In this week’s seminar we discussed the topic ‘culturalism’, which is part of the first lecture in the series of journalism and theory lectures. We discussed the cultural theorist Stuart Hall and his views on media representation. He suggests that there is a gap between the media representation and the truth of an event. Hall introduces a new view
on the concept of representation, which allowed people to think about the world in a different way. Hall shows that words and images have many different meaning. According to him, there is no guarantee that an image has a set meaning as every person interprets them in a different way. The usual meaning of representation is the ‘depiction of something that is either a reflection or a distortion of reality’, Hall says. Therefore, no event has meaning until is has been represented. Additionally, the meaning of an event depends entirely on the way in which it has been represented. Now, it is important to comprehend how one gives meaning to things. According to Hall, culture is the way in which ‘we make sense or give meaning to things’. Since we all have different cultures, consecutively, we all interpret events differently. The only way in which I would know that you’re making sense of the world in the same way that I was is through communication, language: ‘language externalizes the meanings that we are making of the world and of events’. In addition, Hall suggests that ‘ideology and power fixes’ the meaning we give to an event; certain groups control what gets published in the media and therefore is not entirely impartial. The media favour government and company bosses and their views. Hence, when you look in newspaper today, you notice that one story gets published in many different ways in each individual newspaper; newspapers publish stories in favour of the political parties/ideologies they support.