Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Global Media Perspectives: Mogul Strategies to Consumer Ideology

The readings for this week comprise a number of related notions regarding the spread of media from an international perspective. Beginning at the top with the media giants and their ability to distribute across the global frontier and ending with ten person geo-ethnic "daily" publications, ours is a day and age of ubiquitous communication. But to what end? In an attempt to synthesize the material in my own mind, I will briefly reflect on the areas that caught my eye.

McChesney, in his article regarding a global media system, points out the "increasingly intertwined" nature of media and global capitalism and illustrates this in a number of ways. His continual references to Rupert Murdoch's strategies (and reputations) around the world show the complex nature of the media industry that Murdoch has indeed fostered. The evolution of the media industry from a "West to the Rest" philosophy is still in the development stages but it becomes clear with Murdoch's international strategies in India that the media giants recognize the importance of local interests. As opposed to the notion of "Americanization" it is instead a notion of commercialism that surrounds the media progression and the quote from the head of Norway's largest media firm puts things in perspective, "We want to position ourselves so if Kirch or Murdoch want to sell in Scandinavia, they'll come to us first."

Tunstall provides an interesting perspective using population as a metric to argue that the term "globalization" may not be the most apt term for the current international media situation. The four distinct and self-sufficient media regions of the world provide a framework for international media to access but, as Tunstall point out, the biggest competitor for national media is not international but rather a more local perspective- regional media. As 74% of the world's population falls into these four media regions, it becomes increasingly important for a media firm to establish strong distribution ties within each region in order to be successful. As McChesney had pointed out, Murdoch needed distribution ties in India in order to have an opportunity to be successful, and this notion carries as the rule in global media strategy today.

Turning the reflection to a much more street-level view, what about the notion of geo-ethnic storytelling and its role within a local ethnic community within the larger perspective of media in the area? My mind focuses on the importance of print media at this time for these daily geo-ethnic stories to have relevance. Although many of the stories are simply borrowed from internet sources, the print media remains an important avenue for an immigrant to stay connected with the homeland. It remains important, however, for a balance to exist between stories from home and stories from the neighborhood. There is value in feeling connected to home but it is equally important that the immigrants connect with the community around them.

All in all, the readings provide a plethora of viewpoints from which to contemplate global media structure both from the mindset of a mogul like Rupert Murdoch and on the level of a local citizen with a non-Western perspective. It remains to be seen how successful the implementation of some international media strategies will prove to be but it is certainly an issue to follow as we move further into the 21st century.


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  2. Nick, Your response this week highlights the importance of individual actors within the global media system. It is incredible to think that there is so much power in media moguls like Murdoch to completely revolutionize and imperialize the media industry. In another class, we have been discussing the importance of the goals, not just the goals of a company or organization, but also the goals of individuals within those companies or organizations, and more specifically individuals with power. There is no doubt Murdoch was determined to strategically create a global media system using the media networks internationally. The point I am trying to make is that an individual's goals can be massively important in the international media system and the international system as a whole, so they must not be ignored.

    Addressing your point about news from the homeland and news from the neighborhood in the diaspora, it would be interesting to poll people in the diaspora to see if they have access to both forms of media. Additionally, it would also be interesting to see if people in the diaspora believe that they are more one culture over the other, based on their connection to various forms of media from their homeland and from the neighborhood. I have friends from other countries who would say that they are more American now that they reside here, but my Dad (who was born and raised in Spain) would say he is more Spanish than he is American, even though he was an American News Journalist for Voice of America. Interesting, right? Clearly, I think so.