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SOC103H1 (103)
Chapter 14

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC103H1
Professor
Lorne Tepperman
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 14: Media and Mass Communication WAYS OF LOOKING AT MASS MEDIA: mass communication- The transmission of a message from a single source to multiple recipients at the same time FUNCTIONALISTS: • Interested in the way mass media are organized and how it contributes to equilibrium. • Media is a mechanism for informing, socializing, and educating the public. • Media literacy and mass media are important factors in “modernization”. CRITICAL THEORISTS: • Interested in ways powerful groups use media to perpetuate their dominant ideologies. A variant of this approach is the political economy perspective (focus on the ways private ownership affects what is communicated). • Important in understanding the manipulative side of mass media. e.g. over-coverage or slanting of particular topics; • Cultivation theory (Gerbner and Gross): mass media have become the main source of information in society today. People believe the world is mean because they are exposed to a lot of violence within media. (Mean World Syndrome)  TV normalizes violence, numbing violence for some individuals, while heightening it for others.  Disadvantage: theory ignores the intelligence of audiences. In reality communication is more complicated. Classic Studies: Deciding What’s News Findings: News wants audiences. There’s usually an inclination to include at least some stories that appeal to mass audience. e.g. famous people, violence and bloodshed, and sex scandal. Tendency to report “negative news” (attractive) National news is shaped by and serve the interest of people in high positions- stories chosen to improve reputations. All four organizations include value of individualism, belief in responsible capitalism, and desire for social order and strong national leadership. To summarize, the decision journalists make in choosing coverage is influenced by: • “news-worthiness” • internal pressures • tastes of the audience • responsibility and ethics Media Ownership Publicly owned (governments): use media for public service, educational programming Privately owned (most mass media in Canada): concerned with profit making. In the past individuals owned small media companies, however over time they have merged under on large empire controlled by the same group. In Canada ownership too is concentrated. Newspaper chains are owned by conglomerates, and argued that such cross-ownership (ones corporation owns media businesses of diff types) would compromise journalism’s social responsibility to the reading public. The Royal Commission (Kent report) said: • smaller news services are good, but may not survive • electronic media and telecommunication endangers the press newspaper As a result, the problems remain unresolved, and media still gets owned by large business enterprises. Canadian Content Private media companies don’t want Canadian content because it is not favourable over American content- doesn’t make as large of a profit. Implication: 1. Canadian government, through the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), has to force private media companies to include Canadian content 2. Canadian government has to provide financial incentives 3. Broadcasters carry Canadian content without sufficient funds Media and Politics • News stories are coded messages that promote a certain ideology about the nature of society and social life. • Most journalism today is (slightly) biased toward one political party or ideology, as reflected in editorials etc. Media can additionally influence voting by: • “Agenda-setting”: focusing on some issues but not oth
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