how have changes in mass media influenced individual and societal thinking about politics and politicians

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U.S. presidential candidates have always sought to leverage mass media in new and innovative ways to gain support for their campaigns. The first televised American presidential debate occurred in 1960, and it was considered groundbreaking. By 1992, candidates were making appearances on late-night television shows. Today, presidential debates are broadcasted and analyzed in real time, candidates appear on late-night talk shows and people ask candidates questions in Twitter-based town halls. In this Project, you will research the ever-changing role mass media has played in presidential elections and write a report on your findings.


You are a media consultant who has been hired by a startup social media company. The company wants you to write a formal research report that answers the question “How have changes in mass media influenced individual and societal thinking about politics and politicians?” In your report:

  • describe major milestones in the history of mass media between 1960 and today
  • compare and contrast the use of mass (and, as appropriate, social) media during three political campaigns
    • 1960: The Nixon/Kennedy Campaign
    • 1992: The Bush/Clinton/Perot Campaign
    • 2012: The Obama/Romney Campaign
  • discuss how changes in mass media impacted these three political campaigns
  • identify how social media differs from mass media
  • explain how media can influence individual and societal thinking
  • show how changes in media since 1960 have impacted individual and societal thinking about politics and politicians

All the resources you will need (articles, videos, essays, etc.) have been gathered for you in Project Resources. You will need to find relevant information in these resources and synthesize it in your analysis. Feel free to supplement your research report with photographs, political cartoons and/or links to other media.

Make sure to document your sources appropriately using the APA citation format. It is important that you not use or quote from any source without citing it.


Understanding Media and Culture

This resource contains information on media history, theory, and societal influence. Read the following sections:

  • Section 1.2, “How Did We Get Here? The Evolution of Media”
  • Section 1.4, “Media Mix: Convergence”
  • Section 1.5, “Cultural Values Shape Media; Media Shape Cultural Values”
  • Section 9.2, “The Relationship Between Television and Culture”
  • Section 11.2, “Social Media and Web 2.0”
  • Section 15.5, “Digital Democracy and Its Possible Effects”………………,8599…

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