Artifact Analysis – Abigail and Chiara

Journalism:

What is the story being communicated?

This article from The Guardian explains the challenges faced by toy and app developers when insuring diversity in their products – this includes unconscious bias that comes to the surface, the difficulty around testing on children during development (because children are often conditioned to be drawn to gendered products), ensuring products are racially and economically diverse as well as gender neutral and facing criticism from the public and ‘feminist’ critics. Companies and developers mentioned in the article include Goldie Blox, Toca-Boca, Tinybop and others. Also explained that although there is limited research on diversity in apps, studies involving reading shows children are more engaged/motivated when they can relate to characters.

What are the practices involved with putting the story together?

Journalism – investigative journalism, reporting, neutral analysis by presenting various ‘expert’ points of view

What are the disciplinary principles at work in the story?

News values – currency (children’s apps are rising in popularity against a background of feminist discussion), human interest (draws on people’s concern for their children’s well-being and potential), conflict (deals with the “heated issues” of race and gender, touches on ‘feminist’ criticisms)

Channel – published online on The Guardian

Medium – combination of words and images, most of which are taken from the app itself, add depth and texture to the descriptions of its gameplay. The first picture is of a female character in the app who has dark skin and an ‘un-princess-like’ appearance, drawing on ideas of inclusivity and representation.

Who does the story address / Who is it talking to?

Addresses all readers of The Guardian but in particular those with an interest in IT, STEM developments, child development, societal inequality and – the biggest factor – parents or those who work with children

 

Media:

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 4.13.42 pm

What is the story being communicated?

The ‘story’ in this case is interesting because it is more of a dialogue, in which various points of views are expressed organically and informally touch upon different aspects of the issues. The first commenter is firmly supportive of the press release about female representation in cinema, and criticises stereotypes, asking ‘when will all our voices be heard?’.  The second is an example of international feminist criticism, agreeing that ‘our girls deserve heros’ but criticising the ‘Eurocentric’ attitude and ‘delusions of supremacy’ of the author for using the term ‘flowing hair’. And finally, the third commenter is enthusiastic about GoldieBlox advocating for her daughter, who is young and black. This touches again on the idea of representation and empowerment of children through apps, games and toys.

What are the practices involved in putting the story together?

This is an example of active engagement/ interaction of consumers with a text. In this case the text is PR material and the active engagement is in the form of written comments posted at the bottom of the text.

What are the disciplinary principles at work in the story?

I classified this as a media article because I felt the comments were written in the interest of the public good as well as reflecting personal values, and they were evidence of an organic and creative process of communication.

Media values – human interest (talking about the wellbeing of OUR children), conflict

Who does the story address? Who is it talking to?

The commenters are addressing the author of the article, the publication itself, each other, and indirectly any other readers of the article. The use of ‘we’, ‘our daughters’ and similar inclusive language suggests the primary audience is fellow parents with daughters.

 

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GoldieBlox Rube Goldberg commercial

What is the story being communicated?

The story is that three girls from diverse ethnic backgrounds, bored by the stereotypical representation of ‘princesses’ on their television, create a complex and entertaining Rube Goldberg machine using items from their own home. The final ‘act’ or stage of the machine is to switch the tv channel from the princess-y, stereotyped channel to a screen showing the GoldieBlox character putting together a machine. A GoldieBlox toy is then advertised.

What are the practices involved in putting the story together?

This is an audiovisual artifact – camerawork, acting, editing and music are all used in putting the story together (as well as engineering the Rube Goldberg machine, and animation at the end)

What are the disciplinary principles at work in the story (news values, stakeholder interests, materials, format, medium and channel)?

News values – bizarre (the novelty/humour of the Rube Goldberg machine)

Primarily, it seeks to be entertaining while still incorporating the ‘human interest’ aspect, advocating for a product and attitude that seeks to help girls meet their true potential and discard outdated stereotypes.

Plays on the stakeholder interests of parents with daughters (who wish to provide them with engaging and challenging stimuli, and encourage their academic/STEM achievements). Also plays on the interests of children and young people, who want simply to be entertained and engaged by products.

Medium – video (audiovisual, film and animation/graphics)

Channel – by releasing the advertisment on Youtube and disseminating it through other online forums, GoldieBlox gave their video the chance to ‘speak for itself’, be shared across social media platforms and go viral via word-of-mouth.

Who does the story address? Who is it talking to?

Addresses girls (particularly young girls), women of all ages and parents or people with young girls in their life.

PR:

What is the story being communicated?

The story is that Toca Boca has redesigned their popular app ‘Robot Lab’ in order to bring it further into line with the company’s values of gender-neutrality and child-tailored design. The press release explains that colours within the app were altered so as to avoid being traditionally ‘boyish’ and the tools used to construct the robot were made less conventional, with more household objects featuring in the new design. Also features statements from a Toca Boca Artist and Toca Boca CEO talking about the company’s design ethic and core values/ approach.

What are the practices involved in putting the story together?

PR practices – follows a press-release format, identifies benefit for the consumer and explains why, how and when to download the app.

What are the disciplinary principles at work in the story (news values, stakeholder interests, materials, format, medium and channel)

News values – currency (this story is targeted to those already familiar with the Toca Boca brand), timeliness (the changes to the app were taking place at the time of the press release and it would be shortly released after the publication), human interest (appealing to parent’s concern for their children)

Stakeholder interests – explains the benefit of the changes to concerned parents and even young people who play the game, ensures them the redesign is a positive step

Who does the story address? Who is it talking to?

Parents or children who are familiar with Toca Boca or play Toca Boca games, particularly Robot Lab.

 

Journalism: 

 

What is the story being communicated?

The story communicates a parent’s first hand perspective with Toca Boca and their games. Admittedly the mother understands these games the least but trusts them the most as their sole purpose is “to be fun, nothing more, nothing less.”

What are the practices involved with putting this together?

Journalistic approach – The article is primarily an opinion piece given by a parent regarding Toca Boca who is semi informed with the issues of children’s games.

What are the disciplinary principles at work in the story?

The author forms an opinion piece regarding Toca Boca’s games and the CEO’s philosophy regarding their aps. The author uses personal anecdotes, quotes, humour and writes in the first person.

Who does the story address/ who is it talking to?

The story addresses the Guardian readership i.e the general public, specifically parents as well as those who share a specific interest in Toca Boca and gender diversity in children games.

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