While reading the first three chapters of Mediating the Message in the 21st Century, I kept returning to the idea of very little research having been done on the influence of society on the media content prior to the 21st century.
News stories are now spread over countless media outlets within minutes, if not seconds. We are accustomed to news stories “going viral”. And while the concept of society influencing media seems standard business now, finding ways to measure, track and analyze the ways in which it does is difficult.
The topic of cyberbullying can be used to illustrate the reciprocal relationship between society mass media. Once mass media began running stories about kids being bullied through social media, the topic went viral. With the sudden increase in coverage surrounding cyberbullying, society became much more sensitive to the topic. When a GOP staff member received heavy social media blacklash after criticizing the Obama daughters on their demeanors during the pre-Thanksgiving turkey pardoning ceremony, she ended up resigning from her job (http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/01/politics/gop-staffer-resigns-over-criticism-of-obama-daughters/ ).
Media reflects what is happening in society, there’s no doubt about that. And while the Hierarchical Mode is able to illustrate the reflexive way in which society and media continue to influence each other, is contains many variables and is non-specific in many aspects. Scholars must choose which measurements that need to be considered within context. What could be added to the current model to increase specificity in research?