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  • Writer's pictureSequoia Powell

What the THEORY?

2020 has been a nightmare!

Seriously, can you name one amazing thing that has happened so far?

Okay, okay! So, you are still alive, which is great, but I'm sure you are ready for 2021.

During this unprecedented time, one thing that has been consistent is the media. They are going to make sure you know what is happening and by sharing all the news, good and bad, mostly bad though.

When examining mass communication research, you have to sometimes stop and ask yourself, "What the THEORY... is being utilized?".

Not sure? Don't worry, class is in session.

By now we should all be aware that it's election season! If not, WAKE UP!

This only means that the amount of media coverage and research is endless.

While reviewing some research conducted by The Pew Research Center, I came across tons of media-related election reports.

For instance, take a look at this publication below that examines how social media could censor political viewpoints.

The most common theories I found utilized in mass communication research studies, when it comes to politics or social issues, are critical and normative theories. These theories tend to look beyond the simple act of investigating phenomena and instead offer various viewpoints about them.

Here's a great example of critical theory:

This article analyzes the #BlackLivesMatter's movement against police brutality and the way its message is being communicated in seek of reform.

Another huge topic of discussion is COVID-19, of course. Seriously, try to go a day without talking about it... you just can't.

I found that the common theory used to examine this media topic were typically communication science and interpretive. Simply because theorists are discovering the meaning through symbols, context, actions, and text. Interpretive theory seeks a more in depth explanation, while communication theory looks for a broader conclusion (Rosenberry & Vicker, 2017).

Take a look at this article that provides research on the internet usage during the pandemic, utilizing the interpretive theory because they make a conclusion based on actions.

I hope you can now identify what the THEORY... is being utilized, when examining mass communications research studies.

Class is dismissed!

Stay tuned for next week's rant... I mean post.

Until then, remember to WASH YOUR HANDS!

xo, Sequoia



Rosenberry, J., & Vicker, L. A. (2017). Applied mass communication theory: A guide for media practitioners. New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Vogels, E., Perrin, A., & Anderson, M. (2020, August 28). Most Americans Think Social Media Sites Censor Political Viewpoints. Retrieved September 04, 2020, from

Vogels, E. (2020, July 27). From virtual parties to ordering food, how Americans are using the internet during COVID-19. Retrieved September 04, 2020, from

Anderson, M., Barthel, M., Perrin, A., & Vogels, E. (2020, August 28). #BlackLivesMatter surges on Twitter after George Floyd's death. Retrieved September 04, 2020, from

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