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For several years now, the controversy of genetically modified organisms (GMO) has been a great ally of writers and bloggers around the media world.  Many bloggers write about their opinions regarding GMO’s; some of the writers defend them but a vast majority attack and disbelieve that GMO’s are good for one’s health.  First and foremost, it is necessary to note that GMO’s are something new to our generation and for this reason many people consider them harmful and unethical.  However, one must ask if they are really malign because they are something that is new to us or because they really affect our health.
In my opinion, I believe that GMO’s are simply not healthy because they are genetically corrupted foods and the properties of the modified goods are changed and lost when they are altered. However, I must argue that ignorance and lack of knowledge on the matter in our society helps fuel the controversy of whether GMO’s are right or wrong.  Some people believe that GMO’s, if not controlled, will change the course of our generation. Whether it is for good or for bad that is yet to be seen, but what is certain is that they will play a major roll in future generations.
Some media bloggers argue that GMO’s can be beneficial in underdeveloped nations where not everyone has proper access to food. They believe that modified food can allow people to consume balanced diets, because modified goods can certainly permit them to eat all kinds of vital organisms.  An example of such benefit is adding vitamins to oranges in order to fight seasonal flues.
However, GMO’s can also be used to make people addicted to food, and this way allow food companies to take advantage of them.  Some fast food chains use GMO’s to make their products more profitable at the expense of the consumers.  In some cases, some companies have tried to pass a law that would allow them to serve and produce food without having to state where their food came from.  In my opinion this would be a major negative effect on all consumers. This would allow companies not only to decide how consumers will be treated, but also make them even more addicted to their products.
As stated before, behind all this controversy sits the media which takes advantage of such debate to make up stories and help their writing profit.  As seen in the reading, “All news are local” one can see how media reporters and writers customize their stories to appeal to a certain public.  One can see how news reporters draw off in certain events to make their news more popular in certain areas.  In regards to GMO’s, one does not see many underdeveloped citizen bloggers arguing against GMO’s simply because they do not understand the matter or because it is simply not relevant to their societies.  However, one can see how, in developed countries, several people talk and write about genetically modified organisms, simply because they affect, in one way or another, their lives.
Most writers base their articles on juicy stories in which they deal with local citizens.  All news are local, means that they are only relevant to the people that are directly affected.  For an American citizen to read that a child is dying of starvation in Africa does not make any difference, but for the very same American to read that the next time he goes to a fast food stand and the food that he will consume there will affect his health, this may make a difference and hence, he or she will be more interested in reading such a news.
Lastly, it is proper to note that news regarding GMO’s are mainly focused for developed countries, and for the very same reason that they are believed to be harmful to people is that they are such a good story for reporters. They deal directly with the average citizen therefore the media can take advantage of such a controversial matter.  GMO’s not only help food chains to be more profitable but also local news writers to get their stories across to more people. In conclusion, GMO’s need to be controlled in order to protect everyone’s health.

-Santiago Dominguez

Work cited:
R Stanton. All News is Local. Chapter 9& 10: Citizens and Participation & Conclusion. 170-200. Copyright 2007 Richard Stanton.
Nestle, Marion. Food Politics.  UC Press: Berkeley, 2003.  Selected

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Did you hear that NASA is going to mine the moon!? No? I didn’t either until a friend visiting from the States informed me last week. The ‘probe’ is supposed to crash into a crater on October 9th. That means that the craft carrying it has been in orbit for months. This means that this research and project has been going on for years! And we have heard nothing in the news media about this. Throughout two chapters of ‘All News is Local’ Stanton provides us with a good analysis of news media production and offers up ways in which large news media corporations must change their modes of operation in order to succeed in providing ‘accurate’ or ‘thorough’ global news. Stanton does not talk about media consumers or reference the variety of media consumption in various demographics. I also found a lack of agency created throughout his writing for us news consumers, however he does illuminate some key issues.

When looking at global social issues Non-Government Organizations are most definitely involved. In an NGO’s aim to gaining coverage “success lies in the capacity of an organization to present a strategy to news media and to governments in such a way that it will appear to emulate the institutions it is attempting to persuade and influence” (Stanton, 182). Stanton is arguing here that it is the job of the organization that is involved to frame their experience in a manner that fits the news media’s mold. Stanton notes that Oxfam invests heavily in research and news media connections to become the opposition on coverage of globalization stories. This type of investment “creates a legitimacy for [the organization] based in its research and its self-positioning as a global institution” (Stanton, 183). It is important to problematize this legitimacy and illuminate its roots in wealth, wealth of money, human resources and connections to the dominant news media. The differentiation of large aid companies and the way they are held up as leaders among civil society organizations Stanton notes, “is more often the result of good media management by the agencies than any other single factor” (Stanton 184). Here the legitimacy and credentials that news media places on any organization becomes invalid.

‘We’, as news media consumers, should then presumably be more analytic of the news sources we read. Stanton suggests that “news media, rather than being imagined as a preeminent institution within the public sphere, are in truth agents for corporate and government stakeholders seeking profit and well-being” (Stanton,192). Well, of course Stanton, and corporations definition of ‘well-being’ does not exclude obtaining wealth by harming others. “[F]or corporations, the production of goods and services based on consumer opinion and, therefore, demand is an equivalent policy position. When the news media interpret the policies and actions of global institutions they do so within the narrow game of agency that they have developed through their relationships with national governments and corporations. This is unacceptable. [Now you’re getting passionate!] The news media narrow the frame and imagine the institutions of globalization to represent the same interests as corporations and government” (Stanton, 194). Just as our group was saying; the success rates of Blogs or the significance of a YouTube video cannot be measured simply by the number of hits.

Our North American news is framed ‘locally’ with western, local importance. Stanton notes that news media is attempting to neatly package complex global issues into “digestible chunks” (Stanton, 189) so that folks here in small-town Canada can have some tidbit of what’s shakin’ in Timbuktu. And how awfully west centric is it that we have an expression for ‘the-middle-ephin’-nowhere’ all wrapped up into the name of a Malian city: Tombouctou. Because there is no way could relate to someone in the middle of West Africa.

Stanton states that this lack of thorough news coverage on global issues as well as the watering down of local news has lead to folks being detached from both. True, but where is our agency? Are we not responsible for being more consciously involved in our own communities? What about Not-for-profit organizations that don’t want to conform to news media forums? How about putting some value in nonconformities? At the same time it is important that we are holding large news media accountable for accurately portraying information and questioning how government/NASA/other corporate forces apply their filters on how the media represents a case. How come we didn’t know about or have a say in what was being done to our moon?

-Emily Hein

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