The Missing Women at the Oscars

In the last 20 years only one female director has won the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar award. Does this mean male directors are better or is it simply sexism?

According to a website by Shehroz S. Khan, a scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, data shows that since 1999, only 5% of the directors for the ‘Best Picture’ nominations were female. Meaning 1 woman won an Oscar in the last 20 years. This was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for her movie ‘The Hurt Locker’. Looking at the data of Oscar nominations for ‘Best Director’, only 8 women were nominated since 1999, whilst 129 men were nominated. The highest number of women nominated in one year was 2 in 2011, whereas the highest number of men nominated was 10 in 2010.

The situation for the ‘Best Director’ awards is much worse with only 3 women having been nominated since 1999, versus the 97 men who were nominated. This was Greta Gerwig in 2017 for her film ‘Lady Bird’, Sofia Coppola for her 2003 film ‘Lost in Translation’ and lastly, as mentioned previously, Kathryn Bigelow for her 2009 film ‘The Hurt Locker’.

Liz Tucker, the chair of Women in Film and Television UK (WFTV), which is an organisation for women working in creative media in the UK, said that she believes “how directors get nominated for awards is deeply a political process, money and marketing play a key role and sometimes, it can still be a bit of an old boys’ network.”

She said “in some quarters of the industry I think there is still a perception that women are a safe pair of hands, but if you want to get that glittery stardust, hire a male director.”

According to an academic research paper published as ‘Gender in Management: An International Journal’ written by Lynn M. Martin, the director industry is mainly male dominated. Women only represent 1 in 4 directors within the UK and are mainly a part of the smaller firms within the country. Only 1 in 226 larger firms have mainly female directors. Thus, this has a lot to do with the fact that such a small number of women are nominated or win the award.

There are other controversial opinions from fans who believe that including women just to fill a quota is more of an insult and that the male films just seem to be better. For example, twitter user @yaayandnaay who tweeted “Can we stop focusing on gender and focus on talent instead? To include a woman just to fill a female quote is sexist and an insult to all women. So, what if there were only men nominated? Their movies were simply better; that’s it. Stop interpreting everything as sexist/racist?”.

Regardless of this, the trend is still happening with the most recent Oscars in 2018 only nominating 1 woman for the ‘Best Picture’ and the ‘Best Director’ award. According to the ‘Insider’, this was noticed during the ceremony. It led to an incident where Emma Stone, who was announcing the ‘Best Director’ nominations said “These four men and Greta Gerwig created their own masterpieces this year.” Highlighting the fact that only one woman was nominated, pointing out how sexist the situation was.

Georgie xx

Stories hidden within databases –Are Hollywood movies true or false?

A representation of how true Hollywood movies are – screenshot from

The website ‘information is beautiful’ has a page “Based on a true true story?” which analyses Hollywood films, scene by scene and states whether the events that happened in the scene are ‘true, true-ish, false-ish or false’.

Each of these options are colour coded, making it easy for the reader to see an overview of how true/false the movie is. The website has currently reviewed 17 different movies, from ‘Hidden Figures’ (74% true) to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ (52.7% true) to ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ (80% true).

How can this information be useful to journalists? What stories can we create from this data?

When movies come out that claim to be ‘based on a true story’, people tend to get a special connection to the movie as they can picture it actually happening in real life, which adds to the emotions one feels.

But isn’t it important to know how accurate the claim is? For journalists writing reviews on movies, this can be a very factual website that will help them to compare the movie, to the truth, part by part.

There is so much fake news nowadays that journalists try so hard to avoid, this data can be useful to helping journalist avoid this problem.


Traditional vs technology-driven journalism

Traditional journalism is slowly dying out whereas technology-driven journalism is quickly becoming popular. With this comes tensions between the two.

Timing; Traditional journalism takes a much longer time to finish up and print. Having to find the appropriate space within the newspaper, having to have the right amount of words etc. There are a lot of aspects what have to be looked into. When it is finally printed, becomes old news within hours. Whereas technological-driven journalism can be published within seconds, which means old news can constantly be updated.

Pay; Getting paid as a journalist has always been very difficult and you would assume that because publishing online is much quicker. That journalists who write for online platforms would be paid much less that traditional journalists. This wouldn’t be the case considering that the process of writing article online is much quicker and easier. Journalists are able to write more articles per week and update quicker. Which should mean getting paid a relatively high amount.

Length; When an article is being published in a newspaper, the word-count generally has to be to the exact amount allowed as there is a certain slot for that article and it wouldn’t fit if there were too many words. This means a lot of editing. For online journalism, firstly the length is generally much shorter and to the point as this is what people would want to read. They also don’t have to stick to a specific word count as they don’t have a specific slot, the article can just be uploaded and will fit no matter what.

There are many more tensions between the two. 


Could VR in news make people too emotionally connected?

Virtual reality
Man with VR headset on, from Pixabay.

Arizona State University, Cronkite School of Journalism has started a “Location-Based VR (Virtual Reality) Data Visualization” project. It is a $30,000 project and is led by Retha Hill. The project aims to help people, mainly journalists, to easily create location-based data visualizations in a virtual reality format. Meaning the audience could explore particular neighbourhoods’ crime and education data. Done by using virtual reality footage taken in the given areas.

The editorial opportunities with this project are that it enables people to become more involved with the story. They are able to not only read the story but are able to experience it themselves, it makes the story immersive. This could help people to understand the situation a lot better, especially as 65% of the world are visual learners. It also allows for journalists to add a lot more detail.

The two main editorial pitfalls that come with this project is the expense as well as emotional connection. VR is an advanced piece of technology which is very costly. Thus it won’t be easy to start using it constantly for news stories. Journalists are already struggling with getting paid because of technological advances and citizen journalism. Meaning it will be a struggle to find the money for such an advanced project.

When it comes to emotional connection, because people will be able to experience the situation for themselves, they might become much more understanding towards the situation. They may gain bias opinions. For example, say one could follow the life of Donald Trump, seeing how harsh people are on him and the facial expressions he has, one might start to feel sorry for him and change their opinion on him. This is what journalists are strongly encouraged to avoid. 


Citizen Journalism creating uncertainty in the world of news!

Citizen Journalism
Social Media Apps Screenshot by Georgina Blackwell

The role of journalists in a world where news is also provided by citizen journalism and user generated content, is a world that is much tougher for journalists than in a world without it.

The technological advances have led to the mobile phone. Enabling anyone to write, voice record, video record and photograph whenever and whatever they want. This is tough for a traditional journalist to go up against. They can’t be biased and have an editors code of practice. Meaning an obligation to follow ethical and moral codes.

Citizens do not have this commitment; they can share their views and opinions very openly. Which our generation seems to love considering that it brings in controversy and drama.

The mobile also makes it easy to share a story almost instantaneously. A traditional journalist is unable to do as their pieces have to be put through numerous steps before being published.  

With the mobile is the growth of social media apps such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. These have opened up a platform to enable the public to post their own news on. Although these apps can be very helpful for a traditional journalist when sharing news, citizens can also share news on the apps. Where can the line be drawn between the sharing of ‘real news’ and ‘fake news’?

Do people trust corporations that have specific codes and rules to follow. Meaning the distribution of tangible news. Or do they trust ordinary people that can put a twist on what they see/hear. Sharing  fake news with the world?


The Telegraph’s techniques at drawing in a younger audience through Snapchat

Screenshot of The Telegraph on Snapchat by Georgina Blackwell

Starting Monday and ending Sunday I followed The Telegraph’s posts on Snapchat. Done in an attempt to try and analyse the techniques that The Telegraph uses to draw in a younger audience. I successfully found three main techniques used.  

The Telegraph sticks with its demographic successfully by sharing stories such as; Not understanding Bitcoin, The Duchess of Sussex discussing social media pressure, Angela Merkel stepping down, discoveries of disappeared people and the crashing of a bus in China (etc). However, it includes partial soft news discussing topics such as; the beef between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, the attention on Stormy Daniels and personal stories about diet/exercise and other things (etc). Thus, the stereotypical stories that teenagers want to read about.

Another technique that The Telegraph repeatedly uses for every article on snapchat is the use of music. Adding music that fits with the emotion linked to the story. Sad music being used for the crashing of a bus in China. Upbeat music for intense topics such as the article about Bitcoin. Spooky music for the article about Suzy Lamplugh who disappeared in 1986.

The last technique used is the appearance of the front of the article. The Telegraph uses moving text, moving pictures, moving pages, bright colours and little animations on the front page of the article. This makes the article interactive and stimulating for the brain as well as it makes the newspaper seem young and edgy as they are able to do advanced technological techniques which is attractive to younger people.  


Do the positives of MOJO outweigh the negatives?

Taken by Angharad Akideinde

The use of smartphones is heavily changing journalism (MOJO), both in positive and negative ways.

Positive Aspects 

With this generation’s technological advances, we are able to use our mobiles to do almost anything. We don’t need to have camera equipment. Our phones have voice recorders, cameras, notes and you can buy extras such as microphones and tripods. These would enhance the way of recording. In fact, statistics show that people are more likely to stop and be interviewed by someone with only their phone rather than people with full-on camera equipment. Millions of different apps are able to be downloaded on smartphones, apps that can edit audio, videos and pictures. Simply done from the palm of your hands.

Not only do mobiles make life easier for journalists to report but it makes their stories much more accessible. People generally have their phones on them 24/7 meaning they can constantly check their social media apps. Journalists are able to use these apps to share news on, such as snapchat. Newspapers and magazines such as the Telegraph and Cosmopolitan use these. Other apps such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram can be used as a platform to share news. Not only can journalists use social media apps, but news companies such as BBC, The Guardian and Huffpost, can have their own apps. Which are easily accessible to anyone with a mobile.

Negative Aspects

However, with these positives, comes negatives. Smartphones are changing the way that news is shared and the way journalists write. The Telegraph (which is a broadsheet) uses Snapchat (a teenage based app) to share their news. The age group of the app is bound to change the way that the Telegraph shares news. They will be catering what they share to please their audience.

MOJO also will eventually lead to killing all original forms of Journalism such as newspapers, magazines, radio and TV. It is easier for people to read and watch news on their smartphones. Rather than on something they have to spend money on and cant access as easily.


Popping InstaBubbles to open up to the world!

After analysing my personal social media accounts (focusing on Instagram) I was able to see that my main interests are travel, fashion, memes and celebrities. Noticing I don’t use social media platforms for news but rather Newspapers and online sites such as BBC News.

I love to travel and so it didn’t surprise me when I noticed that I follow a lot of travel bloggers.

I’m not the most fashionable person, but I definitely appreciate fashion. Following accounts such as Brandy Melville and Fashion Nova where I’m seeing outfits I desire to have myself.

Laughing brightens up anyone’s day and so my page always has memes for me to smile at.

Lastly are celebrities, being a big fan of music, movies and series means I tend to give the people I like, a follow.

The main way I notice how filter bubbles affect what I am seeing is via the adverts on Instagram, not straying away from the main interests listed above. E.g. Ads about ‘Gymshark’ which is a clothing brand that I recently ordered from.

In order to pop my bubbles, I have created a professional Instagram which will be used to follow the news, to open up to different angles and not be shut away.


Journalism in the Digital Age

Can anyone be a journalist? In this modern digital age, yes. People can start a blog, they can use Facebook as a platform, twitter, Instagram etc. This has major effects on news companies and makes it difficult for journalists to make money.

Journalists are facing a hard time as a result of their industry is becoming completely digitalised.

Our current technological era is causing traditional journalism to slowly ‘die’. Less people are reading newspapers, watching TV news and listening to the radio. People prefer to read shorter, simple articles resulting in less long form.

In addition, journalists are spending less time ‘in the field’ meaning no direct contact. Stories are affected by the use of telephones and emails  to conduct interviews as it prevents seeing body language and surroundings.

However, public reports and corporate information can be published online using digital journalism. As a result news gathering becomes lot easier. ‘Live updates’ enable stories to be published instantaneously. With the increased use of mobiles and tablets to view the news it means that news is highly accessible 24/7. Which I lightly touched on in my view on the Reuters Digital Report)


My View on the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018

The Reuters Digital News Report of 2018 analyses the current state of digital news, covering topics such as fake news and the trust people have in the news. The report shows many interesting facts however what I considered the most significant is; the effect of fake news on people’s trust in the news, how trust relates to political leaning and how our technological advances are causing a change in how people view the news.

The two topics named above have an obvious effect on one another, the more fake news that people start to read means the more people loose trust in the news.  Currently only 44% of the population trust overall news which shows that fake news is a significant issue in the area of journalism.

Trust is related to political leaning; the report shows that in 2018 only 17% of right wing supporters trust most news most of the time whereas it reaches 49% for the left wing. However, something very interesting is that when it comes to the trust in local news, political leaning doesn’t make much difference.

Today’s modern technology is sky rocketing, which as the Reuters report shows, affects the way that people view journalism. The use of computers has dropped 34% since 2013 and mobiles/tablets have increase 64%.  Which in reality, makes a lot of sense, everyone has their phone on them 24/7 and can easily access all social media where news is highly viewed as well as separate news apps. However, is this drop from computers to phones affect the type of news people read?