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National Press Corps Director: Sam Zeidman - Institute for Domestic ...

National Press Corps Director: Sam Zeidman - Institute for Domestic ...

R u t g e r s Mo d e l C

R u t g e r s Mo d e l C o n g r e s s 11 To explain this further, there are two primary factors that influence the degree to which the audience will depend on the media for information. The first level deals with the fact, for the most part, people will depend more on the type of media that will fulfill more of their needs and wants than just a few. Secondly, the audience’s dependency relies heavily on the social culture and stability at that particular time period. For example, when social change and conflict are high, established institutions and beliefs are challenged, thus increasing the dependence on the news media. However, when there is little social change and conflict, the dependence and reliance will decrease significantly. 30 This dependency theory is demonstrated through the graphical representation below. As it can be seen, there are four steps in how this process works. At each step, if one of the criteria is found to be true, then it will eventually lead to a significant dependence on the media, which from the viewpoint of news organizations such as CNN and BBC, is the goal that they are striving to achieve. 31 Figure 4: Theory of Media Dependence 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid.

R u t g e r s Mo d e l C o n g r e s s 12 Political Communication Political communication is a term that has been difficult to concisely define; yet, it is still a very important concept with regard to the influence of the media on foreign and domestic policies. While there are many definitions and perspectives of this theory, the one that most closely relates to the media was offered by Robert Denton and Gary Woodward, two well-known experts in the field. According to their research, political communication is defined as the “pure discussion about the allocation of public resources (revenues), official authority (who is given the power to make legal, legislative and executive decisions), and official sanctions (what the state rewards or punishes).” 32 Simply put, political communication is the purposeful communication about politics, which includes all forms of communication undertaken by politicians and other political actors, for the purpose of achieving certain objectives; communication addressed to these political actors by non-politicians such as voters; and communication about these actors and their activities, for instance through news reports, editorials, and other forms of discussion of politics. 33 In order for any type of communication to take place, there must be some sort of political actor present. To this point, there are three groups which have an extremely influential role in this type of communication: political organizations, which include political parties, terrorist organizations, public organizations, pressure groups, and governments; the media; and finally the audience or citizens. 34 Foreign Policy Over the past few decades, the relationship between mass media and the process by which foreign policy is made has become very significant, in the sense that news media have much more access to individuals than ever before. 35 There are several reasons and functions as to why early scholars such as Douglass and Bomer believed that 32 McNair, Brain, “An Introduction to Political Communication: Third Edition,” 3. 33 Ibid. 4. 34 Ibid. 5,6. 35 “The Role of Mass Media in the U.S. Foreign Policy Making Process,”>, Date Accessed: 20 December 2004

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