Archive for September, 2010


Interview with a Ghanaian

Theophilus A. Biney (Theo), a Ghanaian, had a lot to say about how he thought Ghana was different from the United States when it comes to media.

Radio

According to Theo, radio back in Ghana is more censored. Compared to the radio stations here in America that advertise entertainment such as clubs, Ghana radio stations focus more so on the education of children. Their radio stations provided the children with educational sessions. Their rappers and artist focus their lyrics on how children should be submissive to their parents and how their “books” should come first. Ghana has what is called the Hip-Hop Life or the High Life which depicts their culture. You will only find nine radio stations in every region in Ghana. They are all competitive in the aspects of what each station has to offer their listeners. Theo informed me that most radio stations come together to form a television station.

Television

Stations such as Skyy Power and Radio Maxx can be seen on the televisions in Ghana. These stations show mainly international media. Shows such as MTV Cribs and the Video Music Awards broadcast on these stations. In his country if one were to cut on the television, they would find mostly European stations being aired. In general Ghana focuses less on entertainment and more on informative pieces of information. Theo provided me with a daily schedule of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC):

6:00am-8:00am—Breakfast show (news)

8:00am-10:00am—Gospel (encouraging what behavior is expected of the nation)

10:00am-12:00pm—Animal Kingdom (Discovery Channel)

12:00pm-3:30pm—News

3:30pm-6:00pm—Children’s Education (one hour of cartoons)

6:00pm-7:00pm—Soap Operas/Television Sitcoms

7:00pm-8:00pm—News

8:00pm-10:00pm—African Movies

10:00pm—News

There are no “info-mercials” because in Ghana, they deal more so with cash not credit cards. Dealing with credit cards would mean that a person is purchasing outside of the country. Ultimately, television is for adults.

Magazines

To start off Theo made it a point to let me know that there is no Ghanaian pornography. Any pornography that is in Ghana is from America. The magazines that were mentioned were Showbiz, 4Syte, and Metro. Showbiz is their celebrity magazine. Metro focuses on transportation and advertises vehicles that are for sale.

Music

“Hip-Hop is for Americans!”

Music is mainly in their local languages which are either Fante or Twi. People who are educated will rap or sing in British English. In Ghanaian music they do not use profanity as much as Americans do. They like to “practice what they preach”. In battles they don’t rap about shooting and stealing. They rap about their goals, where they want to see themselves in the future. In their music videos, Theo says that they are trying to be more like Americans. They have “bling” and girls “shaking their booties.” Their videos tell the story of the songs.

Books

Textbooks and library books are printed mainly in British English. They use the tales such as Anansi the Spider in a lot of their stories to teach lessons. In elementary education the books that are used are written and printed in Ghana. When students reach high school the books that are used are written and printed by all of West Africa.

Movies

As far as movies shown on television, Ghanaian movies can be shown before 10:00pm but American movies are considered “Late Night” and are shown after 10:00pm due to sexual scenes and their ratings. In theaters only one movie is released at a time, unlike America where we have sometimes can have up to twenty movies showing in one theater. In Ghana the movie theaters don’t really prosper because they have DVDs with eighteen movies on them. Theo says that the DVDs cost twice as much as the theater but people would rather spend money on the DVDs because they get a larger quantity.

Websites

Websites based on Ghana are focused on the economy and politics. Examples for these websites include: Ghanaweb.com and BigX.gh.com. Majority of their websites serve as informational systems for tourists.

Any Surprises?

With disgust Theo responds to my question, “What surprised you about Media here in the United States?” He told me that media her makes kids say any kind of filthy language to their parents. He goes on to say that certain languages should not be encouraged and media using this language should be cancelled. He expressed his opinion that American media shows anything and everything. He also stated that people here focus on people’s personal lives too much, not what will benefit society. He used Tiger Wood’s story as support for that statement.

Assumptions of Americans

He thought that America was perfect because we depict places such as Las Vegas and Hollywood in our media. We don’t show all of the shootings and killings that occur daily. He goes on to say that a lot of Americans are ignorant in the fact that he thought that we knew about Africa just as he knew about America. When he came here he learned that everyone was not rich or “well-off” and he said that he could live more comfortably in Africa because the cost of living is not as high there as it is in America.

Image from Flickr photo sharing

Reading this article reminded me of a particular situation. I was just having a conversati0on with my friend the other day about how much money is lost through pirating. I told her that film producers would benetfit from allowing audience to wath new theater releases directly form their home. I believe that if they allowed us to pay for a service to catch the new flicks instead of a crowded theater then, illegal pirating would be cut down.

After reviewing “YouTube Ads turn Videos into Revenue” I see that YouTube is almost at that point itself. The site is profiting  from showing sneak peaks television series. The article is basically about the smart turning points that YouTube have made in the last four to five years. The article states multiple times the fact the the company is definitely making profit.

Claire Cain Miller, author of the essay, notes that the fourteen percent of the two billion viewers that watched the Mad Men video clip was “enough to turn YouTube profitable this year.” Soon enough, the website will be showing full length movies and people will not need to order or rent a movie.

While reading the article, I was surprised to learn that Google had bought YouTube. That makes sense to me though because when a person types in a field in the search box, YouTube videos are automatically apart of the results. What also caught my attention was the fact that YouTube will bring in a revenues of about 240million just this year. I almost feel as though the account holders on the site should be reaping some of those benefits, After all, they are the ones posting the videos.

YouTube will probably always be apart of media. It is so young and has so much potential. Just as we have been discussing in class, media is always changing and converging.  As a media focused professional, teachers and professors even refer to YouTube videos as a part of their lectures or presentations. Also because the website use useful for advertisements, I’m sure other professionals would not want to lose money over copywrite issues.

With incoming Generation Y media professionals loading up the workplace, I’m quite sure that YouTube will be found in the workplace. Generation Y is always finding a way to make the workplace more efficient for them. Soon enough workplace tutorials and lectures will be posted on YouTube; maybe even Monday Morning Meetings.

According to the article, YouTube has plans for the allowance of watching Pay-Per-View events.  Overall, the article delivered a lot of facts worth knowing about how much money YouTube makes off of some of its most minor offerings. Y0uTube is growing and I believe it will soon converge to replace television.

The first thought that comes to me after reviewing this study is that the usage of media can be limited simply by increasing parent/family involvement in how Generation M2 use media. Times have changed drastically since I was a child. I was literally yelled at when i asked for a cell phone at the age of fourteen. Nowadays, children ten to thirteen years old are “texting too much.” Maybe my family was too strict on me, but I must say that when my sixteenth birthday came around, it wasn’t a car that I was happy to receive; it was a cell phone. I earned that cell phone through hard work and good grades.

What bothers me about the Kaiser Study is that there seems to be a question of “Why the children of Generation M2 spend so much time submerged in television, video games and other forms of media?” If they are so worried about how much media consumption children receive on a daily basis, then they should have a parenting seminar. It seems as though parents have forgotten how to enforce rules within their homes.

All the blame can be put on the parents. I believe that if parents would monitor their children’s usage of technology, whether it is internet or video games, then the youth would not be suffering intellectually. In addition, the reliance on media would be minimized. Soon enough it is going to be too late to enforce rules regarding the monitoring of technology usage because children will believe that it is a right not a privilege. As time continues to go on parents will begin to reprimand their children less in spite of the way that their parents raised them. If parents are not going to enforce rules on their children, then this generation will have to learn the hard way.

I’ve learned that once I log onto Facebook, homework is no longer a priority. I had to learn the hard way that answering one text while doing homework can easily become an entire conversation. I now force myself to stay away from Facebook and the internet in general, unless it is required for research. No one was there to tell me that too much of a good thing could be bad for me, so I had to teach myself.

Ultimately, I don’t believe that media usage is bad for children 8-18 years of age. The main issue that I have is that it is not moderated enough by a parent/guardian. Studies have shown that the latest generation is very technically advanced and that comes from listening to music and surfing the web etcetera. After hearing what these said kids have to say, I understand that multi-media tasking is something that they consider the ‘norm’. They don’t seem to have ever had it brought to their attention that too much media is bad for them.

These children are suffering. Their grades are suffering and their future children are going to suffer if these increasing trends in media use persist. The main consequence of being a part of Generation M2 is failure. Until parents see that it is the time spent texting and the hours spent playing video games that are causing failing grades, Generation M2 will fail.