Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Inter-Media Interaction and Effects in an Integrated Model of Political Communication: India 2014

Academic journal article Global Media Journal

Inter-Media Interaction and Effects in an Integrated Model of Political Communication: India 2014

Article excerpt

Introduction

Given the bulk of academic attention accorded to the online social media these times, just an inconsequential aggregate of research works explores their relationship with the traditional mass media. Interaction between the mass media and social media and the influence that they exert on each other remain highly unexplored areas of communication research, as very few comparative studies correlate them. As the online social media converges on the mass communication sphere, it becomes imperative to study how they act in tandem and affect mass opinions, perceptions and actions; more so, when the motif is political. We take the case of the 2014 Indian parliamentary elections, to investigate inter-media interactions and their combined effect on mass perceptions.

It has been customary to view the masses as mere audience in traditional media research. But, thanks to the Internet-based broadcasting technologies and the widespread adoption of the online social media, that good-old view has changed. Now, the common man can create simple messages and broadcast it to the world with ease. In a way, the online social media is a hybrid of the traditional media and the audience - where content is created by the people, broadcasted and also consumed by the people. Hitherto, the broadcasting power was restricted to the traditional mass media and the commoners had little avenues to reach the masses with relative ease. That's why we see traditional mass media and the online social media as two distinct entities-segregated by the source of content. We view social media as a virtual public communication sphere-an extension of public interaction but with broader reach aided by technology. Though an individual broadcaster on the social media may not have an audience reach as wide as that of traditional mass media, the messages have the tendency to spread, amplifying their own effect. When the traditional mass media and online social media are two different entities, some sort of direct interaction can be observed between them that is, media messages are directly posted on the online social media in the form of news tweets/links, while some journalists indulge in social media and take a cue from social media data and analysis. While this could be termed direct effect, there could also be indirect effect passed on to one another by the people who use and connect with different types of communication media. For example, when some news has an effect on the people, that effect could also be felt in the online social media. We hypothesize that increased interaction between these communication channels should create an integrated media environment, where each communication channel could influence others in the communication network. This happens more when people are exposed to and actively use diverse communication media. In the present study, we create a communication model with a segment of traditional mass media and online social media platforms and analyse their interactions and effects on the masses. We choose the 2014 Indian parliamentary elections, to study inter-media interactions, as it could be a period of heightened mass communication.

In a connected world, as it is today, it is essentially difficult for information and communication technologies to stand alone, survive and surge. Old media are not outdated but updated. For example, newspapers start online editions, draw ideas from and publish social media content. New communication technologies interact with the old and each other. More often than not, they would rather collaborate and complement instead of competing with one another. For example, social media circulate links to newspaper articles. Hong (2012) showed that newspapers' adoption of social media marked an increase in online readership. Social media is becoming a part of journalists' work routines, and are used to break news, keep tabs on beats, spread the news (Messner, et al., 2011) and communicate with sources and readers (Moritz, 2012). …

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