MCOM 101
Exam 2 "Study Guide"

This is a very quick collection of barely formatted notes. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for your own notes, regular attendance at class and doing the assigned reading. Questions on the test will come from all those sources including films we have watched in class.


The Exam

There will be 25 multiple choice questions (worth 4 points each)


Media Organizations and Professionals

Constraints on news selection

• Economic
• Political

Organization of Media work

• News routines
• Selecting important stories
• Objectivity

Constraints on news selection


Economic Constraints
Profit demands shape programming decisions But, it’s the structure of economic constraint vs. agency of producers, writers, programmers, etc. Do well and live, do bad and die. It’s human action influenced by the desire to succeed and stay employed.

That’s why programs all look the same



Organization of media work

Many people working together to make the decisions relying on earlier decisions to help decide what is normal.

A media convention is a practice or technique widely used in a field. For instance magazine covers all have the name at the top of the page and a big picture in the center. All evening news casts look the same. Music has a verse-refrain-verse structure.


Representation of LGBTQ+ in media


In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a slight shift in the way that the LGBT community was depicted in television and film.

However “better” the LGBT community began to be represented in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the portrayals were still being seen through a heterosexual lens. This means that the writers of the programs, who were largely heterosexual, were creating “LGBT” characters based on how heterosexual people view LGBT people in society.


Portrayed homosexuality as a “problem disrupting heterosexuals’ lives and expectations.”
-The Aids Epidemic allowed homosexual people to be represented in deeper, more dynamic roles in television and film


Press is routinely criticized for not being objective. But what is objectivity, why do we like it? It’s a belief in “facts” vs. “values” and their segregation. But “facts” can be misleading – PR “facts” don’t tell all.

We think of Objectivity as having 6 parts.

1. political neutrality
2. decency and good taste
3. documentary reporting using evidence
4. standardized formats to present info
5. reporters who are generalists not specialists
6. internal editorial review to enforce all the above

Media and Ideology – Advertising


According to quality of life surveys, what are the goals seen as giving us happiness? We most value love, friendship, sociability, self esteem, autonomy. After a certain point material “stuff” doesn’t make us happy anymore.

In the movie we learned about how ads use emotion to sell products. They promise to give us what we really want through merchandise. That’s the lie. They can’t really deliver what they are promising. Buy stuff and get “this” when the “this” is the quality of life stuff.

Primary discourse in ads is what they are selling. Secondary discourse is the context and interaction between the actors in the ads.

Mass advertising emerged in the 20s when leaders of the business community began to see the need for a coordinated ideological effort to complement their control of the workplace.

Consumerism helped to pacify the workers. Ads sold consumerism as a gateway to social integration. – A world far removed from the drudgery of work.


Cultivation Theory

TV has a homogenizing role on viewers of many cultures.  Do TV programs show us the real world?  But for many, that’s where opinions about the real world are formed.  People who watch a lot of TV see the world as having more crime than it really does.  They believe in a mean and scary world. They also form more conservative political views based on those concerns.