Staff Writer: Max Smith
The need to disseminate information to a large group has always been a basic social need. This human necessity to connect to his fellows and belong to a group led him to discover various ways of relating and sharing his thought to the big group. Before modernization kicked in, the primary means of communication was face to face conversations. It primarily involves a sender and a receiver but the interaction is limited to a small group. The introduction of technology made communication to a large group easier.
Media and Mass Media
Media refers to the tools with which we communicate and share our thoughts. Mass media, on the other hand, refers to strategies and techniques that we use to communicate to a large group. Mass media types have traditionally been divided into the print and broadcast category. Print media forms include newspapers and magazines. Broadcast media encompasses all non-printed communication to a big audience such as what happens in radio and television.
Issues of Mass Media Biases
Due to the position of influence of mass media on a big number of people, it is supposed to be unbiased. Mass media principles always include non prejudice and fair reporting of news and other updates. However, mass media operations are still human activities. Hence, it is impossible to find really unbiased media categories. This results to what is commonly called media bias.
Media prejudice does not refer to the biases of a single person or entity. This mass media bias is a phenomenon that occurs in all forms of mass media forms.
Sources of Mass Media Bias
The mass media operation is located within a society. It is always affected by factors ranging from social, cultural, geographic and many other things. These extraneous variables will always exert an effect on mass media. Hence, media bias is always possible. Sources of this biased media phenomenon are many.
1. Culture – The culture of a region places an immense effect on mass media practitioners. People working in the mass media world are humans that are molded and affected by the traditions and norms of the group where he belongs. Practices of a media room are often adapted to the cultural norms and practices of its region.
2. Government – The government is a huge regulator of the activities of a nation. Although mass media is supposed to be a separate and unbiased entity, the government still affects it in many subtle ways. Mass media operates within a country that is ruled and regulated by the government.
3. Reporting what people want – Sometimes, this bias results from distorting news and reports to get the news that people want. This allows media companies to get a bigger audience share and ratings. A media room may purposely distort its news just to get more people interested in them.
4. Media competition – The competitive media world sometimes prompts media practitioners to change their presentation to be able to keep up with competitors. This move often compromises the validity or fairness of their reports.
The sources of media biases given are not the only ones. There are many other factors affecting media presentation. This makes the ideals of media fairness a very difficult task.
The Need for Media Research
The factors affecting mass media undeniably produce inevitable biases. However, this is not an excuse to allow distorted news and prejudiced media presentations. There must always be a way to check on the standards of journalism and mass media. The procedures done to check on the fairness of mass media presentation is often called media research.
Media research refers to processes and procedures done to ensure that mass media presentations still adhere to standards of fairness and equality. Full blown studies, experiments and researches on mass media outputs can qualify as such. This strategy can also be done in small ways like a news company performing checks on the validity and reliability of its news reports and stories.
The Rise of Online Media
The introduction of computers and the internet gave rise to a new form of mass media called the online media. This online media is made available through the internet and is often referred to as the World Wide Web media forms or www media. Online media forms encompass all communication strategies made possible by the World Wide Web. Videos, blogs, chat rooms, conferences, internet games and other internet aided communication tools qualify as www media.
Advantages of the Online Media
1. Online media forms allow fast dissemination, transfer and share of information. You can share your thoughts to the online community in an instant. You do not have to wait for printing, publishing and other hassles and blunders associated with traditional media forms.
2. Convenience is another important feature of internet media categories. You do not have to go elsewhere or buy things to have access to the latest news. You can stay right at home but still remain informed about things happening on the other side of the globe.
3. Internet media types allow for easy retrieval of data. You can save your work on a computer and easily retrieve this work elsewhere. The wonders of the internet make all these things possible.
4. Accessibility is another interesting characteristic of online media. Accessibility is easy; you only need a computer with an internet connection. Data is accessible by anyone all over the world provided they know the correct link or URL. This makes online media a huge hit among us.