Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Responses to Readings from the Village Voice and Huffington Post

This week you read two different but related pieces, both from the popular media, and both about activism.  The piece from the Village Voice was a collection of thoughts from various artists, community leaders, and the like, who are expressing their thoughts, their ideas and their fears around specific topics/people/issues in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election.  The much shorter piece from the Huffington Post is included to give you some examples of work completed by artists and on display at a show that has since closed.  Each of the visual pieces was an activist response to a social issue.

My hope is that, by reading these, you will be inspired to think about what issues/topics/ideas stir your passions, and to begin to connect those passions to action -- and specifically to media-related action because that is what you'll be doing for your final projects.

In your blogged responses to these readings this week, I'd like you to share your reactions to any or all of the short pieces from the Village Voice, for example, and I'd also like you to talk about where you stand with regard to using one's creative voice and talents in a political or activist way.  Not everyone feels the same way about art and activism.  Not everyone feels that there are problems for us to act on in this political moment.  I don't assume anything.  But I do want to hear what you have to say in reaction.  And mostly I want to hear about what you are interested in pursuing as an activist using your media knowledge and skills.  For this week's conversation I'd like you to focus on the readings as the jumping-off point.

Please post one or more things this week, and contribute to the conversation.  Remember, your proposals are due in class next week.  I can't wait to hear them!

Prof. Fry

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Readings to respond to this week, Feb 20-24

Hey all;

Here are easy links to the two articles listed in the syllbus that I want you to read and respond to on this blog this week.  I'll send a prompt to get you started tomorrow evening:

here they are:



Let's start looking at some Media Activism Projects

Hi everyone;

I want to start a listing of instances of media activism, activism projects and other related items that exist already in NYC and beyond.  Please add to this list and check them out.  They might give you some great ideas for your own projects.

1)  The Media Education Lab's Mind Over Media: Analyzing Propaganda
check it out and contribute to it!

2)  The LAMP's Media Breaker online media remix tool for talking back to media:
check it out, try it out!

What else can you find?  What makes it activist?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Final Project Proposal requirements

TVRA 7710 – Media Studies Seminar, Spring, 2017
Project Proposal Guide Sheet

On Monday, February 27, 2017, you will submit during class a complete proposal for your final activist media project.  Below is a list of the elements that need to be included in that proposal.  I’m not asking for any particular written or formatted proposal style, but it should include these elements:
A.     A brief statement (roughly 200 words) of what the project is.  In this statement please include a concise description of your project, what issue, problem or idea it addresses, and who will benefit from this work.

B.     A rationale for the project.  Here you will expand in writing why you consider this project important to undertake, why the medium or media you are choosing (or use of media you are going to undertake within the project) is appropriate for the topic or issue you are addressing.  The rationale ought to be thorough and well thought-out.  There is no word or page goal to be met here, but please be thorough and clear.

C.     Project Plan: A description of how you plan to undertake the project.  The plan may change as you begin, but for now you should offer in this section a vision of how you would like to carry out the activist project (from inception to completion and beyond).

D.    A list of the materials and equipment you will need to carry out the project.

E.     A brief statement of how you will be able to assess the outcome of your project.  How will you know that the project has met some or all of its activist goals? 

The Proposals will likely become a changing document as you work on your project, but to have a strong, well-thought-out proposal is to begin with a clear framework that will get your started on a path.  The path might change, and that’s okay.  You’ll have a chance to reflect on that, and explain that, at the end of the term when you share the final project.

Be creative.  Be bold!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Malcolm Gladwell versus Clay Shirky

I think for this week we have enough to do to read and absorb Gladwell and Shirky.  Let's save Sarah Joseph's article for next time.

So, Malcolm Gladwell and Clay Shirky are both fairly well-known public intellectuals.  Gladwell has written about a lot of different social phenomena in a sort of popular journalism style.  He's an author first and foremost.  Shirky, on the other hand, is a professor and scholar who writes mostly about new media.  They both have completely different writing styles, as no doubt you noticed as you read their respective articles for this week.   You also noticed that they have different things to say about the political power or potential of social media.

Gladwell argues that social media like Facebook (which he focuses on mostly) is a form of weak-tie communication that is good for effecting political change in low-risk political situations, but is not good when the political stakes are high.  He argues that Facebook (as an example of social media) is a network instead of a hierarchy; therefore, real strategic political action is not possible because it cannot motivate people to make a real sacrifice.  Gladwell wrote this in 2010.

Shirky, whose piece was published in 2011, makes a different kind of argument about the political potential of social media. He talks about an environmental view of Internet freedom, and the need to think about connecting social media use to long-term goals like creating a strong public sphere instead of meeting short-term political goals such as in a crisis.  He defines something called "the conservative dilemma," which identifies a kind of paradox that political leaders find themselves in when the Internet and social media are widely available.

They both gave me a lot to think about regarding our current political moment in the U.S., even though Shirky was using mostly non-U.S. examples of how social media have been used during big political changes, Gladwell was using U.S. examples from decades earlier, and both of these pieces were written and published at least 6 years ago.

I'd like you all to respond to their ideas and comments about the power and political potential of social media, but within the context of right now, post-2016 U.S. Presidential election and all of the issues and social media use surrounding that.  Do you think Gladwell's argument is accurate today, i.e., do you think social media such as Facebook or Twitter today are forms of weak-tie communication, thus incapable of inciting motivation for real political change?  Do you agree with Shirky's argument that social media are best equipped for strengthening civil society in the long term, but not for resolving immediate political crises?

When you respond, please use specific examples.  I'd like to see a discussion develop, and I look forward to seeing what you got out of these readings, and in what ways they make sense (or don't make sense) to you today.

I'll begin reading through your responses tomorrow evening around 6 pm -- and will be responding in kind.

Links to the readings for this week just in case.....

Hi all;

Here are the links to the readings for this week, just to make sure you get them and read them:




I'll have prompt questions for you later today.  I meant to have these for you yesterday but didn't quite get there.  I'm anxious to have a conversation about this with you.

Prof KFry

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hey TVRA 7710!

This is our blog spot.   Within the next two days I'll be posting some questions for you to respond to regarding the readings for next week.  I'll also be posting some requirements of your project proposals.

In the meantime, please use this blog for beginning the list of media activism that you become aware of.    I'll see what I can contribute to maybe start us off.

So, happy Thursday, and you'll hear from me again soon!