Ad Agency Structure

Ad Agency Structure is about the structures of business and the development of ads within an advertising agency. Many ad agencies divide the labor of creating an advertisement into four main parts: account planning, creative development, media coordination, and account management (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2017, p. 360). There are also two main types ofContinue reading “Ad Agency Structure”

Agenda Setting

Agenda Setting Theory is a media effects theory that explains how media affects the emphasis viewers place on certain topics happening in society. The ‘catch-phrase’ associated with this theory is that the media does not tell us what to think, it tells us what to think about. Bernard Cohen actually stated this is 1963 referringContinue reading “Agenda Setting”

Anthology Dramas

Anthology Drama is a term that is often associated with modern television programming that is running over multiple seasons (Campbell, Martin, Fabos, 2017). While the overall genera of these programs may differ from show to show, the overall principle that ties these dramas together is the sense of drama and tension, and multiple season runContinue reading “Anthology Dramas”

Association Principle

The association principle is a type of advertising technique that “associates a product with a positive cultural value or image” (Campbell, 2017). This persuasive technique is used even if the association has little to no connection to the actual product. The association principle attempts to convince consumers that there is an innate relationship between aContinue reading “Association Principle”

Affect and Glamour

Thrift’s Construction of Glamour in Practice In Nigel Thrift’s work “Understanding the Material Practices of Glamour” he defines glamour as a particular form of the technology of allure (Thrift, 2010). Thrift draws on concepts from Gabriel Tarde’s understanding of economies, and how they must be engaging, produce value and various mechanisms of fascination (Thrift, 2010).Continue reading “Affect and Glamour”

Avatars (Video Games)

Video game avatars are created by users on various platforms to represent themselves when gaming, either serious or not serious. By definition, an avatar is a “personalized graphical illustration that represents a computer user, or a character or alter ego that represents that user. An avatar can be represented either in three-dimensional form (for example,Continue reading “Avatars (Video Games)”

Birmingham School

The Birmingham School, better known as the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, was a research center at the University of Birmingham. Founded by Richard Hoggart in 1964, the school played a major role in the development of cultural studies not only in Britain, but across the globe. Cultural studies can be defined as the studyContinue reading “Birmingham School”

Cantril’s Psychology of Panic

In Hadley Cantril’s book The Invasion from Mars: A Study in the Psychology of Panic he examines the effects of the CBS War of the Worlds broadcast. His work used direct but inaccurate examples to analyze the after effects of the broadcast. After the broadcast he analyzed responses from interviewees to conclude that the realityContinue reading “Cantril’s Psychology of Panic”

Black Feminist Thought

Feminist media theory focuses on gender as a crucial instrument in creating and maintaining both symbolic and material worlds along with the experiences people have in them (Laughey, 2007). Black feminist studies falls under feminist media theory, where scholars investigate the roles of both gender and race as tools that shape our world. Black feminismContinue reading “Black Feminist Thought”

Chicago School

The first American academic institution to open a sociology department was the University of Chicago. The university itself was established in 1892, during the progressive Era.  Robert E. Park was a very influential figure in the Chicago school, providing it with new perspectives and urban themes.  Other key players were Ernest W. Burgess and Louis Wirth,Continue reading “Chicago School”

Citizen Journalism

Citizen Journalism is a grassroots movement in which average citizens, rather than trained/professional journalists, use the internet to relay information and stories. The term “citizen journalism” was created in the year 2000, according to the Salem Press Encyclopedia (Kivak 2016). This form of broadcasting became more popular as people felt a lot of important newsContinue reading “Citizen Journalism”

Collective Intelligence & Modding

Collective Intelligence in the realm of video games have been around since the industry’s formation. Collective Intelligence is the collaboration of gamers and fans of video games working together to share a variety of resources that enhance the experience of gaming. This includes but is not limited to strategy guides, walkthroughs, cheat codes, secrets andContinue reading “Collective Intelligence & Modding”

Communications Act of 1934

The Communications Act of 1934 was passed on June 19, 1934, during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The means of this Act was for the Government to regulate telephone, telegraph, radio and other broadcasting forms for the public. Through this Act, the United States Government demanded that those licensed to broadcast do so withContinue reading “Communications Act of 1934”

Conflict-Orientated Journalism

Conflict oriented journalism is a term that exists through the continuous evolution of newspapers. Conflict oriented journalism is one of 8 approaches to journalism used in today’s newspapers. It is more of a modern journalistic approach that is more commonly used in today’s newspapers. This type of journalism is defined as front-page news that isContinue reading “Conflict-Orientated Journalism”

Consensus-Orientated Journalism

Consensus oriented journalism is generally found in smaller local newspapers. This particular type of journalism in usually found in small communities, newspapers that promote social and economic harmony by providing community calendars, and meeting notices (Campbell 2017, Martin 2017, Forbes 2017). Also, some of these articles talk about local schools, social events, town government, propertyContinue reading “Consensus-Orientated Journalism”

Critical Race Media Studies

Critical race media studies is defined as the interventionist research frame, with methodological variability, that examines the intersections of culture, race, law, and power in the media. The creation of Critical Race Media Studies comes from the combination of Critical Race Theory and Media Studies. Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a critical examination of societyContinue reading “Critical Race Media Studies”

Cult Media

Cult media is a term that exists through the continuous evolution of its own definition. Although there exists no one fixed definition of cult media, several influential scholars have defined sets of criteria that function as a working definition of cult, which include the overlapping categories of audiences (Jenkins 1992, Janvocivh 2002), knowledge/trivia (Hills 2003,Continue reading “Cult Media”

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies is an academic discipline stemming from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. Cultural Studies has its roots in post-World War II Britain, beginning with the Centre’s formation in 1963 (Murphy, 1992).  Under a definition provided by the Center itself in early literature, Cultural Studies can be defined as “an interdisciplinary field which dealsContinue reading “Cultural Studies”

Cultural Theory

Culture theory is a concept created and published by Marxist theorist Raymond Williams. Williams published this theory in 1961 in his piece “The Long Revolution.” Williams’ culture theory was inspired by his curiosity in how the structure of feelings and culture/lifestyles changed from generation to generation in Britain. Williams determined that it would be impossibleContinue reading “Cultural Theory”

Culture Industries

In 1944, Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer published their article, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” This article introduced the world to the theory of culture industries from the Frankfurt School. Adorno and Horkheimer developed this theory from living in Nazi Germany, where they witnessed people unthinkingly conform to whatever roles the government prescribed.Continue reading “Culture Industries”

Digital Blackface

Digital blackface is a term that describes types of minstrel performances in which individuals embody blackness through GIFs and memes available, and enabled, through the anonymity of the internet.  Reaction GIFs and memes rely on excessive expressions of emotion which are associated with stereotypical displays of blackness. Minstrel performances date back to the early 19thContinue reading “Digital Blackface”

Data Colonialism and the Information Society

Data colonialism is altering society through the generation and collection of personal data.  Surfacing at the start of the twenty-first century, large technology corporations including Google and Facebook represent data colonialism. The aspects of a data-driven society common within data colonialism provide grounds for the establishment of the information society theory. Comprised of both restrictedContinue reading “Data Colonialism and the Information Society”

The Decatur Study and Personal Influence

Conducted in 1950 by scholars Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfield, the Decatur Study surveyed hundreds of women with hopes in discovering the main influencers on their decision-making. Katz and Lazarsfield published the results in 1955 in their work, Personal Influence. The study concluded that face to face exchanges are more influential than mediated interactions inContinue reading “The Decatur Study and Personal Influence”

Digitized Public Sphere

The digitized public sphere has had an impact on Middle Eastern countries, in fact it was one of the causes of the Arab Spring.  The Arab Spring uprising was started by people coming together online on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.  Facebook in particular was critical to the uprising in Tunisia because citizensContinue reading “Digitized Public Sphere”


The encoding/decoding model of communication is a system that describes how media messages are produced, circulated, and consumed by people in society. The model was developed by Stuart Hall, a cultural studies scholar and theorist, in 1973. Hall was an influential member of the Birmingham School and his creation of encoding and decoding has madeContinue reading “Encoding/Decoding”


Georges Bataille’s book Erotism: Death and Sensuality discusses eroticism in comparison to death, both as ways to escape discontinuity between beings. He addresses social structure through eroticism, death, and taboo. Bataille draws on the differences that are established between social hierarchies to support his notion that we are discontinuous beings. Discontinuity suggests that everyone isContinue reading “Eroticism”

Feminist Media Studies

Despite the growth and expansion of the feminist movement throughout the twentieth century, Feminist Media Studies did not become a known paradigm until the late 1970s. Feminist Media Studies uses feminist ideals and principles in researching and analyzing media, focusing on stereotypes, socialization, and ideologies of gender. Feminist media arguably began with the start ofContinue reading “Feminist Media Studies”

John Fiske and the Resilience of the Popular Economy

In 1987, John Fiske defined the theory of popular economy to discover how popular culture evolves from those who would consume the products of mass culture.  His theory can be found in the final chapter of his book Television Culture that deals with the medium of television (Fiske, 2011/1987). The popular economy theory describes aContinue reading “John Fiske and the Resilience of the Popular Economy”

Frankfurt School

The Frankfurt School is unique in comparison to other communication and media studies schools in that it is the result of a culmination of many different subject materials and areas of study. Ultimately, the Frankfurt School approach is the combination of such subjects as social and critical theory, philosophy, economics, psychoanalysis, and Marxism (McLaughlin 1999).Continue reading “Frankfurt School”


The GamerGate controversy was a misogynistic firestorm concerning sexism in gaming culture that began in 2014 (Campbell 2017, Martin 2017, Fabos 2017) when computer programmer Eron Gjoni claimed that his ex-girlfriend, game designer Zoe Quinn, cheated on him with a writer at Kotaku, a well-known gamers’ website (Campbell 2017, Martin 2017, Fabos 2017). Hundreds ofContinue reading “GamerGate”

Gender Trouble

The lines between the perceived genders of male and female get blurred every day. This is how gender trouble is created. Judith Butler’s idea of gender trouble is that gender is not natural. Instead, gender is performative and when it is performed out of bounds this creates gender trouble (Butler, 1990). Media is a placeContinue reading “Gender Trouble”

Golden Age of Hollywood

The Golden Age of Hollywood began roughly in 1915 in Hollywood California, and lasted until its eventual decline during the post-World War II era. During this time Hollywood and the films, it produced underwent a drastic evolution which resulted in the development of a “Hollywood style”, technological innovation, fame for actors and actresses, and filmContinue reading “Golden Age of Hollywood”

Harold Laswell

Harold Dwight Lasswell Was born on February 13, 1902 and died December 18, 1978. Over the course of his life “he authored more than 30 books and 250 scholarly articles” (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica) and made major contributions to disciplines such as Political Science, Legal Education, and Communications. Following his undergraduate studies in philosophyContinue reading “Harold Laswell”


During the second wave in the 1970s, feminists closed in on what could possibly be the source of women’s oppression (Ingraham, 2017). Chrys Ingraham elaborated on the theory feminists proposed during this time to what is the central fountainhead of women’s oppression :heteronormativity. Ingraham summarizes what most feminists during this time period understood heteronormativity. SheContinue reading “Heteronormativity”

Hyperreality and Simulacra

Hyperreality and simulacra are some of the most perplexing and sometimes ludicrous theories in the postmodernity area of media studies. Although when correctly understood, they can reveal a new dimension of postmodernity in which the very structure and creation of reality it critically dissected. Power and control are the underlying concerns of theorists in thisContinue reading “Hyperreality and Simulacra”

Hypodermic Needle Theory

The earliest definition of Hypodermic Needle Theory (HNT) comes from journalist Walter Lippmann’s book Public Opinion, saying that the growth of mass media culture has powerful effects on the minds and behavior of people (Lippmann, 1922). Although there was no actual evidence to back up his argument, his claim is the earliest version of HNTContinue reading “Hypodermic Needle Theory”

Information Society

In the information society the media is the central holder of information that comes in many different forms like films, television, radio, and print. It is a society in which every aspect of information such as its “creation, distribution, access and use” (Karvalics, 2007, p. 10) are the height of economic and cultural activity. InContinue reading “Information Society”

Interpretative Journalism

The idea of interpretive journalism is going beyond the typical fact-based, objective journalism and covering the more opinion based, larger background illustrations of journalism (Salgado & Strömbäck, 2011). There is more of an emphasis on the motives and significance of an event, stated by Salgado and Strömbäck (2011), rather than truth or empirical information ofContinue reading “Interpretative Journalism”


Intersectionality can be defined as a way to bridge that gap between two or more identity positions. The article “On Black Feminist Thought: Thinking Oppression and Resistance Through Intersectional Paradigm” states: “A significant aspect of critical studies of intersectionality is their relation to power and stratification. What distinguishes black feminist thought is that it isContinue reading “Intersectionality”

Lasswell’s Chain of Communication

Theorist Harold Lasswell created the chain of communication theory in 1948. This theory analyzes the way people communicate. Lasswell’s chain of communication was considered a “pioneering theoretical model of media effects” (Laughey, 2007, p.08). Lasswell focused on the five different types of analysis: control, content, media, audience, and effect (Laughey, 2007, p.09). These analyses haveContinue reading “Lasswell’s Chain of Communication”

The Male Gaze

Laura Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze is based on Freudian constructions of the psyche. Sigmund Freud was a psychologist who developed the practice of psychoanalysis which examines the conscious and unconscious areas of the mind. Mulvey uses psychoanalysis to highlight the patriarchal structure of women in films. A Freudian concept that is present throughoutContinue reading “The Male Gaze”


George Ritzer created his theory of McDonaldization in 1993. Ritzer was able to do this by analyzing the economic practices that McDonalds employs. Ritzer claims that these practices have a huge impact on the structure of global corporations as well as everyday life (Ritzer, 2013). Ritzer was able to utilize many past theorists because hisContinue reading “McDonaldization”

Marxist Exploitation Theory and Racial Inequality

Marxist exploitation theory is one which seeks to explain how people are mistreated within the production process and how workplace inequalities come to exist (Dymski, 1997). Ultimately, the goal of the theory is to not only point out the injustices which are taking place, but to also offer possible solutions for societal change. It claimsContinue reading “Marxist Exploitation Theory and Racial Inequality”

Mean World Syndrome

The term ‘mean world syndrome’ was created by George Gerbner who was a well-known journalist researching television content and the works of cultivation theory. George Gerbner was born in Hungary on August 8th, 1919 and moved to America when he was older to begin his college studies at University of California, Los Angeles. He thenContinue reading “Mean World Syndrome”

Media Oligopolies

The term oligopoly, according to Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin, and Bettina Farbos in Media and Culture: Mass Communications in a Digital Age, refers to “an organizational structure” in the economic systems of the media, in which “a few firms control most of an industry’s production and distribution resources” (221). This system of complete dominationContinue reading “Media Oligopolies”

Myth Analysis

Myth analysis is one of the most important methods that can be implemented when analyzing advertisements and marketing campaigns. This is not, however, referring mythology and folklore—at least not in most cases.  Rather, myth analysis refers to “a strategy for critiquing advertising that provides insights into how ads work on a cultural level; according toContinue reading “Myth Analysis”

Software Studies

Software studies is the study of evolution and use of software in media. Software has been evolving constantly throughout recent years. Media has become more and more reliant on technology in order to distribute itself to the masses much more efficiently. Using technology, media can appear anywhere in an instance using media like social mediaContinue reading “Software Studies”


Meritocracy has several definitions, one being “a system structured around advancement of people who are selected on the basis of individual achievement” (Littler, 2018, p. 24). The ideal meritocracy is one where leaders are determined based on the successes they achieved through hard work and perseverance. Although meritocracy has histories all around the world, itsContinue reading “Meritocracy”


According to the book Media and Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication by Campbell, Martin and Fabos (2013), “nickelodeons are a form of movie theater whose name combines the admission price with the Greek word for theater” (p.192). The first nickelodeon was introduced in 1905 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania by Harry Davis and pioneered in AmericaContinue reading “Nickelodeons”

Nielsen Media Research

Nielson has been the major organization that tracks and rates prime-time viewing audiences since 1950. They estimate what viewers are watching in the nation’s major markets. Nielsen main goal is to “provide advertisers, broadcast networks, local stations, and cable channels with considerable details about viewers-from race and gender to age, occupation, and educational background (CampbellContinue reading “Nielsen Media Research”

Online Advertising

Prior to the internet, marketing had many physical obstacles, ranging from time zone differences to currency exchange rates. Today, the physical store has evolved into a virtual marketplace where sellers and buyers can do business all without ever leaving their home. The advent of web business also brought on web advertising. Online Advertising, also knownContinue reading “Online Advertising”

Patent Medicine Advertising

Patent medical advertising, also known as patent medicine advertising, or simply patent medicine, is a type of advertising that uses bright images and often false slogans to convince people to buy a product. The staple of patent medical advertising is over-the-top, colorful ads filled with unverified claims of remedy.  Manufacturers could put things such asContinue reading “Patent Medicine Advertising”

Trans Visibility

Transgender media studies are an avenue of study that focuses on the visibility, representation, and culture surrounding the transgender community. Central to the issues and theory surrounding the construction of the transgender identity are the ideas of taboo and the ideas of concealing one’s identity as opposed to visibility of one’s identity. The theory ofContinue reading “Trans Visibility”

Political Economy of Communication and Media

Political economy examines how power and economics are related, and how they influence mass media, social, political, and economic structuration. The tradition of political economy developed alongside the great capitalist revolution in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In reaction to the social and commercial transformation created by capitalism early political economists looked toContinue reading “Political Economy of Communication and Media”


Postfeminism acts as an antidote to feminism and believes in “the active disavowal of feminism as a necessary politics” (Banet-Weiser, 2018, 153). Feminism is a movement that endorses the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Feminism and the fight for gender equality have been around since first-wave feminism began in the late 19thContinue reading “Postfeminism”

Postmodern Feminism

Postmodern feminism explores the idea of gendered writing and rejects those concepts. Postmodern feminism can be broken down into postmodernity and feminist theory. Postmodernity traditionally refers to the social, political, technological, and economic changes that have led to a globalization and mass culture (Laughey, 2007). Feminism studies refers to the diverse ideologies and understanding ofContinue reading “Postmodern Feminism”

Primary Advertising Strategies

Advertisements come in many different shapes and sizes including, classified ads, business-to-business ads, and conspicuous ads which point to specific “advertisements that shape product images and brand-name identities” (Campbell, Maritn, & Fabos, 2017: 353).  Vaughn (1979: 27) described advertising as an impersonal, one-way exchange experience.  To make up for this, advertisements make greater use ofContinue reading “Primary Advertising Strategies”

Process School of Communication

In communication and media studies, models of communication guide processes of human interaction. In order to study communications, it is necessary to examine the use of models (Carey, 1982). The process school is a model of communication that is mainly concerned with the efficiency and accuracy of the transmission of messages. A message is definedContinue reading “Process School of Communication”

Product Placement

Product Placement is defined as the advertising practice of strategically placing products in movies, TV shows, comic books, and video games so that the products appear as part of a story’s set environment (Campbell, Martin, Fabos, 2017). It is used by marketing departments in companies to pair a certain product with a form of mediaContinue reading “Product Placement”

Production Studies

Production studies is a term that developed during the rediscovery of the mass communication. In the 1970s, some social and political scholars focused on the mass communicator and their organization and industries. In the decades since this era of rediscovery, substantial research effort has been devoted to understanding how professional mass communicators, their organizations, andContinue reading “Production Studies”

Queer Media Studies

Queer media studies are the lens of queer principles and politics to researching media texts, processes, industries, and sociocultural constructions. It is methodologically and theoretically diverse. Specific psychological, political, and cultural codes have elevated heterosexuality to the status of a sexual “given”. Those codes include the fact that initially heterosexuality was used to describe behaviorsContinue reading “Queer Media Studies”

Queer Social Theory

What, exactly, is “queerness?” The term is used in reference to sex, gender, sexuality, and more, but to which of these does it actually apply? Further, what does “queer” oppose? Other terms we generally think of as being related have a seemingly direct antonym. Terms like “gay” or “homosexual” oppose “straight” and “heterosexual,” respectively, butContinue reading “Queer Social Theory”

Radio Act of 1927

The Radio Act of 1927, which began as the Dill White Bill, was passed on February 18, 1927 and signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge on February 23, 1927. It is Public Law Number 632 by the 69th Congress. The law constructed the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), which was charged with regulating radio. InContinue reading “Radio Act of 1927”

The Repressive Hypothesis

A frequent topic of evasion is sex, simply because it is considered too taboo to talk about in everyday conversation.  The rare time sex is freely mentioned is in the media, where it is frequently assigned a negative connotation.  However,  it is never thoroughly explained in the media and mostly just thrown into the mixContinue reading “The Repressive Hypothesis”

Ritual View of Communication

Ritual view of communication, while typically thought of as “archaic,” is a way of communicating and analyzing various aspects of communication through a sacred, religious way. It essentially derives from a view of religion that incorporates sermons and highlights the role of prayer in the construction of certain media (Carey, 2009: 15). Ritual views referContinue reading “Ritual View of Communication”

Selective Perception Theory

Selective perception theory, also known as selective exposure, is the theory that an audience’s interpretation of media is dependent on their personal beliefs. The public willingly chooses to consume media that aligns with their principals. If they consume media that does not reflect their ideas, the audience will view and construe the medium’s content inContinue reading “Selective Perception Theory”

Semiotic School of Communication

The Semiotic School of Communication is a term coined by John Fiske in his book Introduction to Communication Studies. According to Fiske, their are two ways of studying communication, one being the process school and the other being the semiotic school. The process school, in short, is centered on the transmission of messages and understandingContinue reading “Semiotic School of Communication”

Sketch Comedy (TV)

Sketch comedies also known as short comedy skits originated from variety shows which consisted of singing, dancing, and many other forms of entertainment (Campbell, Martin, & Fabos, 2017). Sketch comedies are often played in front of a live studio audience and although they are scripted there are elements of improv in their segments as wellContinue reading “Sketch Comedy (TV)”

Social Media Advertising

Social media is a term for different online websites that may offer space for a wide variety of social actions allows users to create a personal profile and connect with others to share posts, images, and videos (Mercadal 2013). When companies utilize social media websites to advertise products they are implementing the use of socialContinue reading “Social Media Advertising”

Technological Determinism

Technological determinism is a reductionist theory that claims that technology shapes society. According to this theory, technology inevitably enhances on a traceable path that can be followed and correlated with the enhancement of society. Determinism refers to a relationship between two things that involves a “predetermined result” (Papageorgiou, T.) Technology is defined as the useContinue reading “Technological Determinism”

Telecommunications Act of 1996

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is a federal law of the United States of America that governs the communications industries of telephone, internet, radio, television, and cable. (Econmides 1988) History of the Act Before the Telecommunications Act of 1996, there was a law known as the 1934 Communications Act, which governed telephone and television. (EconmidesContinue reading “Telecommunications Act of 1996”

Textual Analysis

Textual analysis is a method in cultural and media studies that critically examines and interprets the meanings of culture through texts (Campbell, R., Martin, C. R., & Fabos, B. 2017). Texts can be defined as any “unit of meaning for interpretation and understanding” (Ouellette & Gray, 2017), though cultural studies views texts broadly as anythingContinue reading “Textual Analysis”

Two-Step Flow of Communication

The Two-Step flow of communication was originally derived by Lazersfield and a group of sociologist in 1944 (Katz, 1957). Eleven years later Katz adapted the model (Katz, 1957). The original hypothesis of the Two-Step Flow of communication, described a verbal flow of communication. In which mass media flows to opinion leaders and then audience (opinionContinue reading “Two-Step Flow of Communication”