Pluralist Theory of Media Ownership

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 16-04-14 11:19
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  • Pluralist Theory of Media Ownership
    • They see the media as something that acts in a responsible way reflecting the wishes and interests of the consumer.
    • Society consists of lots of groups with diverse interests, with equal access to power.
      • The media reflects these diverse interests.
    • Media operates in the public interest.
    • KATZ & LAZARSFELD (1955)
      • Media's influence on political opinion.
      • People had different amounts of exposure to the media.
      • Different media had different amounts of influence
      • People accept messages that support existing prejudices.
      • The content of the message determined the effect.
      • Messages were mediated by the personal influence of opinion leaders.
    • Criticisms
      • PHILO (1986)
        • Pluralism may be an ideological justification for the media.
      • BLUMLER & GUREVITCH (1995)
        • Journalists and politicians have a shared culture.
        • Journalists rely on politicians for information.
      • The pluralist model assumes that media is diverse rather than providing evidence to prove it.
    • Owners do not have direct control over the content of the media.
    • The mass media is generally free of any government or direct owner control and can present whatever point of view they want.
    • The media are controlled by media managers who allow journalists a great deal of freedom.
    • Journalists write stories using 'news values' reflecting the wishes and interests most relevant to the consumer.
    • Strengths
      • There is a wide range of media products reflecting the wide range of interests and ideas
      • The diversity of media enables investigative reporting to take place.
      • Journalists are not  simply the pawns of their employers, but have some professional and editorial honesty and independence.
      • The fight for audiences in competition with other companies means that the mass media have tot cater for audience tastes otherwise they'll go out of business
    • Weaknesses
      • Media workers do have some independence however, they do have to work within the constraints placed on them by owners
      • Media owners strongly influence who is appointed at senior levels of the media as they usually share a similar outlook.
      • Not all groups in society have equal influence on journalists to get their views across.
      • The owners on numerous occasions sacked uncooperative editors.
      • The pressure to attract audiences doesn't increase media choice but it limits it as the media declines in quality.
      • Hegemonic theorists would argue that people have been socialised by the media themselves into the belief that they are being provided with what they want.
    • The Economics of Media Ownership
      • The behaviour of the media is governed by consumer demand.
      • Consumers have the freedom of choice.
      • The media give the public what they want rather than what the owners decides.
      • The rationale for media concentration is economic rather than political or ideological.
      • Media products are costly to produce.
      • WHALE (1977)
        • Media owners have global problems of trade so do not have time to think about the day-to-day detailed running of their businesses.
    • Media Diversity
      • The range of media products available is so diverse all points of view are catered for.
      • Some viewpoints have a greater range of media representation because this is what the audience sees as important.
    • Public Service Broadcasting (PSB)
      • PSB own 11 out of 15 shares of British media.
      • E.G. the BBC or Channel 4
      • They have the legal obligation to inform, educate and entertain all audience spectrums.
      • The PSB counterweigh any bias from the private sector.
    • State Controls
      • The power of media owners is restricted by government or state controls.
      • Ofcom
      • Regulations prevent media owners imposing biased content.
    • Media Professionalism
      • Media workers would never allow owners to compromise their independence.
      • Investigative Journalism
    • Media Audiences
      • Audiences do not passively accept  media messages.
      • Audiences are selective and often critical of media content.


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