From the Field - Fall 2010

Flow,
Volume 13,
Issue 1,
October 2010

Conaway and Aird argue the multicultural ensemble casts adopted by producers to represent diversity and attract global audiences have marginalized minorities on US television. Analyzing promotional materials from the Upfronts, they demonstrate a decline in minority cast members, and a literal marginalization of those remaining – many, consigned to minor parts, are regularly confined to the margins of promotional cast photos. The authors connect this compositional alignment with the financial aims of producers looking to satisfy advertisers, arguing for an economic hierarchy with White male characters given economic/compositional prominence, followed by Asians, Blacks and finally Hispanics.

Media Culture and Society,
Volume 32,
Issue 5,
Fall 2010

Wardle and Williams conducted an extensive ethnographic observation of the way BBC newsrooms incorporate user-generated content (UGC) in the reporting of stories. The authors discovered that UGC is typically made to fit existing journalistic practices; audiences were used as sources rather than co-producers. The authors conclude that networked journalism will become a reality when journalists begin thinking of their audience as collaborators instead of consumers.

Continuum - Journal of Media & Cultural Studies,
Volume 24,
Issue 5,
October 2010

Steward claims that Jerry Bruckheimer is considered a television auteur because of his commercial sensibility and populist aesthetic. Steward points out that authorship is typically reserved for artists attempting to shape the cultural discourse and create “quality television.” Bruckheimer’s brand, however, is based on his ability to re-imagine generic conventions in ways that distinguish his shows from the competition and consequently attract mass audiences.

Transformative Works and Cultures,
Volume 5,
Fall 2010

Koulikov traces the creation of fan distribution networks, focusing on Japanese anime fan communities circulating their own subtitled versions of copyrighted works (fan subs). Digital technologies expanded these networks and transformed practices within them.  Koulikov notes this diffusion destroyed some of the ethics fan-subbers adhered to (taking down works when official versions are available, for instance). Officially licensed US distributors further complicated fan distribution efforts, though Koulikov attributes innovations in the official distribution market to the pioneering efforts of fan communities.

Camera Obscura,
Volume 25,
Issue 2,
September 2010

Traditionally, “pink technology” – feminized electronics targeted at girls – have been products for consumption. Kearney discusses the Daisy Rock Girl Guitar and Mattel's Barbie Wireless Video Camcorder as two recent attempts by the consumer technology industry to market tools for media creation to girls. These technologies represent a step toward bringing girls into masculine-dominated fields, their design and marketing part of an ongoing negotiation of traditional gender assumptions and roles.

New Media and Society,
Volume 12,
Issue 6,
September 2010

Lüders, Prøitz and Rasmussen explore the genre characteristics of “personal media,” looking at the textual features of cellphone self-portraits and online diaries, as well as their contexts of use. The authors’ argue genres for digital media are being defined by an ongoing tension between past conventions and new types of use, arguing greater attention should be paid to the development of genres in order to understand how digital media practices solidify and become meaningful.

Velvet Light Trap,
Volume 66,
Fall 2010

Aslinger discusses the launch of Brazilian gaming system Zeebo, globalization, and the video gaming industry. Despite claims about the inclusiveness of networked gaming, the majority of gamers come from a few locations (the US, Japan, Western Europe and South Korea); significant financial and infrastructural barriers prevent much of the rest of the world from participating. Aslinger contends video game piracy is largely driven by consumers attempting to overcome these barriers, and suggests the launch of the Zeebo system, with its 3G networked infrastructure could inspire the gaming industry to be more attentive to a global gaming market, giving game companies an opportunity to monetize their back catalogues.

Media Culture and Society,
Volume 32,
Issue 5,
Fall 2010

Reporting on an empirical analysis of British Television, Roberts finds that despite common cultural wisdom, the modern entertainment industry does not suffer from disruptive cultural clashes between corporate culture and creative workers. He describes a work environment unified by a collective understanding of the economic realities the entertainment industry faces, surmising that increased conglomeration has brought business interests closer to the forefront of creative minds. Both corporate executives and creative workers are aware of the challenges and constraints of their counterparts, but business interest typically takes precedence over other considerations.

The Information Society,
Volume 26,
Issue 5,
September 2010

Quandt and von Pape report on a large-scale ethnographic project examining the way new technologies enter and become part of domestic environments. They map a four-phase process -- “pre-adoption,” “adoption,” “integration,” and “closure,” – noting that different devices pass through this process in different ways, with more expensive items garnering longer periods of consideration and typically being engaged with in social settings. They conclude that a consumer’s decision to purchase new technology is based on a negotiation of three sets of characteristics: the technology, the user and the environment.

Global Media and Communication,
Volume 6,
August 2010

Miller attributes the global success of the telenovela Betty la fea to the show’s compatibility with existing distribution patterns. She explains that shows like Betty la fea typically flow from their culture of origin in three ways: as canned content syndicated for neighboring cultures, as co-produced content for regional cultures and as a packaged format to the more distant cultures. According to Miller a show which combines universal themes with customizable cultural details is most likely to succeed across these distribution pathways but is also likely to lose its original cultural meanings becoming a product of the global industry rather than a specific region.

Bibliography