ARTS2090 Wk4: Assemblage & Actor-Network Theory (ANT) March 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Winnie Ho @ 12:24 pm
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With the broad spectrum of media and publishing that is undergoing changes, a single simple theoretical framework to cover it all is just impossible.

Theories not only attempt to analyse and rationalise, they may also evoke influences to the actual subject matter itself. Previously in Year 1 media courses, the focus in media theory tends to be more on the social side, i.e. how media is present in our everyday lives and how do we be ‘media literate’. Nevertheless, both assemblage theory (Manuel De Landa) and actor-network theory (Bruno Latour) embody both society and technologies, which frames media into conceptual models and picking apart what really makes up the mediascape.

These two broad complex theories allows us pin down some core elements, human/non-human actants and relations within the mediascape (the system or network). What I cannot quite resolve is that assemblage theory states that there are assemblages within assemblages and assemblages made of other assemblages; yet, actor-network theory rejects divides of networks, meaning that there are no external forces, elements or relations that affect the internal continuation of the network. Another problem with the actor-network theory:  it theorises all actants in the network to be equal and engaging with other actants in reliance with relations. Even in the most neoliberal modes of publishing, there may not be a clear-cut top-down hierarchy but still exists prioritising the importance of various actants, in addition to interactions with other modes of publishing. Thus, I am not entirely convinced with using the actor-network theory as a theoretical framework for structures in media.

Winnie Ho (3292568)


‘Actor Network Theory’, Wikipedia, <>

‘Actor Network Rochambeau’, any-space-whatever blog, <>, November 14, 2010

‘A New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity’, Wikipedia, <>


ARTS2090 Wk 3: Reflections on different modes of publishing March 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Winnie Ho @ 12:16 pm
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Out of this week’s readings for this course, two links were particularly intriguing: one being a YouTube video called ‘How to report the news’ by Charlie Brooker, the other was a blog post on Chris Clarke’s blog Coyote Crossing called ‘This is the title of a typical incendiary blog post’. Both of these published material attempt to capture the stringent nature of a specific media form in a satirical nature while confining within the limits of that media form. With media convergence and publishing in a transitional period, one would assume that the boundaries of different media forms are increasingly becoming blurred and mashed up together; yet, those two examples prove us wrong when we see how stereotypically accurate they are. Of course there are publishers that try to leap out of the typical structure of a media form, but I believe that it is the different limitations and formats of various modes of publishing allows for the distinction in how information, data and content is presented to the publics.

Let me take news journalism as an example. There are now so many ways in which you can access news, and the various tools and forms of publishing news modifies the settings, perspectives, styles and themes communicated to the target audience. For me, I usually first browse through daily news headlines by going through twitter feed links posted by news outlets during the day – these tweets of news contain nothing more than a news headline (possibly a tagline as well) and a link to the online version of a news article. If a news headline on Twitter gains my interest, I will proceed to click on the link and read through the online version of the news article. If I still want to find out more, I will try to search online for the same topic or event covered by other news outlets. Lastly, to gain very in-depth insight into the issue, I will look for printed newspaper articles and television news. Different modes of publishing on the same area are complimentary to each other and the distinctions in them serve as a regulatory force in allowing society to function and develop fully like branches growing from a central tree trunk.

Winnie Ho (3292568)


Brooker, Charlie (2010) ‘How to report the news’, YouTube, <>

Carr, David (2010) ‘Dialing in a Plan: The Times Installs a Meter on Its Future’, The New York Times, January 20, < meter-on-its-future/>

Busfield, Steve (2010) ‘Guardian editor hits back at paywalls’, The Guardian, January 25, <>

Clarke, Chris (2010) ‘This is the title of a typical incendiary blog post’, Coyote Crossing, January 24, <>



ARTS2090 Wk 2: Intro to Publics & Publishing March 10, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Winnie Ho @ 11:21 pm
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The power and potential of the original iPad as a new media device is now proven with the very recent announcement of the upcoming iPad 2 release. Tablet computers have existed for at least a decade, but why is the iPad pioneering as a device to transform the already newly changing media-sphere and how society interacts with media? More specifically, how is the iPad changing publishing?

‘Publishing’ simply means to make information for public. A lot of our online activity is publishing, or somewhat related to publishing. Facebook, Twitter, online news, posting your best game score to a leaderboard? All publishing. But what about the more traditional sense of publishing, like books and magazines? The iPad bridges this very gap between new and older ways of publishing. Now people can store hundreds and thousands of e-books in a device, read them on the go, and even remove them from the device with a few touches to the screen; books going from physical to virtual space. Yet, the most crucial part of the iPad revolutionising the way books are read is allowing interactive embedded multimedia in e-books; thus, these ‘books’ are expanded beyond text and still images or illustrations,  functioning very similarly to how different online media forms relate and link with one another.

Book-lovers argue that e-books will not be up to par with the realness of a physical copy of a book; you associate different life stories with them by lending your books to different people, reading bedtime stories to your children, or the visual impact of seeing your physical collection of books. Now with the overwhelming popularity of social networking sites (forms of publishing), there are innovations to make e-reading communal – leaving public notes in e-books, sharing your digital bookshelves with your social networks, etc. While people may be sharing a lot more to a wider audience now, I believe there is still a symbolic distinction amongst reading books, reading e-books, and surfing the Internet; so communal e-reading may take some time to actually be widespread.

With recent technological developments and the changing media landscape, people are having shorter attention spans on reading and are used to filtering media they are not interested in. Will e-books last long as a form of media? Or will they be congregated into a multitude of websites and other online media forms? The future of publishing is unpredictable.

Winnie Ho (3292568)


‘Publishing’, Wikipedia, <>

‘History of Printing’, Wikipedia, <>

‘Open Publishing’, <>

‘Commons’, Wikipedia, <>

Naughton, John (2010) ‘Publishers take note: the iPad is altering the very concept of a ‘book’ The Guardian, December 19, <>

Naughton, John (2009) ‘The original Big Brother is watching you on Amazon Kindle’ The Guardian, July 26, <>

National Public Radio (2010) ‘E-Book Boom Changes Book Selling And Publishing’, December 21, <>

Wortham, Jenna (2010) ‘Social Books Hopes to Make E-Reading Communal’, New York Times, November 11, <>

Kirn, Peter (2010) ‘How a great product can be bad news: Apple iPad and the closed Mac’, Create Digital Music, January 26, < apple-ipad-and-the-closed-mac>

Sims, Judy (2010) ‘Keep the print guys away from the iPod App’, Simsblog, January 28, <>

Bhaskar, Michael (2009) ‘E-books in Africa’, The Digitalist, May 28, <>

Stone, Brad (2009) ‘Looking to Big-Screen E-Readers to Help Save the Daily Press’, The New York Times, May 3, <>

Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘The Future of Reading’, Wired, September 8, <>


MDIA1001: Presentation on Social Gaming August 27, 2009

Filed under: mdia1001 — Winnie Ho @ 5:53 pm

Presentation powerpoint

Social gaming is a very new concept in the mediascape. Emergence of Facebook on the Internet and popularity of mobile devices provide platforms for people to engage in casual gaming based on a social context. Zynga and Playfish are the top two social gaming companies and Facebook application developer. There are annual summits and conferences in which social media companies gather together to discuss the implications of a direction towards creating a virtual economy and virtual goods from social gaming.


ARTS1090: Identify your Identities! May 29, 2009

Filed under: arts1090,T15A — Winnie Ho @ 3:53 pm

During, Simon. “Debating Identity” In Cultural Studies: A Critical Introduction, Routledge: London, 2005, 145-152.




Who is he? I believe almost everyone can immediately recognise him as Barack Obama. What identities are associated with him? The 44th President of the United States of America? A Democrat? A man? Or, an African-American male? A father? In Simon’s During article ‘Debating identity’, he discusses the constitution and implication of identities, as well as the complexity of identity politics. 


The first concept that caught my eye was that ‘identity is won at the price of reducing individuality’ (pg 145). When we try to identify inviduals with certain identities, they become part of a group and lose the sense of being a unique self. This is true when we identify Obama as a man – he falls under the category of humans with XY chromosomes; approximately half of the human population. However, the problem gets complicated when we try to identify Obama based on skin colour or race. He isn’t completely African-American, but having a African (Kenyan) father and a Caucasian mother makes him half-half. Besides, he has an extended family with a diverse cultural and racial background, which places Obama in a position that seems to transcend any racial boundaries.


Or does he? Here is an excerpt written up on Wikipedia that addresses Obama’s racial identity issue:

Obama’s family history, early life and upbringing, and Ivy League education differ markedly from those of African-American politicians who launched their careers in the 1960s through participation in the civil rights movement. Expressing puzzlement over questions about whether he is “black enough”, Obama told an August 2007 meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists that “we’re still locked in this notion that if you appeal to white folks then there must be something wrong.” Obama acknowledged his youthful image in an October 2007 campaign speech, saying: “I wouldn’t be here if, time and again, the torch had not been passed to a new generation.”


Indeed, while identity politics continue to play an important party in society, the current globalised world places a higher emphasis on individuals being a member of the Earth more than what cultural and social background one relates to. Obama’s diverse background (or at least there is an impression that he has one) seems to indicate his acceptance of identities that are placed as being underprivileged or marginalised, giving him an international appeal and rated as the current most popular world leader.


While it appears that one’s identities are embedded within, but identities can be also attributed by the media as well. I remember early in the US presidential campaign to this current day, Barack Obama has always been portrayed as the first  100% African-American US president. I am unsure whether this is related to identity politics or not, but I think the media has a defining power in shaping one’s identities. 



Winnie Ho (z3292568)



ARTS1090: Waking up to a world of discourses May 22, 2009

Filed under: arts1090,T15A — Winnie Ho @ 6:58 am

Fairclough, N. “Critical Analysis of Media Discourse” Media Discourse. London: Arnold, 1995, 53-74


To be honest, I never knew the existence of the word ‘discourse’, less alone its concept, until this week. I am literally opened to a new concept in changing the way of how I see and perceive different things in the world, especially those in media. Discourse is so deeply embedded within the society around us that I find it difficult to be separated as a theory and understood properly. This weekly’s reading of Nigel Fairclough’s “Critical Analysis of Media Discourse” tries to build up a framework in analysing media discourses by definining the discourse theory, then addressing analysis of communicative events and the order of discourse, finally concluded with an sample to build up the framework’s foundation.


Fairclough mentioned the changing media discursive practices and relations betwen media and audiences, to which I was particularly drawn to. ‘Order of discourse’ is a network of a community in discursive practices; and the media is positioned ‘between public orders of discourse and private orders of discourse that they transform their source public discourse for consumption in domestic settings’. I think that the mediating role of media between public and private orders of discourse described here seems to attribute a high level of power and influence to the media. Has these media influences in both public and private discursive practices become so subconscious that further gives power for media in transforming them and refining the boundaries between public and private? I’m not saying not these influences from media are entirely harmful, but it seems to depict that public orders of discourse cannot directly affect private orders of discourse and vice versa, without the media.


In spite of the fact that this chapter was written in 1995, many of the issues raised are still relevant today. Media discursive practices are sometimes employed in combination over a number of media genres, such as the increasing function of gossip and entertainment in news reporting. In our media tutorial classes we often analyse different social phoenomena from the media persepective, in which I think we try to build up the connections between the media texts and the sociocultural practices by linking the discourse practices that take place.


Overall speaking, this reading raised a lot of questions about media discourse analysis, reminded me of all the media theories I have learnt, and made me try to think deeper about phoenomena in media in relation to society.


Winnie Ho (z3292568)



ARTS1090: Who spilt the milk? (Semiotics and Meaning) May 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Winnie Ho @ 1:34 pm

Lukin, Annabelle. “Reporting War: Grammar as Covert Operation” Dissent, 2003, 14-20.


Now I can finally explain myself of tending to choose the shorter readings for blog postings rather than the long ones. Not because I’m lazy (even if so that is very, very minimal… shh), but I find it much harder to analyse on long chapters with a limited number of words. I never seem to convey the meaning of the readings completely. Ah, meaning. I think I should first confess that I am quite obsessed about language and linguistics, so that everything I write after this seems to make more sense.  As a Media in Communications and Journalism student, this reading provides quite a bit of dilemma for me. Annabelle Lukin tells me that, or rather ‘criticises’ that, journalism pretends to be “simple reporting of the ‘facts’, without opinion or analysis”, yet the makeup of language that is used to present the journalistic items is subjective.  


With the straightfoward example of ‘The milk split’ (middle voice) / “I split the milk” (active voice) / “The milk was split by me” (passive voice with external agent) / “The milk was split” (passive voice with no external agent), Lukin goes further on in explaining how the construction of words can change the nature of a country’s role in a war. She mainly focused on the wordings of the Australian media, the US press, and the official government wordings that seem to downplay the active role of of the US’s engagement in the war of Iraq. Again, remembering what was mentioned in the passage, I reinforce the point that my choice of words here are subjective because I have a prefound opinion on the issue of war, and probably that of the US government as well.


In trying to relate this passage more to an event that is much socially close to me, I will refer to the much stirred-up controvesy over the past decade in the wordings of some Japanese history textbooks (that were approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education) which attempt to ‘whiten’ Japanese war crimes in Asia during World War II. Not only that the relations between Japan and the countries involved (such as China) are tensioned, it proves that the clearly biased choice of words can be offensive and insulting to certain parties. However, in public relations, PR practioners are expected to use language in favour of the institution or organisation. So, it does seem difficult to know whether to use a more active, passive or middle voice. Lukin reminded us that ‘any report of any event is selective, simply because of the nature of language’, so we should try to understand the implications of different language styles in order to make CAREFUL use of the umlimited potential in language.


Winnie Ho (z3292568)



P.S. I don’t know how many of you might be interested to read a bit more information on Japanese history textbook controversies, but I’ll still give you the Wikipedia link to it: CLICK HERE