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Exploring the Boundaries of Heroes, Celebrities and Role Models after 9/11: Lessons from Shanksville
Unformatted Document Text:  Lessons from Shanksville p. 4 The differences between heroes and celebrities are important, because both groups become role models for beliefs and behavior. More people desired to be like Princess Diana, a celebrity, than be like Mother Theresa, a hero (Brown, Basil, and Bocarnea, 1998). Although they both died within a week of each other, far more media attention was focused on Princess Diana’s life and death than on Mother Theresa. Thus, the news media can play a critical role in creating the public image of those who become important role models in society. Four decades of agenda-setting research indicate that not only do news media tell us what to think about, but news stories can also frame issues and give more or less salience to specific issues (McCombs & Shaw, 1993), thus influencing “how we think.” Media coverage of specific issues and events can influence public concern and public policy regarding a variety of issues (see Rogers & Dearing, 1988, Rogers, Dearing, & Bregman, 1993, for a review). Therefore, the news media, to a great extent, are instrumental in forming the public’s perceptions of heroes and celebrities. The media, especially the news media, play an important role in forming the views of how we memorialize heroes and celebrities. According to Ellis (1993), the mass media play a role in how we view anyone that dies. Ellis’ work is based around her own personal experience of losing her brother in a plane crash many years ago. Seeking answers from people regarding their experiences with grief and loss, Ellis (1993) discovered that survivors of tragedy are not just those who were directly involved in the event, but also include those who are follow the tragedy and become emotionally involved with it.

Authors: Brown, William. and Fraser, Benson.
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background image
Lessons from Shanksville
p. 4
The differences between heroes and celebrities are important, because both groups
become role models for beliefs and behavior. More people desired to be like Princess
Diana, a celebrity, than be like Mother Theresa, a hero (Brown, Basil, and Bocarnea,
1998). Although they both died within a week of each other, far more media attention
was focused on Princess Diana’s life and death than on Mother Theresa. Thus, the news
media can play a critical role in creating the public image of those who become important
role models in society.
Four decades of agenda-setting research indicate that not only do news media tell
us what to think about, but news stories can also frame issues and give more or less
salience to specific issues (McCombs & Shaw, 1993), thus influencing “how we think.”
Media coverage of specific issues and events can influence public concern and public
policy regarding a variety of issues (see Rogers & Dearing, 1988, Rogers, Dearing, &
Bregman, 1993, for a review). Therefore, the news media, to a great extent, are
instrumental in forming the public’s perceptions of heroes and celebrities.
The media, especially the news media, play an important role in forming the
views of how we memorialize heroes and celebrities. According to Ellis (1993), the mass
media play a role in how we view anyone that dies. Ellis’ work is based around her own
personal experience of losing her brother in a plane crash many years ago. Seeking
answers from people regarding their experiences with grief and loss, Ellis (1993)
discovered that survivors of tragedy are not just those who were directly involved in the
event, but also include those who are follow the tragedy and become emotionally
involved with it.


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