Comm 121 Week 1~3 Lecture notes
Comm 121 Week 1~3 Lecture notes Comm 121
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COMM 121 Comm 121: Introduction to Media and Culture 1 Media and Democracy 2 The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution o Absolute? o Limited by its own exclusions, e.g. incitement o Contested o Speech is free elsewhere without a constitutional guarantee o Excludes private control over expression (your corporate boss can limit what you say from or at work) 3 Just One sign of a contested system o Question of Power 4 Another sign: ownership and commerce o A system whose model is corporate sponsorship o Not true of all national systems (e.g. BBC in the UK, CBC in Canada) Media and Power o How is media expression channeled through commercial systems? o With what consequences for the range of content, messages and truths that we take from the media? 2. Understanding out terms: media, society, and culture "Being critical"- asking questions about the media; sticking with the tough questions. o The value of critique (textbook p.3) o The limits of cynicism Key terms o Frame our course through three sets of big terms (really big) o Media, society, and culture Media: industries, images, audiences, practices, technologies Society: groups (families, children, students), institutions (big organizations), hierarchies (wealth) Culture: beliefs, values (around gender), forms of expression o Can we imagine society and culture without media? o Media without society and culture? o Not really: interdependence. We sometimes talk about these things separately, but they are all involved. 1 "Old" and "new" COMM 121 Old and New: when it comes to media commentary and changes between generations, Not everything changes, ask about what a bit of continuity. Captivated by "everything is different now" Croteau & Hoynes suggest that the big questions endure even as media forms and technologies change. (read p.3) Examples: from The Social Network Question: what is new? What is old? 1 "Structure" and "agency" Croteau & Hoynes claim this term set for sociology, but it is multi-disciplinary Structure recalls social arrangements and institutions that compel us to act in particular ways. Agency is our autonomous will. It means its up to us. o When are we compelled by structure and when are we acting on personal will? E.g.: Going to college: how did you get here? What helped? Hindered? What did you need? Structure: Have to pay for the college application. Need to prepare a lot of forms. Write an essay or few essays. Need to graduate high school (school pipe) Agency: Structure and agency are always interdependent "People make history, if not under conditions of their own making." (Karl Marx!) o E.g., being in the media audience: are we structured? OR are we agents? o Who is in control? o Who has access? o In whose interests do new communication media operate? Media and the Social World Model Seeks to keep all three sets of terms (media culture and society, old and new, and structure and agency) in view. We can't answer all questions at once, but we can have a complex view of the relationships involved. Media Structures COMM 121 1.Media Ownership and Control Who owns media organizations? (Textbook P.49) "The corporate view has become the "American" view, even though E.g. In discussions of the U.S. economy, national economic well- being = corporate success Relationship between corporate financial health and citizen well- being rarely discussed (e.g. living wages as measure of national economic well-being). Big issues in media ownership: Concentration Vertical Integration: integrated ownership of most parts of a media industry (e.g. venues + promotion + tickets sales in music touring) Horizontal Integration: integrated ownership of different industries (e.g. New Corporation owns 20th Century Fox and Harper Collins) = Financialization: the process by which financial institutions, markets, etc., increase in size and influence. How many media organizations they can own? Ownership concentration: Single owner owns several industries. Effects on content: homogenization hypothesis: concentrated ownership diminishes diversity of content, e.g. "single newspaper towns" Limits on that hypothesis: concentrated owners happy to make money from independent themes and "edge" (Figure 2.2, p.38) Big picture question about ownership as media structure: With this much concentration, where's the agency? Is there any? 2.Advertising and the Culture of Consumption Media power through economic control, but where does the money come from? In the long range, through investment and finance. First, though, revenues through advertising as the sale of consumers to producers: still true though in new forms on-line. Advertising as "Capitalist Realism" Modern capitalism is an economic system that promotes the idea of consumption as the route to satisfaction in life. A contrast term to "Socialist realism" - a Soviet art movement from the 1930s, celebrating industrial and agrarian work, i.e. production (not consumption). COMM 121 Propaganda? Usually. (Is, then, capitalist realism propaganda?) Posters 1. "Our Young Hearts are Beating for Our Nation" (Poland, 1955) 2. "Rosie the Riveter" (USA, 1942) : After the War, there was a campaign that the women can work. Advertising is capitalism's primary form of image- making. All ads offer us stories and images of the value of consumption: Schudson calls this "capitalism realism." But the form has changes! From making a mass audience for advertisers to making a fragmented or "niche" audience for advertisers. Making the mass audience Mid-late 19th Century: Urban migration for industrial labor, not agriculture. People were changing where they lived - moved to city. Investment in machinery: keep machines working in order for investment to pay off the buildings or factories. Increased rates of production means an increased supply of goods for sale. Markets needed: supported by new systems of distribution and the development of a buying public, what we now call "consumer culture." Improvements in transportation support the movement of goods; so does the development of national advertising. Late 19th Century : The "yellow press" is established as the first real form of mass communication. Cheap newspapers, sensational stories, financed by advertisers, to "deliver readers to advertiser" : the more readers, the higher the ad rates. Much more efficient for getting the word out about products and developing national brands. Quote: From historian Michael Schudson on the relationship between newspapers and advertisers: The relationship between newspapers and advertisers changed dramatically in the 1880s.Thanks in part to the growth of department stores and the development of brand names and trademarks by national manufacturing concerns, business demand for advertising space accelerated. The ratio of editorial matter to advertising in the newspaper changed from about 7030 to 5050 or lower. Advertising revenue represented 44 percent of total newspaper income in COMM 121 1880, 55 percent by 1900. This did not diminish the reliance of newspapers on circulation, but, on the contrary, made circulation more firmly the measure of a newspaper's competitive standing. Newspapers became brokers of their own columns, selling their space and the readership it represented to advertisers. Developing the advertising profession: 1850s -60s : ad workers are "space jobbers," selling space for newspapers. 1870s : ad workers develop campaigns on behalf of advertisers, representing them through and "open contract system:" guaranteeing clients the lowest possible rates with publications, in exchange for clients working exclusively with an agency for a set period. 1900-1920s: ad workers form an independent profession, specializing in "market research," e.g. "women buy, men don't" ("Facefriend") Quote: From Schudson on early marketers discovering that women buy men’s products (copy for an aftershave called Facefriend): "What does a man know about complexion, the skin? Nothing. He rips and hacks away at his face and then washes it with strong soap, sprinkles on a little powder, and believes he is a beauty parlor wizard. You, the woman of the family, understand what the care of the skin means. You realize that a good lotion is invaluable. Protect that foolish husband of yours against himself; start that collegeboy son of yours in the right path—put a bottle of Facefriend in the bathroom closet and see that they use it after shaving. They know no better—help them." Promoting Promotion 1901: 20% of Boston firms use advertising 1911: 50% of Boston firms use advertising, suggesting their greater confidence in its value or necessity. Now: making the niche audience Public attention hard to attract; leads to new ways to reach consumers. E.g. from product ads that we can skip, to product placement we can't skip. Branded entertainment: partnerships between retail firms and media projects from the start; No partners? No movie. E.g. "The Great Gatsby" (2013) + Prada +Tiffany's. Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway for Prada. Viral marketing heightens stealth and defeats ad-blocking, e.g. "advergames." COMM 121 Media Structure Who's left out of capitalist realism? People without the resources to buy People who want to resist "consumer culture." 1. Policy and regulation; the case of copyright and net neutrality Government body that regulates media: the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Established as Federal Radio Commission in 1934; works with Congress but is independent. In the US, histories of more and less regulation. Why? Big firms prefer not to be regulated by government: lobby for de- regulation. Three areas of law and policy especially relevant now: 1 First Amendment and the Citizens United decision a What is Citizens United? : Supreme Court case bearing the name of non-profit group that sued Federal Election Commission and won. b CU the legal nickname for a decision in the US supreme Court: Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (2010). c Ruled that it was a free speech violation for the federal government to limit corporate or union spending on TV and radio ads in campaigns; d Contributions are not made directly to candidates but to political action committees (PACs or "Super PACs") sponsored by corporate interests and super-rich donors. e For opponents, Citizens United is the end of free elections in the name of free speech. f First Amendment to the US Constitution as "bedrock", but also something we need to treat as history, with changing importance over time. Zephyr Teachout In her vote, she got about 35% of it (at the cost of $1.57 per vote in campaign expenses, in contrast to Andrew Cuomo's $60.62). She argues that the hyper-protection of the First Amendment (where "money= speech") arises from changes in who is on the Supreme Court. Used to be lawyers, who became politicians, then judges; their priority was "free elections." Last 60 years: USSC judges come from the law academy. They becomes lawyers then academics; their priority is "free speech." COMM 121 Her research takes her back to the first years of the USSC, reviewing the background of every judge appointed since then to discover patterns. Her interest? "Anti-corruption" : get big money out of federal election campaigns. Like Bernie Sanders, she wants to overturn Citizens United. She's running on small money. Zephyr Teachout story explains why campaign finance means so much, especially in election season. 1 Net neutrality a Free speech and digital media: a Legislation preserving open access to the Internet and a level playing field for all websites; all content treated equally. b No "fast lanes" and "slow lanes" for different operators. c In 2010, this cause was more or less lost. New legislation favored long-standing corporate providers, who wanted their own fast lanes. d In 2015, however, the FCC approved an "Order to Protect and Promote the Open Internet." e Brings the internet under "common carrier" rules, like the wired telephone. f Debated in Congress, but no attempt to overturn the Order to Protect. g Big firms would still like to overturn it, and to "monetize" broadband speed, charging different rates for different channels based on speed. h Public interests (like libraries) and small firms (like startups) call the order "essential" to free expression and entering into business. On Moodle: see the 187 signers of a thank-you letter to the FCC, e.g. including Kickstarter. 1 Copyright and fair use a Copyright law protects the sale and distribution of "copyrighted" material b Rights held by the owner of the copyright (who may not be the original author of the material). c Use without permission or payment means infringement, "breaking the law," penalty. d Over the years, protections expanded to a wide variety of visual, sound, and computer software products. e "Intellectual property" (IP) f File sharing poses problems in intellectual property law. g Why? - Because someone uses and share other's private file. Napster Who knows what Napster was? COMM 121 Early music download software that enabled users to share MP3 files on-line. Napster was sued for IP infringement by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). RIAA says Napster is not "fair use." What is "fair use"? "reasonable exceptions" to copyright protection. Fair use exceptions based on: Purpose and character of use (commercial? Transformative?) Nature of copyrighted material (non-fiction?) Amount of original work used? (> or < 10%?) Effect upon work's value (diminished by non-licensed use?) All illustrate that policy is contested, fought for and against in the name of business interest, or public interest or special interest. *Creative Commons Copyright Alternatives 2 How to do media history Media history asks: how did the U.S. media develop? Media historiography asks? a. What are the best approaches to writing media history? b. What matters most in constructing a history (or histories) of media in the U.S.? COMM 121 Major Approaches to Media history a. Technological determinism: technologies are the dominant, determining factor driving social change (C&H definition: p. 299) The "billiard ball" approach b. Socio-cultural: technology is one of many forces, influenced by and influencing social, economic and cultural developments Also known as "social constructionist." c. This section of the course: tells the story of different media forms (e.g. telegraph, Tumblr) in terms of how it was/is used to reorganize how people live, work, survive, understand ourselves and others. "Social, cultural, and economic stories" Rough timeline form a. Newspaper - 1880 b. Movies - 1890 c. Radio - 1920 d. TV - 1940 e. Cable - 1980 f. Internet - 1990 Cultural and economic factors influencing newspaper development: Mid-1700s: two kinds of newspaper a. Political b. Commercial Why? Who/what were newspapers for? a. High cost of subscription meant specialized readership of merchants and economic leaders. b. Papers also produced by political parties From specialist to "mass" press a. Why? b. US population reorganized by 1. Urban labor migration 2. European immigration b. In 1850, 80% of US population lived in rural areas c. In 1900, 50% of US population lived in rural areas 1. A 40% drop (give or take) in rural population distribution in only 50 years. From traditional to industrial modes of living: a. Traditional 1. Communal emphasis COMM 121 2. Oral communication with everyday contact 3. Integration in face-to-face groups (family, church, for some, in school) 4. From childhood through adulthood in the same community 5. Little need for mediated communication b. Industrial 1. Geographical movement of population from childhood of adulthood. 2. Shift from extended to nuclear family 3. Less long-term integration and reliance on face-to- face contact in churches, communities 4. New social needs for communication forms to connect people. 5. Raymond Williams (Quote) a. From English cultural historian Raymond Williams, on social change in England in the late 19th century: In a changing society, and especially after the Industrial Revolution, problems of social perspective and social orientation became more acute. New relations between men, and between men and things, were being intensely experienced, and in this area, especially, the traditional institutions of church and school, or of settled community and persisting family, had very little to say. A great deal was of course said, but from positions defined within an older kind of society. In a number of ways, and drawing on a range of impulses from curiosity to anxiety, new information and new kinds of orientation were deeply required: more deeply, indeed, than any specialisation that political, military or commercial information can account for. An increased awareness of mobility and change, not just as abstractions but as lived experiences, led to a major redefinition, in practice and then in theory, of the function and process of social communication. b. From Raymond Williams, about the significance of the photograph during this period: The photograph is in one sense a popular extension of the portrait, for recognition and for record. But in a period of great mobility, with new separations of families and with internal and external migrations, it became more centrally necessary as a form of maintaining, over distance and through time, certain personal connections. b. A socio-cultural conclusion: 1. The shift from commercial/party press to newspapers as a mass medium follows changes in population distribution and new modes of living.
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