What is Blanda’s overarching argument?

I will include the lessons when I Pick you.

MAKE SURE THAT YOU READ THE FOLLOWING ASSIGNMENT CAREFULLY, AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS EXACTLY.

  • Read the following article about the economic incentive structure that partially dictates how news organizations operate on the internet.

Blanda, S. (2017, Jan 15). Medium, and The Reason You Can’t Stand the News Anymore. Medium.com.

  • After you have read the article, write four to five double-spaced pages that address the questions below.
  • What is Blanda’s overarching argument?
  • Why does Blanda think that the current business model for journalism has led to an underlying public mistrust in journalistic institutions?
  • Explain the terms programmatic advertising and native advertising, including how each of them works and why they are used by news organizations. What problems do they pose for journalism, according to Blanda?
  • Why is social media so important for news companies?
  • Why is it important for the public to trust journalism? To answer this question, make sure you reference at least one of the readings from
    • Lesson 3: Croteau and Hoynes on ideology
    • Lesson 4: Grossberg et. al on the media/public/normative theories
  • Blanda ends by arguing that online distributors of news like Facebook and Google have little economic incentive to change their practices. Using the Grossberg reading from Lesson 4, explain what the Social Responsibility Theory and the Classic Liberalism Theory might argue about Blanda’s assertion.

Details of the assignment:

  • You do not need to address these questions in this order, and you may spend more time on some questions than on others, but you should address them all at some point in your paper.
  • You may also use additional sources to back up any arguments that you make. However, you should only cite from reputable sources that report on tech and media, whether this is the New York Times or other newspaper; sites like Vox, Vice, or Ars Technica; or another reputable outlet. The kind of source that you use matters here. If you are unsure about whether a source is appropriate, email me.
  • Throughout the paper, stick close to the readings. I will be looking for your ability to use specific ideas from the readings to answer these questions. Use direct quotations and make sure that you explain the quotations in your own words, when necessary.
  • Remember, you must complete this assignment in only four to five DOUBLE-SPACED pages. Part of the assignment involves sticking within this page limit (though if you bleed over a bit onto page 6, that’s okay). This means you should “jump right in” to the assignment from the opening paragraph. You don’t need introductory paragraphs with long, sweeping, generalized sentences.(Please do not write such sentences!) For more details, review general guidelines in the Synthesis Paper section (in the left Sakai menu).
 

LESSON NOTES 3: IDEOLOGY AND MEDIA STUDIES

Cartoon showing a psychoanalyst next to a patient lying on a couch. The latter says "The World has gone bananas! Some want to ban plastic straws and some want to to legalize plastic guns!"This cartoon by Dana Summers comments on the absurd intersection
of two passionate ideological convictions: gun rights and
environmental protection. From the Deseret News (August 10, 2018).
The goal of this lesson is to develop a basic concept of ideology that gives you some sense of what is at stake in its use. In some sophisticated applications of the term ideology, there is the sense that certain ideas, even if they are not spread with malicious intent, simply become taken for granted and reinforce old ways of doing things. These ways may harm particular groups of people. We can take gender relations as an example. For a long time, inherited views about gender roles resulted in women being systematically excluded from the workplace (or at least from assuming leadership roles at work). There was a pervasive cultural belief (reinforced by many media representations) that women were not suited to occupy positions of power at work. This was, of course, a deeply mistaken idea. Yet it held broad sway in the culture and worked to block women from accessing lines of social mobility. As you might expect, media studies scholars tend to be interested in the role of the media (books, television, film, newspapers, etc.) in spreading ideologies, including ideologies about gender, sexuality, race, class, ability, and so forth.

Karl Marx was one of the first to use the term “ideology” in its modern sense. In one famous passage, he wrote: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, consequently also controls the means of mental production, so that the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are on the whole subject to it.” As you can tell, his focus was more narrowly on class inequality. Nonetheless, the basic insight—that there is a connection between dominant ideas and social power—has been an influential one and has been applied to a wide range of situations.

We might finally note that the concept of ideology is not only used by those with one set of political beliefs. If you pay attention to contemporary politics, you’ve probably heard politicians on both sides of the isle bemoaning the influence of the media in shaping people’s political beliefs and preferences. One thing that the reading you’ll do for this lesson emphasizes, however, is that we have to view the concept of ideology in a nuanced way. While it may be tempting to dismiss many media representations as merely embodying the “dominant ideology,” the authors point out that the truth is more complex than this. Media representations tend to be full of contradictory messages about the world and our place within it. It is these that we will start exploring in this lesson.

Key Terms

  • ideology
  • power
  • dominant ideology
  • cultural contradictions
  • normalization

LESSON NOTES : THE BUSINESS OF MEDIA

The readings for this lesson explore media as a business. We consider the questions:

  • What influence does the owner of a media company have over its content?
  • How does the need to be profitable shape the format and content of our media sources?
  • How are media products different from other kinds of commodities?
  • What obligations do the media have to serve the public good?

Market and Public Sphere Models

Croteau and Hoynes discuss two different models of media ownership: the market model, where the media is viewed as a product, and the public sphere model, based on the idea that the media has a vital role to play in a thriving democracy and should be subject to a measure of democratic control. As we will see, at certain points in American history it was very much accepted that the government should regulate media production in order to guarantee accessibility and diversity.

Monopoly and Ownership Concentration

Looking more closely at the market model, another reading by Croteau and Hoynes reflects on some of the consequences of the market model, which have led to highly concentrated and centralized ownership in the media industry. What is the effect of this tendency on the media?

As you read these excerpts, pay attention to the various figures that the authors include, and think about how the media you consume fits within the ownership structure Croteau and Hoynes are documenting.

Pay attention to their arguments, since you will be evaluating these different perspectives in the discussion assignment for this lesson!

The question of ownership sometimes comes down to the question, “How are media products differentfrom other kinds of commodities?”

Toward a Political Economy of Facebook

Graphic showing the wide reach of Disney's promotion of Star Wars through massive cross-promotion“How Disney Makes Sure You’ll Never Be Able to Escape Star Wars” (Wired).
Have you ever considered how a company like Facebook makes money? Croteau and Hoynes’ discussion of the market model versus the public sphere model becomes a little more complicated with social media.

Unlike traditional media companies, Facebook does not create its own content—its users do. Users are both the producersand consumers of media content. Because it is “free” to use, Facebook also takes on some of the qualities of the public sphere. At the same time, its business model is definitely profit-oriented. Looked at in this light, we could say that we are all, in some sense, working for free for Facebook! This is the fundamental issue with social media that we will continue to explore in this course.

FOR FURTHER READING:

  • Smythe, Dallas W. “The Audience Commodity and Its Work.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, 1st edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.
  • Habermas, Jürgen. “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article.” In Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks, edited by Meenakshi Gigi Durham and Douglas M. Kellner, 1st edition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.

KEY TERMS

  • market model
  • public-sphere model
  • types of market structures
  • ownership concentration
  • vertical versus horizontal integration

 

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