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					           Media construction of reality
        represenation of Old People and Old
              Age in the Czech Media
                   Mgr. Renáta Sedláková, Ph.D.
                  renata.sedlakova@upmedia.cz
       Department of journalism Palacký University in Olomouc

                       Mgr. Lucie Vidovićová, Ph.D.
                         lucie.vidovic@seznam.cz
              Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs




European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly   Prague 25.-26.5.2009
          REASONS FOR RESEARCH
       • demographic changes:
         ageing of the Czech/EU
         population
       • age as a social construct
       • media as key agents
         participating on the
         proces of the social
         construction of reality

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly   Prague 25.-26.5.2009
MEDIA CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY
      Media are:
             the main source of knowledge about outer
      world. Their power is especially in the cases about
      which we do not have our own experiences.

      "Here may lie the most important effect of mass
      communication, its ability to mentally order and organize
      our world for us. In short, the mass media may not be
      successful in telling us what to think, but they are
      stunningly successful in telling us what to think about"
      [Shaw & McCombs 1977].

           •      representation of reality in the media
           •      representation of the Others in the media

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly   Prague 25.-26.5.2009
              … why media really matter…
     »”But why such old ladies? And why such cruel
      attacks,” not just the judge but also the associate
      justice asked.
      “Old people are trustful and inattentive. I learned
      from the media how easily they could be deceived,”
      the monstrous human explained how his long series
      of crimes had started.«         (Blesk 14. 7. 2004, p. 6)


         media representation as a self-fulfilling prophecy

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly   Prague 25.-26.5.2009
        MEDIA:
        • do not reflect reality, but create it - theory of
          media construction of reality (agenda
          setting,topic selection)
        • create images
        • (re)produce stereotypes
        • ascribe meaning to: people, events


                                                     have the power to
                                                    exclude or include social
                                                    groups and individuals

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly               Prague 25.-26.5.2009
          RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
    2 waves of research – year 2004 and 2008
       - analysis of printed media – nationwide dailies: Mladá fronta Dnes,
       Právo, Lidové noviny, Hospodářské noviny, Blesk + Aha, Šíp
                                                        (cca 18 000 articles)
       - analysis of the main news services of nationwide television channels:
             Czech television (public service broadcaster) - Události
             Nova (commercial) - Televizní noviny
             Prima (commercial) – Deník            (cca 700 pieces of news)

    - content analysis + interpretative sociological reading
    - key words: senior, seniors, pension, (male/female) pensioner, retirement,
      retired person, old age, old aged people, old, old woman, old man, elderly,
      elderly person, grandmother, grandfather.
    - only transcriptions (written part) of the news (without visual part of the
       news and pictures)

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly             Prague 25.-26.5.2009
      Quantity of news issued in 2004 and 2008
         UNDERREPRESENTATION
      count                                                2004       2008
      television news                                      261
                                                                  66 % 435
                                                           cca         cca
      dailies                                 50 %         7500       10000

        J. Hartley: myth of marginality – coverage which overrides
        complexity of the life of minorities and starves for the news
        from mainstream society;
        simplyfication, generalization and positioning to the margin of
        the society
        increasing coverage of minorities does not mean
        simultaneously their understanding
European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly               Prague 25.-26.5.2009
                        Significance of the article
   Old people and old age as:                   MAIN       SECONDARY MENTIONED
   NEWSPAPER (%)                               THEME         THEME     THEME
   Aha                                            29          26          45
   Blesk                                          15          50          35
   Šíp                                            27          42          31
   Hospodářské noviny                             20          24          56
   Lidové noviny                                  22          24          54
   Mladá fronta                                   17          26          56
   Právo                                          21          34          44

   count                                       20 %          30 %       50 %

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly              Prague 25.-26.5.2009
       Thematic frames of printed articles
   Topic                       2004                        Topic             2008
   Economy                     34%        Economy                            22%
                   62%
   Crime                       28%        Politics                          22%
                                                                          64%
   Life story                   8%        Crime                             20%
   Culture                      8%        Social politics and social work   13%
   Social work                  7%        Leasure time                       9%
   Health                       4%        Life story                         7%
   Demography                   2%        Health                             5%
   Politics                     2%        Culture                            5%
   Housing                      1%        Housing                            4%
   Other                        1%        Other                              6%
European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly              Prague 25.-26.5.2009
          Thematic frames of television news
         téma/rok                      2004                     téma             2008

    1. Crime                  78%      38%                 1.   Politics   64%   30%
    2. Political economy               28%                 2.   Crime            18%
    3. Tragedy                         12%                 3.   Ekonomy          16%
    4. Life story                      9%                  4.   Life story       11%
    5. Social work                     6%                  5.   Tragedy          7%
    6. Culture                         2%                  6.   Social work      5%
    7. Health                          2%                  7.   Culture          4%
    8. Demography                      1%                  8.   Housing          3%
                                                           9.   Health           3%
         Other                         1%                       Other            3%
European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly                         Prague 25.-26.5.2009
          What is not mentioned/presented:
        John Hartley: for analysis of representation of any
          event/person or group is also very important what is
          not presented – what remains hidden?

        ageism, discrimination
        everyday life
        heterogeneity within the group of older people
        realised activities
        feminization of old age
        intergenerational relations
        domestic violence


European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly   Prague 25.-26.5.2009
                                          CRIME
                   Old people as victims of crimes
               defenceless, lonely, trustful grandmams
                 kind-hearted granies and grandadies
       „Hasiči je považují za podvodníky a varují před nimi hlavně důvěřivé
                            důchodce.“     ČT1 28.1.2008

     Old people as ofenders or accused of crimes
      trafic accident, curious crimes: shouting, growing
          marihuana, maltreat of annimals and people
    „Po chvíli se rozzuřený důchodce dostal od slov k činům. Domů si došel
                      pro plynovou pistoli.“ NOVA 9.4.2008



European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly          Prague 25.-26.5.2009
                            INFOTEINMENT
                INFORMATION + ENTERTAINMENT
      Language: key tool of construction of reality – power
      feature of significantion of the Others -> social exclusion
      „Pro zloděje jsou totiž důchodci snadnou kořistí.“       PRIMA 22.1.2008

                 not neutral emotive symptomatic significations
      „…spousta babiček z domova důchodců posílaly napletený bačkůrky.“
                                                                  ČT1 5.9.2008
      „Sedmdesáti sedmiletá babička byla podchlazená, ale komunikovala.“
                                                                 ČT1 29.1.2008
                 dramatization
      „… poplatky definitivně znemožní těmto lidem důstojný život.“
                                                              NOVA 10.2.2008
                 impact on emotions and personalization
      „Jen krůček od smrti byla sedmapadesátiletá invalidní důchodkyně z
      Karlových Varů. Bála se, jít k lékaři.“                 NOVA 15.1.2008

European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly          Prague 25.-26.5.2009
                        BASIC FINDINGS:
    old people and old age topics are still marginal in media;
     Information presented from the majority point of view;
       older people are used as commentators of specific
    events (ekonomic crisis, price raising, rental regulation) and
            mentioned as primary endangered group
                       (e.g. of health risks)
        „Ekologická reforma se dotkne stovek tisíc lidí. … Nejvíce poškozeni budou
                               důchodci.“    ČT1: 6.1.2008
         „Senioři jsou tedy nemoci vydáni stále na pospas.“      PRIMA 25.1.2008

    active older people (e.g. celebrities, artists) presented and
                   celebrated as an exception:
       „No a teď vám ukážeme slíbeného muže, jehož vitalitu mu můžeme všichni
      skutečně jen závidět, Je mu neuvěřitelných sto jedna let a poslouchejte dobře,
             příští měsíc v Londýně poběží maraton.“           NOVA 13.3.2008



European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly                Prague 25.-26.5.2009
       In comparision with the year 2004:
      - increase of articles (Právo, Lidové noviny and ČT)
     - widening of spectra of thematic frames of presented
   news; more attention devoted to social politics and social
     work and news about daily events, but still a quarter of
                         news about crimes
     - decline of infantilization, patronizing and elderspeak
              - decline of news about demography
   - emerge little difference between commercial media and
            media of public service and quality press

       => SIMPLYFYING IMAGE WITH FEATURES
      REFERRING TO MYTHS OF OLD AGE AND
   STEREOTYPES: old + poor + trustful and endangered
European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly   Prague 25.-26.5.2009
                                                           „Takhle nějak vypadá
                                                           všední den českého
                                                           důchodce. Ráno vstane,
                                                           nasnídá se. Koukne na
                                                           seriál, uvaří oběd a pak si
                                                           trochu odpočine. … Pak
                                                           procházka nebo nákup.
                                                           Večer zase televize. Jinou
                                                           možnost stejně jako dalších
                                                           více než dva miliony
                                                           českých důchodců v
                                                           podstatě nemá. Chybí vyžití
                                                           a taky peníze.“ PRIMA 2.3.2008

            Thank you for your attention.
European Conference on Dignity and Hazard in the Elderly                     Prague 25.-26.5.2009

				
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