New Media Political Socialization

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  • 1.  
  • 2.
    • Information provided by the news media plays a key role in the construction of people’s perceptions about reality (McCombs & Shaw, 1972)
      • Why do we care about our perceptions about reality?
    • To understand this influence, we must understand at least two processes:
      • The social processes through which news content is created.
      • The psychological processes through which this content is digested.
  • 3.
    • Two useful theoretical frameworks help us to understand how news media influence our perceived social reality
      • Agenda-setting theory
      • Schema theory
  • 4.  
  • 5.
    • Events: discrete occurrences
    • e.g. Taiwan’s president proposes to join UN.
    • Issues: ongoing news coverage of a series of events that fit together in a broad category
    • e.g. China / US Relations
    • Gatekeepers: people that decide which events / issues to report
      • Newsworthiness: determined by the traditions, practices and values of media professionals
  • 6. Media Agenda Public Agenda Policy Agenda Three Components of Agenda Setting
  • 7.
    • Content Analysis (1968 presidential campaign coverage)
      • local and national newspapers and TV
      • identified prominent news stories
      • based on position and length
    • Survey
      • asked local Chapel Hill voters:
      • “ What are the key campaign issues?”
    • Results:
      • Strong Correlation between
      • Media Agenda and Public Agenda
  • 8. Media Agenda Public Agenda Policy Agenda
  • 9.
    • Correlation does not mean causation
    • Later studies measured opinions over time
    • Some evidence shows that media sets the agenda for the public
    • (e.g., Iyengar & Kinder experiments)
    • but . . .
  • 10.
    • Individual Differences
      • some people have a higher need for orientation
    • Multiple Agenda Setters
      • the media ‘gatekeepers’
      • politicians
      • public relations professionals
      • Interest groups
  • 11.
    • Framing
      • context
      • mood
      • selectivity
      • the media doesn’t report the news, they report news stories
  • 12.
    • Priming
      • a news story on a given issue sparks (or primes ) an individual’s memory of related issues
      • opinions are a result of both
        • the news story cues
        • the primed memories
      • e.g. Middle East & unstable political situation
  • 13. Media Agenda Public Agenda Policy Agenda Other Factors (e.g. Ind. Diff.)
  • 14.  
  • 15.
    • Recall from an earlier lecture:
      • We have a mental map of the world.
      • There are two separate approaches to mental representation.
        • Schematic representation (schema)
        • Associationistic representation
  • 16.
    • Ideas and concepts are organized in a logical and hierarchical (schematic) fashion.
      • Schemata are “cognitive structures of organized prior knowledge, abstracted from experience with specific instances; schemata guide the processing of new information and the retrieving of stored information” (Fiske & Linville, 1980, p. 543).
  • 17.
    • There are four types of schemata, including:
      • (a) person schemata (i.e., interpretations of individuals’ psychology),
      • (b) self-schemata (i.e., information about one’s psychology),
      • (c) role schemata (i.e., perceptions about inter-group relations and broad social categories).
        • e.g., what is a “chief executive”?
        • e.g., What does a “chief executive” do?
        • e.g., what is Taiwan? A country? A province?
      • (d) event schemata (i.e., information about sequences of events in social situations)
        • e.g., what should a government do when attacked by terrorists?
        • e.g., how is the chief executive of HKSAR elected?
  • 18.
    • Media can create new schemata
      • e.g., American’s perception of the world after 9/11.
      • e.g., Hong Kong’s government structure after handover
    • Media can strengthen existing schemata
      • e.g., social stereotypes about mainlanders
      • e.g., political beliefs
  • 19.  
  • 20.
    • political socialization – a developmental process by which young people acquire cognitions, attitudes and behaviors relating to their political environment.
    • adolescence is a time of particular importance for this process because it is a time of great change, including many developmental advances
    • Most people form a stable political view during adolescences and usually NEVER change.
  • 21.
    • During adolescence
      • critical thought is characterized by an increased capacity and speed of processing as compared to younger children
      • There is an increase in knowledge and an ability to integrate these knowledge.
      • In addition, there is a greater ability in adolescence, as compared to young children, for self-regulation and monitoring as more strict standards are applied by the adolescent.
  • 22.
    • However,
    • as this cognitive pattern is not yet consolidated, adolescents often also engage in hasty generalization and rush to premature judgments based on segmented pieces of information.
    • These skills, abilities, and tendencies may be especially relevant as adolescents consider political issues, situations, and decisions and as they integrate political knowledge gathered from various sources.
  • 23.
    • Sources of political knowledge
      • Parents
      • School
      • Peers
      • MEDIA
  • 24.
    • Media exposure has been identified as an important influence with regard to political socialization.
    • the media, and television in particular, play a significant role in the creation and reinforcement of political attitudes.
  • 25.
    • Empirical evidence suggests that exposure to television are related to
      • political orientation
      • attitudes about political parties
      • The electoral process,
      • issues of military conflict
      • gun control policies
      • Capital punishment
      • Abortion
      • etc.
  • 26.
    • In recent years, media researchers have begun to recognize the importance of cognition in the realm of political socialization.
      • We all have schemas about what politic is and how we should participate.
      • One important source from which we can learn these social scripts about political matters is the media.
  • 27.
      • However,
      • such scripts will be different based on the content to which the adolescents are exposed.
      • Heavy news exposure is likely to result in different schemata
  • 28.
    • War
    • Political party
    • Economy
    • Political involvement
  • 29.
    • Some questions to thinking about
      • Who’s watching?
      • Who’s watching what?
      • Who participates actively in politics? Elders? Youth? The rich? The poor?
      • Do political attitude translate to political action?
  • 30.  
  • 31.
    • Agenda-setting
      • Old media
        • agenda set by the industry based on professional training, political needs, and audience feedback
        • Slow/delayed feedback
        • Limited content
        • Delayed content
      • New media
        • Agenda may be set by the user, or other users. (e.g., Blogs , citizen journalism )
        • Instant /real-time feedback
        • User generated (unlimited content)
        • Real-time update
    • Schema formation
      • New media  Selective exposure  strengthen existing schemata
  • 32.
    • Does new media really increase more political participation?
      • Apparently not!
      • Individual differences becomes more important
        • Political views become more extreme
        • It is more difficult to present objective/unbiased information
        • Allows apathetic individuals to completely avoid politics
  • 33.
    • More sophisticated knowledge structure
    • Encouraging fact checking
      • Hyperlinks
      • Verification by multiple sources
    • More difficult for politicians and mass media to skew the issue
      • Diverse group of content providers
    • Encouraging civic participation
      • Easier to mobilize citizens (e.g., organizing a protest)
      • Stay focused on issues of interest