di tengah masyarakat kita menjadi salah satu pendorong suburnya “politik tebar pesona” ini. Masyarakat Indonesia masih lebih suka akan kesan dan simbol-simbol heroik yang diharapkan dapat membebaskan Indonesia dari keterpurukan, daripada memperhatikan dan mencerna visi yang matang dari para calon pemimpin mereka. Maka bisa dimaklumi jika tayangan iklan yang mempertontonkan seorang tokoh politik yang “dekat” dan “berjuang” bersama rakyat mempunyai dampak “magis” yang seolah mampu menghipnotis masyarakat. Padahal kita semua tahu bahwa apa yang ada di dalam iklan politik tersebut bisa saja sangat jauh dari realita. Dengan demikian, media telah menciptakan kesan dan citra yang manipulatif serta menyesatkan terhadap seorang tokoh politik tertentu, yang notabene sama sekali tidak pernah berperan dalam penyelesaian persoalan masyarakat.

Ketiga, kekuatan utama media yang tidak bisa dinafikan di era informasi saat ini yakni kekuatan dalam mengemas, mengatur dan mengkonstruksi realitas. Artinya, kekuatan dalam mengemas berbagai isu yang ada, sehingga menonjol ke permukaan dan akhirnya menjadi perbincangan publik (public discourse) yang menarik.

Keempat, perang citra melalui agenda media massa telah menjadi trend dalam sistem politik nasional. Realitas politik yang terjadi saat ini, menuntut para politisi perseorangan atau pun partai untuk memiliki akses yang seluas-luasnya terhadap mekanisme industri citra. Yakni, industri berbasis komunikasi dan informasi yang akan memasarkan ide, gagasan, pemikiran dan tindakan politik. Tujuan akhir dari persuasi adalah khalayak. Jika persuasi masuk dalam agenda setting, proses dialektis yang diharapkan adalah tindakan yang merefleksikan perubahan dalam persepsi, kepercayaan, nilai dan pengharapan. Sehingga, kaitannya dengan agenda setting adalah bagaimana mempengaruhi khalayak itu dengan isu-isu yang ingin disampaikan persuader dengan menggunakan media.

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