Topic Points:• What are ‘We Media’?• Where / how has ‘We Media’ emerged?• In what way are the contemporary media more democratic than before?• In what ways are the contemporary media less democratic than before?
In The Exam:• Historical – dependent on the requirements of the topic, candidates must summarise the development of the media forms in question in theoretical contexts.• Contemporary – current issues within the topic area.• Future – candidates must demonstrate personal engagement with debates about the future of the media forms / issues that the topic relates to.
Theorists/Theories• Marxist Theory/Gramsci/Frankfurt School• Chomsky – Media Control• Habermas – Public Sphere• David Gauntlett• Dan Gillmor• Fourth Estate• Clay Shirky• Chris Anderson – The Long Tail
Cultural Effects: Marxist View• The dominant ideology of a society is the ideology of the dominant or ruling class• The mass media disseminates the dominant ideology: the values of the class which owns and controls the media• Notion of domination
Gramsci: Hegemony• The supremacy of the bourgeoisie is based on economic domination and intellectual/moral leadership The American Dream?• A class had succeeded in persuading the other classes of society to accept its own moral, political and cultural values• However, this consent is not always peaceful, and may combine physical force or coercion with intellectual, moral and cultural inducement
Can the working class achieve hegemony?• If the working class is to achieve hegemony, it needs patiently to build up a network of alliances with social minorities.• These new coalitions must respect the autonomy of the movement, so that each group can make its own special contribution toward a new socialist society.• The working class must unite popular democratic struggles with its own conflict against the capital class, so as to strengthen a national popular collective will.
The Frankfurt School Modernist Approach• Mass audience as passive and gullible• ‘hypodermic needle’ effects model• Pessimistic claims about media indoctrination• Mass culture disseminates the dominant ideology of the bourgeoisie• News media controls our ideas and views, pushing their views onto us, creating a false class consciousness – Marxist view
Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent• The main aim of a media company is to make money• Newspapers achieve this through advertising revenue• This has an impact on the news values and news selection• Can lead to editorial bias• News businesses that favour profit over public interest succeed
Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent• Further distortion through the reliance of newspapers on private and governmental news sources• If a newspaper displeases, they may no longer be privy to that source of information• They will lose out on stories, lose readers and ultimately advertisers• news media businesses editorially distort their reporting to favour government and corporate policies in order to stay in business
Editorial Bias: Five Filters (Chomsky)1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation2. The Advertising License to Do Business3. Sourcing Mass Media News4. Flak and the Enforcers5. Anti-Communism
Size, Ownership and Profit Orientation• The dominant mass-media outlets are large corporations which are run for profit• Therefore they must cater to the financial interest of their owners
The Advertising License to do Business• Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers.• News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers.• This has weakened the working-class press
Sourcing Mass Media News• The large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidise the mass media, and gain special access to the news, by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring and producing, news.• The large entities that provide this subsidy become routine news sources and have privileged access to the gates.• Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers
Concept: Fourth Estate• Is a societal or political force or institution whose influence is not consistently or officially recognised• Print Journalism• The concept that the press is an instrument of democracy providing a check on the abuse of government power• It is the myth that the press is a vital defender of the people? – think about Chomsky!
The state of the fourth estate…• Relationships between powerful people e.g. Murdoch and Cameron mean that their agendas are pushed forward in their publications• Journalists are not as free because they are controlled by the conglomerate• Chomsky: believes journalists were not representative of the population but instead influenced, hired and fired by power corporations• Newspapers will print stories that sell, leading to more untrue and fabricated stories to grab the attention of the audience; this is mostly true of tabloid papers which focus on celebrities.
Concept: Fourth Estate – The Radical Press• Early 1800s the printing press became accessible to all• Radical journalists starting addressing vital issues through the press• Challenged mainstream editors• Poor Man’s Guardian linked to National Union of the working classes• Independent of established political pressure and still free from any commercial influence• A working class movement• Libel prosecution• Press taxes• It was agreed among the elite that it was dangerous to social order for the working class to have a printing press
Key Thinking Points• Do we have a free press?• What constraints do journalists face when working for a corporation?• How far is news media controlled or constrained by those in power?• Are newspapers really the Fourth Estate?
David Gauntlett: Web 2.0 (Making is Connecting – key text)• Tim Berner’s Lee invented the Internet with the vision that people would be connected and creative• “He imagined that browsing the Web would be a matter of writing and editing, not just searching and reading” – Gauntlett• Web 2.0 invites users to play• We are seeing a shift away from a ‘sit back and be told’ culture towards more of a ‘making and doing’ culture
Web 2.0• Includes a social element where users generate and distribute content, often with freedom to share and reuse• Has resulted in an increasing ‘globalisation’• The birth of a more ‘participatory culture’• Moving from a communication model of ‘one-to-many’ to a ‘many to many’ system
Keith Bassett: Cyberspace Democracy• “The public intellectual of today must now be much more alive to the possibilities for participating in what could become a new ‘cyberspace democracy’ – an expanded public sphere which is less academic and less elitist”
David Gauntlett: Web 2.0• In the case of the media, there is obviously the shift towards internet- based interactivity• At least 3/4th of UK population are regular internet users• More than 1/3rd of people have a Facebook account• More and more people are writing blogs, participating in online discussions, sharing information, music and photo, and uploading video.
New Media• Increased interactivity of audiences• Poststructuralist theory sees the audience as active participators in the creation of meaning• In a postmodern world consumption is seen as a positive and participatory act• An increased ‘democratisation’?
Citizen Journalism• Theorist Mark Poster says the internet provides a ‘Habermasian public sphere’ – a cyberdemocratic network for communicating information and points of view that will eventually transform into public opinion. You will need to know Habermas’ Public Sphere theory!
Dan Gillmor: Citizen Journalists• ‘Big media’ have enjoyed control over who gets to produce and share media• Effect on democracy• Who owns these companies?• Are we represented?• Gillmor sees the Internet as a catalyst for a challenge to this established hegemony• Gillmor calls bloggers ‘the former audience’: news blogs a new form of people’s journalism
Citizen Journalism in Iraq• Blogs offered an alternative to the Western media’s accounts• Collaboration of wikispaces, children’s news blogs and Persian networkers using the Net for a collective voice in a country where free speech is curtailed• But is it all as rosy as it seems?
Clay Shirky• Focuses on the rising usefulness of networks, using decentralised technologies for social creation and open-source development• New technologies are enabling new kinds of cooperative structures to flourish
Chris Anderson: The Long Tail• How the Internet has transformed economics, commerce and consumption• Revenue from niche products now adds up to the same as from blockbuster products• Internet allows people to look for and share a wider variety of products• Range of filtering services• Broadband allows us to behave in ways that fit our instincts
Is New Media Equal?• Not a symbol of ‘participatory culture’, the Internet is regarded by some as a dangerous and out of control technology that undermines civil society• An instrument of repression?• ‘Digital divide’• ‘Myth of interactivity’• China?
Utopians• One side sees the internet as a technology of freedom that is empowering humankind• making accessible the world’s knowledge, building ‘emancipated subjectivities’, promoting a new progressive global politics, and laying the foundation of the ‘new economy’.• The other sees the internet as an over- hyped technology whose potential value has been undermined by ‘digital capitalism’ and social inequality
Dystopians• The internet came to exhibit incongruent features.• It is still a decentralised system in which information is transmitted via independent variable pathways through dispersed computer power.• But on top of this is imposed a new technology of commercial surveillance which enables commercial operators – and potentially governments – to monitor what people do online
For The Exam• Explore both sides of the argument that media is becoming more democratic• Explore the difference that ‘we media’ makes to citizens• You must explore two types of media e.g. news and social networking• At least two detailed case studies including The Leveson Inquiry
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