The mass media is a diversified collection of media technologies that
reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies
through which this communication takes place include a variety of
Broadcast media transmit information electronically, via such media as
film, radio, recorded music, or television.
Digital media comprises
Internet and mobile mass communication.
Internet media comprise
such services as email, social media sites, websites, and
Internet-based radio and television. Many other mass media outlets
have an additional presence on the web, by such means as linking to or
running TV ads online, or distributing QR Codes in outdoor or print
media to direct mobile users to a website. In this way, they can
utilise the easy accessibility and outreach capabilities the Internet
affords, as thereby easily broadcast information throughout many
different regions of the world simultaneously and cost-efficiently.
Outdoor media transmit information via such media as AR advertising;
billboards; blimps; flying billboards (signs in tow of airplanes);
placards or kiosks placed inside and outside buses, commercial
buildings, shops, sports stadiums, subway cars, or trains; signs; or
skywriting. Print media transmit information via physical objects,
such as books, comics, magazines, newspapers, or pamphlets. Event
organizing and public speaking can also be considered forms of mass
The organizations that control these technologies, such as movie
studios, publishing companies, and radio and television stations, are
also known as the mass media.[need quotation to verify]
1 Issues with definition
1.2 Mass vs. mainstream and alternative
1.3 Mass vs. local and speciality
2 Forms of mass media
2.4 Audio recording and reproduction
2.5.1 Blogs (web logs)
2.6 Print media
2.7 Outdoor media
4 Professions involving mass media
4.2 Public relations
Internet Based Professions
5.1 Mergers and Acquisitions
6 Influence and sociology
6.1 Racism and stereotyping
7 Ethical issues and criticism
8 See also
9.1 Works cited
10 Further reading
10.1 In other languages
11 External links
Issues with definition
In the late 20th century, mass media could be classified into eight
mass media industries: books, the Internet, magazines, movies,
newspapers, radio, recordings, and television. The explosion of
digital communication technology in the late 20th and early 21st
centuries made prominent the question: what forms of media should be
classified as "mass media"? For example, it is controversial whether
to include cell phones, computer games (such as MMORPGs), and video
games in the definition. In the 2000s, a classification called the
"seven mass media" became popular. In order of
introduction, they are:
Print (books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, etc.) from the late
Recordings (gramophone records, magnetic tapes, cassettes, cartridges,
CDs, and DVDs) from the late 19th century
Cinema from about 1900
Radio from about 1910
Television from about 1950
Internet from about 1990
Mobile phones from about 2000
Each mass medium has its own content types, creative artists,
technicians, and business models. For example, the
blogs, podcasts, web sites, and various other technologies built atop
the general distribution network. The sixth and seventh media,
Internet and mobile phones, are often referred to collectively as
digital media; and the fourth and fifth, radio and TV, as broadcast
media. Some argue that video games have developed into a distinct mass
form of media.
While a telephone is a two-way communication device, mass media
communicates to a large group. In addition, the telephone has
transformed into a cell phone which is equipped with
A question arises whether this makes cell phones a mass medium or
simply a device used to access a mass medium (the Internet). There is
currently a system by which marketers and advertisers are able to tap
into satellites, and broadcast commercials and advertisements directly
to cell phones, unsolicited by the phone's user. This
transmission of mass advertising to millions of people is another form
of mass communication.
Video games may also be evolving into a mass medium.
Video games (for
example massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs),
such as RuneScape) provide a common gaming experience to millions of
users across the globe and convey the same messages and ideologies to
all their users. Users sometimes share the experience with one another
by playing online. Excluding the
Internet however, it is questionable
whether players of video games are sharing a common experience when
they play the game individually. It is possible to discuss in great
detail the events of a video game with a friend one has never played
with, because the experience is identical to each. The question, then,
is whether this is a form of mass communication.
Five characteristics of mass communication have been identified by
sociologist John Thompson of Cambridge University:
"[C]omprises both technical and institutional methods of production
and distribution" - This is evident throughout the history of mass
media, from print to the Internet, each suitable for commercial
Involves the "commodification of symbolic forms" - as the production
of materials relies on its ability to manufacture and sell large
quantities of the work; as radio stations rely on their time sold to
advertisements, so too newspapers rely on their space for the same
"[S]eparate contexts between the production and reception of
Its "reach to those 'far removed' in time and space, in comparison to
"[I]nformation distribution" - a "one to many" form of communication,
whereby products are mass-produced and disseminated to a great
quantity of audiences
Mass vs. mainstream and alternative
The term "mass media" is sometimes erroneously used as a synonym for
Mainstream media are distinguished from
alternative media by their content and point of view. Alternative
media are also "mass media" outlets in the sense that they use
technology capable of reaching many people, even if the audience is
often smaller than the mainstream.
In common usage, the term "mass" denotes not that a given number of
individuals receives the products, but rather that the products are
available in principle to a plurality of recipients.
Mass vs. local and speciality
Mass media are distinguished from local media by the notion that
whilst mass media aims to reach a very large market, such as the
entire population of a country, local media broadcasts to a much
smaller population and area, and generally focuses on regional news
rather than global events. A third type of media, speciality media,
provide for specific demographics, such as specialty channels on TV
(sports channels, porn channels, etc.). These definitions are not set
in stone, and it is possible for a media outlet to be promoted in
status from a local media outlet to a global media outlet. Some local
media, which take an interest in state or provincial news, can rise to
prominence because of their investigative journalism, and to the local
region's preference of updates in national politics rather than
regional news. The Guardian, formerly known as the Manchester
Guardian, is an example of one such media outlet; once a regional
The Guardian is currently a nationally respected
Forms of mass media
A family listening to a crystal radio in the 1920s.
Radio and Television
The sequencing of content in a broadcast is called a schedule. With
all technological endeavours a number of technical terms and slang
have developed. Please see the list of broadcasting terms for a
glossary of terms used.
Radio and television programs are distributed over frequency bands
that in the United States are highly regulated. Such regulation
includes determination of the width of the bands, range, licensing,
types of receivers and transmitters used, and acceptable content.
Cable television programs are often broadcast simultaneously with
radio and television programs, but have a more limited audience. By
coding signals and requiring a cable converter box at individual
recipients' locations, cable also enables subscription-based channels
and pay-per-view services.
A broadcasting organisation may broadcast several programs
simultaneously, through several channels (frequencies), for example
BBC One and Two. On the other hand, two or more organisations may
share a channel and each use it during a fixed part of the day, such
as the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim.
Digital radio and digital
television may also transmit multiplexed programming, with several
channels compressed into one ensemble.
When broadcasting is done via the
Internet the term webcasting is
often used. In 2004, a new phenomenon occurred when a number of
technologies combined to produce podcasting. Podcasting is an
asynchronous broadcast/narrowcast medium.
Adam Curry and his
associates, the Podshow, are principal proponents of podcasting.
Main article: Film
The term 'film' encompasses motion pictures as individual projects, as
well as the field in general. The name comes from the photographic
film (also called filmstock), historically the primary medium for
recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms for film
exist, such as motion pictures (or just pictures and "picture"), the
silver screen, photoplays, the cinema, picture shows, flicks, and most
Films are produced by recording people and objects with cameras, or by
creating them using animation techniques or special effects. Films
comprise a series of individual frames, but when these images are
shown in rapid succession, an illusion of motion is created.
Flickering between frames is not seen because of an effect known as
persistence of vision, whereby the eye retains a visual image for a
fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Also of
relevance is what causes the perception of motion: a psychological
effect identified as beta movement.
Film is considered by many[who?] to be an important art form; films
entertain, educate, enlighten, and inspire audiences. Any film can
become a worldwide attraction, especially with the addition of dubbing
or subtitles that translate the film message. Films are also artifacts
created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in
turn, affect them.[who?]
A video game is a computer-controlled game in which a video display,
such as a monitor or television, is the primary feedback device. The
term "computer game" also includes games which display only text (and
which can, therefore, theoretically be played on a teletypewriter) or
which use other methods, such as sound or vibration, as their primary
feedback device, but there are very few new games in these
categories.[who?] There always must also be some sort of input device,
usually in the form of button/joystick combinations (on arcade games),
a keyboard and mouse/trackball combination (computer games), a
controller (console games), or a combination of any of the above.
Also, more esoteric devices have been used for input, e.g., the
player's motion. Usually there are rules and goals, but in more
open-ended games the player may be free to do whatever they like
within the confines of the virtual universe.
In common usage, an "arcade game" refers to a game designed to be
played in an establishment in which patrons pay to play on a per-use
basis. A "computer game" or "PC game" refers to a game that is played
on a personal computer. A "Console game" refers to one that is played
on a device specifically designed for the use of such, while
interfacing with a standard television set. A "video game" (or
"videogame") has evolved into a catchall phrase that encompasses the
aforementioned along with any game made for any other device,
including, but not limited to, advanced calculators, mobile phones,
Audio recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction
Sound recording and reproduction is the electrical or mechanical
re-creation or amplification of sound, often as music. This involves
the use of audio equipment such as microphones, recording devices, and
loudspeakers. From early beginnings with the invention of the
phonograph using purely mechanical techniques, the field has advanced
with the invention of electrical recording, the mass production of the
78 record, the magnetic wire recorder followed by the tape recorder,
the vinyl LP record. The invention of the compact cassette in the
1960s, followed by Sony's Walkman, gave a major boost to the mass
distribution of music recordings, and the invention of digital
recording and the compact disc in 1983 brought massive improvements in
ruggedness and quality. The most recent developments have been in
digital audio players.
An album is a collection of related audio recordings, released
together to the public, usually commercially.
The term record album originated from the fact that 78 RPM Phonograph
disc records were kept together in a book resembling a photo album.
The first collection of records to be called an "album" was
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, release in April 1909 as a four-disc
set by Odeon records. It retailed for 16 shillings—about £15
in modern currency.
A music video (also promo) is a short film or video that accompanies a
complete piece of music, most commonly a song. Modern music videos
were primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote
the sale of music recordings. Although the origins of music videos go
back much further, they came into their own in the 1980s, when Music
Television's format was based on them. In the 1980s, the term "rock
video" was often used to describe this form of entertainment, although
the term has fallen into disuse.
Music videos can accommodate all styles of filmmaking, including
animation, live action films, documentaries, and non-narrative,
See also: Digital media
Internet (also known simply as "the Net" or less precisely as "the
Web") is a more interactive medium of mass media, and can be briefly
described as "a network of networks". Specifically, it is the
worldwide, publicly accessible network of interconnected computer
networks that transmit data by packet switching using the standard
Internet Protocol (IP). It consists of millions of smaller domestic,
academic, business, and governmental networks, which together carry
various information and services, such as email, online chat, file
transfer, and the interlinked web pages and other documents of the
World Wide Web.
Contrary to some common usage, the
Internet and the
World Wide Web
World Wide Web are
not synonymous: the
Internet is the system of interconnected computer
networks, linked by copper wires, fiber-optic cables, wireless
connections etc.; the Web is the contents, or the interconnected
documents, linked by hyperlinks and URLs. The
World Wide Web
World Wide Web is
accessible through the Internet, along with many other services
including e-mail, file sharing and others described below.
Toward the end of the 20th century, the advent of the World Wide Web
marked the first era in which most individuals could have a means of
exposure on a scale comparable to that of mass media. Anyone with a
web site has the potential to address a global audience, although
serving to high levels of web traffic is still relatively expensive.
It is possible that the rise of peer-to-peer technologies may have
begun the process of making the cost of bandwidth manageable. Although
a vast amount of information, imagery, and commentary (i.e. "content")
has been made available, it is often difficult to determine the
authenticity and reliability of information contained in web pages (in
many cases, self-published). The invention of the
Internet has also
allowed breaking news stories to reach around the globe within
minutes. This rapid growth of instantaneous, decentralized
communication is often deemed likely to change mass media and its
relationship to society.
"Cross-media" means the idea of distributing the same message through
different media channels. A similar idea is expressed in the news
industry as "convergence". Many authors understand cross-media
publishing to be the ability to publish in both print and on the web
without manual conversion effort. An increasing number of wireless
devices with mutually incompatible data and screen formats make it
even more difficult to achieve the objective "create once, publish
Internet is quickly becoming the center of mass media. Everything
is becoming accessible via the internet. Rather than picking up a
newspaper, or watching the 10 o'clock news, people can log onto the
internet to get the news they want, when they want it. For example,
many workers listen to the radio through the
Internet while sitting at
Even the education system relies on the Internet. Teachers can contact
the entire class by sending one e-mail. They may have web pages on
which students can get another copy of the class outline or
assignments. Some classes have class blogs in which students are
required to post weekly, with students graded on their contributions.
Blogs (web logs)
Blogging, too, has become a pervasive form of media. A blog is a
website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of
commentary, descriptions of events, or interactive media such as
images or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse
chronological order, with most recent posts shown on top. Many blogs
provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as
more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images and
other graphics, and links to other blogs, web pages, and related
media. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive
format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily
textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog),
sketchblog, videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting) are
part of a wider network of social media.
Microblogging is another type
of blogging which consists of blogs with very short posts.
RSS is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like
sites, including major news sites like Wired, news-oriented community
sites like Slashdot, and personal blogs. It is a family of Web feed
formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog
entries, news headlines, and podcasts. An
RSS document (which is
called a "feed" or "web feed" or "channel") contains either a summary
of content from an associated web site or the full text.
RSS makes it
possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated manner
that can be piped into special programs or filtered displays.
Main article: Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital-media files which are distributed
Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable
media players and computers. The term podcast, like broadcast, can
refer either to the series of content itself or to the method by which
it is syndicated; the latter is also called podcasting. The host or
author of a podcast is often called a podcaster.
Main article: Mobile media
Mobile phones were introduced in
Japan in 1979 but became a mass media
only in 1998 when the first downloadable ringing tones were introduced
in Finland. Soon most forms of media content were introduced on mobile
phones, tablets and other portable devices, and today the total value
of media consumed on mobile vastly exceeds that of internet content,
and was worth over 31 billion dollars in 2007 (source Informa). The
mobile media content includes over 8 billion dollars worth of mobile
music (ringing tones, ringback tones, truetones, MP3 files, karaoke,
music videos, music streaming services etc.); over 5 billion dollars
worth of mobile gaming; and various news, entertainment and
advertising services. In
Japan mobile phone books are so popular that
five of the ten best-selling printed books were originally released as
mobile phone books.
Similar to the internet, mobile is also an interactive media, but has
far wider reach, with 3.3 billion mobile phone users at the end of
2007 to 1.3 billion internet users (source ITU). Like email on the
internet, the top application on mobile is also a personal messaging
service, but SMS text messaging is used by over 2.4 billion people.
Practically all internet services and applications exist or have
similar cousins on mobile, from search to multiplayer games to virtual
worlds to blogs. Mobile has several unique benefits which many mobile
media pundits claim make mobile a more powerful media than either TV
or the internet, starting with mobile being permanently carried and
always connected. Mobile has the best audience accuracy and is the
only mass media with a built-in payment channel available to every
user without any credit cards or PayPal accounts or even an age limit.
Mobile is often called the 7th Mass Medium and either the fourth
screen (if counting cinema, TV and PC screens) or the third screen
(counting only TV and PC).
Newspaper and Magazine
Publishing § Industry sub-divisions, and Printing
A magazine is a periodical publication containing a variety of
articles, generally financed by advertising or purchase by readers.
Magazines are typically published weekly, biweekly, monthly, bimonthly
or quarterly, with a date on the cover that is in advance of the date
it is actually published. They are often printed in color on coated
paper, and are bound with a soft cover.
Magazines fall into two broad categories: consumer magazines and
business magazines. In practice, magazines are a subset of
periodicals, distinct from those periodicals produced by scientific,
artistic, academic or special interest publishers which are
subscription-only, more expensive, narrowly limited in circulation,
and often have little or no advertising.
Magazines can be classified as:
General interest magazines (e.g. Frontline, India Today, The Week, The
Sunday Times etc.)
Special interest magazines (women's, sports, business, scuba diving,
A newspaper is a publication containing news and information and
advertising, usually printed on low-cost paper called newsprint. It
may be general or special interest, most often published daily or
weekly. The most important function of newspapers is to inform the
public of significant events. Local newspapers inform local
communities and include advertisements from local businesses and
services, while national newspapers tend to focus on a theme, which
can be exampled with "The Wall Street Journal" as they offer news on
finance and business related-topics. The first printed newspaper
was published in 1605, and the form has thrived even in the face of
competition from technologies such as radio and television. Recent
developments on the
Internet are posing major threats to its business
model, however. Paid circulation is declining in most countries, and
advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of a newspaper's income,
is shifting from print to online; some commentators, nevertheless,
point out that historically new media such as radio and television did
not entirely supplant existing.
Outdoor media is a form of mass media which comprises billboards,
signs, placards placed inside and outside commercial buildings/objects
like shops/buses, flying billboards (signs in tow of airplanes),
blimps, skywriting, AR Advertising. Many commercial advertisers use
this form of mass media when advertising in sports stadiums. Tobacco
and alcohol manufacturers used billboards and other outdoor media
extensively. However, in 1998, the Master Settlement Agreement between
the US and the tobacco industries prohibited the billboard advertising
of cigarettes. In a 1994 Chicago-based study, Diana Hackbarth and her
colleagues revealed how tobacco- and alcohol-based billboards were
concentrated in poor neighbourhoods. In other urban centers, alcohol
and tobacco billboards were much more concentrated in African-American
neighborhoods than in white neighborhoods.
A panel in the
Newseum in Washington, D.C., shows the September 12
headlines in America and around the world.
Mass media encompasses much more than just news, although it is
sometimes misunderstood in this way. It can be used for various
Advocacy, both for business and social concerns. This can include
advertising, marketing, propaganda, public relations, and political
Entertainment, traditionally through performances of acting, music,
and TV shows along with light reading; since the late 20th century
also through video and computer games.
Public service announcements and emergency alerts (that can be used as
political device to communicate propaganda to the public).
Professions involving mass media
Journalism is the discipline of collecting, analyzing, verifying and
presenting information regarding current events, trends, issues and
people. Those who practice journalism are known as journalists.
News-oriented journalism is sometimes described as the "first rough
draft of history" (attributed to Phil Graham), because journalists
often record important events, producing news articles on short
deadlines. While under pressure to be first with their stories, news
media organizations usually edit and proofread their reports prior to
publication, adhering to each organization's standards of accuracy,
quality and style. Many news organizations claim proud traditions of
holding government officials and institutions accountable to the
public, while media critics have raised questions about holding the
press itself accountable to the standards of professional journalism.
Public relations is the art and science of managing communication
between an organization and its key publics to build, manage and
sustain its positive image. Examples include:
Corporations use marketing public relations to convey information
about the products they manufacture or services they provide to
potential customers to support their direct sales efforts. Typically,
they support sales in the short and long term, establishing and
burnishing the corporation's branding for a strong, ongoing market.
Corporations also use public relations as a vehicle to reach
legislators and other politicians, seeking favorable tax, regulatory,
and other treatment, and they may use public relations to portray
themselves as enlightened employers, in support of human-resources
Nonprofit organizations, including schools and universities,
hospitals, and human and social service agencies, use public relations
in support of awareness programs, fund-raising programs, staff
recruiting, and to increase patronage of their services.
Politicians use public relations to attract votes and raise money, and
when successful at the ballot box, to promote and defend their service
in office, with an eye to the next election or, at career’s end, to
Publishing is the industry concerned with the production of literature
or information – the activity of making information available for
public view. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers.
Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works
such as books and newspapers. With the advent of digital information
systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to
include websites, blogs, and the like.
As a business, publishing includes the development, marketing,
production, and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books, literary
works, musical works, software, other works dealing with information.
Publication is also important as a legal concept; (1) as the process
of giving formal notice to the world of a significant intention, for
example, to marry or enter bankruptcy, and; (2) as the essential
precondition of being able to claim defamation; that is, the alleged
libel must have been published.
A software publisher is a publishing company in the software industry
between the developer and the distributor. In some companies, two or
all three of these roles may be combined (and indeed, may reside in a
single person, especially in the case of shareware).
Software publishers often license software from developers with
specific limitations, such as a time limit or geographical region. The
terms of licensing vary enormously, and are typically secret.
Developers may use publishers to reach larger or foreign markets, or
to avoid focussing on marketing. Or publishers may use developers to
create software to meet a market need that the publisher has
Internet Based Professions
A YouTuber is anyone who has made their fame from creating and
promoting videos on the public video-sharing site, YouTube. Many
YouTube celebrities have made a profession from their site through
sponsorships, advertisements, product placement, and network support.
Early wooden printing press, depicted in 1520.
The history of mass media can be traced back to the days when dramas
were performed in various ancient cultures. This was the first time
when a form of media was "broadcast" to a wider audience. The first
dated printed book known is the "Diamond Sutra", printed in China in
868 AD, although it is clear that books were printed earlier.
Movable clay type was invented in 1041 in China. However, due to the
slow spread of literacy to the masses in China, and the relatively
high cost of paper there, the earliest printed mass-medium was
probably European popular prints from about 1400. Although these were
produced in huge numbers, very few early examples survive, and even
most known to be printed before about 1600 have not survived. The term
"mass media" was coined with the creation of print media, which is
notable for being the first example of mass media, as we use the term
today. This form of media started in Europe in the Middle Ages.
Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press allowed the mass
production of books to sweep the nation. He printed the first book, a
Latin Bible, on a printing press with movable type in 1453. The
invention of the printing press gave rise to some of the first forms
of mass communication, by enabling the publication of books and
newspapers on a scale much larger than was previously
possible. The invention also transformed the way the world
received printed materials, although books remained too expensive
really to be called a mass-medium for at least a century after that.
Newspapers developed from about 1612, with the first example in
English in 1620; but they took until the 19th century to reach a
mass-audience directly. The first high-circulation newspapers arose in
London in the early 1800s, such as The Times, and were made possible
by the invention of high-speed rotary steam printing presses, and
railroads which allowed large-scale distribution over wide
geographical areas. The increase in circulation, however, led to a
decline in feedback and interactivity from the readership, making
newspapers a more one-way medium.
The phrase "the media" began to be used in the 1920s. The notion
of "mass media" was generally restricted to print media up until the
post-Second World War, when radio, television and video were
introduced. The audio-visual facilities became very popular, because
they provided both information and entertainment, because the colour
and sound engaged the viewers/listeners and because it was easier for
the general public to passively watch TV or listen to the radio than
to actively read. In recent times, the
Internet become the latest and
most popular mass medium.
Information has become readily available
through websites, and easily accessible through search engines. One
can do many activities at the same time, such as playing games,
listening to music, and social networking, irrespective of location.
Whilst other forms of mass media are restricted in the type of
information they can offer, the internet comprises a large percentage
of the sum of human knowledge through such things as Google Books.
Modern day mass media includes the internet, mobile phones, blogs,
During the 20th century, the growth of mass media was driven by
technology, including that which allowed much duplication of material.
Physical duplication technologies such as printing, record pressing
and film duplication allowed the duplication of books, newspapers and
movies at low prices to huge audiences.
Radio and television allowed
the electronic duplication of information for the first time. Mass
media had the economics of linear replication: a single work could
make money. An example of Riel and Neil's theory. proportional to the
number of copies sold, and as volumes went up, unit costs went down,
increasing profit margins further. Vast fortunes were to be made in
mass media. In a democratic society, the media can serve the
electorate about issues regarding government and corporate entities
(see Media influence). Some consider the concentration of media
ownership to be a threat to democracy.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Between 1985 and 2018 about 76,720 deals have been announced in the
Media industry. This sums up to an overall value of around 5,634 bil
USD. There have been three major waves of M&A in the Mass
Media Sector (2000, 2007 and 2015), while the most active year in
terms of numbers was 2007 with around 3,808 deals. The U.S. is the
most prominent country in Media M&A with 41 of the top 50 deals
having an acquiror from the United States.
The largest deal in history was the acquisition of Time Warner by
America Online Inc for 164,746.86 mil USD.
Influence and sociology
Main article: influence of mass media
This section is written like a personal reflection or opinion essay
that states a editor's personal feelings about a topic.
Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style.
(February 2013) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Limited-effects theory, originally tested in the 1940s and 1950s,
considers that because people usually choose what media to interact
with based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible
influence. Class-dominant theory argues that the media reflects and
projects the view of a minority elite, which controls it. Culturalist
theory, which was developed in the 1980s and 1990s, combines the other
two theories and claims that people interact with media to create
their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. This
theory states that audience members play an active, rather than
passive role in relation to mass media.
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a
worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss
the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate.
(March 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In an article entitled Mass Media Influence on Society,
rayuso argues that the media in the US is dominated
by five major companies (Time Warner, VIACOM, Vivendi Universal, Walt
News Corp) which own 95% of all mass media including theme
parks, movie studios, television and radio broadcast networks and
programing, video news, sports entertainment, telecommunications,
wireless phones, video games software, electronic media and music
companies. Whilst historically, there was more diversity in companies,
they have recently merged to form an elite which have the power to
shape the opinion and beliefs of people.
People buy after seeing
thousands of advertisements by various companies in TV, newspapers or
magazines, which are able to affect their purchasing decisions. The
definition of what is acceptable by society is dictated by the media.
This power can be used for good, for example encouraging children to
play sport. However, it can also be used for bad, for example children
being influenced by cigars smoked by film stars, their exposure to sex
images, their exposure to images of violence and their exposure to
junk food ads. The documentary
Super Size Me
Super Size Me describes how companies
like McDonald's have been sued in the past, the plaintiffs claiming
that it was the fault of their liminal and subliminal advertising that
"forced" them to purchase the product. The Barbie and Ken dolls of the
1950s are sometimes cited as the main cause for the obsession in
modern-day society for women to be skinny and men to be buff. After
the attacks of 9/11, the media gave extensive coverage of the event
and exposed Osama Bin Laden's guilt for the attack, information they
were told by the authorities. This shaped the public opinion to
support the war on terrorism, and later, the war on Iraq. A main
concern is that due to this immense power of the mass media (being
able to drive the public opinion), media receiving inaccurate
information could cause the public opinion to support the wrong cause.
In his book The Commercialization of American Culture, Matthew P.
McAllister says that "a well-developed media system, informing and
teaching its citizens, helps democracy move toward its ideal
In 1997, J. R. Finnegan Jr. and K. Viswanath identified 3 main effects
or functions of mass media:
The Knowledge Gap: The mass media influences knowledge gaps due to
factors including "the extent to which the content is appealing, the
degree to which information channels are accessible and desirable, and
the amount of social conflict and diversity there is in a community".
People are influence in how they think about issues
due to the selective nature of what media choose for public
consumption. After publicly disclosing that he had prostate cancer
prior to the 2000 New York senatorial election, Rudolph Giuliani, the
mayor of New York City (aided by the media) sparked a huge priority
elevation of the cancer in people's consciousness. This was because
news media began to report on the risks of prostate cancer, which in
turn prompted a greater public awareness about the disease and the
need for screening. This ability for the media to be able to change
how the public thinks and behaves has occurred on other occasions. In
mid-1970s when Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller, wives of the
then-President and then-Vice President respectively, were both
diagnosed with breast cancer. J. J. Davis states that "when risks are
highlighted in the media, particularly in great detail, the extent of
agenda setting is likely to be based on the degree to which a public
sense of outrage and threat is provoked". When wanting to set an
agenda, framing can be invaluably useful to a mass media organisation.
Framing involves "taking a leadership role in the organisation of
public discourse about an issue". The media is influenced by the
desire for balance in coverage, and the resulting pressures can come
from groups with particular political action and advocacy positions.
Finnegan and Viswanath say, "groups, institutions, and advocates
compete to identify problems, to move them onto the public agenda, and
to define the issues symbolically" (1997, p. 324).
Cultivation of Perceptions: The extent to which media exposure shapes
audience perceptions over time is known as cultivation.
a common experience, especially in places like the United States, to
the point where it can be described as a "homogenising agent" (S. W.
Littlejohn). However, instead of being merely a result of the TV, the
effect is often based on socioeconomic factors. Having a prolonged
exposure to TV or movie violence might affect a viewer to the extent
where they actively think community violence is a problem, or
alternatively find it justifiable. The resulting belief is likely to
be different depending of where people live however.
Since the 1950s, when cinema, radio and TV began to be the primary or
the only source of information for a larger and larger percentage of
the population, these media began to be considered as central
instruments of mass control. Up to the point that it emerged
the idea that when a country has reached a high level of
industrialization, the country itself "belongs to the person who
Mass media play a significant role in shaping public perceptions on a
variety of important issues, both through the information that is
dispensed through them, and through the interpretations they place
upon this information. They also play a large role in shaping
modern culture, by selecting and portraying a particular set of
beliefs, values, and traditions (an entire way of life), as reality.
That is, by portraying a certain interpretation of reality, they shape
reality to be more in line with that interpretation. Mass media
also play a crucial role in the spread of civil unrest activities such
as anti-government demonstrations, riots, and general strikes.
That is, the use of radio and television receivers has made the unrest
influence among cities not only by the geographic location of cities,
but also by proximity within the mass media distribution networks.
Early minstrel shows lampooned the assumed stupidity of black people.
Detail from cover of The Celebrated Negro Melodies, as Sung by the
Virginia Minstrels, 1843.
A magazine feature from Beauty Parade from March 1952 stereotyping
women drivers. It features
Bettie Page as the model.
American political cartoon titled The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things,
depicting a drunken Irishman lighting a powder keg and swinging a
bottle. Published in Harper's Weekly, 1871.
Racism and stereotyping
Further information: Stereotype
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a
worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss
the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate.
(March 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December
Mass media sources, through theories like framing and agenda-setting,
can affect the scope of a story as particular facts and information
are highlighted (Media influence). This can directly correlate with
how individuals may perceive certain groups of people, as the only
media coverage a person receives can be very limited and may not
reflect the whole story or situation; stories are often covered to
reflect a particular perspective to target a specific demographic.
According to Stephen Balkaran, an Instructor of Political Science and
African American Studies at Central Connecticut State University, mass
media has played a large role in the way white Americans perceive
African-Americans. The media focus on African-American in the contexts
of crime, drug use, gang violence, and other forms of anti-social
behavior has resulted in a distorted and harmful public perception of
African-Americans. African-Americans have been subjected to oppression
and discrimination for the past few hundred years. According to
Stephen Balkaran in his article "Mass Media and Racism": "The media
has played a key role in perpetuating the effects of this historical
oppression and in contributing to African-Americans' continuing status
as second-class citizens". This has resulted in an uncertainty among
white Americans as to what the genuine nature of African-Americans
really is. Despite the resulting racial divide, the fact that these
people are undeniably American has "raised doubts about the white
man's value system". This means that there is a somewhat "troubling
suspicion" among some Americans that their white America is tainted by
the black influence.
Mass media as well as propaganda tend to
reinforce or introduce stereotypes to the general public.
Ethical issues and criticism
Lack of local or specific topical focus is a common criticism of mass
media. A mass news media outlet is often forced to cover national and
international news due to it having to cater for and be relevant for a
wide demographic. As such, it has to skip over many interesting or
important local stories because they simply do not interest the large
majority of their viewers. An example given by the website WiseGeek is
that "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".
The term "mass" suggests that the recipients of media products
constitute a vast sea of passive, undifferentiated individuals. This
is an image associated with some earlier critiques of "mass culture"
and mass society which generally assumed that the development of mass
communication has had a largely negative impact on modern social life,
creating a kind of bland and homogeneous culture which entertains
individuals without challenging them. However, interactive digital
media have also been seen to challenge the read-only paradigm of
earlier broadcast media.
Whilst some[who?] refer to the mass media as "opiate of the masses",
others[who?] argue that is a vital aspect of human societies. By
understanding mass media, one is then able to analyse and find a
deeper understanding of one's population and culture. This valuable
and powerful ability is one reason why the field of media studies is
popular. As WiseGeek says, "watching, reading, and interacting with a
nation's mass media can provide clues into how people think,
especially if a diverse assortment of mass media sources are
Since the 1950s, in the countries that have reached a high level of
industrialization, the mass media of cinema, radio and TV have a key
role in political power.
Contemporary research demonstrates an increasing level of
concentration of media ownership, with many media industries already
highly concentrated and dominated by a very small number of firms.
When the study of mass media began the media was compiled of only mass
media which is a very different media system than the social media
empire of the 21st-century experiences. With this in mind, there
are critiques that mass media no longer exists, or at least that it
doesn't exist in the same form as it once did. This original form of
mass media put filters on what the general public would be exposed to
in regards to "news" something that is harder to do in a society of
Theorist Lance Bennett explains that excluding a few major events in
recent history, it is uncommon for a group big enough to be labeled a
mass, to be watching the same news via the same medium of mass
production. Bennett's critique of 21st Century mass media argues
that today it is more common for a group of people to be receiving
different news stories, from completely different sources, and thus,
mass media has been re-invented. As discussed above, filters would
have been applied to original mass medias when the journalists decided
what would or wouldn't be printed.
Social Media is a large contributor to the change from mass media to a
new paradigm because through social media what is mass communication
and what is interpersonal communication is confused.
Interpersonal/niche communication is an exchange of information and
information in a specific genre. In this form of communication,
smaller groups of people are consuming news/information/opinions. In
contrast, mass media in its original form is not restricted by genre
and it is being consumed by the masses.
Concentration of media ownership
Digital rights management
History of journalism
Media echo chamber
History of Newspapers
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européenne des médias: entre compétitivité et promotion des
valeurs », Nations, cultures et entreprises en Europe, sous la
direction de Gilles Rouet, Collection Local et Global, L’Harmattan,
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