The British post-war campaign to ban American horror comics neatly illustrates many of the pitfalls of media research. It is the first case-study used by David Barrat as he reviews this rapidly growing field of sociology. He gives a clear account of how and why sociologists have studied the media, looking in particular at the arguments about the effects of television, video, comics, newspapers, and radio on their audiences.
He explains how media organizations work, how 'news' is manufactured, and what the political and commercial constraints can be. He discusses the likely impact on new technologies, including satellite and cable television, on the media industry. The final chapter is about methods of studying the media, such as 'uses and gratifications', content analysis, semiology and structural approaches.