CST 360: This is what Dreams are Made of – Travel abroad!

There is a whole world of adventure to explore, study abroad!

What PR messages made me choose this program?

Three years ago, during my freshman year, one of my professors (who happens to be one of my professors in Seville) told me about this “wonderful opportunity” offered by the Communication Studies Department. She communicated that the trip was “relatively inexpensive” and going to be exciting, fun and educational. I remember thinking it seemed fun, but I wasn’t sold. It was not until about 6 months ago that I spoke to a friend who went on this trip two years ago. She told me the trip included six credits, lodging and some transportation expenses. However, there was one thing that “sold me” and that was that we would be able to do a PR campaign while in Spain. Being that Public Relations is my desired occupational field and Spanish is my minor at university, this proved that this trip really was a wonderful opportunity.

How to convince students to “take the plunge” and study abroad 

After talking to my peers who also attended this trip, I believe that using public relations messages similar to the ones I heard would be convincing for those who are thinking about study abroad in the future. Based on my own experience and on discussions with peers, I think the best way to deliver these messages is in the classroom. If time is limited, something as simple as showing the publicity and giving a brief description of the trip would be sufficient. However, if time allows, bringing in students to speak about their experience is a great way to convince other students studying abroad is worth it. Three specific messages to include are:

  1. With study abroad programs, you are able to experience a lot with very little hassle. Our trip was less expensive than some, but by no means “cheap”. However, study abroad programs are designed for students to have authentic experiences without having to fuss with creating their own authentic itinerary. We were able to do so many incredible things that we would never have been able to coordinate without the help of our host organization. Thus, if you can muster up the funds, it is worth every penny for what you experience.
  2. Being the “fish out of water” is terrifying, exciting, uncomfortable and eye-opening. Being out of your comfort zone challenges you to look at the world differently. You not only learn about a new culture, but you learn about your own culture as well. This will change how you see the world.
  3. While studying abroad you will meet other students from your country, from other countries, locals and travelers. You may not like everyone you meet and you may not stay in contact with them, that is okay. What is important is that you will learn about how you interact with people and you’ll learn what you appreciate and why. The memories you share with those you meet will create bonds that you will appreciate forever.

CST 332: Assumptions and Realities at the Cathedral-Mosque


The Cathedral-Mosque

This week we had the opportunity to travel to Córdoba to visit what was once a church, turned mosque turned cathedral. The building, regardless of its name, is an architectural phenomena; in my opinion, the fusion of both Catholic and Muslim elements has created a gorgeous masterpiece.

However, all is not well with the Cathedral-Mosque. According to The New York Times, there has been recent controversy surrounding the ownership of the building. The Catholic Church is currently in control and has been accused of beginning “an evangelical crusade, making sure that every visitor be[come] one of the “faithful”, mis-spending public finances and supporting a version of history that exaggerates the Church’s influence on the monument.

But, is this the truth?

Learning how to see– How do assumptions and values shape our realities

According to our reading, every person interprets their world through a complex system of values and assumptions. These values and assumptions are culturally formed and shape our realities. Sometimes distinguishing the difference between the two (values and assumptions) can be difficult, but the book states that “assumptions provide a person with a sense of reality – which is only one of several possible realities – and values provide a basis for choice and evaluation.”

The article from above was written by a journalist who is  based in Madrid and has spent a significant amount of time in Spain. However, we cannot know (without asking) what this person’s values and assumptions are. Though, based on the content of the article I believe that the author’s values and assumptions regarding social relationships and world perception are evident.

Firstly, in lecture we talked about values and assumptions regarding social relationships; we determined two groups: those who view social relationships as equality based and those who favor hierarchical relationships. The interviewees in the Times article are upset with the inequality created by the domination the Catholic Church is exerting over the Cathedral-Mosque. There is actually a quote that references how the building “belongs…to the general public” which, to me, suggests that the “people” want equal control over the monument.
Additionally, another assumption and value we discussed was regarding world perception; there are those who value the tangible more and those who value the spiritual more. This entire article was about how the people want the Catholic Church to make information about their control of the Cathedral more transparent to the public, especially in regards to how the Church handles finances. In this case, the focus on managing materials shows a connection with tangibility. Because I am from the U.S. -which is a culture that values equality and materialism- I sympathized with the residents who were challenging the Church. This exemplifies how my own cultural forms impact my interpretation of the situation.

Interestingly however, when I visited the Cathedral-Mosque I found the opposite of the previous assumptions. Instead of a focus on equality, it was evident that Church authorities were most important. The Cathedral made it clear that they value hierarchy; one example is that Church authorities (like bishops and priests) had access to places “normal” people could not access. Additionally, despite the incomprehensible splendor that constituted the building; there was no mention of cost (either to build or to maintain). Instead, there was a much bigger focus on the beauty of the architecture and the spiritual connection to each piece in the building.

CST 360: Sharing is Hard – The Cordoba Cathedral and/or Mosque?

The website provided by our blog prompt is called www.mezquitadecordoba.org and mezquita means mosque.
On the website a reader will find information on “The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba”.
Search this history webpage on the monument’s website and a reader will find “cathedral” written twice whereas “mosque” will appear fifteen times.

Yet, when we arrived for our tour we were handed a pamphlet about The Cathedral of Cordoba.


So which is it? It is a cathedral? A mosque? Both?

            The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba has a turbulent history; in the past it has been solely a mosque, but after being conquered by the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago, it has served as a cathedral. According to The New York Times, there has been recent controversy over the appropriate naming and ownership of the architectural wonder. The mosque-cathedral is currently owned by the Catholic Church. The the Times provides evidence that many people are upset with the ownership because the Church is on “an evangelical crusade, making sure that every visitor be[come] one of the “faithful”, is mis-spending public finances and is supporting a version of history that exaggerates the Church’s influence on the monument.

            Prior to visiting the church-mosque, we learned a brief summary of Spain’s political history. According to our lecture guest, John Boyle a professor of Spanish media in Seville, there was a period of time during which Christians and Muslims cohabitated in peace, more or less. Boyle also said that the Catholic Church still plays a major role in most Spaniards lives today. Thus, when I read the Times article that claimed the Church was trying to dominate control of the cathedral I was not surprised because it exemplifies the major influence of Catholicism in Spaniard’s lives. According to this logic, even if Christians and Muslims did live in peace, Catholics are in control of the church now so Spaniards would not question the Catholic’s right to name the monument a Cathedral. But the question is, is the Church really trying to monopolize control?


The Cathedral-Mosque


What was my experience?  

            The Times article suggested that the Church is trying to convert visitors and exaggerate the Church’s influence on the monument but I personally did not get that feeling overall. In my opinion, our guide presented the architectural history objectively and did not make either Muslim or Christian influence seem more important. Contrarily, he stressed that it is the co-habitation of both pieces in one building that matters and makes the building special. Instead of involving himself in any naming controversy, our guide specially explained that “this” part is mosque and “this” part is cathedral. However, the Cathedral-Mosque website leans toward Muslim influence; even though the history is presented objectively, the monument is consistently referred to as a mosque instead of a cathedral or cathedral-mosque.

However, the Times did point on one bias that I clearly noticed. All of the information we received at the Cathedral-Mosque seemed quite biased toward “Cathedral”. The name on the informational pamphlet and ticket say “Cathedral of Cordoba” everywhere with no mention of the mosque. Additionally, the small mention of the mosque only fills one page in comparison to the church’s four pages. Then all of the contents are spoken in the voice of the Church, for example: “the cathedral Chapter welcomes you to the Córdoba’s Holy Cathedral Church” and “a live witness to our history”.

There may not have been bias from our tour guide, but according to the messages interpreted from the website and the pamphlet information, there definitely seems to be a divide between Cathedral supporters versus Mosque supporters.

CST332: Spain, Because I Knew You…I Have Been Changed For Good

In the wise words of Glinda (Galinda) and Elphaba, “I do believe I have been changed for the better; and because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” I cannot believe my short time in Spain is coming to a close. In such a short amount of time, I have learned so much about Spain, about the U.S. and about myself.

How has living in Spain changed me?

There are obvious changes, for instance, after living in Spain I know my Spanish speaking and comprehension have improved. I also know that experimenting with new foods has changed my diet interests (a.k.a. I have learned to like pork).

However there are several more subtle differences:

I am more patient. This whole month we have discussed the differences between Spain’s polychromic interpretations of time  versus the monochromic USA interpretations. The pace of Spanish life is different from the U.S.; people take their time to appreciate others’ company and that is something I want to appreciate more at home. It is definitely time to store the cell phones, forget about rushing and just enjoy life one second at a time.

My views of family have also changed. I love my family, not only my blood relations but my chosen family as well. This trip has made me appreciate the family in my life more than I can articulate. This month we have learned that Spaniards value their family. At least in Seville, it is normal for people to live with their parents until their upper 20s or older. Then, when they do leave they do not move far away. Also, they rely on family for care-taking (in any form). Basically, being close to family both physically and metaphorically is integral to happiness. Through experiencing this cultural value and by being an ocean away, I have realized how much my closeness with my family and those who I consider family is integral to my happiness.

Also, I have changed my perception of functionality. When I arrived in Spain there is one thing that I noticed that just boggled my mind, the lack of online publicity. The need for instant gratification is one characteristic of millennials that I definitely have. I love being able to have nearly any question answered in the click of a button. However, here that was not possible for me. There were so many times when I just wanted to look up when something was happening, where it was happening, how to get there or how long it lasted and I could not find that basic information online. On our last day of class Kaela presented her research and told us that this lack of online visibility has a lot to do with the economic crisis here; industries cannot use their financial resources for customer service related tasks, like making easily accessible websites. This gave me the experience of not knowing which has taught me to be more flexible with my scheduling and more innovative when it comes to finding information.

What is multiculturalism?

On the path to multiculturalism.

On the path to multiculturalism.

Before coming to Spain I thought multiculturalism meant understanding different cultures. This is true, but it is more complex. There are three phrases from lecture that I believe summarize what I learned about multiculturalism this month and also define what multiculturalism means to me.

  1. Being multicultural means understanding cultural identity as a set of patterns and knowing that different patterns make sense in different situations. Thus, I have learned that to be multicultural, I not only have to understand the norms of a culture, but also why those norms exist and how to apply them to different situations.
  2. Being multicultural is not about belonging to a cultural identity, but negotiating identity. As we learned in class, a multicultural person lives in the “borderlands” where they are able to cross in and out of different cultures. They never truly belong to just one culture fully, but they are able to learn about, understand, appreciate and embody different cultures when needed.
  3. Finally, being multicultural is about building self around new experiences, not building new experiences into an old system of self. The self is always changing. Every experience in life changes a person and creates or changes a part of their identity. I have learned that a multicultural person does not just add new experiences to their repertoire of cultural knowledge, but allows new experiences to shape their new self. This is something I have tried to do while in Seville and will remember when I return to the States.

CST 360: Who Needs a Diamond Ring Anyway?  Analyzing a PR Proposal

A proposal can mark the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

This week, we were assigned to analyze one of four PR proposals. I chose to analyze a proposal called “Traveling Workshops for the Pump House”.

Overall Reaction

In class we learned the elements of a good proposal.

I enjoyed the proposal I analyzed, I thought it was well done, engaging and accomplished all of the needed requirements. I easily identified several steps of Monroe’s Motivated Sequence throughout which helped me by serving as a reference when writing my proposal.

The proposal also included a visually pleasing format. Being that the client was an art company, I think the playful color palette and paintbrush graphics were appropriate. Also, a professionally conversational tone was maintained throughout the proposal.

The proposal was well done, but it wasn’t perfect. The formatting, grammar, punctuation and writing style are areas that could be improved. First of all, the font was not consistent (see page 6). There were also some places with awkward wording, (e.g. “It is proposed that traveling art education workshops, held at the UW-La Crosse campus, highlighting di­fferent art media in each.”)

Evaluation by Section

Executive Summary:
This section does well at persuading the client to listen. There was language that “buttered up” the client’s ego because it stressed the importance of their organization. The proposal’s authors also established the need for their solution by promptly identifying that the client is missing out on an untapped resource – college students. This section could be improved by including statistics that are mentioned later in the proposal. Mentioning them earlier on would immediately enforce their credibility.

Situation Analysis:
This section is packed with statistics that establish credibility. The stressing of the idea that college students are a resource available for “four whole years” also lends itself to helping the client visualize a long term benefit. However, one comment was made without proper supporting evidence. Regarding students in the area, “[they] are not generally thought of as a group that will yield a gainful return on investment.”  Who says?
Organization Analysis:
This section does a sufficient job of establishing need (more revenue). It also is persuasive because it demonstrates why college students aren’t a target audience and why they should be. Clarifying terms is an area to be improved (e.g. what are the “rewards” they referred to?).

External Environment:
This section sets up the “big picture” problem and solution. It establishes credibility with the use of a quote that demonstrates college student support. I have no suggestions for improvement in this section.

Public Perception:
This section exhibits persuasiveness because it shows that there is a lack of awareness, but gives the client clear proof that there’s potential to overcome that lack of awareness. The authors continually refer to a quiz but do not provide any description of the quiz. Credibility could be improved if demographics and a brief methodology of quiz distribution were included.

Key Public:
This section provides evidence of a similar plan of action working for someone else which does establish credibility. However, few details are given to draw the parallel between the two organizations. How big is New Haven, Connecticut? It is comparable to the La Crosse community? Does it have a similar population from which to draw clientele?

The authors did wonderfully with this section. The writing is clear, concise and provides suitable reasoning and explanation. My only suggestion would be to include what type of profit this plan of action would create for the client.

CST 360: Reading the Fine Print – Journalism is Spain

El País  - Photo by me

El País – Photo by me

Spain is a country split down the middle.

This week we learned about news media in Spain. We had the exciting privilege to tour two of the biggest media producers in Spain: El País  and El Cope. We were also able to speak with representatives of Spanish media including several employees at El Cope , a professor who lectures on Spanish media for our study abroad program and current and former employees at  El País named James Badcock and Alba Sueiro. An interesting theme arose in several of our conversations: Spain is a country split down the middle with El País on the liberal, left side and El Cope on the conservative, right side.


Why is that interesting?  The answer is because I assumed that would be very different and they are, but not quite as different as I anticipated.


What’s the difference?

            According to our conversations with Boyle, those who follow El País are much more likely to support PSOE (the Socialist Party) whereas El Cope followers tend to support PP (Popular Party)  ideology. El Cope is more conservative and though they may be adapting to some social change they still lean to the “right”. Contrarily, El País is known for publishing materials that challenge political figures (including royalty) and social norms. In fact, according to Sueiro, El País was instrumental in influencing the formation of democracy following the death of Franco. According to Boyle and Badcock, challenging “conservative” standpoints is something rarely done by El Cope.


El Cope

What are the similarities?

El País and El Cope choose to cover different stories and then frame those stories differently, but that is there biggest difference. With that aside, they actually have a lot in common:

  • Both have news gathering rooms that are set up similarly. Just like in the documentary, Page One  which we watched for class, the newsroom is composed of open space for easy communication, a lot of computers and a lot of people.
  • Both believe media (especially TV) have a strong influence on the Spanish public.
  • Both believe Spaniards have a high interest in internal affairs (mostly fútbol and economy, according to Badcock and Suerio) and less interest in international news.
  • Both agree that newspapers are losing popularity against the internet, especially with youth.
  • Both have incorporated online papers (with an English option) in order to increase traffic to their news outlet.
  • Both have very loyal fan bases.
  • Both believe their news is most reliable, although Badcock claims El País is the most objective and most similar to an international media producer such as The New York Times.


Overall, I had a really fun time visiting both establishments and I left very surprised.

Where the papers are made in El Pais.  Last week we had a lot of discussions about the importance of objectivity and how well the NYT demonstrates objectivity and reliability. It does not surprise me that there is such a dramatic split in media, after all in the US we have clearly biased media producers like FOX News and MSNBC. However, what is shocking is that there is no “one on top” like the Times in the US. Badcock and Boyle both said that Spaniards have a lot of distrust for the news producers; fans of either side do not trust the competitor and there is no one absolutely objective news provider. This is a clear difference between US and Spanish media.

Where the papers are made in El País.
Last week we had a lot of discussions about the importance of objectivity and how well the NYT demonstrates objectivity and reliability. It does not surprise me that there is such a dramatic split in media, after all in the US we have clearly biased media producers like FOX News and MSNBC. However, what is shocking is that there is no “one on top” like the Times in the US. Badcock and Boyle both said that Spaniards have a lot of distrust for the news producers; fans of either side do not trust the competitor and there is no one absolutely objective news provider. This is a clear difference between US and Spanish media.

CST 332: Oh My Meninas!


El Greco, Goya and Velázquez! What an incredible time I had looking at the artworks of these master painters at El Museo Nacional de Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Being completely honest -I am not very interested in art. However, last fall I took a Spanish Civilization class that required me to study a brief overview of Spanish: geography, history, politics, food, holidays, architecture and art. Thus, after learning about famous Spanish artists (including El Greco, Goya and Velázquez) and writing mini-analyses of their works, it was very cool to see those masterpieces in real life.

One of my favorite pieces is “Las Meninas” by Velázquez which is displayed at the Prado Museum.

According to my Spanish civilization class, Diego Velázquez, born in 1599 to a humble family, became one of the most famous painters in European history. When he was 12 years old he started to study under a famous Spanish painter called, Francisco Pacheco. Pacheco was vital to Velázquez’s success (fun fact, Velázquez actually married Pacheco’s daughter, Juana). Pacheco helped Velázquez earn a spot as a court painter for the Spanish king, Felipe IV. Spain was one of the most powerful countries in the world at this time, thus, a court painter for the King was a pretty sweet gig.

Velázquez is known as being a master of “realism” because of his incredible talent to capture reality in his pieces. As our tour guide at the museum mentioned, his works often are comparable to camera photos. The subjects of his paintings were: the King and his family (including the Queen, his children, jesters and dwarves), landscapes, scenes of everyday life, religious or mythological figures and important cultural and historical moments.

One of the most famous examples of Velázquez’s realism is “Las Meninas”.

The artwork is an example of a portrait of the royal family; it depicts several characters including “la infanta” (the princess) Margarita, her lady’s maids and caretakers, a self portrait of Velázquez painting and a reflection of the King and Queen. A unique feature of the painting is the placement of the King and Queen; in the painting, there is a mirror that reflects their image. This means that the spectator is in the position of the King and Queen who are reflected in the mirror and being painted by Velázquez.

From the photo we can learn that (not surprisingly) royalty was important. I say this because there are 2 focal points: the actual focal point in the painting (Margarita) and the King and Queen (who are actually the spectators!). Very clever, Velázquez. Also, another fact we learned in the museum is the use of little people in the Spanish courts. They were apparently used as a type of entertainment and were often used as play-mates for the youth because they were the same size as them, but still adults and able to take care of them. We learned that little people were often mocked by everyone, including artists, but Velázquez is one of the few who painted them with respect, as exemplified in this piece.

Lastly, I adore this painting. Like I said, I’m not very interested in art and that is mostly because I do not like looking at something and not understanding its purpose. However, with realism there is little need to do a deep analysis. I’m not really sure why, but I love how grand “Las Meninas” is (it’s huge). I also love the mind game Velázquez plays with the audience. Is the image in the mirror a reflection of the piece he is painting? Why does Margarita look confused? Was there a purpose to making it so big?! Velázquez raises questions for the audience to puzzle and determine for themselves without hiding an overly perplexing deeper meaning, which I appreciate.

CST 332: Obrigado, Portugal! For a Weekend in Paradise

Ocean, caves, sunshine, beaches, pools, crepes and ice cream are ingredients for a weekend well spent!

We have just returned from a vacation (within our vacation) to Portimao, Portugal. Don’t be fooled, pictures do no justice to the beauty of this town.

As we came into Portugal I immediately noticed the friendliness in the air. My first real interaction with a local was when I went up to the bar to order some food and I was greeted – in English, surprisingly – by an older man who was incredibly hospitable. The trend of warm hospitality upheld throughout the whole trip. The servers at restaurants, the passersby on the streets, the hotel staff, the store vendors and especially the boat tour staff were all very, very friendly with our group of US Americans. They joked with us and offered us special deals everywhere we went. To be completely honest, I’m not sure if it was because Portuguese people (or at least, those in the area we visited) are inherently kind, warm and welcoming…or if it was because we are tourists and they were trying to butter us up. According to what we learned from our guest speaker Mr. Marín Montín, it was the former.

I really enjoyed my time in Portugal, but it was not what I had expected. I think I may have fallen victim to an assumption of similarity, one of LaRay M. Barna’s 6 “intercultural communication stumbling blocks”.  I assumed that, being so close, Portugal and Spain would share cultural similarities and would be very, very similar. I shouldn’t be surprised that, I was wrong!

Differences between Spain and Portugal:

  • Language –
    In Spain the majority of people speak Castilian Spanish, in Portugal they speak Portuguese. Something that is really interesting though, is that when our group of students accidentally spoke Spanish (e.g. with an accidental “gracias”) to the Portuguese they seemed very offended and corrected us in Portuguese. As Mr. Marín Montín mentioned, it may be because they are very proud of their distinct culture and do not want to be mistaken for Spaniards.
  • English –
    In Seville (not all but definitely some) people seem upset or annoyed when English speakers speak broken Spanish or just give up and use English. However, in Portugal people knew a lot more English but they also seemed very excited to speak it with us.
  • The people –
    This may be because of our location (a tourist destination), but there were many more people in Portimao who were “American sized”. Contrary to the thin, fit, model-esque citizens of Seville, we saw much rounder bellies in Portugal. This made me wonder if this theme is representative of the countries at large; it is not. Research suggests that Spain actually has the higher obesity level.


Pictures say a thousand words, right?


This picture represents a big difference between my time in Seville vs. my trip to Portugal. This is a photo of one of our US American students driving our boat coming back from exploring the water caves. I chose this photo because I think it symbolizes the Portuguese’s willingness to cater to us as Americans. You need us to speak English? You got it. You want coupons and free food and drinks? You got it. You want to drive the boat…well, you got it

Contrarily, this photo communicates the relaxed nature shared by both cultures. This adventurer is drifting through the sky, they have control of their direction but they don’t mind taking a couple extra turns along their way, just to enjoy the spirit of life. As we’ve discussed several times the last few weeks, the Spanish appreciate taking their time and enjoying life and from what we’ve learned in class and what I saw in Portugal, I think the Portuguese share that appreciation. 

This photo communicates the relaxed nature shared by both Spanish and Portuguese cultures. This adventurer is drifting through the sky with only partial  control of their direction, but they don’t mind. Taking a couple extra turns along thee way is part of the fun. As we’ve discussed several times the last few weeks, the Spanish appreciate taking their time and enjoying life and from what we’ve learned in class and what I saw in Portugal, I think the Portuguese share that appreciation.

CST 332: Watching the Klutz Stumble, Cultural Stumbling Blocks

Landing in Spain. Taking my first steps on Spanish soil on our first day here.

Landing in Spain. Taking my first steps on Spanish soil on our first day here. Photo by E. Keath

I am not a graceful person, I fall a lot…and drop things…and stumble. But, that’s okay because every mistake is an opportunity to learn a lesson, and sometimes that lesson is in intercultural communication.

This week we learned about the six stumbling blocks of intercultural communication found in an excerpt from an intercultural communication book written by Milton Bennet.

When did I stumble and how did I “regain my footing”?

At this moment, I have been in Spain for three weeks and I could easily provide an example of me stumbling on each of the “stumbling blocks”. However, two moments stick out the most.

High anxiety

High anxiety usually happens in a “culture shock” situation.  The first moment that sticks out to me is the first time I went to the grocery store, Mercadona. Back home, people push big carts; here, they pull little baskets. At home we pick our fruit from the stand and the cashier will tell you how much it costs; here, people are not supposed to touch the fruit directly with their hands and they make their own labels. Also, at home “baggers” bag the food in plastic bags for free. Here, people bring their own bags. These seem like little differences that really should not have been a big deal to handle. However, on my very first day I went to the market and felt incredibly overwhelmed by all of the difference. It was very busy, I did not know what was going on and I felt very uncomfortable. The way I overcame this block (intentionally or not) is by stepping back and observing everyone else. I learned what to do and how to do it from the locals without them explaining anything to me. After I watched long enough and felt comfortable to do it myself, I grabbed a basket, I made a label and I bought a bag.

Language difference

Obviously different languages exist and they have their own syntax and dialects. I fortunately have a  rudimentary understanding of Spanish. However, what I did not know coming into the country was the way “alternate meanings” affect communication. Take for example the expression, “dime”. It means “tell me” in Spanish. However, in Spain it is used as a conversational initiator. Thus, again on my first day here I was ordering on behalf of my group at a restaurant; I walked up to the cashier and he said “dime” and I was taken aback. I thought he was being rude or was annoyed at me because he knew I couldn’t speak well. I overcame this block very quickly when I realized that this is popular expression used regularly for everyone!

Reflecting on a stumble from a non-American

US Americans do not usually have a good reputation. This list represents US stereotypes that are obviously not true for every US American, but that some believe do believe applies to everyone. Notice number six. I had a friend who was an international student studying at my school. We were talking one day and made a comment about how she was expecting the Americans to be less intelligent than we actually were. In this case, me and my peers inadvertently helped her understand our culture better (and break a stereotype) by illustrating that, no, all Americans are not stupid.

CST 360: Newspapers and Radio Still Standing Strong


Newspapers and radio are dying.

That is what I thought prior to learning about the newspaper and radio industries this week.

But I was wrong.

This week we learned about the changing face of the newspaper and radio worlds. I was surprised to see the successful statistics of media producers I was sure were going extinct. According to an excerpt about the “Advantages and Disadvantages of Media Selections” taken from a book about PR by Thomas Bivins, newspapers and radio have their disadvantages but their strengths still provide them with a place in today’s media world.

What does Bivins say?

Newspaper Cons –

  • Short life (they are thrown away quickly)
  • There is a lot going on, so it is sometimes hard to get the message across
  • The Internet is taking over

These factors contribute to the lack of effectiveness of newspapers. Most people don’t save papers. This means that papers have a very short amount of time to do what they need to do. Also papers can become cluttered after incorporating the ads and content. As we learned in class, newspaper producers strive to overcome these two struggles with researching the “best” way to format the paper. Bolding, italicizing, spacing, using “white space” all become very important for creating a visually pleasing product. Finally, the internet has severely impacted the use of newspapers, but as we learned from the documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times and from our research with the NYT, newspapers have incorporated easy to use websites to incorporate the internet into the paper industry to keep it competitive and thriving.

Newspaper Pros –

  • Large audience
  • Audiences can go back and read the material again

Many media sources today have a bias or target audience. As we mentioned in class, someone who identifies as liberal is unlikely to follow Fox News just like someone conservative would avoid The Huffington Post. This means that they will be consuming different content. However, an objective paper will not have those target audiences and will reach more people. Also, people can go back and read papers again. I do not think people have outgrown the desire for having a “hardcopy”. With papers, people can keep something they found interesting or important without the risk of losing it in the extensive World Wide Web.

Radio Cons –

  • Listeners cannot go back to the message
  • People are often multitasking when listening to radio

New generations are notorious for wanting information at the tips of their fingers. So what happens if we hear something interesting but then something happens and we miss the last part of the content? The radio has used the internet as a way to provide content that people can re-access. Also we learned in lecture that, similar to newspapers, radio has developed a formatting equation (ads + news +music) to make radio “catch the ear” of the audience and be more than just background sound.

Radio Pros –

  • Many different channels
  • Easy to access in most areas

After visiting the radio station this week, I have learned that there are still a lot of people who listen to the radio and as our client mentioned, it is because radio is so accessible. Because there are different channels with different target audiences, some channels have a smaller representation of listeners than other stations. However, combined, the number is very large which means radio is still a competitor in the media production world.