Status Conferral

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  • Media attention confers status on people, things, and policies. By focusing on an individual or item, the media legitimize the status of that individual or item, enhancing prestige and authority. Lazarsfeld and Merton described status conferral as being one of the social functions of the media. They pointed out that it was not only favorable media attention that conferred status, such as a newspaper editorial endorsing a particular political candidate, but any media attention enhanced status.

    People can become famous for being famous— celebrity status can be gained by sheer media coverage. In a circular belief, people believe that someone must be important because the media focuses attention on him or her. Celebrities appearing in advertisements confer status on a product.

    How people are portrayed by the ...

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