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2. Form and Function of the Media: Print, Broadcast, and Digital
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the variety of forms taken by the modern media and the overlapping functions which they perform. To begin, we examine the historical development of the modern media from printed newspapers at the time of the French Revolution, through the advent of broadcast media, first in the form of radio, and then television, and finally the hybrid broadcast/print media of the internet age. Running through this narrative we consider some key themes, including: (i) the balance between, on the one hand, the media’s freedom to comment on and evaluate affairs, and on the other its obligation to inform the citizenry; (ii) how this balance various across media forms, such as the distinction between broadsheet and tabloid, or broadcast and print journalism; and (iii) the quickening pace at which news develops as technology evolves.
In this course, Dr Richard Heffernan (Open University) thinks about the relationship of the modern media to British politics. We begin in the first module by thinking about the indispensability of the media in all its forms to the enactment of modern politics, using a series of metaphors to help us understand its roles. We then briefly survey the history of the modern media and consider the balance between, on the one hand its freedom to comment, and on the other its obligation to inform. In the third module, we move on to think through four key theories that political scientists have developed to try and disentangle the impact of the media on our political views, namely: (i) the ‘hyperdermic needle model,’ (ii) the ‘reinforcement model’, (iii) marginal effects, and (iv) agenda-setting/framing. We then turn in the fourth module to characterise the relationship between the media and politicians as at once symbiotic and adversarial: politicians need the media as a platform and the media needs political stories, but the media is always critical and interrogative of politicians who seek favourable coverage. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the profound impact of social media on political communication, noting its capacity to both unite and divide us.
Richard Heffernan is a Lecturer in Politics at the Open University and Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame. He works in the field of comparative politics and specialises in British politics. He is presently researching the British prime minister.
Cite this Lecture
Heffernan, R. (2019, September 26). Politics and the Media - Form and Function of the Media: Print, Broadcast, and Digital [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-and-the-media/form-and-function-of-the-media-print-broadcast-and-digital
Heffernan, Richard. "Politics and the Media – Form and Function of the Media: Print, Broadcast, and Digital." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Sep 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/politics-and-the-media/form-and-function-of-the-media-print-broadcast-and-digital