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Why Is Important To Study The Media, Rather Than Simply Consume It?

1788 words - 8 pages

The media is a dynamic entity inherent in society that is both powerful and important. It demonstrates this by playing a vital role in the development of a person's perspective on political, economic and socio-cultural issues. This consequently helps to shape individuals' viewpoints of the world and define their lives through the interpretation of media texts. (Newman, 2004). Bazalgette supported Newman's point by stating "Media studies open up your understanding of how things work, how people become informed - or misinformed - and how the myths and ideologies that govern all our lives are created and sustained." (Bazalgette, 2000, pp.14). Thus, the focus of this essay will be on these ...view middle of the document...

" (Sinclair, 2000, pp.25). It is clear that the ideological influence attempts to deny the exploited classes of any liberty to question or to raise any conflicting opinions as depicted through the media. They were subjected to the texts; to believe and accept the media messages that were presented to them, to acknowledge that there is only one dominant ideological meaning to each message. (Sinclair, 2000). This shaped them to take things at face value, with a "what you see is what you get" viewpoint, which clearly does not challenges the intentions of the media texts.One other important influence to media studies was structuralism. "Structuralism stresses that each element within a cultural system derives its meaning from its relationship to every other element in the system: there are no independent meanings, but rather many meanings produced by their difference from other elements in the system."(Semiotics, Strucuralism and Television, 2000). In short, it implies that meanings that were spawned from media texts were not simply reflections of reality but the meanings are structured in the way people relate to the world. (Cunnningham & Turner, 2002) The media audience has evolved to take on a more active role in deciphering messages and make meaning out of them, with relevance to their culture and social environment. While fundamentally different from the concept of ideology, it must be noted that both theories imply one common phenomenon; the usage of media to influence individuals.Bazalgette (2000) recognizes the fact that there were many ways to look at issues, especially from different perspectives of the many academic disciplines. To dwell further into the topic, let us next examine the contemporary world in which we live in.Presently, the contemporary world is perpetually infiltrated with diverse sources of information and texts competing to present the 'preconceived ideas' to the audience. In this age of the Internet and globalization, the flow of information crosses boundaries of class, gender, ethnicity, and literacy, in addition to nations. While it is undeniable that proximity to individuals does increase the extent of influence, it is difficult for one ideology to completely tower above a particular culture. The media messages are no longer fixated with only one prevailing meaning imposed on by the authoritative figures. (Schirato & Yell, 2000). Now, not only are there multiple angles to analyze and interpret media texts, the sheer volume of different messages transmitted by media forms is astounding. Perhaps even more crucial to this whole analysis is that the public of today has become more knowledgeable, informed and engaging in participation. They are genuinely interested in what is portrayed before them and may even have a personal stake in the many issues which the media disseminates. People have gotten more independent and complex. Consequently, they become more analytical.To make sense of the meaning of the world...

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