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Communication Studies
COMN 1000
David Skinner

Page 1 of 8 EXAM: /75 15% Fill in the blanks/short answer, True or false, multiple choice, essay ESSAY QUESTIONS: 1. Define the term “mass communication” (5 marks) Communication is the social action involving two or more people in the process of encoding and decoding or creating and interpreting messages. These messages refer to media values, current issues that is published and broadcasted within all mediums (TV, radio, computer, Internet, newspaper). This includes public relations and social interaction. Mass communication refers to the flow of information that is transmitted to a lot of people at the same time to make something common. 2. It can be argued that US media companies and products dominate Canadian media markets because they have much greater “economies of scale” in the production of such products. Explain. (5 marks) -sell more US goods (programming) since make more profit (since cheaper) than producing Canadian goods/programming  less people to sell to, so manufacturing will be more expensive (US Market: Canada 10:1); more products make, the less it costs -soap operas- cheap- developed by soap companies to sell ads Development of Advertising= developed in industrial revolution to sell new products- construct relationship between goods and values (ring represents wedding/love)  stimulates economy (positive) AND creates “false needs” àoverconsumption, pollution and environmental destruction (industrial production) Modes of Address: how attaching meaning to products over years, through advertising, which is portrayed as: information (utility), symbolism (personal use), personalization (gratification), and lifestyle (social context)—advertising techniques to represent products in ways that are meaningful to different sets of people (youth/teen marketing: creating cool to sell- movie) -private networks (CBC) chose to put foreign (US) shows on prime time to produce more profit so can use that money to produce Canadian content less Canadian content Reduces different perspectives spread (organizing news resources): limited number of reporters who create their stories around their official quotes, don’t have time to report why event happened (only what), stories exaggerated/changed to attract audience, stories chosen that will promote consumption- who audience (economic force) 3. Name and briefly describe three of the approaches to the study of media and audiences discussed by Lorimer and Gasher and Grossberg book as well. (5 marks) Effects Research- direct media effect on audience members- make meaning of an active process (StimulusResponse)-hypodermic needle mole, transportation model -never proved, but persists through media and violence (children/teens); agenda setting perspective (less direct) –the media doesn’t tell us what to think, but it tells us what to think about; cultivation analysis (media “cultivate” or promote particular perspectives) -all 3 tend to draw a straight line between what goes on in the media and what goes on in peoples head- downplay agency, individualism… Marxism, Frankfurt School- media promotes ideology, makes current economic system appear natural/legitimate, also promotes the growth of capitalism and the commodity Page 2 of 8 form. Only encourages activities that can be profited from (sports, leisure time all turned into commodities or products you have to pay for) Audience Commodity= something made into goods and services in exchange for profit Industry Audience Research Approach- numbers, who audience is, to sell for advertisers, becomes a product… get through demographics- who are, what resources have- social traits Audience Reach= the percentage of audience members who tune into a program at least once during a specified time period Audience Share: % of audience watching certain shows from total people watching TV Critique: not accurate (if flipping channels, tape, watch online) These ratings are accepted as real since the entire industry is built on it Myth of Consumer Sovereignty- do we get what we want or just what we are offered. In reality, products are predetermined (politically and economically) and can only choose what’s offered to us Ex: reality TV is cheap to produce, so produce a lot, and now can choose between which reality TV show want to watch) -started to produce without asking -have choice whether or not to buy products ContentAnalysis: the simple analysis of ideas in a message (counts words, images, sources..) Medium Theory: considers how the form of communication structures/determines the content (TV=images, radio=aural, advertising, inverted pyramid news story, music videos, investigative TV reports all provide specific form) -half hr/commercial TV show-cliff-hangers before commercial, solve mystery before end of hour show… Reception Analysis= research method that investigates how and in what context audiences consume media products Indeterminacy of Representation= the inability to control what a communication can mean fully and completely Denotative/ Connotative Meaning: theories, words, and meaning of communication are said to have both denotative= explicit and connotative= implied meaning Complexity vs. Reduction complexity= analysis focusing on everything vs. reduction= specific (reduce the issue into something smaller). The influence of media on youth, complexitylook at all other factors, reduceeffect of media 4. Compare and contrast 3 different perspectives on ideology as discussed in the lectures and reading. (5 marks) Ideology= particular way of life/set of beliefs/ideas/values justify current/future power relations- the distribution of power and wealth in society Control/force—visible, costly, hard, started to be questioned Capitalist ideology- media financially benefit (commercials) Why is it the way it is? –common sense ingrained by the media –power Realist ideology: ideology is false, there is no “real” or true way to understand the world and ideological ways Page 3 of 8 1. there is a “true” perspective that reflects reality and confused/”ideological” perspectives that don’t (women are treated equally in our society; Canada as a “peace keeper”) 2. false consciousness (Marx, class based): the dominant ideas of society are those that serve the dominant class (capitalism only society, the poor are lazy; work hard/get ahead). Media promotes/creates false consciousness. 3. Social constructionist- reality is always mediated by language (which is value laden or a set of specific perspectives on the world, everyone lives in and through ideology -ongoing struggle over how groups represented in language (meaning of black, gay, woman.. in relation to other social groups -supported by discourses Mediacentral to our knowledge of the world= key in struggle over ideology -fans, consumers, audiences affects identity, world, how influences world media part of “culture” or ‘whole way of life” as promoting “ideology” 5. Describe and discuss 4 forms of analyzing media content such as those listed on p90- 99 of the text. (Grossberg book as well). (10 marks) 1) Literary Criticism: auteur theory emphasizes the role of the author, and that the ideas in the story/text originate with the author 2) Structuralism (semiotics and post-structuralism): refers to the production of meaning where the emphasis is not on the individual, but on the larger social context/structure (history) Ex: ad: commercial vehicle, semiotics-sell beer, sexist, social history- how women overcome social positions-labour outside home, freedom, fun Post-structuralism refers to how meaning is made in the act of decoding. In semiotic terms, signs disintegrated and signifiers do not have specific signifieds 3) DiscourseAnalysis: refers to language and its history, meaning a form, mode, or genre of language use (language of love/authority/sport/news) that provides us with a particular perspective or position in the world. This includes rules about how words are used that support specific ideologies (going against discourse to tell a loved one that you love them like you love something bad/negative) 4) Critical Political Economy: media selling audience to advertisers (serving owner’s interests, not audience/society) Structure of newspapers reflect this - layout, story form, story topics- to appeal to viewers/readers to pick it up and read/buy, and continues once open the newspaper, can see the advertisements more easily than the actual articles (bigger, in color, pictures) -structure story written in-related to ads (general then specific) -news producers filter news/events and choose the ones that will interest that audience -mass media generally not interested in people with no/little disposable income or non- English speakers- directed to specific demographic group -tells us what’s important by where the story is printed (above the fold/last page), how often it’s covered, and for how long. Page 4 of 8 `6. Draw an “encoding/decoding” model of the process of mass communication such as the one we have been using in class. Label and describe its various components. Discuss it’s application in the context of analyzing a television program such as The Simpsons. Does this resemble a transmission model of communication or a cultural model? Why? Effects Model: Agenda Settings- Transmission Model- never proven. direct influence of media on youth behaviour and thoughts -critique: downplays people’s agency (free will, background/history/experiences) -senderreceiver elite perspective Cultural Model- audience not passive/dupes -more influences in life help us make own meanings (family, friends, religion, race, age) How social conditions/circumstances influence the production, distribution, and consumption of media messages encoding (ideas/messages put into symbolic form) and decoding (meaning is made of them) -shared field of social knowledge and values where mass communication system operates –language, social values, ideas about gender/family/etc) -political (libel law, content regulations, mandates, copyright) -economic (drive for profit-American products) circumstances which frame process of media production, organizational influences, professional values, technical means- how content put together=mode of distribution -decoding-children and media- if kids watch TV with parents- big influence on how understand TV program- and diff if watch with friends/ or by self Simpsons- Economic influence: time collapsed in the story- program broken up to allow for commercials to be inserted, show has several things going on at the same time, moves Page 5 of 8 back and forth to keep your interest, leaves things han
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