Today’s program Talk about the workings of the media in a nutshell (media, agenda-setting, framing & priming) How the media frames reality (framing) The what and why of media literacy Critical media literacy in practice: 5 fundamentals of media and the translating of this into the process of critical questioning when ‘experiencing’ media content
the media & AGENDA SETTING THEORY A theory on the media and the creation of what the public thinks is important Agenda-setting is the creation of public awareness and concern of salient issues by the news media. Two basis assumptions underlie most research on agenda-setting: the press and the media do not reflect reality; they filter and shape it media concentration on a few issues and subjects leads the public to perceive those issues as more important than other issues. One of the most critical aspects in the concept of an agenda-setting role of mass communication is the time frame for this phenomenon. Different media have different agenda-setting potential Bernard Cohen (1963) stated: “The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.”
Framing &Priming A way to operationalize the potential of the agenda-setting influence of the media is to zoom in on: Framing &Priming Priming is psychological concept: a cognitive process in which media information (primes) increases temporarily the accessibility of knowledge units in the memory of an individual, which makes it more likely that these knowledge units are used in the reception, interpretation and judgment for the following external information
How does the media work? Experience is ‘mediated’ through discourse. Social reality is constructed. The most basic strategy for doing this is called Framing (relate this to the 4 strategies of how reality is transformed by discourse. Here, we focus on media as discourse) (in the broadest sense of the concept) Framing refers to the process whereby we organize reality –categorizing events in particular ways, paying attention to some aspects rather that others, deciding what an event means and or how it came about. How to interpret our everyday encounters with the world around us. Framing can be applied to: how a picture ‘frames’ a scene and a newspaper ‘frames’ the story
The pictured looked like this before I ‘cropped’ it
Framing and Frame analysis (Kitzinger) From a media and communication perspective: To frame is to select some aspects of a perceived reality and make them more salient in a communicating text in such a way as to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendations (Entman, 1993)
Levels of media frame analysis Frame analysis can be used to examine the production of media coverage E.g. How journalist and their sources operate, and how this affect the way a story is told (the workings of a media system in relation to other systems) It can also be used to analyze content How an issue is represented in the newspaper, on tv or, indeed, on a website
Levels of media frame analysis (2) It also has implications for audiences: frame analysis Frame analysis either makes assumptions about or actually empirically explores, how frames influence people’s reaction As an audience a frame triggers a specific way of meaning construction (priming)
Aspects of a media (text) which might be examined to identify framing cues Images used Type of language used Labels and definitions employed Explanations offered Responsibility assigned Solutions proposed Narrative structure Contextualization and links Historical associations invoked Similes and metaphors Emotional appeals Who is invited to comment (voices, silences, perspectives) How different speakers are introduced How different characters, groups, social movements or entities are described
Framing of same sex marriage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCFFxidhcy0&feature=player_embedded
Media(areour)culture!!! “From the clock radio that wakes us up in the morning until we fall asleep watching the late night show,we are exposed to hundreds –even thousands– of images and ideasnot from television but now also from newspaper headlines, magazine covers, movies, websites, video games and billboards.Media no longer just shape our culture…they ARE our culture” (source: Center for media literacy/medialit.org)
Social construction of identities through the media: social representation “(…) the social construction of identity today is the knowing construction of identity. Your life is your project – there is no escape. The media provides some of the tools which can be used in this work.” (Gauntlett, 1998)
Oscar-winning short animated film “Logorama” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p10UE3O8s24&feature=related The Oscar-winning short animated film: Logorama. An entire universe made out of corporate logos, replete with car chases, shootouts, wild animals and natural disasters. The film’s producer, Nicolas Schmerkin, said after its Oscar win that: “the film is not about America. It’s about our modern Western world … It’s about the way we live and the way we react to these logos. The brain can register 14 logos in less than one second. Making the logos characters with sets and props is about what we’re living.”
Are we alienated because everything is mediated? Via media, we ‘experience’. Experience is mediated. Listen to the following critique and appraisal of the (new) media: Alienation and Empathy deficit: “If you grow up in an electronic age you have some kind of empathy deficit” http://www.regeneration-themovie.com/trailer.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58X7YPebJVo “Time Spent Online Is Important for Teen Development” What is your opinion on these different statements? Do you agree or disagree? What is your experience?
Media literacy is the ability to sift through and analyze the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us every day.
It's the ability to bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media (from music videos and Web environments to product placement in films and virtual displays)
It's about asking pertinent questions about what's there, and noticing what's not there.
And it's the instinct to question what lies behind media productions— the motives, the money, the values and the ownership— and to be aware of how these factors influence content.
Media education encourages a probing approach to the world of media: Who is this message intended for?Who wants to reach this audience, and why? From whose perspective is this story told? Whose voices are heard, and whose are absent?What strategies does this message use to get my attention and make me feel included?
Why is media literacy important? The influence of media in our central democratic process: We need 2 prominent skills to be engaged citizens of a democracy: critical thinking and self-expression The high rate of media consumption and the saturation of society by media (Videogames, TV, pop music, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, the internet, even T-shirts) Media literacy teaches the skills we need to navigate safely through this sea of images and messages for all our lives
Why is media literacy important? (2) 3. The media’s influence on shaping perceptions, beliefs and attitudes Media experiences exert a significant impact on the way we understand , interpret and act on our world By helping us understand those influences, media education can help us separate from our dependencies on them
Why is media literacy important? (3) 4. the increasing importance of visual communication and information learning how to “read” the multi layers of image-based communication is a necessity 5. The importance of information in society and the need for lifelong learning
Media literacy empowerment spiral: navigation skills (source: Center for media literacy/medialit.org) Based on the work of Paulo Freire Also known as action-learning: breaking complex concepts into learning steps:
Active This implies that you are not a passive media consumer, but also an active media producer; You have a voice
Profileof a media criticalliterate person(source: Center for media literacy/medialit.org) Uses media wisely and effectively Engages in critical thinking when evaluating media messages Evaluates the credibility of information from different sources Understands the power of visual images and knows how to “read” them Is aware of a diverse cultural universe and appreciates multiple perspectives (multi-voicedness) Expresses him/herself clearly and creatively using different forms of media Recognizes media’s influence on beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors and the democratic process.
Five core concepts in media literacy All media messages are ‘constructed’ (authorship/constructedness) Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules (format and techniques of production) Different people experience the same media messages differently (audience) Media have embedded values and points of views (content/message) Most media messages are organized to gain profit, convince and/or power (purpose/motive)
Core concepts translated in key questions (your role: consumer of media) Who created this message? (authorship/sender) What creative techniques are used to attract my attention (format/creative strategies for reality construction) How might different people understand this message differently? (audience/receiver) What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message? (content) Why is this message being sent? (purpose)
5 key questions for us to ask in your role as producers of media What am I authoring? Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity and technology? Is my message engaging and compelling for my target audience? Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view in my content? Have I communicated my purpose effectively?
We are not only consumers of media, but also producers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEHcGAsnBZE Participatory culture
Participatory culture (Jenkins) A participatory culture is a culture : With relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement With strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations with others With some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the one with the most experienced is passed along to novices Where members believe that their contributions matter Where members feel some degree of social connection with one another at the least they care what other people think about what they have created. Not every member must contribute, but all must believe they are FREE to contribute, when ready and that what they contribute will be appropriately valued.
You reaching for others You: both consumer as producer! On the net: there are billions of individuals, all of them producing At first you sight: fragmentation. But if we take a better look at reality: fragmented pieces are integrating the emerging of building communities. We are being social on the net (human nature), we are looking for others and forming communities The language of 21st century literacy encourages interaction with an audience The most profound impact of the Internet, an impact that has yet to be fully realized, is its ability to support and expand the various aspects of social learning Participatory culture shifts the focus of literacy from one of individual expression to community involvement
Forms of participatory culture include: Affiliations: memberships, formal and informal, in online communities centered around various forms of media e.g. Facebook, MySpace, game clans, message boards etc. Expressions: producing new creative forms e.g. digital sampling, ‘modding’, skimming, writing, mash-ups Collaborative problem-solving: working together in teams, formal and informal, to complete tasks and develop new knowledge e.g. Wikipedia, alternative reality gaming, spoiling Circulations: shaping the flow of media e.g. podcasting, blogging
Let’s practice! And analyze the following media productions by asking the 5 core questions
Let’s analyze the following media productions Who created this message? (authorship/sender) What creative techniques are used to attract my attention (format/creative strategies for reality construction) How might different people understand this message differently? (audience/receiver) What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message? (content) Why is this message being sent? (purpose)
Let’s analyze the following campaign ads by WWF by answering the 5 key questions: Who created this message? (authorship/sender) What creative techniques are used to attract my attention (format/creative strategies for reality construction) How might different people understand this message differently? (audience/receiver) What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message? (content) Why is this message being sent? (purpose)
Creative technique applied in this campaign by WWF: Fear Appeal “Fear appeals have been used extensively in advertising as marketers have found them to be effective. In using fear appeals by associating an act with a negative effect, it creates tension and gets the attention of the consumers, then provide them a solution; which in this case is to take action and be convinced to stand up for their cause. Such ads are persuasive as the messages have a capability to change attitudes over time; whether consciously or subconsciously. While ads using fear appeal can be effective, inappropriate use could also cause consumers to avoid such advertisements when they feel intimidated, or even irritated. As a result, consumers refuse to give their attention and turn away from them. This brings us to a next question: Do you think that using fear-appeal messages are ethical?” (source: Penn Olson website)
Look at the following music clip that also deals with a similar theme http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVNM43RPKbQ&feature=player_embedded#! The band Efterklang, the song is called doppelganger Answer the 5 questions
Analyze “The production of meaning” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8450349589599500087# Look at the following YouTube video on the ‘production of meaning’ and answer the following questions: Who created this message? (authorship/sender) What creative techniques are used to attract my attention (format/creative strategies for reality construction) How might different people understand this message differently? (audience/receiver) What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message? (content) Why is this message being sent? (purpose) Extra question: the documentary deals with 2 clashing ideologies. Which 2 ideologies are these and how do they differ from each other?