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What is your Niche?

People today are always connected to media, to what is happening in the world.  Many people view news and information in a way that is tailored to their interests and needs, they find their virtual niche.  This is how they interact on the web as well as find out information they need to know; and the media is well aware of it.  They use these interests to pull us in to other things that may interest you, according to Ken Doctor’s Newsonomics, “For media companies, it’s a happy coincidence that niche audience interests match up well with targeted advertising.” For them it is easy, because usually birds of a feather tend to flock together. I know personally I use Twitter and other social networking sites to not only socialize but to keep up with news and other media; this medium is one that is popular with people around the same age group as myself and companies are using this to reach more viewers with different niches.

What drew me to this topic originally was the discussion in class about how we all have a niche and some people do not even realize it; this made me want to delve further into the ideas of the digital niches that each of us belong to.  I believe it is important for us to realize and examine this idea that media producers fit us all into these little molds expecting us to jump at the bit when anything new that would catch our attention is presented.  It is important to be able to sit back and think about whether that advertisement really does apply to you or do you just think so because it is being advertised to you? This is something the society should be conscious of and why I believe it is a good discussion topic.

Many of these sites are not even news related, they are just branched off of bigger corporations including news media.  Many audiences that have been targeted in the past are now absorbing information in a timelier fashion due to the digital age of news and information, making these sites even more of an asset to an advertiser or news media company.  According to Marsha Friedman in her article, “How to Reach Your Niche Market through Mass Media,”  “the trick is figuring out what aspect of your…message appeals to consumers, and then building your… message into a pitch for a print story or radio or TV interviews that puts the consumers first.”  The media is figuring out what sells to who and are selling like crazy in niche markets.

A web-based Niche News site are, “not the mass-media sites of metro newspapers, magazines, television or radio news. However, Web-based/Web-first niche sites started by traditional media organizations (e.g., Gannett’s MomsLikeMe and Lawrence Journal-World’s Lawrence.com or KUSports)”  according to Jane Stevens from the University of Missouri.  Niche markets are ones targeted at specific people, ad’s that people who like one product or news site will probably like.  For example I use Facebook and Twitter as stated earlier and I see advertisements that are targeted at me every day.  The photo below is an actual photo of my Facebook page, with advertisements targeted at me included.

I believe this is important for consumers to realize because people need to be aware when they are being sold to otherwise the media moguls win.

The main purpose for our project is to make third and or fourth graders aware of product placement in advertisements. More specifically, we hope to teach them how to not only recognize ads, but also analyze and interpret them. It is very important for children to understand why and how they are being advertised to. In our presentation, we would like to discuss with the kids how their product familiarity affects what their parents purchase. We would also like to point out that many times, kids want what they cannot have. Some products advertised to kids are inappropriate for their viewing, yet they are the ones who are being targeted for purchasing these products. There is only so much parents and teachers can do, which is why we must educate children on product placement in advertisements.

Powerpoint

We Will Never Know…

As many news consumers know newspapers are on the decline and digital news is the next generation. The downside to newspapers being in decline is the loss of jobs for many reporters and many stories from all over the world are going untold. What originally drew me to this idea was the thought of so many stories going untold, that could be covered if newspapers were continuing to print. According to Business Insider, in 2009 10,000 newspaper jobs were lost and 105 newspapers stopped printing. This is a huge issue because the three or four stories that each of those reporters who lost their jobs were going to be publish will now never be heard.

This is important to society because although we are able to access any type of information on the Internet that may spark our interest, there may be other stories that could have sparked a reader’s interest; but since that reporter lost their job that story will never be able to be consumed in the news world. This is targeted at society as a whole, everyone in one way or another, is consuming news, it is difficult to not know what is going on with all of the news technology available. But with all the technology in the world, it does not help gather more stories because there are less people out in the news work force out getting the news.

There are many newspapers that have stopped printing in the past few years and there are at least 10 major newspapers at risk of closing down. According to Time Magazine, “24/7 Wall St. has created a list of the 10 major daily papers that are most likely to fold or shutter their print operations and only publish online…Based on this analysis, it’s possible that 8 of the nation’s 50 largest daily newspapers could cease publication in the next 18 months.” I believe that the public is aware of the decline in old fashioned news but not of the extent of the decline in newspaper sales; the general public is more concerned with getting the news they want than news they may be missing out on.

This relates to class because Ken Doctor presents this same idea in his text, “Newsonomics, Twelve New Trends That Will Shape The News You Get.” The decline of the newspaper industry has caused thousands of journalists and writers to lose their jobs and millions of stories going unwritten. Doctor states in his text, “Let’s take Laura Frank’s quick list of three stories done by four reporters on one day…Let’s starts with the number 8,300, the official number of newsroom jobs cut in 2007-2008, according to the American Society of News Editors. Now let’s say two-thirds – 5,520 – of those positions (reporting and editing) helping to produce 150 stories a year. That’s 828,000 stories a year. Each year. Neither written nor read.” That is thousands of stories that could possibly be breaking news every year that are never recording and told to the public.  This is making it so viewer’s news spectrum are even more narrow, not only do they pick whatever interests just them, but just things that interest them that are published; who knows what else could have been written.  With the lack of journalists and decline in printed newspapers many people may never know what they ever missed out on.

.COM or R.I.P?

If you were to ask the everyday average person where they get their news from where do you think one of the most popular answers would be? The Internet.  The Internet is the third most popular form of receiving news, following local and national televised news broadcasts, and being followed by national and local print newspapers and radio news according to the article, Understanding the Participatory News Consumer.  I know at least within my own peer group many of us not only get the majority of our news from internet sources, we also have these links or applications that we can access from our mobile phones as well; the news is becoming something much more digital, the Internet is taking over print news.

What originally drew me to this topic was that I find it so interesting that instead of picking up the morning paper and reading the news then and probably seeing the news in the evening on the television we are able to access all sorts of news, any kind to our interest at any time.  I believe this could be something that would be of interest to others especially those getting into the journalism field.  This topic is something that has come about within the last few years and a lot of people may not even know that newspapers and print media are becoming fewer and fewer.  This may or may not have an impact on journalists and rising journalists, making the news more accessible could provide more opportunities for people to write and get their stories out there; but according to Newsonomics by Ken Doctor, many newspaper companies have cut their staff huge amounts even if they are reporting the same amount of news; in order to keep pace with on-line news sources they have to cut costs as well.  To keep up with the upcoming generations preferences for news consumption, they have to cut costs and keep in mind, “The percentage of people younger than 30 citing television as a main news source has declined from 68% in September 2007 to 59% currently” according to the Pew Research Center, that the digital media of choice is going to overwhelmingly be the internet in a few years.

This is a topic that we first discussed at the very beginning of our news segment, discussing the different way in which our peer group gets our news.  This relates to the book we have been reading Newonomics by Ken Doctor, in the book Doctor discusses how print media is becoming a thing of the past, that digital news is the way in which news media is headed quickly, and print news is quickly declining.  What links my topic and our class topics is that it is one that we discussed from our readings by Doctor.

Hopefully readers will take away the message that print media is news of the past and many people are going to have to become more digital savvy if they intend on keeping up with the most breaking news.

In our critical issue presentation we did a project on product placement and focused on product placement in movies.  We started off discussing what advertisements, brands, and product placement are.  Next we did an activity that had the audience write what kinds of product placement they see on a hand out that we provide.  Following the activity we are going to discuss pseudo-product placement, and how children can me more media literate.  We included many activities and clips throughout this presentation.

Product placement is very prevalent in media aimed at children.  Advertisers know that children are easily influenced and easily swayed if they see a certain product in a program or movie that they like or interested in.  Growing up Mean Girls was one of my favorite movies, although this movie is aimed at an older target audience, the idea of product placement is still the same.  In Mean Girls there are many examples of product placement, I never noticed it before I really watched the movie.  While watching I noticed 28 products that were visible in the movie, when I Googled the answer research found there were 36 products according to brandchannel.com.   The ones that I found to be the most prevalent were the food products when students were eating in the cafeteria, brands such as Coca-Cola, Doritos, Sprite, and S. Perrier were displayed in many screen shots; I saw eight product placements in the trailer for Mean Girls alone.

What drew me to this topic originally was the idea of products showing up in popular movies for tweens and teen girls.  This is important to be conscious of because of how influential these movies and the products in them represent.  The products such as Lexus and Louise Vuitton are high-end products that these girls more than likely cannot afford on their own, and these movies are setting the precedent that these expensive things are the most important thing to own to be considered, “cool.”  I believe this topic is important to society because these movies influence how young girls view themselves and how they view the world based on what products that people have.  These items should not determine how these girls view others, especially at this young of an age.  Based on the sources that I researched they have said that product placement does influence how young consumers choose their products.  An article from MediaPost News states that parents that are most influenced by their children when purchasing items are more likely to notice ad’s in other media and use this as factor for how they pick what type of food they wish to eat or what type of jeans they want to wear.

This relates to our class because it this movie is another example of how the media can change a person’s perspective about themselves, young girls especially.  If “t-ween” girls are seeing movies such as these with all this emphasis on high-end products and how important expensive things are then this  could possibly change how they view themselves and others. In the article we read, “Damsels in Discourse” by Karen E. Wohlwend the young girls characterize themselves in comparison to the Disney Princesses they idolize; the way they see the dolls is also how they identify with themselves.  This idea is applicable to Mean Girls and just an older age range of girls, they may not be super young but they do still have things that they see that influence them and influence how they see themselves.  The products that girls are seeing in Mean Girls are products that they feel as though they need to fit in, to be part of the cooler scene, even if they are not capable of affording such luxury items but still want them because of their status factor.

This idea and the ideas that girls are getting from this movie and others like it are important because it really influences how young girls view the world, if they are being taught through the media that having these expensive things is the only thing that makes you important, it is something that people should be concerned about. Concerned that girls younger and younger are becoming more of consumers than ever before and that people need to be conscious of how young these girls are “growing up” and being influenced by the idea that these products are the most important factor.

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Children as consumers is a market that is growing every day, companies spend a lot of time, energy, and money looking into what kids think is cool, what kids are going to want to buy or influence their parents to buy.  Even coming from someone who is not in the age range that these ads are targeting I can still see its influence in day to day life. For example Christmas was only a few months back and I observed my younger cousins and their new toys that they had just received, my young cousin in the 3rd grade, wanted Hannah Montana everything, if it didn’t have Hannah Montana on it, she did not want it. Same with another one of my cousins who is even younger, not even in pre-school yet exhibiting these wants, she loved her new Zhu-Zhu Pet slippers, even though she had never really shown an interest in slippers before, because these were Zhu-Zhu Pet slippers they were something she needed to have.

This really got me thinking that it was kind of crazy to think that children as young as a preschooler was noticing the difference in these products, and that it is already influencing them so much.  According to the documentary we watched, Consuming Kids, kids spend or influence their parents to spend around $740 billion every year, that is a lot of money coming from kids, that’s also a lot of money going into companies to fund more advertising targeting children.  I think this should be something that people take into consideration when exposing their children to media images, not saying that children should be hidden away and not exposed to the media because unless you live in a cave somewhere, that is almost impossible, but just the idea of kids as young as four having a preference of slippers based on a stuffed hamster pet is a little crazy. If kids are so easily persuaded by the media, how easily will they be persuaded on other things later in life? According an article on Globalissues.org, research done by the American Psychological Association stated that, “children under that age of eight are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and are prone to accept advertiser messages as truthful, accurate, and unbiased.”  Meaning that children pretty much believe anything they hear or see making advertiser’s jobs easy and parent’s job harder.

This idea connects to the ideas about children as consumers that we went over in class as well as Sandra L. Calvert’s reading, Children as Consumers: Advertising and Marketing, the reading explains that even though  children have been exposed to advertising for a long time only recently have they have the money and the influence to buy as many products.  Another idea that was expressed in Calvert’s reading was that children have excess exposure to the television and internet and that also influence how much advertising affects them. The ideas that relate to this in our class lecture was how advertisers use different techniques to draw children in and make it so their product is appealing to their audience, the idea that advertisers made Zhu-Zhu Pets so prevalent in ad’s and made them so appealing, now anything involving or that has a Zhu-Zhu Pet is another accessory the company gets to sell, and a happy child gets to add to their collection.

Going through these readings and using real life examples to connect these ideas really helped me see that advertisers really have the right idea even if it isn’t the healthiest one for children, they have figured out how to make a fortune.  I think it is important for people to understand how influential media and advertising is, if not they may not notice how it is influencing them, and especially children.  In the future, far in the future I really want to be conscious of them with my children and make sure they understand advertising and how it works.

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Super Bowl!

During the 2011 Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the commercial that I found to be most amusing and cleaver was the Bridgestone Tire commercial where a man was driving down a road and swerves to miss a beaver in the road then proceeding to drive over a bridge, six months later this same man is driving down this same road in a terrible storm and right before he crossed the bridge a tree falls across the road.  When the man stops and gets out of the car to assess the situation he sees that the beaver cut down the tree intentionally to stop the man from crossing the bridge which was swept away in the storm and no longer intact, therefore saving his life just like the man had saved the beaver by swerving to avoid him. The ad was created by and for Bridgestone Tires.  I believed that the target audience of this ad was middle-aged white men with an average, normal profession, who cares about his safety and his car.  It also targets those audiences who support animal rights and the green movement.  My conclusion about the ad was that it was sending the message of what goes around comes around, basically the idea of karma, which happens to be the name of the commercial, “Carma.”  The man saved the beaver and the beaver returned the favor.

The tools of persuasion that Bridgestone used in this commercial were humor, intensity, and plain folks.  They use humor by incorporating the beaver and how it seems to acknowledge the kindness of the man driving, the idea of a beaver “pounding it” to acknowledge this man is quite amusing. The also play off humor with the name of the commercial being, “Carma”, karma but about a car.  Intensity is used because the tag line of the commercial states, “for drivers who want to get the most out of their cars, its Bridgestone or nothing” for drivers who want to get the most this term makes their product seem like the best product for the consumers car.   They also use plain-folks because this middle-aged man is pretty average and ordinary, he seems like he is just like us; he just get’s lucky with his beaver encounter.  I did not really see the negative message that was shown in this commercial but the positive message is again the theme of karma, what goes around comes around.  The groups that I would say that this commercial empowers are those people who use or plan to use Bridgestone Tires, people who would be dis empowered would be those consumers who do not use Bridgestone Tires, the only thing we don’t really know about this ad is why the consumer purchased Bridgestone in the first place, why was that his choice of tire?  Overall though this commercial sent a very effective message in a humorous manner.

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Practice Post

from Flickr

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From YouTube 

I chose these the image of the trees because it reminded me of the spring which I am really looking forward to and the YouTube video is just hilarious (:

About Me

My name is Rebecca Parker I am a junior Communications major with a concentration in Public Relations, I attend Longwood University and grew up in Northern Virginia.  I work at the YMCA in Farmville as a coach and lifeguard. I have also attended meetings to both the PR and Communications Clubs and plan on getting more involved in both.  I am a fast learner and want to use the knowledge I have gained at Longwood to get a job as an event planner.

A media/ popular culture artifact that was important to me was probably also important to others in the class, Pokémon.  In elementary school those 150 cards was way more important that learning times tables, everyone had them and everyone wanted to trade, play, and battle them.  During this time period it was Pokémon everything, from sweatshirts, to videogames, to birthday parties.  It was important to me because I loved collecting them just as much as every third grader, if you didn’t have Pokémon cards, recess was trouble; at one point they were even banned at my elementary school.  Pokémon determined relationships with others because if people didn’t have a card you wanted or something of the nature you were probably less inclined to hang out with them, usually trading within smaller friend groups.  My parents did think it was a distraction from school, sometimes prohibiting me from doing anything Pokémon until my other responsibilities were completed and I was not allowed to take them to school as much either, but they threw me the necessary Pokémon birthday party.  My friends loved it as much as I did, and our teachers hated it. Looking back it was a little silly but it was a huge part of my childhood growing up.