Other Issues in Media and Society

The first blog I visited was Tereza R.’s blog about media and food. It discusses the issue of media serving us fast food as being good for our health and a time-saver. It is true that it saves time, which is why personally I occasionally visit these institutions like McDonald’s or KFC, but when one reads the impacts on health, it is pretty scary. And Tereza talks about the media being connected with it. Therefore, it is very much recommended to visit her blog.

Second blog I visited was Katia’s blog about Information war between Russia and the west, mainly the USA. This issue is not that explored in Europe, in my opinion, based on the fact that I was not well-informed about it, before reading Katia’s blog. Therefore, if you wish to explore the issue of biased media of both sides – east & west – you should definitely give her blog a read.

Third blog I visited was Carla’s blog. Carla talks about the issue of media and violence. How should the media portray violence in their inputs? Should it be censored or not? In my opinion there is no right or wrong answer on this question, because it is so controversial and the opinions are polarized. Visit this blog to read more about the issue!

Fourth blog I visited was Akzhan’s blog. She writes about Information Warfare in the Media. Akzhan makes many great arguments about this issue, mainly the fact that media are biased and do not deliver 100% accurate and truthful information, as they serve their own purposes. I absolutely recommend reading her blog, if you wish to explore this issue further.

Last, but not least. The fifth blog I visited was Tereza D.’s blog. She explores the issue of media and eating disorders which I think is an immensely underrated issue. It is so important that we finally say that the media is fooling us with images of perfection and we put a sstop to it. It is not perfect to be malnurished and it is definitely not pretty or healthy. Personally I was a victim of this promotion and I was obsessed with my food-income, luckily I grew out of it and now I eat whatever I like. Visit Tereza’s blog to read more about it!

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog.

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Other Issues in Media and Society

How I See It

The media feed us with a lot of advertisement daily. However one of the biggest product placements belong to alcohol companies. Alcohol companies are huge businesses that target mainly teenagers, because they are a lucrative market for them, as the businesses hope to make them heavy drinkers for the future to guarantee themselves good customers. The worst thing about this is that there are no or very few restrictions from the government to stop this or at least to limit this. Teenagers are an important target audience for alcohol companies, as they are big consumers of the media and therefore are easily approached as lucrative market and so, there is a correlation between teenage drinking and the portrayal of it in the media.

Such correlation is clearly visible in sales of alcohol. According to Mosher and Johnsson (2005) companies which produce flavored alcoholic beverages (FABs) tend to target underage and young people for their purposes of selling alcohol to them and to make them “’new drinkers’ or ‘entry-level drinker’” (p. 332) so that they make sure they have new future customers. It is mainly because of the sweet taste of their products mixed with alcoholic beverages why FABs are so appealing to youth. They make the packaging appealing for young people. Moreover, they promote these products towards underage youth. Mosher and Johnsson (2005) argue that these companies use unmeasured media like product placement to promote their products. In 2000 alcohol businesses spent $196.3 million on promotion in measured media, sales of their products then increased by 52%. They also argue that on unmeasured media was spent around two to three times more than on measured media and conclude that there was a total of about $600 million spent on promotion of FABs towards young people. This clearly shows that marketers knowingly advertise their products for young people and young people fall for it and they find it appealing and therefore then buy these products.

According to Atkinson, Elliott, Bellis and Sumnall (2011) media portray alcohol as a normal, pro-social activity. This results in a normalization of alcohol and leads to positive attitudes towards alcohol. Atkinson et al. (2011) also argue that alcohol is being glamourized in order to attract more consumers. In their report young people were asked simple questions about media and depiction of alcohol and they often said that negative effects were often omitted. The media showed alcoholism and extreme consequences, but it lacked things like hangovers, etc. Therefore, young people might think that there are no other consequences and therefore that if they do not take it to the extreme, nothing bad will happen to them. The media should try to portray alcohol in a more educational way and show what will happen, if one drinks too often and/or too early in life.

To conclude, it is clear that advertisers do not feel guilty about advertising to young people in order to get new customers. The media supports them and omit a real portrayal of alcohol in order to show what consequences drinking might have. Young people then feel like drinking alcohol is normal and they drink alcohol, even if they are underage.

 

Sources:

Atkinson, A., Elliott, G., Bellis, M., & Sumnall, H. (2011). Young people, alcohol and the media. Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.ias.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Underage%20drinking%20docs/young-people-alcohol-mediaEBOOK.pdf

Mosher, J. F., & Johnsson, D. (2005). Flavored alcoholic beverages: An international marketing campaign that targets youth.Journal of Public Health Policy, 26(3), 326-42. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/233381242?accountid=17238

How I See It

For Further Research

For further research the first web I recommend is this: http://www.narconon.org/drug-information/alcohol-in-the-media.html it is generally about the portrayal of alcohol in the media and the “filthy” ways advertisers use to invisibly advertise their products. This site is a good prevention for alcoholism and also tells you how to help alcoholics. Another page for further research is: http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/deadly-persuasion-7-myths-alcohol-advertisers-want-you-believe it is a blog about media literacy, so it depicts all kinds of media-related issues. However this post in particular talks about myths and ways how advertisers make you believe that drinking is magical and risk-free. It also writes about why advertisers tend to target young people in their ads, since youth is a lucrative for alcohol companies. The last page I recommend is: http://sites.mediaplanet.com/binge-drinking-among-women/alcohol-advertisers-reach-teenagers-through-social-media this post depicts drinking on social media that is again targeted on young people, as they are the biggest users of social media. Also, the webpage talks about how to drink responsibly and what risks come with drinking alcohol. I recommend this page, because it is a good read on why excessive drinking is dangerous and how to prevent such danger.

beer-drinking-babies-300x2251Picture from: http://babble.com

For Further Research

What Experts Say II

According to Sumnall et al. (2011) the portrayal of alcohol in the media differs to some extent. In the magazines the alcohol use is biased based on gender. Female drinkers are supposedly not feminine and men, on the other hand, who drink are portrayed as masculine. On TV the drinking of alcohol is normalized. Unlike the consequences, TV tends to show alcohol as a normal part of the day. According to Sumnall et al. (2011) the media tend to oversell the, when shown at all, consequences of alcohol, therefore young people feel like it is a way too extreme case and therefore do not pay attention to it at all. The research showed that young people which were exposed to alcohol consumption by celebrities felt like alcohol was associated with glamour and wealth and it was also, to some, appealing. In conclusion, the media shows way too much alcohol use and this is wrong, especially on TV, since young people are huge consumers of TV.

Read the research here.

kim-kardashian-champagne-glass-butt-paper-magazinePicture from: http://zap2it.com/2014/11/kim-kardashian-champagne-glass-butt-balance-australian-morning-show-rove-mcmanus/

What Experts Say II

What Experts Say I

My claim that promotion of alcohol in the media correlates with teenage drinking is proven by Megan A. Moreno (2011), who is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Health Services and an Associate Professor at Pediatrics, is interested in social media and adolescent health. She states: “Another influence on adolescent drinking is the media: movies and television that depict alcohol use, music that includes lyrics about alcohol use, and advertisements for different brands of alcohol.” According to Moreno (2011) in the year 2009 $1.7 billion were invested by the alcohol corporations in media advertising. Brands such as Smirnoff and Budweiser were reported by teenagers as being their favorite alcohol brands and these brands in particular invest the highest amounts of money into their advertising. Another thing Moreno writes about is that teenagers who were not alcohol consumers said they felt a positive attitude towards alcohol after watching ads about alcohol. Therefore government should think about regulations of these advertisements, in order to reduce alcoholism in teenagers.

Read the article from Megan A. Moreno here.

Check out an example of a Smirnoff ad here:

What Experts Say I

Current Events II

In 2012 Daily Mail reported: “Now teenager is KILLED after shootout at Project X inspired party“. Project X is a movie about a huge party a teenager is throwing at his parents’ house. The kid that throws the party is an outsider who wants to become the kid everyone knows and wants to hang out with, therefore they really put a lot of effort into the party, to make sure that a lot of people come and that it will be, as they say “a game changer”. Watch the trailer here:

Many teenagers took this movie as an inspiration, rather than a warning to what might happen if things get out of hand during a party. The same happened in Houston some amount of time after the release of the movie. Someone threw a party and invited over 1.000 people and because of using the social media like Twitter and Facebook it was possible to invite that many people. However things got out of control and the police had to shut down the party, because people started shooting at each other. Unfortunately a victim was found outside of the house with gunshot wounds. The victim was only between 17 and 19 years old! It is therefore clear that alcohol does not belong into hands of teenagers, because things get out of hand. The media should stop promoting alcoholic beverages in their platforms, like radio, TV, etc. because it clearly leads to unnecessary tragedies. Teenagers are vulnerable and therefore think they need to be cool and since movies like Project X tell them that throwing parties is all about having fun, they should really think about the consequence which ARE also portrayed in the movie. However, teenagers do not interpret movies like this in the sense of a warning, they take it as a challenge or something they should copy in order to be cool and make friends.

Click here for the Dailymail report.

Current Events II

Current Events I

Teenage drinking is not only a problem because of the health risks that come with it. It is also a problem, because teenagers are not mature and responsible enough to drink alcohol. And they have a right not to be, yet. However, therefore there are regulations on teenage drinking which is forbidden. Still, some teenagers choose to ignore this and drink even though, they are not allowed to. This is because the media constantly subconsciously show them that it is cool to drink, it is okay. But what the media does not show are the effects of it. What teenagers do not realize is what effect drinking has on the human body. The reflexes and motor activity and attention gets worse and therefore it is forbidden to drink and drive. The Washington Post reports on 9th of November 2015: “Ex-quarterback indicted in fatal wreck after teen party“. The crash happened, because of the reckless idea of a teenager to get behind the wheel after drinking. According to The Washington Post the police reports that the driver was a 19 year old boy, who attended an underage party where alcohol was involved. It is clear that teens might think drinking is cool, but death is not cool. This is what the media should rather show than the promotion of teenage drinking, which only helps the alcohol corporations that make loads of money on teenagers who buy their products. The media intentionally target teenagers and promote alcohol to them, as they are a big part of their consumers, which you can read more about here:

To conclude, this story just goes to show that teenagers do not realize what the real risks of consuming alcohol are. It is not just about health, but also about the reckless choices people make, when under the influence. Teenagers should first think about that before they will reference a cool movie or song that is only about drinking.

Click here for The Washington Post report.

Current Events I