Teaching the Role of the Media in Higher Media

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Rick Instrell. 13 June 2015. Version 2.1. www.deep-learning.co.uk. info@deep-learning.co.uk. Association for Media Education in Scotland. Role of Media in H Media. Meeting . needs. : entertain, educate, . ID: 356392 Download Presentation

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Teaching the Role of the Media in Higher Media

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Teaching the Role of the Media in Higher Media

Rick Instrell13 June 2015Version 2.1www.deep-learning.co.ukinfo@deep-learning.co.uk

Association for Media Education in Scotland


Role of Media in H Media

Meeting needs: entertain, educate, informMeeting particular purposes: profit, self-interest/promotion, public serviceInfluencing attitudes and behaviours: intentional, unintentional.



Examination questions

Role of the Media question requires pupils to discuss: communicate ideas and info on a subjectoffer opinions, arguments or conclusions backed up with evidence.SQP Q2. The Role of MediaThe media is consistently criticised as being intrusive, out of control or problematic in some other way. Often, the response from the media is that it is simply fulfilling its role of meeting the needs of its audiences.Discuss this with reference to media content you have studied. In your response you must:(a) give detailed information or ideas about the role of media referenced above, and discuss this by giving some opinions, arguments or conclusions about it (10)(b) give specific examples from media content which illustrate the information, ideas or discussion. (10)



Issues arising from media use

Media use by state, companies, organisations, groups & individuals



‘Effects’Offensive or inflammatory contentCommercialisation‘Dumbing down’Accuracy/biasSpin/propagandaSecrecy…

ConductInvasion of privacyMisuse of informationSource-reporter relationshipsJournalistic ethicsConcentration of media in a few hands…

User concernsEqual accessOverloadOnline conductOnline privacyOnline safetyContent qualityDiversity of content …

Media concernsCopyrightMonetisation of contentDecline of traditional mediaRegulatory/ legal complianceState/corporate interference…







Three perspectives on media

TraditionalistFree market (neoliberal)Public serviceMedia should uphold traditional valuesMedia should uphold law and orderMedia should uphold of ‘family values’Media should reflect traditional views of identity (e.g. gender, ethnicity, sexuality, cultural)Media can have a harmful effect on societyMedia need to be censored in respect of sex and violenceMedia are responsible for ‘dumbing down’ societyThis viewpoint is supported by older people and some Conservative politicians.Media have responsibility to owners and shareholdersMedia can use free market to deliver global wealth, democracy and diversity to consumersPublic service media should be privatised (e.g. universal BBC license should be replaced by subscription)Media should be deregulatedThere should be no barriers to concentrated media ownershipThis viewpoint is supported by neoliberals and some Conservative politicians.Media have a democratic responsibility towards societyMedia must fulfil social functions of transmission of information, equal access and creation of a public forum for different viewpointsMedia collectively should represent diverse social groups and reflect diversity through a range of viewpointsMedia should allow access to diverse social groupsMedia should be independent from interference from business and governmentMedia should apply self-regulation with regard to content and conductMedia markets should be regulated to prevent domination by a single or a few large corporationsMedia should set and meet standards with regards to conduct and the truth, accuracy, objectivity and balance of their reportingMedia should avoid publicising content that can offend or lead to disorder Society entitled to high standards and intervention justifiable if the media fail to meet these standardsThis viewpoint is supported by those with left/liberal views as well as progressive Conservatives.



Perspectives on role of the media

Media companies

with purposesprofitpromotionpublic service

Audience with needsentertainmenteducationinformation

Media content

Attitudes (thoughts, beliefs, feelings) and behaviours (actions)






Public service

Free Market








organisations, groups & individuals



Types of influence

Influence on knowledge, attitude, behaviourSocial or individualIntentional or unintentionalContent-relative or content-irrelevantShort-term or long-termReinforcing or changing knowledge, attitude, behaviour…



Media effects

Research studies seem to show that media have small or moderate effectsResearch studies which show no effect are not likely to be publishedStrongest effects seen in laboratory settings which are unlike the everyday settings in which we use mediaOther variables such as the social context may be more important…



Intentional effects of media

Of ads on purchaseOf political campaign on votingOf public service ads on attitudes and behaviourOf propaganda on ideologyOf media rituals on social cohesionSocialization to social normsKnowledge gain throughout societyAdaptation to social, institutional, technological change…



Unintentional effects of media

Of media content (e.g. violence, sex, drugs) on attitudes and behaviourOf media images on the social construction of realityOf media images on self-imageOf media use on learning ability, health and wellbeingOf media content and use on our culture…












Agenda Setting

Social integration

Social/cultural change



Indvidual emotional or behavioural reaction

Collective emotional or behavioural reaction


Dominant and oppositional ideologies

Leisure-time activity

Institutional adaptation to media

Reality defining


Effects of events on state/corporate policy

Individual response




Technology takeup

Digital divide

Individual/collective feelings, values, attitudes

Socialization into norms and values

Agenda Setting (long-term)

Framing (long-term)

Moral panic

Moral panic (persistent)

Typology of effects


Perspective 1

Media as public service



Media freedom in a democracy

Genuine democracy consists of the sovereignty of the people and thus government by, for, and of the people.A democratic social order requires a separation of powers so that no one institution or social force dominates the society and polity an informed electorate that can participate in public debate, elections, and political activityfreedom of the press/broadcast media to ensure they would be free from domination by any political force so that it could criticize the government and promote vigorous debate on issues of public concernBroadcasting is seen as a public utility subject to regulation to ensure that broadcasting serves democracyThese ideals are expressed in the NUJ code of conduct, TV News regulation and the aims of some commercial media companies e.g. The Guardian



NUJ Code of Conduct 1

The National Union of Journalists has a code of ethics which expresses this idea of media freedom:A journalist:At all times upholds and defends the principle of media freedom, the right of freedom of expression and the right of the public to be informed.Strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair.Does her/his utmost to correct harmful inaccuracies.Differentiates between fact and opinion.Obtains material by honest, straightforward and open means, with the exception of investigations that are both overwhelmingly in the public interest and which involve evidence that cannot be obtained by straightforward means.Does nothing to intrude into anybody’s private life, grief or distress unless justified by overriding consideration of the public interest.



NUJ Code of Conduct 2

A journalist:Protects the identity of sources who supply information in confidence and material gathered in the course of her/his work.Resists threats or any other inducements to influence, distort or suppress information, and takes no unfair personal advantage of information gained in the course of her/his duties before the information is public knowledge.Produces no material likely to lead to hatred or discrimination on the grounds of a person’s age, gender, race, colour, creed, legal status, disability, marital status, or sexual orientation.Does not by way of statement, voice or appearance endorse by advertisement any commercial product or service save for the promotion of her/his own work or of the medium by which she/he is employed.Shall normally seek the consent of an appropriate adult when interviewing or photographing a child for a story about her/his welfare.Avoids plagiarism.



Regulation of UK broadcast news

BBC news is regulated by the BBC Trust to ensure that “controversial subjects are treated with due accuracy and impartiality” (editorial guidelines)Broadcast news is regulated by Ofcom (broadcasting codes). Regulation covers commercial media (ITV, C4, Five, Sky and commercial radio)Ofcom requires that news, in whatever form, is reported “with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality”TV news journalists:should ensure that fact and opinion are distinguishedshould not editorialize i.e. offer own opinion.



Regulation of UK press

From 1995-2014 press and magazines were regulated by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC)Self-regulation by the industryLeveson inquiry heavily critical of PCCGovernment has not yet intervened to impose more independent regulationSince September 2014 PCC replaced by Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO)IPSO is PCC with same code of practice except that it has a few retired judges and civil servants on the board to give an impression of greater independence



Leveson findings on PCC

PCC:Is a self-regulatory system run for the benefit of the press not of the publicIs aligned with the interests of the press and has a profound lack of independence from the industryIts appointment process appears to be neither transparent nor impartialIs restricted by the limited resources which the industry supplied Is in reality a complaints handling body and not actually a regulator at allIs at the mercy of what it is newspaper editors tell them in response to a complaintHas not properly monitored press compliance with the Code Code Committee which sets the rules is wholly made up of serving editors allowing them to protect each others’ interests.Treats privacy cases as complaints, thereby preventing them from going before the courts.Has sought to mediate far too many complaints rather than reach simple findings, so allowing newspapers to wear down members of the public through ‘complaint fatigue’.




90% of newspapers and magazines have signed up to IPSO

Publishers have to agree to comply with IPSO rulings on complaints

May be fined up to 1% turnover up to a maximum of £1m

IPSO dictates the terms of an apology and the placement of apology (PCC did not control this so apologies about a front page story were usually ‘buried’ at the back of the newspaper)


a whistleblowing hotline for

journalists and protects them from

disciplinary action when they refuse to breach the code of


Able to launch own investigations


overned by a board of nine white corporate males chaired by a judge

Editors are in the minority on the board and committees

Critics doubt that it is very different to PCC but we will have to wait and see


IPSO Code of Practice

Code of practice covers:

Exceptions may occur when in the public interest e.g.Detecting or exposing crime or serious improprietyProtecting public health and safetyPreventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisationPublic interest in freedom of expression itself.

AccuracyChildren in sex cases*Financial journalismOpportunity to replyHospitals*Confidential sourcesPrivacy*Reporting of crime*Witness paymentsHarassment*Hidden devices/subterfuge*Payment to criminals*Intrusion into grief/shockVictims of sexual assaultThere may be exceptions to the clauses marked * where they can be demonstrated to be in the public interestChildren*Discrimination



Public interest

Difficult term to defineObviously related to some sense of whether news coverage serves the public goodBut often newspapers will deliberately confuse such a sense with public interest as ‘what interests the public’ in order to justify stories which intrude into the private life of individuals in the news and sell newspapers through sensationalism and titillation



The Guardian

The Guardian is owned by the Guardian Media Group a trust which exists to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuityJournalists are free to present truth as they see its without interference by shareholders, a proprietor or a political partyIt promotes left/liberal values and questions all forms of authorityCollaborated with WikiLeaks on US National Security Agency surveillance programmes story Broke the phone hacking story



Perspective 2

Media as free market



Free marketeers (neoliberals)

Media have responsibility to owners and shareholdersMedia can use free market to deliver global wealth, democracy and diversity to consumersPublic service media should be privatised so that they are subject to same market pressures as commercial media (e.g. universal BBC license should be replaced by subscription)Media should be deregulatedThere should be no barriers to concentrated media ownership



Media conglomerates

Concentration of media companies in fewer and fewer handsVertical integration: owning the means of production and distribution in a sector e.g. 21st Century Fox producing films which are shown in Fox cinemas and on its own tv channelsHorizontal integration: where a single corporation has interests across media e.g. film, tv, books, press, internet; this allows synergies across companies within the corporation as well as cross-promotion of productsLeads to oligopolies where a few companies dominated the market and control pricesMurdoch creates/buys ‘media triangles’ in the countries in which he operates. These triangles are a popular newspaper, a quality paper and a TV network; in the UK this means ‘The Sun’, ‘The Times’ and major interest in BSkyB. Each of these triangles in a source of great wealth and power.




Horizontal integration means that Murdoch companies can promote each other e.g. Sky channels can advertise other Sky channels and The Sun can advertise Sky TV

For example. The Sun

usually carries at least 2-3 pages of advertising for Sky TV,

The Sun


The Sun on Sunday

and carries greater listings of more Sky channels than any other newspaper (e.g. around 50 channels)


News Corporation 2012



Splitting of News Corporation

In 2013 News Corporation split into 21st Century Fox (film, tv) and News Corp (newspapers, books)

News Corp logo in Rupert Murdoch’s handwriting



Power of media moguls

Overwhelming concentration of power in the hands of corporate groups that now own powerful media empires, which they use to promote their own interests and agendasThe media loses its critical watchdog function against excessive government and corporate power and questionable government policies and corporate actionsInstead it its own partisan and commercial interests (media as self-interest rather than public interest)Corrupts democracy and journalistic ethics and helped create a crisis of democracy




In 1980s, during both the Reagan administration in USA and the Thatcher government in UK, much of this regulatory apparatus was dismantled or softened to ‘light touch’ regulationGiant corporations took over the major broadcast media, including television networks and the technological-institutional apparatus of cable and satellite broadcastingGreatly expanded the reach of powerful cable news channels and gave entrepreneurs who owned and controlled them tremendous media power



USA: Fairness Doctrine

Fairness Doctrine (1949-1987) was a policy of the United States media regulator FCC (Federal Communications Commission), that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balancedDuring the Reagan administration FCC eliminated the Doctrine



Example: Deregulation of US TV News

In 1987 the FCC (Federal Communications Communication) abolished the Fairness Doctrine which required balanced news coverageThis was intended to give greater freedom of speech and deliver investigative journalismIn fact it led to more opinionated journalism with highly partisan right-wing radio hosts and tv news presenters (e.g. Fox News)Such opinions serve the self-interest of the Murdoch media empire



Fox News logo and slogans




The documentary Outfoxed examines the global growth of Murdoch's media enterprise in the context of concentration of media ownership considerationsIt evaluates the effect of having one person in control of a large media conglomerate and its effect on media freedomCommentators intimidate guests with whom they disagreeMore airtime and coverage is consistently given to Republican politicians rather than to Democrats.Stories and issues are covered from an aggressive conservative perspective Disciplines/fires reporters/producers who don’t promote the channel's political point of view.Fox News picks strong, confident, conservatives and weak-looking, complacent liberals.



Criminality at the NOTW 1

In 2007 NOTW journalist Clive Goodman and hacker Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking mobile phones of the Royal FamilyMurdoch empire claimed these were the work of a single rogue reporterIn 2014 Rebekah Brooks told the court that she had not realised when editor of NOTW that phone hacking was illegal!



Criminality at the NOTW 2

In 2011 Guardian reporters broke the news that in 2002 NOTW had hacked the cell phone messages of a missing 13 y-o girl Milly DowlerThey accessed her messages and deleted messages making her family and police think she was still aliveNOTW journalists used the material to write stories about herThe Guardian revealed that London police had 4000 allegations of phone hacking of celebrities, politicians, Royals, ordinary public (these were gleaned from convicted hacker Glenn Mulcaire’s notebook)



Criminality at the NOTW 3

In 2007 NOTW editor Andrew Coulson resigned after the case over the hacking of the RoyalsHe was later employed as Director of Communications from 2010-2011 by Conservative PM David CameronMore stories appeared about hacking, paying police for tips and information, the use of private eyesIn 2011 Coulson was arrested and charged with hacking and other illegal activities along with former NOTW editor Rebekah Brooks.



Criminality at the NOTW 4

Advertisers then began to refuse to place ads in NOTWOn 7 July 2011 James Murdoch announced that the 168 y-o NOTW would be shut downAt the time Murdoch was trying to gain full control of BSkyB cable/satellite companyOfcom questioned whether James Murdoch was a fit person to be in charge of a major media corporationOn 13 July 2011 Rupert Murdoch announced he was abandoning the BSkyB takeoverThe same day PM David Cameron announced the setting up of the Leveson enquiryHigh ranking police chiefs resigned when it was revealed that they socialized with Murdoch employees.



Parliamentary Inquiry

Concluded that Rupert Murdoch exhibited a wilful blindness to phone hacking and that he is “not a fit person” to run a global media empireUnder the Broadcasting Act 1990, Ofcom has to ensure holders of broadcasting licences are "fit and proper"Amid allegations that senior executives at News International, Rupert Murdoch's newspaper arm, knew the extent of the phone hacking, Ofcom stated:“We consider James Murdoch's conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged”.



Leveson Inquiry mandate

Mandate was to look at:Claims about NOTW phone hackingThe police investigation and allegations of payments to the policeThe general culture and ethics of UK media.



Leveson Inquiry

Inquiry heard from stars/celebrities such as Hugh Grant and Steve Coogan, Sienna Miller, JK Rowling as well as ordinary people affected by intrusion (Dowlers, McCanns)Inquiry heard stories of being hacked, followed and intimidated as well as lies being publishedThe self-regulatory PCC (Press Complaints Commission) was seen to be useless when people complained about press liesIt also heard about the close relationship between Rebekah Brooks and the PM (emails, visits, horse-riding).



Leveson Inquiry Proposals

Broad recommendations for regulating the press: Newspapers should continue to be self-regulatedThe government should have no power over what they publishThere should be a new press standards body created by the industry, with a new code of conduct That body should be backed by legislation, which would create a means to ensure the regulation was independent and effectiveThe arrangement would provide the public with confidence that their complaints would be seriously dealt with - and ensure the press are protected from interference.



Response of press

Emphasising the importance of a free press in our democracyEmphasising their achievements in their investigative and campaigning journalismEquating independent regulation with state control (‘slippery slope’)Downplaying the issuea ‘few rogue reporters’press regulation is not as important an issue as the economy or terrorism.



Media reform pressure groups



is a coalition of

civil society groups, academics and media

campaigners.MRC is committed to:supporting media pluralismdefending ethical journalismprotecting investigative and local journalism.

Hacked Off is a campaigning group which also represents victims of hacking.

CPBF campaigns for a diverse democratic and accountable media. Publishes Free Press.


CPBF Media Manifesto for 2015

Controls on media ownershipTo strengthen media diversity we need regulations to limit how much companies can own and require those with significant market shares to meet agreed standards.Independent, trusted and effective self-regulation of the pressImplementation of the arrangements for press self-regulation put forward by the Leveson Inquiry in 2012. We need an effective right of reply to media inaccuracies, operated by a regulator that represents both the working journalists and the public.Well-funded, independent public service mediaA charter renewal settlement in 2016 that results in a strong, independent BBC that is able to support the central role of public service media and its expansion across platforms, local neighbourhoods, and communities of interest. Action to strengthen the governance and democratisation of public service media.Protection for communication rightsAfter phone-hacking the new scandal is the State's snooping on a far larger scale – on journalists' communications and everyone else's. Government wants to legalise it and weaken the UK's human rights framework. This is an issue for media and the whole of society.



Live Football TV Rights


Sky and BT are rivals in the ‘quad play’ market for


, internet, landline and mobile services

In Feb 2015 a blind bidding process for English Premier League live


rights led to Sky and BT offering a total of £5.1 billion for 3 years of rights (£11m per game for Sky and £7.6m for BT)

Live EPL football is seen as the key attraction for subscribers

Sky and BT hope to get money back through increased numbers of subscribers and through charging top rates for advertising


lead to losses if strategy

fails (e.g. failure of





Sky and BT say that they are giving their customers the top class entertainment they want (in addition to the latest film/tv dramas and documentaries)EPL chief executive: “this is a success story … a great UK export … generates positive attitudes to the UK … £1bn in tax taken from players …not a charity”EPL clubs are able to pay massive salaries and attract top players from all over the worldLeads to less opportunity for UK players with poor results for national teamsWidespread criticism of the fact that most of the money goes to shareholders, players, managers and agents and that clubs do not pay the living wage to their poorest employeesEPL clubs still charge high prices for season tickets and admissionChanged top football from something which belonged to the local community into a massive corporate business with a global reachNone of the money comes back to Scotland even though 10% of subscribers are in ScotlandSPL cannot attract top players so standard is poor and cannot attract sponsors or high rates for live footballLittle of the money goes rest of the clubs or for better sports facilities which support women’s football or football in general in schools and the communityNeed for European or UK or Scottish regulation to ensure vast sums contribute to the public as well.




BooksDavies, N. (2014) Hack Attack: How the truth caught up with Rupert Murdoch. London: Chatto and Windus.Perse, E.M. (2001) Media Effects and Society. London: Routledge.DVDOutfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. USA, dir. Robert Greenwald, 2004.TelevisionPower, Corruption and Lies. BBC, Panorama, 2014.Mazher Mahmood: the Fake Sheikh Exposed. BBC, Panorama, 2014.RadioThe Sun Newspaper. BBC Radio 4, The Reunion, 2014.












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