Ownership of the mass media

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  • Ownership of the Mass Media
    • Neo-Marixism
      • Owners of the media rarely have direct control of the content of the media - left to managers and journalists
      • Media managers and journalists need to attract audiences as well as keep owners happy. Content critical of the dominant ideology sometimes helps attract audiences, and some occasional criticism maintains a pretence of objective, unbiased reporting
      • Hegemony -developed by Gramsci refersto the idea thatthe spread of dominant ideology of the ruling class - other social classes are persuaded to accept the values andbeliefs as reasonable and normal and become common sense accepted and consented by the rest of society
      • Journalists generally support the dominant ideology - share similar views - most are white middle class males - dominant ideology generates a consensus for what is worthy, good and right for all
      • Common-sense approach shared by journalists mean the audience is exposed to a limited range of opinions - mostly dominant ideology - becomes only reasonable and sensible view of the world
        • Hegemony of ruling ideas is maintained
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths
          • Recognises owners often not involved in day-to-day running
          • Recognises managers, editors and journalists have some professional independence
          • Recognises can be range of content to attract audiences - some critical of dominant ideology - however journalists are socialised into culture of dominant ideology being reasonable explanation
        • Weaknesses
          • Underrates power and influence of owners.
          • Agenda setting and gate keeping mean some items are deliberately excluded - encouraged to think of some events then others - produced within a framework of dominant ideology - direct manipulation
          • Journalists news values - biased
    • Pluralist
      • Suggest no dominant ruling class - just competing groups with different interests
      • Owners do not have direct control
      • Media content driven by audience figures and search for profits - media show whatever satisfies audiences
      • Media generally free of government or direct owner control - audience free to pick what they want to see
      • Journalists write using news values - reflecting interests of audiences - bias sample reflects what audience wants
      • Evaluation
        • Strengths
          • Wide range of newspapers - includes those challenging dominant ideology
          • Diversity enables investigative reporting - can challenge dominant class
          • Mass media fight for audiences - competition with companies
        • Weaknesses
          • Media workers have contraints placed on them by owners
          • Owners strongly influence who is appointed at senior levels
          • Pressure to attract audiences doesn't increase media choice - restricts it - decline in quality
    • Marxist
      • Owners have direct control over content - can interfere
      • Use media to spread dominant ideology - justify powers of ruling class
      • Journalists need to defend jobs - therefore produce biased reports
      • Audience assumed to be passive - 'robots' - fed on dumbed-down content - stops people focusing on serious issues or favour dominant class
      • Evaluation
        • Weaknesses
          • Pluralists argue large range of conent
          • State regulates ownership - law to report news impartially - can't produce biased news
          • Audiences not gullible - can accept/reject views depending on own views
        • Strengths
          • Evidence owners interfere - Rupert Murdoch - war with Iraq
          • Ownership highly concentrated
          • Journalists do depend on owners for careers
  • Recognises owners often not involved in day-to-day running


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