Monday, May 10, 2010

Expanding the Definition of Media Activism

Political activism in media is already rise in many factor that influenced the characteristic of each media. Media work has become central to advocacy work because of the economic conditions and ideological constraints corporate media conglomerates and their cohort in corporate public relations create for public action.
The mass media are tools, but they are also the necessary means for communicating with policy-makers and establishing public debate. it is strategic use of the mass media, and sometimes paid advertising, in support of community organizing to push public policy initiative. As media scholars and citizens working toward more democratic, public-run media systems, we have a lot to learn about the possibilities of using strategic media techniques. There are few financial resources available to people interested in anticorporate advocacy.
This chapter will examine four broad typologies of media activism to expand its definitions and increase the number of possible practices that are available to social movement actors. the four typologies are media reform movements, the alternative press, flak, and the strategic use of public relations and news writing techniques. As media scholars, we can look to the media activism within this movement for examples of techniques that work because of, and sometimes in spite of, political orientation.

Typologies I and II : Media reform movements and the alternative press
Media Studies scholarship on media activism tends to study media reform movements and alternative press. Some of the most well known work on media activism come from political economy scholar. Activist forms of media can appear in unlikely places, like on cable networks or even in the nightly news. McChesney and Nichol’s (2001) article is in fact a good example of the relationship between media reform movements and alternative press. The Nation provides an important forum for the discussion of media reform.
The foundations that support progressive publications also earmark their money for special uses rather than for general operating costs, which means that this funding does not support the basic costs that go to maintaining the press itself.
In essence, the right developed a set of alternative communication networks through which everyday people could connect with movement leaders. These networks through which everyday people could connect to tap into potential constituencies’ often loosely defined emotions and political sentimeters and direct them towards specific political action, electoral campaigns and fundraising goals.

Typology III : Flak
The right’s publicity organizations also enable them to pressure the mainstream media to cover their issues from their sources. This is called flak. Flak institutions essentially discipline the mass media through complaint. Powerful institutions with significant monetary resources can coerce media outlets to change their content, their ideological bent, and/or their personnel. Flak can also be directed at the media’s own contituencies, such as advertisers, stockholders, and major resources. Institution with significant recources, howeverm cab also work as flak institution, especially if they have the ability to embarrass or morally sanction the media and its corporate advertisers. Resources poor organization can also make use of current news stories in their respective issues as points of entry into the news media.

Typology IV : Techniques of strategic media advocacy
We have to look to the power organized people and their abilities to draw attention to and advocate for important political and social issues in other ways. By and large, this goal aims to turn social movement organizations into long-term sources for the news media – or at least making sure ine’s foot is in the door so that you can offer the news alternative naratives on social problems that the ones they typically offer.
To become successful at media activism, social movement organizations must institutionalize media strategies into their day-to-day-work. In other words, they must begin to function as credible information and news recources. News and entertainment media organizations have for a long time tapped visible victim advocacy organizations for stories on crime and crime victims.
Another set of practical media training techniques are directed at working journalist and journalism schools. Most of this training teaches journalist how to alter their professional practices and their demeanor on the job. Victim advocates have pushed the field of journalism to become more reflexsive about its coverage of crime and disaster, especially towards those supposedly most affected by the coverage : the victims. For victims and advocatesm victim-centered journalism education represents an intervention into victims and survivors’ roles in the news making process. It also represents the institutionalization of a victim perspective on crime and violence reporting within journalism schools. Another set of strategies utilizes newer entertainment media forms and combines them with more steadfast forms of media action, such as public service announcements.
Mass media are a contested terrain and the media activist practices of existing social movements. Many of these techniques aim to turn the news into more contested terrain, where social movements can serve as powerful news sources and steer public debate on important public issues.


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