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Blog #4

                Of the theories outlined in these chapters the most compelling to me is media effects.  There is a multitude of ways that media effects can influence its audiences.  They range from direct media influence to an interaction between the audience and its media.

                One way that media can affect society is through what is called the hypodermic model. This model speculates that media has a “direct and powerful influence on the public” (231). However, I don’t agree with this direct influence idea because it is assuming that the audience has no mind of its own, and that people will believe everything that they see in the media. This dates back to World War 2 because propaganda was a huge influence over the public. This propaganda was able to directly manipulate the gullible public. I think this evidence is also skewed because during a time of war people are more likely to believe what they see in the media because they have no firsthand knowledge. This type of media effect is assuming that people are passive with their views and have no opinions of their own.

                Another side of media effects is that “the media’s impact on individuals was weak and short-lived” (232). This is saying that media is not trying to change people’s opinions, but that media is just a way to reinforce people’s existing views. I somewhat agree with this idea because certain people have preexisting social views and no type of media is going to change their views drastically. Religion is an example of this because people who have very strict religions are not going to be influenced by the media’s opinion of religion.  They are overall less interested to this media coverage and pay less attention to it. Also, a “two-step flow of influence is a way that media has transmitted it’s information to leaders and these leaders in turn influence those with whom they have personal  contact with”(232). I agree with this type of media effect because I have experienced it firsthand. For example, I have learned about different products that actually work on infomercials from my friends, which would demonstrate a two-step flow. One time my friend told me how cool the magic bullet is, and that it actually works, so I ended up buying a magic bullet.

                Agenda setting is another type of media effects. “This type of media effects claims that the news may not be successful in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about” (232). I think this claim is more accurate on how the media actually influences its viewers. It is assuming that the audience is active and not passive so they can actually think for themselves to form opinions based upon what they have seen in the media. Studies have shown that media coverage does not necessarily reflect real-world trends, and that public opinion and media coverage are not always correlated.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Kathleen
    October 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks, Paige! Great analysis of media effects.

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