Tag Archives: media

Upcoming lecture on psychology of media violence, aggression

Research scientist, author and psychology professor Douglas Gentile will give a lecture titled “It isn’t IS Brain Science: Media Violence as a Risk Factor for Aggression” discussing psychology theory and research that has demonstrated effects of media violence on children, teenagers and adults.

With over 25 years of research and experience with children and adults, he has written numerous articles for scientific journals regarding the problems with the U.S. media ratings system, the ways in which screen time is linked to obesity and Internet “addiction.”

Gentile was named one of the top-300 professors in the United States by the Princeton Review and was presented with the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Media Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association in 2010.

“I’ll be discussing the newest research on media violence (including violent video games) on youth aggression,” Gentile said in an email. Gentile’s lecture will detail the ways in which research and public understanding can go beyond the black and white depiction of violent media as good or bad.

“Unfortunately, when the issue is framed as one of values, (‘are games good or bad?’) we miss the point.  Using a public health risk and resilience framework, however, helps us get beyond this dichotomous thinking and to see the subtleties inherent in the issue,” Gentile said in an email.

Gentile attributes this “dichotomous thinking” to the political status quo, writing that “In the current highly polarized political environment, even scientific studies have gotten drawn into the polarized debate.  This is baffling to me, because the data are what the data are.”

When asked how media violence affects college-age students, “It is a risk factor for developing aggressive scripts, attitudes, beliefs, and ultimately behaviors.  That said, it’s just one risk factor.  It’s not the largest, nor is it the smallest.  It also competes with protective factors, of which college students have many,” Gentile said.

Gentile has co-authored various research articles, including some with Linfield professor of psychology Jennifer Linder.

Their research includes the effects on school performance and aggression levels of adolescents who play video games, the validity of current television ratings, and relational aggression levels of college women.

Additionally, they worked with Linfield undergraduates on research regarding college women’s perceptions of themselves based on retouched pictures.

Linder commented on how Gentile’s PLACE-sponsored event is linked to the program’s theme, “Legacies of War,” and said, “Research on the effects of video game violence informs the military, who use video games to train soldiers.”

She went on to say that “The effects of media violence are some of the most misunderstood concepts by the public.” Linder stressed that efforts such as Gentile’s research are vital in examining the nature of violence and aggression in conflict-resolution, such as war.

They have a “wonderful professional relationship,” Linder said, who began working with him as a graduate student and cites him as the one who inspired her to study media.

“Jennifer is one of my favorite people in the world.  I’ve been working with her since she was a graduate student and I was Director of Research at a non-profit institute studying media’s effects on children.  She is a clear thinker and a fantastic writer,” Gentile said in an email.

Gentile’s talk will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21 in Ice Auditorium

Helen Lee / Photo editor

Helen Lee can be reached at linfieldreviewphotos@gmail.com.

Media creates our social norms

How many times has someone told you that whatever you do isn’t normal?

It happens to a lot of people and for different reasons.

It might be because of the things they do and do not enjoy, but everyone has their concept of normal and are a little threatened by anything that challenges that concept.

Where does the idea of normal come from?

It comes from the TV shows we watch, the books we read and the music we listen to.

Every piece of media put out into the world is a message. Artists knowingly and unknowingly put their beliefs into any work they create. Consumers also conscious and subconsciously pick up these beliefs, slowly creating social norms.

These norms can be about anything from what constitutes boy versus girl toys, to what our concept of beauty is.

Gender norms are a perfect example. Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and countless other shows, was once asked why he kept writing strong female characters.

His response was, “Because you’re still asking me that question.” With that answer, Whedon pointed out one of the things that is wrong with our modern American culture. We are always surprised when a strong female character makes it either to any form of media.

This means there are countless books, movies, plays and other forms of media out there with a weak female protagonist that is influencing modern society, convincing us that femininity is a weakness.

There are many artists like Whedon who are combating this norm, but this could just as easily create a new norm. Not all strong female characters are as well-rounded as Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars or even a majority of the characters in “Orange is the New Black.” Some female characters might as well just become stereotypical macho males with boobs.

It is the little things that consumers have to watch for.

Ke$ha may sexualize men in her music much  like men have sexualized women for generations, but is that really the battle we want on our hands: A fight over which gender can sexualize the other the most?

When we know where we are getting our social norms from, it is much easier to experience any sort of media with at least an ounce of intelligence.

An intelligent consumer doesn’t blindly follow along but questions everything, every character and every character’s action.

An intelligent artist makes sure they realize the messages they are sending and I hope that more and more artists follow in Whedon’s footsteps.

Gilberto Galvez / Features editor

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com.

‘Living legend’ from media world visits Linfield

The role of the news media was distinguished when Maxwell McCombs, scholarly author and speaker, presented at Linfield College on Sept. 24.

“[McCombs is] dubbed a living legend by his peers.” Lisa Weidman said, assistant professor of the mass communications department, introduced McCombs with all of his accomplishments.

McCombs has published 19 books and 169 scholarly publications, all of which that have been translated into 12 different languages that have inspired 500 agenda-setting studies across the world.

McCombs reestablished the agenda-setting theory which reflects the general public’s priorities as equal to those that the media represents the most.

Recently, McCombs has done Twitter studies, using his agenda-setting theory in political trends. Major Newspapers of the world can only fit certain priorities on the daily news reports.

“As a consumer, a mix of messages you encounter of the news coverage in a period of time has in the shift of the agenda,” McCombs said.

“The power of the public wields over media. It is the link to the world outside and the pictures in our head; it is the environment as we think it is.” McCombs said. “The public ratifies the media.”

Primary characteristics to of agenda-setting’s effects are frequency and its effects on awareness of the public, prominence of the public mind and attributes of the agenda reflect in the media.

McCombs discussed how redundancy is effective when it comes to the agenda-setting theory, making competitors easy to track online and archrival companies becoming more similar.

“Journalists are great plagiarists; they look to see what other journalists are doing and do the same thing,” McCombs said.

The transition between online and print media still have similar front pages, McCombs evaluated the young crowd as familiar with Internet and social media.

The baby boomers; however, were still into traditional media such as daily newspaper and television.

Through the overlapping of media outlets, “people can live in gated-information communities,” McCombs said.

Rosa Johnson/Copy editor

Assistant Mass Communications Professor Lisa

Weidman introduces Maxwell McCombs on Sept. 24.

Rosa Johnson/Copy editor

Maxwell McCombs, scholarly author and speaker, discusses the agenda-setting theory with assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Michael Huntsberger, on Sept. 24.

Rosa Johnson can be reached at linfieldreviewcopyed@gmail.com.

Professor shares research findings on media

Joel Ray/Senior photographer
Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, spoke with students and faculty about community media in the 21st century on March 13 in Riley Hall.
Joel Ray/Senior photographer Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, spoke with students and faculty about community media in the 21st century on March 13 in Riley Hall.

Joel Ray/Senior photographer
Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication, spoke with students and faculty about community media in the 21st century on March 13 in Riley Hall.

Media is moving into the future and a Linfield professor has experienced the changes along the way.

Michael Huntsberger, assistant professor of mass communication taught an audience about the three sectors of mass media during  a March 13 lecture in Riley Hall.

Huntsberger was in the communications business long before he was a professor at Linfield College and was able to share firsthand experiences with audience members. His first experience in media was when he started as a freelancer in 1980 in community radio.

After receiving a faculty development grant in fall 2011, Huntsberger began a long term research project studying how community media has changed and evolved to a participatory media in the 21st century.  At the onset of the lecture, Huntsberger explained that the work he has done on the project so far is still in its preliminary stages.

One of the main themes that spread throughout the lecture was how the eight mass media trends have changed and evolved in the 21st century. Over time, these trends have changed to encompass media users more directly. One key change that Huntsberger noted is that users are able to change the flow of news because of technology like the iPhone.

“I decide for me what news is. My definition of news can be completely different from yours,” Huntsberger said.

There are three sectors of mass media: commercial, public service and community. Each of these have certain areas of specialty when it comes to how they broadcast, but as with most media in the 21st century, the lines between the three are starting to blur.

Most of Huntsberger’s research has been in the community media sector. According to Huntsberger, community media is about giving citizens the opportunity to form a connection with each other. A main reason this occurs is because of the core belief that community members volunteer to create their own content.

While Huntsberger is still compiling qualitative data through original case studies, he has been able to draw some initial conclusions about community media.

Through observations and initial research, Huntsberger has found that the service goals of community media strive to provide people with cultural dissemination, language preservation, community development and civic engagement opportunities.

These four opportunities will play a key role in the next stages of his research, especially the preservation of minority languages. He hopes to present his findings in 2014 at a conference in Tokyo.

Various members of the Linfield community noted before and after the lecture that many members of the Department of Mass Communication have given talks this semester.

Senior Nic Miles, a mass communication major, feels he has benefited from being able to learn from the mass communication-based lectures this spring.

“The department is on a roll with lectures. It is refreshing hearing multiple lectures from multiple professors about a topic we study every day,” Miles said.

Julian Adoff/Multimedia editor

Julian Adoff can be reached at linfieldreviewnews@gmail.com.

Tweet proves offensive language still exists in media

After the recent uproar regarding The Onion’s offensive tweet about Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, I am left wondering where the line is drawn in our controversy-driven culture for what is appropriate and inappropriate to say in the media.
I also wonder how these definitions influence our daily speech as products of a consumer society, especially on a college campus, where people of different backgrounds, experiences, prejudices and beliefs all interact. How can we respect our peers while still expressing ourselves?
Offensive and derogatory language is found everywhere in the media today. On any reality TV show, in any rap song and basically everywhere on the Internet, this kind of speech is advertised as a daily part of life. But is this really justified?
And when we as individuals repeat these words and sentiments, are we really agreeing with what is being said? I like to think of myself as a person with morals, but I’ll be the first to admit that my language isn’t always the cleanest. I strongly support women’s rights; however, at times, I’ve caught myself using words historically targeted at suppressing women. In fact, I use them a lot.
But when I say these things, it’s not with the intention of keeping my gender subordinated, or any group for that matter, I’m just mindlessly repeating words
I’ve heard over and over. Does the meaning behind the word change the way it should be interpreted, and if that is the case, how can we determine if a word is meant to incite, or is simply part of our generation’s way of expressing themselves?
One word I do not and will not use is the n-word. While walking around campus, however, even in a place like McMinnville, I hear it used all the time. While I can tell that the people saying it don’t mean it as an insult, does that make it any better?
Does our fundamental understanding of the history of that word mean nothing to us in a culture where we can hear the n-word used over and over in popular music being played on the radio [they do bleep it out, but come on, we all know the lyrics]?
Less than 30 years ago it was completely inappropriate to refer to someone by this word, but as the meaning behind it changed, so has the usage. In 30 years, will we all think it’s acceptable for the media to use the c-word to refer to a female, like in the case of Quvenzhané Wallis?
I’ve heard the argument that a new meaning can take away the insulting quality of a word, but can hundreds of years of oppression and mistreatment be forgotten so easily? Should we forget about this history?
Other words like retarded and gay, which have been changed from their original meaning to become something negative, are also a daily part of our lives. I can’t explain how infuriated it makes me when I hear someone use the word retarded. My cousin has William’s Syndrome, and while I know that usually the people who say “that’s retarded” are not evil, and do not believe my cousin is a lesser human being, it still disgusts me. I have many friends, neighbors and teachers who are homosexual, and the discrimination against them is, on all accounts, unjustified.
When we allow ourselves to repeat offensive language, either out of forgetfulness, altered meaning or simply for shock factor, we have to be responsible for the way others might interpret our meaning. I’m not saying that strong language is not, at times, justified, but if the backlash from The Onion’s tweet shows us anything, it’s that words can still make a huge impact on the people around us.

Olivia Marovich

Olivia Marovich can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com.