Goals to the method of content analysis
There is no better or worse information, you need any information, and finding connections between them is a matter of technique.
Umberto Eco. Foucault's pendulum
When researching content from the point of view of the whole communicative process, it can tell us a lot: what from the real reality chooses the source of information for its messages; what imprint the political situation in society imposed on this content; what intentions make the communicator inform us about these aspects of life and keep silent about others; to what our ideals are addressed by the press, radio and television in their daily activities; what exactly and to what extent does this content satisfy the audience's interest in the media.
It is known that QMS provides the audience with information designed to form certain worldview attitudes, the development of a certain picture of the world, norms, values, behaviors, ideas, beliefs, aspirations, etc. What picture of the world does one television channel simulate, unlike the other? In this enumeration, emphasis is placed on the possibilities of content analysis to study different participants in the communicative process by analyzing the communication that occurs between them, as it is the result of the whole process of communication. The content of the QMS with varying degrees of certainty tells us about the different participants in this information transfer. And sociologists who study the system of mass information in society have long concluded that the content depends on the characteristics of the communicative situation, the characteristics of the communicator itself, the characteristics of the media and the channels through which information is transmitted, and the characteristics of the audience.
Some of these characteristics are related to the production of texts. These are the characteristics of the communicator, the communicative situation, the means and channels of information transmission. And it is quite obvious that the content of the information depends more on these characteristics than on the characteristics of the audience. Accordingly, but the text itself we can more confidently judge its manufacturer than its consumer, because the probability of appearance in the text of the author's characteristics is much greater. In addition, in each given historical period, the groups of characteristics associated with the communicative situation, the communicator and the channel are more mobile, and the characteristics of the audience are more stable, although this circumstance makes them reproducible in the course of a special analysis of the QMS texts.
The text as an indicator of the communicator's intentions: empirical evidence
One of the most revealing researches of the communicator, which had practical significance, is the analysis by G.Lasswell and N.Leites of the contents of the newspaper "The True American" During the Second World War. The task was more acute than ever - to investigate the editorial intentions. The study served as the main argument for the prosecution of this newspaper in a pro-fascist orientation and contributed to the prohibition of publication. The statements (judgments) of Hitler's propaganda were taken as units of analysis (a content analysis of the allied Germany and Japan propaganda was conducted in advance to reach out to its main theses in regard to the US and its allies), and the pages of the newspaper for a certain period were calculated, the defendant asserted or denied these statements.
This example served as a model for many researchers who set themselves a similar task - to reach the characteristics of the communicator by analyzing the texts produced by it. Thus, the analysis of texts at the level of individual statements made it possible to verify the extent to which declarations of certain information sources are kept in reality, that modern QMS follow the principle of factuality of information transmitted through radio, television, and newspapers. This principle is that the opinions of the editorial office itself are expressed only in editorial articles; The information messages should be free from the expression of the opinion of journalists about these events. This, by the way, fully corresponds to one of the canons of journalism adopted in 1923 by the American Society of Editors, which reads: "We must draw a clear line between information messages and the expression of opinions. Information messages should be free from the expression of any opinion or bias in any form. " This is considered one of the main principles of the democratic press, which thus ensures the pluralism of the opinions of different political forces. In fact, practice as always is far from recommendations. There is also empirical evidence for this in the example of the US press. A group of scientists led by Ch. Bash conducted a study using the content analysis method to see how this situation fits the practice of that time. The subject of the study was how the press reflected the electoral competition between Nixon and Douglas in 1950: did the opinion expressed in the editorial articles affect the submission of this candidate in the news.
All informational reports on the course of the election campaign, which appeared in the newspapers analyzed during the most heated period of the campaign, were analyzed. The selected newspapers differed in their political sympathies. The unit of analysis (and account) was a judgment defined as an "expression that indicates a complete thought". To be defined as a necessary judgment, it had to contain one of the symbols: Douglas, the Democratic Party, the leadership and leaders of the Democratic Party, and all the same for the Republicans. Each judgment is also classified by its sign of the relationship - favorably, unfavorably or neutrally it describes the symbol therein. As a result, it turned out that two newspapers, in editorial articles adhering to the Douglas orientation, had the appropriate coloring of judgments and in the news. Neutral The newspaper also had a preponderance of favorable judgments about Douglas. Only two Per-Putin newspapers had more favorable opinions about Douglas in the news, the other seven and in the news remained true to the sympathies they proclaimed in their editorial articles. Thus, the boundaries of the News not views are blurred.
The possibilities of analyzing both different sources of information at one time, and one source in dynamics, i.e. for a number of years, demonstrated a study in the late 1940s. analysts G. Lasswell, N. Leites, D. Lerner, I. de Sol Poole and other ideologies in the media and propaganda of the 20th century. (the study is known as the World Attention Survey). For the analysis, so-called prestigious newspapers were chosen that are read by the political elite of the whole world and can be considered a sufficiently reliable indicator of the ideological transformations taking place in the countries where they are published. According to the authors, this research has become an experimental base for many theoretical generalizations that constitute the methodological basis of content analysis.
The possibilities of comparing information bodies in statics and one body in dynamics for today are already textbook.