Imani Clough – How society sees us through the media!

I believe the media has the biggest influence on people’s views and opinions in society, particularly in reference to young people. The media generally portrays young people as YOBs, hoodies, teenage mums scrounging off the state. Tabloid newspapers; which are read by the majority as apposed to broadsheets, generally see young people in this way; along with violent anti- social individuals.  Very rarely do we hear positive news about the younger generation. Whenever light is shined upon us it never seems to be positive…

I personally believe that young people are misunderstood and society sees the younger generation as an ‘After thought’ and ceases to address that our views and opinions do matter and that we too have rights. I think that those in power almost forget that; It is highly possible that this very generation (my generation) that are given so much negative press, may well be responsible for tackling some of the economic, social and political issues challenging society today. Quite a few young people have said “when will we be taken seriously as young adults and given the opportunity to write our own positive press, to showcase the young entrepreneurs, actors, actresses, academics, film makes and dancers?”…the list goes on.

Media portrayal of young people as a “problem” is widespread, but it is certainly not new. Young people are presented as a threat to values and interests of “civilised” society. Young people are left to feel as if there is no hope for them for example; youth unemployment is increasing, as is tuition fees etc. They are so far detached from society that they feel there is nothing to strive for, as there always seems to be something preventing them from reaching the goals they would wish to achieve.

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Media portrayl of the riots – Michael Virk

Western media is known for over blowing situations to sell stories and have publicity. Mixing this media ethic and the actual riots was always going to be a recipe for disaster. The riots did not happen because of media coverage, although it did not help the situation. The riots were brewing up for months after MP`s expense scandals and government cuts.

However the media know what power they have and how a powerful story can get the upmost reaction in people. The media have an obligation to the people they are so interested in keeping updated with news. I believe their obligation is to protect public interest and censer certain coverage on grounds of escalation of situations for the worst, this was not done last summer at the riots.

Nearly all 150 questionnaires from young people about the riots identified media coverage as their way of find out about the riots. We cannot turn back the time so I will not dwell on this but moving forward the media should step up and agree not to show excessive coverage of a situation in case it escalates across the U.K like the riots did last summer.

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Police and policing the riots – Michael Virk

I have been in charge of typing up the questionnaires of young people’s views of the riot. Most young people feel the police did not do enough. The police have got their hands tied to a certain degree because of fear of acquisition of police brutality against them.  They are employed to do a job and must have been given orders to sit back and hold their ground. So I would say on that particular day the police could not do what was expected due to the magnitude of the riots.

However the policing at the riots was not at an adequate standard,, considering the students done violent protesting months before in London the police were not ready. If the London Met would have diffused the situation early the riots would not have escalated to other cities.  So it only begs the question WHY?

The people in charge of the police should be mortified that a country as modern and wealthy as England could not control a disorder like a riot as England is regarded as the most civil and democratic place on earth.. Could this be because they felt that people were right to be angry regarding the killing of Mark Duggan? Could it be they were trying tactics that were not working? Or could it be the prime minster was on holiday in France the same time so the government and police did not have someone to give direct orders?

AN INQUEST into the death of mark Duggan might not be held, a watchdog said yesterday. The independent police complaints commission said `disclosure issues` existed about the police shooting of Mr Duggan – METRO 27/3/2012

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Jenni Bird – Media portrayl of young people

If you go onto Google and type in ‘media portrayal of young people’, up will come an interesting set of results. Along with the various scholarly articles and formal pieces of research into the topic, what you see is essentially a lot of negativity. Even just the titles and descriptions of these webpages seem to suggest that the media tends not to portray young people in a very positive way.

This sentiment is backed up by TFMP’s Outreach survey of young people – many of the young people questioned felt that media coverage of them was mainly or even entirely negative.

I can see their point. There are perhaps a couple of high profile exceptions to the rule, when the media portrays young people in a positive way. A-level results day, for instance, but even that is often accompanied by a debate about the ‘dumbing down’ of A-levels that must be pretty demoralising for the young people who just spent two years of their lives slaving away for their results.

Aside from occasions such as this and a few other incidents, however, it can seem as though media coverage of young people is largely negative. Some of this is, of course, justified. Take the riots. There are very few, if any, ways of portraying those events as positive. Binge drinking among young people is another issue that seems to come up quite a lot in the media.

I think part of the problem comes because much of the media (not all of it) tends to focus on the bad news stories. I assume that bad news sells better than happy stories or tales of young people quietly getting on with things without causing any trouble, which is what most young people actually do.

But bad news has a tendency to stick, and the danger is that bad news about isolated incidents or small, specific groups of young people is generalised to tarnish everyone under the age of 25. Most people know that when they read the newspaper and see something negative about the younger members of society that most youngsters aren’t like that. With comparatively little to counteract it, however, and not enough stories about the achievements of young people, the generalisation starts to stick.

At the TFMP Outreach Inquiry, our panel of young people is going to be questioning a media representative about their portrayal of young people. We know what our survey respondents had to say on the issue. Now we’re looking forward to the media response.

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Jordan Jones – Media portrayl of young people

When we look into media perception of young people, we must firstly understand that young people do not have any involvement in the writing of these articles. So already there is a defined gap between reality and interpretation. A person writing about somebody else is giving an account of how he or she perceives the subject and what he or she believes the reasoning behind these actions are. This can be negative or positive. When speaking to young people many of them believe that young people are stereotyped and not being portrayed fairly by the media.

In current times Media is a very controversial subject which young people have been made aware of due to the publicity of phone tapping scandals and other forms of media hype which has been all over our TV’s and in the newspapers which remain. Is it fair to allow 1 person to mislead or manipulate the thoughts of the general public? I believe this has contributed to the pre-judgments we see today i.e if you wear a hoodie then you are a thug. We need to evolve and encourage a fair system which doesn’t discriminate on a particular culture, or in this case young people.

Looking deeper into media, if all young people see is killings, celebrity scandals and the constant reminder of high youth unemployment, lack of opportunities and the promise that things will continue to get worse, this can only have a negative effect on young people. It is as if they are being told that they should prepare for the worst instead of being encouraged to focus their talents and cease all the remaining opportunities available to them.

I feel that the media need to revolve and 1 avenue that is available is to encourage young people into focus groups where they can express their feelings and thoughts in order to gather a variety of opinions on the current situations. Who better to give a young persons perspective than the youth’s themselves?

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Cara Latty – Blame (Guest Blogger)

Before, during and after the riots there have been many platforms and opportunities for all parties, victim or villain to place blame. Mark Duggan’s case was thrust into the lime light and first took blame for unrest.The Police came under fire for failing to squash the unruly behavior spreading across London and ultimately the UK.Twitter, Blackberry & Facebook were accused of being too lax and aiding ‘the youth’ as weapons of mass riotingThen it seems almost every position of authority was blamed for being out of touch with the needs and wants of today’s youth.At the end of the day, it all came down to which newspaper you picked up.

As a Londoner was able to walk down the streets of Hipster Hackney during the riots, I feel the real issue is RESPONSIBILITY.There is a huge misconception that the government should be able to tell what people need by reading their social media status updates or by who they vote for on Xfactor. WRONG

Today’s society is being exposed to commercialization of absolutely everything but being taught very little of the process. Yes, it will seem like get rich quick and yes, response will be to obtain material wealth by any means necessary.

There is a responsibility to Children and young adults, by parents, teachers, police and local councils to enrich their lives with positive messages, provide platforms for them to enter or at least understand the worlds of politics, journalism, financial aid. Only then will their voices be heard by the right people and only then will the true value of the youth voice be recognized.

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Mohamud Yassin – Media portrayl of the riots and young people

In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed the news outlets across the country covering the aftermath of the riots and possible solutions to any future disturbances. Media commentators, councillors, police and politicians have all weighted in with their views but they’re mainly simplistic and vague – take for example the view of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He blamed the riots on the poor standards of schools in some areas of the country and he pinpointed that particular topic as the main causing factor of the riots. Poor schools could’ve contributed to the riots but when a small percentage of the rioters were either university educated or still at university, it doesn’t make for a great argument!

I’ve always been a believer than preventing a problem before it has any chance of escalating is a smart move – looking back at the riots; some of the tactics the police used was quite the opposite. We saw police numbers and resources stretched to near breaking point as hundreds of civilians created havoc within their own neighbourhoods. The public called for significant punishment for those responsible and the police responded by executing dawn raids on unsuspecting “criminals”. The outcry for justice was building and we saw the Prime Minister willing to throw the rioters into prison or even stop their benefits. We were caught up in the moment and we wanted those responsible for the chaos behind bars for a long, long time.

Time passed and I’d discovered that a majority of the rioters were actually repeat offenders – the very justice system which was supposed to rehabilitate them was failing. We currently live a recession and past research has shown that the youngest proportion of the population is the hardest hit. Having surveyed students and asked about their concerns, their answers all pointed to the same direction. -the biggest worry was unemployment and lack of future prospects. The youth who’d stepped out onto the streets that early August day were crying out for change and decided to take matters into their own hands. However misguided their actions were it certainly caught the eyes of the public.

The Future Melting Pot is taking action about these issues and as time closes in on the public inquiry, the interest is starting to build up. The youth are disillusioned in some cases and we are seeing an increase in unemployment and criminal activity with 16-25 year olds. The work we do here and the report which is finalised in May will go a long way in breaking the worrying demise of our youth and bring forth a new dawn of optimism and hope.

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