SOC 103 - Chp 14 Media and Mass Communication
Mass media is the technology that makes mass communication possible, includes: printing
press, radio, television, photocopier, and camera etc.
o Mass communication is the transmission of a message from a single source to multiple
recipients at the same time.
In todays society, paper-based news has largely become obsolete, replaced by internet-based
o Even television programs are facing competition from media outlets like YouTube that
give viewers access to a wide variety of program and videos whenever they want.
Mobile phones also largely replaced landline phones at home.
The trend today is toward a more flexible communication device
o Mainstream (mass) media today also often have to compete with new media sources
like online blogs and popular websites. Nonetheless mainstream (mass) media remain
very important in our society
Sociologists are interested how media source influence our tastes, opinions, and beliefs, and
how this influence affects social life.
WAYS OF LOOKING AT MASS MEDIA
Functionalists are interested in the way the mass media are organized and how this organization
contributes to social equilibrium or stability
o Interested in the role of media as a mechanism for informing, socializing, and educating
the public. (especially evident in the treatment of media in developing countries)
Mass literacy and mass media consumption in less-developed countries are seen as important
factors in modernization
o People consume more media (various forms), they become more knowledgeable about
the world, and about cultural variety.
Media indirectly brings about social change.
A limitation to this is that, some countries try to block out incoming
messages and news about other areas of the world. E.g. the west, which
could largely slow down the process of modernization.
According to Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message.
Critical theorists are interested in the ways powerful groups in society use the media they own
to control organizational and class interests.
o This use of media increases their wealth and ensures continued political hegemony.
o Critical theory is also useful in understanding the use of media in politics, to manipulate
public opinion about particular candidates or issues.
Political economy perspective is a viewpoint that focuses on the ways private
ownership affects what is communicated, and the ways it affects the exercise of
power. o Cultivation theory, by Gerbner and Gross asserts that mass media (especially television)
have became the main source of information in society today.
People are then exposed to great deal of violent imagery, fear, exaggerated
Hence people are affected by the mean world syndrome, a heightened
state of insecurity which exaggerates the perception of risk and
o Overuse of television creates a homogeneous, almost
universally fearful population. (also normalizing violence)
Hence, desire to punish offenders, and reliance to
government powers is more, hence government gains
more control of the country.
o According to cultivation theory, audience are passive, vulnerable and easily manipulate
Theory denies people agency, ignoring the intelligence of audiences and
their willingness to evaluate what they hear.
CLASSIC STUDIES Deciding what News?
In many aspect of life when we have no first-hand experience interaction with the world, the
media control the way we see our world
o They tell us what is going on with the world, we are usually unable to challenge their
Media acts as filters, showing us some things, hiding other things
This book examines the intricate ways the news world works, and especially what happens in
the real world becomes news that we see on TV, (difference of the incident that happens in
reality and portrayed on TV).
o Inclination to stories that appeal to mass audience: famous people, violence, bloodshed,
sex and scandal
Tendency to report negative news
o News is shaped by people in high positions, stories are chosen to improve their
o Stories on news include value of individualism, a belief in responsible capitalism, and a
desire for social order and strong national leadership
o News communicated to audience is largely inaccurate or at least distorted.
Often delivered in a way that benefits people with power over the media
Decisions journalists make in choosing stories are determined by internal pressures; viewpoint
of the media organization and external pressure; tastes of the audience.MEDIA OWNERSHIP
Media broadcasting generally reflects the interests of the media owners.
o Publicly owned media in Canada are CBC/SRC and NFB.
Use media for public services, fulfilling social needs. Funded by government but
also receive from advertisement revenues.
o TVO is owned and operated with provincial governments
No commercial breaks, registered as charity and is funded by memberships and
Many believe the public media ownership is important for Canada, as Canadians can voice their
opinions of social issues.
o Others believe that these organizations are failing to foster a united Canadian identity.
Privately owned media in Canada
o Focus in profit-making
Most mass media in Canada are privately owned.
Cross-ownership is a business structure in which one corporation owns media businesses of
o E.g. a large corporation may own newspaper, magazines, television networks, and radio
Such cross-ownership will drive good journalists out of the professi