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Chapter 7

POSC150 Chapter 7: We the People Chapter 7 The Media Outline POSC150

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Political Science

Chapter 7: The Media Traditional Media I. Traditional Media  The American news media are among the world’s freest and most diverse • Media- print and digital forms of communication intended to convey information to large audiences  Freedom to speak one’s mind is a cherished political value  Three types of media • Print media • Broadcast media- television, radio, or other media that transmit audio and/or video content to the public • Digital media  Most common for those under 50 II. Print Media  Newspapers are the oldest medium • Influential among the political elite  Detailed coverage by professional journalists  Not a big audience, but an important one because they set the national political agenda.  Had major political implications in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century • A development in standardized reporting and objective coverage  To appeal to as broad an audience as possible  In contrast, digital news is less likely to be neutral  Today, most revenue comes from digital subscriptions rather than actual newspapers in print • Paid digital news is increasing revenue and improving content. • Newspapers still must make large cutbacks, including employment  Campaign investigators in 2012 reported the candidates claims rather than investigating them.  Media is playing less of a watchdog role than before III. Broadcast Media  Television is the news source that reaches most Americans • But it covers few topics in little depth  Alerts viewers to issues and events  Relies on the reporting of others  Politicians manipulate the news by providing the media with sound bites  24-hour cable news stations offer more detail and commentary than evening news shows  Politicians consider local news friendlier than national news • National reporters criticize and question, while local/state reporters accept leader’s statements at face value  By playing new media against old, Trump would turn to social media to promote his message when traditional media threw him a curve ball  Cable television has had moderate declines • Still a major news source for older Americans  In the 1990’s talk radio became a source of commentary • NPR is politically center/center-left and is a coveted source for in-depth political reporting  Comedy talk shows with political content have become extremely popular • Important source of news for young people  The broadcast media are diversifying as America becomes more multicultural IV. Mass Media Ownership  A feature of traditional media is that ownership is concentrated  Media monopolies • The ownership and control of the media by a few large corporations • Prompts questions about whether enough competition exists  Media are private corporations who sell audiences to advertisers, not to supply news or protect democracy  The concentration of media ownership occurred due to government relaxations in the 1980’s-90’s • 1996 Telecommunications Act opened up for media industry consolidation • As more digital-only news sources come online, the trend towards concentration may reverse  Media concentration + party polarization= a growing distrust of mainstream media • Over the past 50 years, political candidates (especially Republican) have made prominent attacks on mainstream media • Frustrated public has turned to alternative partisan media New Media and Online News I. New Media and Online News  This century has shown a profound transformation of media that parallels the rise of the penny press • A cheap tabloid style newspaper produced in the 19 century when the steam powered printing press made newspapers cheap to make  News aggregators (Google News, Reddit, RealClear Politics) cover thousand of news stories dailiy, public opinion polls, and synthesize headline news • News aggregators are an application or feed that collects web content in one location for easy viewing  The internet is convenient for obtaining news • Streaming videos insetead of television  Millions of people listen to presidential speeches in this format • 62% of the country gets news on social media  Online media are more diverse • Have created a participatory press- citizens and nonprofit organizations play a large role • Represents a wide range of political views  Digital citizenship the ability to participate in culture and politics online • Digital citizen a daily internet user with home internet access and the skills to go online  8/10 Americans  Individuals who don’t meet these requirements become increasingly uninformed and excluded • Access to the internet is related to income and education  The significant inequalities in access to digital media among demographic groups is called the digital divide  Affordability is a major barrier to access  Major online political news websites include major newspapers, radio programs, and news sources with ideological leanings II. Digital Journalism  The last decade has seen the rise of niche journalism and digital-only publications • News reporting devoted to a targeted population  A recent trend in media is a sharp increase in professionally trained journalists working for digital news platforms III. Social Media  The rise of social media is the single most important trend in news and political communication • A secondary source for news after the television for most Americans • A primary source for the young  Provides a platform for direct engagement between citizens and political candidates/elected officials IV. Citizen Journalism  The old media system was dominated by professional journalists • High quality, but low diversity of opinion  Citizen Journalism is a distinguishing feature of digital media • News reported and distributed by citizens, rather than professional journalists and for- profit news organizations • Contemporary news reporting and commentary are more democratic • Enhanced by the ease of starting a blog  A large share of these include political news and commentary  A number have thousands of loyal readers who regularly critique stories presented by the print and broadcast media  Citizen journalism supplements the work of professionals • Allows new voices to be heard and improved information • No editing board, can post a story in minutes  Less traditional quality control, even well-meaning bloggers can post false information • Increase t
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