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CMST 1A03 (355)
Lecture 7


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Communication Studies
Terry Flynn

Communications Exam Review Exam Date: April 13th 2017 ___________________________________________________________________________ The Shifting Character of Media: ● Media​ is the main means of mass communication (broadcasting, publishing, and the internet), regarded collectively. Media are central to our lives. It helps us to understand the world, shape our perspective and experiences, contribute to making choices and decisions, gives us boundaries, and carries us across space and time. ● Roles of Media: ○ Political Role - media offers places for debate and discussion while also providing information on issues and events. Has a close relationship with democracy and freedom of speech. ○ Economic Role - media directly promotes consumerism and capitalism through advertizing and the promotion of consumer culture. Companies control their public images through media. Also, the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT) has spurred economic development in countries. (this means that we can produce our own content, by self branding and promoting ourselves). ○ Individual Role - we construct our identities through social interactions, and media allows us to explore the world and our relationships to it. ● Medium​: any vehicle that conveys information ● 88.5% of Canadians use the internet, and Canadian media consumption is growing at a rate of 5.9% per year. ● Concerns about the media​: ​commercialization and privatization, privacy, and the digital divide. ● The Shrinking Globe (diagram on pg. 6 of textbook):​ ​With the invention of each of these new media, the world seemingly gets smaller. New media have increasingly helped make it easier to communicate with others and thereby make the distances between people and places seem smaller. ​In other words, these technologies “shrink space” by reducing the time it takes to coordinate action across distance. ○ The Telegraph​: Is the world’s first electronic mode of communication. No longer did letters and other forms of communication need to be transferred physically by noise, pigeon, or ship. Instead messages could travel “at the speed of light”. It was a key technology in shrinking space through time, reducing the time it took to accomplish particular tasks in space. Harold Innis: ● Time Bias: ○ Societies both occupy both time and space. One way societies occupy time and space is through their communications media, which, Innis argued, have characteristic biases that make some media more conducive to carrying messages through ​time (heavy, durable materials)​, and some media are more conducive to carrying messages through ​space (light, easily transportable materials)​. Time-biased media are ​time-binding media​, in that they connect us to the past through their enduring messages and images (example: murals and stained glass windows in churches). ​Therefore, time bias is defined as the tendency of certain communication systems and societies to privilege the extension of ideas over time or history as opposed to space or distance. ○ Oral communication maintains culture over time ● Space Bias: ○ Innis uses the word “bias” to mean “tendency” or “emphasis”. ​Space bias is the tendency of certain communication systems and societies to privilege the extension of ideas over space or distance as opposed to time or history​. ■ An example of space bias is satellite technology. (The Anik F1 Satellite for example, found on page 48 of the text). By beaming down a signal to a particular area of the earth’s surface, a satellite creates at some degree, a community; all those people are receiving the same signal. People choose whether to watch and what channel to watch, and different satellite footprints can carry the same content. ○ Written communication maintains culture over space ○ Oral Society​: Innis claims that knowledge and history are held by people, or groups of people. This leads to a close knit community that must stay together through time to survive. Knowledge does not lie in the books in universities, it is in the people; We hold the knowledge as a student body for example. ○ Literate Society​: Innis claims that the development of written laws are allowed for the Roman Empire to expand its power and territory. Literacy allows for the visual representation of ideas and the availability to compare them. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the development of local written languages lead to the development of European Nation States. ■ Writing favours logical, linear, conceptual thinking ● Marshal McLuhan: ○ Global Village​: Developed by Marshal McLuhan, it was one of the first analysis’ of electronic communication. He argued that the electronic media created, for the very first time in history, the possibility of instant communication between any two points on the globe: he referred to this as the global village. He described that electronic society now has vast information-gathering and transmission capacities sufficient to make us intimately aware of the going-ons of people around the world. Electronic media acted as an “outered nervous system”, where media extends our senses of sight, touch, vision, and hearing ○ Information Society​: According to McLuhan, it is a society where ICT’s (Information and Communications Technologies) are key to the creation of wealth and defining the direction of social development. The ICT’s play a key role in shifting labour processes, and they provide a vital link between the newly industrialized countries where these goods are now produced, and the markets in old industrialized centers where they are consumed. ● Jenkins​: (2006) he argued that such electronic media enabled a new “collective intelligence”, such as “wikipedia”. ● Castells​: (1996) he argued that networks are shifting the basic structure of society and driving globalization. ● Communication:​ ​The act of making a message common to two or more people. Communications are central to the functioning and operation of our society, and examining the ways in which they orient us to the world. Communication is a form of social action. ● The Communication Process:​ This process was adapted by ​Shannon and Weaver​ in 1949. Shannon and Weaver’s Mathematical Model of Communication makes reference to the basic technical characteristics of the process of sending and receiving messages. This model’s strength is it’s simplicity. However, critics argue that it is too simple, not considering the social context of communication (culture, individual traits, languages, etc). ○ 1. A person - the encoder or source - formulates a message by putting an idea into words ○ 2. This message is then sent through a particular channel or medium, such as email or text message. ○ 3. On the receiving end, the decoder receives and interprets the signals and on the basis of the symbols sent, formulates meaningful content. ○ 4. The decoder may then give the encoder feedback by letting the encoder know that she or he has received the message. By sending a message back, the decoder becomes an encoder. ■ Any interference in the transmission of the intended message is referred to as noise. ● The Social Model of Communication​: This model emphasizes social and media related variables that inform the process of communication. This model sees communication as both structured by and contingent on some shared social element or space. ○ Encoding Context:​ The larger social environment where message formulation takes place ○ Decoding Context:​ represents the ideas and understandings that the decoder brings to deciphering the encoded message. ● The social dimensions of media and communication are: ○ Public Policy:​ ​Provides a set of rules and regulations governing the way information and media products are created and consumed. It includes libel laws, copyright, advertizing, and privacy legislation. ○ Creating a place of Canada:​ It is much cheaper for Canadian broadcasters to buy foreign programming than it is to produce their own. In Quebec, a range of cultural factors allow homegrown products to compete successfully with foreign fare. Public policy shapes the ground on which media products are created. ○ Ownership:​ ​Canadian ownership and content regulations have been used to prevent Canadian media companies and markets from becoming simple extensions of their American cousins.​ No media industry in Canada is governed exclusively by free-market economies. ​Private ownership is the dominant ownership from within the media system. ○ Professionalism​: Cultural producers are not formally trained or tied to a formal regulatory authority, but they do hold their own set of ethics, and they develop practice-specific rules. Professionalism emphasizes the ideals of freedom of speech, press, and expression, and the ability to question authority. Improved technologies mean that the same amount of work can be done by less people and the bar is lowered for amateurs to become cultural producers. ● Mass Communication: ​Is the transmission and transformation of information on a large scale. ​There are three dimensions: ○ The production and dissemination of mass information and entertainment ■ For both private and public consumption which are both state-regulated ○ The decentralization production and wide accessibility of information and entertainment ■ This communication is often corporately financed, and sometimes industrially produced and is often intended for small audiences ○ The interactive exchange of information to a number of recipients. ■ By the means of public access to communication media and media outlets, encompassing a wide range of technologies, like the telephone, computer, tablet, and mobile devices. Communication and Democracy: ● Mass Media:​ Vehicles through which mass media takes place. One form of mass media can involve multiple types of media. ■ Example: YouTube Video - language of the song, the singer's voice, the instruments, the video itself, and the internet. ○ The seven dimensions of mass media: ■ A distinct set of activities ■ Involving technological configurations ■ Associated with formally-constituted institutions and organizations ■ Acting within certain laws, rules, and understandings ■ Carried out by persons occupying certain roles ■ Conveying information ■ Among members of society (where this information is being conveyed to) ● New Media​: Emerged in the 90’s, where technologies, practices, and institutions are designed to facilitate broad participation in communication on a mass scale. It encompassed and extends traditional mass media. They are usually but not always digital media. ● Convergence (technological): The bringing together of separate communication technologies (telephone, broadcasting, computer) and translating them all so they are in one common format (smartphone). Technological convergence results in corporate convergence. ● Convergence (corporate)​: when media companies combine the resources and content for two or more different media properties to realize cost savings in content production and cross promotional opportunities. These companies are not trying to bring new consumers in, they are trying to shape their current consumers; For instance, landline sales drop when companies enhance cell phone usage for their consumers. ○ Everything is being jammed through the internet - it’s problematic, because we rely on different channels of receiving information and not just the internet. ● Forms of Ownership:​ Because we live in a ​capitalist society,​ most media organizations are privately owned. The primary purpose is to generate profits or income for their owners or shareholders, not to produce media content. ○ Non Profit Media​: Mandate-driven, rather than profit driven. ● Broadcasting Act​: also known as the​ ​CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission),​ was established in 1991. It is a federal legislation governing all forms of broadcasting in Canada. It provides a framework for policy (defining broadcast undertakings, who can own media outlets, and technical matters). We see examples of the Broadcasting Act through the CRTC. ● Copyright Act​: established in 1921, it is a legal framework governing the right to reproduce a published work. This law transforms the expression of one’s intellectual efforts into a piece of property that can be owned. It helps ensure people get credit and get paid for their work and that it is not used by someone else without the creator’s permission. ● Telecommunications Act: ​Established in 1996 by ​Bill Clinton, ​it focuses on the infrastructure underlying the transmission of a message. Regulations today have been relaxed and competition between different companies have been substituted for direct regulations as a means of controlling behaviour. ● There are NO laws addressing content, structure, or operation of internet in Canada! ● Information in the Media:​ ​Meaning in media messages is not always clear or predetermined - images and words (and other media content) have at last two possible types of levels of meaning: ○ Denotative Meaning​: obvious, literal, and readily apparent meaning ○ Connotative Meaning​: secondary, implicit, figurative meaning, or meanings that might be associated with the image or word ■ An example between the two, can be seen when considering the word “apple”. It could be read as having a denotative meaning (as a fruit) or it could be read having a connotative meaning (as the computer company). ● The Two Step Flow of Communication​: This is a model developed by Katz and Lazarsfeld in the 1950s. They argued that information from the mass media is transmitted or channeled to the larger population by “opinion leaders” - that is, people with better access to the media and greater understanding of the news and topics covered than most other people. ● Technological Determinism​: The notion that technological development shapes society and gives direction to social change. It tends to frame technology as the primary force shaping society. Technological Determinism holds that technology operates according to an unavoidable logic inherent in the technology itself, that the technology has “an autonomous functional logic that can be explained without reference to society”. It is perceived as a straightforward track towards improvement, and the effects of technology are attributed by determinists to the technology itself, rather than to the human decisions about how it is developed and employed. ○ An example of Tech Determinism is the mobile phone that you carry around; it will be replaced by one smaller and thinner and allows you to do more with it. Human control over the exact direction of technological development is minimal - the technology in a sense has a life of its own. ● How do the Renaissance and the Enlightenment relate to Democracy and Communication? ○ Renaissance: ​Was the return to the classical teachings of ancient Greece and Rome, the emergence of Humanism (broad philosophy that celebrated human achievement and capacity). It was marked by the development of Gutenberg’s printing press (1454). ○ Enlightenment​: An early 18th century change in Western European worldview distinguished by an intellectual approach based on a scientific and rational perspective on the world, a fundamental shift in worldview that championed science over religion, justice over the abuse of power, and a social contract that specified individual rights and freedoms over the absolute rule of monarchs and popes. ○ Relationship to Democracy and Communications​: Printing with movable type was an important element of social shift that saw the eclipse of feudalism and the dawning of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Government by divine right of monarchs was replaced with the notion of the consent of the governed. From the 15th century and onward, the printing press and other media forms have served an important social role in gathering information and informing citizens. Other communication media have been influenced by their social and historical location. They have been given form and function by a larger set of social circumstances and events. ● Industrial Revolution​: Lead to the development of cities and the need for improved communication across distances. ○ Social Change​: Shift to the nuclear family and the distinction between work and leisure time. ○ The ​telegraph​ and ​telephone​, as they “shrink space through time” ○ Photography​ created connections to people and events in far away places ○ Motion picture industry​ found a niche among urban workers with new found leisure time and disposable income. ● Commodification of Communication and Information​: According to Karl Marx, it was a key factor in economic growth and a barrier between “haves” and “have nots”. He highlights that it is “a process of use value into exchange value” Others celebrate this process as the entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism. The ongoing commodification of communication products and processes lies at the heart of what people call the communication economy or the communication revolution and is the key factor in economic growth. It creates a growing divide between the communication haves and have nots, however, between the information-rich and the information poor. Having to pay for information is taking away people’s rights and responsibilities and citizens. ● Ownership:​ There started to be a progression of
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