What Is Mass Media

The definition, advantages and disadvantages of mass media..

Tina S
Tina S
Jan 13, 2010
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Mass media denotes a section of the media specifically designed to reach a very large audience such as the population of a nation state. Mass media is any medium used to transmit mass communication. Until recently mass media was clearly defined and was comprised of the eight mass media industries; Books, Newspapers, Magazines,and Recordings, Radio, Movies,Television and The Internet.

Some people also refer to the mass media as the “mainstream media,” referencing the fact that it tends to stick to prominent stories which will be of interest to a general audience, sometimes ignoring controversial breaking news. Many people around the world rely on the mass media for news and entertainment, and globally, mass media is a huge industry.

Usually, mass media aims to reach a very large market, such as the entire population of a country. By contrast, local media covers a much smaller population and area, focusing on regional news of interest, while specialty media is provided for particular demographic groups. Some local media outlets which cover state or provincial news may rise to prominence thanks to their investigative journalism, and to the clout that their particular regions have in national politics. The Guardian, formerly known as theManchester Guardian, for example, is a nationally-respected paper in England which started as a regional daily.

The Five Core Concepts of Media Studies:
1.All media messages are constructed.
2.Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
3.Different people experience the same messages differently.
4.Media have embedded values and points of view.
5.Media messages are constructed to gain profit and/or power.

 Different Types of Media Coverage – Based on Types of Mass Media:

Television coverage refers to the presentation of news or information or views on the television. The television news channels are the primary source of media coverage. 
Radio coverage involves broadcasting news, information or entertainment via the Radio. Nowadays the popularity of this medium has gone down. 
Newspaper coverage refers to providing news, information or infotainment using the newspapers. This is a cost-effective medium however is soon losing popularity to the internet.
Internet coverage means the using the internet to provide information, news, views or entertainment. This is one of the most popular and widely used media today.

Different Types of Media Coverage- Based on the Style of Coverage 

Biased media coverage refers to presentation of information in a biased manner which means that the coverage is either supporting a particular view or opposing a particular view. 
Un-biased media coverage refers to unbiased presentations of facts and figures in a matter-of-fact manner instead of taking any particular stand on the issue. 
Interactive media coverage refers to the presentation of information and also including audience views in it, which makes the coverage interactive. 

Mass media can be used for various purposes:
Advocacy, both for business and social concerns. This can include advertising, marketing, propaganda, public relations, and politicalcommunication.
Entertainment, traditionally through performances of acting, music, and sports, along with light reading; since the late 20th century also through video and computer games.
Public service announcements.
Effects of mass media:
Today we live in a world, which has been closely knit with a wide network of different types of mass media. Media has several advantages as well as disadvantages in day-to-day life. Here are some of the effects of the media: 

Shaping the public opinion: The media is an important medium which informs the people about the latest news and happening around the world. According to the agenda-setting theory of mass communication, the media plays an important role in shaping the public opinion. 

Providing Entertainment: According to the uses and gratification theory of mass media, it is believed that the audiences use the media according to their own needs and requirements. Many media users make use of media as a form of entertainment by means of television shows,movies, or even music.

Disseminating Information: Media is an extensive resource of information for millions of people across the world. Be it the Internet, televisionor the humble radio and newspapers, media is an extensive source of information on a wide range of topics, which broadens the horizons of knowledge. Be it world news or general useful information about any topic under the sky, it is the media which has it all!
Research Works: Research has revealed that media is responsible for influencing a major part of our daily life. Media contribute to a transformation in the cultural and social values of the masses. Media can bring about a change in the attitudes and beliefs of the common man. The persuasive nature of the content presented over media influences the thoughts and behavior of the general public. Media has a direct impact over the lifestyle of society.

Link between Government and the People: In addition to being a news provider, the media is also considered as a link between the government and the people since it informs the public about the general developments by the government and simultaneously serves as a voice of the general population, expressing their opinions and ideas. 

Delivering Justice: There have been ample number of examples wherein the media has been instrumental in creating public awareness about several criminal cases, which has led to speedy justice delivered to the victims. Thus, media plays an important role in publicizing cases, which require public attention.

The Importance of Public Opinion in Media:
Media is all about connecting people and mirroring the society that we live in. Media is all about reflecting on daily happenings around the globe. People are not just the audience but also an essential element of news in itself!
First of all let us talk about the print media like newspapers and magazines. The newspaper content, which was wholly and solely the product of reporters and journalists in the office, has now gone a radical change into an amalgamation of news and public opinions. The letters to the editor written by the readers are also an instance of acknowledgment of the importance of public opinion.
In case of the World Wide Web or the Internet, the websites were already using the public polls. In addition to that, the rise of blogging and public forums has paved way to increased exposure to individual opinions and has hence strengthened the importance of public opinion on the web as well.
The recent advent of blogging in the media world and practices like public polls and citizen journalism, have led to the achievement of a social control. These concepts have strengthened the relationship between the media and the common man. They have brought the general masses closer to their society.
In many news channels across the globe, public polls are a common affair and are considered as an important tool to measure public opinion. It reports public opinion about several issues and news. In case of the entertainment channels, public voting for reality shows like American Idol explains the importance given for public opinion.
Importance of public opinion is the effect of increased public participation in the media. This is an era where media has awakened to the fact that no matter what they are dishing out - news, views or entertainment - they need to keep it interactive. In case of the news industry, the public opinion is not just a way to validate and supplement the news but also a great way to increase the awareness of people about a particular topic. In addition to that importance of public opinion in media, it is also a great step towards strengthening the democracy of a nation.
Negative characteristics of mass media:
One of the biggest criticisms of the mass media is that it is too topical. When a media outlet is forced to cover national and international news, it cannot address numerous interesting local stories because these stories are not of interest to very many viewers. For example, the residents of a community might view their fight against development as critical, but the story would only attract the attention of the mass media if the fight became controversial or if precedents of some form were set.

Another description of Mass Media is central media which implies:
An inability to transmit tacit knowledge (or perhaps it can only transfer bad tacit).
The manipulation of large groups of people through media outlets, for the benefit of a particular political party and/or group of people.
Marshall McLuhan, one of the biggest critics in media's history, brought up the idea that "the medium is the message."
Bias, political or otherwise, towards favoring a certain individual, outcome or resolution of an event.
"The corporate media is not a watchdog protecting us from the powerful, it is a lapdog begging for scraps."

This view of central media can be contrasted with lateral media, such as email networks, where messages are all slightly different and spread by a process of lateral diffusion.

As digital communication technology continues to expand, exactly what devices constitute a mass medium will undoubtedly continue to evolve and expand the current definition beyond the eight mass media industries.

Keywords: Mass Media,coverage,television,radio, biased,interactive,advocacy,entertainment,world wide web,effects mass media,Disseminating,Information,Shaping public opinion,mainstream media,communication.

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