Overall… MCOM 352 ROCKS!

Blog #4 for MCOM 352

After deciding to participate in another of Dr. Nichols classes I had a feeling that it would be a little harder then I anticipated. Although, this was a reason to really immerse myself into society where I can understand underlying meanings of text and relate those messages to my friends and family. Dr. Nichols is a fabulous teacher who can engage students in topic that they are not even interested in, I feel that this is one of the main barriers of taking Mass Communications 352. Each Blog that I am going to critique is being chosen for a reason. It is a tough choice considering that every individual student has so many creative ideas that have been brought to the table for class. Allison Wachtel gave me an interesting insight into the “Wonderful World of Disney” especially when she stated that she had the resources with her younger cousins. Jennifer Smith’s particular blog gave every little detail into explaining codes to her audience while using examples for The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Finally, I chose Alexa Laxerow’s blog to do because I feel that she is an amazing writer and will aspire to do something great through these talents. She was able to provide unique examples and follow the criteria needed for this assignment.

Allison Wachtel’s Blog

Can Disney Really Make Your Dreams Come True?

Not only am I just as obsessed with Disney as I feel that you are but, now I am able to look through this lens and avoid the rose colored tint that we are taught to look through for so many years of our childhood.pastedGraphic.pdf

One of my favorite parts that you brought to your readers attention in your blog are the different approaches. I thought that it helped relate the particular blog to the different topics that we covered in class as well. Something that you have pressed upon in this particular blog is the impression that the movies and shows leaves its young audience with. Children can take many different actions many different ways and I feel that it is important that society is able to address them. There is really nothing that I can say negative about your blog, just that maybe you could provide a few different examples that we did not go over in class as the way children see the movies.

Jennifer Smith’s Blog

Active Audience or Bust?



Unlike the other blog’s that I looked over before writing these comments I really enjoyed how you opened up this particular blog with explaining the definition of semiotics to your audience. This in particular is not something that is easily explained to you audience, I know at least explaining this with my parents it is not.  It was very impressive that with the incorporation of John Fiske’s semiotic analysis you are able to show your audience proof of what you are trying to say, as well as providing the resources needed to back up your findings. It is increasingly important to introduce this particular show to your audience incase they have not been exposed to the lovely life of the New Jersey  Housewives. pastedGraphic_2.pdfThe image of ideology that you provided within your blog really made me interested in how you were planning to take this particular approach to explain the different ideas and how these concepts are able to be made sense of. Providing your audience with the information that this is not how every housewife from New Jersey acts is vital information which you were able to show towards the end or your blog. By providing information such as this to your readers you are able to show that you understand every angle that people interpret these women and their families. I thought you did an outstanding job in critiquing the New Jersey Housewives and that you should keep up blogging in the future.

Alexa Lazerow’s Blog







You, Me and Media Criticism

It is hard to find negative criticism that is able to be said about this particular blog post. First things first though, I think that Alexa is an amazing writer and will be able to take her writing to new heights before she graduates from Towson. Unlike the other blogs that I could have chosen, I liked hers due to the fact that she introduced herself on a more personal level and opened up about her family. By helping to immerse the definition “Media criticism formally is the systematic process used to understand media texts as meaningful sociocultural symbolic forms and processes,” into her text she show the audience what she is planning to introduce them to and why. By showing particular examples as to how a society, such as ourselves, is unable to survive without our everyday media needs portrays how dependent we actually are on technology. I agree with the fact that everyone is always made to look busy and we are always buried in some form of technology. One of the most enjoyable things that I found while reading Alexa’s blog was the fact that she chose to use Apple as an example. Apple is considered to be a large company with all of the different products that are being sold, but on the other hand they are unable to sell to the same targeted consumers forever. Particularly it is the image that is so eye catching to the audience because we are “chained” into these new and upcoming forms of technology and it is almost impossible to break free. The only thing that I feel could be added into this blog would be a possible video? But on a side note I love the picture of the dogs!

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Are We What We See in the Media?

From the time that you are young you are taught right from wrong, good from evil and masculinity from femininity. A child is one of the easiest people to impress values, images and norms upon. Although as consumers do we feel that it is the parents that are teaching our children or rather what they are consuming from the selected television programs that they are watching?

Media is able to create any type of image to the consumers that they wish, especially when it involves the youngest in our society. When was the last time that you saw a little girl playing in the mud with trucks and toy guys or perhaps a little boy dressing up in princess clothing having tea time with dolls? The images previousy stated are not the images that are depicted to our society everyday. Through all this criteria it can be explained as ideological criticism. Ideological criticism creates a set of ideas for society that are usually partial and selective. Now after studying ideological criticism it is easy to see how some of these ideas seem natural and common. Children in our society are given less and less time to actually be children but an even longer time to live in the “teen” limelight.

It is normal as young children to have a “crush” on a pop idol, but to become obsessed with a star can be related to how much time they are spent being in the spotlight with the media. Justin Bieber video After watching this video it is quite obvious that the media conglomerates condone the exposure of Justin Beiber to young girls. This particular behavior is even found in places where young girls shop such as the Justice Clothing stores. Justice Inside of the Justice stores you will find a plethora of girls clothes as well as Justin Beiber lollipops, accessories and more. This is teaching girls at a young age that it is normal to “like” a boy even if he is unattainable due to his stardom.

Disney has one of the largest impacts on children’s lives as they are growing up. It portrays gender roles to the children of what is considered masculine and what is considered feminine through their characters representing multicultural ideology Within the video Mickey Mouse Monopoly it is evident to children what they should strive to become. Little girls will always be rescued by a dashing Prince Charming. Little boys are shown that they must show courage and fight the evil villain to keep safety and protection in order. On the other hand children must know that in reality life is not a fairytale, and evil spells are not broken by true loves kiss. Women are now at a point in time that they are equal to men and are more then able to get out of their own situations alone. The lastest movie that Disney released Tangled Tangledis a replica adventure of Rapunzel, on the contrary there is a twist though. The Princess in the movie is in quite a mess but in the end she is the one who saves her self as well as others.

Disney movies are criticized for how they portray roles to young girls and boys but these movies are just mocking what society was at that particular point in time that these movies were created. For example Cinderella was released in 1950 whereas Tarzan was released in 1999. Both of these movies have developed from history or a fairytale and are able to be told with the Disney magical approach.

Disney creates this world of wonder and fantasy for the young where all of your dreams come true, in truth Disney is one of the largest conglomerates of them all. This enables Disney to be one of the only programs/media shown to the younger generations. This is able to relate to the political economy theory due to the fact that Disney will always be on top and it does not show any promising chances for anything new to be shown to the public to disrupt society’s norms. This is a way that large conglomerates such as Disney distribute hegemonic power over the rest of society without the elite having to use force to keep society in order through already constructed values.

Disney is able to spread all of the joy they claim to give children by synergistic practices. They use methods such as cross-promotion, cross-advertising, cross-production and blockbusters. Disney StoreThis is able to be done with the consideration that Disney is a worldwide company, there are Disney theme parks all around the world representing each major country. Not only are children shown the movies they are able to buy their favorite characters in doll form, video games, bedding, costumes and even more things. Disney promotes upcoming movies to their consumers while they are already in the process viewing a Disney product. In my opinion Disney is a legacy that will continue to grow and regardless of the issues that the company will face it will always be what children are able to remember of their childhood.

The society that we live in is able to give some construed images to our young and until it is truly analyzed it seems like the normal thing to do. Why wouldn’t a parent buy a set of dolls for their daughter or action figures that replicate their son’s favorite hero? This call all be traced back to how our society chooses to view their value system. We may think that particular ways to act or behave is wrong when in fact it can be perfectly normal to others who are not in the same place with us. As a society we are always intaking thousands of media images a day that construct our norm’s structure. Until society as a whole views some of these ideals, images and values wrong that is when it will be able to change. Until then we will continue to live in a construed society where gender role and status play such an important part in our lives.

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If you can’t say it, show it

Arkansas is the founding place of Coca Cola, one of the oldest brands in America created in 1886. It has been distributed all around the world from Russia to the United States. It can even be said that Coca Cola is the world’s soft drink, and can appeal to almost any audience.

In this particular Coca Cola advertisement it is to promote “Open Happiness” the viewer is able to see that the kids within the advertisement are attractive individuals that are having fun and wearing smiles on their face. The place in which it is taking place is on a sandy beach and then moves the attention to the body of water. The kids participating are portraying a look of excitement and fun that allows the viewers to wish that they were in the same place participating in the fun. On the body of water the viewer is able to see that the Coca Cola bottle has the “power” to have its consumers defy gravity with the air machine, by allowing the kids to float in the air.

By creating this advertisement Coca Cola will be able to target a younger audience demographic. Within this particular demographic since they are portraying fun and exciting activities it will draw attention to the carefree personalities of this younger generation. Since the boys in the advertisement are attractive and are physically attractive it will draw strong female viewers into the product. On the other side of the spectrum the girls in the bikinis are considered to be beautiful by our society’s standards, and will grasp the attention of male viewers. The music within the advertisement is a happy upbeat tune that is portraying that everyday is brand new. It is also implying the idea that you are able to make every day a “Coke” day, which in turn iterates that it will be a good day.

Embedded within the text of this Coca Cola advertisement are a variety of semiotics. Coca Cola is known for its colors red and white, both colors have different meanings with are able to be understood by what they ultimately stand for. The color red has been known to represent energy, strength, power and can also be related to passion, desire, and love. Red is also symbolic to particular actions that are meant to take place when coming in contact with the color. Coca Cola is indicating that when you see their advertisements you should stop and observe at what is being said, or shown. The other color that is also associated with the Coca Cola company is white. White is said to be clean and neutral. Another indication through this color is that it invokes clarity, and purification. Society normally associates the color white with new beginnings. Within the Coca Cola advertisement white can be connected as an iconic sign the the beverage is pure and clean. Once the consumer drinks the beverage it will quench their thirst, thus making them happy. While using the two of these colors together Coca Cola is able to draw potential consumers in by the particular striking appearance of the products and the ability to stand out amongst the competing companies.

After viewing the advertisement above would all of the fun and excitement happening make you want to consumer a Coke, since it is indicating that it will provide the same emotions for you? Although this advertisement is unrealistic it is still portraying that Coca Cola can provide the consumers with with the same joyous emotions being demonstrated through the advertisement. The symbolism being used through the music and actions of the kids participating can be considered an indexical sign. During the song in the commercial the words say “come on open up a brand new day, come on let me be someone today,” when the word open up is being delivered the kids in the advertisement are open up Cokes. This message is simply stating that when a Coke is opened happiness is found, this can be a dominant way of reading text.

Although during the time that Coca Cola was created most of the soft beverages had the same glass bottle shape of a slender neck and wider midsection Coca Cola is the only brand that stayed with that image. In the commercial the inflated Coke bottle takes the form of the old glass bottle shape. This in turn can say that Coca Cola is still loyal to their tradition but, can change with the forthcoming generations, and It can provide any happiness that is needed for each individual consumer.

The excitement and happiness as well as the setting that this advertisement is placed portrays a certain message. It is open text in the fact that it leaves room for the viewer to decide if there can be other interpreted meanings of this text. This way the viewer can expand on what the company stands for and if there is something else deeper that Coca Cola is trying to get across to the consumer. An example of this could be that since the Coca Cola bottle is sitting on top of the water with air letting the kids defy gravity, then in turn launching them out of the top could be “Coca Cola will blow you out of the water.”

Coca Cola has composed many different advertisements over the years, the main message that is being established in the audience is that Coke can provide happiness. Any text that you take from the company will depict that and this is the first text that the music is saying it to the consumer.

Within all of the text there are many codes that are used to generate emotion from the desired consumers. By picking a particular target audience to be reached it allows more creativity, and interpretation for potential consumers.

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Understand What You Consume

Hello to all! My name is Kayla Yingst and I am a senior at Towson University with the major of Public Relations specializing in professional athletes. Ever since I can remember I really enjoy being involved in the community, and staying constantly busy. On campus I am in Phi Mu sorority and take the role as Membership Director (Rush Chair). Since I have figure skated for eighteen years I also participate in the sports club Figure Skating Team. Outside of school I coach figure skating, as well as volunteer for the Special Olympics.

I was drawn to participate in this class in the interest of being able to better understand how media is able to have so much power in our culture, as well as shape our perceptions of the world. This course will help us, as students understand what we are watching and what people will take from particular media texts. rI feel that the United States is very ethnocentrically formed, due to the fact that we have a choice and freedom unlike other countries around the world. There are justified ways as to why Americans are so ethnocentric, and that can be led to our knowledge of the media that we as a society absorb on a day-to-day basis.

Media criticism is a skill that must be developed in order to understand and interpret what we take from media texts that are fed to us as media’s consumers. Media is the number one outlet today to target large number of target audiences to distribute a particular message that is being portrayed. Although we tend to think that as consumers we get unbiased breaking news coverage, it may just be the contrary. Many news conglomerates have biased opinion on what is acceptable and unacceptable news for the general public to have knowledge of. One of the greatest examples of this is the ability to acknowledge what political party particular news stations favor during election times. This also contributes to what is displayed on television and what is not. Many times media viewers are unable to receive the whole truth pertaining to new stories, or only receive partial information. Within media criticism I want to be able to develop the skills to understand what stories could go into more detail, and if there is information withheld.

Media text surrounds our society with all of the different media outlets used to reach their audience. You are always able to find information in a flash thanks to the latest technology. Reality television has really taken off within the last few years. I personally feel that producers are sending a message across to different audiences with different reality television scenarios. With numbers rising of young women becoming pregnant in the United States it was only normal that producers would find it acceptable to start a









reality television show about teen mothers, and following them throughout their pregnancy. In essence this show was aired to show teens how hard it is to be pregnant so young and care for a child not much younger then they are. I feel that it is rare that most teens take away that message thought (if they wanted to have a child that young) and just see the start of a family that they can call their own. Through media criticism we are able to depict the messages that are trying to be portrayed to the public, and the message that the viewing audience is actually taking away from this particular show.


With such large amounts of media consumption it is very important that we become media literate as viewers. This generally means that we can depict certain images, and know right from wrong. This can shape our view on society, and keep the status quo, that as a nation many try to maintain. News conglomerates that have more enforceable power are able maintain hegemonic power over those companies that want to possibly change the means of information distributed to society.

Within the television show Breaking Bad  as a viewer you understand that the actions that are taking place within the show are illegal, and many would not attempt to go the same course as some of the main characters have. This is a eminent example of how society should be able to differentiate between nice and evil, good and bad, right and wrong.

During the time of this course I am interested to generate new skills, and really understand more about the media that I am consuming everyday and the actual meaning that it is representing. Once these skills are maintained they can be applied to how others react to certain forms of media text, and give an explanation as to why they do it. In a way I feel that this will give an insight to the inner workings of a consumers mind, and can help us better target particular groups of people.


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