The Mass Media

Question and answer cards on all relevant information for the AQA A2 Sociology - Mass Media topic.

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What is the traditional definition of the Mass Media?
The methods and organisations used to communicate to a large audience.
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What is new media?
Interacting, social media: e.g. blogs, email and texting.
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Why do sociologist disagree on what counts as mass media?
Some theorists would count all mobile phone technology, like sending a text to a friend, as mass media. However, other theorists would argue that this isn't communicating to a large audience.
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What is censorship?
The process of controlling the content of the media.
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What is content analysis?
Measuring how often a word, phrase or theme is used in a piece of media.
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What is content analysis most suited to?
Written texts or transcripts.
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What is a disadvantage to using content analysis?
It's time consuming.
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What are semiotics?
The signs, symbols and codes of the media.
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What is a disadvantage of semiotic analysis?
Semiotics are open to subjectivity and bias. The researcher may interpret a sign's relative importance to suit their research.
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What is an experiment in terms of the media?
A study on how an actual audience responds to media: e.g. monitoring people's behaviour after viewing a violent film.
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What are the disadvantages of experiments?
Short experiments don't tell you about long-term media effects. People tend to behave differently when they know they're in an experiment.
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What is the Hawthorne Effect?
When people tend to behave differently when they know they're in an experiment.
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How do media companies diversify?
They buy other companies that make different kinds of media and they also buy companies in other business sectors.
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Give an example of media control.
Italy 2008 - Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was voted in for the 3rd time. People believe that due to the fact he owns a lot of media outlets, Berlusconi is able to control the reporting of his political party and the opposition.
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What do traditional marxists say about media ownership?
Traditional Marxists believe that media owners control what we see in the media and exploit their power position to manipulate the content of the media.
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What do neo-marxists say about media ownership?
Neo-marxists believe that the media reflects the ideas of the ruling class.
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Define cultural hegemony.
The domination of one set of ideas over others.
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What is the pluralist view of the media?
Pluralism says that the media reflects the values and beliefs of society. They say that it doesn't matter who owns the media as it's the market demand that matters.
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What is consumerism in terms of the media?
The idea that the media promotes and gives people false needs - the belief that they "need"
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What is the logic of capitalism?
Marxist view - The institutions of society will always be used as instruments of power by the capitalist class.
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Describe the media approval process.
Articles are written by journalists and are analysed by the editors. Both job positions are typically middle class citizens.
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What is the neo-marxist view on media control?
The neo-marxist view doesn't say that alternative views are suppressed but rather alternative views are often made to look silly or immature.
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Give an example of criticisms of the marxists view of media control.
Pluralists point out that media audiences aren't completely stupid and don't all believe everything they see on TV and read in the papers.
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What is the pluralist view of the mass media?
Pluralists think that the content of the media reflects the values of society.
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What is the postmodernism view of the mass media?
Postmodernism says the media content gives society a consumerist identity.
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What is consumerist identity?
The postmodern view says that people's identity comes from what they buy and what kind of culture and media they choose to consume.
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What are the 4 bureaucratic news values?
1. News should be current. 2. News should be simple. 3. News should be brief. 4. Big news is better than small news.
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What are the 4 cultural news values?
1. News should be unexpected. 2. News should focus on important people. 3. News should be relevant to the audience. 4. Bad news is preferred to good news.
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Define agenda setting.
News only becomes news when journalists and editors select it as news.
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Define gate-keeping.
Editors decide which stories are featured and how much space is given to each story.
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Give an example of how new media has impacted the selection and presentation of news.
Audiences can have their say on news stories via comments, text and email.
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In Britain, we have "free press". Define this.
Free press means that all newspapers and magazines are commercial as they are not funded by the state. This enables the press to be impartial or bias.
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What is the PCC?
The Press Complaints Commission - they can order newspapers to print apologies if a complaint's been upheld yet they're often criticised for the size and placing of the apology.
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What is the "watershed"?
Before 9pm you can't show nudity, sex, violence or bad language on broadcast TV. After 9pm there must be a warning given before the programme begins.
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What is the law of libel?
It is illegal to make damaging comments about anyone.
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What is the BBC's charter for all its TV and radio content?
The BBC has to be "independent, impartial and honest" at all times.
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What is the hypodermic syringe theory?
The idea that the media has a direct and immediate effect on it's audience's behaviour and thoughts.
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Give a case example of the hypodermic syringe theory.
Jamie Bulger case 1993 - two boys watched a violent film and murdered James Bulger by copying the torturous behaviour they had seen in the movie.
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What did Feshbach and Singer (1971) study?
Feshbach and Singer studied the reaction of boys aged 8-18 after watching a violent film. They found that the boys who watched the aggressive and violent TV programme were less aggressive themselves.
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What did Morrison (1999) find?
Morrison found that there is a distinction between serious, disturbing violence and light-hearted comedy violence - e.g. watching a prisoner of war get shot is serious yet violence as seen in Jackass is light-hearted.
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Define moral panic.
The term "moral panic" refers to an instance of public anxiety in response to something alarming in the media.
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Define folk devils.
Folk devils are members or institutions of society that are portrayed in the media as deviant and/or a bad influence on society.
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Give an example of a moral panic.
The Modds and Rockers fight in the 1960s. The media reported the fight and as a result more people turned up to see the fight, this led to a moral panic of the public.
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What is a limitation of censorship?
Censorship doesn't actually stop material being produced.
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What did Levi-Srauss identify about socially constructed stereotypes in the media?
Strauss identified that stereotypes in the media are divided into binary opposites that aren't equal - e.g. in the binary opposition of male/female, males are culturally determined as positive and dominant.
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What is the process of message trajectory?
1. Media message is formulated by editors. 2. The content reflects groups in power. 3. The message is received by the audience. 4. The message affects the role and treatment of social groups.
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What did Cumberbatch (1990) identify about gender stereotypes in the media?
Cumberbatch found that 90% of all advertising voice-overs were male and 66% of all people in adverts were male.
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What did Wolf and Orbach (1991) identify about gender stereotypes in the media?
Wolf and Orbach argued that the rise in eating disorders in women was a direct result of the media presenting the ideals of a perfect woman.
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What did Tuchman (1978) identify about gender stereotypes in the media?
Tuchman identified that only two female roles were portrayed in the media - domestic and sexual.
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What do sociologists say about class stereotypes in the media regarding drama roles?
Drama roles for working class characters are mostly limited to soap operas where as upper class characters are often seen in historical dramas.
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How does the news typically represent working class people?
The news often reports working class people as a source of trouble - anti-social behaviour, riots, strikes, crimes etc. (for example, the London riots.)
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What is the problem with the representation of disabled people in the media?
Disabled people are underrepresented. Government statistics show that about 20% of the adult population has some form of disability yet, only 7% of television programmes represented them.
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What did Cumberbatch and Negrine (1992) find when looking at the representation of disabled people in the media?
Cumberbatch and Negrine researched British television over 6 weeks and found the roles for disabled people were either based on pity or comedy.
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What did the Broadcasting Standards Commission identify about ethnic representation in the media?
The BSC found that terrestrial and satellite television portrayed ethnic minorities in 42% or programmes yet the range of roles were limited and powerless.
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What else can the media's portrayal of ethnic minorities be a part of?
It can also be a media representation of multiculturalism which are either utopian (everything is perfect) or admit there are problems within multiculturalism.
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Why do people in media organisations tend to be older?
People with power in media organisations tend to be older because it takes time to get experience and grow within a company.
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What are the different age stereotypes represented in the media?
Young children tend to be seen as innocent. Older children (teens) tend to be seen as delinquent. Adults tend to be seen as responsible and older generations tend to be represented as fragile and/or stuck in their ways.
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Explain the negative representation of sexuality in the media.
Heterosexual relationships are shown more often than homosexual relationships. You don't get an outcry from the public when a man kisses a woman on TV. (Torchwood kiss complaint)
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What is one criticism of the hypodermic syringe model?
Some sociologists state that the model is too simplistic to explain how adults react to media content yet, it is still used to explain how children react.
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What case supports the hypodermic syringe theory?
The Bandura bobo doll experiment supports this theory. (explain the experiment)
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What is the two-step flow model?
This model says that the media does influence people but not everyone is influenced directly. Step 1 is the media message reaching the audience. Step 2 is how their understanding of the message is shaped by social interaction.
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What did Katz and Lazarsfeld (1955) identify about conformity of media messages?
Katz and Lazarsfeld found that there were key individuals within society whose reactions were openly expressed and directly influenced others to follow their lead.
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What is the cultural effects theory?
The cultural effects theory explains that an audience interprets the media in the context of the culture they already live in. This means the effect of the media is quite complex - it's not the same for everyone.
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What did Stuart Hall (1980) argue about audience response to media messages?
Hall argued that the media has dominant ideological messages 'encoded' into it but people of different backgrounds can, to an extent, 'decode' these messages in different ways.
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What is the functionalist uses and gratification model?
Developed by Blumler and Katz, the uses and gratification model says that people use the media to meet their needs. The audience actively chooses what media to experience.
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What is a good example of the uses and gratification model?
McQuail's study of Coronation Street's audience. McQuail found that the audience of the soap opera felt apart of the characters' lives and felt interest and concern for what would happen next.
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What is the selective filter model?
This theory says that the audience pick out the parts of a media message which fit in with their view of the world and ignore the rest.
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What did Klapper say about media messages?
Klapper argued that the media has to go through 3 selective filters to deliver its message: exposure, perception and retention.
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What is the structured interpretation model?
This theory says that the audience pick which media they engage with
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Card 2

Front

What is new media?

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Interacting, social media: e.g. blogs, email and texting.

Card 3

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Why do sociologist disagree on what counts as mass media?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is censorship?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is content analysis?

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