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Mass Media and its Audience

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Hypodermic Syringe Model
1920s idea that the media injects messages into the minds of its audience in the same way drugs do. It claims media is so powerful that it directly influences individuals and they're powerless to reject the message
War of the worlds
Orson Welles recorded a dramatic radio production of the HG Wells story in which Martians invade Earth. Radio listeners actually believed the fake bulletins and panicked with examples of mass 991 calls
Critics on hypodermic syringe model
Some sociologists believed it was too simplistic to how ADULTS view media content. However is still popular for how CHILDREN view media
He believed the reason panicked out of the War of Worlds broadcast was due to cultural context of the financial crisis and threat of war. People were already fearing bad reports so this made them more likely to believe this story
Played children a film of a man hurting a doll. They then left the children to play with the doll. The children who'd seen the violence hit the doll whereas those who hadn't seen the film treated the doll gently
James Bulger Killing
When the two boys were convicted the judge summed up that the murder was caused by the two killer boys playing violent video games. This relates to the syringe model that violent films inject messages into people
Criticized the moral panic over violent video games after Bulger killings. As he pointed out, there was no evidence the child murderers has seen the video in question.
Homogeneous Audience
An assumption that audiences have common social characteristics and react in similar ways to media texts. This assumes audiences are passive
Active Audience Approach
Approach that believes audiences aren't homogeneous or passive but audiences are influenced by culture, class, ethnicity and gender. E.g. An advert that advertises cleaning products to women is going to receive responses, from a sexist family to a more feminist one
Katz and Lazarsfeld
Developed the two step flow, arguing that there are key individuals in anti social networks who influence how we interpretate media content
Two Step Flow
First step is media message reaching an audience member. Second step is how the UNDERSTANDING of that message is shaped by social intention with other audience members. E.g. First Step is that you see stories on abortion. The second step is that your right wing father may influence you to believe abortion is wrong
Opinion Leaders
Are the influential individuals in our social networks. That can be your mum or a loud mouth in the office or at school. If an leader believes "that guy off X factor is crap" your likely to agree with that popular opinion
Studied an office environment and found a few key individuals (The OPINION LEADERS) influenced what others watch on TV and their reactions. It became a social norm to discuss TV an new recruit had to conform to fit in
Heterogeneous Audiences
A view that audiences are ACTIVE and have very different social characteristics and react differently to media texts
(Stuart Hall's Reception Analysis) When members of the audience uncritically accept the ideological messages of the media
(Stuart Hall's Reception Analysis) When members of the audience only partially accept media messages e.g. they might enjoy an advert but ultimately they decide whether to buy the product or not
(Stuart Hall's Reception Analysis) When members of the audience completely reject a media message . e.g. Fox News guest Gavin McInnes often argues women belong in the home and they aren't as intelligent as men- this sort of nonsense can be rejected