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Audience theories

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Audience theories

  2. 2. Hypodermic Needle<br />The media is seen as a syringe which injects ideas, attitudes and beliefs into the audience who are seen as passive sponge like junkies who are powerless to resist.<br />Dating from the 1920s, this theory was the first attempt to explain how mass audiences might react to mass media. <br />The Hypodermic Needle Model suggests that the information from a text passes into the mass consciousness of the audience unmediated, i.e. the experience, intelligence and opinion of an individual are not relevant to the reception of the text. <br />This picture suggests that audiences passively receive the information transmitted via a media text without any attempt on their part to process or challenge the data.<br />This theory suggests that, as an audience, we are manipulated by the creators of media texts, and that our behaviour and thinking might be easily changed by media-makers<br />
  3. 3. 2 Step Flow<br />+ Their findings suggested that the information does not flow directly from the text into the minds of its audience unmediated but is filtered through "opinion leaders" who then communicate it to their less active associates, over whom they have influence over. <br />The main reason that 2 step flow is affective its because as humans its difficult to ignore a strong critical view point.<br />+ The audience then mediate the information received directly from the media with the ideas and thoughts expressed by the opinion leaders, thus being influenced not by a direct process, but by a two step flow.<br />+ This diminished the power of the media in the eyes of researchers, and caused them to conclude that social factors were also important in the way in which audiences interpreted texts. This is sometimes referred to as the limited effects paradigm. (theory)<br />
  4. 4. Uses and Gratifications<br />Rather than asking" what does the media do to people?” it focuses on the audience and asks “what do people do with the media?<br />Blumler & McQuail (1968) suggest that people get what they want from the media. <br />Young people may watch MTV for the ‘music’ yet middle age men will watch for the semi-naked pop stars.<br />They can also use the media for :<br />Diversion - escape from everyday problems and routine.<br />Personal Relationships - using the media for emotional and other interaction, e.g. substituting soap operas for family life<br />Personal Identity - finding yourself reflected in texts, learning behaviour and values from texts<br />Surveillance - Information which could be useful for living e.g. weather reports, financial news, holiday bargains<br />