Recent Comments

February 23, 2017 - 21:34

Higher educational institutions and those that make up the academic community are charged with promoting an open, inclusive environment for critical thinking, reflection and conversation with all students. As humanists, academia should promote higher learning and understanding of other ideas and people, and uphold humanity above all else. As such, varying viewpoints and perspectives should be considered, except for those that promote inhumanity. By definition, activism consists of efforts to improve society through humanity, treating all people humanely with common decency and respect. Conflating extreme ideological alt right views with activism is incorrect, because extreme views such as Peterson’s do not embody humanity, and denigrate and objectify a segment of people. He has a right to his personal opinion, but the University of Toronto, by extension, is complicit by continuing to employ him. Just as many have boycotted companies that support inhumanity, so too should they boycott the University of Toronto. There should be no place in an academic setting for false “activist” rhetoric. All universities have an obligation to provide safe environs where all students can pursue higher learning without fear of being served up for someone’s egotistical agenda.

February 22, 2017 - 16:30

Right now our political climate is one that is inhabited by many who lack knowledge and resists anyone who tries to enlighten them. It is the duty of scholars to ensure that their work reaches the masses, and I wholeheartedly agree that we are in an urgent need for scholars to become a part of important conversations, especially in terms of politics. It is also important to focus on rising scholars as well and determine how to mold higher level academic programs in order to train graduates to be flexible in their roles (both in and out of the classroom). As a scholar, you should possess the skills to effectively converse with other scholars while teaching those who may be ignorant to the history/particulars of the subject. There should be more emphasis placed on research versus opinion and universities need to assess more innovative ways to recognize the work of scholars in hopes of inspiring rising scholars. America is in a sort of influential space right now because of high levels of uncertainty with our current government, and I believe this is a pivotal time for scholars to speak out in order to reach broad audiences. “Institutions may not recognize that work, but especially in the current political climate, when our research and writing has the potential to influence policy, public opinion, and more, there is much more at stake than simply tenure.”

February 21, 2017 - 17:03

These documentaries and such are an amazing way for this institution to achieve their goals of, " beginning to build connections between Rutgers students and community-based organizations in the region." I think it shines a new light to these communities because this post is very accurate on how they have been consistently underserved by local journalism. By doing this the students are really making a difference rather than just doing typical school work that may not get anywhere. With this project they learn a hands on method and approach to, "report on issues of poverty and inequality (often hidden from view), while building relationships with community based groups that are comprised of, or work in, disenfranchised communities." This is very important in a community rather than being hidden away without a voice. The questions that are asked of the participants for the documentary is also very intriguing and I just love this project because I love seeing how these people finally have a voice. The only thing is that I wish these documentary were more popular and widespread so that these voices are heard rather than just being voices. The six best practices could really work for  a lot of other areas because traits such as perspective, respect, accuracy, visibility, agency, and community are all very important in sharing, writing, or recording a story or anything else. 

February 21, 2017 - 16:57

NJ Spark is a great example of what public educators have understood as Project Based Learning. Essentially, students examine a problem within a particular context and identify and work through solutions. NJ Spark is allowing students to do impactful work that is also a part of their educational practices at the university. This allows students to learn by doing and truly ascertain whether or not a particular industry or field is of interest to them in the long term. Additionally, students are making an impact as opposed to theorizing about it in lecture halls. More schools could adopt this type of methodology and create unique opportunities for students to interact with their communities while learning about local governments, media outlets, public relations work, marketing, organizing, outreach, and so on. 

February 21, 2017 - 00:27

I appreciate how this idea of community is discussed in these responses. There has also been a theme of responsibility amongst previous post and I gain a sense of that here. As media scholars there is the ability of spreading knowledge, creating objectives in making a difference, and establishing new thought systems. When allowing for a collaborative experience, working together to shift how we approach subjects allows for so many possibilities to open. There is much to conquer and think about in addressing this paradigm shift in media/digial studies. There are still social barriers and injustices that cannot be ignored. How do these communities get created and how/does research fully prove useful when stipulation and obstacles continue to stand in the way? However, unlike past societal structures we can approach these topics and allow for more inclusion. As my peer Lily wrote, we most should not separate ourselves from the commons. We should allow this shift to create opportunities to share, nurture, and experience new potential.

February 20, 2017 - 23:41

It is interesting to compare the paradigm shift of publics during the feudal times that Habermas wrote about with the current paradigm shift of publics/spaces now being moved to a digital realm. It is imperative that we as digital media scholars avoid trying to find ways to differentiate ourselves from the commons but instead foster all ideas and thoughts as equal and important. Habermas wrote about how initially, the commons were a place for the bourgeois to come together and share their thoughts, we must not make the same differentiate as to equate the educated media scholars as the bourgeois and the commons as simply the audience. All life experiences are equal. I agree with Ms. Gardner's sentiments about "identifying ethical practices that enable access and diverse voices to these spaces and agonistic work within them". It is key for digital media scholars to seek out spaces where a diverse set of voices can be heard and can bring light to new trains of thoughts and ideas. 

February 17, 2017 - 23:08

The author of this piece explains about her experience about journalism and documenting protests. She asserts that documenting is a great tool to disseminate individual dissatisfaction in the large scale, and to reveal an ongoing hidden reality. I definitely agree with she as we faced several political and historical examples in the past. One of the most important ones was Rwanda when the government oppress social movement inside the country, but people sent their voice across the borders by documenting some specific moments of protest. A more interesting example is the example of the US and Trump’s Muslim ban executive order.  Activists, journalists, and even ordinary people who went to March created several documents and some clips which later disseminate at the global level and whole worlds heard the dissatisfaction of at least 50 percent of American.

On the other hand, the author believes that this kind of activism has its own limitations. Because these it caused many critiques and analyze on the TV and other broadcasts which are able to affect the protest itself by analyzing it negatively and misleading individuals. I agree with this part also. Because a minority of powerful actors in the Capitalist’s age really manipulate our mind and deceive us. 

February 17, 2017 - 18:16

As a participant in the Women's March locally as well as on-campus protests of trump's Muslim ban, I have engaged in multiple conversations about the value of protesting to those who consider it a whole lot of noise with no tangible return. Some would argue that protests, boycotts, sit-ins and like activists activities only annoy people who may already be in opposition to your cause, therefore further inciting their opposing viewpoint. I disagree, and believe that all activism is valuable on micro an macro levels. Some people cannot afford to participate in activities that could result in their arrest perhaps because of they type of job they have or if they have children; some people don't have the educational resources to know how to write a member of legislature to express their views; others may be in probation or parole and cannot afford another run in with the law. Whatever the case may be, people have to be able to express their dissent where they are at, while also supporting and appreciating those that are able or willing to take their activism up a notch.

The following quote from your post stood out to me: "Resistance work on our campuses provides the added benefit of allowing us to escape the random, expressive, episodic, tourism and to instead commit to longer sustained strategic campaigns that can move beyond awareness building to other kinds of long-term institutional changes." While I fully stand by my previous comments, I have often wondered how we can continue to raise awareness while also facilitating actual change. What tactics do we employ to start escalating movements in ways that create opportunities for change? 

February 17, 2017 - 00:15

It is difficult in the current times to tell a harmless joke because it seems inevitable that someone/some group will be offended by it. Even worse we are in a digital age where it seems natural to want to share views and jokes on social media platforms with those in our network and the public. The online situation with Professor Ciccariello-Maher reminds me of a similar in person situation with Dr. Click at the University of Missouri where a short moment was taken out of context and her support of a liberal view resulted in her losing her job. The problem, I think, with those in academic fields engaging with the masses is professors like Ciccariello-Maher and Click are seen as a representation of an entire university/institution as opposed to one single person having an opinion or doing an action. Lots of people have told jokes that are in poor taste. That does not mean they don’t deserve to be able to earn a living. We are just in an era where a main way to communicate with others is online with a bigger audience or when you do something in person that people do not disagree with you can be caught on camera and out of context. Unlike previously where a joke in bad taste would just be heard by the few people in your vicinity, and you would just be scoffed at and everyone move on. Yes, many digital communication scholars are liberal but that does not mean all are so the group that are liberal are no means a representation of all and definitely not a representation of an entire university. Though universities do need to have some accountability of their faculty and staff, it should not lead to digital media scholars having to stifle their thoughts/opinions/actions/jokes when engaging with others in fear of coming off “too liberal” and losing their job.

February 16, 2017 - 21:43

Although I understand the satire of Ciccariello-Maher’s tweet, taken in context with the rhetoric from Trump and his supporters, it seems to be a case of bad taste because of timing. I’m not religious or conservative, but common sense would dictate the timing of release was questionable. Having said that, I do think that Academics need to unite and mobilize collective action that negates the notion that critically engaged, thinking, diverse, open and inclusive environments are somehow bad. I reject the notion that being “politically correct” is a bad thing and am tired of the far right making it seem so. Academics believe that intellectual rigor demands consideration of multiple viewpoints and perspectives, and is much more “correct” than not. The far right community is the myopic one, by thinking the opposite and often claiming some measure of the moral high ground. Academics must NOT retreat in fear of retribution, but rather provoke critical conversations across many communities, including digital ones. Not only must Academics lend their voices to forums such as this, but it critically important to meet other communities where they are at, including social media and conservative media outlets. Academics can’t do that comfortably unless they have the full support of upper administration, senior leadership, and board members — in fact, they should be the ones leading the charge. Yes, some Academics live in an ivory tower, but the pursuit of knowledge and to critically examine the world around us is worth defending in all ways possible.