Archive for the ‘Newspapers’ Category

Body Shaming – Does the media go too far?

July 18, 2016

Body Shaming

Jennifer Aniston made the headlines this week when she blasted the media through a powerful essay on “body shaming” published by the Huffington Post.

In an open letter the former Friends star called out the media for constantly reporting on her figure and pregnancy status. The first line she wrote was “For the record I am not pregnant, what I am is fed up!” a powerful opening line that has made headlines around the world and has made people wake up and ask the question..

Does the media go too far?

A picture of Jennifer Aniston on holiday with her husband Justin Theroux, sporting what can only be described as a small rounded tummy was what prompted the tabloid story in the first place and lead to headlines all over the world which read ‘Finally Jens pregnancy dream comes true’ ‘Aniston Pregnant!’ ‘Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are thrilled to be expecting first child together’ ‘Jennifer Aniston pregnant with miracle baby!

Jennifer Aniston

Picture source – Daily Mail

Jennifer Aniston is known for maintaining a dignified silence when it comes to rumours about herself, she is a very private person and very rarely responds to rumours or the media in general, however this time she has had enough and has decided to call out the media for body shaming women by claiming she is pregnant when she says herself she simply had a burger for lunch:

“I resent being made to feel “less than” because my body is changing and/or I had a burger for lunch and was photographed from a weird angle and therefore deemed one of two things: “pregnant” or “fat.”

The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty?

Is she pregnant? Is she eating too much? Has she let herself go? Is her marriage on the rocks because the camera detects some physical imperfection”

Since the publication of Aniston’s essay, females around the world have applauded her and backed her in every way, however on the flip side of this, a debate has since erupted as to whether Aniston has the right to privacy when she puts herself out there as a ‘celebrity’.

This is an ongoing debate where people argue that celebrities crave attention and put themselves out there in order to get press and publicity yet when they get any negative press they pull back and cry out that’s it’s an invasion of their privacy.

Fame stars

So where is the line? When does the media go too far?

This is a hard question to answer and each case is extremely different as you have celebrities like Jennifer Aniston who does not put herself out there for publicity, in fact does everything in her power to keep her personal life private and paid millions for security to make sure her recent wedding photos remained private, versus the fame hungry reality TV stars who are doing all they can to get in front of the camera and get publicity in any way they can.

So when should the media pull back?

Where is the line the media should not cross?

It’s a question you feel won’t ever be answered and will be debated for years to come, however I take my hat off to Jennifer Aniston for raising the issue especially when it comes to body shaming, as it seems these days’ women in the media are either too fat or too thin and simply can’t win!

Where do you stand on the issue?

Edel

Edel Cox is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm with offices in Dublin and Cork

Gatekeepers for the News

September 9, 2013

Gatekeepers

I still read at least two newspapers every day but I know I am a dying breed.

Most of the news people read on a daily basis come from: Twitter, Facebook, or an iPhone app which means people are digesting a strange hybrid of fact, fiction and hysteria.

Circulation figures of major newspapers are plummeting, reporters are being laid off, and mergers\acquisitions are becoming the trend – it seems the days of the old style newspapers is coming to an end.

But while several analysts and pundits have predicted the death of print it is imperative that newspapers survive and evolve in the years as the growth of social media and blogging continues apace.

Journalists have long considered themselves the gatekeepers of news for the public but with the advent of the internet, some would argue the information flow has been taken from the gatekeepers of mainstream news media but it can be argued that the opposite has in fact occurred. News has become compromised, barely distinguishable from rumour and idle gossip.

The news media’s gatekeeping role used to dictate the newsworthiness of an event – in terms of its importance and also its validity.

The rise of the unstoppable beast that is the internet means the media can no longer monitor what does and does not reach the public sphere. It is because of this that the task of gatekeeping has become more important than ever; the verification of facts and the reliability of sources is key.

While anyone with a keyboard can post a blog, it takes skill, aptitude, and a keen news sense to get to the heart of good reporting. And journalists are trained to do this.

There is a certain credibility that we attach to reporters that comes with knowledge or attention to detail. Most bloggers are not that diligent, knowledgeable or hardworking.

Newspapers and journalists are often called out by bloggers and trolls who believe they are not covering certain de rigour subjects circulating online adequately, but this only serves to reveal a distinct lack of knowledge of the ethical and legal constraints within the media sector.

I am not sure how many bloggers invest any significant amount of time on honing their craft and checking for facts and counter-facts, until they arrive at the truth. They also don’t have to care about litigation, yet because it is still a grey area online.

The recent controversy which surrounded an unfortunate young girl whose image ended up being circulated by both adults and children while performing a sex act at a Slane concert was a wholly terrifying and depressing example of how the internet is threatening our very freedom.

It also brought a whole new concept ‘Slut-shaming’ to the cultural lexicon.

It refers to the act of making a woman feel guilt or humiliation for participating in certain sexual practices. The Irish media was fairly quiet about the matter with #slanegirl appearing only on a couple of news reports once the matter became a subject of a Garda investigation.

This is because any decent newspaper editor knows that disseminating child pornography online is illegal also, there isn’t a journalist in the country who has not spoken to a devastated family who has lost a young person to suicide over the course of their career.

Journalists have always been the gatekeepers and I don’t think they should give up the keys just yet.

Edel O'Connell - Fuzion PREdel O’Connell is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion and a former award winning journalist  and writer

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design firm in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin 

Trust me, I’m a Journalist!

April 1, 2013

All the Presidents Men

Trust me, I’m a journalist!

Well, I used to be, not so long ago, until I made the not-so-giant leap to the “dark side”.

With one swift sidestep I moved from a deadline-driven, fast-paced environment of harangued editors desperately trying to feed the beast against a backdrop of plunging revenue, head-spinning advancements in technology and a crashing economy into.. well a deadline-driven, fast-paced environment and the rest…

It is a different world, there is no doubt about that, but it is also a very similar beast.

It was once very much frowned upon for a journalist to move into PR. It was considered a sell-out, an easy option. The few who did felt ridiculed and sniggered at.

But over the past number of years there has been a discernible influx of some top class journalists into PR.

So, why is this?

Of course, the newspaper industry is in serious peril, the concept of a full-time job in print now seems prehistoric and sadly every other day you hear about more journalists out of work.

But, is this the only driver behind this sudden transition?

It could be down to the fact that PR itself is no longer considered a dirty word.

In these challenging times of increasingly straitened resources but ever increasing demands, journalists are under more pressure than ever. These days a call from a PR professional with a worthwhile story, far from being considered an unwelcome interruption can actually provide a welcome lifeline.

As a reporter my job was to find interesting and relevant stories which would pique the interest of the most mercurial of newspaper editors and deliver day-in day-out, which is pretty much my current job description.

I made the move to PR two months ago and I haven’t looked back since, partly because I am too busy to do so, but mostly because it is a fun, challenging  job with opportunity and longevity.

It was essential to me to go somewhere, which shared my values and where I would be able to put my skill sets to the best use – Fuzion fit the bill.

I won’t lie, possessing a well-honed, journalistic instinct is a huge advantage – the ability to cast a trained eye through a press release littered with trivia and find the news angle and then sell it to your trusted former colleagues and friends is critical.

The difficult part is trying to convince your clients that the angle they believe to be the most relevant sometimes belongs at the bottom of the release or possibly in the trash!

But I just take a deep breath and tell them “Trust me, I’m a journalist” and thankfully, for the most part, they do..

Edel O’Connell is a Senior Account Manager with Fuzion PR working from the Dublin office.

Fuzion are a PR firm in Ireland with offices in Dublin and Cork

Newspapers and Social Media – Parallel Media?

March 7, 2013

Old Man Reading a newspaper

Saturday morning and I’ve just read through the newspaper, The Irish Examiner, which we have delivered with the milk on a Saturday!

From the age of 13 till 21 I delivered enough of them when I had my own newspaper round ..

To be honest I often never get to read it. I pop it on the kitchen table, with every intention of having a peep at it later and often this never happens and it stays there unread.

Today I read it cover to cover including the supplements and it really showed me what I am missing, why we need newspapers so badly, even in a world where we can get news instantly via our social media channels.

I’m a self confessed lover of Twitter and I tell people at my social media courses and our clients how powerful the platform is – even if you never decide to tweet you can follow your favourite newspapers, radio stations, journalists, celebrities, sports stars, friends and other interesting folk.

Fire it up anytime and you will see a constant stream of updates from everyone you are following. You can use the powerful “search” function and track anyone that is tweeting about a subject.

That sounds pretty incredible – it is.

Why would you bother with a newspaper?

Reading the paper today it showed me some really valuable things that Twitter or any of the other social media platform could not bring me:

Emphasis – The editor and the team will decide the stories that are bigger and the ones that are smaller, those that deserve more space and the ones that deserve to be closer to the front of the paper. Twitter will be delivered to me in messages of 140 characters or less, regardless of how important each tweet is. The skill involved in organising and prioritising all of this is so valuable.

Organisation – The newspaper is organised into a particular sequence, which makes it really easy to find the topics that you are interested in. I can organise the twitter accounts I am following into subject matter lists but this still misses the skill delivered by the newspaper team.

Investigation – We badly need teams of journalists who will investigate topics of interest. We need teams of journalists with a great “nose” investigating issues that may not yet be of interest but they have an instinct that something is wrong. Social media definitely helps with all of us having a voice to highlight issues that we feel are important – we need great journalists using their skills to pick up on these.

News – With so much information hitting us via all the various channels it is really important to pick up the newspaper and glance through all of those headlines so that we don’t miss the “important news”. I learnt a lot today quickly by flicking through the paper.

New Stuff – Reading through the paper today I discovered bucket loads of really interesting “stuff” that I would never have stumbled upon. I wouldn’t have been looking for it online so I would not have found it. The team at the newspaper carefully pick through the world of information, new books and new music and deliver what they feel will be of interest to their readers. I also discover new things every day via social media that is equally of interest.

Skill – We need the skills of the journalists, the writers and the editors to deliver us news and stories in a way that grabs our attention and engages with us. We would be lost without these skills.

Look and Feel – While I love my technology and my gadgetry, my iPhone and my iPad there is something very special about the printed material, the paper, the pictures and the layouts. It’s an enjoyable experience to pick up a newspaper with a cuppa and digest all the news and information that’s on offer. Using an App like Flipboard on the iPad to flick through news and information is convenient and enjoyable but it can’t replace the newspaper experience.

While many feel new media will replace traditional media I’m not that sure – both are valuable in quite different ways and we will benefit from both, we need both.

It’s not either or ..it’s Parallel Media.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer social media training and consultancy from our offices in Cork and Dublin


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