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Intro to Media & Culture week 1 & 2 notes

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by: Rebecca Schaefer

Intro to Media & Culture week 1 & 2 notes MFJS 2210

Marketplace > University of Denver > Film > MFJS 2210 > Intro to Media Culture week 1 2 notes
Rebecca Schaefer
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These notes are from the three classes we've had so far in weeks 1 and 2, excluding the first day, since the syllabus is online!
Introduction to Media and Culture
Rachael Liberman
Class Notes




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Schaefer on Friday January 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to MFJS 2210 at University of Denver taught by Rachael Liberman in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 45 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Media and Culture in Film at University of Denver.


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Date Created: 01/15/16
Introduction to Media and Culture notes  January 8th, 2016 What are the key characteristics of media? How did they develop historically and how are they  evolving today? how does the presence of media affect our lives? what is a sociological approach to the study of media? Lecture Themes: 1. importance of media in daily lives 2. digitization 3. socialization 4. structure v. agency 5. relationships: model of media if we are so connected to media, why don’t we know more about the industry, the generation of  meaning, and audience reception? Apple “Hey Siri” commercial and Verizon Commercial  media literacy! Reality: Heavy digital media/social media use We NEGOTIATE the meaning of that “reality” Taking pictures of food is MEANINGFUL Taking pictures of food is NOT MEANINGFUL Putting your phone away at the dinner table is MEANINGFUL How did we get here?  (where media help us negotiate reality) Rise of Mass Media Print Sound Film Radia Television Note: see pages 11­12 for detailed breakdown Not all media are mass media (your cell phone is not mass media; the internet is) Radio as the first broadcast medium: Media producers no longer had to physically distribute products: broad audience Public did not have to travel for access: just needed a radio receiver Social life changed! Mass Media & Social Changes speed of communication reach of communication experience of communication access to communication cost of communication SOCIAL DIMENSIONS HAVE CHANGED DRAMATICALLY Digitization: Changing the Media Landscape 1. Media can be created in digital form: traditionally distinct forms of media (text,  image, audio) can now converge 2. Impact on production process; computers, digital platforms 3. Global platform (online) leads to global consumption 4. Increased interactivity among users 5. Technology advancement leads to smaller/mobile devices Digitization, Virtual Reality & Building Cultural Empathy Virtual reality documentaries, developed by the United Nations, BR video app Vrse and  filmmaker Chris Milk Use of virtual reality to connect to distant, strife­ridden parts of the world Liberia (Ebola); Syria Digitization: Social Impact on Consumption “Zero­TV” households: less than 5% of US households Watching “time shifted” TV: AMericans spend 25 minutes watching this type of TV per day Multitasking: Using more than one form of media at a time TV platforms: Netflix, Hulu, & Amazon Streaming & CREATING content How does this connect to culture? Sociological Perspective (RELATIONSHIPS) Role of media on individual lives (micro) in the context of social forces such as the  economy, politics, and technological development (macro) Socialization (PROCESS) How we learn and internalize the values, beliefs, and norms of our culture… What is culture? F.R. Leavis: High/Low Culture (1930s) British Cultural Studies: Culture is ordinary! The meanings generated by ordinary men and women The lived experiences of its participants (“way of life”) The texts and practices engaged in by all people as they conduct their lives Cultural experience: Structure vs. Agency Structure: Recurring pattern of social behavior; constraint on human action Agency: Independent action Structural constraint LIMITS agency Agency CHALLENGES and MAINTAINS structure Examples: Family structure, educational system structure, gender roles, sexual roles, etc. January 13th, 2016 Response Essay #1: Assignment: Mapping Media Ownership: MONDAY the 18th by 11:59! Module; Assignment link; Upload file (word) Heading; Name; Course; Assignment (upper right side) See page 6 of syllabus for instructions and links Approximately 500 words Spelling/Grammar 5 points Strong language, no “I” or rhetorical questions Analysis of corporation holdings 10 points Analysis based on reading 15 points Ownership map 10 points (not included for word count); see page 41, figure 2.3 Reflection 10 points What is culture? Society: The aggregate of people living together in an organized community. How does that society become “organized?”  Culture: “Culture is both the ‘arts’ and the values, normal and symbolic goods of everyday life.  While culture is concerned with tradition and social reproduction, it is also a matter of creativity  and change” (Barker, 2014, p. 42). Language; Texts; Lived Practices; Media Productions; etc. Cultural experience: Structure vs. Agency  Structure: Recurring pattern of social behavior; constraint on human action (institutional &  social) Agency: Independent action Structural constraint LIMITS agency  Agency CHALLENGES and MAINTAINS structure Institutional Structure: Music industry  Rules/Constraints: Label system; profit motive; copyright legislation; FCC rules on language,  etc. Agency: Decision on which label to sign with; decision on how to sell recordings (radiohead  model, Beyonce, traditional); decision on sampling; decisions over whether or not to include  explicit lyrics, etc.  Social Structure: Heterosexual Romance Rules/Constraints: Norms/Expectations based on gender roles (masculinity and femininity);  Lessons from mediations of “dating” rituals; Norms/Expectations based on gender pay gap and  income ­ who will pay for “dating” experience, etc. Agency: Sharing expense of “dating” rituals; Acting with gender fluidity/transgression regarding  behavior, sexual practices; refusing cues from “romantic comedy” narrative script, etc.  Social Relations: Structure vs. Agency (TENSION) 1. Relationships between institutions How do government and the economy affect the media industry? 2. Relationships within an institution How does the structure of the media industry affect labor? 3. Relationships between institutions and individuals How does mass media influence readers/users? Chapter Two: The Economics of the Media Industry Relationships & Constraints Sociological perspective; We CANNOT understand the media industry without understanding  the forces which affect the industry Economic constraints Media products are not “free­floating” Media products are a result of social and economic processes Economic forces SHAPE the industry and content!  Concentration of Ownership Only a handful of firms dominate the media industry in the US “This gives each of the five corporations and their leaders more communication power than was  exercised by any despot or dictatorship in history” (Bagdikian, 2004).  Time Warner/ The Walt Disney Company/ Viacom (CBS)/ News Corporation/  Bertelsmann AG Movies, TV, Book Publishing, Magazines, Recorded Music, Radio Live Music Telecommunications & Cable: Corporate takeover! Issues: “Universality” of broadband; digital divide; net neutrality  Comcast, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint Nextel  Corporation, T­ Mobile USA, Inc. How does this privatization of broadband affect the public? How does the “tiered” system of payment packages affect personal lives, labor, knowledge  production, etc.? Conglomeration Media companies have become part of much larger corporations; own a collection of other  companies that operate in highly diverse business areas: EFFICIENT & PROFITABLE Example: Comcast Cable TV; Internet service, Phone service, Broadcast TV, Film, Internet sites; Theme  parks; Sports and Entertainment Columbia Journalism Review: Who Owns What Ownership Strategies:  Vertical Integration  Productions & distribution a single media product Example: Film Company Talent agencies, production studios, manufacturing plants, venues (theater chains,  Internet­streaming services, etc.) Horizontal Integration Company acquires ownership across different types of media rather than in one  industry Example: Harry Potter AOL/Warner Brothers: multimedia, Moviefone, magazines, cable networks January 15th, 2016 Response Essay Assignment: Citations Cite your sources: If you use a term for class (vertical integration), you MUST cite your source (textbook):  According to David Croteau and William Hoynes (2014), “insert amazing quote here”  (p.xx). If you use a website to find your company’s “holdings,” you MUST cite that website in the text or at the end of your essay. Cite your sources using APA format (handout on Canvas) Horizontal vs. Vertical Integration Comcast (1012 revenues of $62 billion) Purchases NBC and GE in 2011; now owns programming including Telemundo, USA  Networks, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, etc. Largest cable and broadband Internet service provider Production & Distribution of TV network content Is this an example of horizontal or vertical integration? VERTICAL Vertical integration & horizontal integration strategies create SYNERGY Synergy: The dynamic where components of a company work together to produce benefits that would be impossible for a single, separately owned unit of the company Sharing of resources! Impact of Conglomeration KEY: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OWNERSHIP/CONTENT Self­promotion/Cross­promotion Cost minimization/ Profit maximization “Boundaryless” company: News/Entertainment/Sales “Hollywoodization” of news (emphasis on entertainment due to cross­promotion) News as interchangeable “content” to be spread over holdings For­Profit Media Structure Strategies to cut back costs: Cut the number of journalists Decrease investigative reporting Use wire services frequently Associated Press (AP) Use video public relations segments Focus the news on preplanned official events and certain institutions Relationship: Advertising & Content Mass media organizations must focus on PROFITS; pressures set framework for  PROGRAMMING DECISIONS Where do they generate their profits? Popular content = Large audience Large audience = Attraction from advertisers Popular content = More advertisers (CONSTRAINT!) How does network television create “popular” content? Gitlin: “Nothing succeeds like success.” What is the “logic of safety?” 1. Exploiting trends to ensure audiences  Why play it safe? Trends in network television: 1. Declining audiences (leaving for Hulu, Netflix) 2. Corresponding decline in advertising revenue 3. Turn to programs that are less expensive to make or expensive actors a. ex. Reality Television/”Unscripted” Additional factors for supporting a “logic of safety”: 1. Proliferation of alternative viewing options 2. Audiences are smaller 3. Advertising revenue is divided among a growing number of channels 4. Determining audience size is difficult  Netflix Business Model: Success! Subscriptions based (1999), not advertiser supported But there was a problem 1. paying large sums to license other network’s tv programming 2. many programs were already in syndication through other channels Solution: Purchase serial­style programming due to trend in binge watching Solution: create original programming (2011) so they don’t have to purchase licenses at the  same rate. Comcast fights back! How do major players in the tv industry compete with the streaming model created by hulu,  amazon, and netflix? Synergy! (vertical integration) comcast owns a large tv portfolio and is the national largest cable broadband internet  service provider controls distribution channels and can present hurdles to competitors; charge higher  amounts for those that download large amounts of data.


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