CMNS 130 Reading Questions
Introducing Critical Media (Ott and Mack)
1. What are the four sub-categories of mass media?
Motion picture and sound recording
2. In what way did print media change society? How did broadcasting influence media
Print media changed society as social power now hinged upon literacy and
ownership of print media. The unprecedented circulation of knowledge allowed
for information from outside one’s immediate context to be accessible and thus
tore down social boundaries.
Broadcasting influenced media consumption a lot, since media could now be
brought to the audience (and their home). In 2004 99% of US households had a
radio (avg. 8 per household) and 98.2 % of US households had a TV (avg. 2.5 per
household). Furthermore, the number of US households with cable TV from
increased from 7 to 70% from 1970 to 2004.
3. Define: convergence, mobility, fragmentation, globalization, simulation, and
Convergence: the tendency of formerly diverse media to share a common,
Mobility: the tendency of media to become portable and be accessible
everywhere and anytime
Fragmentation: the tendency of media to become more specialized and tailored
to the individuals needs, therefore requiring a high number of diverse outlets and
Globalization: The tendency of media to be available on a global market, with the
potential for eradication of cultural differences.
Simulation: the tendency of the media to give a distorted representation of
reality, thus no longer representing but constructing our social world.
Socialization: The process by which persons (individually and collectively) learn,
adopt and internalize cultural beliefs, values, and norms of a society.
4. Give three reasons why media content matters? Why is media form also important?
Media content matter because it shapes
What issues we care about
The perspective from which we view those issues What attitudes we adopt towards the issue
Media form matters because it shapes how we process the content of a message.
(“The medium is the message.”)
5. Define the four characteristics of critical studies.
Sceptical attitude: to approach the media with scepticism to understand
pressures and practices that constrain it; to adopt a mode of close analysis with a
deep distrust of surface appearances and “common-sense” explanations
Humanistic approach: to aim to understand the media by interpretive and
analytical means with the goal of improvement of society
Political Assessment: to find practical and political implications of findings and
judge them politically; to evaluate the media’s role in constructing and
maintaining particular relationships of power.
Social activism: to identify injustice in the media, confront and challenge it.
McQuails Mass Communication Theory (McQuail)
1. What were two of the indications that the media had significant power in society?
Social integration: mass media blamed as contributors to declining morality,
individual crime, impersonality, lack of attachment to community, etc. but also as
a potential force for social cohesion, connecting scattered individual