Ayers's edited collection, Cyberactivism, I had been asking myself a series of questions: Do computer technologies facilitate empowerment? I was surprisingly pleased that several of contributing writers indirectly addressed these questions, especially within the scope of local contexts and specific Internet technologies.
Reinhard 1 Three Approaches to Media Reception and Audience Reception Studies In this paper I will discuss three approaches to understanding audience reception -- primarily in how they differ from each other will the first consideration, but the story does not end there. The goal of this writing is to bridge these three approaches to illustrate how they can holistically answer the questions below, creating in synergy something greater than they could create individually.
Indeed, it will hopefully become evident during this comparison that for all their differences, there are some underlying commonalities that can serve as a basis for the three to speak to one another.
The first part will consider how they answer these questions: What is an audience? What is the importance of understanding audience reception? Each approach has a unique epistemological and methodological stance for answering these questions, and I will use these three questions to structure how the approaches have historically considered the questions and constructed their answers.
In the second part, when I use all three approaches to understand the reception of a recent Hollywood film, I will attempt to demonstrate that by taking all three together can we achieve more fully realized answers. The first thing I must do is clarify that in terms of communication and media studies, I see two fields with different approaches to the study of a person's media engagings.
Because of this, I am separating the communication and media studies approach in two: The former is more concerned with matters of pragmatic application of media uses and effects studies to better society through public policy or education.
The latter is more concerned with the role of the media in legitimizing power structures and the extent to which people either resist this legitimization process or reinscribe it through their everyday actions.
Each field has its own approach to answering these questions that are different from the approach taken 2 by traditional film studies, with its basis in literary studies.
Also, each field rarely engages in dialogue with the other and, even if it does, this dialogue could use to be more amicable. Thus there is a need for dialogue among these three points of the triangle that surrounds the study of media engagings.
Quantitative media studies approach to audience reception What do I mean by quantitative? Even when studies seek to describe or explain some phenomenon, this is usually to serve the ultimate goal to allow for the possibility of changing or controlling the phenomenon.
For example, research into violence on television could begin with describing the amount of guns seen and used during primetime; this study may be followed by attempts to explain why there are so many guns on at this time.
However, the main question is: The first part of the question is usually broached by those of the uses-and- gratifications approach, while the latter part is the purview of researchers interested in media effects. Especially at the important final stage of predicting, quantitative research relies on gathering large, random samples of individuals from across a variety of presumably important contextual factors i.
Gathering such a participant pool hopefully gives the researcher a representative sample, thereby allowing the researcher to generalize or extend any findings to the larger population.
Being able to generalize, and indeed make any claims regarding the findings, is dependent upon the use of a range of statistical tests to describe, confirm or refute the researchers' questions or actual 3 hypotheses regarding the phenomenon.
All of these systematic and methodical activities are enacted to better allow for objectivity, replicability, and parsimony -- all of which are hallmarks taken from natural sciences and applied to social sciences as definitional for what science is.
More modern conceptualizations see the audience as a network of people who have the potential to interact with one another about a particular object of interest in the media. Either way, audiences are studied as collectives, aggregates of individuals; an individual when studied is more typically referred to as an audience member or media user.
The millions of Americans watching a presidential debate would be the audience of that debate. When such a group is organized with the ability to influence some social institution, and thus society by extension, this collective is referred to as a public.
If their opinions about the candidate's performance gets that candidate elected, those millions of Americans become that candidate's public. For some, this move from audience to public is a desirable distinction for pragmatic reasons -- health and political communication scholars are interested in those groups who actually engage in behavior based on their media engagings.
However, in terms of understanding entertainment media audiences, such as film, the audience as defined is the main focus, and this would apply whether the research is on why the audience uses the media, or what affect the media has on the audience.
The audience is typically categorized based on demographic characteristics. This segmenting of the audience is driven historically by two imperatives: Advertisers, who are solely interested in persuasion, have used this research to more narrowly target potential consumers.
Dallas Smythe pointed out the extent to which television is in the business of selling potential audiences to advertisers, and his analysis of the television industry is applicable to the majority of the media industry as it operates today.
As the American media industry is advertiser driven, the media industry is compelled to "understand" who the audience for any of their products is at any given time.
Segmenting by demographics, such as the classic year old middle-class males, has become a standard means for targeting people.
The same research that has served advertisers has also pointed out the characteristics of potential audiences that may be most vulnerable to the media's persuasive abilities. Children and teenagers have historically been studied in the hope of preventing negative behaviors while promoting socially acceptable ones.
Fears of juvenile delinquency have fueled a number of early media studies, such as the Payne Fund Studies McDonald,and continue to do so with concerns about school shootings and teenage pregnancies. Much research today continues to segment the potential audience along demographic lines, such as ethnicity, gender, age, and class -- overtly to understand how such boundaries may account for media effect differences, and covertly to determine the extent to which these segments can be better persuaded or better protected.
One final point about how the American quantitative media studies conceptualize the audience is the historical polarization between active and passive.
This audience was taken to be willing recipients of the media's messages, and their willingness meant they were highly susceptible to influence.Photograph courtesy of Claire Schoen Media The New Climate Change Activists May Surprise You New podcast series explores how some people are taking unique approaches to climate activism.
Feb 14, · The largest media conglomerate today is Walt Disney Company, whose chairman and CEO, Michael Eisner, is a Jew.
The Disney Empire, headed by a man described by one media analyst as a “control freak”, includes several television production companies (Walt Disney Television, Touchstone Television, Buena Vista Television), its own cable network with 14 million subscribers, and two video.
This was the one of the first occasions in which social networking technology was used by citizen-activists to circumvent state-controlled media and communicate directly with the rest of the world. These types of practices of Internet activism were later picked up and used by other activists in subsequent mass mobilizations, such as the M.
Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Each year, the Animal Agriculture Alliance releases reports from major animal rights conferences.
It's critical to understanding what strategies and tactics will be used against next against animal agriculture.
AbstractThe article tackles two main aspects related to the interaction between social movements and digital technologies. First, it reflects on the need to include and combine different theoretical approaches in social movement studies so as to construct more meaningful understanding of how social movement actors deals with digital technologies and with what outcomes in societies. For instance, Occupy Wall Street activists, Tea Party activists, and activists affiliated with the Arab Spring have transformed political debates and have become the focus of mainstream news media coverage about a variety of different political topics. Each year, the Animal Agriculture Alliance releases reports from major animal rights conferences. It's critical to understanding what strategies and tactics will be used against next against animal agriculture.
By contrast, social media activists published online detailed reports showing results by polling stations and regions, and showing that in most areas, the winners were from the opposition.