1/17/09 2:35 PM Our goal is to become media literate?more critical as consumers of mass media institutions and more engaged as citizens who accept part of the responsibility for the shape and direction of media culture Culture and the Evolution of Mass Communication Culture can be associated with art or viewed as a broader category that identifies the ways in which people live and represent themselves at particular historical times Fashion, sports, architecture, religion, science, and mass media Culture includes a society?s modes of communications: the process of creating symbol systems that convey information and meaning Language systems, dot-dash Morse code, motion picture, computer codes Culture is the symbols of expression that individuals, groups, and societies use to make sense of daily life and to articulate their values It is a process that delivers the values of a society through products or other meaning-making forms The mass media are the cultural industries?the channels of communication?that produce and distribute songs, novels, newspapers, movies, Internet services, and other cultural products to large numbers of people There are several overlapping eras?oral, written, print, electronic, and digital The last three phases feature the development of mass communication: the process of designing and delivering cultural messages and stories to large and diverse audiences through media channels as old as the book and as new as the internet Oral and Written Forms Begin the Dialogue Information and knowledge first circulated slowly through oral traditions passed on by poets, teachers, and tribal storytellers Printed Words Revolutionize Everyday Life The invention of the printing press and movable metallic type provided the industrial seed that spawned modern mass communication The printing press introduced a method for mass production The book became the first mass-marketed product in history The printing press provided duplication that could be done rapidly that brought down the cost of each unit The printing press also paved the way for major social and cultural changes by transmitting knowledge across national boundaries Jump-started large social movements including the Protestant Reformation and the rise of modern nationalism Also nourished the competing ideal of individualism and affirmed the rise of commerce and increased resistance to government interference Electronic and Digital Messages Deliver Immediacy In America, the telegraph made messages instantaneous, transformed information into a commodity (along with newspapers), made it easier to coordinate commercial and military operations, and foreshadowed future technological developments The Information Age in the 1950s and 1960s marked the arrival of a new visual and electronic era In digital communication, images, texts, and sounds are converted into electronic signals which are then reassemble as a precise reproduction onto a media outlet Traditional leaders in communication started losing some of their control to Cnn?s Larry King, Comedy Central, MTV, and radio talk shows starting in 1992 By 2004, Internet bloggers? personalized opinion sites had become a key element in the news Media Convergence: Citizen Choice or Corporate Control? Media convergence has come to mean the technological merging of content in different mass media OR describes a particular business model that is favored by corporate interests called cross platform Examples include cable connections, phone services, television transmissions and Internet access all under one corporate umbrella This ultimately results in fewer stories generated from fewer perspectives that means that citizens have less choice in news coverage The model offers more profits to those companies that downsize their workforce while increasing their media holdings in many markets Mass Media and the Process of Communication The mass media constitute a wide variety of industries and merchandise from documentary news programs about famines to infomercials about vegetable slicers The word media is a Latin plural form for the singular noun medium Television, newspapers, music, movies, magazines, books, billboards, direct mail, broadcast satellites, the Internet A Linear Model of Mass Communication In this model, mass communication is conceptualized as the process of producing and delivering messages to large audiences Made up of senders (the authors, producers, organizations) who transmit messages (the programs, texts, images, sounds, and ads) Through a mass media channel (newspapers, books, magazines, radio, television, Internet), senders pitch their message to large groups of receivers (readers, viewers, citizens, and consumers) In the process, gatekeepers (such as editors, producers, and other media managers) function as message filters The process occasionally allows feedback, in which citizens and consumers return messages to senders or gatekeepers through letter to the editor, phone calls, e-mails, Website postings, or as audience members of talk shows Senders often have very little control over how their intended messages are decoded or whether the messages are ignored or misread A Cultural Approach to Mass Communication It is important to recognize that individuals and societies bring diverse meanings to messages, given varying factors such as gender, age, education, ethnicity, and occupation Selective exposure is when audiences typically seek messages and produce meanings that correspond to their own cultural beliefs and values The Stories Media Tell To take a cultural approach to mass communication is to understand that our media institutions are basically in the narrative (story-telling) business The Impact of Media in Everyday Life People used to share their common interests but the proliferation of specialized publications and personalized channels have fragmented the media audience Large portions of media resources now go toward studying audiences, capturing their attention through stories, and taking their consumer dollars Surveying the Cultural Landscape Culture as a Skyscraper Critics and audiences took for granted a hierarchy of culture that can be visualized as a modern skyscraper The top floors house high culture, such as ballet, the symphony, art museums, and classical literature Identified with good taste and supported by wealthy patrons/donors is associated with ?fine art? The bottom floors house popular or low culture, including such icons as soap operas, rock music, radio shock jocks, and video games Aligned with the questionable tastes of the ?masses? who enjoy the commercial ?junk? circulated by the mass media Because popular forms of culture are made for profit, they cannot be experienced as valuable artistic experiences in the way more elite art forms are Sometimes called the ?Big Mac theory,? this view suggests that people are so addicted to mass-produced media menus that they have lost not only the will to challenge social inequities but also their discriminating taste for finer fare Culture as a Map A map model depicts culture in amore complex way , spreading in more directions Cultural phenomena (such as the stories we read or watch) offer places to go that are conventional, recognizable, stable, and comforting Our culture?s storehouse of stories may tend toward the innovative, unfamiliar, unstable, and challenging As part of an ongoing process, cultural products and their meanings are ?all over the map? Shifting Values in Modern Culture Cultural boundaries are being tested?the lines between information and entertainment have become blurred The modern period (from the full-blown arrival of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century) has transitioned into one that is frequently labeled postmodern or contemporary Writers? and artists? criticism often point to technology?s ability to alienate people, capitalism?s tendency to foster greed, and government?s inclination to create bureaucracies that oppress rather than help Four major values of the modern period?celebrating the individual, believing in rational order, working efficiently, and rejecting tradition To be modern also meant to value the capacity of the organized, scientific minds to solve problems efficiently Shifting Values in Postmodern Culture Four values of the postmodern period?opposing hierarchy, diversifying and recycling culture, questioning scientific reasoning, and embracing paradox New technologies often eliminated jobs and physically isolate us but it can also draw people together to discuss politics or radio talk shows, Internet newsgroups? Critiquing Media and Culture A fair critique in any cultural form, regardless of its social or artistic reputation, requires a working knowledge of the particular book, program, or music under scrutiny The critical process stresses the subtle distinctions between amassing information and becoming knowledgeable or attaining media literacy Developing a media-literate critical perspective involves: Description: paying close attention, taking notes, and researching the subject under study Analysis: discovering and focusing on significant patterns that emerge from the description stage Interpretation: asking and answer the ?what does that mean?? and ?so what?? Evaluation: arriving at a judgment about whether something is good, bad or mediocre Engagement: taking some action that connects our critical perspective with our role as citizens to question our media institutions, adding our own voice Benefits of a Critical Perspective The media can be a catalyst for democratic tendencies Competing against democratic tendencies is a powerful commercial culture that reinforces a world economic order controlled by fewer multinational coproations Chapter 1 Mass Communication 1/17/09 2:35 PM 1/17/09 2:35 PM
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