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journalism

Photo: Esther Vargas; Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
 

 Young journalists at work 

 

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, not only Europe but the whole world was suddenly reawakened to the power of the media in shaping views and forming opinions. Newspapers and magazines as carriers of new information have the privilege (and curse) to stir emotions. This is all the more true for media that are intended for a youthful audience. E&M author Petya Yankova tells us more about a project she participated in, which focused on how European media represent certain social groups and depict young Europeans as well as on the engagement of young people in Europe with the media.

 

The main responsibility of the media is to provide a full and impartial overview which is only possible through the diversity of its producers painting a picture as multifaceted and therefore as complete as possible. However, this does not seem to be the case for European media, which is why in 2013 the European Union and the Council of Europe joined forces to develop and implement a training programme for journalists, educators and media managers aimed at improving media quality by promoting an inclusive intercultural approach to news production: Media in Europe for Diversity Inclusiveness (MEDIANE). It offers journalists the chance to pair up with counterparts from another European country and develop a common output on the theme of diversity in media training and literacy, media production and journalism practice.

 

MEDIANE originated from independent research by multiple sources which revealed deplorable under-representation of certain social groups in European media. Women, immigrants, the LGBT community, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities rarely receive their due attention on European news channels, although, statistically, they make up a huge proportion of the population. For example, a 2010 study by the Global Media Monitoring Project has shown that only 24% of the news items in Europe feature women, although they make up half the continent’s population.

Published in Contentious Europe
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 06:58

Gavras taps into the poetics of protest

The recent protests, and especially those of the Occupy movements in numerous American and European cities, have gained a vast presence in the media and in many cases popularised radical alternatives to the current democratic system. This process brought back situationist initiatives such as the 90's "Reclaim the Streets" that were envisioned as a model for the contemporary manifestations. Along with the protesters' demands came symbols of civil disobedience, such as Guy Fawkes masks, a human microphone, tents in a cityscape, or the calls simply to "occupy everything." The last of these didn't just remain in the symbolic sphere. Patterns of communication and cooperation that were adopted in the occupied spaces effectively appealed to the public imagination and thus formed a "poetics of protest."

Tapping into the feel of these movements, Jay-Z and Kanye West released a video for their song "No Church In The Wild" last May. The video was directed by a young Greek, Romain Gavras, who is known for his violent yet elegant aesthetics, a coldly tinted imagery and daring narrative themes. This time, Gavras had a go at the spectacle of a riot scene.

The video quite clearly strikes the viewer as glamorous. When a protester lights up a Molotov cocktail in the opening sequence, it is difficult to resist an association with French New Wave cinema chic. On a fiercer note, for Salon's Natasha Lennard the video is unmistakably "riot porn," "capturing particularly dramatic riot scenes - the sort with fire, tear gas, charging police horses, careening masked crowds and, often, a hardcore backing track." "Riot porn" might also earn its name because it shows scenes of passion staged especially for the camera. Indeed, the video's striking beauty is disturbing and alarming when we realise the familiarity of the images and our consent to watching them paired with some rather decadent rap.

Jay Z & Kanye West "No church in the wild" (dir. ROMAIN-GAVRAS, available on Vimeo.)

Published in Cafe Cinema
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