If you fancy a long read, click the image above for my completed thesis. If you want to read more around the subject, here's my reading/watching/listening list for this project.
This is still very much a topic of interest for me, so if you want to add to my reading list or fancy chatting the media, politics or representation, get in touch!
Why 'The Media'?
Growing up I never considered myself 'political'. It felt like a world far removed from my own and didn't even understand the impact of my vote. Early in my 20s however, as I began to notice the effects of capitalism on society I started to ask questions. Why do we have a government that's not representative of the majority? How did we end up in a position where people are voting for parties that aren't actually representative of their interests?
I think one of the reasons for this is the media. The majority of mainstream media is owned by a very small amount of people interested only in pushing their own agenda. In order to make informed decisions, we need access to a democratic public media system and this means one which provides accurate, impartial information from a range of voices. I don't feel like we currently have this in the UK. There are still too many roles of power held by white cis-men that don't speak for the diversity of the British public.
Through this project I hope to map out the current issues we're facing in the media, the role of the BBC and look at 'alternative' media. I want to do this by conducting a series of case studies, expert interviews and I would also like to engage with the public to get their views.
The questions I'm currently asking:
- What does a democratic public media system look like and why do we need one?
- How is language used in headlines and articles to skew public opinion?
- Why aren't there more diverse voices in the media and how can we ensure there is?
 - How might we move towards a media model that serves people over profits?
Want to join in on the conversation? Feel free to get in touch design@imanina.com
Illustration - the impact and effects of having a more localised, citizen-owned media:
My Design Process:
My process wasn’t a linear one, always going backwards and forwards with plenty of overlaps.
The main questions I started off with were:
-What’s the situation and
-What’s the conversation?
This then led to my focus on local media and how we might build a post-capitalist business model that moves away from the current system of profits over people.
I read plenty of articles, some books, watched documentaries and attended virtual live talks with some interesting people in the industry already working towards media reform.
Alongside this I also designed a research activity, facilitated a workshop and attempted to do a case study on a specific geographical area with a certain socio-economic status.
The culmination of this led to some ideas of what a fairer media might look like and the impact this could have on society.

Some of the outcomes of my 'Media Review' research activity:
As well as official reports and hearing from professionals, I also wanted to get a sense of public opinion on the media.
In trying to gain insight into the current state of MSM, I’d been trawling through the daily papers and highlighting areas such as use of language, tone, the sort of information being told (or in some cases, not told) as well as the people interviewed for articles.
But mine is of course just one opinion so I shared this activity with the general public. Here are a few of the responses I got. I was able to get a wide range of responses with differing opinions. I’ve highlighted some of the common themes on how people felt about the articles such as divisive, anger inducing and just plain confusing.
Another thing to come out of this activity, from selecting which articles to send out, was the realisation at just how similar all the papers were and the lack of plurality. Although tone might have differed between say a tabloid and broadsheet, the story being told was essentially the same – very one-sided from the perspective of the powerful rather than the people.
The JK Rowling article was a good example of this. The whole thing was about her views of trans rights and not a single trans person was interviewed to give their opinion.
Screenshot from my participatory design workshop:
The main aim of this workshop was to gather ideas for how a locally-owned media outlet might succeed. I asked questions such as:
How it could be funded, how they would report on stories and how they would then publish these stories.
We also discussed the possible impacts of their decisions and how the town might look in the future
To help my participants imagine this and facilitate discussion, I created a fictional town along with some characters for my participants to ‘become’. Or at least to imagine their ideas through the lens of someone else.
I took them through a range of different scenarios with a set of circumstances for my participants to engage with.
The idea for the town, the characters and the scenarios were all developed based on the research I’d done so far. So although fictional, they were also completely feasible and possible instances a town or local media might face.
Short summary of my participants ideas:
Here are some of the ideas that were put forward. I summarised these into:
How will we publish, how will it benefit, how will we fund it and how will we succeed.
The main idea was to be as accessible as possible, include as many different people as possible and to build trust from the very start so that it might build a reputation as a trustworthy news source.
There was also a lot of emphasis on supporting other local, independent businesses and a focus on community.
Although a lot of these ideas seem simple, they’re all ones that are completely doable and ideas to strive for.
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