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MEDIA AUDIENCES
‘CULTIVATION THEORY – GERBNER’
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Gerbner claims that patterns of social roles and behaviours that are consistently depicted in television programmes.
He claims that they present a narrow and stereotypical view of society. He points to four interconnected areas of
concern:
Repetition and Consistency: Television programmes repeatedly depict roles and behaviours, creating a consistent
portrayal of social norms. e.g. women portrayed as caregivers/homemakers, men are depicted as breadwinners or
authority figures.
Stereotypical Representations: These depictions reinforce stereotypical notions of gender, race, class, and other
social categories. e.g. women may be portrayed as emotional and dependent; men are depicted as strong and
assertive. Gerbner claims that these stereotypes can contribute to the perpetuation of social inequalities and biases.
Limited Diversity: Standardised roles and behaviours reflect a limited range of experiences and identities, excluding
or stereotyping marginalised groups. This can reinforce existing power dynamics.
Impact on Audience Perceptions: Gerbner claims that prolonged exposure to these standardised roles and
behaviours shape viewers' perceptions of social reality; they internalise these depictions as representative of the real
world, leading to the cultivation of beliefs and attitudes that align with the portrayals they see on television.
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Gerbner and his colleagues, conducted longitudinal studies over several decades to examine the portrayal of violence and
other themes in television programming. It is worth being aware of some of the following elements:
Identification of Key Variables: Gerbner identified several key variables that he believed were important in understanding
the effects of television on viewers including the frequency and nature of violence, the representation of gender, ethnicity,
and social roles, as well as the overall tone and themes.
Sampling of Television Content: Researchers collected samples of television programs from various genres, including
dramas, comedies, news programs, and children's shows, which were systematically analysed to identify patterns and
trends in the portrayal of different themes and characters.
Coding and Analysis: They systematically coded T.V. content according to predefined categories. e.g. researchers coded
violence according to the type of violence (e.g., physical, verbal), the context in which it occurred, and the characteristics of
the perpetrator and victim. Other variables (e.g. gender roles/racial stereotypes) would be coded based on specific criteria.
Longitudinal Studies: By analysing television content over an extended period, researchers could track changes in the
portrayal of certain themes and the overall "message system" of television. This longitudinal approach allowed them to
examine how these changes might correspond to shifts in viewers' beliefs and attitudes over time.
Statistical Analysis: They used statistical analysis techniques to examine correlations between variables such as TV
viewing habits, perceptions of social reality, and attitudes toward crime and violence. By analysing large datasets collected
over many years, they identified patterns that supported cultivation theory's central hypothesis, that heavy exposure to
television can shape viewers' perceptions of the world.
‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
In a nutshell, "mean world syndrome" refers to the phenomenon where individuals who are heavy consumers
of media, develop an exaggerated belief that the world is a more dangerous and violent place than it really
is.
Exposure to Violence on Television: Gerbner's research suggests that TV programmes, especially news
and entertainment, frequently depicted violence and crime. These portrayals often emphasised sensational
and dramatic incidents, creating an exaggerated perception of the prevalence of violence in society.
Cultivation of Fear and Anxiety: Through repeated exposure to these depictions of violence, viewers may
develop a heightened sense of fear and anxiety about their personal safety and the state of the world. They
may come to believe that the world is a much more dangerous place than statistical evidence or their own
lived experiences suggest.
Impact on Perceptions and Behaviours: Mean world syndrome can influence individuals' perceptions of
risk, their attitudes toward others, and their behaviour in social contexts. E.g. people who believe the world is
inherently violent are more likely to adopt defensive or mistrustful attitudes toward others, even when there is
no real threat.
Social and Cultural Implications: Gerbner argued that mean world syndrome has broader social and
cultural implications, affecting how people interact with each other and how they perceive social issues such
as crime, law enforcement, and justice. The cultivation of fear and mistrust can contribute to a climate of
social paranoia and exacerbate social divisions and conflicts.
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
‘mainstreaming’
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
‘mainstreaming’
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Gerbner theorises that heavy exposure to TV content leads to the blurring or homogenisation of cultural differences
and diverse viewpoints among viewers. He claimed that TVs pervasive influence can override other sources of
information and shape a common set of beliefs and attitudes among audiences.
Impact of T.V. Content: He argued that television programming, particularly the dominant and widely watched
content, has the power to shape viewers' perceptions of social reality; repeated exposure to specific messages,
themes, and images, in TV can influence how viewers understand and interpret the world around them.
Overriding Other Sources of Information: Mainstreaming occurs when the messages and values conveyed
through TV become more influential than other sources of information, such as personal experiences, social
interactions, or alternative media sources. TV’s reach and accessibility make it a primary source of cultural
information for many people, leading to the homogenisation of attitudes and beliefs across diverse audience
segments.
Creation of a Shared Reality: Mainstreaming contributes to the creation of a shared cultural reality among
television viewers, where common themes, values, and perspectives dominate. This shared reality may override
differences in cultural background, socioeconomic status, or personal experiences, leading to a more uniform
worldview among audience members.
Social and Political Implications: Gerbner argued that mainstreaming has significant social and political
implications, as it can reinforce dominant ideologies and power structures. By promoting certain values and
Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates
standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to
analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy
users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean
world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others –
following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence.
Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a
common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV.
Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate.
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
images and labels
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
images and labels
CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
Gerbner used the term "images and labels" to refer to the stereotypical portrayals and categorisations of individuals
and groups in media content.
Stereotypical Portrayals: TV often depicts individuals and groups in stereotypical ways, relying on simplistic and
exaggerated characterisations that don’t accurately reflect the diversity and complexity of real-life experiences. e.g.
certain racial or ethnic groups may be portrayed in ways that reinforce common stereotypes. (Similar to Hall).
Categorical Thinking: Images and labels contribute to categorical thinking, where individuals are grouped into
distinct categories based on superficial characteristics such as race, gender, or social class. These categories often
come with associated labels (signifiers) or descriptors that reinforce social hierarchies and power dynamics.
Reinforcement of Social Norms: The images and labels presented in media content often reflect and reinforce
prevailing social norms and values. e.g. gender roles may be depicted in ways that reinforce traditional expectations
of masculinity and femininity; deviating from these norms may be portrayed negatively.
Impact on Audience Perceptions: Gerbner argued that prolonged exposure to these images and labels can shape
viewers' perceptions of social reality by influencing how they perceive and interact with others in society. Long term
exposure to may lead to internalising stereotypes and reinforce or form prejudices.
Cultural Hegemony: Images and labels in media content can reflect and reinforce cultural hegemony, where
dominant groups maintain their power and privilege by controlling the production and dissemination of cultural
representations. This can perpetuate inequalities and marginalise voices and perspectives that deviate from the
mainstream.
Cultivation Theory - Gerbner
• Gerbner suggests that the media can influence
the audience over a long period.
• Gerbner found that people who watched a lot of
television were likely to have a more negative
view of the world (mean world syndrome) than
people who did not watch a lot of television.
• People who watched a lot of television were
likely to have similar views – something he
called ‘mainstreaming’.
Key Ideas
One Sentence
Summary
The media can influence audience perceptions of
the world over a long period of time through the
repetition of similar messages.
Cultivation Theory - Gerbner
Gerbner theorises that the media can influence
audience perceptions of the world over a long period
of time through the repetition of similar messages. He
found that people who watched a lot of television were
likely to have a more negative view of the world,
which he called mean world syndrome and that long term
and consistent TV viewing lead to the homogenisation
of social and political views, which he called
‘mainstreaming’.
Key Ideas
One Sentence
Summary
The media can influence audience perceptions of
the world over a long period of time through the
repetition of similar messages.
Applying Gerbner to Stranger Things
• What messages about society are communicated in Stranger Things?
• Is Stranger Things likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs?
Stranger Things reflects a range of social values in relation to areas
such as gender roles and the family. Its depiction of social norms can be
seen as an example of mainstreaming although the complexity of
representations and the different ways in which audiences may engage with
these representations would arguably limit their impact upon the audience.
Stranger Things potentially contributes to mean world syndrome through its
depiction of the vulnerability of children, and its representation of
sinister government conspiracies.
Gerbner’s perspective is useful for considering the ways in which media
products may shape audience attitudes over a period of time, and draws
attention to the mainstreaming of values and attitudes.
Television viewing is now much more fragmented than in the 1970s when
Gerbner’s studies took place, as a result the ability of television to
cultivate attitudes and values through the repetition of similar messages
to mass audiences has arguably been lessened. Gerbner’s views
underestimate the diverse and contradictory nature of media
representations, and does not consider the ways in which audience members
(especially in the online age) can actively engage with media texts and
reject the values and beliefs communicated.
Applying Gerbner to Stranger Things
• What messages about society are communicated in Stranger Things?
• Is Stranger Things likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs?
Stranger Things reflects a range of social values in relation to areas
such as gender roles and the family. Its depiction of social norms can be
seen as an example of mainstreaming although the complexity of
representations and the different ways in which audiences may engage with
these representations would arguably limit their impact upon the audience.
Stranger Things potentially contributes to mean world syndrome through its
depiction of the vulnerability of children, and its representation of
sinister government conspiracies.
Gerbner’s perspective is useful for considering the ways in which media
products may shape audience attitudes over a period of time, and draws
attention to the mainstreaming of values and attitudes.
Television viewing is now much more fragmented than in the 1970s when
Gerbner’s studies took place, as a result the ability of television to
cultivate attitudes and values through the repetition of similar messages
to mass audiences has arguably been lessened. Gerbner’s views
underestimate the diverse and contradictory nature of media
representations, and does not consider the ways in which audience members
(especially in the online age) can actively engage with media texts and
reject the values and beliefs communicated.
Applying Gerbner to Stranger Things
• What messages about society are communicated in Stranger Things?
• Is Stranger Things likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs?
Stranger Things reflects a range of social values in relation to areas
such as gender roles and the family. Its depiction of social norms
can be seen as an example of mainstreaming. This is especially true in
episode one, in which the ‘normality’ of the Wheeler family, with its
traditional depiction of gender roles is juxtaposed with the single
parent Byers family. Gerbner might argue that Will’s kidnapping
reinforces the idea that one parent families are inferior to
mainstream nuclear family and contribute to the marginalisation of
both parents and children in this social class. This storyline in
Stranger Things also potentially contributes to mean world syndrome
through its depiction of the vulnerability of children, and its
representation of sinister government conspiracies, whose agents seem
to operate unchecked, even murdering ordinary citizens in the quiet
small-town community of Hawkins Indiana. It is clear to see how
episode one of the series may validate the usefulness of cultivation
theory, but Gerbner’s theory fails to acknowledge the complexity of
representations as the series progresses or the nuanced depictions of
different social groups, in particular the way that it offers
Applying Gerbner to Deutschland 83
• What messages about society are communicated in D83?
• Is D83 likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs?
Unlike Stranger Things, D83’s depiction of social values avoids
mainstreaming from the very start. The opening scene introduces the
audience to Lenora, who is revealed to be the leader of an HVA spy network
in West Germany. As the episode continues, she is revealed to be ruthless
in her devotion to her duties, even arranging the murder of the real
Moritz Stamm, to allow Martin to assume his role. This defies the
labelling (gender stereotyping) of women as homemakers or caregivers that
Gerbner identified in his research. We might be tempted to see this as
invalidating Gerbner’s theories related to mainstreaming, but it could be
argued that modern audiences see empowered women as a mainstream depiction
precisely because of the widespread depiction of this stereotype in modern
TV representations.
Like Stranger Things, we could argue that D83 contributes to mean world
syndrome through its depiction of violence, especially given that the
perpetrators seem to feel almost casual about it. More deeply level, we
could argue that it perpetuates mean world syndrome by constructing a
narrative that depicts NATO in the role of villain. Gerbner’s work would
likely point out that this type of depiction may reinforce cynical
mistrust of Western values. However, D83’s depiction of a communist hero
notably defies genre conventions, therefore it could be argued that it
actively works against mainstreaming and offers a vision of the political
and historical context that might lead audiences to a nuanced
Applying Gerbner to NEWSPAPER QUESTIONS
• What messages about society are communicated in D83?
• Is D83 likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs?
Unlike Stranger Things, D83’s depiction of social values avoids
mainstreaming from the very start. The opening scene introduces the
audience to Lenora, who is revealed to be the leader of an HVA spy network
in West Germany. As the episode continues, she is revealed to be ruthless
in her devotion to her duties, even arranging the murder of the real
Moritz Stamm, to allow Martin to assume his role. This defies the
labelling (gender stereotyping) of women as homemakers or caregivers that
Gerbner identified in his research. We might be tempted to see this as
invalidating Gerbner’s theories related to mainstreaming, but it could be
argued that modern audiences see empowered women as a mainstream depiction
precisely because of the widespread depiction of this stereotype in modern
TV representations.
Like Stranger Things, we could argue that D83 contributes to mean world
syndrome through its depiction of violence, especially given that the
perpetrators seem to feel almost casual about it. More deeply level, we
could argue that it perpetuates mean world syndrome by constructing a
narrative that depicts NATO in the role of villain. Gerbner’s work would
likely point out that this type of depiction may reinforce cynical
mistrust of Western values. However, D83’s depiction of a communist hero
notably defies genre conventions, therefore it could be argued that it
actively works against mainstreaming and offers a vision of the political
and historical context that might lead audiences to a nuanced
2022 Question:
Evaluate the effectiveness of one of the following theories in
understanding how audiences interpret newspapers, including how
they may interpret the same newspapers in different ways:
EITHER
• Gerbner’s cultivation theory
OR
• Bandura’s media effects theory
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Introduction
Gerbner theorises that the media can influence audience perceptions of
the world over a long period of time through the repetition of similar
messages. He found that people who watched a lot of television were
likely to have a more negative view of the world, which he called mean
world syndrome and that long term and consistent TV viewing lead to
the homogenisation of social and political views, which he called
‘mainstreaming’.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which
value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean
world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may
not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read
one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which
value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean
world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may
not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read
one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which
value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean
world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may
not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read
one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Galtung & Ruge, identified a set of criteria known as news
values.
They influence the selection and prioritisation of news stories by
editors in a process known as gatekeeping. The list on the next
slide is not exhaustive, and the order of priority will change
based on context and audience. For example, tabloid
newspapers will tend to prioritise sensationalism.
It is worth considering that Galtung and Ruge were writing
about print newspapers, but that the same values may be
amplified by online news.
How might you use these in an essay?
In essays about codes and conventions or representations, it is
worth considering the impact of news values on the content of
the extract.
Negativity: If it bleeds it leads. Negative or conflict-oriented stories tend to attract more attention and will often take top
priority . This includes stories about disasters, accidents, conflicts (including war), scandals, crimes etc.
Conflict: Leading on from negativity, stories involving conflict attract attention. This can include everything from political
conflicts, to cultural conflicts, to legal disputes etc.
Elite Nations: Events involving powerful nations are often prioritised by newspapers.
Elite Persons: Similarly, stories involving influential or prestigious individuals are more likely to be covered by newspapers.
Different papers may have different ideas about what constitutes an elite person, but political leaders, royalty, sports people,
entertainers and celebrities are generally considered newsworthy.
Unambiguity: Stories that are clear, straightforward, and easy to understand are more likely to be covered by newspapers.
Newspapers may be criticised for this priority because it can lead them to remove nuance from their presentations of a story.
Relevance: Also known as closeness to home. Stories that are relevant to the interests, concerns, or values of the
newspaper's audience are considered newsworthy. Editors prioritise covering topics that resonate with readers and will often
find ‘relevant’ content in a story. For example, if there has been a natural disaster we are likely to discover that five British
people are among the 10,000 victims.
Personalisation: Stories that focus on individual experiences, emotions, or human-interest elements are more likely to be
covered by newspapers. Personal stories, anecdotes, or profiles that evoke empathy or curiosity in readers are considered
newsworthy.
Continuity: Stories that provide updates or follow-ups on previously covered events are often considered more newsworthy.
Newspapers prioritise providing readers with ongoing coverage and analysis of evolving stories and developments.
Composition: Stories that are visually appealing are more likely to be covered by newspapers. Events or developments that
lend themselves to compelling visuals, such as photos, videos, or multimedia content, are often considered more
newsworthy.
Unexpectedness: Newspapers prioritise covering stories that are unique, surprising, or out of the ordinary.
Sensationalism: Sensational or emotionally charged stories tend to attract more attention. Newspapers may be criticised
for presenting stories as more sensational than they are.
Exclusivity: Exclusive or unique stories that cannot be found elsewhere are more likely to be covered by newspapers.
Editors may prioritise obtaining and publishing exclusive content that sets their publication apart from competitors.
Journalists may receive criticisms for pursuing exclusive stories in a nefarious way.
POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which
value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean
world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may
not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read
one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Galtung and Ruge point out that negativity may be the most significant of all news values; if it bleeds it leads.
The Daily Mail is known for its negativity around a range of topics, from immigration, to lawlessness on UK
streets; in 2018, it’s June 8th cover depicted a machete wielding man and a headline that read “CHILLING
REALITY OF WILD WEST UK.” Given that the Daily Mail has the highest circulation of any UK newspaper, we can
see the validity of applying Gerbner’s theory to their perpetuation of mean world syndrome through their lurid
depiction of violence. The Guardian have a reputation for sober reporting that avoids sensationalism. We
might therefore expect their content to contradict Gerbner, but for the past two years their website has
included a substantial info hub dedicated to live updates of the war in Ukraine, which suggests that Gerbner’s
mean world syndrome may be relevant across even the most socio-politically different publications.
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
POINT: Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing
newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is
less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different
newspapers.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
POINT: Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing
newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is
less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different
newspapers.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
POINT: Gerbner argues that consistent media messaging leads to mainstreaming of opinions. However,
newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing
newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict, like the reporting
of Brexit.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
On November 4th 2016, the covers of The Guardian and The Mail took a very different approach to the
reporting of the high court ruling prior to the triggering of article 50. The Mail branded the judges “ENEMIES
OF THE PEOPLE,” while the The Guardian headline acknowledged the difficult that the ruling posed for the
prime minister while remaining politically neutral. We might argue that these contradictory messages
invalidate Gerbner’s idea of mainstreaming; however, it is unlikely that ideologically different audiences are
going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers.
POINT: Gerbner argues that consistent media messaging leads to mainstreaming of opinions. However,
newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing
newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict, like the reporting
of Brexit.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
On November 4th 2016, the covers of The Guardian and The Mail took a very different approach to the
reporting of the high court ruling prior to the triggering of article 50. The Mail branded the judges “ENEMIES
OF THE PEOPLE,” while the The Guardian headline acknowledged the difficult that the ruling posed for the
prime minister while remaining politically neutral. We might argue that these contradictory messages
invalidate Gerbner’s idea of mainstreaming; however, it is unlikely that ideologically different audiences are
going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers.
POINT: Gerbner argues that consistent media messaging leads to mainstreaming of opinions. However,
newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing
newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict, like the reporting
of Brexit.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
On November 4th 2016, the covers of The Guardian and The Mail took a very different approach to the
reporting of the high court ruling prior to the triggering of article 50. The Mail branded the judges “ENEMIES
OF THE PEOPLE,” while the The Guardian headline acknowledged the difficult that the ruling posed for the
prime minister while remaining politically neutral. We might argue that these contradictory messages
invalidate Gerbner’s idea of mainstreaming; however, it is unlikely that ideologically different audiences are
going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. That said, The Daily Mail cover in
question is referenced by a range of Guardian articles since the publication of the newspaper, which may
suggest that Gerbner’s theory is less applicable to more educated, liberal readers.
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly)
Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media
representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant.
Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to
be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways.
Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers
compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in
the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media
consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might
perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one.
Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in
messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism;
different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences.
Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of
those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm.
However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption
is rarely as heavy.
Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail),
especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond
differently to) different newspapers.
Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Points: Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate
to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers
and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
Points: Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate
to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers
and who thus might respond differently to the same stories.
CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
WHAT STORY CAN YOU THINK OF THAT MIGHT ATTRACT BOTH CASUAL AND LONG-TERM READERS?
HOW MIGHT THEY RESPOND DIFFERENTLY TO THIS STORY?
IS ONLINE NEWS MORE LIKELY TO ATTRACT A RANGE OF READERS IN THIS WAY?

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AUDIENCE THEORY -CULTIVATION THEORY - GERBNER.pptx

  • 2. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 3. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER Gerbner claims that patterns of social roles and behaviours that are consistently depicted in television programmes. He claims that they present a narrow and stereotypical view of society. He points to four interconnected areas of concern: Repetition and Consistency: Television programmes repeatedly depict roles and behaviours, creating a consistent portrayal of social norms. e.g. women portrayed as caregivers/homemakers, men are depicted as breadwinners or authority figures. Stereotypical Representations: These depictions reinforce stereotypical notions of gender, race, class, and other social categories. e.g. women may be portrayed as emotional and dependent; men are depicted as strong and assertive. Gerbner claims that these stereotypes can contribute to the perpetuation of social inequalities and biases. Limited Diversity: Standardised roles and behaviours reflect a limited range of experiences and identities, excluding or stereotyping marginalised groups. This can reinforce existing power dynamics. Impact on Audience Perceptions: Gerbner claims that prolonged exposure to these standardised roles and behaviours shape viewers' perceptions of social reality; they internalise these depictions as representative of the real world, leading to the cultivation of beliefs and attitudes that align with the portrayals they see on television.
  • 4. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 5. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 6. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER Gerbner and his colleagues, conducted longitudinal studies over several decades to examine the portrayal of violence and other themes in television programming. It is worth being aware of some of the following elements: Identification of Key Variables: Gerbner identified several key variables that he believed were important in understanding the effects of television on viewers including the frequency and nature of violence, the representation of gender, ethnicity, and social roles, as well as the overall tone and themes. Sampling of Television Content: Researchers collected samples of television programs from various genres, including dramas, comedies, news programs, and children's shows, which were systematically analysed to identify patterns and trends in the portrayal of different themes and characters. Coding and Analysis: They systematically coded T.V. content according to predefined categories. e.g. researchers coded violence according to the type of violence (e.g., physical, verbal), the context in which it occurred, and the characteristics of the perpetrator and victim. Other variables (e.g. gender roles/racial stereotypes) would be coded based on specific criteria. Longitudinal Studies: By analysing television content over an extended period, researchers could track changes in the portrayal of certain themes and the overall "message system" of television. This longitudinal approach allowed them to examine how these changes might correspond to shifts in viewers' beliefs and attitudes over time. Statistical Analysis: They used statistical analysis techniques to examine correlations between variables such as TV viewing habits, perceptions of social reality, and attitudes toward crime and violence. By analysing large datasets collected over many years, they identified patterns that supported cultivation theory's central hypothesis, that heavy exposure to television can shape viewers' perceptions of the world.
  • 7. ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 8. ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER In a nutshell, "mean world syndrome" refers to the phenomenon where individuals who are heavy consumers of media, develop an exaggerated belief that the world is a more dangerous and violent place than it really is. Exposure to Violence on Television: Gerbner's research suggests that TV programmes, especially news and entertainment, frequently depicted violence and crime. These portrayals often emphasised sensational and dramatic incidents, creating an exaggerated perception of the prevalence of violence in society. Cultivation of Fear and Anxiety: Through repeated exposure to these depictions of violence, viewers may develop a heightened sense of fear and anxiety about their personal safety and the state of the world. They may come to believe that the world is a much more dangerous place than statistical evidence or their own lived experiences suggest. Impact on Perceptions and Behaviours: Mean world syndrome can influence individuals' perceptions of risk, their attitudes toward others, and their behaviour in social contexts. E.g. people who believe the world is inherently violent are more likely to adopt defensive or mistrustful attitudes toward others, even when there is no real threat. Social and Cultural Implications: Gerbner argued that mean world syndrome has broader social and cultural implications, affecting how people interact with each other and how they perceive social issues such as crime, law enforcement, and justice. The cultivation of fear and mistrust can contribute to a climate of social paranoia and exacerbate social divisions and conflicts.
  • 9. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 11. ‘mainstreaming’ CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER Gerbner theorises that heavy exposure to TV content leads to the blurring or homogenisation of cultural differences and diverse viewpoints among viewers. He claimed that TVs pervasive influence can override other sources of information and shape a common set of beliefs and attitudes among audiences. Impact of T.V. Content: He argued that television programming, particularly the dominant and widely watched content, has the power to shape viewers' perceptions of social reality; repeated exposure to specific messages, themes, and images, in TV can influence how viewers understand and interpret the world around them. Overriding Other Sources of Information: Mainstreaming occurs when the messages and values conveyed through TV become more influential than other sources of information, such as personal experiences, social interactions, or alternative media sources. TV’s reach and accessibility make it a primary source of cultural information for many people, leading to the homogenisation of attitudes and beliefs across diverse audience segments. Creation of a Shared Reality: Mainstreaming contributes to the creation of a shared cultural reality among television viewers, where common themes, values, and perspectives dominate. This shared reality may override differences in cultural background, socioeconomic status, or personal experiences, leading to a more uniform worldview among audience members. Social and Political Implications: Gerbner argued that mainstreaming has significant social and political implications, as it can reinforce dominant ideologies and power structures. By promoting certain values and
  • 12. Exposure to television over long periods of time cultivates standardised roles and behaviours. Gerbner used content analysis to analyse repeated media messages and values, then found that heavy users of televisions were more likely, for example, to develop ‘mean world syndrome’ – a cynical, mistrusting attitude toward others – following prolonged exposure to high level of television violence. Gerbner found that heavy TV viewing led to ‘mainstreaming’ – a common outlook on the world based on the images and labels on TV. Mainstreamers would describe themselves as politically moderate. CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 13. images and labels CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER
  • 14. images and labels CULTIVATION THEORY– GERBNER Gerbner used the term "images and labels" to refer to the stereotypical portrayals and categorisations of individuals and groups in media content. Stereotypical Portrayals: TV often depicts individuals and groups in stereotypical ways, relying on simplistic and exaggerated characterisations that don’t accurately reflect the diversity and complexity of real-life experiences. e.g. certain racial or ethnic groups may be portrayed in ways that reinforce common stereotypes. (Similar to Hall). Categorical Thinking: Images and labels contribute to categorical thinking, where individuals are grouped into distinct categories based on superficial characteristics such as race, gender, or social class. These categories often come with associated labels (signifiers) or descriptors that reinforce social hierarchies and power dynamics. Reinforcement of Social Norms: The images and labels presented in media content often reflect and reinforce prevailing social norms and values. e.g. gender roles may be depicted in ways that reinforce traditional expectations of masculinity and femininity; deviating from these norms may be portrayed negatively. Impact on Audience Perceptions: Gerbner argued that prolonged exposure to these images and labels can shape viewers' perceptions of social reality by influencing how they perceive and interact with others in society. Long term exposure to may lead to internalising stereotypes and reinforce or form prejudices. Cultural Hegemony: Images and labels in media content can reflect and reinforce cultural hegemony, where dominant groups maintain their power and privilege by controlling the production and dissemination of cultural representations. This can perpetuate inequalities and marginalise voices and perspectives that deviate from the mainstream.
  • 15. Cultivation Theory - Gerbner • Gerbner suggests that the media can influence the audience over a long period. • Gerbner found that people who watched a lot of television were likely to have a more negative view of the world (mean world syndrome) than people who did not watch a lot of television. • People who watched a lot of television were likely to have similar views – something he called ‘mainstreaming’. Key Ideas One Sentence Summary The media can influence audience perceptions of the world over a long period of time through the repetition of similar messages.
  • 16. Cultivation Theory - Gerbner Gerbner theorises that the media can influence audience perceptions of the world over a long period of time through the repetition of similar messages. He found that people who watched a lot of television were likely to have a more negative view of the world, which he called mean world syndrome and that long term and consistent TV viewing lead to the homogenisation of social and political views, which he called ‘mainstreaming’. Key Ideas One Sentence Summary The media can influence audience perceptions of the world over a long period of time through the repetition of similar messages.
  • 17. Applying Gerbner to Stranger Things • What messages about society are communicated in Stranger Things? • Is Stranger Things likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs? Stranger Things reflects a range of social values in relation to areas such as gender roles and the family. Its depiction of social norms can be seen as an example of mainstreaming although the complexity of representations and the different ways in which audiences may engage with these representations would arguably limit their impact upon the audience. Stranger Things potentially contributes to mean world syndrome through its depiction of the vulnerability of children, and its representation of sinister government conspiracies. Gerbner’s perspective is useful for considering the ways in which media products may shape audience attitudes over a period of time, and draws attention to the mainstreaming of values and attitudes. Television viewing is now much more fragmented than in the 1970s when Gerbner’s studies took place, as a result the ability of television to cultivate attitudes and values through the repetition of similar messages to mass audiences has arguably been lessened. Gerbner’s views underestimate the diverse and contradictory nature of media representations, and does not consider the ways in which audience members (especially in the online age) can actively engage with media texts and reject the values and beliefs communicated.
  • 18. Applying Gerbner to Stranger Things • What messages about society are communicated in Stranger Things? • Is Stranger Things likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs? Stranger Things reflects a range of social values in relation to areas such as gender roles and the family. Its depiction of social norms can be seen as an example of mainstreaming although the complexity of representations and the different ways in which audiences may engage with these representations would arguably limit their impact upon the audience. Stranger Things potentially contributes to mean world syndrome through its depiction of the vulnerability of children, and its representation of sinister government conspiracies. Gerbner’s perspective is useful for considering the ways in which media products may shape audience attitudes over a period of time, and draws attention to the mainstreaming of values and attitudes. Television viewing is now much more fragmented than in the 1970s when Gerbner’s studies took place, as a result the ability of television to cultivate attitudes and values through the repetition of similar messages to mass audiences has arguably been lessened. Gerbner’s views underestimate the diverse and contradictory nature of media representations, and does not consider the ways in which audience members (especially in the online age) can actively engage with media texts and reject the values and beliefs communicated.
  • 19. Applying Gerbner to Stranger Things • What messages about society are communicated in Stranger Things? • Is Stranger Things likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs? Stranger Things reflects a range of social values in relation to areas such as gender roles and the family. Its depiction of social norms can be seen as an example of mainstreaming. This is especially true in episode one, in which the ‘normality’ of the Wheeler family, with its traditional depiction of gender roles is juxtaposed with the single parent Byers family. Gerbner might argue that Will’s kidnapping reinforces the idea that one parent families are inferior to mainstream nuclear family and contribute to the marginalisation of both parents and children in this social class. This storyline in Stranger Things also potentially contributes to mean world syndrome through its depiction of the vulnerability of children, and its representation of sinister government conspiracies, whose agents seem to operate unchecked, even murdering ordinary citizens in the quiet small-town community of Hawkins Indiana. It is clear to see how episode one of the series may validate the usefulness of cultivation theory, but Gerbner’s theory fails to acknowledge the complexity of representations as the series progresses or the nuanced depictions of different social groups, in particular the way that it offers
  • 20. Applying Gerbner to Deutschland 83 • What messages about society are communicated in D83? • Is D83 likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs? Unlike Stranger Things, D83’s depiction of social values avoids mainstreaming from the very start. The opening scene introduces the audience to Lenora, who is revealed to be the leader of an HVA spy network in West Germany. As the episode continues, she is revealed to be ruthless in her devotion to her duties, even arranging the murder of the real Moritz Stamm, to allow Martin to assume his role. This defies the labelling (gender stereotyping) of women as homemakers or caregivers that Gerbner identified in his research. We might be tempted to see this as invalidating Gerbner’s theories related to mainstreaming, but it could be argued that modern audiences see empowered women as a mainstream depiction precisely because of the widespread depiction of this stereotype in modern TV representations. Like Stranger Things, we could argue that D83 contributes to mean world syndrome through its depiction of violence, especially given that the perpetrators seem to feel almost casual about it. More deeply level, we could argue that it perpetuates mean world syndrome by constructing a narrative that depicts NATO in the role of villain. Gerbner’s work would likely point out that this type of depiction may reinforce cynical mistrust of Western values. However, D83’s depiction of a communist hero notably defies genre conventions, therefore it could be argued that it actively works against mainstreaming and offers a vision of the political and historical context that might lead audiences to a nuanced
  • 21. Applying Gerbner to NEWSPAPER QUESTIONS • What messages about society are communicated in D83? • Is D83 likely to reinforce existing values or beliefs? Unlike Stranger Things, D83’s depiction of social values avoids mainstreaming from the very start. The opening scene introduces the audience to Lenora, who is revealed to be the leader of an HVA spy network in West Germany. As the episode continues, she is revealed to be ruthless in her devotion to her duties, even arranging the murder of the real Moritz Stamm, to allow Martin to assume his role. This defies the labelling (gender stereotyping) of women as homemakers or caregivers that Gerbner identified in his research. We might be tempted to see this as invalidating Gerbner’s theories related to mainstreaming, but it could be argued that modern audiences see empowered women as a mainstream depiction precisely because of the widespread depiction of this stereotype in modern TV representations. Like Stranger Things, we could argue that D83 contributes to mean world syndrome through its depiction of violence, especially given that the perpetrators seem to feel almost casual about it. More deeply level, we could argue that it perpetuates mean world syndrome by constructing a narrative that depicts NATO in the role of villain. Gerbner’s work would likely point out that this type of depiction may reinforce cynical mistrust of Western values. However, D83’s depiction of a communist hero notably defies genre conventions, therefore it could be argued that it actively works against mainstreaming and offers a vision of the political and historical context that might lead audiences to a nuanced
  • 22. 2022 Question: Evaluate the effectiveness of one of the following theories in understanding how audiences interpret newspapers, including how they may interpret the same newspapers in different ways: EITHER • Gerbner’s cultivation theory OR • Bandura’s media effects theory CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 23. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 24. Introduction Gerbner theorises that the media can influence audience perceptions of the world over a long period of time through the repetition of similar messages. He found that people who watched a lot of television were likely to have a more negative view of the world, which he called mean world syndrome and that long term and consistent TV viewing lead to the homogenisation of social and political views, which he called ‘mainstreaming’. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 25. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 26. POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 27. POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 28. POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 29. Galtung & Ruge, identified a set of criteria known as news values. They influence the selection and prioritisation of news stories by editors in a process known as gatekeeping. The list on the next slide is not exhaustive, and the order of priority will change based on context and audience. For example, tabloid newspapers will tend to prioritise sensationalism. It is worth considering that Galtung and Ruge were writing about print newspapers, but that the same values may be amplified by online news. How might you use these in an essay? In essays about codes and conventions or representations, it is worth considering the impact of news values on the content of the extract.
  • 30. Negativity: If it bleeds it leads. Negative or conflict-oriented stories tend to attract more attention and will often take top priority . This includes stories about disasters, accidents, conflicts (including war), scandals, crimes etc. Conflict: Leading on from negativity, stories involving conflict attract attention. This can include everything from political conflicts, to cultural conflicts, to legal disputes etc. Elite Nations: Events involving powerful nations are often prioritised by newspapers. Elite Persons: Similarly, stories involving influential or prestigious individuals are more likely to be covered by newspapers. Different papers may have different ideas about what constitutes an elite person, but political leaders, royalty, sports people, entertainers and celebrities are generally considered newsworthy. Unambiguity: Stories that are clear, straightforward, and easy to understand are more likely to be covered by newspapers. Newspapers may be criticised for this priority because it can lead them to remove nuance from their presentations of a story. Relevance: Also known as closeness to home. Stories that are relevant to the interests, concerns, or values of the newspaper's audience are considered newsworthy. Editors prioritise covering topics that resonate with readers and will often find ‘relevant’ content in a story. For example, if there has been a natural disaster we are likely to discover that five British people are among the 10,000 victims. Personalisation: Stories that focus on individual experiences, emotions, or human-interest elements are more likely to be covered by newspapers. Personal stories, anecdotes, or profiles that evoke empathy or curiosity in readers are considered newsworthy. Continuity: Stories that provide updates or follow-ups on previously covered events are often considered more newsworthy. Newspapers prioritise providing readers with ongoing coverage and analysis of evolving stories and developments. Composition: Stories that are visually appealing are more likely to be covered by newspapers. Events or developments that lend themselves to compelling visuals, such as photos, videos, or multimedia content, are often considered more newsworthy. Unexpectedness: Newspapers prioritise covering stories that are unique, surprising, or out of the ordinary. Sensationalism: Sensational or emotionally charged stories tend to attract more attention. Newspapers may be criticised for presenting stories as more sensational than they are. Exclusivity: Exclusive or unique stories that cannot be found elsewhere are more likely to be covered by newspapers. Editors may prioritise obtaining and publishing exclusive content that sets their publication apart from competitors. Journalists may receive criticisms for pursuing exclusive stories in a nefarious way.
  • 31. POINT: Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS Galtung and Ruge point out that negativity may be the most significant of all news values; if it bleeds it leads. The Daily Mail is known for its negativity around a range of topics, from immigration, to lawlessness on UK streets; in 2018, it’s June 8th cover depicted a machete wielding man and a headline that read “CHILLING REALITY OF WILD WEST UK.” Given that the Daily Mail has the highest circulation of any UK newspaper, we can see the validity of applying Gerbner’s theory to their perpetuation of mean world syndrome through their lurid depiction of violence. The Guardian have a reputation for sober reporting that avoids sensationalism. We might therefore expect their content to contradict Gerbner, but for the past two years their website has included a substantial info hub dedicated to live updates of the war in Ukraine, which suggests that Gerbner’s mean world syndrome may be relevant across even the most socio-politically different publications.
  • 32. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 33. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 34. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 35. POINT: Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 36. POINT: Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 37. POINT: Gerbner argues that consistent media messaging leads to mainstreaming of opinions. However, newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict, like the reporting of Brexit. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS On November 4th 2016, the covers of The Guardian and The Mail took a very different approach to the reporting of the high court ruling prior to the triggering of article 50. The Mail branded the judges “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE,” while the The Guardian headline acknowledged the difficult that the ruling posed for the prime minister while remaining politically neutral. We might argue that these contradictory messages invalidate Gerbner’s idea of mainstreaming; however, it is unlikely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers.
  • 38. POINT: Gerbner argues that consistent media messaging leads to mainstreaming of opinions. However, newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict, like the reporting of Brexit. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS On November 4th 2016, the covers of The Guardian and The Mail took a very different approach to the reporting of the high court ruling prior to the triggering of article 50. The Mail branded the judges “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE,” while the The Guardian headline acknowledged the difficult that the ruling posed for the prime minister while remaining politically neutral. We might argue that these contradictory messages invalidate Gerbner’s idea of mainstreaming; however, it is unlikely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers.
  • 39. POINT: Gerbner argues that consistent media messaging leads to mainstreaming of opinions. However, newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict, like the reporting of Brexit. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS On November 4th 2016, the covers of The Guardian and The Mail took a very different approach to the reporting of the high court ruling prior to the triggering of article 50. The Mail branded the judges “ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE,” while the The Guardian headline acknowledged the difficult that the ruling posed for the prime minister while remaining politically neutral. We might argue that these contradictory messages invalidate Gerbner’s idea of mainstreaming; however, it is unlikely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. That said, The Daily Mail cover in question is referenced by a range of Guardian articles since the publication of the newspaper, which may suggest that Gerbner’s theory is less applicable to more educated, liberal readers.
  • 40. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 41. Indicative Content – Gerbner (From the markscheme – mostly) Gerbner’s cultivation theory places stress on long term media effects on attitudes rather than short term immediate effects, interest in media representation of violence, concern for the effects of heavy media use – is not specifically related to newspapers and therefore may not be relevant. Cultivation theory best fits those media producing consistent messages about the world that might cultivate attitudes in media users – this may be seen to be appropriate in relation to newspapers and may help to explain why some readers might, over time, respond in different ways. Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. Gerbner’s interest in the attitudinal effects of violent representations suggests that newspapers which value ‘bad’ news are possibly creating the belief in the audience that the world is a dangerous place (‘mean world syndrome’) characterised by negative events; audiences who have a broader media consumption may not feel the same way as those whose primary source is a particular newspaper whilst those who only read one newspaper might perceive the world differently to audiences which read more than one. Gerbner’s ideas can be applied to a wide range of media products, including newspapers, where content analysis is widely used to study consistency in messages and would most apply to strongly delivered newspaper messages that are consistent across newspapers, e.g. about the wrongness of terrorism; different audiences might receive these stories differently depending upon other influences. Gerbner’s ideas draw attention to the need to investigate the longer-term effects on individuals who consume newspapers and support the arguments of those who think newspapers should be regulated to avoid public harm. However, as noted above, the theory was developed to explain the power of television, so may be less applicable to newspapers, where media consumption is rarely as heavy. Newspaper messages are likely to be contradicted by messages from politically and socially opposing newspapers (e.g. The Guardian and the Mail), especially in areas of social or political conflict (e.g. Brexit); it is less likely that ideologically different audiences are going to read (and thus respond differently to) different newspapers. Prioritising the effects of the media on the audience may mean that the effects of the audience on the media are underestimated. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 42. Points: Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS
  • 43. Points: Gerbner’s stress on the increased media effects on heavy media users might be appropriate to describe the effects on regular readers of newspapers compared to those who are casual readers and who thus might respond differently to the same stories. CULTIVATION THEORY– NEWSPAPERS WHAT STORY CAN YOU THINK OF THAT MIGHT ATTRACT BOTH CASUAL AND LONG-TERM READERS? HOW MIGHT THEY RESPOND DIFFERENTLY TO THIS STORY? IS ONLINE NEWS MORE LIKELY TO ATTRACT A RANGE OF READERS IN THIS WAY?