Approaches to Media: Audiences and Effects

The paper is an essay that discussed the Topic Approaches to the media; Audiences and Effects. The essay begins with a short introduction about various medias and its impact on the public. The essay includes descriptions about the public Medias such as television, the internet, computer games and other electronic Medias. It includes the annotated bibliography of works that discussed the media and its effects.

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Mass media plays decisive role in creating and reflecting public opinion. Today, the after- effects and implications of media relate not only to the news making events but also a large amount of cultural pressure that moderate through the media. This is crystal clear that electronic media has the ability to attain a large audience with a strong prominent message. Present studies and researches prove that the standards of television are more conventional than radio and other electronic media. The book entitled cognitive psychology of mass communication by Richard Jackson Harris gives relevant information about the effects of media on people. The author Remarks; “Particular conflicts may occur around certain events such as mealtimes, bedtimes, or children’s disagreement with parental prohibitions of certain programs.” (Harris 1999, p.107).

Premarital sex is often presented as accepted and non-controversial in various television programs. The real problem is that the adolescents accept this in an emotional way, and therefore, it paved the way for some cultural discourse.

Another important matter for discussion is that people, especially children of different ages, watch television programs in different ways. Possessing information, the quantity of mental effort which they invest, and their experiences are different. Analyzing these variables, one can easily understand how violence in television programs affects young people. In the case of infants, concentration to a television program is limited one because most of them miss the content of the television program. They give their attention in the fragmented presentation of television displays. Studies notice a crucial problem about infant’s watching on television programs. Children have a strong tendency to imitate particular television programs. This creates severe problems both in the family and the society. In his work entitled ‘Television Violence: A Review of the Effects on Children of Different Ages’, Wendy L. Josephson shares similar ideas about the problems of violence in television programs. “Because television violence is accompanied by vivid production features, preschoolers are predisposed to seek out and pay attention to violence – particularly cartoon violence.” (Josephson 1995).

Adolescent period is considered as the most crucial period and adolescents are subjected to physical and mental, changes. In this stage adult people develop their concentration span and cognitive ability to follow frequent plots to create supposition about implied content, and to distinguish motivations and after-effects of the character’s action. The sensitive nature among adolescents leads them to behave more aggressively and emotionally vibrated. The violence they watch is presented as evil, as reasoning human struggling, and resulting retribution are capable of forming behavior disorder among adolescents. Presentation of news and news related programs paved the way for making a new approach to visual media. The liability and accuracy of these news programs help both children and the parents to develop a new culture of watching television. Here the parents get an opportunity to support their children to describe television programs and control the consequence of televised violence. It is difficult to reach the conclusion that the television violence creates all kinds of children’s aggression. Based on the way how people receive a particular program, one can interpret both negative and positive impacts on television viewing.

Schatzie Speaks says; “Therefore, the Internet can potentially increase social capital whereas television cannot.” (Speaks 2009). Writer gives more relevant information about the growing influence of internet and other electronic medias.

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Successive implementation of internet and other computer applications gives numerous opportunities to the exchanging and sharing of information. Modern man handles internet facilities as a tool which is used to take on any tasks; such as interpersonal and intrapersonal exchanges, health and medicine, higher education, information and modern technology, commercial settlements of goods and trade and entertainments. Interment promotes different cultures and lifestyles and they often portray a world of fragment and imagination. Ru Guangrong rightly comments “While it provides enormous convenience and stimulates the economy to further develop, the Internet has also brought us negative impact that cannot be ignored.” (Guangrong 1998, p.2).

Different kinds of computer hackers organize programs for their own private motives and they create complicated problems in the field of national security and justice of a nation. Internet and other electronic Medias became one of the significant ways in current political and economic espionage. The use of internet facilities in the fields of defense and national security deserve comprehensive precautions. The role of media in communicating education is gradually more on the rise. In his journal article entitled Media and learning: New dimensions Bipasha Chowdhury remarks:

“Media literacy or education does not mean to know about media but to learn something from it.” (Chowdhury 2009). The importance of media in education is increasing and it became a need for students.

In his article, The Advantages and Limitations of a Focus on Audience in Media Studies, Philip J Hanes agrees with the viewpoint of Frankfurt School, which had clearly identified the effects of media on the public. (Hanes 2000). The study of the Frankfurt school regarding media as a hypodermic syringe through which it injects its contents to the audience. Here the audience is forced to receive the contents, that is, the attitudes, opinions, and beliefs without question. Hanes observes it as really equivalent to the dominance of German fascists who kept media, radio and films, under their control. The same that was later applied to the American capitalist society. Later the followers of the hypodermic model of effects showed the tendency of adopting some of the Marxian principles by stressing on the evil side of capitalism. They possessed and controlled the new forms of media. Different researchers have identified the due importance of television as a new medium. These researchers agree with the increases in the representation of violence in television, which increased with the violence in society. Hanes (2000) observes that the study of “video nasties” in the nineties was of primary concern. According to him, “The tabloid papers created a moral panic over whether particular violet films could influence child behavior – and whether Childs Play 3 influenced the child killers of Jamie Bulger.” (Hanes 2000). Anyway, going through the words of the theorists, it is identifiable that media could not exert its direct influence among its audience, especially in molding individual beliefs, opinions and attitudes.

Regarding the effects of watching TV, different studies reach in different assumptions, as different persons reflect their opinion on watching TV news. But the arguments put forward by these activists who participated in such a discussion agree with the fact that an average viewer supposedly puts great faith in TV news.

Approaches to media have often been regarded as a matter of dispute. Different media create different types of audiences. Various studies conducted over this issue have identified such kind of audience. (Butch 2007). Butch remarks that there are three motifs: bad audiences depicted as crowds or isolated individuals, and good audiences as publics.

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The book entitled Information and behavior, Volume 1 by Brent D. Ruben gives meaningful comments about the relationship between media and society. The author remarks; “Many media systems are likely to exist in mixed forms, with elements of monopoly and hegemonic tendency, but also showing some variety and meetings resistance from afar from helpless mass audiences.” (Ruben 1985, p.46).

Devereux makes a notable evaluation of media effects on audience beliefs by are depending on the study conducted by Glasgow University Media Group. Their innovative research technique, ‘News Game’ has been widely discussed as a method that helps to make out media effects and audience beliefs about a wide range of ‘public knowledge’ issues, including media coverage of strikes, AIDS, mental health and many other political issues like the Palestine war. (Devereux 2007, p.225). The ‘News Game’ method was intended to take out the real perception of a person or how he interprets a particular photograph with a specific theme. The participants are then asked to write a story based on the same photograph by the pretence that they are journalists. Though the ‘News Game’ was primarily intended for audience-based research, later it changed its form to that of a teaching aid.

The book, Media effects and society, by Elizabeth M. Perse evaluates the effects of mass media on persons as well as on society. Some of the notable media effects are as follows. One of the prominent effects of media was in political campaigns on voting. For Public Service announcements on personal behavior and social improvement, media has an integral role. Different researchers have spotted out the role of media in knowledge gain and distribution throughout society. Socialization to societal norms and institutions, cultural adaptations and changes, etc., assume greater significance in the effects of media. (Perse 2001).

The impact of media on the public has caused for several misunderstandings and one of them being the false interpretation of parents and teachers that television will mislead their children. They thought that watching TV will take the place of reading and cause for lower reading skills and poor academic performance. Another sector that was disturbed by the advent of television was the pediatricians who remarked that the unhealthy eating practices portrayed in televisions along with the new tendency of becoming slim will affect the growth of a healthy generation. The public officials are concerned with the issue that the printing and television media can both encourage and discourage smoking and drinking habits.

It is undoubtedly proved that the media can make drastic changes in the behavior of the audience. Studies show that the audiences respond to the offerings on the media in two major ways; the first is that of rejection and the second is a type of adaptation and integration of new offerings to the existing order. Adaptation and integration can be in different ways. First of all, the media can bring about changes in the allocation of major resources namely attention, money, time and space. Lack of audience support will mark the trash of any media; hence it is a must that the media should focus on some of these resources. As every media competes for these resources they adopt new strategies to keep up their existence and it affects or influences the public positively or negatively. Media can bring about certain behavioral changes as well and it is concerned with the reallocation of the resources.

The effects of media on public are very clear when millions of people all over the world wait anxiously for the latest news. The presidency elections of America make clear this fact that the people are eager to know the latest events and changes surrounding the vote count and the imminent election battles after the election. Journalists, editors and news directors win in their attempts to influence and convince the people that they are witnessing the most important issues in this contentious election. Going through the effects of media, one can see that media are capable of influencing the public by forcing people to think in their own way. (Bryant & Zillmann 2002, p.1).

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This is a book that deals with the portrayal of violence in media. The depiction of violence in media, especially in films may influence children deeply and there is possibility for them to imitate what they see in films. According to the authors, films with such content should not be exhibited for minor children. The book mainly focuses on the incidents occurred in Japan with regard to the telecast of such films and TV shows which stimulated children to commit crimes even against their teachers. (Bryant & Zillmann 2002, p.269; Osgerby 2004, p.64).

Different scientific researches on the impact of media on youth have recognized the detrimental impact of popular entertainment on young audiences. Regarding the systematic research on the effects of media on young audiences, Bill Osgerby observes, “In America during the 1920s research financed by the Payne Fund marked one of the first systematic attempts to analyze the media’s effects on audiences.” (Osgerby 2004, p.64).

After the studies, the Payne Research team reached to the conclusion that the effects of films on social behavior were fairly limited, though it has been identified that as affecting the fashions trends, it marks little influence on one’s morality or beliefs.

Some of the researchers are of the opinion that some psychological problems of a youngster may attract him to violent media. Experts in this field have identified that children with psychopathology are more attracted to violent media and it may lead to bidirectional effects. (Kirsh 2006, p.43).

The web article named Violent images in the media and its impact on children, Georges Kutukdjian says, “The outcome of the research is quite categorical: it is essential that parents should monitor what their younger children watch, introduce them to a critical interpretation of images and acquire the habit of discussing programs with their children.” (Kutukdjian 2005, p.17). The author points out the significance of media education among children.


Bryant, J, & Zillmann, D 2002, Media effects: advances in theory and research, 2nd edn, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Butch, R 2007, The citizen audience: crowds, publics, and individuals, Routledge.

Chowdhury, B 2009, Impact of media on learning: Media and learning: new dimensions: media and children, Technology Learning. Web.

Devereux, E 2007, Understanding the media, 2nd edn, Sage.

Guangrong, R 1998, The negative impact of the internet and its solutions, The Chinese Defense Science and Technology Information, no.5. 2009. Web.

Hanes, PJ 2000, The advantages and limitations of a focus on audience in media studies. 2009. Web.

Harris, RJ 1999, A cognitive psychology of mass communication: page 96, 3rd edn, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Josephson, WL 1995, Television violence: a review of the effects on children of different ages, Media Awareness Network. 2009. Web.

Kirsh, SJ 2006, Children, adolescents, and media violence: a critical look at the research, Sage.

Kutukdjian, G 2005, violent images in the media and its impact on children: media education should be introduced in school curriculum. Web.

Osgerby, B 2004, Youth media, Routledge.

Perse, EM 2001, Media effects and society, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ruben, BD 1985, Information and behavior, Volume 1, Transaction Publishers.

Speaks, S 2009, Internets impact on society, Hub Pages. Web.

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