‘Television’s transition to the internet: disability accessibility and broadband-based TV in Australia ‘: An Analysis

In this blog I will analyse Katie Ellis’s 2014, ‘Television’s transition to the internet: disability accessibility and broadband-based TV in Australia ‘, published Media international Australia. The purpose of the text is to describe the ways in which the technological revolution has aided the disabled in getting access to different programs.
The author of this article is Katie Ellis who is a Senior Research Fellow in Internet Studies, Curtin University. This means that she is qualified to more accurately assess the impacts.
The intended audience is the wider community, however with a focus on groups that are interested or have a disability, or are interested in the possible impacts of the NBN. The author is expecting the audience to react to the NBN- a somewhat controversial scheme- with a larger amount of understanding and optimism on the impacts it can have for the less able. I as a reader am part of the intended audience as I have a scholarly interest in the content.
The information is presently as objectively as possibly, however with a clear view of the positives of the NBN, making the author’s stance clear. She presents information that is both for and against, however she makes her personal and academic opinion clear.
The author puts a large amount of importance in firsthand information she’s collected, namely interviews with disabled citizens and people closely involved with people living with disabilities. As the NBN is only a new technology is Australia, there is yet to be a large amount of other scholarly information available, thus the amount of other research articles she has reference are minimal.
The finding of the text are re-enforced with first-hand data. This research acts to fill in an information gap in the scholarly articles available on the subject. However the research is only based off a very small sample size of test subjects, thus cannot be guaranteed to hold consistent with a nationwide investigation. The text is broken into sections to make it easier for the reader to distinguish between different subjects covered. This helps the reader more easily digest the information.
It is written in a relaxed, yet still academic tone. It is in third person, with jargon only limited to the absolutely necessary. The author has kept the voice of the participants positive about the effects of the NBN on people living with disabilities; however there is some disagreement on the extent of the positive flow-through. It is a relatively unique article, however is does hold up with other journals released on the effect of the technological revolution on the lives of the hearing and visually impaired.

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Analysing the Analysis

“The world is knowable; but it is interpretable otherwise, it has no meaning behind it but countless meanings”- Friedrich Nietsche

The definition of media research from Black’s Law Dictionary is “Investigating which periodicals consumers read and/or which radio or television programs they listen to or watch as a part of this specific type of survey.” Whilst this information is useful at the time of airing to create data sets, it is meaningless to both future applicants and to understand the past without the context of why it got the number of viewers it did. It is also useful to consider how it affected the frame work of society at the time of airing, and how that impacted/continues to impact the formation of cultural ideals.
We assume that scholarly research will be done to the most honest extend possible, however he human condition is usually our downfall, as even if we realise it we can’t change our unconscious bias to information that lines up with what we already believe to be true.
In any good experiment or act of research, for it to be valid and reproducible, all variables must be carefully controlled. The issue with media research is that to be accurate, it needs for the test subject- usually the formation of human behaviour or opinion, to occur and exist in a vacuum. As we all know however, there is no correct way to distil and simplify any human’s reaction to any one exposure. For example when trying to determine the effect of the media of a person’s view of climate change, viewing and not viewing the content are the only factors that can be defined and controlled by the researchers, which ignores the plethora of other variables that may affect the results such as life experience, age, gender, nationality and socio-economic status.
Any attempts to take a generalized approach to society as a whole by testing all the different individuals and coming up with an average result will lead to the creation of a model that works on the large scale, but fails to accurately predict or describe the view of any one individual.
However, whilst it is not perfect in design, media research is necessary (Berger, 2014). Models and predictions made by media research practised are inheritably flawed, however still useful as a guide for the future.
In my future investigations I would like to explore how and why members of social media are exposed to scientific discoveries and ideas, and how much of an impact this has had in both their knowledge and interest in the scientific fields. Being a strong believer in the importance of a functioning- although not necessarily extensive- knowledge of scientific practises, I would like to know how to communicate scientific discoveries in a way that the public will find interesting and engaging, in order to further the cause of scientific literacy.

References
Berger, Arthur A. 2014, ‘What is research?’, in Media and communication research methods : an introduction to qualitative and quantitative approaches, 3rd ed., SAGE, Los Angeles, pp. 13-32