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September 2, 2010

Critical Communications Theories

Semiotics (symbolic interactions)
-The science of signs and symbols

-Examines how mass media messages influence the audiences’ social
rules in order to suppress instinctive anti-social impulses.
-Controlling instinctive reactions because of the way society
interprets them; socially acceptable behavior.

Sociological Analysis
-The most common type of analysis done by critics
-Comes in many flavors that have evolved over the years
-Direct Effect Model
• Often considered propaganda
• Based on the idea that people are passive targets of
mass media messages that cannot help but be
• Points at such messages as advertising and
government propaganda that people will follow like
lemmings HAHA
• Denies that people are individuals
-Limited Effects of indirect effects Model
• Found that people may take in the messages, but will
turn to opinion leaders for how to interpret and follow
or not follow those messages
o People with strong opinions are unlikely to
change them
o People pay more attention to messages that
they already agree with
o The most persuadable don’t pay attention

*Basically, some one else will do all the thinking for you, you simply pick which
idea to follow

-Critical Culture Model

• Rather than effect, it looks at how people use and
construct messages
• The media control the flow of information and what
can be discussed
• Those who control the media control the message
• Rooted in neo-Marxism – those who can control the
culture control the media and, thus, society.

*People too lazy to think for themselves. Ironic- I’m copying down exactly what
he’s saying because I’m too lazy to interpret it into my own words. Fun.

-Agenda Setting Model

• The media don’t tell us what to think, they tell us what
to think about
o Different religious authorities/documents
o Political leaders/POVs

Uses and Gratifications

-People actively seek and use those media messages that they personally
feel gives them something
-They use the media to get something they want

Social Learning Theory

-There’s no way a person can experience everything
-The media provide information about the world and society that the
individual can’t experience alone
-Can create a person’s reality; what things are, how to think, behave,
interact with one another.

Cultivation Analysis
-Media messages tell people what the world is like and how people
respond to what happens in the world
• An example is the mean world syndrome: heavy
users of the media think the world is a more violent,
dangerous place than it actually is because so many
media messages contain violence
o news
o cop shows
o dramas

Not one technique or theory has all the answers

-All hypotheses start with assumptions
• Scientific hypotheses start with assumptions about
the world that can be empirically checked and falsified
• Social science hypotheses start with assumptions
about people that usually can’t be empirically studied
and are taken as axiomatic )they’re true because I
think they’re true and can’t prove it one way or the
Neoaristotelian analysis
-Based on Aristotle’s work Ars petoca
-Six parts
 Action- what happens
o Starts with an exposition
 What you need to know to understand wht
 Establishes an equilibrium or status quo
 The Problem
 Crisis
• A point at which the protagonist thinks
he or she knows enough about the
problem to solve it
• The solution is applied
• It’s the wrong answer, creating a
• Complication
• And obsticale solving the problem,
either because the wrong solution made
it worse, or something ne is added
• Any story longer than 15 seconds has
multiple crises and complications
• Climax- the ultimate crisis
o The protagonist has finally
learned enough about the
problem through the crises and
complications to solve the
problem and applies that solution
o Denouement
• A final part of the action that may or may
not be necessary, it shows that the
problem has been solved and there are
no more problems- we’re back at an
• Character
• The agents that carry out the action
• Two words are vital to story telling
• Conflict
• Since every character wants something
different, this creates conflict
• Without conflict there is no story
o The problem starts with conflict
o The climax is the resolution of the
problem, and thus ends the
o Thought
• Why the story is being told
o To affect the audience’s sense of
what the world is and their role in
the world
o Can follow, define, and create
rules of society.
o Diction/Music/Spectacle
• How the story is told
o Diction= the words used and how
they’re said
o Music= what we hear, including
music and sound effects
o Spectacle= what we see,
including setting, lighting,
costumes, make-up,
relationships, angles, etc.

*Why is this important?

Humans are not wise- they must use stories to relate to everyday
events/facts/history and the way we react to them; ourselves as a whole, etc.

September 9, 2010


1041- clay tiles

“ink” each word
Prior to this method, everything had to be handwritten

1347- black death

Survivors came out with
a) money
b) a desire to enjoy life
-fun and games like fairs
-fanciest clothes that could be afforded
• underwear
• sheets
• linen products

Once linen fabric was worn out they were used to be turned into paper.
With this new found CHEAP material, printing was no longer expensive and put
to use.
***Press all the water out of the ‘slush’ resulting in paper.
-record keeping
-writing to one another
Because of black death, there were no scribes
-Johannes Gutenberg 1398-1468 goldsmith
-created the printing press (but not the press in general)

William Caxton
First printer in England
English spelling

Images and drawings could also be printed

“illustrated text:”

1863- rotary press

Industrial revolution
100 double sided pages as opposed to one with a guttenberg
Progression of press………….
1884- mergenthaler’s linotype machine
Typewriter used instead of placing letters separately

-Started early 1600s
-corontos, one page dutch news shees imported to England
-diuma;s: English news sheets started in 1641
*these would now be considered editorials

1690- Amerca’s first newspaper

Benjamin Harris
“Public Occurances”
One edition
Shut down because it was critical & no required license

The Boston Newsletter- 1704

Lasted until the Revolutionary War
Advantage: subsidized by the government
Oh, look- our current problem with society’s knowledge of real world issues!

New-England Courant
Critical- scandalous libels
(facts the government didn’t want people to know)
Brother was instituted to take place- Benjamin Franklin
Sold advertising space-> financial independence-> editorial independence

John Zenger’s trial- seditious libel

Truth is a defense against libel
Courant/gazette/journal are the backbone of today’s paper.
-a news paper with popular support could challenge authority
-financial independence can lead to editorial independence
-government should not control the pres because it can stifle the truth

IN CONCLUSION- the first amendment

The daily sun- penny papers; affordable for everyone and intended for everyone

Joseph Pulitzer
William Randolph Hearst
Journalism competition! ...of lies

Cannons of Journalism and statement of principles- 1923

“The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by
nothing but the consideration […]”
-Don’t print lies in order to make money

Saturday Evening Post

1930- next twenty years
Keys to success
-rapidly growing literacy rate
-lower printing costs
-spread of social movements like abolition and labor reform
-made for compelling reading
-the use of specialty writers rather than general reporters or book authors

Growth of Magazines
-rise of women’s magazines that advertisers loved
-postal act of 1879 that lower mailing rates for magazines
-railroads crisscrossing the entire country
-made magazines the first truly national medium
-Before printing
-Lascoux cave painting

-kids spent 12 years in scribe school

-just to learn how to write

-lead to conservative society

-Egyptians wouldn’t change anything for the sake of society

-Phinetians made alphabet with letters for all sounds

-Greeks added vowels and this created the alphabet as a whole

-Library of Alexandria (burned down)

-I copy every book in the world
-For 600 years it was the center of research in the world

-The Dark Ages

-476 bc Roman Empire fell
-This led to plummeting of literacy
-Patch Roman ends “virgin walking”
-Compelte safety ends
-everything from the past led to stories, myths, superstitions

-Knowledge of people’s minds


-knowledge was oral

-courts held hearings

-Old people were vital

-testify from their memory
-young looked up to old; they are living records
-because no one would read or write

-Memories were prejudice

-no reading or writing=remember
-poetry is easier to remember than prose due to rhyme and rhythm
-ring around the rosie (black plague)
-poetry was the language of memory

-telling stories, legends, the news- in music/singing
-could remember thousands of words in a sitting
-VERY good memory
-New books were rare
-most everything was copied
-copying was a form of prayer for monks
-didn’t care what it was, did it for the process
-this caused errors
-no written history

-The Black Death

-killed 1/3 of the population
-railed all the old fogies
-caused loss of memory and oral traditions
-writing importance came back
-banking became vital

-Arrival of printing
-within 50 years over 2 million books came out
-catholic church used printing press
-indulgence “get out of hell free” card
-had to pay to get one

-Martin Luther
-didn’t like catholic church’s practices
-nailed a list of 95 theses to front door of church
-gave to friends who printed tons of copies to spread throughout

-The protestant Reformation

-catholic church didn’t like this
-first real propaganda

-Catholic church went against printing

-burned books, writers, etc
-went to hell if took part in it

-Printing led o all these problems

-easy to get out words of your own
-broad sheets and large posters were invented and put out
-people saw these broad sheets and wanted to learn because of it

-The modern contract

-writing enabled this
-Declaration of independence
-Prints greatest effect on society
-Printing revolutionized knowledge
-Aldus Manutius (1450-1515)


-Galileo countered Aristotle’s belief that the world was the center of the universe;
in conclusion the book Galileo wrote proving this was banned and he was placed
under house arrest. Galileo’s new discovery disagreed with the church, which
was unacceptable at the time.

-Corpus Juris Civilis

-publication of Roman laws

William caxton- first printer to use English

Latin disappears as universal language 1476

Apparently printing is the cause of EVERYTHING; printing allowed for different

religious beliefs such as protestant Christian and the creation of new ideas etc

John Adams and TJ died within hours of each other

Jackass symbol developed from Andrew Jackson’s nickname
Benjamin Gey? Opened The Sun… first penny newspaper

Next invention

Radio= telephone without wires
Bell and Gray
Samuel Morse=wires

Heinrich Hertz 1886 gets rid of wires

-builds spark gap generator
-creates electric current with gap in wire
-current needs to jump that gap creating spark
-receiver picks up spark
*Demonstrated the electricity traveled through air at specific frequencies just like
it did with wires
1894 Guglielmo Marconi
-put ideas together to make the radio
-increased the powerI
-air expands when it’s warm>ionosphere goes uo
-radio bounces through ionosphere
-thus, when it went up, signal went further (vise versa)

-built earthquake machine
-tesla coil (1891)
-first amplifier
-raised voltage on an electrical current.. a lot

Reginald Fessenden
-louder the voice, stronger the signal
-higher/lower voice change in signal
-could be carried by radio waves
-voice broadcast in 1900
-short range
-poor quality
-no wires
-needed more power

Ernst Alexanderson (more power)

-Alexanderson Generator
-1000000 hertz
-1906 first broadcast, 100s of miles
-Bible readings
-Violin Christmas carol

Lee de Forest
-“father of radio”
-pieced everything together> forest
-put together audion tube (1904)
-English vacuum tube with added bent wire (flemingvelle)
-amplified signal
-had no clue how it worked; simply put together bits and

Edwin Howard Armstrong

-figured out how the audion tube worked
-tried to improve it
-developed regeneration
-invented a way to feed the signal back into the tube about 20
thousand times a second
David Sarnoff
-idea man>saw the possibilities of radio
-radio=mass medium instead of point to point medium
-“music box”
-combination created RCA
-Sarnoff was commercial manager
-new stations opened up everywhere

1922 radio started

-Fred Allen>comedy
-Abbott and Costello
-who’s on first

The advent of television

Not really, kind of

Radio was portable

-created music listening base
-talk shows

Thomas Edison
-Tinfoil phonograph 1877 draw sounds- he cranked the cylinder around
while shouting
-created one that could record and play back 2-3 minutes of sound

1885 Bell
-couldn’t make copies

1887 Emile Berliner

-disc instead of cylinder
-could copy/duplicates


Elridge Johnson used motor instead of wire


Columbia’s Eagle> Columbia Records

Light weight and cheap

Mechanical recording needed to be switched to electrical recording

valdemar poulsen 1897 record on wires