Work of art vs Big biz

The world of mass media is filled with artists, many who work their craft as a labor of love. Mass media is also filled with big corporations, which don’t stay in business unless they are profitable and return dividends to shareholders. In the United States, many of these major corporations (such as television and radio stations) are actually required by law to be “good citizens.” Consequently, we see and hear Public Service Announcements broadcast in the middle of the night. We see these stations involved with charities, ranging from 10Ks to auctions. Many of these big businesses create works of art and act like a good citizen because it is good for business. A great film is good for the box office and DVD sales, while readers will buy a newspaper to learn how to save on their taxes or win a college scholarship.
Sometimes these roles — art, big business and good citizen — create tension in mass media. Other times they work together beautifully. Please write a thoughtful, thorough essay about the dilemma that deals with the four questions/issues outlined below. Please be sure to make your essay of adequate depth and detail to warrant the 50-point maximum of a final project.

  1. Find an example of a mass media being a -Good Citizen.” Do you think this particular example helps the company be profitable?
  2. Find an example of an artist complaining that his work was comprised by the business side of mass media. Share you thoughts. Are his complaints justified? Did the compromise really hamper the quality of the final result? How would you handle a similar situation if you become a professional in the mass media (journalist, musician, actor, etc)?
  3. Many people complain that the drive of mass media corporations to be profitable is taking our society in the wrong direction. Our media does indeed belong to the masses — the lowest common denomination. Our media has become sensational and exploitive. Give five examples where a critic would say that the mass media has crossed the line past art and good citizenship to make money. These can be specific examples (the billboard for a strip joint on LBJ Freeway) or a trend (throwing in a few gratuitous cuss words in a PG-13 movie to attract teenagers).
  4. Mass media going overboard in hopes of boosting profits — do you personally see this as a problem? Why or why not? Will this change in the future — why and how? Could this change? How would you advice critics of mass media to affect a change?

Sample Solution