Charity Hitt MMC 6660 Blog

University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications

Analyze This Week 8

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Symbolic annihilation is the removal or marginalization of an entire societal group by the media.

One example that Tuchman discusses is the symbolic annihilation of women in the media. The media, acting as a mirror of society, also perpetuates certain repressive ideals that are commonly assumed as societal norms. This depiction of women, happy in the home or in pink collar positions in the office, and overall as the subservient part of the equation in work and family life, serves to symbolically  annihilate the view of women as powerful and independent contributors to society.  This depiction of women in the media, regardless of whether it is  a true mirrored image of society, shapes young girls hopes, aspirations and expectations for their lives.  This contributes to a relatively unbroken cycle of socialization that defines women as the weaker sex.


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October 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm

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Week 8 Blog Essays

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Describe some  generalizations and stereotypical pictures of racial, gender, etc. phenomena that you have discerned – and then explain how the media might have helped create those pictures.

One of the most prevalent, and in my opinion detrimental, stereotypes that the media creates and perpetuates in regards to gender stereotypes is that related to the female body.  When I use the word create, I use it literally not figuratively, as the media (particularly in advertising) create images that are often distorted depictions of a female body.  Photoshopping and deceiving camera angles portray women’s bodies as perfect, slim figures lacking an ounce of body fat or cellulite. It’s on every other page of every magazine you flip through, smiling perfect women with perfect figures, confidently assuring the reader that they too, can be this confident and happy if only they use the same products.

This image of the perfect woman with the perfect body is not only seen in the advertising pages of magazines, but also on every channel and on every movie screen across the country.  Actresses with trim figures and near impossible to achieve bodies take the dominate roles in television and film, with actresses that are heavy set (by Hollywood standards) often playing a supporting role or no role at all.

It is a constantly discussed and possibly trite argument, but regardless, it is the messages that these images send to women that are concerning in our society.  The pressure for a perfect body as opposed to a healthy body, and the inaccurate portrayals of what that perfect body should look like, are compounding the pressures on women to achieve an industry standard of beauty.  The pressure is particularly disturbing when we think of the young girls in our society who  in a difficult time between girl and woman, have to filter through these images and messages sent by the mass media to decide what beautiful means to them.  The effects we have seen in these young girls are a rise in eating disorders, dissatisfaction with their bodies, and a lack self esteem or healthy body image.

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October 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm

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Week 7 Analyze This

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What is ideology?

Ideology is the way we apply meaning to the world around us, in order to make clear our definitions of values and world views
How does the media influence the creation and maintenance of ideology.

The media  creates and maintains ideologies in their representation of the family model on television shows.  Much has changed since the television era of the 1950’s and 1960’s where television was dominated by white, middle class, content American families (never an African American, Hispanic or Asian family, much less one of same sex parents and their children) that was neither reflective or inclusive of the American population.  While we have begun to see the inclusion of more characters and family models outside of the traditional ideology of the American family (take for example Glee, The New Normal, or Modern Family), the media still perpetuates the ideological white, middle class, content American family that has been the established ideological family model for many years.

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October 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm

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Annotated Bibliography

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Annotated Bibliography – link to formatted version in Microsoft Word.

Works Cited

Albiniak, Paige. (2005).  Niche plays. Broadcasting & Cable, 135(24), 18. Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This case study examines the growing niche area of Spanish language programming targeted towards children.  It analyzes the limited competition in this area of programming and the direction which it is heading.

Berman, S., Duffy, N., Shipnuck, L. (2012).  The end of television as we know it: Future industry perspectives. IBM media and entertainment. Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This article released by IBM Corporation is an overarching look at the state of the media industry today, and how the traditional model of the audience is changing, becoming increasingly fragmented and dividing their time between many choices in programming and viewing platforms.  IBM asserts there are two types of audience members today, the active and the passive, and it is the passive which the industry must pay attention to, as they are changing the media landscape.

Bauerleing, Mark. (2008). The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Threatens Our Future.  New York: Penguin.
Baerling discusses his belief that though the current generation has more access to information than any other before them, because this generation has grown up with new media, they are less informed.  The author critically points to social networking as the basis for the problem.

Bryant, Jennings, and John Davies. (2006). Selective exposure processes. In Psychology of entertainment. Edited by Jennings Bryant and Peter Vorderer, 19–33. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
This chapter is an updated discussion of selective exposure, from Bryant and  Zillman’s previous text in 1985.  It is a curret overview of the process which a viewer undergoes when selecting entertainment programming. This particular text argues selective exposure is influenced by a viewer’s mood.

Buchwalter, Charles. (2009).  The long tail of the net: How important is it? Nielsenwire.  Retrieved October 1, 2012, From nielsenwire/online_mobile/the-long-tail-of-the-net-just-how-important-is-it/.
This article from Nielsen, a ratings and audience measurement company, offers insight into the engagement metrics and levels of audience members who seek out niche content, and discusses how this plays in to the theory of the long tail. Nielsen puts into the simplest of terms, why viewers prefer niche content, stating, “The central concept is that people tend to be most engaged in content that is core to their specific interests, rather than more generalized content” (2009).

Campbell, Jeremy. (2012). Niche vide channels are the future. Retrieved October 1, 2012 From
This media blog post from Jeremy Campbell discusses how the internet and its opportunity for niche content channels is the future of media consumption.

Carey, James. (1989). A cultural approach to communication. Communicatios as a Culture: Essays on Media and Society (pp. 1-23). Retrieved September 11, 2012, From
This text discusses two  different approaches to communication; the transmission approach and the ritual approach, both born from religious and moral context.  The transmission view approaches communication as the literal transmission of communication from sender to reciever, while the ritual view approaches it as a communal act.

Chan, E., Steen, F., Vordever, P. (2006). Motivation. Psychology of Entertainment. (pp. 3-17).  Mahwah, NJ.  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
This chapter discusses the various motivations that drive viewers to make the media choices that they do.  It discusses the questions of “who is doing what in which kind of situation” and why.

Cohen, D. (2012). Meet the new niche, same as old niche? Daily Variety, 314(14), 2. Retrieved October 5, 2012 From ps/
This article discusses the changes in niche networks and the changes in types of content they provide now as opposed to in their infancy. It also discusses the pressures placed upon niche networks to diversify their content in order to appeal to broader audiences, which is in opposition to their very definition.

Croteau, D., Hoynes, W., & Milan, S. (2012). The economics of the media industry. Media/society: Industries, images, and audiences. (pp. 31-70). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Pine Forge Press.
This chapter discusses the economic models for the media industry and the practices which they use to make money.  It is an in depth examination of the dynamics behind the money making process of the mass media, and offers insight into the economical forces driving the creation of niche content.

Croteau, D., Hoynes, W., & Milan, S. (2012). The economics of the media industry. Media/society: Industries, images, and audiences. (pp. 185-215). Thousand Oaks, Calif: Pine Forge Press.
This text discusses the ways in which content decisions are made, citing several different influencers on the decision making process, including producers, societal pressures and interests, and what will be most important to look at for my purposes,  the audience.

Dimitrova, N., and Zimmerman, J. et al. (2003). Content Augmentation of Personalized Entertainment Experience. 3rd Workshop on Personalization in Future TV.  Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This article is a study on metadate and how personilzed reccomendations for content are effecting the way we view television.  Through internet and television reccomendations, the media viewer is now privy to an enhanced personal viewing experience. The authors state, “These technologies can improve the viewing experience by better understanding the TV content and by retrieving related material that is more focused at individual users,” (2003) but could this be leading us towards a path of more narrow viewing habits that only reflect our personal interests?

Dimmick, J. W., Patterson, S. J., & Albarran, A. B. (1992). Competition Between the Cable and Broadcast Industries: A Niche Analysis. Journal Of Media Economics, 5(1), 13-30. Retrieved October 1, 2012, From
This scholarly paper is based on the theory of the niche, and uses a new human ecology metric (Schoener’s alpha) to determine whether cable television is a superior competitor over broadcast television in today’s changing market. The authors find that though cable TV is a competitor, it is not yet a threat of being an “imminent” displacer of broadcast television.

Hartmann, Tilo, ed. (2009). Uses and gratifications as media choice. Media choice: A theoretical and empirical overview. New York and London: Routledge. Retrieved September 13, 2012, From
This text used the Uses and Gratification theory as a backdrop for their discussion on what drives certain personality types to view particular genres of programming, and how this guides their viewing decisions.

Holcomb, J., Mitchell, A., and Rosentiel, T. (2012).  The state of the news media 2012: An annual report on American Journalism. The pew research center’s project for excellence in journalism. Retrieved October 1, 2012, From
As part of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, this yearly review of the state of American journalism looks at the American appetite for news, specifically on cable news networks CNN and Fox News. The report finds a temporary surge in news viewing, most likely spurred by the upcoming 2012 presidential election, and it also discusses the threat digitalization poses to cable news networks in an upcoming generation of internet viewers.

Hooghe, Marc. (2002).  Watching television and civic engagement: Disentangling the      effects of time, programs, and stations.  The International Journal of Press/Politics Spring 2002 vol. 7 no. 2 84-104.  Retrieved October 1, 2012, From
This article examines the relationship between viewing television and levels of civic engagement. It finds that a higher viewing of television correlates to a higher viewing of entertainment as opposed to news programming, and offers the hypothesis that more viewing of this type leaves to a less civic minded viewer. This is similar to the hypothesis I am making, and will be a great reference in my literature review.

Kobach, M. J. and Weaver, A. J. (2012), The Relationship Between Selective Exposure and the Enjoyment of Television Violence. Aggr. Behav., 38: 175–184. Retrieved September 13, 2012, From
This study examines the correlation between the enjoyment of selective exposure to media violence, and the enjoyment of media violence.

Lee, P., Leung, L., & So, C. (2004). Toward Intelligent Societies: The Impacts of Globalization, Customization, Flexibility and Multiple Identities. Impact and Issues in New Media: Toward Intelligent Societies (pp. 1-20). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, Inc.
This chapter is a collaborative effort of authors Lee, Leung and So, whcih  discusses the increase in societal problems that are prevalent as ICTs (information and communication technologies) permeate society.  The authors argue that we are equipped with access to more information than ever before, and the idea that an uniformed society is implausible; however it is not impossible.

Logan, R. (2010). Television. Understanding New Media: Extending Marshall McLuhan (pp. 192-203). New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
This work is an update and extension of author Robert Logan’s former colleague and mentor, Marshall McLuhan.  The insightful chapther dedicated to television viewing shows the different ways in which new media effects television; for better and for worse.

Macnameara, J. (2010). Audience Fragmentation and demassification. The 21st Century Media (R)evolution (pp. 120-135). New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
This chapter focuses on perceptions surrounding the mass audience, and its fragmentation.  The author questions whether a mass audience ever truly existed, and whether the fragmentation of audiences is only a result of more choices in media programming that cater to specific interests.

McGuire, Mark. (2003, ). Food network has served up success, channel combines niche programming and broad appeal. Charleston Daily Mail, pp. 8.D.  Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This case study of the Food Network identifies their strategy of combining niche programming and that which has a much broader appeal. It also discusses the increasing existence of niche networks related to almost every interest, and the business model behind these channels.

Medoff, N. J. (1982). Selective exposure to televised comedy programs. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 10(2), 117-132. Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This study explores selective exposure to entertainment content and recent findings “That people in a negative affective state tend to avoid comedy programs.”  The study seeks to explore these findings and tests their validity.

Messing, Solomon and Sean J. Westwood. (2011). An Era of Social Media Effects? How Social Media Change the Way We Consume News and Reduce Partisan Selective Exposure. Retrieved September 13, 2012, From
Through experiments in selective exposure and social media, the authors attempt to demostate that social ties, and the endorsement of information from those ties, directly correlates to why a viewer chooses selective exposure to certain media content.

Napoli, P. M. (2011). The transformation of media consumption.  Audience evolution: New technologies and the transformation of media audiences. (pp. 54-87). New York: Columbia University Press.
This chapter discusses the increasingly autonomous nature of the media audience and the fragmentation that is increasingly occuring.  It points out the various avenues that viewers now have when it comes to viewing media content, and the increasing sources that are available to consumers.

Napoli, P. M. (2011).  The implications of audience evolution. Audience evolution: New technologies and the transformation of media audiences. (pp.149-192). New York: Columbia University Press.
This chapter points out the issues and implications of the fragmentation of the media audience.  It offers an overarching view of the effects of the changing media audience, and the way our rationalization of the traditional media audience is changing.

Neuman, W. R. (1991). The future of the mass audience. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press.
This book is a study of multiple networks including ABC, CBS and NBC, seeking to gain inshight on the effect of personal computers and an increasing availability of content choices on the mass audience.  It argues that “the movement toward fragmentation and specialization will be modest and that the national media and common political culture will remain robust” (1991).  As this is an older text I would like to investigate his findings and see how they have played out.

Ouellette, Dan. (2005). Niche movement. Mediaweek, 15(35), 16. Retrieved September 30, 2012 From              This case study of MTV discusses the targeted niche programming offered by MTV and similar networks, and their need to expand to multiple channels and platforms to stay competetive in the changing media landscape.

Pogorelic, Vanessa. Repositioning print news in an online environment. Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This graduate thesis offers a balanced review and extends upon Neuman’s previous work, The Future of the Mass Audience.  It discusses digitalization and what it means for the future of print journalism.

Sohini Mitter. (2012). Niche programming set to become mass with digitisation. Financial Express. Retrieved September 22, 2012, From
This article offers great deffinitions of what niche programming actually is.  It also discusses the issue of mandatory digitisation and how it has casued a boom in the existence of niche programming and networks.

Schwartz, T. (1982). Network Audiences Declining. New York Times, (pp. C.32). Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This New York Times article discusses the dissapearance of the network audience, and investigates the various avenues of programming that are distracting viewiers from the networks.  The article identifies three main sources;as the culprits: pay television, cable and independent stations.

Sterling, C. H. (2009). Decline of News Audeinces. Encyclopedia of journalism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412972048. Retrieved October 5, 2012, From
This  encyclopedia article discusses the shift of television consumption from news to entertainment content.  It specifically describes the decline in news viewing in the American public, and examines the role which the internet has played in this monumental shift.

Twenge, J. M. (2006). Generation Me: Why today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled–and more miserable than ever before. New York: Free Press.
Twenge exposes, using personal interviews as well as detailed research, how the newest generation of young adults differs, in an unfavorable way, from those of the past, and argues that new media is the source of the problem.

Webster, J. G., & Ksiazek, T. B. (2012). The dynamics of audience fragmentation: Public attention in an age of digital media. Journal of Communication, 62(1), 39-56.  Retrieved October 5, 2012, From doi/10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01616.x/full.
This study criticizes the current methods of analyzing audience fragmentation.  Using network analysis metrics to analye Nielsen data of television and internet usage, their study finds “extremely high levels of audience duplication across 236 media outlets, suggesting overlapping patterns of public attention rather than isolated groups of audience loyalists.”

Wilson, Tony. (2009).  A passive audience? Structuralist and effects studies.  Understanding media users.  (pp. 7-28). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
This chapter discusses the role of the media audience which was once classified as “passive”.  It cover the topics of agenda setting, the effects model, and the uses and gratifications theory as it applies to mass audiences.

Wilson, Tony. (2009). The active audience: Speaking subjects.  Understanding media users.  (pp.29-45).  Malden, MA; Blackwell Publishing.
This chapter discusses the shift from the passive mass audience to the active audience.  Now, more than ever before, the audience takes an active role in deciding on the media content they choose to consume. This article discusses the role the audience takes in interpreting messages received from media providers and the changes in brings to our media consumption habits.

Zillman, D. and Jennings Bryant. (1985). Selective Exposure to Communication. Hillside, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
This text is an overarching review of selective exposure of media from both the viewpoints of a communications scholar and a psychology scholar. It discusses the process of selective exposure in television, in particular.

Written by charityhitt

October 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm

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Reading Essays Week 7

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In the simplest of terms, the word hegemony refers to the ability of one societal group to exert influence or dominance over another societal group, and is a concept that has permeated the media in numerous instances.  Hegemony is most often not achieved through force (though instances of force have occurred throughout history) but by the permeation of a dominant ideology reflective of one dominant class or social group and not reflective of the subordinate group, yet still assumed and accepted as ‘common sense’.

As a student of sports media, one of the primary instances of hegemony that I have noticed and researched is that within the realm of sports broadcasting.  Hegemony can be found in the male dominated perspective that comes with the broadcast decisions surrounding sporting events.  The ratio of male to female sporting events which receive national attention is undeniable in its bias towards male sporting events, and it is a tradition that is not likely to change soon.  We also see hegemony demonstrated in the dominating presence of male sportscasters on the air nationally and locally.  While women have made tremendous strides since their first prominent years on the air in the 1970s, the female to male ratio in sports broadcasting is still relatively incongruous.

One example in particular is the broadcast crew of Monday Night Football.  Over the years, the studio show has seen few women on camera, most of which report from the sidelines as opposed to the desk, and are considered by many as “eye candy” for male football fans as opposed to valuable sports reporters.  By continuing to classify women in this role and by limiting the number of female sporting events that are shown on national television, the cycle of hegemony in sports broadcasting is likely to continue.

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October 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

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Reading Essays Week 6

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1. In Lippmann’s Nature of News , why does he say PR is important to the task of gathering news? Do you agree or disagree? What was the context of the times that Lippmann was writing? Hint: WWI and propaganda.

In Limmpann’s Nature of News, he expresses the role of the public relations specialist, or press agent, as a necessary guide and director of information and news to the reporter.  Lippmann describes their role as necessary facilitators of information to  reporters who “are not clairvoyant, they do not gaze into a crystal ball and see the world at will, they are not assisted by thought-transference.”  He goes on to assert, “The range of subjects these comparatively few men manage to cover would be a miracle indeed, if it were not a standardized routine.” With such a vast (and ever increasing) amount of information to be reported in our society, the role of the press agent is to make the reporter’s job easier, sifting through what is important and presenting it to the reporter in a packaged way. This standardized routine that Lippman refers to is the long standing system of the press agent.

While I agree with  Lippmann in regards to the necessity and function of the press agent, I also feel his recognition of  the flaws behind this system are valid, asserting that the role of the press agent can be exploited in the interest of individuals, corporations, or the government. The press agent has the ability to shape the news into a neat little package that sheds a positive light upon their employer or organization, conveniently sidestepping information that could prove harmful or a public relations nightmare. Lippmann states, “The picture which the publicity man makes for the reporter is the one he wishes the public to see. He is censor and propagandist, responsible only to his employers, and to the whole truth responsible only as it accords with the employers’ conception of his own interests.”  It is our job as reporters to recognize this possible one-sided or biased approach that a press agent may have when presenting the facts of a report. While the role of the press agent is a necessary one in our society, it does not come without flaw or danger of exploitation by those on both sides.

The context in which Lippmann points out the issues of the press agent in this article system stems from propaganda that was rampant in WWI.  Michael Schudson described journalists prior to the war “naïve empiricists”  not recognizing the difference between human interpretation of facts and facts themselves (2001).  From reporters’ experience with propaganda during the war, the term objectivity was born, as journalists discovered that presented information was not necessarily fact, but constructed views influenced by the bias of those press agents supplying the ‘facts’.


2. Describe what Hall means by encoding and decoding.

In his article, Hall discusses his belief that communication should not be defined as it previously has, in a linear fashion of sender-message-receiver.  Hall argues that a new model, one that consists of production, circulation, distribution/consumption, and reproduction is more appropriate. Within this model and in the case of television in particular, a process of encoding and decoding must transpire between the content producer and the content receiver, or audience.

The producer of certain content creates a message (encoding) that can then be interpreted by the receiver or audience member (decoding).  However, many forces throughout this process of communication can effect the way in which an encoded message is decoded by a receiver.  A receiver first must feel like an encoded message is important in order to decode the message in a way that will bring about action.  Constructs such as cultural background, political views, social standing, upbringing; all of these can effect the way a receiver absorbs and interprets a message.  So the process of encoding and decoding is one that is not strictly defined or predicted, rather it is dependent on and effected by the individuals who take part in the process.  An encoded message may have one intended message, that is interpreted ten different ways, by ten different viewers, leading to ten different courses of action (or lack of action) on the part of the decoder.

Written by charityhitt

September 29, 2012 at 9:41 am

Posted in Reading Essays

Analyze This Week 5

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1. The censorship issue in China that this article discusses is the censorship of social media posts by members of the Chinese society.  Contrary to what would be believed, many posts that deal with criticism of the government and government authorities are not more greatly censored than other content.  The main subject of content on social media that is censored are those that seek to encourage change or rebellion against government authority.

The Chinese government censors internet searches through Google and other search engines from pulling up search terms that they deem a threat to the state.  Recently, in June all search terms on Chinese search engines related to the Tiananmen Square Protests from June of 1989 were blocked by the Chinese government who did not want the Chinese people to honor the rise against Chinese government that these protests encouraged.

2.Summarizing Journalism in the Global Age-

In this article, the author makes note of John Carey’s famous definition of journalism as democracy, the two words synonymous.  However, increasing globalization and awareness of practices in countries other than America, particularly Western cultures, has shown that using American journalism as a litmus test for appropriate actions of the press in non-democratic societies is a comparison that is increasingly presumptuous and unfair in western culture where freedom of the press is not guaranteed.  Does this, by definition of journalism as democracy, not constitute journalism? Recent literature also points to a large disconnect in the idealistic teachings of journalism, and the actual practices of journalism in a democratic society, which increasingly answers to advertisers, corporations, and government regulations.  Recent literature by journalism scholars attempts to establish models of journalism that are not so constricted to the Anglo-American model that currently permeates the discourse of journalism.

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September 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Analyze This