Skip to main content

Theories on Mass Media and the Construction of Reality

 Media attributes its own meaning to the content being channeled to its target audience...

Over the years, the mass media have assumed a prevailing role in the global society by becoming the key source of regular and incessant flow of data, images and information.  People have become heavily dependent on the media, receiving big quantities of news and all kinds of information.

When people access information by means of the mass media (or through the eyes of the mass media) the media attribute its own meaning or logic to the content itself, generating in the process its interpretation of the issue involved.  As it channels the specific content to the public/audience, it obviously imposes that kind of logic to them.  

Thus, reality constructed and imposed by the media to its audience does not necessarily mean the real one, since media content is the result of the work of reporters and opinionists, who are also being influenced by their respective convictions and beliefs: their own systems of meaning.

The Agenda-Setting Theory, for example, well delineates the notable influence of the media in feeding news to the audience.  This hypothesis, formulated by American researchers M. McCombs and D.L. Shaw, involves the raising of public awareness and concern on specific issues selected by the media. The Agenda-Setting theory is based on the following
.The press and the media do not represent reality, or do not represent what is objectively true.  The content they transmit to the audience is filtered and shaped  by the reporters who have their own set of cultural beliefs and who  work in accordance with the company’s established line and ideology. 
 2. The media concentration on few issues brings the audience to assume that those are the most important topics that they should think about or worry about or discuss about with other people.

 The Framing Theory is also an essential thing to consider in the perception of media reality.  The core of the theory lies on the supposition that the media grab the attention and interest of the audience to some issues, they decide what to tell and what people should think and  feel about it by crafting a specific content that takes up its purpose, thereby omitting or manipulating certain facts in the issue  to come up with the frame they have chosen.

Furthermore, media in the form of commercial spots, posters and billboards, TV shows and plots, movies and other visual effects are full of subjective meanings that persuade,  manipulate and affect people’s spending habits, attitudes and values towards beauty, love, success, happiness, family and social relationships.  

 In a macro-level, this denotes that the mass media operate as the one who filter news and information, who decide how to present these to the audience and how the audience should feel about it, influencing and shaping the people’s ideas, opinions, attitudes and values: their set of cultural beliefs. 

 As a conclusion, it is the media itself that impose meaning to events, behavior and other issues that concern people:  meanings that  do not necessarily correspond to what is objectively true.

Related Posts:


Popular posts from this blog

Importance of Communication Models in Communication for Development

Communication models and approaches facilitate the work of practitioners... Communication models are conceptual models used to explain and describe the human communication . Communication models, approaches and theories are the foundation around which development communication practitioners build ideas on how to effectively transmit the message they would like to convey to the target audience. Communication models and approaches facilitate the work of practitioners because they provide ideas on how individuals react to different types of communication stimulus, the possible consequences that may result when participants in a communication process employ a communication style or shift to another communication style. In addition, communication models and approaches provide practitioners an idea on how to obtain engagement, collaboration and participation from the target audience in order to achieve communication goals. Communication models, approaches and theories are v

Definition and Assumptions of the Uses and Gratification Theory

The uses and gratification theory marked a perspective shift in the study of mass communication... Framed by Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch in the 1970’s, the uses and gratification theory marked a perspective shift in the study of mass communication by turning its attention away from media sources and message and how they affect the audience [1].  Blumler and Katz’s uses and gratification theory considers, instead, the audience not a passive but an active player in their  media choices, and that these choices depend largely on media users’ apparent needs, wishes or motives [2], and that audiences are thereby formed based on their similarities of wishes, needs and motives.   E lihu Katz [3] first introduced the uses and gratification perspective when he came up with the idea that individuals make use of media to their advantage.   This perspective surfaced in the 1970’s when Blumler and Gurevitch persisted in expanding the idea.   Blumler and Katz

Concept of Cultural Hegemony According to Antonio Gramsci

When Antonio Gramsci talks about hegemony, he refers to the hegemony of a specific “dominant social group or groups” over the whole society.. . It was the Italian Marxist philosopher  Antonio Gramsci  who introduced the concept of “cultural hegemony”. In the  Selections from the Prison Notebooks  (1999), Gramsci argued that power is based on the presence of two elements: force and consensus.  If force triumphs over consensus, dominion is obtained.  On the other hand, if consensus prevails, hegemony exists. Thus, for Gramsci, hegemony is grounded essentially on consensus.  And this consensus is achieved by means of persuasion.   Persuasion  in all its forms is thereby used to convince that a specific political or cultural idea is better than the others or is “the only way” to view the world.  It is noteworthy to emphasize that   hegemony,  for Gramsci, is the hegemony of a specific “dominant social group or groups” over the whole society, applied  through the various st