Sociopolitical Documentaries from the Viewpoints of Communications Students

Saeed Sarabi, Marzieh Ghasemi   Page ۹

Abstract

Informing the audience is one of the outstanding missions of the mass media with sociopolitical documentaries being one of the effective formats used to do so particularly when informing the educated young people.  The main objective of this article، which has been written on the basis of a scientific study، is to examine the communications students’ opinions on sociopolitical documentaries produced by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) with emphasis being laid on use and gratification approach. This research is based on a survey with its statistical sample being comprised of the communications’ students at the social sciences faculty of Allameh Tabataba’i University as well as those at IRIB University. In this study questionnaires were used to collect information which were later on analyzed.  The results of the survey reveal that 57% of the students watched sociopolitical documentaries to a normal degree. In addition، about 42% of the students expressed a low degree of satisfaction with documentaries.  McQuail، Blumler، and Brown developed a model of “media-person interactions” to classify four important media gratifications، which is used in this study: (1) Diversion: escape from routine or problems; emotional release; (2) Personal relationships: companionship; social utility; (3) Personal identity: self reference; reality exploration; value reinforces; and (4) Surveillance (forms of information seeking).  Based on such a theoretical approach، students’ needs for information seeking have to a large extent been gratified whereas other needs have been gratified to a lesser extent. The study –among other things- also revealed that in terms of students’’ viewpoints on documentaries، ۲۸٫۸% had unfavourable viewpoints، ۲۶٫۵% favourable ones and 44.8 were somewhere in between، which comprised the majority of the students.

Keywords: Sociopolitical documentaries, produced IRIB, Use and gratification,Communications students

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