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How Media Content is Formed

How media content is formed and covered provides the framework for Mediating the Message: Theories of Influence on Mass Media Content by Pamela J. Shoemaker and Stephen D. Reese. The focus of Chapters 1 through 4 is on the history of the study and theory of media content, the traditional focus of communications research, a general analysis of media content, and patterns of content such as the impact of political bias, and demographic and geographical patterns.

The methodology employed by the authors is a content analysis that includes research from a wide variety of publications from the fields of journalism, psychology, communications, sociology and the mass media. Theoretical concepts are backed up by specific examples. The audience the book is directed at is upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, and with that in mind the book can be viewed as an academic textbook.

In Chapter 1 the authors state their purpose and method in writing this book: to "compare and contrast the existing research in media content, point out similarities among these various theoretical approaches, and thus take the first step in building theory" (p. 7). Their main argument is that media researchers have not analyzed media content, but have focused on a microlevel or individual analysis of mass communications. The difference between traditional studies of media content and the authors' is that traditional studies use media content as a starting point, thereby taking content as a given. In contrast, the authors start with the premise that media content does not reflect an objective reality, and they are therefore more concerned with the influences and factors that affect media content. In keeping with the methodology, the authors then give eight different examples, or different versions of reality, of one story, and go on to present other specific examples illustrating how media content is "manufactured," or produced and shaped. This sectio...

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How Media Content is Formed. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:57, June 15, 2019, from