Effect or Affect? What effect does the media have on audiences? How do audiences affect the media? What do you think?
Active or Passive? Passive: The Hypodermic Syringe model Developed in 1930s All audience members react in the same way. All passively receive messages. The media affects thoughts and behaviour.
Cultivation analysis Audiences are passive. The focus is not on how behaviour is affected, but how ‘world view’ is created. Belief that repeated exposure will affect how people view the real world. (Believing representation rather than reality). The ‘mean world syndrome’. We become desensitised to violence.
Situated Culture The term for other factors that affect our interpretation of media texts (and our ‘world view’): Daily lives Routines Relationships Upbringing Friends
Read the report ‘Violent games affect behaviour’ (09.01.06) from the BBC news website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4594376.stm
The active audience This is the dominant (most accepted) model. ‘Two step’ model (Katz & Lazarsfeld; 1940s) They concluded the media alone wasn’t that influential in affecting an audience’s attitudes, but was part of a larger system of situated culture. The audience often received the media’s message through ‘opinion leaders’ – individuals who pay close attention to the media and filter information to family and friends, so people receive the message without consuming the text.
Uses & Gratifications Theory Term coined by Blumler and Katz in the 1970s. It suggests the audience uses the media to fulfil needs and motivations: Diversion. Personal Relationships & Social Interaction. Personal Identity. Surveillance.
Diversion Entertainment Relaxation Something to do
Personal Relationships & Social Interaction Audiences can become involved in the social lives of people presented in media texts through interviews, and gossip. Audiences can observe a range of relationships with others and understand the dynamics involved. Audiences can learn empathy.
Personal Identity Audiences can identify with characters represented in the media. Audiences can make comparisons between characters and their own behaviour.
Surveillance The media provides information and education, helping the audience to stay informed and know what’s happening in the world.
List the media texts with which you regularly engage. Categorise them using the ‘uses and gratifications’ model. Which need do you fulfil the most?
Evaluate the model Does the model apply when the audience hasn’t chosen to receive the media (trailers, adverts, pop-ups, background music...) How much choice does an audience have in selecting media? Are the Uses and Gratifications available for everyone?
Uses and Gratifications theory argues that the audience uses the media to fulfil needs – is it possible that sometimes those needs have been created by the media in the first place? Is the model affected by developments in new technology? Do we need to add to the list of Uses and Gratifications?
Reception Theory Encoding and Decoding – Stuart Hall (1970s) Texts are encoded with meaning (semiotics!). Different audiences respond (decode) in different ways. Both encoded and decoded meaning will be understood in the context of the social and cultural background of the producer and audience.
Readings Dominant reading – the audience uncritically accepts the preferred (or intended) meaning of the text. Negotiated reading – the message is partly accepted and partly rejected. Oppositional reading – the audience rejects the message.
Identify the codes and conventions of layout and content. Is the mode of address typical for a tabloid? Identify the preferred, negotiated and oppositional readings which are encoded in the front page.
Evaluating encoding & decoding Is there one single message in a text which has been deliberately encoded by producers? Would all audiences agree on the intended meaning? How do we know if we have found the preferred meaning? If there isn’t a single preferred meaning, does that mean there is a range of oppositional readings? Ooh!
Dominant Reading Cheryl Cole is besotted with her new friend. David Beckham is stunned at being told his career is over, but remains strong. Image and copy send same message. Daily Mirror trusted source of celebrity gossip.
Oppositional Reading The stories may be rejected because: They are gossip The source isn’t trusted The audience doesn’t value celebrity
Negotiated reading May believe the story about Beckham because the story is also reported in the Sports press. May reject story about Cheryl Cole as uninterested or the source as unreliable.
News Values To understand the dominant reading you must understand the ideology: The Daily Mirror is a national newspaper with a large circulation. It has selected these stories as the most important of the day. The dominant reading, therefore, constructs celebrities as important in our society.
Outdated? These models were constructed 30 years ago. The available mainstream media was: Terrestrial TV: 4 free to air channels Analogue radio: BBC and commercial stations Press and magazines Film: cinemas and home video Home video games consoles
Modern Media Make a list which reflects the available media today. How do these changes in technology and introduction of new media forms affect the relationship between the audience and the media? Consider...
Reception: Where and who do you receive media texts? Are there times when you receive more than one media text simultaneously? What are the different platforms (eg computer, mobile phone) you use to receive media?
Existing audience models: Does the increased range of media forms affect the theory of encoding and decoding? Does the emphasis on interactive technology make the audience more or less likely to be active or passive? Do new media technologies provide alternative uses and gratifications?
What assumptions are being made about the VALs of the target audience? How might someone outside the target audience respond to the advert? What are some of the uses and gratifications available to the audience? Provide a dominant, negotiated and oppositional reading for the advert. How might the theory of desensitisation be applied to advertising? How might you use the example of advertising to argue for and against the effects model?