MIR Production

So for my Media Identities & Representations module we need to create a production which focuses on one of the main categories we talk about during the module.

From the moment we were told about the production my plan was to focus on class as having been called posh for most of my childhood because of my accent I find the stereotypes of class interesting especially that of the ‘under’ class and how they are shown as ‘others’. We can make anything so because I love making and editing videos I made a video production.

Benefit street was aired in 2014 and managed to get the attention of over 4 million viewers. The show caused controversial reviews due to the stereotypically negative representations it portrayed of the under class. Due to this type of programme being the only media that shows us the everyday life of the under class the public therefore take these representations to be the whole truth even though they are a retrospective view of these people. This creates myths that all people on the dole or struggling for money are involved with drugs and alcohol, disobey the law, purposely do things, such as have lots of children, to get more money and scrounge off the state by doing nothing to get themselves back into work; I watched multiple episodes of Benefits Britain on channel 5 and every person portrayed in the show matched one or more of these myths. This clearly shows a problem because not everyone on benefits matches these stereotypes yet they will clearly be assumed to be due to the negative portrayal across the media.

Originally my idea was to subvert these myths by having stereotypically posh people with expensive tastes and suggested wealth acting out under class stories, so although they have nice things and talk in the Queens English, they would be young single mums who are on drugs, heavily drinking with no job and families of 10 who have a new child every year just to scrounge more money from the government. However, after some thought and a chat with my seminar lecturer, we decided this would be too complicated and wouldn’t make any sense to an audience. So in the end I opted to create my own myth full, benefit mocumentary.

My idea was to use shows such as Benefits Street and Benefits Britain as inspiration to create my own short documentary where I exaggerate the myths and stereotypes of the underclass and portray them in their everyday life. For example, I will exaggerate facts such as how much money they get a week, to make them seem like they are wasting an incredible amount, and also get my characters to use excessive swearing to make them seem uneducated and rude. Benefit street was on TV at 9pm and aimed at 18-40 year olds, so I will use this audience as my target audience too. However, due to the excessive swearing, my production would have to be aired post watershed.IMG-20161028-WA0001.jpg

Pre-production wise, I created 3 characters who conformed to under class stereotypes by looking at newspaper stories which portray a negative stereotype of the under class and exaggerating the facts within; the benefit family, the young drug mum and the scrounger. I also drew storyboards and wrote a list of specific shots I needed and then set out to film. In order to stay ethical I made sure participants knew what I intended to do and that they were comfortable with the ideas, for anyone under the age of 16, I got permission from their parents. I also got all participants to fill out consent forms. Health and safety wise, I filled in a risk assessment beforehand as well as being professional and setting up equipment when filming carefully to make sure it wasn’t blocking any exits and that cables were neat and kept away from young children.

I feel the stories I created connected to theories and research studied on the module such as othering, which is where people are split into groups, us and them, and the under class/class inequalities, for example working class social workers having power over ‘Shenise’ and being able to take away her child and never let her see him again. I also feel the characters heavily portrayed the myths of the under class; for example ‘Ben’ having expensive tech such as an Apple Mac and Xbox, yet being on the dole and not earning, and dole money being mainly spent on drugs/ alcohol.

I’m quite proud of my final piece as I feel it follows professional structure, I especially like the intro/opening as I like the music in the background and how I edited my shot of the job centre plus sign to be my title. However, due to this only being a short mocumentary, I think possibly some of ‘Shenise’s’ bits are slightly too long and the audience could lose focus/interest. Also, I ended up running out of time but would have liked to put music under the whole mocumentary rather than just at the start and end to make it even more professional. There are also some problems with continuity of shots. For example, after editing it I realised that in the voice-over, Shenise gives birth when shes 15 yet she says 16, as well as the fact that the camerawoman says no to a hot chocolate/tea but Shenise still makes two cups, and the change of top from David. Therefore, if I was doing it again I would take greater care to be more thorough and check through things when editing, or show  rough edit to someone else in case I miss it but they spot it.

But until next time, I’m quite happy with my final piece and feel it portrays exaggerated myths of the under class and I also had a lot of fun making it and isnt that what uni’s about… until you get your marks back that is!

References – Benefits Britain episodes http://www.channel5.com/show/benefits-britain-life-on-the-dole ; http://www.Nexis.co.uk – search dole,benefits,scroungers in titles ; https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1991/04/17/the-underclass-facts-and-myths/1a269905-206c-4d4d-a5d4-0aca36976b73/


Identities and Representations – Gender

What is gender nowadays? I mean, there are so many options when you sign forms and you don’t even have to answer if you would ‘prefer not to say’.

So is gender part of our identity? Does gender help form our identity? If we get categorised by gender I suppose you have to say its your identity but I don’t do things or buy things just because I’m a girl, do I?

My media identities and representations module has been focused on gender and identity for this week.

First of all what actually is gender? The word sex and sexuality are always connected so what means what? My lecturer showed us this to explain


So gender is a form of our identity, but does it convince us to make other choices in our life? Like our job? When I say nurse do you think man or woman, when I say builder do you think man or woman? A good blog highlighting this is are-you-man-enough-to-be-a-nurse

Another thing which is entirely based on gender is advertisement… From a young child we are split into genders. Packaging on toys for girls are pink, packaging on toys for boys are blue, girls play with babies and pushchairs, boys play with guns and hammers. As you grow up, woman have pink razors, men have blue and we even have segregated spaces in the supermarket. Check out this video all about gendered marketing.



But now, with gender becoming fluid will advertisers change? Will shops stop gender segments  or will we just ignore the media and forget about the gender segments forced upon us!? Time will tell I suppose.

Summer loving over, 2nd year media here we come.

I’m finally back in Sheffield ready for my second year at uni. New house, new area, new modules, so bring it on.

I had a bit of a crazy summer hence why it’s been a loong time since I’ve posted, so sorry for that. I pretty much worked full time at my job at IKEA to rack up the savings because I mean, as a student savings are a must. I also really want to travel after I’ve finished my degree [unless I get an AWESOME job] so I need to start saving now really. I also managed to chill out, going on a few holidays with my family and c’mon holidays are always great! The big one of the holidays though was my Charity expedition. In short over the last year I have been holding charity events in order to raise £2895 for Childreach International, a child rights charity, and then I would be climbing to the summit of Kilimanjaro. I had such an amazing time (even though it was the hardest thing I have ever done) and it was an opportunity of a lifetime butt raising that much money… seriously, hats off to the charities out there, it is haardd! You can read my blog emeralnvskili which follows me through the whole journey.

So that was my summer, one of my most exciting I must say. Back to reality now though. Year 2 at SHU and the work I do actually counts towards my final grade, scary times! Last year, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really keep up with work, I mean I wasn’t bad, I did quite well, butt I probably could have been better and I did leave starting some of my essays slightly too late but this year will be different! I’m going to be a good student, I’m going to keep on top of work and I’m going to be active and healthy with maybe with a few nights out thrown in there, because I am still a student, and sport socials are pretty fun.

Modules this semester are News Media, Media Identities and Representations and my chosen option Radio. Quite looking forward to Radio actually as me and my friend Ollie did a radio show last year for the SU so it will be interesting to see how to professionally produce a show rather than just going for it like we did. During college media, representations was a subject that I enjoyed learning about and so I’m looking forward to that module too. Personally unsure about news media at the moment but we shall soon see.

2nd year also brings the dreaded placement finding so I’m planning on filling my days with volunteer work in order to make myself more employable in the media industry. I want to look for something creative and hands on because I love getting involved with projects. My other problem with finding a placement currently is that I have no idea what part of the media I want to go into. I think choosing a career is soo hard, plus, I don’t feel old enough to decide what I want to maybe do for the rest of my life?! I know that I love filming and editing both audio and film, and also running the desk in a radio show so if I can do that I’m sorted it’s just finding a job that involves that and wants me.

But for now it’s lectures, essays and volunteering, we can leave searching for that perfect job till later… bring on year 2!


The final media log blog, I promise.

So, yes. I am talking about my media log again. I promise though, this really is the last one! Linking on from the second media log blog, ‘3 days and 15 pages later’ it is clear to say that I consume a lot of media but my question is why?

Dated audience theories such as the ‘hypodermic needle theory’ suggest that audiences are ‘passive’ in their media usage and focuses on what the media do to the audience.

So the question would not be why at all. It would in fact be what. And well, my answer to that is actually quite dull. I did nothing. I went about my normal life doing pretty much the same thing the next day.

The advert for Deadpool I paid attention to; What did I do? Nothing, over a month later I still haven’t seen the film.

After watching Tattoo Fixers, what did I do? I became a tattoo artist and started tattooing amazing designs on my friends. Well no, sorry, that didn’t happen (I wish).

My alarm playing an annoying tune at 7.30am; What did I do? Well, I woke up, turned it off and went back to sleep again… so does that mean that the media inject me with their ideas and thoughts and I automatically, passively believe them?

No, feel free to comment if you disagree, but I don’t think so. Not nowadays anyway, I feel society has become much more educated in relation to the media and if people want to let their friends tattoo them after having watched tattoo fixers once. Well that’s their fault.

So this brings me back to my question of why? And the theory of ‘uses and gratifications’, might just answer this for me. This theory suggests that the audience are actually active in media consumption and focuses on what audiences do with media.

Theorists came up with four main uses, consisting of Personal identity, Information, Escapism and Social Interaction (these are not the exact terms and differ in title from the link above however, this is how I have come to understand the categories and they mean exactly the same)

How do my findings relate to uses and gratifications then?

Personal Identity- I found this the hardest use to relate to my media use. But when you sit and really think about it a lot of media uses and shapes your identity. For example, in my three day log the use of wordpress and blogging is one way I use media to gratify my personal identity. It creates an online me as I write down my thoughts and converse with myself through the medium of writing.

Next up, Information- Although I didn’t watch the news or search for ongoing disasters. I did use/consume media that informed me of things. For example, in all of my university lectures and seminars during the three days, power point was used to teach us the information needed. Similarly, as briefly mentioned in log blog 2, the use of the app Shazam helped me gain information regarding the songs I was listening to on the radio.

Now, Escapism- Throughout the three days I used my mobile to scroll through social media as a way of escaping from the university work. It was a distraction from my reality and work I actually really needed to do. The fact that I listened to music when walking to and from places is also a use of media to gratify escapism, as mentioned also, during my journeys it stopped me from paying as much attention to the world around me.

And finally, Social interaction- The big one. Normally I would interact via text mainly but as explained I used Facebook Messenger instead A LOT to maintain relationships and interact with those not present at the time. Both of the times I consumed media with someone else were also to gratify interaction as we watched and then interacted and talked about the music video/programmes together whilst they were playing.

As it seems uses and gratifications is a theory that can be applied even now to media usage and to me it makes a lot more sense than the hypodermic needle theory. The thing is though, none of this explains why I used and consumed media alone most of the time.

New media, is supposed to connect everyone, as Marshall McLuhan theorised long ago we have become a ‘Global Village’ where everyone can experience anything and no-one is ever alone. Yet as shown in my media log, I have never been more alone.

As the Independent points out

“We live in nuclear family units, often living large distances away from our extended family and friends, and our growing reliance on social technology rather than face to face interaction is thought to be making us feel more isolated.”

The fact that it is so easy to text your friend who lives upstairs rather than going to see her, I feel, really has altered the way we interact. In my log I would message the group chat whilst sat in my room alone, asking about peoples day rather than meeting up and actually socialising face to face.

An article in the guardian, ‘Social Networking: Failure to connect’ talks about how Facebook especially is making people lonely and even how the amount of calls to NSPCC regarding loneliness from 2005-2010 had nearly tripled.

What’s worse is that mobiles have made this even easier meaning we can isolate ourselves even when we are surrounded by others. The video below is something I recently watched after having read an article relating to ‘societies loneliness’. The article itself mentioned how

“Last weekend, I was watching television with a few friends, browsing the week’s most popular YouTube videos, when a piece in the comedy section called “I Forgot My Phone” caught my eye. As I was about to click play, however, a friend warned, “Oh, don’t watch that. I saw it yesterday, and it’s really sad.”

and it really is sad, take a look at the video and let me know your thoughts about technology isolating society.


So as this is my final media log blog, to conclude, I feel this assignment has shown me just how hard it is to log your daily media use. Because I tell you truthfully, it is extremely hard, especially doing it accurately! I have also learnt that I use and consume a lot more media than I originally thought but mainly for uses that gratify certain needs rather than just pointlessly using media.

However, it has also opened my eyes and shown me that my media use is somewhat a tad excessive as well as isolating me, whether that is by escaping from the world via music or ‘socialising’ alone.

Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to study someone else’s log and so I have not been able to compare how my media usage compares to others but if I were to complete this three day log again I feel it would be interesting to measure the differences between my own media usage as well as others my age on different university courses as well as those not at university and also identify if there would be a difference in media logs in relation to different age groups.

I also feel that if I were to do this again it would be interesting to log three days of media usage in different contexts. For example, rather than logging three consecutive days, choosing the days I log so that I could compare my media usage between a day I am at university, a day I am free and a day when I am with others.

So the three day log and blog is complete. I hope you enjoyed following my trail of thoughts, because I am sure there will be many more to follow as time progresses!

The Internet- Global information or not?

The Internet and what we actually see when searching on Google is all based on algorithms. Set up to try and tailor our searches to what we will want to find, what we will want to look at and what we will want to learn. The problem with that though, is will we ever learn anything new?

In a TED talk, Eli Pariser talks about how these algorithms are creating ‘filter bubbles’ for users. This means that we will only ever see certain things, things that Google and Facebook think what we want to see, things that are ‘tailored’ to us based on what we normally look at. Yet, all of the other information circling around in the internet, which may in fact be quite interesting to us, or teach us something new, we will never see.

During this talk Eli mentions how two people could Google the exact same thing, at the exact same time, yet both could come out with completely different results. And here I was thinking I was just really bad at researching.

The main problem with this, is that no-one has any idea. Apart from those pop-up adverts about car engines after searching for one car part for your dad for fathers day, there’s no signs that your feeds or Google results are any different from anyone else’s. It’s invisible and there is no way of seeing or even knowing what information is available outside your bubble. The death of a squirrel down your road could be more relevant to children dying in Africa to you, so you get the squirrel on your feed and become completely oblivious to anything else happening in and across the world. This can’t be right.

The internet was the mirror showing us the whole world. Now, it’s smashed and the image reflecting back is only part of the whole picture. The internet is supposed to teach us, open our minds. Not obscure our thoughts and suppress our knowledge.

So, take a look at the mentioned conference in the video below, I found it extremely interesting and it’s opened my eyes, so lets open everyone else’s.

3 days and 15 pages later

As I have already mentioned in my blog ‘If you cannot define media how do you log it?’ I intended to complete a three day log of my media usage. Well, 3 days and 15 pages later, I have finally completed it! And to anyone who thinks media logging is easy (including myself before starting)… you’re wrong, so very wrong.

To conduct my log I used a notes app on my phone for each of the three days. Although this may cause some controversy regarding logging media via new media, I stand by my decision to use this app. Not only did it allow me to quickly and efficiently log each of my media usages but I had my phone to hand pretty much all of the time so I could accurately log all of the data right there and then.

‘In everyday life, media are always there and, indeed, everywhere, as they have become part of the very fabric of culture and society… They provide possibilities for interconnectivity around the globe, they compress time and space… Besides structuring the daily agenda, media have become constant mobile companions’. (Kaun and Schwarzenegger [online] 2014)

The fact that media are everywhere and so close to you, means that sometimes, you can’t even see it and this was one of my main challenges when logging. Having to think about and notice every time I pay attention to an advert and noting down every time I look through social media is hard but logging every time I send or read a Facebook message is a completely different story.

And I tell you now, apparently I send a lot messages. During the first day out of the 17.4 hours I logged (this includes no media usage time), 32mins and 10seconds of those hours where spent messaging and it didn’t stop there. This was quite surprising for me as I didn’t realise I used Facebook Messenger and also my mobile so much. As Kaun and Schwarzenegger say ‘media have become constant mobile companions’ (2014) and for me although I hate to admit it, this is completely true.

It’s not just messaging that I use my mobile for either. Checking the time, looking through multiple social media’s, finding out song information via Shazam, checking both my university and personal email and waking myself up in the morning are all other personal uses of my phone. My phone has become a constant companion and  this log really  has shined a light on how much I actually use it.

Even though it seems I am constantly talking to people, I am also quite lonely with my media use as most of the media I use and consume, I use and consume alone it seems. Only twice during three days did I choose to consume media with someone else. Just twice.

One of these times was whilst watching TV. For an 1 hour 23 minutes I watched two different shows with a few friends upstairs. This, was the only time I watched TV over the three days. This really surprised me as well. I thought I watched much more television than that. However, when I actually stop and think about it, I don’t really consume a lot of TV alone, if any, I always seem to be with someone. Coming to University has also altered my TV consumption. For example, when back at home, me and my sister watch The Vampire Diaries and The 100, every week together. I also watch Once upon a Time via Netflix, linked up to my TV with my boyfriend. Now at university, I can’t really do this any more, so it kind of explains why I watch so little now.

I also consume a lot of music on my own. A lot more than I thought. During the 3 days I consumed 1,185 minutes of music including listening to my own personal downloaded music or to CDs or the radio. That’s 19 hours and 45 minutes over only three days!

16 hours and 7 minutes of that was listening to the radio. I never knew I was such a avid listener of Radio 1. Mainly, I feel I didn’t realise I listen to so much radio is because I use it as a background noise when I am in my bedroom alone either doing work or procrastinating. Therefore I feel it doesn’t feel as long because I am doing other things rather than just listening to the radio.

The rest of the 19 hours 45 mins (which totalled 3 hours and 38 minutes) were taken up by listening to my headphones and ipod. I enjoy listening to my music on journeys so assumed that I did listen to a lot of music this way. What  didn’t realise though is the fact that listening to my headphones stops me taking in as much of the world around me. On the first day I forgot my headphones so ended up walking to and from university without them. On these journeys I took notice to the Deadpool advert I logged as well as ‘people watching’ throughout. However on the second and third day when I did have my headphones I did none of this. Which really is quite scary to think about.

The finale question is though, does this three day log reflect my typical media usage? Well no. Unfortunately, during the first day my phone broke and has been ever since, meaning I had no signal and could only use the internet if I was connected to wifi. This therefore altered my log as I could not send or receive texts or make phone calls which then meant I relied on Facebook Messenger using it a lot more than I normally would. It also meant that I couldn’t use online media when I didn’t have wifi. So those 15 pages… probably could have been 30.

Do you think your media usage would surprise you? Because mine certainly haMedia Log

Human life or mobile life?

Mobile phones. We use them constantly, every second of every day. To talk to people via text, messenger, whatsapp. To read emails, take photos and even to wake you up in the morning.

According to a United Nations telecom agency, there are almost as many mobile phone subscriptions in the world as people. In 2012 there were nearly seven billion people on earth, seven billion! Out of those seven billion people, I wonder how many could live without their phone for even just a day.

Do you think you could live without yours?

I mean what’s it like to live without a mobile. Thinking during a seminar about how much I actually use my mobile, I feel it would actually be quite hard.

Not only do I use it throughout the day as a constant means of conversation via text and messenger to my friends, family and group chats, but I use it for an alarm, a calendar, a calculator, for notes and even a way out of awkward situations by scrolling through social feeds.

It’s not just me though, or at least I hope it isn’t. The generation nowadays, apparently live on their mobiles and I suppose I kind of do, I most definitely rely on it more than I should and maybe I should start trying not to depend on it so much, it would probably do me some good.

Do you depend on your phone or do you think you could live without it? Comment below and let me know