Influence of Mass Media

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Abstract
Throughout this paper you will hear about many different types of articles on the topic of how mass media communication can influence our lives. They range from how the exposure of sexual media relates to sexual maturity, to if television news presents people of different race in a negative light. With mass media surrounding us our whole lives it is important to see what effect it has on our lives. It is impossible for someone to go through their whole live without seeing mass media all around us, whether it is seeing a billboard high above the highway with a girl wearing nothing but her jeans or a magazine being sold on the roadside with a brand new sports car on the cover. Mass media communication is defined as “the process of creating shared meaning between the mass media and their audience” (Phelan, 2010). Mass media can be influential in many different ways to many different people, and throughout this paper I will be looking at some of the ways it can influence peoples lives. Commercials are where most broadcasting companies make their money, and with the outset of internet and websites one might assume that there is more money from advertising on the World Wide Web. What Jamhouri and Winarz (2009) in The Enduring Influence of TV Advertising And Communications Clout Patterns In the Global Marketplace try to prove is that television advertising has the same amount of influence as it always has, even while digital media continues to grow. From 2005 to the current date, they audited between 25,000 and 50,000 people each year from three different regions; North America, Asia, and Europe, for their sample size. The results, they claim, show that television has lost none of its influence on consumers when it comes to advertising. According to Jamhouri and Winarz (2009): Increased proliferation of electronic media added to media clutter, but has not eroded TV’s influence even among young people. These empirical generalizations hold in across the conditions we studied. (2009, p.231)

The figures and numbers they present seem to prove this point. Jamhouri and Winarz (2009) scored their survey results from the respondents based on what they called “Communication Contact Influence (CCF)” (2009, p.228). In figure 1 they present the Influence of TV over time compared to digital contacts, and TV has stayed above 100 CCF’s over the study period for all three regions. In North America and Europe, however, the category of Branded Websites has stayed above 120 CCF’s over the study period. This data does prove TV hasn’t lost its influence, but the fact remains that websites have more sway in consumer’s decisions according to this study.

Commercials by their nature are meant to sway buying decisions of the public, and while this is deliberate by the companies creating them can the media unknowingly influence people? In the article It Works Both Ways: The Relationship Between Exposure to Sexual Content in the Media and Adolescent Sexual Bleakley, Hennessy, Fishbein, and Jordan (2008) are trying to prove this very hypothesis that, “Sexually active adolescents are more likely to expose themselves to sex in the media and those exposed to sex in the media are more likely to progress in their sexual activity” (2008, p. 443). The authors distributed an online survey to teenagers between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, once in the summer of 2005 and then again a year later in the summer of 2006 (Bleakley, Hennessy, Fishbein, and Jordan, 2008, p. 449). The results collected seemed to be conclusive, in that almost every sexual act increased over the year and was directly related to the amount sexual media exposure the teenager has experienced (Table 1, 2008, p.450)

Reading about this experiment and associated article I was impressed by the amount of variables the authors chose to include and how all of the variables seemed to contribute the amount of sexual behavior. The variables specifically: parental...
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