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Respond: Week 7, Topic 1 – Media Ownership (Req’d.)

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Early in 2017, Verizon completed its purchase of Yahoo. Despite Yahoo’s iconic place in Internet history, this was not a major deal. According to this video from Bloomberg News, these are the five largest media mergers:

Why does any of this matter?


Please make sure you have reviewed the economics of the media industry in Chapter 13 of Saylor’s Understanding Media and Culture, as well as the impetus for its vertical integration on pages 610-612 and 615-616.

(If your interest is piqued, you might also look at this Prezi and find out how the Federal Communications Commission is loosening its regulation media ownership regulations. Saylor’s Understanding Media and Culture also explains how the U.S. government regulates the media in Chapter 15.)

When you have completed your reading, visit one of these databases:

Columbia Journalism Review: Who Owns the Media?

Free Press Ownership Chart

Project Censored

State of the Media or

PBS: Media Giants

Take a look at who owns what in the media. Some of this information may be dated. However, it will give you an idea of how media channels are concentrated in the hands of a few major corporations. While you’re exploring, see how many CEOs’ names you recognize. Try to figure out how many of the companies are domestic firms. Any surprises for you?

Once you have explored the numbers, please read the article “Media Ownership – Does It Matter?” from the Benton Foundation.

(You also can broaden your understanding of this topic with the media concentrationstories provided by the Center for Public Integrity and the media ownership research studies curated by the Federal Communications Commission. For insight into arguments why media ownership should not be heavily regulated, see this interview with the newest FCC chairman in Variety.)

Once you have completed your review of these materials, please select and respond to one of the following questions:

1. What have you learned about U.S. media ownership patterns and what you think its implications are in your response to this prompt. Don’t think about this discussion just in terms of news, please. Think about it in terms of music, movies and TV shows as well. Which media sectors are struggling the most to make money in the 21st century? Why is that?

2. How do you think economics will affect (pick one):

  • the kinds of music and programming we receive?
  • what the public knows about important issues and news?
  • how the public gains access to culture?
  • what the wealthy people know / can afford to be entertained by and what poor people know about current issues and news / can afford to be entertained by?

Please post your initial response to this prompt by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday; respond to the initial posts of at least two other students by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.

(Response required.)

©2017 University of Maryland University College



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Alterick Buchanan

3 hours ago

Respond: Week 7, Topic 2 – Media and Government (Req’d.)

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The most successful 20th-century White House administrations used the mass media for public relations to their advantage. Is that still the case in the 21st century?

Recall from your readings that public relations helps an organization or person look good, while public policy is part of the national debate on what the government should do with its limited resources (time, money and people) to make the country a better place for its citizens.

Recall also that both the executive and congressional branches of the federal government know that public opinion must be shaped through the media. Of course, there are many other players in public policy decisions — unions, associations, competing federal agencies, competing plans in Congress, special interest groups, individuals, state vs. national interests, etc.


Before you join this conversation, please read pages 758-762 on political communication theories, and pages 31-33 and 407-409 on the agenda-setting and framing theories in the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory. You might also find it useful to review David Miller’s “Journalism, Public Relations, and Spin” in the Handbook of Journalism Studies.

(You can broaden your understanding of “the selling of politics” further by also reading pages 166-181 in Chapter 9 of Advertising as Culture. Finally, you may find it beneficial to refresh your understanding of the principles of advertising and propaganda in the Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.)

Then, pick one major issue before the U.S. Congress from this list:

  • gun control
  • health care insurance
  • immigration
  • climate change

Explore the issue in news and other resources on the Internet, then select one of the following activities to complete:

1. Describe some of the many different competing interest groups and individuals engaged in the debate. What media are they using and who are they trying to reach with each tactic? Provide examples of how they’ve used press releases, commercials, interviews, town hall meetings, social media, etc.

2. Describe the roles that the Internet and social media are playing in debate on the issue you selected. What about the “traditional” media (newspapers, news magazines, broadcast TV news networks, cable news and radio)?

This is not meant to be a discussion of who is “right” or “wrong” on these issues. Your objective here is to learn about the complex relationship that the media and government have in the development of public policy — how political communication has worked in the past and how the internet and social media are changing it today. Apply your media literacy skills to understanding the media forces behind our semiotic democracy.

Please post your initial response to this prompt by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday; respond to the initial posts of at least two other students by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.

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