Module 3 Module 3 Module 3 Module 3
Module 3 Presentation Readings Assignments
Module 3 - Part 2, Communications Settings
The Internet

The Internet has revolutionized mass communications by rewriting the rules. Instead of "a complex organizations sending public messages to large audiences to influence an action", you now have individuals sending public messages to narrow (but global) audiences to influence an action.

The New York Times - "The Bloggers Strike"

"The mighty have fallen at the New York Times, and, say the bloggers, they know who did the toppling. To the rhythm of some thumps on the chest, the bloggers pronounce that they themselves did the deed.

If they are right, we thereby have a signal of just what an extraordinary force blogging is, even a hint that the Internet might be a latter-day equal of the printing press in its society - changing potential."

Module 3 - Part 3, The Nature of Mass Communications
Characteristics of Mass Communication - Formal Organizations

The Wall Street Journal - "The Lessons of Lady GaGa"

"The 360 model hasn't launched big stars yet - with a few exceptions, including Gaga. From concerts, including four sold-out nights at Radio City Music Hall this month, a percentage of her take goes to her label, Universal's Interscope Records. The label also gets a cut of her revenue from Polaroid, Estée Lauder's MAC and other corporate partners. Does Gaga validate the 360 model for other artists? While she pockets relatively less money on tour, Interscope puts more muscle behind her than it would have in the old days. "Would she be in the position to play in front of 20,000 people a night if the record company had not put up the marketing dollars?" says Gaga's manager Troy Carter."

The New York Times -"1,700 Bands, Rocking as the CD Industry Reels."

Corporations are concerned about the internet across a wide range of media. They are, after all, middlemen whose business is built on an isthmus between the artist and the audience. The internet is a bridge between the two groups which cuts out the middleman.

A musician who has also produced for U2 and Bob Dylan notes: "We can record something at night, put it on the site for breakfast and have the money in the PayPal account by 5. With all due respect for my very great friends who have come up in the record-company environment, it's nice to see that technology has opened the doors to everybody."

Characteristics of Mass Communication - Gatekeepers

The Columbia Journalism Review - "Re-thinking Objectivity"

"The genuflection toward "fairness" is a familiar news room piety, in practice the excuse for a good deal of auto pilot reporting and lazy thinking but in theory a benign ideal. In Washington, however, a community in which the management of news has become the single overriding preoccupation of the core industry, what "fairness" has often come to mean is a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured."

Global Journalist - "Ethics in the age of digital manipulation"

"In March 2007, Time added a teardrop to the face of former President Ronald Reagan. Time officials later said the image was a legitimate illustration because the teardrop's illustrator was listed in the table of contents.

It wasn't the first or most controversial step over the line by the magazine. When O.J. Simpson was arrested, Time magazine darkened his mug shot to make him appear more menacing on a June 1994 cover. Because the unaltered image appeared on nearby Newsweek magazine covers as well, the manipulation was immediately evident."

The Washington Post - "New FDA rules will greatly restrict tobacco advertising and sales"

"The FDA tried to restrict tobacco advertising in 1996, but the tobacco industry successfully challenged those efforts in court and argued that the agency has overstepped its authority. That laid the groundwork for a 13-year effort by public health groups to win passage of a new tobacco-control law."

The New York Times - "The Danger of Always Being On"

"Another difference is that The Times is opening more of its news process to public view. It once did not matter if editors had all of their facts straight at the morning news meeting; there was plenty of time for reporting and editing. But with the world looking over their shoulders, things are different. Editors are dressing better, speaking in complete, sound-bite sentences, and mistakes are embarrassing."

Characteristics of Mass Communication - Exist to Keep Existing

The New York Times - "To Sell the Ads, Eager Magazines Write the Copy"

"Sometimes, in an effort to meet the increasing demands of clients, publishers have engaged in tactics that leave some in the industry wagging a finger and readers scratching their heads over what separates editorial content from advertising. Editorial executives say they are seeing more blurring of that line than ever."

The Christian Science Monitor - "For magazine industry, less may be more"

"While the magazine industry is doing well as a whole, Time and its rival news weeklies are struggling to stay afloat. Gutted by staff cuts and suffering from sluggish circulation, they're trying to figure out how to avoid the grim future facing the newspaper industry."

Module 3 - Part 4, The Role of Mass Communications
Surveillance - Errors

The Washington Post - "In Picking the Victors, Media Get Another Drubbing"

The pirouettes are amazing, says Brokaw, who was analyzing the campaign on MSNBC. The utter confidence with which everyone had been wrong 20 minutes earlier, they have the same utter confidence about what produced this surprise. It's intellectually dishonest.";

New York Times - "Feeding Frenzy for a Big Story, Even if It's False"

"Jeffrey T. Kuhner, whose Web site published the first anonymous smear of the 2008 presidential race, is hardly the only editor who will not reveal his reporters’ sources. What sets him apart is that he will not even disclose the names of his reporters.
The controversy started with a quickly discredited Jan. 17 article on the Insight Web site asserting that the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was preparing an accusation that her rival, Senator Barack Obama, had covered up a brief period he had spent in an Islamic religious school in Indonesia when he was 6."

Surveillance - Credibility

Wall Street Journal - "How Companies Pay TV Experts for On-Air Product Mentions"

"There was one detail the audience didn't know: Kodak paid Mr. Oppenheim to mention the photo album, according to the company and Mr. Oppenheim. Neither Mr. Oppenheim nor KVUE disclosed the relationship to viewers. During the segment, Mr. Oppenheim praised products from other companies, including: Atari Inc., Microsoft Corp., Mattel Inc., Leapfrog Enterprises Inc. and RadioShack Corp. All paid for the privilege, Mr. Oppenheim says."

Broadcasting & Cable Magazine - "The Art of Manufactured News"

"The spot, bought by a public-relations company instead of an ad agency, is the latest twist in the morphing of news and public relations. As the media world assesses new ground rules, producer Medialink Worldwide says "branded journalism" is the best way to advertise in a splintered market. Instead of sending out video news releases in hopes that stations and cable networks will air them, PR firms are actually creating the newscast, then buying spots on networks the way a Madison Avenue firm would. If viewers were confused before, they'll certainly have a hard time discerning news updates from mini-infomercials now."

Television Quarterly - "The Downward Spiral of Television News"

"Television journalism has a propensity to get into a competition to be first with the obvious. In the wake of 60 Minutes demonstrating that a television news program can be profitable, there has been, over the past 25 years, an enormous amount of pressure for television news to make money. You don't make money, for the most part, by covering subjects like the economy, race relations, politics or foreign policy. You're more inclined to make money by covering stories like the stain on Monica Lewinsky's dress, or the O.J. Simpson story or the tiny tot beauty queen who was murdered."

"Those kinds of stories get a ton of coverage ... The essence of journalism has to do with sorting out that which is important from that which is not. We tend to focus on the trivial and ignore the important."
-Ted Koppel, interviewed by Mort Silverstein on "Television in America: An Autobiography."


Columbia Journalism Review - "Blogworld: The New Amateur Journalist Weighs In"

Blogging has its ancestors in the still existing USENET and the pre-Internet Bulletin Board Systems such as Fidonet. What makes blogging so powerful is that anyone can set up a web blog - no experience required, no rules enforced, no geekness needed.

"Blogging technology has, for the first time in history, given the average Jane the ability to write, edit, design, and publish her own editorial product - to be read and responded to by millions of people, potentially - for around $0 to $200 a year. It has begun to deliver on some of the wild promises about the Internet that were heard in the 1990s. Never before have so many passionate outsiders - hundreds of thousands, at minimum - stormed the ramparts of professional journalism."

Linkage - "Students find support, outlet for grief online."

"As their campus churned with chaos, many Virginia Tech students, grief-stricken and bewildered, turned to the Internet to share information and stories, ask questions and comfort each other.

On, a members-only social Web site popular among college students, dozens of groups were created, starting moments after the shootings. Students updated information within existing groups, and created additional groups long into the night, and into Tuesday." - "The popular cruelty of 'Idol"."

"Anyway, what's wrong with a little honesty, even when conveyed with brass knuckles? There's nothing wrong with a wakeup call -- however unlikely its recipients will heed it.

The wrong part, if any, is this: putting it on TV. Putting it on TV can be cruel. Which makes "American Idol" a pretty cruel show. If it weren't, the most appalling contestants would be weeded out beforehand, safely out of view -- not hand-picked to face the judges' on-camera scorn."

"Anyway, what's wrong with a little honesty, even when conveyed with brass knuckles? There's nothing wrong with a wakeup call -- however unlikely its recipients will heed it.

The wrong part, if any, is this: putting it on TV. Putting it on TV can be cruel. Which makes "American Idol" a pretty cruel show. If it weren't, the most appalling contestants would be weeded out beforehand, safely out of view -- not hand-picked to face the judges' on-camera scorn."

The New York Times - "They Want Their Mean TV"

"I think reality TV may be symptomatic of a broader trend toward cultural nastiness that crept up on us with the advent of Jerry, Maury, Ricki, Montel and the other professional talkers who specialize in bleeping and screaming, as "guests" are subjected to verbal assaults from former spouses or secret gay admirers. (In the notorious Jenny Jones case, an actual off-camera murder ensued.) The tears and curses and venomous exchanges make any outlandish soap opera plot pale by comparison.

But the question remains: what makes Americans watch? Is it a kind of bizarre revival of slapstick, a banana-peel joke raised to a surreal pitch? Is it an offshoot of the politics of accusation, exposé, sleaze and attack ads that dominated the Clinton years? Is Monica Lewinsky the mother of Fox? Is this what TV is all about for today's undergraduates?"


The New York Times - "A Radio Station Just for You."

"Currently, the most compelling online radio is interactive. Services like Pandora, and Slacker evaluate your musical tastes, then serve up a continuous stream of programming to match. They mix familiar songs with new material you might like. They all do it by harnessing the technological forces of social networking, data mining and music analysis, though each uses a slightly different technique."

Module 3 - Part 5, Current Trends in Mass Communications
Concentration of Ownership - Print

A look at the White Castle approach to newspaper ownership: companies that buy mastheads by the bag. Liberty Group Publishing -- based in scenic Northbrook, IL -- owns more than 300 newspapers and all were acquired in the last two years. In a north-south belt from Minnesota to Louisiana, Liberty owns 225 community daily, weekly and shopper newspapers.

Chicago Tribune - "Big News-But Fewer Owners"

"Like growing armies on the board game 'Risk,' Jones writes, these investor-backed newspaper companies are buying clusters of daily and weekly newspapers and staking their claims for regional advertising dominance. 'You'll see statewide clusters soon, with one company owning half the newspapers in a given state' said Owen Van Essen, president of Dirks, Van Essen & Associates, a Santa Fe newspaper broker. At the current rate, Dirks & Van Essen recently forecast, half of U.S. daily newspaper circulation will be part of a cluster in 15 years. Of the 1,489 daily newspapers in the nation, 85 percent have circulation under 50,000. The weekly newspaper realm is even larger: There are now 6,642 paid and free weeklies, according to records compiled by industry magazine Editor & Publisher".

Concentration of Ownership - Radio - "Is There Any Hope for Broadcasters Throttled by Consolidation?"

"If you think your local radio station sounds like it's being run by aliens, you may be right.

As Eric Klinenberg reports in 'Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media,' consolidation in the radio industry has produced creatures we might call the omnipresent jocks: on- air personalities who do 'local' shows from several states away and may have never set foot in the markets they pretend to broadcast from."

Concentration of Ownership - Live Entertainment

ABC News - "Why Are Concert Ticket Prices So High?"

"A big company like Clear Channel has every opportunity to sort of take over every edge of the business,Dave Matthews said. And that's exactly what some people say Clear Channel is doing. Clear Channel is No. 1 in radio station ownership, the concert promotion industry, and ownership of concert arenas. Since Clear Channel started buying up the industry, the average concert ticket price has risen by one-third. The sharp increase was so alarming, it triggered a Senate investigation last month."

Is the Converged Universe Collapsing?

The hottest news in the Media Industry is the apparent collapse of "Concentration of Ownership". AOL/Time-Warner has lost billions of dollars in stock value as supposed profits and savings failed to appear. The French multimedia giant Vivendi has just fired its CEO after loosing billions of dollars. Everywhere, the media giants are struggling to make sense of failure. How did it happen? Everything looked so right!

The Wall Street Journal - "Media Megamergers Aren't Big Hits as Futuristic Synergies Prove Elusive"

"These heavyweights have found it easier to build an entertainment empire than to make its various parts, each with its own priorities, pull together. The synergies they hoped to harness by owning all types of media outlets have largely eluded them.

And forcing their executives to think about synergy may have distracted them from their main job: producing books, records, movies and TV shows."

Globalization - Don't Touch My Culture

The New York Times - "Young Chinese Drawn to Hip-Hop"

"But American music and fashion need no such high-level emissaries to win the hearts and minds of China's people -- particularly the children of its growing economic elite.

American chain restaurants and coffee shops have opened even in remote provincial cities. Hollywood movies are so popular that the government limits their number to protect domestic filmmakers. American brand-name outdoor wear and university sweat shirts are almost as common in Shanghai as New York."

Audience Fragmentation

The New York Times - "As Internet TV Aims at Niche Audiences, the Slivercast Is Born"

"In the last six months, major media companies have received much attention for starting to move their own programming online, whether downloads for video iPods or streaming programs that can be watched over high-speed Internet connections.

Perhaps more interesting - and, arguably, more important - are the thousands of producers whose programming would never make it into prime time but who have very dedicated small audiences. It's a phenomenon that could be called slivercasting".

In These Times - "Digital Revives the Indie Pop Star"

"In this new age of satellite radio and personalized playlists, only 35 percent of 18-to- 34-year-olds are turning to the once mighty FM radio to find new artists. Meanwhile, online music sales nearly doubled last year to about $2 billion, or 10 percent of all sales.

The reason, says Ben Zalman, radio promotion manager of the Planetary Group, a Boston based music promoter, is simple. 'Although I don't think radio's days are numbered, people are getting more used to the on-demand style of consumption. If someone is in the mood to listen to Modest Mouse, they no longer have to hear the new Red Hot Chili Peppers hit five times before they can.'"

The following excerpt from the "2004 Pew Media Consumption and Believability Study" points out the growing Selective Perception in the choice of news media. "Political polarization is increasingly reflected in the public's news viewing habits....The public's evaluations of media credibility also are more divided along ideological and partisan lines."

Pew Research Center - "News Audiences Increasingly Politicized"

Module 3 - Part 6, The New Media Landscape
Symbiosis - Conglomerates

The article below, from "The New York Times", shows the concept of synergy has moved beyond media. It also reflects vertical integration, since the three networks mentioned have a single owner. The publishing company and the production company were also owned by the same group until recently. Finally, it is a good example of partnerships between disparate organizations like media companies, non-profit science organizations, and museums.

The New York Times - "Seeking a Missing Link, and a Mass Audience"

"But the event, which will coincide with the publishing of a peer-reviewed article about the find, is the first stop in a coordinated, branded media event, orchestrated by the scientists and the History Channel, including a film detailing the secretive two-year study of the fossil, a book release, an exclusive arrangement with ABC News and an elaborate Web site."

"‘Any pop band is doing the same thing,’ said Jorn H. Hurum, a scientist at the University of Oslo who acquired the fossil and assembled the team of scientists that studied it. ‘Any athlete is doing the same thing. We have to start thinking the same way in science.’"

The New York Times - "The Multimedia Synergistic Slumber Party"

"In October their debut album, full of upbeat anthems aimed at 9- to 13-year-old listeners, will be released by Geffen Records. Still want more? You can watch for continuous music and video updates on KOL, a children-theme AOL channel, or wait for a made-for-television movie and a second television series planned for the following months.

All of which makes the Slumber Party Girls - motivated, energetic and soon to be ubiquitous - an embodiment of the latest way to reach young consumers in their so-called 'tween years: using every possible avenue at once."

Symbiosis - Cross-promotion

The New York Times - "Cable Networks Cooperate to Cut Through Clutter"

"The joint cross-promotional campaign, with an estimated budget of $10 million, is indicative of efforts being made in the crowded cable television universe to attract viewers to special programming. It comes after media conglomerates like the Walt Disney Company, the News Corporation and Viacom Inc. have been using their expansive holdings to promote shows among their various properties."

Convergence - Distribution

Electronic Media - "More local TV, newspapers on the same page"

"This kind of synergy between print and TV rivals appears to be the future of electronic media. 'It's definitely the way things are going,' Mr. De Wolk said.

He believes there will always be a rivalry between print and television, but convergence is inevitable. 'The Chronicle cannot do television, and KTVU cannot do newspapers -- we need each other,' he said. 'We're not doing it just for next Sunday or the next sweeps, we're doing it for the next generation. When everything changes, we'll be in position.'"

Convergence - Content

The New York times - "Out of Hollywood, Rising Fascination With Video Games"

"Computer games represent one of the fastest-growing, most profitable entertainment businesses. Making movies, by contrast, is getting tougher and more expensive, now costing, with marketing fees, an average of $103 million a film. That is one reason, among others, that those with power in Hollywood are avidly seeking to get into the game business while also reshaping standard movie contracts so they can grab a personal share of game rights."

The Associated Press - "Radio, radio: Where did all the music go?"

"When it comes to commercial radio, it appears everybody has a gripe — except the corporations atop the multibillion-dollar industry. Their stations, they say, are just following the advice of the Kinks' Ray Davies: Give the people what they want.

"We play what people want to hear," said John Hogan, president and chief operating officer of Clear Channel Radio and its 1,200 stations. "And if we play too little of what people want to hear, they're going to go somewhere else."

They already are — although it's not necessarily to other radio stations. Radio listeners are listening less. In 1993 they spent an average of 23 hours per week with the radio on, last year it was down to 20 hours, according to Arbitron numbers."

The Rolling Stone - "Clear Channel Limits Live CDs"

"But in a move expected to severely limit the industry, Clear Channel Entertainment has bought the patent from the technology's inventors and now claims to own the exclusive right to sell concert CDs after shows. The company, which is the biggest concert promoter in the world, says the patent covers its 130 venues along with every other venue in the country."

Convergence - Hardware

New York Times - "Vision of Personal Computers as Heart of Home Entertainment"

"If Intel and Microsoft have their way, the personal computer will soon be moving out of the office and den into the living room, kitchen and bedroom. The two companies have been thwarted for more than a decade by Hollywood, as well as the cable and satellite television industries, in their efforts to put a wired PC at the center of home entertainment. But now, competing directly against many companies in the consumer electronics industry, Intel and Microsoft are mounting a new charge to try to make the personal computer the hearth of the information age."

Advertising Age - "Why Interactive Television Has No Future"

"Convergence is fundamentally a flawed concept, but it's even worse when you try to put an active medium (the Internet) together with a passive medium (television.)

In four years, Forrester Research predicted, interactive TV would be a $20 billion business. Also in four years, Alex Brown of Deutsche Banc predicted, t-commerce (buying stuff over the TV) would surpass ecommerce (buying stuff over the PC).

Of course, both predictions were made four years ago."

Module 3 - Part 7, The Uses of Mass Media

One negative consequence of Cognition is when the source of news is wrong or influenced.

"Dramatic reductions in advertising and subscription revenue in recent years mean news outlets are even less likely to push back against commercial intrusions in the functioning of the newsroom. Journalists trying to hold on to their jobs in a shrinking newsroom are less likely to speak up about interference from owners or other powerful interests."

Click here to read "Fear & Favor 10th Annual Report - Hidden interference in the newsroom."


The Christian Science Monitor - "What women want - to read"

"Cravings for "authenticity" and "fulfillment" are a hot topic. Words like "spirituality" and "mean-ingful" get heavy use. And praise abounds for a firsthand narrative by a woman who recently rediscovered the joy of prayer.

If this sounds like a convention of New Age religious writers — held at a cabin in the woods or a commune in the desert — think again.

The setting is a trendy downtown Manhattan restaurant. The participants, perched confidently on tall stools and collectively projecting an air of understated chic, are editors at high-profile mass-market women's magazines.

Social Utility

One of the most powerful tools at the Media's command is our need to be part of something ("Be Like Mike").

This is rooted in a deep fear of being alone. We'll study in detail later, how advertisers make us want material objects by preying on this fear.

The New York Times - "Magazines Push Images Over Words"

"The shorthand suffices because the great majority of readers are up to date on the handful of luminous beings that constitute the raw material in most mass magazines, whether the focus is entertainment, fashion, music or sports (or more commonly, some mix of all those things). Celebrities have become the people that everyone has in common, and as long as images give the hoi polloi a sense of intimacy, the readers are more than happy to supply both text and subtext."

Pew Internet & American Life Project - "How Women and Men Use the Internet"

"Women are catching up to men in most measures of online life. Men like the internet for the experiences it offers, while women like it for the human connections it promotes."

The Los Angeles Times - "24/7, Teens Get the Message"

"Teenagers have adopted this technology very aggressively, in part because it's inexpensive now, and it's mobile - and everything a teenager does is about being mobile and untethered," said David Greenfield, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Connecticut. "With the complexity of our world and the scheduling kids have compared with 25, 30 years ago, it's a newer way of connecting socially."
The New York Times - "Sex, Drugs, and Updating Your Blog"

"Along the way, he discovered a fact that many small-scale recording artists are coming to terms with these days: his fans do not want merely to buy his music. They want to be his friend. And that means they want to interact with him all day long online. They pore over his blog entries, commenting with sympathy and support every time he recounts the difficulty of writing a song. They send e-mail messages, dozens a day, ranging from simple mash notes of the 'you rock!' variety to starkly emotional letters, including one by a man who described singing one of Coulton's love songs to his 6-month-old infant during her heart surgery. Coulton responds to every letter, though as the e-mail volume has grown to as many as 100 messages a day, his replies have grown more and more terse, to the point where he's now feeling guilty about being rude."


Tikkun - "Is Pop Culture Poisonous?"

"I believe that the tragic deterioration of U.S. families in recent years has almost nothing to do with entertainment. Canadian citizens receive virtually all of the same entertainment as we in the United States but, absent the devastating legacy of slavery and racism, and with different public policy - including public health care, better funded public schools, and far greater gun control - Canada has dramatically better statistics in terms of crime, child abuse, etc. Moreover, most art and entertainment have positive effects: creating a shared language, a sense of community, relieving stress, and making people feel less alone in the world."

This is an official FGCU web page. Revised 01/01/2011
©2011, Terry Dugas

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