Posted by Morgan Peroulas

Journal #5

In many of my Comm courses at Longwood, I have been able to learn about a multitude of communication theories and how they can be applied to the media and be integrated into everyday tasks and interactions. During my internship with Roanoke County Fire & Rescue, I have been able to make theoretical connections between what I’ve learned in the classroom and what I’ve experiences on the job.

The first theory I’ve encountered is the Agenda Setting Theory. This theory states that the media decides what an audience focuses on by directing more attention toward certain stories, which can cause an audience to view those stories as more important than others. For example, a smaller news outlet may choose to spend a larger amount of time focusing on local news instead of national news because that want to showcase more of the town’s events. In the fire department, I’ve noticed that when there is a fire or other large event, such as a hiking rescue, the media will have a larger focus on what we’re doing and will spend a decent amount of time broadcasting the footage they shoot at the scene of a fire. By having the spotlight on this particular event, the news outlet is displaying the importance of the fire or rescue to the public.

Another theory I’ve seen this summer is the Cultivation Theory, which explains that a person’s sense of reality could be shaped by the media. An example of this would be someone who watches television regularly seeing the world as a more violent place. As we have been on more fire and rescue calls throughout the summer, I can see how this theory comes into play. Whenever we go on a larger call, it is always broadcasted on local media stations, and sometimes these calls can be very frequent. If a person watching the news sees this type of footage and stories every day, they may believe that more fires are occurring and more people are getting injured while hiking. Both of these theories go hand-in-hand and work to help understand how media affects the way viewers think about events such as fire and rescue calls.

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