What are the four types of media studies? How can each be characterized and how do they differ from each other?
Early focus of mass media research
Considered positive during World War I
Labeled “partisan appeal based on half-truths and devious manipulation of communication channels.”
Harold Lasswell: 1927 Study on Propaganda Technique in the World War: propaganda is the control of opinion by significant symbols, stories, rumors, reports and other forms of social communication.
Public Opinion Research
Too dependent on polls – hurts the active involvement of the American Citizens
Polls are on business, government, academics and mainstream news media (and have passive responses)
Pseudo Polls: more about entertainment than actual substance. They’re unreliable and are usually call-in, online, or person-in-the-street polls used to address a “question of the day.”
Allow for a better portrayal of the diversification of society – gives insight into citizen behavior and social differences
Social Psychology Studies
Measures the behavior and cognition of individuals
Payne Fund Studies: focus on linking movie attendance to juvenile delinquency, promiscuity/anti-social behaviors (confirmed this) – 1929-1932.
Led to the establishment of the film industry’s production code – tamed movie content from 1930s to 1950s.
Became the model for media research.
Began with surveys on consumer buying habits by advertisers and product companies in the 1920s.
Led to ratings systems to measure the number of viewers for radio, but that’s hard to trace and precipitated development of fancier methods to figure out consumer preferences and media use worldwide.
What are the five problems with actually dealing with television violence?
How do you define the violence in a way that can be used in government policies?
What TV programming do you regulate? How do you handle cable/satellite; include prime time, but what about news, sports, commercials and promotional announcements?
Free speech – does it apply to violent content? How can you make it apply?
How do you use existing tools to deal with violent content? Most parents don’t know how to understand ratings, and networks inconsistently rate things based on advertisers and the money they’ll give them.
There’s no demonstrable correlation between violence and crime statistics, just a strong suggestion that it exists.
How does the hypodermic needle model differ from the minimal-effects model?
Hypodermic Needle – also called the magic bullet/direct effects model.
Media shoots effects into unsuspecting and weak audiences.
Example: Orson Welles War of the Worlds Broadcast, some people believed the world actually was ending. Not everyone believed though, so this helped disprove this model.
Certain kinds of people were more likely to believe: if they’re gullible, religious beliefs, or missed disclaimer.
Minimal Effects Model:
Media alone doesn’t cause people to change their attitudes or behaviors - they simply reinforce them.
People engage in selective exposure and selective retention.
It only influences people with weak views and assumes the audience is passive.
What are selective exposure and selective retention?
Selective exposure: people expose themselves to media messages that are most familiar to them.
Selective Retention: People retain messages that confirm their beliefs and attitudes.
Part of the minimal effects model, media reinforces existing beliefs and attitudes and doesn’t change them.
Effects are on individual level, not a larger scale.
What did the uses and gratifications model enable researchers to do? What did it not allow researchers to do?
It allowed researchers to see how people use the media to satisfy the needs it addressed and why its used.
It didn’t allow researchers to see HOW things played a role, only that they did, doesn’t address questions relating to the impact of media on society.
Once researchers had information on how and why people used media, they didn’t use that to move into a new direction.
What are the differences between experiments and surveys as media research strategies?
Establish a direct cause-effect relationship. They isolate an aspect of content, suggest a hypothesis and manipulate variables to find a particular medium’s impact on attitude, emotion or behavior.
Subjects for the control and experimental groups are picked through random assignment.
Not generalizable to a larger population and can’t tell us if the case and effect applies outside the lab.
Good with predicting short-term media effects under controlled conditions, not long-term in the “real world”
Allow for more of the population to be taken into consideration. Can also take demographics into account.
Collecting and measuring data from a group of respondents.
Generalizable to a larger society
Enables researchers to investigate populations in long term studies. They can also use longitudinal studies – using previous surveys for current studies/comparison.
Can’t account for all variables – no cause/effect.
The validity is questionable, and the wording of surveys can change responses.