Case Study: Media Content vs. Media Form

Topics: Mass media, Internet, Marshall McLuhan Pages: 4 (1152 words) Published: June 6, 2006
Case Study:
Media Content or Media Form?

Media effects refer to "the social, cultural, and psychological impact of communicating via the mass media (Eveland, W. 2003). The public and government officials think from the perspective of media effects when expressing concern over media violence, pornography, and advertising. Media effects can be identified using five central characteristics 1) a focus on the audience 2) some expectation of influence 3) a belief that the influence is due to either the form or content of a "media message system" 4) the use of variable terminology and discussion of causality; 5) the creation of empirically testable hypotheses (2003). A key point is made in these five steps; the mention of content and form as two separate entities. What is content and form?

Media content is messages that are produced by the few for the many and delivered to large audiences simultaneously. (Online Glossary). How messages are brought to an audience is the form or the medium is any singular, physical object used to communicate messages. Television is a mass medium, but there are many other kinds of mass media (Online).

Media theorist Marshall McLuhan argued that "the medium is the message." Media technology can have a profound affect on different societies and cultures (Thussu, D. 2000). Throughout history, technology has affected how we communicated, but perhaps the technology was sending a message all its own. Television has often been called the most powerful media medium ever invented, sending hundreds of thousands advertisements, entertainment programs, and news broadcasts in to living rooms across the globe. A new rival is the Internet, it is changing how we view communication in every sense of the word. The number of people with access to the internet is growing at an alarming rate (Fig. 1). Internet is borderless and easily accessible; filling our heads with hundreds of images per minute.

Media technology advancements...

Eveland, W.P. Jr. (2003). A "Mix of Attributes" Approach to the Study of Media Effects and New Communication Technologies. Journal of Communications, 53, 3.
Internet World Stats. Found on April 30, 2006.
Kennedy, D. (2004). Tuning Out the News: Is youth turning off the News Media – or vice versa?. Bostonia, Fall 2004. Found on April 30, 2006; .
Online glossary.
Thussu, D. K. (2000). International Communication: Continuity and Change. Great Brittain: Oxford University Press Inc.
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