Audiences of Mass Mediated Communications

Notes from a course in communication theory by John Lye, Brock University
Question: what is an 'audience'? Think of what we mean when we say 'target audience.'

Some considerations
  • different media tend to create their own audiences
  • different people interpet media texts in different ways
  • the audience 'constructs' or interprets the media text

Question: what qualities or attributes in an interpreter might alter the way in which she constructs, or interprets, meaning? Which of them would constitute an 'audience'?

Some ideas:
  • genre and genre expectations
  • the purpose of the 'reading'
  • competence in that mode of communication
  • gender
  • social class
  • education
  • personality
  • degree of involvement/commitment
  • personal experiences
  • sharing of knowledge frames -- common frames
  • cultural perspective

Some distinctions suggested by Sonia Livingstone:
  • popular vs 'high' culture
  • ideal or model readers vs actual readers
  • nonfictional vs fictional communications
  • texts which construct a unified subject position vs texts which construct multiple subject positions
  • closed vs open works