mass media notes

defining the mass media

mass media- all forms of communication that reach large audiences

traditional media- newspapers, books, television, radio

new media- internet, cable, satellite tv, digital radio

the press- newpapers and magazines that are privately owned and run as profit-making businesses, financed through income from sales and advertising

broadcasting- television and radio, public service broadcasting operates through the BBC and funded by income from the television licence fee

commerical broadcasting is funded mainly by revenue from advertising and subscribers

electronic media- the internet

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developments in technology

in 1980 there were 3 tv channels. today, viewers can subscribe to numerous satellite and cable TV channels

digital broadcasting provides multi channel TV with high quality pictures and sound

digital TV services offer interactivity- viewers can now use their handsets to interact with the TV in order to enter competitions or to vote on reality shows

the technologies of the media, telecommunications and computing can now come together in one product- convergence

internet allows people to access electronic versions of newspapers and 24 hour rolling news. also enables people to produce content rather than just consume it

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changing patterns of consumption

there has been a decliine in the readership of popular newspapers

household ownership of a digital TV service has grown steadily since th 1990s

people subscribe in order to get more channels, to get particular channels and to get high quality picture and sound

since the 1990s household internet access has also grown rapidly in the UK

high income households are much more likely than low income households to have internet access

people access the internet for many reasons

people's use of the internet varies by age

young people aged 16-24 are more likely than people in other age groups to download games, films or music

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impact on audiences

hypodermic syringe- the audiences receives daily injections of messages from television and newspapers. these messages work like a drug and are seen by some commentators as having a direct and powerful effect on people's behaviour or beliefs

uses and gratifications- focuses on how members of the audience use the media. examines the individual needs that are gratified by the media

decoding- sees television viewers as active decoders of the contents of TV programmes. audience members actively interpret or make sense of messages from TV programmes. content has several different meanings. one section of the audience may interpret it very differently to another. the way a particular viewer decodes a programme will depend on factors such as their social and cultural background as well as their age and gender

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contemporary issues

mass media often seen as having potentially harmful effects on their audiences

does media exposure encourage real-life or copycat violence?

children can tell the difference between fictional and factual material on television

children actively interpret or make sense of television messages rather than passively accepting them

studies which interview young people who have been involved in violence fail to show a strong connection between screen violence and real-life violence

possible ill effects of the internet?

people worry about the invasions of privacy, fraud and the ease with which undesirable content can be accessed by children

can be an example of a moral panic

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media, moral panics, deviancy amplicification

moral panic- a media fuelled public outcry about particular social groups or issues. media exaggerate the extent and significance of a social problem

folk devil- a particular group becomes defined as a threat to society's values. portrayed in stereotypical terms by the media

amplifying deviance- creating more deviance by creating a moral panic about a folk devil

mugging, youth crime, gun crime, knife crime, hoodies

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press ownership

press ownership is concentrated in a few hands. could give some individuals in a media corporation a lot of power to influence public opinion because their family owns the company or because they have controlling shareholdings.

critics argue that in order to safeguard democracy the power to communicate should be spread out much more widely

pluralist- a range of views and interests exists in society and no single group dominates. reflected in the wide variety of newspapers and magazines that is available on the market. rejects the idea that press owners control content. suggests that newspapers simply give people what they want to read. companies that fail to do this are unlikely to succeed in a competitive market and may go bankrupt. it is the consumers who influence content through their power

conflict- press owners are in a strong position to put their own political views across. they are able to control content in their own interests. increasing concentration of press ownership, emergence of multimedia conglomerates. much of what people read comes from a few multinational companies

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exercise of power

agenda setting- media focus on  some issues and topics and ignore others. they direct public discussion and debate onto these issues and affect what people think about. could give the media a lot of influence over people's views and their behaviour

norm referencing- able to outline the acceptable boundaries of behaviour. some groups are presented positively while others are presented negatively. positive and negative images of groups are created. media have the power to shape public opinion

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internet and distribution of power

developments in digital technology will result in the reduction of power and influence of press owners. digital media allows everyone to produce media content rather than just consume or use it

internet could help safeguard democracy by spreading the power to communicate and to exert influence more widely among different individuals and groups

the internet could empower people and provide them with more opportunities to participate in politics

critics argue most internet users go online to shop or for entertainment purposes

critics argue that e-democracy requires expensive technology and funding to start up and maintain so not everyone can participate

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media as an agency of socialisation

feminists link media to the process of gender socialisation

play an important part in the development of people's identity

identity- how people see themselves and how others see them

sources- gender, age, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexuality, music, fashion, leisure, social life

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mass media and identity

people make choices about their lifestyles or their ways of living

mass media are important in spreading ideas about many modern lifestyles

media play a key role in the development of people's identities

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mass media and political socialisatio

people aquire their political values and beliefs

affect whether they participate in the political process and how they vote in elections

mass media are important because they are the main source of information about current affairs, politcal parties and politicians

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press and voting behaviour

media have a key role during election campaigns

most newspapers tend to side with one political party over another

a person who regularly reads one newspaper is likely to be exposed to a slant on current affairs that could encourage them to vote for one political party rather than another

one view is that the press have too much influence over how people vote

another is that the negative coverage of politics and criticism of politicians in the press influence election turnout by discouraging voters from voting at all

could be seen as major problem in a democracy. elections are supposed to be fair and to give citizens the opportunity to express their preferences. if the press are setting the agenda, or influencing turnout, then this bias may work against some political parties

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representations of gender

1990- majority of voiceovers were male, women were more likely than men to be young and blonde

tv ads still present some stereotyped messages about the role of women e.g. that's why mums go to iceland

magazines present unrealistic images of gender

feminist approach- men and women are portrayed in very different ways in magazines, films and tv shows.

although media's influence is subtle, they build up over time and contribute to the process of gender socialisation

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representations of minority ethnic groups

1990- changes in the representation of race and ethnicity on tv

media still portray people from minority ethnic backgrounds in distorted ways e.g. many stories about british asians focus on forced marriage, runaway girls, terrorism and refusal to fit into society

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