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Normative Theories of Mass Comm.

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sarah dorman

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of Normative Theories of Mass Comm.

media. Normative Theories of Mass Communication Sarah Dorman
Grace Wang Definition The Origin of
Normative Theories Libertarian Thought New Form of Radical Libertarianism Self-Righting Principle How Disney Builds Stars A type of theory that describes an ideal way for a media system to be structured and operated.

These theories do NOT describe things as they are, nor do they provide scientific explanation or predict anything. Normative theories describe the way things should be if some ideal values or principles are to be realized. Dates back to the 16th Century... Aeropagitica
A Libertarian tract published in 1644 by John Milton. Grace Wang Take a moment and think about what YOU think the media should and should not do. Radical Libertarianism Technocratic Control The Extremes First Amendment Absolutists Individuals who believe that there should be no laws to govern media. Those who take the notion of "free press" literally and believe media should be unregulated. People who believe in direct government regulation of the Conflict of mass media in society Social Responsibility Theory Harold Laswell and Walter Lippman were among those in favor of regulated media. Mass Society Theory & Propaganda The two theories were argued as reasons why media should be regulated. This Normative Theory was the result of the regulation debate. It represents the compromise between government control and total press freedom. Authoritarian Theory Libertarian Theory Many early Libertarians were Protestants rebelling against church restrictions... This era was rocked by major political movements, most notably the Protestant Reformation that "demanded greater freedom for individuals over their own lives and thoughts." (Altschull, 1990) This theory was created in opposition to Authoritarian Theory. This was an era where the elites exercised arbitrary power over the lives of most people, also know as Authoritarian Theory. Libertarians argued that "if individuals could be freed from the arbitrary limits on communication imposed by the church and state, they would 'naturally' follow the dictates of their conscience, seek truth, engage in public debate, and ultimately create a better life for themselves and others." State of the Republic Address (Ron Paul) -McQuail, 1987; Siebert, Peterson, and Schramm, 1956 John Milton introduced the self-righting principle, and argued that in a fair debate, good and truth will always win out over lies and deceit.

If this were true, a new and better social order could be forged using public debate. -Baran and Davis Bill f Rights During the eighteenth century the definitive form of "truth" couldn't be decided, so many Libertarian became discouraged and lingered between Libertarian and Authoritarian views. Thomas Jefferson famously affirmed to Milton's Self-righting Principle in a letter to a friend. "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter." -Thomas Jefferson (Quoted from Altschull, 1990, p. 117) John Keane identified three concepts that made up the fundamentals of the Founders' belief in press freedom. Individual rights: press freedom is the strongest, if not the only, guarantee of liberty from political elites. Attainment of Truth: falsehoods must be countered; ideas must be challenged and tested or they will become dogma. Theology: media should serve as a forum allowing people to deduce between good and evil (From Liberty of the Press 1991) The United States was one of the first nations to explicitly adopt Libertarian principles, found in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the first Ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution This bill asserts that all individuals have natural rights that no government, community, or group can unduly infringe upon of take away. Where is the limit on freedom of media and communication? Where does the freedom guaranteed to you end and those of another begin? Laws have been written to restrict communication freedom so that other, seemingly equally important rights might be guaranteed (Baran & Davis) http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-3-2011/tales-of-principled-behavior Marketplace of Ideas The notion that all ideas should be put before the public, and the public will choose the best from that "marketplace." Strengths Weaknesses An open and competitive marketplace should regulate itself (Baran and Davis) Also known as laissez-faire doctrine limits government control Allows "natural" fluctuations in tastes, ideals and discourse. Puts trust in the audience Assumes "good" content will ultimately prevail. Mistakenly equates media content with more tangible consumer products. Puts too much trust in profit-motivated media operators Ignores the fact that content that is intentionally "bought" is often accompanied by other, sometimes unwanted content. Has an overly optimistic view of audiences' media consumption skills. Mistakenly assumes audience---not advertiser---is consumer. Definition of "good" is not universal. How useful is the marketplace of ideas theory? Someone comes up with a good idea and then transmits it through some form of mass communication If other people like it, they buy the message When people buy the message, they pay for its production and distribution costs. Once these costs are covered, the message producer earns a profit. If the marketplace is self-regulating, then there is no need for government control. But what if advertisers support distribution of bad messages freely to the public?
Does money play a role?
Will negative messages be less discriminating if distributed in large packaging (aka newspapers or magazines)? Government Regulation of Media Professionalism of Journalism Limitations of Professionalism New Normative theory developed that was neither Libertarian or Technocratic Control. 1927: Government regulation of the radio led to debates that resulted in the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) to act for the people. Over dramatized and fictitious news was so profitable that publishers didn't want to stop producing them. A compromise through the FRC encouraged efforts to regulate other media industries. Establishing efforts to professionalize in the 1920s. 1923: The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) adopted professional standards entitled The Canons of Journalism. Virtually every association of media practitioners has adopted similar standards. Media served as an independent social "watchdog" institution that makes sure all other institutions---the three branches of government, business, religion, education and family---serve the public.
(Baran and Davis) Fourth Estate 3. In contrast with medicine and law, media professionalization doesn't include standards for professional training and licensing. 1. Professionals in every field, including journalism, have been reluctant to identify and censure colleagues who violate professional standards. 5. In other media industries, violation of professional standards rarely has immediate, directly observable consequences. 2. Professional standards can be overly abstract and ambiguous. 4. In contrast with other professions, media practitioners tend to have less independent control over their work. Media practitioners pledged to uphold standards, weed out irresponsible people and give recognition to those who excel. Certain limitations however, lead to repeating problems: Video News Releases (VNR's) A report produced by an outside company, usually a public relations firm, and distributed to television stations free of charge. A recent study showed that of seventy-seven stations that released the same press video, not one station disclosed the source of the video. (Farsetta 2006) What differentiates a writer from a blogger? Established in 1942 and released a major report of
its findings in 1947 (Davis, 1990;McIntyre, 1987.) There was a sharp divide between members who were Libertarian or Technocratic. Social responsibility theory became a concept that brought social justice to both sides and challenged media professionals to develop new ways to serve their community. The Chicago School opposed marketplace-of-ideas notions and argued that it catered only to the larger and more dominant societal groups. Social Responsibility Theory of the Press The group consisted of academics, heads of social groups and politicians. Those who favored regulation were concerned that the marketplace of ideas was too open and vulnerable. These notions were guided by public communication developments by social researchers at the University of Chicago: the Chicago School The Chicago School envisioned modern cities as "Great Communities" composed of hundreds of citywide associations (Baran and Davis, p.114). For these communities to work, the interrelated groups had to contribute and work together. These groups were referred to as pluralistic groups. These perspectives also argued that elites could use the media for dangerous propaganda. Denis McQuail summarizes the basic principles of social responsibility... Media should accept and fulfill certain obligations to society.
These obligations are mainly to be met by setting high or professional standards of informativeness, truth, accuracy, objectivity, and balance.
In accepting and applying these obligations, media should be self-regulating within the framework of law and established institutions.
The media should avoid whatever might lead to crime, violence, or civil disorder or give offense to minority groups.
The media as a whole should be pluralist and reflect the diversity of their society, giving access to various points of view and to rights of reply.
Society and the public have a right to expect high standards of performance, and intervention can be justified to secure the, or a, public good.
Journalists and media professionals should be accountable to society as well as to employers and the market. Social Responsibility: The Cold War Test The first major testing of social responsibility theory occurred in the 1950's at the time of the Cold War. John McCarthy began to rally people to in anti-communist protests, pressuring the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Media executives responded by blacklisting many people who were accused of Communist involvement on little evidence. The use of propaganda played a huge role in this situation, again led by McCarthy, who was eventually revealed for his ideas and games he played by ways of the media. Social Responsibility theory remains an important and viable normative theory, so this means that a greater effort is needed to better implement it. In the 1970's and 80's, a series of publications came out questioning the routine of news productions practices (Bennet, 1988; Epstein, 1973; Fishman, 1980 Gans, 1979; Glaslow University Media Group, 1976, 1980; Tuchman, 1978.) Most of the research was ignored of claimed to be misguided. Tuchman specifically observed social responsibility during social movements, stating that the media practices "strategic rituals" and fulfills the requirements established by socials norms, but falls short of achieving their purpose. Is there still a role for Social Responsibility Theory? Social Responsibility Theory Rekindled In 1972 to help support local communities, the Federal Communications commission required local cable companies to always carry local, community-based channels. The FCC also licenses low power FM radio stations, which are noncommercial, community based channels broadcasting over small areas. However, the only concern with localizing community channels through television and radio may Balkanize the overall U.S. culture by catering to all of these smaller groups and ignoring the values, wants and needs of others. The era of the internet once again transitioned the social normative theories to cater to the media and their audience. “Freedom of the press now belongs not just to those who own printing presses,” states journalism scholar Ann Cooper (Baran & Davis, p. 122). To include online journalists among their members, the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) both changes their names to reflect the new digital age. The RTNDA became the RTDNA (Radio Television Digital News Association and the ASNE dropped the word “paper” from its names and became the American Society of News Editors.

However, many claim that bloggers and online journalists do not practice “real” journalism, and they do not have the time to complete enterprise reporting, which is original investigating initiated by a social media outlet (Baran and Davis, p.123). But this era is evolving and changing for the better to include credible sources and original journalism into the online world.
Developmental Media theory (government and media to work in partnership),
Democratic Participant theory (media support for cultural pluralism),
Western Concept (combination of Libertarian and social responsibility),
Development Concept (government and media work together to aid the needs of a given nation),
Revolutionary Concept (system in which media is used for revolutionary purposes),
Authoritarian Concept (complete domination of the media by the government to force the media to serve the government),
Communism Concept (complete domination of the media by a Communist government for the purpose of serving the Communist party) and
Transitional Media Approach (more flexible approach to evaluating media system). Other normative theories covered in this chapter included: Works Cited

Baran , S.J., & Davis, D.K. (2012). Mass Communication Theory, Foundations, Ferment, and Future, 6th edition. Boston, M.A.: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. P.96-131. Each of these youngsters was given a TV show—the so-called zitcom—followed usually by a recording contract with Disney-owned Hollywood records, songs in heavy rotation on Radio Disney and on Disney-movie sound tracks Maximize profit from every pop-culture nugget it creates Talent Seminar Create Teen Celebrities This company makes full use of its characters and stories and tries to cross-promote all the time. Young actors whose shows have been filmed but not yet aired are required to attend Talent with a parent.
It includes instruction from security experts, media-relations consultants and psychologists Other ways to create a teen sensation Have another teen star or two to piggyback on.

Add a few television shows, movies, CDs and concerts, and stand clear. Understanding how the popular becomes popular:
The role of political economy in the study of popular communication. Test The Assumption Commodity Audience Political Economy Result One of the fields from which scholars of popular communication draw knowledge, methods, and theories.

Understand how media conglomerates, media companies, and media-buying corporations work, how they produce the menu of media artifacts, and how we get what we get from the media Raised by Dallas Smythe
Television networks used programming to attract viewers in order to sell them to advertisers that ran their commercials during the programs.
Viewing was a form of work. Everybody was part of the commodity audience and that companies measuring the commodity audience were bound by social science and market discipline to produce the most accurate numbers possible. All television viewers are not in television’s commodity audience and that some parts of the commodity audience are more valuable than others.

This implies that networks as well as cable channels will cancel programs that do a poor job of attracting the most valuable subgroups in the commodity audience regardless of a program’s overall popularity with the commodity audience. Media Users “Television users” Who may do other things with television on.

They are using television in ways that require no attention and no engagement. “Drop-in Viewers”
People pay some attention to the soundtrack, which uses conventional cues to indicate when something interesting is going to happen and then watch the interesting bit. “Multi-Screeners” Make the television display a large image from a single channel while other channels are on as well. “Casual Viewing” We are not so engaged with the characters and narrative that we resent the commercial interruptions. “Focused Viewing” When viewers like a program but dislike a particular character or story, we may selectively ignore what we don’t like and attend to those characters or segments that we do like. “Engaged Viewing” The engaged viewer is absorbed with a television series and may seek information about it as well.
When an engaged viewer connects with similarly committed viewers, they may build an interpretive community. “Self-Programmers” They don’t depend on what is currently scheduled. Summary According to the author, our ability to achieve critical consciousness remains rooted in the intersection between the political economy in which we live, the collectivity with whom we live, the sense that we make of lived contradictions, and the agency that we exercise together. Luscombe.(2009). How Disney Builds Stars. Time International (South Pacific Edition), 174 (18), 50-52.

Meehan, E. R. (2007). Understanding how the popular becomes popular: The role of political economy in the study of popular communication. Popular Communication, 5(3), 161-170. Works Cited -Baran & Davis 2012
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