Mass Media

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  • Created by: Grace
  • Created on: 21-05-13 18:19

Role of Newspapers, Radio, Cinema and Television

  • In late 1940s radio, newspapers and cinema were highly popular, whilst television was still in it's infancy.
  • In the 1950s, television ownership increased rapidly, especially after the coronation of the Queen in 1953, while cinema attendance began a decline that was only halted in the mid-1980s.
  • Growth of commercial television after 1955, and radio after 1973, meant that these mass media became popular culture.
  • End of the BBC monopoly meant that mass media increasingly reflected and reinforced important changes that were taking place in British attitudes rather than merely promoted the values of those who controlled public service broadcasting.
  • 1980s and 1990s saw the growth of competition in mass media with the rise of cable and satellite television and deregulation of commerical boradcasting.
  • Whilst more programmes are produced it has been argued there has been a general 'dumbing down' of output.
  • Rise of internet, the rise of digitial television and radio in the 2000s meant that people in Britain could recieve news and enterainment from all over the world.
  • Newspaper circulation went into decline in 1980s, a trend that accelerated after the late 1990s due to the rise of the Internet as as source of news.
  • Despite growth of competition, the BBC continues to serve as a very important in radio, television and online.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: consumerism

  • The growth of consumerism and materialism in British society has perhaps been fuelled by images of luxury and 'lifestyle' programmes on television.
  • Consumerism can be argued to have been fuelled by all commercial mass media.
  • It is unlikely that this change could have happened without the general increase in disposable income and range of goods avaliable that has taken place since the 1940s.
  • Arguably, the greatest growth in materialism took place during periods of strong economic growth, in the late 1950s and in the 1980s.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: blurring class

  • Youth culture from the 1960s onwards blurred class barriers by popularising similar styles of dress and 'classlessness' of rock and pop icons.
  • Rise of commercial television and radio meant that more regional accents were heard rather than the recieved pronunciation of earlier BBC broadcasters.
  • The satire boom of he 1960s also undermined remaining class deference.
  • However, a good deal of rigid class identities and a sense of deference had been broken down before 1945, especially as a result of the World Wars.
  • Class barriers were also blurred by the general growth in disposable income and by de-industrialisation in the 1980s and 1990s: at the start of the 21st century there was a far larger middle class and smaller working class than in 1945.


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Mass media and change in attitudes: status of wome

  • Clear that mass media reflected changes that had already began due to other factors.
  • In 1945, it was uncommon for married women and mothers to work.
  • It had become far more common and accpetable by the start of the 21st century.
  • Gradual process largely drivien by women's desire to work, to support their independence or to top up family income.
  • Approval of the 'marraige bar' had dropped significantly before the 1970s while there were very few female media role models; this suggests media mirrored changes more than it moulded them.
  • Women were far more likely to be unmarried at the start of the 21st century than in 1945.
  • This was partly due to the huge increase in divorce rates since legislation reform in 1969.
  • Due to increased acceptability of cohabitation without marriage since the earlt 1970s.
  • Mass media may have contributed slightly through the presentation of 'ideal relationships' that real ones failed to live up to.
  • However, with the exception of soap operas in the 1990s and 2000s, mass media have generallycondemned these changes.
  • This again suggests that mass media have served more as a mirror of underlying change.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: single parents

  • Mass media has had little to do with the rise in single parent families anjd the increased isolated nuclear family.
  • Greater technlogy and wealth has generally led to increased geographical and occupational mobility; this has allowed a greater proportion of people to move away from their parents and weakened inter-generational relations.
  • Changes in housing in the 1960s, with sulm clearance and the construction of flats also meant extended families lived further apart in working-class areas.
  • This has led to greater reliance on the state or private institutions to provide certain services, such as childcare or care for elderly relatives that would have been provided by the extended famly in 1945.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: sex

  • Growth of liberal attitudes to sex before marriage was a gradual process but one which accelerated after the 1980s.
  • Teenage boys and girls magazines promoted this change in attitudes, but there is also a strong link between a lack of education and social deprivation with teenage pregenancy.
  • It would be unfair to suggest that adults are far more liberal about sex and relationships at the start of the 21st century than they were in 1945; the largest change has been the openness with which such things have been discussed in mass media since the 1960s and especially the 1970s.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: homosexuals

  • Growth of more tolerable attitudes towards homosexuals took place largely in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Positive media role models, especially on television, go a long wat towards explaining this change in attitudes as significant legal reforms (especially the discriminisation of homosexuality in 1967) took place before nad after this growth of tolerance.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: homosexuals

  • Growth of more tolerable attitudes towards homosexuals took place largely in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Positive media role models, especially on television, go a long wat towards explaining this change in attitudes as significant legal reforms (especially the discriminisation of homosexuality in 1967) took place before nad after this growth of tolerance.
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Mass media and change in attitudes: racial minorit

  • In the 1950s and 1960s several films contained casual racism while newspapers may even have fanned racial violence at times.
  • By 1990s there were far more positive depictions of racial minorities in all mass media which helped to promote more harmonious relations.
  • However, Race Relations legislation since 1965, and the fact that second and third generation racial minorities are generally wealthier and live in suburbs as well as inner cities, have also helped to promote intergration and tolerance since the 1980s.
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Challenges to authority

  • The royal family, politicians, police chiefs and religious leaders must be media savvy to a much greater degree than in 1945.
  • They must be prepared to have their private lives scrutinised by the public to an extent unthinkable in 1945.
  • Both of these developments have been driven to a large extent by the growth of investigative journalism and hte impact of the 'satire boom' since he 1960s.
  • However, it is not the case that figures of authority have been victims of this process: many have sought to use the increased reachand pervasiveness of mass media for their own ends. Although it is commonly thought that this process has undermined respect for authority since 1945, it is not entirely clear that this is the case.
  • Politicians have always been mistrusted by the British public; with the exception of those groups who feel threatened or persecuted by them, the police have been generally respected.
  • The popularity of the royals has fluctuated more with their family fortunes than the growth of the media, reaching a low point in the mid-1990s before resurging since the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
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Youth Culture from the mid 1950s

  • Mass media played a large part in the growth and pervasiveness of youth culture.
  • Media refelcted the emergence of a distinct 'teenage' youth culture in the 1950s, with cinema and pirate radio in particular popularising rock and roll.
  • The rise of independent television and the competiton of pirate radio led to increased broadcast time for programmes dedicated to a youth audience in the late 1950s and especially in the 1960s.
  • Youth fashion promoted materialism in the baby boomer and subsequent generations while the 'subversive' youth music of one decade had a large impact on the popular music of the next.
  • Every generation of adults has felt that some elements of youth culture have been a threat to decency and that to a degree mass media has been to blame.
  • In part this is a reflection of the different tastes and priorities of adults and youth, but it is also the case that the levels of youth crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse have increased since the early 1980s.
  • While there are some legitamite concerns about the impact of violent films and computer games, such trends clearly have more to do with the increased incidence of unstable famly life and the greater gap between rich and poor in Britian since the rule of Margret Thatcher.
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Significance of US in changing leisure patterns

  • American films, popular music and, increasingly, television programmes have been popular with the British people since 1945.
  • However, it is unclear whether these have had any major impact on British society, particularly when compared to the impact of rock and roll, disco, punk, and hip hop.
  • What many might refer to as the 'Americanisation' of British society is in reality the growth of materialism and a shift towards the free market across the political spectrum since the 1980s.
  • These in turn have been influenced by American finiancial and political muscle, via increased wealth and globalisation, rather than American media products.
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Relationship between 'elite' and 'popular'

  • Reflects the different spheres in which the audiences for the respective cultures operate: wealthier, educated, upper or middle class people have tended to visit the opera, baller, classical music concerts and the theatre far more than working-class people who favour the pub, dance halls and clubs, cinemas and popular sports.
  • However, there have been a few important examples of the links between the elite and popular culture since 1945.
  • In particular, there have been educated elites who have been prepared to challenge teh status quo in public: John Osbourne and the 'Angry Young Men' of literature in the late 1950s who insoired the 'New Wave' in British cinema; journalists, broadcasters and satirists who challenged 'the establishment' in the 1960s; a raft of rock stars such as Mick Jagger, who formed bands at universities and art colleges; and intellectuals such as Germaine Greer who gave a media voice to feminism in the 1970s.
  • Televsion and radio broadcasts have also made opera, ballet and classsical music performances more acessible to those who previously may not habe had the oppurtunity to enjoy such entertainment , either due to cost, lack of local performances or social inhibition.
  • However, although this elite culture has become more accessible since 1945, it has struggled to win a wider audience.
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Relationship between 'elite' and 'popular' part 2

  • This is partly because so few broadcast hours are devoted to elite culture and partly because the division between elite and popular culture has been reinforced by broadcasting or publishing for one or the other audience: for example, Radio 1 and 3 since 1967, tabloids and broadsheet newpapers, Sky Arts and BBC 4 in the digitial era for 'elite' television audiences.
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Impact of the Internet on people and society

  • It is still too early ro conclude with any confidence about hte overall impact that the Internet and the World Wide Web will have on British people and British society.
  • The Internet has already begun to affect leisure habits with more people shoppping online rather than going into towns and outlet centres.
  • British poeple have increasingly used the Internet for comunication, entertainment and news since the late 1990s, a trend that looks set to contine despite the persistence of a 'digitial divide' at the end of the 2000s.
  • The increased interactivity of Web2.0 has begun to alter the relationship between producers and consumers of the news and popular culture.
  • Uploading and downloading of information has undermined the ability of big record labels to dominate the music industry while 'citizenship journalism' could undermine the ability of media moguls  and corporations to determine the news agenda.
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Impact of the Internet on people and society part

  • Such interactivity also looks set to alter the relationship between the public and the political classes, with some commentators talking of the potential rise of an 'e-democracy', removing the need for much tradtional party activity such as door-to-door canvassing and fundrasing, and promoting a muhc wider discussion of political goals and initiatives.
  • It is likely that teh acceleration in comuting power and other related technologies will have a huge impact on all aspects of life in Britain in teh 21st and 22nd centuries.
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Key own knowledge: Unit 8

  • Prince Charles & Camilla Parker Bowles relationship & marriage
  • Princess Diana's interview in 1995 Panorama & publication of Andrew Morton's Book
  • Princess Diana's Death in 1997Press attention given to Prince William & Harry after the death of Princess DianaPress coverage given to birth of royal children since WW2
  • "Annus horribilis" was how the Queen called 1992 in her Christmas message
  • 1944 BBC agreement of the '14-day rule', but 1956 BBC and ITV had become frustrated with this rule and began to work was around it.
  • Private eye and TW3 paved the way for politcal scandal
  • Spitting image, with labour MP Roy Hattersley spitting everywhere.
  • Tory 'sleaze' in the Press about them taking bribes of £2000 for each question they answered on behalf of Mohammad Al-Fayed.
  • Daily Telegraph's exposure of the expenses scandal
  • In 2001, the Sun was told the date of general elections before the Queen.
  • Public relations disaster of 'It's a Royal Knockout'
  • The Sweeney showed the police in a positive light as they almost always caught the criminal, however, Dispatches: undercover copper exposed problems in the force.
  • In 2005, the Met shot a 27 year old Brazilian man in the head mistakenly believing he was a suicide bomber.
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Key own knowledge: Unit 9

Sex before marriage:

  • 1983, 40% of people thought sex before marriage was wrong.
  • in 2003, this had dropped to 20%
  • In the 1970s-1980s, 90% thought sex with someone other than your partner was wrong.
  • In 1960, Romatic magazines such as Boyfriend fell out of favour, with the rise of sexually orientated magazines such as Honey.
  • In 1980s and 1990s, magazines such as More, became even more explicit with sexual advice.
  • Mid-1990s, there was a rise in sexual men's magazines such as Loaded.
  • In 2000s, there was a rise in sexualised adverts and tv programmes such as Skins.


  • in 1950s and 1960s, they were related to espionage due to media stories surrounding the Cambrdige Spy Ring after 1951
  • in 1963, 93% thought homosexuals were ill and needed medical treatement.
  • 1970s, leading stars such as David Bowie and Elton John admitted being homosexual; Elton John admitted to being gay in the early 1990s.
  • Films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral had popular gay characters.
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