Interpersonal Influence On Mass Media

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The 20th century through to the 21st century has seen significant changes in how the mass media has evolved. This evolution, due to the advent of emerging sources of information verification, has also questioned the strength of the early media effects on the mass media audience. Briggs and Burke (2005) define the early strong media as newspapers, magazines, radio and television (TV).

The then mass media (press, radio and film) in the 1920s and 1930s were willed with considerable power to set the agenda, mould the beliefs, cause behavioural changes and influence the opinions of its audience (Bauer and Bauer, 1960). For instance, the New York studio of the Columbia Broadcasting Corporation hoping to entertain its audience for
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Lazarsfeld and his colleagues agree with this assertion with an empirical evidence of two major studies conducted in Ohio and Illinois in 1940 and 1943 showed that 55 percent of responding voters regardless of their continuous exposure to the media campaign messages on the presidential election in 1940, did not change their voting decisions. Additionally, their Two Step Flow theory argues that the media influenced opinion leaders, who in turn, through interpersonal relationships influenced the people. (Lazarsfeld, Berelson & Gaudet, 1944; Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955). Drawing on Lippman’s (1922) work on the individual’s inability to functionally perceive the complex reality of the world accurately, Cohen (1963), thinks that the media, although not successful in telling its audience what to think, is impressively successful to tell its audience what to think about. Seemingly, Gerbner (1976) in his cultivation theory, posits that through repeated exposure to the television, a heavy TV viewer will perceive the world (reality) as similar to the TV world, often negatively. Thus, demonstrating how the media could have long-term powerful effects on its

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