Posted by: Rachel Fleenor | October 9, 2014

Choosing our mediated realities

Through this week’s reading and the exercise in keeping a media use diary, I was reminded that, just as it is important to keep a well-balanced diet, it is also imperative that I choose to seek a variety of media and media content.

In Mediating the Message in the 21st Century, Shoemaker and Reese introduce the concept of “mediated reality,” which they describe as the way that the media frames our world (p. 39). The media’s specific focus on certain, sometimes narrow, aspects of news certainly can influence our beliefs about the world. We know that journalists are not immune to personal bias, and those “disciplinary and political leanings” can easily creep in to the media content that they produce (p. 12). Additionally, the media commonly censor the content they distribute in order to keep anything too graphic, startling, or inappropriate for viewers from making the air (p. 61).

Similarly, the media content I intake through social media, television, or radio generally reflect the mediated reality crafted by the journalists. So, when I follow Jimmy Fallon or Matt Zaffino on Twitter, I see media content that are reflective of their personal biases, by default.

Every day, we make choices. We have the opportunity to choose what to wear, where to eat, and what to do in our spare time. We also get to choose the media we consume.

This week, I have been inspired to be intentional about choosing to seek out the viewpoints of various media.

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Responses

  1. “I was reminded that, just as it is important to keep a well-balanced diet, it is also imperative that I choose to seek a variety of media and media content.

    […]

    This week, I have been inspired to be intentional about choosing to seek out the viewpoints of various media.”

    Very true; I too mirrored your conclusion.

    “Additionally, the media commonly censor the content they distribute in order to keep anything too graphic, startling, or inappropriate for viewers from making the air (p. 61).”

    Taking this a step further, who decides what is and what isn’t censored? Even going beyond who is the person who signs off on a policy regarding the matter, if there even is one. What sort of research and critical analyses is performed which dictates censorship to specific audiences under certain conditions? Does the medium in which the information is relayed play a factor? Do content providers, like recording artists, offer a ‘clean’ and ‘explicit’ version which its audience may choose from? Do content providers allow its audience to learn more at their own discretion by providing content hosted elsewhere? What kind of hurdles do content providers place between its audience and the unedited, unadulterated, straight-from-the-source, content? Should content providers be held accountable to provide such options? If one content provider does, should/would others follow suit?

    Interesting concept, thanks for bringing it to light!

    • Thanks for your thought-provoking reply! I think you are asking a lot of good questions, and last week’s reading did make me think about how media is censored and the power that is behind those decisions as well.


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