Be the change you want to see in the world.
☮ Mohandas Gandhi ☮

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Week 16: TOMS Shoes v. Whole Foods Ethically

I really enjoyed researching my final project for Media Ethics on TOMS Shoes vs. Whole Foods Market regarding the ethical image these two brands have built themselves on. Basically what I found, and what most research discussed was the Utilitarianism concern behind TOMS providing or "giving" (the term that they have marketed) a pair of shoes to a child in need when your purchase their shoes. The problem is the economies in these countries would benefit more so if TOMS would support their market by taking advantage of the businesses in these areas and allowing entrepreneurs to provide the second pair. Whole Foods rather, has the Whole Planet Foundation, which encourages micro-financing, where they provide the money, tools, and help for entrepreneurs to build their own successful companies and become self-sustainable.This is an article which discusses some of these issues.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Week 15: "Worst People EVER Deny Kid Foul Ball"

I thought this video was funny... Basically a couple catch a foul ball tossed into the stands at the Rangers game last night... Beating out the toddler sitting next to them who immediately bursts into tears. They laugh and pose with the ball and wave it around and stare at themselves on TV and its just a sickening display... Completely oblivious to the very upset child directly next to them. Announcer Michael Kay says what everyone must have been thinking... They are being called the worst people ever (via socia media) and Kay called them out for rubbing it in the kids face. I bet they are embarrassed today for their tacky behavior... Or not, it wouldn't surprise me, they looked too oblivious to anyone else but themselves. Way to go for Kay ethically reporting what he saw in this situation :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Week 13/Report: Cosmopolitanism & Global Media Ethics

 Early Cosmopolitanism thinkers called themselves "Citizens of the World." They believed in the "ideology that all human ethnic groups belonged to a single community based on a shared morality."It is the mutual respect of the many morals, economies, political structures, religions, etc. of the nations that make up our global society. Great thinker Immanuel Kant, used cosmopolitanism as a guiding principle to protect people from war based on universal hospitality. But when evaluating media ethics from a cosmopolitanism ethical viewpoint, there is a problem. With rapidly growing technological innovations in communication, especially with the success of social media, media professionals can not depend on their usual ethical standards and policies. This is because traditional journalism is with focus on one's public. A media professional's public was at one time mostly confined to their nation or community. However, now media professionals, bloggers, journalists, and anyone on the internet can quickly receive and send news, images, and videos from all over the globe. Therefore, many take a cosmopolitanism stance claiming we need new guidelines for how we conduct ourselves in the media, and most specifically on the internet, as the information, opinions, and objectivity from which we report from will no doubt be globally accessible. Our "public" needs to no longer be considered our immediate nation, but considered citizens of the world.

The following is my Prezi slideshow with further information, and a video featuring Kwame Anthony Appiah, author of "Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers." 
Cosmopolitanism & Global Media Ethics Prezi

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Week 13: Marketing in A Digital World vs. Digital Marketing

I think this a great article about channel planning and social media. It basically discusses how most social media advertising is not suited to the medium. Nearly 98% of all online video ads were originally intended for broadcast, and re-purposed for a company’s Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. Most Facebook ads get less than 5% click-through rates. However, Kimberly-Clark, makers of Kotex, Kleenex, and Huggies have begun “marketing in a digital world,” rather than digital marketing. They ran 2 social media campaigns in Israel that achieved 100% engagement. The cost of which were both less than $10,000, and reached 10% of Israeli population. Both campaigns utilized social media postings by their audience to identify a need. In the Kleenex campaign, they found people posting about being sick, and sent them a gift box of Kleenex. In the Kotex campaign, they utilized Pinterest, sending participants personalized gift boxes with the agreement to “repin” the digital gift. This campaign reached 695,000 impressions for under $10,000.

I think this is very important for marketers to realize. To really generate sales, digital marketing must be more specific and tailored for that medium. It’s no longer enough to post their current television advertisement on their Facebook. Advertisers are going to have to refocus and re-strategize to successfully reach their audiences through the social media medium.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week 12: Palaver Tree & Komen

Thinking about the Komen and Planned Parenthood issue that happened earlier this year and the Palaver Tree discussed in class... Some of the values presented from the Palaver Tree system such as no urgency, consensus, hearing from all parties, and community gatherings would have been an interesting way to examine the Komen case.
- No Urgency: Had Komen not been so quick to make such a drastic change within their funding, they may have been able to clearly look at what the ramifications of such a decision would be.
- Consensus: Again, the decision to pull funding was not a decision made by the consensus of either party involved. It was more a drastic move by Komen's ultra conservative VP.
- Hearing From All Parties: The decision to pull funding for PP had an effect on not only those seeking abortions, but those who use the breast cancer preventive services, family planning, and other women's health needs. These parties did not have the opportunity to voice their opinions on this decision.
 - Community Gatherings: The Palaver Tree suggests that decisions are made by gathering all parties together, allowing "free speech" and a safe place to voice individual concerns in a common gathering area. In the Palaver Tree system, the community met under a Palaver Tree, the symbolism here is quite apparent. Its a neutral ground, where the many different roots and branches (individual opinions) come together to form the trunk (common communal consensus).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week 11: Lettuce Be Lean!!!

In the New York Times Article, "Calling All Carnivores..." the author poses the question, "Is it ethical to eat meat?"

This blog post could end up being a 20 page paper if I let it get out of hand... So I will try to keep it brief. Ethically... Americans historically have a habit of turning the blind eye to the things that come to us conveniently or comfortably. Therefore, when it comes to eating meat, I have a hard time believing that many of us would continue to do so if we were informed about the inhumane commercialized process of how our meat gets to us. Several docu-movies have been made trying to help shed light on these practices such as "Food, Inc.," "Knife Over Fork," and "Fresh." There are so many disturbing things that happen in this industry I have a hard time finding a place to begin. Basically, when we figured out how to produce corn in the mass amounts for insanely inexpensive monetary costs... The farming industry was changed forever. The "little guys" could no longer compete. Corn was genetically altered to perform functions it was not naturally intended to. For example, cows, naturally are herbivores. They are supposed to live on grass, yet the majority of the cows raised for food purposes are fed a corn mixture (and sometimes ground up dead cows -- Which leads to mad cow disease FYI). Animals are now mass produced in environments so disgusting they become breeding grounds for diseases and farmers are forced to pump them full of antibiotics and growth hormones to speed up the process. When animals are raised in pins so tight they cant turn around, and stand in their own excrement, I would imagine they may need antibiotics. This is not even half of the issues this industry creates.

The problem here is that part of our responsibility as stewards of the earth is to respect the natural design of nature. These factory production farming ways are far from ethical. "Manure lagoons" develop on these farms which contain toxic waste filled with pesticides and hormones being released into our air and run off into our natural water supplies.... Aka now we have a pollution problem.

So... ethically, I do not have a problem with people who eat meat. It is the production process of meat I have a problem with. Also, I think the lack of education is an issue. I have tried to be an advocate for my family and friends to learn about these practices and change their buying/consumption habits. I've suggested watching the docu-movies, but honestly many say "I don't want to know. I like my hamburgers." Truly... If they knew were the meat came from, and the costs, not just the initial cost but the cost behind the production and costs on the environment, they might make different decisions. I have successfully helped my mom become educated about this and she and I consciously choose a meat free diet. I have a friend with multiple ranches who now raises his own cows for their family's meat that they can monitor their diet, but honestly not everyone has that option.

Keep in mind that we do not need meat to achieve a healthy well balanced diet. Protein can be obtained from many other sources such as beans.

As I attempt to do my part to be an ethically responsible citizen... I think there are other people who want to as well, but are scared to open this door as they have become so accustomed to a diet consisting of meat. Consider when planning a dinner, the menu always consists of the main course (beef, chicken, fish, etc) and then the supplemental sides (potatoes, salad, vegetables, etc). Now... I fully believe that if that was reversed, the health care crisis our country is in would change drastically. If you compare countries like China to the US, they do not have the same health problems, (diabetes, obesity, heart problems, cancer). Their diet is considerably different. How can people not make this distinct correlation?

This is the movie Food, Inc.  It will change your life. Share it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 10: "Where's the Media Outrage?"

So I stumbled across this on Facebook yesterday...
I was intrigued, so I did some googling and found that the January 2007 case mentioned here is that of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome in Knoxville, TN. Basically, the young twenties white couple (both enrolled in college) planned to go to a friend's birthday party on a Saturday night, instead they decided to go to Channon's friend's apartment to watch a movie. Channon called her parents at 12:30 a.m., to let them know she would not be staying at her friend's as planned, and instead would be coming home. She never showed up. Two days later, Christopher's body was found by the railroad tracks badly burned. The two had been carjacked and kidnapped in the apartment complex. They were then taken to a house where they were both brutally raped and beaten. The details of this act are far worse than I want to recount, but it was horrific. Chris was then drug to the railroad tracks, shot twice in the back, and once in the head execution style before his body was set on fire. Channon was then kept alive for several more hours enduring further rape and torture, after which a chemical substance was poured down her throat and open wounds in an attempt to cover up DNA evidence. Still alive, she was put into several trash bags, and inside a trashcan, where she suffocated to death. She was found with her eyes still open.

There was media coverage of this event, local TN stations kept up with the case, and CNN and FoxNews ran a story about this. However, it seems many feel there was not enough media coverage of this story, and blame the black on white issue. As the victims were white and the five attackers black. Some argue this case was not publicized enough on the national level for fear that it will encourage the issue of racism. However, these type of attacks happen all over the country, with victims of all races. Consider the Natalie Holloway case, how long had she been missing before the nation was aware of it? I can't imagine very long. In this case, the victims could not have been missing for longer than 48 hours. Their attackers did not make it had to find them. Her car was found 2 blocks from the house where they took them, they left their finger prints inside the car, and they took them to a house that one of the attackers was renting, where they left her body and evidence of the attack. Had they been missing longer, would there have been national media coverage?

Is national media coverage really necessary to help the family grieve and move on? From an ethical standpoint, I wonder if it would be in the family's best interest to have excessive national media coverage. They would be main shareholders. Once their children's bodies were found, what is the point of seeing it over and over again and having reporters consistently reminding them of the tragedy they just endured. Granted, I cant imagine they need any reminding. But from another point of view, people may need to be aware that these types of attackers are out there. However, I do not think this recent question of media coverage (ie: the FB photo above) is anything but race related. The photo shows the victims: white, preppy, smiling, college student, wearing a North Face (associated with a fraternity)... Basically All-American kids. Then the attackers: black, mug shots, glaring, scary. The intention of this attempt is to make this tragedy an act of racism.

In the following 16 minute documentary by Knoxville's KnoxNews, the case is discussed in detail, but I think the most important thing I took from it was the point that these attackers were known by people of their community as "they've always had a life of crime, they were always unstable, and they were always into something."