As a public researcher there is much room to express and inform through a number of different platforms. As a writer, it is my duty to ensure that everything I write and reflect on is both true and correct, and to give credit to fellow writers where I have ascertained information. As a public researcher and writer it is therefore of the utmost importance that I adhere to the specific ethical and moral standards in place which govern the content I create. The Media Arts and Ethics Alliance Code of Ethics (MEAA 2017) states that members engaged in journalistic practice must commit themselves to writing everything with honesty, fairness, independence and respect.
Public writing requires courtesy, respect and often the need to remain objective. With these things considered, it is also necessary to maintain audience engagement through finding original ways to compose material that will be interesting to read. Throughout the course of the subject, I feel as though my public writing practices have improved as a result of the weekly subject matter and diversity of the topics that have been studied. The writing and research principles that are evident in the weekly topics allow for progression of strong writing practices which are to be used in the weekly blogs.
The subject matter in BCM241 has encouraged the cohort to adhere to this practice, whilst also inspiring individual thinking in a number of different ways. To begin the semester, we were encouraged to think spatially about media audiences and more specifically our own media space. This research practice was useful as it highlighted the strong presence of technology in our society today. When combined with the topic of memory conversations, it is possible as a researcher to understand the dramatic change in research practices due to technology over previous decades. Psychologist Sam Gosling (2015) argues that analysing ‘personality data’ is an increasingly valuable research method as it is a reliable scope into past. This is derived through our lives and the personal space we surround ourselves in. By learning these tools, they can be applied to my own research when considering the importance and time and space in 21st century society.
The third topic examined the traditional roles of audience measurement, such as qualitative and quantitative data. Luke Eric Lassiter’s brief guide to collaborative ethnography (2005) was an informative research tool that highlighted the value of ethnographic research for business and commercial markets such as television companies. The guide was useful for me as a researcher as it outlined the complications that can arise when research is not carried out using the correct ethical procedures. In the lectures and tutorials, thorough analysis was made of ethnographic research, and how it can be intrusive on people as data is often taken whilst people are totally unware. The legal ramifications for not following the correct procedures are made apparent in Lassiter’s guide (2005) – and serve as valuable information for research purposes.
Similarly, the ethics surrounding semi-public space are applicable to researchers who use photography as a key aspect of their works. It is important to understand the difference between public and private media practice. The week 6 blog task was an interesting way to observe how primary data collection has intricate laws on how this can be used (taking our own photographs in a public space). Without understanding the ethics of some art forms such as street photography, it is possible to be prosecuted under defamatory laws. Joerg Colberg’s Ethics of Street Photography (2013) is a useful tool for research which I have applied to other subjects during my study. The article outlines the need to be aware of the ethical and legal practices which are in place for the protection of members of the public, however also identifies what photographers are entitled to use legally. As a writer, this principle can be applied to individual works – as it is important to understand what you are entitled to write about without the need for consent.
Media audience research is heavily dependent on consumer engagement, so it is therefore heavily reliant on audience attention and presence. The notion that technology has made us a less tolerant and attentive society that is susceptible to distraction is a theory that is highly plausible. The introduction of highly capable smart phones, computers, tablets and other electronic devices gives consumers a diverse range of ways to spend their time. The Microsoft Canada attention span report (2015) argues that although modern humans are better at processing online information, our attention spans inhibit the ability to remain interested in things for long periods of time. This would suggest that we are accustomed to a world of instant gratification, where we expect to be able to easily process information in the shortest period of time as possible. As a writer, this is an interesting theory to be aware of as it suggests the material I produce needs to prioritise the information I present to engage immediate interest with the reader.
The continual progression of technology and available information can be an overwhelming experience for readers, so it is important to create content that is specific and easy to understand for a wide range of audiences. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the ethical and moral standards which are in place to protect writers and the public. By employing the aforementioned research methods, it is possible to compose work that is both specific and relevant to the desired task, and I feel as though my writing has so far progressed as a result of these methods. The task of weekly blogging has ensured I am in good practice with my writing, as it reinforces the concepts learned throughout that week.
1 Colberg, J, 2013, The Ethics of Street Photography, Conscientious Extended, accessed 1st October 2017. Available at http://jmcolberg.com/weblog/extended/archives/the_ethics_of_street_photography/
2 Consumer Insights Microsoft Canada, 2015, Attention Span Report Accessed 30th September 2017. Available at <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/1083071/mod_resource/content/1/microsoft-attention-spans-research-report.pdf >
3 Gosling, S, 2015, What our Personal Spaces Can’t Hide,Big Think, videoblog, accessed 30th September 2017. Available at http://bigthink.com/videos/what-our-personal-spaces-cant-hide
4 Lassiter, L, 2005, The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography, University of Chicago Press