Case Study review: lack of diversity in commercial broadcasting

I’m sad to say that I was not surprised when reading the case study in our textbook by Kristal Brent Zook titled “Blacks Own Just Ten U.S. Television Stations.  Here’s Why.”  As a female minority in America, I am very much aware of the fact that minorities aren’t portrayed that often in popular tv shows or movies (other than the token character).  So it was no surprise to read about TV, film and radio stations.

I was surprised that there actually were regulations in the 1970s, and that progress went backwards when it was repealed in 1995.  I could see that happening under the current administration, but I can’t help wonder why more hasn’t been done over the years to put the Minority Ownership Policy back in place.  With actors boycotting the Oscars in 2016 because of all-white nominees, and many Asian American actors recently speaking out against the lack of diversity on television, I am surprised to have not heard about this issue earlier.

But when can be done?  The case study points out that Clear Channel wiped out many small stations and minority owned radio stations when it went on a buying spree.  Now with big corporations and attempted mergers, it seems even more impossible to fix this situation than it did in the 1970s.  Under the current administration, nothing will improve.  We have already witnessed things get worse for minorities, wildlife, and the environment.  The current FCC chairman made a mockery of people’s concerns about the repeal of Net Neutrality with his video about the things people can still do without Net Neutrality.  I would not expect anything good to come from him, either.

Maybe right now, the best thing is awareness.  Older white males still seem to dominate everything in this country.  As that starts to change, hopefully these important issues will finally change as well.

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The Digital Divide is all around us

San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the country.  The digital divide is something I see everyday.  So many homeless people are living in tents or curled up on the sidewalk.  The ridiculous cost of rent only furthers the gap, pushing out artists, low-income families and people who have lived in the city for years.  This only makes it more difficult for those who are homeless.

The homeless situation seems like an impossible thing to fix.  But living in a city with major tech companies and startups, and having Silicon Valley in our backyard, it seems like something should be done.  Pretty much every job requires an online application.  This means not only having access, but knowing how to use the equipment.  There has to be some training involved.  But how do you even make people aware of the training if they aren’t online?

The government needs to do more.  But waiting around won’t help anything.  Fortunately, there are places like the Tenderloin Tech Lab.  According to the St. Anthony’s Foundation, over 100 homeless and low-income people pass through each day. The Tech Lab offers free classes, tutoring, job search counseling and more.

Mark Zuckerberg suggests in his Internet.org initiative that internet access is a basic human right. But getting access isn’t easy.  Thankfully, more companies are stepping up. A couple of years ago, Twitter opened Neighbor Nest, a $3 million tech center for the poor and homeless.  Not only does Twitter provide child care, but Twitter employees and social workers volunteer, teaching tech skills and helping with the job hunt.

San Francisco is only one small city in a big country, and there is still so much work to be done in the Bay Area.  But hopefully, as more tech giants and non-profits help out, more people across the US can get the training they need to get ahead.

The Appeal of Social Media

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What makes social media so appealing?  We know that social networks are a way of connecting with others by creating a profile, and interacting and sharing information with others.  At some level, social media can be seen as appealing to our narcissistic side.  Think of celebrities posting pictures of themselves in their underwear.  But it isn’t just celebrities.  Many people post provocative shots on social media.  Perhaps as validation and seeing how many likes they can get.

It doesn’t just have to be provocative posts.  Any post can have the danger of being used as self-validation.  If you post something, and nobody comments or reacts right away, it is easy to think “My joke wasn’t as funny or clever as I thought.”  For some people, this can have a negative effect on their well-being.  However, it is a cycle that is easy to get caught up in.  I’ve seen many people dramatically announce that they are leaving Facebook…only to eventually return.

For most people, social media is a fun way to get caught up with others.  I joined Facebook 11 years ago.  Before that, when communicating with friends that I lived far away from, we would email each other.  But as more and more of my friends joined Facebook, emails become less common and people stopped writing.  But with Facebook, you could always see what your friends are up to.  Now there are so many social networking apps, it almost takes more work than 10 years ago.

When it comes to communicating with friends, I prefer Facebook messaging.  It is so easy to create groups, and you can see when someone has read the message.  It is easy to plan get-togethers when you don’t want to create an event for something.  My roommates and I also use this as a way to communicate.

As for the future, it seems like the various types of social media are becoming more and more similar.  Facebook now offers many features that Instagram has, and we see overlaps with many of the social networking sites and apps.  I do think that people will always love video, so I don’t think that will change.  But as the users get younger and everyone wants things even more instantaneously, it will be interesting to see what changes in 5 years, or even 1 year from now.