Media Constructs Reality: News Coverage of Ontario’s Minimum Wage Increase Slanted Heavily Towards Business Interests



An analysis by PressProgress (Source) of dozens of news articles covering the province’s recent minimum wage increase reveals Canadian newspapers overwhelmingly privileged the perspective of businesses over the perspective of Ontario’s low-wage workers.



Three-quarters of all news coverage (75%) between December 31, 2017 and January 4th, 2018 greeting the new minimum wage – including news reports, opinion columns and editorials – directly quoted or cited figures from business owners, bankers and corporate lobby groups.



Despite a body of credible research from academic sources showing minimum wage increases have clear economic benefits and 53 Canadian economists endorsing the policy, half of all news articles (50%) failed to list any economic benefits whatsoever from raising the minimum wage.

Instead, headlines were dominated by misleading claims of job losses and anecdotes from small business owners.

Full article  HERE

Keep in mind the Mass Media Principles when evaluating any type of media text , journalism, advertisement, cinema, television, music & video,magazines, novels and factual reportage, and any social media.




Fashion as Mass Media: Dollar Wears




Colin Meredith’s collection includes track pants made from umbrellas, 3 jackets made from Ziploc bags, beach balls and Dollarama plastic bags respectively, and a pullover made out of face cloths and a hanging shoe rack. CBC News

Montreal-based designer Colin Meredith is finding ways to overcome the cost prohibitive hurdles faced by young fashion designers looking to establish themselves. Meredith’s more recent collection,called Dollar Wears, makes use of only products from the dollar store. The thirteen piece collection includes eight tops/ outerwear pieces, two pairs of pants and three Vans shoes (a sponsor of the project), made by hand from Dollarama (Quebec dollar store chain) products.


Beach Ball Jacket in the Montreal Festival Mode & Design installation display.


Keep in mind that this collection is an art exhibition and that included in the materials are used are Dollarama plastic shopping bags. These bags include the store logo. So, besides demonstrating the Colin Meredith’s creativity and effective recycling of materials, this creative exercise in fashion design also is an example of Mass Media Principles.

Dollarama Bag Jacket


Primarily, this demonstrates how Mass Media consumes other Mass Media, turning it into content. In Merideth’s use of Dollarama products, as an artist he was working with physical materials and repurposing them as clothing. Clothing has both practical use and use as art (cultural expression through fashion) . Clothing functions as Mass Medium, conveying cultural messages about a person’s station in society and about their own individual sense of self.

Racegoers at Warwick Farm Racecourse c1934


Hats & Harlem Pants c. 1910-1915

In Western society, the cultural message conveyed by fashion choices can incorporate logos and brand names, as well as icons from the entertainment industry, sports, and national & regional identifiers.

 Missoni Fashions – Photograph: REX/Shutterstock – The Guardian


The Dollar Wears exhibit alters the message of the original products and creates a new context. It both comments on social prestige that is associated with high fashion branding and logos, and it demonstrates how inexpensive materials can be reused in imaginative ways.


Colin Meredith’s creation of a motorcycle jacket made out of duct tape from Dollarama.

Sources:  Montreal designer uses Dollarama materials to make exclusive clothes – CBC News

Colin Meredith  Website


You can not Step into the Same Meme Twice

An Internet meme is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry or for humorous purposes, from person to person via the Internet.

It most commonly takes the form of an image, frequently an animated or still image macro  . Hyperlinks, video, websites, and hashtags can be used as internet memes as well. Catch phrases, slogans, logos, sometimes including an intentional or unintentional misspelling can become memes on social media platforms. These small movements tend to spread from person to person via social networks, blogs, direct email, or news sources. They may relate to various existing Internet cultures or subcultures, often created or spread on various websites, or blogs, and other social media communications sites. Instant communication through digital devices facilitates rapid multiple word-of-mouth transmission .

The word meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, as an attempt to explain the way cultural information spreads.

Internet memes are a subset of this general meme concept specific to the culture and environment of the Internet. The concept of the Internet meme was first proposed by Mike Godwin in the June 1993 issue of Wired.

A meme is an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture — often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, or practices, that can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena with a mimicked theme. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate, and respond to selective pressures.

The self-replicating and mutating component of memes in a digital mass media environment means that memes can change dramatically in their intent and original message. A recent example of this shifting intent is Pepe the Frog, which was hijacked and given a racist intent by those in the extreme American right .

Because Mass Media conveys intentional and unintentional messages, and visual fields of information are highly susceptible to context clues and placement, internet memes are fluid in meaning and intent. With their highly visual content and digital text environment being so flexible in layout and incorporating layers of information ( audio, colour, size, shape, and animation ), internet memes can change meaning much faster than regular language. So, as Heraclitus might say, you can not step into the same meme twice.



For more information & insight on memes see Project 3: Exercise 4.3 – Memes.

For a more alternative creative expression approach to memes see my Implied Spaces post, What is the Meme-ing of This

Un tango à Paris and The Goat: Constructing a Reality

 Un tango à Paris — Maria Filali & Özgür Karahan


Mass Media constructs realities based on specific sets of codes and conventions determined by the nature of each Medium. The constructed reality of cinema derives from photography. Photography makes use of line, perspective, framing, light & shadow, camera angle and distance and in choice of monochrome or colour. Cinematography add motion, both the subject’s and that of camera’s. The nature of illusion of sequential motion that is created through film allows for editing of shots.



The Goat (1921) , a Buster Keaton two reeler ( A short silent film, of around twenty minutes running time. ),  plays with the construction of reality in multiple ways to create mistaken identity and confusion. Buster’s character is mistaken for the criminal because of a wrongly posted photograph. Mannequins are mistaken for people and a real Indian is mistaken for a cigar shop statue. Cuts and point of view alter the reality in this early Keaton classic.

The Goat 1921 - Buster Keaton

In Un tango à Paris, reality bends with colour and monochrome slipping  into a tango dance. Director Thomas Baspeyras,   admirably makes use of fades, perspectives, camera distance and angles to portray the transformation in time & place as the couple dances. With only two  GH3s cameras and assistant Marie Astier , he found editing the reality of the dancing challenging. Tangos are often improvised and lack of a specific choreographed  piece and this challenged creating a sense of continuity when editing.



Dancers (Links) : Maria Filali  and Özgür Karahan