Who counts in Global Media?


I am going to give you 30 seconds to think about what you class as being ‘important news’ – okay go!

1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… 7… 8… 9…. 10…



What came to you mind? The Ebola virus outbreak? Who got voted off Big Brother? The Block finale? What about updates on ISIS? Who is going to win X-Factor? Or dramatic climate change? Who is elected for Prime Minister? For the majority of people, when they think of important news they think about what will affect them and their society.

“News is defined as newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events” (The Free Dictionary)

In today’s society, tabloids and articles are full of unimportant and unnecessary news revolving around reality television shows and the lives of celebrities – which definitely does not come under the category ‘newsworthy’. Valuable news such as the Ebola outbreak and ISIS and other genuine news sources are usually ignored or they are covered on television for one day

There are eight factors that determine how newsworthy a story is:

  1. Cultural proximity: how culturally similar a news story is
  2. Relevance: how relevant the story is to you
  3. Rarity: the unlikelihood of an event happening – it is more likely to appear in the news
  4. Continuity: whether the story is still defined as being ‘news’ after the event has occurred
  5. Elite References: in terms of nations and people
  6. Composition: The story will be selected and arranged according to the editor’s sense of the balance of the whole bulletin
  7. Personalisation: Events are seen as actions of people as individuals
  8. Negativity: negative news will more easily be consensual as there will be agreement about the interpretation of the event as negative

When you think about it, the majority of these factors have some sort of relation to the Ebola virus, ISIS and financial news and hardly any relevance to the winner of The Block or Kim Kardashian and Kanye West having a baby. So why are the less valuable news being aired on television so often? The constant ignorance towards important news is changing the attitudes of audiences and may eventually alter and neglect the definition of news in the long run.


Khorana, S. Who Counts in Global Media? News Values. Lecture from ‘International Media and Communication’ at the University of Wollongong. 24th September 2014.

Lee-Wright, P 2012, ‘News Values: An Assessment of News Priorities Through a Comparative Analysis of Arab Spring Anniversary Coverage’, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London, pp. 1-19.



A lesson learned in translation

Previously I came to a conclusion that some comedy shows should not be touched and left in their original form. Now what happens when Drama is messed with?

In the same context as comedy, in order to understand and identify with drama – you must be able to either recognised the breaks and gaps and also account for which audience the show is accredited to.

‘Sherlock Holmes’ is a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories. After the third series was aired, it became the UK’s most watched drama series since 2001 being sold to over 200 territories. Considering the huge success of the Sherlock, you’d think a show like this couldn’t get any better, right?



Meet ‘Elementary’. ‘Sherlock’ has had a huge influence on the development of the American crime series ‘Elementary’ and is full of intrigue and mystery and unlike the American Kath and Kim – fabulous characters. ‘Elementary’ is set in modern-day New York with a former-doctor-turned-sober-companion-Watson, its clearly obvious that the creators of ‘Elementary’ worked extremely hard in differentiating ‘Elementary’ from ‘Sherlock’. And in this case, they did a brilliant job.



During the translation of both of these popular television shows, the creators of ‘Elementary’ were able to adapt the best qualities from ‘Sherlock’ and infuse them within the American show to adapt to the American lifestyle.

The clever translation of the films allow for all audiences to accept and to actually give the shows a ‘go’ instead of automatically being turned off by the extreme similarity of each series. As a result of this, both television shows have been successful and in some way, feel very different from one other, although ‘Elementary’ is based on ‘Sherlock.


Frew, C 2014, “Sherlock and Elementary: Representing Englishness in Drama”, Lecture 8 PowerPoint slides, University of Wollongong.



NBC, look at moi


Do you ever say something funny in your head and then go to tell your friends the joke and they think you are totally pathetic? It happens to me all the time. And in some cases, it even happens on worldwide television.

Susan Purdie’s comedy theory 1 states that comedy depends on the breaking of rules of language and behaviour. When we laugh, it signals that we have recognised the break. But in order to understand what the breaks are – we have to be able to identify what the rules are first. This highlights the reason of why comedy is often lost in television translation. If a person had no understanding of a certain social and cultural aspect of a region where the comedy show is produced, then they aren’t going to verify the “break” and therefore find the show boring and confusing.

“Comedy plays and absolutely pivotal role in the construction of national identity because it invites us to belong by sharing the joke” (Turnbull, 2008, p. 112)

The original UK comedy series ‘The Office’, successfully translated into a funnier American version.


The award winning British series ‘The Office’ was said to be “the most successful British comedy export to date, with rights sold in eighty different countries” (Turnbull, 2008, p. 113). ‘The Office’ was remade into an American version – premiered by NBC in 2005. Along with the remake of ‘The Office’, it included renaming many of the characters in attempt to reinvent the show, reshaping it for an American audience (Turnbull, 2008, p. 114).

“Gervais’ podgy-faced David Brent became Carell’s clean-cut Michael Scott; the rumpled Tim became the taller and more handsome Jim; the plump Dawn became the slim Pam; and the angular, gaunt Gareth became the tubby nerdish Dwight” (Turnbull, 2008, p. 114).



Turnbull (2008) explains that while the superficial forms of cultural translation are of interest, the more significant and revealing instances are apparent in the rather-hard-to-pin-down shifts in tone and ideology conveys through the embodied performance of the actors. When translating the series from British to American, Gervais made sure that he changed that he added any “allusions to American products, businesses, national holidays, etc. which, any non-American with any experience of American popular culture probably would ‘get’”(Turnbull, 2008, p. 114)

A series that wasn’t translated successfully and people did not ‘get’ was our very own Kath and Kim, and Americas poor attempt to remake the comedy series.


The decision of turning ‘Kath and Kim’ into an American comedy show, was based on the success of the translation of ‘The Office’. ‘Kath and Kim’ as very popular in Australia and the UK and was hoped to be as successful in America..

Australia found it funny. The UK found it funny. So why didn’t the Americans get the joke?

There were many factors that were lost in translation of the comedy series ‘Kath and Kim’. This includes the misunderstanding of the cultural context, the role of irony and also how the characters carried themselves and how they were portrayed to the audience. Most importantly, the difference between both versions is the so-called ‘gap’.


Turnbull (2008) explains that part of the joke of the original series is that all of the actors are of similar age even though they are playing different generations. Also, each of the actors goes out of their way to exaggerate their worst features. But this idea was totally missed by the American series.

In the Australian series “Kim imagines herself as a ‘horn-bag’ size 10, squashing her curves into outfits more suitable for a 12 year old” (Turnbull, 2008, p. 114), where as in the American version Kim is “young enough, attractive enough and dare one say it, trashy enough to actually be a tabloid queen”



All in all, it may eventually be possible to like both versions of ‘Kath and Kim’ as we admit to liking both versions of ‘The Office’. But, the ‘joke’ will never be the same. Maybe you’ll get it next time, NBC.


Turnbull, S 2008, ‘It’s like they threw a panther in the air and caught it in embroidery’: TELEVISION COMEDY IN TRANSLATION, The Australian Teachers of Media Inc, St Kilda, pp. 111-115.

Turnbull, S 2014, ‘Local Television in Global Context’, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 10 September 2014.


Capitals of the Media

“Media capitals, then, are sites of mediation, locations where complex forces and flows interact. They are neither bounded not self-contained entities. Rather, we should understand them in the manner that geographers like Doreen Massey (1992) and Kevin Robins (1991) understand cities, as meeting places where local specificity arises out of migration, interaction and exchange… Media capitals are places where things come together, and consequently, where the generation and circulation of new mass culture forms become possible” (Curtin, 2003).

For a city to be classified as a media capital, the city has to be located in an intersection of patterns that include economic, social and cultural flows. Curtin has made a point in his study of spatial flows (2003), that the alteration of media flows from being one directional flow to a multi-directional flow, which is due to the increased emergence of transitional media. These flows emanate from particular cities that have become centres for the finance, production, and distribution of television programs including cities like Bombay, Cairo and Hong Kong.

Such cities can be referred to as media capitals, since they represent centres of media activity that have specific logics of their own. Media capitals have grown in importance over time and new logics seem to be governing the development of transnational television (Curtin, 2003).

American television has stayed the most popular source globally. But due to globalisation, this is slowly changing with Hong Kong being one of the most competitive television media capitals. Hong Kong has a prosperous economic location and is located on the southeast coast of China at the bottom of the Pearl River that is facing the South China Sea. This is situated in an important business harbour.

 “The concept of media capitals portrays cities like Hong Kong, as positioned at the intersection of complex patterns of economic, cultural and social flows” (Curtin, 2003).


Hong Kong’s television is a perfect example of their emergence as a media capital. Their unique styles of Cantopop and TVB are styles hybridised, alternatively combining global elements with familiar cultures.


Curtin, M. 2003, ‘Media capital’, International Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 202-228.

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Television and the emergence of new media capitals’, powerpoint slides, BCMIII, University of Wollongong, viewed 19 September 2014.


Coming out of the “Wood”work

Hollywood is the largest film industry in the world, right? Yeah, I thought so too until I heard about Bollywood and Nollywood.


Each year, Bollywood churns out over 1,000 films. Saying that, Bollywood is the world largest film producer in India and one of the largest centres of film productions in the world. It is mostly known for its romance, drama, dance and its glitzy costumes. Bollywood has also had a huge impact on Western films due to its forever increasing popularity and attraction to the films produced in India. As a result of this, films such as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘Bride and Prejudice’, have undeniable Bollywood influences – these films are also mistaken to be actual Bollywood films.


“Bollywood is already… bringing its brand of glitzy entertainment not just to the Indian diaspora in the US or UK but to the screens of Syrians and Senegalese…” (Schaefer & Karan, 2010 p. 65)

Due to the mis-labelling of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ as a Bollywood film; Karan and Schaefer noted that it “helped American audiences mistakenly associate ‘Indian cinema’ with the film’s Westernized production values, including the standard three-act narrative structure, 120 minute running time, and avoidance of interruptive song-and-dance sequence (which are typically part of Hindi films)”(2010, p. 313).

Two thirds of its population lives on less than a dollar a day, and yet Nigeria has the worlds second largest film industry. Okome (2007) mentions that Nollywood doesn’t have the same opportunities for training and production financing – yet, it is remarkable in many ways. Nollywood’s filmmaking is vastly different to the films made in Bollywood and Hollywood. The films that are made in Nollywood are made directly to video and are never screened in a movie theatre. Considering the average film budget for a Nigerian film is approximately $20,000, they produce a massive average of 987 films per year. These films are all filmed and viewed on sites located on the “street” and what Okome (2007) refers to as the “video parlour” – ranging from a small, stuffy room in the neighbourhood to a disused school hall.



Karan, K and Schaefer, DJ 2010, ‘Problematizing Chindia: Hybridity and Bollywoodization of popular Indian cinema in global film flows’, Global Media and Communication, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 309-316

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Global Film Beyond Hollywood (Industry Focus), week 4′, lecture, BCM111, University of Wollongong, delivered 20 August

Okome, O 2007, ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’, Postcolonial, text 3.2


Studying Abroad


Studying abroad will cross nearly every students mind in some point in time during their university experience. What type of student wouldn’t want to travel to a different country to experience different cultures and learning opportunities? As good as it sounds, international students who come from a non-English speaking background that travel Australia faced with difficulties in both social and academic aspects.

“International education is not the rich intercultural experience it could be” (Marginson, 2012)

International students in Australia are exposed to challenges revolving around adjustment and wellbeing, including homesickness, financial difficulties, language difficulties, problems dealing with university staff and other authorities, loneliness, isolation from other classmates and anxiousness about speaking in the classroom in front of peers (Kell & Vogl, 2007, p. 3).

“It is an experience with immense potential to enrich the lives of all who are touched by it” (Marginson, 2012)

Research dedicated to cross cultural relations has shown that international education has been shaped within psychology. This means that most people understand international education as a process of externally mediated ‘adjustment’ or ‘acculturation’ to the requirements and habits of the host country. Through research it has highlighted that international students wish to form closer interaction and relationships with local students, although the local students are not interested. Marginson (2012) states “Australians are often too parochial, tripped within an Australia-centred view of a diverse and complex world”. Parochial meaning confined or restricted as if within the borders of a parish.

It is believed that the closer the values and practices of the student to those of the hose country, the more likely it is the student will be happy and succeed academically (Marginson, 2012 p 2). This is described as being “culturally fit”.

Nevertheless, international students have to deal with massive language barriers and other cultural and social differences on a day-to-day basis – so it makes sense for the local students to make the international students feel comfortable and make their transition and experience of studying abroad as simple as possible.


Kell, P & Vogl, G 2006, ‘International Students: Negotiating life and study in Australia through Australian Englishes’, in Everyday Multicultural Conference Proceedings, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion, Sydney, 28-29 September 2006.

Khorana, S 2014, ‘Internationalising education – cultural competence and cosmopolitanism’ lecture notes distributed in International Media and Communications 111 at the University of Wollongong on the 13th of August, 2014.

Marginson, S (2012) ‘International education as self-formation: Morphing a profit-making business into an intercultural experience’, Lecture delivered at the University of Wollongong, 21 February 2012.

Global What?


“Globalisation refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information. Globalisation could lead to the homogenisation of world cultures, or to hybridisation and multiculturalism”

(O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008, p. 458)

O’Shaughnessy and Stadler explain that the globalisation of communication is characterised by particular qualities including: instantaneity, interconnectedness, interdependence, and a trend towards corporate mergers and conglomeration. Globalisation has been hugely shaped by economic, political, and military interests, and by technological innovation. By the nineteenth century, came the introduction of newspapers, the telegraph, and cable systems that enables the formation of global networks. All of these technological advancements have led to rising levels of global interrelatedness (O’Shaughnessy and Stadler, 2008, p. 458).


Appadurai (1996, p. 33-36) explains that globalisation and the international community can be divided up into five dimensions of cultural flows: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes and ideoscapes.

Ethnoscapes: The landscape of persons who constitute the shifting world in which we live. This includes tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles, guest workers etc.
Mediascapes: Distribution of the electronic capabilities to produce and disseminate information (newspapers, magazines, TV station, film studios etc) which are now available to a growing number of people, as well as the images of the world created by these media.
Technoscapes: Global configuration of technology, and the fact that technology, both high and low, both mechanical and informational, not mores at high speeds across various kinds of previously impervious boundaries.
Financescapes: Global flow of capital which includes currency markets, national stock exchanges and commodity.
Ideoscapes: Consists of a concatenation of ideas, terms and images, often formes around political ideas and usually have to do with the ideologies of states (freedom, welfare, rights, sovereignty, representation and democracy)


Appadurai, A 1996, ‘Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy’, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis and London, pp. 27-47.

O’Shaughnessy, M and Stadler, J (2008) ‘Globalisation Media and Society (fifth edition) Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 458-471