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Boston College
COMM 1020
John B Williaon

th Study guide for Communications exam 1: October 11 1. Chapter 1 a. Communication: exchange of meaning (the basic foundation). People interacting in ways that at least one of the parties involved understands as messages. b. Messages: collections of symbols that appear purposefully organized (meaningful) to those sending or receiving them. c. Intrapersonal communication: communication that involves 2-3 individuals signaling using voices, facial gestures etc…to convey meaning. d. Intropersonal communication: communication in ones own head. e. Small group communication: 3-25 people communicating. f. Public speaking: communicating to a large group g. Mediated interpersonal communication: interpersonal communication that is assisted by a medium (part of a technical system that helps in transmission distribution or reception of messages). i. i.e. the radio, CD television are all mediums. h. Small group communication i. Industrial nature of mass communication: media is produced by big companies, not individuals. j. Source: originator of the message. In mass communications, the source is an organization (company) not a single person. i. i.e. “The Daily Show”: Jon Stewart is not the source, Comedy Central is. k. Encoding: when a source translates a message in anticipation of its transmission to a receiver. When source is a person, encoding goes on in brain. When source is an organization, encoding takes place during the creation of the message. l. Transmitter: performs the physical activity of actually sending out the message. m. Channels: Channels are the pathways through which the transmitters ends all features of the message. i. i.e. someone yelling: the channel is the air that he is yelling through. ii. I.e. roommate texting you: channel is the electromagnetic frequency band through which the message travels. n. Receiver: person or organization that gets the message. o. Decoding: process by which the receiver translates the source’s thoughts and ideas so that they have meaning. p. Feedback: occurs when the receiver responds to the message with what the sender perceives as a message. q. Noise: environmental, mechanical and semantic sound in the communication situation that interferes with the delivery of the message. i. Environmental: comes from the setting where the source and receiver are communicating. ii. Mechanical noise: comes from the medium through which the communication is taking place. 1. i.e. static on the phone r. Industry communication process vs. interpersonal communication process (Antwaan vs. safety trust) i. AntwaanAndrews is a self-employed insurance agent. He sends email letters to a few people for 2 months telling about services. His audience is limited but feedback goes straight to him. ii. SafetyTrust Mutual:Antwaan represents them. Creates commercials, print ads etc…to market to audience. Larger audience, but harder to get individual feedback. iii. Difference between mediated interpersonal and mass communication can be seen as the difference between personal, hand-crafted production and mass production on the other. s. Ways that people use the media: i. Enjoyment: can engage a process called social currency. When people watch the same television programs, they can converse and bond over the show together. ii. Companionship: chronically ill hospital patient etc…may find companionship by watching their favorite t.v. shows. 1. Parasocial interaction: psychological connections that some people establish with celebrities. iii. Surveillance: use media to learn about what is happening in the world. Weather stations, news etc… iv. Interpretation: learn why certain things are going on in the world. 1. People are more likely to take to heart what they read/hear if they agree with the information. v. 6 Principles of Media Literacy: 1. The media construct our individual realities: When we watch t.v. / surf the web, we have to be aware that what we are seeing and hearing is not really reality. 2. The media are influenced by industrial pressures: the need to bring in revenues (sell to advertising) is foremost in the minds of organizations. Who paid for this? 3. The media are influenced by political pressures: decisions of courts about what restrictions government can place on the media, the struggle by various interest groups to change what media do. 4. The media are constrained by format: every medium has its own characteristics, codes and conventions of presenting cultural reality. 5. Audiences are active recipients of the media: individual audience members we filter meaning through our unique experiences. 6. The media tell us about who we are as a society: stereotypes, violence. vi. 6 Media Literacy tools: 1. Consider authorship 2. Evaluate the audience 3. Determine the institutional purpose 4. Analyze the content 5. Identify the creative techniques 2. Chapter 2 a. Audience: the people whom mass media firms are distributing content to. b. Demographics: the simplest and most common ways to construct an audience. Characteristics that divide people into social groups c. Demographic indicators: factors such as age, gender, occupation, ethnicity etc… d. Psychographics: organize audience by attitudes, personalities, motivations i. i.e.: “high income”, “30 and up” ii.3 types of psychographic categories: “art lovers” stay the longest (3 years), “idea hunters” stay shortest (2 years). e. Lifestyle categories: finding activities that potential audiences are involved in that mark them as different from others in the audience or in the population at large. i. Amagazine could (through survey) learn that its readers have expensive cars and go yachting, they would use this information for advertising and content in the magazine. f. Surveys: People are carefully chosen and asked the same questions. g. Focus groups: 8-10 selected people who discuss their habits and opinions about 1 or more topics. h. Analyzing existing data: investigation of potential audience for specific kinds of content. Executives will decide which kinds of materials to create and how. i. VALS (ideals, achievement, self-expression) i. Strivers: Chevy, coke, more likely to seek approval, more impulsive. ii.Experiencers: VW, Red Bull, young, self-expression, compulsive iii.Believers: Mercury, local TV-news, religion, family, home iv. Achievers: Honda, low-cal, domestic beer v. Innovators: BMW, sparkling water, active consumers vi. Thinkers: Subaru, wine, practical well-informed vii. Makers: dodge ram, Budweiser – do it yourself, basics over status viii. Survivors: “anAmerican car”, coffee from home, struggling, hardest to market to because they only live off of necessities j. Reputation silos k. Genres: categories of artistic composition; entertainment, news, information, education, advertising. i. Entertainment: making money by keeping an audience busy / amused, leaves agreeable feelings. 1. Subgenres: festivals, gaming, drama and comedy. l. Codes m. Contrivances n. Stylistic patterns o. Themes p. subgenres q. Formula: patterned approach to creating content that is characterized by 3 features: i. Setting ii. Typical characters iii.Patterns of action r. Hybrid genres: mixed genres s. Hybridity: mixing genres across cultures. I.e.: T-Pain (blues and rap), Bollywood films (Indian and traditional Hollywood themes). t. Dramedy: combination of drama and comedy. (Psych, Desperate Housewives, Monk…) u. News: telling of stories, objectivity (no bias) i. Hard News: first-hand reports of battle, politics.. 1. Timeliness: must have happened recently. 2. Unusualness: “Dob Bites Man” vs. “Man Bite Dog” 3. Conflict 4. The closeness of the incident: geographically or psychologically (connection to story) ii. Investigative reports: explorations of reality, objective. More time to develop and research story. iii.Editorials: subgenre of news that expresses an individual’s or organization’s POV. Not objective. iv. Soft news: gossip columns etc, bias can be shown. v. Information: the raw material that journalists use when they create news stories. A fact. w. Education: content is crafted to teach the audience something. Textbooks, shows on PBS. x. Advertisement: aims to attract favorable attention for certain goods and services. y. Product placement: paid insertion of products into media. i. Informational ads: recitation of facts about a product. ii. Hard sell ads: TV infomercial, annoying! iii. Soft-sell ads: try to create good feelings. i.e. “Mac vs. PC” ads or “Got Milk?” z. Powerful distributor: firms ability to ensure that the media products it carries will end up in the best locations and to the best audience aa. Shelf space: amount of area or time available for presenting products to consumers. ab. direct sales: products sold through direct channel frequently. “Now that’s what I call…” are CDs sold directly through television ads. ac. license fees ad. rentals ae. usage fees af. subscriptions ag. advertising 3. Chapter 5 a. 6 mass media trends i. Media fragmentation: increase in the number of mass media outlets. ii. Audience segmentation: producers and distributors try to reach different types of people with messages tailored specifically for them. iii. Audience segmentation: distribution of products across media boundaries iv. Globalization: v. Conglomeration vi. Digital convergence b. Audience erosion: decrease in the % of the population using a particular mass medium (newspapers). Usually caused by media fragmentation. i. Erosion of magazines because of televisions in 1940s. c. Targeting: a media organization wants to target a specific social segment as its audience. For example, women, people of color. d. Target segments: the desired segments that a media organization is trying to reach. Could be large (in the millions) or only hundreds.
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