What is wrong with the ‘media effects’ model?

What is wrong with the 'media effects' model?

What is wrong with the ‘media effects’ model? Where do I start? This week’s reading for BCM110 was an article called “Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’” (Gauntlett, 1998) from the book Approaches to Audience – A Reader. This article laid the effects model completely bare as it listed, explained and gave evidence as to why it is useless. So why is it wrong? There are at least 10 points we could look at to determine that it is wrong but there is one point Gauntlett writes about that I really agree with.

The first thing I agreed with that Gauntlett talked about was how studies involving the effects model were often based on artificial studies. These artificial studies involved being conducted in environments that weren’t typical such as “…a laboratory, or… a classroom…” and often involved a researcher conspicuously turning up to conduct the experiment (Gauntlett, 1998). As if the untypical environment wasn’t bad enough, the whole reason of the experiment is thrown out the window when researchers don’t even use everyday media examples to conduct the experiment, instead they use selected examples that “…lack the narrative meaning inherent in everyday TV productions.” (Gauntlett, 1998) I believe that these inflections in studies really undermine the results produced because they are obtaining information from people based on what they are showing these people and not what the subjects themselves watch in reality. But what really kills this for me is the idea that people are going to not be affected by strangers asking them questions and observing them, of course people are going to react to this, it’s not a typical situation one finds themselves in on a daily basis so they are going to monitor how they themselves act, it is in my opinion, human nature to be conscious of how we present ourselves.

Well that’s all from me this week. Bye for now!

Gauntlett, D., 1998. Ten things wrong with the ‘effects model’. [Online]
Available at: http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm
[Accessed 12 March 2014].


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