Journalism Essay Test Questions

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historical progression from the printing press to the internet
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Communication Over Time • Printing press • Newspaper • Telegraph/telephone • Radio • Film/newsreel • Television • Internet
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5 stages of being a critical media consumer
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o 5 Stages (Dogs Always Interact Eachother Early) 1. description • pay close attention, take notes, do research 2. analysis • discover & focus on significant patterns 3. interpretation • ask “what does it mean?” 4. evaluation • put aside your personal feelings & arrive at judgments 5. engagement • take action & question institutions
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reflectionist/constructivist/narrativist
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3 Types of Media Criticism 1. reflectionist • focuses on how well (or badly) the media represent the real world • argues that media content is more violent, more sexual, less diverse than real life 2. constructivist • focuses on the ways the media shape or construct individuals & society • looks at who people became when they spent time with media • looks at ideology & power in society & how the media act to create & sustain power relations 3. narrativist • focuses on the media as society’s central storytellers • people experience media mainly through stories as the dominant way we understand our position in the world • changes in storytelling can have serious effects on how we place ourselves in society
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the third-person effect
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• We consistently believe that individuals in society are influenced by media, but that we ourselves are not o Third-person effect o People argue they’re not influenced by media because of one of these factors: • Intelligence, education, family, or training
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the influence of capitalism
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o Influence of Capitalism • What is the distinction between democracy & capitalism? • One is an economic system & the other is a political system (often blur lines) • Media are often seen as extensions of the economic system that are dependent upon the political system • Media companies are for-profit & rely heavily on advertising • Because of media’s economic nature, we often get content that merges information & advertising
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media influence metaphors
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o Media as Interloper • Outside influences that shape our lives • Some use ideology to paint the media as an oppositional force to the values of society o Media as Information • The expectation that the news media should act as a purveyor of information to citizens in democracy • The media should be objective and rational rather than sensational, shallow, and uninformative • These problems could be caused by a combination of: • Market pressures, advertising, and technology o Media as Propaganda • Media messages are frequently intended to persuade • There is some cultural value in persuasive messages • Recognize how persuasion creates narratives that promote feelings like satisfaction & happiness o Media as Commerce • Takes the propaganda model a step further and perceives the public as mere consumers to sell things to • Turning citizens into consumers will make citizens into selfish individuals rather than informed citizens • Advertisers not only need access to consumers, but they need consumers to continue consuming media o Media as Distraction • Consuming media is a way to spend leisure time escaping other influences • These criticisms imply that there are better ways to spend our time • The difference between low-brow (entertainment) & high-brow (informative) forms of entertainment o Media as Art • Most forms of mainstream media are low-brow art & that is an inadequate representation of culture • This criticism has come under attack recently as common forms of media have adapted narrative structures & incorporated more complex approaches to storytelling o Media as Narrators • Looking at the media as a system for mediating change through narrative • Use of narratives: • Telling diverse stories • Helping us to imagine the past, present, and future • Teaching us how to tell stories ourselves
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the mirror, watchdog, and marketplace of ideas metaphors
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mirror: journalism reports as a mirror, reflects whats happening watchdog: investigative approach, “digging” marketplace: should be a place for as many ideas as possible o Media as Mirror • Media’s role is to provide information necessary for a functioning democracy and to represent the interests and needs of all citizens o Media as Watchdog • Represents the need for journalism to hold those in power accountable to the people o Media as Marketplace of Ideas • Journalists should represent the interests of all citizens and provide a place for deliberation and conflict resolution
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the debate between Lippmann and Dewey
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p.21-23 lippman – journalists cannot effectively serve as mirrors or watchdogs for democracy dewey – sure, but journalists can offer a marketplace for democracy In 1922, Walter Lippmann published an influential book entitled Public Opinion. In this book, Lippmann was very suspicious and critical of any model of democracy that placed excessive faith and power in the hands of the public. John Dewey, in his response to Lippmann, first in a review published in The New Republic (1922), and later in his book The Public and its Problems (1927), contended that democracy should not be confined to the enlightenment of administrators or to insiders like industrial leaders, and highlighted the importance of public deliberation in political decision-making.
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the definition of journalism
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Journalism is a set of transparent, independent procedures aimed at gathering, verifying, and reporting truthful information of consequence to citizens in a democracy
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the distinction between defining WHAT is journalism vs. WHO is a journalist
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in modern era, publishing is easy. stop defining who is journalism, start thinking what is journalism who (past) what (now) information is just basic facts, no value. news is information taken and made important/valuable/interesting. journalism – taking info and making it into news
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the Zapruder film
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The Zapruder film is a silent, color motion picture sequence shot by private citizen Abraham Zapruder with a home-movie camera, as U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963, thereby inadvertently capturing the President’s assassination.
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the difference between news, information, and journalism
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o News is constructed by those who select, confirm, and explain the social world o News can mean different things in different places o News, information, and journalism are NOT the same thing o A journalist could be anyone who engages in this practice
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how the media serve as “political narrators”
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the news can spin messages making candidates into whoever they want them to be (seem like) media helps define political “actors” persuasive political advertising • One of the media’s most important roles – to inform the citizenry about public issues so citizens can make informed decisions about political choices
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political biases in the media
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• In general, the media are biased toward: o Dramatic stories o Conflict o Creating just 2 sides to a story o Powerful & connected sources o Efficiency • Overt political bias o Why is the media often criticized for being liberal? • The principles of journalism typically act: As agents of change Checks on institutional power To report on wrongdoing • These align with a more liberal ideology o The media also prefer convenient narratives that fit their typical storytelling: • Stories that specify a “good” guy & a “bad” guy o The media are also reliant on professional routines: • Getting the story first • Telling both sides of the story • Completing the project on deadline • Structural biases – routines & preferences for certain types of stories o Are these stories fair & complete? o Do they provide verification & documentation? o Do they represent multiple viewpoints?
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persuasive political advertising
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Presidential Elections • Candidates use narratives & tropes to develop a personality – we begin to “know” candidates based on over-simplifications of who the candidate is • Which description is accurate? • Words & images play a crucial role in our understanding of events because humans like narratives • Our culture appreciates the ability to fit our understanding of people into convenient stories – whether that is the hero, villain, sea captain, or cowboy Advertising & the Capitalism of Politics • Advertising is a rather new concept in culture • Its prominence has only come to be in the 20-21st centuries • With advertising’s increased popularity, consumers have become more discriminating or more adept at tuning it out • Expect to see more concepts like corporate sponsorships & product placements Political Advertising & Democracy • With the emergence of TV as a medium, came the TV political ad • TV advertising remains an expensive form of communication for many candidates & even more expensive in states with competitive races for Senate or the President • Organizations can spend their money on direct political advertising • As much as citizens will continually report that they hate political advertising, they will still consume it o The ads also work
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sex and violence in the media
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Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association The supreme court says that there is no history in the united states of preventing children from being exposed to violence – like there is in protecting children from sexual materials o It has always been a strong move politically to argue that the media is full of sex & violence o The TV industry got concerned & started self-regulating & created their own series of ratings that they self-determine o Natural first response to school shootings is: • “Did the shooter play violent video games?” o Research shows that violent tendencies in teens can’t be tied to playing violent video games or watching violent movies
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the growth of objectivity in media
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• Early forms of objectivity in the US consisted of verbatim reporting of speeches & meetings o The Gettysburg Address is an excellent example • In the 1890s, 2 forms of journalism emerged: o Story model – emphasizing dramatic events o Information model – used fact-based approach • Removing opinion from the front page of the newspaper led to larger audiences & bigger markets • When Adolph Ochs bought the NY Times in 1896, he made it more fact-based & stopped competing with the penny papers in order to find a new audience • 3 other trends emerged at this time: o The use of interviewing o The use of multiple sources o Neutral reporting • We also got the inverted pyramid at this time: o A form of news writing that prefers fact information over descriptive language o The news story is structured with the most important information first & the least important information last o News stories start with: who, what, where, when, why & how
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penny papers
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• As public education grew & literacy rates rose, there was a greater demand for public information • This led to an increase in newspapers that served a middle class audience – the penny papers • They cost just a penny & reported on salacious stories to get people’s attention o Crime, scandals, fictionalized stories, etc. • Penny papers also moved politics to the editorial page & dropped the partisan edge • They also added advertisements to fill out the pages • Instead of having a political party fund the newspaper, commercialism paid for the content • This period of rabid commercialism & competition led to a battle between Joseph Pulitzer & William Randolph Hearst that we read about in the book • This led to Yellow Journalism – shameless sensational journalism o It also led to a public dependent on newspapers as a daily source of information
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inverted pyramid
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-news writing that prefers fact information over descriptive language. -news stories structured with most information first and least important last. -who, what, where, when, why, how? still followed by journalists now. more relevant for print pyramid: most newsworthy info (top) important details (middle) other general info (bottom)
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the internet and objectivity
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media was cheaper to produce online allowed publishers to target specific niches of people internet doesn’t carry as much objectivity as print
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false equivalence
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the idea that journalists will cover both sides of a topic equally so that there seems to be no bias False equivalence is a logical fallacy, which describes a situation where there is a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.
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activist journalism
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Typically journalists will fight for basic principles of the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know information However, some journalists will also see it as their duty to uphold certain social values. • Ex. depression-era photographer James Agee o Showed not only people, but tried to raise awareness of poverty and human rights o Activist journalism • Typically journalists will fight for the basic principles of the freedom of the press & the public’s right to know information However, some journalists will also see it as their duty to uphold certain social values in society • James Agee Photographer who captured depression-era life in America He not only chose to show the people, but tried to raise awareness about human rights & poverty Just telling the story of these people was not enough
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the 7 news values
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timeliness, impact, currency, conflict, novelty/emotions, prominence, proximity
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news vs. information vs. journalism
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Information, news, & journalism • How do we distinguish between information, news, and journalism? o Information gives us details about events as they happen o We have a surplus of information in today’s society and not all of it is news • How did information get translated into journalism? o Through the process of journalism o The journalist made decisions about how to construct that paragraph in order to best present the information
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how journalists make decisions to structure news stories
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journalists decide what facts are more prominent/important to others creates a bias • Journalists today are expected not only to write a story (for online, print, or broadcast), but to tweet, blog, and edit content at the same time • Many journalists today complain that their work expectations are far too high to still meet the expectations of good journalism: o Independence, verification, and accountability • The focus is still on journalism basics: o Persistence, fact-finding, and the willingness to dig & ask tough questions o The underlying principles of journalism have not changed, but the tools have
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the news reporting process
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• Many news stories start as press releases, emails, phone calls and requests for coverage • Enterprise stories o Journalists developing stories of their own • News stories are assigned differently based on the medium, the news organization, and the editor • Stories typically start with an assignment from an editor • The reporter wull conduct interviews or maybe fo visit the site for a better interview or to get visuals • The reporter will come back to the office and write up the story in the next few hours – making more phone calls and posting a short version to the web • Their editor will look at the first story first o The reporter will make any changes ot call more sources. Once the editor is satisfied, the story will go to the copy editor. • Copy editors make the changes that often get overlooked and prepare the final version of the story with a headline and photo captions • This process can take hours or just minutes in the case of breaking news • Anything that can speed up this process makes the job easier for the journalist • What happens when the media aren’t transparent about their process? Does that hurt credibility?
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ethics scandal at the New York Times
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• Jayson Blair was a reporter for the New York Times who fabricated information in stories o He made up quotes o He lied & said he went to places he never did o Among other lies
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the 9 steps of ethical decision making
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KNOW THESE 1. start with an open mind 2. get all the facts you can 3. listen to your gut 4. identify the duties at stake 5. figure out what kind of conflict it is 6. brainstorm and analyze 7. create a conclusion 8. minimize 9. what can happen next time this situation occurs
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consequentialism vs. deontology
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1. Consequentialism – ends justify the means o One can decide the rightness or wrongness of an action according to the produced consequences o Utilitarianism is a consequentialist form of ethics • Balancing multiple interests in order to see which best serves the interest of the public 2. Deontology – using strict rules o Judge the action by how well it conforms to established rules o This is not as flexible as the Ross system of prima facie duties
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Prima facie duties
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• Some of the duties of humans in society are thought to be so basic that we can call them prima facie – on their face • In this case, human intuition can tell us what is the right and wrong thing to do o They are self-evident, obvious, and universal • Perfect duties – strictly binding o Fidelity – keep your promises o Nonmaleficence – avoid causing harm o Reparation – make up for harm you cause o Respect for persons, including seld o Formal justice • Imperfect duties – strongly encouraged o Beneficence – improve the lives of others o Gratitude – show appreciation o Distributive justice – distribute social goods o Honesty o Self improvement
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alternative media online
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different forms of media outlets disrupters – shake up the market (ex. buzzfeed, spot.us, patch.com, propublica) single issue sites – cover one topic very deep (ex. politico) aggravators – takes media from other sites • Aggregators o Aggregators are websites that bring together content from around the web & display it in one space in a new format o The Huffington Post was an early adopter of this model, but has hired lots of journalists since o Newser has built its entire business model around this practice • Single-Issue Sites o Some brands choose to take one issue & focus on that topic solely: • Politico – politics (to a broad extent) • Engadget – technology • Gawker – celebrity gossip • Bleacher Report – sports • Disruptors o Websites that offer content in new ways that disrupt the market o By going about things in new ways, they change the game (ex. Buzzfeed) o Clickbait is a media tactic to write headlines so that consumers will be enticed to click a link thinking they will get some reward in the end • “You won’t believe what happened next” • Upworthy • Saved you a click – Twitter account o What does this teach us? • Some organizations have attempted to find a way to merge entertaining & informing content in new ways to provide both news & interesting content
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entrepreneurship in journalism
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1. learn from the failures of others 2. appreciate diversification 3. learn to experiment 4. provide a value-added experience • Steps to good entrepreneurship 1. Own your idea 2. Develop quickly & collaboratively 3. Launch early 4. Assume you’ll be in beta mode for a while 5. Let a project fail if need be 6. Repeat
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paywalls
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• When the internet first emerged as a forum for news, organizations gave away their content for free and few organizations challenged this idea • What threatened the success of news organizations online was not the lack of circulation revenue, but: o Craigslist o eBay o Google • News organizarions lost enormous centers of revenue that used to come from classifieds, auto dealership advertising, and local real estate ads • In response, many news organizations set up paywalls. How do they influence journalism? o There is a sharp drop in traffic o There is a smaller base of engaged consumers o There is a more marketable audience o A large audience isn’t always what advertisers want • Consider the kind of paywall that is set up: o Newsday put up a moat • Pay $260 a year or have no access at all o Metered approach • Ex. NYT • Allow someone to view a certain amount of content before being asked to pay
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hyperlocal journalism
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• Small news organizations cannot compete on the international or national level • Instead, they turn their eyes inward to an intensely focused small geographic area • If youre too hyperlocal, advertising might not want to cover the small community you have • Patch.com is a hyperlocal news sorganization that the book speaks about with optimism – went out of business • Spot.com allowed people to sponsor news stories o Business model failed, went out of business ESSAY QUESTION ABOUT THIS journalists focused on a hyper local area ex. columbia missourian doesn’t make very much money, but easy to publish online usually a small following cover the area, and cover it well and deep
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narrowcasting
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• the growth of media options and the shrinking size of media audiences meant that the economic morsel of media has changed dramatically in the last 30 years • in the 1980’s, a TV show could get 50 million viewers; now you’re lucky to get 10 million • advertisers now have the ability to pay smaller fees to get access to smaller, but more targeting audiences
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digital divide
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the have and have not’s of the digital world expanding internet access to 3rd world countries and such have: USA, canada, asia, australia, europe have not: africa, south america, remote asia/india • Beyond just developing & developed countries, consider the role that political systems can play o All the major internet players are democracies • Authoritarian regimes go to great lengths to censor or constrict the internet • Some of the biggest gaps exist between those: o With & without an education o Older versus younger o Whites versus minorities o Rich versus poor
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the 4 phrases of media innovation
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1. Development phase o The earliest phase of invention & innovation o This is represented by the most integral or basic functions of a new technology: • Creating moving pictures • Transmitting information wirelessly • Connecting computers over a shared international network 2. Entrepreneurial phase o Taking the innovation & making it practical & marketable o Many new technologies are designed for one purpose until we see a commercial purpose for it o The internet was a military tool before becoming an educational tool before becoming a commercial tool 3. Mass medium phase o Making the product a necessity in every home o This is evident in the development of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s o Look at products in the last decade – social network services, the smartphone, the tablet 4. Convergence phase o Reconfiguring old mediums for new formats o We’ve seen the internet incorporate old mediums, but what will happen next? o A lot of people are focused on mobile development, but how long will that last?
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search engines as media
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they decide what the consumer sees making conscious decisions what media is more important than others selling advertising to specifically target each consumer • They are the key entry points for the web & serve as an intermediary between customers & most content • Search engines make conscious decisions about what kinds of content to highlight • Search engines use advertising as a revenue stream, creating a dangerous mix of content & advertising
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cultural imperialism
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idea that we can export culture through media take our content and push it around the world through the internet/print/objects/idead Cultural imperialism is defined as the cultural aspects of imperialism. Imperialism, here, is referring to the creation and maintenance of unequal relationships between civilizations favoring the more powerful civilization
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cultural assimilation
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when people come into a place where the culture is different and they are influenced by the dominant culture of the area • Assimilation is difficult for many Americans to consider because we are a blended nation o We have less of a unique cultural identity
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consumer control vs. consumer choice
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2 different models consumer control: consumer has ability to choose what media they want to produce/consume (internet) consumer choice: no control on the content (television) o Consumer control • The consumer has the ability to decide what media goods & products are offered o Consumer choice • The consumer has the option to choose among a number of media goods & products
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core and peripheral countries
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core: rich, produce their own content peripheral: poor, just consume content from other countries • Core=rich, powerful, developed countries • Peripheral=poor, powerless, developing countries
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positive and negative liberties
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positive: government grants you a right to…. attorney, trial by jury negative: takes power away. some examples in the 1st amendment The First Amendment (SRAPP) • *Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition Positive v. Negative Liberties • The 1st Amendment is thought of as granting rights to citizens, but it doesn’t o It takes rights away from Congress & other government officials o This is a negative liberty
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libel/actual malice
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Defamation • The publication of false information that would cause someone harm • Can be split into 2 groups: o Libel o Slander Rationales for Libel Law • It can interfere with someone’s personal relationships • It can destroy a favorable public image • It can create a negative public image Legal Elements • Elements are the pieces of the puzzle that make up a legal complaint against someone o If one piece is missing, the case cannot go forward 1. A false statement 2. Published 3. Identifies the individual 4. Injures the individual 5. Is the fault of the speaker b. Defenses Against Libel 1. Truth 2. Fair report or fair privilege i. 2 protections that allow journalists to fairly report on public information from hearings, meetings, or government documents 3. Opinion 4. Consent c. Actual Malice 1. Knowing falsity or reckless disregard for the truth i. Knowing falsity is obvious ii. Reckless disregard means looking at: 1. Newsgathering techniques 2. Deviation from professional standards 3. Failure to investigate 4. Edited quotations
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public figures and public officials
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Public vs. Private Figures • Public figures (Sullivan): o Elected officials/celebrities • Have to show “actual malice” • Private citizens (Gertz): o Average Joe • Have to show only mere negligence New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) • An advertisement was published in the NY Times by civil rights advocates criticizing local officials in Alabama for misconduct related to the Civil Rights Movement • The advertisement implied criticism of the Police Commissioner • Sued for defamation in Alabama & won $500,000 • The Supreme Court decided that journalists need to be able to write about public officials without constantly fearing they will be sued for libel • The Court decided that the Constitution requires that public officials must show actual malice in order to win on a libel claim
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offensive speech
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because something is offensive to you, doesn’t mean its illegal • Texas v. Johnson – Johnson burned American flag (illegal in Texas) & argued freedom of speech (Supreme Court agreed that it was freedom of speech)
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privacy
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• Privacy is a naturally occurring social concept that evolves o It is personal & unique to each individual • These complex concepts make it difficult to legislate
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stereotypes in television shows
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Media’s Influence • The media use language, visuals, and codes to tell us stories about us, who we are, and how we are supposed to behave o These narratives define us as a culture • But it also means that we are often reduced to certain stereotypical groups – by age, gender, education, and other categories • We also need to think about the political, social, and economic power of message producers o Corporate actors reduce individuals to marketable groups of people Understanding Identity Stereotypes • Stereotypes are easily identifiable categorizations so that an audience can label that individual based on a simple characteristic (gender, race, class, and/or sexuality) • Stereotypes are familiar for a large segment of the audience, making the content more familiar • Stereotypes are also used to assert dominant perspectives & ideologies
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master narratives
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messages recreated through media appreciated ex. american dream • Master narratives become dominant & represent a specific perspective – the media pick up on these narratives & run with them o Ex.: the American Dream: • The idea that all members of society can rise to the level of gaining equal power & wealth by working hard & applying themselves o Problems arise when master narratives don’t accurately reflect the members of society o The book gives examples of Snow White, Cinderella, & Sleeping Beauty as reflecting heterosexual & sexist norms of what a woman wants in life – love over personal or professional goals o Master narratives help establish an ideology The Roots of Master Narratives • Different messages portray contrasting possible master narratives – the more we can accept the message as representative, the more likely it will be accepted as a master narrative o However, every individual interprets the world differently, so we need to consider how our individual perspectives might help or constrain the creation of a master narrative
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race and ethnicity in media
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Stereotypes: Race & Ethnicity • Black males have historically been represented as either comedic entertainers or as thugs & criminals • Black women are often portrayed as sassy comedic characters or are mistreated through sexual insults • Asian males are portrayed as geeky tech nerds & Asian women are typically portrayed as being subservient & are sometimes eroticized • Latinos are often portrayed through a combination of violence & sexuality – they are stereotyped as having a short temper
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Amazon and The Washington Post
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How does one make $ with content? • Advertising o Online advertising hasn’t worked out so well, but that’s where the information economy online comes in as a solution • Incorporate your content with products like Amazon & The Washington Post are doing
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monopoly vs. oligopoly vs. pure competition
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monopoly: one controls all oli: a few corporations control pure competition: a lot of corporations that all have the ability to succeed Media corporations & economic analysis • 3 types of industry structures: 1. Monopoly (domination by a single company) 2. Oligopoly (domination by a few big companies) o U.S. media market today 3. Competition (many companies vying in the marketplace) • The most common structure is the Oligopoly, but some local monopolies do exist
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media consolidation
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more companies are buying up media products now, only 6 companies own almost all print and tv media Concentration of media ownership (also known as media consolidation or media convergence) is a process whereby progressively fewer individuals or organizations control increasing shares of the mass media
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direct and indirect revenue for media corporation
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• Direct & indirect revenue streams o Direct revenue • When the consumer pays directly for a product or service o Indirect revenue • When a consumer takes in media that seems free (advertising)
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the information economy online
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How does one make $ with content? • Advertising o Online advertising hasn’t worked out so well, but that’s where the information economy online comes in as a solution • Incorporate your content with products like Amazon & The Washington Post are doing • Encourage better relationships with advertisers, like Time & Sports Illustrated are doing
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hegemony
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there is a dominant perspective in society that is held to be more important than all others • Hegemony: producing texts & content that follow the narrative of the dominant ideas & belief systems in society that do not reflect the population o Other ideologies are labeled as marginal or subordinate – they represent the interests of minorities & the under-represented

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