Public opinion, 10/2 al 9/3 (2016)

Apunte Inglés
Universidad Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC)
Grado International Relations - 2º curso
Asignatura Public opinion and international journalism
Año del apunte 2016
Páginas 9
Fecha de subida 14/03/2016
Descargas 55
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Apuntes de la asignatura public opinion desde el 10 de febrero al 9 de marzo.

Vista previa del texto

Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
10/02/2016 What is communication? Sender who sends a message with a purpose to a receiver. The purpose of the sender has to be understood, for which there has to be a common frame of interpretation/code.
Information is what you communicate.
Difference between information and communication: Information is the minimum amount of data I can send from a source to a receiver.
Communication is the exchange of ideas. Normally communication and feedback happen at the same time; it is a continuous process. When we communicate we look for an answer.
Noise. As a technical concept: The greater the noise, the less you are going to receive the information I want, so we need to reduce the noise as much as we can. As a sociological concept: If the codes are different or the interpreter understands the message with other intention, it can be interpreted as noise.
Frames of interpretation.
They are not always clear. The production of meaning is provoked by the frames of interpretation.
Living in a message saturated world: why understanding mass media? Because they are ubiquitous (they are everywhere, surrounding us), pervasive (they provoke us to participate in the consumption of products), and a major socialization agent (we share experiences thanks to media and this provides us with starting points with others: films, series, etc.). It is impossible to avoid the presence of mass media.
They also are persuasive: filters and mediators of social experience. They pretend to have an influence on our role as: 1. Consumers, pushing us through ads to buy determined products.
2. Voters and citizens, especially during political campaigns.
“Daily me": the pieces of information we choose. We usually pick those that affirm the way we think.
Public opinion plays with “daily me" processes. It tries to persuade you on the things you are interested in. They produce stereotypes.
Mass media cannot change the way people think. People always will pick the information that reinforces their position.
Other characteristic: the power of storytelling. Something to sell, rather than something to say. They try to reach the lowest common denominator , the most simple way of referring to something. They reduction risk through proven formulas, as can be seen in the typical film structure.
We need mass media to expand our world beyond our immediate physical environment. Mass media tell stories about how things work, what things are, what to do, etc.
People need to be part of a common project, of a group.
Propp (Russian). He studied fairy tails, concluding that in all of them the structure was the same.
1 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
12/02/2016 We cannot get all the experiences we need in order to get a good and complete vision of reality. In fact, some voices are silent; they cannot manifest.
The system leads us to forget important things; the real problems.
Political campaigns do not change the way people vote. At least not in a very significant way. Leaders of opinion have a lot of importance on changing the vote choices of people.
Media saturated world provokes that people follow media and that they make choices based in media contents. Even in a highly media saturated world, if the message is the same, human interactions go first in persuasion over media.
Importance of media literacy.
It increases our control over mass media communication.
Awareness of why and how we use media, and its functions: enjoyment, diversion, surveillance (at some point they are checking the mood of audiences), interpretations of reality, and they intervene in the political structure as political leaders should appear before the press.
Companionship: social currency and parasocial interaction. As people usually live alone, the TV noise helps then not to feel so alone.
Social currency: depending on the media interaction you have your value is established (we judge people according to the media they follow).
Parasocial interaction: you relate to other people through media (role games).
24/02/2016 Parasocial interaction. We need to be connected.
Radio days – radio as a socializing agent. It affected the relation between the members of the family.
Media is an extension of our social world but it also helps to reshape our reality.
Why and how are media messages constructed? Our powers and limitations in controlling our symbolic environment: structure vs agency.
Media need facilities, technology, money, etc. – infrastructure. Structure.
Agency – ideology of the media.
Between structure and agency they establish a symbolic environment.
The Republican party has a problem regarding media; they are eclipsed by the presence of Michelle Obama and the democrats. She has not a strong political responsibility; she can sky the protocol sometimes. That's because agency.
You can't ignore media, its social space and its importance.
2 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
Communication: from Latin meaning to be in common. Through communication, humans place their position among others and in the world. It meant to establish something in common with others.
Different levels of communication:      Intra-personal communication (we are not going to study it) Two-way communication/interpersonal communication (first field of communication as a field).
Small-group communication (lobbies, activism, fans groups, etc.). Public relations.
Organizational or institutional communication (not groups but institutions; democratic party as a whole, congress as a whole, etc.). Sometimes they disagree in the way they communicate to the public (difference in opinion between the party and a member). Public relations.
Mass communication /Public communication. Public relations.
These levels are nor being changed by Internet and ICT. Social media work as small-group communication level because people has the possibility to reply to that message. We do not have that possibility with mass media (and even if we have it, it is not immediate).
We do not have control over the masses/media so we should not challenge them or start a battle we cannot win.
Communication- interaction through messages.
Mass communication-industrialized production and distribution of messages through technology (also an institution, a power, a channel).
From communication to mass communication was has changed are:      Organizational source the transmission through complex systems one-to-many communication (one media for many people). Internet is a special case.
Indirect feedback (in traditional media; in technological it is direct).
A commercial, for-profit system.
o Users/consumers- changing the role thanks to technology. We need to please the audience. Some media just consider the quantity and not the quality of the audience.
o Advertisers- main financial engine for media companies.
o Media companies- an environment increasingly define by oligopolies and conglomerates.
They can impose on us a way of thinking.
o Media employees- “below-the-line” (clerical, crafts, low management), and “above-theline" (talent, high management) ones. Below: they do not decide the ideology of the media; that is decided by the above.
o Regulators- governmental agencies, at the local, state, federal, and international level.
Media needs regulations.
Not everything is money, but also the image you give to the public.
Law of internet neutrality: it forbids the owners of the internet networks who are also competitors to reduce the connection speed of others. It exists in the US but not in Spain.
3 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
Communication is cultural; dynamic; related to information, so not everything can communicate (you need some intentions and have some influence on the public); contextual (industry, regulations, etc.); and related to power. Believes we have in our mind have to do with media imposed conceptions.
26/02/2016 Which levels are more important for public opinion? Mass communication, organizational communication, and small-group communication.
5 components of communication: o o o o o Transmission.
Exchange (information, emotions, behaviours).
Generation of meaning.
Models of communication:  Shannon and Weaver (1949). The instrumental theory of communication/theory of information. Perfect communication. We have to pay attention to the noise. If we do not have perfect reception, we cannot talk about immediate effects. First attempt to explain through a scientific point of view the process of communication. Although it is not perfect, it is used because it explains the process of communication through a scientific point of view and allows as to understand the amount of people receiving our message, watching our show, etc. It allows as to predict how many people is going to receive us, so that's why it is so important.
PD: we have to pay attention to the noise (the possibility of influencing the message so it's altered from a technological, ethical, or cultural point of view), as it can make our message not to be heard.
Noise in a political campaign. Sources: technological (media does not work), sociological (image of the candidate), cultural (image too aggressive for any collective of the population), etc. All of them must be taken into consideration. Some of them have to do with PR (Public Relations) situations.
Concepts: Entropy (the greater noise, the greater entropy). The measure of the amount of uncertainty in the message – I.e. those elements new to the person receiving it. Also called disorder. If we have a large amount of entropy the system would not be effective. Result of ignoring problems in communication, especially those related with noise, so uncertainty increases and we have to use redundancy. It affects efficiency by diminishing it.
In communication the idea is to provoke an immediate reaction.
Redundancy. The measure of repetition -the elements in a message that add no new information, but simply repeat what is known. We use it to reduce entropy. If we use it uncontrolled, it can cause more entropy and make us tired of the issue. We need to know how much we are going to repeat our message.
“Sometimes the cure can kill you". It is not that you repeat over and over a thing, making it annoying, but the problem is the rate of repetition, the way you do it. REPETITION.
4 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
Effectiveness of communication. Comes from finding a balance between the unexpected and the predictable. Balance between entropy and redundancy. You need to repeat your message with control and try to avoid the noise, although you cannot do it always.
Noise. Any additional signal that interferes with the reception of information.
Channel capacity. The upper limit of information that any communication system can handle at a given time. You need to adapt all the previous concepts to the technology you are using.
Advertising (commercial adds) vs. publicity (media talks about a product as a PR action).
Benefits of this model: o o o o Simplicity and elegance (you can study the different parts of the channel, so it is more efficient).
High relevance.
Reflected scientific theory – quantifiable and measurable of data.
Heuristic value (it can be applied to the different communication processes; mainly persuasion but also political, add, PR, campaigns).
Limitations:     Very mechanistic. Interpretations and emotions are not in this model because they cannot be measured.
Concern with technical functioning but ignores semantic meaning and cultural contexts.
Relatively static and linear, inadequate for handling the complexity of communication. It has some problems with the complexity of some processes of communication, particularly new technologies and ITC.
Focus on communication as discrete and intentional acts. We do not always are conscious of our processes of communication. We do not always do it intentionally.
Very general messages are good in political campaigns (yes we can – Obama). The thing is to get there.
02/03/2016 Wilbut Schramm (1954) He will focus on the particular communication functions of encoding and decoding.
We have a clash between fields of experience; on the one hand the field of experience of the sender, and on the other the receiver. This clash explains that sometimes communication does not happen or we need further attendance to the process.
In 1954, this model emphasized the process of encoding and decoding a message. Not being so important the transmission of the message, but the encoding of the message, a common field of experience of elements. Schramm envisioned this process as a two-way circular communication between the sender and receiver. The Shannon-Weaver model is a more mathematical and technological one; while Schramm incorporates the study of human behaviour in the communication process. Both models are talking about a specific type of communication with medium range effects, they are both based on a persuasive type of communication. We need effects now. Concerned mainly on the efficiency of the process.
Concepts: 5 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
Feedback: information that comes back from the receiver to the sender and tells him how well he is doing.
Need to know if we need to change our message, test the audience. The image of our product is very important.
Field of experience: an individual's beliefs, values, experiences, and learned meanings both as an individual or part of a group.
The message can be complicated by different meanings learned by different people. Meanings can be denotative or connotative. Denotative meanings are common or dictionary meanings and can be roughly the same for most people.
Connotative meanings are emotional or evaluative and based on personal experience. A message can also have surface and latent meanings. Other characteristics of messages that impact communication between two individuals are: intonations and pitch patterns, accents, facial expressions, quality of voice, and gestures. The successful transmission of a message depends on whether this message will be accepted over all the competing messages. Politicians use the image of a successful person.
Schramm's model of communication also allows for the process of interpreting the message. This process is influenced by the presence of both physical (phone, TV, sirens, etc.) And semantic (distractions, age, attitudes, etc.) Noise. The interpretation of the message is very important. Example of semantic noise: when you watch TV advertisements about apps for meeting people and your grandmother starts complaining about them.
George Gerbner (1956).
He introduced the notion of cultivation. Media cultivate us because we copy the models from TV. We are never free at all from media. Society compels us to do and buy much of the things we do and use everyday.
We build our life through a selection process that is heavily influenced by the media.
Events come to us from three elements: selection, context and availability. We perceive these events thanks to the facts we can access to the event, we have channels to the event, and media control.
Selection: I'm open to suggestions from the media. We need to pay attention and select the elements we want to perceive (the adds we want to see). We will select the ones more akin to our lifestyle between those we are exposed to. We also look actively for information, trying to select something.
Context and availability: with internet we can skip the availability factor, as we can buy things in internet.
The receiver can do this because he has access to these contents. He needs to have different channels and media controls (ex: parent control). I expose to the media I can access and the one I know.
The message has two parts: the form (denotative), and the content (connotative).
Through the percept of statement about event the sender of the message gets the feedback he needs.
Adds the elements of perception and access.
Gerbner's general model of communication emphasizes the dynamic nature of human communication. It also gives prominence to the factors which may affect fidelity (when we expose ourselves to some kind of media, we develop some kind of fidelity to that media/product). Fidelity does not mean we cannot change, but that normally persons do not easily change, they tend to keep their lifestyle.
6 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
Selection: Media (receiver), the perceiver of the event E (or receiver of the message, if you prefer) selects from the event, paying more attention to this aspect and less to that. This process of selecting, filtering is commonly known as gatekeeping (we select or discard events or aspects of them according to our personal beliefs, etc. It is also used by opinion leaders; there is always a person in a group following the last trends of fashion; he provides information that may not be interested for you but that you might need at some point), particularly in discussion of the media's selection and discarding of events or aspects of them.
We are media because of the way we dress, we communicate, etc.
Context: a factor often omitted from communication model, but a vitally important factor. The sound represented by the spelling “hair" means an animal in one context, something that's not supposed to be in your soup in another. Shouting, ranting and raving means this man's very angry in one context, raving loony in another.
Availability: how many events are there around? What difference does availability make? If there are fewer events around, we are likely to pay more attention to the ones there are. They are likely to be perceived by us as more “meaningful". What ort of events are there? – for example, in the K's mainly conservative press, how many non-conservative messages are available to us? The less media available, the more attention we pay to it.
Critiques on both models.
     Works out of an atomistic-scientific understanding of reality. Fragmented reality, with separate elements, this is not accurate.
Takes little account of contextual or structural factors on communication.
Dominant effect is a linear cause and effect paradigm. All follow the idea that communication always has an effect on us (not true). Cultivation because of a long term effect.
Framework is a liberal democratic one (we always assume it, and it is not always true).
Assumption there is an external reality, packaged by one person and received by another. We all share this reality.
Mediated Communication, a based model.
We have a source, a message, an encoding, channel, receiver, decoding, feedback.
Mediation has to do with media and culture. Media are above all cultural realities; we live in an environment of icon symbol, shared knowledge about this reality. We manage the information media provide us. The majority of our impressions from reality come from mediations between media and culture. Media gives us stereotypes.
04/03/2016 Media as enterprises.
Creating profit-making content.
7 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
1. Format: the “personality" of a media outlet, determining its line of products and/or programming.
People usually use the media that best represents their view of the world (right, centre, left). It is false that a political communication campaign is intended to change the point of view of the audience. It is intended to consolidate the way you think and only then try to convince the people that still has not a formed opinion on the subject, who have not taken a decision on who they are going to vote. We look for the media more akin to us.
The case of advertising. Persuasive media (intended to change people's mind). When adds try to convince you to buy something, they use primary tactics, appealing to our feelings and sentiments, things we already know (previous ways of seeing the world). Most of the times we are more open to feelings than to reasons. Try people to have a good opinion on your product. They use the feeling between parents and children, and grandparents and grandchildren. Persuasive communication tries to influence attitudes, the way we see the world with the idea of aim that they want us to change our behaviour, to do something that favours them. Before changing our behaviour, you need to change our opinions, the way in which we see the world.
2. Formula: combination of typical characters, settings, situations, and patterns of actions that constitute recognizable media genres and contents. Gender (female or male) versus genre (drama, thriller, etc). The genre prepares us to know what to expect from media. In the postmodern world, we play with genres. It also applies to political communication when politicians go to shows and seem friendly and nice to the public. The formula is constantly changing and adapting. It also has to do with characters, stereotypes, etc.
Minimizing costs by taking low-risk approaches.
Pre-defined TV genres:  Entertainment. Typical genres moving to hybrid forms (drama, romance, comedy, reality, gaming, festival) but all applying recognizable formulas. TV channels do it through making series out of successful stories, as the case of Once upon a time. Same format of realities, as Masterchef, advancing the idea of Globalization as there is almost no difference between the people in one country and that from another. It is the same in all media. Look for a balance between been conservative and been revolutionary. Sometimes you do not sell the program but the format.
To take risks is the case of Sherlock Holmes and the BBC, remaking a very used topic as Sherlock.
They did the same with the Three Mosqueteers. They can afford to be so risky because they are a public channel. That kind of risks are then copied by other countries, as the US.
 News. 4 kinds of news: hard news, soft news, investigative reports, and editorials. Right now, practically every single newspaper talks about the same topics (example: after the Oscar's Awards).
 Information. Raw data (real stories that provides the media with stories they can tell) that feeds the creation of different genres of media products. Stories that inspire movies or series.
 Education. If you do not form people to understand media, they will not get your messages.
 Advertisement. Three kinds: informational ads, hard-sell ads, and soft-sell ads.
09/03/2016 Public opinion and power (chapter 5, part 1) – book of public diplomacy.
8 Public opinion.
María Llanos González.
Concepts from Lippmann: Chapter 6, 10, and mainly 13 (not yet).
First 2 chapters from Potter.
Book from Bernays also important, especially part 2: what constitutes public opinion? Is public opinion stubborn or malleable? (irlos leyendo en semana santa).
Purposes, advantages, and problems of media formulas.
Revenue maximization and risk minimization for media producers and media outlets. We preselect the audience by deciding the content.
Some degree of predictability gives comfort to media consumers thanks to genres: strategy to cope with information overload.
Boundaries within which screenwriters and producers can “push the envelope” (provoke a reaction on the audience; try to push the boundaries of what is socially accepted as normal). You need to know what has been done before and create something according to that, or revolutionary if compared to that. The boundaries are:   Constrains by medium. Depending on the media you communicate in one way or another (it is not the same to use Twitter than Facebook). Now politics use social networks, especially Twitter, just giving headlines instead of going into the real problems.
Societal constraints.
Characters patterns is the most stable element of formulas. In many shows, they dress the people always the same.
Demographic patterns: who gets included in the picture? There are not that many shows/programs addressed to old people. Politicians address most of their political campaigns to young people. Minorities are not addressed usually; in fact in most of the cases they are not part of the parliament. They are not represented in media nor in public opinion.
Stereotypical portrayals: what's the typical fate of those included in the picture? We normally choose a stereotype to represent a social group, as happens with Romanians or Black people.
Long-term cultivation of enduring values. Through media we help to create long-term values.
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