Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mass Communication Effects ( Brief Notes )

These notes must for upcoming July 2016 NET

Mass Communication Research

· Scholars wanted to know: how media affect society, how media will affect our future

· Media influences, consequences still not understood

· Clear media do affect us, but how much & to what degree; effects closely studied by psychologists, sociologists & social psychologists

Charles Horton Cooley: Pioneer
· One of 1st social psychologists to look at media’s role; Human Nature & Social Order (1902) & Social Organization (1909) attempted to explain role of communication in society

· 2 opposing views: 1) media encourage individuality; 2) media limit distribution of new ideas, thus lead to assimilation

· Individuality encouraged: persons with unpopular political views can find like-minded individuals & find validation through media

· Limit new ideas: language in media could become the universal dialect of a people, replacing their own

· Cooley said 2 kinds of people result: one that embraces isolation; the other that is drawn to choice

· Felt modern media foster isolation & obliterates choice.

· Over time, media will eliminate what makes us unique as individuals, communities, races, and nations.

· May look, dress, behave differently; all still extremely similar

Cooley Summarized

· Some effects positive; info about alternative lifestyles, races, can lead to tolerance & acceptance
· Can be negative when:

o audiences develop superficial understanding & concern
o no detail about important issues
o overloaded with information

· Theories based on print media effects; inspired future researchers.

Movie Industry Concerns

· Researchers determined that film industry different from all others because films appealed to multiple senses; looked at actors such as Charlie Chaplin, one of the most popular; his films, The Kid (1921) & The Gold Rush (1925) showed just how popular; millions were going to the movie theaters a week

· Motion Picture Research Council questioned amount of influence on children; launched one of the largest studies funded by the Payne Fund

· 13 studies began in 1928, each answering a different question

o What was the content? (1500 films between 1920-1930; genre films)

o Who was exposed? (Edgar Dale studied 50 Ohio communities; found children, 5-8, attended more than adults, boys more than girls)

o How much info was retained? (Over 3 yrs, 3,000 tested at 6 wks, then 3 months; retention rates high among all groups; sleeper effect showed info can sit dormant in subconscious & emerge over time; movies did provide special format for learning

o Could retained ideas create an emotional response? (Most children displayed increased anger, sadness related to content)

o Do films cause children to act on increased emotions? (Children who attended often showed declining morals, delinquent behavior, lower intelligence, etc.)

o Does frequent film attendance lead to unsophisticated behavior or do unsophisticated children attend often? (Found no simple cause-and-effect relationship)

Payne Fund Studies’ Results

· Unable to find definitive answers to all of the questions

· Found that movies do have an effect on children

· Groundbreaking discovery: adults/children learn from media

· Discovered that what audiences learn affects how they live their lives; changed way academics viewed communication & media

Research Turns to Radio/Orson Welles

· Radio pivotal in homes; millions turned to CBS for its news; station known for being the only network to break into programming for newsworthy events

· On October 30, 1938, theater director Orson Welles adapted the HG Wells novel The War of the Worlds (with fictional news bulletins & “interruptions”)

War of the Worlds Broadcast

· Excellent special effects, acting & writing; seemed completely real to the 12 million listened; some listened without knowing it fiction; some estimate 6 million believed it factual; some evacuated, called police

· CBS radio under pressure; Federal Communication Commission (FCC) published guidelines against fiction & news

Suggestibility Research Resulting from War Broadcast

· Researcher Hadley Cantril & other broadcasters at Princeton University interviewed & observed to identify causes of panic

· 1st time communication researchers described types of people & conditions that lead to panic

· Suggestibility rather than less education a cause (Cantril thought less education) found that characteristics alone don’t explain listener’s reaction to panic, but people were more susceptible to panic if they had the following characteristics:

o A lack of self-confidence
o A sense of fatalism
o A tremendous amount of personal worry
o Strong religious beliefs

Lasswell’s Hypodermic Needle/Direct Effects

· Theorist Harold Lasswell theorized this; one of the 1st true theories to deal with mass media effects (1920s & 1930s)

· Suggested media “inject” public with thoughts & opinions media manipulators wanted; attributed powerful/direct effects of media

· Audience’s direct access to media was new & unfamiliar; now messages in homes & workplaces, unfiltered by human interaction

· 1930s Nazi Germany’s intelligent use of radio, film & print media an example; Lasswell felt there was no question that media influenced World Wars I & II; political propaganda on all sides

· Though convincing, this theory later discredited as being too simplistic; more sophisticated, complex theories resulted

· Lasswell went on to ask one of the most important questions of research: “who says what in which channel to whom & with what effect”; led future research

Lazarsfeld & Political Power Research

· 1940s, Paul Lazarsfeld & colleagues looked at mass media & changing views in politics

· 1st thought media sway a voter’s decision; later decided little effects on voting

· Political party affiliation more important; paid attention to media messages that support their affiliation

Selective Perception Theory

· Individuals respond & perceive messages selectively, based on their own personal needs (pay close attention to some things, ignore others)

· Media messages don’t affect groups the same; instead, the effects personalized & people remember what they choose to

· Recall in place to satisfy individual needs of the audience (recall what they want)

Uses & Gratification Theory

· Using selective perception, Lazarsfeld & researcher Elihu Katz developed uses & grats theory.

· Individuals respond, perceive & use media messages differently, depending on their own interests & needs

· People remember media messages on what they select to retain (selective recall)

· Places emphasis on personal gratification each individual gets from media to explain how why we select messages we consume & how they affect us

Two-Step Flow Research

· Lazarsfeld & Katz (political science research) suggest that media messages 1st influence economic & political power elites or opinion leaders who put their own “spin” on messages (1st step), then later pass them on through interpersonal contact or by using media messages (2nd step)

· Popular in the 1950s & 1960s, lost power once media channels expanded allowing more access.

The Technological School

· Early theories focused on direct effects of media on people; other theories emphasize indirect media influence

· Impact comes from media (the technology itself) rather than their messages

· Technological School (Toronto School) contends that the real impact lies in the changes that the technology has brought to societies

· Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” suggest that media have the power to shape & influence the message itself & determine how the audience interprets the message (broadcast emphasize image); McLuhan & mentor Innis felt media are extensions of human mind & body; electronic media extension of human nervous system; this extension circles globe, establishing interpersonal involvements, the “global village”

· Joshua Meyrowitz’s 1985 No Sense of Place examines the influence of electronic media on our cultural environments, and how our roles & behavioral patterns in society are formed.

· Manuel Castells’ 3-volume The Information Age examines the social, cultural, political & economic impact of the information society on our daily lives; 2nd volume focuses on how new media & technologies are changing how we organize our lives & define ourselves (MySpace, iPod, etc.)

Third-Person Effects Research

· End of the 20th century, researchers looked at effects from new angle; important not just how public is affected by media; how does the public think it is affected?

· New hypothesis seems to be confirmed in study after study.

· 1980s theory that suggests people tend to believe media messages affect & influence others more than themselves.

· As audience members, we resist the idea that we can be directly affected by messages; everyone else is susceptible though; this led to a more recent model, the indirect-effects model

Indirect Effects Research

· People tend to perceive the effect of messages of others, then react to their perception.

· Example: You hear me discuss Judge Judy, and you begin to assume that even if you are not a fan, the show is influential.
· If you hear it so much, you become tempted to jump on the bandwagon so you won’t be left out.

Social Learning/Modeling Theories

· Social learning: involves learning behavior that is controlled by environmental influences rather than internal influences.

· Modeling: typical result of social learning; observation of others’ actions to determine how you should behave.

· Concerned with ways in which observation of behavior in mass media can encourage similar behavior in audience members; problems that could result include:

o People make many decisions simply because of the behavior of others.
o Replicating aggression of cartoon characters, or wearing a jacket without going outside because others are doing so are all examples of modeling.

· Albert Bandura found that children learn aggression, sharing, cooperation, social interactions & disappointment from individuals in their environment.


· Bandura’s research led many to believe that if children could learn so much from people, they also likely learned from television, especially violence.

· Research on media violence & children controversial & falls under two types.

o 1st type: media violence lessens the likelihood that children will want to commit violence.
o 2nd type: media violence increases the drive for children to participate in violent behavior.

History of Media Violence Concern

· Issue of concern since 1950s; do media have great influence or limited effects?

· In 1960s, 2 government commissions explored topic; found some influence (some causal relationship between watching & acting violently).

· In the last 15 years, more criticism due to videogames & hip-hop music (Ice T’s “Cop Killer”; Columbine)

· More recent studies show just how much violence young people are subjected to (average child under 14 exposed to 11,000 TV murders).

Cartharsis Theory

· Dates back to Aristotle who felt that viewing tragic plays, people get to release emotions such as grief, rage & fear.

· Claims media can ease children’s urges to participate in violent behavior.

· Viewing violence in media helps aggressive people address their anger vicariously & lessens aggressive behavior.

Cultivation Theory

· Grew out of work by George Gerbner & colleagues (Annenberg)

· Late 1960s, tried to correlate amount of violence in primetime television to perceptions television viewers hold about “real-life” violence

· Thus, causal link to watching television & how we perceive reality; television “cultivates” or shapes the way we see the world.
Mean World Syndrome

· So much television violence leads people to think that the world is far more dangerous than it really is.

· Basically, TV shapes the way we see the world; the more TV watched, the more distorted perception of the world.

· David Walsh: violent video games can lead to violent behavior; other risk factors, but games heighten impulses of troubled teens.

Violence and Music

· Recent studies done focusing on violent images in music videos on cable music channels.

· Studies found that 16.4% of videos contained acts of violence; low, but 76% of violence was assisted by use of weapons.

· Study found that hard rock (72% of videos) and hip-hop/rap (48% of videos) were most violent genres.

· Three main problems identified with this violence:

o Increased levels of aggression: young males seeing violence as natural way to resolve conflicts.

o “Mean world” syndrome: steady diet of violent media over lengthy time makes viewers think it’s a “mean & violent” place; might lead to feelings of anxiety, alienation and depression.

o Desensitization: violent messages might lead to a loss of sympathy for victims, less proactive involvement in preventing & stopping violence, and a general perception of violence as the norm.

Women, Sex, Hip-Hop, Video Games & TV

· Depiction of women in videos of concern; some suggest that lyrics & videos degrade women; subservient to men (misogynist)

· Popular videogames objectify & stimulate violence & aggressive behavior toward women

· Popular television shows also problematic; 83% of most popular TV shows among teenagers in 2001-2002 had sexual content.

Sex & Pornography

· Worldwide business, but difficult to determine what is offensive, obscene & pornographic & what is not; even difficult for the Supreme Court to define (“know it when you see it”)

· Research begun in earnest in 1970 with the Presidential Commission on Obscenity & Pornography.

· Image & treatment of women & relationship between the sexes has been studied.

Telecommunications Act of 1996

· Most sweeping reforms in the field of telecommunications in 62 years (1934); mandated digital television; allowed cable services by telephone companies; discontinued media ownership regulations.

· One entire section dedicated to the issue of pornography on the Internet; courts have struck most rules down as unconstitutional & conflicting with the protections warranted by the First Amendment.

Ethics & Antisocial Behavior

· Media messages might be eroding traditional ethical values, thus stimulating antisocial behavior

· Images so pervasive that they might be creating a sense of alienation & frustration in the youth

· Pervasive use might lead to a society that places excessive importance on materialism, appearances & consumption of material goods.

Education and Socialization

· People who spend a great deal of time watching television have lower IQs.

· Studies suggest children who spend a limited amount of time watching television do better academically.

· Educational programming can help children strengthen abilities.

· Questions go unanswered in terms of the effects; certain that they tend to reflect & perpetuate gender & stereotypes.

Political Beliefs & Attitudes

· Many of us rely on media for political information; researchers interested in finding out if these images have an impact on people’s views, beliefs, attitudes & behavior.

· Anti-smoking public service campaigns have provided a wealth of information to gauge the effectiveness of mass media.

· Now looking at the relationship between political messages & voting behavior (“Rock the Vote”)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Evolution of Mass Communication ( Short notes) Part II (Final)

New Media

· From Colossus to ENIAC, to Apple, computers & the Internet pivotal in all changes

· Blogs have changed society, particularly politics.

· eBay & Craigslist revolutionized retailing.

· Facebook, MySpace & Twitter, Google, YouTube, Yahoo. . .


· Coined in 1997, describes web logs: daily postings with content personally posted on narrow topics, often watchdogs & self-proclaimed experts

· In 1999, a few companies began offering blog software; by 2002, Pyra Labs claimed 970,000 users

· Gone from obscure fad to a genuine alternative to mainstream news outlets

· Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party marked the turning point; Trent Lott complimented Thurmond’s segregationist party involvement in his run for presidency in 1948; Lott’s comments virtually ignored by mainstream press; blogs kept it alive; 4 days later, Lott apologized; 2 weeks later, Lott was out as Senate Majority Leader

· CBS’s Dan Rather (story on George W. Bush’s military stint), presidential candidate John Kerry (“Swiftboat” incident) helped cement the future importance of blogs eBay

· Online selling site begun by Omidyar in 1995

· Originally called AuctionWeb; 1st sold a broken laser pointer for $14.83

· Bought PayPal in 2002; now have a 25% stake in Craigslist


· Begun by Craig Newmark as e-mail list for friends; later, job & apartment listings added; now has everything!

· Most postings free; expenses covered through job postings; 1 million jobs posted each month; now more than 50 million users

· Negative press because of “Erotic Services” section that had been a well kept secret (now called “Adult Services”); allegedly, Philip Markoff, a Boston med student, met victims using the site; in April, 2009, Julissa Brisman killed, Markoff charged; on 8/15/10, what would have been the 1st anniversary had he gotten married, Markoff found dead in his cell, a suicide; his death has renewed interest in the site that has now been removed with “Censored” on the site instead


· Originally called “”; begun by Harvard sophomore Zuckerberg in his dorm room as a hobby

· Later extended to Stanford & Yale

· Forbes called him “the youngest billionaire on earth & possibly the youngest self-made billionaire ever” (2008)


· Begun by Greenspan, DeWolfe & Anderson in ’03; #1 social networking website in ‘06
· In ’07:

o Approximately 180 million accounts in ’07
o Typical user has 278 “online friends”
o Teens spend an average of 15 hours per week on site

· Bought by News Corporation in ’05; looked like a wise decision; site steadily lost its stature over years

· New team, different logo (no longer the “place for friends”), and a smaller workforce may help site bounce back


· Founded by Dorsey, Stone & Williams in ’06; users limited to only 140 characters; messages known as “tweets”

· Postings answer the question, “What are you doing?”

· Growing fast, thanks in large part to the celebrities that now have accounts Google

· Founded by computer science grad students Page & Brin at Stanford in 1998

· Wanted to find a way to retrieve information from the web; began the search engine BackRub that later became Google (named for the number represented by the number 1 with 100 zeros behind it)

· In ‘98, Google opened its office in Menlo Park, CA; so powerful, it now owns YouTube ($1.65 billion)


· Founded by Hurley, Chen & Karim in 2005; now the world’s most popular online video sharing site (people watching hundreds of thousands videos daily)

· President Obama one of the 1st politicians to take advantage; his info watched for 14.5 million hours

· Average viewer watches 15 minutes a day; would take two centuries to watch all of the videos

· Gets two million views a day, double the number of viewers watching network television in primetime, combined

· 70% of traffic comes from outside the U.S.


· Begun in ‘94 by two Stanford electrical engineering Ph.D. candidates, Filo & Yang; originally begun as “David & Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web”

· “Yahoo” stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” though founders say definition sold the name

· Leading global Internet, commerce and media company offering services to more than 345 million each month worldwide


· Now allows access to all types of media products whenever desired.

· Hulu is the site offered by News Corporation & General Electric; allows viewing of Fox, NBC & other network programs

· is CBS’s version of Hulu offering CBS programs

· ABC programming available on the network’s website & iTunes

Concentration of Ownership

· More media companies are owned by fewer & fewer people.

· Should encourage the widest possible dissemination from diverse sources

· Marketplace of ideas shrink; new & independent voices are stifled.

· Osama v. O.J., Whitewater, Princess Di; embassy bombings v. Lewinsky; all focus on insignificant issues instead of pressing concerns.

Top Powerful Media Corporations (2008)

· Time Warner
· The Disney Company
· News Corporation
· General Electric/NBC Universal
· Viacom

Ted Turner & Warner Brothers Merge; Time Warner Results (#1)

· Turner already owned:
        o CNN & Headline News
        o MGM/United Artist pre-1986 libraries (TNT)
        o Hanna-Barbera Productions (Cartoon Network)
        o WTBS

· Turner merged w/Time Inc.; Warner Brothers merged also to become Time Warner

· Time Warner owns: CW (50%), Warner Brothers, Hanna-Barbera, HBO, Cinemax, CNN, Headline News, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, TBS, Cartoon Network, AOL, Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Fortune, Atlanta Braves, New Line Cinema, Cartoon Network, DC Comics

The Disney Company (#2)

· Disney Company owns: ABC, Pixar, Disney Studios, Buena Vista, Touchstone, Miramax, ESPN, Disney Channel, ABC Family, Toon Disney, SoapNet, Classic Sports Network, pieces of Lifetime, E! (portion of), A&E, History Channel, Disneyland, Disneyworld, ESPN magazine, 62 radio stations

· Previous animated hits: Beauty and the Beast, Lion King (pen & ink animation)

· More recent hits: Pirates, Freaky Friday, National Treasure

· Disappointments: The Alamo ($100 million), King Arthur, Around the World in 80 Days

· 2001-2002, tried Who Wants to Be a Millionaire 4 times a week; rebounded with Desperate Housewives, Lost, & Grey’s Anatomy

· Had the opportunity to work with Pixar

Pixar Animation

· As of January, 2006, had won 20 Academy Awards (2007’s Ratatouille : most nominated animated film)

· Had a previous deal with Disney, beginning in 1991 with Toy Story (1995); shared box office receipts & licensing revenues; Disney retained the right to make sequels to movies such as Monsters Inc.

· Hits: Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars (all digital animation)

· Steve Jobs, Apple chief executive, also owns ½+ of Pixar; talks of a deal w/Disney broke down when Michael Eisner was CEO

· Cars was to be their last joint effort; Disney’s new CEO, Robert Iger, worked well with Jobs; agreed to be a major partner w/iTunes, releasing two ABC hits to Video iPod.

· ABC’s release of popular programs helps cement the success of Video iPods.

· New relationship helped hasten the merger; now Jobs is the largest Disney shareholder

Power of Steve Jobs

· Named by Fortune magazine as 2007’s most powerful person in business; founded Apple Inc. in 1977; the Apple II began the PC era

· Gave us “desktop publishing,” the laser printer, & pioneered personal computer networks

· Bankrolled Pixar, a brand new business model for creating computer-animated feature films; Jobs bought the Pixar technology from George Lucas

· Left Apple in 1985, returned in late 1996; changed consumer electronics with the iPod

· Persuaded the music industry, the television networks, and Hollywood to distribute their content with iTunes Music Store; opened successful Apple Stores (retail); ushered Apple’s entry into cell phone business (iPhone)

· So the five industries that Jobs has influenced:

       o Computers
       o Hollywood
       o Music
       o Retail
       o Wireless phones

· According to Fortune, “no one has more influence over a broader swath of business” than Jobs; he figured out a reason & a way for people to pay for media

Apple Statistics

· Apple’s computer division had a record 2008, selling 9.7 million Macs (twice the growth of industry average); as of 2009, Apple has sold 6 billion songs in 6 years to 75 million people.

· The iPhone, the 1st true mobile computer, is generating billions

· Apple released the iPad (already successful)

News Corporation (#3) & Rupert Murdoch

· News Corp owns: Fox, 34 O & Os, My Network TV, 20th Century Fox, FX, Fox News Channel, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Sports, The SPEED Channel, National Geographic Channel, Madison Square Garden Network, Newspapers, satellite TV, HarperCollins,, Wall Street Journal

· Chairman & CEO News Corp is Rupert Murdoch; Fortune named him the #2 most powerful person in business

· Career began in 1953 when he inherited control of 2 Australian newspapers; expanded to Britain in the 1960s, the U.S. in the 1970s, and Asia in the 1990s; in Britain, he owns the biggest tabloid, the Sun; in the U.S., the New York Post, Fox News Network, 20th Century Fox, etc.

· His purchase of & Dow Jones, the parent company of the Wall Street Journal, as well as the recent launch of the Fox Business Network, position him as a global-spanning financial news powerhouse.

· “At 76, Murdoch appears to be at the height of his power” (Fortune,

GE/NBC Universal & Comcast (#4)

· NBC Universal owns: NBC, Telemundo, part of PAX, 14 NBC O & Os, 15 Telemundo O & Os, NBC Universal Studios, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Trio, USA, Sci-Fi, 5 theme parks

· Comcast has purchased NBC Universal (NBCU); presently, Comcast is the largest multiple system operator (MSO), meaning it owns multiple cable operations across the country (23.8 million customers)

· Comcast provides high-speed Internet service to 15.7 million; voice service to 7.4 million; owns the Golf Channel and portion of E!; Philadelphia Flyers (hockey), 76ers & their 2 arenas; now owns majority NBCU (after the sale is approved by the government)

Things to Watch When Comcast Takes Over

· Jeff Zucker’s fate: NBCU chairman who grew the cable side

· Leno’s fate: will they embrace him?

· Olympics: will they bid for the next or leave it to Disney?

· NBCU name: will likely go away

· Hulu: network programming likely free; cable likely will be a pay model (has already begun pay model)

Viacom (#5)

· Viacom owns: CBS, CW (50% ownership with Time Warner), 16 CBS O & Os, 18 UPN O & Os, 5 others, Paramount Studios, CBS Productions, King World Productions, Showtime, Spike TV, MTV, MTV2, Noggin, VH-1, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, TV Land, CMT, Flix, Sundance Channel, Blockbuster, Simon & Schuster, Infinity (184 radio stations)

Extent of Media’s Reach in USA

· 37 million people in the U.S. will tune in to a primetime TV show on a typical Sunday night

· 98% of all homes have a TV set

· 91% have a VCRs & DVDs

· TV sets are on more than 8 hours a day in a typical U.S. homes

· 2/3 of all U.S. adults will read a newspaper each day

· 2/3 will listen to radio for some part of every day

· Internet population exceeds 938 million people

· 71 million Americans use e-mail every day

· 66% of the entire U.S. population regularly uses the Internet; 90% of teens, 12 to 17

· Americans spent more than $8.8 billion buying 1.4 billion movie tickets (’05) The Economy

· Not just individuals harmed by bad economy; fewer people working means fewer buying; fewer buying means fewer advertisers; less advertising, less money for media

· One in every 5 journalists who worked in 2001 likely gone.

· There will always be a need for talented, eager & passionate media employees.