The Media Theory Toolbox – My Public Sphere

The Media Theory Toolbox – My Public Sphere

I wake up and am immediately checking Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter in an endless circle until I finally drag myself out of bed. I turn my car on and Triple J comes blaring through my crappy speakers. I chat with my friends through the day about anything from our upcoming festival outfits to world politics. I sit down with my family at dinner and watch Nine News and then maybe The Project. Maybe I’ll watch a little bit of ESPN later for my basketball fix.

Here are the parameters of my public sphere, or my “18th century coffee house” as Jurgen Habermas may have put it, although my public sphere doesn’t really stick to his “no women or minorities” rule. Anyway, this is where my knowledge of the outside world is learnt.

This week’s BCM110 lecture on this topic definitely made me think a little deeper about the ideas, values and beliefs that I choose to surround myself with on a daily basis, how I interact with them, and how they have shaped me and my views. It also made me think a surprisingly high amount about Big Brother, but I’m slowly learning that these lectures can be extremely random in terms of examples.

I’ve been involved in my fair share of debates online, and offline. I have quite a strong political opinions if that wasn’t obvious from my previous blog posts. I’ve had discussions with fellow students from my high school, teachers, friends, and family about LGBTQ+ rights, racism, xenophobia, feminism, the use of the n-word, and so on. Whilst not all ended on a mutual understanding of the other’s beliefs, sometimes there was a “breakthrough” with each party coming to a shared agreement. These “conversations” opened my eyes to just how large of an impact the public sphere has on an individual.

I have come to realise that I have definitely made solid decisions about my public sphere, whether that be subconsciously or deliberately. The media definitely plays a massive role in all of this. I choose to follow Instagram accounts and Facebook pages which relate to my interests and my beliefs. I unfollow old classmate’s babbling on with support for Pauline Hanson and sharing misogynistic jokes. I have no room for that negativity in my “coffee house”. I choose to surround myself with people and media that reflect my personal views on the world.

Gif: x

The first post. (actually second)

The first post. (actually second)

Hi, this was meant to be my first post but I got a bit carried away with my other post so I’ll backtrack…

My name is Abbey (if you couldn’t figure that out from the URL and title of the blog) and I’m a first year student studying a Bachelor of Communications and Media (Marketing Communications and Advertising) at UOW.

I have 3 major passions:

  1. BASKETBALL. Particularly NBA and NBL. My teams are the San Antonio Spurs and Illawarra Hawks, but I also have a soft spot for the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers. If you want some betting tips, I’m your girl.
  2. LIVE MUSIC, or music in general. Every single penny of my measly savings is spent on live music. It’s currently March and I’ve been to Field Day (not my proudest musical moment), Gang of Youths, Laneway and RÜFÜS DU SOL. I’m also seeing Matt Corby this month, and going to Groovin’ the Moo in April and Ball Park Music in May. My Spotify is linked on this blog too if you want to check it out. I also love finding new music, so follow me or send through some of your recommendations!
  3. SOCIAL JUSTICE. This may be evident from my previous blog post. A lot of my social media sites consist of posts trying to educate and raise awareness. This passion has mostly stemmed from doing Aboriginal Studies for my HSC, where my major work focused on the importance of teaching Aboriginal history, culture and heritage and identity in schools.

Anyway, I’ve been forced to make this blog, like the rest of Comms + Media, but I’m going to try my best to make some quality content that is somewhat interesting to read. So if you’ve stuck around til the end of this post, welcome and I hope you enjoy my blog 🙂

Media Audiences – Christchurch

Media Audiences – Christchurch

TRIGGER WARNING: this post contains information about the Christchurch terrorist attack.

Artwork by Ruby Jones
Instagram: @rubyalicerose

Whilst sitting in my MGNT102 lecture on Friday, I admittedly was having a quick scroll on Twitter when I came across the devastating news of the Christchurch terrorist attack. I sat in complete shock for the rest of the lecture, and that day. Today (Sunday), even as I write this, it still doesn’t seem real. 50 confirmed dead and many more injured in what can only be described as a horrific act of white supremacist terrorism. My heart goes out to the victims, their whanau and friends, New Zealand, and the Muslim community around the world.

Originally, I had planned to write this blog post about my experiences as a member of an audience to concerts and music festivals, but that simply did not feel right after what had taken place on Friday. The past few days have emphasised to me the major role media plays in tragic events like this, and how we, as an audience, influence it.

It has been hard to miss the constant bombardment of information seeping through our televisions, phones, computers, conversations and radios over the past 48 hours. It has contained floods of love and support for the Muslim community and victims, and heartbreaking news updates. It has also contained the complete opposite. Racist opinions and hate speech also leaked into our news and social media sites. The world, as an audience to the media, have watched on with intrigue and disgust.

From a national perspective, I was infuriated when Australian Senator Fraser Anning excused the terrorist act. I could go on for days about how predominant figures using their platform to spread xenophobic views are a major reason as to why attacks like Christchurch take place.

However, I was glad to see I was part of a majority of the media audience when (as of 4:21pm Sunday 17th March) over 856,000 people had signed a petition titled, ‘Remove Fraser Anning from parliament’. Australia’s new “national treasure”, known as “Egg Boy”, also gave many people watching the media intently a reason to smile in a dark time as he cracked an egg over Senator Anning’s head during a live interview.

Overall, with the attack happening so close to home, and the way it has deeply affected such a large amount of people worldwide, it has highlighted to me the role in which we, as an audience of national and international media, impact the way in which news is shared. Our varying values and ethics as an audience influence our reactions to events, and what we decide to support or speak out against. We shape the media. It is our responsibility to take action against discrimination within it.

I would like to end this post with some words Osman Faruqi posted to his Twitter page in the wake of the Christchurch attack:

I feel so sad. We begged you to stop amplifying and normalising hatred and racism. But you told us we were ‘politically correct’ and ‘freedom of speech’ was more important. The more you gave the far-right a platform, the more powerful they got. We begged you.” –

Kia Kaha, Christchurch.

DISCLAIMER: I refuse to promote the agenda white supremacists try to spread through media, so certain names and information are missing from this blog post. I’m not sure this really counts as a disclaimer but I would just like to say that we as an audience to the media need to stop allowing racists to have a platform. We are all responsible. Speak up if you know something isn’t inclusive. If you excuse racism and xenophobia committed in any form, you are part of the problem. Any comments on this page featuring hate speech will be deleted.