ALC205 Group Assignment “Cyber Stalker”- by Birralee Paitson, Elissa Cohen, Mikayla Kasie & Morgan Vandermark



In the current digital age- technological advances such as smartphones and tablets teamed, with the intricate network of online communications and various media platforms, has created a society that is being watched more than ever before. The potential for digital surveillance, using various technologies, is massive in today’s world. There is a plethora of apps available that provide location services, and with the built in GPS in smartphones- the possibility to track somebody is very real.

Social media sites such as Facebook may be beneficial for many reasons, though they also provide the perfect climate for potential cyber stalkers. Millions of people willingly provide data and personal information to Facebook- such as their home address, place of work, phone number and photos- that could be used by stalkers to track their whereabouts. The check-in function on the Facebook social media site allows cyber stalkers to track exactly where somebody is at an exact time- which could prove to be potentially dangerous.

Our video aims to show that the personal information people give to Facebook is open to be viewed by millions of people, which may also include obsessive stalkers. Young women are particularly vulnerable and at risk of being stalked online. The message our video sends- is that people need to be aware of what they are sharing on social media and the creepy stalker may well be someone you least expect- such as your neighbour down the street.

The different options considered for the video

We began brainstorming ideas on what we’d like the video to be about. The group’s initial idea was to create a horror movie trailer about surveillance and the possible outcomes it could have. We created a brainstorming page and once the group joined the page, we discussed ideas to add a comedic element to the video. Another idea was to explore the positives and negatives of having surveillance at work. We decided against this particular plot as it would be extremely difficult to create a well-flowing video. Issues would have included setting and costumes – if we filmed a ‘work place’ in our lounge rooms it would look unprofessional, and tacky. The only way to fix this, would be to actually film in a shop environment so it looks believable. We would require the same outfits and in similar looking stores if the trailer revolves around the one employee and workplace. We then decided an alternative closer to our initial idea – to create a short horror film with the setting of a bright neighbourhood.

We looked at ways to create the movie and suggested using the iMovie horror movie trailer template. In the end, we decided it would be easier to make our own, which meant it was easier to avoid the risk of copyright issues. We decided we would all film around two minutes of footage each, and have one editor join it all together.

We used certain filming and editing techniques in our short film in order to create a disturbing vibe that evokes an unsettling emotion in the audience. To do this in the start of the film, we chose dark and gloomy rooms to shoot in. In both halves of the video we also dress the stalker hooded and in black, due to blacks being associated with danger and evil. We also tried to cover the stalkers face, showing his identity as little as possible. This is because cyberstalking is done behind the victims back without their knowing. We used different camera shots, including the perspective shot, in order to show what the stalker was seeing, such as looking through Elissa’s various profiles and also the physical stalking. This positions the audience to place themselves as the watcher and creates an unsettling vibe. The video is edited in black and white with a semi blurry filter, this is done to add to the uneasy feel of the video and make the plot more convincing. The use of sound effects such as ticking clocks, heartbeats and thunder also acts in this way but they can furthermore work to add suspense to scenes.

For this project the group came up with a few different ideas. To collaborate all of our ideas and to get the project into motion, we used a few different collaboration platforms to get all our ideas and thoughts into one place. To start out we started a conversation on the group’s Cloud Deakin Discussion platform, just to get the ball rolling on this project, and get everyone acquainted with each other and we also started talking about any initial ideas we had for the film. We then used a site called, a mind-mapping site, to brainstorm our ideas and it was a great place for everyone to put in their thoughts and ideas all in one easy and convenient place.

Once everyone had chosen to make a creepy online stalking kind of film, we first emailed Adam for approval for our idea. Once we got the all clear, We then started a an initial Facebook chat, again to get the ball rolling on our idea then we quickly created a Google Hangouts chat and began to talk about how the film would look, what types of shots we would need, what would be in the shots etc. A Trello board was started so we could have one place where everyone could put their ideas for the script and the shots and make any changes or ideas to each other’s ideas. On our Google chat, we then began to talk about filming our video and distributing roles and jobs to each member of the team. Each member film a component of the film and it was sent to one member, for editing, via Google Hangouts and Email. Our use of the different media platforms really helped in allowing us to have one place where we could all collaborate and share our ideas and work we had done.




Surveillance and Social Media


The rise of social media in the digital sphere has created intense interconnectedness throughout societies- both nationally and internationally. Social media is greatly adding to globalization, which is having both positive and negative effects worldwide. In an era of digital surveillance, the potential for individuals or institutions to gather personal information from members of the public through social media is a very real one.

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As Daniel Trottier discusses, sites such as Facebook are a platform for the convergence of institutions, corporations, individuals and the authorities- such as law enforcement (Trottier, 2012, p.1). This convergence of information may be beneficial on some levels e.g. for assisting police in solving crime, though it also has the potential for a multitude of complications and privacy breaches.

Many people willingly supply personal information onto social media sites- such as phone numbers, workplaces, residential areas and personal photographs. Although re-laying this data may be perfectly harmless for thousands, it still opens the possibility for stalking, identity theft and gives corporations and governments access to personal information which they may use for their benefit and which may infringe on privacy.

Trottier considers the concept that Facebook is not only a digital space, but a “digital dwelling” (Trottier, 2012, p.2). This notion considers the idea that online social convergence is a world in itself and the information people share in this digital world can make certain parts of our lives visible to other parts of our lives- i.e. there may be a crossover between professional and personal life which may affect one’s privacy. An individual’s employer has the potential to look at or ‘spy’ on an employee’s personal interactions/behaviour through what they post on social media.

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Advertising corporations are able to build a consumer profile on individuals based on their google searches. Facebook allows these corporations to advertise their ‘personalised’ products to its users- some may view this as an invasion of privacy and a level of surveillance that is purely for corporate gain and capitalism.

On a personal level, social media sites such as Facebook, give people access to information and a general peek into someone’s personal life that they would not otherwise have access to.This can create huge problems for personal relationships, particularly if a relationship has ended and one can ‘stalk’ or ‘spy’ on an ex (unless of course the ‘Blocking’ function is used). E.J Westlake raises the point that social media sites may encourage internet predators to to gain information on potential victims, thus posing a massive privacy risk (Westlake, 2008, p.32).

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Westlake also discusses the idea that Facebook may be used as a tool for government surveillance. Governments can create profiles and data bases of information, that ironically, have been willingly provided by users (Westlake, 2008, p.34). In an era where governments (particularly western) are concerned with the threat of terrorism- individuals may need to carefully consider how they conduct themselves and what they say on social media- as governments may take certain information as a terrorism threat (which may or may not be harmless).


Trottier, D, 2012, Social Media as Surveillance; Rethinking Visibility in a Converging World, Routledge pp. 1-2

Westlake, E.J., 2008, Friend Me if You Facebook, Generation Y and Performative Surveillance, TDR: The Drama Review Vol. 52 Issue 4, pp.32-34

Surveillance From Underneath

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In the digital era of smartphones, youtube, social media and blogging- a new type of reporting has emerged- “Citizen Journalism.” The potential for amateur reporters to publish their stories is greater than ever before and citizen journalism is changing the landscape of the media sphere and the journalism industry as we know it.

Image via Shutterstock

Surveillance is more prominent in today’s society then ever before. With the internet, smartphone apps, location services, social media and CCTV cameras– to name a few- “big brother” really is watching. Whether the surveillance power of everyday citizens is utilised in a positive or negative context, the ability to publish a story into the public domain is literally the click of a few buttons away.

Image via Shutterstock

The power of citizen journalism to be used as a watch-dog for the justice system has been demonstrated in recent years with cases of police brutality and corruption within the police force being exposed by surveilling citizens. As Bryce Clayton Newell discusses; “Citizens recording police, a form of action that has been coined ‘sousveillance’ (surveillance from underneath) or the ‘participatory panopticon’ has been become increasingly common in recent years” (Newell, 2014, p.59).

Citizen journalism can have an impact on the public’s perception of law enforcment and its legitimacy and can be used to hold police officers accountable for their misconduct. The subway shooting of Oscar Grant in San Francisco in 2009 is an example of this- bystanders recorded the shooting on their phones and the footage was released to media stations and youtube- which eventually led to the conviction of the police officer who carried out the shooting (Newell, 2014, p.61).

On the flip-side, modern surveillance technology is also allowing those in power- such as law enforcement- to have a greater ability to track and monitor members of the public. As Newell discusses- “In recent years, police officers and law enforcement agencies have been conducting increasingly sophisticated (and intensive) information gathering through visual and spacial surveillance of citizens and public spaces” (Newell, 2014, p.60). Greater use of surveillance may be viewed as a measure of protection for members of society, though as Kingsley Dennis discusses- it could also become an intrusion of privacy (Dennnis, 2008, p.351).

Citizen journalism or ‘smartphone journalism’ may be beneficial for exposing wrong doing within society (particularly with those abusing their power) through citizen vigilantism, though the ramifications for professional journalists could be dire. News corporations may have the option to publish breaking stories from members of the public at little or no cost, which leaves the role of the journalist redundant. Citizen journalists with little knowledge of journalistic ethical conduct have the potential to land themselves in hot water or breach privacy laws.


Dennis, K 2008, Keeping a close watch- the rise of self-surveillance and the threat of digital exposure, Sociological Review Vol.56 Issue 3, p.351

Newell, BC 2014, Crossing Lenses: policing’s new visibility and the role of “smartphone journalism” as a form of freedom- preserving reciprocal surveillance, Journal of Law Technology & Policy; Spring2014, Vol.2014 Issue 1, pp. 59-61



What’s the potential for citizen journalism in today’s multi-platform communications environment?


There is boundless potential and possibility for citizen journalism in today’s media sphere. With smartphones, youtube, blogs and social media, to name a few- the potential for amateur reporters to publish their stories is greater than ever before.

News outlets and particularly current affairs programs are gaining much benefit from citizen journalism- they are able to get access to a wider scope of material for stories while cutting the corners of actually producing the work themselves. As Kate Bulkley reports for The Guardian– In the digital era of communication, the value and authenticity between professional news stories and amateur videos filmed on a mobile phone is becoming harder to judge. Some journalists may find citizen reporting a threat to their profession.

Taking picture

Citizen journalism has the potential to deliver stories from events and places that professional journalists may not be able to access, such as citizens in a war zone in Syria. The public can receive up-to the minute reporting from events such as political protests. The phenomenon is radicalising journalism because there is no filter as to what can be published on the Internet. Citizen journalism opens a door for raw and gritty stories as well as light ‘puff’ pieces- the possibilities really are endless.


The possibility for instant publication of events and stories may have its downfalls. Privacy can easily be breached and false information can very easily be spread into the public domain. Citizen journalism has the potential to cause harm to individuals as well as the potential to give the public greater access to current affairs.

What role is MOJO playing in Journalism in the 21st Century?


Journalism in the 21st Century is evolving faster than any other time before. With the rise of Smartphones and social media, the era of citizen journalism and User Generated Content (UGC) is changing the traditional concepts and ideals of Journalism.

MOJO– meaning Mobile Journalism, is a fairly recent phenomenon and a powerful new tool in the media game. With literally billions of people using mobile phones, anyone can record and create a news story that is readily accessible to the online audience. This may also pose ethical and legal issues because these stories havn’t been run through a professional editor.

Journalists need to take a neo-journalist approach and be equipped and ready to capture, edit and produce any breaking news story, using their Smartphone. MOJO’s can also incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, graphics, audio and links, into the story.

The quality of journalism may be questioned due to such a fast turn around of stories. As Ivo and Burum discuss in MOJO: The Mobile Journalism Handbook, by the time the journalists realise an error, the story is already lost in the abyss of the web. Therefore the potential for legal issues may arise- such as defamation or false information.


Despite the potential negatives, MOJO is playing a crucial role in 21st Century Journalism- it is allowing multi-planar storytelling to be produced and accessible faster than ever.








What’s happening to the old models of journalism? How long can newspapers last?


The digital media evolution is a rapidly growing industry and the future for print newspapers is looking pretty grim. As people are turning to smartphones, tablets and computers to get their daily news fix, the once prestigious print medium is looking to become redundant in the not too distant future.

The closure of the print version of the UK’s  Independent in March of this year, a newspaper regarded as “journalism of the highest quality standard,” sets the tone for what is to come.


As David Hayes states: “Losing the Independent is a major event: a setback for democracy as well as journalism.” This statement suggests that the autonomy and freedom of journalists may be affected with the move to digital, as big corporations have more control over online business.

Though London based journalist, Brian Cathcart says: “This is the death of a redundant medium and not of a message” regarding the ceasing of print for the Independent.


Some may argue that the move to digital can create more dynamic and comprehensive journalism, possibly enhancing the news reading experience with the use of multimedia.

The obvious reason that print newspapers may become redundant is the lack of capitol to keep them running. It is far cheaper to publish online news than print tangible papers.

The younger generations who have grown up in the digital era have not been accustomed to buying newspapers; I believe this hints at a definite future without print news.

With an ever increasingly competitive market, tighter budgets for news publications and the convenience of mobile technology, I predict the future of print media will not outlast generation Y.

The ramifications of losing newspapers are not yet fully known, though David Hayes states: “What is certain is that a future without newspapers would be a future without democracy.”



How are the various ideals of journalism impacted by the business of journalism?


The business of news journalism is a rapidly changing industry. With the rise of the digital era and smartphones, competition within the industry is greater than ever and news corporation giants are competing to get ratings and cover stories first. The public has instant access to news with the click of a button, which speeds up the race for journalists to “get the story”.

Ideals of Journalism- such as speaking truth and delivering quality stories backed by thorough research are being impacted by the new business of journalism. Journalists need to produce stories at a faster rate and accommodate writing for mobile phone accessibility, thus affecting the quality of writing and potentially the integrity of the news stories produced.


New online platforms such as Beacon– a “crowd funding” site which allows members of the public to fund journalists and their projects, is also having an impact on the business of journalism. Although this may be having a positive influence because it allows greater autonomy for journalists to investigate and report the stories that they and the public want told, rather than in the interest of news corporations and their need to sell stories.


In a world that is overloaded with access to information, the ideals of Journalism to be autonomous and deliver truth, is constantly being challenged.