54 Glossary

What Is the Media?

agenda setting the media’s ability to choose which issues or topics get attention

mass media the collection of all media forms that communicate information to the general public

public relations biased communication intended to improve the image of people, companies, or organizations

The Evolution of the Media

citizen journalism video and print news posted to the Internet or social media by citizens rather than the news media

digital paywall the need for a paid subscription to access published online material

muckraking news coverage focusing on exposing corrupt business and government practices

party press era period during the 1780s in which newspaper content was biased by political partisanship

soft news news presented in an entertaining style

yellow journalism sensationalized coverage of scandals and human interest stories

Regulating the Media

equal-time rule an FCC policy that all candidates running for office must be given the same radio and television airtime opportunities

fairness doctrine a 1949 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy, now defunct, that required holders of broadcast licenses to cover controversial issues in a balanced manner

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) a federal statute that requires public agencies to provide certain types of information requested by citizens

indecency regulations laws that limit indecent and obscene material on public airwaves

libel printed information about a person or organization that is not true and harms the reputation of the person or organization

prior restraint a government action that stops someone from doing something before they are able to do it (e.g., forbidding someone to publish a book he or she plans to release)

reporter’s privilege the right of a journalist to keep a source confidential

slander spoken information about a person or organization that is not true and harms the reputation of the person or organization

sunshine laws laws that require government documents and proceedings to be made public

The Impact of the Media

beat the coverage area assigned to journalists for news or stories

cultivation theory the idea that media affect a citizen’s worldview through the information presented

framing the process of giving a news story a specific context or background

hypodermic theory the idea that information is placed in a citizen’s brain and accepted

minimal effects theory the idea that the media have little effect on citizens

priming the process of predisposing readers or viewers to think a particular way


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