The End- For now.

In my six weeks of blogging, I feel as though I have still only just scratched the surface. I am still discovering new tools and buttons that help me do a whole lot more. For example, I just clicked the ‘distraction free writing’ button which gives you a complete blank canvas to just write and write and write- pretty cool I must say. But in relation to personal growth, I can really appreciate how blogging has given¬†me a platform to express and explore my own ideas in an open forum where I am able to learn and develop ideas from other blogs also. Writing down my own thoughts and opinions about specific theories after lectures was also a great way for me to fully understand and explore the various aspects of the content at hand. It gave me different avenues to explore and allowed me to put the content into a personal context.

Although really enjoying the blogging experience as a whole, I must admit at points it did begin to become a little laborious, however through sticking with it, I was able to overcome this so called ‘writers block’ and power through. Some of the stand out topics for me has defiantly got to be during the first week or so where I explored the Media effects model in relation to violence. Being my first blog post, I was nervous to hit the publish button but once it was done, a rush of adrenaline engulfed me, and it was great to see the feedback it earned. Another standout topic for me was the following week discussion the science of semiotics as well as controversial advertising. Having always thought about electing to study the Marketing major associated with the degree, this topic was of high interest to me. I enjoyed exploring the different controversial methods of advertising used to businesses and the responses and reactions gained. When it came to Media Ownership, I must admit I found this a difficult topic to blog about, but was happy once I had completed it.

Each week I found myself being able to amalgamate the different concepts learnt in my blog posts, allowing for a better explanation. Over all, I’ve had a really positive blogging experience and I am sure this will definitely not be my last post. Until next time, Alex Tomasiello.




Controversial For Some

It is commonly wrongfully believed, that the¬†mediated¬†public sphere deals with the more feminine issues, opposed to the masculine serious issues. When hearing this in the lecture, I found it interesting as I personally don’t believe the views in mediated public spheres such as television shows only raise feminine issues.
An example of this is shown through the mediated public sphere of  UK television series Skins.

Being a drama targeted at teenagers, the show obviously does deal with a lot of these feminine issues such as love, friendship, inclusion and rejection, as well as teen relationships. However, I personally believe that the show takes it a step further and delves into real life issues which resonate with real life teenagers. The show doesn’t¬†sugarcoat anything and explores the dark side of drug use, sexual identity, and death in a confronting realistic manner. Personally I believe these to be somewhat of masculine issues as many of these issues have very real and very extreme consequences.

The show has been adapted and re-imaged for the American audience, however, this only lasted one season and was the subject to major controversy over the issues raised. The Parent Television Council even suggested that Skins may well be the most dangerous show for children that we have ever seen However, it is widely regarded that the US version of the show was much more toned down than that of the UK, which interestingly received very little complaints. I found it interesting that the show did receive many complaints as I personally believe it is a very true to life depiction of issues faced upon teenagers in society. The issues raised about the show being too intense or inappropriate, coming from the American audience seemed to be a little invalid as I personally received the show as more of a reflection on society, rather than a unrealistic make up.

The different reactions between the UK and US market make me wonder whether or not¬†the local media makes us more or less ‘numb’ to these issues, so when an individual is exposed they react in different ways.¬†



Carlisle, E¬†2o13¬†‘Questions and Answers, or More Confusion?¬†Q&A and the Problematic Practice of Public Sphere Theory’, in¬†The Australian Sociological Association, Melbourne, November 25-28 2013, 12 April 2014, <;.

Giarrusso, T W, A Parents Guide to MTV Skins: How Bad Is It?, Momania, Webblog post, 27 January 2011, 12 April 2014, <;.

Adler, T Year 2011, UK Skins Not as Controversial As In US, Deadline London, 12 April 2014, <;.

Who Owns The Media?

When thinking about media ownership, I can’t help but again think about how it relates to the Science of Semiotics. ¬†That is, what we see in a text, whether it be online, tangible on paper, or even through radio waves, is largely shaped by the way in which the specific text has been constructed or put together. And it is through this ability to manipulate the views of the public, that question¬†of ‘Why does it matter who controls the media?’ becomes such an intrinsic aspect of society.

In today’s Australian society it is easy to count ¬†the key players in this media game, the main contributing faces include Kerry Stokes,¬†Bruce Gordon, Gina Rinehart, and of course, Rupert Murdoch including the Murdoch Dynasty.

The Australian communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has commented on the media ownership and suggests that the internet has caused a change in the public sphere;

“My view is that the arrival of the internet and the additional diversity and avenues for competition that it brings really says we should have less regulation and more freedom,”

With this statement, I believe Turnbull is making a realistic approach to media ownership in the 21st century. I strongly agree with him, believing that people have the right to more freedom and information.  The different this makes is that people are able to gain a more holistic view of events and current affairs, allowing them to make a more educated opinion, especially when it comes to political decisions, where individuals should be able to make form their own opinions from media which covers both sides of the debate adequately.


Controversial or Clever?

When looking at advertisement, most people, myself included, would generally skim over the image or text and not pay much attention at all, unless of course the image sparks something inside of us convincing our brains to absorb the message, forcing us to remember the name of whatever brand or product is being advertised.

It is through this Science of Semiotics¬†that it is commonly believed that every image represents something, and is also composed together by the¬†signifier, and signified. The signifier is the form the text, whether it be a word or image, and the signified is the meaning behind the text. In simplest terms, is the signifier could be the word ‘tree’ or even an image of a tree. From this, we create a mental picture which becomes the signified. It is important to remember that depending on the context of the responder, the connotations produced from the text vary, proving that the signified is different due to cultural context.

Whilst researching for this blog post, I came across an array of ‘controversial’ advertisements, all of which seemed to be from some of the largest companies in the world including Burger King, Calvin Klein, Tom Ford, Playstation and many others. It was the Playstation billboard poster, advertising the newest white PSP that caught my eye, and here is why.

AdvertisementThrough this billboard image, the signifier being text that reads “Playstation Portable White is coming” with the image of two women, one dressed in white holding on to the other woman dressed in complete black, as well as the image of the small console on the bottom left. As the signified is subjective based upon the responders context, to me, this advertisement connotes signs of ‘White supremacy’ as the white figure is shown to be the dominant subject, also working along with the “White is coming” slogan. Having been released in the Netherlands in 2006 this advertisement created controversy due to its racial subject nature due to the cultural context and created heated debate.

After researching this ad, and the product, having even taken me to the Playstation website, it suddenly clicked when I realised I was the result of the advertising campaign. It is through these ‘controversial’ advertisement that sparks debate and media awareness of the product and brand. It is interesting to note that the brands who have indulged in these types of advertising campaigns are household names. Does this then mean these types of advertisements, although create backlash for the brand, overall create more public awareness? Because lets face it, I have never decided against buying a product due to the controversial nature in which it has been advertised. Usually, it would be through the hype about the product, create through the controversial advertisement, that would ignite my craving for the product.

What about you? Do you think controversial advertisements are a clever way of advertising for the product, or is the business simply digging a hole for themselves?


Stewart, K 2006, ‘Sony ad provokes race accusation’,¬†The Guardian, 5th July, viewed 22nd March, <;.

Block, R 2006, Sony pulls ‘PSP White is coming’ ads in Netherlands,¬†engadget, Weblog post, 12th July, 22nd March 2014, <;.

Nordquist R, 2007, Semiotics,, 22nd March 2014, <;. 


It feels like we only go backwards – The backwards nature of the effects model.

For all my life, I have heard the same old theories about how watching too much television will make you fat, and, too much use of your mobile phone, or Facebook, or twitter, or youtube, or whatever the newest form of social networking is, will cause you to become an anti-social dare I say self absorbed hermit that will struggle to communicate within the real world. Along with these negative views, we are also exposed to the somewhat positive views of how film and television have allowed us to become a more cultured, empathetic generation aware of social change. From these views, I find it difficult to comprehend how the media can be blamed for some of the most brutal and violent acts against humanity.

From a personal stance, having played these violent video games associated with some of the most famous horrific crimes to date, I have never once believed myself to be a violent person, having never participated in any form of violent acts. As well as this, I have no shame in admitting that I have never been reduced to tears during a film, or television series. However, this could just mean I’m just an unemotional blob incapable of love. All jokes aside, from these personal experiences I find it difficult to understand that it is commonly believed that an individual can be so driven to violent acts from the music, television, movies, or games that they play.

After taking a read of the media article Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’¬†by David Gauntlett, a number of ideas resonated with me making me wonder if we have been taking the backwards approach to solving the problem. believes that the ‘media effects’ approach of “starting with the media and then trying to lasso connections from there on to social beings” is the backwards approach, and that we should be looking at the individuals, rather than society- the whole. An example of these lasso-ed connections are seen though the Columbine school massacre tragedy of 1999 where the fingers were pointed at musician Marilyn Manson, as the two gunmen were dressed thought to resemble Manson.

Similarly to this, the media was again blamed for the murder of James Bulger in 1993, when in fact, the killers upbringing in broken families, with marital breakdowns, neglect and bullying, could be seen as motivation for the crime.

“after over sixty years of a considerable amount of research effort, direct effects of media upon behaviour have not been clearly identified, then we should conclude that they are simply not their to be found.” – David Gauntlett

I am not saying that the media isn’t to blame, as a large portion of who we are can be sculpted from the varying ‘tools’ of the media. But when it comes to these tragic crimes, personally, I believe that it comes down to the individuals own psychological environment, rather than the society as a whole, somewhat paralleling with the age old¬†Nature Vs. Nurture¬†debate.


Learning the Ropes

Hey there,

Being as the title states, it’s clear that I am only just beginning in this crazy¬†blogging¬†online world! Studying media and communications at the University of Wollongong has required me to produce and maintain a blog, a medium which will allow me to express my thoughts, opinions, ideas, all on this one nifty little space!

Will I enjoy writing this blog? Not sure. Will I continue this blog after I’ve successfully completed the subject? Who knows! As for now, all I can say is that I am extremely excited to begin this project and can’t wait to see where it will go!

Having just started my first year at university, being a ‘freshie’ straight from high school, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Surprisingly it has so far been one of the most exciting, crazy, and somewhat hilarious beginning to my tertiary educational life, something that I would’ve never imagined. Never would I think that part of my class participation would be to log onto twitter and ‘tweet’ throughout the week. Along with these new beginnings presented in both my media and communications degree, as well as my economics and finance degree (I know, like chalk and cheese!) this year is set to be full of change, personal growth, and strangely, an excited feeling towards unknown! Where will these degrees even take me? Who knows, but thats half the fun right?

Watch this space!