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Media Criticism & I

Hi everyone I want to first welcome you to my blog! It’s always difficult to introduce yourself to people that you don’t know for the first time. You don’t know if what you are saying is too little or too much. But anyway, my name is Allison Wachtel, but most people just call me Allie. I am from Marlboro, NJ, which is central Jersey. More specifically, I am approximately thirty minutes to the beach and an hour to New York City. I live with my mom, my dad, and my 16-year-old sister, Stephanie.

Alpha Xi Delta Sisters

Unfortunately, I think I am still in denial that I am a senior, but fortunately I am graduating this spring 2012. I am both excited and nervous to graduate because college as all of our parents told us “is the best four years of your life.”  And I would have to agree! I initially went to Monmouth University for my freshman year and then I transferred to Towson. Towson has become my second home and where I was able to find my second family. I joined a National Sorority here on campus, Alpha Xi Delta. The girls in this sorority have really become like sisters to me. Towson and AXiD has shaped me into the young adult that I am today and for that I am grateful. I love my friends also known as my sisters.

Kim Kardashian - Emmy 2011

For the past 4 years I have been studying Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising. This past summer I was able to intern at a PR Agency, and worked in the entertainment department where I worked on accounts such as, Country Music Star, Bret Michaels, Internet Sensation, Keenan Cahill, MTV Hottie, Kenny Santucci, and R&B Group, Boyz II Men. A dream of mine is to work in Public Relations firm dealing with either fashion or entertainment. I was never any good at taking exams or memorizing information, but ever since I can remember I was always very good and memorizing what celebrities would wear on the red carpet or exactly what a specific movie was about. Not many people can say that, now can they? When I graduate in the spring I hope that I will be able to achieve my goal and will hopefully end up spending my working career in New York City. The reason I decided to take the media criticism course was because I always watched TV/Movies. I have always loved all types of media. However, I seemed to watch them very differently than all my friends and family did. I was able to read much more into the story. I loved to predict what was going to happen next and I was pretty good at predicting. At least better than anyone that I knew. Therefore Media Criticism really sparked an interest for me.

Media Criticism is defined as a systematic process used to understand media texts as meaningful socio-cultural symbolic forms and forces. But what does the definition actually mean? Media criticism teaches us that it is important to understand that media is everywhere, even if we don’t know it. Also we need to understand that WE as the millennial are the most connected generation and actually are able to understand media and how it works. Media shapes who we are and the society and culture in which we live in. Whether we want to believe it or not. Today, the media has great presence and can influence people’s life decisions. Media is a constant. You can’t hide from it. It is surrounding us everywhere. From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. There is the radio, television, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.  The good news is that the media does keep me and I am sure you as well, in touch with what goes on in our immediate environment, with our families and friends, as well as what is going on in the world. The media plays a huge role in my life. From being a mass communication major, to enjoying celebrity news in my free time, to communicating with family and friends, the media is very big part of my life.

It is very important to be media literate. Media literacy is a true skill that everyone should have. This skill teaches people how to analyze and truly understand what is being presented to us when watching programs. It is important to understand that the media has a great influence on all of us. The media is here to entertain, socialize, educate, create, inform, and interpret information. The television is one of the biggest media outlets that we have. Today, there are so many reality television shows that we all watch and that may influence us in one-way or another. Shows such as Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jersey Shore, and many more influence the way in which we look at our own lives. Media is a popular culture.  All of these shows have some impact on our lives, whether you like it or not. What do you think of when watching the Kardashians and The Real Housewives? Do you want your wedding to be like Kim Kardashian’s? What about Jersey Shore? Don’t you want to fist pump at the bar just as DJ Pauly D and Snooki do every Thursday on your television set?  Shows like these are doing something to our lives and impacting the way in which our society lives. Do you really think everyone in New Jersey looks like Snooki and acts like Pauly D?  Does it make you question your morals and your values or does it just entertain you?

I believe that it is advertising that influences my media consumption the most. We are exposed to advertising constantly. Advertising is all over the place; therefore hearing or seeing something over and over again it is going to have an affect on your consumption and/or your decisions.  From a very young age I have always been into watching the television. Television advertising tells us what is good and what we should buy (or what our parents should buy for us). Television advertising also shows us products that we can trust and what “everyone” else is buying. Of course, I had to have what everyone else had. Also, if a celebrity I liked endorsed a product, I wanted it.  If the ad was enticing or I thought is was something “cool” I wanted it too. In addition the media can allow us to be social. I will also go to a friend’s house to specifically watch television or sit in my apartment with my roommates and watch TV. It seems like the television is always on. It is still the first thing I turn on in the morning and the last thing that goes off at night. As I have gotten older I have also started listening to the radio and music more often. Especially when I am driving I will have the radio on and again advertisements and “jingles” constantly get my attention. I have also started to pick up tabloids/magazine when out doing errands. I have noticed that while waiting on line at the grocery store I am now more willing to pick up a magazine. A celebrity tabloid catches my eye and I find myself looking at the ads and what they are trying to sell. People don’t even realize what media does and how much it does affect ones personal choices.

People are living their lives through the media and it’s not even their fault. Even if you really tried to close yourself off from the media it is technically impossible. Media surrounds every one of us everyday. Media criticism explains how through the cultural diamond there is always an audience, a production, the social world and the text. The audiences are the people who are watching the production and how it is put together, the social world is what ideas are being put across, and the text is what is actually being portrayed to us and pressed into our brains. The media is everywhere and we cant hide. Media is always there. I have been studying mass communications for the past four years and as a result I watch and listen to the media very differently. However, I would like to look at media more critically. I find the media fascinating and I would love to see and understand it from a variety of perspectives.  At times, I try to give myself a break from all the media, BUT it’s always there even when you don’t notice it. TV, Movies, Internet, Radio. Try to take one day without media. Possible or Impossible? Only you can find out for yourself.

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