Mass News Media and American Culture: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Chelsea J. Wilhite, Ramona Houmanfar


Millions of Americans contact stories, articles, and reports produced by news media personnel each day.  How those stories are presented has the potential to impact consumer behavior at the national level.  An examination of how news personnel make decisions regarding news content is essential for understanding how to influence media’s aggregate products.  Information contained within news products reflects consumer practices and influences culture, posing ethical issues.  How we understand relationships between media organizations, over-all culture, and consumer practices can benefit from a behavioral systems analysis.  This paper identifies variables present in news media settings with respect to two news presentation contexts: objectivist and advocacy.  News media are undergoing a dramatic shift in how and why stories are reported; a behavioral systems approach is key to understanding the complex relationships involved.


news media; behavioral systems; five-term metacontingency; macrocontingency

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility