relation between mass media and audience Essay

3524 Words Feb 14th, 2014 15 Pages
Texts need audiences in order to realise their potential for meaning. So a text does not have a single meaning but rather a range of possibilities which are defined by both the text and by its audiences. The meaning is not in the text, but in the reading. (Hart 1991, 60)
Andrew Hart is among many writers, theorists and researchers who identify and value the existence of the audience in relation to the media. At the most basic level, audiences are vital in communication. It is for the audience that the media are constructing and conveying information, and, if it were not for the audiences, the media would not exist. The exact relationship between the media and their audiences has been the subject of debate since the media were first
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Blumler and Katz (1974) suggested that there were four main needs of television audiences that are satisfied by television. These included – Diversion (a form of escaping from the pressures of every day), Personal Relationships (where the viewer gains companionship, either with the television characters, or through conversations with others about television), Personal Identity (where the viewer is able to compare their life with the lives of characters and situations on television, to explore, re-affirm or question their personal identity) and Surveillance (where the media are looked upon for a supply of information about what is happening in the world).
While acknowledging that the audience are active and chose what to watch, the Uses and Gratifications model as a model for understanding audiences also has its limitations. The model still implies that messages are packages of information that all the audience will read as the same. It does not consider how the messages are interpreted or any other factors affecting the audience’s interpretation.
Another criticism is that of the tendency to concentrate solely on why audiences consume the media rather than extending the investigation to discover what meanings and interpretations are produced and in what circumstances, i.e. how the media are received. (O’Sullivan, Dutton & Rayner 1994, 131)
The Uses and Gratification model assumes that the audience’s wish for

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