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Chapter 1-Critical Media Studies.docx

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Media Studies
Michael Petit

Introducing Critical Media Studies How We Know What We Know -Everything is learned in two ways 1. Somatically- through direct sensory perception of our environment. How things look, smell, feel, sound, taste like b/c we have personally. Based on first-hand unmediated experience. These things make up a small percentage of our knowledge. 2. Symbolically- vast majority of what we know. Things we know through someone or something. Information is mediated, comes by indirect channel or medium. -Medium comes from Latin word means “middle” or that which comes b/w 2 things -Critical Media Studies is about the social and cultural consequences of that revolutionary capability -mass media are first and foremost communication technologies that mediate both what we know and how we know -media are regular fixtures of everyday life -media is a broad term that includes a diverse array of communication technologies Who Are the Mass Media? -mass media are those communication technologies that have the potential to reach a large audience in remote locations -mass media collapse space and transcend physical distance -mass media has four sub-categories: print media, motion picture and sound recording, broadcast media and new media -these categories are arbitrary 1. Print Media -Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press in 1450 -1607 in USA –establishment of first printing press- Cambridge -First religious tracts were printed then followed almanacs, newspapers and magazines -New York Sun is considered the first successful newspaper in 1833 th th -industry experienced growth in 19 and 20 centuries -Since 1973 it declined by 2005 it had fallen to 55.3 million or about 49% of US households -book publishing industry is still in growth. In 2004, 195,000 new titles were published in the USA -book sales are strong an estimated 3 billion in USA in 2005 2. Motion Picture and sound recording -Thomas Edison and his assistant William Kennedy created motion picture and sound recording -Edison-invented phonograph in 1877 that played recorded sound and kinetoscope in 1892 showed short, silent films -first commercially successful musical film was The Jazz Singer in 1927 -magnetic tape- 1926 -Long-playing (LP) records- 1948 -compact/audio cassettes in 1963 -optical/compact discs- 1982 -MP3s – 1995 3. Broadcast Media -Media directly brought to audiences over public airwaves -it freed mass media from transportation -electrical telegraph-1830s, telephone- 1870s= personal medium -radio-1890s making scheduled broadcasts in the 1920s -Philo Farnsworth applied for first television paten in 1927 -CBS launching first TV schedule in 1941 -TV and Radio share overlapping technological and professional histories -99% US households have radio and 98.2% have TV -over 4 million more US households own TV than a telephone -two recent developments with radio and TV: satellite (subscription) radio and cable(wired) television -these developments are analogous -satellite radio which uses a digital signal is broadcast -XM radio and Sirius radio- 2 satellite radio providers in North America -TV and Radios are growing in patrons quickly and dramatically 4. New Media -New media is the broadest and most difficult to define -Lev Manovich- new media are the cultural objects which use digital computer technology for distribution and circulation -history of new media began with the development of microprocessor in 1971 -internet became popular in 1990s b/c of WWW -more than 8 billion webpages doubling every 6 months -with the infrastructure in place the cost of computing technology is declining Living in Postmodernity -the present era described as information age, the third wave, post industrial society, space age and postmodernity -Postmodernity describes the historical epoch that began to emerge in the 1960s as the economic mode of production in most Western societies slowly shifted from goods-based manufacturing to information-based services -5 key trends in postmodernity: Convergence, Mobility, Fragmentation, Globalization, Simulation 1. Convergence - Convergence is the tendency of formerly diverse media to share a common, integrated platform -was visionary in 1980s by Nicholas Negroponte -had to overcome 2 obstacles: noise associated with analog signals of TV & Radio generated message distortion and decay over long distance. Was solved through digitization. Second was bandwidth limitations prevented large data packets like video to be transmitted quickly and easily. Solved by improved data-compression techniques 2. Mobility -historically mass media have not been mobile. Microprocessors and wireless technology changed that -as technology becomes more portable media are being transformed from home appliances into personal and fashion accessories 3. Fragmentation -tremendous proliferation of media content has led to specialization and niche marketing -Alvin Toffler- de-massification of media underway since 1970s -decreasing costs altered the economics of media industry reducing the necessity for standardization -the result has been increase in media channels and a fragmentation of output that caters to the increasing diversity of the consuming public -internet is the most fragmented medium. Becoming more and more tailored to individual tastes 4. Globalization -Globalization is a complex set of social, politi
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