Mass media denotes a section of the media specifically designed to reach a large audience. The term was coined in the 1920s with the advent of nationwide radio networks, mass-circulation newspapers and magazines. However, some forms of mass media such as books and manuscripts had already been in use for centuries.
Mass media includes Internet media (like blogs, message boards, podcasts, and video sharing) because individuals now have a means to exposure that is comparable in scale to that previously restricted to a select group of mass media producers. The communications audience has been viewed by some commentators as forming a mass society with special characteristics, notably atomization or lack of social connections, which render it especially susceptible to the influence of modern mass-media techniques such as advertising and propaganda.
The term "public media" is less used and can be defined as "media whose mission is to serve or engage a public."
Marshall McLuhan, one of the biggest critics in media's history, brought up the idea that "the medium is the message."
In a society, the media can serve the electorate about issues regarding government and corporate entities , interfere with the country political life, promote the ideas necessary to definite categories of people. Mass media very often is called a third power in any country.
Some consider the concentration of media ownership to be a grave threat to democracy.
Mass media can be used for various purposes:
Advocacy, both for business and social concerns. This can include advertising, marketing, propaganda, public relations, and political communication.
Entertainment, traditionally through performances of acting, music, and sports, along with light reading; since the late 20th century also through video and computer games.
Public service announcements.
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.
Electronic media and print media include:
Broadcasting, in the narrow sense, for radio and television.
Many instances of various types of recorded discs or tapes. In the 20th century, these were mainly used for music. Video and computer uses followed.
Film, most often used for entertainment, but also for documentaries.
The Internet, which has many uses and presents both opportunities and challenges. Examples can include Blogs and podcasts (such as news, music, pre-recorded speech, and video)
Mobile phones, which can be used for rapid breaking news and short clips of entertainment like jokes, horoscopes, alerts, games, music, and advertising
Publishing, including electronic publishing
Video games, which have developed into a mass form of media since cutting-edge devices such as the PlayStation 3, XBox 360, and Wii broadened their use.
A magazine is a periodical publication containing a variety of articles, generally financed by advertising and/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 or 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 Indian etc)
Special interest magazines (women's, sports, business, scuba diving, etc)
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 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.
It goes without saying mass media has become a part and a parcel of any contemporary society. The press, the radio and television play a very important part in the life of the society. They inform, educate and entertain people. They also influence the way people look at the world and make them change their views. As sociologists say news is not what happens, it is what you see or read about in mass media. In other words, mass media plays a very important role in molding public opinion.
Millions of people watch TV and read newspapers during their spare time. The daily paper dominates family life at breakfast. Most of people can't do without a newspaper in the underground or during the lunch break.
TV also dominates the life of the family most of the time. It's needless to say that the TV set is not just a piece of furniture. It is something which is "one of the family". It is also a habit-forming drug impossible to resist.
The radio is turned on most of the time, creating a permanent background noise. In fact it does not interfere with your activities. I can easily listen to the radio while doing Maths, peeling potatoes or doing the washing up.
Generally I'm not very keen on politics, but I do watch news and various commentary and discussions called forums. My favorite forum is called "Svoboda Slova". In this forum several authoritive representatives exchange views on social, economic and political problems of our country. A number of views are represented so that the listeners or the viewers could hear various opinions. In fact such broadcasts are very popular with the Russian audience, as people are able to see their leaders, deputies and presidents.
Various radio and TV games, such as a panel game or a quiz programme also attract a large audience. During a radio panel-game people send questions to the studio to be answered by the members of the panel, who compete for the best results.
It's no secret that some of the TV and radio stations are owned by big corporations, thus the owners can advertise whatever they choose. Very often the firms and joint ventures sponsor shows and programmes, thus giving common people a good chance to make a fortune or to win a valuable prize.
Most of the up- to-date goods, new inventions and technologies become popular and well known with the help of mass media. So mass media promotes quality and progress into our every day life stimulating science and progress.
Of course advertising promotes business and benefits businessmen. However it annoys the general public. The movie you are watching on TV may be interrupted several times by an appeal to use a new perfume or detergent, or drink a certain beer. And though we are used to everything being advertised, watching such programmes gives one a headache instead of providing relaxation.
Some critics declare that advertising allows great commercial firms to pull the rest of the people down to their own intellectual level. However it wouldn't be fair to say that our mass media do not try to raise the cultural level of the people or to develop their artistic taste.