The transformative power of media events

5 Mar

When I first caught a glimpse of the title of the course Advanced Media Issues I thought that it would strictly focus on the media and everything that revolves around the media. I did not think that it would look at broader themes or topics that one would not typically associate with the media. However, this view began to change when I attended the first lecture and then started reading the course outline. I started to realise that concepts like culture, society, memory, ecologies as well as many others were going to be explored. This completely transformed my view of the course and I feel tentatively motivated to do my own independent research so that I can start developing my own original ideas. This could have an impact on how I see the media, society and life in general.

Before I get too ahead of myself I would like to look at the concept of media events, which was discussed in the lecture. What I found particularly interesting about this discussion is how the media links in with society and culture; they have this semiotic relationship, which I had never looked closely at before. For example, when we look at media events what we are essentially observing is the cultural and social changes that have taken place and have been reinterpreted through the vast forms of media. So there is this continual cycle going on which I think was perfectly demonstrated by the mind map that was shown in the early part of the lecture: what we think—media/technological event—practices with media and communication—culture and society (Murphie, 2012). What is primarily evident here is that each element is feeding of each other and the result is truly transformative.

The potential of this is seen in the concept of the Weird Global Media Event which is an event that breaks out of the conventional relationships like politics or economics, has a global reach and can penetrate different cultures (Murphie, 2012). An example of this that I found was the Chinese TV show called “Interviews Before Executionwhich interviews death row prisoners before their sentences are carried out. It is meant to deter criminals but the viewers who watch this show have created their own meanings from it. As its popularity has increased universal themes like money, jealousy and sex have been extracted from the show (Anon., 2012). Also, people have started to change their perceptions of prisoners and the death penalty. The reason why I think it is a global event is because this story has spread to the international media and is changing the perceptions people have of society, culture, penal system and other established institutions. In sum it has truly become a transformative event.

Link to the original Daily Mail article


1) Murphie, A. (2012) ARTS3091 – Intro. [online]. UNSW. Available at: [Accessed 4 March 2012].

2) Anon, (2012) TV Show that interviews death row prisoners a hit in China. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 March 2012].

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