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British Politics and the Media - Introduction
Who are the Media?
British Politics and the Press
A Partisan Press
British Politics and the Tabloid Press
British Politics and Media Ownership
British Politics and Media Self Regulation
The Leveson Inquiry and Regulation
Actions after Leveson
British Politics and the Cinema Newsreel
British Politics and the Radio
British Politics and the Television
British Politics and the Internet
The Advantages of New Media
Media Effects Theory - Direct Effects
Media Effects Theory - Minimal Effects
Media Effects Theory - Long Term Effects
About Medium Theory
About Constructivism
Constructivism, Media and Society
Structuralism and Critical Theory
Feminist Theory and the Media
Political Communication - Introduction
Political Communication - National and Direct
Political Communication - Local and Direct
Politicians and the Media - Their Relationship
The First Phase of Political Communication
The Second Phase of Political Communication
Political Communication - The Leader's Debates 2010 and 2015
The Third Phase of Political Communication
British Politics and the Media - Introduction
Who are the Media?
British Politics and the Press
A Partisan Press
British Politics and the Tabloid Press
British Politics and Media Ownership
British Politics and Media Self Regulation
The Leveson Inquiry and Regulation
Actions after Leveson
British Politics and the Cinema Newsreel
British Politics and the Radio
British Politics and the Television
British Politics and the Internet
The Advantages of New Media
Media Effects Theory - Direct Effects
Media Effects Theory - Minimal Effects
Media Effects Theory - Long Term Effects
About Medium Theory
About Constructivism
Constructivism, Media and Society
Structuralism and Critical Theory
Feminist Theory and the Media
Political Communication - Introduction
Political Communication - National and Direct
Political Communication - Local and Direct
Politicians and the Media - Their Relationship
The First Phase of Political Communication
The Second Phase of Political Communication
Political Communication - The Leader's Debates 2010 and 2015
The Third Phase of Political Communication
British Politics and the Media banner

University 18 Yrs + | British Politics & the Media

About Medium Theory

Joshua Meyrowitz coined the term medium theory in No Sense of Place, 1985 to describe those approaches that argue that when new forms of media are created they alter the social world. 

Habermas has shown that the spread of literacy down the social scale and the development of a coffee shop culture in the 18th century, where discussion could take place, produced a new form of rational and radical debate. 

In the past politicians were seen on platforms giving set piece speeches and their ability to use rhetoric and inspire influenced voters, whereas now they are seen on television in close detail and a more intimate format and so aspects of their character and looks have more effect on voters.  

Neil Postman has argued that the format of television requires all programmes to be entertainment and this changes public attitudes to politics and the news (Amusing Ourselves to Death, 1985).

The most famous writer in this school is Marshall McLuhan writing in the 1960s (especially Understanding Media, 1964).  Whereas the media effects school and the cultural and structuralist schools (explained below) concentrate on the nature of the messages that the media produce, McLuhan argued in his famous phrase that ‘the medium is the message’.

The effect on the senses of electronic media compared with the printed word produces new social forms.  They are more bureaucratic and organised around mass production to individual consumers.  The form of the old medium turns into the content of the new media, for example, the narrative novel becomes the content of the motion picture.  

Although medium theory has had minority support among media theorists and been accused of technological determinism, it has been revived with the changes introduced by the internet. The internet’s characteristics which are that is interactive, easily crosses national boundaries, is cheap, is quick and is not easily controlled by commercial or governmental organisations have led to claims that it would enhance democracy, lead to the decline of media corporations and increase global understanding. 

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