Do you have any friends who have to watch the news every single morning? What about someone who can’t live without reading the newspaper with the morning coffee? There is a concept that might describe these compulsive behaviors known as Media Dependency Theory.
One example of this theory is someone who watches the news every morning to know how to dress that day. If their cable isn’t working one morning, they may be lost. They won’t think to call a friend or check other sources; they will simply feel confused.
Just the other night, Indiana experienced some severe weather pretty much throughout the entire state. I was at an event on campus when the tornado warnings started being announced. Knowing nothing about the weather other than what I could see outside, I assumed a storm was coming and nothing more.
When I started my car to leave, the first thing I heard was “TAKE COVER” from the voice on the radio. I checked my phone and found a text message from my roommate explaining that there were university police and fireman outside the library instructing people to either head straight home or to not leave. My immediate thought was how did people survive before information traveled so quickly???
We rushed home and turned on the news. All 6 of my roommates crowded in our living room as we waited for the weather person to tell us what to do.
“EVERYONE PUT YOUR SHOES ON” I yelled out of instinct… my Grandma would be so proud. For some reason, when I was little, she was always telling us to put our shoes on when something bad was going to happen.
“Do we have a cordless radio?” someone asked. No one answered. The room grew more uncomfortable as we realized that we also didn’t have flashlights, candles or a dry place to sit in our haunted basement. To make matters worse, in the case of a power outage, none of our laptops were charged enough to be able to monitor the weather from the basement, which brought up the more controversial issue of the internet-less world we would be facing in this case.
I had never felt so dependent on the channel 8 news team before. I was hanging on their every word, gasping for air between sentences.
Luckily, the weather passed and the Channel 8 news woman let us down easy.
I would say I had temporary media dependency. Had we lost power or not paid the cable bill last month, I would have been panicked and disoriented. I am thankful for the speed at which information travels today and for my ability to quickly and efficiently contact my family and friends to discuss everyone’s whereabouts.
It was worth a little nightly media dependency to feel safe. And as a result, the next day I went out and bought a battery powered radio.