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Chapter 1: Mass Communication, Culture, and Media Literacy

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Jessica Cowden

on 12 October 2016

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Transcript of Chapter 1: Mass Communication, Culture, and Media Literacy

Communication = the transmission of a message from a source to a receiver
Says what?
Through which channel?
To whom?
With what effect?
Transforming a message into an understandable sign and symbol system

ex: speaking, writing, print, filming a television program, etc.
Interpreting the signs and symbols

ex: listening, reading, or watching a television show
Feedback is also essential
Therefore, communication is a reciprocal and ongoing process


Communication = the process of creating shared meaning
Chapter 1: Mass Communication, Culture, and Media Literacy
Noise = anything that interferes with successful communication

ex: music, biases, page torn out of a magazine
Medium = the means of sending information (ex: sound waves)

When the medium is technology and the message is going to a large audience = mass media (ex: radio, TV, books, magazines, etc.)
Mass Communication = the process of creating shared meaning between the mass media and their audiences
Feedback in mass communication = inferential feedback (infered or guessed)

Can also come from critics, etc. Either way, it is delayed.

Therefore, it comes too late to enable corrections or alterations = more constrained, less free
Seasons: 2 (2006-2008)

What it's about: CBS' sci-fi actioner centers around the small town of Jericho, Kansas, in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on the country.

Why it shouldn't have been canceled: The show was so beloved after only one season that when news of its cancellation went public, fans sent more than 40,000 pounds of peanuts to the CBS offices in an effort to change executives' minds. The nuts were an ode to the final scene of season 1 in which Jake Green exclaims "nuts" when a neighboring community takes over the town and demands he surrender. The stunt worked, and the show was given one more season before taking the ax yet again after ratings didn't improve. "Jericho" ranks No. 11 on TV Guide's list of "Top Cult Shows Ever."
What Is Culture?
Definitions on page 9. Which one, in your opinion, best defines culture?
Creation and maintenance of culture:
talking to our friends
parent raising a child
religious leaders instructing their followers
politicians campaigning
grandparents passing down recipes
A day in the life...
Functions and effects of culture
Through communication, our culture teaches us specific guidelines for behavior:
right vs wrong
appropriate vs inappropriate
good vs bad
attractive vs unattractive
how close to stand
= cultural norms
Culture's limiting effects can also be negative
But...we have a say! We can actively change our own culture through mass media. It is, after all, reciprocal communication!
Chantelle Brown-Young
Ashley Graham
1st plus size model to appear
on Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition
Serena Williams
Culture also serves to differentiate us from each other
= bounded cultures (or co-cultures)
Italian American vs Irish American
Southerner vs Yankee
Catholic vs Jewish
Black vs White
BUT, differentiation can also lead to division...
"Hate crimes against American Muslims have soared to their highest levels since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to data compiled by researchers, an increase apparently fueled by terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad and by divisive language on the campaign trail (...) The rise came even as hate crimes against almost all other groups — including blacks, Hispanics, Jews, gays and whites — either declined or increased only slightly, his study found."
Final definition:

Culture is the world made meaningful; it is socially constructed and maintained through communication. It limits as well as liberates us; it differentiates as well as unites us. It defines our realities and thereby shapes the ways we think, feel, and act.
Mass Communication and Culture
"Together we allow mass communication not only to occur but also to contribute to the creation and maintenance of culture"
Media = professionally and ethically create and transmit content
Audience = critically and thoughtfully consume that content
Mass Media = Cultural Storytellers
Who are the "bad guys"? What do "good guys" do? What is our shared conversation about what makes up our culture?
The audience (us!) has a responsibility to:
question the storytellers
question the stories
be thoughtful
to reflect on the stories' meaning and what they say about us and our culture
"To do less is to miss an opportunity to construct our own meaning and, thereby, culture."
If mass communication has become the primary forum -like a courtroom - where we debate what our culture is made up of...."the forum is only as good, fair, and honest as those who participate in it."
Scope and Nature of Mass Media
TV viewing at record levels = 35.6 hours/week
Avg. home has 2.5 TV sets; 31% have 4 or more
Avg. American adult devotes 11 hours and 33 minutes a day to media
Increasingly interactive: every two days "we create as much digital content as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003" = Every 48 hours we upload 5 BILLION gigabytes of data
It would take you 10 years to view all of the images posted on Snapchat in the past 2 hours
What would this chart look like if it was the year 1958? 1881? 2050?
The Role of Technology
Technological determinism = machines drive economic and cultural change
Technology is neutral = the way we use it determines its significance
Speilberg quote on pg 17

The Role of Money
Audience = consumer
Audience = product
In the 1830s newspapers went from charging their readers for production costs to charging their readers far less and making up the difference by selling ad space. They were, then, selling readers to the advertisers.

# of readers = $$$$ from advertisers

Robbed the readers of their voices and made the advertisers voices more powerful instead.

See chart on page 18
Mass Communication, Culture, and Media Literacy
Media Literacy = the ability to effectively and efficiently comprehend and use any form of mediated communication

"The ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms including print and non-print messages." - Alliance for a Media Literate America, 2001
The Gutenberg Revolution
(page 19) "...the advent of print is the key to our modern consciousness, because although literacy - the ability to effectively and efficiently comprehend and use written symbols - had existed since the development of the first alphabets more than 5,000 years ago, it was reserved for the very few, the elites. Gutenberg's invention was world-changing because it opened literacy to all, that is, it allowed mass communication."
Impact of Print
Reading = necessity vs. luxury

Spread of literacy = spread of education

More people and types of people reading = new ideas, spreading of ideas, sharing of ideas AND information

Myth and superstition fade and are replaced by verifiable knowledge and facts

Print gave ordinary people a VOICE
** See quote on page 20
The Industrial Revolution
Mid-18th century:
Print helps drive the Industrial Revolution by helping to disseminate information and knowledge (science, tech, etc)
Industrialization reduces the amt of time needed to complete work

= Leisure time & more money to spend

= Time and money to be entertained

= The creation of a MASS AUDIENCE
= The ability to fully participate in the formation, evolution, and definition of your culture(s)
Elements of Media Literacy
Critical thinking = ability to develop independent judgments about media content
why do we watch what we watch, read what we read, etc?
An understanding of the process of mass communication
media responsibilities, our responsibilities, how do we give effective feedback?
An awareness of the impact of media on the individual and society
"If we ignore the impact of the media on our lives, we run the risk of being caught up and carried along by that change rather than controlling or leading it."
Strategies for analyzing and discussing media messages
An understanding of media content as a text that provides insight into our culture and our lives
understanding the use of camera angles, layout strategy (z-formation), etc.
The ability to enjoy, understand, and appreciate media content
use multiple points of access = approach media content from a variety of directions and derive from it many levels of meaning (ie. Keeping Up With the Kardashians or Desperate Housewives
Development of effective and responsible production skills
We have all become producers of conent and many jobs these days require responsible and effective content creation/distribution
An understanding of the ethical and moral obligations of media practitioners
Media Literacy Skills
The ability and willingness to make an effort to understand content, to pay attention, and to filter out noise
An understanding of and respect for the power of media messages
Third-person effect = others are influenced by media, but we are not (us vs. them)
The ability to distinguish emotional from reasoned reactions when responding to content and to act accordingly
Development of heightened expectations of media content
A knowledge of genre conventions and the ability to recognize when they are being mixed
Is the Daily Show a news show or a comedy or is satire?
The ability to think critically about media messages, no matter how credible their sources
A knowledge of the internal language of various media and the ability to understand its effects, no matter how complex
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