Introducing Critical Media Studies, Week 1
Everything we learn and know is done in one of two ways:
• SOMATICALLY: learned through direct sensory
perception of our surroundings. In other words; we know
what something looks like, feels like, smells like etc.,
because we have seen, felt, smelled that certain thing. We
have already experienced it.
• SYMBOLICALLY: things we know through someone or
something else, such as other people, the television, radio,
o This information coming to us is mediated (came to
us from an indirect channel or medium)
Medium: Latin; meaning “medius” which means middle.
• In a sense, how something is in-between two other
o Ex: The Discovery Channel may come between
someone and the ocean.
v Most things we know are mediated, knowing things about other
countries without actually having ever been there, for example.
v Information was broadcasted to people in large quantities in
distant places a long time ago. That was how information was
shared. The place was usually secluded.
Critical Media Studies: is about the social and cultural consequences of
the capability to mediate, share info, etc.
• Mass media: communication technology, that mediate what we
know and how we know. Potential to reach larger audiences in
Who are the Mass Media?
• Person addressing (like in a hall, or grad speech) 40,000 people is
NOT considered mass media because that person’s location is not
• If a singer is having a live broadcast of their show via satellite,
those watching at home are experiencing mass media.
Types of Mass Media
• Print Media
o Not popular until newspapers begun using editors and had
strong financial backing.
o Today: there is a decline in the industry as a whole.
• Motion Picture and Sound Recording
o Thomas Edison invented the phonograph (1877), device
that played recorded sound. The kinetoscope (1892), early motion picture device that showed short, silent films to
individual. He wanted to sync the two.
o Audio film was not available until 1920.
• Broadcast Media
o Media being directly brought to audiences over public
o Large growths in radio/television suggest strong cu stomer
demands for their outputs.
o TV: satellite and cable, cable employs a digital signal (can
be considered new media)
o Technology fits into broadcast media and new media.
• New Media
o Broadest, most difficult to delimit/ define.
o Lev Manovich: “new media are the cultural objects which
use digital computer technology for distribution and
o Development of digital television, film, e -books, etc. are in
this category, along with the internet/websites.
o Started with computers (Intel).
Living in Postmodernity
Postmodernity: the historical epoch that began to emerge in the 1960s
as the economic mode of production went from goods -based
manufacturing to info -based services.
• iTunes & cellphones > cars & toasters
o The tendency of formerly diverse media to share a
common, integrated platform.