The Mass Media
News travel faster today than ever before. We
see, hear and read more about world events than any other generation in
history. Radio, newspapers, TV - nobody can live without them. But today also
the Internet has become very important for business. The mass media play an
immensely important part in modern society as a source of information and
entertainment. In former times people generally found out what was happening in
the world via the press, nowadays the main sources of information for most of
us are TV, radio and the internet.
But what is the media?
Media is the plural of medium, which means a
channel through which information is transmitted. But that's not very exact. It
doesn't tell us what kind of channel or what kind of information. For example:
are TV advertisements a part of the media? Some people say yes, others say no.
And what about films, novels or songs? If you include all of them, a list of
the media looks like this: advertising, book publishing, cinema, newspapers, magazines
and comics, radio, TV, video. But if you limit your definition of information
to facts, the list becomes shorter: The Press, Radio and TV. These are the news
media which tell us, day by day, what's happening in the world.
How free is the media?
Well - it varies from country to country. In
some cases there are very few limits on what journalists can report. Other
governments are slightly less liberal. And then there’s a third group of
countries which control their media very strictly. In cases like this,
broadcasters and journalists who break the law are frequently sent to prison or
sometimes even killed e.g. in Serbia-Montenegro,
the Iran and the Ukraine.
What is news and how is it collected?
Several factors make a good newspaper story.
First - obviously- it must be NEW. But since TV can react so quickly, this is
often a problem for newspapers. They usually respond to it in one of these
By providing extra
detail, comment or background information
By finding a new angle
on the day's major stories
Or by printing
completely different stories which TV doesn't broadcast
But the stories also have to be dramatic,
because people don't want to read about ordinary, everyday life. Because of
this, many stories involve some kind of conflict and danger. This is one reason
why such a lot of news seem to be bad news. Next, there's human interest.
People are interested in other people - particularly lives of pop stars,
actors, politicians and royalty - all
appear regularly in certain newspapers.
Newspapers came into being in the 16th
or the 17th century. The first newspaper known was published in 1605
in Wolfsburg, Germany. One of the oldest newspaper
knows is the “The Times” from London, it was first published in 1748. Very
important German newspapers are “FAZ”, “SZ”, and “NZZ”. Newspapers
international very important are “NYT” and “Washington Post” in the USA, the “Corriere
della Sera” in Italia and “Le Mond” and “Liberation” in France.
In Austria the most important
newspapers are “The Standard” and “Die Presse”. But “Die Kronen Zeitung” is
read by more people than “TS” and “DP” together.
Various facts influenced the genesis of
newspapers. A very important one was the invention of the book printing by
Gutenberg with moveable letters made of lead. This made it possible to publish
regularly information for a higher number of people at a lower price.
Two factors influenced the progress of
The central position of
cities for important post- and trade ways that provides always news.
More people went to
school and so there were not so many illiterates.
There are different forms of
® Daily newspapers which are published
every day, some times not on Sundays.
® Weekly newspapers which are
published once a week.
® And tabloid newspapers which are
published regularly e. g. twice a month or once a month,… Tabloid newspapers
are for example “Die Bild Zeitung” in Germany, „Täglich Alles” in Austria. This
newspapers report about national and sometimes international popular people for
example actors, pop stars, royalty and so on in an extreme way. Not everything
you can read there is 100 per cent true.
For more than three centuries newspapers had
the monopole of publishing current political and society news. But then first
the radio, then television and last the internet came into being.
A revolutionary change in our way of life came
with the development of the radio. From 1920 onward it became a fad everywhere.
By the end of the 30's there was a wireless set in nearly every home and people
began to turn to the radio for information and entertainment. Today we have
transistors, sometimes combined with cassettes or CD-players, which provide us
with non-stop programmes. We can choose between broadcasts, of high cultural
value, regional programmes of strong local interest, and popular music, sport
and hourly new broadcasts. But the importance of the radio has diminished with
the growth of television. But especially for older people it's still good
entertainment. The radio is also a good way to inform car drivers what's
happening on the world's streets.
Another popular form of entertainment today is
TV. It has become more and more popular in the last 20 years, because it brings
the world into your home. The majority of people in industrial countries own a
TV set. TV can be very useful. You can see information, school programs or
language programs. Many people think that TV has more disadvantages than
advantages. The main effect that it produces is that owners of a set stay at
home much more and tend to give up going to parties, hobbies and other
occupations which had previously filled their evenings. But as conversation in
a darkened room is difficult, TV has detrimental effect on family life. There
is, too, a real danger that TV, by constantly showing scenes of war, crime and
brutality, may make people indifferent and callous to the real problems of
life, turning them into non-thinkers.
History of television: The first
TV-set was build in 1926 by John Logie Baird. It was a very simple machine,
which could project one picture on a wall.
In 1936 the first broadcasts were
sent in Great Britain with black and white pictures, then in 1956 coloured TV
was developed in the USA.
Since 1980 there have been 4 major developments.
The first development
was video, which has given viewers the power to control what they watch and
when they watch it.
The second was satellite TV, available to anyone who buys a
The third development
is cable - a system of hi-tech wires, which provides even more channels at one
Fourthly, there's High
Definition Television (HDTV), which now offers a much clearer and more
realistic picture than possible even a few years ago.
So more channels, more choice, more
clarity. What is there left for TV in the future? The answer to that is the
two-way communication. Viewers will be able to ask questions (via remote
control) what they are watching and the answers will appear on their screens.
This idea is called 'hyper media' and it's still in at early stage.
But then, as we've just seen, TV has come a long way in a short time. The
hyper-media revolution could happen sooner than many people think.
Millions of people are using the net to share
information. You can do many things with the Internet. There are no limits.
Companies use the Internet for advertisements or online shopping.
It allows you to exchange nearly every kind of
data within a few minutes. Communication between companies around the world is
nearly the same as if your partner was located next door. On the Internet,
there's no physical distance.
In the 1960es the army of the USA
started to connect several computers. It was called ARPANET. A few years later
the computers were removed and it was called Internet. At the beginning of the
1980es it arrived Europe and private people used it as online services were
Today's offices usually have PC on every
desktop. Why shouldn't we fill in forms on the screen and finally click on
'submit' instead of printing and posting them? Teaching on the
internet is much more difficult. The interaction between teacher and students
can't be replaced by a machine.
Very often, 'learning by doing' must
be done under the control of someone, e. g. a chemistry teacher. But there is a
way of teaching on the Internet. Tele teaching via television sets has been
used for many years now. Recently, an American firm has developed a product for
efficient video transfer on computer networks. This could be used for teaching
on the internet.
The technical possibilities are given and I
think that there is much future in the internet itself. But we have to learn to
use it correctly. Of course, the Internet will grow. Today it is a highly
effective tool. But, will it be the same in the future.
Summing up, mass media plays an important part
in our lives. It is up to us to derive not only entertainment but also
information and instruction from the different types of media. As we can see,
mass media, in all its forms, affects our lives daily. Everything from
newspapers to world wide radio stations tell us what's happening in the world.
In the future, we will continue to witness the
growth of the media industry.