Public Relations Lecture notes on the 9th lecture on Public Relations in Mass Communications.

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Communication Studies
Anne- Marie Kinahan

Mass Communications Publicthelations November 17 , 2010 Public Relations Mass Media and Audiences  What is “mass culture” o Industrialized process o Simultaneous consumption (reaches a large amount of people at the same time) o Easily understood (all have narrative conventions that can transcend class, race and gender differences) Mass Society  Urbanization, industrialization, modernization o What we see is a gradual movement to a urban existence o Erosion of family ties and kinship  Movement to cities  Rise of mass media Mass Media  Two main functions of mass media: o Connect socially distant individuals o Create audiences for advertisers Media and Audiences  Two theoretical approaches o Powerful or direct effects  Behavioral science tradition o Limited effects or “Two-step flow” Powerful Effects Theory  Behavioral science tradition  Could media influence people’s behaviour? Modern Society  Characterized by isolation o Much more cut off from connections (more manipulated by the media) o Development of industrialism, capitalist economy, urban slums, social problems (poverty, violence, alcoholism) o 1750-1920s  Loss of traditional kinship ties  Social problems Mass Communications Publicthelations November 17 , 2010 o Create an understanding where individuals are thought to be passive, lonely and weak Powerful Effects  Propaganda and advertising o Linked patriotism to supporting the war o  Media influenced people’s behaviour  Proposes a direct relationship between media message and individual behaviour  Also called “direct effects”  View of individual: isolated, weak, lonely, and easily manipulated  View of the media: powerful, persuasive Limited Effects  Studies conducted by Paul Lazarsfeld challenged the direct effects theory o The people’s Choice (1948) o Personal Influence (1955)  Specifically concerned with how effective media was with their audience (examples above) o Monitored newspaper coverage and noticed that the newspaper had a significant slant towards the publican candidate o Media is influential? Then the candidate will win (THEY WERE WRONG) o Therefore, the media is not as influential as we would like to think Personal Influence  Media reinforced already held opinions  Individuals were more influenced by other people’s opinions  Conducted a number of interviews and focus groups
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