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MDSA02H3 (54)
Ted Petit (37)
Chapter 1

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Media Studies
Ted Petit

1. Critical Media Studies How Do We Know – Everything we know is learned in 1 of 2 ways: Somatically - Things we know through direct sensory perception of our environment ✗ We know what some things look, smell, taste (etc) like because we personally have seen, smelled (etc) them ✗ Ex: I know that marshmallows are chewy because I've had em before. ✗ This is known based on first hand, unmediated experience Symbolically – Things we know through someone or something ✗ Ex: Parent, friend, teacher, radio, film, internet ✗ Vast majority of what we know comes symbolically Medium – Symbolic information is mediated, came to us from some indirect channel or medium (comes between two things) WhoAre the Mass Media? - Communication technologies that have the potential to reach a large audience in remote locations ✗ Just because it reaches a large audience doesn't make it a form of mass media. ✗ Ex: 50 Cent could hold a concert in front of 50000 ppl, but this concert isn't mass mediated. The audience is there experiencing it, they aren't remote. ✗ Now if this concert was held via satellite, or streamed over internet then you could consider it mass mediated ✗ 4 Sub-Categories: (1) Print media, (2) Motion Picture and Sound recording, (3) Broadcast media, and (4) New Media Print media ✗ First mass medium ✗ Johannes Gutenberg invented the movable-type printing press in 1450. Birth of mass media ◦ Social power in these days hinged on literacy and ownership of printed materials due to their prices ✗ Allowed circulation of knowledge across Europe ✗ Jamestown, USA1607 – First printing press ◦ Mostly printed religious tracts (Ex: Bay Psalm Book), but also novels (ex: Robinson Crusoe) ✗ Explosion in number of households that had newspapers during 19 - 20 centuries, but declining since 1973 along with magazines ◦ *Despite declining readership in the newspaper and magazine industries, the book publishing industry would suggest thatAmericans are still reading Motion Picture and Sound Recording ✗ Edison and assistant (Dickson) created first forms of these new mass media since print. ◦ Phonograph (1877) played recorded sound ◦ Kinetoscope (1892) was an early motion picture device that showed short, silent films in a peep-show fashion to one person at a time ✗ Eventually, sound and video were synched and the first “talkies” (talking pictures) were launched. First one being The Jazz Singer (1927) ✗ Cheap and easily reproducible format such as magnetic tape (1926), long-playing records (1948), CDs (1982), etc fueled profits in the sales sound recording. ◦ This gave sound recording special independent attention from motion pictures and record industry began to dominate music industry Broadcast media ✗ Media could now be brought to audiences over public airways. ✗ Freed mass media from transportation for first time. ◦ No longer necessity for physical objects like books, magazines, newspaper.Also, no longer have to physically travel to the media like for films ✗ First was Radio (1890s). First scheduled broadcast was in 1920s ✗ TV followed shortly after with first TV patent by Philo T. Farnsworth (1927) ◦ CBS launched first TV schedule in 1941 ✗ Radio and TV shared overlapping history as many of TV's early stars came from radio ✗ On average, homes are equipped with 8 Radios and 2.5 T.V sets (2004) ✗ Confusion over how to categorize cable television and satellite radio ◦ both contain some content that cannot be broadcast over public airways, say, if you're not paying monthly ◦ They lie somewhere between broadcast media and new media New media ✗ Digital Television, Photography, e-books, internet, websites, Online games, mobile phones w/ internet access... ✗ Beginstw/ development of microprocessor/computer chip ◦ 1 microprocessor (1971) was the 4-bit Intel 4004 executing 60000 calcs/second ◦ By 1995, Intel's Pentium Pro could execute 250 million calcs/second ✗ Computers were developed initially as a communication technology for the US Department of Defense, but gained public interest as connectivity (potential for sending emails) increased ✗ World Wide Web popularized the internet in 1990s Living in Postmodernity – The present era has been described as the information age, space age, postmodernity: the historical epoch that began to emerge in the 1960s with shift from good-based manufacturing to information-based services. ✗ The mass production of standardized, durable goods (automobiles, toasters, etc) has given way to the reproduction of highly customizable soft goods such as iTunes libraries and cell plans ✗ 5 Key trends animating the mass media in postmodernity: (1) Convergence (2) Mobility (3) Fragmentation (4) Globalization (5) Stimulation Convergence – the tendency of formerly diverse media to share a common, integrated platform ✗ Erasing the boundaries between the different types of mass media ✗ Before media convergence could become a reality, it had to overcome 2 boundaries st ◦ 1 : The noise associated with analog signals (TV/Radio) caused message distortion and decay over long distances ▪ Solved: Through digitization – reduces distortion by relying on bits rather than a continuous signal ◦ 2 : Bandwidth limitations prevented large data packets (ex: video) from being transmitted quickly and easily over a communication channel ▪ Solved: Improved data-compression techniques + bandwidth expansions ◦ Overcoming these hurdles has accelerated convergence Mobility ✗ Development of powerful microprocessors and wireless tech allows media to come with us virtually anywhere. ◦ Mass media becomes more mobile. Ex: We can read a book, listen to songs, read news and watch movie on a laptop...laptop allows us to carry all of these around with us. Fragmentation ✗ Atremendous proliferation of media content, if not ownership, has led to specialization and niche marketing (tailoring to individual tastes) ✗ Alvin Toffler: “de-massification” of media has been underway since early 1970s ✗ Decreasing production costs have reduced the necessity for standardization ◦ Result: dramatic increase in media channels and a fragmentation of output that caters to the increasing diversity of the consuming public ◦ Ex: General-purpose magazines used to dominate the magazine industry (1960s) but replaced by 4000 special interest magazines by 1980 ✗ The internet = most fragmented medium Globalization – a complex set of social, political, and economic processes in which the physical boundaries and structural policies that previously reinforced the autonomy of the nation state are collapsing in favor of instantaneous and flexible worldwide solutions ✗ Even with increasing fragmentation by specialized interests, world has become more global as well ✗ Creates opportunities for multinational corporations (owners/controllers of mass media) to bring their cultural products to distant local markets ◦ Goal: to profit from untapped “global markets”
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