The Voice for the Voiceless

Animals and humans have an interesting and complex relationship with one another. It is no surprise that contemporary global media have been increasingly covering animals and their issues. Especially in recent times with a heightened prevalence of movements such as veganism, no animal testing and animal-free entertainment to name a few.


The media has become an extremely important and influential tool for activists and others to bring these types of issues to light and shape opinions of those who watch. This is why it is important to analyse the ways that individuals and companies are portraying animals in the media.

There is a lots of data out there to show that animals are smart, emotional and moral beings and that they care about what happens to them. The way that we refer to animals in the media inform the thoughts and perceptions of those people watching and therefore influences their actions. As the voice for animals, we have an ethical responsibility to advocate their rights through media platforms.

Animals are often represented in the media as having human qualities, characteristics and abilities which is known as the term anthropomorphism. Kaplan (2014) explains that it is the expression of human feelings and motivation and in itself is neither good or bad but it all depends on how it is used by humans to refer to actions and motivation of non-human animals.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 8.27.16 pm

It is used commonly in cartoons and movies where animals will be able to walk and talk and wear clothing but it is also a technique that is used by activist and in documentaries where animals are humanised through the narrative stricture and the social behaviours or ideas that they explore. (Evans, 2016)

When using anthropomorphism in this context, the ridiculousness of the situation is lessened. Rather than specifically assigning human characteristics to the animals, we draw parallels and similarities between ourselves and the animals and we are able to identify and empathise with them and as a result of this we are more likely to do what we can to help or save them.

Anthropomorphizing brings us out of our selfish prioritization of human needs. It helps us connect to the world of species around us. Human compassion for dolphins or pandas makes these animals the poster children of the environmental movement. To a great extent, our love for, and joy in, the animals around us fuels our efforts to protect them. (Tackett, 2013)

March of the Penguins is a great example of the use of anthropomorphism in a documentary. The documentary uses the narration to describe the penguin’s actions in a human sense of the form. Cubitt (2013) says that this allows the audience to make personal connections to the animals.

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 8.00.28 pm


“In this shot, a family of penguins is focused on and the audience is told about the strong bound and love that they all share for each other. Humans will interpret this scene has two penguins that are in love cuddling. However, it could very well be for some survival purpose or alternative motive outside of love.” (Cubitt, 2013) This technique is allows the penguins to become more relatable and gives them the ability to show relationships and emotions.

It is possible, however, for anthropomorphism to be damaging for animal welfare. It is important to avoid the ‘bambification‘ of animals as caused a skewed view of what really occurs in nature. According to deWaal, (2001) “bambification” is the entertainment industries business stripping away animal’s bad characteristics while endowing them with “baby appeal” using cartoon characters with “enlarged eyes and rounded infantile features” that provoke human care giving endearment and protectiveness.(Kesling, 2011)  This is used commonly in children’s movies and TV shows and should be viewed with a critical eye and it creates unrealistic views about the needs of animals.


Ultimately, the success of anthropomorphism is determined by the reaction of those who view it. When done in a way in a proper and sensitive way, the outcome will more than likely be positive. Documentaries that address animal welfare can benefit from the anthropomorphism of animals when the outcome triggers an emotional and empathic response.  The humanisation on animals must move less from the ‘cute’ aspect in children’s entertainment and move towards a tool that promotes positive change and inspires action among those who watch.



Evans, N 2016, ‘Looking at Animals’, Lecture Week 4, BCM310: Emerging Issues in Media and Communication, UOW, 23/03/16

Cubitt, Sean, Salma Monani, and Stephen Rust. “Penguins are good to think with: wildlife films, the imaginary shaping of nature, and environmental politics.” Ecocinema Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge, 2013. 109-123. Print.

Kaplan, M 2014, “Ethology, Ecology And Critical Anthropomorphism”,, viewed March 30 2015, <;

Kesling, J 2011, “Anthropomorphism, Double-Edged Sword”, Responsible Dog – It’s all about dogs, viewed March 30 2016, <;

Moss, L 2014, ‘Can humanising animals help us save them?’, Mother Nature Network, July 16, blog post, viewed March 30 2016,

Tackett, C 2013, “How Anthropomorphism Can Be A Tool For Animal Conservation”, TreeHugger, viewed March 30 2016, <;









Selfiesteem: How it really effects you

If theres one big thing that have come out of the rise of social media, it would have to be the good old ‘selfie’. From the skydiving selfie to the Oscar selfie and all of those on your newsfeed, you can see them just about anywhere. But is there more to the selfie than just the cute outfit you had on today?

The opinion of other people have had an affect self esteem for years. It is a term coined as the “looking-glass self” where we develop a sense of ourself based on the perceptions of those whom we interact with. The media has increased the realms of this.

“Now that we can interact with hundreds — no, thousands — of people simultaneously, we’ve strengthened the impact that others have on our self-value.” (Erikson, 2013)

You use selfies to judge other people (be honest guys) and you post pictures that show other people how great you were looking. The media has created this whole new level of interaction with someone else where you can actually put your opinion on their selfie and say to that person “yeah, you look really great”, or not at all.

10, 30, 60, 1,000 or  1,000,000. These are all numbers that many people use to value themselves and this has a really damaging effect on people’s self-esteem and has created a big issue in particularly young people.

“Our identity is partly shaped by recognition often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.” (Taylor, 1994)

We all take selfies. Yes its, true. For me it’s always scary to put one up. Like… Is it worth the risk?  You could end up getting a handful of likes and end up feeling like crap for the rest of the day or you could get stacks of likes and comment and then by glowing all afternoon. It’s crazy isn’t it, that the fact that no one has liked my photo that I could end up feeling sad, ugly and even worthless.


The University of Salford in the UK did a study last year on social media’s effects on self-esteem and anxiety, and reported that 50% of their 298 participants said that their “use of social networks like Facebook and Twitter makes their lives worse”.The study also reported that participants also said that their self-esteem suffers when they compare their own accomplishments to those of their online friends. (Soltero, 2013)

This has created the debate ‘Is Instagram fake?‘ as people have started to fabricate their lives to seem more interesting than they actually are to get more likes and attention from their peers.  Co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory (Swyane, 2013) comments that”the types of actions users take and the kinds of information they are adding to their Facebook walls and profiles are a refection of their identities”. Creating an image of yourself that is ‘better’ than your self life, is a way that people try to gain more likes and boost their confidence. I investigated this in more depth last year where I investigated what was behind the typical Instagram image and the results of it showed that they are captured during the most exciting or ‘likeable’ moments. Has it really come so far that we have to stage our lives to look good to other people?


An important and highly publicised example of this is Essena O’Neil. If you don’t know who she is already, Essena is an Instagram famous Australian who decided to ditch social media for good as it completely destroyed her self-esteem. Announcing that her Instagram was a “contrived perfection made to get attention.”

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“I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it,” she wrote of her first-ever post on Instagram, a selfie that now has close to 2,500 likes. “It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation.” (Gajanan, 2015)

The important thing that came out of this was that it started a conversation…

Studies show is a strong connection between social media and a person’s self of self and many people feel the likes that a person gets on their photo is an indication of who they are as a person. It is important to step a way from media if this is the case and understand that you are amazing no matter what the numbers on the screen say.



Erickson, Christine. “The Social Psychology Of The Selfie”. Mashable. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <;

Gajanan, Mahita. “Young Women On Instagram And Self-Esteem: ‘I Absolutely Feel Insecure'”. the Guardian. N.p., 2015. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <;

Soltero, A. “The Relationship Between Social Media And Self-Worth”. The Social U. N.p., 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <;

Swayne, Matthew. “Esteem Issues Determine How People Put Their Best Facebook Forward | Penn State University”. N.p., 2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016, <;



Callahan, C. (2014). Creating or Capturing Reality? Historical Photographs of the Progressive Era. The Social Studies, 106(2), pp.57-71.

Hochman, N. and Manovich, L. (2013). Zooming into an Instagram City: Reading the local through social media. First Monday, 18(7).

Kentish, F. (2015). Photos reveal what’s going on outside the Instagram square and it’s all lies. [online] Metro. Available at: [Accessed 1 Nov. 2015].

Leach, N. (2015). Revealing how Instagrammers lie to create the perfect shot. [online] Mail Online. Available at: [Accessed 1 Nov. 2015].

Valenti, J. (2015). My ‘perfect’ Instagram life is a fun refuge from a messy reality. I like it that way | Jessica Valenti. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 1 Nov. 2015].

Hello… I’m still sitting here…

Phones are always with us. In our pocket, in our hand, on the table. We get a notification when someone is trying to contact us and we look down. But do we answer it? Is it an appropriate time?

When we are by ourselves, in our own private space, the limits are endless. We check our social media, emails, send out text messages if we need to and I even go for the occasional face time. We aren’t necessarily controlled by rules and regulations or social etiquettes and expectations. But as soon as we are in the company of other people and surroundings, there may be.

Phone use:
Phone use:

In my family home, we have an extremely strict rule. This is DO NOT under any circumstances look at your phone when at the dinner table. I never really thought much of this rule, I always thought it was normal and that every family had their “no-phone zone” dinner time. But as I grew older and went around to my friend’s houses, I noticed that many families do use their phones at the dinner table.

It’s interesting because growing up having this rule around using my phone, has taught me the value of having this quality time with the people you are with and ,I guess, the insensitivity of being on your mobile phone in an intimate situation.

Although this rule, is not formal or regulated in the public space, there is certain conversation around the topic.

Phone use in public:

Research reported by the Daily Mail Australia have found that “mobile phones can damage personal relationships merely by their presence even when not in use.”

Two studies found that a mobile phone that is visible during a conversation, people feel less positive towards the person they are with. ‘In both studies we found evidence mobiles can have negative effects on closeness, connection, and conversation quality,’ said lead researcher Andrew Przybylski.

There are loads of other scenarios where mobile phones are also deemed inappropriate. The Pew Research Centre has found that the rudest public places to use a mobile phone are at a church or worship centre, at the cinema and other quiet spaces, during a meeting, at a family dinner and at a restaurant.

What do you think about using phones in the presence of other people? Do you think it’s downright rude or socially acceptable in this modern day?
Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, read some really cringe-worthy moments of inappropriate phone use by clicking here.


You’re walking down the main street in the city, looking around for a nice cafe to have lunch at. You see a man wandering around and taking photos. Feeling quite uncomfortable, you try and stay of the shot. He turns around in front of you and takes a picture of the street crowds, this time you know you’re in the shot

Many people believe street photography is an art form and a way to document society but with this there are lurking concerns of privacy, consent and ethics. As a street photographer, people may confront you about photos that you have taken and even ask for them to be deleted, so should you? Technically, to photograph people in a public space is legal and many photographers may go ahead and use the photograph anyway. Is this ethical practice?

It is a topic that is highly debated. David Sutton provides a very coversation on the topic in his blog ‘Is Street Photography A Violation Of Privacy, Or Ethics?

“Ironically, today everything we do is becoming increasingly captured on digital surveillance- whether is be at the ATM, in a shop, or even at a set of traffic lights – and due to this public awareness is increasing as opinions and debates form around the topic of street photography.”

User UtahN8 on Street Photography in a Paranoid time  also comments on this idea. Arguing this it is not that artistry of street photography that society should be worried about, but surveillence that should concern us.

By walking out of our homes we essentially consent to be filmed and watched and photographed by any number of entities; at least a street photographer is making photos out of some interest in art or their fellow human being.

I thought I would test it out for myself and see how I felt about taking photos of people in a public space without asking them before.

I walked around the university campus and took photos of people engaging with a media screen (being either the uni’s televisions or their phones, iPads or laptops).  I felt like I had to give myself a defence, like pretending I wasn’t actually taking photos of them for fear of looking like a complete weirdo. In saying this, I definitely felt uncomfortable taking a photo of someone without asking for their permission first.


Joel Colberg in his blog, The Ethics of Street Photography, has created advice for street photographers in their ethics.

It’s the photographic community’s task to educate the public about what they’re doing. In other words, instead of posturing about what they can do, street photographers better tell the public how what they’re doing is not only mindful of the public’s concerns, but also constitutes an important and valuable artistic practice that enriches not just the practitioners’ but everybody else’s lives.

An Avid Movie Goer

I looooove movies! It’s honestly hard to think of a movie that I haven’t seen yet. Lucky for me, I have a just as eager movie companion (a.k.a my boyfriend) who comes to the movies with me around once every fortnight. Whenever I tell people how often I go to the movies they are always surprised. I get responses like “as if you can be bothered, why don’t you watch something at home”, “I haven’t been to them in months!” and “why would you waste your money when you can just stream it?”

To me, going to the movies is an experience. One in which you can escape from reality, learn something new and get you thinking about things that you might not have before. With an average Australian going to the movies 6.8 times a year, I quadripple tripple that (I’m not positive that’s a number but you get what I mean) So thanks BCM for giving me another reason to hit the movies!

We chose to go to the movie Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials on Friday for a 9pm session. Usually I choose an earlier session but I wanted to see this movie in VMAX- an ungraded movie cinema with bigger screen, bigger seats and waaaayyy more personal space. My boyfriend picked me up and we drove to the local cinema which is around 5 minutes from my house. We picked our seats before we left and cruised our way through the crowd to the candybar.

Once we had done this, we had easily passed through Hagerstrand’s principles of  ‘capability’, ‘coupling’ and ‘authority’ as we could easily get there, had the spare time and are old enough to buy our own tickets for the PG movie.

The seats that we chose in the movie theatre are the same as where we usually go. Because VMAX cinema’s have four rows of viewing rather than three, we sit on the isle (which is technically in the middle) which is perfect because it allows me to run out and pee from sculling my drink during the ads!

It’s also interesting to notice that although the cinema is quite full- presumably due to the time slot, newness of the movie and the upgraded cinema- each group of people are separate from one another. I know when I am booking online, or sitting down at a seat, there is one or two spots in between myself and everyone else. It seems in a public space, people are creating their own private space and bubble where they feel they are at the movies just with the people they have come with.

As I said before, the cinemas as a whole area at Miranda Fair has become extremely busier than they ever have before with their upgraded Event Cinema. In previous experiences at the old cinemas there and even at the cinemas at Cronulla, the audience would be around 10% of what there is at this movie.

New Vmax Cinemas:
New Vmax Cinemas:

Screen Australian (2014) state that 14–24 year olds recorded the highest number of visits in 2014 but the frequency of visits has been in steady decline for over a decade.

I think this gives quite a good insight into where the cinema will go in the future. With an increased accessibility to stream movies online, especially now with Netflix, and interest from the 14-24 year old age group, the future of cinema is unknown. I think the movie industry has responded and increased interest in cinema’s with new cinema screens all over the world, such as gold class and Vmax.

Don’t worry though Event Cinemas, you’ll still be getting ticket sales from me!

It’s Full Speed Ahead… for some lucky internet users

NBN (National Broadband Network) is starting to roll out in suburbs across Australia and is”set to change the way Australians access the internet, with lightning-fast fibre-optic, fixed wireless and satellite technology being made available over the next 10 years.” (iiNet, 2015)

iiNet (20115) state that “there are plans to connect more than 93 per cent of Australian homes to the NBN’s fibre-optic network, allowing access to download speeds of up to 100 megabits per second – that’s four times quicker than the fastest ADSL2+ broadband currently available.” Faster internet?! Heck yes.

It’s all fun and games until you realise that NBN may not even be coming to your area… just like me.

NBN roll-out guide
NBN roll-out guide

I live in a house with my mum (Jackie), dad (Terry) and sister (Bree). Little amount of people, big amount of internet. With 2 desktop computers, 3 laptops, 3 iPads, 4 phones and 2 Netflix subscriptions, you could say we are internet fiends. Which means we need a lot of internet, unlimited in fact… thanks dad!

Whenever dad is not at the TV, he is at the computer. He spend his time on his desktop, reading the news about his favourite soccer team, playing fantasy league and watching the surf cameras. When asking him about faster internet, he said “It would be good but I’m right near the wifi so I don’t really notice it that much.”

Mum is a new internet fan, once she bough her iPad  she was hooked. From being completely internet illiterate to streaming health seminars that go for literally hours. I know when the internet is slow because I can hear mum complaining that her video wont load, so it’s safe to say that she would be ecstatic to have fast internet speeds.

My sister and I are avid internet users. We use it for Netflix, uni, work, but mostly social media, which is a lot. When the internet is slow I could almost chuck my phone out the window.


Fast internet, I need you! NBN I need you!


iiNet 2015,’The National Broadband Network explained’,, viewed 23 August 2015, <;

Sharing is Caring: Ethnography

Ethnography? Huh?

Yeah… that’s exactly what I though when I first heard it too. So what is ethnography and why should we care? Well they are the questions that I’m answering today, and more specifically how collaborative ethnographic research can be used to analyse contemporary media used in the home.

As a media student, I hear a lot about and perform collaborative research often. For those of you who don’t know, collaborative research is the working and coming together with other people in order to achieve a shared result or outcome. Well as I now know, the term ‘ethnography’ plays a large role in this type of research.

Ethnography can be defined as the “study of social interactions, behaviours, and perceptions that occur within groups, teams, organisations, and communities.” The aim or goal of ethnography is to provide detailed insight into people’s views opinions and actions, as well as the culture, sights and sounds of the location that they live, through information from detailed observations and interviews (BMJ,2008)

Simplified definition:
Simplified definition:

To obtain the best results possible, researchers should aim to work collaboratively. Participating in collaborative ethnography helps bring in a qualitative or personal angle to research in order to compliment quantitative data and allows the audience to obtain more information to analyse results and findings.

But is ethnography a good form of research when discussing contemporary media used in the home? I will discuss this is relation to two articles that I analysed in class today.

Media use in homes:
Example Table in the Nile & Hillygus article
Example Table in the Nile & Hillygus article

Firstly, Nile & Hillygus (2005) conducted a research article ‘the impact of internet use on sociability: time- diary findings’. The article “explores the complex ways in which the Internet affects interpersonal communication and sociability.” (Nile & Hillygus, 2005) They use a ‘time-diary’ method to analyse whether internet usage in homes is in fact replacing face-to-face social time with others. This method of documenting was highly detailed, regularly recording participants online activity, but was quite impersonal and factual. It did not feature any ethnography research and was therefore lacking in the ‘why’ and ‘how’ elements of the article. An ethnographic approach to this article would allow audiences to understand their reasoning and cultural influences within the trends.

Example of OZTAM Table
Example of OZTAM Table

Secondly, OZTAM’s article, ‘The Australian Multiscreen report’  aims to update audiences of new household technologies and trends in major age groups who view media. This article is useful in demonstrating a broad view of contemporary media in the home through the use of quantitative data but leaves the audience asking questions and doesn’t add that personal approach. In this case, ethnographic research could add to the article by being able to question the age groups and their views behind the media devices that they use and why they use them, giving better insight into these trends.

Researchers can perform ethnographic research by conducting interviews both one-on-one and focus groups, conduct surveys or through observation.

From these articles, it can be seen that quantitative data provides accurate data but without the collaboration of ethnographic research fails to include a personal approach. It can be concluded that collaborative ethnographic research is an important component in research, as it considers the affects of cultural, social and lifestyle influences and how this can affect media usage in homes around Australia.


BMJ 2008, ‘Qualitative research methodologies: ethnography’,, viewed on 19 August 2015, <;

Nile, N.H., Hillygus, D.S. 2002, ‘The Impact of Internet Use on Sociability: Time-Diary Findings’,  IT&Society, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 01-20.

Regional TAM, OzTAM, Nielsen 2015, Australian Multi-Screen Report, OzTAM, viewed 19 August 2015,

Terry’s Childhood: Growing up among TV’s major developments.

He squints his eyes and taps his fingers- thinking hard about the days of television that seem so long ago. Back to a time where the best entertainment meant wrestling with your siblings and talking to your friends meant meeting up at the local park. It’s hard for me to truly understand and appreciate what things were like back then when today we are all immersed in such a technologically advanced world. Television these days are a household standard and people of all ages are entertained by the increased television culture. Growing up alongside the major developments in the history of television, dad helps to paint the picture for me.

The 60’s were the childhood years where my dad lived in a little white home in Sydney’s Gymea Bay. He spent his time with his parents; June and Les, and 2 brothers; Gary and Lee, as well as a dog, 2 ducks and chickens. In the living room, parallel to the front door, features a chunky black television that is held up four legs. The TV buzzes on with the black and white static screen. Using the round dial, you would have the choice between 4 different channels that would display a black and white picture.

1950's Television:
1950’s Television:

Dad recalls his fondest memories around the television, his brothers and himself would lay on the floor in-front of the lounge (since when is the floor comfier than the couch?) and watch cartoons like Bugs Bunny. He also watched shows like Get Smart and Gilligan’s Island but only when his parents didn’t watch TV. He says “My parents always chose what to watch- it was usually educational stuff but when they weren’t there we would always fight over what me and my brothers wanted to watch. We would always pick cartoons though”.

“Television was such a novelty, imagine not having your phone or your computer, you literally have nothing but the television for entertainment.” Dad says as he explains what it was like to have a TV when he was younger. “It was so popular and we wanted to watch it all the time but mum and dad were strict about it”. Trends in the times where dad watched television showed that he was only allowed to watch it at nighttime after dinner and definitely not while they ate dinner (doesn’t that suck!).  “Sunday night was always Disney. We would watch it for hours”, says dad about his favourite moments watching TV.

Most of dad’s childhood was seeing life through a black and white screen, until late teenage years when colour television began rolling out. “It was magic”, he says. “Thinking back now I can’t believe how long I was watching black and white television for. When it came out in colour, it was like everything came to life and the television was even more exciting”.

Back then, the importance that our culture placed on television was not nearly as high as it is now. Going from one household television to six, dad loves the new ease of entertainment although he does miss rolling around in the backyard and playing catch with his dog, Trixie.

Thanks dad, you’ve given me so much to think about! I guess I’ll go sit in front of the flat screen now and watch gossip girl.

For you 50’s babies, heres a blast from the past!

Heeeeeeeellllooo World! (well… bloggers)

Hello Blogosphere I’ve missed you!

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging lately but I’m back at it again! The next couple of months I’ll be talking a lot about media and media audiences.

For those of you who don’t know who I am yet…. my name is Tessa, or Tess. I’m 20 years old and currently studying a double degree of Journalism and Media and Communication Studies majoring in Marketing and Advertising. Phew that’s a mouthful. I’m in my second year and still have two and a half years to go (yeah i know what you’re  thinking…. ew).

I’m very involved in the media space and culture and have been for quite some years. It’s just one of those places where you can be everywhere at once and still be in your undies in bed at the same time. I’m constantly checking my phone. Even if there’s nothing new it’s just a habit. Like when you open the fridge and there’s nothing to eat and yet you keep opening the fridge. I check it when I wake up in the morning, before I go to sleep for an extended period of time and throughout the day I give it a heck every half hour or so to catch up on well… Life! So yeah, my life is definitely influence by media and the media space.

Through use of Facebook, Instagram, blogging, Snapchat, Tumblr and other forms of media I am regularly in a media ‘headspace’. Not only does social media play a dominant role in my life, so does television and more specifically TV shows and movies. I’m obsessed!!

I think media is extremely important in today’s society. It allows you to make connection to friends and family and with other people all over the world, is a quick and easy information source, allows you to express yourself and is a great form of entertainment!

The media has a broad effect in a lot of daily elements so stay tuned and join in the conversation!