Medium content, grammar, and environment
Medium Content, Grammar, and Environment are three metaphors used by Joshua Meyrowitz to answer the basic question "What Are Media?"
Medium Content (or media as conduits) examines the notion that a medium delivers content and how audiences react to and perceive the content. For example, what social and political influence the perceptions of content? , How do certain audiences (different ages, races, ethnicities) respond to the same content? , and How accurately does content represent reality?. The differences in the messages that a given medium conveys in what audiences react to first and what scholars aim to study. Meyrowitz also notes that often the study of media content is medium-free, in that "the focus on media content tends to minimize the attention given to the nature of the particular medium that holds or sends the message." Meyrowitz gives the example of how Television is studied quite often because of its popularity with the public, but most topics of interest are those that do not need the existence of television to be mentions (i.e. sexuality, race, violence).
Medium Grammar (or media language) examines aspects of a medium that define what it is, like expressive variables such as camera angles, or production techniques, like how films are produced to be shown on large screens in public theatres vs. the small screen, private environment of home Televison viewing. Another example would be how newspapers denote importance through variations in size and boldness of the lettering, or simply the fact that stories are told via words, whereas films convey stories with the addition of moving images and dialogue. Studying grammar inevitably leads to questions that examine what manipulations can be achieved within a medium, or how the physical nature of the medium limits the scope of the grammar. Although grammar choices cannot be discussed without some mention of the content, grammar questions look at different thing. For example, Meyrowitz notes how content analysts would explore women's images in media by looking at the roles held by women and how they are treated (as sex objects or housewives). However, grammar analysts look at how camera angles and scene composition frame women as weak, strong, sexy, etc...