Week #3 – The Media Impact

Week #3 – The Media Impact

Welcome back!

Did you miss week #2’s post and need a recap? Go here 

Here is the recording from our class on 9/14

https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/iOpYw_lCFWoCPya-WQP9C3IurKOYpSmVrSZyUkskmxaw3jYsJRjXQRMPJgDIkN86.LOZayFGpZvu69BrW

Passcode: K6wS@jxJ

Class discussion:

1. Was Steve Jobs a monopolist or not? Explain your position.

2. List all the media you used today and define the functions associated with each one.

3. What is your favorite digital medium, and how does it make money from you?

4. Twitter isn’t very popular among college students. How can you explain that in diffusion of innovation terms?

 

“Individuals and society also have the power to influence the success of media technology. The diffusion of innovations theory has its roots in sociology and helps us understand why people adopt new communication behaviors (Rogers, 1995). Diffusion is a process by which an innovation—a new way of doing things—is communicated through media and interpersonal channels over time among the members of a community.

For example, researcher Everett Rogers (1986) observed that VCRs diffused very quickly in the United States, going from 1 percent of American households in 1980 to 20 percent in 1985 (to 82 percent in 2007). Prices are important in diffusion. VCR prices declined rapidly, from $2,200 in 1975 to under $100 in 2004. Now DVD players and digital video recorders are rapidly replacing VCRs. As a general rule, all new technologies follow a similar price pattern: the first few units sold cost 10 or more times as much as the last units sold…”

 Media now: Understanding media, culture, and technology (9th ed.) Straubhaar, J., LaRose R. & Davenport L. (2015). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.  

Technopoly / Technocracy – and the future?

Discussion Board Assignment #2 –

This week, the topic for the discussion board is “media consolidation”

In the 1980s, about 50 companies controlled the U.S. media. Today, about 5-7 large media conglomerates own most of the media companies in the U.S..

Let’s watch an interview (from 2017) of former FCC commissioner Michael Copps talking about how greater media consolidation is a threat to our democracy and free speech:

In comments section below, please answer the follow questions:

What do you think about media consolidation?

Do you agree or disagree?

Explain your reasons / views on Why?

Do you have other related thoughts or reactions? (which could be in the form of a personal story. Please Share!

Please write a 150 – 300-word response and post it into the comments section below, preferably by our next class time. You will also need to comment on one of your classmates’ responses by the following week as well. Engage!

(***I strongly suggest that you generate your response(s) using a word processing application like ms word, pages or notes first, make the necessary spelling and grammatical corrections and then copy and paste your work into the comments section below***)


MEDIA AND SOCIETY

Excerpts from CHAPTER 2

**Although the textbook is not mandatory for our class, I will reference it and share excerpts and info from it – I do find that you may find it helpful as a companion, as well as a resource for your final term paper. (The book’s info is on the course syllabus page.)

UNDERSTANDING THE MEDIA
Do media change society or reflect society?
Mutual relationship between media and culture
Theories on how media institutions function..

MEDIA ECONOMICS
Media exist to make money
Mass production, distribution are keys to economic success
Profits reaped by producing many copies at lowest cost
Large audiences help media companies recoup first-copy costs

MEDIA ECONOMICS
Economies of scale
Cut staff, automate, merge
Reduce marginal costs
Difficult with digital media
Big companies have advantage over “mom and pop” news outlets

Benefits of competition
Law of supply and demand
Good for consumers
Lower prices
Better products
Marginal costs

Media monopolies
No pressure to be efficient
Can raise prices (and profits)
Not always bad … but often bad
Duopoly
Oligopoly

Barriers to entry
Lack of diversity in content
Profit motive
Profits: what’s left after paying costs, taxes, paybacks to investors
Sometimes compromise relationships with customers
Media use different methods to recoup first-copy costs
Profits are not always paramount (PBS)

HOW MEDIA MAKE MONEY
Direct sales (buy an iPod…)
Rentals (rent video game)
Subscriptions (newspaper, magazine, cable)
Usage fees (movie ticket, pay-per-view)
Advertising (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio)
More viewers/readers = higher advertising rates

Syndication (TV reruns, newspaper cartoons)
License fees (song royalties)
Subsidies (PBS)
Voluntary donations (NPR, some software and game developers, some musicians)

MASS MARKETS TO SEGMENTS
Narrowcasting: target smaller audience segments with specialized content
Information technologies
Advertisers’ preferences for targeted audience
Research techniques
Conventional media response to audience demand

NEW MEDIA ECONOMICS
Personalization (thanks to social media)
Not narrowcasting, but specific to you
Not possible with conventional media
Internet: low reproduction and distribution costs

Websites use advertising, too (but with a twist)
Examples: Groupon, Google “adwords”
Traditional media have some advantages in this case

CRITICAL STUDIES
Need for media literacy
Political economy
Marx in Das Kapital: Dominant groups create hegemony
Recently demonstrated in Occupy Wall Street
Content reflects interests of owners, advertisers
Unequal access still an issue
Often undermines traditional culture

Women underrepresented as media producers, Often depicted in “typical” female roles (housewife, nurse, mother, secretary)

Ethnic Media Studies
Racial/ethnic groups also depicted in stereotypical roles
Music videos perpetuate “new racism”
Attitudes also extend into advertising

Media criticism
Genres of media are important
Semiotic analysis examines words and images
Audience plays a role

POSTMODERNISM
Critique of modern technological society
No universal truth
Individual view depends on individual experience
New forms of expression
Nation-states of less concern
What comes next?
Are we already there?

DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS
Explains why people adopt new communication behaviors
Why innovations succeed: advantages of new technology, price, compatibility, social norms, other factors

DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIONS
Stages of diffusion: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards
Critical mass is necessary

MEDIA’S FUNCTIONS
Surveillance (information)
Interpretation (editorials, The Daily Show, blogs)
Values transmission/socialization (textbooks)
Entertainment (movies, TV, social media)
Functions of new media (self-expression)

MEDIA AND PUBLIC OPINION
Gatekeeping
Agenda setting
Media tell us what to think about
But…the media is not all-powerful
New media might be undermining older media

Framing
Media tell us how to think
Journalists pre-edit their own work

TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM
The medium is the message (McLuhan)
Form, not content, matters
The “global village” (electronically mediated small town)
Technology as dominant social force (Postman)
Technopoly: technology controls all aspects of life

55 thoughts on “Week #3 – The Media Impact”

  1. Just like probably others, this was my first time hearing about media consolidation. I was very shocked that this is even a thing. Its so shocking the effects and control that big companies have. I did further research on this topic and I learned that “ 57 percent of Americans get their news from television, 25 percent from radio and 20 percent from newspapers.” That being said, many viewers retrieve their news from broadcasting outlets. If huge companies such as Sinclair were to purchase all of these outlets, it may harm and threaten democracy. I say this because it spreads fake news that favors another party. The Americans who get their news from the data listed above are inclined to listen to the news they put out which alters opinions and views. Not only this, but it limits news stations as well. Overall, it harms our first amendment of freedom of speech.

  2. Media Consolidation is the new normalcy within media. There used to be multiple corporations vying for control over our sources of news but it seems that number has greatly fallen into the hands of a small handful. I strongly disagree with this practice because it just leaves the door open for agenda pushing & gatekeeping. The people have no power or say in what’s broadcasted or given light they’re just expected to retain whatever filler information or fear mongering the conglomerates want to focus on on their network.

    I feel like there should be a shift towards more diversity in news sources as it would bring back
    integrity and there would be more information of quality spread to the masses. Mainly because there would be healthy competition between corporations. Rather than the ongoing monopoly of media.

  3. When it comes to Media consolidation, I think the media should be owned by everyone instead of letting it be in the hands of fewer individuals or organizations. With technology, television companies or mass media have increased the various means by which they distribute information. Few media corporations will take charge of a majority of the news the general public can access. This action has controlled people’s ideas or views about the world. For instance, this control allows these corporations to influence the media in a way that they decide what they want the public to see, hear, or know, and this has in fact, blinded society about more important issues that should be addressed. Additionally, Media consolidation has brought a negative effect to news displayed on the television, as it can censor one from important issues or affairs! According to research, the media doesn’t just give us information, rather, they are responsible for “framing important issues” (healthcare, economic justice, and immigration). They frame and direct the “national discourse.” As a result, this shows that it is important that every voice should be heard or included in the conversation. I think it is wrong for a single company or corporation to have the right to own “multiple media outlets,” because when the media is owned by these corporations, it doesn’t give people the chance to express themselves or make themselves heard!

    1. Agreed, agreed! Media Consolidation needs to be stopped and we need better regulations… yesterday to do it! Im still in awe that Adobe bought Figma and how that will play out..

  4. I strongly disagree with media consolidation. The ownership of our news sources is being concentrated in the hands of a small number of businesses through media consolidation. I think it’s one of the biggest dangers to our democracy. The media is a major source of news and information for most of our people. I’d want to add that while we, the general people, should be aware of the truth in news and headlines, some of that information and the truth are withheld by these businesses because of their influence. Now more and more of our news media are owned by large businesses. They are laying off journalists and dismantling newsrooms nationally because they are solely concerned with the bottom line. Thousands of individuals are finding themselves in so-called “news deserts,” areas dependent on national news with little to no local news coverage, as news sources become fewer and farther between. If newspapers are supposed to unite people but instead serve to solidify national partisanship and journalists are supposed to be the dispensers of truth, then it appears that consolidation is undermining journalism’s core credibility. Narratives become confined when consolidation dominates.

    1. Hi Sudipta, your response is well written. I also don’t like the idea of “Media Consolidation.” I agree that it is one of the biggest dangers to our democracy. The fact that majority of mass media is in the hands of fewer corporations or organizations is just not right. It’s sad, because the media should be owned or handled by everyone.

  5. When I first heard about media consolidation I didn’t really understand what it was about. Until I realized it means that our news sources will be in the hands of fewer corporations slowly becoming one. I think media consolidation is a good idea in terms if it is handled by accurate companies and not the ones in it for the money. But now in 2022 everything is about money not about accurate news stories.

    I would have to say I disagree with media consolidation because news should be handled by everyone and not select companies who might change it to their benefit. In todays age anyone can be bought to fabricate stories and since most people are trust worthy towards most major news companies the viewer would believe it. I feel that media consolidation should not be done just to earn money but to help spread accurate news to the viewers. I am not an avid news reader but when its important I get my news from social media but I am also skeptical because social media is a breeding ground for fake news. The only reliable news I trust is when it is being told from accurate sources like the NYtimes or NBC news or maybe CNN. Other than that I try to avoid major news because there is more to the world than only the bad.

    1. For sure, the consolidation of free speech is a bad thing, and if those voices are whittled down to only one or two what is left? Scary indeed, Lets hope bigger regulations with penalties begin to take form… but Im not so sure it will happen sadly…

  6. I have mixed emotions about media consolidation, we have a right to express our thoughts but when anyone is able to produce media it can cause confusion. This can lead to mixed/false information if any, and everybody can produce media people will be unsure which source to believe. What has me in a chokehold is that we should be allowed to express but not everyone has good intentions. The media don’t only inform us, they are often responsible for framing important issues like healthcare, economic justice, and immigration. That’s why it is important that a diverse array of voices are included in the conversation. For the general public, there are less diverse opinions and voices available in the media. For minorities and others, fewer opportunities are available for voicing their concerns and reaching the public.

    1. It is crazy that anyone would want to publish lies to harm others but they are human and flawed so they do things out of spite. I agree that there aren’t as many diverse opinions because I only tend to find white people supplying the news. I don’t really mind it unless they are reporting fake news meant to stir harm. I feel that minorities deserve to voice concerns because we live in America and have the right to free speech.

    2. Hi Faith, I agree with your response. We all have the right to express our thoughts. When ownership of news sources is handled by just a few corporations, the information that goes out to the public is limited because these corporations decide what they want the people to know. I like how you mentioned in your response that the media don’t only inform us but they reframe important issues. You are right about this, and as a result I agree that it is very important that a “diverse array of voices” are included in the conversation. This way important issues won’t be left out.

  7. I agree in the matter of media consolidation being detrimental to society. This gives one media platform a wide control of society. It gives the power to these platforms to shape people and make them believe things a certain way, which gives no space for freedom of thought and people to form beliefs with their own reasoning. This creates people to form of masses of the same belief systems which is acceptable if they have their own genuine and research backed up opinions, but if it’s because they watch a certain news broadcasting company it’s not correct. It’s obviously okay to have beliefs in things but they’re always supposed to be after one has seen all perspectives of a situation. An example is if I’m ever going to read a news article (which I rarely do), I’d rather read it from different news companies to gain my own perspective.

    1. I agree in todays world there is so much news being spread around the world. We tend to start believing everything because they are from reliable sources but even those sources can be biased. In todays climate we have to be mindful what we read and not jump on the first news we see as fact.

  8. I feel that news consolidation is a horrible and manipulative method and many companies use this as a way to control what people see and plant ideas in their heads to give them more power and amplify the power that they have. One of the reasons as to why I feel that media consolidation is horrendous is because major companies will use this method to control people and their way of thinking. If a company controls what people see and buy a lot of these news stations and other corporations building a monopoly, there is no competition and everything would be easier on them. People have to see and realize this to fight back. This is killing journalism and the authentication of what other journalists have to say about whatever is going on in today’s world. Overall this is a horrible thing that is happening in today’s society and major companies should not be the ones to take advantage of what people have to see and hear in order to influence them bigtime to do what they want.

    1. Excellent! This is a great quote – “This is killing journalism and the authentication of what other journalists have to say about whatever is going on in today’s world.” The word “authentication” is so important, especially if the masses are being trained to forget what that even means!

    2. I feel like the lack of authenticity in journalism has to do with entertaining the masses and appealing to advertisers. Do you think that may be a problem? If so do you think that news platforms with double down on this goal to entertain and hold sponsors will increase with media consolidation or double back?

    3. I agree people are very malleable they can be turned to one side even with the littlest amount of proof. I think it’s because we trust the person feeding the news is correct. As humans we tend to trust every little thing online because it is being read online and things online can be correct but that is not always true. Everything online can be corrupted to fit the narrative that is needed to be pushed to get people riled up.

    4. Hi Ray, I agree with your thought as you imply major corporations will employ this technique to influence people’s behavior and thought patterns. This is destroying journalism and the credibility of what other journalists have to say about current events.

  9. Media and Culture

    Honestly having only one telecommunication company that controls what you see, hear, and learn can be a frightening concept to understand and it could be manipulating once the control is in the wrong company’s devices. It gives the company the ability to control the narrative.
    Telecommunication companies are more focused on getting rid of the competition than the community they are servicing, the communities always benefit when a company shows interest, there are many underdeveloped areas, that could benefit from the media but get overlooked and passed over when it’s considered.
    The media monopolies would have the option to raise prices and offer limited services. So I’m in disagreement with that option, I do remember that years ago the tv station would go off around midnight or later but they would broadcast the flag or white noise, I would always wonder why or who was in control of that but one company had control.

    1. I agree with the fact that it can frigheting and I feel that in todays world we need to hear different peoples viewpoints and see how they feel about certain topics. This would kill journalism and kill hearing different people’s opinion about certain issues.

    2. So well said, how we do begin to help the world understand how much of the narrative is already in control, especially if we are pretty much hooked on the tech / devices. I personally find meditation to be really helpful, but it is a skill that also takes a lot of practice. Ill chat more on this in class :))

    3. It is a frightening concept because only having one voice be the network of news feels wrong. As a society we all have the right to express opinions so not only one voice should be in charge but many. Everyone tends to see different sides to the ongoing issue and having only one voice report on it is not correct.

  10. I believe that it is terrifying to feel that as different organizations combine in the end prompting one strong element, can have monopolistic conditions to the detriment of controlling the media and other more modest organizations. It is entrancing to ponder how each organization has a chief. By joining the voices of others into 1 voice, individuals will get less thoughts or voices. This can likewise prompt an absence of data being given to general society or even data that could deceive residents. This restricts the thoughts of free discourse. These bigger organizations are supposed to safeguard society, which never goes true to form. Having an excess of force makes voracity. The media is to be sure an incredible instrument yet when the data introduced is being confused it makes an exceptionally bad perspective on us. It advances more themes and thoughts that will bring sees, rather than more neighborhood news that would help residents.

    1. I agree when one voice comes together it allows for other important issues to get lost in the mix. It will allow for people to forget what is truly important and be swayed to unimportant topics. As an advancing society we need to understand that being one is not good to succeed there needs to be many behind that can help guide.

  11. I think that it is scary to think that as other companies merge eventually leading to one powerful entity, can have monopolistic circumstances at the expense of controlling the media and other smaller companies. It is fascinating to think about how every company has a boss. A monopoly is a product of capitalism and the economy, however, public interests/laws/policies have to step in to moderate the company. It is tough to regulate an entity as it gets bigger though and that has the benefits of providing jobs and doing good service. Every business or company needs regulation. And it probably won’t happen because politicians link up with big media companies/big businesses to market their campaigns. Politics cannot collide with regulation, it messes with personal and political interests using media as a tool to manipulate the audience.

    1. Yesss! I like this: “A monopoly is a product of capitalism and the economy” – product is the key word, this makes me reflect further as to what role we all play in this? even as individuals, are we the people “allowing and enabling” monopolies to continue to take shape and form and “buy off” who they will at their will? I’ll bring this insight to class tomorrow!

    2. So true! At the helm, there is always a “boss” a person in power making final decisions and assuming both responsibilities and accountabilities.. so we think.. regulations are so long over due on this topic, how can we apply them retroactively with some many lobbyists..

    3. I agree that merging companies can be scary because now there will only be one supreme ruler. Which is not a good idea. If there is just one voice or company behind everything than most things will become lost. Like you said there needs to be more regulation among companies because if only one is in charge what is the point of regulating when there is nobody opposing that one large company.

  12. With respect to media consolidation, I believe that it is one of the biggest threats to our democracy. Much of our population gets their news and information from the media. Many of them have tremendous faith in what they are watching and listening to. Having media being controlled by a select few companies means that we are going to only get the information they want us to know and see. This doesn’t mean that they will always lie to the audience, but it does mean we have to be careful as viewers with the information that is being fed to us. History shows us that most of the time there are agendas behind the messages that come out of these media companies. We do have the opportunity to do our research and find information online but how true or accurate is the information from there? I may not know the full truth of the stories I hear, but I rather know different sides of the story and make my own conclusion. Having conglomerates owning all of the media is dangerous for politics and takes away the ability for people to have multiple sources of information.

    1. Hi Marshall, I 100% agree with you,” With respect to media consolidation. I believe that it is one of the biggest threats to our democracy. Much of our population gets their news and information from the media.” I’d like to add that we as the public should know the truth in news and headline but instead, the power these companies hold lacks some of that information and truth from the public. You’d think it’s their priority to protect us. Will there ever be changes? Or would these few companies keep growing and growing, adding more power to their name and limiting other voices?

    2. I agree with the fact that people have to do their own research and see what certain things for themselves in order not be decieved by the media possibly if it is being controlled by one major corporation.

    3. Hey Marshall,
      I agree in the way you see media consolidation. It makes me think about the older generations of people and easily can be swayed. They’ll listen to anything that the news or platform will tell them and believe it. It’s also rare someone who is older will use other platforms to gain different perspectives. It’s frightening to see how these companies can get a hold of us. Thank you for sharing

  13. I am a strong opponent of Media Consolidation because if all media forms are centralized they can easily control the perception and taste of the populous. Bad actors like politicians and societal elites can manipulate the flow of information to benefit them. Many totalitarian regimes see the value of media and especially consolidated media because they can use the media to prevent revolution and detraction. For example, in the midst of the War in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has instigated a strong Pro- “Special Military Operation” campaign making people feel like everyone else agrees with Putin’s “Operation”. Another example of media consolidation for the sake of manipulating the masses is North Korea. No foreign information comes and no domestic information comes out ensuring that people are unaware of their rights and the narratives that the Kim Dynasty is spinning. At home and especially affecting my personal life, Facebook, or Meta as Mark renamed it has made an active effort to take or emulate as many social media platforms as they can. Mark attempting to centralize many social media platforms as he can not only help him control the narrative but also allows him to carry his morally bankrupt procedures into many of the platforms he consumes. It also affects artists and other businesses that depend on still image content.

  14. I agree that media consolidation giving one company too much power has a significant negative impact on our generation and generations to come. By combining the voices of others into 1 voice, people will hear fewer opinions or voices. This can also lead to a lack of information being provided to the public or even information that could mislead citizens. This limits the ideas of free speech. These larger companies are expected to protect society, which never goes as expected. Having too much power creates greed. The media is indeed a great tool but when the information presented is being misconstrued it creates a very negative view of us. It promotes more topics and ideas that will bring views, instead of more local news that would benefit citizens. The idea that media consolidation also plays a huge in the political aspects is concerning because how do we as viewers and citizens know if we’re being told the truth?

    1. Well said, and so true!
      Trouble is, have we passed this point already? The Greed is painfully obvious, and once it reaches that level of mass consolidation, is it possible to to turn it around? Will the greedy sell shares of their companies and re-allocate them into new diverse opportunities? I really really hope this can happen!
      I just read today that the Adobe company (graphic design / media creation software giant) bought one of its competitors (Figma)…

      1. It’s scary to say but I think once mass consolidation starts taking over and fewer and fewer companies start having more power, there would need to be some type of laws or rules set into place to turn it around. I think these larger companies would just take the more they get with little to nothing rewards to the public.

    2. Sarah, I can’t even image one entity having totally control of what information is being relayed and broadcasted to mass media is quite alarming, I don’t want someone else opinion or have the narrative spun in that political party favor or ideas.

      1. Hey Tracy,
        I totally agree with you. As we can see over the time of the pandemic, there was a lot of misinformation being spread around by different media outlets. We should be able to formulate our own opinions on a matter without feeling pressured or convinced about something that goes against our morals and beliefs.

    3. Hi Sarah,
      I agree with what you’re saying about these companies having too much power. What makes it even more dangerous is the fact that behind that power is the amount of money they can put into their resources. They can reach a large number of people just because they will have the companies under one umbrella. They will be able to spread their agenda to the masses. I don’t like being told one side of any story, especially the media. Unfortunately, this is where we are, only time will tell how bad things will get.

    4. I totally agree with you on most companies merging into one, owned by a monopoly can have a significant impact on controlling what gets shown to the world and what doesn’t. It is like an aristocracy, where one group has the power to control the media. Although these societies are expected to deliver the news/say what is there. But let’s not forget that they are very selective and dramatize, what really happened. Because we have to remember that they are a company that is trying to get more views, more views equal more power in the public interest.

    5. Hi Sarah,

      This reminds of the whole pandemic, when so much false information was being spread because people were relying on one source. It even formed the bigotry against Asian people as people were focusing the cause of the pandemic to be on them because of their news sources. It’s honestly scary how these media companies can have such a wide control of people. Thank you for sharing.

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