Calling for #Help to #saveGOA, NOW!

Generation Of Action (GOA) is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) formed in 2010 dedicated to combating environmental problems in the City and District of Pematangsiantar Simalungun in central Sumatra. These problems range from water, air and soil pollution to protecting our remaining forest areas from illegal logging and clearing for palm oil and other agricultural pursuits.

We as the younger generation that make up GOA have a responsibility to enhance and preserve the environment for future generations living not only in the City and District of Pematangsiantar Simalungun but to Indonesia as a whole. We believe future generations have a right for a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future.


  1. Grow and plant ten thousand native trees every year in various locations throughout the municipality of Simalungun (including lake Toba).
  2. Provide guidance and assistance to local govermant, district councils, village chiefs and the wider community about the importance of environmental conservation.
  3. Educate members of the community who have the potential to provide solutions to existing environmental problems.
  4. Work with local government to adopt a clean city program through the greater placement of rubbish bins, recycling centres and strategically placed landfill sites.
  5. Coordinate with other NGO’s to pressure the Local and district governments to protect all remaining forests, crack down on illegal logging and other forms of land clearing and to create new National Parks and Forest Protection Areas.

GOA has undertaken the following programs:

  1. Organised the Cleaning of residential areas, markets and other public places.
  2. Planted 23,000 native trees and supplied native seeds for reforestation programs
  3. Worked with governments to create new landfills and recycling centres in the distict.
  4. Through funding from Pertamina; designed, developed and erected 12 large signs along roadsides to educate the community about forest protection and appropriate disposal of rubbish.

In addition to the above program, GOA offers counseling and guidance to district governments, schools and other educational institutions, church leaders and companies in the city and county of Simalungun.


Being a Non-Government Organisation has up to this point in time functioned without any incoming funds, operating day-to-day activities at the personal expense of its organizers. Funding was allocated for project specific purposes only. 


Office + Nursery Rent for 3 years: $ 1,000/year
Trees (seeds, soil, pots, fertilizer) 10,000 package: $ 500.00
In Total (USD) $ 3,500.00

With the participation of the society in our programs, GOA assures that this program will be very beneficial directly to aspects of society, especially the municipalities and counties Simalungun.

And also for the donors, among others:

  • Contribute to improving the knowledge and human resources in the field of environmental conservation.
  • Contribute to the long-term preservation of the environment.
  • Provide a good image in the development of human resources and district municipalities Simalungun

If the institution for donors who willing to participate in sustainability programs we have explained above, The donors can confirm and call Generation Of Action Chairman: Marcus Lamhot (085358233393).

Thanks for your kind attention to this blog-post.


Information on Generations of Action (GOA)
GENERATION OF ACTION (GOA) – Environmental NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations)
  • No. Reg. STTPKO P. SIANTAR 245 240
  • No. Reg. STTPKO Simalungun 220/71/Kesbangpol – Linmas/2011
  • No Telp : 085358233393 – 085358614822

Corporate Communication and it’s Purposes

Definition of Corporate Communication

Corporate Communication is the total of a corporation’s efforts to communicate effectively and profitably. Obviously the action that any particular corporation takes to achieve that goal depends in large part on the character of the organization and its relationship with its stakeholders (suppliers, community, employees, and customers). In practice, corporate communication is a strategic tool for the contemporary corporation to gain a competitive advantage over its competitors. Managers use it to lead, motivate, persuade, and inform employees and the public as well.

Corporate communication is more art than science. Its intellectual foundations and body of knowledge began with the Greeks and Romans with rhetoric. Its theoretical foundation is interdisciplinary, using the methods and findings of:

  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • Language and linguistics
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Management and marketing (also PR)

As a focus of academic study, corporate communication can be considered in the large context presented here, or it can be seen as a part of public relations. Given the business environment, the more encompassing definition works well in both: the applied context of the workplace; as well as within the context of academic study.

Corporate communication is the term used to describe a wide variety of management functions related to an organization’s internal and external communications. Depending on the organization, corporate communications can include such traditional disciplines as:

  • Public relations,
    • Investor relations,
    • Employee relations,
    • Community relations,
    • Media relations,
    • Labor relations,
    • Government relations,
  • Advertising,
  • Technical communications,
  • Training and employee development,
  • Marketing communications, and
  • Management communications.
  • Many organizations also include:
    • Philanthropic activity,
    • Crisis and emergency communications, and advertising as part of corporate communications functions.

The Purposes of Corporate Communications

The four public relations models show 4 historical eras or stages in the evolution of the corporate communication function. They can also be regarded as 4 different world-views, indicating the different purposes that organizational members see for the corporate communication function. Note: Corporate Communication = PR (without negative part).

  1. Press agentry:  purpose of corporate communication is publicity à trying to gain coverage from the mass media in almost any way possible. This model describes the purpose of corporate communication as being publicity, trying to gain coverage from the mass media in almost any way possible. It serves a propaganda function and spreads the faith of the organization involved, often through incomplete, distorted, or half-true information. Press-agentry is a one-way model where information is given, but the organization does not seek information from stakeholders.
  2. Public information: In this one-way model, communication is seen as the dissemination of information through the mass and controlled media such as newsletters, brochures, direct mail or the Internet. Negative information is rarely volunteered. In this one-way model, communication is seen as the dissemination of information (not necessarily with a persuasive intent) through the mass and controlled media such as newsletters, brochures, direct mail or the Internet. Negative information is rarely volunteered.
  3. Two-way asymmetric: information flows between the organization and its stakeholders, but is imbalanced in favor of the organization. In this two-way model, information flows between the organization and its stakeholders, but is imbalanced in favor of the organization. This model is not confined to the dissemination of information and research plays a key role. However, research here is (only) used to determine the most appropriate channels and messages to persuade stakeholders to behave as the organization wants, without the organization itself changing its behavior.
  4. Two-way symmetric: communication consists more of dialogue than monologue. In this two-way model, communication consists more of dialogue than monologue. Communication efforts are described in terms of its research base as well as the use of communication in improving understanding with key stakeholders. It presents the classic win-win situation, and implies that both the organization and its stakeholders are benefiting. The organization is adjusted to fit the environment. This requires bargaining, negotiating, and using strategies of conflict resolution to bring symbiotic changes in the ideas, attitudes, and behaviors of the organization and its stakeholders.

Communication with Internet

The Internet started as two-way communication, but became one-way communication when it was commercialized – used mainly to disseminate information. However, because of its interactive nature, some organizations have started to use the Internet to build two-way, interactive relationships with their stakeholders, fostering dialogue through various methods.

The Internet is not about mass marketing and mass markets. It’s about people – individuals with unique aspirations, needs, desires, and cultural backgrounds. It’s not as much a mass market of 60 million people as it is 60 million markets, each containing one person.

A need therefore exists to crystallize a message to individuals in one-to-one communication and to build one-to-one relationships at the same time. The Internet is the medium to provide in this need.


Further Readings: 

PS: Thanks to MR. Syafiq B. Assegaf for giving the lectures

Ini soal Masa Depan. Titik!

Masa depan dari 9.607.787 jiwa penduduk ber-KTP Jakarta (menurut BPS, 2010) dan tentu tidak lupa lebih-kurang 18 juta jiwa penduduk wilayah Bodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang dan Bekasi) akan di tentukan oleh 6.996.951 pemilih berdasarkan ketetapan Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU) Provinsi DKI Jakarta untuk putaran kedua Pemilihan Kepala Daerah (Pilkada) DKI Jakarta pada hari ini (20 September 2012), dengan rincian:

  • wilayah Kepulauan Seribu tercatat 16.367 pemilih,
  • wilayah Jakarta Pusat tercatat 789.484 pemilih,
  • wilayah Jakarta Utara tercatat 1.168.988 pemilih,
  • wilayah Jakarta Barat tercatat 1.510.159 pemilih,
  • wilayah Jakarta Selatan tercatat 1.512.913, dan
  • wilayah Jakarta Timur tercatat 1.999.040 pemilih.

Bagi saya, hari ini sungguh bersejarah karena incumbent yang berasal dari Partai Politik pemenang pemilu dan rekan-rekan koalisi partainya ditantang oleh kandidat dari hasil koalisi dua Partai Politik yang sebetulnya tidak memiliki basis suara yang cukup besar dari sisi kader Partai. Hasil survey pada seminggu sebelum pemilihan putaran pertama menggambarkan sesuatu yang berbeda: incumbent pasti menang. Ternyata survey tinggal survey, tim sukses pongah hingga salah ambil langkah catur. Waktu seminggu sebelum pemilihan nampaknya cukup untuk merobek-robek hasil survey banyak lembaga. Persentase suara (yang walaupun tidak sampai 50%) untuk kandidat penantang di putaran pertama sebetulnya merupakan isyarat bahwa sebagian besar pemilih di DKI Jakarta menginginkan perubahan pada kepemimpinan. Sesuatu yang mengejutkan bagi banyak kalangan, termasuk kedua kandidat yang bertarung di pemilihan umum.

Meskipun melaksanakan putaran berikutnya artinya biaya tambahan yang membengkak untuk semua pihak (Negara dan kedua kandidat). Apa boleh buat pemilihan umum putaran kedua tetap harus dilaksanakan demi nilai-nilai demokrasi di Ibukota tercinta.

Tulisan ini tidak ingin bermain dengan tebak-tebakan hasil pemilihan putaran kedua, karena sejujurnya saya pun tidak bisa meramalkan dengan tepat. Satu hal yang pasti, kedua tim sukses kandidat sudah bekerja dengan segenap pikiran dan tenaga yang maksimal. Hingga bahkan berulang-ulang mengganti status BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) dengan pesan (bernada kampanye) yang sama dalam satu hari, padahal dari seluruh contact di BBM-nya paling-paling hanya 30% yang punya hak pilih. Mari kita tertawakan saja hal tersebut.

Kalau dan hanya kalau saya boleh berbicara selugas ini, sebetulnya kita (Indonesia secara umum) berada dalam masa krisis kepemimpinan, masa dimana pemimpin tidak lagi memiliki wibawa dan penegakan hukum lebih mirip “macan ompong dan bahkan tanpa kuku yang tajam”. Disaat yang bersamaan, rakyat membutuhkan suri tauladan dan inspirasi bagi keseharian mereka. Entah siapa yang salah.

Saya seorang muslim, dan saya (sangat) malu menjadi bagian dari negara mayoritas muslim dimana korupsi terjadi membabi buta. Bahkan Al-Qur’an pun dijadikan bancakan oleh koruptor di negeri ini. Karenanya, ketika memilih pemimpin, saya tidak akan pernah menggunakan indikator keimanan sebagai tolak ukur. Miris betul rasanya hati dan pikiran saya, ketika isu agama dimanfaatkan sebagai alat kampanye. Terlepas dari ikatan emosional masing-masing individu dengan agamanya, ini merupakan sebuah kemunduran bagi demokrasi dan akal sehat rakyat.

Simbol-simbol Suku Agama dan Ras (SARA) tidak selayaknya digunakan sebagai alat kampanye di kota yang sebetulnya melting-pot dari ke-Bhinneka-Tunggal-Ika-an Indonesia. Founding Fathers kita mungkin sedang menangisi cara berfikir rakyatnya yang dipecah belah isu SARA, dan lupa bagaimana leluhur meregang nyawa untuk menyatukan Indonesia. Hari ini, kita memilih pemimpin untuk mengarahkan bagaimana sebuah kota harus dikelola, bukan untuk menjadi Imam dalam sholat berjamaah atau berdzikir bersama. Agama itu soal Hablum-min-Allah; bersifat vertikal; bukan antar manusia. Sementara, menjadi warga kota yang baik itu soal Hablum-min-annas; bersifat horizontal; antar manusia. Karenanya, berfikir dan memilih dengan akal yang sehat dan hati yang tulus.

Banyak hal lain yang lebih mendasar dari persoalan kepemimpinan dan manajerial dalam mengelola Ibukota. Kita memerlukan pemimpin sekaligus manajer yang mampu untuk:  Mengelola dan memelihara sustainability kota sekaligus membangun dengan inovasi; Berfokus tidak hanya pada sistem dan struktur, tetapi juga pada sumber daya manusianya; Memiliki reputasi dan wibawa sehingga mampu mengontrol dan dipercaya oleh rakyat; Memiliki jangkauan berfikir dalam jangka pendek menengah dan panjang, dalam artian menguasai taktik dan strategi; Berani mengambil langkah catur ketika ketidakadilan terjadi; Dan tidak terikat pada bentuk kontrak politik apapun yang menghalangi arah kebijaksanaan.  Itu baru yang namanya Meritoktrasi dalam kepemimpinan.

Apapun hasil dari pemilihan putaran kedua ini, entah incumbent atau pun penantang, pemenang tidak akan bisa bekerja sendiri dari atas menara gading. Pemenang akan membutuhkan 9.607.787 jiwa penduduk ber-KTP Jakarta dan lebih-kurang 18 juta jiwa penduduk wilayah Bodetabek untuk berusaha sekuat tenaga dan menjadi warga kota yang baik, memiliki disiplin yang tinggi serta berpartisipasi aktif dalam proses pemerintahan. Tanpa hal tersebut, niscaya tidak akan ada perbaikan dan perubahan yang terjadi. Percaya pada saya!

Research Methods in Mass Communication

What is research?

Regardless of how the word research is used, it essentially means the same thing: an attempt to discover something. We all do this every day. Research can be very informal, with only a few (or no) specific plans or steps, or it can be formal, where a researcher follows highly defined and exacting procedures. The lack of exacting procedures in informal research does not mean the approach is incorrect, and the use of exacting procedures does not automatically make formal research correct. Both procedures can be good or bad—it depends on how the research is conducted. The important thing for all researchers to understand is the correct methods to follow to ensure the best results.

Research is divided into two major sectors, academic and private, which are sometimes called “basic” and “applied,” respectively, although we do not use these terms in this text because research in both sectors can be basic or applied. The two sectors are equally important and in many cases work together to answer mass media questions.

Research phases in Media

  • Phase 1: The medium itself. There is an interest in the medium itself. What is it? How does it work? What technology does it involve? How is it similar to or different from what we already have? What functions or services does it provide? Who will have access to the new medium? How much will it cost?
  • Phase 2: Uses and users of the medium. Begins once the medium is developed. In this phase, specific information is accumulated about the uses and the users of the medium. How do people use the medium in real life? Do they use it for information only, to save time, for entertainment, or for some other reason? Do children use it? Do adults use it? Why? What gratifications does the new medium provide? What other types of information and entertainment does the new medium replace? Were original projections about the use of the medium correct? What uses are evident other than those that were predicted from initial research?
  • Phase 3: Effects of the medium. Includes investigations of the social, psychological, and physical effects of the medium. How much time do people spend with the medium? Does it change people’s perspectives about anything? What do the users of the medium want and expect to hear or see? Are there any harmful effects related to using the medium? In what way, if any, does the medium help people? Can the medium be combined with other media or technology to make it even more useful?
  • Phase 4: How the medium can be improved. Research is conducted to determine how the medium can be improved, either in its use or through technological developments. Can the medium provide information or entertainment to more types of people? How can new technology be used to perfect or enhance the sight and/or sound of the medium? Is there a way to change the content to be more valuable or entertaining?

One theory of mass media, later named the “hypodermic needle” model of communication, suggested that mass communicators need only “shoot” messages at an audience and those messages would produce pre-planned and almost universal effects. The belief then was that all people behave in similar ways when they encounter media messages. We know now that individual differences among people rule out this overly simplistic view.

Media Research and Scientific Method

Scientific research is an organized, objective, controlled, qualitative or quantitative empirical analysis of one or more variables. The terms that define the scientific research method describe a procedure that has been accepted for centuries. All research, whether formal or informal, begins with a basic question or proposition about a specific phenomenon.

Methods of Knowing

There are several possible approaches in answering research questions. Kerlinger and Lee (2000), using definitions provided nearly a century ago by C. S. Peirce, discuss four approaches to finding answers, or methods of knowing: tenacity, intuition, authority, and science.

  • Method of Tenacity: true because it is always true (ex. I don’t believe advertising because my parents said so).
  • Method of Intuition: true because it is self-evidence (ex. A Creative Director uses certain method and always work).
  • Method of Authority: true because an authoritarian person said so.
  • Method of Science: scientific method; definition: “an organized, objective, controlled, qualitative or quantitative empirical analysis of one or more variables”. Scientific method is the standard procedures

Research Procedures

The purpose of the scientific method of research is to provide an objective, unbiased collection and evaluation of data. To investigate research questions and hypotheses systematically, both academic and private sector researchers follow a basic eight-step procedure. However, simply following the eight research steps does not guarantee that the research is good, valid, reliable, or useful. An almost countless number of intervening variables (influences) can destroy even the best-planned research project. The situation is similar to someone assuming he or she can bake a cake by just following the recipe. The cake may be ruined by an oven that doesn’t work properly, spoiled ingredients, altitude, or numerous other variables. The typical research process consists of these eight steps:

  1. Select a problem.
  2. Review existing research and theory (when relevant).
  3. Develop hypotheses or research questions.
  4. Determine an appropriate methodology/research design.
  5. Collect relevant data.
  6. Analyze and interpret the results.
  7. Present the results in an appropriate form.
  8. Replicate the study (when necessary).

Notes: Step 4 includes deciding whether to use qualitative research (such as focus groups or one-on-one interviews) with small samples or quantitative research (such as telephone interviews), in which large samples are used to allow results to be generalized to the population under study. Steps 2 and 8 are optional in the private sector, where some research is conducted to answer a specific and unique question related to a future decision, such as whether to invest a large sum of money in a developing medium. In this type of project, there generally is no previous research to consult, and there seldom is a reason to replicate the study because a decision is made based on the first analysis. However, if the research produces inconclusive results, the study is revised and replicated. 

Each step in the eight-step process depends on all the others to produce a maximally efficient research study. For example, before a literature search is possible, the researcher must have a clearly stated research problem; to design the most efficient method of investigating a problem, the researcher must know what types of studies have been conducted; and so on. In addition, all the steps are interactive—a literature search may refine and even alter the initial research problem, or a study conducted previously by another company or business in the private sector might expedite (or complicate) the current research effort.

Determining Topic Relevance

  • Q1: Is the topic too broad?
  • Q2: Can the problem really be investigated?
  • Q3: Can the data be analyzed?
  • Q4: Is the problem significant?
  • Q5: Can the result of the study be generalized?
  • Q6: What cost and time are involved in the analysis?
  • Q7: Is the planned approach appropriate to the project?
  • Q8: Is there any potential harms to the subjects?

Validity in Research Methods

Internal Validity:

The study is investigating the right subjects or variables. “Artifacts” or “confounding variables”

Factors in internal validity:

  1. History: events during study infulence subjects.
  2. Maturation: subjects’ psychological change.
  3. Testing: subject is influenced by the test.
  4. Instrumentation: deterioration during study (“instrument decay”).
  5. Statistical regression: extreme response influences the study result.

External Validity:

The study is using valid methodology and therefore can be generalized.

Factors in external validity:

  1. Experimental mortality
  2. Sample selection
  3. Demand characteristics
  4. Experimenter bias
  5. Evaluation apprehension
  6. Causal time order
  7. Diffusion or imitation of treatments
  8. Compensation
  9. Compensatory rivalry
  10. Demoralization


Pendidikan dan Memasang Lampu di Langit-langit

Saya punya kebiasaan aneh (yang sepertinya juga dilakukan banyak orang) membaca cepat sembari duduk di closet, kamar mandi. Sebuah waktu nan singkat, tetapi begitu efisien digunakan. Biasanya, dalam waktu yang singkat tersebut saya membaca sebuah bab dari buku yang saya miliki. Apapun bukunya. Salah satu yang paling rutin saya baca adalah majalah Tempo. Pagi ini, saya membaca sebuah sub-bab berjudul “March to Modernity” dalam buku “New Asian Hemisphere”, yang ditulis oleh Kishore Mahbubani.

Dalam sub-bab itu dinarasikan bagaimana modernitas begitu didambakan oleh 6,5 miliar orang yang hidup di Asia dan Afrika, dan bagaimana kemiskinan selama ini dirasakan baik oleh Mahbubani, maupun miliaran orang lainnya. Kemiskinan yang disebut Mahbubani sebagai masa ‘pramodern’ dengan indikator tidak adanya ‘flush toilet’, dan barang-barang lain seperti televisi berwarna, kulkas dan mesin cuci di dalam rumahnya.  Barang-barang yang menjadi indikator tersebut memang simbol-simbol dari modernitas, dimana dunia menjadi semakin paralel, dan tangan-tangan manusia yang mengerjakan pekerjaan rumah tangga sekalipun mulai digantikan oleh mesin-mesin.

Ketika banyak kalangan menengah yang berpendidikan begitu menentang televisi karena memiliki kemampuan merusak (bila terjadi kecanduan menonton). Mahbubani justru menganggap kehadiran televisi berwarna dengan tayangan-tayangannya menghadirkan mimpi dan harapan bagi orang-orang yang menyaksikannya, termasuk dirinya sendiri ketika masa mudanya.

Saya kemudian tergelitik dengan sub-bab yang baru saja saya baca, dan mulai berimajinasi. Imajinasi saya tiba-tiba terhubung dengan bagaimana seseorang mengganti lampu yang mati di langit-langit rumahnya, sementara tinggi orang tersebut hanya 160 cm dan tinggi langit-langit rumahnya 220 cm. Tentu ada alat bantu yang akan dibutuhkan untuk orang tersebut melampau selisih tinggi 60 cm antara dirinya dengan langit-langit rumah. Apakah sebuah bangku untuk dipijaknya, meja atau mungkin lebih baik lagi sebuah tangga. Sebentar, lalu apa hubungannya dengan tulisan dari Kishore Mahbubani?

Begini, anggaplah kondisi dimana lampu mati di rumah orang tadi adalah kondisi yang sama dengan kemiskinan. Langit-langit rumah sebagai cakrawala berfikir, atau ilmu pengetahuan di dalam pikiran kita. Ketika, lampu mati tentu terasa tidak ada harapan, bahkan nyala lilin-lilin kecil sekalipun. Lampu (yang juga merupakan simbol modernitas) dalam kondisi menyala saya sejajarkan dengan kondisi dimana seseorang mendapatkan pencerahan. Dapat melihat sekelilingnya dengan lebih baik karena memiliki sesuatu yang menyala di langit-langit rumahnya.

Orang dalam ilustrasi diatas adalah kita, bagian dari 6,5 miliar penduduk Asia dan Afrika. Untuk bisa menyalakan lampu tadi, tentu dibutuhkan alat bantu dalam bentuk apapun. Bagi saya, alat bantu yang saya maksud adalah pendidikan. Semakin tinggi tangga pendidikan yang bisa kita pijak, maka semakin tinggilah capaian pencerahan yang bisa kita capai. Dus, impian yang selama ini hanya ada di depan televisi berwarna tidak lagi sekedar impian. Ketika itulah kemudian modernitas di alam pikiran mampu kita capai. Sebuah modal yang sangat mendasar untuk mendapatkan hidup yang jauh lebih baik.

Tangga seperti juga pijakan lain yang kita gunakan sebagai alat bantu, tentu tidak akan datang begitu saja. Tidak mungkin terjadi di dunia ini, sebuah tangga menghampiri orang yang akan mengganti lampu di rumahnya. Karenanya, kita harus mencari sendiri dengan berusaha. Hal yang sama yang terjadi dengan pendidikan. Kita tidak mungkin tiba-tiba menjadi berwawasan, pasti ada usaha yang dilakukan. Cara yang paling mudah untuk mengawalinya adalah dengan memulai kebiasaan membaca.

Partisipasi dan Representasi

Sejak tahun 2009, kita memiliki 560 Anggota Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, 132 Anggota Dewan Perwakilan Daerah dan ribuan Anggota Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah yang bertugas untuk mewakili 237,641,326 penduduk Indonesia. Setiap Anggota DPR mewakili 424,359 penduduk Indonesia, dan anggota DPD mewakili daerah masing-masing. Seharusnya setiap warga negara yang mengikuti Pemilihan Legislatif memiliki keterikatan kontrak sosial dan politik sebagai pemberi amanah, sebaliknya masing-masing anggota DPR dan DPD sebagai penerima amanah dari pemilih. Artinya, setiap ucapan, sikap, tindakan, dan kebijakan semua anggota DPR dan DPD merupakan representasi dari suara rakyat (konstituen) yang diwakili di masing-masing daerah pemilihan. Begitu yang seharusnya terjadi pada tatanan yang ideal.

Masalahnya, sebelum terpilih, masing-masing Anggota DPR dan DPD mendapatkan modal kampanye yang tidak sedikit dari “pihak yang berkepentingan” yang sebetulnya tidak memiliki hubungan dalam bentuk apapun dengan konstituen daerah pemilihan. Akibatnya, tatanan yang ideal seperti digambarkan pada paragraf pertama hampir mustahil untuk terjadi. Karenanya kemudian kerap terjadi pelanggaran yang dilakukan oleh Anggota DPR dan DPD, tanpa ada reaksi apapun dari publik, selain reaksi negatif terhadap DPR dan DPR secara kelembagaan. Dengan kata lain, bila ada satu anggota DPR/DPD melanggar hukum, maka efek negatif bukan ada pada individu tersebut, tetapi kepada lembaga secara umum.

Dengan kondisi yang demikian jauh dari ideal, DPR yang memiliki fungsi pengawasan pemerintahan dan perancangan UUD tidak memiliki “pengawas kinerja” karena tidak pernah ada kontrak sosial dan politik dengan konstituen, apalagi dengan yang berbeda partai dengan anggota tetapi berasal dari satu daerah pemilihan. Padahal sejatinya, setelah setiap Anggota DPR/DPD terpilih maka yang bersangkutan mewakili daerah pemilihan secara umum (tanpa melihat partainya).

Partisipasi aktif masyarakat atas pembuatan kebijakan begitu penting, karena merekalah pemangku kepentingan yang akan dikenai  imbas langsung atas sebuah kebijakan. Sementara, representasi Anggota DPR atas masyarakat juga begitu penting, karena persoalan mendasar mengenai apapun yang diatur dalam kebijakan sudah dan akan terjadi di masyarakat.

Pertanyaan yang berulang-ulang muncul di kepala saya ketika menulis adalah: apakah Fulan (sebagai anggota masyarakat) tahu siapa yang mewakilinya di DPR dan DPD? apakah Fulan tahu kebijakan-kebijakan apa saja yang diperjuangkan oleh wakilnya di DPR dan DPD? lalu, apakah betul Fulan bisa mengusulkan secara langsung apapun ide positif yang ada di kepalanya kepada wakilnya di DPR dan DPD? Kalau semua jawaban dari 3 pertanyaan itu “tidak”, mungkin ada yang salah dengan sistem representasi di negeri ini. 

Mass Communication Theory: Definitions and Eras

What is Mass Communication?

Mass Communication is “when a source, typically an organization, employs a technology as a medium to communicate with a large audience“. Questions: If you send an email to a “mailing list,” or if you write a note in your blog or facebook, does mass communication occure here? Or if a marketing company sends you a “customized” email, is it a mass communication process?

Most theories will be discussed in the book (“Mass Communication Theory: Foundation, Ferment and Future”, Baran: 2010) were developed before the modern communication revolutions (the internet, etc). New communication technologies enable us to communicate differently from the mass communication “era”. We need to think of mediated communication as existing on a continuum between interpersonal communication and mass communication on the other end.

Today, the number and variety of mass communication theories have steadily increased. More or less independent body of knowledge from the social science and humanities literature, developed by scholars from social sciences (sociology, psychology) and humanities (philosophy, literary analysis). Some theories are grand, some are “small” and specific.

There are 4 major categories in Mass Communication Theory:

  • Postpositivism
    • Positivism: Knowledge can be gained only through empirical, observable, measurable phenomena (physics, chemistry, etc.). Do you think it will be applicable to study a society? Why?
    • Postpositivism: based on empirical observation guided by scientific method, but recognizing the complexity of human behavior. Goals: explanation, prediction and control. Case study: Indonesian political marketing
  • Hermeneutic theory
    • Study of understanding, especially through the systematic interpretation of action or texts. Began as the study or interpretation of the Bible and sacred texts. Goals: To understand how and why a behavior occurs in the social world.
  • Critical theory
    • Theory seeking emancipation and change  in a dominant social order. Starting from the assumption that some aspects of the social world are deeply flawed and in need of transformation. Goals: Transformation of the society. Example: Karl Marx.
  • Normative theory
    • Theory explaining how a media system should operate in order to conform to or realize a set of ideal social values. Goals: to set an ideal standard against which the operation of a given media system can be judged. Commonly used by theoriests interested in press role in democracy.

Four Eras of Media Theory

Theories will be discussed chronologically, so you have a broad and historically grounded perspective on media. It does not mean that theories developed in orderly, chronologically stable way. Also, older theories are not completely obsolete. Newer theories, as radical as it look, for the most part are updated version of old ideas. Notes: These theories were developed in the Western culture context. Are they applicable in non-Western cultures? This is a big question.

  1. The Era of Mass Society and Mass Culture Theory. Begun at the 2nd half of the 19th century. Mass society theory: Perspective on Western, industrial society that attributess an influential but often negative role to media. Media was feared because it was regarded as a threat to the traditional social order. The audience was considered as a passive target of media. Will be discussed later: Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft (Tonnies); mechanical and organic solidarity (Durkheim); propaganda theory; magic bullet theories; normative theories of media; social responsibility theory; etc.
  2. The Emergence of a Scientific Perspective. Starting in 1940s, especially by Paul Lazarsfeld who fled from Nazi Germany to the US. The use of scientific approach, carefully designed field experiment and measurement, to observe media influence on society. “Media were not as powerful as previously imagined” Thus, the effect of media towards the audience is limited. “People had numerous ways of resisting media influence and were influenced by many competing factors”. “Media seemed to reinforce existing social trends and strenghthen rather that threaten the status quo”. We will discuss the studies by Lazarsfeld, Hovland, etc.
  3. The Era of Limited Effects. By the mid-1960, the debate between mass society and limited effects was over, in which the latter gained more support. The empirical research findings confirmed the latter view. Since no “big problem” in media, Berelson (1959) declared the field communication research to be dead. During the 1960s and into the 1970s, the limited effects paradigm dominated American mass communication research. We will discuss: information flow theory, diffusion theory, phenomenistic theory, etc.
  4. The Era of Cultural Criticism. Mass society notions continued to flourish in Europe. Both left wing and right wing concerns about the power of media, learning from the trauma of the WW II. During the 1960s, neomarxist in Britain developed a school of social theory widely referred to as British cultural studiesNeomarxist: Social theorists asserting that media enable dominant social elites to maintain power. In North America, there was an attempt ot create an “american culture studies” (Innis and McLuhan, for example).

The Emergence of Moderate Effects; The limited effects paradigm have undergone a transformation, due to the pressure of cultural studies and new comm technology. The idea of active audience that uses media content to create meaningful experience. Acknowledges that media effects can occur over longer period of time (while limited effect was unable to understand the media role in cultural changes).

The diversity of theory in mass communication

So you’ll find many theories in mass comm. No single theory could explain all aspects of mass comm. There will not be a “final theory” in mass comm. Macroscopic theory and microcospic theory. It is difficult to implement scientific method to social phenomena. There are four reasons why it is difficult to implement scientific method to social phenomena:

  • Most of the significant and interesting forms of human behavior are quite difficult to measure
  • Human behavior is exceedingly complex
  • Humans have goals and are self-reflexive
  • The simple notion of causality is sometimes troubling when it is applied to ourselves

Conclusion: The situation is complicated because social science itself is somewhat schizophrenic—it is many different things to many different people. However, theories need to be developed to understand the phenomenon, albeit partially.

For further readings:


PS: Thanks to Mr. Putut Widjanarko for the lectures.