Creating Fear: News and the Construction of Crisis

Transaction Publishers
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Taking advantage of electronic information bases, Altheide, whose previous interpretive studies of the mass media are well known, uses a "tracking discourse" method to show how the nature and use of the word "fear" by mass media have changed over the years. His analysis examines how some of the topics associated with fear (e.g., AIDS, crime, immigrants, race, sexuality, schools, children) have shifted in emphasis, and how certain news organizations and social institutions benefit from the exploitation of fear.

This book is about fear and its expanding place in our public life. The author documents the rise of a "discourse of fear" in the present era: the pervasive communication, sym­bolic awareness, and expectation that danger and risk surround us. Altheide offers explanations of how this occurred and suggests some of its serious social consequences. In doing so, he focuses on the nature and use of social power and social control. The mass media play a significant role in shaping social definitions that govern social action. Relatedly, his methodological and theoretical foundation in classical social theory, existential-phenomenology, ethnomethodology, and symbolic interactionism leads him to view social power as the capacity to define situations for self and others.

Creating Fear is focused on sorting out the ways that the mass media and popular culture help define social situa­tions. It helps understand the nature, process, and organiza­tion of mass media operations, including news procedures, perspectives, and formats. It recognizes the need to expand our methodological frameworks to incorporate new infor­mation technologies and databases and to ask different ques­tions. This volume, which attempts to break the circle of fear discourse, will be of interest to sociologists, communi­cations scholars, and criminologists.

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Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2002
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Pages
223
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ISBN
9780202365268
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Those of us on the lookout for insights into social behavior must be impressed when a book strikes us as being powerful enough to shake firmly held beliefs in a single reading. Even as we explore the vagueness of social science, we unveil bias that prejudices how we think, what we teach. One bias in the social sciences derives from the influence of `cognitive dissonance' invoking thoughts of message reinforcement, not opinion change, and suggesting minimal effects of the press. Author David Fan goes far in dissuading those of us who have fallen under the minimalist spell. His clear examination of the power of the American press on public opinion provides compelling evidence for the profound impact the press has on our thinking. Fan, a cellular biologist, parades an impressive array of data to support his contention that opinion can be measured by the application of his mathematical model to the content of national news reports. His findings confirm a clear connection between the content of national news and the results of national opinion polls. Public Relations Review

This incisive examination of the power of information in society uses a new mathematical model, ideodynamics, to describe social responses to information and suggests that public opinion can be swayed in a predictable fashion by messages acting on the populace. In addition to mathematical modeling, this book also introduces a new method for computer content analysis able to score text for its support of different viewpoints. The method is highly flexible and adaptable, yielding great precision for any topic in any language. Although previous work has indicated that the press is able to set the agenda with regard to public opinion, this book is unique in demonstating that the press also is able to mold opinion within that agenda. Fan begins with a presentation of ideodynamics followed by an examination of the ability of the mathematical model to incorporate previous theories. He then considers data applications and discusses the conclusions to be drawn from the work. The empirical testing uses the ideodynamic equations and scores from the text analysis to predict time trends of public opinion which correspond strikingly well with actual poll measurements.

For over a decade the "Media Studies Journal "has joined in the debate about the media and proposed solutions to problems that divide the media and the public. Its contributions by leading figures in print and other media have helped better professional, scholarly, and public understanding of the media's role in society. During this time, the world has experienced vast changes, with the end of the cold war and the rise of democracies and market economies almost every where--conditions that have generally benefited freedom of expression. "Media and Public Life "is a retrospective of ten years of some of the most arresting published work derived from the "Media Studies Journal."

Some of the journal's most enduring essays appear in this volume. Among them are: "How Vast the Wasteland Now?" by Newton N. Minow; "In the South--When It Mattered to Be an Editor" by Dudley Clendinen; "Seething in Silence--News in Black and White" by Ellis Cose; "Requiem for the Boys on the Bus" by Maureen Dowd; "The Flickering Images That May Drive Presidents" by Robert MacNeil; and "The Inevitable Global Conversation" by Walter B. Wriston.

"Media and Public Life "reflects the diversity of issues and perspectives that has been a trademark of the "Media Studies Journal. "The chapters aptly depict the growing field of communication and media studies. Many ideas are taken into consideration, including the great functions of communication (like information, opinion, entertainment, and publicity), trends (such as news in the post-cold war period), and specific industries (such as radio and book publishing). Throughout the book the consequences and impact of media institutions on society and public life are maintained. "Media and Public Life "will be of value to communications specialists, media studies scholars, and sociologists.

The recent surge in media mergers has set off a wave of stories that all hit very close to home. In some cases, the news organizations themselves become news. The formation of communication conglomerates raises profound questions for reporters' lives and work, such as: What is the best way to cover stories of high profile and complexity? Will the new giants broaden both the definition of journalism and the opportunities for journalists to practice their craft? What are the prospects for the new partnership of big news, new media, and big business? The consequences of consolidation vary by media industry. The evolution of communication technology is so fast that today's truisms can be undone tomorrow. "Media Mergers "provides a healthy dose of skepticism, a search for illuminating facts, and a willingness to consider all sides of the discussion.

This book approaches the emergence of media giants from a variety of angles. The contributors offer many ways of understanding their scale and their significance. "Media Mergers "is divided into six parts: "Point/Counterpoint," "The Imperial Moment," "Captains of Communication," "States of Media," "The Consequences of Media Empires in the United States," and "The Consequences of Media Empires Around the World." Authors include: Todd Gitlin; Steven Rattner; Ken Auletta; Madeline Rogers; Danny Schechter; Barbara Maltby; and Mac Margolis.

Included in this volume is a roundtable introduced by Walter Cronkite and moderated by Alex Jones. Participants are Frank A. Bennack, Jr., Neil S. Braun, P. Anthony Ridder, and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. A review essay by Anne Wells Branscomb concludes book. She discusses various books on the subjects of media moguls, multimedia conglomerates, and media takeovers. "Media Mergers "is especially pertinent today, an age in which the communications industry is constantly changing, progressing, and being affected by business upheavals. It will be of interest to publishers, media specialists, and all those in communications, policy and research.

“WE NEED TO TALK.”

In this urgent and insightful book, public radio journalist Celeste Headlee shows us how to bridge what divides us--by having real conversations

BASED ON THE TED TALK WITH OVER 10 MILLION VIEWS
NPR's Best Books of 2017

Winner of the 2017 Silver Nautilus Award in Relationships & Communication

“We Need to Talk is an important read for a conversationally-challenged, disconnected age. Headlee is a talented, honest storyteller, and her advice has helped me become a better spouse, friend, and mother.”  (Jessica Lahey, author of New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure)

Today most of us communicate from behind electronic screens, and studies show that Americans feel less connected and more divided than ever before. The blame for some of this disconnect can be attributed to our political landscape, but the erosion of our conversational skills as a society lies with us as individuals.

And the only way forward, says Headlee, is to start talking to each other. In We Need to Talk, she outlines the strategies that have made her a better conversationalist—and offers simple tools that can improve anyone’s communication. For example: 

BE THERE OR GO ELSEWHERE. Human beings are incapable of multitasking, and this is especially true of tasks that involve language. Think you can type up a few emails while on a business call, or hold a conversation with your child while texting your spouse? Think again.CHECK YOUR BIAS. The belief that your intelligence protects you from erroneous assumptions can end up making you more vulnerable to them. We all have blind spots that affect the way we view others. Check your bias before you judge someone else.HIDE YOUR PHONE. Don’t just put down your phone, put it away. New research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone can negatively impact the quality of a conversation.

Whether you’re struggling to communicate with your kid’s teacher at school, an employee at work, or the people you love the most—Headlee offers smart strategies that can help us all have conversations that matter.

 


Fear has become an ever-expanding part of life in the West in the twenty-first century. We live in terror of disease, abuse, stranger danger, environmental devastation and terrorist onslaught. We are bombarded with reports of new concerns for our safety and that of our children, and urged to take greater precautions and seek more protection. But compared to the past, or to the developing world, people in contemporary Western societies have much less familiarity with pain, suffering, debilitating disease and death. We actually enjoy an unprecedented level of personal safety.



When confronted with events like the destruction of the World Trade Centre, fear for the future is inevitable. But what happened on September 11th 2001 was in many ways an old fashioned act of terror, representing the destructive side of the human passions. Frank Furedi argues that the greater danger in our culture is the tendency to fear achievements representing a more constructive side of humanity. We panic about GM food, about genetic research, about the health dangers of mobile phones. The facts often fail to support the scare stories about new or growing risks to our health and safefy. Our obsession with theoretical risks is in danger of distracting society from dealing with the old-fashioned dangers that have always threatened our lives. In this new edition Furedi relates his own thinking on the sociology of fear to the thought of earlier thinkers such as Darwin and Fred and to the sociological tradition of Durkheim, C. Wright Mills, Anthony Giddens and others.

Gerry Spence is perhaps America's most renowned and successful trial lawyer, a man known for his deep convictions and his powerful courtroom presentations when he argues on behalf of ordinary people. Frequently pitted against teams of lawyers thrown against him by major corporate or government interests, he has never lost a criminal case and has not lost a civil jury trial since l969.
In Win Your Case, Spence shares a lifetime of experience teaching you how to win in any arena-the courtroom, the boardroom, the sales call, the salary review, the town council meeting-every venue where a case is to be made against adversaries who oppose the justice you seek. Relying on the successful courtroom methods he has developed over more than half a century, Spence shows both lawyers and laypersons how you can win your cases as he takes you step by step through the elements of a trial-from jury selection, the opening statement, the presentation of witnesses, their cross-examinations, and finally to the closing argument itself.
Spence teaches you how to prepare yourselves for these wars. Then he leads you through the new, cutting-edge methods he uses in discovering the story in which you form the evidence into a compelling narrative, discover the point of view of the decision maker, anticipate and answer the counterarguments, and finally conclude the case with a winning final argument.
To make a winning presentation, you are taught to prepare the power-person (the jury, the judge, the boss, the customer, the board) to hear your case. You are shown that your emotions, and theirs, are the source of your winning. You learn the power of your own fear, of honesty and caring and, yes, of love. You are instructed on how to role-play through the use of the psychodramatic technique, to both discover and tell the story of the case, and, at last, to pull it all together into the winning final argument.
Whether you are presenting your case to a judge, a jury, a boss, a committee, or a customer, Win Your Case is an indispensable guide to success in every walk of life, in and out of the courtroom.
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