Mass Media 01/02, by Gorham, Joan
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- ISBN: 9780072433661 | 0072433663
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 3/5/2001
This annually updated reader is a compilation of carefully selected mass media-related articles from magazines, newspapers, and journals.
UNIT 1. Living With Media
1. TV Without Guilt: Group Portrait With Television, David Finkel, The Washington Post Magazine, January 16, 1994.
David Finkel presents a portrait of life in one American family--the Delmars--and the impact of television on the rhythms of its daily routines.
2. The Suddenly Crowded Queen-Size Bed: A Wake-Up Call to TV and Movie Fright, Joanne Cantor, from Mommy, I'm Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can Do to Protect Them, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998.
Joanne Cantor argues that television and movies create feelings of fear and anxiety responses that persist long after children view traumatic content.
3. Feminist Media Criticism and Feminist Media Practices, S. Craig Watkins and Rana A. Emerson, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, September 2000.
This article explores how gender is portrayed in media, including the influence of business decisions on production practices, how women use and respond to media, representation of black women, and representation of masculinity.
4. Battle for the Soul of Hip-Hop, Allison Samuels, N'Gai Croal, and David Gates, Newsweek, October 9, 2000.
As hip-hop music, a marginal "art form" 20 years ago, comes to pop music charts, it is increasingly under scrutiny for its content and potential effects. This article examines the views of artists and consumers on hip-hop's role in reflecting versus shaping social reality.
5. The Context of Television Violence, Ellen A. Wartella, Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecture, November 23, 1996.
Ellen Wartella, a participant in the National Television Violence Study, explores issues of violence in society, violence in media, the V-chip, and media content ratings. Arguing from a feedforward perspective, she challenges the television industry "to own up to the role it has played in lowering the threshold for real violence in our society".
6. Washington to Hollywood: Oh, Behave, Richard Lacayo, Time, September 25, 2000.
In the fall of 2000, the Federal Trade Commission took on Hollywood for its marketing of violent products to children. Richard Lacayo discusses the effectiveness of content labeling and rating practices, as well as the reach of First Amendment protection of free speech.
7. Can TV Improve Us?, Jane Rosenzweig, The American Prospect, July/August 1999.
Beginning with a case study of television's role in the designated driver campaign, Jane Rosenzweig contends that television content can indeed result in positive feedforward effects. Media have power to educate and influence, and advocacy groups are most effective working with television rather than protesting against it.
8. The Children's Television Act in Its Second Year, InfoActive Kids, Spring 1999.
The Children's Television Act is intended to improve the quality of children's educational programming. This article describes the provisions of the act and analyzes its effects on program scheduling and content.
9. Taming the TV Giants, Steven Brill, Brill's Content, July/August 2000.
Steven Brill discusses ownership and business practices in cable television, including the effects of natural monopolies, "must carry" rules, and the relationship between cable networks and cable operators.
10. Media Money: How Corporate Spending Blocked Political Ad Reform & Other Stories of Influence, Charles Lewis, Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 2000.
Charles Lewis examines the increasing influence of the media industry on FCC policy and the progress of legislation dealing with issues such as intellectual property, violence, "must carry" provisions, media ownership, and political advertising.
11. How Bad Is Big?, Paul Farhi, American Journalism Review, December 1999.
Veteran media writer Paul Farhi contends that recent megamergers across media companies do not warrant the considerable concern expressed over diminished media diversity. Rather, he argues, larger companies are more apt to have their gatekeeping decisions scrutinized and can better afford niche programming.
UNIT 2. Covering News
12. "You News", Andie Tucher, Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1997.
Andie Tucher analyzes trends in television news, among them the changing balance of "hard news" versus "soft news"--or "news you need" versus "news you want"--and the different philosophies of ABC, CBS, and NBC news operations as they encounter declining ratings for nightly newscasts.
13. Kill the Messenger! The Public Condemns the News Media, Steve Bell, USA Today Magazine (Society for the Advancement of Education), January 2000.
Steve Bell examines criticisms of news overkill, bias, and "edge" in the context of media deregulation, proliferation, and consolidation of ownership.
14. TV Makes a Too-Close Call, James Poniewozik, Time, November 20, 2000.
During the November 7, 2000, presidential election, all the television networks prematurely jumped to conclusions about the winner of the election. As James Poniewozik points out, relying too much on technology can often cause numerous problems.
15. Media Culpas, Kelly Patricia O'Meara, Insight, December 11, 2000.
All major networks rely on exit polls to forecast winners for any political elections. Frequently the goal is to be the first to annouce the election outcome and to scoop the competition. This tactic was used at the presidential election on November 7, 2000, but the results flipped from one candidate to the other. The chaos that followed undercut viewer confidence in the media.
16. Blackout on the Dial, Marc Fisher, American Journalism Review, June 1998.
Radio stations are increasingly going news-free, outsourcing news, or defining "news" as Howard Stern interviews. Marc Fisher describes outsourcing logistics, causes, and effects.
17. You Can't Report What You Don't Pursue, Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 2000.
Trudy Lieberman focuses on self-censorship among news writers. Potential effects of concentrated ownership, agenda-setting priorities, avoidance of "dull or complicated" topics, and access to and protection of sources are examined.
18. Parachute Journalism, Sharyn Wizda, American Journalism Review, July/August 1997.
Reporters understand the necessity of providing background to their stories, of helping news consumers understand where heroes and villains and issues come from, and of giving news stories context. They also understand the necessity of writing on deadline. In this essay, Sharyn Wizda questions the degree to which stereotypes are created and reinforced in news reporting.
19. Details, Details, Brad Reagan, American Journalism Review, January/February 2000.
Brad Reagan explains the meticulous effort devoted to research by writers whose techniques produce imaginative, technically accurate, and thoroughly documented stories that fall into the broad category of literary journalism.
20. The Rise of Solutions Journalism, Susan Benesch, Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1998.
Susan Benesch describes efforts of some media to report good news of successful solutions to problems. Proponents of the practice see it as an antidote to bad news bias. Critics are concerned that such stories are soft news that mix editorializing with reporting of news and information.
21. A Tale of Two Massacres, Judith Sheppard, American Journalism Review, October 1999.
This article looks at gatekeeping from the perspective of analyzing coverage of two murders in Atlanta. One story was picked up nationally; the other was not. Judith Sheppard questions whether race and resonance factors affected coverage decisions.
UNIT 3. Defining the Rules
22. The Corruption of TV Health News, Paul Raeburn, Business Week, February 28, 2000.
Paul Raeburn contends that "the wall" between news and advertising sides of news organizations, in recent history regarded as sacrosanct, is grievously breached by agreements to feature a hospital's physicians in expert interviews during newscasts.
23. Reader Friendly, Carl Sessions Stepp, American Journalism Review, July/August 2000.
This article chronicles Carl Sessions Stepp's cross-country tour of five contemporary newsrooms, and examines news values and how ethical decisions are made.
24. Secrets and Lies, Sinéad O'Brien, American Journalism Review, September 1998.
Fabrications in stories written by Boston Globe reporters Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle brought renewed attention in 1998 to fact-checking policies and the degree to which newspapers tolerate presentation of composite quotes and representative characters in making stories powerful and readable.
25. The Intervention Dilemma, Susan Paterno, American Journalism Review, March 1998.
When a journalist comes across a story that may make good news, what is the ethical responsibility of that same journalist to help people who may be in deadly danger from what they are reporting?
26. Paying for It, Kelly Heyboer, American Journalism Review, April 1999.
Checkbook journalism dates back to coverage of the Titanic. It remains an ethical gray area. Kelly Heyboer notes that paying for news information does not make it any less true, but it does muddy the motives of everyone involved.
27. Using Children as Sources: Dilemmas for Journalists, Elizabeth Stone, Columbia Journalism Review, September/October 1999.
Children are not infrequently sources or subjects of breaking news stories. Elizabeth Stone describes the conflict faced by journalists between serving a child's best interests and presenting the best possible story.
UNIT 4. A Word from Our Sponsor
28. Inventing the Commercial, Harry Matthei, American Heritage, May/June 1997.
Advertising veteran Harry Matthei traces the history of television advertising from "illegal" commercials of the 1930s, the first "legal" ads of the 1940s, the Keds Cheerleaders, and the challenges of producing ads for live television, to the emergence of hard-sell advertising and contemporary advertising strategies.
29. Meet the Nielsens, Elizabeth Jensen, Brill's Content, March 1999.
Nielsen, the sole provider of ratings data for television in the United States, is a key player in determining what viewers see. Elizabeth Jensen describes concerns with how the Nielsen Media Research system works and with how advertisers use ratings data.
30. Sex, Lies, and Advertising, Gloria Steinem, Ms., July/August 1990.
Writing in the first advertisement-free issue of Ms., Gloria Steinem discusses experiences with advertisers that led to the magazine's decision to increase subscription rates and to sever its dependence on advertiser revenue. She describes dictated conditions by various manufacturers regarding the placement of company advertisements within articles.
31. Truth in Advertising?, Leslie Savan, Brill's Content, March 2000.
Leslie Savan discusses interpretations of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules for advertising, including celebrity endorsement, deception, "reasonable implication", fine print disclaimers, and "puffery".
32. Issue Ads: Free Speech or End Run?, Business Week, February 28, 2000.
This article examines issue ads, paid television, and radio messages advocating positions on issues ranging from environmental policy to tobacco to abortion. While Federal Election Commission (FEC) policies govern their use by political parties, ties with less restricted political nonprofit organizations raise questions regarding campaign finance laws.
33. A Tough Sell, Paul Farhi, American Journalism Review, June 2000.
Paul Farhi examines online advertising in terms of advertisers' desire for reliable data on how many and what kind of consumers are reached by such ads, and he looks at how such advertiser concerns have the potential of shaping Web content.
UNIT 5. The Shape of Things to Come
34. Millennial McLuhan: Clues for Deciphering the Digital Age, Paul Levinson, The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 15, 1999.
Drawing on Marshall McLuhan's observation that new media both draw from and shape content, format, and appreciation of existing media, Paul Levinson speculates on the impact of new media technologies.
35. Fearless Predictions: The Content World, 2005, Michael J. Wolf and Geoffrey Sands, Brill's Content, July/August 1999.
Michael Wolf and Geoffrey Sands, who have worked as consultants with the world's top media companies, offer their predictions on the future of media ownership, news reporting, magazines, radio, and the interaction of today's media with Web communication.
36. Low-Power to the People, Marc Fisher, American Journalism Review, October 2000.
Marc Fisher predicts a new niche for low-power FM radio as a supremely local, inclusive narrowcasting medium.
37. Music for Nothing, Jesse Walker, Reason, October 2000.
Jesse Walker speculates on the impact of Napster on the music industry, drawing parallels between current legal actions and those associated with the introduction of radio and VCRs.
38. The Daily Me, Christopher Harper, American Journalism Review, April 1997.
Online news services allow readers to receive news content tailored to their interests. The influence of traditional gatekeepers is limited, if not eliminated, in choosing what news the user receives. Christopher Harper profiles the status of customized news services.
39. Just Browsing, Ana Marie Cox, Time Digital, November 1, 1999.
Accompanied by a sidebar tracing "a brief history of shopping", Ana Marie Cox examines e-shopping and online retailers' efforts to augment convenience and selection by attempting to simulate the in-store visceral response that turns casual shoppers into buyers.