Student Responses – Media Influence

Well written response: By Student

Describe two case studies in which the media is claimed to have influence an audience. For each instance, apply an appropriate communication theory. (6 marks)

Media has become a major part of our lives. With a huge growing thrust for knowledge and growing access for knowledge, people are heavily relying on media for this knowledge. 'The reinforcement theory' suggests that the media has little power to influence people and it just reinforces our pre-existing attitudes and beliefs, which have been developed by more powerful social institutions like families, schools and religion organisations. 'Joseph Klapper' argued this in 1960 assuming that the audience play an active role in society where they are influenced by important social institutions. This theory is supported by the resent advertising for "voting for same sex marriage ", where most people would already have a point of view on the issue and he advertising would only reinforce this conception.
Similarly the 'Agenda Setting Function theory' also suggest that media has an impact on it audience. McCombs and Shaw suggested in 1972 that the media can't tell you wat to think, but it can tell you what to think about. In this this theory the audience are assumed to be active but, when it comes to making an important decision, they draw on information that is practically salient at the time. An ABC documentary "War on Waste" (2017) supports this theory by not telling the audience wat to think but, what to think about. This is presented by revealing many untold truths, for example Where our waste goes, what we can/ cant recycle and the amount of waste before it even gets to our supermarkets.

Well written response: By Student

Some people argue that media has a significant influence, others suggest that it has little effect of audiences. Examine an argument made about media influence, substantiating your answer with researched evidence. (5 marks)

Media texts have a significant influence over audience. The ‘Hypodermic Needle Theory’ suggests that media texts have a power influence on an audience and this transmission of messages is almost instantaneous to a passive audience. An example of this theory is within the ‘Columbine Massacre’ (1999), which saw two high school students unleash a horrific killing spree towards multiple members of their school cohort. Dark music; ‘Marylin Manson’, violent video games; ‘DUKE Nukem’ and movies; ‘Natural Born Killers’ were reported in being a correlation which potentially affected these boys decision. However, this theory is seen as a weakness as it is not for certain that these media texts alone have driven these actions. It is only realistic that other elements are consisted apart of the discussion, to appropriately tell the whole story. For instance, people could argue that the ‘Columbine’ actually took place due to arms licensing at the time in the US, along with other factors including; access to elicit drugs, alcohol and mental illnesses.
Whereas, the ‘Agenda Setting Theory’, Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw state that this theory allows the audience to be able to think about what they want and are not necessarily told what to think. An example of where this theory is portrayed is within the ‘Live Exports’ television segment on ABC. This mistreatment towards cattle, caused the audience to form an aggravated opinion on the issue, setting a partial agenda/petition, which lead to lower sales for the meat industry. This theory however is seen as a weakness, as agendas are consistently becoming more difficult to organize and promote within social media, leading to it being viewed as inaccurate and unreliable.

Well written response: By Student

Some people argue that media has significant influence. Others suggest that it has little effect on audiences. Examine an argument made about media influences, substantiate your response with researched evidence. (5 marks)

Some people suggest that media such as video games, specifically violent in nature, increase higher brain functions not violent tendencies. There have been constant debates, whether violent games link to violence in teenagers and children who are scientifically proven to be very impressionable. Over this twenty year debate, since gaming became a household pass time, people have claimed that they make teenagers prone to violent behaviour. Studies have proven that is not the case. A recent study in 2015 at Wisconsin University showed that games, especially first-person shooters produce the “fight or flight” response. This response causes higher brain function as teenagers on average have to track 2 – 4 objects with their eyes. These benefits can last 6 months – 2 years after gaming. These tests conducted were laboratory tested sessions in a controlled environment with set parameters. These parameters aren’t there for everyone who plays games. Further research has found according to Oxford in 2012, video games don’t create violent tendencies but they “trigger” already preexisting ones and can escalate them, but not create.

Well written response: By Student

Some people argue that media has significant influence. Others suggest that it has little effect on audiences. Examine an argument made about media influence, substantiating your answer with researched evidence. (5 marks)

The significance of media influence on audiences has been highly debated amongst multiple theorists throughout time. Much of the debate is centred around the role of the audience in their consumption of the media, as in, whether they are passive or active. The Agenda Setting Function Theory (1972) by Maxwell McCombs and Donald Shaw suggests that the media cannot control what audiences think, but has influence over what they think about, therefore being able to focus public discussion on particular issues through exposure. Whilst this theory suggests that audiences are relatively active in their role, it also suggests an element of passiveness as when presented with an important decision, audiences draw on information that is predominantly shown in the media at the time. Supporting research of this theory shows a correlation between the number of news stories on an issue and how important people think the issue is. McCombs cites a study in his research that revealed a correlation between the rise in ‘ailing economy’ headlines and poor consumer opinions, therefore suggesting that audiences are influenced in their viewpoints on certain issues based off the agendas the media sets. However, this theory has been critiqued due to the increasing ability of audiences to access their information from the internet, therefore increasing their control over what they are exposed to, based off of their own views and values rather than mainstream media’s agendas.

Well written response: By Student

Audiences are a central part of the communication process. Describe how audiences interact with media texts.
In your response, you might refer to:
- Communication theories
- Ways of thinking about audience
- Arguments + evidence about media influence
8 marks

Audiences are a central part of the communication process as they interact with media texts in various ways. As argued by McCombs and Shaw in 1972 with their “Agenda Setting Function” theory, they demonstrate that audiences are active instead of passive, and the media influences them not by telling them what to think, but rather what to think about. Audiences interact with media texts in this way by being influenced to think about particular subjects, issues or discourses. For example, in 2011 ABC’s “Four Corners” program released a documentary detailing the abusive nature of the Australian meat industry. Audiences were clearly influenced by the images they saw and the sounds they heard, which led them to make a change. Following the documentary, meat sales in Australia dropped by 10-15%, demonstrating how influenced this active audience was. Another theory that attempts to justify media influence is Blumler and Katz’s 1974 “Uses and Gratification” theory, which explores how people use media to gratify personal needs. The theory argues that audiences interact with the media by having power over what is shown – either through personally tailored social media feeds, or by lowering ratings on TV shows which causes them to be removed from air. It is this power over the media which is argued to demonstrate how audiences interact with media texts. This theory was supported again in 2010 with the study “Hanging out, messing around and geeking out”, which focused on the ways in which social media was utilised by teenagers. The study argues that due to the range in personal needs, audiences have the power to control the media and interact with texts as they choose.

However, there are other communication theories that argue that audiences aren’t as active as this, but are instead passive and interact with media texts simply by absorbing information. An example of this is the “Hypodermic Needle” theory, birthed in the 1920’s by various theorists. This arguably out-dated theory demonstrates that the media has a direct and powerful influence over its audiences, much similar to being injected with a hypodermic needle. This theory is supported by evidence such as the Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938, which led some listeners to believe that the world was being invaded by aliens. In this way, there is a valid argument to show how audiences potentially interact with media texts in either a passive or active manner, further cementing their importance in the communication process.

Well written response: By Student

Audiences are a central part of the communication process. Describe how audiences interact with media texts. – 8 marks
In your response you might refer to:
• Communication Theories
• Way of Thinking about the audience
• Arguments and Evidence about media influence

Media has become a major part of our lives. As a consequence, people are bombarded with thousands of different messages. Some argue that this easy and excessive exposure to media texts controls its passive audience, while others believe an audience will actively consume whatever they need to satisfy themselves.

These varied opinions have resulted in the development of theories, to try and explain this alleged influence. Viewing the audience as passive supports the ‘Hypodermic Needle’ theory, created in the 1920s. This theory presents the idea that audiences will be instantly and greatly affected by the media that they encounter, like having ideas injected into them with a hypodermic needle. The theory is backed up by the events taking place during Orson Welles’, “War of the Worlds” broadcast. People tuning into the broadcast late heard stories about an invasion, and assumed it was real, many attempting to flee the country. More evidence of this theory is found in the ’Scream’ attackers, two schoolboys who brutally stabbed their 13-year-old friend after watching the horror film ‘Scream’. Despite this evidence, the Hypodermic Needle theory is not commonly accepted by most media theorists, but is still accepted by the mainstream population.

In an oppositional way, Joseph Klapper’s “Reinforcement” theory, which suggests that audiences will be affected by media texts, but only in a way that supports their pre-existing opinions, reinforcing their current outlook. This theory is supported by the Columbine Shooters. The theory suggests that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters, were let down by their families, schools and organizations, and the outlook they gained from that was supported by their interest in Marylin Manson, violent video games and ‘Natural Born Killers’, instead of being caused by it, as many assumed at first and as a result of these media forms being consumed by these boys, created the perfect storm of events.

From these communication theories, we can see that audiences can interact with media texts in different ways, but will commonly be affected in some way by any text. Through the Hypodermic Needle theory, we see how audiences can be passive and easily influenced, while the Reinforcement theory suggests an active audience that will look to support their current ideas.

Well written response: By Student

Audiences are a central part of the communication process. Describe how audiences interact with media texts.
In your response you might refer to:
- Communication theories
- Ways of thinking about audience
- Arguments and evidence about media influence
- 8 marks

Some people claim that media forms and texts can have a range of influences on individuals and society. As depicted through Mccomb and Shaw’s Agenda setting function theory (1972), they demonstrated that audiences are active instead of passive, and the media influences them not by telling them what to think, but actually what to think about. Typically, evidence supporting this theory shows correlation between the number of news stories and how important people think the issue is. That is, if a news item is covered frequently and prominently, the audience will regard the issue as more important. For example, a recent report in The Medical Journal of Australia identified a phenomenon dubbed ‘The Kylie Effect’ which found a correlation between media reports of Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer scare and an increase in the number of bookings for breast cancer screening tests. The media gave great publicity to Kylie’s choices in terms of dealing with this cancer scare, as a result Australian women felt compelled to take proactive caution regarding their own health.

Another theory that attempts to depict the audience’s interaction with media texts involves the Hypodermic needle theory (1930-40’s) which suggests that media messages are injected directly into the brains of a passive audience. An example of this theory is depicted through the Blurred Lines music video by Robin Thicke. It displays women, some being models, naked or in minimal clothing which can potentially create the idea that women should be like that in order to be considered beautiful. As teens are the core audience of such music videos, they are the ones who are directly influenced by this media form. According to the Hyperdermic needle theory, young girls who watched this music video would have immediately associated the idea of beauty with the image of the naked women in the clip, which ultimately impels these young girls to compare themselves to the ‘beautiful’ actors. In this way, it can be shown how audiences potentially interact with media texts in either a passive or active manner, further accentuating their importance in the communication process.​

Well written response: By Student

Despite decades of research, the nature and extent of media influence remains contested and inconclusive. Discuss this statement substantiating your argument with evidence you studied in class
- 8 marks -

The media’s influence remains inconclusive as there are alternate theories which argue different approaches to its nature. One particular theory, developed in the 1920s-30s by various theorists is the ‘Hypodermic needle theory’. This theory argues that the media has a direct effect on passive audiences, similar to being injected with a hypodermic needle. This is supported by the September 11 attack that occurred in 2001, when 2 planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York. Following this fatal event, there was an abundance of media saturation that flooded worldwide news which lead to Westerners immediately fearing Muslims.
Another theory, alternate to the Hypodermic needle theory is the Agenda setting function theory developed by Maxwell Mccombs and Donald Shaw in 1972. The nature and extent of media influence can be contested as the this theory demonstrates that audiences are active instead of passive and that media influences them not by telling them what to think, but rather what to think about. For example the medical phenomenon, ‘The Kylie Effect’ demonstrates the correlation between the media reports of Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer scare and an increase in the number of bookings for breast cancer screening tests.

As well as Mccombs and Shaw, Jay Blumler and Elihu Katz also propose that audiences are active in the communication process however, in a different way. ‘The Uses and Gratification’ theory relates to the idea that audiences create their own individual meaning from texts based on their own principles and values, to gratify their own needs. Evidence of this theory was found in the with the study “Hanging out, messing around and geeking out”, which focused on the different ways that teenagers used social media to gratify their own needs. This theory depicts what people do with the media, rather than what the media does to people, from personally tailored social media feeds to lowering ratings on TV shows, forcing them to be removed from air.
Despite decades of research, the nature and extent of media influence remains inconclusive and most likely always will. As there as multiple theories and opinions regarding this topic, it makes it incredibly difficult for a defined answer to be proven regarding the medias influence on an audience.

Well written response: By Student

Discuss the influence that media forms and texts can have on an
audience.
In your response, include the following:
• An example where the media is claimed to have had an
influence on specific audience
• Relevant communication models and theories used to explain
the influence
• Substantiated arguments about the claims made in the example
- 10 marks -

Media forms and texts can have significant effects on an audience. The September 11 attacks on the twin towers in 2001 are a direct representation of the Hypodermic Bullet Theory, coined in the 1920’s. This theory argues that information travels from the sender to the receiver in one straight line, similar to a bullet. The theory also suggests that audiences are passive, and that the media is highly influential in that audiences are seen as ‘sponges’ that absorb media without any interference. When the planes hit the twin towers on September 11, there was heavy media saturation on the event, which lead to Westerners immediately fearing Muslims. Islamophobia existed in premise before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but it increased markedly in frequency and notoriety after the events. After 3,000 hours of news footage covering the event on over 20 channels, there was an enormous increase in anti-muslim sentiments as repeated footage showing the planes crash into the twin towers promoted growth in Islamophobia due to Muslim presence in society. The United States used the tragedy to create an anti-Islamic feeling throughout the world. (“You’re either with us, or against us.”- George Bush September 11 2001.) Moreover, in 2001, the year that 9/11 occurred, anti-muslim hate crimes reached 546, which is the highest recorded in US history. The terrorist’s attacks of September 11, 2001 also supports the Uses and Gratification theory in which Bulmer and Katz argued that audiences are active and create their own individual meaning from texts based on their own principles and values. Continuous footage of the Twin Tower attacks was used to give the public what they wanted to know, in which people who already supported anti-muslim sentiments used these events to their own advantage to gratify their beliefs in that all foreigners are destructive and are terrorising America with no incentives. This demonstrates the influence that media forms, such as the continuous news coverage of 9/11, have on both passive and active audiences.

Well written response: By Student

Despite decades of research, the nature and extent of media influence remains contested and inconclusive. Discuss this statement substantiating your argument with evidence you studied in class. (8 marks)

The nature and extent of media influence remains contested and inconclusive as there are many theories and approaches to the media which argue from all perspectives. One perspective is that the media directly influences audiences, as explored by various theorists in the 1920’s as the “Hypodermic Needle theory”. This theory argues that the media has a direct effect on passive audiences, similar to being injected with a hypodermic needle. This was supported in 1938 with Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast which led many listeners to believe that the world was being overtaken by aliens.

The influence of the media is also believed to be affected primarily by pre-existing cultural and religious beliefs, as explored in the “cultural studies” model of media approach. This notion was tested by theorist Joseph Klapper in 1960 with his “Reinforcement theory”, which cited a 1948 study in the US where a man admitted he only voted for the Democratic Party as he claimed his grandfather would skin him otherwise. This demonstrates that family, culture and religion can all influence decisions, and the media simply reinforces those pre-existing beliefs.

There are also arguments that it is the audience whom influences the media, and uses it to gratify individual, personal needs. This concept was explored in 1972 with Blumler and Katz’s “Uses and Gratification theory”. Evidence of this was collected recently in 2010 with the study “Hanging out, messing around and geeking out”, which focused on the ways in which teenagers utilized social media for their own needs. The “Uses and Gratification theory” explores the idea that the media is controlled by its audience, from personally tailored social media feeds to lowering ratings on TV shows, forcing them to be removed from air. This is yet another argument which attempts to justify and explain media influence through active audiences.

Despite decades of research, the nature and extent of media influence remains contested and inconclusive as there are so many perspectives, theories and approaches that aim to be proven correct. However, there are simply too many sides of the debate with valid arguments about passive and active audiences to conclusively define the nature and extent of media influence.

Well written response: By Student

With reference to a media form/text that is claimed to influence a specific audience, outline two arguments and or examples of evidence that support or oppose this claim.
- 6 marks -

Form/text – Violent video games

Audience claimed to be influenced Teenagers are claimed to be influenced as they’re more impulsive and have not yet fully matured.

Argument and/or example of evidence 1 The Australian Attorney General’s office tested the impact that violent video games can have on young audiences and whilst the results were contested and inconclusive it was discovered that they can have a negative impact on particular populations. People with aggressive or psychotic personality traits may be at risk of being negative impacted by violent imagery in these games.

Argument and/or example of evidence 2 James Markey who has a PHD in violent video games and violence also discovered that those with psychotic or aggressive personality traits could be negatively affected by these games. He stated that “violent video games do not turn a child into a killer” however they can change thought processes, just not incite action. These violent video games could possibly encourage them to think more violently but there is no evidence to prove that it actually makes them violent.

Well written response: By Student

Compare three communication theories that explain media influence differently and as a result influence their audiences in a complex and debated way. Include the difficulties when assessing media influence.
- 10 marks –

The media has grown substantially and has become a major focus in people’s lives. Almost every person consumes some form of media in one way or another. However, with the advent and mass production of the media, there have been some people who have suggested that the media controls and influences its audience, while others have said that the audience consumes the media and uses it for their own satisfaction. As a result of this, many communication theories have emerged to suggest and explain the relationship between the media and its audience.

One of the first communication theories to evolve was the Hypodermic Needle Theory. It looks at how the media influenced the audience by sending a message to the receiver that was not interrupted. The audience are seen as passive and said to absorb the message without changing its original intention.

A second theory to emerge was the Uses and Gratification Theory. It claimed that the media does not have influence over its audience rather that the audience picks and chooses what it wants to consume to meet their own personal needs. Therefore having an active audience whom understand that the media has limited power.

A third theory that evolved was the Agenda Setting Function Theory. It deals with the media having power to set agendas and encouraging train of thought for its audience. It states that it can’t tell you how to think but it can tell you what to think about.

There are many difficulties that are present in assessing media influence. The lack of evidence is one, but it is also difficult to gauge and understanding of what is considered evidence. Currently, research studies use different methods of gathering data, such as lab tests, surveys, anecdotal and ethnographic information. Although they are able to get a good understanding of a sample of people, this does not account for the entire audience. There are many different factors that need to be taken into consideration including age, nationality and socioeconomic status. These types of testing tend not to do this. Overall, the testing and evaluation of media influence on its audience is a very complex thing as it deals with people who are all individuals.

Well written response: By Student

Discuss the influence that media forms and texts can have on an audience. In your response, include the following:
• An example where the media is claimed to have had an influence on a specific audience
• Relevant communication models and theories used to explain the influence
• Substantiated arguments about the claims made in the example
- 10 marks -

Over the decades, many claims have been made in relation to the influence that media forms and texts can have on their audience. One such claim was made in the 1950’s by Dr.Frederick Wertham, in his book Seduction of the Innocent. Claimed that comic books were having a negative influence upon America’s children, singling out the violent content of EC’s Tales from the Crypt and accusing DC’s Batman and Robin comics of encouraging homosexual fantasies in young boys. Wertham claimed that the pair were engaged in a gay relationship, and that their adventures were having a negative impact on the youth of America, spreading what he saw as a negative aspect of society. A widespread moral panic ensued, and to combat this, the Comics Code Authority was created, dedicated to the censorship of questionable content in comic books. The predominant communication theory used to explain this influence is the Hypodermic Needle Theory, developed in the 1940’s and based on behavioural psychology of the time. This theory posited that audiences were passive subjects to the dominating will of the media, allowing themselves to be ‘injected’ with the ideas presented in the media products they viewed. This theory, as well as Wertham’s arguments, have been criticised for lacking substantial evidence to demonstrate this instantaneous negative effect of the media. Today, the idea of a passive audience is outdated, as audiences are considered active and aware of the products they consume. The 1950’s did not see a rise in the prevalence of homosexuality in America’s youth, and as such Wertham’s claims have been criticised as unfounded and unproved, merely the product of a moral panic.

Questions on Regulation

Well written response: By Student

The media is subject to regulation
Outline one argument against the regulation of one specific media form or text. In your response, refer to any media forms or texts that you studied this year, and issues in relation to control of the specific media form or text. (3 marks)

Australia has tight media regulation on reporting suicides for all media outlets. Journalists and other such workers are not allowed to identify the cause of death of a public figure if it is suicide. These companies must also, by law, include a phone number to suicide prevention organisations like lifeline and beyond blue. This is intended to decrease the possibility of any copy-cat situations. However, many believe that regulating the discussion of suicide creates a stigma, which can make an individual feel separated from society. Paul Murray, a sky news TV presenter argues that telling the full story can remind people of the importance in reaching out to someone for help. His comment was made after rugby star, Dan Vickerman committed suicide. The media reported his death as sudden and with no suspicious circumstances. Never out rightly saying he took his own life. Suicide rates are at the highest they have ever been in Australia with 12.6 suicides per 100,000 people. If suicide was talked about more openly in the media, then it may help people with suicidal thoughts as they can see they are not alone and how it can affect others.

Well written response: By Student

Why is regulation of the media challenging and often debated? In your response, you must include:
- Arguments surrounding the rationale for an regulation of the media
- Evidence about media influence on audiences and the broader society.
- 8 marks -

Regulation of the media is often debated and discussed as the way in which the audience is influenced by the media remains inconclusive, causing media regulation to be challenging. Some debate that media regulation is necessary for protecting young people from negative influences. For example, Dr Wayne Warburton provided evidence regarding the effects of violent video games on the development of the pre-frontal cortex which is an area of brain responsible for impulse control. This suggests the need for classification of video games to control the potential influence on vulnerable audiences. The Columbine Shooting (1999) can be viewed as evidence suggesting the negative effect of violent video games and films promoting violence. A ‘perfect storm of circumstances’ was created as the two boys Eric and Dylan who carried out the shootings were pre exposed to violent tendencies. It is known that the boys watched texts such as Natural Born Killers’ and ‘The Basketball Diaries’ both promoting violence. The events carried out on the day were apparently ‘eerie similar’ to a scene in ‘The Basketball Diaries’ where a basketball player develops a heroin addiction and dreams of shooting classmates in a classroom while wearing a black trench coat. A strong need for classification would be argued in this case, however others also argued that the media influence is not entirely to blame and that there were many other factors influencing the boys behavior. The ‘Reinforcement Theory’ (1960, Klapper) takes into account the influences of other social institutions and suggests the media only reinforces what we have already been exposed to. Media regulation would be seen as less significant from this point of view as it would be argued that the boys were let down by their family, friends and school and that their actions were influenced by these factors more rather than media influence. This makes media regulation challenging as regulation assumes that an audience is directly influenced by the media, however this has been debated against.

Well written response: By Student

Describe two organisations that regulate the media in Australia and outline in detail what they do and who they protect. – 4 marks

An organisation that regulates the media in Australia is The National Classification Scheme. They classify a range of media forms, including video games, tv shows, films and print publications. The classification is on a scale that includes; G, PG, M, M15+, MA, R and X. This classification is put in place to protect both children and adults from seeing content that may offend, disturb or upset them. It is a Government run and funded organisation and if the media form does not pass the boards judgment criteria then the item is prohibited from being aired, viewed or sold in Australia.

Another organisation that aims to regulate and protect Australian citizens is The Body Image Code of Conduct. This volunteering organisation aims to influence media forms, in particular beauty magazines and print publications to make decisions such as models over the age of 16 who come from a variety cultural and ethical backgrounds. This code of conduct aims to protect pre-teens, teenagers an young adults as they are greatly influenced by these media forms and platforms. The promote strict guidelines for editing and manipulating images to ensure their audience gain a real aspect to body image and beauty.

Well written response: By Student

Why is regulation of the media challenging and often debated? In your response you must include;
• Arguments surrounding the rationale for the regulation of the media.
• Evidence about media influence on audiences and the broader society.
- 8 marks -

The need for media regulation is always in a state of limbo due to the ever-evolving landscape of globalisation and technological developments. The need to regulate media stems from various concerns all aimed to protect citizens from harm. One reason for media regulation is the need to protect vulnerable groups such as children. Young children are impressionable thus vulnerable to media influence. The Australian research alliance for Children and Youth released a report suggesting that children exposed to explicit and violent material are likely to develop harmful thoughts and behaviours as well as disrupting sleep patterns. As children are the future they must be protected from viewing explicit content and is currently done via Classification regulation of films and games by the Classification board and some program timing by industry bodies such as Free TV. Moreover, the need to regulate the media is aimed at stopping the monopolisation of mass media. This is to ensure media diversity and no one organisation set specific agendas. This is currently controlled by the Australian Communication and Media Authority who ensures no person’s broadcasting licence can reach more than 75% of the population and that there is a minimum of “5” voices in metropolitan markets. However, in this rapidly growing society, the convergence of the new media has made regulation increasingly difficult. The internet has enabled audiences to gain access to explicit or banned content at the click of a button which makes regulations such as banning material redundant. Moreover, theories such as uses and gratification suggest audiences are active and imperious to influence thus regulation is not needed as people can choose for themselves what they want to consume thus supporting the classification act that “adults should read, see, hear whatever they want”. Furthermore in this modern, democratic nation regulating media can be seen as a form of government control that impedes the right to free speech and the right to press freedom thus contrary to the notion of democracy. Hence, while evidence such as Columbine shootings and Norway shooting alludes to the need to protect and regulate media from vulnerable groups as well as to protect the public in general. It can be argued that such strict regulations are ineffective and redundant in this technological world…

Well written response: By Student

Why is regulation of the media challenging and often debated?
In your response, you must include:
• Arguments surrounding the rationale for, and regulation of, the media
• Evidence about media influence on audiences and the broader society
- 8 marks –

Regulation of the media is challenging and often debated as there are many opinions and theories relating to how audiences are, if at all, influenced by what they hear, see and read. Regulating the media through program classifications and altered viewing slots are constantly in dispute as a result of issues and incidents that are believed to be connected to media influence. For example, the infamous Columbine High School massacre of 1999 in which 13 students were murdered and 24 injured by a pair of their peers, has continually been a case for adjusting media regulation. The two perpetrators code named themselves “NBK” in reference to the R-Rated film “Natural Born Killers” which follows the story of a couple whom kill people for fun. Some have argued that the obsession with this film and its plot drove the boys to begin the Columbine massacre, as they were directly influenced. This is an example of the 1920’s “hypodermic needle” communication theory which argues that audiences are passive and directly influenced by the media. The film “Natural Born Killers” is restricted to an 18+ aged audience, which should have been unavailable to the 16-year-old killers. This shows that media texts must be heavily regulated. However, there are some that argue the boys were not influenced by the media and therefore media regulation is not to blame. There are arguments that the boys were simply a by-product of poor parenting, school-yard exclusion and bullying, and the media only reinforced their notions of murder and revenge. This is in support of Joseph Klapper’s 1960 “Reinforcement theory” which argues that the media only reinforces pre-existing beliefs based on culture, religion and family life. Due to this argument, many believe that the media such as violent video games or films had no direct influence on the boys and their horrific decisions. This was also supported by Morgan James Tear from the University of Queensland with her 2015 thesis, which concluded that video games have minimal effect on teenage behavior. Due to these constant disputes, the extent of media regulation is challenged and debated as there are many theories and pieces of evidence which contest the actual influence the media has.

Well written response: By Student

The media is subject to regulation that may define standards, set limitations or place ethical parameters on it.
- 6 marks -

a. Explain a form of media regulation (2 marks)

A form of media regulation is classification. This involves the evaluation of media content such as films, television, video games and print media, and the use of classifications or ratings to determine the age bracket allowed to view the product and the placement of content descriptors for the purpose of self-regulation or the regulation of children by adults. This process is handled by the Classifications Board.

b. Discuss two arguments in favour of this type of regulation (4 marks)

One of the key arguments in favour of advertising regulation is to prevent copycat behaviour from occurring. This can be found
in the regulation of advertisements that may depict unhealthy lifestyles, such as unhealthy eating, drinking and/or drug
consumption. In addition to this, it includes regulation of advertisements that may depict suicide or graphic violence. Another
argument in favour of regulating advertising in Australia is that it can help protect children by preventing them from seeing
explicit content. This can include bad language such as profanities, sexual content, violence and or potentially scary content
from being shown in advertisements, particularly during certain hours of the day where children are watching.