Lazarsfeld'S Map of Media Effects

Katz, Elihu
September 2001
International Journal of Public Opinion Research;Autumn2001, Vol. 13 Issue 3, p270
Academic Journal
It is a distortion to allege that Paul Lazarsfeld's view of the media focused narrowly on campaigns' and their limited influence. Apart from the creative impulse of this work, which led to the incorporation of audience selectivity and interpersonal relations into the design of effects research, the fact is that most of his work on the media—and certainly his conception of their functions and effects—extends far beyond short-run changes of opinion and attitude. Moreover, his concept of ‘reinforcement’ is a major link to the central argument of critical theory that the media reinforce the status quo. Re-reading a paper of 1948 reveals Lazarsfeld's ‘map’ of media effects, which can serve as an agenda for media research—even today. A suggestion is made for adding additional dimensions to his map.


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