The Role of Mass Media in American Society
In mass communications, media are basically the communication tools or resources used to transmit and store data or information. The word refers to various components of this vast mass media communications industry, including print media, broadcasting, the entertainment media, music, movies, and the news media. All forms of media have their own characteristics, but all media have been instrumental in providing our society with information of all types.
The main objective of most mass communication is to inform or entertain the audience. Most radio and television stations thrive on attracting listeners and viewers through their creative programming and informative content. But to be successful, radio and television programs must meet an agenda before they are sent out to the audience. Programmers and producers will generally discuss topics such as current events, weather reports, and popular features of the day.
All forms of media are influenced by the culture and societal values of the people who use them. Radio and television programs that cater to one segment of the population are likely to sound different from those that are meant to reach another segment of the population or culture. For instance, compare the way a program about the general public would talk about politics with the way a program about celebrities would talk about their personal lives. A popular form of communication in the United States is television, which is largely regulated by media conglomerates as a way to prevent messages and programs from being biased or mean spirited towards particular corporations or political ideologies. When it comes to making television programs, producers and advertisers must comply with specific guidelines that guarantee the audience’s protection and the creation of a workable product.
There are several other types of media that are less visible to the general public, such as magazines, books, and newspapers. While television and radio companies must apply very strict guidelines when picking the contents that will be broadcasted, newspapers are not under the same constraints. A newspaper can choose to publish any material they choose, including advertisements. Additionally, the newspaper industry is generally considered to be more “real” than other media outlets because it is much harder to dictate what is printed than it is to tell a story in a magazine. The New York Times has famously gotten many controversial stories out on the paper, but their reputation as an objective news source has kept their circulation rates high.
Many people associate television and radio with entertainment, while some may associate magazines with news. The truth is that both forms of media have developed their own particular areas of coverage, which often leads to controversy. For example, newspapers have often covered stories about controversial topics, such as religion or politics, that are not covered by other media outlets. In some cases, magazines have published articles that were defamatory of certain individuals or companies. In both cases, these outlets have been subject to defamation lawsuits that have cost businesses or websites thousands of dollars in damages.
While most Americans enjoy a wide range of communication options, there are still several areas where new forms of media are likely to continue to grow. For example, newspapers and magazines continue to play a huge role in political debate, especially in the states that are closely divided by state lines. Similarly, network television stations are regularly known for airing controversial content that sparks controversy. Given the broad spectrum of possible sources of media, the impact of media on our society is likely to continue to grow. The next time you are stuck in traffic, turn on your television, turn on the radio, or pick up a newspaper, consider how those three mediums have influence your everyday life.