Every media organisation has an ‘administrative goal’ which is primarily aimed at the organisations to help them reach their goal through researching media and culture. However there is much scepticism in the industry regarding media and cultural studies which media professionals need to overcome.
The culture industry’s main function is the production and distribution of art, entertainment and information. The economics of culture industry is essential as it is the driving force for deciding what media products is produced. Cultural products often forge identities and push political agendas out into the media industry, as well as creating employment.
People who aim to work in the media often have romantic ideas of how products are produced. Media industries often have a similar economic environment and there are three approaches that can help us understand how media organisations operate: political economy (as mentioned before), organisational study and workplace ethnography.
However Louis Althesser stated that the culture industry is an ‘ideological state apparatus’, another way of control society by people in power. (1979) This then questions the power of the media and whether it really is on par with groups such as the government, and if the media have ‘power without responsibilty’ which was questioned by Curran and Seaton. (1991) Both Marxist theorists explored how much the culture industry influences the way media organisations run, however Karl Marx himself was a materialist who understood that the economics of a society were crucial to how a society works.
When it comes to analysing the media, there are two different types of research methods that can be used; ‘source orientated’ research which involves investigating sources and conducting own theories; and ‘problem orientated’ research which is finding a problem in documents which then lead onto discussion. (Brendan Duffy) Archive research is also the study and analysis of original documents, which requires planning, defining research questions and referring back to the original theory.
Another way to analyse the media involves conducting interviews which then provide primary sources from certain bodies in the media industry. Interview requires planning, background research and reflection on what information was passed on during the interview, as primary sources are crucial to analysis. When analysing media industries it is also beneficial to have sections of research on economics, regulatory and cultural environment of the industry, as these can all result in rich and varied sources for analysis.
- Long, P and Wall, T (2012) Media Studies Text, Production and Context, chapter 5
- Stokes, J (2003) How to do Media and Cultural Studies, chapter 4