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Lecture 3: The Media

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Carleton University
SOCI 1002
Tamy Superle

Lecture 3: The Mass Media Social Media  Primarily Internet and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Wikis, blogs, YouTube)  In 2010: 35% visited a Social Media site at least once a week  In 2011: 50% visited a Social Media site at least once a week  In 2010: 19% of online Canadians visited a Social Networking site everyday  In 2011: 35% of online Canadians visited a Social Networking site everyday Mass Media  Print, radio, television, and other communication technologies  “Mass” implies that the media reach many people o Originates with small group reaching large group of people with no say of what is being shown; one-way communication  “Media” signifies that communication doesn’t take place directly through face-to- face interaction. Instead, technology intervenes or mediates in transmitting messages from senders to receivers The Rise of the Mass Media  Most of the mass media are recent inventions  The first developed systems of writing appeared about 5500 years ago  The print media became truly a mass phenomenon only in the nineteenth century  The newspaper was the dominant mass medium as late as 1950 th  Most of the electronic media are creatures of the 20 century  The first commercial television broadcasts date from the 20s  The US Department of Defense established ARPANET in 1969, which was the forerunner to the Internet  The WWW established around 1991 Functions of the Media  Media institutions contribute to the maintenance and survival of society through: o Socializing us o Enforcing social norms o Conferring status o Transmitting social heritage o Promoting consumption o Keeping us informed about our environment o Entertainment o May act as a narcotic Noam Chomsky  The press is owned by wealthy people who want certain things to reach the public Conflict Theory  Social inequality can be fostered by the mass media  Some people benefit from the mass media more than others do  Mass media favour interests of dominant classes and political groups  If companies own much of the media, you can control much of what is shown and how it’s framed Mass Media as a Source of Economic Inequality  Two ways in which dominant classes and political groups benefit disproportionately from mass media: o Mass media broadcast beliefs, values, and ideas that create widespread acceptance of basic structure of society, including its injustices and inequalities o Ownership of mass media is highly concentrated in hands of small number of people and is highly profitable for them Media Ownership  For decades, most of Canadian mass media have been owned by fewer than a dozen families  There are just five multimedia giants in Canada, with combined annual revenue of about $13.9 billion  About 90% of mass media in Canada are privately owned Dominant Ideology  Set of cultural beliefs and practices that helps to maintain social, economic, and political interests  Mass media maintains the privilege of certain groups  Powerful groups may limit the media’s representation of others to protect their interests Gatekeeper  Material must travel through a series of checkpoints (gates) before reaching the public  A select few decide what images to bring to a broad audience  C Wright Mills: the real power of the media is that they control what is being presented Missing Children  African American missing children are significantly underrepresented in television news  Images of missing children that come to be represented in media, popular imagination, and legislation are primary white middle class girls  Has the possible outcome of threats and danger to racialized children being taken less seriously by police and law makers Media Bias (Propaganda Model): Chomsky  Ownership: Handful of multi-national corporations dominate publishing, broadcasting, and film industries  Advertising: Fear of losing business may lead news carriers to soften stories that big advertisers might find offensive  Sourcing: Most news agencies rely heavily on government and corporate sources that routinely slant information to reflect favourably on their policies and preferences  Flak: Journalists who depart from official and corporate points of view are attacked (bias) Opposition Through Alternative Media  Forms of communication used by subordinate groups and social movements to present their own messages, that challenge existing conditions of society o I.e. community television, documentaries, blogs, etc. Representations in Mainstream Med
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