‘The_Media Started Following You’

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Within the current media landscape, it is no longer a question of “who owns the media?” but rather “who owns you?”. The legacy media sphere in Australia is one of the most highly concentrated in the world; meaning large portions of the media are owned and controlled by single media entities e.g. Newscorp, owned by the Murdoch conglomerate, who also has shares in pay-tv giant Foxtel

Under current Australian law:

  1. Individual media stakeholders are restricted from broadcasting to more than 75% of the total population, and;
  2. Are unable to hold a dominating interest in more than two facets of media – television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, or newspaper publishing, within the same region.

These laws attempt to reduce the ability for the ideology of a singular media entity to greatly influence that of their audience. However, as the legacy media sphere begins to converge with that of the ever-expanding digital landscape, these laws seemingly fade into the background.

“But why are legacy media groups merging into the digital landscape?”
Because that is where the audience is.

Social media platforms, as well as purely online versions of legacy media outlets, have become the best location to reach a more extensive and receptive audience. Similarly, these platforms have created a stage for the modern ‘produser‘ to present their own content to the same audience. In a way, we are now living in a world where the content of a large media outlet such as The New York Times, and that of ‘just another student blogger’, hold equal value in the eyes of the ‘audience’ – if anyone can actually still be referred to as a mere ‘audience member’.

However, now that this content has moved to a predominantly digital location, focus regarding ownership moves to the key players of the online media industry. It is their ability to coerce you to provide personal information that in the long run, benefits no one but the media platform itself.
Do your friends care that you, as a teenage girl, ‘like Bondi Sands: Ultra Dark‘? – No, but the people who produce the product sure do.
It is this information that media platforms can then sell to third-parties in order to further enhance their marketing campaigns or the products themselves. This raises the concern of trust; who can you really trust within this digital world, and is:

“Thanks for signing up to ________________”

equivalent to

The_Media started following you”





New York, New York, New View

The understanding that one’s creation has the ability to be interpreted in a plethora of ways ultimately allows for the employment of intended ambiguity during the development of the final product.

The New Yorker, a popular weekly magazineOriginal_New_Yorker_cover.png, has displayed an extensive understanding of semiotics from their very inception in 1925. The outlet’s first issue featured an illustration of a monocled, Regency dandy (known as Eustace Tilley, and reused on subsequent anniversary issues) observing a butterfly. The magazine utilised these contrasting figures providing the opportunity for differing responses to arise; “Is the man with the monocle being offered as an image of the New Yorker reader, a cultivated observer of life’s small beauties, or is he being ridiculed as a foppish anachronism?” (Louis Menand).

Christopher Niemann, has been creating noticeable artistic work since 1998, accumulating over 20 cover credits for the esteemed New Yorker. Niemann’s cover artwork for the March 16, 2016 ‘Innovation’ issue titled ‘On the Go’, is a contemporary example of semiotics in play.


Through a combination of denoting signifiers, the covers work collectively to convey a general idea, however, they are open to interpretation – this was something that Niemann was very aware of. The front cover features the representation of a female as she enters a subway carriage, as well as other passengers already seated. The reverse image shows the same scenario, however from a differing angle. By using both covers, as well as a virtual reality component – an homage to the concept of innovation, Niemann conveys a variety of ideas.

“The closing [subway] doors are a flat surface that separates two worlds, and so are the covers of a magazine – separating before you read it and after you read it, what you know and don’t know, how your views change” (Christopher Niemann).
This complex idea is one that the average responder may dismiss, however, those with a more advanced framework of knowledge will be aware of Niemann’s intentions.

Personally, I can’t help but refer said intentions to Marshall McLuhan’s “The Medium is the Message“, through which, the content of the covers – the subway, woman, etc., although appertaining to New York itself, as well as the idea of transport based innovation, mean little. It is more so the medium that presents these ideas – the magazine and VR world, that conveys Niemann’s intentions.

After all, isn’t the attained knowledge between the start and end of a magazine an innovation in itself?


Alone Together and Radically Transparent


With the continuous expansion of the media as an entity in both the physical ‘legacy-media’ space as well as online, the exposure of mass audiences to a variety of platforms has become something of a norm. In this sense, it could be said that the audience itself is broadening with the media. Increased accessibility through smart technologies, in combination with an increased dependence on such has seen interaction with the media beginning earlier, as well as extending further, into an individual’s life. It is this concept that has caused widespread debate within society – ‘Is the dominance of technology limiting actual communication, thus making us less social?’.

With the arrival of email and mobile phones in the 1970’s, a decline in the overall dependence on physical communication styles began. Professor Philip Zimbardo, of the Stanford Shyness Survey, believed that the introduction of such technologies had begun to loosen the “social glue” of the regular contact humans exhibited. He argued that the society was heading towards “a new ice age” of non-communication, where the ability to go an entire day without physically communicating with others would be done at ease. In his context – a time where social networks and smartphones were something of sci-fi films, he had a point.

Flash forward 40 years, social media is in full swing (Facebook opens in 2004, as does MySpace), and the foundation for smartphone innovation – the iPhone, makes its entry into the technological marketplace (2007).  Communication has moved from purely a physical platform into the digital sphere. Sociologist Sherry Turkle describes the state of society as ‘alone together‘, referring to the idea that although people appear ‘alone’ in a physical sense they are in fact ‘together’ online.

Still, many argue that increased dependency on technologically based communication platforms encourages social-isolation amongst individuals. In one sense, this is true, however these platforms also provide those who struggle to communicate within a physical setting the opportunity to interact with a broader audience. On the other hand, many insist that it is not the time spent on technology that is making us less social, but rather the instances where you are taken away from the present – in one way damaging physical communication, as opposed to completely replacing it.

So maybe it isn’t the increased dependence on online communication platforms that is making us less social, but rather, our inability to remain present.

Let me know what you think; comment below.


“…I’m not very good with introductions…”

foster [ˈfɒstə]
1  encourage the development of (something, especially something desirable).
2  develop (a feeling or idea) in oneself. 

Hey there,
My name is Nathan Foster Vella and I am a student at the University of Wollongong. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Journalism, and a Bachelor of Communication and Media – majoring in Marketing Communication and Advertising.

At current (because they’re constantly changing), my interests are surrounding;
  • Music; some highlights at the moment include Maggie Rogers, Middle Kids, and MUNA… Also after seeing Tame Impala at Laneway recently ‘Currents’ is back on my ‘Recently Played’.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
  • Foreign Affairs; the news of the world is so dynamic, and 2017 has been no exception so far. Immigration policy, particularly that of Australia definitely trumps (I had to) anything going on in the USA as of late.
  • Speaking of Immigration policy, the musings of Eva Orner have completely astounded me, definitely worth checking out…
  • and finally Film; ‘Shutter Island’, ‘Inception’, ‘Unbroken’, and more recently ‘Moonlight’, and ‘La La Land’ are nothing short of cinematic masterpieces – on a side note, generally anything featuring Emma Stone is?


This blog will act as a base for all my writing across both degrees, and across numerous subjects. Through this, I will be able to foster both my Journalism portfolio, and share stories with the expansive audience that such a platform offers.

Thanks for dropping by, if you’d like to get in touch feel free to drop me an email or comment,