London attractions
BRIT POLITICS logo
HOME : University 18 Yrs +

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

Media Effects Theory - Minimal Effects

Lazarsfeld  in The People’s Choice (1944) and then with Elihu Katz in Personal Influence (1955) developed the two step flow theory which moved away from the idea of direct effects on individuals.

This suggests that ideas flow from the media to opinion leaders in local communities who pick up those ideas that they agree with and spread them to other people, and this face-to-face contact is more powerful than media influence. 

Early uses of the theory saw the opinion leaders as people with high social standing but more recent works sees opinion leaders as anyone who influences others and a range of factors may lead people to adopt that role, including just personality (Davan Shah and Dietram Scheufele provide a good explanation of what these factors are in Political Communication, Volume 23 No 1 2006). 

The internet has been seen as having limited effect on elections but Pippa Norris and John Curtice use the two-step model to show that people who gained information from the internet during the 2005 general election were more likely to talk to others about the election, almost always by telephone or face-to-face  (Journal of Information Technolog,y Volume 4, No 4, 2008).

Even further from direct effects ideas is uses and gratification theory. Blumler and  Elihu Katz in The Uses of Mass Communication (1974)  reverse the idea of the media message affecting people to argue that people have various reasons for using the media, which may include seeking information, entertainment, escapism, relaxation, socialising with friends or even just background noise and will choose what they look at to match their objective. 

Different people may want different things out of the same piece of media.  People’s individual characteristics and attitudes are more important than precisely what the message from the media is and, indeed, the media may adjust their content to provide what market research shows the audience is looking for. 

The approach has typically used questionnaires to ask people why they use the media, although whether people can clearly articulate this has been one of the criticisms of the approach. Joseph Klapper in his reinforcement theory argues that the media is just one of the many social influences on people and is more likely to reinforce than change the views developed from other social influences (The Effects of Mass Communication, 1960).

In terms of the political content of the media, people may selectively take from it what reinforces the political views that they have already, rather than that the media influences their political views.

tours_468X60_English

Best Sellers


  • MOST VIEWED: The result for May 2017 is The Politics Book; simple explanations of concepts and ideas
  • DID YOU KNOW? Lord Michael Dobbs, once adviser to Margaret Thatcher wrote House of Cards, now starring Kevin Spacey.

 

Latest News & Features

The Guardian: University League Tables 2018 released

Tony Blair became PM twenty years ago, but what was Blairism?

Profile: Sir Robert Walpole, the first British Prime Minister

Our Twitter Feed