Friday, October 2, 2009

The Hypodermic Needle Theory

Communication is a vast concept which has been naturally founded with human. In its simple definition, it means the process of transforming a message and information from the source to the receiver or its better to define it as “it is the process of creating shared meaning.”(J.Baran, Introduction to mass communication). With the technological development, many media inventions have been founded and then it pushed the media researchers and specialists to find another term for this process which it is mass media. Mass communication is the process of transforming a message created by a person is a group to large audience or market through a transforming device which it is the medium. Mass media has become a part of human life and it also strongly affecting it. Therefore, there are many theories and approaches done by researchers and philosophers to understand and describe these effects. The hypodermic needle theory of media influence is one of these theories. This theory suggests simple concepts about media and audiences and I will describe these suggestions and I will apply this theory on news.

In addition, if we want to discuss a media theory, we have firstly to start with the main point of media studies tasks which it is the audience. Audiences are the receivers of the message and also they are responders. It is very important for media producers to understand the process of receiving the message by the audiences and how those audiences react and respond to that message. Actually, they have to understand what is happing in the audience’s minds when they receive the message. Media producers should also be aware of their audience’s ages, classes, gender and location. Understanding these elements leads for better responding and results. Following the demographic method in studying audience, makes media producers able to shape their message to appeal for their audiences. They will be able to know what kind of message will be more effective for those audiences. Through the time, media researchers have developed several effects models. They found explanations for media influence on people and how they react for the messages. They analyzed how these different messages effects the behaviour of the audience. They came out with many theories about this field which are still hotly debated.

The hypodermic needle theory is one of the most famous theories that analyzed the relationship between audience and media. This theory has been developed in the early 1920s with the beginning of mass media, radio and cinema. In its simple description, this theory suggests that mass media can easily influence a large group of people without any challenge and opposition from those people. “It views audience as the passive receptors of virulent viruses produce by the media” (Starker, Evil influences: crusades against the mass media). Actually, it suggests that mass media inject massages and information directly and uniformly into audiences’ minds who immediately will be influenced. This theory did not agree with those who are saying that the audiences are using their experience, intelligence and opinion to analyze the message. Therefore, media producers and creators can manipulate the audience and inject the information and the messages that they want. According to this theory, if the person watches a violent movie, he\she will do violence. Although it doesn't take any account of people's individuality, it is still very popular. A good example about this theory is the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. This professional murder was watching a movie before every crime to make him excited.

The governments understood the power of this theory. They used it to influence people and pass their decisions which might their people do not like and support. The magic is done by news. Media producers know that people are spending most of their time using media and they taking their information from it. By applying the hypodermic needle theory and controlling the content of the news, manipulating people will be easy. The most common and effective medium to deliver this kink of messages is TV, the main source of news. As for the theory, whatever kind of news content is shown on the TV, it will be injected on people’s minds and it will influence them. They will not challenge it because there is no other source. They will accept it and believe it specially if it came from famous media such as BBC, FOX or CNN or even New Yourk Times. A good example of the power of news is the “war of the worlds”. On the eve of Halloween, there was breaking news on radio saying that Martians had begun an invasion of Earth in a place called Grover's Mill, New Jersey. About one million out of 12 millions in the US who heard this news actually believed it. A wave of mass hysteria disrupted households, interrupted religious services, caused traffic jams and clogged communication systems. This example is a good one about the power of news and it proved the theory.

All in all, the hypodermic needle theory is still hotly debated while many similar theories are keep showing up. All of these theories are focusing on the effects of mass media on the audiences. In addition, this theory helped people to understand the way that mass media work by and how they are affecting our minds and changing our behaviors. Also more, this theory is jeep getting more attention with the development of media and its applications.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Media Theories

1- Marxist approach:

The Marxist view is referred to in a variety of terms. Fairly common ones are the terms 'critical' and 'radical'. In Britain and Europe, Marxist approaches to the mass media and, more generally, to culture as a whole ('cultural studies') were dominant from the mid '60s to the mid 80s (approximately). Although less dominant now, Marxism still colors much media research.

The main source of the left-wing critique of mass culture is the Frankfort school. The c of this School exritical theorists amined the industrialization of mass-produced culture and examined the economic imperatives behind what they dubbed the 'culture industries'. The masses, the audience, are considered being ‘dumped’ by the banality of the media. Their ability to function efficiently as citizens in a democratic state is replaced by ceaseless consumption of culture and products.

The role of mass media:

For instrumental Marxists, the role of the mass media in Capitalist society is that of ensuring that the views and interests of a ruling class are presented to the rest of the population in such a way as to ensure that people accept as normal and right the inequalities inherent in Capitalist societies. The main function of the mass media, therefore, is one of social control; that is, the attempt to control the behaviour of other classes in society. This is achieved through such means as:

a. Denying access to competing views about the nature of the social world.

b. Presenting a picture of social life that is invariably favourable to the interests of a ruling class.

c. Directly influencing the way in which other classes receive information about the social world.

d. Providing entertainments and diversions that stop people thinking about the ways in which they are exploited and oppressed. This includes the use of scapegoating techniques (for example, "normal people" as opposed to "travellers") designed to create divisions within and between social classes, ethnic groups, genders and the like and so deflect any possible criticism away from a ruling class.

2-Cultivation Theory:

Cultivation theory was an approach developed by Professor George Gerbner, dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cultivation theory in its most basic form, suggests that television is responsible for shaping, or ‘cultivating’ viewers’ conceptions of social reality. The combined effect of massive television exposure by viewers over time subtly shapes the perception of social reality for individuals and, ultimately, for our culture as a whole. Gerbner argues that the mass media cultivate attitudes and values which are already present in a culture: the media maintain and propagate these values amongst members of a culture, thus binding it together. He has argued that television tends to cultivate middle-of-the- road political perspectives. Gerbner called this effect ‘mainstreaming’. Cultivation theorists distinguish between ‘first order’ effects (general beliefs about the everyday world, such as about the prevalence of violence) and ‘second order’ effects (specific attitudes, such as to law and order or to personal safety). There is also a distinction between two groups of television viewers: the heavy viewers and the light viewers. The focus is on ‘heavy viewers’. People who watch a lot of television are likely to be more influenced by the way in which the world is framed by television programs than are individuals who watch less, especially regarding topics of which the viewer has little first-hand experience. Light viewers may have more sources of information than heavy viewers. ‘Resonance’ describes the intensified effect on the audience when what people see on television is what they have experienced in life. This double dose of the televised message tends to amplify the cultivation effect.

3-Functionalist approach:

For Functionalists, the relationship between ownership and control of the media centers on the importance of there being a range of views on offer through newspapers, magazines, television and so forth. In this respect, social stability is considered to be best-preserved by there being a reasonably wide range of different media from which people can choose.

Specifically, ownership and control is seen as being separated. The function of owners (individuals or multiple shareholders) is an economic one, whilst the function of management (the controllers of media output) is one of ensuring the content of the media appeals to as wide a range of people as possible. Thus, highly popular publications (for example, daily newspapers selling millions of copies) sit alongside more-specialist publications (those that cater for minority tastes). In a democratic society the consumer will determine the success or failure of an enterprise; the content of the media, in this respect, is seen to be largely consumer-driven. If people do not like what is being offered they can refuse to buy a publication or they can seek-out publications that do offer them what they require. Since the media are an economic enterprise dealing with cultural values there is invariably a tension between making profits (where the medium is privately owned) and highlighting moral issues. The fact that newspapers, for example, may risk alienating some parts of their readership by supporting unpopular cultural issues is evidence of the multi- functional role of the media. Given the emphasis upon the cultural role of the media it is hardly surprising, for Functionalists, that the most popular forms of media should be broadly conservative and supportive of the status quo, since this is one of their main functions.

4-Uses and Gratifications Theory:

Uses and gratifications approach is an influential tradition in media research. The original conception of the approach was based on the research for explaining the great appeal of certain media contents. The core question of such research is: Why do people use media and what do they use them for? .There exists a basic idea in this approach: audience members know media content, and which media they can use to meet their needs.

Uses and gratifications theory takes a more humanistic approach to looking at media use. Blumler and Katz believe that there is not merely one way that the populace uses media. Instead, they believe there are as many reasons for using the media, as there are media users. According to the theory, media consumers have a free will to decide how they will use the media and how it will effect them. Blumler and Katz values are clearly seen by the fact that they believe that media consumers can choose the influence media has on them as well as the idea that users choose media alternatives merely as a means to an end. Uses and gratification is the optimist’s view of the media. The theory takes out the possibility that the media can have an unconscious influence over our lives and how we view the world. The idea that we simply use the media to satisfy a given need does not seem to fully recognize the power of the media in today’s society.

5-Audience studies:

The printed medium (books, newspapers, ec) enables the end audience to use their own imagination and fill in the blanks for themselves. This gives every audience member a unique and original experience based on the limits of their own intellect and application of it in the areas of creativity. This can however leads to them feeling disappointed when viewing the same basic story in another medium. When a book is transposed onto the cinema, the audience members are then finding themselves in the position of having to accept the film director’s interpretation of it. The Director, Producer and Script Writer now have control of the project, which in turn, affects how the characters look, the backdrops/settings and locations used. This is also furthered by the choice of lighting and moods portrayed by incidental music and so forth. A screen adaptation of a book or short story can change so much that it is sometimes almost unrecognizable from the original printed version from whence it was derived.

Thinking Methods

Paradigm shifts:
Paradigm is a set of rules we use for evaluating information and incorporating it in our lives. Everyone has his own paradigm, which is based on his/her life experience. It is based on our History, Education, Culture, Religion, Environment, Beliefs, Society, Interests and Technology. A Paradigm Shift means a move on towards better understanding, improvement or development of what has been known.

Thinking methods:

1. Vertical Thinking: a step-by-step process towards a goal.
2. Lateral Thinking: looking at the problem from several new angles.
3. Critical Thinking: careful judgement or evaluation.
4. Analytical Thinking: process of breaking problem or idea into parts, examining each part to see how it fits together with other parts, and exploring how these parts can be recombined in new ways.
5. Strategic Thinking: process of developing a specific strategy for the planning and direction of an operation by looking at the operation/project from all possible angles.
6. Outcome Thinking: process of attacking a task from the perspective of the desired solution.
7. Creative Thinking: the ‘light-bulb’ effect that occurs when you rearrange existing facts and come up with new insight on the subject.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ways of appreciation

Basic understanding and familiarity with the ‘language or vocabulary’ of art, design and multimedia are important for more ‘reasonable’ if not accurate description.

Associating what has been described with the nature, conditions, and/or environment of the society or culture the artist or designer came from.

Justifying what has interpreted with any thoughts or philosophies that underpinned the existence of the described form, in relation to our own opinions, experience or preference.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Media Forms

There are two types of media products, cultural and mundane products. Cultural products are TV programs, films, radio programs, videos, newspapers, magazines and comics. On the other hand, mundane products are house-wares, transportation and other applied forms. These two kinds have similarities as well as differences.

They both products are mass-produced and marketed as consumer goods. Both require constant innovation, making use of technology and design, and have to be sold as cheaply as possible.

On one hand, mundane products are made to fulfill basic personal, domestic, industrial and consumers needs whereas cultural products contain meaning, values, ideas and a form of communication. They can be seen or appreciated simply as forms of entertainment to be enjoyed, or perhaps as a work of art or something meaningful to be appreciated, or even as commentaries on today’s society.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Appreciation exercises 2

- Media type: movie

- Title: Ran

- Director: Akira Kurosawa

- Running time: 160 miniatures

- Date: 1985

- Language: Japanese

This movie is about the Japanese culture. It depicts the fall of Hidetora Ichimonji (Tatsuya Nakadai), an aging Sengoku-era warlord who decides to abdicate as ruler in favor of his three sons. The story is great as is based on legends of the daimyo Mori Motonari, as well as on the Shakespearean tragedy King Lear. The visual and sound effects are very good too; he smoke and fire seem very real. This film was the most expensive ever produced film in its time. I can say that it is one of the best films that I have seen so far. It has meaning and influential ideas and I think this more important than entertainment. This must be an integral part of media.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Appreciation exercises

-Media type: movie
- Title: Brother
- Director: Takishi Kitano
- Running time: 114 min.
- Release date: 2000

Brother is an American-Japanese film. I liked watching it because I have seen many American- Japanese films and they were very enjoyable. The story of the film is easy to understand because the director let the first 30 minutes as an introduction. It is mix of romance and violence. I do not like the films which are totally violent. Brother is a mixture of romantic and violence. That was one reason for me to watch it. The few funny scenes and the Romantic music made the violence less effective. I also liked the multi- national characters in this movie. They are American and Japanese. I think there are many hidden messages that the director wants the audience to understand. These messages are about the relationship between human beings such as the friendship between the Japanese man and the American black guy. In my opinion, this film is professionally perfect. The sound effects, acting and music are all very impressive.

The portrayal of women in Videogames

With the rapid development in the modern media, women have been portrayed in the media as victims, subservient, nurturing, sacrificing and objectified sexualized beings. In many of new succeeded videogames women are shown in unreal appearance. Those games show girls with disproportioned body types, especially with unnaturally small waists and lard breasts. This issue now became very important because it started to affect the society. In addition many new studies showed that many girls who are under the age of 18 years old are worried about their appearance. I think there is a connection between these studies results and videogames. As a result of these games, these games girls nowadays are looking for themselves in different way. They are trying to imitate these videogames characters. Also they became less trusting in their selves.

Second Life

Second life is a virtual reality world created by its residents. This free world opened to public in 2003. It has millions of residents from different countries. Those residents can by a virtual land and build their houses or shops as in the real world. Also they can meet with each other’s and go shopping. Park or any place in second life. In addition this application is developing rapidly. Nowadays many universities and companies opened virtual branches in this world. There are about seventy universities have virtual campuses there.
Second life economic is very similar to the real economic. The second life coin is Linden Dollar. Residents can use these coins to by anything in second life.
Also the famous news agency, Ruters, opened a virtual office in second life. It is broadcasting news to the residents and it is organizing live conferences by this office.
In the future second life will be more important because many countries planning to open virtual embassies there. Also many international companies will open branches and affords free service to second life residents.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The history of Television

Television is one of the top ten devices which have changed human life. Nowadays it is a part of our daily life. The development of this device occurred a number of years. There are many improvement steps had done to get today’s TV. No single person invented the Television. It was invented side by side with technology development.

With the development of sciences, including electric, Mechanical engineering, sound, technology, electro chemistry and electromagnetism. In fact there are many discoveries which marred later into common ground of television such as the Ray tube invention in 1878 by Sir William Crooks. The first grudge television was made by Paul Nipkow from Germany in 1884. After that countless radio scientists and inventors invented methods of broadcasting television signals. Jhon Legie Barird from Scotland and Chals F.Jakins from USA invented the first true television sets in the 1920s. By 1935 mechanical systems for transiting black and white images were replaced by electronic methods. In 1939 the two American inventors, Philo T.Earns Worth and Allen B.Dumot developed a pickup tube that became the home television receiver. After that the Colombia broadcasting system had entered the color television fray. Because of the Second World War and the Korean War the developing progress was slowed. The future of TV has begun with technological revolution in this century. Nowadays there are plasma screens and interactive televisions. In near future we will see more and more new methods and inventions in this filed.


Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. on theater by actors and actresses on a stage. The term comes from a Greek
word meaning 'action. Another name to refer to it is 'play'. It shows people going through some eventful period in their lives, seriously or humorously. The speech and action of a play recreate the flow of human life. It contains many arts such as author, director, actor and designer.
To produce a drama there are processes and operations o follow. The first stage starts by writing the drama text by a playwright. In the past, the playwright was restricted by two types of drama. These types are
tragedies and comedies . The difference between those two types is in the ending. Tragedies are usually ending on unhappy note. However Comedies are usually ending happily. Also there are some differences in the characters between the two kinds. In the tragedies the characters is high and noble person. In the other hand in the romantic comedies the main character is a lover and the secondary characters are comic.
Elements of drama:
The drama to be a dram should have some of specific elements. The first element is the characters. Most plays contain major characters and minor characters. The major character is essential to the play. However the minor character serves a specific function. The second element is the plot. Every drama must have this element to be drama. It is the body of the drama. The interest generated by the plot varies for different kinds of plays. The third element is theme. It is the soul of the drama. Most plays have a conflict of some kind between individuals, between man and society, man and some superior force or man and himself. The events that this conflict provokes make up the plot. The forth element is Dialogue. It provides the substance of a play. The next element is convention. It is the action of the drama which is done by actors. Audiences also are an important element. They are inseparable parts of the theatre. These elements above are not only the drama elements. There are other elements such as Conversions, Sound and Sound Effects, Makeup, Technical Production and Costume Design.

Friday, January 9, 2009

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers at all times. He was born in April 23, 1546 in Stanford Upon-Avon in England. He is called the grand literary figure of the Western world. His father was a glove-maker and trader of farm products.
Shakespeare studied Latin grammar during the early years of his life beside logic, composition, oration, and monuments of Roman literature.
In 1582, when he was 18 years old he go married to Anne. They got only one son who died when he was 11 years old. Shakespeare moved to London in 1585 and there he worked as an actor and playwright for the Lords Chamberlain's men company. In 1599, he became a partner in ownership of the global theater. He died in 1616 after having a very productive life.

His works
Shakespeare is the greatest English poet and playwright. The first Shakespeare’s work was Richard III and Hennery VI which both written at the bingeing of 1590s. Until the mid-1590s, he wrote comedies influenced by Roman and Italian models and history plays. In 1595, he wrote his most famous tragedy, romantic Romeo and Joliet. In 1599, he wrote another tragedy called Julius Caesar. That was the period in which he wrote his greatest comedies and histories. From 1608 to 1613 another period of his writing started. He began his Romantic writings.
Task two: DramaIt might be surprising to know that many of Shakespeare's plays, especially in the experimental period were hardly original. He barrowed plot features from earlier plays. Borrowing plots and taking liberties with historical facts was not uncommon in Shakespeare's time and his skill for language, imagery, pun and his creative adaptation of myths and history have set Shakespeare apart as arguably the greatest playwright of all times.