Did early twentieth century society trust the media more than cynical contemporary audiences? – Essay Plan

Essay Plan: A brief overview of what could be included, a work in progress.


Over time, the media and it’s platforms have become one of the most crucial inventions by man as it allows society access to information efficiently and immediately. The question is, why do we, as a collective, believe everything we read and see in the media? There is some evidence to suggest that contemporary audiences are less likely to believe big conspiracies than early 20th century audiences as they are more cynical to bizarre claims but then with sites such as Wikipedia, which is renowned for being an unreliable source of information, getting over ten million hits a day it still implies that for smaller pieces of information we will readily trust the media to provide the truth when sources may not entire able be accurate. In terms of earlier audiences, one explanation to explore why society may have been more susceptible to media sources because there was less availability without the Internet, and the sources weren’t taken for granted as they were limited and the majority from professional sources like established newspaper companies and radio stations. Therefore there was a lack of ‘fake’ news, implying more people would believe a bigger conspiracy than in present day. One theory that could explain why we trust our media source could be the Two Step Flow. If opinion leaders pass on and promote opinion of topical interest to the mass audience (opinion followers), audiences are likely to believe what is being said because it is coming from a figure of importance or trust. If the person wasn’t being entirely truthful, audiences would be more likely to believe opinion leaders than a stranger who is not in the public eye writing an article.

Point 1: Why do we rely on the media?

Where would you source information if not from the media?

What did we do before media?

Point 2: Why was society different in the early twentieth century?

Which different platforms of media were available?

Was media as Saturated?

How did scandals such as the Orson Welles broadcast and touch on The New York Daily Sun hoax on the moon in 1835.

Point 3: How does this contrast with modern day hoaxes?

The 2012 conspiracy – Was it publicized and received differently by audiences? Was it more believable?

Is there more fake news available? Does this make audiences more cynical to believe anything?

Point 4: Smaller news versus Big news.

Which is more likely to be exaggerated or unreliable? Which are we more likely to believe?

Point 5: Why do we just believe everything in the media?

Theories and psychology behind it.

Point 6: Is the internet particularly to blame?

Sites like Wikipedia are written by anyone, unreliable?

Have hoaxes gone too far that they are mocked by over playing fake conventions?


A summary of the points made throughout the essay. Final opinions drawn together to reach a suitable answer to the question.


2 thoughts on “Did early twentieth century society trust the media more than cynical contemporary audiences? – Essay Plan

  1. Interesting question. Feedback I’d give would be (like we discussed in lesson) perhaps make your question clearer. Not sure whether you’re talking about cynical contemporary audiences today or in the 1900’s. If you are talking about today you could include something about social media. I found this about it being an unreliable source:
    Hope that helps 🙂

  2. Hi Ellen, as we discussed in class, the question contains an assumption and a simple answer which kind of negates the rest of the essay. So, the first thing to do is change the question to make it more about the factors which lead audiences to be cynical nowadays.

    Your plan is interesting, but needs a lot more fleshing out–one line about ‘theories’ doesn’t suggest you know where you are going, so you’ve got to work on this to make sure you add all of the detail eg why do we believe the media (do we?).

    Avoid the sweeping statements in the introduction. Make sure your writing is focused and that each sentence hits a point or build on the argument.

    Quite a bit to do, Ellen, in order to hit the deadlines and make your target grade; make here you are working on writing and rewriting.

Give me some feedback!

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