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CJ 110 (8)

Criminal Justice

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Michigan State University
Criminal Justice
CJ 110

Comm. 225 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM Understanding Media Effects Meta-analysis  A means of systematically integrating the findings from many empirical studies.  Used to provide a “big picture” Triangulation  Multiple methodologies are used  Combined results are more compelling than any single methodology  Programmatic research increases credibility. A brief History of mass comm. effects 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM What defines mass communication? Large-scale distribution and reception process characterized by:  One-directional information flow  Impersonal source and anonymous receiver  Asymmetrical source-receiver association (organized powerful source)  Market (i.e., economic) exchange relationship  Standardized message content Major Issues  How does society influence media? Media Effects  Many think media have a major influence on humans  This was not always the case Stages of Communication  Age of signs and signals  Age of speech and language  Age of writing  Age of print  Age of mass communication Birth of a field  Prior to 18thcentury western society was traditional th  By end of 18 century, major change altered social life  Ideas evolved from german scholars o Gemeinschaft: old society (trust/kinship bonds) o Gesellschaft: new society (rational/impersonal bonds) Trends leading change to modern society  Industrialization  Urbanization  Modernization Textbook chapter 2: historical evidence for media effects  Historians document concern over media effects before scientific study  Suppression of media content  Reports of mob violence over media content  Public concern for “indecent” material Historical Evidence for Changes  Due to new technologies  Due to persuasive messages  On public opinion  On fright reactions Mass Society  Scientists and philosophers became concerned with: o Social differentiation o Psychological isolation  Key components of mass society concept Mass Society  1920‟s mass society  social differentiation increases  informal social controls weaken  communication became more difficult  anomie (nom-less-ness) Perspective of much early research  people are socially isolated  have uniform instincts  not influences by social ties  Magic Bullet  Human nature and isolation=similar reception and interpretation st Payne fund studies- 1 major research  Series of studies commissioned to examine content, audience, and effects  Asked question: what effect is exposure having on thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors>  Studies are still important today Studies do not really show uniform effects  Still, many saw overall effect as very strong  Interpreted as evidence of magic bullet Invasion from mars Central questions  How many were listening or scared?  Cantril (1940) office of radio research  About 12 million heard broadcast  About 2 million panicked or thought it was real Five factors influenced fear  Dramatic excellence  Radio accepted as vehicle for announcements  Use of experts increased credibility  Use of real places  Tuning in late Overall, why significiant  Used as evidence Chapter 3 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM Nineteenth-Century Beginnings  Scholars have debated effects for years o Powerful media effects o Limited media effects o Effects of varying levels  Several early studies examined particular mass media effects Precursors of Scientific Media Effects Research  Study of Newspapers  Study of Humor  Effects of Music  Effects of violent media on behavior Powerful Media Effects  Early scientists assumed powerful effects o Magic bullet or hypodermic needle o Mass society allowed strong media influence o Payne fund studies interpreted as evidence  Early books advocate powerful effects o Walter lippman- public opinion (1922) o Harold Lasswell- Propaganda Technique in the world war (1927) o G.G. Bruntz- Allied Propaganda and the Collapse of the German Empire in 1918 Limited Media Effects  Focus shifts to individuals‟ post-depression o Interactivity in groups limited impact of media o Paul lazarsfeld- Columbia university o Carl hovland- u.s. war department o Joseph klapper- the effects of mass communication Effects of Varying Levels  Attention is selective, perceptions vary o Selective exposure o Selective perception o Selective retention  Social Categories perspective- o Similar populations have similar reactions o Moderate to powerful media effects are possible Effects of varying levels  Debate about power and limits of effects rages on  Knowledge in the field continues to advance o Cognitive effects o Behavioral effects o Affective (emotional) o Direct vs. Indirect effects  Individual differences and environmental factors are important moderators in significance of media effects Early Scientific Pioneers in Media Effects Research  Carl Hovlad  Paul F. Lazarsfeld  Harold Lasswell  Hurt Lewin  Samual A. Stouffer  Douglas Waples  Wilbur Schramm Carl Hovland  Effects of training films  Experimental research about media effects on attitude change o First experiments in mass communication Paul Lazarsfeld  Effects of radio  “opinion leaders” o two-step model of media effect Harold Lasswell  Five question model- had a strong influence, had influence on organizing the study of mass media and communication  Three functions mass communications should serve in society: o 1. Surveillance of the environment (to inform) o 2. Correlate society‟s response to events in the environment (to guide) o 3. Transmission of cultural heritage (to educate) Kurt Lewin  Dynamics of group communication o Sweetbreads study Douglas Waples  Famous definition of communication: who says what to whom in by what channel with what effects (lasswell, 1948)  Added “under what conditions” Wilbur Schramm  Mediating Factors o Focus on different reaction to the same media o Selective exposure, selective perception, selective retention, and social categories perspectives Variable Types  Independent Variable (IV)- the cause  Dependent Variable (DV) – the effect  Mediating Variable (intervening) o Helps us explain phenomena we observe o Iv- mediating variable- DV  Moderating Variable o Regulates the phenomena (controls the extent) Examples of Mediating Variable Exposure to tv violence- perceptions of increased crime- fear of victimization Later Scientific Pioneers in Media Effects Research  Bernard Berelson  Joseph Klapper  Albert Bandura Bernard Berelson  Five variables in generalization  There is evidence that: o Some communication o On some issue o On some people o Under some conditions o Have some effects Joseph Klapper  Media effects generalization o Ordinarily, media are not a necessary of sufficient cause of change o Typically, mediating (intervening) factors result in media being an agent of reinforcement rather than change when media do cause change, two things are likely:  Mediating factors are inoperative, allowing a direct mass media effect  Mediating factors impel change o Media Effects do occur in certain residual situations Albert Bandura  Social learning theory  Social cognitive theory  Bobo Study- children learn by observation. Future of effects research: Challenges  Develop lines of demarcation to separate powerful, moderate, or limited effects  Identify circumstances, conditions, or variables that: o Account for media effects and o Offer generalizations  Meta-analysis holds potential for generalizations Theory of Media and Theory of Society 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM Theory of media and theory of society  Media content is part of culture  Typology of culture-society relations o Materialism (advertising) o Idealism- culture influences media. o Interdependence o Autonomy (occurring separate from one another) Mediation- media‟s role in providing knowledge  Once exclusively performed by schools, religion and the family  Mediation created relationships with objects not directly known o Provide versions of events not directly experienced o Creates „contact‟ with actors, politicians, and others not otherwise accessible. o Cultivated particular perceptions of people, places, and events. Mediation Media perform various roles expressed as metaphors such as  Window on events  Mirror image of society  Filter for stories to be told  Guide to sense-making  Platform for voices  Interlocutor for questions Media do not have monopoly on indirect experience Can you name others? How about…  Family  Friends  Co-workers  Other social groups Of these, which do you think is the strongest? The weakest? Are there others? Theories of media-society relations Three types  Marco-theories- dealing with the media as part of the larger social setting  Media institution theories- focusing on the workings of the media as organizations  Audience theories- concerned with audience uses of media Theories of media-society relations  Mainly concerned with power, social integration, and social change  Values will influence the perception of these categories Theories on power, integration, and change  Mass society theory  Marxist theory  Functionalism  Critical political-economic theory  Modernization and development theory  Communication technology determinism  Information society theory Mass society theory  Corresponds to the „dominance‟ model of media power  Media controlled by dominant elite  Produce standardized content promoting technology Marxist Theory  Middle/ruling class controls media  Media and other social institutions operate in owners interest  Media create a false consciousness among working class  Middle/ruling class monopolize media to prevent political opposition Functionalism  Society is composed of interdependent institutions (including media) o All respond and contribute to needs of society  Media contribute by o Promoting order, control, stability o Maintaining and transmitting culture, norms, and values o Reducing tension by providing entertainment Critical Political-Economic Theory  Media economics and technology concentrate ownership  Results in commodification of content and audiences o Diversity of available information decreases o Oppositional positions become marginalized  Public interest is subordinated to private interests Media organization in its context 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM Frameworks and Perspectives  Organization structure and media product o Structural features (e.g., size, function, ownership) influence organization conduct, performance, and product. o Organizational practice and goals may influence media content more than personal or ideological factors Organizational influences on content: the main issues  Two central issues o How much freedom does a media organization possess, and how much is possible within the organization structure? o How do media-organizational routines and procedures for selecting an processing content influence what is produced?  Conflicting forces on organizations and individuals that influence content. o Constraint versus autonomy o Routine production versus creativity o Commerce versus art o Profit versus social purpose Question of influences on media content  Three hypotheses o Content is influenced by: 1. media workers‟ socialization and attitudes (a communicator- centered approach) 2. media-organizational routines 3. social institutions and forces Five Media-organizational relations  With society  With pressure groups  With owners, clients, and suppliers  With the audience  Internal to the organization Relations with society  Goals of media organizations  The journalist‟s role (engagement of neutrality) o Interpretation o Information o Opposition- a clear but distinctive third option  Professionalism Relations with pressure and interest groups  Evidence shows that outside agencies can influence content when o Commercial interests are threatened or o Bad publicity is feared (for non-commercial reasons)  Proprietor influence o Media owners tend to set broad lines of policy  The influence of advertisers o Rarely slant news; more often try to suppress o Seensative about the environment for messages o Sponsorship for programs can shape content o Media producers veer towards self-censorship o End of local press competition Relations with audience  Audience not a salient concern to some content creators o Hostility to the audience o An alternative view of need o Insulation and uncertainty o Dated images of audience Relations shaped by internal structure and dynamics  Division exists within the organization o Several sources  Diversity of function  Personnel from different social backgrounds  Duality of purpose  Conflict between creativity and the need to sell o Results In creation of different work cultures:  Some professional or creative  Some utilitarian or business centered Personal characteristics of mass communicators  Personal characteristics influence content o But content results from group efforts  Work environment influences personal attitudes o E.g., peers, group norms  Only a few high status individuals get to express individual beliefs Media Content: Issues, Concepts and Methods 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM Different approaches to studying media content What are they?  Traditional content analysis  Critical perspectives on content  Structuralism and semiology  Media content as information  Media performance discourse Why study media content?  Motives guiding early effects research  Motives guiding alternative approaches Questions of Research Method  What framework should be used?  Where is meaning Dominant versus Alternative Paradigms  Dominant empirically oriented paradigm (i.e., Traditional Content Analysis) o A research technique for the objective, systematic and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication o Often used to compare content with known frequency in „social reality‟. o Still, assumes content is encoded just like the reality it represents Traditional Content Analysis  Basic Sequence  Two main assumptions o Link between the external object and reference will be clear o Frequency of occurrence will express „meaning‟  Limits to traditional analysis o Risk of imposing an incorrect meaning-system Alternative Perspective  Critical perspective on content  Structuralism and semiotics  Media content as information  Media performance discourse Critical Perspective on Content  Critical analysis of media o Ability to fulfill intended functions o Domination of media establishment  Marxist approaches o Media contain images favorable to ruling class o Audiences uncritically consume these images and adopt this favorable view  Advertising and commercialism  Media violence Structuralism and semiotics  Explores the nature of sign systems that regulate latent meaning of texts  Suggests that signs evoke meaning by their use and associations within a culture  Goal is to identify the cultural meaning of media content Sign composed of signifier plus signified- signification- referent  Sign composed of signifier plus signified o Signifier=physical part (the word, image, sound) o Signified=mental representation (meaning)  Signification= process of giving meaning o Using a sign to give meaning to a referent  Connotation and Denotation o Significant works at two levels:  Denotative meaning- the surface level or literal meaning  Connotative meaning- derived from the associations and images invoked by signs Media content as information Information Theory Communication is the intentional transfer of information Content should be judged by its efficiency in reducing uncertainty  Informative text, pictures, and narratives can be quantified to judge effectiveness Media Performance Discourse  Basic idea o Quality of information is measurable o Usually based on some notion of public interest such as:  Freedom and independence  Content diversity  News objectivity  Reality reflection or distortion Comparing Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis  What is better?  What criteria do you use to make this determination?  What are the problems with traditional content analysis?  What are the problems with interpretive approaches? Interpretive Approaches  Attributes o No quantification o Attention to latent content o Assume source/receiver assign many meanings  Limits to Interpretive Approaches o No commonly accepted systematic methods o Does not meet scientific standards of reliability o Not easy to generalize from o Not a way of summarizing content Audience theory and research traditions 4/4/2013 12:53:00 PM Origins of the Audience  The concept of audience is changing o The early origins in public performances  Modern mass media audience differs in being o Larger o More dispersed o Individualized From mass to market  Audience as market o Blumer (1939) distinguished „mass‟ from old notions of group, crowds and the public o Mass audience was large, dispersed, and always shifting The audience as market
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