CMN 140 Lecture 5: CMN 140 - Lecture 5

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8 Mar 2017
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Lecture 5 - 1/31 - Mass Media Content & Reality (Chapter 8)
Key Ideas:
- the media spin reality to make it appear more exciting & thus attract ppl away from their
real lives
Real World Vs. Media World
- line between real world and media world is increasingly blurry
- merging together under pressures from newer messages & newer technologies
- memories are interlaced
- we continually enter media world to get experiences & info we cannot get very
well in our real lives & we forget that those experiences in media world are different from
the real world when we constantly cross the border between the two
- attaining higher media literacy means being able to distinguish between the two
What is Reality? difficult to define
- TV reality referred to as “Magic Window” perceived as the opportunity of seeing
the broad world out there without leaving the comfort of your home
- children view TV as simple, unvarnished truth of what is happening in the real world
- adult discount the age when children begin to think like adults and really
scrutinize media reality strongly as a construction of the real world, not the actual thing
- starts at about 5 years old (children can distinguish between fictional
programs & news/documentary)
- completed an adult discount by 12 years old (but not always, bc they
might not have developed the understanding that news is a construction by journalists
just like fiction programming is a creation of writers)
- accuracy vs. probability that the event may occur in real life
- discovered that children’s perception of reality didn’t change for
reality programs, so children base their perceptions not on the accuracy of
portrayals/information but the probability that something could occur in lives
- misperceptions of reality
- as we age, we do not automatically learn how to differentiate between reality &
fantasy
- believing that you can actually do differentiation is a fantasy :D (lying to yourself
- not limited to children
Multiple Dimensions of Reality (EIGHT) multiple characteristics in making
judgments of reality
- the beginning point of judging reality is usually with an assessment of whether a
portrayal actually happened...but viewers rarely stop at this judgment (there’s more to
judging reality)
- viewers make assessments (especially for fictional content) about whether
something COULD happen as portrayed
- our judgment must move beyond the ACTUALITIES of occurence and consider
the POSSIBILITIES that the different characters and situations can actually occur
- while the beginning point of judging reality is usually with an assessment of whether a
portrayal actually happened, ppl frequently use more criteria to judge reality (Ex: Star
Wars vs. Community/Reality TV)
1) Factuality = does the message show what actually happened?
- this is the idea of magic window which asks: is the media msg an accurate,
unadorned view through a window on actual events and ppl?
- overlaps of the notion of “accuracy
2) Perceptual persuasiveness = does the media msg present characters and
settings that look real?
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