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W1 Reading Notes Havens & Lotz.docx

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Simon Fraser University
CMNS 230
David Newman

WEEK 1 Key Concepts in Media Industry Studies Havens & Lotz, 2012, pp. 1-26 1 • non-utilitarian feature of media: media do not fulfill essential human needs, but are nevertheless central to the proper functioning of a democratic society • cultural activities used to be nonprofessional, spontaneous and free of charge • people’s cultural tastes are more fickle and unpredictable than their tastes in other goods and services -> risky business • media consumers are left with little but their memories after consumption 2 UNDERSTANDING MEDIA INDUSTRIES • we are familiar with media texts and are savvy users of media, but know little about how media are organized into and operate as industries • most media is created by businesses aimed at making money, they are profitable • understanding media industries is an important part of being an educated citizen and consumer WHY STUDY MEDIA INDUSTRIES • to understand how and why the texts we interact with come to be created 3 • media industries are primarily for profit, but are also significant cultural and political institutions • media industries warrant understanding because they … 1. are important sectors of the world economies 2. contribute to political discussion (even set ground rules for political debate) 3. contribute to our everyday lives 4 The Industrialization of Culture Framework • three levels of influence that influence each other 1. mandate: organization’s foremost goals, reasons for operating 2. conditions under which media industries operate 3. practices: day to day practices of organizations and individuals 5 • “Social Trends, Tastes, and Traditions”: range of social and cultural resources that media producers might possibly draw on when creating texts • culture forms the background of the entire framework o culture, aesthetic sense: texts that the media industries produce o culture, anthropological sense: specific social practices, values mores, and hierarchies associated with a particular group of people o culture also includes members of the public in a variety of different roles that relate to the media industries 6 Mandates • primary goal or reason for being in the media industry • commercial mandate: make decisions based on profit, not democratic (some audiences are more valuable than others) • noncommercial mandate: value something other than profit o public mandate (e.g. BBC, PBS) serve needs of citizens of the nation that support those media outlets with tax money o community mandate: similar, but more specific group o alternative/DIY mandate: seek to fill a void in existing media, vehicles of self-expression for artists o governmental mandate: control over content, typically exercised by totalitarian regimes Conditions • organize how media industries can operate, rarely operate independently • technology affects the production, distribution, and exhibition of media • regulation is specific to countries and industries; concerns business structure and practice, technical standards, and content; 7 • economics: e.g. how ownership norms affect content production, e.g. conglomeration of many kinfs of companies under one corporate umbrella, and consolidation of ownership of conglomerates into a few global behemoths; Practices • broad range of workers and activities • creative practices: tasks and workers involved in making media texts • distribution and exhibition practices: workers and activities that bring ginished media texts to the audience • auxiliary practices: numerous other practices somewhat outside the media industries but are crucial to their functioning and contribute to “circumscribing textual possibilities” 8 • Pinball model illustrates the multidirectionality of the framework; all practices and conditions influence one another and the final text and these insights are not inevitably transferrable to other texts, industries, locations, or historical periods 9 MEDIA INDUSTRIES IN SOCIETY • Media texts are simultaneously nonutilitarian and socially important • Communication technologies have always fascinated people: utopian hopes & fearful condemnations 1 • Media industries and texts they produce have been treated differently than 0 other industries because of their product’s potential for great social good and harm 1 All Media Matter in the Public Sphere 1 • Idea that information is central to proper functioning of democratic societies dates back to American Revolution and earlier, enshrined in the Constitution (freedom of speech, or press) • Jürgen Habermas’ public sphere: unique space for public debate that mass media provide in modern societies, functioning democracies need to create a public space for expression and debate of important social ideas and mass media provide one powerful, potential vehicle for such discussions 1 • Media industries need to be free of substantial control by governmental or 2 business interests or journalistic objectivity might be compromised • Public sphere has been extended to include entertaining texts -> also significant in forming our worldviews and perspectives about society • Newcomb & Hirschs’ metaphor of the cultural forum: media are not jdged for
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