Sociology - What is mass media and it's significance

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  • Created by: nellie
  • Created on: 09-04-13 19:56

Types of mass media

The mass media are forms of communication to reach a large audience without face-to-face contact. There are two types:

Traditional Mass Media 

This refers to the type of media that communicates in a way process to a large audience

  • terrestail televesion channels and cinames
  • national radio stations - BCC,1,2,3 and 4
  • mass circulation of newspapers,magazines and books - national & sunday newspaper

New media

This refers to the use of digital and screen-based technology. This includes; the internet, DVD, Digital television, E-mail, Mobile phones, etc.

The main differences between these two forms is that the new media often uses one device to access all types of information, it is digital (text, sound and pictures are converted into computer), It is interactive (consumers have the oppurtinity to engage with media), It is dispersed (less controlled and more adapted to individual choice)

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Technological developments

Communications in technology have transformed the mass media because...

  • In 1980 there were only 3 channels, now we both terrestial channels and hunderds of digital channels offered through satellite (SKY,Virgin, etc.)
  • We now have the internet, digital technology mobile phones,etc.
  • Digital TV offer interactivity (e.g: enter competitions, vote on reality TV shows, etc.)
  • One device can offer both telecommuncations and computing converging them together (e.g: on a mobile phone you can call aswell as access the internet) 
  • The internet allowes people to acces eleteronic versions of newspapers and 24-hour rolling news.
  • The internet enables people to produce content rather than just consume it 
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The significance of the new media in contemporary

The Optimistic View- This view argues that new media...

  • Widens consumer choice, (people can make their own choices between channels, websites and online newspapers) 
  • More media user participation ( interactive technology) giving consumers oppourtunities to participate in using and producing media content 
  • Gives access to information from all over the world 
  • Enhances social lives and interaction (new channels for communication such as social networking sites)

The Pessimistic View - This view argues that new media...

  • Is a threath to democracy (few companies control the internet, TV satellite channels and mobile networks, enhances their power to dominated and control what we know)
  • Has a lack of regulation (means bias,internet crime,violence, etc can thrive virtually)
  • Has no real consumer choice (much of same content on different TV channels)
  • Has increased social isolation (people losing ability to communicate in real world)
  • Created a digital divide (inequality between those who can afford the new media and those who can't)

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