Security… Are you there?

Okay fine, I’ll admit it. I have not been as concerned about my security online as I should be. To be fair, nothing treacherous has happened with my information… as far as I know.

I’ve always been extremely careful with my debit card information. And realistically the joke would be on anyone who stole my debit card.

No Money GIF by Quinta B - Find & Share on GIPHY

However, after this module, I realize there is much more information of mine to go around than just my bank information.

In this week’s article by Shoshana Zuboff called, “The Secrets of Surveillance Capitalism“, I learned that my data is being sold. There was once a time when I innocently thought Google and Facebook were completely free with no consequence and life was sunny and wonderful. Now I know that people are profiting off of my activity (which I would be okay with if they shared some of the profit… just a suggestion).

So here goes my controversial opinion on that… Yes, this is intrusive. Yes, I deserve personal privacy. HOWEVER! I am a participant on Facebook, on Google, on Instagram, on Amazon, and many other sites that both have my information and present ads. If I am to be subjected to these ads, I’d rather them be personalized to the things that are relevant to me rather than random ads for weekly vegan grocery boxes or season tickets to sports games (aka things I want no part in).

Home Rob GIF by South Park  - Find & Share on GIPHY

I suppose this would be a big reason why I don’t plan on changing my approach to security. I exercise caution when it comes to which websites I put my information into. When I receive emails from “” requesting that I log into my Apple account to change my password, I am savvy enough to resist.

That said, I am not in a career where I need to store the information of others. I do not have secrets stored in my computer or phone. I primarily use the internet for school, staying in contact with friends, Netflix, and Amazon shopping sprees (explaining the debit card statement earlier in this post). I don’t feel that I am at high risk to be hacked.

The one thing I will be more vigilant is something I learned from the Lifehacker article called “Top 10 Tech Security Basics Every Person Should Follow“. I rarely open the app store on my iPhone, which is where all the updates appear when apps need to be updated. Whenever I do actually open the app store, there are always a huge number of apps that need to be updated – ones that I have put my personal information into. This article reminds me to update these programs as well as cleaning the app permissions. I think I’ll make this change because it’s so simple and it seems to be very effective.


Wikipedia Assignment – Electric Love

I’ve been excited to present this assignment. It took a long time for me to land on a topic that I wanted to write about. I spent hours looking through the categories page, stubs page, and the WikiProject directory. I reassigned myself different pages a handful of times.

I’ve been focusing my blog posts about image in the music industry, so it was fitting to write about music festival I stumbled upon called: Electric Love.

The first thing I noticed was that the article was fairly sparse in information. The entire page consisted of a lead section, an information box, and a picture of the festival inside of the information box.

Furthermore, there was no rating on the importance scale or quality scale – I realized this presented an opportunity to make significant additions and perhaps affect it’s importance and quality!

The lead section is a good summary and describes the event well, which is sufficient according to our training material, so I didn’t feel a need to change anything there. It did include a few named headliners, so I decided to create a section expanding on these artists.


Before I get into my edits, I wanted to shed some light on the talk page, which I found to be a bit off-putting. Because the name “Electric Love” isn’t just a music festival, it also shares the name with:

  • a song by an artist named Børns
  • an album by a British electronica group called Dirty Vegas
  • a VHS released in 1987 by a band called The Cult

So as you can imagine, this can become a pretty tricky situation. The only information on the talk page was by the RMCD bot, which I presume to stand for “Requested Moves Current Discussions” based on it’s user page.

Here, stated by the bot back in 2016 was a notification of discussion on the Electric Love (Børns song) – a proposal to make the song page the official “Electric Love” on Wikipedia and change the festival page to something along the lines of “Electric Love Festival”.

I was conflicted… do add to the talk page of the festival? Or add to the page of the song? Best solution here is to follow the link to the song’s talk page, which to my relief already sorted out this page name situation back in 2016.

Ultimately it was decided to oppose the changing of names since none of the Electric Love’s are the primary topic over one another. This is why I felt correct in continuing to make edits to the festival talk page rather than the song page.

One thing I found interesting about the proposal in the talk page was someone who had made a claim and retracted it, then corrected themselves:

This seemed to be a turning point int he discussion and the fact that this Wikipedia editor was bold enough to admit they were wrong stood out to me as an editor who truly had the validity of the page in mind rather than just wanting to be right. As we learned in this Wired article, editors can be quite malicious when they choose. However, this Talk page was sorted out in a very polite and informational manner throughout the entire discussion.

Before adding my edits, I contributed to the talk page a proposal of the edits I wanted to add.

I included my references below the proposal. Each year of headliners was found on a different page, so I wanted to be very specific when citing so I didn’t run into any problems. The page I found the information is called “Festicket”, which is not a scholarly article or a book, but it is a proclaimed official partner of Electric Love, so I felt it was a credible source.

I took to my sandbox to draft the changes I wanted to make. I fiddled with a few different layouts and landed on a list-view:

Note that the lower section of the 2018 and 2019 listings are cut off – my screen was too small to take a screenshot of the entire list.

I was very meticulous to cite each artist in the page I found the information on. I double checked spelling, as some of the names are foreign to me.

I waited for a while to hear anything back on the talk page, but there was no push back to my proposal, so it was time to move it to the official Electric Love Wikipedia page. I transferred the information, but in addition, I also included links to the Wikipedia pages of all the artists I could find. This is the edit summary I created:

And the finished product (well… a snippet at least):

I am extremely satisfied with the way it turned out. None of my changes were taken down or reverted back. I didn’t have high expectations for myself in this project – after reading about the woman who uses Wikipedia editing as a  way to say “F*** You” to trolls, I felt my changes would be insignificant in comparison. However, I felt extremely accomplished in the end!

I would like to have been able to add a photo, but I never found anything fitting. That is the only thing I would have done differently if I chose a different article to edit.

Will I edit more Wikipedia articles in the future? Absolutely! It doesn’t seem like such a daunting task after finally doing it one time. And if I ever have the opportunity to spread researched and true information to others on the internet, I now understand how rewarding it can be.


Surveillance, Takedowns, & Pseudonyms

I have never been one to think about law too much. I live my life in a very safe “coloring inside the lines” mindset because having to deal with any legal issues is a very troubling thought to me. That said, with social media becoming practically an essential part of a professional and social life, it may be time for me to start taking law into consideration in a more active way.

The first piece of material that stood out to me in this module was the chapter of Mediactive titled “Privacy & Surveillance“. I am so very thankful for automatic updates that happen on my phone and computer, or else I wouldn’t give a second thought to it. I never realized how important keeping software up to date would help protect my privacy (the limited amount of privacy I feel that I have).

Besides entering my credit card information while purchasing textbooks or the plethora of unnecessary items I find on Amazon, I don’t have much information that I feel that I need to protect online. So when this chapter discusses the government creating an illegal surveillance system under the Bush administration, it doesn’t quite worry me much… Then again, I suppose you would expect to hear that from someone who has something to hide.

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As someone who considers herself a “creative” and would like to pursue a career in an artistic field, learning about the takedown notice in the chapter titled “Copyrights and Takedowns” gives me some peace of mind. I am a painter and a writer. I have always been hesitant to sell my work or even post it. Among many other reasons (creative insecurities and whatnot), I am worried my work will be used online and there will be no way to prove it’s mine. I feel very protected by the law in this situation. Looking further into copyrighting if I make a career of the creative, I see the law as a very sturdy base to stand upon because of the ability to send a takedown notice.

The final piece that stood out to me in this module was an article by Electronic Frontier Foundation called “How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else)”. While journalists who  are on payroll for major magazines like Time or Elle have clear protection when it comes to their work, I am delighted to find that there are people fighting to let bloggers have the same writes as these established journalists.

If I ever start a blog (if I don’t already have one), I plan on using a pseudonym. While professor Gillmor has been very clear (in Chapter 3 of Mediactive) about questioning sources that hide behind a pseudonym, I feel that I can be blatantly honest about my experiences with out backlash in my personal life. I won’t be reporting hard-hitting news that will affect the public’s well-being, so I don’t believe this will be a big deal. However, my stories may affect those around me, so I greatly appreciate the right to stay anonymous.

Angry Disguise GIF by South Park  - Find & Share on GIPHY

I realize I should change my actions based on the lessons I’ve learned and the rights that I have become more familiar with. However, because I am not a news reporter, I don’t have an affect on the general public’s well-being, and I don’t currently publish a public blog (as far as you know), I don’t see myself changing the way I use media. Because a lot of protection is automated in terms of computer and phone security, I don’t feel that I will put the effort into having an active role in protecting my information.


“9.1.1 Privacy and Surveillance.” Mediactive, by Dan Gillmor, Dan Gillmor, 2010,

“9.1.5 Copyrights and Takedowns.” Mediactive, by Dan Gillmore, Dan Gillmore, 2010,

“3.5 Anonymous Versus Pseudonymous.” Mediactive, by Dan Gillmore, Dan Gillmore, 2010,


Extra Credit: The Grandmother Problem

With elections coming up, there is much conversation on the candidates. On February 19, there was a democratic debate that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bernie Sanders presented a tax proposal that caught a lot of attention on social media.

The “grandmother” who I came across on Facebook is actually a gentleman who is from one of my old apartment complex’s in Los Angeles. He was arguing against Bernie Sanders. Because he has now deleted this post, I can not directly quote him, but I have pulled some images from the internet that were used in the conversation.

This is the image he posted:

He claimed that the tax proposal was not going to work because of these numbers. By the time I got to the conversation, there had already been some debate. Because I choose to keep my political views to myself, my contribution was simply this article from which rates this claim as “False”. Not that this makes it more or less valid, but I did receive a few likes on my post.

Furthermore, someone posted the real tax levels:

This clearly shows that someone who makes $29,000 per year is NOT going to be taxed at 52%, but a closer to reasonable 15%.

This conversation as a whole was not hostile, but very informational. Sure there were occasional comments that may have been read in a snarky tone, but for the most part, everyone was on the side of spreading accurate numbers and news. That said, JJ did not have much to say, as he deleted this post after being proven wrong. He did not respond individually, but posted a new Facebook thread which apologized and recognized the backfire he received. He clarified that he wanted to spread awareness about voting based off of feelings vs. logic.

So all-in-all, yes I believe this was successful in the name of media literacy. However, no, it was not a true conversation. There was not much back and forth or discussion, but it stopped the spread of a falsified claim about Bernie Sanders’ tax proposal.


A Millennial’s Solution To The “Grandmother Problem”

I’d dare to say that everyone has at least one family member who has questionable online tactics. For me, I have one entire side of my family who I feel needs to be checked. The “Grandmother Problem”, or posting content that isn’t quite appropriate or fact-checked due to not knowing better, does not only apply to grandmothers and other elderly folk. It can apply to anyone who does not take the time to look at the information before posting it.

For example, my cousins and their family are very extreme in their political views. So extreme, in fact, I had to unfollow them (not unfriend them, I don’t want family get-togethers to be awkward). They repost articles, memes, videos, and quotes that are not based on factual evidence, but more so simply opinion, gossip, and twisted words.

The thing is, they don’t post any original thoughts where they have done the research and can speak on a topic. It is all regurgitated information that sounds correct to them.

Now this is where it gets difficult. Perhaps unfollowing them was not the right answer… there might have been a more constructive way to deal with this. In the spirit of full transparency, I do not have the guts to stand up to my family members when it comes to political views and iffy social network posts. So these “fixes” will be hypothetical.

Earlier in this course, we were assigned to read a very helpful BuzzFeed article called: “What To Do If The Older People In Your Life Are Sharing False Or Extreme Content“. I am able to apply these same concepts to my cousins not because they are too old to understand how to be media literate, but because they choose not to do the research.

One of the pointers that stood out to me from this article was to be kind when discussing these posts. Nothing gets done with harsh words on the internet, plus in the aftermath, you’ll have to see them at family reunions. These aren’t the faceless trolls you see in the Facebook comment sections. Being positive will make it more likely for these family members to actually listen.

Another tip that this article gives is to let the person research the information on Google. I might hesitate to do this in some situations because I think it’s very easy to find content that supports your views and the same falsified videos/content CAN be found on Google as well. I don’t know if they would necessarily check the source. It might not be the most productive method.

All this in mind, I want to make sure I’m checking myself as well. While I hope they would have an open mind, I need to expect the same for myself. How am I supposed to provide articles and information to educate others if I’m not able to be educated myself? I think this is probably the most important step in all of this. An open, positive dialogue in both directions.


If You’re Wondering Who Sets Our Beauty Standards…

When it comes to body image, any celeb would be lying if they said press about their appearance, gender, or general setting of value didn’t affect them. While blogs and online publications give journalists (and sometimes the public) a place to judge/report on musicians, they also give these musicians a platform speak out about how they would like to be viewed and how they see themselves. Here are examples of both sides – ranked from 6 (less noteworthy) to 1 (more noteworthy).

6. RANKER – “The Best Female Visuals In K-pop Right Now”

The creator of this page has presented 31 different K-pop female singers and allowed viewers to vote on who has the best visuals.

This article prefaces the rankings with a general overview of good visuals: “Korean beauty standards, like light skin, slim figures, and big eyes, play a huge factor in selecting the visual members of the group. ”

I would not consider this particularly notable because it doesn’t use official sources to curate their list. It does have some base because it produces results directly from the audience – the people who are fans of these k-pop stars. Though there is no area for the fans to discuss their reasons for voting up or down.

5. PEREZ HILTON – “Taylor Swift Reveals Her Past Struggle With Eating Disorders & Body Image Issues In ‘Miss Americana’”

Perez Hilton’s article draws much of it’s material directly from Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana documentary, playing now on Netflix.

Because it’s practically reporting straight from the original source itself without much non-cited opinion or information, I see this particular article notable in that sense.

That being said, Perez Hilton has been known to post more “breaking news” as an attempt to be one of the first sources to report a scandal or story. For that reason, I still stay wary of this blog.

4. BUZZFEED – “Sam Smith Opened Up About Their New Pronouns And Being Misgendered By The Public”

This article is similar to Perez Hilton in the sense that it is drawing directly from a different, very notable source. This time the source is an exclusive interview between Sam Smith and New Music Daily by Apple News. The interview is linked at the bottom of the article.

This article picks out the pieces of the interview which relate to the subject of pronouns and being misgendered, which makes it accurate. The author does not add their own views or a comment section for viewers.

3. DAILY MAIL – “Too sexy for the Super Bowl! Parents slam J-Lo’s pole-dancing and Shakira’s tongue-wagging half-time performances blasting that they were inappropriate for kids”

I wanted to highlight this article in particular because it shows both sides of the argument. The author includes screen shots from Twitter accounts who think the Super Bowl halftime show was inappropriate and others who believe other performers (i.e. cheerleaders and Adam Levine) have been just as risque, but did not face nearly as much scrutiny.

There is also a section below the article that lets the readers voice their opinion. I am not sure if there are moderators who keep an eye on this area, but this allows for a more transparent conversation.

2. HUFFPOST – “Rebecca Black Shares Emotional Post On ‘Friday,’ What She’d Tell Her 13-Year-Old Self”

While Rebecca Black’s Twitter was directly quoted frequently, this piece links other sources like NBC and the Hollywood Reporter to present more information. Because it’s not just quoting the star’s social media, I find it to have more depth than the previously mentioned articles.

The author herself has had experience with other sources like Vanity Fair, Apple, BULLETT, and Conde Nast Traveler, which are very well-trusted outlets. This gives the writer more notoriety.

1. BILLBOARD  – “ITZY, K-Pop’s Rookie It Girls, Are Sharing Their Confident, Self-Love Message With the World”

Billboard’s article starts off explaining how K-Pop band “ITZY” rose to fame, including links to other Billboard articles which related to the topic.

This was an exclusive interview with the band members, so it is a very notable source. Because of this, it wasn’t the type of article that would require “both sides of a story” to be discussed.

It was very accurate – all the names were spelled correctly. This was a thorough article, asked the band members many revealing questions (i.e. “You’re entering your second year as ITZY as we move further into 2020 and approach your first anniversary, so how do you feel moving past your debut era?”), and let all of them answer.

Revisiting The 24-Hour Media Assignment

The first thing I difference that stood out between this assignment and the 24-Hour Media Assignment was that I was expanding my intake of media sources in order to find articles that related to my topic.

This was not my expectation. I assumed I would organically come across this subject a lot more often because I follow a large amount of musicians and media sources that cover pop culture. However, they are not necessarily covering topics this specific. They often discuss music releases, stories behind the music, and outfits, rather than image and identity.

Billboard is one source that stayed consistent between the two assignments. It has remained one of my favorite trusted outlets to view music news – one of the big reasons is because of it’s exclusive interviews like the one mentioned above.

I have never gone to Perez Hilton for my news, not because I don’t trust it, but because it is always so cluttered with numerous “breaking news” articles. The actual structure of the website is busy and full of click-bait pieces. I prefer sources that are straight to the point, clean in visuals, and aren’t as much focused on gossip.

I don’t directly follow Buzzfeed, although oddly enough, I find myself on their website quite often. Buzzfeed shows up on my Apple News feed on my iPhone and the articles tend to be subject that interest me – be it fashion, politics, music, or breaking news. I also find that many of my Facebook friends post these pieces from Buzzfeed, so naturally I end up clicking on some of them. This is a source I may consider making more of an effort to follow.


Don’t Judge A Billie By Its Cover

Our story today focuses on a young artist you may have heard of: Billie Eilish. Margaret Abrams writes a piece called Billie Eilish: ‘I’ve worried that I was going to become the stereotype that everybody thinks every young artist becomes’  for The Evening Standard. This piece is particularly important because it delves into what young artists think we (listeners) expect of them – in their career, their body, etc.

Billie is raises the topic of body image quite often, as she is known for wearing baggy clothing so that people don’t just judge her body.

Billie Eilish Singing GIF by Recording Academy / GRAMMYs - Find & Share on GIPHY

In this article, Billie relates herself to Britney Spears – another singer who had her beginnings as a teen popstar, but took a turn for the worst when she shaved her hair off from being under too much pressure. Billie does not want to end up like that, nor does she want people to have those expectations of her… which is why it’s easier for her to simply hide off a large portion of herself physically to prevent those expectations.

Now, diving into the actual source of this piece! A large portion of the article is based off of a Vogue interview with Eilish, which IS linked. It seems as though this author read the Vogue article and picked the pieces that are particularly relevant to her topic, which I find smart! It condensed this long interview into a smaller more digestible article to make a point relating to body image and mental health.

Abrams presents Eilish as a relatable figure, as she quotes Eilish saying, “I just hated my body. I would have done anything to be in a different one. I really wanted to be a model, really bad, and I was chubby and short.” A feeling we’ve all experienced in one way or another.

Another source Abrams uses is Eilish’s ad for Calvin Klein where she explains why she wears the baggy clothes: “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘She’s slim-thick,’ ‘She’s not slim-thick,’ ‘She’s got a flat a**,’ ‘She’s got a fat a**.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”

Other than Vogue and Calvin Klein, there aren’t any other relevant sources cited. The other links included are directed to other articles about Billie Eilish produced by the Evening Standard, but don’t necessarily have to do with the article’s core topic.

A quick search into author Margaret Abrams, and we can see she is a regular writer for the Evening Standard – primarily celebrity news. This does build her credibility and secures her spot as an established writer at least for this outlet.

Many of her articles are of a similar model in that she finds information straight from a celebrity interview or their social media and writes her pieces based off that. For example, she wrote an article about Jameela Jamil coming out as queer. She directly sources Jamil’s Twitter post:

While I thoroughly enjoyed this article and felt it touched on a very important topic, I wish the author had built her article out a little bit more. It would have been more multi-dimensional with a few more sources.

One story that came out recently had to do with Billie Eilish’s vacation to Hawaii with her friends. Eilish shared Instagram content in a bikini and her fans came to her defense as she was being shamed about these photos of her body.  This would have been a valuable addition to the article because it directly relates to what Eilish was quoted saying in the Vogue interview: “It’s funny, because when you’re a little kid, you don’t think of your body at all. And all of a sudden, you look down and you’re, like, whoa. What can I do to make this go away?” You know what makes someone want their developing body to go away? Public shame!

All in all, Abrams did a good job outlining Vogue’s interview with Billie Eilish and citing credible sources. I don’t think she did a good job of persuasion in her own words, she heavily relied on her sources to do the work for her. That said, it doesn’t mean she didn’t get the point across. For those reasons, I give her story a ‘B’ letter grade.



Lizzo and More: News or Opinion?

Let me preface this by saying that finding news articles on the relationship between musicians and body image was a pretty simple task – but finding opinion or analysis pieces was a little more of a struggle. You see, everyone wants to SEE these celebrities gaining weight, losing weight, coming to terms with their weight, etc. Yet having an opinion on it, the media must tread lightly. When it comes to opinion on body image, there’s only one “right” opinion – love yourself the way you are. As you will see, that’s the only light that members of the media want to personally shed on the topic unless they are willing to risk some scrutiny.

You may have heard of a singer named Lizzo. She is known for her songs “Truth Hurts” and “Good As Hell”. Besides her undeniable talent and vocal range, she has been in the spotlight lately because she is plus-size. Her music is often about having confidence in herself and owning her curves. This article in Life & Style magazine talks about how Lizzo has “come to terms with body dysmorphia and evolved”. Life & Style magazine can be lumped into the same category as any other celebrity gossip magazine. However, throughout the article, Copelton draws from interviews with Lizzo from sources like Rolling Stones and Elle, both of which are credible sources. While this dips it’s toes in news and opinion, I would say it leans closer to an news article. The point of this article was to report on Lizzo’s views of her body image, not to take a stance on the image.

Vmas 2019 GIF by 2020 MTV Video Music Awards - Find & Share on GIPHY

The next article is news in the same aspect: interviews, body image, a musical celebrity. US Weekly interviews singer Jessie James Decker about her post-birth body. Jessie talks about her weight gain, then explains that on her South Beach Diet (of whom she partners with) she was able to get fit again, along with limiting her food intake in general. If you read the article or watch the video, the interviewer is not voicing her opinion, it is primarily Jessie speaking about her journey. US Weekly can be quick to the trigger on celebrity gossip, whether it’s true or not. Many articles can be found that are “alleged” information. The only reason I trust this article is because they are directly interviewing the artist.

The first opinion piece I’d like to present is one written by Grace Dent for The Guardian. And who shows up again? Lizzo! See, I told you she’s been a hot topic. Dent talks about growing up in the 80’s when there wasn’t such a movement towards body positivity. She describes herself as “not terrifically big right now”, or in other terms she uses “half a Lizzo”. I generally trust The Guardian for news. A further search into the author and it turns out she has her own weekend column, so she’s had a lot of background writing for this news source.

Finally, I wanted to find an article written by a male on the topic of body image. It’s a little more difficult for men to have an opinion on a woman’s body image because well… he’s not a woman. That is why I found particular interest in this article by Nick Messitte in Forbes. Messitte focuses on a singer named Meghan Trainor who has the same “body positive” message as Lizzo. Trainor came out with a song called “All About That Bass”, referring to her behind and praises herself for having curves. She even refers to another group of girls as “skinny bitches”. While I personally have jammed out to this song more times than I’d like to admit, Messitte points out that she is monetizing on the body image trend and claims there is a “force-fed nature” to it all. He addresses the fact that this might not be popular opinion, “I suspect this claim will draw arrows from the bows of body-positive activists, some of whom will quickly damn me without reading this article all the way through, so let me lay something on the line right here…”, then continues to describe himself as a balding insecure man. I do trust Forbes as a resource, however he is marked as a contributor, so I’m not sure he has as much reliability as Forbes itself.



Musicians, We Love You And We Want You to Love You Too

I finally finish a restaurant shift  that wouldn’t end, with customers who wouldn’t stop being needy, and chefs who wouldn’t stop yelling. The first thing I look forward to after a day like this is getting into my car and blasting some music on my way home. Unless we’re at a concert or watching music videos, we’re typically not watching the artists while listening to their music, so does it matter what they look like?

I want to dedicate my time into delving deeper into the relationship between musicians and body image. I found this interesting because in the entertainment industry, we all expect models to be on a tight eating/exercising regiment. Then the actors. And the TV personalities. Everyone is paid to be on screen and in print. Yet the pressure is just as intense with those who serenade us through faceless speakers.

I feel strong about this topic because I’ve dealt with body image issues here and there, throughout my life, and well… I’m passionate about music. Fans like myself become emotionally attached to musicians. Perhaps it’s because the musicians will practically pour their heart out in a song and we feel like we know them. Since these artists play such an important role in the lives of many, I think it’s vital that we find ways to let them express their craft without being torn down and stretched thin by social standards of body image.

Generally I feel that the media has been creating more of an open dialogue for artists to speak their truths and be open about their struggles. Just this week, Variety interviews Taylor Swift about her struggles with eating disorders while she was on tour. The first step in healing a community is to talk and let others know they are not alone. To this end, media eats up these stories – partially to inform the public, but also because people want the celebrity gossip. It sells (metaphorical or literal) papers.

I trust Variety as a media source on this topic because often they will have exclusive interviews with celebrities, this article being an example, so the reader doesn’t receive any information that’s been falsified from it being passed through the grapevine. Also, while I am guilty of reading trashy fashion articles about “who wore it best” and “fashion fails”, Variety keeps fashion… Fashion. It doesn’t talk about love handles or who is too skinny. The articles don’t use body shape and size to draw attention to their articles. I trust media sources who display principles I take as my own.

What really moved me to learn more about this topic was body image in the K-pop world. I’ve only recently began listening to K-pop, which is a music genre originating in South Korea. But I noticed all of the performers always looked so pristine and skinny… I learned about these training camps that people go to in pursuit of becoming K-pop stars.

In this video, Yanagi Mizuho is in the training company, hoping to become a part of a K-pop band. The clip I chose starts at 1:43 – Yanagi eats 300 calories a day.The girls are expected to be 50kg (110 lbs) or under. They each weigh themselves. When one of them has lost weight, they cheer, give each other hugs, and breath sighs of release. This is the behavior we need to address.

I follow Billboard for my music news. They are a trusted source, and have been for many years. You can see in their “about” page that they cover many different genres of music and their news is global. They tend to focus on the heavy-hitters in the music industry. The Billboard “Hot 100” list is a standard that the music industry respects. That said, I wish they would highlight some more up-and-coming artists. It would be interesting to see these artists’ journeys from bottom to top.


24-Hours: Media or Bust

Recording my media usage means holding myself accountable for the amount of time I spend, face glued to a screen. A scary thought. Tucked in my notes app is a page to record it all, titled “Media Use: 1/16/2020” – I am assigned to keep track of the media I read, listen to, post, interact with for 24 hours.

“Okay, so this might be perfect timing. One of my new years resolutions is to spend less time wrapped up in social media and screen use.  I’ve probably already cut down significantly anyway. So my professor and classmates won’t think I’m obsessively pouring over my phone” I explain to my friend over text – which now looking back, I realize is… laughable.

So here goes nothing. The tell-all of my 24-hour media use.

2AM, I lay on the couch, blue-light blocking glasses resting on the bridge of my nose. Attached to my nose is the rest of my face pointing towards my tv screen which blares the show Community, streaming through the Hulu app. I scroll through Instagram aimlessly.

8 hours later, I wake up and instinctively reach for my phone. To my dismay, nothing riveting. I read texts and Instagram messages to which I promise myself I’ll answer later. Open my email and stalk the shipment of my latest Amazon purchase. The tip-tapping on the roof reminds me to open the weather app… as if I didn’t already know it was raining.

Raining Amanda Seyfried GIF

While making breakfast, I throw on the NPR – Up First podcast. They continue onto the news, discussing whether or not Trump was “in the know” about the happenings in Ukraine. They include a sound byte from an MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, a news program host, interviewing Lev Parnas – claiming that President Trump VERY WELL KNEW what was going on. Full disclosure, I have the attention span of a dog in a room full of tennis balls an frisbee’s, so I didn’t watch the entire additional MSNBC interview. 12 minutes and 28 seconds later, they promote the NPR One app, and the podcast comes to an end.

I notice that I’ve already absorbed copious amounts of media in the short time I’ve been awake. However, I need to eat breakfast, so I guess the only thing to do is consume more media while doing so. I flip on the Hulu app and select the tab “My Stuff”, where all the TV shows I saved appear. Today’s choice is the anime “My Hero Academia” – the dubbed version.

all might my hero academia GIF by Funimation

I finish my breakfast before my episode is done, so I peruse my phone a little more. Up pops an email from a website I subscribe to, “Word Genius”, which sends you a new word of the day. Today’s word is: Funambulist.

Did this significantly add any value to my life? No. But it’s going to be a thrilling ride attempting to use this word in conversation this week.

Facebook is an app I use less regularly. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still opened daily, but only 2 or 3 times per day. My friend found an article through Apple News, published by, claiming that “Cat’s Are Making Australia’s Bushfire Tragedy Even Worse“. Apparently the cats are preying on the weakened and injured animals, which is putting that ecosystem at risk ( Me-Ow…

It’s my day off and I decide I should leave the house. So, you guessed it, I pick up my phone! I search yelp for a good boba spot. I read reviews, look at photos, and finally decide on Asha Tea House in Berkeley.  This particular spot boasts 4 stars, 1,379 reviews, and 1,938 photos on Yelp. In fact, later in the evening, I end up leaving my own 5-star review solely based on their out-of-this-world grass jelly. If you haven’t tried grass jelly in your milk tea already, do yourself a favor and try it ASAP.

Nothing gets me back home quicker than the return of rain… which, of course, I need to post to my Instagram story (shameless handle drop: @natalieelyn) for all my friends to witness synchronously. Note the red light – I promise I do not post and drive.



A nod to my New Years resolution, I open the book I bought while I was out, How To Walk Away by Katherine Center. In an effort to be 100% transparent with you, class mates, I DID judge this book by it’s cover. It’s bright red and it has flowers on it. Because of this, I conduct a quick google search and land on – sifting through reviews, I find they are almost nothing but glowing. 4.07 stars based on 35,122 ratings and 5,327 written reviews. On this page, I also run into ads for Audible (of which I already subscribe), Amazon publishing, and the New York Times. However, no specific news stories.

And there it is. My extensive intake and output of media in a period I’ve claimed to be mildly abstaining. I think it’s safe to say that the first takeaway from this experiment is that my New Years resolution is null. 

To recap the new sources, I encountered NPR, MSNBC, Apple News, and All these news sources are known to be 10 out of 10 credible. I am particularly loyal to the NPR podcast and have come to trust them as my daily dose of news. The guests that they interview are always extremely relevant to the topic and they have news correspondents who reside in the area of the current news.

In a past life (2019 lol), I was in tech sales, so I had to stay up to date with technological advances. My managers referred me to when they found an interesting article. While I personally do not follow this news source, it is trusted by people who I trust.

Apple news is a source I use often. Mostly because it’s right on my iPhone. It’s quick, convenient, and I’m able to single out the articles with sources of whom I’m familiar. If I swipe over to my news stories, we can see CNN politics, NPR, Fox News, BuzzFeed, and the same article that showed up on Facebook. The only source I might seriously question is BuzzFeed, because their focus is not on hard-hitting news as it is on general entertainment.  I mean for heaven’s sake, BuzzFeed’s article here reads “27 Products So effective Amazon Reviewers Have Literally Called Them ‘Unbelieveable'”, so “entertaining” might even be a stretch.

I could claim that this will be the year I’m setting down my phone, turning off the tv, and focusing on the right now. I could also claim that I have Gigi Hadid legs and Billie Eillish style. In all cases, I’d be a big fat liar. Maybe writing this blog post has helped me realize that media is a part of my life. As long as I’m sifting out the trash (BuzzFeed) from the treasure (NPR), I think I’ll live a long hearty life.