Presentation on theme: "Mass Communication: A Critical Approach Chapter 1."— Presentation transcript:
Mass Communication: A Critical Approach Chapter 1
2006 National Midterm Election “In a democracy, we often depend on political ads and the news media to provide information that helps us choose our elected leaders....Did the news media’s coverage help us better understand an election full of ‘mud-slinging’ ads?” —Richard Campbell
The Media Storytellers At its worst, the media’s appetite for telling and selling stories leads them to exploit or misrepresent tragedy. – Hurtle from one event to another – Lose their critical distance – “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and “embedded” journalists At their best, our media reflect and sustain the values and traditions of a vital democracy. – Engage and entertain – Watch over society’s institutions
“It’s the job of journalists to make complicated things interesting.” —David Halberstam
Cultural Contexts Cultural institutions/cultural industries: – Media – Schools – Art – Beliefs News-delivery technologies – the new overlaps the old – the old struggles to retain vitality
Eras of Communication Oral communication Written communication Printed communication Electronic communication Digital communication When did mass communication start?
Digital Communication and Media Convergence Digital converts information (letters, images, sounds) into binary code…0s and 1s…the language of computers. Once digital, information can be shared among different media much more easily. Convergence refers to the appearance of older media forms on the newest media channels. Convergence also refers to newspaper, broadcast, and Internet outlets existing under one corporate roof.
Models of Mass Communication Linear Model: – Sender—message—mass media channel— (gatekeepers)—receivers – How does feedback fit into the model? Cultural Approach: – Individual cultural component – Selective exposure – Storytelling
Cultural Landscapes Culture as a Skyscraper: – High culture – Low culture Different media for each But many people consume both Culture as a Map: – Culture is an ongoing, changing process Modern vs. postmodern values
Culture as Skyscraper “Culture...was becoming increasingly organized during the twentieth century. And the model for that organization was the hierarchical, bureaucratic corporation.” — Jackson Lears
Skyscraper Model: Opera vs. Folk Music Some who like Beethoven also like American Idol. Did The Munsters rip off Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein? Does popular culture cheapen public life? – TV sets in use for more than seven hours a day – More refined culture struggles to find an audience Popular media may inhibit social progress by transforming us into cultural dupes. – We have been seduced by the promise of products. – The “Big Mac” theory: we have lost our discriminating taste for finer fare
Map Model: Shifting Values Among the four values of the modern period: – Individuality – Confidence in reason and science – Working efficiently – Rejecting tradition Postmodern culture (present) changes modern values
Postmodern Values Four features of the postmodern: – Opposing hierarchy – Diversifying and recycling culture – Raising doubts about scientific reasoning – But warmly embracing technology
Media Literacy Critical approach, not cynical Pay close attention Analysis of facts, not mere counting of facts Interpretation and meaning Ethical/moral evaluation of meaning Take action to shape the cultural environment
The Rules of Engagement Reassess and rebuild the standards by which we judge our culture Recognize the links between cultural expression and daily life Monitor how well the media serve democratic practices
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