Week Three – Inquiry Activity: Cecil the Lion

The story I chose to focus on for this Inquiry task, relates to the death of Cecil the lion and the alleged/confessed killer, Walter Palmer. The story has swept across the world and social media in the last week, and continues to be a major focus for news organisations world-wide. At the time of this post, the most recent development in the story is the apology that Walter Palmer has put forth to his dental patents, regarding the incident, and the disruption to their medical care.

In reviewing the lead paragraphs for each story I was surprised to find that they were all very similar in both tone and expression. This is in direct contrast to the Gold Coast Titans exercise that I completed in week one – where the same story had a differing tone from the outset. The stories outlining the events of Cecil’s death and the alleged killer are abundant across all forms of news sources, yet from my readings the values remain largely the same (Dockterman 2015; Levy 2015, Wotchit News, 2015).

It made me wonder about the values of the news and the values of society, and the merge in news stories. The death of Cecil has echoed across the world – rage and disgust have all been directed towards Walter Palmer for his accused role in the incident. From any perspective, it’s a heartbreaking story of a defenceless animal, killed ‘mistakenly’ for ‘sport’. Is there really room for differing values in a story that so clearly presents the tragedy of this animal’s death? In the news, are there new stories that will simply be shaped by the values of human compassion – over the desire to push perspectives or agendas?

The story of Cecil is one that haunts me. It was devastating and I found that as I read more I was only filled with more rage and disgust at the death of this beautiful animal. An article, written by Rose George (2015), summed my feelings up perfectly – and as I type this now I am still filled with the hollow feeling of sadness and loss. It makes me wonder then how could news values be any different towards the sad story of this animal…

References

Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, (n.d), digital image, AFP/Zimbabwe National Parks, viewed 31 July 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/6655998-3×2-940×627.jpg

Dockterman, E 2015, ‘Dentist who killed cecil the lion writes letter apologizing to his patients’, TIME, 29 July 2015, viewed 31 July 2015, http://time.com/3977018/cecil-lion-walter-palmer-letter/?xid=IFT-Trending

George, R 2015, ‘The hunter who killed Cecil the lion doesn’t deserve our empathy, The Guardian, 29 July 2015, viewed 31 July 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/29/hunter-killed-cecil-lion-walter-palmer

Levy, M 2015, ‘Cecil the lion: dentist Walter Palmer writes apology letter to patients’, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 July, p.10

Wochit News 2015, ‘Dentist apologises for killing Cecil the lion’, video, 29 July 2015, viewed 31 July 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHR5YM_9MdQ

Week Three – Inquiry Activity: Cecil the Lion

Week Three – Technical Activity: Quiz Response

This quiz this week was tougher than I expected it to be. I did my best to prepare, by reading the textbook chapter twice, but it wasn’t enough to get 100% the first time around. On my first attempt I scored 8/12 so 66% – not bad I suppose, but not great.

The eternal struggle I have with these quizzes is that I simply read too fast – when I really should slow down and appreciate the sentence and how it is constructed. This is something I want to reflect on in another post later in the week, but for now I am content with having reached 100% on my second attempt.

As previously mentioned in another quiz reflection – although my perfectionist side will never forgive me for admitting it – I am always happy to get things wrong. I am a very firm believer in that by getting things wrong, you have a greater chance of learning from your experience. In something as simple as an English quiz, getting things wrongs means that you know where you can improve!

From a critical stand-point, the only question I disagreed with was the one pertaining to never mixing ‘you’ and ‘one’ in the same sentence (Hicks 2013, pp.36). I feel like in some cases this is a matter of writing style. As the feedback suggests, it is effective in persuasive writing, and the argument could be made that some media stories aim to be persuasive.

It is definitely food for thought.

References

Hicks, W 2013, English for journalists, Routledge, London, England.

Week Three – Technical Activity: Quiz Response

Week Three – Practical Activity: Storify Reflection

The Storify experience of signing up was one that was hassle-free – but still managed to leave me feeling dazed and confused at the way in which social media is taking the wheel of the news and media landscape. From what I can tell, stories which seem to ‘make the news’ on Storify are ones that are either highly popular or highly publicised.

While social media outlets are praised revolutions in communication, which is some ways they most certainly are, I feel overwhelmed by how much there is. Rosen (2015) discusses the triumph of consumerism across the globe, including the way in the internet, via technology, has allowed us to connect to the news. Where up-to-the minute news and all the world’s information is accessible on the devices we have in our pockets, the news has never been more available or abundant.

Increasing research is focused on exploring the role of social media in contemporary news consumption, including the role of sense-making in the current media landscape (Pentina & Tarafdar 2014). Continuing research in this field suggests that the internet has made us savvier in seeking out current information in the media, but as always there are enduring concerns placed around both reliance and credibly of news sources (Veinberg 2015).

Similarly, the way in which we consume news has inevitably changed the way in which news is presented, with the transmedia age leading the evolution (Jansson & Lindell 2015). With the diversity, accessibility and sheer volume of news available to people today – are we more connected to the goings-on in the world or are we simply drowned out by all the white-noise of over exposure and information overload?

That is the saving grace of Storify to me. In this new world of endless social media posts, updates and status changes – Storify attempts to do the thing any sane person would want to do, which is bring it together.

As a casual Facebooker, an apprehensive Tweeter and now a fresh, if slightly hesitant, Storifier – I am learning more and more, that there is no escape from this social media revolution. To have the way in which I consume news challenged, wasn’t a reality that I expected from this course, but it is one that I am facing. Almost a form of exposure therapy this course is going test my news limits and this blog will be here to document every moment of it.

Feel free to check out my Storify account which includes my first attempt at Storify!

References

Jansson, A, & Lindell, J 2015, ‘News Media Consumption in the Transmedia Age’, Journalism Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 79-96.

Pentina, I, & Tarafdar, M 2014, ‘From “information” to “knowing”: Exploring the role of social media in contemporary news consumption’, Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 35, pp. 211-223.

Rosen, R 2015, ‘The triumph of consumerism’, The Atlantic, 24 July 2015, viewed 26 July 2015, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/america-culture-the-sixties/399485/

Veinberg, S 2015, ‘Digital native’s attitude towards news sources’, Public Relations Review, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 299-301.

Week Three – Practical Activity: Storify Reflection