Global Crises and the Climate Change debate

Climate change is probably one of the most discussed and argued environmental issues in the mass media today. Global warming is a phenomenon that is becoming an increasing threat, caused mostly by human movements. There are many groups involved who actively contribute to the climate change debates, including journalists, researchers, and environmental activists, and although there are many uncertainties around this issue, it is up to us to make our own decisions, whether its based on scientific fact or journalistic points of view. (Lyytimaki, 2009). Climate change is one of those issues that most of us know about and engage with through various forms of media, where it requires us to think globally and act locally because our own experience of climate change is highly mediated (Dreher, 2013).

There are two key challenges that are brought to our attention by Ward (2009), which were the ideas of rethinking journalisms traditional approaches to balance, or what he calls a ‘false balance’, and also providing journalists with a ‘voice for the voiceless’.

Reporting on climate change has shown to have this ‘false balance’ between what is scientifically correct and what the reporters have established as scientific judgement (Ward, 2009). More than 90% of scientists around the world surveyed by the UN are in agreement that climate change is real, and the earth is inevitably warming, significantly due to human activities. ‘False balance’ is a term used to describe giving equal time or equal weight to supporters of climate science, for example we could have 90% of opinions on the one hand, and 10% of the opinions on the other hand, and yet somehow the media portrays these as being equal, even though those opinions are actually extremely unbalanced (Dreher, 2013). The ‘voice for the voiceless’ was another key challenge that Ward (2009) highlighted in his article, which focuses on the human impacts of climate change and how the story of these impacts can be told or heard. Mary Robinson, who is the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 1997-2022, stated that ‘a climate justice approach will amplify the voices of those people who have done least to cause climate change, but who are affected most severely by it’. An example of this is in the island of Kiribati, where they have very low carbon emissions, yet are very vulnerable to climate change due to flooding and coastal erosion. Climate change is not just an issue on environmental challenges, it is very much a cultural issue on human stories and human rights concerns, as well as a concern for our ability to maintain and sustain culture and community in this sort of context (Dreher, 2013).

The media is essential to our learning and it is essential to become actively involved in it. As humans, we cannot understand these climate change issues purely on our own individual experience. There are many issues that are still arising during this period of rapid change, both in the journalistic field, as well as in the global environment. It is uncertain how these issues will play out in future, both in relation to climate change, but also journalistic practices, and it could be years before we determine how best to support this changing environment.

Dreher, T 2013, ‘Lecture 9: Global Crises and Global News: Pacific Calling Partnership’, Lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 23rd September 2013

Lyytimaki, J 2009, ‘Mulling over the Climate Debate: Media Education on Climate Change’, Journal of Sustainable Development, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 29-32

Ward, B 2010, ‘Journalism ethics and climate change reporting in a period of intense media uncertainty’, Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics, vol. 9, no. 13-15, pp. 13-15


Global Media: What is newsworthy and what is not?

From first starting university, it was very obvious how much news and how many world events I was unaware of. Although even now, 2 years later, it is still obvious that not all events from around the globe are reported on or are able to be viewed in our country. So, who decides what information or news is broadcasted in Australia? Shouldn’t it be the people’s choice to decide what is newsworthy and what news they want to know about?

Lee-Wright (2012, pg. 2) states that ‘globalisation has produced a countervailing ‘domestication’ of stories, where the international has to be filtered through domestic sensibilities and interests’. For a story to be interesting and appealing, it has to have a level of domestic appeal, otherwise no one will want to watch it. Accessing international news can have its challenges, especially if you want a specific news story.

According to Lee-Wright (2012, pg. 1), the Arab Spring was a prime example of how the global media pick and choose what they want to show on television. Martin Turner, Head of BBC Newsgathering Operations, believes ‘its mainly a matter of funding’. Ben Wedeman, in regards to the Arab spring, also believes that journalists ‘need to follow up, they cant just cover the big moments because this is a story of huge historical importance that will reverberate for yeas afterwards…its important not to take a snapshot but to take a long video of what’s going on’.

I feel that the media has a huge impact in what we see and listen to on the news, whether they are positive or negative stories. Nowadays with live streaming so readily available on our computers, it makes sense for people to mix watching the local news on television, and streaming international stories from around the globe that they find interesting and newsworthy.

Lee-Wright, P (2012) ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’ JOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, pp. 1-19.

Television in translation

When it comes to reality television shows, its obvious that we all have our personal favourites, our pet hates and those ones we secretly watch for enjoyment but tell no one about. Therefore, for these types of shows to be successful, the producers need to fully understand its audience in order for them to create a popular, humorous, and enjoyable show.

For the ‘comedy’ genre, there have been many remakes of certain comedies that are now produced all around the world, examples include the UK’s ‘The Office’, and the hilarious Australia comedy ‘Kath and Kim’. It has come to our attention, however, that these ‘remakes’ are in fact funny in some cases, but not fully understanding the humour that they are supposed to be portraying.

Surely, every Australian is familiar with the comedy ‘Kath and Kim’. ‘Kath and Kim’ is a television series revolving around a mother and daughter, each with their own partners, all living in suburban Australia. The show focuses on ‘irony’ as their main source of humour, which most Australians find hilarious and entertaining. Due to the shows success over here, an American series was made, however it did not accomplish nearly as much as the Australian version did.

Sue Turnbull (2008) believes this is due to the process of cultural translation and quotes Andy Medhurst as saying ‘comedy plays an absolutely pivotal role in the construction of national identity’ (Turnbull, 2008, pg. 112). Sue believes this is because our national identity is shared through an ‘ongoing joke’, in which we can all understand and have a laugh.

On a final note, I would like to point out that I think majority of the American versions’ downfall was, yes, due the fact that they did not encompass or understand type of irony of the Australian show, but for me it was the fact that Sharon was entirely missing from the remake!! Big mistake in my eyes.

This is a story on the comparison of the two shows, enjoy!

Turnbull, S 2008, ‘Television comedy in translation’, TV and Media: Metro Magazine, no. 159, pp. 111-115

Globalisation of the Chinese Film Industry

The ‘Western film industry’, especially Hollywood, has had major dominance in the global film market for many years. In this new millennium, however, there are predictions that the Chinese and Indian film industries are going to become increasingly popular due to globalisation (Karan and Schaefer, 2010; Huiqun, 2010).

Our world is constantly being shaped and changed by international influences, especially in the film industry, where globalisation can be seen to have both positive and negative characteristics. Globalisation allows for widespread distribution of media content, as well as global sharing, more employment opportunities and cultural imperialism (Huiqun, 2010). While these are all positives of globalisation, there are also many negatives that are attached as well. Karen and Schaefer (2010) outline that ‘Asian production centres will increasingly exploit cinematic contraflows that draw upon structures of hybridity to meet increasing demand for glocalised content within globalised distribution networks’ (Karan and Schaefer, 2010, pg. 309). This emphasises how cultural hybridity is central to glocalisation, where many filmmakers are mixing both elements from global and local cultures to appeal to a variety of audiences.

Huiqun (2010) describes how the Chinese film industry benefits from the global film market, however also recognises the struggle it faces when competing heavily against the Western film makers, especially in Hollywood. There is a widening gap between the Chinese and American film industry, where this can be attributed to the effect that Confucianism has had on the Chinese film industry, which emphasises maintaining tradition, resulting in a lack of innovation and creativity. Huiqun talks about the abundant nature of national cultural resources that the Chinese industry could use to develop excellent films that would attract increased audiences, nationally and internationally. From this we can see that there will be an increased opportunity for the Chinese filmmakers to adopt filming strategies and techniques and learn more from the American filmmakers, which could potentially influence the Chinese to be more innovative and creative in order to make internationally acclaimed films.

Huiqun, L 2010, ‘Opportunities and challenges of globalization for the Chinese film industry’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 323 – 328.

Karan, K and Schaefer, D 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 309-316.