Television shapes perceptions of America unfairly

Television is known to bring forth a perception of violence in America—this is not necessarily the case in other countries.

People overthink how much violence permeates our society. We feel unsafe in certain situations when the likelihood of a dangerous situation is actually slim. People from other cultures may not perceive reality as violent because they might not watch as violent of television.

Most television shows portray society negatively with people having cruel intentions and creating certain stereotypes. is solidifies the perceived idea society is violent. In actuality, society is not as cruel and vicious as it seems.

In other countries, television is shown differently than in the U.S. Some international students at Whitworth shared how television influences their cultures and how it com- pares or contrasts to the prominence of television in the United States.

Senior psychology major Marianne Sfeir grew up in Beirut, Lebanon.

“A lot of the television we watch is American produced. In Lebanon, I don’t know the statistics for crime, but I am sure there is plenty of violence,” Sfeir said. “If I were to guess how much crime there is in Lebanon, I would probably overshoot how much violence there is.”

“Most of the television shows we get are from Russia. That might influence how we see the world because it is a biased opinion from Russia,” Olga Kvak, a freshman from Uzbekistan, said, “I don’t think people are that violent [in Uzbekistan].”

Sara Laguna Garcia is an international student from Spain who is studying English at Whitworth.

“I think American TV shows have more violence compared to Spanish ones,” Laguna Garcia said. “What people want to see on TV are things that they don’t have to think about like talk shows or comedies.”

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There is not much television violence in Taiwan, but it is found more on the news, said Martina Cho, a freshman from Taiwan.

“Everyone wants their opinions heard, but no one is really violent,” Cho said.

She does not think Taiwanese society is violent from the influence of television. Crime dramas are one of the most popular television genres, and they often show the most violence.

Crime dramas and genres which tend to portray more violence are the most popular, especially in America because they stimulate and captivate the audience. The most interesting aspect of these cultures were the producers of their television. In Uzbekistan, there was mainly Russian produced television. However, in Lebanon, most of the television is American-produced.

Americans interpret television violence differently than people from other cultures. We think our society is more violent than it truly is because there is so much violence on television.

I do not think we should perceive society as violent. It is not fair to assume people are dangerous when they are not. There is so much violence on television and we eventually start to think people are not as safe as they appear.

 

Skyler Noble

Columnist

Comments can be sent to

whitworthianopinion@gmail.com

Magazine industry: Senior editor of WIRED speaks on the evolution of magazines

Peter Rubin, a senior editor at WIRED magazine, has worked in the magazine industry for 15 years and came to Whitworth on Tuesday, Nov. 3, to present on the progression of magazines and their conversion to digital format within the past decade.

Rubin’s presentation about his journey in the magazine business attracted students interested in media. Freshman Michaela Mulligan was drawn due to her interest in entering the magazine industry.

“I think [the shift to digital media] is important because we do have smartphones, and it’s a lot easier and quicker to get information and you can do a lot of cool stuff with digital media, like video, and writing, and photography," Mulligan said. "It makes it all look really cool."

After starting out as a fact checker at GQ Magazine, Rubin gained experience while surrounded by well-known writers such as Michael Hainey, author of the memoir “After Visiting Friends,” and even worked with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love” on occasion.

Rubin became an editorial assistant for GQ Magazine, and decided he was established enough to become a freelance writer. He wrote for magazines including Elle, XXL, Vibe, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and the TV Guide. After freelancing for a while, Rubin wanted to find a job in an office setting with more people, he said.

Unfortunately, starting in 2007, many magazines began to go out of business. By 2009, a total of 1,684 magazines had ceased publication, due to the financial crisis making print publication difficult, Rubin said. However, the downfall led to the “birth of content,” Rubin said. Media began its shift to the digital age, and the reader’s perception of media and news began to change as well.

His company adopted the tag line “more than a magazine,” to adapt to the transition toward digital content. The change to a new platform began the long process of finding the niche of the magazine industry, for the consumers no longer read the content the same way, Rubin said.

“I’d say that magazines aren’t dead, that there’s new ways to make them appealing like [Rubin] said... how they transferred a lot of stuff online, and redesigned their website so it works well with the magazine,” Mulligan said.

During this transition, Rubin accepted his current position as a senior editor at WIRED, and now covers pop culture and entertainment. That includes topics such as movies and television, music, video games, comic books and “anything else that is absolutely integral to the survival of our species,” according to Rubin’s profile.

Rubin’s work at WIRED includes extensive coverage on virtual reality, as he wrote the magazine’s cover story for the June 2014 issue focusing on the Oculus VR, and the development of the Oculus Rift, a head-mounted display for immersive virtual reality.

Rubin was able to change the method of news writing with what he refers to as the “inverted process.” Instead of months of coverage, he wrote stories as the development continued, becoming the first and the last word on the subject. He became an expert on the new technology, and WIRED was able to get exclusive content on the topic.

Making a magazine is a combination of art, writing, rhythm, wit, but most of all chemistry. Without that spark, the content will fall at, Rubin said. The digital platform has altered how media are displayed and consumed by the readers, but those changes have allowed creativity to blossom. WIRED recently published a story that did not make it into the issue on their Instagram account, breaking up the story into 10 different posts each with a nature shot as the image, Rubin said.

“I think it’s relevant because it shows how what he’s doing reflects trends in other areas of future careers,” Mulligan said. “It’s definitely more geared toward people in journalism or mass communication, but it shows that any eld you go into you have to be ready to do digital things...it’s helpful because everything now includes something digital.”

The media industry is changing, with technology constantly improving and developing, and as platforms and formats change, one thing remains the same: the art of storytelling.

 

Meghan Foulk

Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Foulk at

meghanfoulk19@my.whitworth.edu