Essay on Audience controlled by the media?

Submitted By sonia_x
Words: 841
Pages: 4

Why could it be argued that audience are not controlled by the media around them?
The media and audience relationship bond has been very strong from the beginning of media time. Without an audience there would be no media as audiences are the people that watch it or listen to it in order for it to be successful. Media text is put out for the people to read and understand so they can interpret it in their own way because each of them has range of possibilities which are defined differently both by the audience and text.
There are many possible effects of the mass media on the audience. One of the theories is the hypodermic syringe theory. This means that the media is ‘injected’ into the thoughts of the audience, they absorb in everything the media is telling them; their attitudes, beliefs and opinions. This audience is called the passive audience as they do not question back or react to anything they are seeing or hearing, they are only getting ‘sucked’ in by it. Audiences are shown to be influenced very heavily in this theory. In the case of Jamie Bulgar, the two boys who acted out the last sequence of the film ‘Childs play 3’ on a little boy could have been hypodermically effected as they had a powerful influence and showed to be acting out the exact media text. They had used this film for motivation which encouraged them to act out this devious scene. It could be argued that the children learnt this all from the film however the media did not influence them as much as each other, it could be that it was peer pressure and the film was only an inspiration and it pulled the final trigger to their plan.
Many theorists believe that the media is very weak influence on people that already have religion, morals, beliefs, opinions and attitudes. These factors are more likely to affect the individual instead of a media text which they may not have been brought up by. “Audiences are not blank sheets of paper on which media messages can be written; members of an audience will have prior attitudes and beliefs which will determine how effective media messages are” - Abercrombie 1996. This theorist believed that an individual have their own thinking and interpretations of what they see, they are not blank so no media can overtake their real thoughts no matter how injecting the text is, they have their own attitudes and beliefs which will let them decide how effective the text is.
The statement that ‘the audience is not simply controlled by the media’ another theory comes in place to support this, the use and gratification theory. This is when the audience choose what they want to watch in order to satisfy them and give them pleasure. This theory has an active audience which does not get influenced easily by the media; it is opposite to the hypodermic syringe. The audience has to think a lot about the media text to why it is that certain way or what is the message that is being conveyed. Qualitive and quantative questionnaires and observations are done among individual users of the media so you know what they feel and think. An example of how the audience is not controlled by