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Media Edge

Media Logic and Social Reality

David L. Altheide

This book challenges social science to address the most important social change since the industrial revolution: the mediated communication order. More of our everyday lives and social institutions reflect the compelling media logic that resonates through conversation, interaction, marketing, as well as social programs, issues and foreign policy. We are beyond the time when people take into account media matters; rather, media matters are now incorporated as a kind of social form in routine and extraordinary activities. This thesis was first laid out in ‘Media Logic’, co-authored with Robert P. Snow in 1979.
Thirty-five years on, Altheide discusses his recent thinking about how media logic and mediation is a basic element in constructing social reality.
From the internet to the NSA, he shows how media logic has transformed audiences into personal networks guided by social media. He argues that we have reached the media edge as social media have all but eviscerated the audience as a significant factor in the communication equation; mediated communication is increasingly about media performances and individual selection to promote identity.
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← 172 | 173 → NOTES


1. As this book went to press, there was yet another invasion in July 2014 that has killed hundreds of civilians, many children–including 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family were killed in a single strike–destroyed homes, and schools, and at least three hospitals where Hamas fighters were alleged to be located. (Sherwood, Beaumont, and Black, 2014).

2. “The National Research Council (NRC) defines risk communication as ‘an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion among individuals, groups, and institutions.’ The definition includes ‘discussion about risk types and levels and about methods for managing risks. Specifically, this process is defined by levels of involvement in decisions, actions, or policies aimed at managing or controlling health or environmental risks” (National Public Health Service, 1995).← 173 | 174 →

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