GENERAL LECTURE

THEORIES OF MASS COMMUNICATION

By. Hendra Manurung, S.IP, M.A Lecturer of Mass Communication Faculty of Communications Department of Public Relations PRESIDENT UNIVERSITY KOTA JABABEKA – CIKARANG BARU BEKASI 17550 INDONESIA

Powerful Mass Media to Minimal Effects
• Mass media is a powerful persuasion tool for public or
audience – “Powerful effects” model of mass media – “Hypodermic” model: injecting ideas/opinions • War of the Worlds broadcast since 20th centuries • Hitler’s use of media for persuasion in Europe after defeated U.K, France, Netherlands, Russia during World War II (1939-1945) Later replaced by minimal effects model – “Why we Fight” series of movies • Top movie directors used to motivate troops • Idea was to harness powerful mass media • Tested on troops, but found little attitude change for the troops – New view: media have only little effect on views opinions of public, can not be represent as opinion leader.

Minimal to Conditional Model
• But was evidence that media did matter! • Keys to new perspective: • Basic questions:
– – – – – A more nuanced proposal emerged – Avoided extremes of earlier models

– Mass media are not all powerful – Audience is not passive waiting to be manipulated – Mass media can have only an effect on people/society Who did it effect? When did it affect them? How did it affected them? Why mass media has so big power toward public ?

Theory of Agenda Setting
• A reaction to “Minimal Effects” model
– Explained why minimal effects found in public opinion

• People’s opinions usually don’t change • Issue salience or relevance does change • Mass media always shape issue salience!

• Key: Mass Media’s agenda  public’s agenda
(becoming opinion leader)
– Media are not good at telling us what to think; media are good at telling us what to think about… – We judge important issues the media says is important – We judge unimportant issues media ignores or downplays

– Revived mass communication “effects” research

Research Results Mixed
• Early studies
– Issues prominent in media is able to predict public’s issues – A time lag from headlines to poll results

• Later, some critiques
– – – Correlations: Directionality, third variable Alternative 1: public concern  news Alternative 2: reality  news and public concern

Agenda Setting
• Other factors shaping process?
– “Need for Orientation”: Low knowledge/education/salience  high reliance on media? – – – – – elite media? politicians? “interest aggregations”? definition of news? Media profit-making pressures?

• Who Sets Gatekeepers’ Agenda?

• Win-lose game

Uses and Gratifications
• Social changes the basic question about
media’s role :
– Used to be: “What do media do to us?” – Now was “What do we do with the media?” – We choose whether or not to use and what we use – We choose what content to view/hear/read – We decide how to interpret – We decide how to respond – We decide how to evaluate

• Assumes an active audience in mass
communication

“Uses and Gratifications”
• Desire for “gratifications” guides medium
use

• What “gratifications” do we seek from
media?
– Diversion: stress relief, avoidance – Social/para-social relationships – Identity needs: Who we are/values clarification – Surveillance: Keep up with events

Uses and effects
• Are media or audience most powerful?
– – Media content an important social force We decide what, when, how to engage content

• Maybe media and audience affect each
other

• Reconciles two perspectives
– – Role of audience Role of media content

– Might media use shape gratifications sought – Maybe seeking gratifications leads to effects

Theory of Cultivation
• Long-term debate about media effects
– Concerns that TV contributes to social problems – Similar concerns about books, movies, comics – If can prove link, may lead to solutions

• Focus: Long-term effects of violent
programs
– – Exposure “cultivates” attitudes Attitudes reflect programming’s distortions

Television Distorts Reality
• Violence Index: violence on TV steady,
high
– – – – – – 2/3rds of all programs contain violence Adult dramas: 5 violent acts/hour Kids’ shows: 20 violent acts/hour Kids see 13,000 violent deaths by 18 Violence by villains and heroes

• Other distortions found in studies

Victims often female, minority, poorer, minor religion or believers – Fewer kids, women, minorities, elderly appear

Effects of Exposure
• Cultivation Theory Hypotheses:
– – “Heavy viewers”  “television answer” “Light viewers”  more realistic answers

• Heavy viewing  “Mean World
Syndrome”
– Believe more likely to be victim, more fearful – Believe police pervasive, aggressive –

Descriptions for Effects
• Homogenization
– – TV blurs, blends, bends views TV promotes “TV mainstream” view of world

• Some evidence in support

• Resonance: TV reinforces real-world
experiences with violence -- doubly powerful

– Groups w/different views among light viewers do not differ among heavy viewers – Attitudes to emerge from “mean world” perceptions: generally more conservative

Mass Communication

Mass Communication & Photography

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