4.18.11%20media_class%20notes - 4/17/11 The Media April 18,...

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Unformatted text preview: 4/17/11 The Media April 18, 2011 Why is media attention so important? 1 4/17/11 2 4/17/11 • Media has limited amount of space or carrying capacity. (Journalists call this newshole) • “Arenas” are environments, like newspapers, magazines, TV programs, where social problems compete for attention to grow. • “principles of selection” are the institutional, political, cultural factors that influence probability of survival in arena 3 4/17/11 • How has the media changed over the last 50 years? Is there more or less “carrying capacity”? • TVs first 30 years, news came via three major networks on broadcast cycles • Cable networks have shifted news to 24 hour news cycle • Internet and cable have greatly expanded “carrying capacity,” although premium space is still limited 1983 1987 1990 1992 1997 2000 2004 - 50 29 23 14 10 6 5 4 4/17/11 • • • • Partisan politics and ideology doesn’t shape politics as much as news work. • News work – reporters and editors have jobs of locating and presenting news to the public. • News workers work under pressure – their jobs have constraints, which profoundly shape which news stories are picked up and how these stories are told 5 4/17/11 • Economic – Costs money to produce news • Cultural – Newsworkers have their own understanding of what ought to be covered • Professional constraints – Sense of professional ethics, duties, deadlines and schedules, also awards (pulitzer, etc) • Importance – Fatalities, location, political implications • Drama – Premium on drama; novelty • Typifying examples • Culture – Deep mythic themes resonate more with audiences • Politics – Stories that fall outside of mainstream politics have more difficult competing • Journalists strive for balance • But balance is a social construction • Currently implemented as voices from twoopposing sides of a position issue (“He said/ she said” reporting) • What’s the problem with this? 6 4/17/11 • “Balanced news” isn’t always informative • “Balance” isn’t viewed as necessary for valence issues. • Media are usually more sympathetic to official account. Challengers to official accounts are discussed last, if at all. • Critiques: Problems have more than two sides; journalists just present these voices, often without independent research; valence issues also have complexities; only one “package” shown • Media tell stories about social problems and package them in landmark narratives • In a landmark narrative, a particular case attracts most attention. 7 4/17/11 • Packages are a familiar, more or less coherent view of social issue, including causes and conclusions. • Packages have an internal structure (the frame), which is largely unspoken and which organizes the world for journalists and readers. • Each package contains a range of positions, allowing for some controversy among those who share a frame. – (you can agree that energy independence is important because it will help the economy, but you may disagree on how to get there) • Package offers different condensing symbols that suggest the core frame and position in shorthand – (windmills, or a gaspump with a sign that says “ethanol”) • Media likes to tell stories about individuals • Institutions, neighborhoods, networks are erased • Social life becomes invisible • Entertainment lacks sociological imagination 8 4/17/11 • 9 ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/20/2011 for the course SOCIOLOGY 920:103 taught by Professor Kempner during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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