Mass Communication: Current Issues

Marina Petric
PhD. Student and Instructor
Texas Tech University

Brazil: What Happens on YouTube, Doesn’t Stay on YouTube

Brazil has a successful history with alternative media.

During the military autocratic regime (1964-85), O Pasquim left its mark in history. O Pasquim was a weekly periodical, established in Rio de Janeiro in 1969 that soon became a national phenomenon. O Pasquim used humor to critique political coercion and the systematic violation of human rights by the Brazilian dictatorship.

It’s Complicated: The Brazilian Relationship With WhatsApp

SAO PAULO – NOV. 30, 2020 – Bernardo Araujo had just arrived home from work in Sao Paulo when he received a call from his sister. Their mother had just passed away in Rio de Janeiro. It was a Tuesday night in July 2019.

Araujo flew to Rio early Wednesday morning. While processing the loss with his family, he was also dealing with the Brazilian bureaucratic process relating to deaths. Hospital, funeral and cemetery documents had to be signed and sent out in a coordinated sequence, following strict Brazilian administrative rules.

Living Between Cities in Corona Times


Homeless man sleeps on 6th Street. Austin, 03/24/2020
Homeless man sleeps on 6th Street. Austin, 03/24/2020

My father lived through World War II in Belgrade. He and his family fought for food, dodged artillery shells, moved from city to city, lost friends and parents.

I am in my 40s, and in my lifetime, I never went through a natural disaster. I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where there are no earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes. I came from a privileged upper-middle class family, we were safe from landslides that happen every year in March and drag favelas downhills. Tom Jobim wrote a song for those rains called “Waters of March.”

When I moved to Austin, Texas, the only real natural disasters were the heat of summers and rattlesnakes.

During the second semester of 2019, I wrote a weekly series about the opioid crisis in Texas. I was working at the Texas State Department of Health with health statistics, so I had good resources. This is the last part of a series for 10 stories.

Social Media Regulation

In November 2019 the actor and comedian Sacha Cohen spoke at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) about social media platforms. He focused on how they enable the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation. In his words, “Democracy, which depends on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march. Hate crimes are surging, as are murderous attacks on religious and ethnic minorities. What do all these dangerous trends have in common? All this hate and violence is being facilitated by a handful of internet companies that amount to the greatest propaganda machine in history.”

Agenda-setting Theory

Among the many mass communication theories that interest me, ELM, cultivation and agenda-setting are the in the top of the list. I focused on agenda-setting for this academic paper.
My background is in history of science and I see the agenda-setting issue from the perspective of a paradigm. 

Data Visualization Good Practice

Capturing the Spirit of Southern Spain

(Photo essay published at Stratfor)

I had never thought of going to the Iberian Peninsula. It just seemed too similar to Brazil, where I was born to a Brazilian mother and a father who had escaped Tito’s autocratic rule in Yugoslavia. I grew up under a dictatorship, and as a child in Rio de Janeiro, I remember admiring the freedom of speech that most Anglo-Saxon cultures seemed to enjoy. I learned English and German. Then somehow I wound up living in the United States.

©2021 MARINA PETRIC All Rights Reserved. 

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