MEDIATING THE MESSAGE
Theories of Influences on Mass Media Content
Studying Influences on Media Content
This is a book about media content and the influences that shape it. Our perspective is different from that commonly taken in books about mass communication research, which tend to use
media content as a starting point. Such studies typically ask: By what process is the message received and understood by the audience? What effects do the media have on the audience? Instead of taking media content as a given, we ask: What factors inside and outside media organizations affect media content?
The fact that we ask this question reveals that we do not assume that mass media content reflects an objective reality. It does not mirror the world around us. Rather, media content is shaped by a variety of factors that result in different versions of reality. Consider the following eight examples:
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