memetics and models of media effects

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed 06 Aug 2003 - 12:53:03 GMT

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    Hi Everyone,

    Thinking out loud here about a possible paper I may write on the relationship between memetics and some major models of media effects- and just after any initial thoughts, comments, critiques.

    Long serving list members will know about my general antipathy to the media effects lobby, but certainly if memes exist and are transmitted between people then the media are possible routes through which memetic transmission may occur.

    If so, how do memes travel through media, and what might differentiate memes from other pieces of information that are transmitted?

    Many media studies models of media effects and media production, for that matter, offer possible frameworks for analysis and understanding this, and I think it wold be useful for memetics scholars to be aware of them, including:

    News Values- theories of news values explore why some things become news and others don't, and then why some things become huuge stories and other similar things don't, in terms of the apparent constituent elements of news stories (e.g. the model of Galtung & Ruge).

    Gatekeeping- related to theories of news values are models outlining the flow of news in the newsroom, and the decision-making process within a news organisation.

    Agenda-setting- this model argues that the media are successful in telling audiences what to think about, by the media's tendency to highlight some issues/events over others (e.g because the media cover issue a extensively and issue b hardly ever, people will be thinking more about a than b).

    Framing- going further than agenda-setting, but in the same mould, framing models suggest that the way in which the media frame an event or issue influences public perceptions about that event or issue (e.g. because the British media virtually never reported the conflict in Northern Ireland as a war, people generally didn't perceive it as a war- that's the theory anyway).


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