Analyze This Class 8

What is the Tree of Cracow?

in the 1750s, in Paris, the government did not allow newspapers.  When people wanted to know what was going on, they went to the Tree of Cracow.  Essentially a tree in Paris’ Palais-Royal gardens, people gathered here to gather knowledge.  It is also noted that the news may or may not have been accurate as foreign diplomats would at times spread rumors there. 

Gathered from:

Blog Essay Class 8

Conjun’s Toward a New World Order proposed a shift in global communication.  Throughout the reading I took a negotiated reading approach.  As Hall describes, this occurs when “the reader partly shares the text’s code and broadly accepts the preferred reading, but sometimes resists and modifies it in a way which reflects their own position, experiences and interests (local and personal conditions may be seen as exceptions to the general rule) – this position involves contradictions”.

For the most part, I did not find much objectionable about the article.  However, one line in particular caught my eye that I immediately debated and had to pause and ponder over for a bit: James Watson’s quote after finding similarities in genetic makeup, “our common ground is far wider than any potential gulf that threatens to separate us”.  I agree our genetic makeup may be similar, but genetics only go so far – as far as health is concerned, genetics offer about a 20% explanation, whereas environment plays a much larger role. Not a major crux of his article, but it certainly stood out.  Additionally, I felt the need to read this article several times in order to truly understand his points.  In rereading the article, I wondered if too many of his examples got in the way of my understanding of the larger picture the initial way through. 

I followed the ping pong example much better than the actual scenario.  For example, in the mass communication example, who is China? Initially I was hung up on media and assumed he was referring to sources such as ABC/BBC and the like.  However, following Hallin and Mancini’s “Western media systems in comparative perspective”, I began to realize Conjun was actually stating that different countries have the power.  In re-reading, I note that he compares developed and developing countries and refers to the marginalization of developing countries several times.  Hallin and Mancini offered a great comparison of 18 different countries.  I was completely unfamiliar with the news systems outside the US and found this interesting.  I continually wondered about other countries, though, and while I appreciated the mention in their closing summary, I would like to know more.  While I understand the liberal model may be seen as ideal, I agree with Hallin and Mancini that the polarized pluralist would better represent most countries, and furthermore their suggestion that new models would actually need to be developed to truly compare. 

I can certainly see where encoding and decoding can play a major role in understanding and receiving the intended message.  I liked Morley’s piece in Chandler’s summary that focused on the importance of both the topic and the context.  I think so much of this is situational and also mood influenced.  As we have discussed, there is no actual reality – each person perceives things based on his own experiences and biases.  These very factors can change within a person as well. 

Within the process of television communication (which could be expanded to media), production and reception are not identical; the message that is sent may not be the same as the message received.  In line with that, Hall wrote that “Reality exists outside language but it is constantly mediated by and through language; and what we can know and say has to be produced in and through discourse”.  He then goes on to say that “there is no intelligible discourse without the operation of a code”.  Going back to Conjun’s essay on international communication, this is both a local and international issue.  Decoding is critical for communication.  In international communication, with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, this is something that needs to be of consideration.   

Jessie King

DQ: Do you think people tend towards a specific interpretive code (dominant, negotiated, oppositional)? Which do you find yourself in most often, and under which circumstances does it differ?

Analyze This Class 7

What is the Gladwell dispute?  Do you agree or disagree and why?

In Small Change Gladwell argues that activism today via social media is not equivalent to that of the 1960 sit ins. While I understand his point that perhaps sharing or liking a page may not require as much physical effort as sitting outside a cafe days on end, the ability for social media to quickly spread a message offers new possibilities.  Additionally, while many people may simply inform themselves about a topic, others will be inspired and seek out ways to make a difference.    In his response to Gladwell, Melber notes that different people are interested in different things.  I think this well sums up the debate – social media protests may work for some, but not others.

What early media system helped establish the democratic US system?

Telegraph or Radio?

Blog Essay Class 7

This week was primarily about the impact of the internet on journalism and media; more specifically, whether the Internet and social media have changed advocacy and/or propaganda efforts.

In comparing today’s media filters to those proposed by Chomsky and Herman, Rampton notes that today media ownership is much different.  Instead of media being controlled by a handful of companies, essentially anyone is able to start a blog or website, as the entry price is quite low.  However, Gladwell notes in his widely read report Small Change, that while it may be easier for people to express themselves, it is actually harder for that expression to have any impact.  This makes sense as with more sources, the audience is more dispersed.   However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that no one can have an impact.  In his note to Gladwell, Cheyfitz writes that “a change in who can publish to the world is a big change in the political landscape — a challenge to the existing order.” We aren’t just hearing or reading what the five Media Giants want us to.  Today we have access to information from a variety of sources – several of which may not be as heavily filtered.

A few other differences in the media include the filters of Flak and Advertising.  In the past flak (negative responses to media) were a deterrent to media output.  However, as Rampton writes, today, it is often a way to draw in viewers and can lead to an increase in popularity.  Additionally, while advertising has always been a bit of a nuisance, the increased use on blogs and internet sites has led some major sites such as Wikipedia to go without advertising revenue.

I think internet has certainly changed our social interactions, even on a societal level.  I was largely unfamiliar with the role media had in President Obama’s election, prior to reading Castells’ account (in Media and Society, 2010).  Castells noted seven factors, including viral video campaigns and partnering with the co-founder of Facebook, which were distinctly a different approach to garnering votes.  Thinking back, I do recall numerous Facebook advertisements.  He had a specific target audience and he adjusted his strategies in order to get the information to them.

Rampton writes that information in US media distorts reality.  I found this particularly true in his description of the reporting that occurred regarding the Iraq War.  Not only did the media not actively provide information, but they also actively ignored third party accounts, such as that of the research done by Johns Hopkins.  While a few weeks ago we discussed how reality TV can distort our perceptions about how Americans act (wild and crazy is how it’s often portrayed), this is a much more important and serious example of how the media can influence how we think and see the world.

The final thing I’d like to touch on is the use of social media for activism.  There was a bit of back and forth within the readings this week about whether social media increases our ability to advocate a cause.  As Gladwell wrote, “liking” a Facebook page about Darfur is nowhere equivalent to the sit-ins that occurred in the 1960s.  In today’s society we are comfortable with just being informed about a situation – no real action is necessary.  In Shirky’s response to Gladwell, he noted the use of social media tools (texting, email, photo sharing, social networking, etc.) does not have a single outcome.  Both positive and negative outcomes are possible, and likely.  Interestingly, there was recently an iMarch on immigration.  Regarding the non-exclusivity of the march, one of the organizers commented “It’s 2013 and the way we communicate is broader and different than it was a generation ago, and we want to be able to maximize all the ways we can to push Congress.”  In conjunction with using the hashtag iMarch, this was the largest political thunderclap yet, reaching over 45 million users.  This is a prime example of how social media can be used in politics.  As is noted within the article as well as some of the readings, this is new territory, and it will be interesting to see what impact it can truly have.

Analyze This Class 6

1. Summarize article on advertising

“Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture” by Stuart Ewen began with a historical overview of mass production and how this led to the creation of mass advertising.  With an overabundance of goods came a need to sell.  Enter advertising.  This is when the need for encouragement of people to purchase began.  Ewen discusses various advertising strategies and closes with this idea of self-consciousness as the primary reason for purchasing.  When people are unhappy and looking for something to fill this, they are more likely to buy something.  So for advertisers, making the product link to this will be more profitable.  

2. Key points of Schiller video

Dr. Schiller, an economist who studied communication, brought interesting viewpoints to the discussion of media, particularly regarding the decision making behind what is produced and why. 

Blog Essay 6

Perhaps it’s the layover from Memorial Day and the act of getting back into the groove of mass communication and society readings, but I felt like this week was a bit more difficult to find a common thread aside from the media influence theme I seem to be getting throughout this course. 

Several of the readings and links pointed to the controlled and deliberate messaging behind media.  As Media Giants displayed, a handful of companies control nearly everything; this is quite frightening and certainly points to the necessity of sites like Churnalism. 

Dr. Schiller’s text excerpts on how media information is controlled and influenced was a particular piece on this.  I found several of his myths to be particularly thought provoking.  The myth of media pluralism, particularly the statement that if there are no options, but the person believes there to be, this is manipulation.  I wonder how often we believe we have a choice, when reality we are simply doing what is expected of us.  I have spent the last week training to lead a group of teenagers around Belize for three weeks later this summer.  Several times we were reminded to present “options” to students in order to give them a sense of control in the decision making process, when in reality we will be making the decisions for them.  I imagine this happens quite often in life, and I am a bit embarrassed I never before considered this a media tactic.  

As someone interested in media advertising, I was initially drawn to the captains of consciousness article.  I found the captains consciousness article interesting in its conclusion that the worth of a product does not determine whether people purchase, but instead the self-consciousness of the consumer.  This had me thinking a bit.  I have been looking into the Dove campaigns quite a bit, and I wonder if this isn’t what Unilever (Dove’s parent company) has in mind with these campaigns.  Perhaps the idea is that these campaigns lead women to be dissatisfied and this leads to profit for Dove. 

Not only is advertising manipulated and controlled but (of course!) production itself is.  Shifting circles by Susan Keith presented an alternative view to Shoemaker and Reese’s hierarchy of influences on media content.  I was a bit surprised by Keith’s statement that web production isn’t standardized.  I admittedly have no experience with print or web based (or any other, really) media production, but I guess I had always assumed Web media was produced in a similar manner to that of news – except it was electronic.  However, I do suppose that bloggers the immediacy of access has made this a different landscape.  I understand Keith’s proposal for shifting and believe it to be valid.  However, I wonder about our technologically advancing society and if any theory can adapt quick enough to accurately represent the changes that are even still occurring.   

Discussion Questions:

To what extent do you believe we are given valid choices, compared to meaningless options?

To what extent do you agree with the proposal that purchases are more due to self-consciousness than actual value?

Annotated Bibliography

Can a media campaign contribute to long term increases in self-esteem/self-concept/self-worth? There is a correlation between negative body image and deleterious health behaviors among American females, whether through diet, exercise, eating disorders or other such behaviors.

The negative influence of media message on girls’ body image has been well documented within the literature.  While this relationship has been noted, can the media positively contribute to body image?


Aagerup, U. (2011). The influence of real women in advertising on mass market fashion brand perception.  Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 15(4), 486-502.

The author looks at the effect of model weight on consumerism from a fashion perspective.  A thorough discussion on how fashion advertises to ideal customers using representative models is included, as well as a discussion of potential health implications, particularly the body-focused anxiety of women. Noting that consumers look for congruence between own personalities and brand, the author assesses whether there will be a difference between BMI of respondents and perceived brand status.  640 female undergraduate students completed questionnaires regarding consumer perception of mass market fashion brands upon viewing a model digitally manipulated to appear thin, overweight and obese. The author found that BMI significantly affects perception of brand among each of five personality dimensions (Sincerity, Excitement, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness).   The author also found that thin models were significantly perceived as more competent.  This offers implications regarding the potential impact of campaigns such as Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

Ata, R. N., Ludden, A. B., Lally, M. M. (2007). The effects of gender and family, friend and media influences on eating behaviors and body image during adolescence.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(8), 1024-1037.

The authors studied male and female adolescents and different influences on eating behaviors and body image.  The article provides information on both males and females which could be interesting to compare.  The authors also compare several different areas of influence, which could be helpful moving forward. Notes influence of magazine and television media on both male and female adolescent body dissatisfaction.  177 predominantly Caucasian teenage students completed a questionnaire on self-esteem, parental and peer support, teasing, pressure to lose weight or gain muscle, media pressure, body esteem.   Each measure is well reviewed. Results varied between gender, with females more dissatisfied with whole bodies, more likely to report poorer self-esteem and body image, as well as media pressure. However, it appears family and peer relationships may have greater influence on body image than media.

Atasoy, O. (2013). Dove’s ‘real beauty’ video at odds with research on attractiveness, expert says.   Huffington Post.

Provides a description of the video and then reveals that psychological research evidence states we actual think of our appearance as better than it actually is.  Furthermore, this bias is simply for self, not strangers.  Psychologists call this “self-enhancement”, which explains overestimation of self, but accurate descriptions of others. This also applies to other actions, including voting. While the article repeatedly states the Dove campaign information is wrong, it does close saying the underlying message may not be a bad thing.

Barton, A. (2013). Dove had it wrong. It’s probably better not to think about your looks. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from

This piece discusses the Dove Sketches campaign.  Barton suggests the underlying message is to wash away the negativity women possess with Dove soap.  Barton further addresses the motives of Unilever, the company that owns Dove, as well as Axe, a popular men’s deodorant brand that tends to portray women as objects.  Barton closes with a less than hopeful view for our society.  An interesting approach to the campaign, without much hope for a change in cultural norms.

Bielski, Z. (2013). The consensus on Dove’s controversial beauty campaign: Stop the preaching! The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from

Interesting perspective of the Dove sketches campaign – that of other media sources.  Highlighting some of the negative headlines and blog reports following the release of the campaign, Bielski brings several interesting perspectives to understanding the impact of the campaign.

Daum, M. (2013). Real beauty, really Dove? Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from

This article is based on the sketches campaign.  The author starts by questioning the storyline of the campaign – whether it even makes sense.  Brings up critiques such as lack of diversity – all the models are young, slim, and white; not necessarily representative of ‘real’.  Great quote that sums up what a lot of the news pieces seems to be saying, “the problem . . . is that you’re still being told that beauty matters a lot”.

Day, J. (2006). Dove: a clean campaign? The Guardian. Retrieved from

Day compares the 2003 Dove campaign that featured ordinary women in their underwear to the 2006 campaign aimed at young girls and teens.  The author then offers an opinion regarding the contradictory message of the Dove campaigns.  She promotes thought regarding the topic but does not really offer support for either position.

Dye, L. (2009). Consuming constructions: A critique of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. Canadian Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), 114-120.

Dye offers a critique to the Dove campaign.  She argues that the message is contradictory, exploits women, and actually upholds the ideals of beauty it claims to reverse.  States that campaign promotes competition between women.  Challenges beauty standards, but does not challenge women’s obsession with altering their bodies in order to enhance their self-esteem.  The author provides support for several claims, drawing upon previous literature as well as information from Dove website forums.  This could offer an explanation to why the campaign may not be effective in increasing body image among adolescents. This offers a critique to the Dove campaign, as the author argues that the message is contradictory, exploits women, and actually upholds the ideals of beauty it claims to reverse.  This could offer an explanation to why the campaign may not be effective in increasing body image among adolescents.

Fridkis, K. (2013). What’s wrong with Dove’s real beauty sketches campaign? Psychology Today.

Fridkis provides a positive review of the campaigns. The author then mentions minor criticisms such as possible gender conflict with a male drawer, and a relatively homogenous sample. The main criticism is that the blame is placed on the women.  She notes women do this because women have learned it is part of being a woman: in our society beauty is relevant and strict and specific and there are criteria we must meet. However, there is perhaps a conflict as Dove’s beauty standards state there is a better and worse way to look, further portraying we are a society obsessed with beauty.  This gives women a reason to be concerned.  Another critique is Dove ignores that women who consider themselves beautiful are labeled as vain or arrogant.  Fridkis closes with the suggestiong that we need society to change and accept there is more than physical appearance as well as be more accepting of expressions of confidence

Friedman, A. (2013). Beauty above all else: The problem with Dove’s new viral ad. The New Yorker.

Friedman starts with a description of the new sketches video, and then criticizes the lack of diversity within the models. The writer notes that research says beauty is a factor in success for both males and females, though women usually have more of a problem than men. However, even the new ad focuses on looks rather than intelligence, with or ethics, not just looks. The comments generally critique Dove for manipulating women to sell a product.

Gustafson, B., Hanley, M., & Popovich, M. (2008). Women’s perceptions of female body shapes and celebrity models: The dove firming cream advertising revisited. In American Academy of Advertising (Vol. 2, pp. 39-51).

This study examined whether the shape and physical appearance of models used in magazine advertisements influence attitude toward brand.  The study further compared the “real women” models in Dove campaigns to other brands.  The authors review the literature on social comparison theory, attitudes towards ads, and celebrity endorsements. Using the Q-sort method and personal interviews, the authors found a mixture of feelings regarding the use of plus-sized models, the Dove advertising campaign may not be as widely accepted as Dove proclaims, and the use of celebrities can influence likeability of advertising.

Hampson, S. (2013). Dove’s new campaign: Real beauty or sentimental manipulation? The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from

Describes Dove’s newest campaign, the sketches video.  Essentially, women describe themselves to an FBI sketch artist.  The same people are then sketched by people they had met earlier in the day.  Hampson describes the first sketch as “Neanderthalish and nefarious” and the second as that of an average homo sapien.  The clip concludes with the tagline “You are more beautiful than you think.”  Hamspon critiques the portrayal of the women, as well as the concept of the video and further describes Dove as hypocritical in its claims of concern regarding women’s self-image.

Herbozo, S., Tantleff-Dunn, S. Gokee-Larose, J., & Thompson, J. K. (2004). Beauty and thinness messages in children’s media: A content analysis. Eating Disorders, 12(1), 21-34.

This study proposes that media influences the desire for thinness and avoidance of obesity among young children.  The study assesses the content of body-image related messages in children’s videos and books.  This suggests that by adolescence these ideas may already be ingrained, further emphasizing a need for positive body image messages.

Johnson, E. A. (2010). Sent to You by Someone Who Thinks You’re Beautiful: The Effects of Regulatory Focus, Personal Involvement, and Collective Efficacy in a Social Marketing Campaign (Doctoral dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University).

This dissertation piece actually looks at the effect of the 2004 Dove campaign on undergraduate males and females.  This offers a comparison between male and female interpretation as well as an in-depth look at the marketing campaign from a media theory perspective.

Johnston, J., & Taylor, J. (2008). Feminist consumerism and fat activists: A comparative study of grassroots activism and the Dove real beauty campaign. Signs, 33(4), 941-966.

Compares the Dove real beauty campaign to a grassroots campaign, Pretty, Porky, and Pissed Off.  Dove uses a multi-million dollar multimedia campaign whereas PPPO participates in street protests and cabaret shows.  This offers a comparative view of two campaigns aimed to change the way women are viewed, with feminine theory throughout.

Lachover, E., & Brandes, S. B. (2009). A Beautiful Campaign? Analysis of public discourses in Israel surrounding the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. Feminist Media Studies, 9(3), 301-316.

This study assesses the Dove campaign’s effects in Israel.  Offering a feminist perspective, it discusses the effectiveness of the campaign to incite discussion and challenge traditional beliefs.  It could be interesting to compare the results of the campaign in America to other countries.

Lynch, M. (2011). Blogging for beauty? A critical analysis of Operation Beautiful. Women’s Studies International Forum 34(2011), 582-592.

The author provides no specific hypothesis and states it is an exploratory study.  Using qualitative methodology she analyzed posts that discussed body image, gender, self-esteem.  Themes include ending Fat Talk, replacing toxic self-talk with positive and realistic phrases; changing how women think, and eliminating guilt.  Overall these campaigns may oversimplify the solutions, presuming the underlying cause of mental ailments is that women do not feel beautiful.

Murphy, S. (2013). Viral Dove campaign becomes most watched ad ever. Mashable. Retrieved from

The article itself has received 3.9k shares. According to Murphy, it was announced Monday that it has become the most watched video ad of all time, with more than 114 million views.  Of the five responses, one is spam, one appears to be posted by someone working for Dove, and the other three are sarcastic or critical.  Interestingly, the author repeatedly notes that Dove made the claims regarding the number of views, and offers no confirmatory sources.

Neiger, B. L., Thackeray, R., Van Wagenen, S. A., Hanson, C. L., West, J. H., Barnes, M. D., & Fagen, M. C. (2012). Use of Social Media in Health Promotion Purposes, Key Performance Indicators, and Evaluation Metrics. Health promotion practice, 13(2), 159-164.

Provides information on how to use social media in health promotion, as well as how to evaluate campaigns. An important note is that urges organizations to set reasonable expectations.  Could be useful in developing an evaluation of the Dove campaign.

O’Dea, J. A. (2006). Self-concept, self-esteem and body weight in adolescent females: a three-year longitudinal study.  Journal of Health Psychology, 11(4), 599-611.

Longitudinal study that looks at possible influences in changes in self-concept, self-esteem and body weight over time.  Discusses role of media in these changes.  Also provides support for differences in perception based on initial body size.

Olson, E. (2008). Ads are a reminder: It’s not just soap; it’s a soapbox. Time. Retrieved from

The article offers criticisms regarding the financial support of Dove.  A 2008 television advertisement stated that anytime someone buys Dove the efforts of the Dove Self-Esteem fund are supported.  However, Dove does not designate any amount of sales, and rather states that it has spent more than $10 million on the fund (compared to sales of $2.5 plus in 2007).

Orbach, S. (2007). Changing the face of beauty. Unilever symposium.

Orbach notes changes in body image following introduction of television in Fiji.  Mentions that research laid foundation of campaign; explains multigenerational programs targeting mothers and daughters because beauty ideals are transmitted from one generation to the next.  Also mentions features of campaigns targeting each group.  States the campaigns have been successful in demystifying and deconstructing the traditional concepts of beauty and to represent beauty in all varieties. Presented by Unilever (potential bias likely).  Provides no source or explanation of how campaigns have been successful.  Interesting findings but may need to look further into credibility.

Oswalt, S. B., & Wyatt, T. J. (2007). Mirror, Mirror, Help Me Like My Body: Examining a Body Image Media Campaign. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 5(2), 135-147.

This research study took place at a large southeastern university. The university health promotion staff developed a theory-based social media campaign to help students recognize the conversations and ideas that may reinforce negative body image concepts.  The messages featured ten ways to sabotage and ten ways to enhance body image.  Buscards, posters, and magnets were dispersed throughout campus.  Students in sorority houses, residence halls and undergraduate classrooms were surveyed.  The authors found that health promotion media campaigns may be effective in addressing body image and body dissatisfaction among female undergraduates.

Posner, Jennifer L. “Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ Backlash.” Bitch (2005): 30. Women in Media News. 29 Feb. 2008 <;.

Posner discusses Richard Roeper’s quote “I find these Dove ads a little unsettling. If I want to see plump gals baring too much skin, I’ll go to Taste of Chicago, OK?,” and the resulting media impact that featured several media sources requesting a return to smaller models.  One media source claimed the ads could actually contribute to the obesity epidemic.  Posner closes by emphasizing the necessity of campaigns such as Dove’s. This provides the interesting perspective of males in media, while ending on a positive note.