6001. Consider this anonymous saying:
Sky red at night, sailors' delight; Sky red at morning, sailors take warning.
Which of the four approaches to text would you apply to this text? Why?
6002. Although a phone book contains only fact, knowledge of certain codes is necessary if a reader is to understand it. Discuss as many of these codes as you can identify.
6003. In its broadest sense the term "text" might refer to any data that is taken in by the eye. How might the following be considered as text? Why might they not be considered text?
6004. Put in semiotic terms, the "reader-oriented" approach to text can be stated like this: while the denotation of a given text may be the same for writer and reader, the connotation will almost certainly be different. Furthermore, every reader will develop a unique connotation. Therefore, there is no way the author's intent to transmit a particular meaning can be carried out. Explain this statement in your own words.
6005. Research the ways that broadcast media are different in third-world countries than it is in the United States.
6006. The following text is taken from the opening lines of the Tao Teh Ching, a Chinese sacred text central to Taoism.
Which of the four approaches mentioned in this chapter would be best applied to this text? Why?
6007. The creation myths of some Australian societies are interesting in that the ancestors are said to have sung the world into existence.
In the beginning the Earth was an infinite and murky plain,
separated from the sky and form the grey salt sea and smothered in a shadowy
There were neither Sun nor Moon nor Stars...
On the morning of the First Day, the Sun felt the urge to be born. The Sun
burst through the surface, flooding the land with golden light, warming the
hollows under which each Ancestor lay sleeping...
...each Ancestor opened his mouth and called out, `I AM!' `I am -- Snake . . .
Cockatoo . . . Honeyant . . . Honeysuckle . . .' And this first `I am!', this
primordial act of naming, was held, then and forever after, as the most secret
and sacred couplet of the Ancestor's song.
Each of the Ancients put his left foot forward and called out a second name.
He named the waterhole, the reedbeds, the gum trees -- calling to right and
left, calling all things into being and weaving their names into verses.
The Ancients sang their way all over the world. They sang the rivers and
ranges, salt-pans and sand dunes. They hunted, ate, made love, danced, killed:
wherever their tracks led they left a trail of music. - Chatwin, 72.
There were neither Sun nor Moon nor Stars... On the morning of the First Day, the Sun felt the urge to be born. The Sun burst through the surface, flooding the land with golden light, warming the hollows under which each Ancestor lay sleeping...
...each Ancestor opened his mouth and called out, `I AM!' `I am -- Snake . . . Cockatoo . . . Honeyant . . . Honeysuckle . . .' And this first `I am!', this primordial act of naming, was held, then and forever after, as the most secret and sacred couplet of the Ancestor's song.
Each of the Ancients put his left foot forward and called out a second name. He named the waterhole, the reedbeds, the gum trees -- calling to right and left, calling all things into being and weaving their names into verses. The Ancients sang their way all over the world. They sang the rivers and ranges, salt-pans and sand dunes. They hunted, ate, made love, danced, killed: wherever their tracks led they left a trail of music. - Chatwin, 72.
Discuss this in light of our discussion of text. In the sense of this myth, is the world a text? [For an additional reference, see Flood.]
6008. The Magic Bullet theory may have reflected people's fears that mass communication could be used to control the thoughts and emotions of a society. Certainly, public persuasion was one of the first uses to which the new mass media was put, a use that continues to this day. Consider the following questions.
6009. A new medium called "direct satellite broadcast" is expected to supply a media product that is similar to cable television, but which is available to everyone in a large geographic area. Research the development of this medium and report on its prospects.
6010. An excellent account of the Orson Welles "Martian Invasion" is provided in chapter xx of Milestones of Mass Communication Research, edited by xxxxx and xxxxx, publisher, date. The broadcast itself is available on audio cassette. Listen to the tape of the broadcast and read the analysis.
6011. A kind of mass communication that does provide for immediate feedback is the radio or television "call-in" show. Discuss the communication process that underlies these shows. How is it different from "face-to-face" communication?
6012. In your opinion is the telephone a mass medium? Explain your answer.
6013. The print media, and tape/disc recordings, are textually permanent. This means that they have a long physical lifetime and may be passed from person to person. The audience of a book, for example, may be doubled or tripled as it passes from one reader to the next. On the other hand, radio, television and film are textually evesant. This means that they fade from existence very quickly.
6014. The state library system of Maryland has decided to make access to the international computer "internet" available to all of its citizens via computer terminals located in libraries around the state. Discuss this decision from the point-of-view of access to and availability of computer media.
6015. Gatekeeping is at its minimum when television is covering an event "live" in "real time." In these situations the audience often sees the video footage as it is being shot, and the commentator must speak "off the cuff" without a script.
6016. How do the following mass media organizations identify their target audiences?
6017-1019 are missing.
6020. Go to a supermarket, newsstand or similar place where commercial magazines are on sale. Look at the selection that is available and see if you can identify the target audience of each magazine. Choose one or two of these to investigate in detail. What is the relationship between its target audience and the advertising that it carries.
6021. Academic journals seldom carry advertising. What other magazines can you find that carry no advertising. Why don't they?
6022. In your own words describe the difference between media "access" and media "availability."
6023. Our society declares certain services as "public utilities." These, which include such as water, sewer, telephone, electricity, are declared so important to our daily lives that they must be made available to all member of the society at an equal cost. In your opinion should media services such as cable television and computer network access be treated as public utilities?
6024. If you regularly use a computer network, discuss the notions of media access and availability as they apply to the network.
6025. Discuss in general terms how the content of the following media differ.
6026. Although the "magic bullet" theory has been disproved, many people still believe that it is true for the medium of television.
6027. Research the subject of television violence and summarize the arguments of those who claim that television changes the behavior of its audience.
6028. On the basis of interpersonal diffusion, compare the face-to-face communication process known as "rumor" to the process of mass communication.
6029. Investigate how the students in your classes find out about assignments and exams. Treat your teacher's announcements as mass communication and discuss the role of interpersonal diffusion in their distribution. What percentage of the students actually read the teacher's handouts or class notes? What percentage "hear about" it from someone else?
6030. Can you think of some "uses and gratifications" of the mass media beyond those listed in this chapter.
6031. We might expect the economic flow chart for radio to be similar to the one shown for television. Is it? Develop flow charts for the following media.
6032. How does gatekeeping work in a newspaper organization?
6033. Discuss how those who act as authors, or "have-the-floor" at meeting, might dominate communication.
6034. The study of target audiences is sometimes called "demographics." Prepare a report on the subject of demographics. How are demographic studies used in communication research? How are they used in advertising?
6035. "Ratings" are an important source of information about the television audience. Prepare a report on the nature and use of TV ratings.