COMM 101        

Study Guide for Exam 1


Lots of definitions of terms.

References to our class discussions.

References to videos.


How much time does the average American spend watching TV?

3 hours a day


What does media do to us?  Helps us know who we are in our society.  Socialization


Broadcasting means throwing a wide net.  Remember that nowadays more and more are seeing niche programming called narrowcasting.

Who likes narrowcasting?  Advertisers and viewers.


Who is/are a newspaperís primary customer(s) and what is their primary product?


Advertising, bland news and readership.  When a newspaper takes editorial positions that its readers usually donít like, what might happen to readership overall?



Sociologists speak of Structure as Any recurring pattern of social behavior.


Sociologists speak of Agency as Intentional and undetermined human action.


What is a media conglomerate?  A collection of media companies that may operate in highly diverse businesses


Conglomerates: Approximately how many major firms dominate the mass media industry?  5-7


What is media concentration?

The ownership of media in fewer and fewer hands


What is vertical integration? 


Example of what can happen to diversity because of horizontal integration?  They might only publish a book if it will be a good movie too.


If McDonalds makes Happy Meals with characters from a Disney movie it's called cross promotion. They both benefit.


If ABCís Good Morning America show features an item on an upcoming movie thatís put out by Miramax (both companies owned by Walt Disney) it is an example of synergy.  Synergy is the relationship between companies that allows them each to do more than either could do on their own.


In 1989 a researcher named Entman set out to discover if it was true that less competition between newspapers in a town created less diversity.  He researched towns with competing, cooperating and monopoly newspapers.  What did he find?


Know how news broadcasters have cut quality to increase profits such as:

Media and Politics
Can be interesting to look at voter patterns but more importantly, consider what the needs of “Image” do to political campaigns.  They live and die and are run by the needs of media.

Telegenic style of Nixon vs. Kennedy in debates

Appearance matters

Political Parties and Other institutions
People have less interest now in politics and don’t work as hard to learn about issues.  Where are they getting information?  Ads sell candidates like products.

Order of determinant of vote in the 1940s

  1. party
  2. group
  3. personality
  4. issues

Order of determinant of vote in the 1990s

  1. personality
  2. issues
  3. party membership
  4. group affiliations

This means media is more important since image and personality are their forte.

Government Regulation

Who's in charge here?
The FCC – Federal Communications Commission
Established in 1934
5 Commissioners, 5 year terms
Appointed by the president
Mission: To Serve the Public Interest

The FCC tries to...
Balance the interest of various groups
Review it’s rules in light of changing technologies
Create regulation that promotes diversity is in the “public interest”

What the FCC regulates

Who owns the airwaves?
FCC licenses broadcasters
Two stations can’t share a channel; this protects emergency services, military, pacemakers, etc.
Manages who owns what amount
1996 Deregulation took place… The Telecommunications Act

Signal strength
New technologies - HDTV

Sex and language - lots of regs
Violence - not so many regs
Some restrictions on advertising

Ultimately, who loves regulation the best? The big media conglomerates, because it crushes competition - but that limits diversity of voices.