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Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Connected Media

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009


What do they do?

Connected Media is a New Zealand based charitable trust whose mission is to promote sustainability through media.

How can I get involved?

In partnership with Enviroschools and the Global Education Centre, Connected Media run an annual Sustainability Film Challenge called ‘The Outlook for Someday’. Anyone up to the age of 20 can make a film on sustainability of any length up to 5 minutes, of any genre they like – drama, documentary, animation, music video, advertisement, video blog, reality tv. The prizes are awesome – laptops, cameras, even a short course at a film school. Deadlines for films is usually late September. Check out the website here:


How much is too much?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

By William Zhang

Have you ever turned on the six o’clock news, only to tune out a few minutes later, thinking “oh, not again… another gloomy story about disaster and destruction”? If so, you’ve experienced compassion fatigue.

hurricane-tvCompassion fatigue occurs when we get tired of seeing images of suffering in the news and TV, images like the ‘millions left homeless after their homes were destroyed’ or the ‘child who now has to walk for two hours a day just to get clean drinking water’. Heartbreaking stuff isn’t it? Yet, as we see more and more of these images on TV and the news, they start to lose their impact on us.

Many people, and some aid agencies, are worried that the world may experience mass compassion fatigue following the cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in China. Before we look into the effects of this, it’s important to ask, why exactly does it occur? Compassion overdose?

As humans, we can only tolerate so many stories about pain and suffering before we experience compassion fatigue and tune out. We aren’t capable of constantly feeling pity, sadness or empathy. Compassion fatigue is like our body’s defence mechanism to cope with a ‘compassion overload’.

We develop a resistance to these stories of suffering. We get so used to seeing them we actually DON’T see them anymore. We become less likely to react or respond to them so that we don’t become too emotionally drained.

Its too much!!un-helicopter
As these stories lose their impact on us, we become less likely to respond by giving or donating to charities and relief funds. The amount of humanitarian relief organisations like the Red Cross, Tear Fund or Oxfam, are able to provide declines as a result. Humanitarian relief is needed because many countries don’t have enough resources themselves to respond to emergencies and strife.

A striking example of world-wide compassion fatigue occurred in 2004 and 2005. Within the period of a year, the world was forced to deal with the Boxing Day tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Pakistan; three huge natural disasters which led to a compassion overload. As a result, “we saw a tremendous outpouring of support for the tsunami and less support for the emergencies which followed”. (Eileen Burke, Save the Children)

What (or who) is to blame?
Media coverage of poverty, suffering or natural disasters hugely influences society. They direct our attention to important events, conflicts and disasters, but they can also swamp us with information and images to the point where we switch off.

darfurmarthaObviously, a lack of media coverage isn’t too good. The media has been criticised for not devoting enough attention to the genocide in Darfur for example, so people knew very little about the situation or the amount of aid and relief needed. According to a Tyndall Report (which monitors the news in the US), in 2004 the Darfur genocide received only 18 minutes of coverage on ABC News, 5 minutes on NBC and 3 minutes on CBS. That’s the total for the entire year! In contrast, Martha Stewart (celebrity author, editor and homemaker) received 130 minutes of news coverage.

However, too much coverage can also be equally as devastating. Media saturation of images and stories about suffering and destruction is a major cause of compassion fatigue.

It’s a delicate balance
The gap between too little and too much media coverage is a very thin line, with ignorance on one side and compassion fatigue on the other. Either way, if the fine balance between the two isn’t kept, people could suffer as a result.

Control of this delicate balance is in the hands of the world’s media corporations. Pretty important job huh? Should we actually trust a few media companies for this crucial role though? Sure, they have a role to play, but in reality, we should be taking the initiative ourselves. So, the next time you see that story on TV about the relief efforts in Myanmar, don’t switch off. Just think, you might have the choice not to see images of such tragedies, but for the people involved, these images reflect their everyday reality.

Check out the Take Action section for other things you can do to fight compassion fatigue.


4 quick steps to combat compassion fatigue:

  • For a breath of fresh air and a new perspective on things, check out one of many alternative news sources like the ones mentioned in the Learn More section.
  • Chat with your friends about an important issue that’s been on the news and find out what they think.
  • Get involved! Schools often have Amnesty International groups, or you could volunteer to help collect donations for a relief fund. You’ll become informed about the issue, help out in supporting it, and have fun at the same time.
  • If you do want to donate money, do your research and choose an organisation whose work you really want to support.


Go to the Council for International Development for details on how you can help in disasters and emergencies
Check out these alternative news sources.,,,

    This article was originally published in the Global Focus pages of Tearaway Magazine.

    Terrorism… Are we beng played?

    Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

    Geoff Cooper
    war is terrorism poster on wall
    Have you ever stopped to think what this word actually means? And who it can be applied to?

    The word itself is thrown around so often these days; it gives us the feeling that terrorism is on some kind of rise. You could even be forgiven for thinking that pre-September 11, terrorism hardly existed the way it is being talked about now.

    Who’s a terrorist?
    Using the word “terrorism” does two things in the mind of a listener. Firstly, it scares you. It has become common to hear crass phrases like “the terrorists are coming” (What better example than War of the Worlds’?). Secondly, it denotes who the bad guys are and who the good guys are. A notion that quite simply doesn’t exist in the world as we know it. Terrorism is a word that describes the threat of individuals towards a predominating system (notice how it is only ever used by representatives of that system?).

    Who’s a Freedom Fighter?
    Consider for a moment that people whom Western countries are told to consider as terrorists, are known as “freedom fighters” in their own communities. Why do they have to fight for this freedom?’ would seem to be a question worth considering, if you want to understand this political weapon. Why do terrorists seem to come from the poorest countries in the world? Why do they feel that creating disruption in the west will further their cause?
    soldier in mask
    Good guys and bad guys?
    At this stage, it is tempting to think that they are simply trying to disrupt and steal the freedom we have because they don’t have it. This is a temptation we must resist, because it fails to acknowledge the connection that all countries have with one another. If we believe that globalisation is in action (as well we should) then it is impossible to believe that there is no relationship between political strategies in the west and apparent terrorism in the Middle East. Let me make the point here that this is no justification for the acts of terror that we see on a day to day basis in countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, or the one-off attacks in the States, Bali etc. It is merely to make the point that there are no good guys and bad guys, just different clashing political outlooks, of which both have a part to play.

    21st century propaganda
    Being a New Zealander and a member of the western world, it is portrayed to me that Arabs are bad and we are good. We must search for a more balanced view on these oversimplified cultural models. For instance, how often are we told that Al Jazeerah TV is a tool of terrorism? I would challenge you to look into Al Jazeerah TV, what its views are and why it holds them. Same goes with the newly launched Chavez TV in Venezuela. Both stations were denounced by US authorities as causing disruption to the global community. Lets now make mention of FOX TV. Why are we never told about the dangers that this poses to the global community?
    boys throwing stones at tanks
    The word terrorism makes a mockery of complex political systems that are at work. It is a nationalistic tool, used to rally the support of a country, to square off against cultures that they don’t understand without asking the questions that really need to be asked.



    • Watch “Outfoxed” DVD (Available to borrow from the GEC library).
    • Get news from a different perspective from Al Jazeera

    Photos courtesy of Creative Commons.

    Rupert Murdoch

    Monday, March 6th, 2006

    By Thomas Harrisrupert headshot

    It is fair to say that Australian born Rupert Murdoch made his own fortune. Murdoch returned to Australia in 1952 after the death of his father Keith, who was said to have been Australia’s most influential newspaper executive of his time. After death duties and tax, his father’s legacy, his businesses and considerable fortune was reduced to one newspaper The Adelaide News.

    Over the next 20 years, Murdoch expanded his businesses hugely, buying more Australian newspapers such as The Daily Mirror, The Australian and The Daily Telegraph, and record label, Festival Records.

    Murdoch was fast to earn a competitive and ruthless name for himself while creating his “mother-company” News Corporation. He was also a vocal and active objector to the Australian law that you could not own both a newspaper and a television station in the same city.

    Murdoch expanded into Britain in the mid 60’s, becoming a major media force with the The Times and The Sun.

    In 1973 he bought his first American newspaper, The San Antonio News. Soon afterwards, he founded the National Star, three years later he bought the New York Post.

    During the 1980’s, he created Sky Television, a British satellite network.

    He became a citizen of the United States in 1985 which satisfied the legal requirement, that one must be a U S citizen to own an American TV station, he then created the Fox Network.

    By 1991, News Corp. had amassed huge debts, mostly from Murdoch’s British Sky Television; this forced him to sell many of his American magazine interests. Eventually he forced a merger between Sky TV and opposing network British Satellite Broadcasting, on his own terms he created BSkyB, which has dominated the British pay-TV market ever since.

    Murdoch has been married three times. He married first in 1956, then 1967, and lastly in 1999, with children resulting from each marriage. It is interesting to note that, while he claims to despise nepotism (perhaps because of the fact that he inherited comparatively little from his father) he has shamelessly promoted three of his four children to run his companies.

    Clearly, Rupert Murdoch is a very gifted entrepreneur, making huge amounts out of very little. Starting with a local newspaper, The Adelaide News’, and expanding over 60 years into the massive media empire he controls today (total value $30b US).

    News Corp’s. holdings now include a ‘lion’s share’ of the Australian newspaper industry and about one-third of Britian’s. His personal fortune amounts to US$5.5b, making him the 54th richest man in the world. He holds a 28.5% stake in his company, News Corporation.

    So what does he have to do with poverty?

    “His many detractors would say Murdoch’s success has resulted in the dumbing-down of the media, with quality entertainment and journalism replaced by mindless vulgarity”. (Walker:BBC)

    While at first this may not seem connected to poverty, it gains a certain logic when you link it up with the fact that newspapers, TV and other media sources are where most people find out about world events.

    “The 1990s have witnessed the decline of the press as a public forum. This can be attributed largely to the relentless corporate takeover of the Indian press and the concentration of ownership in a few hands. Around seven major companies account for the bulk of circulation in the powerful English language press… ‘The Times’ is clear and unequivocal in its priorities. Beauty contests make the front page. Farmers’ suicides don’t. Sometimes reality forces changes, but this is the exception, not the rule,” says Indian author and journalist P. Sainath.

    He continues to say that the idea traces back to Rupert Murdoch and the capitalist’s overwhelming desire for profit — “A business like any other, not a public forum”, says Sainath. This style’ is being pursued by many other large newspapers in India.

    How can people find out about problems in other countries (e.g. poverty) to provide their support or aid, let alone rationalise how important the issue on a larger scale, when such articles are placed next to sport or fashion etc.

    When you consider Murdoch’s personal fortune of $5.5b, one realises just how much power this man has compared to a whole country. East Timor, for example, one of the world’s poorest countries, has an annual estimated GDP of $370m (CIA Fact-book, 2004).

    The annual worldwide cost of giving children a basic education is around $10 billion. Murdoch, a single man, could supply half of that money himself. If he is (as he says) earnestly in support of meritocracy (the idea that one gets to where they are through their own achievements), then surely he would be happy to supply others with their own chance to succeed. If not, and he feels no such responsibility, then it becomes clear why he doesn’t feel guilty about publishing newspapers with a motto that is money-making, instead of using the power at his disposal to diminish poverty and other world issues, making the world a better place.


    Wikipedia: Murdoch

    P, Sainath: ‘None So Blind as Those Who Will Not See’

    Walker, A: ‘Rupert Murdoch: Bigger Than Kane’

    Identity and advertising

    Thursday, January 26th, 2006

    Eva Lawrence

    Identity — it’s so hot right now! No, but really, it’s huge, especially in the teen years as you develop a sense of who you are, what is important and where you belong.

    But what is identity?
    Identity is what makes you the fabulous unique person that you are! It’s the combination of lots of influences like: cultural and national identity, friends and whanau, values and religion, discrimination and stereotyping; gender and sexual preference and the influences of society, the media and advertising.

    Most of these influences make sense, but one that we don’t often think about is how the media and advertising influence global youth culture’.

    Branded Identity

    While situations for young people around the world are very different, there is one dominant youth culture. That culture is created, presented and sold to us every day. It’s the one you see in ads, music clips and in heaps of images.

    This is a culture presented by marketers. It is inaccurate, it is often negative and it keeps changing. You need to keep your finger on the pulse, keep doing new things and buying new things to keep up with it.

    Ponder these stats:
    US teens spend US$100B a year, and their parents spend another US$50B a year on them.

    The average young person in Aotearoa New Zealand sees 20,000 TV ads a year!

    That means youth markets are worth big bucks and companies need to be able to see to you. But that’s hard! You are so damn cool and what is cool changes all the time.

    An effective technique used by advertisers is to combine products with image so you are not just buying a drink or phone, you’re buying an identity.
    “Boost understands that brands are an integral part of today’s youth identity. Boost customers purchase more than pay-as-you-go mobile phones and services; they buy an experience. Everything we do is purposeful, meaningful and consistent with the aspirations of young people.” — from Boost Mobile site:
    Brands are mentioned by artists in heaps of songs — to show wealth or poverty or just to express the things that are part of people’s everyday reality or desires.
    According to US company American Brandstand there has been a rise in the mention of not only clothing labels but cars, soft drinks and weapons.
    The winner of most brand-dropping in 2004 was Kayne West, who mentioned 19 brands in his 4 singles of 2004. He beat 2003 winner 50 CENT.
    Record labels often charge to have brands appear in Music Clips but up til now artists haven’t been paid when they mention a product in the lyrics of their songs. That has changed though.
    In 2005, McDonalds offered to pay MCs between US$1-$5 each time a song which mentions Big Macs is on the radio!

    Seagrams Gin got put into 5 raps in 2004 the same way. This included Petey Pablo’s “Freek-a-leek” with the lyrics: “Now I got to give a shout out to Seagram’s Gin/Cause I’m drinkin’ it and they payin’ me for it.”

    So, what impact does it have?
    Scary but true: brands and advertising help to define us. While it’s not the only thing that affects us, it does affect us all.

    Advertising is based on the desire to be something you are not and something that is probably not real. These false images can cause:

    • Low self esteem
    • Eating disorders
    • Extreme stereotypes
    • Confused images of people in different countries
    • Spending cash you just don’t have!
    • Being defined by someone else!

    What Can I do?
    We have a responsibility to look critically and redefine ourselves.
    You don’t have to reject everything that is cool and buy everything from the op-shop to fight against this influence.

    You can start by being aware: of what is being pushed and of your own consumption. See the image of youth that is being packaged and sold to you and choose for yourself how you define your identity: individually, as a community and globally…


    Media Watch
    Merchants of Cool (online doco)

    No Logo — Naomi Klein
    Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers — Alissa Quart

    This article was originally published in Jet Magazine’s World View column and is published here with their permission.

    Branded Identity

    Thursday, March 3rd, 2005

    Jenah Shaw

    Hoodies or miniskirts, ugg boots or sport shoes — whatever your wardrobe looks like, there’s no denying that we carry a sense of self-expression in our clothes, something to give the world a sense of “us”.

    If you’re looking for that defining look you can find it in any number of retail clothes shops, and in the world of branded clothing.

    Brands and labels are no longer just a name to accompany a purchase, but are an integral part of identity. Which ones you associate with (or don’t for the non-conformists out there), which are the trendiest as of five minutes ago, and the kind of status they represent — it’s all part of the image.

    It can seem somewhat fake to just ride the trends — to buy pre-ripped clothes for that vintage look, or to dress punk with no understanding of the culture or music — but in a generation dominated by image and appearance, imitating what is seen in magazines and on TV has become second nature.

    With so much importance placed on looks and style, it’s hardly surprising corporations and their market researchers have latched onto the connection between image and identity. And are milking it for all it’s worth.

    “Yeah, but is it me’?”
    Today’s marketers and retailers are selling ideas, subcultures and attitudes as much as they are selling products. The reality is: these subcultures, ideas and attitudes are invented in boardrooms. And once created, we’ll happily pay huge prices to become part of them.

    We aren’t so naive that we don’t know this, but we still buy into it. Why? It might be to flaunt how much we can afford to pay for a single item of clothing, but much more likely is the comfort of associating with a brand, and what’s essentially a pre-packaged identity.

    They’re identities which have been created by marketers, who, through various advertising techniques, try to capture that identity people will want to buy into.

    Anti-cool is the new cool
    Slogans and brand identities capture feelings and attitudes, wants and desires — the sort of thing (they hope) will be desirable among their target audiences. The fact is, in many cases, the target audience in the crosshairs is us — that 12-19 year old consumer group with all the disposable cash.
    Glassons has “Wear It Your Way”, suggesting control is with the buyer, who wears it “their way”, thus creating their own identity and gaining self-empowerment — with a little help from their friends at the local Glassons outlet that is (who, by the by, are happily making the profit).

    Nike has “Just Do It”, encouraging ideas of independence and spontaneity, and Adidas’s “All Day I Dream about Sport” is all about passion and athleticism.

    Then there’s the suburban princess of darkness, Emily Strange, whose character has spawned a line of clothing and merchandise ranging from t-shirts to Thin Lizzy dolls. She is “anti-cool” her website claims, “a subculture of one, and a follower of no-one but herself. She is the anti-hero for the Do It Yourself movement!”

    Yeah, and you can be a part of it by buying one of a million or so mass-produced t-shirts. Every slogan and brand identity — with the help of advertising and merchandising — creates a look and attitude that we’re encouraged to be part of.

    Take your Mum’s advice — be yourself.
    So much more is being sold than just a product, and brands of increasing expense (although not necessarily quality) come with increasing exclusiveness and reputation.

    It’s easy to see how brands and labels can become status symbols for whoever wears them, indications of wealth and style — something, society tells us, we all want. So they’re attractive, these carefully planned and strategised illusions, but real identity is much, much more.

    Whatever feeling is created, the important thing to remember is brands are in it for the money.
    Besides, style is not what you wear, but how you wear it.



    • Go op shopping. Ah, the thrill of the find and the pride of a bargain. Because a lot of op shop items have been sitting in grandpa’s wardrobe for forty years, much of it precedes the move toward cheap and nasty labour. And more often than not, it’s one of a kind. Cheap too!
    • Make your own stuff. Who knows, it could be the beginning of a career in fashion design. Not only do you have complete control over what goes on your t-shirts/pants/hoodies, you know exactly who was exploited in the making. And I hear knitting is hip again.
    • Go Black Spot. This is a new anti-brand movement started by US magazine and anti-The Man force Adbusters. Their mission appears to be to take down Converse founder Phil Knight, and their first action is their Black Spot sneakers. They look just like Converse sneakers, but instead of the Converse symbol have a black spot representing their rejection of brands. SEE:
    • Seek out fresh talent. If the sewing machine is a bit intimidating for ya, try hunting down an up and coming designer. There are heaps of new boutique fashion stores opening up in the cities with young designers begging to see their work on the frames of hip young things like yerselves. The clothing is generally made in bedrooms and home workshops for the love of it.

    This article was written as part of Global Focus a collaborative project of Tearaway Magazine and the Global Education Centre. It was first published in Tearaway magazine and is reprinted here with their permission

    Illustrator; Rebecca ter Borg

    Consumption and the Environment

    Thursday, April 29th, 2004

    Kate Thompson

    We don’t need to shop every weekend for the new it’ product — but we do. What drives us to consume?

    Consume: v. destroy, use up, eat or drink; waste away; be exhausted.

    From the beginning of time people have used the environment for materials, energy and food.
    But now we’ve become a consumer society, buying without need and over-consuming without a purpose.

    And in this age of disposables and throwaways, consumer nations like ours have the biggest impact on the environment. An average person in a developed country produces 20 times more pollutants than an average person from a poorer country.

    Consumers are not born — they’re made. We are constantly bombarded with advertising specifically designed to influence our choices.

    Most advertisers use techniques learnt from psychology, sociology and economics to shape their markets. We’re no longer being informed about products, we’re being persuaded to buy them.

    Mass media generation

    Young people who grow up watching TV are most likely to be affected by advertising.

    In Britain, the average eight-year old is more likely to recognise a Pokemon character than a real plant or animal.

    The average American ten-year old knows 300-400 brands!

    New Zealand is one of the most advertising-saturated countries in the world. Just look at how fixated we are with brands and labels. We know which ones are a must, and which ones we wouldn’t be caught dead in.

    Advertising creates wants and then transforms them into needs!


    SHOP WISELY: Support companies that are enviro-friendly, buy goods with the least amount of packaging and always ask yourself, Do I really need it? What makes me want to buy it?’ Make your own stuff!

    RAISE AWARENESS: Talk to your mates or whanau about environmental issues. Organise an awareness-raising event or campaign — maybe a concert, public talk or demonstration.

    JOIN OTHERS: Volunteer with organisations like Greenpeace, or join a global network of concerned and active young people

    GO FOR IT! Learn more about the issues, and realise that you can do plenty. Every little bit helps!

    This article was written as part of the Global Focus a collaborative project of Tearaway Magazine and the Global Education Centre. It was first published in Tearaway magazine and is reprinted here with their permission

    Illustrator: Gavin Mouldey