Monday, February 6, 2012

Homeless Families, Cloaked in Normality

A passage that stood out to me this week was from Lazarsfeld’s “Administrative and Critical Communications Research”. Speaking of radio’s impact on society, he states, “This world has a character of magic, where things happen and are invisible at the same time; many listeners have no experience of their own which would help them to appraise it.”

He cites this passage in relation to a farmer who, before radio, is focused on his own surroundings. With the introduction of radio brings new problems that don’t necessary grow out of his own life.

I think many of us can relate to this on many different levels. Naturally, we focus on the day to day of our lives – work, class, families, dinner, etc. It’s when these outside forms of communication enter our lives though the morning news, social media, radio, newspapers, etc. do our minds begin to expand.

I’m reminded of an article I read in the New York Times on Sunday about “Homeless Families, Cloaked in Normality” in New York City. Like the farmer that Lazarsfeld describes, by reading this article, my perspective on the subject has shifted. The article describes the current economic climate that leads to many families with paying jobs, but just not enough to make ends meet and ending up homeless.

How has mass media changed a current perception or thought process in your life?


  1. I definitely think mass media have great impact on society which can’t be neglected. Your post and the article remind me of the TV’s impact on my grandma. My grandma is kind of an illiterate person who just finished the elementary school. She can’t read, but she watches TV every day, and what’s amazing is that she knows what’s going on in the world. I guess her perceptions of the world are all generated from my family and the TV. She knows who the chairman in my country is, who the famous TV program host is, what the weather in the United States, and any other kind of news from the TV. It’s also amazing to see that she can make comments on the news. I can’t imagine if there is no TV, my grandma will know nothing about the world except for others’ dictates.
    I just thought about an interesting phenomenon about mass media’s impact while I reading Weibo (the Chinese twitter) today. Before I came to the U.S., I never knew what Super Bowl is and what the relationship between advertising and Super Bowl. But, today, I read someone wrote on weibo about the super bowl commercials, and there are also a great many of comments about those commercials. I just feel like Super Bowl is not only a huge thing for Americans in today’s society, but also the entire world. People in the world could share same information at the same time via social media, that is really amazing, isn’t it?

    1. Mass media can have an impact especially when it comes to fashion. This is evident in many reality TV shows. For example, I often watch the real housewives shows and many of the housewives spend thousands of dollars on designer clothes, but often are in the news facing foreclosure on their homes. The need to be seen as the trendiest person is often more important than paying their bills. This type of behavior affects millions of viewers’ especially adolescences. The adolescences are being brought up to think that being fashionable is more important than being a responsible adult. I figured radio had the same affect on housewives during the 1930’s. The advertisements on the radio often persuaded consumers to buy a new product. Often times the consumers would not need the product, but the announcer would make the product sound so good that consumer would feel like they desperately needed the product.

    2. Mass media has definitely had a huge influence on many thoughts in my life. But what comes to mind is the fact that we have limited privacy and that news can spread quickly through the media. For example, in 2010, I was a represented Nebraska at the Miss USA pageant. During the 3-week competition, my dad passed from a sudden accident. The media outlets picked up on the story right away and it went national. My family is all over the U.S., so it did not take long for them to hear the news on TV, rather than from my family. While grieving, I was bombarded with calls from TV stations, which was difficult. At the same time, I also received thousands of kind messages from across the globe. This made me realize, more than ever before how much the media can affect people’s lives and take “word of mouth” to an entirely new level. In the same breath, I felt like I had lost some of my privacy through the experience. And lack of privacy can defiantly also be seen in social media, when some people do not know how to successfully keep personal information private.