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DATE : 19-03-2008



"Mass media" is a deceptively simple term encompassing a countless array of

institutions and individuals who differ in purpose, scope, method, and cultural context.
Mass media include all forms of information communicated to large groups of people,
from a handmade sign to an international news network. There is no standard for how
large the audience needs to be before communication becomes "mass" communication.
There are also no constraints on the type of information being presented. A car
advertisement and a U.N. resolution are both examples of mass media.


The importance of the media today is immense. Mass communicated media saturate the
industrialized world. The television in the living room, the newspaper on the doorstep,
the radio in the car, the computer at work, and the fliers in the mailbox are just a
few of the media channels daily delivering advertisements, news, opinion, music, and
other forms of mass communication.
Because the media are so prevalent in industrialized countries, they have a powerful
impact on how those populations view the world. Nearly all of the news in the United
States comes from a major network or newspaper. It is only the most local and
personal events that are experienced first-hand. Events in the larger community, the
state, the country, and the rest of the world are experienced through the eyes of a

Not only do the media report the news, they create the news by deciding what to
report. The production of news often goes through several steps: informants and
sources, press agents, reporters, news agencies, journalists, and editors. Many media
are citing other media or opinion leaders so that the complete chain of information flow
becomes quite long. Selection and distortion may take place at every link in this chain
of information transmission. The "top story" of the day has to be picked from the
millions of things that happened that particular day. After something is deemed
newsworthy, there are decisions on how much time or space to give it, whom to
interview, what pictures to use, and how to frame it. Often considered by editors, but
seldom discussed, is how the biases and interests of management will impact these
determinations. All of these decisions add up to the audience's view of the world, and
those who influence the decisions influence the audience.

The mass media have an important role in modern democratic society as the main
channel of communication. The population relies on the news media as the main source
of information and the basis on which they form their opinions and voting decisions.
According to cultural selection theory, any selection of messages in the mass media will
thus have a profound effect on the entire society.

Competition has become increasingly keen in the area of the mass media as they keep
fighting for the attention of the readers, listeners, and TV-viewers. The life and
death of each newspaper and TV station is at stake here when the income from
advertising and sponsoring is proportional to the number of readers or viewers. The
printed media have problems competing with the electronic media as sources of news.
In order to survive, they are increasingly turning to other strategies such as
entertainment, titillation, scandal mongering, and spreading fear - and spending fewer
resources on serious researching of news. This is not only about the survival of the
fittest of the news media, it is also about cultural selection and political selection. The
news media are the most important channels for the propagation of culture, ideas, and
opinions. Most opinion formation takes place when people sit and watch news and
debates on television. Analyzing the cultural selection in the electronic information
society, we find that an important part of the selection lies in the choice between TV
channels. Millions of lazy viewers sit in their comfortable arm-chairs with remote
controls in their hands zapping between action films, revivalist preachers, and
commercials for a new fragrance, hardly realizing that by choosing which cultural and
political influences they expose themselves to, they also chose the cultural and political
evolution of their country.
It is very important to analyze which selection criteria are in effect here. The
electronic media are first and foremost pacifying. It is a relaxation machine, and the
viewer wants to be entertained. The faces on the screen are not chosen for their
opinions but for their entertainment value. TV stations do not compete on ideologies
but on sense impressions. An extreme example is music videos, satiated with fast
changing sense impressions in sound as well as in pictures.

The media, therefore, have enormous importance to conflict resolution because they
are the primary -- and frequently only -- source of information regarding conflicts. If
a situation doesn't make the news, it simply does not exist for most people. When
peaceful options such as negotiation and other collaborative problem-solving techniques
are not covered, or their successes are not reported, they become invisible and are not
likely to be considered or even understood as possible options in the management of a


In psychology, communication theory and sociology, media influence or media effects

refers to the theories about the ways the mass media affect how their audiences think
and behave. The shift of media and media industry over the past few years into new
forms, such as DVD and the internet, changes the modalities available for audiences to
consume and receive media. The change has caused some media theorists to call into
question the influence that the media have over attitudes and beliefs.

The consequences and ramifications of the mass media relate not merely to the way
newsworthy events are perceived (and which are reported at all), but also to a
multitude of cultural influences that operate through the media.

The media has a strong social and cultural impact upon society. This is predicated upon
its ability to reach a wide audience which often sends a strong and influential message.
Marshall McLuhan uses the term “the medium is the message” as a means of explaining
how the distribution of the message can often be more important that the message
itself. It is through the persuasiveness of mediums such as television, radio and print
media that reach the target audience.

The internet has lifted some of the restrictions placed on society by allowing for
diversification of political opinions, social and cultural differences and heightened level
of consumer participation. There have been suggestions that allowing consumers to
produce information through the internet will lead to a bombardment of too much
information. It can however allow society a medium for expressing opinions and moving
away from the political restrictions placed on society.

Media can also influence the way people talk. Certain movies have quotes that can be
embedded into the minds of the audience. However, these quotes can be either
appropriate or non appropriate.
Media scientists have often discussed how much influence the media have on people's
opinions. People tend to selectively read what they already agree with and to
rationalize their preformed opinions in the face of contrary arguments. Experimental
evidence seems to indicate that the mass media have little power to change people's
opinions on issues for which they already have formed a strong opinion, but they have
a profound influence when it comes to setting the agenda and priming people on new
issues. The way an issue is framed determines how it is discussed, which causes a
social problem is blamed on, and which of the possible remedies are entered into the

In conclusion, the media can be used to promote social growth and thinking skills.
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