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How Mass Media Affects Society Essay

Effects Of Mass Media On Society

In contemporary society, people are strongly influenced by mass media. Although traditional television watching and newspaper reading are no longer as popular as before, people spend more time in front of computers listening to music and radios, reading news and information, interacting with other people in social network and watching television programmes and films. The developing technology of mobile phone allows people to do almost everything they can do with the computer. Nowaday, people are living in a world ‘saturated by media sounds and images.’ (McQuail, 2008, p.456) In this essay, a general introduction of social change and media influence will be discussed in the first section. The second section will introduce Golding’s four concepts of news media and their effects. The media effect in political area, such as propaganda will be examined in the third section. Next, the methodological research of media violence and its problems will be analyzed. The final section will criticize the problem of early theoretical research of media effects.

The process of industralization accelerated the development of mass media. Mass media continue to develop. At the same time, society modified itself as well. In the late 19th century to the early 20th century, society was changing from a traditional social system ‘in which people were closely tied together’ into a complex system ‘in which individuals were socially isolated.’ (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p.159) Therefore, individuals are vulnerable to the influence of mass media.

In the first decade of 20th century, ‘public was alarmed about new forms of communication such as daily newspapers, moving pictures and radio broadcasts.’ (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, p.147) Nowadays, the dispute of media effect has never stopped. Many people believe that the media have influence upon people’s social life. Obviously, media have some influence on our decision making, especially on our idea of consumption. John Corner (2000, p.379) named it as ‘circumstantial influence’. ‘A holiday programme may convince audiences to visit Greece in summer; a feature on cancer prevention may finally persuade some people towards a healthier diet.’ Good or bad economic news clearly affect business, consumer confidence and have strong influence on financial market. In special times such as war time, disaster or economic crisis, media are more influential. For example, during the period of the Sichuan earthquake in China, almost all Chinese media content focused on the progress of rescue. The media influence was very important for victims to obtain maximal concern from all over the world. Many people devoted themselves into voluntary work to help the victims. Similar situation also happened in Haiti after the earthquake in last month. Global media are focusing on the poor Caribbean country and gathering people from different countries to lend a hand for those earthquake survivors.

News media is one of the most powerful...

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Featured in this week’s Degree of Thought is an essay by student P. Jonglio, who is the winner of the Tetso College Essay Competition (Degree Level) held in 2012.

Impact of Mass Media in Our Society 

Mass media is a means of communication that reaches a large number of people with a common message. It has firmly entrenched its roots in our life and now it is hard to survive without it in the modern age. It is often said that the world has become a global village. It is the media that has shrunk the world into the village. Telecommunication, television, radio and computers have reduced distances and brought countries of the world closer to each other.

We live in a fascinating world and even more fascinating society. We are part of a culture where every morning we wake up to the energized voice of the morning news filling us in on the beautiful sunny weather outside, and at the end of the day, exhausted and hungry, we crawl home, where our T.V., radio or computer are waiting patiently to be at service. In this world, life without technology feels utterly impossible and life without media is simply unimaginable.

When information is communicated to a mass audience by different means, we term it as ‘mass media’ of communication. Mass media includes both electronic and print media. The electronic media includes radio, cinema, television, films, e-resources etc. while print media includes newspapers, books, journals and magazines.

Media in today’s world, like every coin has two sides, both positive and negative implications. As far as society is concerned, one thing that should be kept in mind is that, it depends upon the society to reap the positive and negative outcome from media.

Media helps us to evaluate important burning issues and spreads awareness of current events. The society we live in is saturated with media. The effect that the media has on society also affects education in a very big way. The impact of mass media on the society can be cited in the following ways.

  1. Media has helped in the diffusion of education to the masses by spreading ideas, establishing common interests that help to spread enlightened culture.
  2. Media plays a significant role in moulding public opinion. It increases social awareness, encourages active participation of the individual to realise his duties and obligations, raises his standard of thinking and behaviour.
  3. Mass media is a powerful means of public education. It has helped in eradicating illiteracy, increasing mass awareness on various social issues, equalizing educational opportunities, promoting a secular and egalitarian society.
  4. Mass media has improved not only the quality of education but also caters to a larger section of the population. Thus, its contribution is both qualitative as well as quantitative.
  5. Mass media contributes to the constructive use of our leisure time, which would otherwise have been wasted. It helps develop new found interest and appreciation on a wide variety of subjects, and also fosters creative ability.
  6. Mass media broadens the outlook of people with regard to religion and culture, as it enlightens listeners on information, helping to remove superstitions, taboos and prejudices.

Thus, media is becoming increasingly important in the life of adults as well as of children. We acquire a great deal of information from the different forms of media such as newspapers, films and documentaries, journals, radio, motion-pictures and more.

Media covers a plethora of information that is accessible to all the different corners of the world. Thus today no one can be indifferent to the question of mass media and its effect. We need to handle the mass media wisely because depending upon the way the mass media is used, they can be tools not only for personal enrichment, but also national and international advancement and cohesion.