Media and Poverty
The effect media has on modern society is enormous. Sometimes it's hard to believe that
something as simple as one person reading a newspaper, watching news, or going out to the movie
theater to watch a current Hollywood Blockbuster, can can influence society as a whole. Media can
target society as a whole or isolate a certain sector of society. In this review I would like to focus on
one sector of society, the bottom end of the economic classes, the poor. I would like to analyze the
perception society has of the poor and its connection to the media. In this day and age, media has
taken many different forms to expand even further its ability inform, connect, and entertain the masses.
The two main types of media that will be my focus are, text and digital productions. Both types of
media have increased in scope and exposure frequency with the rise in popularity of the internet and
electronic mobile devices.
Digital productions make new kinds of production possible, such as blogging and other
multimedia applications. Another advantage of digital production is that people have larger
communicative possibilities by using the Internet to interact with wider audiences than had been
possible before. These new kinds of media complement existing media, advertising, popular literature,
media's reporting of social issues (Sefton-Green 283).
The media frames social issues in certain way, telling the audience what is important to know
about and how to think about it. The media can frame questions of responsibility, leading the audience
to determine the causes of and solution for social problems. There are three main factors that the media
uses to frame social issues (Kim and Carvalho and Davis 563-565). First, social norms and cultural Lyons 2
values can effect the way an issue is framed. The media tends to portray society as fundamentally sound, blaming most social problems to irresponsible individuals. Problems are considered as personal in nature and disassociated from larger social factors. Second, Organizational pressures are also another factor. Media firms are large for-profit organizations who profit from very large audiences. A journalist might consider what frame would attract large audiences, instead of a frame more fitting the context of certain issues. And the third factor that builds frame is the pressures from interest groups. Interest groups seek to use the media as tools to establish certain frames of reference to construct public opinion. Journalists often adopt and incorporate the frames advocated by interest groups into their news coverage. News media presents issues in an easy to understand format which neglects certain underlying issues that have a higher level of complexity. In some instances the media establishes a framework of, “perceived reality”( L.W. Jeffres et al.107). Not just the frame the media uses is important, but the media's influence differs across demographics, and social and economic classes. Baohua Zhou claims in his article, New Media Use and Subjective Social Status, that this varying effect of the media is evidence of social subjectivness. The social subjectivness theory states that some sectors of society are more influenced by media than other sectors of society. Research has shown this subjectivness is directly related to economic classes. Sectors of society that in higher economic tiers are more prone to the influences of the media, than the lower economic tiers. This makes sense because these new digital production devices are expensive, and not everybody can afford them. Thus those who have money can access more types media than those without it. The expansion of new media, including the Internet and modern cell phones, has created a social gap, those who have the economic opportunity and technological...