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Intro to Media and Culture [NOTES - PART 12] -- I got a 90% in the course

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COMM 121

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February 20, 2014: Media Research I: What the Media Do To Us Media Research is a “tug of war” between the industry and the audience ● What does the industry want to know about the audience? ● What does the audience want/reject from the industry? ● Size and Reach of Audience ○ These numbers are the MOST needed data ○ How many people are listening to the radio? ○ How many people are going to the movies? ○ How many people saw that movie? ○ How are people watching TV? When? ● Anything you go on on digital technology is measuring and tracking your whereabouts ○ Facebook ○ Google ● Audiences attend to media ○ The biggest concern is what is happening DURING media attendance ○ Effects Research ■ We are relying on the media more than each other ■ Social isolation - lack strong ties to our neighbors, families, and friends, that was present before the mass media era ■ - “what is that quality of mass media where we are all engaging in the same stuff?” - “our media might be our tool for our intellectual advancements but that’s not what we want to use them for. We use them to fulfill our most basic desires.” ■ Direct Effects: 1920s-30s, the mass media have powerful effects on people; effect is immediate, direct, and uniform ● Immediate impact ● The mass media hit everybody who engaged ● War of the Worlds broadcasts MIXED UP this belief ○ Some people react in a serious manner ○ Some people understood that it was just a story ● Ultimately considered too dogmatic ■ Mass Society Theory: circa 1950s, contemporary society marked by increased homogenization, decline in interpersonal interactions ● “We don’t want increased sameness in culture” ● Especially television ● “Others” were susceptible to media influences ○ Women, children, colored people, foreigners, undereducated ● With mass media, we are increasing sameness ○ Audiences are incredibly passive ○ We absorb mass media messages ○ Homogenized culture does not think for itself ○ Assumed stupidity of audiences ■ Limited Effects: circa 1940s-50s, acknowledges people’s individual differences and needs, media messages reinforce what people already believe ● We watch what we already believe ● “Some people in some situations will be influenced some of the time by some media messages” ● We do “walk in” with some beliefs ○ Audiences are still perceived as passive ● Two step flow of influence - Croteau and Hoynes ○ Circle of influence ■ Agenda Setting (or Priming): circa 1960s, media’s ability to set the agenda for discourse, direct people’s attention to certain issues (which effectively directs our attention away from others) ● Considered especially important in news and politics ● Media “Spin” ● Who learns what from what source about their civic leaders influences voting and public opinions ○ How is that agenda set? ○ What are they presenting to me? ○ What might be left out? ■ Cultivation Analysis: circa 1960s-70s, begins with the exploration of violence on TV concerned with heavy viewers of television ● Mean World Syndrome: heavy viewers of television believe the world is
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