YOUTH AND MEDIA 9
Question1: Academics’ position on celebrity in Media Culture
Academicianshave strongly affirmed that celebrity have become an importantcomponent of media culture. Daniel Boorstin says that the celebrityis a well-known person because of their fame (Bell, 2010). Therefore,celebrities are people with much influence on their viewers,especially young people when these celebrities appear on television,adverts and social media, as well as in movies. Modern celebritiesemanate from the sport and entertainment industries, prevail invarious media platforms, and their private lifestyle attracts youthseven more than their careers of their professions. Some scholars andpublic intellectuals regard the celebrity as a cultural shift wherethe visual, the momentary and the sensational are privileged.Academicians describe those who invest in modern celebrity as peoplewith an innate quality, a quality that is only possessed by thoseindividuals deemed as extraordinary in the industry talent scouts.Therefore, the academic literature within media and cultural studieshas concentrated on envisaging celebrity as a product of economic andcultural processes. This includes but not restricted to thecommodification of the celebrities through publicity, advertising andpromotion the celebrity implication through the formation andnegotiation of cultural identity and more significantly, thestrategies of the representation adopted by the media in the way theyconstantly treat prominent individuals (Bell, 2010).
Productionof Celebrity on Media
Currenttrends envisage the production of celebrity as a programmatic shiftin the development of prominent individuals especially in mediaplatforms such as internet and television. This programmatic shift isa shift from influential to the ordinary. The ordinariness has beenoccupied by the collection of the celebrity discourses. Therefore,ordinary persons have been developed from their daily life to becomestardom, both the music and film industries have included suchdevelopment processes into these ordinary peoples’ culturalmythologies and industrial practice. Recently, the application ofindustrial practice has expanded exponentially. The media platformshave been concentrating on the production of celebrity, where theconsumers of the modern media have become accustomed to what has beenhappening to the ordinary individuals who have shifted from obscurityto take pleasure in the circumscribed celebrity. Due to the growth ofthe reality television, the reality-based game and the so-calleddocu-soaps shows has considerably facilitated demand of televisionsfor ordinary individuals who have desires of becoming celebrities(Turner, 2010).
Additionally,there has been amazing revitalization of the interest of the media inthe production of celebrity. Commercial television, for example, hasbecome resolute of development of the celebrities on their owninstead of becoming just the final-user of the celebrity. They havedone this through adoption of ordinary individuals who have nospecial capabilities and achievements, in their programmes.Therefore, the commercial television celebrity is made out ofnothing, sidestepping what we deem as mundane entry conditions whichconsist of performance history or specialized training. Theparticipants’ desire is to be on television rather than becomingsingers, dancers or actors. The study indicates that there is thehigher possibility of common people to be seen on the television,either as a contestant or live audience member. The study leads tothe argument that the television is like omnivorous in its need forcommon people to participate in the television programmes (Turner,2010).
Demoticturn refers either to the current ordinary and the celebrityconvergence or the inclination of the ordinary individuals tocelebrity category. In the case study, the demotic turn has beencoined as the increasing ordinary individuals’ visibility in themedia platform via culture of celebrity, talk radio, DIY websites andreality TV. In this context, the success of the celebrity has beenassociated by the celebrity proliferation through media contributionto the everyday life expectations in the modern society among youths.Turner describes celetoids as culture accessories arranged across themass media and the theatrical legitimacy. For example,whistle-blowers, lottery winners, stalkers, and arena streakers insports, have commanded media attention in various ways. In histhoughts, turner asserts that there is a need for the people to seeka better understanding of media’s culture as an apparatus for thesuccess of the celebrities. In the culture of democracy, thepromotion of the ordinary individuals appears as a democratizingphase, although most of the things taken into account byentertainment industry have created another impression of a kind(Turner, 2010).
Inconclusion, the celebrity culture and the demotic turn depicted inreality TV as a means in which production of celebrity is madepossible through websites of DIY celebrity and reality TV. Therefore,the success of the ordinary celebrity is attributed to thecontribution of media culture to support ordinary individuals fromordinary places for celebrity content to fit the sphere of massmedia.
Cultivationtheory states that if individuals are exposed too much media they arelikely to cultivate or develop a deceptive perception of reality dueto repetitive messages received from a specific medium. In mostcases, this theory is commonly applied in the television analysis dueto exceptionally pervasive nature of this medium. According to thistheory, people who spend most of their time watching television andreading information in other media platforms may develop an illusorysense of reality that does not match with real life. For example,violent acts portrayed or broadcasted on the television’s newsprograms may outnumber the real cases of violence encountered bypeople in real life situations. Therefore, people who spend most oftheir time glued on the television may perceive the world as moredangerous and violent than what it seems to be. Thus, to applycultivation theory, the media content watched by an individual needsto be analyzed in order to respond to different types of messages.Hence, researchers must put into consideration cultural background ofparticular media consumers in order to determine their perception ofreality. For example, media may have an influence on social stabilityfor families, children and youth depending on the nature and theirperception of the media messages. Moreover, if a person’s sociallife plays a significant role in his life, then the messages hereceives from the television may contradict with the ones receivedfrom social groups (Baran & Davis, 2009).
Question2: School Shootings as a Representation of Framing Power of theMedia
Mediareport of schoolshootingsas importantmediaeventsexemplifythebroadersubjectof whatitmeansto residein a societywhereitis difficultto livewithout of exchangingandsharingmediacontents. Scholarssuchas Muschert Glenn havepostulatedthatschoolsshooting such as the Columbine massacre depict howthemediaframeviolenteventsin thesocietyandhowtheyshapethewaysocietyapproachesdifferentsocialproblembased on theinformationtheygatherfromthemediaRuddock,2013.
Studiesof mediacoverage on schoolshootingamajormediaeventsshowwhatitmeansto liveinworldwheretherealityillustratedon themediaisacceptedas therealtruth(Coleman,2004).Ithas becomeclearthatmediahasthe capacityto influencetheconductandreactionof theciviliansto differentsocialconundrums.There is a sturdyconnectionbetween mediaandsocialthinking.Schoolshootingepitomizeshowmediacreatesimagesof realitythatshapethewaythattheaudienceperceivesreality.Theimmenseattentionthatperpetrator of violencein thesocietyareaccordeddevelopsa patternof beliefsandexpectations that influencehowindividualslookat variousaspectsin thecommunity(Ruddock, 2013).
Highlypublicizedeventsof schoolshootingprecipitate copycatsincidentsandthattendto encourageinsteadof discouragingsimilar violentactions(Coleman,2004).In 1996,aboyaged14 openedfirein Washington whileattendinga Junior High School mathematic classandmurderedhis teacherandtwo of his fellowclassmates (Ruddock, 2013). Thisincidentwashighlypublicizedby themedia,mostof thejournalistdisplayingmassiveobsessionwith thearsenalthat wasusedto committhekillings,thecolorof theclothesthattheboyworeandhis insidiousplot.Additionally, themediafraternityvirtuallyoffereda ‘how-toguide’forhidinganddeployingarmaments in a coat.Surprisingly one of theteachersin theschooldescribedtheboywith charismatic flamboyance, andthemediamadetheboya culturalidol.With a spanof two weekssimilarkillingsthatechoedtheformerhappened(Ruddock,2013). Unwittinglythemediamadea similarspectacleabout thekillingandturnedtheperpetrator into a hero.Acopycat incidenttookplacea coupleof weekslater,March 13 andthemediadescribedtheboyas a creativeresource.
GlenMuschert has projecteda mythandagendasettingtheoryto explainhowmediapowercan shapesocialthinking.Agendasettingisdescribedas theprocessthrough which themediashapesthepublicopinionby presentingeventsin such a waythatanissuewillcatchtheattentionofthepublic(Muschert& Sumiala, 2012). Thisisachievedthrough emphasisandre-emphasis of particularelementsof theevent.Theuseof specificthemesto summarizea givenschoolshootingeventamplifiestheattentionthatthepublicaccordsuchincidents.In theincidentof theColumbine bloodbath, themediaconstructedanatmosphereof fearthrough thoroughemphasisof particularelementsof theincident.In thisway,themediacanpropagatea mythabout theincidentsthat significantly influencethewaythatthesocietyperceivessuchoccurrences.In thecaseof theColumbine schoolshootingthemediareferredto theincidentas ‘juvenilesuper predator.`Thisis whatMuschert referredto as ‘crimemyth’anditsymbolizedparticularcriminalsas predominantly distressing threatto theorderof thingsin thesociety(Muschert& Sumiala, 2012).
Mediaplatformsemploydifferentframing techniquesto capturetheattentionof themass.Framing is a stylewherebythemediaportraysrealityin sucha waythatitsummarizesseminalsocialissues(Ruddock,2013). Framing sparksemotionalreactionfrom thereadersandviewersabout a politicalorsocialissueto achievea givengoal.Manymediaplatformsemploythisstrategyto attractthe audienceandremaincompetitivein ahighlycompetitivecommunicationssector.Mediagivesarchitectof violencehigh publicity, and this has a tremendouseffectson thepublicbecauseitcreatesfalseexpectations andperspectiveabout therealworld(Muschert& Sumiala, 2012).
Muschertcontends thattobe ableto createa powerfulmyth,journalistsrequirefour fundamentalelementsaidentificationof an innocentandvulnerablesufferers,a daringhero,a threatto establishedlifestyle andvaluesanddetectionof a deviantpopulace(Ruddock,2013). Mostof thenewsthatmediahousesreportedabout theColumbine schoolshootingwere‘mythic’ becausetheyprimarilyfocusedon fatalitiesof theheinousactswhosedeathswereprimarilycriticalbecausetheyhadmanagedto conquertremendous challengesin their lives.Theimmenseattentionaccordedto mostof theperpetrators of schoolshootingillustratesthenewsworthiness of desecratedsocietalnormsandexpectations. In thisrespectschools,shootingare termed as publiceventsdueto themessagesystemhighlighted by the mediaratherthan themorbid natureof the shooting incident.Amythcreatedby themediain relationto theColumbine schoolshootingtendedto glorifythetwo culprits,Klebold andHarris,whoin 1999 decidedto executetheir colleaguesto expresstheir disdainfortheir classmates. Subsequentmasskillersespeciallywithin theschoolenvironmenthavemodeledtheir attackon Columbine schoolshooting(Ruddock,2013).
Themediahas beenparticularlyvibrantin makingmythsveryquicklyandgivingthem a realforcevia compactlanguagewhereconstantavailability of mediatextsas resourcesforcreatingsocialmeaning,to the extent thatitbecomesimpossibleto speakabout schoolshootingwithout referringto theColumbine shooting.Itappearsthatthetruththat matterto journalistsis theonethat willbeacceptedby thepublicandthat can bepopularizedwith ease(Ruddock, 2013). Thepubliccan not be ableto disconnecttheexperiencedtruthandthelanguage,andas suchitbecomesverydifficultto differentiatebetween realityandtherepresentationof mythsby themedia.Thebasicelementsthat influencethegeneralpublicunderstandingof theworldare theconstantexposureto mediamythsandbiasrepresentations.Publicviewsassumetheshapethat is depictedby themedia.Throughframingthemedia,isableto createa falseconceptionof socialrealities.
Baran,S. J., & Davis, D. K. (2009). Masscommunication theory: Foundations, ferment, and future.Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Bell,C. E. (2010). Americanidolatry: Celebrity, commodity and reality television.Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co.
Coleman,L.(2004). TheCopycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhemin Tomorrow’s Headlines.Simon and Schuster Pub.
Muschert,G. W., & Sumiala, J. (2012). Schoolshootings: Mediatized violence in a global age.Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Ruddock,A. (2013). Youthand media.London: Sage.
Turner,G. (2010). Ordinarypeople and the media: The demotic turn.Los Angeles: SAGE.