A-Level Coursework: Media Technology

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Media Technology

Explain the concepts of agenda-setting and framing. In your explanation, identify a specific example of each from the news site I've reproduced on the last page of this exam, and explain how it is an example of the concept in question. (If you feel you cannot find an example for one of them, explain clearly what might count as an example.)

Framing presents a meaningful but fractured paradigm for communication scholars (Papacharissi & Oliveira, 2008). Framing has direct implications for how people perceive news stories and other items that they do not encounter directly. Furthermore, framing can also sets the agenda that the news is trying to portray. In the sample front page provided in The New York Times, there are several examples of framing. One example would be the prominence of items such as the police information, terrorism, the economy, alcoholism, and other such matters. Other than some beneficial news about the economy, virtually everything on the front page is negative dealing with crime, death, or destruction of one form or another. Although fear can obviously be used to engage readers and sell papers, this paints an unrealistic picture of the world that is skewed towards negative focal points.

4. Define the concept of the "pseudo-environment" described by Lippmann. Does Lippmann think that the distorted pictures in our heads of the world around us are caused by bad journalism (and therefore could be fixed), by the technological limits of journalism as it was in his day (and therefore could be improved with technical innovations), or are they endemic to how we encounter the world?

The pseudo-environment deals with how we make sense of events that we cannot directly observe. In these cases, we must rely on our experience to try to understand these events. Stories can be framed in various ways and thus the pseudo-environments have different dispositions based on this. One study found that stories about terrorism tended to be more episodic in the U.S. And thematic in the U.K. (Papacharissi & Oliveira, 2008). Therefore the pseudo-environment that people use to interpret these events is a malleable and dynamic in nature.

5. In class, I proposed that the representation of terrorists across many media texts (e.g. all TV crime dramas) might be of greater consequence than any single episode. Why? Identify two theories in Chapter 10 of Littlejohn & Foss that support this claim, and explain specifically how they approach understanding the effect of media in aggregate terms.

The aggregate of the division of media channels is certainly more important than any individual message. The aggregate frames the limits of the debate and if these limits do not offer a healthy range of views, then democracy can be stifled in general. For example, if one media channel showed a crime show but others showed a more positive message, then the one channel might appear out of place. However, if every single media channel shows similar crime drama things, then the aggregate effect of this strengthens the message that the crime drama is a fact of nature in society. Having a healthy range of media options is a cornerstone of an effective democracy.

6. Curran suggests that, while we tend… [END OF PREVIEW]

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