Media has been everywhere without us noticing, just like air we breathe in every second, it is affecting and constructing our point of view to the world. People turn on news on TV or on their smartphone to check out the latest news and things they are interested in, which means that the news has powerful influence on public opinions because of its objective image people has belief in. In this article, I will be writing a profile of Anderson Cooper with a discussion of how media convergence is carried out in his journalism career and how he has an impact on public sphere and fourth estate in the society.
Anderson Cooper is a famous American news anchor, talk show host and author, born in 1967, New York city. Cooper started his journalism career after finishing a bachelor degree in Yale university, from a fact checker for local news to a chief international correspondent due to his footages taken in Southeast Asia gained attention from Channel one. In 1995, he was hired as a correspondent of ABC News and then an anchor of CNN News after a few years, he is now a host of his own news program Anderson Cooper 360°. (Biography.com Editors, 2017)
The reason I have chose Anderson Cooper as my interested media professional can be various, not only because of his success and braveness to collect materials in several major incidents, but also his personality, I think these characteristics are what make him see a wider world than others. In his early childhood, he experienced his father’s death from a heart surgery, which inspired his perspective to the world, “When you lose a parent at ten years old, the world seems like a much scarier place. It makes complete sense to me that I took survival courses when I was a teenager and started going to war zones as a reporter. I didn't ever want to be taken advantage of, and I wanted to be able to take care of those around me” as Cooper said (BrainyQuote, 2017). Although it is hard for those who have no such traumatic memory to imagine, this message he made was strong enough to touchy people’s heart. His empathy towards people is one of the most important traits I value in my life, with empathy I can step into others shoes and understand their thoughts before making any unfair comment. It is also important to be openminded to events as being a journalist. Secondly, it is his honesty that draws me. I have seen many journal articles that exaggerate the fact just to gain more attention or focus on other unimportant events to cover up the truth, it just raises my anger whenever I see this happen.
“I think you have to be yourself, and you have to be real and you have to admit what you don't know, and talk about what you do know, and talk about what you don't know as long as you say you don't know it (BrainyQuote, 2017)” as Cooper said, speaking out the truth and be honest to what you don’t know is essential especially for an influencing job like his where he must speak to the public every day. He recently pointed out in his news program that “not to be desensitized by Trump's fake facts” (Huffpost, April 25, 2017) and clarified it is not true about Trump’s tweet of winning the popular vote in the election. Although it seems like an old news that does not really matter anymore, I admire how he was being responsible and honest to tell the audience the truth. Also, his humbleness of staying low about his great-great-great grandfather was business magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt is worth tribute.
Globalization is a term that we often hear in modern days, in fact, it is constantly happening in our daily life, such as pop culture, popular films, multinational industries and international organizations. As well as media, media globalization has allowed us to connect with information in various ways. As Sternberg (2017) said that media globalization is a concept of increasing transmission of media content across global boundaries, for example, a Hollywood movie based in Asian countries or the TV show “The Voice” is produced in different countries. In the case of Anderson Cooper’s career, CNN is a huge part demonstrating media globalization. Firstly, CNN is based in the US and is well known for news programs and broadcast where international events are highly reported and discussed, people from other countries can access through internet anytime anywhere. Cooper’s talk show Anderson Cooper’s 360° has commenced for over 10 years now, providing many aspects of a major news by examining and linking it to related stories. (CNN ‘Anderson Cooper’s 360°’, 2017) More information and clips of some key conversation in the show are also available on the CNN website and social media. The content is well distributed on different platforms offering alternatives, which is a good example of technological convergence. From TV program, internet to getting a CNN application on your smart phone, the exhibition of the content has broken down the barriers to reach out different media user groups all over the world.
In 2016, the HBO documentary Nothing Left Unsaid about Cooper's relationship with the Vanderbilt family aired in April, focusing on the life of his mother and himself (HBO, 2017). We can notice that a content convergence exists in this circumstance whereas the movie industry has presented other sides of Anderson Cooper which we will not see on his news program or talk show, in other words, both talk show and documentary contents inform the audience effectively but in different ways. In the paragraphs below I will be discussing the concept of fourth estate and public sphere.
What is fourth estate? Fourth estate is a concept where journalists and the press play a role of a critical “watchdog” of governments through reporting their policies and decisions made thus makes the government publicly accountable, it is a power of balancing between citizens and government (Franklin, Bob Hogan, Mike Langley, Quentin Pill, Elliot, 2009, 109). The news program Anderson Cooper 360∘has established its function of examination whether the news is true or not, as I mentioned in the third paragraph, the example of Trump’s fake statement on Twitter has illustrated the power and advantages of fourth estate, as well as other headlines happening in the world, fourth estate is a necessity maintain credibility of governments. We can now see the rise of live talk shows and radio where they allow people to make opinions through phone calls. These programs attract attention because it is a place that discussion and information are exchanging publicly, and provide opportunities for the public voice to be heard. This explains how a public sphere works between media and the society, it is “where issues are debated and where citizens are, ideally, free to enter and engage in discourse (Balme, 2014, introduction)” However, there is an issue with the term “public”, which is fake news. The internet world is a complete opened space where people can access and post on ideas, any speech can be made without evidence and even disguised by imitating what a “real news” looks like. This may lead to chaos in political and social aspects and misguide the truth.
In conclusion, the fourth estate and public sphere have construct the way we look at an incident and how we see the world, also media convergence performs as a useful tool which is also strongly linked to what media we get in tough in daily basis. With these elements attach, it increases the reliability of the contents we receive every day. Moreover, Anderson Cooper has affected the journalism world by his ability of speaking out what should be made clear of. I think that it is the most vital reason of his news program’s continuance for a long time and as a journalist, he delivers evidence-based messages objectively to the public. It is important to always question before criticizing and make choice on what tells the solid facts, as the untrue statements should be avoided in the world.
Anderson Cooper. 2017. BrainyQuote.com. Accessed April 30, 2017. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/andersonco791169.html
Balme, C.B. 2014. Introduction. In: The Theatrical Public Sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi-org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/10.1017/CBO9781139051668.002
CNN ‘Anderson Cooper’s 360°’. 2017. Accessed April 30, 2017.
Franklin, Bob Hogan, Mike Langley, Quentin Pill, Elliot. 2009. Fourth Estate. https://qut.summon.serialssolutions.com/#!/search?bookMark=ePnHCXMw42JgAfZbU5lBe6iAdQmw-WBhxAEb9ADGOOi8KU4GXjdgSJVkKLiCt81wM8i6uYY4e-iCD8mMBw1rAruJ8cCegoEFsDluTEgeAH5FHu0
HBO, 2017. “Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper” Accessed April 30, 2017. http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/nothing-left-unsaid-gloria-vanderbilt-and-anderson-cooper/synopsis/about.html
Mazza, E. April 25 2017. “Anderson Cooper Warns: Don't Be 'Desensitized' By Trump's 'Fake Facts'. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/anderson-cooper-trump-desensitized_us_58fea870e4b06b9cb9198a61
Sternberg, J. 2017. “KC30 Media and Communication: Week 6 workshop notes” Accessed April 30, 2017. https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_133445_1&content_id=_6643602_1
The Biography.com website. 2017. ”Anderson Cooper Biography.com” Accessed April 30, 2017. http://www.biography.com/people/anderson-cooper-20851303