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A special report on the news industry: The end of mass media

Coming full circle
News is becoming a social medium again, as it was until the early 19th century²only more so
Jul 7th 2011 | from the print edition

y y THERE IS A great historical irony at the heart of the current transformation of news. The industry is being reshaped by technology²but by undermining the mass media¶s business models, that technology is in many ways returning the industry to the more vibrant, freewheeling and discursive ways of the pre-industrial era. Until the early 19th century there was no technology for disseminating news to large numbers of people in a short space of time. It travelled as people chatted in marketplaces and taverns or exchanged letters with their friends. This phenomenon can be traced back to Roman times, when members of the elite kept each other informed with a torrent of letters, transcriptions of speeches and copies of the acta diurna, the official gazette that was posted in the forum each day. News travelled along social networks because there was no other conduit. The invention of the printing press meant that many copies of a document could be produced more quickly than before, but distribution still relied on personal connections. In early 1518 Martin Luther¶s writings spread around Germany in two weeks as they were carried from one town to the next. As Luther and his supporters argued with his opponents over the following decade, more than 6m religious pamphlets were sold in Germany. ³News ballads´, which spread news in the form of popular songs, covered the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, among many other events. In January 1776 Thomas Paine¶s pamphlet ³Common Sense´, which rallied the colonists against the British crown, was printed in a run of 1,000 copies. One of them reached George Washington, who was so impressed that he made American officers read extracts of Paine¶s work to their men. By July 1776 around 250,000 people, nearly half the free population of the colonies, had been exposed to Paine¶s ideas. Newspapers at the time had small, local circulations and were a mix of opinionated editorials, contributions from readers and items from other papers; there were no dedicated reporters. All these early media conveyed news, gossip, opinion and ideas within particular social circles or communities, with little distinction between producers and consumers of information. They were social media. The rise and fall of mass communications The invention of the steam press in the early 19th century, and the emergence of massmarket newspapers such as the New York Sun, therefore marked a profound shift. The new technologies of mass dissemination could reach large numbers of people with unprecedented speed and efficiency, but put control of the flow of information into the

says Jay Rosen. The mass-media era now looks like a relatively brief and anomalous period that is coming to an end. Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin to modern bloggers. This trend accelerated with the advent of radio and television in the 20th century. WikiLeaks and other newcomers in the past few years. That¶s why a lot of us think that it¶s only going to be generational change that¶s going to solve this problem. but they echo the ways in which people used to collect. The biggest shift is that journalism is no longer the exclusive preserve of journalists. Not surprisingly. Camera-phones and social media such as blogs. But it was long enough for several generations of journalists to grow up within it. vertical distribution of news. but supercharged by the internet. The digital future of news has much in common with its chaotic. New businesses grew up around these mass-media technologies. For the first time. along with a host of technology firms. share and exchange information in the past. as demonstrated by the astonishing rise of the Huffington Post. Some existing media organisations will survive the transition. because people who are accustomed to power will be complemented by social networks in different forms. ³And when you¶ve built your whole career on that. µwell. had a decisive advantage over horizontal distribution among citizens.´ says Craig Newmark. Social media are certainly not a fad. as it used to be in the knockabout days of pamphleteering. Facebook and Twitter may seem entirely new. it isn¶t easy to say. He likens John Locke. many will not. it¶s just more widespread now. barriers to entry fall and new models become possible. that was just a phase¶. the conventional news organisations that grew up in the past 170 years are having a lot of trouble adjusting. polarised and partisan. not to mention millions of blogs. In the past decade the internet has disrupted this model and enabled the social aspect of media to reassert itself. . and their impact is only just beginning to be felt. news start-ups and not-for-profit groups. which helps to pay for the whole operation. get off political and moral high horses and stop trying to erect barriers around journalism to protect their position. News is also becoming more diverse as publishing tools become widely available. so the laws of the mass media came to be seen as the laws of media in general. They need to reorient themselves towards serving readers rather than advertisers. In modern media organisations news is gathered by specialists and disseminated to a mass audience along with advertising.hands of a select few. At the same time news is becoming more opinionated. Successful media organisations will be the ones that accept this new reality. embrace social features and collaboration.´ says Arianna Huffington. ³Social media is nothing new. Ordinary people are playing a more active role in the news system. ³It¶s everywhere²and it¶s going to be even more everywhere. In many ways news is going back to its pre-industrial form. ³By 2020 the media and political landscapes will be very different.´ A new generation that has grown up with digital tools is already devising extraordinary new things to do with them. rather than simply using them to preserve the old models. actually. from a specialist elite to a general audience. ink-stained past.´ Julian Assange has said that WikiLeaks operates in the tradition of the radical pamphleteers of the English civil war who tried to ³cast all the Mysteries and Secrets of Government´ before the public.

classical and orchestral music. Initially growing number of working class living in the cities would attend clubs and societies where they could listen to articles and pamphlets being read to them. finally leading to the establishment of the recognised news media. with opera. The vital function of Mass Media is that it is the thinking mode of any society. Development of trade unions in response to social injustice.Mass Media From the development of mass media and culture in the Industrial Revolution to modern times. In addition. Mass Media and Culture as a Product of the Industrial Revolution Commentators agree that culture for the masses was very much a product of the Industrial Revolution. the mass movement of people. Following are the types of Mass Media: - . First silent films screened in late 1800s. the American and French revolutions. We are living in the age of information explosion. Brief Account of Origins of Mass Media Some of the origins of the mass media are as follows: y y y y y y Invention of the printing press led to an explosion in numbers of people able to read and write. It does not take long before the pamphlets and leaflets of the activists and educators lead to the development of mass newspaper circulation of the late 1800s. together with the realisation that the ultimate power within society is in the hands of those that are governed rather than the governing classes. Can mass culture be seen as tyranny of the masses or does it educate? Once the Industrial Revoluton was underway. Previous Written MASS MEDIA IN PAKISTAN 1. literature. attracted from the countryside to the cities. customs. This huge influx of humanity into the urban environment was one of the prime reasons and causes for the creation of what is euphemistically termed the 'mass media'. created further interest in the individual in society and the responsibilities of society to them. where the world has shrunk into a global village. Numbers of working class readers increases substantially. 2. but consisted of the habits. etc whilst the working and peasant classes subsisted on a type of folk culture which may even have been peculiar to their particular area of residence. traditions and celebrations of countryside people. with the newly created industrialised areas began to occur. Prior to industrialisation culture had been very much a tradition of 'high' culture for the educated middle and upper class societies.

Government was compelled to permit freedom of media (a)Liberalization of airway in India led to mushroom growth of TV channels (b)In Kargil war India was able to sell its viewpoint to the world and cashed on its version while Pak suffered since it had only the state channel.Said ³Media is more powerful then nuclear devices´ he worked on PEMRA 3. Private sector was involved and posed challenge to state media. . Mass media is wholesaler of M. being µvigilant about different developments¶. Pak inherited 05 radio channel son its birth. especially of President Musharraf. International Trend played important role in development of Mass Media in Pakistan. Javed Jabbar. it had the potential to grow. Revenue generated by Media in 2002 was 2 billion and in 2007 this soared to Rs. 2. (c)Economic boom in telecom in Pakistan. 4.(a)Print Media (b)Electronic Media (c)Interactive Media 3. Initial decades of Pakistani Media¶s history have been dominated by PTV. Pak Media Market was in raw form and was untapped. (d)Literacy rate / level grew in Pakistan and played a role in media Development. State Media to compete with Pvt Media has to improve and become more open and provide realistic stories. 17 Billion. (f)Govt policies played vital role. Since the media plays a war of words. this reformed the State Media as well _ since realistic input was being provided by the Pvt Media. (e)Arrival of cable operators / network and its growth held vision. Communication. (b)Vigilant (c)Punctual (d)Alertness (e)Lingual Competence FACTORS FOR GROWTH OF MEDIA 1. the important tools Include µvocabulary¶. Commercial nature of Media was discovered in the economic advantages related to it. (a)Reading. Tools of Media.

The high economic stakes attached to the media have brought in Professionalism in all its related fields. The contents of programmes are changing. 10. The entertainment and news value of media has played very important role its development. Modern state of art studios /introduction of latest equipment / communication facilities like video conferencing.The realization in the people and Government about the role of media in society / economic development is there. Number of Press Media / Printing groups were permitted and have launched their TV channels e. people strengthened the media. The media provides wide range of entertainment / news according to interest of people of different age groups / liking / languages. electronic media enjoys larger scope over print media.g. Media has played important role in discussing un-touched subjects. 7. The abundance of media outlets has on one hand has created lot of employment opportunities but on the other has posed challenges to the media men to excel in their fields. community based Services (print / elect) have played important role in media development. etc have brought in a revolution and contributed immensely in the media development. chat / mobiles. 12. Indian soap operas have a large viewer ship and their popularity has attracted lots of commercials / advertisement. 8. Talk Shows Mania has brought more liberalization and has revolutionized the concept since erstwhile taboo issues are being discussed enhancing the awareness of people. fax.000 employees. Jang Group ± Geo. FM channel. 6. It has helped harmonizing the nation on otherwise contentious issues. media persons are getting enhanced wages.Phenomenon of community based radio channels i. Due open market. is easily accessible and be understood by even illiterate people. The Infrastructure Development has taken place. since it has wider audience. etc. 5.e. The competition among the channels is bringing in qualitative improvement in the content and other aspects of programmes MASS MEDIA IN PAKISTAN . Today we have number of highly professional and well-known media persons who are stalwarts of Pakistani Media and form its backbone. Mass media is the major source of providing news and entertainment to the people who wants to know who is doing what and what is happening. The commercial aspects attached to the media have contributed to its rapid development. It has been a ³watchdog´ on actions of the state. Jang Group has more than 50. The advertisement / commercials have brought big money to media market. there is a Scarcity of professional media men 11. electronic data transfer. Aristotle in his book ³Poetics´ has written that ³Media is a means of catharsis and is must for normal living´. 9. However. Dozens Of other factors have played role in the development of Pakistani Media.

Support to Public Issues / Affairs. Media is also used by the state / society /organizations to promote educational activity. Media supports democracy by bringing out the democratic norms and inculcating the same in the general public / polity. Development of Public Opinion. it satisfies all segments. Media provides viewpoint of the public on public issues. documentaries. Level of Awareness. Media has given voice to the public. Development Efforts of State. Helps in Educational Efforts. 2. activities of politicians. Impact of Media on Pakistani Society ‡ Media is strengthening development in Pakistan. who is who and what is what. 4. ³Coverage of Earthquake´. current affairs. 6.EFFECTS OF MEDIA 1. etc have been instrumental in enhancing the common man¶s awareness. Providing live coverage of parliament proceedings. ‡ Media has highlighted Public issues. have contributed in projecting efforts being made towards state development.Programmers like ³Parah Likha Punjab´. Media has assisted in development efforts of state . ‡ Media has supported Democracy. 3. The programmers having media discussions. programmes on democracies are few of the examples. 5. ‡ . ‡ Media has become entertainment industry. ‡ Media has given voice to neglected element of society. Stances of different segments of society on key issues are brought out: it helps make / develop public opinion on different issues. knowledge of current issues etc. Supports Democracy. The level of awareness has increased. Media discussion / other programmes highlight the issues. and identify what are reasons / angles of different interest groups / people.AIOU use media for education. Media has contributed a lot in increasing the general knowledge. hold cross-discussions. age groups of our society.

Media is negatively manipulating the interests of the people. . The dramas. 5. 4. love stories in dramas. instead of being producer media has made us consumer. (a)Media lacks compact programmes to educate Pakistani nation. 2. the Mobile Mania-kids. Our Media is blamed for not developing /projecting our national image. 3. Westernization. There are media talk shows on subjects including sex etc which otherwise are taboo in our society. Not Developing National Image. Pakistani Media is projecting false values in its programmes. 7. It is actually projecting µFalse Values¶. False Values. etc. (c)Programmes / dramas shown are exaggerated beyond imagination. social). the threats posed to our values are immense and must be countered. etc. ladies. The projection of family planning. Our country lacks a defined policy to promote national image through media. are not real and are not based on ground realities. programmes etc shown on media glamorize everything they depict.CERTAIN NEGATIVE ROLE OF PAKISTANI MEDIA 1. Moral Vacuum. People of Pakistan are yet not critical / educated enough to realize this manipulation / twisting of facts. Our commercials are depicting western values and causing a loss of national identity. (b)Projected values on media are not congruent with our values / ground realities. Exaggeration. Our media at times uses Indian language. Media has made us a talking nation. The effect of media is very strong with respect to advertisement on consumer products. this has created a moral vacuum and our younger generation is going away for our values (religious. Consumerism. There is a famous dictum that ³a lie spoken 100 times becomes greater than a truth´. Manifestation of Interests. projects Indian Stars in our ads. youngsters all are just talking on the mobile phones. Our society is consuming all messages being spread by the Media. hi-fi living styles / material depicted in dramas. etc. Western / Indian cultural invasion has taken place through media and is permeating Pakistan society. 6.

Media is misusing our energies. Media Marketing has Converted us into recipient. Media is Damaging basic fiber of our nation and has created a crisis of misidentification. We are not undertaking socialization / giving time to our kids. (a)This is psychologically not good for our scenes and disturbs our body functions. Dangers to Socialization. parents. Such commercials are very expensive. Sensationalizing / Creating Uncertainty. . Media is spending so much of money on efforts to attract / enhance its viewer ship. (d)Commercials breaks are introduced at the peak points of programmes. Different surveys are undertaken to find out various methods on how to attract the viewers / readers. etc all this demoralizes the nation. Our media is broadcasting every type of information at times even compromising the accuracy and is creating uncertainty.Pakistani media is also blamed for overwhelming negative Exaggeration. We are giving more time to TV channels and less time to social activity and a sort of isolation is being developed. resorts to negative exaggeration of matters. At times news are given without authentication / confirmation. Pakistani Media is discussing so many of topics are actually bombarding the audience with information. We cut short our social activities just to watch some favorite programmes on TV. Unethical material /photographs / scenes are shown on our media promoting vulgarization. 10. (c)Media has become corporate. 9. When too much of information is available it creates confusion. newspaper headlines are depicting violence. 8. We remain fixed to TV screens at the cost of socialization. (b)Media is stuffing our minds with all types of information and has converted us into µgeneralist¶. accordingly it bombards the viewers with information. it possesses / uses lot of resources and has phenomenal business / financial benefits attached to it. This is developing a generation gap. Media has flooded us with information. It glamorizes issues. Overloaded with Information. etc because we are glued to TV etc. Our media sensationalize the issues / accidents / incidents.

and there shall be freedom of the press. Being a developing country. commission of or incitement to an offense´ The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through the PIMRA monitors the media in the country. Here i am quoteing Article 19. security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof. According to All-Pakistan Newspaper Society there are currently approximately 116 radio stations and more than 70 local TV channels including few of the state running in pakistan. friendly relations with foreign states. So there was no any option to the rulers to prevent the people to access these technologies. In the 19th century Scottish historian Thomas Carlyle used the term µforth estate¶ to describe the power of the press because it has a great power on public opinion. public order. Democracy is the best governing system in the world but unfortunately Pakistan Since its founding in 1947 has suffered four periods of martial law and two military dictatorships for about 36 years. . it says: ³Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.Mass Media in Pakistan By G. subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity. Broad Cast or Electronic Media and Web or Digital Media. they always hold the press in their control through the press & publication ordinance (PPO) and revised press & publication ordinance (RPPO) The civilian political leaders also appeared with a motto to give freedom of speech and expression to the masses and media but it did not take place because of the personal interest of the politicians. It also controls and manages the country¶s main cable service. the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). Pakistan has stepped into the era of Cyber age in the late 90s when information technology including computer and internet appeared in the country and the world became a global village. Freedom of Speech from the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. APP is both the Govern-ment¶s own news agency and the official carrier of international wire service to the local media. Print Media. or in relation to contempt of court. At last in 2002 General Musharraf replaced the RPPO with number of new ordinances and allowed to launch private TV channels and FM stations in the country. so there are three main ways to communicate the masses.Rehman Mass means a large number of people or things that grouped together and Media is a plural of medium which means the ways to communicate people. which serves to hold the government accountable for its policies and actions. decency.

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