Posts Tagged ‘ media ’

Moral Panics: How Media Influences the Legislature

By Daljinder Nagra

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the role of news media in the shaping of legislation, through the social phenomenon of moral panics. The nature of moral panics and the media’s role in shaping public opinion will be discussed and their implications to the statute books analysed.

The moral panic

A moral panic is a recurring phenomenon in which a society expresses an intense reaction to a perceived situation. Cohen’s study of the Mods and Rockers subcultures yields perhaps the most widely accepted definition: ‘a condition, episode, person or group of persons emerges to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.’ This is the start of a cycle, the next step of which is the reporting of the emergent deviance in a stylized and stereotypical manner by the mass media. Solutions are devised by ‘right thinking people and socially accredited experts’ and the panic finally dissipates or becomes more prominent as a result of failure to address the perceived threat. (Cohen 1972/80: 9). Continue reading


How did blogs and citizen journalism provide commentary on the Obama Health Reform act?

By Shelley Stevenson

In the absence of more articulate discourse on American Health Reform by traditional media, blogs filled this relative void in the following ways:

  1. Providing information traditional media did not cover
  2. Providing a discussion forum – highlighting problems with the current Health Reform legislation and creating a dialog about them
  3. Linking to alternative views


Access by citizens to traditional media news in the United States has been declining for the past twenty years.  The internet has affected most traditional news sources, especially print, by providing an alternate way to access information.  This compounded with the migration of advertising to the web, and with the 2008 -09 recessions in the United States, led to an especially large number of newspaper closures, and ‘contractions in news operations’ (Curran 2010: 102).  The Christian Science Monitor and the Seattle Post ceased to exist in print at all, choosing to have only a web presence. Continue reading

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