Amy Scurr

A Page Of Thoughts

Cinema… A Global Themepark

Cinemas are used in copious amounts of way. A first date scene, a rainy day event, a ‘let’s catch-up day and so many more. There are countless amounts of reasons why the cinema is a social hub which is seen in the majority of people lives. According the the Australian Bureau of Statistics over the 2009-2010 period over 67% of Australians visited a cinema at least once in those twelve months and attendance is growing each year.

The phenomenon about why the cinema is visited by such an array of reasons astonishes me. For example; the two reasons I find the most absurd are: a) The First Date and b) the ‘Lets catch-up scene”.

Why? Why do we go to this funny area where it is just a whole bunch of strangers accumulated in this tiny dark room all just sitting and staring at the screen for a couple of hours? Given I didn’t find this strange until a few weeks ago but I now can’t shake this weird thought. Especially for these two main reasons that perplexes me…


How does this work? You just met someone who you like and you want to get to know them, you organise a time when you are both free but where d you go? The movies… The one place aside from a library where it is frowned upon to actually talk at! So essentially the idea of ‘getting to know someone and see where things could go’ is in reality a ‘lets see if I can put up with sitting next to them for a few hours in a dark enclosed space and hope that they don’t smell! But then again, this could be an amazing idea to do for a first date because you would have to have a second date to actually find out things about them.


So this is just as bad to me. You have been contacted by a friend who says “OMG, we so need to hang!” and you reply with of course a “OMG, Yes!” so you organise the move, you go and see it and say goodbye and realise that you didn’t even talk about that mutual friend who just had their baby or that brother of yours that the friend has started seeing.

The cinema experience is seen as a common one, even by myself I admit, so I don’t see this meeting ground dying off any time soon. Especially when Village Road show made 50.9 million after tax in 2013 and have assets such as theme parks to bump up their profitable income.


‘Get Your Hand Off It’

Phone etiquette is now a completely new idea to ten years ago. We are constantly bombarded with things and people on social media and the internet which when we look at seem to be taken to a completely new place. To interact with an audience both familiar to you and completely new. But has it gone too far?…

Mobile phone usage while driving now comes into the top five causes of fatalities on NSW roads. This has now seen to be overtaking one of the most public offences you can do while driving and that is no wearing a seatbelt.

You see that flash of light or hear that ding of a message or notification coming in and all of a sudden your eyes are drawn to the small box either in between your legs, in your cup holder, on the floor or next to your seat. You wonder what it could be… really the possibilities could be endless and so does your 30 minute drive to work. What if someone is in trouble? What if your cousin is having that baby? You just don’t know! It couldn’t really hurt to take a two second look at the screen (just to make sure nobody is in trouble of course).

It’s your mum. What could she want? Are my brothers and father okay? Is she okay? I will just read it and then put it down to make sure. ‘Hi sweetie, just wondering if you are home for dinner tonight and if so could you please pick up some bread on your way home. Thanks :)’

Oh good she is safe! but she asked me a question. What if she needs to know right away, it won’t hurt to send a quick reply, it’s not like I’m speeding and the road is a straight run.

This is so many peoples mind set while they are driving with a mobile phone around them. They think that it will just take a second and they still have a hand on the wheel. But a study shown in a 2012 news article by the International Business Times stated that American teenagers took their eyes off the road to text for approximately 4.6 seconds and driving at a speed of 55 miles per hour or 88.5 kilometres per hour this equates to travelling essentially blind for 113 meters. This is more than a NRL football field that you are driving without any idea what is going on. To make things even more scary is that at only 80kmh the reaction and stopping distance in a normal car takes around 56 meters.

One text is making you drive blind for over 113 meters.

The point to this blog is to reiterate how important it is to not have any distractions while driving and put it into a perspective which is easy to understand by everyone. Your mobiles and other electronic devices as soon as you pick them up seemingly immediately take you into a difference space… media space. It drags you from a place of concentration to distraction and hen driving in a car a distraction is the last thing you need. So next time when driving alone the road or watching TV and you see or think about the cheesy ‘Get Your Hand Off It’ campaign ads in all the different music genres by all means laugh at the stupidity and cheesiness of the ads but take the messaged being conveyed on board.

How Do We Watch TV

When we watch TV… What are we really doing!

Are we engaging or wasting time. Now I love TV don’t get me wrong, I won’t go past a good show, when we watch things such as the news do you; scoff at an outrageous news story or laugh when the male interviewer in 60 mins almost gets tackled by the furious man who stole tens of dollars from his ex-girlfriend all because she didn’t buy their dogs food three weeks in a row. Yes I know that is a stretch but with the commercial ‘entertainment’ news shows such as the project or even so called ‘serious’ news shows such as A Current Affair we unfortunately do come across such stories that make us think… ‘ We just wasted as much time viewing this as the program did wasting so much money to produce such a seemingly insignificant story.
When we watch things such as The Block do you discuss which is the best bathroom, funniest couple or who should win.
When we watch Hot Seat, do you answer the questions and get exited or disappointed when you get the answer wrong or right?
Lastly, when you watch sitcoms such as Friends and Will & Grace do you throw in lines such as ‘How you doin’?’ with friends and family in random conversation. I know that I do, most probably you do too but you may not realise it. Maybe next time you watch TV or chat with a friend keep it in mind. Yes, we consume TV in a regular way most of the time, but many don’t realise how much we actually consume and engage with it.

I have brought it down to the assumption that… This is what television is mostly for. Cheap entertainment which applies to everybody, and I mean everybody! There are so many programs from shows on Antiques to banking advice, news to sitcoms and everything else in between to bring you to a space which is not physical but a mental state of mind being an audience to essentially a screen in a room which has this invisible barrier around it which seems to block everybody and everything else out while that screen is moving about.

Collaborative Ethnography Continued

A more educated and informative modern version of collaborative ethnology is when I researched the difference between my experiences as a television user and my parents. Yes they had to think back longer than myself but they seemed to remember it vividly. This form of collective ethnography is seen when I have mentioned who they are (being my parents) and in turn acknowledging their help in this research and of course myself being able to provide them with my findings allowing them to compare the experiences if they wanted.

 Firstly a quick rundown of my television experience as a young child. I grew up with an older brother and a younger, yes I was the middle and the only girl. Which meant that a lot of the time if they were home I was doing something other than watching television. But, if they weren’t home then I would probably be found watching Hi-5 (the old version A.K.A, the better version in my opinion). Though in saying this, one of my childhood memories was coming home after school and sitting in front of the television and watching Top Gun with my brother. Now watching it, I realise just how innocent our young minds are, but yes that is what I did.

When talking to my mother and father about their memories of television as a young child they had come up with similar answers to each other. The answers of which seem to have both a similarity and vast difference to my personal television experience. Of course television for them was a pleasure and not a given so their time was mainly spent outside playing or at friend’s houses. They would generally watch television for no more than an hour a day, as apposed to the four that is the average for todays. To put this into perspective according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics this equates to one month a year which someone is sitting down and watching television. But I found that our biggest difference was not the time spent sitting and viewing, but, it was the way. My main television experience was watching a good old video of Hi-5, or any other cartoon or children’s program on the good-old VCR. They would watch actual programming and it was likely to be the news or if they were lucky a children’s program here or there.

Overall, I was actually surprised. My parents viewing of television was not as different as mine with only a few minor differences that honestly some people would still have those habits today.

Collaborative Ethnography

Imagine you are a ten-year-old kid. You are infatuated with Pokémon, Barbie or whatever kind of incredibly time consuming toys that children play with. Now, you are in a school play ground and all you want is information about the newest barbie for example. How would you get that?

This is through collaborative ethnography I believe at the lowest level. This is a term that I have struggled with continuously for the past week as it seems too complex for me. But then it hit me. It is a group of people working together to give knowledge to one person helping them with the research. Or as The Chicago Guide to Collaborative Ethnography by Luke Eric Lassiter describes this as ‘an approach to ethnography that deliberately and explicitly emphasises collaboration at every point in the ethnographic process, without veiling it…’ or essentially… we work together to get a result and then by helping the researcher we in turn get information out of it.

So, back to our scenario, if you are ten and you want to know about the newest Barbie which you know your friend has just gotten, how could you?

Good question… though our use of collaborative ethnography we could approach the friend and ask about it. She would in turn discuss the new Barbie with you and if you, say, look it up on the internet to back up this information, you (and correct me if I’m wrong) have just taken part in the first stage of collaborative ethnography. You have gotten your information that you have wanted by a friend by ‘collaborating’ (see we even use the term in discussion) but when talking to others about it is when the second stage comes into play. When sharing the information about the new doll you would provide the facts to the other ten year olds and inform the other kids where you had gotten them from. You would say something along the lines of ‘The new Ballroom Barbie is a very pretty doll which is [this] tall and has hair [this] long. If you don’t believe me this girl [the girl who you spoke to] has the Barbie and told me all about it and even let me play with it for a little while’.

Isn’t that nice, the girl even let you play with the Barbie, and even though it was nice that she let you play with the doll it has a deeper underlining in it. This is stage two in the Collaborative Ethnography process which is what I like to remember as the ‘acknowledgment’ stage. In the first stage you had gotten the information which you wanted and they gave it to you but, if that is where you stayed in your research and not shared it with others then it would not be classed as collaborative ethnography as you had not both acknowledged the help of the little girl nor did you even give her anything in return such as the information gathered.

Political Satire and its effects on University students.

The following questionnaire/interview was performed on a Wollongong university student being asked about the effects which media has on her political awareness and opinions.

Age______20________ Gender F/M

Year at uni? Second.

Studying? Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies.

  1. What level of interest do you have in politics?

None at all     very low level    moderate level     high level      extreme interest and understanding

  1. What level of knowledge do you have about politics?

None at all     very low level    moderate level     high level      extreme interest and understanding


  1. a) Do you support a political party? If so, which one? No I do not support any
  2. b) What or who lead you to support this party?
  1. A) Do ideas presented in the media influence your political persuasion or lack-there-of? Yes
  2. b) If so, what media channels or programs present these ideas? I watch QandA every Monday on ABC and I am constantly reading different forms of newspapers from different publishers.
  1. Do you seek out the comedic political stories more often than formal information?

Yes No          Sometimes

  1. Do you believe that media can influence your political view?

Yes No          Sometimes

  1. Rate your media consumption level on a scale of 1 to 10? (1 being ‘very little’, 10 being ‘an excessive amount’)

1        2        3       4      5      6      7      8      9      10

  1. Through which channel do you primarily access media related to news or current events?

Print         Radio            Digital (including via mobile, PC devices, aps etc.)             Television

  1. Which stations, channels or publications do you generally seek out? I don’t ‘seek out’ any channels but rather just look at what is available and easily accessible at the time.

              Can you describe the content and style/genre of these programmes?

  1. Do you generally seek out news programs that focus on straight news or have an entertainment value? Why? Depending on how I feel, but I do sometimes enjoy a bit of entertainment. It’s a nice break as politics can be quite dry at times.
  1. To what extent does political satire/comedy inform you about current political events and ideas? (1 being ‘not at all’ 10 being ‘informs all your knowledge’)

1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10

My hypothesis for this interview was that ‘University students prefer to consume political satire rather than traditional forms of political informative media. To what extent does mediated political satire/comedy effect the political opinions of university students?’ By this one interview I can see that university students do tend to consume the political satire which is present in all forms of media, though, this interview shows that she is not completely overruled in these views and has the ability to make her own informed decisions in regards to politics.

These questions are the questions which are the final ones for assessment two and I decided to do these as a good way to practise and trial these to see what needs work. Overall they worked fantastically. I believe that the interviewee responded quite well and gave honest answers which were thought about before answering.

Though there is room for improvement, this includes; the layout of the questions and having an open ended question or two involved about why they chose the particular stations/media platforms.

Also I was deciding whether or not to include a visual aid with the questionnaire and this trial has confirmed for me that yes, I should have one, so for assessment two I am including a small picture of a satirical cartoon and it is being contrasted with a small informal piece from a blog or similar source. I believe this with provide a deeper understanding of the questions being asked in the interview.

Overall the interview experience will be marked as a success and I have gained valuable feedback which will help me in my upcoming task.

Why Ethics?

Ethics is extremely important when it comes to media research and this video I have produced shows questions and answers on why it is.

The links below are there to help you with further understanding of my video on ethics in the media.

What is Media Research?

Media research… what is it?

Is it what journalists do? Is it what TV programs like A Current Affair and 60 minutes represent? Or is it much more?
To many people media research is a multidisciplinary area it ranges from almost anything to everything… Manga to comics, pop to rock and anything else in between. No doubt many people hear the words ‘media research’ strung together and they think of something completely different, like the earlier examples.
Media research according to the Business Dictionary is a ‘survey conducted to investigate what segment of consumers read which periodicals and/or listen to or watch which radio or television programs.’ So really any form of media which can be surveyed falls under the media research category.
Though one question that is most commonly asked is… Why is it important? This is a simple answer, if producers, companies and artists don’t know how large their audience is and how appropriate they are, how will they get any revenue? It all comes down to the dollars.
To a more personal approach. If I had a choice of any aspect of the media to research, I would probably have to go down a musical path but I would add a psychological aspect and research the amount of people who determine what they listen to [genre of music] by the mood that they’re in. a personal example of this is that if I am in a happy or laid back mood, I tend to prefer to listen to jazz, sooth or pop. If my mood is flipped I will generally listen to rock and alternative music. Yes I have those days where I am in no particular mood but I will listen to many genres including; pop, rock, smooth jazz even country. I have always wondered whether this was just me being strange and needing a certain tone of music to suit my mood or whether many others do this also. I would possibly go even deeper and see whether or not others even have a large array of genres that they listen too or just a select few.
How one perceives music and how they respond to certain genres and songs in particular is a highly intimate experience. Just like the old saying for hoarders ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ can be applied to how incredibly different each person views a song, artist or genre.
This particular form of media research for my investigation I believe would be interesting and provide some unique statistics and conclusions about the hypothesis.

What’s Hidden? In Nursing.

Nursing: One of the most challenging occupations. The toll it can take on the men and women working in this field, physically, socially and emotionally for many can sometimes be completely overwhelming.
As Jan Miller, a nurse for 28 years, working in Palliative Care for 8 of those says, ‘It really depends on the person and their personality, it takes someone special’. For those working in this ward or an area such as the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Ward like Nicole Chapman, a nurse for 20 years, it is easy to understand when she says, ‘having an outlet is really important’.
One thing that many people don’t understand is the strength which is needed sometimes by the nurses for themselves, the sick and their families. In other words, ‘what’s hidden’ is the emotional and mental strength which is needed, and the impact which such a demanding job has on the nurse and their loved ones.
Sacrifices such as missing out on holidays and special occasions due to shift work to trying to find a balance between work and a healthy social life are all but too common within the nursing profession. Nursing has been continually circulating the news in both the issues with the lack of resources and the continual pressure at their jobs to take on more patients and shifts.
Being able to take a closer look into the life of experienced nurses it has allowed a broader understanding about what exactly they do and how, especially in wards such as Brain Injury and Palliative Care, they cope with the constant turnaround of patients due to others moving areas or much of the time, by them passing away.
Death, as explained by Nicole is ‘very confronting’ but one thing that is agreed upon by both of these women are the fact that the best nurses can build barriers between them and their lives compared to the patients which they care for. Even if they can form a relationship with the patient, it is seen as a friendship rather than a ‘relationship’ or closeness to that person. Getting to know these nurses had opened up the way in which I see the medical professionals, the different types of men and women who work there and the strength which they need both physically and mentally to provide immaculate care and support for the ill and injured.

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