Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Media giants don’t always lead to less diverse content

10.08.2004


Just because a big company owns all the media outlets in town doesn’t necessarily mean newspapers and broadcast stations will look and sound alike, according to a review of the research in this area published in the summer issue of the journal Contexts.



While media consolidation does have adverse effects, as described in a literature review, the reduction in content diversity does not appear to be one of them. In fact, the research suggests that media content is no less diverse than it was before the increase in consolidation of ownership.

Many people assume that diversity of ownership leads to diversity in news and entertainment content and, conversely, that limited ownership essentially closes the marketplace of ideas, where different viewpoints are exchanged and shared, says Pearl Latteier, a co-author and a graduate student in communication arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


But as the literature review by Latteier and University of San Francisco sociology professor Joshua Gamson suggests, these scenarios aren’t necessarily true.

Critics of media conglomeration are concerned, for example, that nationally owned stations, newspapers or magazines focus less on local news, limiting diversity of coverage. However, the recent review of research in this area shows that the amount of local content actually can increase.

For example, newspapers in Florida and Arkansas that were bought by the Gannett Company expanded their coverage of local events, though often in the form of disaster and crime stories. Another study found that nationally owned television stations whose parent company also owns a newspaper tended to carry more local content.

“Critics of media consolidation fear that newspapers owned by a big conglomerate will rely on national wire services at the expense of local news,” says Latteier. “But the research suggests that this is not always true.”

In addition, conglomerates have created niche markets that provide information of interest to particular demographic groups, write the authors. The Black Entertainment Television station, the People en Espanol magazine and the television show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” all are owned by media giants, including Viacom, Time Warner AOL and NBC.

“A big conglomerate doesn’t need to compete with itself, so it may develop programming aimed at more diverse audiences,” says Latteier. “A company that owns three television stations in a single city, for example, will be more profitable if it airs different content on each station, because it will draw different viewers to each channel.”

But the findings show that media giants wanting to turn a profit also can influence the material and perspective presented in media. Latteier says that a television show owned by a company that also owned a tobacco company presented a pro-tobacco bias, and a news program owned by the Walt Disney Company devoted a two-hour show to the Orlando theme park’s anniversary.

“With more media conglomerations, the fear is that the values presented will be consistent with the values of big business, that a capitalistic sensibility will come through,” says Latteier. “This is definitely happening. But beyond this kind of self-interested spin, it’s not clear that ownership concentration has a big effect on the diversity of ideas presented.”

From the review of studies examining the effects of large media companies on diversity in programming, ideas and audiences, the researchers offer one strong conclusion: The issue is much more complex than simply assuming limited ownership of media leads to limited coverage. In other words, there is no predictable outcome.

Latteier says that although big companies continue to buy smaller media outlets, the situation isn’t so bleak as critics contend. “The media giants aren’t uniformly devouring diversity,” she says. “The challenge for media activists will be to trade in their blanket assumption about consolidation for a more nuanced view.”

Pearl Latteier | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Arguments, Emotions, and News distribution in social media - Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen
04.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien

nachricht High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>