Trading on Fear: A Critical Review of Media Influence on the Masses

By Jennifer Kealy

The principle function of this essay is the examination of how news construction creates a social strength within a community. A fundamental characteristic of that control is the production of fear and dread. The mass media play a crucial role in all aspects of our daily life (Hoynes 2003: 15). The industry’s influential ability goes far beyond communicating a report of public concern. It educates us about our world, which shapes how we communicate our opinions with each other (Hoynes 2003:15). As a result, it has a strong sociological significance embedded within our culture. The production practices have produced an organisational media machine driven by selective news sources promoting terror (Altheide 2002:32). The discourse of alarm is symbolic to the awareness of danger in our environment. This is known as the “problem frame and the production of fear” (Altheide 2002: 41). Through a qualitative content analysis of the past five years of news coverage within The Daily Mail revealed the increase of the word fear in the headline. The obtained data from Lexis/Nexis highlighted the change of news focus from drug related violence, to recent reports concerning the fear of terror attacks and the increase of  gun crime. This analysis suggests that the use of fear in the media may have a connotation on social control. This critique aims to investigate news implications to society domination. Continue reading

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The Heat of Combustion – How the car industry shot itself in the face

By Karl Berridge

Part one: “Oil”

For the last 100 years the car industry has quite rightly been concerned with selling vehicles.  Currently in the world today there are over 750 million cars (world ometers:2010) driving around and tooting their horns and it’s believed that figure will double within the next 30 years meaning  there will be over a billion people in the world all with the want and right to own a car.

This is a problem, there are no serious plans in any country to accommodate such an increase in vehicles and crucially the oil which powers them is finite. This is not to say the world will run out of oil, but it will run out of cheap oil as demand starts to outstrip supply. Once easily accessible and tradable oil reserves start to deplete; countries and oil companies will start to move into the mining and drilling of less accessible, unrefined oil. Alongside increased demand the price of oil will rise dramatically and have a disastrous effect on the global economy.  Gradually the price of oil will become economically unviable as the worlds dominate transport fuel. Currently the most optimistic resea Continue reading

Automotive Magazines and New Media

By Mark Rainford

Issues in today’s magazine industry

Printed media has seen a steady decline in circulation figures in recent years. On top of increasing numbers of people finding their news on the internet, the global recession also hit in 2008. “One of the major casualties of the recession has been the media itself,” said John Mair (2009:76). The rise of the internet is the primary reason for falling sales figures because people are able to choose the news they want to read and they can do it all without leaving their armchair. In addition they can find television programmes, music, videos and more online. The resultant content overload means shorter attention spans and a deadly war for easier and more effective ways of presenting information is raging on a daily basis.

However, despite the inevitable difficulties the magazines face it should be noted that the internet cannot replace the key qualities which make people purchase motoring magazines in the first place: reputation and access. The internet may promise information on almost anything in history but it doesn’t get people any closer to the supercars, group tests and breaking car news that they seek to find in magazines. For this reason the internet should not be seen as a problem for magazines but more of a change of direction (Dewdney and Ride 2006) and motoring magazines are already embracing the new technology and reaching out to an ever-increasing audience. Continue reading