- Agenda-setting theory: Describes how topics selection and the frequencies of reporting by the mass media affected the perceived salience of those topics within the public audience.
- Framing: Identifies the media’s ability to manipulate audience interpretation of a media message through careful control of angles, facts, opinions, amount of coverage.
- Knowledge-gap theory: States the long-term influence of mass media on people’s socio-economic status with the hypothesis that “as the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, higher socio-economic status segments tend to acquire this information faster than lower socio-economic status population segments causing the gap in knowledge between the two to increase rather than decrease”.
- Cultivation theory: As an audience engages in media messages, particularly on television, they infer the portrayed world upon the real world.
I think through my research my personal belief is that the effect that the Mass Media has upon us is not some all-encompassing thing that controls us and guides us, but far more indirect and subliminal. One of the biggest things is that the audience has, until really quire recently, looked to the media for whom to trust or distrust, what to learn and how to conduct themselves afterwards, and ultimately providing suggestion on what to do next.
The interactive role of the ‘New Media’ in the Web 2.0 age means that there is far more dialogue between the audience and the media. It has become much more of a conversation, arguably for better or for worse. People can comment and gather in their thousands online, whether in the comments section of a polarising article, or in online petitions that can gain hundreds of thousands of signatures in a way never seen before.
Does the dialogue help the conversation or hinder it?
With relation to how we choose to govern ourselves and consider our position in a much larger whole, the role of the media and modern communication as it stands are answerable to more. Peoples’ personal bias shapes the outcome, but what if the incoming information was false or lacking in real evidence? The outcomes will only become more and more warped. A person’s agency to govern themselves is being altered, along with our collective consciousness.