What is the difference between mass communication, mass media, and mass media outlets?
Mass communication- the industrialized production and multiple distribution of messages through technological devices.
Mass media- the technological instruments through which mass communication takes place
Mass media outlets- send out the messages through mass media
What kinds of mass media outlets do you use everyday? ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal ,etc.
Convergence- the confluence or coming together of different media factors
Technological– the coming together of technologies in a digital environment.
The best example of technological convergence that I can think of is a smartphone. Think about all of the different things that your phone does. It’s not really even a phone…it’s more of a pocket computer. It’s a web browser, social media browser, music player, screen for movies, TV, Netflix, Hulu, camera, camcorder, video game, calculator, email, chatting, telephone machine (I’m sure I missed a bunch of things too).
Economic– the merging of Internet companies and telecommunication companies with mass media companies.
Consolidation- large companies merging to form bigger companies
Mass Media Conglomerate- a company that holds several mass media firms in different media industries under its corporate structure.
Usually involves having a parent company and subsidiaries of that company.
The mass media landscape has been shrinking rapidly within the past 30 years or so. Particularly in the mid1990s media acquisitions were occurring at a rapid pace. AOL-Time Warner, Disney and ABC, News Corp and Fox.
The issue with media conglomerates is really the concentration of mass media ownership
So, what’s the problem?
1 It means that fewer people get to set the agenda.
Agenda setting- not telling people what to think, but rather what to think about- ESPN with the World Cup vs. NHL
2.It’s homogenizing- there is a fewer number of viewpoints that are being discussed
- It’s bad for democracy- people aren’t citizens (connected and involved in the process) they’re consumers of media being sold a political image. The fear is journalism becomes corrupted because it’s owned by a large company. Remember journalists are the watchdogs of our democracy. If they’re not reporting on a story, or if a politician is playing to media outlets instead of worrying about what the morally correct decision is that hurts us as a society.
The important thing here is the evaporation of diversity in ownership here only a hand full of companies own 90% of the media we consume now. This is essentially an oligopoly– an economic structure in which a few very large, powerful, and rich owners control an industry or collection of related industry
Cultural convergence– media products transcending cultural boundaries –
Why is it important to think about culture and the mass media? Mass media is the first place outside of the family that we learn our culture
We export more media that we import in the US.
Global media and globalization- Hollywood movies used to make 70% of money in US and 30% overseas that is now flipping
We do import a lot of media though. Particularly think about remakes of shows from other cultures in the US. The Office is a good example. As is X Factor, or any number of game shows.
Media Literacy – interacting with media content and analyzing it critically
- considering its presentation, political or social messages, and ownership and regulation issues
- ways to understand, access, evaluate, create, and communicate messages in the media.
Principles of Media Literacy
Principle 1: The media construct our individual realities
-well they help to construct our realities
Four motivations to use mass media
1.Enjoyment- you like it, it’s a fun distraction
2.Companionship-feeling like you know the people in the media you consume
3.Surveillance- the what – using media to learn the things happening in the world – usually news, but other programs Law & Order, South Park, Daily Show also tell us what is happening in the world
4.Interpretation- the why – how to make sense of the things happening in the world – record or movie reviews
These are not mutually exclusive, consuming media content usually comprises multiple motivations.
P 2: The media are influenced by industrial pressures
The changing nature of media industries – see the economic convergence notes above
Media Fragmentation- the increase in the number of mass media and mass media outlets that has been taking place during the past two decades
-ex. Cable go into my Nick at Nite/TV Land rant
Audience erosion- a decrease in the percentage of population using a particular mass medium or a specific media outlet
Two good, but different examples are TV and Newspapers
TV because of things like ESPNGo, Hulu, Netflix
Newspapers to online news
P 3: The media are influenced by political pressures
Rating systems MPAA ratings board, National Association of Broadcasters ratings board ESRB – none of these ratings are government mandated. They are monitored through these boards created by the organization associated with the industry. This was done to keep the government out of censoring media, but to still put pressure on industries to monitor content in media industries.
P 4: The media are constrained by format
McLuhan “The medium is the message”
Every form of media has conventions, characteristics, and codes that differentiate it from the other forms of media
P 5: Audiences are active recipients of the media
Active audience- audience members active participation in constructing the media that they consume
Halls encoding/decoding model- combines magic bullet with active audiences to describe how media outlets deliver certain specific messages, but that those messages are actively interpreted by individuals in the audience
- Production– This is where the encoding of a message takes place. By drawing upon society’s dominant ideologies, the creator of the message is feeding off of society’s beliefs, and values.
- Circulation– How individuals perceive things: visual vs. written. How things are circulated influences how audience members will receive the message and put it use.
- Use (distribution or consumption)– This is the decoding/interpreting of a message which requires active recipients. This is a complex process of understanding for the audience.
- Reproduction– This is the stage after audience members have interpreted the message in their own way based off of their experiences and beliefs. What is done with the message after it has been interpreted is where this stage comes in. At this point, you will see whether individuals take action after they have been exposed to a specific message.
The encoding of a message is the production of the message. It is a system of coded meanings, and in order to create that, the sender needs to understand how the world is comprehensible to the members of the audience. The decoding of a message is how an audience member is able to understand, and interpret the message.
P 6: The media tell us about who we are as a society
Think back a couple of weeks to when we talked about dominant culture. Generally, the dominant culture in a society controls the media messages as well.