Course SOC309H5F Lecture 14/05/2013
Topic: Media and politics - the news
Effects of ownership concentration on content
Key educational goals/outcomes for today:
Explore the reciprocal relationship between society (and politics in particular) and news
coverage in mass media. Understand that social reality appears in the news (and entertainment)
mediated through processes of agenda setting and framing.
Identify social actors most likely to influence the news.
Understand the importance of mass media content for the public judgment on importance and
meaning of social issues.
Barron, Christie and Dany Lacombe. 2005. “Moral Panic and the Nasty Girl”, Canadian Review
of Sociology and Anthropology. 42: 1. 51-69.
Taylor, Lisa. 2011. The End of Silly Season. Canadian Journalism Foundation.August 31.
Tewksbury, David. 2003. “What DoAmericans Really Want to Know? Tracking the Behavior of
News Readers on the Internet.” Journal of Communication. 53, 4: December. 694-710.
Questions to guide the reading/to think about ahead of time for students
What is a moral panic? What do Barron and Lacombe see as the root cause of the moral panic
about the “nasty girl”?
How does treatment of youth offenders and non-offenders differ under the “Secure CareAct”?
Compare changes in young girl violent crime rates in the last twenty years to changes in public
perception of female youth violence.
What is a “silly season”? What consequences does it have for the content of news media?
Does the “silly season” facilitate moral panics? Explain your answer. What would Taylor have
the media do about political grandstanding she describes?
Tewksbury writes that the Internet “provides audiences with substantially more control over
news selection process that they enjoyed with the traditional media.” Would Eveland agree with
this view? Why? What is your own opinion? What factors increase news selectivity on the Internet?
Note the alternate explanations of citizens’limited exposure to public affairs news. Which do
you favour? Why?
What is the “civic obligation norm”? Which ideology of mass media underlies it?
A GENDA FOR CLASS
We continue our discussion of media ownership, and policies that Canadian andAmerican
governments enacted in an effort to control ownership concentration and its effects on content.
After that, we turn to today’s main topic: ways in which the society influences content of the
news, and ways in which the news influence social and political processes. We will see that
social reality is by no means reflected accurately in the news, and will look for reasons why.
Effects of changes in production on new content
1 -decreased quality
- proportion of political news inAmerican tv news broadcast has been falling over last 15
- All major tv networks have closed ther foreign bureaus over last 20 yrs
2 lack of local news
- can newspapers over last 20 yrs, if local newspaper is bought by large chain, first thing
they do is fire local journalist.
3 homogenisation of non-local content rather than produce news in 20 places the chain will
produce one centralized content.
states regulate mass media in order to achieve sensor sex, violence and political speech..
claiming some govt activity is so important that public should not have access to it.-to
control the profit for the owner and project jobs, and receive taxes from the company
Ideologies of mass media
influence regulation of ownership
1- Libertarian: govt should not interfere with free exchange of ideas
o Excludes public state ownership of the media
o American tradition
2- Public Service: info in the media is a public good
o Government duty to regulate media in the public interest
o British tradition
Canada combines the 2 models
o E.g content regulations favour Canadian content in broadcasting. % has to be
Canadian. Produced in Canada. Certain music could be 17% of other
o Hate speech- any hate, discrimination prejudice against any grp. Forbidden bc media shouldn’t
be able to do society harm
Regulation of media ownership in the US
Telecommunications Act: 1996 removed barriers to cross media ownership w/in local
markets and to monopolization within a medium
Rational: free competition would lead to better content
Outcome: elimination of local news and other content
Amendments in 2003
1. Further cross ownership (up tp 1 daily newspaper, 3 tv stations and 8 radio and 1
cable system in local market)
2. Further increase in a number of tv stations a company could own up to 45% of
households in US
Unpublished FCC report leaked by senator barbera baxter (D-CA) in 06’local ownership
of tv station increase the length of news broadcasts and the length of local news. Chain
ownership of local broacasters gets rid of local broadcasts ect
Regulation of med