Active audience approaches = theories that stress that the effects of the media are limited because people are not easily influenced.
The two-step flow model
Katz and Lazarsfeld (1965) - personal relationships and conversations with significant others, result in people modifying or rejecting media messages.
Social networks are usually dominated by 'opinion leaders' - people of influence whom others in the network look up to and listen to.
These opinion leaders expose themselves to different types of media and form an opinion on thier content. These interpretations are then passed on to other members of their social circle.
Media messages go through two main stages:
1. The opinion leader is exposed to media content.
2. Those who respect the opinion leader internalize their interpretation of that content.
Therefore media audiences are not directley influenced by the media - i.e. they are an active audience.
However critics point out two main problems with this model:
1. There is no guarantee that the opinion leader has not been subjected to an imitative or desensitizing effect.
2. People who may be most at risk of being influenced by the media may be socially isolated individuals who are not members of any social network and so do not have access to opinion leaders who might help interpret media content in a healthy way.
The selective filter model
Selective filter model = the view that audience members only allow certain media messages through.
Klapper (1960) - for a media message to have any effect, it must pass through the following three filters:
1. Selective exposure = the idea that people only watch, listen or read what they want to.
2. Selective perception = the idea that people only take notice of certain media messages.
3. Selective retention = the idea that people only remember certain media messages.
Therefore these three filters involve a degree of active choice on behalf of the audience.
The uses and gratifications model
Uses and gratifications model = the view that people use the media for their own purposes.
Blumler and McQuail (1968) - These needs may be biological, psyological or social.
These needs are relative - the way that the audience gratify its needs will depend upon the influences of social position, age, ethnicity and gender.
Blumler and McQuail (1968) - identify four basic needs:
1. Diversion - people may immerse…