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Mass Communication Effects: How Society & Media Interact

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Page 1: Mass Communication Effects

Mass Communication Effects:How Society & Media Interact

Page 2: Mass Communication Effects

Vote Different &Yes We Can

• New media tools like YouTube -- becoming a growing part of the political process.

• “Yes We Can” voted best marketing message of 2008 by Ad Age and Business Week. (See pgs 44 – 46)

Page 3: Mass Communication Effects

History of Mass Media Research

• How has our understanding of media effects evolved over the past 200 years?

Page 4: Mass Communication Effects

Rise of Mass Society• Pre 1800s: People in the United States lived in

rural communities with people of similar ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds.

• 1800s: Industrial revolution – People move into cities, work for wages, interact with people of diverse backgrounds.

• Fears: Media would replace church, family, and community in shaping public opinion (grew out of Propaganda and Direct Effects Model.)

Page 5: Mass Communication Effects

Propaganda & Direct Effects Model• Argument views audiences and

passive targets (fear factor). • Direct effects—presume media

messages are a stimulus that leads to consistent, predictable attitudinal or behavioral effects.

• Indirect effects—recognize that people have different backgrounds, needs, values and so respond differently.


Page 6: Mass Communication Effects

Critical Cultural Model• (Our preferred method media research since

we are pursuing happiness in a media world.)• Focus is on how people use media to

construct view of the world; not effect of media on people’s behavior.

• Examines creation of meaning and how communication takes place; not survey or experimental results.

Page 7: Mass Communication Effects

Types of Media Effects• Message Effects• Medium Effects• Ownership Effects• Active Audience Effects

Page 8: Mass Communication Effects

Message EffectsHow are people affected by the content

of messages?• Cognitive Effects

Short-term learning of information.• Attitudinal Effects

Changing people’s attitudes about a person, product, institution, or idea.

Page 9: Mass Communication Effects

Message Effects• Behavioral Effects

Inducing people to adopt new behaviors or change existing ones. Much harder than changing attitudes.

• Psychological EffectsInspiring strong feelings or arousal in audience members. People often seek feelings such as fear, joy, revulsion, happiness, or amusement.

Page 10: Mass Communication Effects

Medium Effects• How does the medium used change

the nature of the message and the receiver’s response to the message?

• What are the social effects of each medium?

• “The medium is the message”—Marshall McLuhan

Page 11: Mass Communication Effects

Ownership Effects• How does ownership affect the media?• Do we get different messages from

different owners?• How important are the six largest media


Page 12: Mass Communication Effects

Active Audience Effects• Audience members seek out and respond to

media for a variety of reasons.• People can be segmented by geographics,

demographics, or psychographics (study these definitions).

• Looks at audience members as selective consumers rather than naïve victims of the media.

Page 13: Mass Communication Effects

Media, Politics, and Society

Page 14: Mass Communication Effects

How Do Campaigns Affect Voters?

• Resonance ModelA candidate’s success depends on how well his or her basic message resonates with and reinforces voters’ preexisting political feelings.

• Competitive ModelViews the political campaign as a competition for the hearts and minds of voters. A candidate’s response to an attack is as important as the attack itself.

Page 15: Mass Communication Effects

Media and Political Bias• News with an explicit point of view

(opinionated style) is popular on cable television eg Fox vs MSNBC.

• Audience members tend to view news as biased if it does not actively match their own point of view.

Page 16: Mass Communication Effects

Liberal vs. Conservative Bias• Conservatives point out reporters tend to

be more liberal than public at large.“The duty of the press is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

• Liberals point out that media are owned by large corporations that tend to be more conservative than the public at large.“Freedom of the press belongs to those who own a press.”

Page 17: Mass Communication Effects

Herbert Gans:Basic Journalistic Values

• Gans evaluated the actual values exhibited within content on CBS and NBC news programming and Time magazine and Newsweek magazine.

Page 18: Mass Communication Effects

Basic Journalistic Values

• EthnocentrismThe belief that your own country and culture are better than all others.

• Altruistic democracyThe idea that politicians should serve the public good, not their own interests.

Page 19: Mass Communication Effects

Basic Journalistic Values• Responsible capitalism

The idea that open competition among businesses will create a better, more prosperous world. But must be responsible.

• Small-town pastoralismNostalgia for the old-fashioned rural community.

Page 20: Mass Communication Effects

Basic Journalistic Values• Individualism

The quest to identify the one person who makes a difference.

• ModeratismThe value of moderation in all things. Extremists on left and right are viewed with suspicion.

Page 21: Mass Communication Effects

Basic Journalistic Values• Social order

When journalists cover disorder they tend to focus on the restoration of order.

• LeadershipMedia look at the actions of leaders, whereas the actions of lower-level bureaucrats are ignored.

Page 22: Mass Communication Effects

NETWORK (Sidney Lumet: 1976)

Logline: A TV network cynically exploits a deranged ex-TV anchor's ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit.

Question: How does this film predict today’s rash of trashTV and shock-laden newsbroadcasts?

Writer: Paddy Chayefsky

Starring: Wiliam Holden, Robert Duvall, Dunaway.

121 Minutes.