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.
What is content analysis and why is it significant?
Content analysis looks at the messages of print and visual media – it measures the media content.
First used in World War II.
Such analysis is a systematic method of coding and measuring media content.
Limits: it doesn’t measure effects of messages or explain how messages are presented. Also, there’s problems with definition – there’s various levels to media content (i.e. Roadrunner and Coyote vs. Saving Private Ryan in regards to violence), and as content analysis grew, it pushed aside other ways of thinking about content (like media as a popular art form, measure of culture, a democratic influence or force for social control).
What are the main principles of social learning theory, agenda setting theory, cultivation theory and the spiral of silence?
Social Learning Theory: It’s a four-step process (attention, retain, motor reproduction, motivation). There’s a link between violent media and aggressive behavior – Bobo doll experiments. Critics say social learning is a scapegoat for bigger problems, and others say violent media releases inner violent steam an thus reduces external violence.
Agenda Setting Theory: the media determines what the public finds important based on what they decide should become news.
Cultivation Theory: the more one watches TV, the more their view of reality comes to reflect the reality presented by television. It focuses on larger ideas about impact on perception and stems from the mean world syndrome.
Media messages interact in complicated ways with personal, social, political and cultural factors.
Critics: “cultivation effects have provided limited evidence and perceptions of heavy/light TV viewers in regard to the mean world syndrome are almost identical.”
Spiral of silence:
Those who believe their views on controversial issues are in the minority will keep to themselves and as more stay quiet, alternative or minority views will be diminished or burned out.
Links the mass media, social psychology and formation of public opinion.
People may not fall silent because they don’t monitor media or mistakenly think more people have their position than really do.
Hardcore nonconformists are still usually vocal and can change public opinion still.
Why did cultural approaches to media studies develop in opposition to media effects research?
Media effects only studies what message is being sent and why, not the role it plays on both the individual and culture.
Provides a warning on data and trends because that serves advertisers and is narrowly focused on individuals.
Focus on how people make meaning, understand reality and order experience by using cultural symbols that appear in the media, with a focus on everyday culture and relationships/how media plays a role in sustaining the authority of the elites and occasionally challenging their power.
What does cultural research focus on?
How people make meaning, apprehend reality and order experience through the use of cultural symbols that appear in the media.
Focus on long-range effects of mass media on audiences.
How media/culture are tied to actual daily communication patterns.
Investigation of daily experience (race, gender, class, sexuality and unequal arrangements of power/status in contemporary society).
How mass media supports existing social hierarchies.
What are the three kinds of studies that are typically done from a cultural approach to media studies?
Textual analysis – highlights close reading and interpretation of cultural messages, focus on elite and normal culture forms.
Audience studies – reader response, audience is studied, not the text and it helps define culture in broader terms and uses a lot of interpretive methods (literary analysis, interviews, surveys).
Culture is both products society creates and processes that forge the products.
Political Economy Studies – examine interconnections among economic interests, political power and use of power, especially with the increasing conglomeration of media ownership – uses a combination of the first two.
How is textual analysis different from content analysis?
Content analysis looks at the effect on people, content analysis only looks at what’s being presented and how.
What is a frame? How do labor unions get framed?
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