Week Five. Seminar 5/11/09

In the seminar today, we talked about the effects and possible negative effects a media text could have on an audience. We discussed Shaun of the Dead, rap videos and violent video games and how audiences are becoming densensitised to the content. We discussed in the end though how the hypodermic needle model does not apply, as the audience does not do everything they see, a text does not necessarily have a negative effect on an audience. We decided that how an audience reacts to a media text depends on the person themself, the upbringing they have had, their culture and lifestyle; that all individuals recieve texts differently. We discussed how media is a form of escapism rather than a place to get ”ideas” on how to behave, that playing violent games or watching violent films could be seen as a release for anger.

We also discussed how the hypodermic needle is pretty much out-dated, as we now are a much more active audience. We discussed how audience gratification theory and Shannon & Weaver’s theory are more revlevant theories, but don’t completely explain audience. We suggested that maybe those two theories, possibly even the three, could perhaps run together to explain audience. The theories are becoming outdated with the rise of new media. And we were asked the question; How is new media different to old media and how are the the same? New media is the same as old media, except for the fact that Shannon and Weaver’s idea of the encoder and decoder is changing,. New media, such as social networking sites, mean that the audience who encodes the text and the audience that decodes the text are often the same. This blurs the ideas in Shannon and Weaver’s model, making new media different to old media. However, it is still similar because it still has an encoder and decoder and intended meaning.

We also were then asked; Are there any more modern audience theories? Of which we were sent away to discover for ourselves. This pretty much says what we discussed: http://orange.eserver.org/issues/2-3/mwolfe.htm I have also found this site: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14165677/Audience-theories-detailed which suggests the concept of the ‘Ethnographic Model’. This model is done by a researcher who enters the culture of the group and interviews and questions them to try and get their perspective of looking at media texts. It suggests that the following affect how we view a media text: the focus on the domestic context of reception of media texts- the engagement with the media is structured by the audience’s domestic environment. The home is not a free place where the audience can consume media when and wherever, they have to purchase media, gain control of the remote and fit media consumption around relationships. So suggesting that media watching is not a ‘concentrated, analytical business that some theorists suggest’.  The element of cultural competence- the expectations the audience have of the text affects the way they read it. The audience are becoming competent in the way texts are structured; narrative character etc; so they can predict what is going to happen. This suggests that how competent an audience is effects the way they read a media text. Technologies- this is about the way an audience views their media text, the technology they have to do so. This suggests that there will be a male/female divide (”boys toys”) and a information rich/information poor divide, as some will not be able to afford the technology. It suggests that educational/school programmes should therefore show less stereotypical representations to try and combat the male/female divide. It concludes that there has been a shift from mass to individual audience, from passive to active audience and that the level of activity depends on; uses and gratifications, cultural competence, situation and technology for the particular audience.


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Filed under 100MC, Coursework from First Year, Feedback Group 1D

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