Midterm Exam Study Guide
1. Critical Media Studies
How do we know?
Everything we know is learned in one of two ways
1) Somatically – These are the things we know through direct sensory perception of our
Ex) we know what some things look, smell, feel, sound, or taste like because we personally have seen,
smelled, felt, heard, or tasted them.
2) Symbolically – These are the things we know through someone or something.
Ex) parent, friend, teacher, museum, textbook, photograph, radio, film, television, or the internet
Medium – middle; that which comes between two things
Ex) television and the Discovery channel
Who are the Mass media?
Mass Media – communication technologies that have the potential to reach a large audience
in remote location
German printer Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press in 1450
*(Mass Media was BORN)
Made it relatively cheap after the invention
Much info. Can be recorded
Press allowed for an unprecedented circulation of knowledge to far-flung cities across Europe
During the 19 and 20 centuries, the newspaper industry experienced explosive growth.
Since 1973, however, newspaper circulation has steadily declined.
Motion Picture and Sound Recording
*Thomas Edison and his assistant, William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, created what would
later develop into the first two new mass media since print.
* Edison’s invention – 1 , Phonograph (Device that played recorded sound, in 1877)
2 , Kinetoscope (early motion picture device that showed short, silent, films
in peep-show fashion to individual viewers, in 1892)
- Audience physically having to travel to the media as in the case of film, media could now directly
be brought to audiences over public airwaves.
*Census data (from 2004) indicate that 99% of US households have a radio & 98.2% have a television set.
*Suffice to say, Americans spend a significant amount of time with radio & television
“New media are the cultural objects which use digital computer technology for distribution
and circulation” – Lev Manovich
New media; digital television, film, photography, and e-books, internet
*The history of new media begins with the development of the microprocessor or computer
chip. – Introduced in 1971, the world’s first commercial microprocessor, the 4-bit Intel
4004, executed about 60,000 calculations a second.
*The internet began to catch the public’s attention in 1970s when emails became evident.
*In the early 1990s, that popularized the internet by transforming it into the hypertextual
platform we know now as the World Wide Web.
Living in 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.
Ex) iTunes libraries and cell phone plans Convergence
Increasingly, contemporary media reflect convergence, the tendency of formerly diverse
media to share a common, integrated platform.
stfore media convergence could become a reality, it had to overcome two major obstacles:
1 ndthe noise associated with analog signals (solved through digitization)
2 , bandwidth limitations prevented large data packets (have made possible the real-time
transmission of large data packets over communication channels)
Today, instead of going to media, media can come to or go with us virtually anywhere
Ex) working on your laptop or listening to your iTunes anywhere you want