Staff Writer: Max Smith
Media tools are available in various forms. Products of mass media are everywhere and its effects on the society are truly inescapable. It is very hard to find a place without a newspaper, radio or Internet connection. Therefore, media and its various forms continue to permeate our lives.
The term mass media refers to the collection of tools, processes and methods involved in communicating with a big audience. Traditional mass media categories are divided into the print and broadcast categories. Print media types include newspapers and magazines. Print media are generally of the written type. Broadcast media encompasses all media communications that are not written. Radio and television are popular examples of broadcast media tools. Mass media is used to communicate and influence the thinking and behavior of the broad audience.
Mass media’s main purpose is to cater to the interests of the public. The function of mass media that is geared to serve the public is called mainstream media. The mainstream media is in an effective position to influence the public effectively.
Issues of Bias with Mainstream Media
However, mainstream media has a lot of issues and controversies. Information on mainstream media is said to be highly biased and distorted. Mainstream media must ideally adhere to standards of fairness and justice. The wide variety of factors that can influence media makes absolute fairness in mainstream media near to impossible.
Sources of Mass Media Biases
The number of media contacts and other factors affect mass media and their presentation of information. Here are some if the significant aspects that can greatly influence how media deliver the information to the public.
1. Effect of government – The government regulates the movement and activities inside a country. In most or almost all countries, the government’s control is strong and permeating. Thus, the practice of media and mass media activities are also controlled by the government in most countries. Although media is supposed to be unbiased and independent from government control, the government will still affect media practice. Media contacts of mainstream media types are some of the factors that often cause presentation of biased information.
2. Social pressures – Social related concerns also play a role in the practice of media. The culture of the place where the media operates will undeniably have an effect on mass media practice. This is seen in the deliberate distortion that some media companies do to make news reports and other media operations more interesting to its target audience. Often, there is the pressure for reports and other media output to conform to what the people accept based on its culture. Mainstream media reports often tend to be fixed in a way to make mass media stories fit to the taste of the audience. The media is supposed to bring out unbiased truths. However, social norms may force them to do the opposite.
3. Competition from other mass media companies – The practice of mass media is sometimes affected by competition. Oftentimes, presentation of information in mass media is geared to gain advantage over the competitors. This may result to fixing stories and reports in order to beat others in the field.
Alternative Media Forms
The biases of mainstream media served as the main reason for people to find alternative media forms. This is a significant revolution to the controversial mainstream media. In this new media strategy, the biases that are possible in mainstream media are removed or reduced. The media contacts of such media category are lesser than mainstream media making it more independent in this sense.
Alternative forms of media include blogging and online reporting. These forms of mass media communication strategies are not considered under the mainstream category.
Mainstream media types are usually associated with a strong government or business influence. Alternative forms of media strategies are less affected by these two strong influences. Another term used interchangeably with alternative media is independent media since there is little or no control from authorities such as the government or business corporations.
Alternative forms of mass media aims to filter out the biases that predominate in mainstream media. Independent media categories aim to provide the public with information that is purer than what mainstream media has to offer.
Rise of Modern Media
Alternative forms of mass media methods came out because of the emergence of modern media. This newer form of media communications is highly Internet- based. Modern media types include blogging, video sharing, chat rooms and other communications exchange made possible by the World Wide Web.
Characteristic of modern mass media forms
- Communication sharing and transfer is rapid in this mass media category. Information exchange is very fast and you can share your thoughts and ideas in just a click of a mouse. Media concepts include fast and up to date reporting. The newer forms of mass media make fast and almost instant information sharing and transferring a reality.
- This is also characterized by the convenience of data transfer. You can make your ideas known to the whole world by just blogging, creating a web page, entering chat rooms or through other online means. These are very convenient ways to communicate because you do not have to go to places or go through so many hassles. As long as you have a computer with Internet and you know how to maximize its uses, modern methods of mass media communication will be very convenient.
- Modern and Internet-based mass media types reach a global audience. Through this, geographic boundaries and other cultural and social blunders are bypassed. Your audience in modern mass media forms is the global online community. Mass media concepts on connecting the whole world are made easier by the Internet.