Sample exam questions, hourly #1, Soc 43 Fall '02 (scroll down for answers)
  1. Which of the following best describes a "ritual view of communication?"
  1. Communication is the process of moving messages from a sender through a medium to a receiver.
  2. Communication is the process by which senders of messages receive feedback from receivers, thus reinforcing or correcting the message.
  3. Communication is the construction of a shared space or map of meaning within which people can coexist.
  4. Communication is the sending of messages across time and space to unseen and/or unknown audiences.
  5. Whatever communication is, it's not happening to me right now.
  • Media professionals (such as the editor of the NY Times) who decide what the consumers of information are going to see on the evening news or read in the newspaper are referred to as:
    1. opinion leaders
    2. agenda setters
    3. gatekeepers
    4. professional socialization makers
    5. corporate conspirators
  • Mobile privatization can best be understood by explaining the difference between:
    1. Watching a game in a bar vs. watching TV alone at home.
    2. watching TV with the family at home vs. listening to the radio in the car.
    3. using a telephone vs. using a radio.
    4. the hypodermic needle theory vs. agenda setting.
    5. none of the above.
  • Why do media executives tend to prefer the predictable, tried-and-true formula to the highly innovative and creative?
    1. They're mostly white males with deeply imbedded conservative political biases.
    2. Their roles in large organizations create pressures to reduce risk and uncertainty.
    3. They're paid by giant corporations to serve elite interests at the expense of the interests of the masses.
    4. They produce content that reflects their own personal tastes.
    5. They're dumb as gnats.
  • Todd Gitlin, in his chapter "By the Numbers," noted that "the 1981-82 series rankings showed Dynasty in twentieth place with a 20.4 season rating and Hill Street Blues in twenty-ninth place with 18.6. But statistically there was a 10 percent chance the two shows actually drew the same size audience." Which of the following best describes the point that Gitlin is making with this anecdote?
    1. Television executives generally take statistical imprecision very seriously because they are so concerned about the audience, and therefore develop elaborate techniques for addressing all forms of measurement error and uncertainty.
    2. Television executives employ the best statisticians in the nation to deal with such issues, because they are forced by the advertisers and the bottom line to be absolutely scientific about audience size.
    3. Television executives tend to act as though ratings numbers are precise, because taking statistical imprecision into account would introduce too much uncertainty into their lives.
    4. Television executives do not generally care much about whether a program places twentieth or twenty-ninth because such rankings do not influence advertising rates or programming decisions.
    5. Dynasty was actually better than Hill Street Blues, so the numbers must be wrong.
  • Which of the following arguments are not made by Robert McChesney in his book Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy?
    1. The crucial structural factor for democratic media is to have the dominant portion of the communication system removed from the control of business and the support of advertising.
    2. Conservatives are able to tap into genuine resentment against a corporate media system whose public face is that of arrogant millionaire celebrity journalists who presume to speak on behalf of the public.
    3. Democracy requires that there be an effective system of political communication, broadly construed, that informs and engages the citizenry, drawing people meaningfully into the polity.
    4. Competition does more to keep businesses honest than a roomful of regulators.

    Answers: 1,c ; 2,c ; 3,a ; 4,b ; 5,c ; 6,d