Annenberg looks at media impact in the Middle East

first_imgThe Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the Dean’s Third Space Initiative held a discussion on the media’s influence over Jews and Muslims in the Middle East and the United States on Wednesday evening in Wallis Annenberg Hall. The panel consisted of Amit Schejter, a professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Pennsylvania State University College of Communications, and Salam Al-Marayati, executive director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The panel was moderated by USC Annenberg Knight Chair in Religion and Media Diane Winston.Winston began the conversation by focusing on how digital and social media led to media disparities in the Middle East that are not seen in the U.S. Schejter responded by explaining his belief that this derives from the different effects of a wealth gap in the U.S. and a media divide in the Middle East.“There has been a growing income gap between Jews and Palestinians in the last decade,” Schejter said. “But more interesting … is the issue of the digital divide. In the U.S. [digital divides] run mostly on economic lines, while in the Middle East there are [disparities] between Arabs and Jews. Arabs spend more time online than Jews because there is more information for them online.” Schejter said that there needs to be equality in media availability. “The middle class is out there demonstrating and it has a smartphone and it has the applications and it has everything in their hands,” Schejter said. “They are not thinking about closing gaps and providing media to the people. In a new media era it’s not enough to talk about freedom of expression — we need to talk about equality of expression.” Al-Marayati spoke mostly on the faulty focus of modern media and how poor connections and improper favoritism can create a disservice for consumers of  journalism. Al-Marayati discussed an inappropriately intertwined relationship between media and governmental services which can be applied equally in the U.S. and abroad.“Today most of the press is representing what the government is saying,” Al-Marayati said. “Most people commenting are Pentagon officials or a former national security advisor or a state department advisor — there is no wall of separation between press and government. The wall of separation between the press and the government is equally important for us to live in a true democracy.” Al-Marayati also covered the dangers of the status quo in Middle Eastern media. He juxtaposed the U.S., which he said has more healthy and varied dialogue, with the Middle East.“Muslim-Jewish dialogue is actually thriving in the United States,” Al-Marayati said. “You find more Muslim-Jewish dialogue in Los Angeles in New York … I think by and large because Muslims and Jews are pretty much identical in their outlook [here in the U.S.].” Jamie Cohen, a graduate student in Annenberg’s Master of Communication Management program, asked the speakers about the decline of Al Jazeera America, which recently announced that it would be closing its operation in the U.S. Schejter responded by saying that Al Jazeera is more of an ideological news outlet than a journalistic one, a distinction that may have put off American viewers who were looking for a different form of media. “Al Jazeera is a very interesting news outlet … however, I was never a fan of Al Jazeera,” Schejter said. “I look at Al Jazeera and Fox News as opposite sides of the same coin. It is more ideological than it is, to me, true journalism.”last_img read more

Heading into playoffs, Badgers peaking at right time

first_imgSophomore forward Michael Mersch has complimented the 10 points Mark Zengerle has scored the past five games, scoring eight points of his own with four assists and four goals in that span.[/media-credit]Just three weeks ago, the sun was setting quite early on the 2011-12 Wisconsin men’s hockey season. The Badgers had just dropped their fifth straight game, falling nearly to the bottom of the WCHA cellar with just lowly Alaska Anchorage dangling below them.After being eliminated from top six contention in the WCHA standings for a first round home playoff series, Wisconsin begrudgingly extended its losing streak to five games, at the hands of Denver in the Kohl Center and hit rock bottom. But apparently new life can be found in the eleventh hour for a team that never quit despite a series of hard-fought battles that failed to yield the positive results the Badgers had been searching for.“A month ago we were still trying to get home ice,” sophomore forward Michael Mersch said. “I think it was St. Cloud that things kind of fell apart, but we picked ourselves up from them, we realized we were going to have to go on the road and those road wins against Bemidji [State] and Minnesota helped us become a more confident team.”Suddenly, UW reeled off four consecutive victories, a game two win against Denver and three straight road games with a sweep over Bemidji State and a game one victory at No. 5 Minnesota, before Minnesota rallied in the third period of game two to halt Wisconsin’s streak Saturday.“I would argue that we played some good hockey before we had that big game against Denver,” UW head coach Mike Eaves said. “Everything came together by us scoring five goals and timely goals, but we played well in Mankato [against St. Cloud State]; we could have won both games. We played competitive up at North Dakota and then Denver at home, and Friday we weren’t very good, but Saturday [we won 5-2]. We have been doing good things for a while, and it came together that Saturday against Denver and we’ve been able to carry that on.”With the drastic change in results, the level of confidence Wisconsin is portraying increased dramatically. Immediately after the fifth consecutive loss, the players appeared to be as low as they had all season. For a team that started the season 1-8-1 on the road, a road playoff series was the last thing the Badgers were looking forward to. Now, they can’t wait.“The confidence plays a big factor,” Mersch said. “When we played Denver at home we kind of got a feel for them and what they play like. The win we had against them Saturday night was a big confidence boost for us.”Sophomore center Mark Zengerle lead the Badgers in points this season and also has been the primary catalyst during Wisconsin’s last five games, tallying 10 points on two goals and eight assists over that stretch.But it hasn’t been all about one or two individuals. Seventeen different players have scored points over the recent impressive streak.“We’re a pretty close team, and I think everyone has just been playing their part and wanting to win,” Zengerle said. “You get down to the end of the season and start looking and there is no, ‘Oh well. We’ve got next weekend.’ You are playing for your season and playing for your life out there.”Mersch too has put together a remarkable string of games, scoring eight points, second-most to Zengerle over that time, and says that working on the power play with Zengerle has helped boost the level of his game.“I think our power play is finding its niche, and I have been playing with Zengerle a little bit, so that obviously helps because he is a point getter and he produces offense,” Mersch said. “Things are just coming together at the right time and not just for me individually. Tyler [Barnes] has a great weekend in Minnesota, Mark almost has 50 points this year, obviously Justin [Schultz] is contributing and has been all season, but things are just starting to come together, and we’re getting some goals and points from our back line guys.The Badgers have said all season long that they felt like the team was a lot better than their record indicated. As the WCHA playoffs begin Friday, perhaps Wisconsin’s opening round matchup, Denver, and others will start to recognize that and fear a potential series with the Badgers.“We have talked since day one about being a championship caliber team,” Eaves said. “Now, there are certain elements that those championship-caliber teams have and we have been pushing for that all year. We’re closer to that now. Are we there? Only if we go on an unbelievable run, but that is why you play the game. That is what makes basketball crazy in March, you get the Cinderella teams, and we certainly fall in that category right now.”last_img read more