Sustainability and Media Corporations

Just like all things American, media has fallen to the corporate system. The current disposition of the media world has been heavily influenced by federal policy. Before the Telecommunications Act of 1996, America saw upwards to fifty major media companies. The passage of this piece of legislation, initially intended to serve as a check on the accuracy of media corporations, led to an unintended consequence of major company buyouts. Today we can count the number of media outlets on two hands.

America’s foundation is built on democracy, rights, and freedom. The conglomerate media system is counterproductive to these ideals. There are less voices and opinions when few are in charge of what and how information is shared to our country’s people.

If analyzed through the lens of sustainability, we see many problems that arise from the very nature of having media outlets funneled down to only a few major companies and individuals.


With the lack of competitors, big media is given the space to focus on money and profit over general public interest and quality services. If there are limited alternatives, media consumers will be forced to pay the prices set by these monetary-driven, impersonal corporations.


We have seen politics stick its greasy fingers into the monopoly of large media business. Rupert Murdoch, one of America’s most famous media tycoons, is a proud supporter of the Republican Party and has donated millions to certain news groups. In return, they are obligated to have a biased towards the red. Another important social factor is the lack of diverse correspondents and news coverage relating to women and minorities.


As the conglomerate system of media becomes more of a norm in our society, Americans have tended to put local news on the back burner. Depriving our country’s people of varied opinions and unbiased facts may lead to a narrow-minded, numbed society. It is not a community-based system and does not support social solidarity. This could be detrimental to environmental advocacy and education amongst the masses, and we will initially encounter these negative effects at a local level.

Your everyday items that make the Top 25 “greenwashed” products

Greenwashing was a new term for me. I have learned that greenwashing practices evolved as consumers began to spend more dollars on eco-friendly items. With this increasing change in shopping trends, businesses have had to reevaluate what they will push and endorse in some cases for more profit. However, in selling and promoting more eco-friendly items comes higher costs. Higher production costs are what is most dreaded by companies, so what how do they fix that? They make you believe you are buying an eco-friendly item, spending less of the production cost and taking your extra money.

While I was surprised, I wasn’t surprised. We live in a world that is driven by profit. However, I would have though that those passionate about sustainability would be more ethical in advertising and production practices. With that being said, as we allocate more money into buying better, sustainable, eco-friendly products, let’s do our research in making sure we are actually doing so with our new found favorite brands. I have researched what are the top 25, most commonly used items that are greenwashed so that we can better know our options. Below are a few that may surprise you.

1. Airline tickets
I know, we do not typically think this is on the TOP 25 because what college student has enough money to buy plane tickets a few times throughout the whole year? Truth is, even college students travel quite a lot to visit family between breaks, at least once a year per student makes for a lot of the profit, not including other consumers. While airlines like the one I work for, American Air, are buying and building bigger planes there is Easy Jet who focuses on producing smaller “Eco friendly” planes. The smaller they are the less emissions they give is the idea, however, the emissions are very much being emitted, no matter the size.

2. Kids toys
This one is a given and I know we have covered it in class also. Many toys claim to be no non toxic, BPA free, or lead free, but what other chemicals are included in the toys paint? What about the packaging? What about while we shop for the toys, are we using a reusable bag given to us by the store? Now look at the bag, is it made out of plastic or actual recycled material?

3. Software
Electronics take up a whole lot of energy that we use. Do you every really unplug or turn off your laptop when not in use? I really have to remind myself at times. With that being said, software is actually on the TOP 25 items being greenwashed. While some products claim to put profit towards eco friendly practices and business, including from Microsoft, they also made consumers have to buy new computers just to run Windows 7 new software.

4. Meat
I was fascinated to learn in my Nutrition class just because the foods you buy state organic does not mean they are fully organic. In order for your product to actually be the organic you are probably looking for, it has to say 100% Organic. Simply stating Organic can mean just up to 90% of the meat is Organic. In some cases, even only part of the product is organic, anywhere from 50-70% even though you are lead to think otherwise. With that being said, sadly, a label can state “All Natural”, yet the animal was treated with antibiotics and fed GMO corn.

5. Tampons and Sanitary Pads
This one is kind of a given if you really think about it, but thing is we don’t really think about it. Who thinks of cotton when they feel their insides are being pulled out once a month? Truth is, on top of certain companies claiming they monitor the amount of their product going to landfills by foregoing tampon applicators, they dont mention all the chemicals that go into the production of the cotton you are putting into your body. Might I add, these are chemicals that cause wildlife toxicity and as a direct implication to you, also cancer causing.

Extra Credit Post Media

Last week, we briefly discussed in class how 6 or so companies own and control 90+% of the media in the United States. This is alarming, because this small group controls almost all of the news and coverage that the American population receives on a regular basis. This is called media consolidation, and this is affecting the US more and more as fewer people amass more of the medias power.

A graphic about media consolidation can be found here:

Environmentally speaking, this cal be alarming. In between fake news, and only getting most of our news from such a small amount of sources, it can be hard to figure out what is true and what is fake. Because the people who fund these companies usually get to control what media is released, there is worry about how transparent the media we are served really is. This can concerning environmentally because if someone is rich enough and does not believe in man’s role in climate change and global warming, they potentially could feed millions of people information that makes them believe similar falsities. Problems could arise from this, especially if the general population began to not believe in climate change and its consequences, and the majority of people stopped any green practices such as recycling that they do to lessen their footprint. This would cause a multitude of social and environmental problems across the globe. This could also become a problem because most people do not do research on what they read, or the sources that post them, to begin with. Not doing such research could allow for these 6 companies to influence the public to believe pretty much anything, and also cover up things that they do not want the pubic to find out about. About 15 people own the United States media, and this consolidation gives these few a lot of power.  The graphic above states that 232 media executives control the information that 277 million Americans consume on a regular basis.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allowed for this consolidation to happen. It allowed for mergers of media companies, and was substantially paid for by corporate media lobbies. This act allowed for media corporations to consolidate into the small number that they are today (for example,  how Disney umbrellas to own ABC, ESPN, Pixar, and many other smaller corporations). It is alarming that one company has so much power, and essentially control, over the American population and the information that we receive.

Extra Credit Media Assignment

Media can truly be a tricky concept, weather or not it is true and factual or fake and made up of lies. “Media Overload” is when you watch too much social media at one time. The younger generations I believe have more of these problems but, I also think that we all catch ourselves soaking up social media in every much way. I fell as though we could limit this media overload by limiting the amount of time we are to watch tv or be on the phones.

I believe that people need to interact with the media in different ways and not just sitting in front of the television for nine hours a day.  I say this for not only children, teenagers, and adults.  I have seen more kids this day in age that whine, cry, and beg because they want the Ipad or even their parents phones. This new trend is almost ridiculous that kids 1-3 even know how to use these devices, when even I, at twenty two years old, still have issues working my phone or doing something on an Ipad. I believe that time on these devices need to be limited and the things watched on these devices also need to be controlled.

People need to be aware of the programs that they are watching and be sure to keep their eyes open to the factual parts or if it is just word vomit being thrown out to make some television network look more important with the extra information or if it is just lies being thrown out.  As the public everyone needs to be aware of that.  It also kind of ties in the trust in media.

I believe that media overload is a real thing and people often do not realize they are even binge watching hours and hours until it is already over.  People need to stop watching these pointless programs and really start paying attention to the news that is out there.


Real Journalism is Dying

Real Journalism is dying, quietly and slowly, and there is not enough attention on it. Many reasons are contributing to it, however.

First off, social media is becoming more and more popular, normal part of every day life, and is completely consuming our minds. How many of us have not heard about a world issue until we came across it on social media? I, myself, have learned of many current political and social events over Facebook before I did in the newspaper or news off of the television. That might have something to do with us turning to Facebook off of our phone first thing in the morning before even turning on the TV, radio, or coffee pot. I remember growing up at home, getting ready in the morning for school with the weather channel and morning news chatter going on in the background. When I sat down for breakfast I caught a glimpse of it from the table every morning before riding off to school. I truly wonder how many children’s families still value this practice rather than receiving news from social media.

What is the problem with receiving news off of social media? I have spoken to a lot of people a part of my young generation about this issue, and I am almost always confronted with, “Why is it such an issue? Social Media is such an important platform!”, “We are able to share so much information with people all at once, it is so helpful and useful!”.
I agree. Social media can be extremely useful, we can reach out to many people at once when it comes to important information. However, when it becomes our first point of contact for important information, that is a problem. Anyone can put information on social media, which can make the information not so credible in a lot of cases. We have turned to believing what social media says before we believe anything else. Why is this the case when real journalists getting paid to do real research are putting our actual credible information off of social media primarily? There are more job openings for social media managers and handlers than journalists and reporters. Want to know what is the most interesting part of applying for a social media specialist position? You do not need an English degree or a related bachelors degree in a lot of cases, because anyone can handle social media. This is who you are getting a lot of your information from.

The art of drinking a cup of coffee or tea while reading the newspaper is falling more and more behind. I hope that we can become more conscientious about the information we come across and researching whether or not it is reputable. I hope that we can begin to put more credible sources as our “go to’s” before turning to social media. How about a challenge? Before you post a current event or issue going on over social media, find it from the actual news, whether it be an electronic article over the web, televised report, or off of a newspaper. Try to create a habit of unwinding from social media by finding actual information in actual places rather than your black mirrored screen.

Citizen Journalism

Citizen journalism has become a very popular practice with the use of smartphones, glasses-based cameras, and other tools that make it easier for the average person to report the latest breaking news. The average person is now able to broadcast their experiences to the world at the very time of having these experiences, which is great, but it also has its problems. We live in an age where likes and retweets control what we post on social media because we want the instant gratification, so we post without giving thought to if what we are posting is the truth.

Citizen journalism through ‘live tweeting’ one’s experience, posting the scene on one’s Snapchat story, or posting an Instagram live video may not give viewers the whole story. Viewers are only seeing or reading what the citizen journalist is experiencing, which may not be an accurate representation of the whole situation at hand. This creates an incredible amount of bias in the information that viewers or readers are receiving. Also, the “news” that the citizen journalist is reporting could strictly be opinion based with no facts to back up their point, but viewers may not fact check their source, therefore they’re being filled with information that could be incorrect.

While there are many issues with citizen journalism, there are some positives associated with it. As mentioned before, the information that citizen journalists are posting may not always be correct, but the event at hand is happening right then. Citizen journalism is more than likely the quickest way to be updated on an event or situation because everyone wants the instant gratification of posting right when the event or situation happens. Another positive of citizen journalism is that viewers are able to directly interact with the citizen journalist over social media to ask questions whereas with traditional news reports there is no way to interact with the news reporter. In addition, citizen journalism allows viewers to see a more realistic view of what is occurring rather than a view that is staged by a cameraman to ensure viewers are seeing what the news wants them to see.

As with all aspects of social media, there are negatives and positives associated with citizen journalism. I truly think the most important thing to keep in mind while viewing or reading a citizen journalist is to remember that the journalist is probably excited to be reporting this information and emotions may get in the way of facts. It’s important for viewers or readers to fact check the information that they were given to ensure that the news they received is true.

Extra Credit: Media Overload… When is it time to put it away?

Current society uses all different types of media and technology as various means of daily living. Examples of this include Facebook for leisure usage, google for a work email, and even Instagram for business promotion of a company. With various different aspects of one’s life linked to media it is necessary in today’s society to flourish and thrive. Through media people are able to interact with one another faster, spread ideas quicker, as well as learn a different ideas and ways of thinking. Society has made media very time consuming in that the average person spends around 13.6 hours taking in social media from various different sources. Since media has become so addictive, people have become more vulnerable, and easily manipulated making it easier for companies to promote different products in particular ways; thus gaining a profit. Since the average person spends so much time on social media, advertising through a means of social media proves to be much cheaper, quicker, and hits a variety of consumers. Current day media such as Facebook has tracked down our likes and dislikes to promote advertisements based off of pages we have liked on Facebook, links we have shared, as well as other websites we have looked at. This allows the consumer to be in direct contact with products that relate exactly to him or her.

Since media proves to be so addictive, people are easily manipulated in believing that everything they read online is true. Most posts and articles shared within media have been shown to be very bias and unsupported by scientific data, and in some cases promote false data. We, as social media users need to understand what we are taking in from social media, and how it affects our lives. With the knowledge of how to view and understand information on social media helps us to be able to know which information is accurate and which is bogus. One tool I use in doing so is reading multiple sources online to create a picture of the story from many different opinions and viewpoints. Even when buying a product online, read the reviews and listen to what multiple sources are saying online. As for scientific evidence, do your research OUTSIDE of informal means of media such as Facebook or Instagram.

Media has shed light on lots of good areas of life, but in many ways it has shown to increase rates of depression and anxiety. Since media consumes our daily lives, we have to be able to know when to put it down/away. When you start to find yourself at a point in life when you feel bored if you aren’t on your phone, it’s time to put it down. If you find yourself using media without learning or gaining knowledge or opinions on a topic, it’s time to put it down. When you start to find yourself “not all there” when you aren’t staring at your phone, it’s time to use social media less. When you start to have better interactions with people over media rather than face to face, it’s time to limit your social media. We have to be able to draw the line from when we benefit from social media, and when social media benefits from us.


Media Overload

Media is around us all throughout the day whether it is through print, broadcast, or the internet. I believe there is a such thing as having too much media. This would be considered a media overload. I know from my own experience, that there is too much media available to us. I really can not count how much media consumes my time throughout the day, which as you can tell is pretty bad. I believe on average I spend about fourteen hours on my phone throughout the entire day taking up all the information the media has to offer. I believe there is a problem with media overload because people, including myself, are not experiencing the full quality of life because we are so tied into the media. An example of this would be spending time with a loved one and constantly checking your Facebook or Instagram the whole time. Constantly checking these media platforms affects being able to really enjoy that special time together. I can admit that I do this all the time with my loved ones and miss out on that quality time. On the subject of encouraging people to interact with the media, I am not sure if we should or shouldn’t. I believe that people can make their own decisions whether to use forms of media. In my opinion, I would just say that maybe we all should limit our intake of the media because it can get overwhelming with having so much information presented to you. For children, I definitely would not encourage them to interact with the media because you would not want them learning things that would reflect on their behavior. Children absorb information the most and the media would only influence them the greatest.

Political Marketing

In this past presidential election I noticed a growing presence of political propaganda on social media. As social media has grown to be a huge part of our day-to-day lives, politicians have noticed this trend and created a new platform to get their messages across. Just a few examples of this are Marco Rubio broadcasting “Snapchat Stories” at stops along the trail, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush arguing over student debt on Twitter, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham produce goofy YouTube videos, the list goes on and on.

And while this direct contact with voters can be a great platform to get ideas and messages across, it can also be harmful. While politicians can get their messages across, it seems to be that only the loudest get heard. A prime example of this is our current President of the United States, Donald Trump. Trump has made a career out of talking over and bullying people to get his way, and when he was a reality TV show host that was all fine and good, but when you’re running to be the president these tactics are extremely frowned upon. Or are they?

Trump has turned campaigning and debates into prime time entertainment, and it has clearly worked in his favor. Due to this entertainment factor people decided they liked him based on reasons they would never like any other person, let alone any other politician. Is this what the future holds for politics? Citizens voting based on entertainment as opposed to values and the common good?