Semiotics- Draft 1

The image I have chosen to conduct my semiotics analysis on is a photograph taken by Tim Boyle during a Marriage Equality rally in Chicago, Illinois (dated March 4th).

Image

This powerful image establishes the struggles that have been endured by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered people for hundreds of years. It reflects the conflict Homosexual civilians have faced in the United States of America and, in a broader sense, around the world. The protest took place outside the Cook County Marriage License Bureau and was held in an attempt to acquire marriage licenses for LGBT citizens.

“Hate is not a family value” conveys the Homophobic views of families in America due to religious beliefs and opinions that have been passed on from generations before. Homophobia is described as a fear, hatred, and contempt for Homosexuals or people who are perceived as Homosexual. Religious families and views are often bigoted as they are demeaning human beings just because of their sexual orientation. It is compared to racism as these views are similar as they deny a group of people their humanity in society.

The photograph taken in the month of March 2004 was a time when no states in America allowed same-sex marriages to take place, as Massachusetts became the first state to allow Gay couples to marry in the month of May that very year. This fact adds to the animosity the partakers in the march would be feeling. These citizens would have been much more discriminated against compared with nowadays, where 7 states have same-sex marriage legislation (New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, District of Columbia) and 2 states recently passing the Marriage Equality bill but with the act still yet to take effect (Maryland, Washington).

Pride in the face of adversity takes great courage and I think that it is expressed in this picture; the faces of those civilians show rage, passion for the cause, infuriation, uproar and the burning feelings of resentment to those that have suppressed them or their friends and family from a basic human right. As their efforts were then denied by the City Hall, the main perception of the image could be injustice to those rallying, prejudice and offence by those whom opposed their requests.

“Marriage is a Human Right not a Heterosexual Privilege!”- This placard raises the issue of equality of the LGBT citizens compared to straight people in society. Marriage should be able to be between any people on the planet and not to a select group based on their sexual orientation. No Heterosexual should be able to dictate whether or not two people are legal to marry, and no Heterosexual should think that they have more rights than other people, especially in a country that considers them the “Land of the Free.”

The picture can also link to the social issues that have gone on in America in the past few years, like the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”- a policy which prevented openly Gay and Lesbian military from serving in the United States Armed Forces. This policy was abolished by President Obama in 2010. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal then allowed the Armed Forces to accept openly Gay service men and women, and prompted many of the closeted members of the Forces to come out as Homosexual.

The Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) also garnered the support of Barack Obama, a huge step forward for the equalisation of LGBT people in the US. This bill was proposed to the United States Congress against the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) stating that marriage was to be only between a man and a woman, which took effect in 1996. Former sponsors of DOMA have now offered their support to RFMA, like former President Bill Clinton who originally signed the DOMA bill in 1996.

In California, the In re Marriage Act was passed in the month of May 2008. This act would allow marriage between same-sex couples in the state of California. However, in November 2008 the Supreme Court passed the Proposition 8 bill which overruled the In re Marriage Act and limited marriage once again to be between opposite-sex couples only. Although, 85500 same-sex couples did marry between May and November that year in California and their nuptials are still recognised by the Supreme Court. The appeal against Proposition 8 was declared in February 2012 which would grant the bill unconstitutional, since then the Supreme Court has not yet responded to this appeal.

In African countries such as Uganda, LGBT peers have no protection from Homophobia and being Gay is illegal, punishable by death in the case of “repeat offenders.” Five other countries carry the death penalty for Homosexuality of any sort (Iran, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Mauritania) as the major Islamic sects forbid Homosexuality and consider it a crime.

The signs and banners that the crowd is holding refers to the views of religion in America, such as Catholic, Christian, Mormon, and Judaism. The “Separate church & state!” sign could reflect the fact that most views of the US Government are religious views and stances on Homosexuality and education. California became the first state to teach the history of LGBT Equality in schools due to the passing of the FAIR Education Act legislation.

Same-sex marriage has since been legalised under state law in Illinois through civil unions. From June 2011, civil unions have been able to take place as the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act legislation was signed on January 31st, 2011. A same-sex marriage bill named Equal Marriage Act was introduced in January 2009 by Greg Harris, a representative. The bill again was pushed in February 2012 and had the support of Governor Pat Quinn. The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel also supports the bill. This shows the progress, albeit slow, that has happened not just in Chicago, but Illinois as a whole for Equal Rights and Marriage Equality in the space of the past eight years.

Advertisements

My First Attempt at Formally Sourced News Story

West Yorkshire crime rate reduces

Crime in the county as a whole fell by 5% from June 2011 to June the following year.

Police enforcement has helped slash local burglary numbers in West Yorkshire by a fifth in the last 12 months, according to recent Home Office figures.

Violent attacks are also down by 14%, and vehicle crimes reduced to 7%, due to the new police implementations. DCC Parkinson said, “They come at a time our annual budget has been significantly reduced.”

Deputy Chief Constable John Parkinson further stated that the reduction in the number of burglaries is a top priority for the Force, and added, “It is important for the public of West Yorkshire that crime continues to fall.”

A contributing factor to the major fall in crime rates is the introduction of Project Optimal. This initiative combines the old-fashioned policing with new, cutting edge technology.

Research in the academic fields helped the Force use software to pinpoint specific areas that are at the greatest risk, which then prevents prospective burglaries.

“We police with the support of the communities we serve,” DCC Parkinson added, “It was pleasing to see a significant majority of people agree [that] we deal with local concern.”

“The statistics are very promising and are a result of the hard work and commitment officers put in day in-day out with [along] with our partners to serve our local communities.”

Semiotics

Marriage Equality rally image.

Include the Human Rights issues in American culture, affects of religion on beliefs of homosexual citizens not only in the US but around the globe. The successful passing of the Marriage Equality bills in states such as New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, District of Columbia, and the recent passing in Maryland and Washington which are still yet to take effect. Mention California’s brief legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2008.

The Hubbards… Are They Hull’s Next Big Thing?

Opening for bands such as Little Comets and The Musgraves in venues like The Welly Club and The Cockpit, more and more people have been introduced to their music as a result, and it’s only a matter of time before they make it big. With great stage presence during their live sets, you can’t quite believe they’re still in their teens.

The Hubbards is Reuben Driver, singing and bass guitar; Alex Green, singing and guitar; Ronan Burns, guitar; and Joe Orlowski, drums.

As a result of playing gigs in places such as Leeds, Birmingham, and their hometown of Hull, the boys have gathered a small cult following of fans – and this following doesn’t just include the people of Hull, but fans from different cities nationally who enjoy the band’s sound. Presently, The Hubbards have released a new track called “Bedbugs,” which is available on both UK and US iTunes. (You can buy and download here: iTunesAmazon)

BBC News Humberside online reported last April about their rise to the band circuit, and how they formed whilst studying at Wyke Sixth Form College just 3 years ago. But Hull has a very vibrant music scene, including bands like Rebel Sell, Dead City Streets, Gratitude, and so on.

So maybe they have some stiff competition to be Hull’s number one?

Visit The Hubbards’ website at: www.thehubbards.co.uk

Twitter: @thehubbards

Facebook: The Hubbards

Is Blogging Journalism?

My view on whether I think blogging is classed as a medium of journalism…

Over the last couple of years, blogs have become increasingly more popular due to the inflation of Internet users, blogs are now linked to people’s Facebook and Twitter profiles, and main blog sites such as Tumblr and WordPress have garnered more users due to this. I think the main reason blogs have become so major and at the forefront of online communication is that an ordinary person can now express their views on a certain topic, or publish their work and/or opinions on something at the click of a button.

Whether this is journalism is up to the person reading it. Personally, if an employed journalist or writer has a blog and posts professionally written articles onto their blogs, I consider it journalism. However, if an Internet-famous teen runs a blog of their own, that’s a different story altogether. It really depends on the content and the person submitting their “work” on their site. Mostly, I think it depends on the subject and content of the blog that really indicates if the blog is considered journalism, and the writer’s position in the business of journalism, if they’re in the business at all.

Posting photos with a little comment at the bottom isn’t journalism. Posting a video that links from your YouTube account to your blog isn’t journalism. Talking about your love of a certain celebrity or celebrity couple isn’t journalism. But nowadays, most magazines hire writers to post an article to a magazine’s online blog as well as their website; this is to access another Internet medium, and to broaden the amount of people who read the articles published there.

Although, that’s just my view. For example, this post right now, it’s on my blog – but it’s not a properly published piece of online journalism, is it?

Trends in Online Journalism Communication

List at least 5 jobs that have been created for the online world of online journalism:

1. Community coordinator; 2. Social media and campaigns editor; 3. Technology correspondent; 4. Freelance journalist; 5. Lead user experience and information architect.

What is WEB 2.0?

WEB 2.0 is a platform on the Internet that allows the user to interact with the webpages via digital mediums such as YouTube, Flickr, Google Maps, and so on. It’s basically the inclusion of images, videos and user communication with the interface. [1]

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing enables journalists to use the Internet to find information written or found by citizens/everyday people. [2]

List 3 examples of user-generated content:

User-generated content is a creation of online work created by the user. Examples of this would be Wikipedia, blogs, and the Help Me Investigate website (http://www.helpmeinvestigate.com). [3]

List 3 other communication devices that you can access news from and how: 

Mobile phones, which have access to the Internet; iPads/iPods, which have news apps that the user can put on their device; and Kindles, users can download newspapers so that they can read them through their Kindles.

References

[1] Jennifer Kyrnin. (2006). What is Web 2.0?. Available: http://webdesign.about.com/od/web20/a/aa021306.htm. Last accessed 17th Oct 2012.

[2] Jones, J and Salter, L. (2011). A Political Economy of Online Journalism. In: Jones J, and Salter, L Digital Journalism. UK: SAGE Publications Ltd. p28-30.

[3] Jones, J and Salter, L. (2011). A Political Economy of Online Journalism. In: Jones J, and Salter, L Digital Journalism. UK: SAGE Publications Ltd. p28-30.

WALK THE MOON… You’ll Love Them to the MOON and Back

WALK THE MOON, an Ohio-based indie rock band, formed in 2008 are currently the opening act for the band Fun.’s European tour. Playing shows in such places as Munich, Helsinki, Stockholm and Oslo, when they came across to the UK this month I caught up with them in Manchester, at the Manchester Academy.

In the past, having toured with Kaiser Chiefs, Young The Giant, and playing the main stage at the Lollapalooza Festival, next year they will embark upon their first ever headline tour in the UK after they complete their North American leg.

Image

With a sold out crowd that was full of fun-loving energy, WALK THE MOON hit the stage at 7:00pm with a great set featuring songs from their newly released self-titled album, WALK THE MOON. Their upbeat tunes had the audience singing along for the full 30 mins approx. that they owned the stage, with most of the crowd (like myself) having known about the band before attending the gig.

At the beginning of their set 2 of the 4 boys came out with neon paint, a la their video for their debut single “Anna Sun” and the cover of their album, to cover the faces of the front row audience members. The crowd loved this as you can imagine!

Image

When they come back across the pond in 2013 they’ll be playing Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Bristol, Glasgow and Digbeth in late February. I’d urge you to grab some tickets while you can, I’m sure they’ll be going like hotcakes: tickets on sale now.

After the gig had ended I had the pleasure of meeting the lead singer, Nicholas Petricca, 24, who hails from Cincinnati. Petricca graciously accepted the praise that most of the attendees sent his way, whilst taking photos with the crowd lined up to meet him.

Download their new album off of iTunes here: WALK THE MOON on iTunes.