Learning the Culture and Language of the Media: A Critique
This article emphasized the necessity of learning the culture, norms and language that media uses in order to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between the media publisher (i.e. newspaper organizations) and another institution requiring publicity specifically academic institutions.
Mass media plays a significant role in academic institutions in terms of promoting its programs, conveying a reputed image and establishing accountability and transparency. Academic institutions on the other hand not only serve as sources of important news information (i.e. scientific breakthroughs) but of expert opinion which are necessary to reinforce the truth of the reports, which is the moral duty of journalists as public servants.
The rest of the article elaborates on the different components of culture and language in media that needs to be understood by academic institutions which included: honesty, accuracy and reliability, importance of timeliness, sense of respect and ethics, restrictions of news holes, consideration of readership, and significant differences in language or jargon, among others.
Following Bredemeir and Stephenson (1962), sociology is an effort to illuminate as much as human behavior within the limits imposed by a scientific frame of reference and focusing attention on culture and groupness. This article features the unique framework in which journalist approach media publication in contrast to the framework of academicians or people in academic institutions.
For instance, the concept of timeliness, readership and newsholes are crucial elements in mass publication that strictly impose restrictions on editorial priorities, which may run in conflict with an academician’s concept of newsworthiness and appropriateness of publication. Thus, there are times when journalists are unable to immediately accommodate the news suggestions or features contributed by academic institutions.
One of the most important things that this article emphasized is the business nature of mass media. As business entities, news organizations try to balance newsworthiness and public service with the need to create a news product that retains readers and attracts new subscriptions on which depend their advertisements and sponsors, which often repulsively occupies the largest space in the paper to the disgust of readers. One should understand that these advertisements constitute the bread and butter of news organizations.
“It is important to understand the demographics of the news organization’s readership to see if it corresponds with the demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach” (Yee). Editorial priorities and contents should match the orientation and demographics of the readership. This is important in deciding which newspaper organization to use for an article or news you wish to publish.
For instance, if one’s contributed article concerns a local initiative or statute (e.g. California Health and Safety Code on animal welfare), then it would be advisable to choose a local newspaper. If it’s a highly technical breakthrough that concerns only a group of people (e.g. discovering a bug of the Windows Operating System), then it should published in an IT Newspaper. But if the issue you tackle is a national or global concern (e.g. discovery for the treatment of N1H1 virus), then a national newspaper should selected.
While the article was profoundly educational and informative, there is one issue averred by the author that needs further analysis and evaluation. Describing mutual relationships with mass media using C.T. Daniel, the author asserted that “relationships (with mass media) are governed by strict ethical standards and do not involve expectations for returned favors.”
Daniel only adheres to the importance of honesty in media relations but the author incorrectly or inadvertently stated this as a matter of fact. Everybody may have been familiar that the media had been used to condition people’s thinking and control their behavior through propaganda. Harold Lasswell pioneered in recognizing the use of mass media for propaganda to control opinion and manipulate people which entailed a discrepancy between the information and the message conveyed among people. (Heath and Bryant).
Moreover, journalists are also humans who are subjected to commit errors. Thus, contrary to the article, readers should not accept or absorb the information provided by newspapers plainly but should still remain evaluative and analytical in the news and articles that news organizations provide.
Bredemeir, HC, & Stephenson, RM The analysis of social systems. New York: Holt,
Rinehart & Winston, 1962
Heath, R. and Bryant, J. Human Communication Theory and Research: Concepts, Contexts, and Challenges. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Jennifer A. Yee “Learning the Culture and Language of the Media” ERIC Educational Reports. FindArticles.com. 01 Jun, 2009. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_pric/is_200009/ai_3530272867/