Give an explanation of the differences between effects models of audience behaviour and uses and gratifications models.

Essay by cherrycoolUniversity, Bachelor'sB, November 2009

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The relationship between the media and its audiences is one that is ever changing. The media cannot survive without an audience, and thus must constantly strive to provide what the audience seeks, and we as an audience rely on the media as a source of entertainment, knowledge, and an escape from reality. The media can be explained through the use of various model, two of which are the uses and gratifications model, and the effects model. A brief outline of both of these is needed before comparisons and differences can be explained.

The effects model essentially began with the Frankfurt School, who were the first to propose a theory that explained the effect that media had on its audiences; the role it plays in our lives and what it does to audiences. This theory was called the 'hypodermic needle' or 'magic bullet'; otherwise known as the effects model. The basic idea was that the audience was comprised of isolated individuals who were susceptible to influence from the media.

The fact that it is often referred to as the hypodermic model suggests that it views the media as something that 'injects' its meanings into its audience, who passively accept everything that they see or hear in the media.

Effects models have changed through the times; in the beginning of the 1900s, society viewed the media as something that was all powerful and largely unquestionable. Television had yet to make a debut, so people relied faithfully on newspapers and radio. Between the 1930s and 1950s, television became a common household appliance, yet it was not received welcomingly by all. Much of the elder generation were wary of televisions, paving the way for the first queries to be raised about the dominating power of the media. From the 1960s and 70s onwards, various...