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Film and Media
FILM 240
Sidney Eve Matrix

Film 240 – Week 1 ­ Chapter 1 Notes THE DIGITAL ERA: • In digital communication, images, texts, and sounds are converted (encoded) into electronic signals (varied combo of binary numbers), that are then reassembled (decoded) as a precise reproduction of a TV picture, or magazine article, song, telephone voice , on the internet images, sounds, and texts are all digitally reproduced and transmitted as well • New technologies (internet and cable) developed so quickly that traditional leaders in communication lost some control of info. Ex. 1992 election when network news shows lost audiences to MTV, CNN etc. By 2004 Internet bloggers (people who post commentary on cultural, personal, and political opinion based websites had become key players in the news • Email (digital reinvention of oral culture) had assumed some of the functions of the postal service and is outpacing control communication beyond national borders. • Many repressive and totalitarian regimes have had trouble controlling messages sent over the borderless internet • Emergence of Social Media reinvented oral culture -> allows people from all over the world to communicate and share stories • Turn to digital media forms has fundamentally overturned media business models, the ways we engage with and consume media products, and the ways we organize our daily lives around media choices THE LINEAR MODEL OF MASS COMMUNICATION • In one of the older explanations on how media operates, mass communication has been conceptualized as a linear process of producing and delivering messages to large audiences. • Sendors (authors, producers, and organizations) transmit messages (programs, messages, texts, ads) through a mass media channel (newspapers, books, magazines, radio, television, or internet) to large groups of receivers (readers, viewers, and consumers). In the process gatekeepers (news editors, executive producers, and media managers) function as message filters • Make decisions about what images get produced for particular reasons • Process allows for feedback (consumers if they choose return messages to senders or gatekeepers through letters, phone calls, emails, web postings, talk shows. • ISSUE: Media messages do not usually move smoothly from point A – point Z o Senders have very little control over how their intended messages are decoded or whether messages are ignored or read A CULTURAL MODEL FOR UNDERSTANDING MASS COMMUNICATION • Contemporary approach to understanding media = cultural model • Recognizes that individuals being diverse meanings to messages, given factors, and differences (age, gender, education, ethnicity, occupation) • In this model, audiences actively affirm, interpret, refashion, or reject the messages and stories that flow through various media channels • This model suggests the complexity of this process and the lack of control that the Sendors have on how audiences receive and interpret messages • Sometimes producers of mass media messages are the active creators of communication, however consumers also shape media messages to fit or support their own value/viewpoint • Selective Exposure: people typically seek messages and produce meanings that correspond to their own set of cultural beliefs, values, and interest • The rise of social media and the internet have complicated the traditional roles in both linear and cultural models of communication o Anyone can be a sendor of messages (borderless, decentralized, and democratic nature of internet) o No more gatekeepers ( internet allows for sendors to transmit content without first needing approval or editing) THE EVOLUTION OF MEDIA: FROM ENERGENCE TO CONVERGENCE • The development of most mass media is initiated not only by the diligence of inventors, but also by the social, cultural, political, and economic circumstances. Ex. internet was invented in response to the need for more rapid information sharing due to an increasingly mobile and interconnected global population. • Four stages of innovations: o Emergence/ Novelty Stage: inventors and technicians try to solve a particular problem o Entrepreneurial: Inventors and investors determine a practical and marketable use for the device o Mass Medium: Businesses figure out how to market the new device or medium as a consumer product o Convergence: Older media are reconfigured in various forms on newer media. During this stage we see the merging of many different media forms onto online platforms, but we also see the fragmenting of large audiences into smaller niche markets • With new technologies allowing access to more media options, mass audiences are morphing into audience subsets that chase particular lifestyles, politics, hobbies, and forms of entertainment MEDIA CONVERGENCE • Convergence: a term used when describing all the changes that have occurred over the past decade, and are still occurring in media content and companies • The term has two different meanings – one for technology, and one for business • The Dual Roles of Media Convergence: 1. Media convergence involves the technological merging of content across different media channels; magazines, radio songs etc. are available on internet through laptops, smartphones, etc. Media convergence is much broader than the simple merging of older and newer forms, the eras of communication themselves are reinvented in this “age of convergence”. Oral -> emails, Print -> newspapers available online. 2. Cross Platform: a business model that involves consolidating various media holding such as cable connections, phone, internet, etc. under one corporate umbrella=better management of resources and maximize profit • Media Businesses in a Converged World o Google is the most successful company of the digital era, but it does not produce any of its own content, they are dependent on news organizations to produce the quality information that healthy democracies need and that Google can deliver o Challenge is who will pay for quality content and how that system will emerge • Media Convergence and Cultural Change o The internet and social media have led to significant changes in the way we consume and engage with media culture. DVR’s, hulu, Netflix, all break down the shared media experience in favour of our individual interests and pursuits. o Today we are able to access media in more than one place allowing for media multitasking o Media multitasking has led to growing media consumption. Some feel that it has caused us to be more distracted, we engage less with each type of media and often pay closer attention to the media than to the people immediately in our presence o However some feel that now we are able to communicate during TV programs real time, “live tweeting”, this type of participation indicated that audiences are in fact more engaged even though they are multitasking. o Some believe that having more choice makes us more engaged media consumers because we have to actively choose the media we want to consume STORIES: THE FOUNDATION OF MEDIA • The stories that circulate in the media can shape a society’s perception and attitude eg. Persistent media coverage of the Vietnam War ultimately led to the loss of public support for the war. The stories told through a variety of media outlets played a key role in changing individual awareness, cultural attitudes, and public perception • In the digital age, reality TV and social media dominate every story – reality stars are ordinary people which means we can relate better to their characters or compare our lives to them • The cultural blending of old and new ways of telling stories is another form of convergence that has disrupted and altered the media landscape in the digital era • Ordinary citizens are able to participate in and have an effect on the stories being told in the media. EC. Occupy Wall Street would not have gotten the media coverage that it did had it not been for the videos, tweets, and blog posts from ordinary people • Our varied media institutions are basically in the narrative or storytelling business. Media stories out events in context helping us to better understand both our daily lives and the larger world. • Jerome Brunger and his book “Making Stories” argue that we are story telling creatures • The common denominator between entertainment and information culture is the narrative • Popular narratives of our culture are complex and varied THE POWER OF MEDIA STORIES IN EVERYDAY LIFE • Socrates worried that children exposed to popular art forms without distinction would take into their souls teachings that are wholly opposite of what we wish them to possess. He believed that art should uplift us from the ordinary routines of our lives • Euripides believed that art should imitate life even when the reality was sordid • Plato
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